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Everybody’s Stupid, LXV

I became an atheist at the age of 7, after discovering my mom was the Tooth Fairy. I’d always associated God with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and other fairy tale creatures. Hearing how God had magical powers, like the ability to turn water to wine, made me question why people took him more seriously than other fantastical characters. I had my doubts about Santa Claus, because I knew our apartment didn’t have a chimney. And I never fully believed in the Easter Bunny. But I found the existence of the Tooth Fairy to be plausible, because I hadn’t seen a movie or heard too many discouraging stories about her. I’d seen a few cartoons depicting the prowling pixie, but I knew cartoons were fake as hell. Yet, Peter Pan was my jam. And I imagined that the real-life Tooth Fairy looked something like Julia Roberts’ portrayal of Tinkerbell in 1991’s, “Hook”. So, one night my tooth fell out, and I told my mom about it. She told me to put the tooth under my pillow and wait for the Tooth Fairy to take it. I carefully wrapped the tooth in tissue and gently placed it under my pillow. I stayed up for as long as I could, trying to catch the Tooth Fairy in the act, but I couldn’t hang. When I woke up the next day, my tooth was gone but there wasn’t any money under my pillow. I confronted my mom about it, assuming that the Tooth Fairy had stolen my tooth money. My mom told me to wait until the next day, proposing that the Tooth Fairy “sometimes needs change”. Come on, now. What am I, an idiot? My mom’s response made me suspicious, and I wondered if her and the Tooth Fairy were in cahoots. Throughout the day, I continuously checked for my tooth money, to no avail. After dinner, I went to my room to get ready for bed and, lo and behold, I found the tooth money. I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but I was ecstatic to finally find it. But I was curious how the Tooth Fairy got into my room undetected. I pestered my mom until she confirmed my suspicions and confessed that she was the Tooth Fairy. After that, I didn’t believe in God, Santa Claus, or any of their other fictitious-ass homies! Then, my atheism was cemented after I involuntarily attended a Sunday School class with an incompetent teacher. Long story short, the teacher asked all the attendees what they wanted when they went to Heaven. One little girl said, “I want an ice cream sundae the size of a boat.”. Then, I asked the teacher, “Isn’t that greed and gluttony?”. The teacher didn’t have an answer for me. After that, when I asked a question about God’s abilities, the teacher boasted that God’s powers are the result of “magic”, and that’s when I knew religion was some bullshit.

Kids ain’t stupid! At least not coincidentally or as a condition of their age. The only things adults have over kids is time and experience. Intelligence, as in the capacity to understand and effectively apply knowledge, is intrinsic and unteachable. For example, right now, somewhere in the world, there’s an unwed 40-year-old woman who’s willfully participating in a long-term, unfailingly disadvantageous relationship. And within a 50-mile radius of that dumb bitch, maybe even in the same household, there’s a 10-year-old girl who, without being coached, refuses to speak to any stupid-ass little boy who isn’t excelling in school. Does that sound far-fetched? Simply put, intelligent people are born with a greater capacity for learning than unintelligent people. Or as I call them, stupid-ass motherfuckers! If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’m smarter than everybody. I just think I have far more good sense and brainpower than most people. When I reflect on my childhood, I can pinpoint several character-defining, eureka moments that stem from me realizing how dishonest, inconsiderate, and witless the adults around me were. I’d never credit any of my elders for making me the overall thoughtful person I am today. But inadvertently, their shortcomings are what made me so strong and perspicacious. My mom missed a large chunk of me and my sisters’ upbringing. People often talk about how affective childhood trauma is, and I frequently sit and wonder how much trauma I have. Especially after I lost my oldest little sister in 2022. My sister held on to her trauma like that shit was the yin to her yang. She couldn’t shake any of those torturous bad memories, even when her life depended on it. And looking back, she was the smartest, strongest motherfucker I’ve ever known! And I didn’t notice until she was gone. My sister wanted to be a doctor. And she had the brains to do it, and the academic accolades to prove it. But we never had a heathy support system. And to make it even more fucked-up, for her, I was a horrible brother. I didn’t understand her, and I didn’t try hard enough to help her understand her. So, as for my trauma, it’s more closely related to my sister’s death than our trying childhoods. I’ve always had a “fuck it” attitude when it comes to people. Even as a child, I’ve always understood that people are who they are. And if people wanted to be better or do better, they would. I learned early that me being sad or angry never changed anything, so I tried my best to conserve my energy and preserve my sanity. I did that by simply accepting everything for what it was and never dreaming or hoping that it would be something different.

A few years ago, I was watching a Katt Williams interview, and the interviewer asked him, “What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?”. And Katt’s answer was, “Never change.”. To this day, that’s probably the realest shit I’ve ever heard! How do you grow without changing?! Granted, I pride myself on being stable and consistent, like a lot of admirable people are. But I also recognize and embrace my life’s necessity of steady development and progression. Life is all about balance, right? Too little or too much of anything is a bad thing. For example, if you change too much, you might lose yourself and become an entirely different person. And if you don’t change enough, you may never grow to reach your maximum potential. But a person can constantly evolve while maintaining their core characteristics, if they want to. The problem is, most people don’t want to. Or so it seems. Maybe people don’t know how to change and remain the same? Maybe people don’t know how much they need to change? Maybe people’s trauma is too formidable for them to fathom the idea that change is possible? Sometimes, I regret calling people stupid, just in general. Because I get it. I know what intelligence is, so I know that lacking it is out of people’s control. However, I also know that people deliberately relinquish their control for selfish and stupid reasons. If you can’t control anything else, you can control yourself. Even in the presence of mental illness. And if you want to change, you must accept a few hard truths before it’ll be possible. Firstly, acknowledge that you’ve been an idiot. Admittedly, I’ve made a lot of regrettable decisions. But I’ve learned from them. And sometimes you need to fuck-up to realize what not to do. Secondly, acknowledge that your idiocy was your fault—eliminate your scapegoats. Blaming other people, even when they deserve the bulk of the blame, gives you an out that may prevent you from recognizing what you could’ve done to avoid the situation. Remember, you can only control you. Thirdly, acknowledge that people ain’t shit. For instance, everybody’s mama ain’t Afeni Shakur! After you accept the part you played in your trauma, amend or abolish the relationships that most greatly contributed to it. If motherfuckers can’t change and grow with you, leave their goofy-asses behind and never look back! It is what it is. That’s a notable motto for life, people, situations, and everything else. A motto is a short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or institution. And if I had to choose a single response to any good or bad thing in my life, even in the process of changing, I would acknowledge that it is what it is.

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