A Particular Petty
In many ways I would truly like the year of 2019 to go fuck itself. However, I’m aware that I shouldn’t make such negative declarations because of the many lessons that life has taught me this year. I have had this premonition for a while now that I still had a major transitional phase left in my life, and from what I know of life so far, I knew that it was going to be ugly. This year has been ugly.
I started off the year making great money with plans to pay off debt, travel and to FINALLY be able to 100% support my children’s expenses. I write about what it is to be a single mother managing her own mental health yet it is always with the caveat that I am privileged to receive a ton of help from my parents and other family. I am grateful for the support, but I also feel like a failure as a mother who requires so much assistance. It has been a long-term goal of mine to relieve my parents of aftercare and babysitting duties forever. I could taste the reality of the making that dream come true this year. I finally felt as if I had my life together! I even had a cleaning lady, was on my way to good credit and looking for houses to rent for the girls to have a larger space to grow.
Fast forward to today and I’m working out deals with the leasing office of my apartment building to avoid eviction and I’m pretty sure my car is going to be repossessed this weekend. I have exhausted all resources and I am, quite frankly, completely defeated and not sure I have it in me to be a phoenix rising from the ashes YET AGAIN.
My 35th birthday was April 15th of this year. On April 2 I lost my job. A few days later I found out a friend of mine had passed away. A few days after that my car was rear ended on my way to a performance.
Back in the day, a series of unfortunate events used to be just what I needed to kick into high gear, motivating me to sacrifice and rebuild. This time around I knew I didn’t have it in me. I knew that I was going to have to take those upper-case L’s while allowing myself to slow down and face the failure and despair of it all. For the longest time I didn’t tell anyone I had lost my job because I felt completely ashamed and I didn’t want to deal with anyone else’s disappointment in me without first dealing with my own. I was also harboring a ton of fear and panic because my major worry was that I was no longer mentally equipped to juggle 9-5 office work. (At the time I did not realize that it felt pointless to me to work so hard toward goals that did not belong to me, and in my opinion, did nothing to edify the world. I later discovered that my true passion is to be employed in the nonprofit world).
Honestly, I buried away the stress of that job because the money I made was finally going to allow me to provide the life I only dreamed of being able to provide for my girls. I wanted them to trust that I could take care of them without anyone’s help. I wanted to be an example to them of a winning woman who could do things all on my own. By the time I resolved in my mind that I needed to figure out a way to manage my stress, quit my poetry and performance endeavors to concentrate on my career and building a life for us— it was already too late for me. When I am stressed and overwhelmed, I tend to shut down and I can’t think straight or make good decisions. These factors had already taken their toll in my work environment and it was too late to fix the mistakes I had made.
So, there I was: unemployed with an entire poetry tour booked and prepaid. There I was numb, unable to process the unexpected death of a friend. There I was just trying to stay afloat without swimming or treading water because managing my own depression already feels like drowning—if these waves were here to take me out, then so be it. The practical portion of my brain set up a plan to focus on full-time artistry, to maximize on the free time I had on my hands to write more, promote more, improve my marketing skills and use the money from my poetry performances to support myself in between finding a “real” job. My productivity lasted about a week before I began to panic.
And it’s strange because I started to live this double life. I was able to fake being ok (and even felt ok for the most part) for two months until my children went off to be with family for the summer. After that, I split my time between hanging out in my apartment binge eating and watching tv all day and on stages performing and hosting events. I didn’t want to “fake” good energy or feel like I was pretending at my performances so I came up with a routine that consisted of sitting in my depression all day, then an elaborate bathing, saging and self-compassion meditation ritual that I would complete before each show. I wanted to allow myself the room to still show up in my authenticity— a little weary and broken— but to also use performance to bleed out my anxiety on stage.
I know that I didn’t act entirely responsibly during this time. I put off filing for unemployment because my brain didn’t want to go there. I wanted to triumph over the circumstances, but I wasn’t necessarily putting in the work to do so either. I couldn’t rise out of my depression, especially when anxiety and resentment came to sit alongside it. I resented how much I had to lean on others for help. I resented that I had to share my embarrassing story before asking others for help. I resented that I had to hustle more to sell books at gigs and to land more paying gigs when I just wanted to stay at home and sleep and write and cry. Whenever I allowed myself to think of my predicament and the future ahead my anxiety would build, and I would fall into a spiral of negative self-talk that would sink me into a deeper bout of depression.
