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Sunday, May 1, 2016

60/100

There was a period in my life where I attracted older men. Because I would always say yes, be polite, and not be unkind, I befriended men old enough to be my dad's age. I figured I was kind to almost everyone, and was happy to be friends with folks of all ages, races, etc. In hindsight my naivety got in into trouble. I'm lucky it wasn't worse.

There was the time that a coworker was laid off and I sent him and email asking if there was anything I could do to help him out. He responded by coming on to me. His daughter is my age.

Or the time that a particular "gentleman" took a liking to me, and me being the oblivious person I am, felt weird about things but couldn't quite put my finger on it. When I was off work because of my illness, he insisted on taking me out to lunch once a week. I didn't have an issue with that until he brought me flowers and we were standing in my apartment and he was between me and the door and I had the thought, "I don't have a clear escape path right now." (Because that's totally normal. Ladies always listen to your Intuition.) The next week he picked me up, I made sure to meet him in the parking lot. The week after that he showed up early, catching me by surprise and coming into my apartment again. I felt creeped out and sick to my stomach. I think he sensed I was feeling uneasy because the week after that he invited me to have lunch with him AND HIS WIFE at their house. I was relieved. I drove out to his house and, surprise surprise, his wife wasn't there. And he wanted to drink and get in the hot tub together. I rebuffed everything and left. He sent me a scathing email a few hours later telling me how selfish and self-centered I was.

That word.

Selfish.

I've written about it before - here and here. We are socialized to not be "selfish." Selfish is bad. Selfish is unwanted. "Don't be selfish!" We're told as young children as a way to get us to behave and interact with others.

So when he threw that word at me, I felt sheepish (given how as a woman in America I've been socialized to be a doormat). I saw my therapist a couple days later and she helped me put the whole thing into perspective. I left her office blazing mad. HOW DARE HE! HE was the one who offered to take me to lunch each week, I hadn't even asked him to. I was less than six weeks out of a coma, barely able to walk, sleeping for 16+ hours a day, but *I* was the one who was being selfish? Because I didn't want to stay and fuck a married man old enough to be my dad in his hot tub? It literally disgusts me now to think of it and type that sentence.

Personally, I feel like the word "selfish" has been maligned. I don't like the definition:

self·ish - adjective
(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.

You're damn right I'm chiefly concerned with my own pleasure. You're damn right I think of myself first. You're damn right it's not my job to make you happy. You're damn right my ONLY job is to make myself happy.

Think of it like this: everyone has a bucket. Over time, but especially as a child, your bucket is filled as you figure out who you are and what you like and come to understand yourself as a being. When your bucket is full, you have learned that it's OK to ask for what you need and you take care of yourself before others, and since your bucket is full it's no problem to be generous and share your overflowing bucket with others.

Some of us never had our buckets filled and are still filling them as adults. It means it's taking a little longer than others, and that means the bandwidth we could give to others is still going to filling out own bucket. There's nothing wrong with this. It doesn't mean we're selfish or bad people or don't care, it just means we need to focus on our own buckets more than perhaps other people do.

Here is a list of ways I am NOT being selfish:

If...
I won't fuck you
I won't hang out with you
I cut you out of my life, regardless of our past history
I do what I want to do
I say what I want to say
I won't help you
I take care of myself
I say no
I don't want to befriend you
I set a boundary
I stick to a boundary
I don't return your message right away
I block you on my phone or online
I put myself first

Today my personal policy is that anyone who calls me selfish receives an automatic one-way ticket out of my life.


So, with all this talk about generosity and how much you should give to others, make sure you aren't setting yourself on fire to keep other people warm. I'm still filling my bucket. I'm gonna put me first.

And some good quotes I've seen online to wrap things up:
You are allowed to terminate toxic relationships. You are allowed to walk away from people who hurt you. You are allowed to be angry and selfish and unforgiving. You don't owe anyone an explanation for taking care of yourself. And don't ever feel badly for making a decision that upsets people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You are only responsible for your happiness.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

59/100

Have you seen the video of the dad talking to his daughter in the backseat and she keeps telling her dad she's going to have a boyfriend and he tells her she's going to be a nun?

I have to admit, I laughed. She's precocious and the banter between them is pretty funny.

Over the years I've heard at least a dozen dads say the same thing about their daughters - she's going to be a nun. Of course it's tongue-in-cheek and meant to be a joke...sort of. The suggestion always makes me bristle because this sort of thing is never said about boys. It's always the girls that "are a handful." And "oh boy, you better watch out for her when she's a teenager!" I'm even guilty of saying that last one.

Having been a female teenager I can report from the front lines that, yes, it is as bad as you can imagine. Worse, maybe. There is nothing you could offer me that would get me to go back and re-do those years of my life. However, I'd argue that boys have a similar experience, their's just isn't as obvious and is perhaps more internal as boys are taught to shut down emotionally.

Anyway, point being it's sexist.

I catch even myself being sexist sometimes. I know! It's crazy because I'm a woman but it just goes to show how ingrained sexism can be in our culture. (See also: this advice column topic). I was being tailgated by someone on the way home and my usual M.O. is to slow down so they pass me or to change lanes and let them go by. For some reason the person behind me pissed me off and tried to go around me in a merge lane that was ending. So my reaction was to drift over in that direction into the other car's lane, in an intimidating sort of way so they wouldn't pass. That's when it dawned on me that it was a blonde woman driving, and I would probably NEVER have done that if it was a man. Why? Well for one, because I'm afraid of men's anger and have seen some scary road rage incidents between them over the years. Second, I guess I just wouldn't push it with a man. (Read that again, wow.) So as soon as I could, I changed lanes and let her roar by me. I felt badly about what I did, as it wasn't necessary.

