I’ve had a year blessedly full of work, but that volume has caused me to let my own blog mostly lie fallow. To make up for this, I’m going to try for a post for every day in December. About just about everything. Funny. Serious. Anything goes. Here is Day 15.
Recently I saw a conversation on Twitter, talking about people who focus on self-improvement. The upshot of which was “instead of being ashamed of that, notice that at least you, probably a female, are doing some work, unlike most men, and instead of being ashamed for having to do that work, we should be giving ourselves credit for doing that work.” It’s not a view I’d considered before.
It makes me feel better to think about how the effort is valuable and should be valued. And, also, reciprocated.
Let’s be clear here that I’m not tarring everyone with this brush. I know wonderful men who are thoughtful, personally and professionally supportive, deeply good human beings. Men who were proud that they were working on themselves in therapy. I am fortunate to know a lot of very good men.
But I have had enough conversations with married friends, who are aghast when I let them play on my Tinder, or I share a conversation, and they see what dating looks like. I can predict the conversation now. It usually ends with, “Wow. This is harder than I thought.”
That’s not because I’m so great. It isn’t because guys suck. It also isn’t a pity party because I am not married. (Though I do regret missing out on my fourth-grade crush. He was seriously cute with his 80s bowl haircut.)
I love my life and what I’ve been able to do. But having my friends realize that it’s not quite as easy as they thought feels helpful. I suppose it lessons my shame.
Everyone gets shamed for everything in these days of opinions, don’t they? If you spend a lot of time with your job or your passion then you’re selfish or spoiled; but if you don’t then you’re lazy. If you’re married you’re boring; if you’re divorced you failed; if you’re single you’re broken. No matter who you are, you’re wrong.
So, feeling okay can be important. Getting credit for the fact that life can be can feel important. And yes, it also helps to get credit not only from others, but also from myself. Imperfect as it is, I’m humbled every day that I get to live my life – but it’s also true that I work really fucking hard to live this life and to be this person. Perhaps that’s worth saying.