At one point I had put off the thought of suicide so often that I had to allow myself a few hours to journal about the scenario because I couldn’t get it out of my head.
The Things I Tell Myself to Be OK
You are not a fuck up…
There are disastrous people on this planet who just can’t seem to get anything right. They blame others for their problems and seem to be in constant need of SOMEthing from SOMEone at any given moment. Their lives are one highlight reel of poor decision after poor decision while others stand back and observe the continuous loop of shit show that can be cringey to watch unfold. Some days I feel like I fall into this category or n’er-do-wells. I worry that my life will be a constant cycle of digging myself up out of the trenches only to fall back in again. What usually happens is that at a time when I need minimal help that can prevent a downward spiral, I end up trying to handle everything myself because I don’t like to put others in a position to judge my struggle.
In my first session with my recent therapist she said to me, “You don’t do well asking for help, do you?” and I thought to myself, ‘Of COURSE not!’ These days it seems to me that people go out of their way to make you feel like a loser if you need help. Or, without your knowledge, whatever deed was done by the Good Samaritan is kept on a scoreboard and if your actions don’t comply with what they expect of you in the future then you are forever villainized as needy and ungrateful. Which is yet another aspect of asking for help that I struggle with; gratitude. Most of us have a love language or some feeling we need to receive in return to help us feel as if we have made the right decision in helping someone in the first place. For me, I always thought the best way to show gratitude is to pay it forward but I’m finding that this concept doesn’t satisfy everyone. So, there is the anxiety of feeling like a total loser/fuck up for having to ask for help, on top of having to share my personal business with someone, plus trying to figure out the best way to display gratefulness. I have anxiety just thinking about it! I typically just opt to isolate myself and try to avoid the hassle of involving anyone else in my problems altogether.
I am working on it, along with working on self-compassion affirmations to remind myself that I am not fuck up for making mistakes and to not let anyone treat me as if I am. This practice is definitely easier said than done because in this world where everyone is so FUCKING perfect, most jump at the opportunity to judge someone facing a hard time—especially if you are a person who is (by society’s standards) supposed to have your shit together. Single black mothers are the most marginalized women in the world yet expected to be amongst the strongest. We are to sacrifice for our children, grind, hustle, lose sleep, earn degrees and smash our career goals to pave a better way and provide better for our children. I want to do that; however, I crave the outlet of creativity. Stage performance looks like self-indulgence and ego and selfishness, so I am not that mom. I know I am not that mom and I feel the shame of not being that kind of mom every day. Being different does not mean that I am a fuck up.
You have more control over your life than you think…
I say this to people all the time as much as I struggle to believe it myself. The worst thing about depression, for me, is feeling as if life is an unpredictable crashing wave that will drown me every time I think I’ve finally learned to swim. I become fatigued of feeling overwhelmed and powerless so I am constantly trying to find ways bounce back and stay afloat. This year has been especially difficult because I think my super black woman survival mode powers are temporarily broken. When it comes to fight or flight, I used to ALWAYS be the bitch to put up a fight but this time I allowed myself to run away. I was too weak to deal with the shame of being on unemployment yet AGAIN, on food stamps yet AGAIN, of harassing temp agencies for work yet AGAIN—so I made the very stupid decision to wallow in my own depression and hope for the best. I allotted myself time mourn and process the shame of my situation which ended up being the best decision for me, although on paper it looks like the worst possible thing I could have done.
When it became time to clean up my mess I did so without desperation and anxiety guiding my actions. I took time out to face the reality of my situation and to mentally prepare myself for the worst-case scenario which was: losing my apartment and vehicle and having to completely start over again. Once I was able wrap my head around those scenarios, I felt more powerful than ever because I knew that it would be difficult to rebuild again but also that it would not break me. I had given myself some time and some self-compassion both of which led me to feel as if I could mentally handle whatever life would throw my way.
