Friday, October 21, 2016

Now I Can't Stop

speaking my mind. I can't stop telling men who speak to me in a condescending manner to shut the fuck up. I do not need a salesman or a contractor to dumb anything down for me, or keep telling me I just don't understand how the world of ____ works, and I should just sign here and trust them to take care of everything. 

No. Use the big words, don't ask leading questions, answer my actual questions, or SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GET OUT OF MY HOUSE. 

What is it? My age? The onset of menopause? Stress? The political ugliness? 

Maybe all of the above. I just have no patience for schpeels (sp?) and bullshit and bad business. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Coming Out: It Happened to ME


So yeah. I was listening to this tape that was released on Friday and it occurred to me that twice, when I was singing with a couple of different bands in my younger years, I was grabbed like that and forcibly kissed, even told that I might get more songs added to the sets if I could make sure the lead singer's inexperienced nephew got a little experience. Over hours of listening to the Trump tape over and over, it dawned on me that I had had this happen to me. repeatedly, and that I'd dismissed it as "just what guys do." Shamed myself for putting myself in that place. Dressed a certain way. Whatever.

Since that, dozens of memories have flooded my mind. And in all cases, I didn't mention it, and I still dealt with that man on a regular basis. I might have been uncomfortable and managed not to be alone with him, but I wasn't really afraid except about losing whatever position I had. He, and I, were both from the culture that "that's what guys do." Note: These were all married men. I was between 16 and 25. 

Jump forward 18 years. I have a daughter who is visited in our home by a boy she'd known from school. When he left she walked him out onto the porch and he grabbed her bottom. I was angry but didn't confront him, and didn't encourage her to. The next time he visited my husband hovered over him until he left. But STILL.... it's "what guys do." I thought it, and I let her think it. And for sure that boy had thought so.

Well FUCK THAT. If it's what guys think guys do, and it's what girls think guys do, it's time for somebody to say NO. YOU MAY NOT. I pick us girls. And the only way to do it is to say out loud A GUY THOUGHT HE COULD HAVE HIS WAY WITH ME BECAUSE HE HAD SOMETHING I WANTED, AND IT IS NOT OKAY.

Because I don't want my daughters or granddaughters to think it's just a "part of being a girl" to be.... well, man-handled. If some guy puts a move like that on my granddaughter I want her to punch him in the face, not feel unsure if she caused it, or brought it on herself, or maybe it was okay and nobody would care if she tells. In fact, I might make a dummy and TEACH her to punch him in the face. I'm that kinda Nana.

So, Mr. Trump et al., 

They are NOT just words. They were words narrating what YOU DO AND HAVE DONE, and it's NOT OKAY. 

#notokay

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Coming Out: Overexposed

Yesterday I "came out" on Facebook and said that I have decided to vote for Hillary Clinton. My reasons are there and anyone can look at it who is that interested. I got a lot of positive and negative feedback, and only a couple of actual flames. It was, in my mind, a successful post because almost everyone behaved civilly, uncommon for (a) a huge chunk the people I know, and (b) Facebook in general. But today I feel like I do when I get drunk and wonder how much of a fool I made of myself to everyone. This is one of my real problems: Social anxiety. It has plagued me since I was a very, very young girl. Like, morning-after regrets after slumber parties of all things, or church camp or even just recess.... I beat myself up, rehash every moment that could construe me in a bad light and just make all the lights point at me in just that way. I see the pattern of it now when I look back, but also in the present time. I have not been able to escape it, so I live with it.

I stay out of the spotlight mostly, but I also do seek out safe ways to step outside my safe little world and be myself with other people, even though I know I might feel loads of shame afterward. I joined the Order of the Eastern Star and put myself in the group that's responsible for meal preparation and serving. Yesterday I agreed to teach classes at Joann's on my mom's side of town. I went to the first night of my class reunion, if not the bigger get-together the following day. I still felt the pangs after just the first night and was glad I chose not to commit to the next night. I can push my boundaries and respect my own limitations at the same time.

That's what all these "coming out" posts are about. They're about being real, dropping the mask of having it all together. They're about participating in the world even though I feel SO .... overexposed, potentially judged. And saying to myself that that's okay and proving to myself that I can live with it. Things big and little....the things that make me ME. I read something the other day about how we develop habits to keep other people far enough from us that we are not vulnerable. And it's true! I have a quick response to most things that would offer me connection to another person. So I am examining myself in one specific area to identify and sort of reprogram myself to listen longer, not planning a response in my head when the other other person is talking, giving their words time to soak in, and really considering the occasion or event that's being suggested so that I may connect even if it makes me vulnerable yet again. That way I can have some real-ness in more of my relationships, and even come into contact with opportunities that I wouldn't if I just shut the other person down with some cool but dismissive response. Oh, hell, real life is such hard work!!!!!

The reason I do these things is to continue to be an example. Primarily to my kids, and my grandkids. I look at them and hope that they see me flawed yet pressing on determinedly, and are encouraged that they can do the same. I've presented myself as being a badass pretty much my whole life, while inside feeling very much like a wounded bird. I've done SO many more things I'm proud of than not, though I feel SO much more shame than confidence. To quote my son, I am "deeply conflicted."

All of this to say, I feel bad today because I was courageous yesterday. It's just part of the cycle. Like that prophet that slew all the prophets of Baal and then the next day went and sat under a tree and begged God to just let him die. It's the human condition and I am SOOOOO frailly human. It's okay to feel like shit as long as I know that I am NOT shit. And it's okay if you do, too.