Happy New Year, all!
I was talking with my dad about Candid Uprising, telling him about our mission and purpose and encouraging him to read. While I knew he’d be proud to hear that I’m exploring a passion project, I was also concerned about how he might react to some of the opinions we’ve put forth. While he is socially liberal, and overall of a progressive mindset, he was raised in the Midwest in the 1950s and has some closely held traditional values. My dad is a rather reserved, reticent person, but he came alive when I told him I had written and published a couple of posts on not wanting children. “Right”, he said animatedly, “people have kids to fill the void. Things get stale. People’s lives plateau and they tell themselves, now it’s time.” He continued to expound upon the subject as I frantically scribbled notes. “Kids fill up the room”, he continued, “they take all your extra time, all your extra money, all your extra love and affection. Kids are all consuming. Being a parent is a bitch, and the most responsible thing you’ll ever do. You fuck up someone elses life, and it’s terrifying”, he finished. “Dad”, I exclaimed, “then why in the world do people do it?”
“It’s biology, for god’s sake”, he cried. Continue reading
The concept that there’s a war on Christmas frustrates me. The indignant assertions abound: that it’s ok to say Merry Christmas to all people, and that the December holiday season needs to be branded as the Christmas season, and public and government property should rightly be festooned with Christmas trees and creches. It seems the justifications are that the U.S. is a Christian nation, that Christmas is the foremost December holiday, that Christian tradition takes the mantle over public life. Personally, I can’t understand the celebration of one religious group’s holiday requiring the exclusion of all other traditions. For what purpose? My perspective of what I’m going to call the holiday season (a period that ranges from the third week in November through January 1st) is that it’s a time we challenge ourselves to open our hearts, to reach out, be inclusive, give generously and think of those less fortunate. Goodwill towards all, don’t be a dick, treat others with beautiful kindness. And of course, mindless consumerism. In fact, my almost physical inability to say Merry Christmas has its roots in my many years working retail during the holidays. Continue reading
We’ve reached an exciting milestone this week, online publication by Skirt Collective, a site that “aims to be the modern woman’s compass”. Head over there and check out a post I planned to publish for you in January, “Haters Are a Sign You’re Succeeding“. Here’s a taste: “…and from that day forward, I saw my haters in a new light – as an important energy source. It was amazing the time and energy they were willing to spend having strong feelings and opinions about me and my choices. They were living proof that I was seen, and they would provide the fuel to push me forward, toward excellence.”
Thank you to our early adopters for your dedicated readership!
I can scarcely remember a time in my life when I wasn’t involved in challenging the authority figures in my life one way or another. My mom likes to tell a story from when I was very young, probably about two or three, when I wouldn’t stop walking directly in front of her, causing her to stumble and trip. We were walking in the fields behind our house in pastoral Middlebury, Vermont, down to a small pond. Though I can’t remember, I’m sure I was getting under her feet with the express purpose of tripping her, likely with a literal display of toppling authority in mind. She relates that she became so frustrated after telling me multiple times to stop that she pushed me down into the soft tall grass. Apparently I got up and we finished our walk without incident. Being underfoot as a toddler was the first of many, many confrontations with authority figures I’ve had over the course of my life. The lesson has never been learned, which leads me to believe I will always be looking for a weakness in my superiors to exploit. Sigh. Continue reading
I coined this term a couple of years ago to describe the allure of engaging in pessimistic, cynical conversations with others, the shared sense of fatalism the glue holding the group together. At times I’ve personally found certain groups or individuals’ toxicity so attractive I’ve stuck fast to it. And for what purpose? A lesson from middle school is that talking shit about other people is one of the quickest, easiest ways to bond. One reason why is fear holds the group together–no one wants to leave, for fear their reputation and personality be dissected to bits and found lacking. As long as you’re there, they aren’t talking about you. If you’re on the outside, you can be sure they are. So you draw closer, and get sucked in. Sexy negative is like tar pits. Once you step in, it takes massive effort to get out. Sometimes you have to change your whole scene to escape. I made a New Year’s resolution in 2013 that I wasn’t going to be involved in sexy negativity anymore, because my personality and environment had become intensely toxic, a vibe I was perpetuating, my life sinking lower and lower into the depths. But at the beginning, approaching everything from a pessimistic angle, assuming the worst, and veiling every word and intention in a thick layer of sarcasm made me feel like I belonged; sexy negative. Continue reading
Dealing with two-faced people, or those with passive-aggressive personalities can be the bane of a workplace, family or social circle existence. You know who I’m talking about–the person who you know for a fact says rude things about you behind your back, but when you ask them directly about it they widen their eyes and play innocent. If you pride yourself on being direct and open, two-faced folks will repel, disgust and ultimately amuse you. For the sensitive, thoughtful types, they create a special kind of mental hell. My advice, don’t get involved. Or keep interactions as limited as possible. Interpersonal relationships are a game to the two-faced person, and the less you engage, the better.
A friend was lamenting the other day about how hard it is to catch duplicitous people in the act, to have that a ha! moment where their words and actions come full circle to bite them in the ass (not to be confused with the Oprah ah ha! moment, which is something else entirely), with you in the front row watching. What my friend wanted was for people to be honest about their motivations, so everyone knows where they stand and can cooperate from there.
Not possible with the two-faced contingent. Disingenuous behavior is rooted in a deep, profound insecurity. It serves to make the person unknowable to others, thereby obscuring the true self-image of loathing, doubt and intense vulnerability. The sense of self is either non-existent or so fragile, it could shatter from the smallest exposure. Hence the need to “throw shade”, to play people against each other, say one thing and do another. The purpose is to confuse and entrap others to create a diversion, so the real issues can’t be seen. Don’t try to disentangle the lies or make sense of any of it. Just know that someone with a black hole where their personality should be is trying desperately to survive. Sad, isn’t it?
At a previous job, a supervisor used to congratulate me on the fine work I was doing, and tell me what a bright future lay ahead. She would jokingly congratulate herself for spotting and hiring great talent. Then I’d hear reluctant feedback from another supervisor about how I was being perceived as arrogant, entitled, not a team player and reckless. Putting two-and-two together, I knew these were not the words of the speaker, but the commentary of my constant congratulator. I began to sense she was playing me, because she would often come to me to breathily complain about certain colleagues, using the same words. Her game was to be seen as the supportive, mentoring boss while her brittle ego required her to tear down anyone she saw as a threat. Pathetic.
Duplicity serves to exert control over those who come into contact, in order to manipulate and serve its own ends. For the two-faced person it’s often to cover a hole so deep and dark inside, that its exposure would cause a total collapse. Healthy, well-adjusted people don’t do it. At best, disingenuity is irritating to be around, knowing someone is talking shit about the person they’ll be palling around with later. At worst, it’s a terrible, infectious disease that destroys whole micro-cultures (see: the office gossip).
To keep sane, limit your involvement to the extent possible. Just smile and nod, feigning interest and understanding. Do not spend one second attempting to make sense of the behaviors, or piece together the lies. Practice pity. The two-faced person before you is in terrible pain. Imagine the stark loneliness of being entirely unknowable, the terrible exhaustion of always having to run a step ahead of the deceit, the tax taken by extreme concentration to keep the fragments pieced together. Trust me, your single-faced quality of life is infinitely higher.