It’s still ok to hope and dream…
I am working full-time again at a mental health based nonprofit organization. I am making about $12,000 less than what I used to make, which is a large hit to the lifestyle I had hoped to create for myself and my girls, however I am working to make sure this doesn’t deter my goals. I still want to be independent; I still want to rent a house and clean up my credit and all the other goals that seemed a lot more achievable when I was making more money. I can sometimes get caught up in the despair of a situation and say things to myself like, “Well, get used to living in a cramped apartment with your children because there is no way in hell you can afford anything more than this.”
I refuse to limit my dreams like that anymore. At this moment I am in rebuilding mode so I have no idea how I am going to accomplish those goals, but it would be silly of me to completely erase them as viable options. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I can remain determined and I can hold on to hope.
It’s ok to be the only one who cares…
I hate that I am the only one who cares about me sometimes. It feels lonely for the most part, but life doesn’t guarantee that others will care about your issues or about you to the extent that you want them to. I think in all of my romantic pursuits this has been my driving force; to find a partner that truly cares about my wellbeing and to have a partner to help problem-solve life with. Now I think I just accept the fact that it’s up to me to give a shit about ME. Sometimes others don’t have the capacity to care—which is legit, therefore it’s up to me to continuously rise out of the ashes to champion for myself. As I said, it’s an isolating feeling but it is definitely a better feeling than simply allowing myself to drown. If there is no lifeboat you just have to find the strength to save yourself by swimming to shore. This time around it was so so hard and honestly, I relied more on prayer and fate than anything. I barely had it in me to fight. I only knew that as long as I cared enough and had hope in my future and my children that somehow things would be ok.
Enjoy the sun…
On top of everything that has happened this year I have been struggling with releasing an emotionally oppressive past relationship, sexual assault, being separated from my kids (until I can financially rebuild) and other issues that I keep locked in my privacy vault that I am not comfortable sharing. There is a part of me that worries that happiness will never find me or that I will never be able to properly experience joy, but then I remind myself that feeling pain and sorrow so deeply means that I am also capable of experiencing deep joy.
I refuse to allow a dark cloud to hover over any joyous or peaceful moments in my life. I refuse to believe that there is always another shoe to drop, tough lesson to be learned or fight to be had. Sometimes in life, we simply reap what we sow and have to deal with the consequences of our own bad decisions. It is important for me to remember that bad decisions do not make me a bad person. I also do my best to sow goodness and kindness into this world—so when it’s time for me to reap those things I should allow myself to feast on the harvest.
In 2019 I finally acknowledge that I have been showing up a little girl in many aspects of my life. Six years ago when I started this journey—this blog and the Whiskey Girl brand—I didn’t know where it would lead me and only a few years ago I realized that this was my path to healing. Healing would be lovely if it were a one and done kind of thing but I can attest to the fact that there are levels to this shit! I have been so resistant to pain, rejection, heartache and abandonment that I allowed that little girl inside of me to take over and wreak havoc in my life. In 2019 I realize that it is time to let her go. It is time to clean up and handle my life as a woman. What I didn’t realize about healing my inner little girl is that I would go through a mourning process letting her go. I feel guilty for letting her down, for not showing up woman for her— and I feel sorrow that she didn’t get to experience the happiness I wanted for her. However, I can’t let her rule me any more and the best thing that I can do for her, to honor her and my children and my future is to finally overcome my patterns of darkness and make the conscious effort to enjoy the sun…
A sign of growth is usually categorized as a 180°, meaning you have completely changed, done an about face and are no longer engaging in the same actions you were before. From the outside looking in, this year seems to have been a 360° for me. I travelled on a path in the past six years that has led me right back to where I was: rebuilding after major mental health and employment setbacks. I am even back working at the very same job I had two years ago when I just knew that I was on this upward trajectory of success and more money. I returned to my old job a little different than I was before; I am rebuilding a little differently than I have before. I am more grounded in my identity; I am less afraid of the unpredictable happenings of life. I am less controlling, I am wiser, I am freer. It has taken me years to get back to this place and when I made the decision to accept the offer to return to a career I had left years ago I did it because I realize it doesn’t matter how others view my progress. To others my life may look like a giant step in the wrong direction, but in my heart I know that I have returned to a place that is more suited for me except I am wiser this time around and determined not to take anything for granted this time. I will take a 360° over a broken circle any day.
