Before I begin My Post Proper, I’d like to share its Catalyst, hammered out in the volcanic forge of catharsis. Submitted without comment:
I used to think that the following were harmless foibles. Now I know better: this is the motherf*cking patriarchy, trying to take me down like a cheetah atop a gazelle.
1. Socks. F*cking socks.
What is it with guys and socks? And why own ~176 pairs, all identical…except for the almost imperceptible differences between each and every one? You see, THIS pair has a bit of red stitching between the heel and the tum, whereas THAT pair has a slightly longer cuff. (Don’t even get me started on gussets, which are the footwear equivalent of snowflakes, no two alike.) “What about this?” he’ll crow, plucking a single scrap of fabric out of the overflowing laundry hamper. “THIS is your sock!” “THAT is one of the socks that YOU BOUGHT FOR ME!” you’ll shout back. OMG F*CK SOCKS.
2. “Where is my…?”
This is a combination of guessing game and fetch-quest, of the sort that you would expect to play with a toddler in the midst of language acquisition, not a grown-@$$ person who genuinely doesn’t know where $#!+ goes when you set it down somewhere. HINT: it stays exactly where you left it. Exactly there. Nowhere else. I loathe these three simple words, plus the vast majority of the alternating fourth nouns that complete the sentence, including but not limited to: shoe, belt, mechanical pencil, coffee mug, mac n’ cheese, book, cat, phone charger, and “any forks.” Now, since locating a.) the kitchen counter, b.) the inside of the fridge, c.) the bathroom sink, d.) the top of the washer/dryer, or e.) the trunk of the car is apparently very, very difficult, I’m required to listen to increasingly louder iterations of “I STILL DON’T SEE IT!” until I sigh, stop whatever it is I’m doing, and say, “Hang on, I’m coming.” Naturally, it only works one way. Heaven forfend I should ever misplace my keys, which I occasionally do. Maybe it’s the fact that I lose the same two items (keys and phone) over and over, instead of everything else all the time, that makes the difference?
The gist of this one is, if I can’t supply an exact date, time, and location for the example I’m using — along with, preferably, two reliable eyewitness accounts — the event in question did not occur. So a minor argument about whose turn it is/was to take out the trash, buy milk, call the vet, etc. suddenly requires a full-fledged incident report. Maybe I need one of those notebooks…
4. Selective amnesia.
Some might call this a version of gaslighting, but I would draw a distinction because one is an intentional act or series of actions designed to manipulate others by causing them to question their own memories, judgment, perceptions and the other is basically garden-variety a$$holicism to the tune of “Well, I don’t remember this, so it couldn’t have happened, because I would remember it and I don’t, so it couldn’t have happened, because…” But you know what? It did. IT DID HAPPEN. And, as a corollary, what I just said is exactly what it was like.
So there you have it: my general state of mind about two weeks ago — at least, according to my archives, since I did not post it. Then, as now, I hesitated. I had my reasons. Valid ones, I believe, concerning both the feelings of others and my own well-being. But also some invalid ones, including my own ego (so infrequently do my words cast me in a positive light), as well as the nagging sense that I ought to be feeling differently, behaving differently, because I ought to be a fundamentally different person than the one I am — one more pleasing to others. That is what women are for, is it not? To be pleasant and helpful at all times.*
At the same time, it did occur to me that if I were still this girl —
— I’d say, “Holy $#!+ You are my spirit animal, promise me you’ll never change.”
— I’m valiantly resisting the temptation to roll my eyes and snap, “B!+c#, keep it together!” Such a difference a couple of decades makes, and not necessarily for the better.
After all, I’m blessed, right? Nobody beats me, rapes me, or tries to kill me on a regular basis, which apparently is the gold standard of living as far as ladies are concerned. Also, I have a roof over my head and a job, which allows me to buy food and pay bills.
If this sounds extreme, seek out the person in your life who’s in the WORST relationship, or working the MOST soul-sucking job and inquire, “So, how are things?” I guarantee your answer will be something like, “Fine. I mean, it’s not like he’s drunk all the time or anything.” or “Fine. I mean, it’s not like I get robbed at gunpoint during my shift or anything.”
Women justify. A lot. In fact, it’s kind of strange that we get a reputation for being moaners and complainers when, generally speaking, we work harder than anyone to put the best possible spin on everything. Because hey, it could always be worse!
And yes, it *could* be worse. Because everything could always be worse, that is factually true. But this sort of thinking automatically sets up a race to the bottom. It’s a bit like saying to the victim of a natural disaster, “Hey, it could be worse. You could have lost ALL your children, instead of just the one. Count your blessings, damn it!”
Thus, in honor of Little Gillie Bean, I’ve decided to institute Casual Fridays on the Gilliad. It is a day for candor, for conscientious objection to all the bull$#!+, for casting off the physical and emotional burdens that attend one’s situation or lot in life, and — most of all — for raising one’s gaze to the skies, to follow with wondering eyes the flight pattern of ALL THE F*CKS ONE DOES NOT GIVE as they soar up, up, and away, out of sight forever.