don’t tell me to get over it

Bear and I were having a disagreement. I thought he was being ridiculous. I thought he was reacting disproportionately. He was getting so upset over nothing. He was hurt over something that didn’t even matter.

“It doesn’t matter,” I told him. “Just get over it.”

“I hate it when you say that,” he said. “Because it really does matter to me.”

“But it shouldn’t,” I said.

“But it does.”

“But it shouldn’t. Can we just talk about something else?”

“Sometimes you act like it’s my fault, when I’m upset, instead of trying to make me feel better.”

Yes. Guilty. I do this. I totally do this.

And I have no right to do it. Because actually, I don’t have the world figured out.

You seem surprised.

In fact, it has taken me several years to figure out how to make delicious cauliflower. Do you know how hard it is to make cauliflower delicious? Before I figured it out, I baked it in tinfoil and sautéed it with garlic and olive oil and puréed it and made mashed potato cauliflower. And some of those were good, but they weren’t delicious. It was a long road. And that’s just cauliflower.

(look at it all! mocking me...)

 

People have told me to “get over it” a lot, since I started writing about body image. It’s not too surprising. People have told the women who write about body image and “women’s issues” to get over themselves for centuries. I’m probably in good company.

People usually tell me to “get over it” when I’m being vulnerable and insecure. When I’m admitting my own weaknesses and fears.

This is often the time when the phrase “get over it” pops up. When someone is afraid, and someone else thinks they shouldn’t bother. When someone feels bad, and someone else isn’t interested in their feelings.

“Get over it” is a cruel phrase. It means, “Not only do I not care about how you feel, if you were smarter, you wouldn’t care either.”

“Just get over it” places all of the responsibility on the person being told, and establishes the teller as the authority. It liberates the teller from any obligation to listen.

And people not listening is usually where things go wrong.

I’m reasonably sure that if people listened better, some of the bigger issues (the ones we can pretty much all agree are important)– like war, crushing  poverty, national debt, global hunger, systemic violence, racism, oppression, and the music that plays after the robot voice goes “We appreciate your call! Please hold for the next available representative!” — would be improved on too.

And that’s not just being mushy and foofy and full of adorable hope and baby bunnies. People need to listen to each other. For real.

(a baby bunny!)

But aside from averting global crises and bringing a great and lasting peace to all the lands, listening to other people does something else. It teaches you that anything is important, as long as it’s important to someone.

Maybe that’s shocking. Maybe it just sounds wrong.

We want to rate and rank and categorize everything so badly, that sometimes we forget that it’s not the ladder that matters, it’s the people climbing it.

Just because you don’t think something is meaningful doesn’t mean that someone else feels the same way. And this is the really hard part: you are not right.

You are not right about what someone else should care about. You don’t know. You can’t possibly know. You are not in a position to judge. And even if you were, you would be wrong to tell them to “get over it,” as though “getting over it” were something that could be done in a moment.

I haven’t figured much out, but I do know this: getting over something is not a single act. It’s a relationship.

If you work at moving through something, you have to interact with it. You have to touch it. You have to dive in and get wet. “Come on,” yell the people who think they know, prodding you impatiently, “Get in the ‘get over it’ boat! Just go across!” But the “get over it” boat has so many holes that you will end up sinking in the middle, betrayed and unprepared.

I, for one, am not willing to climb aboard.

There are some things that I am not over, and I am want to face them, instead of ignoring them.

I am not over the huge pressure placed on women to be thin. I am not over the beauty standards that have been imposed on me since I was a little girl. I am not over wrestling with food.  I’m not over how food is too often shameful. I am not over the way sex appeal gets reserved for certain people and other people aren’t sure they’ll ever be sexy. I am not over the way little girls are taught to relate to their bodies. I am not over questioning the way womanhood should work for me. I am not over questioning the way womanhood gets defined in the first place. Some days I am not over my own face.

And I am not sure I want to be over all of these things. The world needs people who aren’t over themselves. Who are still talking. Who are still protesting. Who are still not sure.

Some days, I see how far I’ve come. I am right in the middle of all this, but I am moving towards the other shore.

The people who tell me to “get over it” are not over something else.  It might actually be exactly the same thing that they’re snapping at me to get over. They might be paddling frantically as the water seeps in, chins up, smiles glued to their faces.