I am complete.
I am watching the 259 thousandth episode of My Little Pony with the kids and have come to the realization that those little ponies are always so super happy because they rarely ever have to interact with dudes. Seriously, male ponies are prominently featured maybe every 5 episodes and appear– with no speaking parts– every other episode or so. That’s the life!
I want to live amongst women a la My Little Pony style or that awesome island where all the tall, hot chicks lived in Wonder Woman. Navigating the sometimes catty and overly communicative ways of women sounds most appealing right now because at the end of the day, at least I know they will respect me and the shit I have to go through every day just to make my life work [including some sort of enjoyment, which I’m beginning to believe men don’t want me to have]. I can barely even command an ounce of respect from the men whose children have permanently stretched my vagina and rendered my bladder completely useless for the rest of my life. Respect in exchange for a pussy the size of a tunnel and the responsibility of raising little souls to not be terrible members of society is not too much to ask, in my opinion [at the risk of sounding controversial -_-]
Dudes with baby mothers: most of us don’t want you anymore. We want you to do right by us not because we used to bump uglies and be in love, but because we are whole ass people whose emotions and wellbeing should be taken into consideration as WE ARE DIRECTLY IN CHARGE OF NOT FUCKING UP YOUR CHILD!
Below I have provided a few tips for how to show respect to the mother of your child:
Tip #1: Don’t be a lying, inconsistent asshole.
…well, that’ll do it for tips! Please note that this post is for shitty dads. How can you tell if you’re a shitty dad?
- You’re a shitty person [Guess what? It trickles into fatherhood, too. You have an entire lifetime to work on not being a piece of shit]
- You feel like a shitty dad and you try to cover it up by setting the bar extremely low and STILL manage to not meet expectations.
- When you look in the mirror you see a giant turd.
I hope this post has been helpful! For more from me, visit whiskeyandpoetry.com!
You look tired,” they say. Or, they are the first person to fix any hair out of place or tag sticking out of a clothing item. When you establish a boundary, they are quick to violate it then flip the script on you for being moody and unreasonable. They are a gas lighting, soul draining, vibe killing group of people and I don’t understand why their reputations are so protected and defended. To most people, these types are well-meaning and any feeling of disrespect on your end is a YOU problem. Me? Well, I just miss the days when I felt as if I were meeting and cultivating true friendships– not doling out the allotted attention that everyone seems to desperately feed on these days.
Respect the Introvert
Don’t get me wrong, I am a performer so I understand the whole “look at me, I need attention” factor. However, in friendships people are supposed to understand you a little bit more. Friends are people who actively choose to be in your life so they are responsible for maintaining a deeper level of respect. Because you care about your friends you don’t take your afraid of heights bff on a roller coaster or to climb the statue of liberty– just as you don’t try to seek unnecessary attention out of friends who are not interested in being your audience members.
Por ejemplo: I tell my work friends that I am not a morning person and I like my space. I am happy to do work and to answer work questions but I do not want anyone crowding into my cubicle asking about my weekend, attempting to pressure me into going to get coffee or chastising me for not eating the donuts that Harold brought in for everyone to share. When my five-year-old has a meltdown that derails my morning routine and I have to listen to the car radio on high volume–in hours of traffic–to drown out the sound of my squeaky brakes, I don’t want to TALK about it! I just want the time to switch gears from mom/road rage driver to co-worker/executive assistant. That’s right, I am an assistant so it is literally my job to pretend to care and fix problems all day. I am fine doing just that without feeling obligated to provide work banter/entertainment and dramatic reactions to the same work gossip we talk about all the time. I don’t want to do it anymore!
I have to find the energy to be the kind of person that engages on that level. Yes, it comes from weed (ha!) but mainly it comes from just being alone and staring at the wall or picking my nose or whatever. After separating from my husband (nearly ten years ago) all of the silence and alone time without him taught me that I don’t get bored easily and I enjoy my own company. If I am sitting alone or busy working on a project it makes me cringe when someone who knows me as a personal friend walks by and says “Aww, are you ok? I know you have a lot of work.” insert fake sympathetic face here. Before I really knew myself this kind of comment triggered my insecurities and I would find myself working extra hard to appear carefree and social—because these people are harmless and they only care about my wellbeing, right?
