“Well, I could never do that!”
Apply the above phrase to any hot button issue, and you’ve got a conversation I’ve unfortunately been subjected to too many times to count.
It doesn’t matter if it’s related to parenting issues, choice of profession, sex, friendships, tattoos, choice of underwear (sadly, I’m not joking about this one), politics, gun control issues, religion, body art, piercings, education, art, food choices… Name it, everyone has an opinion on what choices you make in your life.
Unless you’ve asked for their opinion, the true mistake everyone makes is thinking they have a right to weigh in on any one given issue. And this is a mistake I myself make, the most recent of which was me stating angrily, “I could never be with a person who’d tell me to give up a life long friend.”
But the reality is, unless these decisions are impacting other people in a negative manner, they need to shut the fuck up (and truly, the above example? It impacted me, because the person I made the comment to was guilty of letting his significant other control his friendships, and my friend chose to remove several long standing friendships in his life to please someone he’d been dating for a short few months).
But the reality is that at thirty~nine years old I’m tired of the peanut gallery weighing in on choices I make in my life that don’t affect them in any way, shape or form. The truth is, there are only three people that get a say in my life outside of myself, and those are my children, and they only get a say when it affects their life in a manner that’s harmful to them. And my children are my top priority. Every major decision I make in my life is related to what’s best for them: choice of profession, place to live, the car I drive, the food I prepare for dinner.
“I could never vote _______.” “I could never give my child formula!” “I could never date someone who ____.” “I could never give up meat, that’s just stupid.” “I would never get a tattoo.” “I would never publish erotica under my real name.” “I’d never dye my hair those colors, I’m a mother for god’s sake!” “How can you own a gun? You’re a terrorist!” “How can you believe in God?” “How can you work when you’ve got small children at home, think of what that’s going to do to them!”
Good for you. You don’t have to.
The fact is this: My life is my own. The decisions I make are my decisions, and I am the one that will have to face any consequences, good or bad, that result from the decisions I make.
I recently was the target of ire from a size two surgically altered blonde with orange spray tan skin who made the mistake of commenting on the fact that at my size, I should be more careful about how much I eat. To which I responded by congratulating her on buying in to a bullshit ideal about what real beauty is. Later that evening I recounted the story to a friend and when I asked them why on earth I was the target of her bitch gun, they responded that it wasn’t that I was eating, it was that I caused them to question their own choices of giving up their comfort and happiness to be what society says is correct.
And I no longer care. I no longer care if you have a problem with the decisions I make in my life, because they’re not related to you. Our ego driven society has caused a damn shock wave of people believing their opinions hold any weight, when they do not. And I have to wonder about those who feel the need to weigh in on things that they have no business weighing in on: Do they really think their opinion on religion, politics, tattoos, hair color, career, parenting, food, gun control has any weight on the choices I make for myself? Does the group of size 2 women who all look the same in the bar I’m at with friends think I’m going to stop eating real food because they shoot me dirty looks and call me fat in a just loud enough to hear whisper when I walk by to the bathroom? Does someone I only know through Facebook think I’m going to stop carrying a gun because they don’t believe in gun ownership? Does a Stay At Home Mom think that telling me I’m wrong for returning to work (despite my reasons) is going to be reason enough for me to stop working and return to only being at home with my children? Does my friend telling me they really don’t like tattoos really think that’s going to sway my mind on decorating my body as I see fit, the body that’s mine? And does my ultra religious and ultra conservative family member truly believe that attempting to shame me for writing a genre of fiction that has sex in it is going to make me yank those books off the shelf and never again write about the carnal arts?
Give me a fucking break.
I am who I am. Whether or not the decisions I make for my life are ones that you yourself would make in yours makes no difference. I can guarantee that I won’t always agree with you on the choices you make in yours. If you’re at risk of hurting yourself badly, whether emotionally or physically, I’ll speak up, and I’d expect the same from you. But until then? Keep your fucking mouth shut about the choices I’ve made in mine unless I’ve asked you to weigh in.
“I could never do that.”
Good. Don’t do that.
But don’t judge me if I do.