Look, before I jump into it I just want to acknowledge that this has been a difficult year for me, and honestly, I don’t know that I could’ve gotten through it without my supporters. Sometimes, what you really need is someone, or something, that will stay by your side no matter what. No matter how hard you try to drive them away, they’re still there for you, committed to you.

Of course, I’m talking about the mosquito community.

Mosquitos will buzz by you no matter how much weight you’ve gained or how terrible your haircut is. Non-partisan creatures, they’ll suck blood on both sides of the aisle. The level of dedication we see in mosquitos is a rare and beautiful thing. Mosquitos are always there for us, so why shouldn’t we be there for them?

I find the presence of my friends—by which I’m referring of course to mosquitos—so reassuring. But I’m not under any delusions, okay? I know these are bloodsucking, disease-riddled, ectoparasites, but what friends aren’t? Besides, they find me so enticing. My translucent porcelain-esque skin is just perfect for those beady compound eyes to catch a glimpse my delicious veins. Plus, I’m just chubby enough that the skeeters (they love it when I call them that) won’t be hitting any bones with their stabby little mouths.

And by the way, did you know that mosquitos are icons of female empowerment? There are male mosquitos of course, but it’s the females that suck blood. The woke bae males unproblematically feed on nectar while the females feed on blood to acquire the proteins necessary to produce eggs. That means every mosquito that’s ever tried to suck you dry has been a mosquitoette, the scientific term for a female mosquito, and she’s just trying to raise a family!

At this point you’re probably taking a long and hard look at yourself, reeling with guilt at the thought of all the poor, innocent, mother mosquitos you’ve smooshed. But please take comfort in the fact that sometimes, it just can’t be helped. You might’ve thought that someone who thinks mosquitos are so great couldn’t possibly try and murder them with fervor. Well, that’s where things get complicated.

As loyal and supportive as mosquitos are, I admit that they can, at times, be a bit of a nuisance. I mean they’re just crazy for me! And sometimes you need to let them know enough is enough. Entomologists say that mosquitos actually prefer some people over others, so if you’re sitting there thinking “big whoop, I get bug bites all the time,” think again. You might think you’re getting lots and lots of sweet mosquito kisses, but they actually love me way more. Whole swarms of skeeters flock to me just to try and get a taste of this delicious caucasian sangria, risking whatever time they have left in their pathetic life, just for a taste of me. Other than a handful of older men, who else can say that?

I recently heard on public radio that unlike most insects and many humans, mosquitos have a pretty impressive memory. They can remember who or what they think tastes good as well as recognize swatting dangers. I’m proud to say that by now, most mosquitos are familiar enough with my body to know me as both tasty and a swatting danger. I don’t think we give mosquitos enough credit for their smarts. After all, they’ve gotten so good at evading my swats that it’s downright strategic. Sometimes they zoom around in squadrons, sending their most agile cadet up to my face to distract me while the blood warriors go in for my ankles. And I hate to say it, but usually it works.

I suppose it’s time I address the dengue-stricken elephant in the room. Mosquitos do have a dark side, and poor countries and dysfunctional rich countries alike have to deal with the consequences of mosquito-borne illnesses. It’s not the mosquitos’ fault that they carry dozens of potentially fatal diseases, and like all horrible things, the devastating effects of mosquito-borne illnesses are simply a matter of attitude. Instead of thinking of Yellow Fever as a deadly virus, try to realize, it’s just a mosquitoette’s way of saying she cares.

Now I know many people will never understand my love for these annoyingly dedicated creatures. I’m not asking that you leave your windows open while you sleep or that you contract Malaria, I’m simply shining a light on one of the most misunderstood animals that buzz about the earth. Next time you feel a prick on your calve, followed by a pulsating itch, remember that in a mosquito’s eyes you are an icon. A deity. A legend. To a mosquito, you’re so cool that you’re worth following all night long, even if it means coming face to palm with death. If you jumped off a bridge a mosquito would zoom on down after you, and why? Because mosquitos know you’re worth it.

So if you’re struggling with your confidence and the world is feeling bleak, take a walk by an algae-choked pond some summer evening, and you’ll find hundreds of new friends waiting to cheer you on.

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