It’s already December and I just realized it’s been months since I’ve written anything. That’s not entirely true, I’ve written a novel, but it’s so crappy, it’ll take me eleven months to uncrappify it. I haven’t blogged about anything in months. I feel like I’m brain dead and I really hate grammar and punctuation (still).
I was having a discussion the other day about how I don’t use my Facebook page to post anything political, complain much, or really talk about anything of substance at all. People don’t even know if I’m changing my name since Mason and I got married (I am, but after he changes his name) (it’s going to be Shufflebottom) (I’m kidding). After some reflection with several friends, in several, unrelated conversations, it’s probably because I’m a just a terrible person and no one should really know about it.
Everyone says be true to yourself. If being true means being a jerk, you wouldn’t have friends! There was a great blog by Matt Walsh titled “If I can’t accept you at your worst, then maybe you should stop being so horrible” http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/01/23/if-i-cant-accept-you-at-your-worst-then-maybe-you-should-stop-being-so-horrible/ It was spot on!
I’m constantly battling my inner jerk. I’m constantly debating with myself if I’m being a dick, or standing up for myself because someone else is being horrible. I wonder how I can be more kind. I try to understand each person’s situation because lord knows I’ve been wandering around like a zombie some days, not using my manners.
During some of my debates I have a mental checklist I go through that looks something like this:
- Irritating person has been identified.
- Is the person really irritating based on preconceived societal notions of appro…is there wine anywhere? This person is so annoying.
- Have I had carbs today? Maybe I’m just mad because I haven’t had carbs.
- Nope this person is annoying.
- Maybe I need a cigarette.
- Smoking is so bad for you.
- Smoking is so good for this person because I won’t hurt them.
- Pretty sure this person is the problem.
- I might be the problem.
- My high expectations of others are the problem.
- If I’m still mad after some carbs the other person is the problem.
There is always some piece of advice out floating around from Mother Teresa about how people are basically jerks and we should love them anyway. Ok, so what if I’m not a jerk? What if the issue is something else?
What if you can’t accept me at my best?
Suppose I’m a successful, kind, philanthropic, well-educated woman, and I’m trying my level best to be the best version of myself. I can’t always be myself then either. I have been in several situations where being myself meant being quiet because no wants to know about how well you’re doing. It means you’re stuck up. I know several of my friends can relate to this, we’ve talked about it. We’ve brunched about it. The population of women (and men) who are accepting of women (or other men) who do well is so small! And I’m not talking about that Pinterest bullshit either. Not the “have it all together make my kids the most amazing lunches and little Jonny speaks 17 languages and I’m a size 00, and love Pilates” Mom. She’s a freak of nature and I’d cry myself to sleep if I met her. I’m trying to teach Gwen French and all she’s managing to learn is how to say, “I farted” and giggle hysterically at her successful pronunciation. I’m quite lucky she hasn’t starved. I digress. I was talking about how freaking awesome I am. Let’s go back to that.
As a successful woman I’ve been rebuked for earning well and having nice cars. I have been working since I was twelve. Sure it was a paper route, I hated it, and I sucked at it too. Pretty sure I got fired from it because no one got a paper in the rain, snow, sun, never mind…It taught me a valuable lesson. Work smarter not harder. Also, actually work! I’ve had some really cool jobs over the years and some awesome side gigs. I’ve been able to do so much, but I won’t talk about it much anymore. I have, on occasion, told a friend or two something awesome I’ve done, and the response was, “I hate you.” So I stopped telling people of my successes. When you do tell people, and they don’t make a big deal of it, if no one else gets excited about your success like you do, there is no point in sharing it. Not because you want people to look at you and be pea green with envy, but because you are happy. You accomplished something, something you thought was unattainable, something you thought was super cool, and you’re all, “SQUEEEE!” in your head but no one else shares your joy.
