So there are certain phrases in the English language that, although they may be useful, I can’t stand. You see one of them in the above picture, lovingly inscribed and ready to hang on your wall: It is what it is.
It is what it is. A masterful turn of phrase. There’s a simple poetry to it’s symmetry, it almost seems like a palindrome. And useful? Holy crap is it ever useful. It can be applied to anything, from the economy and the current geopolitical situation down to the dinner you just cooked. “It’s meatloaf, it’s a little dry. It is what it is. Shut up and eat it.”
Where does it come from? Who said it first? I dunno, normally I would do extensive research and write a 1000 word post about it, but that’s not the point.
It is what it is. It’s a phrase that’s usually accompanied with a shrug or a sigh. It’s defeatist. It’s a couple degrees away from just saying, “To hell with it. F**k it.” The pic that I have at the beginning of this post? It’s a poster for sale at an art website, it’s listed under the keywords “inspirational, inspirational quotes, and quotations.” Are you kidding me? Inspirational? How about whatever the exact opposite of inspirational is? Despirational?
OK, so it is what it is, but do we have to leave it at that? What if Churchill had looked at Hitler’s rise and said, “Well, it is what it is. That Adolf, he’s a scamp.”
What if Jonas Salk had looked at Polio and said, “It is what it is?”
What if God had looked at sinful humans and said, “It is what it is. I’m not sending my son to die for those losers.”
What if Luke Skywalker had looked at The Empire and…OK, Joe, pull it back.
My point is, maybe it is what it is, and maybe we do have to accept it as it is and be realistic about it, but we don’t have to leave it as it is. There’s a line where you go past realism and cross into hopelessness. I don’t want to cross that line.
I am what I am. I’m a 53 year old male with funky brain chemistry etc. Fine. It is what it is, but what am I going to do about it?
To use another well known, probably overused phrase…I’ll get back to you.