- Was I annoying last night?
- No, seriously, was I?
- Can you tell I already wore this article of clothing twice this week?
- Do I really need collision coverage on my car insurance? (Um. Yes.)
- Should I add guacamole to my order?
- At what point am I too old to reread Harry Potter?
- How many minutes should I wait to text back?
- Am I insane for listening to that one song on repeat for an entire work day because I was sad and it had the right vibe?
- Should I really eat that?
- Are other people judging me for being perpetually single?
- Is there too much garlic in this? (Um. No.)
- Am I really allowed to vote now?
- What did he/she/they really mean by XYZ?
- How many calories are in a glass (bottle) of wine? (Um. None.)
- Why am I having an emotional reaction to this commercial?
- Am I a loser for wanting to stay home tonight?
- Is this an appropriate occasion to drink bubbly?
- How can I possibly have spent that much money on novels?
- Am I insanely overdressed? (Always, darling.)
- What percentage of my income should I really be saving each month?
- Is this a socially acceptable place to take off my shoes?
- Is my laugh too loud?
- Can I have popcorn for dinner?
True to yourself means being honest, like reeeeeeally honest, with yourself and with others. True to yourself means taking the time and space to process and integrate and determine, as objectively as possible, where you are and what you want. Then, it means manning-up and asking for what you it. It also means being vulnerable and feeling exposed. It means knowing that you will work for the things of value that you have in life and that sometimes you won’t get them even if you do hope and want and try really hard. It means you do the smart thing rather than the hedonistic thing because you know better. It means knowing your worth and demanding that you are treated accordingly. It also means that nobody is obligated to love you and that you are obligated to love yourself before anyone else should anyway.
Putting yourself “out there” blows. So does honesty and full disclosure and steeling yourself to ask for something you want. Having all your cards on the table sucks because it makes you vulnerable and there’s a massive chance that you will get hurt. Which, hey, welcome to adulthood.
And you can tell yourself things like, “their loss” and try to believe them, if that helps. You can think that someone is wrong for not wanting to be with you or not being ready for a relationship, if that helps too. But only for a little while, okay?
Because, that’s what being a Grown Up is. Asking for what you want and saying what you need and speaking your truth and realizing that nobody is obligated to love you. Standing up and being clear about what you need is hard. But when you’ve given yourself the opportunity to say everything you have to say and ask for whatever that thing is, you are being “true to yourself”. That’s what that means. True to yourself is honesty and conviction.
I often get in too deep. I do it at work and with friends and in relationships. I care a lot and I don’t half-ass anything because partial efforts aren’t worth my time. It’s a wonderful quality and also makes me the source of my own heartbreak more often than not. My highs are amazingly high and my lows are unspeakably low because I am both an extravert and intensely emotional. I had a really hard time getting out of bed and then the shower and then my car this morning because yesterday I asked for something I really wanted from someone I really care for and I don’t think that I’m going to get it. But that’s okay. I was true to myself. Or whatever. Plus I have a dog and a bottle of wine waiting for me so fuck it, right?
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of good intent. As a general rule, we enter situations and relationships with the best intentions. We want to grow or have fun or learn or bond. Rarely (I hope) do we enter into something with the aim of damaging ourselves or others. And while this is important and necessary, having good intentions does not excuse us from the outcome of our actions. Sometimes we move forward with positive focus and intent and end up hurt or hurting someone. It’s rarely on purpose but it still happens. And, intentions aside, responsibility must be taken there.
So often we hear “I never meant to hurt them” or “I would never put you at risk.” Of course you feel that way. Of course you had the best intentions. If you had bad ones, then you suck and that’s a whole other conversation. But of course you didn’t waltz in and decide to wreak havoc. You made the best decisions you could at the time and sometimes that ends up hurting in the long run. But your intentions aren’t the point. The outcome is the endgame.
We’re all afraid. And, as humans, we’re all just a huge source of emotional and intellectual liability to one another. All relationships have the potential to hurt and harm because they also have the potential to grow and nourish. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and it is important to move forward even though we’re a little scared of what someone else might do to us.
Good intentions are good. But, as always, actions speak far louder and your motives do not excuse you from the consequences of your behaviour. Continue to strive to do good and continue to take a good hard look at the outcome.
I don’t care that you didn’t mean to and, quite frankly, after a while I don’t really care that you’re sorry. You did anyway. That’s the issue.
“Good Intent” – Kimbra
Over the weekend I was at a barbeque. It was great and there was much food and drink and merriment. Later in the evening, after more than a few beverages were consumed, I sat adjacent to a conversation I could hardly believe was taking place in 2014 amongst two young women. It started like this:
Person A: “I just don’t like working with other women, you know?”
Person B: “OMG yeah! It’s just, like, too much drama. They’re so catty and crazy.”
Person A: “Totally. I would just really rather spend time with guys. There’s just so much less…”
Person B: “Drama! Right? I wouldn’t ever want a female boss again either.”
Person A: “Just a recipe for disaster. I hate working with women.”
And I’m sitting there like, are you out of your fucking mind?
“I don’t like working with other women”? So, literally half the population of the entire world would be an undesirable coworker for you? That’s 3.5 billion people that you know without a doubt are “catty” and “crazy” and “dramatic” and therefore horrible to work with? Must be their hormones acting up… She’s probably on her period… And please note that this conversation was conducted between two women. But they’re probably “not like other girls” so that’s okay.
Ranting aside, it’s this type of genderist remark and its general acceptance among all those listening that is the problem. At the risk of discussing the toolkit of subjugation utilized by our patriarchal society to maintain the status quo, just, like, don’t.
Don’t tell me that all of your experiences working with the female gender have been unfortunate.
Don’t use this to bond with other women and demonstrate to the men around you that you’re different or special by bashing half of the people on the planet.
Don’t act as though what you’re saying isn’t both a reinforcement and a product of a genderist culture. It has impact and not a good one.
Don’t pretend that what you’re saying is any different than “I don’t like eating near with Jewish people” or “I don’t like taking public transit with African Americans.”
Some people are shitty to work with – gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, whatever aside. And if you’ve created the kind of culture and environment where it’s okay to bash a colleague and write off their behaviour because they’re a chick, it probably does suck to work there. But let me assure you it doesn’t have anything to do with the number of vaginas in the office. It has to do with you
And finally, let’s just note that in each of your experiences working with or relating to any group, there is one common denominator: you. Ever considered that may be part of the problem?
NOTE: For the purposes of this post, I’m using the term “boyfriends” because it alliterates and I dig that. That said, we pride ourselves around here on being inclusive and not acting like assholes so please feel free to substitute the term “boyfriend” with your word of choice – partner, friend, girlfriend, etc. Additionally, the sentiments expressed here are not limited to romantic relationships or paid gigs. Disclaimer over.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because while they’re yours, you never really know whether you’re coming or going and you always feel a little unsure about the whole damn thing.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because they’re usually good just often enough to stop you from taking initiative for a while.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because they leave you less convinced about yourself and your worth than when you started out.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because you didn’t even know how off they were until you’ve got some distance and even then it takes some time to really let that sink in.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because you look back and think, “How and why did I put up with THAT shit for so long?” followed by, “Why didn’t any of you tell me I was putting up with this shit?” The truth about both hurt, my friend.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because you secretly know that even if someone did tell you, you needed to figure it out on your own anyway.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because even after you leave you bring oddly shaped baggage that you didn’t even know you had with you to the next one.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because unpacking that baggage is both easier and more difficult than you’d think but always worth it.
Bad jobs are like bad boyfriends because once you’ve had one, you know better. Hopefully.