You try to be a kind person. You try to be charitable, helpful, and supportive. I had another friend tell me once that I shouldn’t support homelessness on the streets as I handed money to a dirty pregnant lady in a parking lot (might I add the pinnacle of being a jerk is getting out of a nice car with a Louis Vuitton, and a Starbucks and passing starving, begging children and pretending like I don’t see them). Maybe they were scamming me. Not my problem. If I lose $5 I can certainly afford it (and that makes me sound like a douche bag too). I used to work, and volunteer with the homeless, and I still help organizations that support the homeless. I have a special place in my heart for them, for so many reasons. I can’t, in good conscience, walk past a mother asking for money with her kids in tow, scam or not. If it’s a scam, shame on her. I have to be a better person, not a worse person, if I am in a position to do something. That something doesn’t stop at $5 either, I understand it’s a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. The profundity of the situation needs more than a paragraph. I could donate to any cause and people criticize that too. I have donated to any number of causes and every single one drew criticism from others. When I donate, it’s my business. It’s my cause for a reason. It’s a personal choice and I support causes I believe in. Every. Single. Time. Someone makes a negative comment if they catch wind that I’ve made a donation. So stupid.
Let’s take a look at well-educated! I started off at community college and I loved it. It was small and unthreatening. I was a terrified teenager, and I had to test the waters. I like school. I’ve been going ever since I got out of high school, off and on, on two continents. I like challenging myself. I enrolled at Harvard and actually did well! I didn’t expect to fail, but I didn’t expect to get A’s, which I did. YAY ME! Now, if I tell anyone that, or perhaps I use verbiage that would indicate I have a command of the English language (which is actually total shit because most of the crap that comes out my mouth are crude remarks anyway) I get so many negative comments about my choice of schools, or the fact that I’ve gone at all from, “You’re a pretentious A-hole!” to my favorite, “You’re prissy!” Who even invented that word? Prissy is as bad as hoist and retort on my list of words that I hate. The point is, when someone tries to better themselves we should share in their joy, cheer them on, not try to tear them down. If someone does something better than us, why can’t we appreciate it?
I’m not even going to get into the comments I get as a woman, because those just piss me off the most and there are women out there who have it far worse than I have. I at least have Louis to cry myself to sleep in. I want to be a huge jerk when I get sexist comment from men, the ones that dismiss my worth entirely because I have a vagina. I want to turn around and make them take it back, which makes me no better. I like to think I have some real zingers. In the spirit of not being an asshole I don’t make them. I really really, really want to be an asshole in these instances though (for the record). I would also like to really, really challenge the comments and ask them to be qualified. The problem is, the people making them probably can’t qualify them. They were raised to devalue women. When these comments come from women too, or are supported by women, I can’t help but think we are the hands that hold us down, perpetuating the same sexist comments that degrade our value based on sex alone because someone, somewhere, told that person, man or woman, that a woman was only good for taking her husband’s money, making him miserable, cleaning the house, and so on and so forth. If, by any chance, they come across a woman who is none of those things, god forbid she be able to defend herself, or be defended, because it’s not the time or the place, or it won’t change anything in the eyes of people who know nothing but the degradation of women. I got into anyway. Sigh.
I just wonder, if I try as hard as I do to not be the horrible person I am deep down, and if the not so horrible “I am actually kinda respectable” me isn’t accepted either (yes, yes I know fuck it just be me blablabla) what does that leave?
I have a few friends that I can go to separately for things, but not collectively. My point is really, have we become such a community of haters that we just hate everyone? I can’t fit comfortably into any one group without being hated for things we should value.
One time, just once, I had brunch with a bunch of amazing women. I went to the brunch not knowing anyone. A few people there didn’t know anyone, and a few knew a few others. Not one woman at the table gave another a dirty look. We all talked about success, Botox, failure, philanthropy, heartbreak, triumph, how we should thrive, and not in a “toot your own horn” kind of way, but in a “what are you doing so I can see if I can help” kind of way. We made jokes about how unPinterest like some of the food looked, how amazing some of it was, I got a buzz, it was like Shangri-La. I wonder why we can’t always be more accepting of each other on a wider scale? Why can’t we accept each other at our best, or at least while we are trying to better ourselves?
I understand the motivations of jealousy, but quite the opposite where did our sense of confidence go? We are too old to be bullies; we are too busy to compete. We should be setting examples and being role models for our children so we don’t raise a bunch of future a-holes, hateful of everyone and incapable of having meaningful and true relationships. We should be more appreciative of others and accepting of our own flaws. There are so many things I suck at, and I try to celebrate those things when someone can do better than I can, like cooking, math, hair, writing, whatever it is. I turn to those people and use them for the masters of the universe they are. We are all suffering from the affliction of humanity. The only person I’m trying to outdo is myself, and laugh along the way, because we don’t get out alive, even if our name is Shufflebottom.