Deserving / by India Choquette

This might be morbid, but when I am in a terrible situation, I like to brainstorm all the other things that would be worse than what I'm currently enduring. As I lean forward on this bench, I can see the moon, a misty moon, hanging above the subway platform. So I made a mistake. I wonder if I can fix it. Maybe, maybe not. I will try. But everything about this moment feels numb. I don't even feel angry. I don't feel sad. And I feel fairly even because I'd much rather deal with this inconvenience than having my parents die. My friend said I shouldn't put that energy into the world, but I find it comforting. And the moon here is nice, and even though I am exhausted, I am fine.

I had been planning this event for months and invested a ton of money. But money is just money and dreams are just dreams. At least my family is fine. And my friends. The thing that keeps popping into my brain, though, is how everyone, including myself to some extent, told me how I deserved this trip. 

People often tell each other "you deserve it" or "you deserve better." We say it to comfort. If someone feels guilty about eating a cupcake, we say, "You worked hard today. You deserve it." If someone gets dumped, we say, "It's his loss--you deserve better." It's a nice thing to say.

But no one deserves anything. And deserving is dangerous. It outlines a linear world that owes you things. Or even a world where things are earned and delivered. But it's not so cut and dry. When we say we deserve something, we are demanding something rather than building it. The world owes us nothing. We are here to create, not consume. We consume when we are too paralyzed to create. 

I do not know if I can fix my current situation. I don't know if this post will seem jaded in a week. But I'm glad my family is fine. And my friends. I am grateful to have a life where I can make a mistake like this--one that will simply deny me an indulgence. I am lucky to have this chance. And I know that, whatever happens, whether I lose this opportunity or not, I'll use my time to create something.