So let’s stop telling other people to “get over it.” We don’t know why they should. And when other people tell us to get over something, let’s say, “No.” And then let’s remember that they don’t understand the world any better than we do, they just feel more comfortable not trying to. They probably don’t even know how to make delicious cauliflower.

It turned out that Bear was upset about something that mattered. Something that I could understand, when I took the time to listen.

Afterward, I wondered why I’d thought it could be any other way.

(don’t get in the boat!)

*  *   *

When’s the last time someone told you to get over it?

Unroast: Today I love the way I look from the side in one of Bear’s t-shirts. Like I’m wearing some sort of ancient Roman robe.

Click here for a silly little piece I wrote for XOJane, about not being nerdy enough.

53 Comments »

Kate on April 3rd 2012 in life, uplifting

53 Responses to “don’t tell me to get over it”

  1. Melanie responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Ack! I hate that phrase so much! I read that you said that and thought, “How would she have felt if Bear said that about the attractive woman of size on the train?”

    I try to really empathize and think before I react with, “How would I want someone to respectfully respond to my thoughts on something?” Sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes I too yell out something akin to “Get over it!” We all do. The key is that you realized and can say sorry about it.

    I think our society is so full of “my way is the right way” people, that no one is listening anymore. If we could just do what you say here, which is realize that our truth, is not everyone’s truth, the world would be a much better place.

    It’s not my job to prove to someone that I am right. I know what’s right for me. It’s my job to be someone who can respect the feelings and thoughts of others, and not be hurtful when they say something I disagree with, or think is petty.

  2. Kate responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    @Melanie
    Yeah, exactly. I think that’s the post that made me think about this phrase, actually, because people told me to “get over it” when I reacted to the word “chunky.”

    And it sounds as though you are doing a good job. I wish there were more people like you!

  3. rowdygirl responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    I was told by this by a therapist when I questioned whether my feelings about something were right or wrong, or just plain stupid: “They (feelings) belong to you, so there’s nothing wrong about them. How could there be? You are allowed to feel whatever you want, and there’s nothing wrong with that”….
    I have to remind myself of that pretty often , especially when I beat myself up for feeling silly about getting my feelings hurt, or taking something “too seriously”…

  4. Diana responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    My friend has a way of saying “Just have some confidence!” which makes me pause for just a moment, but then it hits me the same way “Just get over it!” does, and it’s just as unpleasant to hear.

    Who is he to say I don’t have confidence? Or that I’m over-reacting or reactionary? Or that I’m having a confidence crisis when, in fact, it’s usually something generally off in left-field from confidence?

    I love your line, “Anything is important, as long as it is important to somebody” because to ask someone to “get-over” something is like saying it’s not even important enough to discuss. I’m so not getting into that boat.

    Tasty cauliflower still eludes me.

  5. Lina responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Hey, thanks Kate. Reading your thoughts which invariably almost mirror my own, makes me feel glad that I’m not all that screwed up as I believe. I mean, not to say that we are, but just that there are people who think and battle these thoughts too and there’s nothing wrong with it. I, for one, am just not over conforming to social norms with regards to basically, everything.

  6. Valerie responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    Ugh!

    Any form of “get over it”, “have confidence”, “send out positive energy”, and so on really gets on my nerves.

    There is this couple I know that like to drive me insane once in awhile. They are quite fond of the idea that sending out positive energy into the universe will reap only positivity in your life. I’m upset because job hunting is a drag and no one has called me back yet? That’s because I don’t send out enough positive energy. I am not allowed to feel depressed for a second over the way things are going. I just have to keep sending out positive vibes.

    So basically I flipped out on them the other day, telling them that they are invalidating my feelings by not allowing me to feel them and that type of behavior is not only impolite, but also unhealthy because I am not wallowing in a pit of constant despair. Feeling negative when negative things happen is perfectly ok and everyone has a right to get down in the dumps once in awhile.

    I am surrounded by people who tell me that I am only allowed to feel happy, constantly, no matter what the circumstances. “That makes me feel angry!” – Robot Devil from Futurama.

  7. Sheryl responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    It’s hard watching people get worked up over something that seems insignificant to me. It’s painful, in a way, because I don’t want the people I care about to feel poorly about something that they shouldn’t.

    These are the sort of things that require we be very consciously aware not only of what our motivations are, but whether or not our words and actions actually match up with our intentions. In my own experience, I’d much rather be validated and loved when I’m getting worked up over something insignificant so I’ve been making more of an effort to do that for other people.

