Life is full of unexpected challenges, unpleasant moments, and the occasional deeply horrible person. There are many difficulties that are unavoidable, but some are not inevitable. I have come to learn that most of the things I hate are things I can manage (if not eradicate) with boundaries, introspection, a sense of my needs as valuable, and the language to articulate what is happening.
For your reference, here is a short list of shit I hate:
1. Pretending that a dude I have never met before who is talking non-stop to me for an hour about the history of public transportation at a house party is either normal or charming.
2. Acting like other women are my natural enemies because we are competing for resources that aren't actually scarce.
3. The idea that god was watching me tickle my pickle, and when the end of the world came, he was going to play a home movie of each pickle infraction for the whole world to see (actual Pentecostal belief).
4. Thinking obsessively about how much or what kind of food I eat.
5. Wearing non-stretchy pants that pinch my fat.
6. Having a closet that's half full of clothes that are the wrong size.
7. Taking the "high road."
8. When the same friend has been an hour late three times in a row and doesn't a) apologize, or, b) buy me ice cream, a cappuccino, or jewelry to make up for their rudeness.
9. Putting up with my family’s insistence upon having a relationship with no boundaries.
10. Apologizing for stuff I am not actually sorry about.
Though I am still working on some of the things on this list, I am proud to report that I have stopped doing most of them. The turning point for me was when I began hanging out with feminists. They were the first people who gave me permission to stop doing shit I hated.
When we met, I was trying to be a sweet-as-pie girl who never ate. I was ashamed of pretty much any behavior that was derived from desire (hunger, sex). Before them, I had been as close to being on the straight and narrow as I was ever going to be. I had a vague sense in my gut that something was really, really wrong with the world I experienced around me, but I thought that the "something" was me.
The first things to go were orgasm shame, female competition, and patience with mansplaining. My new friends explained that competition was a manifestation of internalized sexism, and instead of being threatened, I could see women as allies. They assured me God wasn’t watching me orgasm. So I practiced not feeling guilty after sex or masturbation, and the guilt went away after just a few months.
I guarantee you there is at least one thing you hate that you can stop doing this week. So I'd like to suggest you make a little list like the one I made & figure out what you can afford to let go of.
Not long after I learned what misogyny was and had started calling every man I met a chauvinist (you’ve got to practice a newfound skill!), I found myself at the end of my Weight Loss Road. With that went my too-tight pants and my wardrobe full of clothes that didn't fit.
There are few things that are as taxing as the endless internal calorie conversation, pathological food control, the constant gas lighting of my hunger signals and the sense that I was doing it all — kinda — so that other people could have a better life while mine slipped away, one bite at a time.
I’m a people pleaser with codependent tendencies (those might be the same thing). So one-on-one boundary-setting with actual humans is my biggest challenge. But this year, I’m taking a break from speaking to my family, and I decided to end a couple of long-standing friendships that had stopped working for me. At the crux of all these decisions was a growing sense that I have the right to curate my life because I am valuable. I have the right to make wise resource investments in things I love, and stop investing in things I don’t.
As someone who is very dedicated to healing and emotional growth, I actually can’t afford to waste emotional energy on people and pursuits that deplete me.
I know that not all of us have the same capacity for the emotional labor I just outlined. And some people have less curatorial control or flexibility because of the way they are positioned in their family or in society.
But I guarantee you there is at least one thing you hate that you can stop doing this week. So I'd like to suggest you make a little list like the one I made and figure out what you can afford to let go of.