In her wonderful memoir of her son’s first year, Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott writes that after having her son, Sam, she has decided to go on a “bullshit-free diet.” She’s tired of acting interested when a man talks to her about something she doesn’t care about. She’s tired of pretending she feels differently from what she’s actually feeling. Amen, sistah.
I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from an old family friend. She got my number from my dad, who still maintains a distant friendship with her and her husband, even though they treated my mother abominably in the last months of her life. She left a message, saying it was ironic that I now live in Wilmington, because they used to live here. (I knew this.) Now they live near Charlotte, where one of their daughters lives. She wanted to say hello and left a message.
I did not call her back. And I don’t plan to. Because she’s a bitch. And I don’t like her. There are enough people in my life who fit that description whom I cannot jettison, for one reason or another. She is jettison-able, however.
I don’t have the energy to keep talking to people who make me feel bad about myself. I have work to do, here, people. I have a child to raise. It’s the biggest job I know. And I want to teach him to trust his instincts about people and stay away from those who hurt or belittle him. There’s a saying from my self-defense classes that goes “rude women don’t get raped,” and I feel the same is true for men. There are all kinds of rape, and I’m beginning to wonder if the emotional/psychological kind is just as violent and horrible as the physical.
So, Jack, no means no. It really means no. And you don’t have to eat any bullshit if you don’t want to. I’ll try to teach you that by my example, as well as my words.