Dear Inspirational Quote Terrorist Mary Oliver:

It’s 4am and I’m lying in bed staring at my phone. I’m here trying to breathe through the day’s existential dread and the terrible online choices of friends and family — working on minding my own business, rage whispering to my iPhone screen instead of commenting with actual text — doom scrolling my little heart out when your little bomb drops.

SURPRISE!

It’s everyone’s favorite Instagramable poet! Here you are again — this time exploding into my feed with a cornea ripping white background along with that vile old fashioned typewriter font some little jerk influencer has decided is cute this week.

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”

Instagram should really come equipped with an airbag and free Xanax — what a stupid thing to say to me.

“What is it I plan to do with my one wild and precious life?”

Well, shit, Mary Oliver.

I was just over here trying to gather up enough fucks to change my t-shirt for the first time this week. My big goal for the day was to put on some hard pants, drive 45 minutes to the suburbs so I can sit at a desk in the basement of a church and perform “working person answering email at desk” for 8 hours for my boss without lighting myself or anyone else on fire because I could be doing all of this from my couch—but Goddamn—let me take a few minutes out of the grueling and unrelenting joy ride that is living through a pandemic during late-stage capitalism to ponder my one wild and precious life.

That sounds like a real fun-ass time.

Listen, every single thing is burning in the dumpster out back — AND AT THIS POINT — it’s not surprising to any of us — so can we all come together as a people and go back to sharing pictures of children in silly costumes and mashed potatoes or whatever it is you’re having for lunch? Please for the love of Sarah Jessica Parker quit forcing everybody to read sad poems and inspirational quotes on the internet.

Wow. Are these UNPRECIDENTED times, Prince Harry?

Gee, Doctor Oz — Should I make an effort to be kinder to myself?

We’re all in this together, Oprah?

OH, REALLY?

Fuck You.

Oh. You’re sad and depressed?

WELL, NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. I WATCH THE NEWS. I KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING.

Did you really think sharing lines from A Wrinkle in Time or a couple stark stanzas about a grasshopper eating sugar out of some old lady’s hand in the middle of a field was going to be the thing to pull us all back from the brink?

SHIT.

I can manage the stress of Brene Brown blowing sunshine up my ass, but Et tu Brute?

What is it I plan to do with my one wild and precious life!?

As if constantly shoving giant q-tips up my deviated septum while trying to not think about thermonuclear war isn’t enough. WELL, THANK YOU! I guess now I’ll just go ahead and add panicking about wasting my whole entire life to my to do list. What are you people expecting from me? And the best part is — THE VERY BEST PART IS — just when I think I have seen the last carefully curated aphorism of the day — the very moment when I am almost positive I have conjured up enough faith, strength, beauty, and grace to think I might be able to smile through another Zoom call with co-worker Karen complaining about the Keurig — some jackass goes and drops five more lines of another sad-ass poem.

I MEAN — HOW MUCH MARY OLIVER IS ONE PERSON EXPECTED TO TAKE?

Wild and precious life.

You want to know what’s wild?

Untaxed Amazon profits.

Straight people who can’t stop talking about THE OFFICE.

How rich people will always have access to abortion.

Donald Trump Jr.’s cocaine tolerance.

How cops refuse to stop murdering black people.

That Kim Kardashian thinks that whatever it is she does qualifies as an actual job.

The fact that as I’m sitting here writing this bitchy little missive — flailing my big indignant gay body all around, feeling as wild and carefree as Marjorie Taylor Greene at a Klan rally — there are trans people who aren’t being allowed to receive gender-affirming heath care, and queer kids, who BY THE WAY, are FOUR TIMES more likely to die by suicide than their straight counterparts — growing up in places with new laws that pretend their sexuality and gender identity don’t exist. These people live in the same country as me, Mary! I know you celebrated marriage equality back in 2015. I know you use the right pronouns for your friends, host Drag Race viewing parties, and know a couple non-binary folks, but NEWSFLASH: it’s not over. We are not safe! These conservative cocksuckers are going to try to take my marriage away. They are actively working RIGHT NOW to silence us and shove us all back into closets.

You’re right about one thing. Life is wild, but I have yet to be convinced that it is precious.

What am I going to do with my one wild and precious life?

Nah, Mary, what are YOU going to do to protect, honor, and defend my one wild and precious life.

But you know — in the meantime — when life gives you lemons make lemonade, Keep Calm and Carry On, reach for the stars — and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance — I hope you fucking dance.

Live, Laugh, Love,

JAO

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