Generally Good People
…wrong! I had this conversation with my best friend not too long ago and we definitely had a difference of opinion on the topic. At the risk of sounding like a surly individual, I am of the belief that people are not “generally good’. Aside from it being biblical, I have seen it in action which is why we have phrases like “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Many of us would like to think that we are “good people” but most of us are selfish assholes. For me, the beauty of it all is that despite every single one of us being totally fucked up (consciously or unconsciously) we still want to be around each other. Human beings continually make the effort to see past another person’s ugly to get to all the beautiful stuff we like.
The ugly side of vibe killers is that they are selfish people—they want what they want when they want it and they don’t care how it affects the larger group. Sometimes it can be for the attention, controlling the topic of conversation, throwing shade at someone to make themselves feel better or doing the most out of a basic need/desire to be liked. The thing is, not everyone has to like you! (Personally, I think that realization is the key to self-actualization). If you are a high frequency/high maintenance person wanting to dwell in low frequency/low maintenance spaces the solution is simple: lower your frequency, homie. Simplify!
[I feel it’s important to admit here, that introversion has an ugly side and can also be rooted in selfishness. You can’t always expect others to adapt to your need to be left alone. If you made the decision to be out and about at the kind of event that calls for social interaction, the least you can do is not be an incorrigible asshole. Most are willing to make a comfortable space for quiet people and accommodations for shyness, but no one wants to tolerate meanness chalked up to “oh, he/she is just introverted”. That’s a copout!]
Who’s the Real Asshole?
Everyone! Ok, I am only kidding but in my opinion, the best way not to be an asshole is to realize that not everyone operates on the same frequency. I may sound like some kind of hippie astronomer but it’s simply a term I use to point out the fact that we all operate on different energy levels. Some have energy levels that function at a 10 (off the charts/life of the party/in your face) all of the time, while others function at about a 2 (why are people talking to me?/I could go for a nap/I would much rather be Netflixin’ and chillin, right now). If you are like me you can keep your level at about a 4 and pick it up to a 10 on special occasions or if the social setting calls for it. As a performer, I am ok boosting things up on stage then immediately dropping down to a 1 upon leaving the stage. As it turns out, this can make you seem like a murderer so I had to teach myself to keep my energy at an 8 until I am able to leave the event altogether. Whiskey the stage poet is probably a 15—she is ridiculous—while Naomi, (especially as I get older) is more like a 3 or 4.
As I have gone through the trial and error of trying to surround myself with good vibes I realized the simplicity of discovering your own frequency and choosing people that operate on those same levels. I am at my happiest engaged in witty back and forth banter, some kind of controlled or natural substance on deck and I am generally ok with long comfortable silences. I have since tried to gravitate toward other humans who enjoy the same things. This all sounds like a no-brainer but every day each of us meets people that we connect with and want to continue to build upon that connection. However, if you’re like me you get four hangouts in and realize that the person is a moody and unpredictable arsonist that kicks puppies in their spare time and has a raging cocaine habit.
I am a person with no discernment whatsoever, so I’ve had to teach myself to recognize the kind of person least likely to drain my energy. I pay attention to how people rate on my totally made up frequency chart, how people react to drama and gossip (which everybody likes to some extent, I get that) and how they regard me when I am not being my over-the-top stage persona.
The Power of Suggestion
I will add this last thought: the power of suggestion is real. As a creative that has to rely on networking and mixing with so many diverse personality types, it is not always practical for me to pick and choose people with similar vibes to hang out with exclusively. I often find myself thrown into social situations with people I would not normally choose to spend time with. I have had to learn to always speak affirmations in my head to constantly counteract negative speech and energy. There are plenty of well-meaning people on this Earth, but some just aren’t and are more likely to use their words to cast self-doubt inside of you and to feed on your insecurities.
“Wow, you look tired. Are you having a bad day?” they say–knowing that I have been experiencing a rough time and am actively working to overcome it.
