The Asshole Credo

There used to be a time* when I trusted other people's perceptions of myself more than I trusted my own. If someone said something negative I believed in it. Like they had secretly scored a front row seat to the "Tanya is an asshole and let me tell you why" production my brain put on every night when my head hit the pillow. And the anxiety of being "found out" racked me daily. So when it was confirmed by a cruel remark, real or perceived, there was both a sense of relief and shame.

Which really sucks because then you end up paying far too much attention to the people in your life that are more likely to say something negative to you or about you. Cause what if you missed it? What if they nailed some awful part of you to the wall and you weren't at the show? So what happens is the great people in your life, the ones that know your bad and your good and still manage to think you are mostly pretty awesome, go to the back of the line. "Shhhh, I can't listen to why you like me right now I'm too busy waiting for this other person to tell me I'm an asshole again."

Then I gained the fantastically useful knowledge that every ones perceptions of each other are ultimately skewed by their own crap. Are they in pain? Lonely? Angry? Or maybe they are really just an asshole? Don't know. But it means that you are not their only influence. So now I do my best to acknowledge that it makes me sad if I hear something negative, or that I wish they felt differently, and then to trust in what I know to be true.

The other good trick I have learned is how vital it is to be honest with yourself and the people in your life. When you buy into the idea that you are never quite good enough it's so easy to slip into the hustle. You know which hustle I mean. The one where you don't stand up for yourself, or your needs because you don't deserve it. Cause you are an asshole. So instead you lie about how you feel, or sublimate what you need in order to avoid having the other people in your life be disappointed in you. But you still have those needs so you direct them towards things that are maybe not so healthy. Like eating an entire pint of ice cream or watching circus porn or whatever the hell your vice is. And it's fucking exhausting. And in the end it just makes you feel like more of an asshole for lying to the people in your life.

So that's what I know. I guess you could sum it all up with this asshole credo:

Try hard not to be an asshole. Admit when you are an asshole. Accept that other people might think you are an asshole because of their own issues. Trust in who you know you are, even if that means admitting a tiny part of you will always be an asshole.** And be brave enough not to lie to the people in your life about what you need even if it makes you seem like an asshole.

*By "there used to be a time" I mean "just this past week".

**Not you. I'm sure you are not an asshole.


Amie aka MammaLoves said...

Wow! Just wow! and Yes! and scary!

Chibi said...

"And it's fucking exhausting. And in the end it just makes you feel like more of an asshole for lying to the people in your life."

Afuckingmen. Love this post, lady! :)

Karen Sugarpants said...

I LOVE this. I LOOOOOOVE THIS. So much. I've been living this way for some time but haven't been able to put it into words. So fucking smart, lady. xoxoxox

Mighty Hunter said...

Well done.

Mom O Matic said...

Mamaloves - Thanks gorgeous.

Chibi - Thank you! I think I like it too!

Karen - Missing you! Thanks for coming by and I'm glad you love it, get it. :)

Mighty - Much obliged.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Bravo, my friend.

areyoukiddingme said...

I guess the benefit of having 3 older and very annoying sisters is that you learn early that people will say stuff to you in order to make you feel bad because they find it entertaining.

It makes me sad that someone as obviously clever and entertaining as you are would believe bad things that people tell you about yourself. I hope that you can find the confidence to tell those who would bring you down to satisfy their own agenda that they are wrong...and sad.

Mom O Matic said...

Jenny - Thanks baby.

Areyou - You are so sweet, I love that you would totally have my back in a bar fight. But the bottom line is that I have to trust my own perceptions of myself and I have to make sure I'm living a life that doesn't undercut my ability to do so.

Katrina said...

Love, love, love it! By the way, you rock!

Miss Jess said...

I think a lot of women struggle with this, I know I do. I always seem to hold onto and remember the negative comments or opinions of others or even ones I feel towards myself. It would do us all some good to just be a little nicer to ourselves and to others. We all have our asshole moments, but it takes true courage to admit when you're wrong, forgive others when needed, and more importantly forgive ourselves. In case you didn't already realize, you're pretty freaking wonderful. Hold onto that truth my friend.

Jules said...

I had that realization AGAIN this morning. I keep wondering when I'll stop being an asshole.... But I try. Sigh.

Heather said...

Here's my credo: "what other people think of me is none of my business".

I have to repeat that to myself whenever I start doing stupid stuff so other people will like me -people I don't really even like all that much.

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

Love this.

Amy Kate said...

At 2 months shy of 35, I am overcome with shame when I realize that I will not call people (Um, spouse? Best friend's little brother that I've known for 20 years? In law? Cousin?) out on bullshit they pull simply because of my insane fear that they will pull something out of their bag that will cut me to the bone and wreck me for days.
Call out my friend's brother for saying something dickish? Nope. What if he brings up something stupid I did when I was 14 years old and I feel foolish all over again?)
God I'm like a pressure cooker of repressed feelings.
I just pray my girls don't have any sort of hang up like this, but I fear I am somehow passing it along.

J.R. Reed said...

Word to your mother. This was straight up right on!

Mom O Matic said...

Miss Jess - Thank you babes.

Julies - ;)

Heather - I like that motto!

Amiee - Thanks!

Amy - I know what you mean. But you know what there are times to stand up to jerks. And there are times to turn your back to them and live your life and be happy. You get to decide which is better for you. And if it's telling them off, I totally got your back!

JR - High fives!

Anonymous said...

thank you for your honesty. it's tough...we all walk around with this inner turmoil and try to hide it and pretend we're perfect and strong and unaffected.

that too, is exhausting.

you're an amazing woman and that's why i come back to read your blog, time after time.

Stitch said...

I need to read this every day. For a long time. Until I can't forget it, and I stop hearing my biological father's speech at my step-brother's wedding where he said the new bride was "like the daughter they never had."

Mom O Matic said...

Anon - Every time I get an anon comment I feel like I need to clarify that I did not write it to myself man! But seriously, thank you so much that was a really sweet thing you said. Pretending is not fun, and that's why great friends are so awesome. The ones you can stop pretending around and just rest.

Stitch - That is awful! I would have chucked a dyed shoe at his head. Well I woudn't have, but I would have fantasized about if for years afterwards.

Stitch said...

It's years later... and I have been fantasizing about it. Of course in my fantasy (instead of excusing myself to bathroom and crying) I keep my shoes on, stand up and loudly say something clever like "I thought I was the daughter you DID have. Is there something I need to know?!"

Mom O Matic said...

Stitch - We never say what we wish we could in the moment. But you know what? It wouldn't matter if we did. People are gonna do what they are gonna do. Think what they are gonna think. It's not like the movies where if you get the words right, speak the truth in the perfect way everything will fall into place.

Try and look at other people that see you for how awesome you are and let that be your reflection. Easier said than done I know believe me!