As with most people, I'm seeing many comments and what are now called "takes" on Simone Biles withdrawing the other day.
These comments take two forms, usually. There is the line of assertion that she's weak, selfish, can't hack it, we are a nation of pussies, etc. The other line goes that mental health is more important than anything, and now she's a hero in a different way.
I can't say I agree with either side. I do believe that this kind of thing gets overthought. Does it matter? I don't think it really matters. A person removed themselves from competition. There can be many reasons. Good ones, bad ones, all manner in the middle, and what might be what someone else feels they have to do, can well be something that if someone else were to do it, they'd believe they had done wrong. Or I should say, not done the right thing.
I'll give a for instance. Anyone who tried to live my life and what I've been going through for a long time now, would tap out inside of a week. With any of it. Let alone all of it. They couldn't do it. They'd beg for mercy and they'd flee.
I was talking to someone about this the other day, and they said that Molly would have been enough. Had that happened to them, they would have left the world. They wouldn't have tried to carry on because they wouldn't have been able to. The told me that they'd be living in their parents basement, a shell of a human. Still. All of this time later. I'm not sure how many people could begin to try and emotionally compute what it's like to have that done to you. There really isn't much precedent for it. There's no support group for it. It's something that is experientally endemic to you. A private hell. What happens in publishing is worse. Being this discriminated against is worse than anything.
I keep going. With nothing positive. Only derision, hate, poverty, loneliness. No quality of life. There are no endorsements, no millions of fans, there is only suffering. I can barely tell you how hard it is to find any hope. Then, I just go out and perform, and I do what I do at a level no one has done anything. I get better at what i do, in this situation.
Personally, for me, that's strength. That's the opposite of weakness. I have been beaten down, tortured, broken into so many pieces I've had to try and reassemble while performing. I don't have anyone I can talk to. I'm completely disliked. Those who don't despise me, are usually terrified of me because of my mind. They behave towards me in ways they'd never behave towards anyone else. It can end up looking exactly the same as people who would sign a piece of paper for my death, if they could.
So yes, it is hard for me to watch someone give in and not have certain thoughts and feelings. And yes, I do think people are weak, and they lack any purpose. I think they quit so easily. Things have to be given to them or they bail. Fast. I don't think people deal with adversity at all. Not now. That is not the nature of humanity at this point. That's why we try and take excuses, and convert them into plaudits. Why we celebrate mediocrity. Obesity. Being laid back, which really means not working hard, never thinking, never growing. We celebrate skin color, rather than the person within. Because that person doesn't want to do the hard work of becoming a better person. A smarter person.
Having said all of that, the choice was hers, and it doesn't bother me at all. It's her right. I'm not a gymnast. I don't know if not being in the right head space means that you are apt to not come out of a rotation in time and snap your neck on the floor.
I do think that one has an obligation--a duty--to one's teammates. Someone I respect, and whom I'd want to have in my life, would honor that duty. But that's just me. I think that kind of duty is important. I think you try. I think you fight through. I think you also owe it to the person you beat out for that spot who is not there, who is not getting the chance.
It's a separate issue--perhaps--that we do become weaker all of the time. I'm watching these idiot, bloviating white males go on and on about weakness, but they mean something much different than I do.
My focus is the duties of the soul. As someone who lives in hell. These guys? They're weak. With their cushy podcast, money thrown at them, lack of talent, lack of dedication. Guys who would be crushed so easily if they had to fight. They could not have done what she did, in taking it as far as she did. All of that pressure for all of those years, all of that focus needed.
Does that then mean it's fine to step aside in a moment like that one? I don't know. For me, personally, it wouldn't be. But that's just me personally. That's my standard. In that one area. But it's tricky. Because for her, that one area is performing as a gymnast. My one area is the entirety of who I am. And I think the stakes are very different. But it's very much a non-story for me. It can foster discussion, yes, but you're also having that discussion with people incapable of empathy, who have no strength, purpose, or dedication themselves, or understanding of what those ideas are, and they're normally trying to advance an agenda.
Like I said, one side wants to condemn, which is bad. And the other side wants to build even more excuses into society, which is bad, and, I'd say, worse.
Because we're taking away accountability. And taking away talent. Taking away merit. It's the victim model of existence.
This woman doesn't have anything to do with that, but she'll be used for that reason. We hate intelligence. We hate experts. We hate hard work. We hate exercise. We just want to be enabled, lied to, and be taken care of. We want to be 400 pounds and told that we're hot. We want to write one shitty story once every five years and told that we're a brilliant writer. We want to put up a filter on social media about BLM and told that we're a great person even if we're a complete asshole, or an actual sociopath, which is more and more the norm and is becoming the standard model of what a human is now. Being a horrible, self-serving, hypocritical person is how you blend in, how you fit with groups, how you make a brand, get a platform, and the filter is like this "get out of moral jail free" card.
You can't even really have the debate, the conversation. Agenda negates reason. Lucid thinking. Vacates it. But don't use this woman. Don't agendize her, one way or the other. Hope that she finds a better way to move forward. Hope that you do, too.