A friend sent me a tweet which read “when […] someone makes us uncomfortable and we choose to be polite instead of honest, all we’re doing is holding onto all that discomfort for ourselves when the other person SHOULD be uncomfortable.” (@clairewillett)
In near absolute agreement with this sentiment, I’d only add two caveats – that in order to do this, we have to simultaneously learn how to sit in the discomfort of doing it, and for those who identify as women, creating spaces of discomfort for (primarily, but not always, because sometimes a Karen will call the cops) men has often landed us at the hands of violence, if not death.
But yes, generally, being polite while another is a dipshit is the primary space which little girls are often taught to occupy. Is the tide turning? Time will tell. I am blessed in that my family is composite of broads who take no shit. And in the event that one of us might be asked to do so, the rest of us step in to make certain that Absolutely Fucking Not.
As I get older, and certainly during the last two years, my tolerance for taking any shit has diminished but none more notably than over the last eight months. Events of last summer, about which I have not yet written, forced a rebuild; lessons and reassembly from which had set me up for an equally obnoxious recent situation. How did it set me up? It gave me the strength and unshakable resolve to GTFO at the very hint of the shit, about to dip.
Was I uncomfortable? No, but only because I have – after years of holding the mirror up to the bad behaviours of others – learned that it is not my responsibility to feel bad in spaces where others are shitting, and I’m merely HEY HI WHY DID YOU TAKE A POOP HERE? And this time, truth told, I moved so quickly that I didn’t give myself the room to consider any potential discomfort. My body said GO, and I nearly threw myself through a window doing just that, to get outside, into the fresh air, and away.
Eight months ago, I would have eventually done the same but I would have prolonged it. I would have worried, hemmed and hawed about how I might be perceived, or if I was being polite, and behaving with grace, because I was anchored on hope and didn’t wish to weigh anchor just yet.
And let me tell you, my loves – that drive and wish to love and be loved, if not measured, disciplined, and built on a foundation of concrete awareness that we are absolutely more than satiated and first-class alone, it will make prey of our hearts, and this world, it is full of carnivores whose only interest is the taste of metal on their tongues.
So where does that leave us? Recognizing that it’s not a natural state to occupy, and it shouldn’t be (because I just wish that people would behave only with integrity, but then we’d not have Free Will), but it is most certainly a necessary one, most especially for anyone identifying as a woman. Whether nature or nurture, it doesn’t matter, but Ummah, do remember that our Prophet, Light upon him, during his last sermon asked men to take care with women, but he did not ask women to take care of men, because men (not women) are the dipshits who need the reminder. Take of that what you need.
Here’s the good news – the feeling of discomfort shifts. It never becomes entirely comfortable, but it becomes less uncomfortable with every new episode of HEY HI WHY DID YOU TAKE A POOP HERE?
Here’s the even better news – even if the feeling of discomfort never shifts, that’s okay too, and you will be alright. Because again, you are not the shit who is dipping.
Now. This is also not something you should do with every individual and at every opportunity, because this is a form of emotional labour which you’re not responsible for undertaking on behalf of the world, but rather only when the discomfort of so doing is less uncomfortable than the discomfort of the situation in which you find yourself.
Not to mention that, honestly, some people to whom you might hold a mirror don’t deserve the space to improve their behavior because of your emotional labour. I would even go so far as to say Let them stew in the dip of their shit.
The upside to all of this is that you will develop a reputation for being someone who doesn’t take or allow for shit in their lives. People see it on you immediately. Because there is strength in standing firm against the bad behaviours of others. This, absolutely invaluable, because your greatest advocate and protector (by His Grace alone) will always be yourself before anyone else. And with time, people who are like you will be drawn to you, and the ones on a different path than your own? They are quick to bounce, with enough awareness to do so with tails between their legs.
BECAUSE WHEN A SHIT IS DIPPING, THEY KNOW THAT THEY ARE DIPSHITS. The surprise isn’t that they’re dipshits, but rather it’s that you’re calling them out and not standing for it. Why? Full circle moment! Because, as the original tweet correctly points out, many people are not comfortable calling out the bad behaviours of others, and so the bad behaviours stand and the longer they stand, the worse they become. Bad behaviours, like lying, are muscles. The more one exercises them, the more likely they are to become the default muscle taking over other behaviours. Which is why you must now send this article to all friends so that we might collectively form global No Shits Allowed To Dip zones, please and thank you.
Final notes here. First, you will always get more flies with honey. To stand up for yourself, to advocate for yourself in the face of any kind of situation which attempts to erode who you are, does not need to amount to rudeness. This is advice offered equally to you, and myself, because I am still learning to temper my tongue and may never in fact finally sort that out; when I let loose, I am absolutely devastating, and a thing I always regret.
Second, that above advice is only for you, because when you call out the shit of a dip, they will of course call you rude (and this word might be the gentlest of things they volley) – between gaslighting and defensiveness, anyone facing you will call you rude, but your place is to focus on your own good behaviour, and what treatment you allow and expect to be shown.
Finally, and always, remember that you deserve better, and are worthy of more.
Image courtesy of The Philosophical Salon.