“Oh, you’re so lucky.”
I hear it all the time–in emails people send me, in conversations, in feedback on my Web site. “Oh, you’re so lucky.”
Why am I so lucky? For reasons that have nothing to do with luck. You have a girlfriend who likes bondage? Oh, you’re so lucky.” “You have more than one partner, and everybody is OK with that? Oh, you’re so lucky.” “Oh, you own your own business? You’re so lucky.”
It’s profoundly annoying. No, I am not so lucky. I have the partners I have, and I live the life I live, because i sat down and made conscious, deliberate decisions about the way I want my life to look and the people i want to share it with. Luck has nothing to do with it. I own a business because I chose to start a business, and accept the risk that comes along with that. I have the partners I have because these are the people who I have chosen to share my life with, and they are with me because they have chosen to share their lives with me.
“Oh, you’re so lucky.”
It seems as if people actually do believe that their lives are all about random chance. The job they have? Luck. The partner they’re with? Luck. The shape of their lives? All random happenstance; luck of the draw, that’s just the way it turned out.
I cannot rightly apprehend what would make someone feel so profoundly disempowered in his life. “Oh, you’re so lucky”–this is the cry of someone who sees something he wants but feels utterly powerless to have it, someone who goes through life seeing only a random collection of unrelated events, driven by pure chance, with no connection between them and no hope of comprehension. The person who feels empowered–the person who feels like he can have the things he wants, if he just puts his mind to it–does not see luck.
“Oh, you’re so lucky.” I live with a woman who enjoys being tied up because I share with my partners the things that interest me, and the things that I like; I communicate with them, and build a foundation of honesty and trust and mutual respect. This is not luck. I have received countless emails from my BDSM Web site that are variations on one of two themes–“I want to try this stuff but I’m afraid to tell my partner, what should I do?” and “I have always wanted to try this stuff, but I didn’t tell my partner, and after we’d been together for fifteen years he told me that he’s always wanted to try it too.” Well, see, there you go. If you don’t ask for what you want, don’t expect to get what you want–luck isn’t going to help you.
Of course, a person who does not believe it is possible for him to have something is not going to feel empowered to seek it. I wonder, though, what does he see when he sees other people living the way he wants to live, but believes is impossible? What is it that makes him feel so disempowered? Why should these things be accessible to others but inaccessible to him? “Oh, you’re so lucky.” We make our own luck. A person does not start a business by accident; it’s not like you’re walking down the street one day and you see a busines lying on the ground that’s fallen out of someone’s pocket and say “w00t! Lookit that–wow, I’m lucky!” And the conduct of a romantic relationship is no different. One does not choose a partner by luck; one does not have an exciting and rich sex life by luck. “Jeepers, you got Betty Sue in the Mate Lottery and I got stuch with Sally May–I hear Betty Sue’s really kinky. Boy, you sure got lucky!”
So a person who feels disempowered in his life, who believes his life is nothing more than a series of random unconnected events–how does he choose a partner? What does he say to his partner–if he does not see any hope of controlling his life, and does not see any way for him to effect any control over his destiny, what does he talk about?
“Oh, you’re so lucky.” Every time someone says that to me, a part of me wants to grab him by the shirt collar and scream, “Do you have the faintest idea what you’re saying? Do you even realize how much it says about you and the world you live in? This is your fucking life, and nobody is accountable for the way it looks but you! If there are things you want in your life, then for God’s sake, why aren’t you going after them??! What’s holding you back? This is your fucking life, man! It’s the only one you’ll ever have! DO something about it, already! Don’t insult both of us by telling me how lucky I am because I have something and you want it, go and get it already!”
“Oh, you’re so lucky.” It’s insulting and baffling at the same time. Insulting, because it totally misses the decisions I’ve made that have made me who I am; baffling, because anybody can make these choices, and indeed people do, every day. A person who wants something but chooses not to pursue it turns his back on what he wants, and then is surprised when he doesn’t have it. What the fuck? Your life, every day, is shaped by the choices you make. Don’t like the music? Change the tune!