Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Power of Ignoring

Every time I ask my mom how she puts up with a particular annoyance in life, she always says, "I just ignore it!" That was her sage advice when I'd get teased on the school bus in first, second, third, fourth, and pretty much every other grade in school. There was one girl who would torture me mercilessly. This was back in the good old 1980's, when torturing and bullying kids on the school bus was just "kids being kids;" when children with special needs were "weird;" and when boys who tried out for the school play were "fags." Ah. Good times! Don't you miss those days?  

Anyway, this girl was a total bitch to me, and my mom suggested that I literally ignore her. I did, and it was amazingly effective at making her lose interest in teasing me. 

I've carried that lesson into my adult life, because ignoring stuff continues to be a powerful tool for cultivating inner peace. Related to my prior posts titled "Surrender," and "It's Not You, It's Me," the power of ignoring is, itself, a too-frequently-ignored tool in the life-coping tool box. Because we can't control other peoples' reactions to us, only our reactions to other people, it's very helpful to make "ignoring" one of those reactions.

For example: sometimes I take a little heat for the frankness of this blog, specifically from the occasional family member who might not necessarily think I need to say shit, fuck, or vagina. Because it's vulgar and not lady-like and improper to say shit or fuck or vagina. Because it's a VERY BIG SECRET that everyone with two X chromosomes has a vagina. And also, no parent EVER says shit or fuck or curses to themselves and sometimes out loud because raising kids is hard. Right? No, of course not. That's what I'm talking about. I basically ignore that sort of criticism. SHITFUCKSHITFUCKVAGINASHITFUCK. See? I just did it again.

Part of what makes this blog relatable, I think, is its voice. Specifically, its frankness and willingness to speak frankly about those things that, again, are really not that big a deal when you think about them for ten seconds, but that make people feel less alone when they read about them. (See also prior posts titled, Laughter is the Best Medicine (After Prozac)). No one likes to feel alone. Everyone likes to be alone sometimes, but no one likes to feel alone. And that's my goal with this blog: to help people feel less alone.

Believe me, I have a lot of boundaries here, even if it seems otherwise. It's just that none of those boundaries are arbitrary or based in artificial, antiquated notions of propriety. So I ignore other people's discomfort with that, because there are a lot of other solutions to it other than me changing. 

In short, I don't view other peoples' discomfort (with things that objectively don't matter) as my problem. And that's a good place to be. 

1 comment:

  1. I am so honored to call you my friend. It is scary how much I understand you!

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