“No, I actually feel GREAT!” I respond. Because I do– or at least I can if I meditate on that positivity. I struggle with mental health issues, so during my lowest points that kind of suggestive speech has had the power to damage me in the past. It’s the difference between being around those who want you to succeed and genuinely like you, versus those who benefit and/or are comfortable seeing you down. Negative speech isn’t always a result of malicious intent, it seems to all relate back to selfishness. When I am low, I am more likely to engage in gossip and to be sarcastic and cynical–sometimes that version of me is just more fun to certain types of people. I know of some who try to bring that out of me just for shits and giggles. However, when that person leaves it’s not fun for me to have to sit in that negativity. Lately, I have done my best to seek out mentally strong people who don’t let me dwell in those dark spaces.
Just the other day I was supposed to attend an event with a friend. I was flaking out on him because I’d had a rough day I called out of work and cried on my couch all day. I was on a downward spiral so intense that I didn’t even know how I was going to participate in my own open mic event that I had invested money and promotion into for months. I told him straight up that it was going to take me awhile to get into the head space to be social and make it out to events. His response was, “Take your time…but get there.”
I thought about that for a long time. Apparently, there are people that not only speak positivity into your life but also do not make time or room to enable your bullshit. There was no doubt in him that I could get there and his response let me know that there was empathy but also a desire to see me rise to the occasion. Surrounding myself with people who are of this mindset reinforces my self-esteem. High self-esteem makes me better equipped to protect my vibes when I am thrown into an environment of people who feed on negativity.
Lowkey, I feel as if this whole post is pretty stupid because most people know this stuff already! For me, this has been a journey and I have only recently been able to enjoy a lifestyle of positive self-worth because I realized that the kind of people you allow to take up space in your personal life can disrupt your inner peace. The more I take care of my introvert, form bonds with mentally strong people and reject negative speech, the stronger it makes me. Eventually, I hope to project good vibes wherever I go. If it comes from within me then I will never have to truly worry about someone “killing my vibe” because I will always be good with me.
In the meantime, I invite anyone reading this to remember to be purposeful in everything that you do. All of us should be mindful of the things we say to each other, the impressions we make and the reality that not everyone will like and appreciate all that you are. It is ok to let that shit go. While it is difficult to cultivate a peaceful vibe that fits all personality types, I definitely think there is a way to bring your own secure and positive vibes to the table and those that choose to eat, will.
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I am finding that the older I get the more time I spend just looking at people with a blank face and no response– or just smiling and nodding. I have become increasingly picky about how I choose to use my time and energy. For example, if you are an ill-mannered co-worker assigned to work with me on a temporary project and it’s highly likely that I will never have to work with you again I’m not going to waste precious energy in an effort to confront your bad manners or to try to resolve how to work with each other. I’m going to keep silent, complete the job and throw up deuces when our time together is over.
I actually had a similar situation like this play out on a recent business trip except I didn’t quite leave things at a peaceful goodbye. I left with an attitude and was rude and abrupt–and I immediately felt awful about it. Unfortunately, it also seems the older I get the less of a kick I get out of telling people off and fighting ridiculous battles of will with people who hardly know me. I struggle less with guilt by making the decision to mind my tongue and keep it moving.
The Problem with Putting People in Their Place
… is that every once in a while you have to renew it. If you hang around people it is only a matter of time before a faux pas is made and boundaries are crossed. Whoops!
If I find myself dealing with repeat behavior too often, it becomes clear to me that there is no more bud left to be nipped. This person obviously can’t cease and desist on their behaviors so instead of yet another “come to Jesus” talk about boundaries it’s easier to just say nothing and disassociate. The anonymity of technology allows people to be so bold these days, as well as vocal about who is being cut off and why, etc. Listen, I have no interest in a long text/communication with you if it’s going to do nothing to edify you or our situation. If you’re bossy, controlling and hard -headed by nature then I’m not going to bother talking to your bossy controlling hard headed ass because you’re stubborn and not likely to change anyway. I’m simply going to fall back and STFU.
