Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pushing the Limits

I know a lot of people who do extreme sports and activities. This is Alaska, after all. Paragliding, big backcountry skiing and snowboarding, ice climbing. I don't do any of that shit. I hike and I ski and I love being outside, but I'm way too much of a wimp to get my pilot's license or take an avalanche class or jump off Mt. Roberts on a piece of canvas.

I'm fascinated, though, by all my friends who do this stuff. It seems SO SCARY to me. And the most interesting thing is that they all describe the exact same feeling: the adrenaline rush, the adventure, the sense of pushing a boundary. The focus it takes to get wherever they are trying to go. The ever-present specter of consequences.

That's sort of how I feel about writing and speaking my mind and "living my truth" or whatever. It's like I've new-agedly "set an intention" to be unapologetically and very publicly myself in the hopes that I reach people and open new perspectives for myself and others. You can call it over-sharing, but I just call it my hobby and overall it's very rewarding.

I understand that this particular hobby comes with risks. In the four years I've been writing O.H.M., many people--mostly men and older women--have given me a ton of unsolicited advice about what I should do and say on here. It's all cloaked in benevolent concern, but it feels like repression and accusation to me--with the implicit/explicit message that I should be embarrassed and afraid.

I should curse less. I should have ads. I shouldn't talk about vibrators. I shouldn't have my face in my profile. I should worry about being too frank. I should worry about my kids (I don't write about my kids as much anymore, and never without their permission). I should worry about my job. I should change this or do that or the other thing. And it's all sort of in service of this vaguely patriarchal concept that overall I should be less. I should chill, because I am "too much," and "too much" is dangerous. That I should say less and say it more quietly and safely, and be less salty and aggressive or something, and I guess I just don't want to do that.

My poor mom. 

I let her come to her grandkids' parent-teacher conferences when she was visiting last week and she was amazed. "I never got a good report like that about you," she said. "I dreaded parent-teacher conferences. Elizabeth went to the principal's office. Elizabeth fell out of her chair again. Elizabeth talked in class. Elizabeth spoke out of turn. Elizabeth is distracting the other students. Elizabeth fell out of her chair again."

She said the chair thing twice, because I guess I fell out of my chair a lot. And someone was always telling me to get back in it. And I guess now that I'm an adult, I'm just gonna sit back and fall over in my chair every day on the internet, because I fucking feel like it and no one can stop me. 

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