Skepticism is my natural inclination, my snap-judgement dial glued to the default: doubt. You may think I’ve developed this slightly pragmatic, partially dubious character over time, but I’m quite sure I was born this way. I began speaking at nine months, and by a year, I “spoke in full sentences,” according to my mother. I must have received a shitload of applause for my precocious communication skills because early on I developed a propensity to say exactly what I thought and expected those around me to awe at my spoken word and high five me. In retrospect, I didn’t spend much time pondering the appropriateness of what I would say, nor whether what I said would make someone uncomfortable.
Somewhere around 35, towards the end of my stint in the corporate world, my husband kindly pointed out occasionally I may say something and it may not come out the way I had intended. I was shocked! As much as I mouth off, and may not pay attention to the frequency to which the F-bomb appears in my sentences, my intentions were pure. I wanted to either entertain, self-deprecate (read: insecurity), or offer up unwarranted, but often funny and useful advice. In fact, one of my core values was to only pontificate on things I am truly passionate and knowledgeable about (early bedtimes for kids; sleeping naked; good nutrition; weed is better than booze).
I gave my speaking behavior some consideration Maybe I could consider slowing down before speaking, giving it a split second or two to THINK BEFORE I SPEAK. I made a concerted effort to slow down the words as they spit-fired out of my mouth. I considered a filter to make my words more eloquent. I could refine my ways. But instead, I just got quieter because everything I thought of saying now seemed like it could offend someone. I didn’t enjoy walking on eggshells. Plenty of people who know me must be thinking, “when was, this time, she bit her tongue?” But I tried, seriously!
By 40 (just last year), I felt liberated. Pussyfooting around for a few years, making myself more
“appropriate” felt phony. I felt like a neutered prude, discussing the weather because all other topics seemed too risky. Pretty soon I realized ballsy people persist with the not giving a fuck attitude, spewing insulting jokes a la Kathy Griffin and getting guffaws in response. Those people live true to themselves. Upon turning 40 I bestowed upon myself the power to precursor every phrase with, “I’m 40 years old, I’m entitled to say…” or “I’m 40 years old, I don’t care what they think…”I made a vow to carry on not giving a crap and living it out loud being me.
I followed John Lennon’s motto, “You have to be a bastard to make it, and that’s a fact. And the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth.” Only I’m not a bastard, I’m honest. If I tell you your hair looks great, I especially mean it. If you ask me about your new shirt and I said, “Not my taste,” I mean I hate it. You never have to wonder if I like you or not because I don’t hide it. I either love you or you’re dead to me and I make it clear.
I have a difficult time dealing with pleasant, polite people. The ones who smile at me and say, “good to see you” and write lovely public messages on their Facebook page to get the checkmark for doing so. Sometimes family could be painfully fake. A false sense of obligation and a lifetime of tangled resentment spreading generations and now you’re exchanging pleasantries to each other’s face, but going home and spreading nasty talk about them to everyone else you know. Cliche warning: life is too short for that.
Life is too short to spend with people who aren’t truthful with you – or with themselves. I count on my gut instincts when I meet someone. Not to brag, but I have rarely been wrong about reading a person. You can smell a bullshitter and it takes one to know one, I guess.
I’ve been accused of being a bullshitter; I flat out have admitted to lying regularly. I prospered in a career in account management, which literally says “bullshit artist” if you were to google it on the truth Internet.
I have often thought of myself as one of those flavors you have to develop an acquired taste for, but the truth of the matter is, I am a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) girl. You’ll either love me or hate me pretty soon after meeting me.