Loudmouth people will somehow try to convince you that practicing STFU is a bad thing. They think it’s somehow passive and weak—however speaking as a former loudmouth (and still transitioning out of this) it actually feels more refreshing and validating to reject potential battles and continue on with life in peace. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone and I save a lot of time by not feeling obligated to do so. Also, when you’re a loudmouth people try to use you as their mouthpiece for when they don’t have the courage to speak up for themselves. I care about my children, my relationship, family, homelessness, poverty, injustice and racism—I am happy to speak up about those issues but I won’t be the mouthpiece for an issue that only marginally grinds my gears. This is life, it’s nearly impossible to be comfortable and happy with everything so you learn to adapt and adjust. I think that is a main idea that a lot of people haven’t seemed to grasp yet. We are a world filled with billions of people all trying to adjust everyone around us to accommodate our needs. Sometimes you don’t get what you want—especially out of other flawed individuals—so MOVE THE FUCK ON! Everyone doesn’t deserve an explanation.
When I made the decision to leave my first husband it wasn’t an easy decision but it was a definite one. I had laid down the law of expectations and those expectations were not being met. While I was in it I was fighting, I was accepting, forgiving, tolerating and trying to make it work but once it was done…well, it was done. I didn’t feel the need to explain why I was leaving; I made the cause and effect clear. If certain behavior continues, I will leave. The behavior continued and I left with no further need for discussion. Talking is EXHAUSTING and sometimes the most difficult way to interpret a situation. I learn so much more about people by ignoring their words, shutting up and observing actions instead. There is power in the closed mouth and I only wish I had known this about 10 years ago! I’ve wasted so much time telling people off, explaining to them who I am and “what they’re NOT gonna do”; when I could have just not said anything and let the chips fall where they may.
It’s Ok Not to Care
I sat home one day, mouth agape as I watched Ellen DeGeneres burst into tears on my television screen. (Anyone who really knows me knows that I love Ellen, she’s awesome, corny and you can’t tell me she’s not an angel sent from heaven to teach us to be kind and dance and be goofy to one another). As it turns out, she was bawling over the plight of some homeless dogs or something. I don’t really remember, to me it was kind of stupid and I don’t care that much about animals. I see those sappy Sarah McLachlan commercials and I feel nothing, and when these issues pop up on my social media feeds I don’t comment or like because I don’t care.
Especially when it comes to Facebook, my timeline reads like CNN on steroids—reporting stories of missing children, weather alerts, social injustices, videotaped violence, prisoners on the run etc etc. Seriously, I can’t possibly keep up and I’m not sure I would know how to without my brain exploding. I observe everything that’s posted but I don’t dare comment on everything because that’s how you end up looking like an ignorant fool. Yes, I’m talking to you accidentally racist people.
Listen, DO NOT hashtag #AllLivesMatter on any social media—of course ALL lives matter but it’s not ALL people getting their asses beat by the police for trivial and/or alleged crimes every day. For every movement there does not have to be a counter movement—shutting the fuck up is ALWAYS an option. You have the space to talk about whatever you please on your social media but nowadays people not only lack empathy and sensitivity but they get into the habit of spouting their opinions as if they are fact. If you do not feel moved by any particular hot topic or subject matter it is completely acceptable and respectable to stay quiet about it in general. A few weeks ago, the biggest controversy was that the world was paying attention to Caitlyn Jenner as a distraction from the real news issues at hand. Well, not really… if you personally care more about race issues, politics or your grandmother’s 90th birthday it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your lane on those things. You don’t HAVE to talk about or acknowledge Caitlyn (or any Kardashian thereof) at all! One of my main gripes with social media is the social pressure to speak up and speak out but a lot of the same people sounding off are also deleting commentary they dislike or disagree with. That’s not really how this works…
Bottom line: not every battle is yours to fight. People seem so combative these days, wielding their personal opinions like swords and are so quick to stab you with their advice or good intentions. In some situations, people end up having more respect for you if you don’t say anything at all. This strategy may not apply in every single situation, but I do think it would be good for folks to remember shutting your piehole is always an option and perfecting the art of when to be silent and when to speak is probably one of the most valuable weapons any of us could ever carry in our arsenals.*
*Of course this whole blog is made up of my opinion on the subject matter and one could argue that by writing this I am not practicing the art of STFU…