Ovaries before brovaries.

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I was in a meeting at work today with someone I used to work for. I almost left my company because of him. Back then it was when I told a current coworker I couldn't work for that guy anymore and I was going to go elsewhere that my current team hired me because that dude's loss was totally their gain. And I can honestly say I've never been happier at work in my life than I am today. I also know that my brothers have my back.

This guy always makes shitty passive aggressive comments towards me and about me, in front of other people, even. I usually brush them off and don't even acknowledge them. Today he bitched that I didn't send out the document we were reviewing and I told him that we'd just gotten it this morning and he wouldn't have had time to review it before the meeting anyway. He also implies that I can't do anything right, I'm dumb, blah blah blah. I printed documents with a markup and he wanted the clean version. Had I printed the clean, he would have wanted the redline. Had I printed both, he would have bitched about wasting paper. There is no respect with him and he's impossible to work for. I seethe when we have to share air in a meeting room, and thank goodness it doesn't happen often. Anyway, in today's meeting my male coworker and a ranking officer (so to speak) both left the room at the same time and this guy just lit into me as soon as they did, implying that I wasn't including his edits that he sent months ago and I clenched my jaw (because I have no poker face) and kept saying as politely as possible, "The edits you sent me were included." "I put your edits in when you sent them." "I don't understand what the problem is, your edits are in the document." My coworker walked back in the room at that point and HE spoke up and asked what the problem was and the guy put his tail between his legs and backed off. And another guy in the room reiterated what I said in a different way and ONLY then he understood.

You can't be a pioneer in your own land.

I so rarely experience outright sexism at work with people employed by my company that when it does happen, I get really, really angry.

When my coworker and I got back to our office he told me that when he walked back into the room and heard what was going on, an anger exploded in him and it wasn't OK for that guy to talk to me like that. It was shitty and unnecessary and he felt protective of me, and not in a gendered kind of way. In a way where he felt like someone was being picked on unnecessarily. It felt good that someone else got as mad about it as I did, because to his credit, it didn't come across like that. It came across as commanding respect.

He asked me when I'm going to fight back and basically tell this guy to fuck off.

Herein lies the problem. This guy can act like a total asshole to me forever and ever, in front of other people to witness, and everyone knows what's up - people aren't stupid. We often joke about it because it's so obvious and stupid. And I'm playing the game of Survivor - outwit, outplay, outlast. But the moment I speak up and tell him that he's being disrespectful or speak to him in a way that commands respect, I guarantee I will be made to be the "hysterical" one. He'll gaslight me and turn it into me being unprofessional and rude.

And I swear to god I am looking forward to that day.

All this to say raise your sons and daughters the same - you never know when your daughter will have to tell an asshole to fuck off and when she does, she'll need the trust in herself and her voice to do so.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

58/100

Today I woke up late, I mean really late. I was up quite a bit of the night checking my computer because I'm on call and I didn't trust things. I woke up late and didn't really get going until after 2pm sometime.

Friday night when I went to take my PM meds, I realized my AM meds were still in my pill box. I only miss my meds maybe once every year or two. I felt like I'd been dragging ass all day, and it made sense as to why. I take vitamins B and D for energy (my impaired kidneys don't synthesize them properly), an antidepressant (which is a stimulant), and a blood pressure med. 

This morning I got up late and took my meds like normal, but I don't know what happened but I had SO MUCH ENERGY today! (Perhaps it was the fact I took all my meds...LOL). I got so much accomplished. I went to Home Depot, painted my fruit trees with white paint and started sheet mulching around them, pinned down weed blocker, weed whacked my backyard, completely organized and cleaned my garage (that feels SO MUCH BETTER NOW), shrink wrapped soaps, scrubbed my bathroom, and did laundry and dishes. Like whoa.

Anyway, I am really grateful my garage is clean. When my neighbor who sold me my mower came over to take a look at it because it wasn't working (we discovered a drive belt was shredded), I was embarrassed for the state of my house and garage. He kept stepping on things and almost tripped. When he came in to wash the grease off his hands, there were dishes in the sink. Not that I am the world's greatest housekeeper, but my house wasn't comfortably clean for me for the past few weeks. The situation with my family took every last bit of bandwidth I've had lately. My mom moved to a residential facility on Wednesday, I made two presentations at board meetings at work on Thursday, and finally felt like I could take a breath and felt like I got my life back starting Friday. No wonder I forgot my meds...

I'm just glad to have the motivation today to start knocking things off my to-do this; today was the best I've felt in AGES. 

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When I was at Home Depot I had to buy a crescent wrench. I didn't own one. I've slowly been adding to my tool collection over the years - one tool at a time as I need it. I currently have a tool bag that I think came with a drill I purchased at some point, but it's unwieldy and not really functional as tool storage. I've been wanting a toolbox for a long time but always assumed that sooner or later I'd meet someone and we'd eventually move in together making my need for a toolbox unnecessary.

Malarkey.

Today I ran my hands over the top of a mobile workbench/toolbox at Home Depot. Pulled the drawers out of all of the floor models. Kicked the tires, so to speak. 

Truth is, I've always wanted my own toolbox. Because I get paid every other Thursday, there are a couple months each year where I get three paychecks instead of two - June is one of those months. Now that I own my own home (by myself), there are many projects I'd love to do but don't have the tools required (ie. finish nailer, circular saw, etc.). My Home Depot wishlist is populated with tools I've added over the past year for my "someday" projects (I should add some of which I have owned in the past but left behind when I got divorced). Touching the toolboxes today was a reminder that I alone am responsible for what I want; I can't wait around for someone to show up and do stuff for me. Today is all there is, and the work is all there is. Get busy living, or get busy dying, right?