Despite myself, I’m often curious about how others see me. I’m not sure if it matters to me if others like me or not - after all I don’t bend my walk to suit other people, I was born with this gait - but I’m nosey and in constant need of reassurance (I can admit that, m’lud. I just need to learn to reassure myself is all) Well, be careful what you wish for… Recently, someone told me, unsolicited, that I'm incredibly lucky because I, unlike them and others who chipped in, have no anxiety or stress in my life. Not one stitch. I don't have a job, no children, no responsibilities and a husband who does absolutely everything for me. It would seem that I am a happy-go-lucky dependent puff of cloud on a summer's day, a solar-powered duck sailing across the ever-sunny waters of life on the buoyancy aids of my husband (not his balls).
I mean, look at me. A jolly airhead, bobbing merrily along while everyone else is out there making tough choices. What have I ever had to deal with? Easy Street Central, that’s my HQ, son. Heaven forfend that anyone should stop to consider that we’ve designed our lives so I can avoid as much stress and anxiety as I choose for very good reasons. Why should anyone believe for one second that our choices and decisions, although different from theirs, have been just as hard-fought and hard-won? Don't get me wrong, I know I'm lucky. I'm married to someone who loves me unconditionally and is the best friend I've ever had, but it's not a one-way street. I gave my dreams up twice for Mr Y. It's not something I regret, but it's not something I would happily recommend. It’s been hard, but it was my choice, I just didn't know it was going to rob me of what little self-esteem I had (don't worry folks, the barrels are refilling even as we speak). I made a choice, it had consequences, I dealt with them (mostly). So when people tell me I have it easy, I get offended.
Assumptions. People make them and being offended by them isn’t useful, not one bit. Usually I’d be all “whatever, love”, but I’m surprised how much it’s bothered me this time. It’s far from the first time I’ve been labeled like this or been made to feel this way. I’ve encountered an awful lot of people, some from a perilously young age, who’ve wanted to impress upon me that I’m not as important as them, that while I have it easy they have to endure and battle through life and I’m “less” somehow because of that. I wonder what it is about me that makes other people want to quash me, to put me back in my box where I belong, to reinforce upon me that I should know my "place". Is it because I’m different and I need to be catalogued into the Great Library of Normality for the ease of others? Or is it that I am, in fact, simply GLORIOUS and they can’t handle that shit?
It’s both, isn’t it? ;)
It's true, I don't have a regular job. I don't have children (not entirely by choice either, so some sensitivity would be appreciated on occasion), and I married an absolutely splendid man. I couldn't ask for a better partner in life, but he is just that - a PARTNER. We're in it together, we make it work together. One oar and it's circles, baby. The fact is our lives are dictated by the choices and decisions we make. Just because my decisions have designed a life very different from my peers, doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable. Just because I don’t have children, doesn’t mean I don’t have responsibilities. Just because I don’t have a “job”, doesn’t mean I don’t work. People should take my self-deprecation and smart mouth a little less literally, perhaps. All this I know. So why am I so bothered? Is it because I'm sitting here, trying to force a novel and a book of stories out of my tiny recalcitrant brain onto the page but deep down I'm wondering why I have the cheek to think I can? That something in me is saying "yeah but it's YOU, Chloë. Why do you think you're entitled to even try? And who would read that shit anyway?" Then someone comes along and tells me how easy I've got it and my brain breaks a little.
Maybe it's all that… or maybe it's that I'm tired of listening to this shit, both the outside voices and the inside one that makes me crazy. It's not my voice (it's not the voice of Ethel Merman either, so don't worry, I don't need those pills again) it's the cumulative voice of all those inconsiderate ballbags who are oblivious to the hurt their flippantly ill-considered and ill-informed assumptions can cause. Especially one ballbag, maybe two. Well, I've let them roll around in my head, dictating my humility, for far too fucking long. DON'T LISTEN, CHLOË! YOU KNOW YOU SHOULDN'T, SO DON'T (who said that? *looks around*)
Assumptions are dangerous and, along with their weapon, the sweeping statement, they can suck the chutzpah right out of a fella. Be careful with your assumptions, they'll not only hurt others but, in someone else's eyes, they make you look a right fucking tit. Listening to assumptions and thinking they matter is the only thing worse than righteously delivering your own, so FUCK THAT SHIT. Now. Right now.
You may go.