    “Get over it” isn’t actually a phrase I’d considered in that light before, when coming out of my own mouth (although I’ve gotten worked up when other people have told me to get over it), so thank you for giving me some food for thought!

  8. bethany actually responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    But…how do you make cauliflower* delicious!? I’m on the edge of my seat, here! ;-)

    Just kidding. Kate, this post is just about perfect. I was nodding my head Yes, Yes, YES as I was reading it. I loved this especially:

    “We want to rate and rank and categorize everything so badly, that sometimes we forget that it’s not the ladder that matters, it’s the people climbing it.”

    Thank you for not getting over it, and for reminding the rest of us that it’s better to get into it than over it.

    *Actually, I know of at least two ways that I personally find cauliflower delicious: (1) raw and crunchy, with or without ranch dressing (because plain raw cauliflower is actually sweet! who knew!), and (2) cut in chunks, tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and a wee bit of sugar (it helps with caramelization) and roasted in a single layer on a baking sheet at 450 for 15-20 minutes, until browned and tender.

  9. Rachel responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I love this! All my loved ones know (either because I’ve told them or they learned the hard way) that the single easiest way to send me into a flying rage is to tell me to ‘calm down’. I’m not a person who gets riled up very easily, so when I do I DO NOT WANT TO BE CALM AND YOU SHOULD NOT TELL ME I SHOULD BE.

  10. Grace responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    God, this is so true. I think “get over it” is some kind of armor–this wall we slam up when we don’t want to admit that whatever the other person is saying has struck a nerve in us. In other, somewhat unrelated news, I just want to flop that baby bunnies ears back and forth!! So freakin’ cute!

  11. Mandy responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    You made me think. Again. Brava!

  12. Mandy responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    One phrase I have gotten a lot of milage out of is “I hear you.” It doesn’t mean that I completely understand what they’re getting at, or what they might be upset about–but that I am, in fact, listening to, and HEARING them.

  13. Kate responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    @Mandy
    I like that, too.
    And this is reminding me of Avatar…wasn’t there some phrase like “I see you”? I was totally into it :-)

  14. Maggie responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    I am sometimes guilty of not actually, saying, “get over it” but instead giving the “get over it” or “whatever” look which is just as bad. Yes, it is done for all the same reasons you mention….I think I am right and that they are stupid.

    It is so hard to have to this obnoxious behavior.

    Thanks so much for this article.

    P.S. enjoyed your writing on XOJane

  15. morgaine responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    To play devil’s advocate…

    Would you consider it acceptable to use that phrase on someone who consistently intrudes upon your personal life? Everyone knows someone who micromanages and patronizes in the name of “doing what’s best for you.” In those situations, I tell said person to get over it, because the “it” in question was none of their business to begin with. I feel no guilt.

    I realize this is very different from the situation Kate wrote about, but I want to know how people assess it.

  16. Emily responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Well… I have been known to fly into a rage whenever someone tells me to get over it. It’s pretty much the biggest slap in the face one can receive. “Get over it” “I don’t care” “It’s your problem” or the much hated “Calm down”.
    I think my anxiety disorder made it worse, because often when people gave me that advice it was during a panic attack when there is no way on earth I could get over what I was experiencing. One person has a problem and the other says “fix your problem” it’s not very helpful advice and it undermines everything that person is experiencing. And yet, I still find myself grasping at those phrases myself when someone has a problem I don’t know how to fix. It can be a hard habit to break when you are at a loss for further solutions.

  17. gwen responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    This is such a pet peeve of mine, and pretty much results in me instantly bursting into tears… which then makes me feel even less “over it” and more insane. But I know I’ve thought it before, aggressively, in the direction of coworkers and friends and many others.

    I also would really like to know how to make cauliflower delicious. I have absolutely no idea. :)

  18. Kate responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    @gwen
    So: boil it in a pan until it’s tender (not too tender). Drain. Then cook some garlic in butter. Add the cauliflower and then cook in a curry cream sauce for a while. (I just used curry spices from a bottle with some heavy cream, but some people know how to make this from scratch). Add plenty of salt and pepper. Done!

    @bethany actually
    Thanks for sharing your own delicious cauliflower ideas! I always want more.

