I have this friend. Actually, she’s an acquaintance. For today’s installment of my musings, I am just gonna call her #thatbitch.
#thatbitch is a woman who, like myself, rejected the dominance of organized religion over her life, which is what compelled me to seek friendship with her, initially. In spite of the fact that she has abandoned the religious practice of her youth, #thatbitch has not rejected the need for security, and with no religious practice to provide such, she creates it on her own via attempting to govern others. Thus, she carries herself with confidence: she never questions her life choices, nor does she meticulously analyze her own solutions to the multitudinous predicaments of human existence. Further, #thatbitch perceives my own reflective and contemplative nature, my inwardness and aversion to conformity to be mortal flaws. I know this because, in spite of the fact that I am nearly a decade her senior, she attempts to establish herself as my intellectual and emotional coach, chiseling away my imperfections to make me more estimable, like herself.
As you might surmise, #thatbitch has all the answers to all the problems, and any expression of dissent is dismissed as absurd–even, ignorant. Both of us have experienced sexual trauma. #thatbitch, clawing onto her perceived strength, brags about how it has never affected her, and when I (in attempt to connect for the purpose of, I dunno, having a relationship?) recount the connections I have made between my past trauma and current challenges, she often cuts me off–mid sentence–to advise me to do yoga or meditate because those things have obviously solved all of her mental health issues. When I attempt to connect on the topic of our shared experiences parenting neurodiverse children, #thatbitch has told me that occupational therapy won’t help my kids because I parent the way I wish I was parented, instead of how my kids need me to parent. She swears behavior and development specialists will not diagnose my daughter with ADHD because she isn’t yet in school, that the evaluation from our OT won’t be sufficient evidence of my daughter’s symptoms presenting in more than one setting, and ultimately, the OTs have no authority to tell me my daughter suffers from executive dysfunction. #thatbitch told me I wouldn’t be able to get a 504 plan for my son’s visual motor delay because an OT evaluation would not be sufficient evidence to support the provision of a plan. Guess who was wrong about that one? You got it! #thatbitch.
#thatbitch lectured me about how I need to read more, listen to more podcasts, and learn how to parent my kids properly. She has never read a word of my blog or viewed a single video from my YouTube channel (which is why I am so brazenly writing about her now). She is absolutely clueless that I spend my days poring over philosophical and psychoanalytic texts, in effort to reflect on my own life and behavior, with the sole objective of becoming a more empathic human being (which in my humble opinion, covers self-education on how to improve as a parent). She would know this if she read my blog, viewed my videos, or, I dunno, restrained herself from interjecting with her own bloviating prattle every time I attempt to share insights of my own.
In reflection, however, I have made a discovery. In real life, I appear weak and insignificant. This is likely because I consider the thoughts and feelings of others when communicating. I choose my words carefully, so as not to offend or give an air of superiority–all in the name of preserving the subjectivity of the other.
Meanwhile, in my head, I am thinking things like, “Bitch, please, I read Zizek for fun and I even understand it!” I could tell #thatbitch a thing or two about how to human better. I possess exceptional intelligence, extraordinary emotional intuition, and I am, I might add, a f#$%ing creative genius! What I present on the outside–in real life–is a vulnerable, sensitive persona. These things are part of who I am, truly, but what I don’t share (except when I write) is that I am really exceedingly confident in my intellectual and analytic capacity, and when people present as authoritative or attempt to subjugate me in any way, while in person, I may not seem to resist, I am cocky as hell on the inside!
Nevertheless, I must shift gears, from sardonic Jules to the empathic Jules you all know and love. #thatbitch, for all her confidence and certainty, is actually covering over deeply repressed insecurity and pain. Where I hide my confidence behind interpersonal deference, she is hiding intense anxiety behind all that aggressive command. So, yes, I am hurt. Yes, I am littering this post with expletives you might not wish to read. That is because I am powerful here, behind the screen, but not so in life. It is essential for us–in the name of being better humans–to consider where our powers lie. For me, I would rather wield my power knowingly, and for good cause, than to do so unknowingly, as a means of protecting my ego from the pain that awareness brings.