I’m a private person. Maybe that means that I shouldn’t be writing for a website like xoJane, but I’d like to think I do a good job of letting you, the readers, into my life, without compromising my beliefs, integrity, or privacy.
As you’ve seen, there are many personal things I do write about, but there are also a lot of things about me I won’t to get into here. My reasons for that are complicated, of course, but one of them is that I don’t believe I should have to share incredibly personal details in order to prove a point.
In addition, I hesitate to use my own experiences to try to sway you or get you “on my side.” And believe me, with some of the more controversial things I’ve written about, I could have done that. But it’s just not me.
(I want to say, before I go any further, that what I love and respect about this site is the willingness of so many women to open up and share personal details and stories as a way to educate and spark dialogue. I think I also do that and that it wouldn’t make sense for me to be a part of this community if I didn’t, but I am, undoubtedly, more reserved than others.)
That being said, I’m about to over-share. Or over-share for me anyway. So here goes:
Things in my life have been incredibly difficult lately. It doesn’t matter what, how or why, but please do know that admitting that to you, a group of mostly strangers (some of whom I consider friends despite never having met and others who have made it abundantly clear they can’t stand a thing about me), is a big deal. (Yay therapy!)
For whatever reason, I’ve never been OK with discussing my personal problems with even my closest friends; it feels selfish, indulgent, and narcissistic to me. So you can imagine how hard it is to share that information with you.
Usually, when I have something in my life that is difficult/upsetting/trying, I work to give it the attention it needs. But I also strive to find balance. Which is one of the reasons why my hobbies and passions are so important to me. Work can be a nightmare, but who cares if the 49ers are in the playoffs? My family can be in turmoil, but what better way to put that aside for a bit than to snowboard in three feet of powder?
Unfortunately for me, the NFL season is over and there’s no snow in Tahoe. Which means: the issues in my life? They are there all day every day. There’s no running. There’s no hiding. There’s definitely no snowboarding. There’s just life in its ugliest and most taxing form.
That being said, I’m still responsible for being an accountable adult at work and everywhere else. Sure, I’m so distracted I shouldn’t be driving, but that excuse isn’t going to fly when a police officer pulls me over for accidentally blowing through yet another stop sign. And yes, I know why I sent a client a document with seven obvious typos, but it’s not as though I can send him an email saying, “Oopsie! Having a lot of *feelings* today. So distracting!” I’m a grownup. So I have to fucking act like one.
Which is why when my scheduled interview with Tucker Max came up a few days ago, I made the phone call and did the interview. Look: I’m absolutely in no way, shape, or form apologizing for that interview. I stand by every single word I wrote and my decision to interview him in the first place. I understand that a lot of you wish I’d delved deeper, but honestly, I thought I had a format to follow, so in my “just trying to survive” daze, it didn’t even occur to me to do so. Perhaps I’ll ask him some of your questions at a later point in time, but given the parameters of what I pitched to and was approved by my editors (“Same 5 Questions” with an intro about my relationship with Tucker), I felt I’d fulfilled my obligation.
Keeping that in mind, just know that while I’m usually in a good enough place to publish things that I know might piss some people off, I was not necessarily in that place in this instance. Of course, it doesn’t matter what my emotional state was because publishing the pieces I pitch/write is my job. If I don’t file a post because I’m feeling sensitive, I’m not just letting myself down, I’m letting Jane and Emily and everyone else down. Which is not who I am or who I ever want to be.
That being said, just imagine that you interview someone. And you go to bed. And when you wake up the next morning, you check the website you write for and there are already tons of comments expressing outrage. Comments from readers saying how disappointed they are. Or comments from your boss saying she had to restrain herself from speaking out. You’re not even out of bed and somehow your day has already gone to shit.
And then you remember that your actual life is already there.
My brother and I have a joke for when people whine. We channel Henrietta Pussycatt from “Mister Rogers” and say “Meow meow meow meow meow” with our eyebrows furrowed and a face of sadness. If my brother is reading this, surely he is doing this now. Because, seriously people? I don’t do this. I don’t whine about commenters or how my life is hard or how I’m super fucking sad. I just don’t.
But in therapy today, after I grabbed the box of tissues and told my shrink that today was going to finally be the day when I found out of my waterproof make-up was actually waterproof, I tried to explain to him what was upsetting me. And after I told him all of the real stuff, the big stuff, the life-changing stuff? I looked at him and I said:
“And someone on xoJane said all I care about is being part of the boys club and that I throw women under the bus…”
He nodded, listening.
“And it’s not that one person said that because, fine, I get that and I don’t care what one random person thinks. But…
THIRTY-ONE people “liked” it!!!!!!!!"
And then I cried. Like... A lot.
I hate to defend myself because I should just not care, but ugh. I need you to know: I do not live my life in an effot to be a part of some boys' club. (Have you smelled boys? Seriously... I smell like cookies and perfume; they smell like balls.)
I’m sorry if you think the fact that I love a few sports’ teams or that I defended twoathletes on the premise that I believe people shouldn’t be judged according to the masses means I’m desperate for male approval. But I love football and believe those things because that’s who I am. There are dudes who find me funny because of my outlook on life, but there are just as many women who do the same. Sure, I don’t always conform to the typical female identity, but mostly? I’m as girlie as it gets. Have you HEARD my voice? Plus, let’s be real. I live in SF and hang out with nerds. None of my guy friends even know what an onside kick is. Seriously.
Now that I’ve calmed down and gotten my feelings out (I feel better already), I can’t believe I let one silly comment (and 31 “Likes”) get to me. It’s very unlike me, but I was feeling vulnerable and, well, it hurts to be so incredibly misunderstood on a website where I work hard to share all facets of my personality.
Tucker would tell me (did tell me) not to read the comments. That it doesn’t matter what you guys think or say. That I can’t let myself get caught up in identity politics. That as long as I know who I am and what I’m about, it doesn’t matter.
I’ll be honest: There are times I don’t read the comments. It’s not worth the stress/anger/anguish. But mostly, I try to read them because I think you deserve that. And that it’s sort of part of an unspoken “deal” we have on this site.
That is: You took the time to read my piece (although not everyone does, which is also obvious), so I should check out what you have to say. I’ve been doing that for 10 months. But I think going forward? I might be do less of it.
It’s too upsetting to read comments that accuse me of lying about a morning picture or that assume because I count Tucker Max as a friend, I throw all women under the bus. Because neither is true. And anyone who knows the REAL me understands that. So maybe, for a little while, I should only listen to those friends. Maybe for a while, I need to take care of me.
Normally, if I were going through the insanity in my life that I currently am, I would distract myself with football, snowboarding or a weekend in the woods. Unfortunately, right now, none of those things are an option. So tonight, instead of festering in an unhealthy amount of depression, I wrote this post. It’s honest. It’s unedited. It’s real.
You might not like it. I guarantee a bunch of you won’t. But I guess the one thing I CAN control at this point is whether or not I ever find that out. At a healthier point in my life, I would read the hate and know that it doesn’t matter because I am a sensitive, funny and loving friend/sister/daughter. In theory, I know that right now, but with everything that’s going on, it’s just a little harder to remember.
You can kick. You can bite. You can insult. And, by all means, do it. I would like to encourage you to treat me with respect and decency and to remember that, just like you, I sometimes wake up in the morning with a knot in my stomach that’s so big and tight, I don’t possible know how I’ll get through the day. But if you just want to offend my entire being by accusing me of living my life to please men at the expense of females, go ahead and do it.
Just know that there’s a good chance I’ll never read a single word you say.
Taking care of me.
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