I think I’m destined to be one type of old woman or another.
Either I will say whatever I want without regard for consequence, or I will be quietly amused by others, and only silently reflect upon how much the next generation has to learn.
The jury is still out on which way this is gonna go for me.
I will say that, in many ways, I have learned to control my temper and my emotions better than I ever have before. But everyone has a breaking point. Everyone has baggage. And everyone loses their temper sometimes.
I did. Last night. Big time.
For over 20 years, I’ve stood in the shadows of some pain that, despite the moving forward of time, has not completely dissipated. In fact, some of it still feels very, very fresh. Maybe because the attitudes of some who were part of that pain, even only by association, are still so hateful. Unapologetic.
Maybe it’s because those who have had a change of heart have not issued apologies.
Maybe it’s because I know there won’t be any. That those who could admit they were wrong, won’t. That those who don’t think they were wrong, still don’t, and never will.
I have a hard time forgiving. That’s a terrible way to be, but it’s true. It takes me a long time sometimes. And it’s especially hard to forgive people who aren’t, and never will be, sorry.
It’s not just any one grudge. It’s many. It’s different people. It’s different offenses.
All of this originated from comments on a post about the gender wage gap. Someone posted an article about why they think the gap is a “myth”. The comments that ensued were the trigger that launched my spiral into utter and complete bitchiness. I’m not proud of it. But it happened.
After the last 9 months of political b.s. After the hateful, ridiculous comments I’ve seen people make about the #metoo movement. After the hateful, ridiculous comments I’ve seen people make about the Women’s March this year. After the bitter divides of politics, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation….after ALL of it…I was just ready to spit back some venom.
Because I get tired of being told I’m “playing a victim” when I’ve BEEN a victim of certain things. I’m not playing. At all. This isn’t a social media debate for me. Or many others. This is real life.
I get tired of being told life isn’t fair, or that I shouldn’t “whine” when all I hear from those same people is complaints about the world not being what they want it to be, except it isn’t whining when they do it.
I get tired of being told that I need to let things go, or that I’m the hateful one, when I turned the other cheek for years upon years upon years.
These types of attitudes are the hallmark of abusers. They will twist everything you say into being something else and then make it look like you hurt them.
And so while I don’t know what kind of old woman I’ll be, I do know this: those kind of people will not hold power over me. I’m a grown woman now. And while I didn’t act like it last night, I am an adult. And I don’t have to choose to associate with some of these people. Even on a distant basis. I’ve felt for years and years that I was obligated to try, even if it was only on a surface level.
But no more. I will no longer make the effort with those who have not made the effort with me. I don’t know what type of old woman I’ll be, but I do know that she won’t have time for one-sided, phony relationships. Because I don’t have time for them now. And they stop. Today.
It’s going to require that I do some really deep digging, though. For grace. For forgiveness. Not only for them, but for myself. I’ll kick myself for a long time for the loss of control I experienced this week. I’ll have to make these decisions with a steady heart. And it takes some time to steady my heart when it’s been rocked with 2 decades of suppressed emotion.
I am so very flawed. I know this. Hell. That’s actually my point here. I know I’m flawed. With a bad temper. With a sharp tongue. With resistance to forgive people.
I’m also human. And I know life isn’t fair. I am acutely aware of that fact.
Somebody asked me, “So this happened to you. What do you want to be done about it? Who should make that call?”
I think for me, and for anyone else who has ever been discriminated against, or harassed, or sexually assaulted, or treated shitty – I think a good first step would be for other people to not shame us. To not rush forward with their condescending stories of how, if they can rise above, so can everyone else.
I think another step would be to try and have some empathy. To try and understand how it feels to be treated “less than”. And if you have been treated that way, if you do understand, then try and understand that not everyone deals with that just like you do.
Another step might be to not be an effing hypocrite. Like belittling someone in one breath, yet calling on everyone to be more loving in the next. I see “Christians” do it all the time. Yeah. I see you. Stop it. You make us all look like idiots.
But the biggest problem that I have with anybody in any setting is this: pretense.
Pretending like things don’t exist or never happened because it makes them uncomfortable.
Parents, be careful about not letting your children feel what they need to feel. Yes, they need to learn to be in control of their emotions, but they also need to be able to express them in a safe place, without being told they are wrong for it or that they need to quash those feelings. I’m here to tell you, that shit doesn’t go away. And it will come bubbling to the surface at some point if it’s not dealt with in a healthy way when the event happens.
Want to talk about life not being fair? That’s part of it. Sometimes we have to sit in our discomfort. Most people don’t like it. I don’t like it either. But it’s the only way to growth and maturity.
I’m sitting in a pool of it this morning. Still feeling residual anger. Still sorry about my emotions getting the better of me. Still hurt by people who, after over 20 damn years, still don’t see just how deep the wounds go or understand why.
I want so badly to rise above this. And I will. By God, one day I will. Because I have risen above a lot in my 35 years. It might not look like it to the outside world, you might not get that impression from reading this, but I know. I know what I’ve overcome. In this world, and within myself.
So maybe there’s hope for me yet. That I’ll be the old lady, listening to the drama, smiling to myself, sipping her coffee, thinking, “These young people have so much to learn.”
I’m still learning, but the jury is still out.