Monday, May 26, 2008

Does it really matter, in the long run?

Does it really matter what people say about you, if you don't know them? I mean really, in the long run, if you don't have to deal with these people on a daily basis, if they are never going to be in your life, do their words have power to hurt you? I've been thinking about this for the last couple of days and have come to the conclusion that if someone I don't know calls me names, makes fun of me, or generally thinks I'm an idiot, big fucking deal. I don't know them, their opinion is just that, an opinion (opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink). I have no time, emotion, or anything else invested in people I don't know, so why should I care what they think?

I know who I am, where I've come from/where I've been, what I've been through in my life, and what experiences have made me the person I am, and I certainly know whether I'm a worthwhile person or not. If they get their jollies by making fun of me, then they are certainly hard up for entertainment if that's the best they can do. The only people who have power to hurt me are the ones I care about, and if those people I care about love me, they aren't going to hurt me (which is why I stay away from abusive family members).

So when I'm out in the yard with DH when he's doing yard work, and kids ride/skate/walk by and call me names (which doesn't happen very often at all), I don't care. I don't know them, I don't have any interest in knowing them, and I'm not going to be dealing with them on a daily basis, so their words mean nothing to me. All they do is show their ignorance and intolerance for someone who is different from them. If someone drove by me in a car and called me names, same thing goes for them. I'm not going to react, I'm going to ignore them, because they don't mean shit to me.

I refuse to give that kind of power to total strangers. Of course, I've always felt like an outcast/misfit, so people's opinions of me have never mattered all that much.


  1. This is why people like you. You're not afraid. Even to say things like that. It's probably why they get pissed off unreasonably when someone who doesn't know you would say something about you, too.

    I know you're right. Part of all those scars we've talked about (from parents and children's cruelty) for me has meant always wishing to "fit in" and only being at peace when I could give up on that and be true to myself. In the really long run, you're right - it's my immediate family who are there and can really be counted on. (Other people develop different types of daily support systems of course - that's just how it worked for me.) It's the people who are there when you stop breathing and collapse, who are there to change the bedsheets for you when you dirty them and can't get up yourself, the people who will clean your wounds and wipe your tears, and yeah, that is someone who is there in body and spirit. But...I do get attached to other people too, people who I only know through their words or voices on the phone.

    Sigh. It's complicated isn't it?

  2. Vesta, I love ya and I hear what your saying, but sometimes it does matter. My daughter and I went to the zoo. A young boy almost broke his neck to turn and stare at my daughter and then he said to his mother, "Mom, did you see that girl, she's so fat!" His mother didn't scold him, berate him for being rude, or tell him not to say things like that. NOTHING. My daughter turned as white as a ghost and I could tell that what he said hurt her deeply...this young boy not even 10 years old already having the "hate-monger" attitude against fat. I...wanted to smack the mother but I refrained, clasped my daughter's hand and told her I thought she was beautiful. "You're suppose to Mom, you're my mother." I replied, "Nope darlin', I just see you clearly.

    You have the right attitude, but sometimes, words sting whether we like it or not.

  3. Annie - it's funny, but I don't usually get too attached to many people. I tend to keep them at arm's length because then I don't get hurt (been there done that too many times), but there have been times when I've met someone (Pat, and you are two I can think of right off hand) when I go "Damn, where have you been all my life?" It's like we've known each other, maybe in another life, because we just seem to click. Those are rare times for me, and I cherish them, which maybe makes it easier for me to tell people that I don't know (and I'm talking about the trolls and fat-hating bigots out there) to just piss off. I've been so used to being alone most of the time, that I don't need a lot of people in my life, and that makes me more appreciative of the ones I do let in. It can get complicated, but I try to keep it as simple as possible (even though I'm not always

  4. my own woman - Oh yeah, I understand where you're coming from on that, and if someone said something like that about my son, or my grandkids, it wouldn't hurt me, but it sure as hell would piss me off and I wouldn't keep my mouth shut then. Asshats can rank on me all they want, but keep your nastiness off my family/friends. They're off-limits for that kind of shit. I took all kinds of abuse from a boyfriend (years ago), but when he started on my son, his ass was out the door. I told him he could try to abuse me because I was fully capable of fighting back, but keep his damned hands off my son, he was too young to fight back. It was a wake-up call for me, that I didn't want my son abused and I didn't want him to see me being abused either, so that asshole had to go and I would never let another man do that to me ever again (and I didn't). So yeah, the words of strangers can hurt sometimes, but I've learned over the years how to keep the crap strangers seem all too eager to dish out from hurting me.

