I Gotta Be Me

September 24, 2008 at 11:58 am 11 comments

One of the great loves of teenage Jive Turkey (besides rolling her eyes and crying over the Elephant Man) was The Far Side. You know, that crazy little one-panel cartoon with the talking cows and such? LOVED IT. Owned every single collection and calendar that was ever released. The punchlines still get stuck in my head from time to time. Lately, this is the one I keep coming back to:

This is the point at which my mother would say, “These make me nervous because I never get them.”

Admittedly, I don’t have a very good history when it comes to being myself. Sure, I’ve gotten a lot better since my junior high days, when GOD FORBID any article of clothing I owned fell even slightly outside the norm of what everyone else was wearing.

Thank God I was never cool enough to own a jacket like that.

But even though I’ve become infinitely more comfortable and honest with myself over the years (thanks in no small part to the fact that acid wash is no longer popular), I still have that overpowering desire to please other people and to avoid conflict at all costs. And in a way, it’s great to be the person who wants to make everyone feel at ease, but in another way? It’s total bullshit. And I’m beginning to learn that I don’t have the patience for it anymore.

In other words: I am, truly, gettin’ too old for this shit.

The year I turned 30 was actually the first time I started to feel like I could be a more honest person – but mostly, that was about being honest with myself. I finally stopped giving a good goddamn about what people from college and grad school might think about my part-time theatre hobby and my full-time non-theatre job. I admitted to myself that YES, I like living in a place that is not a huge city, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. So what if my idea of a fun weekend is cooking big breakfasts and getting things done around the house? I like being at home. And you know what else? I DON’T REALLY LIKE SHAKESPEARE. Bores me to tears on the page, on the stage, and as an actor. There. I fucking said it.

“I’d like to see YOU write a five-act tragedy. Bitch.”

Nowadays, with my 30th birthday nearly two years behind me, it seems I’m reaching another milestone in being comfortable with myself. And this time, the situation is being brought to me courtesy of someone whose intestines are not currently all the way inside his or her body yet.

“SHUT UP, Mom, you’re embarrassing me! GOD!”

It’s weird. It seems like all these insane pregnancy hormones and body changes have not only given me a sizable new rack, a renewed love for banana peppers, and the napping schedule of a house cat, but have also completely stunted my ability to sugarcoat and/or soften my true feelings in the interest of keeping the peace and not ruffling any feathers.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Very early on in this pregnancy (Ha! Listen to me, talking like an old pro. An old pro who still insists that she can fit into these jeans THAT ARE CUTTING OFF HER CIRCULATION), I realized that I was cutting to the chase a little bit more than usual when it came to communicating my wants and needs. It wasn’t something I consciously chose to do, it was more like something my body was telling me to do. Half of the time I wouldn’t even be aware that the words were coming out of my mouth, but they came out so strongly and with such conviction that I began to suspect that my body was holding up little cue cards directly to the speech center of my brain, as a way of circumventing my usual wishy-washy thought process. These messages, you see, were just too urgent and timely to be delayed or watered down, and required immediate action. Among the things i heard myself saying in a tone usually reserved for housebreaking a puppy:

  • “I need to eat. NOW.” (It is also perfectly acceptable to insert “gummy bears,” “mashed potatoes,” “red meat,” “a burrito,” or “those stale crackers from Target in my drawer,” after the word “eat.”)
  • “I need to take a nap. NOW.”
  • “I need to sit down. NOW.”
  • “I need you to stop talking at my face. UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.”
  • “I need to cry. INDEFINITELY.”

And there is no discussion about these things. There is no compromise. These are 100% non-negotiable, with the consequences being me passing out, throwing up, or coming after you with a hanging folder and a box full of push pins (my arsenal of threatening implements at work is kind of weak).

But now I see this trend spreading to areas beyond my insistent, first-trimester needs. It’s starting to apply to the bigger stuff, the stuff that will matter once this kid is out in the world and under my watch. And Internet, I am learning that when it comes to my kid, I am not going to mince words. There are things that need to be said and I am prepared to say them, regardless of what other people might think.

On Monday, I wrote a rant – a RAAAAAANT – that I almost posted here. It was angry and raw and unedited, and I decided to let myself cool off a bit before hitting that publish button. Of course, now that it’s been a few days, I don’t feel the need to throw all that frustration out into the world. I still feel as strongly about it, but I’ve decided that instead of ranting, what I need to focus on is sticking to my guns. And it seems the time for that is now.

I know I’ve been awfully cagey about this issue in previous blog posts (and I probably won’t reveal too much here), but I will say that the stance I am taking is going to hurt and anger my immediate family. At the same time, I’m angry that my rejection of one particular label will mean more to certain people than the fact that I am a good and loving person. I know that by simply being honest about who I am and what I feel, I’ll be shunned and shamed before anyone considers trying to listen to me or understand me. I hate that this is the consequence, but I hate pretending to be something I’m not even more, and that’s fucking THAT.

Not to draw on too ridiculous an example, but you know how Clay Aiken just came out (to the surprise of that one middle-aged woman in Duluth who still holds a torch for Barry Manilow)? And you know how he said it was inspired mostly from the birth of his child, because he didn’t want to raise a child to lie or hide things?

