Friday, October 22, 2010

Don’t Bring Me Down!

Deb: Recently a friend was talking about an aspect of her appearance that she hated, lamenting about it. I said that I didn’t agree as I thought she was lovely, which is true. She then said––referring to said appearance-challenge––that I should know what she means given that we share the same atrocity. 

Well, I don’t mind telling you that it bummed me out for a month. A full fucking calendar month … of a 31-dayer! Firstly, it bummed me because I DO NOT SHARE THIS ATROCITY WITH HER! And secondly because ... SHUT UP. Don’t suck me into your whirlpool of despair!

A few weeks later another friend was talking about one of our dear friends and her considerable talents. She said (referring to her own perceived lesser talent) that just like US (she and I), she was just not up to snuff in this particular talent-arena. This bummed me because number one, I DO NOT SHARE THIS LACK OF TALENT, and number two ... SHUT UP. Don’t suck me into your whirlpool of insecurity.

Misery adores company to be sure, but if you have issues, they are your issues. Attaching me to them won’t make your problems go away! All they will serve to do is either make me feel badly about myself or make me resent you for your lack of tact.

Oscar Wilde said, “It is not enough merely to succeed, my friends must also fail.” I do NOT subscribe to this theory. I cheer my friends. I support my friends. I talk my friends up! I network and name-drop my talented friends and try to work with them whenever I can. In fairness, my enemies can fail. Don’t care really. But ... it always pisses me off when I am sucked into the black hole of jealousy and insecurity that I didn’t sign up for!

So talk me up or leave me out. But as the song says, “Don’t bring me down. No, no, no. Don’t bring me down”!

Barbara: God yes, Deb! I have a loud enough inner-voice that has no problem pointing out all my ineptitudes, weaknesses, foibles, and failures. I don’t need a well-meaning friend to add to the chorus. Especially a “well-meaning friend”!

It’s like the pea in the princess’s bed. After you walk miles in the rain and finally collapse in relief atop a tower of feather-soft mattresses, there it is: the godforsaken pea. The test, the irritant, the destroyer of everything fought so hard for and preciously gained. And now your sweet sleep of self-esteem is totally screwed. 

We’ve been everything from “gossips” to “highly competitive” to “crazy spenders” (and a gamut in between). And sorry, but NONE of these things describes me either. Unless we’re talking about Scrabble with my sisters in the middle of a designer sample sale. Wait, what were we talking about?

Anyway, Deb, you and me and the readers of this blog and a bunch of other people, we’re totally awesome.


  1. I have never heard this "pea in the princess's bed" analogy before. How charming. I have peed in a princess's bed, but that's private.

    My inner critic needs a permanent holiday. To someone else's brain. I would like an iCritic app you can turn to "permanent praise". Yes please.

  2. With friends like this who needs enemies. F... them.

  3. Seriously. What kind of friend says things like that?? I'm with Madgew on this one. - Anne

  4. You know the thing that intrigues me is that we women still, so many miles along the road, can be undone, even if only mildly, by this kind of critical chatter. I offer this observation not as judgment but more as a question? How, given we have forged careers, raised children and nurtured all kinds of significant relationships, is it that we don't just instantly dismiss these slights for what they are...meaningless gibberish offered by the truly thoughtless. Most-gracious-person-I-know Deb, you would have to be demoted to become awesome. Barb, the same can be said for lovely you. I'm not saying you both don't have flaws, I'm just saying I ain't never seen 'em!

  5. ARGH! What nastiness! What kind of friend serves up a heaping platter of mindfuck?

    And, as garedican pointed out, why do we then allow ourselves to sit down to it with a big spoon?

    Do you want friends who splatter you when they are vomitting up their insecurities and misery or friends who sprinkle you with the glitter of affirmation and sisterhood?

    And, for the record, Deb and Barbara, y'all're covered in glitter, lavender blossoms, silk scarves in jeweltones, and small, shimmering glass prisms. And, through this blog, y'all sprinkle us with your glitter, waft the scent of your lavender over us, drape your scarves over us sliding the soothing cool silk along our skin, and make rainbows dance all over us.