  5. God, I do the same thing, and overall I don't have lots of room in my life and head for close friendships either, but once in a while I gotta let someone in because it's too...well, you know what it is.

    But yeah, you summed it up. And normally I don't let it get complicated either - to be honest, while I love to rant as much as anyone, I was surprised myself at my own visceral reaction to that attack on you.

    MyOwnWoman, I'm so sorry your daughter had that crap happen - children can be horribly horribly cruel, and I can't pretend that it doesn't leave scars on the child, but thankfully you're a good mother and that will go a hell of a long way, I'm sure. One of the worst things was knowing there was no one in the world who would protect me; thankfully for your girl she doesn't have that worry.

    And I wouldn't feel too bad for not saying anything directly to them because in a way it could have made her feel even worse - I think it was probably perfect to address her directly and not the stupid mother or her brat right in front of your daughter. Next time maybe you will, if the situation is right for it. But keep building her up :) And I guarantee no one thinks that it doesn't hurt like hell to see your child hurt, because they haven't yet developed the ability to process it and decide that it doesn't matter what strangers think. That's something even most adults have trouble with isn't it?

  6. I would be lying if I said it didn't still hurt when people make fun of me. I'm the quintessential people pleaser and it bothers me when I think people don't like me. But I have gotten much better at developing a thicker skin. Crowds of college-aged guys used to instill fear in me because these were the kinds of guys who always called me names and usually said very sexual things to me. I haven't had anyone say anything to me in years, but two years ago while walking into a store, two assholes made a comment AFTER I had passed them. I came right back with "Yeah, and your dicks are the size of peanuts..."

    My husband happened to be waiting in the car (he didn't hear them or else he would have said something to them himself) and I told him what happened. Usually I am not good on my feet like that, but this happens to be a line from the movie Notting Hill and I've always remembered it. Usually I try to forgive and let go, but sometimes it's really gratifying to be able to come back with a clever retort.

  7. Rachel - it used to bother me when people made comments about me, because I wanted to be liked and I wanted to fit in. But as I got older, I realized that fitting in and pleasing people wasn't making me happy, and didn't really help me fit in, either.
    There is something to be said for getting older - it gives you perspective on what life is really all about and what is worth getting hurt over and what should be ignored and let go.
    I'm finally letting go of a lot of old hurts and anger, and with that goes the ability of strangers to hurt me with what they say. This is not to say that if someone comes out with a particularly nasty comment I won't retort in kind if I have a comeback. That kind of depends on the mood I'm in at the time (if Helga the Bitch Goddess is out, then all bets are off on me being a decent person).

  8. Perhaps you are venting your insecurity about your lack of insecurities in this post? I think that anything people say, even if you don't know them can take its toll after a while.

  9. Heidi - I don't understand your phrase "insecurity about my lack of insecurities". Seems like an oxymoron to me. Either I'm insecure, or I'm not. I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've been insulted in person about my size in the last 5 or 10 years (I could be wrong, I tend to forget things if I don't write them down, and I've slept a time or two in that span of time). And the people who've insulted me about my size were strangers, which is probably why I don't remember the insult, or the person who gave it.
    On the other hand, I've been insulted about my weight innumerable times online, and I don't remember all of them either. I consider the source (ignorance and intolerance) and let it go (unless I decide to play with the troll who made the comment).
    I happen to think that I don't get a lot of nasty comments in person because I'm an intimidating type (tall, fat, and I don't look down or away from people when I'm out and about). Also, unless I'm laughing or smiling about something, I've been told I look like I'm pissed off most of the time. I really don't think too many people want to mess with a pissed off, tall, fat woman.
    Hell, I had a 4-WD drive truck for a while that said "BITCH GODDESS" across the hood. It's my attitude that keeps people from messing with me too much, in person. Online, I can't retaliate with anything but words, so mostly I don't even bother anymore. It's not worth my time and effort to put down a douchebag that thinks s/he knows it all when it comes to health and size, especially when I don't know them, and will never know them.


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