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m feelin’ you, girl. Also, I think my aunt has that sweater.

That’s kind of where I am right now. Some people will judge me, some people will lose respect for me, some people will say really hurtful things to me out of the hurt they feel I’m causing them, but if there’s only one person who will understand me and my motivations, I just hope it’s the same person who’s totally worth the entire shitstorm: our little Spats.

And now that I’ve gone and paralleled my life to that of CLAY AIKEN, for shit’s sake, I think I’m done here. I hope you’re having a good week, Internet. And remember: when you’ve reached the point of being too old for that shit, embrace your Danny Glover, and let the world know.

Also: Congrats, Clay, on coming out. Congrats, also, on sporting more makeup and highlights than an 18-year-old Aeropostale employee back when you were still pretending to be straight.

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Entry filed under: Taste my Backhand.

Oh God, These Are Good! Basket Case

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Constant C  |  September 24, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Yup, yup, yup.

    Sorry not to see the rant. I’ve had a week of largely incoherent ranting.

    As a matter of fact, there’s a good one on its way to you shortly. Whee!

    Reply
  • 2. kristin  |  September 24, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Wait . . . Clay Aiken had a baby? And came out? What rock have I been under?

    But seriously, good for you. I don’t know what specifically you’re referring to (and may never know), but I applaud the sentiment. It’s something I have a hell of a time with myself as a lifelong people-pleaser, and I often wish I were brave enough to just tell people to fuck off. Sadly, I do not have a small being inside me to spur me to change. Maybe one day, I’ll sack up (can girls sack up? uterus up? vagina up? no, does not work) and not care what people think. That day, however, is not today. But I’ll take some inspiration from you, if I may. Kick some ass, J.T.!

    Reply
  • 3. Sara  |  September 24, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Jive Turkey, you may very well be my hero. While we may partially be living parallel lives (with our love for The Far Side,knowledge of all sorts of random pop culture references, and being absolutely hilarious), you’ve done something I’ll probably never be able to do, no matter how much I want to: be completely honest and not care what others think. I wouldn’t post even a vague reference to anything like that on my blog. And for that I applaud you and envy you. You rock. Do what you need to do for YOU in both the real world and the blogosphere. (Although, I have to admit, I’d love to read that rant. Anyone agree? It’s probably awesome.)

    Reply
  • 4. SF Reader  |  September 24, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Seriously, little missy. Nobody likes hearing that there’s an ALREADY PENNED rant just… sitting… lonely… desperate… forsaken… abandoned… on some computer, rather than where it belongs, on the world wide web.

    I’d like to ask you to summon just a tiny bit of that “caring what others think” for the sake of my entertainment, and post the rant. Otherwise, I’m totally not going to sit with you at lunch AND, I plan to start a rumor with the popular drama kids w/r/t your knowing every single word of , which is totally lame, duh.

    Reply
  • 5. Husband of Said Turkey  |  September 25, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Why do I get the feeling I’ll be following along behind you, JT, cleaning up the disastrous messes and sobbing relatives you’ve left in your wake?

    Reply
  • 6. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  September 26, 2008 at 12:38 am

    I know that coming out as a secret Sarah Palin supporter won’t be easy for your family to accept, but… uh, well, frankly I have to say I’m with ’em on that one. You’re dead to me.

    Seriously: be you. Stick to your guns. We got your back.

    And congrats on being out of the first trimester! Is the morning sickness going away?

    Reply
  • 7. jiveturkey  |  September 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Thanks to all of you guys for your wonderful comments.

    HoST: How would that be different than most normal days?

    4th Reader: YES! The morning sickness has subsided, which is FANTASTIC.

    SF reader: Stay tuned…I’m working on a compromise.

    Reply
  • 8. Leah  |  September 26, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    1. Post the rant anonymously over at herbadmother.blogspot.com. DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN.

    2. I’m also waaaay more ranty and “I’m too old for this shit”(ty) since being pregnant. Unfortunately, it has had its consequences, one of which being that I royally pissed off the Office Bitch, whose good side I’ve managed to stay on for seven whole years, mostly because I figured it was easier to let her bully me around than stick up for stuff that didn’t really matter. But now…stuff MATTERS, and so I threw down with her last week and now she HAAAAAATES me, which is stressful and awkward but hey, I never liked her anyway, and now I’m practically the office hero for having stood up to her. Excuse me now while I let my other coworkers carry me around on a chair while throwing confetti.

    Reply
  • 9. shelli  |  September 26, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    wait – did I just do enough appropriate skimming to MISS what you were actually trying to say?

    I think, as long as it’s not “I’m voting for McCain,” (because you know, NO ONE IN THEATRE is allowed to vote Republican, it will be fine.

    Reply
  • 10. Chicago Friend of Said Turkey  |  September 27, 2008 at 11:29 am

    JT – you know I’ve always got your back (cuz Compton and Long Beach together, now you KNOW you’re in trouble). It’s a G-thing. What can I say?

    Reply
  • 11. MLE  |  September 29, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I was unable to comment in Philly, but I, too, vote that you post it in Her Bad Mother’s basement. You know you want to.

    Reply

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