Learn

Yesterday I was pretty twisted up. I woke up early this morning and went to yoga. Then I did a rosary at the lake. I feel straightened out again.

In that standup show I did monday, before I went onstage, the hosts of the show talked at length to some women in the front row about their breasts. For like, 10 minutes. Then I went onstage and one of the women they’d been talking to shouted out at me, “You’ve got an ass!”

I replied in what I’ve only just realized is my habitual response: putting on the tone you’d use to talk to a first grader and saying, “Yes, I do!” Like if a kid was pointing at a bunny and saying, “Bunny!” Yes honey, that’s a bunny! What other animal names do you know?

Last saturday I did a showcase that was sort of an audition at a club, and when I said hi to a comic I know the guy he was standing with (I think a touring comic?) said, “When you got up there, I thought, she got an ass! Then you talked about it!”

And I replied, “Yeah!” And then I walked away. Bunny!

I’m realizing how exhausting it is to be around people who are really into being dumb. There’s good and evil in the world but there’s also just smart and stupid.  I don’t think people talking to me about my butt are evil. But I certainly don’t think they’re smart.

I’ve been thinking more about baby talk. I end up slipping into baby talk at my waitress job quite a bit. I love my job, most of the customers are great, but of course you get people in there who mostly just want to be catered to. And so I talk to them like they’re little kids. Does baby want a lemon in their water? Does baby want to hear about all our sauce? How is baby’s tummy feeling? Is baby happy with the salad? Yay, baby’s happy!

It’s such a useful trick. A lot of people are developmentally delayed. Some people are permanently held back, some people are regressing because of context. Why not talk to them in a developmentally appropriate manner? It’s what they want. Why not save the adult conversations for the adults?

Folks. I cannot thank you enough for the freedom of being able to speak like an adult to adults on this blog. I cannot thank you enough for letting me tell you these stories, and letting them be complex, and messy, and challenging. It has unburdened me in big ways.

This morning in yoga and at the lake I kept thinking about yesterday’s post, and how long I’ve held onto that story. I mean, I’ve tried to tell people in my life. The people in my life generally are not great at letting me talk, at length, like an adult, about these experiences. They just mostly don’t get it. They don’t like that my stories are messy and complex and challenging. I sound like a broken record. My sister once told me I was the angriest person she knew.

Oh my gosh, yes I am! And my anger has stuck around because I keep running up, again and again, against the parts of reality the people around me won’t acknowledge. Now that I’m getting some reality confirmation through this blog oh my gosh I feel so much lighter. I feel like, ok, I can start not running up against the same stupid walls. It’s just so much easier to move through anger to action when someone will confirm you’re speaking about reality.

The next feeling, once I get that reality confirmation, is laughter. Duh hearing dudes tell about times they’ve raped women is a terrible experience! Of course! Oh my gosh, especially if a dude raped you! Duh to the extreme! Can’t believe what you’ve been through girl, you go ahead and take it easy, you deserve it.

So I can’t thank you enough for that. It’s very special what you’re doing for me. I desperately need it.

On my Tumblr dashboard the other day I saw a great post about tips for managing dysphoria, from guideonragingstars.tumblr.com. It was quick, to the point, and wow, my mind was just blown. Posts like that weren’t around a year and a half ago! What an adult way to talk about a symptom! How helpful!

Thissoftspace.wordpress.com has been just straight killing it with the complex, nuanced, adult stuff. Crashchaoscats.wordpress.com has been killing it for awhile, before really anyone else was. Hotflanks.wordpress.com is still putting out great stuff.

Man, it’s cool to be a part of something new and special. It’s cool to be a part of a group of people growing up, I guess? Like, ok, for awhile we needed very simple ideas to talk about our experiences, and we needed things to be pretty broad and black and white, and now we can talk about stuff in a more authentic way. We can own a lot more emotional experiences, we can hear a lot more differing experiences, we can talk about internal systems and external systems and how they interact. We can be very specific, we can connect that specificity to bigger forces. We can let ourselves be as smart as we actually are. I’m really proud to be a part of that.

Smarts! It’s terrible to be smart until you find people who are really into you being smart! Then it’s fun to be smart! Then it’s the much better deal over being dumb.

 

5 thoughts on “Learn”

  1. Thank you so much for this one – way before I reached the lovely compliment I was teared up, in that middle-section there about oh my gosh is it nice to have reality confirmed, anger listened to and reflected back in understanding. It is so freeing. For the longest time I’ve felt mentally ill because I was so angry and so sad and so scared all the time, but I’m beginning to feel like maybe it was honestly that I was just angry and sad and scared at the way things are and no one around me could even take it in.

    I keep having dreams about the two friends who recently ditched me (I am considering it a ditching at this point) and then I wake up and I go through all the arguments again, all the anger and rehashing, as if after seven years of there being a gap in understanding I could now suddenly say something that would change everything. This blog of yours here though – I think you’re right, that most people are just never going to get it, for whatever reason, and that’s just how it is.

    I am grateful my friend told me to go find other people I could be more mentally healthy around. Maybe still upset about it but grateful, too, because by god has it been more mentally healthy just connecting with all these people here. Thank you for writing the kind of thank-you blog that I keep meaning to write myself, and thank you again for being one of the inspirations for getting me writing about it all in the first place.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I liked this a great deal, powerful post, except I thought it unnecessary to bring ducks into it. Humans aren’t ducks, we are not even in the same taxonomic class, we don’t speak duck and thus can’t get their version of things. We don’t know how ducks would behave if there was no human interference with their lives.

    We should not imply that duck behaviors we perceive are somehow analogous to human behaviors. I’ve seen the duck rape story used as material for arguing that rape is natural human male behavior. Men are capable of owning and controlling their own behavior. I believe that. I do not believe men who rape are ducks. I believe they are selfish, irresponsible, amoral and self-indulgent men. No excuses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I mean, I see what you are saying and it’s very compelling. I am willing to say about the comparison to ducks that it is a way to separate my own human experience from their experience. If they are ducks, then they aren’t like me and I don’t need to extend to them the understanding and compassion I would want for myself. I truly do not know if rape is “natural” or even feel like I can begin to break down what the word “natural” means when we talk about such a prevalent and societally foundational behavior like controlling women’s bodies through rape. It’s just so overwhelming and evil that I need to create distinctions between me and the people who do it, through this joke of calling men ducks. You’re right, it is unfair to ducks. It is a useful joke for putting a stop to trying to figure them out though.

      Like

      1. Well, it’s a hell of a story anyway. Quite chilling and resonant. How many of us have had that same experience of trusting some man until he says some inexcusable thing? Then you get stuck on it like a broken record until you finally give up and realize you can’t be friends with someone who could say that. Such is the power of language.

        Like

Leave a Reply to thissoftspace Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s