OK, so I’m about 40 years late to the Nora Ephron train, but that woman was spectacular.
Her favorite saying, and the documentary of her life, is “Everything is Copy”.
She posited that if you slip on a banana the world laughs at you and you are a victim, but, if you tell the story of yourself slipping on the banana you then become the hero of the story.
Which is what she did when her marriages failed.
She was a remarkable woman.
How do I learn from this?
What stories in my life am I playing the victim? How do I tell those stories to become the hero?
I feel that talking about my abuse has empowered me. I’m not the hero yet. But add this to the other things I’ve learned and I’m on my way.
Another thing I’ve learned this week is that people can only hurt you once. After that, it’s you allowing them. Let’s say someone were to call me ugly. Ha ha right? I’m beautiful, and that wouldn’t hurt me, but there are definitely other soft spots for me. But let’s just say that they did, and it hurt me.
How do I deal with that?
First, is it true? Am I ugly. This is an easy one for me. No. Moving on.
But that’s not how it usually works. How it usually works is that someone calls you ugly and you start obsessing over it. It’s probably my nose, I’ve always hated it. Or maybe it’s my eyes, or my hair color or style or the fact that I’m fat. Three days later you’re in the plastic surgeons office getting a consult and guess what? They’ve moved on. They have literally given it zero more thought. The only thing they did was pass the bully baton to you and you in turn took it and beat yourself senseless with it.
So, no longer will I accept the bully baton.
How am I going to go about doing this? Brainstorming here, as there are no best practices in place yet.
My first question for fears and hurts is always, “Is this true?” This practice came to me almost six years ago and it literally shifted my entire life. I realized my biggest fear was a big fat lie. Not saying that I’m perfect, but when I do apply it, it always helps.
So, what should my second question be? Let’s say it is true, or that maybe I’m not sure if it’s true. Let’s say I’m not confident in my looks, “Is it true that I’m ugly?” Hmmmm? I’m not sure.
The anti bully thing to do would be to turn that around and ask them. You’ll recall from my earlier scenario that I went and spent days obsessing about WHY did he say I’m ugly? Is it my hair, my nose, my eyes, my chin(s)? I think it would be great to be able to ask someone who just told me that I’m ugly why they thought so. “What exactly is it that you find ugly about me?”
Well, if that doesn’t shut them up, maybe they’ll tell you. How’s that for turning an embarrassing slip on the proverbial banana peel into you becoming the hero of the story?
So, from now on, in addition to asking “Is it true?” I’m going to seek more details. Maybe it will be like when a guy once told me I had ugly feet. I wasn’t sure why he’d say that, so I asked. He didn’t like the lack of pedicure, which I grew up in Wyoming, my feet were in snow boots 300 days a year. Now, my friend (whose former husband had a foot thing) tells me I have stupidly sexy feet. Problem solved.
I can’t claim to be the hero of that story though. I wasn’t asking why he thought my feet were nasty for my own benefit, I was asking so I could make him like me more. Maybe the ends justify the means, I don’t know. From now on, I’ll take it as a position of power and self knowledge.
So, “Is it true?” No. Then fuck off.
Maybe? Get more information. Maybe you can better yourself, maybe they are just trying to give you the bully baton and watch you beat yourself up over it. If the former, you’ve bettered yourself, if the latter, fuck off. As Brene’ Brown says, I will not negotiate my worth with you. I know who I am. I know the people who care about me. Those are the only opinions about me who matter to me. If you would like your opinion to matter of me, earn your way into my inner circle. Otherwise. Fuck off.