  6. Woo-hoo, you all are a great balm for the ego bruises! (especially the story of The M.J. and the pee)

    I wholeheartedly embrace the question: why do we allow ourselves to absorb this kind of comment? We seem hardwired for it. Funny how it's so much harder to brush off a few words when they come in the form of a lighthearted "we're both so crap at that" from a trusted ally. Pshaw!

    We. Must. Re-wire.

  7. Love this blog. It's one thing to complain about your shortcomings and fret over it, it's another to bring someone down there with you. I would NEVER say anything like that to someone I considered a friend.

    You just have to believe in yourself and know your talents and ignore everyone. :)

  8. Yes indeedy. How about the time my friend said to me, "I'm so fussy about my teeth, I could never live with that crooked front one you have." Holy Hanna, until then I'd never realized it was crooked! Now I notice it all the time.
    Damn her hide.
    Oh, I hear you, ladies.
    Course, the same friend, who is tall, gave me a backhanded compliment when she said "I didn't think short people like you could have such perfectly proportioned bodies." This almost cancelled out her previous pronouncement. Almost.
    Because still, I think of that positive statement far less often than the one about my tooth F's me up.

  9. And don't even get me started on the things men say, thinking they are complimenting us.
    My former husband: I love your big, meaty ass!

  10. "But sweetie, bubble butts drive me nuts."

    I don't comment on pimples that don't go away, either. It so hard to alwayz be smooth. Love ya both.

  11. Great song, Walter! And, no, no comments on pimples, please. We KNOW they're there. Love you too!

    Kate, that's the one that gets me: when someone points something out about you that you'd never even considered! Argh. Add it to the list. (although I'm sure your ass is very lovable)

    Megan, you are so right. Words to live by.

  12. As always, everyone is MORE than supportive. I hated to sound like a whiny baby on this one. But it really always WTF's me! And honestly I do try to say let it go, it isn't you it's them and all that wonderful affirmative stuff. Till I find myself at 3am going WTF!!! Yes I should be past it. My cross to bear is that I come off as a very very confident person...but ahhh, yeah.

  13. It sucks when people try to point out others faults and insecurities. Some times I think it's just better to just let it go in one ear and out the other. As long as you know what your strentghts and weaknesses are that is all that counts. Don't let some one rain on your parade,it's not worth it. At All.

  14. Deb-I LOVE YOU FOR THIS! Holy SHEESH-what do these insecure people need company for!? I think among my (no longer frequented) band of high school friends, it was the friend with the SMALLER THAN MINE butt complaining about her butt... Look, yeah--I am aware my butt is bigger, so do you KNOW how rude it is to complain about yours?

    I think it is one of the things I can love so much about writing. There are so many different WAYS that there doesn't have to be a 'better or worse'--there can be a 'farther in process' or a 'different style' or a 'different genre' but every single voice gets to be different, and every reader out there has a subjective opinion on the matter, so we each get to appeal to some, and that doesn't take away one speck from anybody else.

  15. As I age (62 in a week) I finally realized I don't want "friends" who aren't joyful, soulful and expressive (with positives). I have no more time to play games or worry about what people think about me. I love me and it has taken me years to feel this way so I say f... the ones who are cutting, mean or downright jealous. Enough.

  16. Tag-team blogging, huh? - cool!

  17. Excellent observation, Hart -- "different" ways is a beautiful way to get above it.

    Happy birthday, Madge! And I'm glad your birthday can celebrate the kind of wisdom and light we all aspire to.

    Nick -- tag-team, yes. You're it ;)

  18. I'm with Barb on this one. I am my own worst critic. I know all my faults real or imagined. So I don't need to hear them from a friend??? . I want to hear only the good, the bad and ugly I can handle myself.
    Deb I am also someone who can't seem to forget it. I obsess over it in the middle of the night. I am looking forward to the time Madge is talking about when I can say "F... you. Your own your own. I am awesome and all the important people know it." Ah, is that too mean of me???

  19. deb, nice blog except you and I have the same little problem when we blog.

    Ok, I don't; just you.

    but seriously :) it is a great and worthy post and a good reminder.

    Was it Gore Vidal who said, "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little?" Women should be an angel collective and each time a friend succeeds, the friend cheering the loudest for her, unadulteratedly, grows wings.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.