LA CROSSE, WIS — People don’t think I hear the whispers, but I do. They hurt.
People don’t think I’m as effective as traffic lights, but I am. Especially in certain intersections.
People think I’m some sissy European construct, but I’m not. I’m American, I’m yours, and I have feelings, too.
I have lived in La Crosse for several years now, and I want people to know that I hear their criticism, I read the comments sections, and I notice the disgusted looks on drivers’ faces from time to time. At first I was doing fine as the new kid in town. I expected some initial resistance and gave myself and others grace for an adjustment period. I thought that people would like me once they got to know me and had a chance to drive around my whimsical, free-flowing lanes.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I hit a low point about six months ago where I questioned my purpose in life and my own self-worth. I was also dealing with a dead skunk who had been hit by an F-150 as well as some empty beer cans a couple teens tossed into my center. Another guy pissed on two of my yield signs, so I had a lot going on at the time.
Then I hit rock bottom.
I became mean, cynical, and jaded. I found myself trying to ice the sidewalks so pedestrians would fall, I heavily drank runoff, and I started picking at my own cracks and potholes. I realize now it was because I was trying to numb the pain yet at the same time feel again. Since I was hurt, I wanted to hurt others, too.
A few of you stuck up for me at city council hearings and various comments sections, and for that I am thankful. You were a friend in my darkest hours. To those I have hurt, I am sorry. I can only say that I was lost, tumbling down a one-way avenue of destruction, and did not realize what I was doing.
To the rest of you assholes who still won’t accept me today, I say you are no longer needed in my life. I am cleansing your toxic energy, and I am going my own direction now because I am worth it. Just like my life coach said, I cannot control what others think of me, but I can think well of myself. I can hear your degrading comments and not believe them. For all I care, you can just stay stuck at a red light for 20 whole minutes! Meanwhile, I am moving forward in life’s fast lane, and the next stop is Happyville, population: me. Today, I am proud of who I am. I am learning to love myself again–and you should love me, too.
The Roundabout on Cass and 7th Streets contributed to this article.