  19. Kate responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    @Emily
    I think you’re onto something– about this reaction relating to the unfamiliar. When it’s not our problem, it’s easier to think it shouldn’t be anyone’s problem, since we can’t imagine experiencing it. So “get over it” isn’t necessarily always actively hostile, even though it’s always kinda mean anyway.

    And people really, really don’t seem to understand panic attacks. Still.

  20. LadyGrey responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    :) (:Agreed:)(:

  21. Kate responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    @LadyGrey
    Nice smiley face-ing!

  22. Kellie responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Brilliant Kate! I am going to send this to all my friends; I wish I had written it! The “getting in the ‘get over it’ boat” part reminds me of the little gingerbread boy getting on the fox’s back, and we all know how that turned out!

  23. Abby responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    I always seem to find something in my life that I can relate to one of your posts. I’m working harder on telling people “No” when they tell me to get over things. I actually am not on speaking terms with one of my friends, mostly because I told her what was upsetting me about our friendship and how the way she was treating me had changed…and, although she didn’t say “get over it,” she told me that I was too sensitive and that the way I felt was all due to my low self-esteem and nothing to do with her behavior. So…she wanted me to “get over it” and apologize for my feelings. And for the first time in our friendship, I said “No.” I hope our friendship survives this, but I’ve done all I can do.

    I have come to terms that I am a sensitive and emotional person, but I have friends I can talk to–and they’re not afraid to tell me when I’m being oversensitive. And I realized, this emotional thing? It’s a part of me. It’s a part of who I am, and although I have to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand, it is an important part of what makes me…me.

    So….thank you, for writing posts that seem to resonate with people of all ages. I will do my best, in my relationships, to listen, and to stop saying “get over it” in so many words.

  24. Another Kate responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Thank you for this! Sometimes I fight with my brother, who can push my buttons like no other, and he is fond of the terms “drop it” and “get over it,” which always suddenly make me want to punch him in the face, and I am NOT a violent person. But he’s so smug about it and suddenly I feel so small. You described it perfectly. I can never voice my feelings about not getting over it at the time, but now I will be able to!

  25. Courtney Warren responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    I’m currently studying to be a psychotherapist and this phrase, “get over it,” seems to stem more from the other person’s issues than the person who is actually in the middle of the lake.

    When you’re in the middle of the lake, you are aware of your spot, of what you’re going through. The person in the boat, most times, is not aware that their boat is made of cardboard and that their stuff will one day catch up with them.

    May we all have the quiet courage to swim and not sink, to doggy paddle or float when necessary, and to not climb into the boat.

  26. Krystina responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    I’m right there with you – swimming to the shore Kate!

  27. Jamie B responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Don’t ever “get over it.”

  28. Tamar responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    ‘Get over it’ is right up there with ‘calm down’ for me, two expressions I absolutely never use. You are coercing someone to change the way he/she feels, which is really an impossible task. I cannot DECIDE to “get over it.” I must either come to terms with the bad feelings and move on, or make a change. I’m glad you and Bear were able to have such a reasonable discussion about it!

  29. Jason responded on 03 Apr 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    One of the things that I’ve managed to get pretty well figured out over the last 20 or so years that I’ve been a somewhat rational and reasoning individual(I figure this really started at around 10 or 11; before that I was really friggin stupid), is that everyone has their demons. They’re different for all of us, and when one of them comes sneaking along, then jumps off a bridge onto our back, there’s no ‘just getting over it’. Some times are easier than others, but I don’t know that it’s ever truly easy.

  30. Tamar responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Also, I liked your nerd girl article, but you should tell them to fix the typo that reads “majored in psychics.” I assume you meant physics. Anyway, I like physics and computers and science fiction, and am finishing my master’s degree in math, but I don’t really think I’m nerdy either! Maybe I am, and I just don’t even realize it. :)

  31. Kate responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 11:09 am #

    @Tamar
    LOL!! Thanks for pointing that out. I asked them to change it. I feel like it sort of highlights the point of the piece, but still…

    Honestly, I’m not sure what nerdy means anymore. What do you think, since you like PHYSICS rather than psychics? :-)

  32. Diana responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Okay, so what’s the cauliflower recipe?? (I’ve eaten your cooking; I know I can trust you.)

  33. Erinn responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    This bit, especially the last part – “The world needs people who aren’t over themselves. Who are still talking. Who are still protesting. Who are still not sure” – seems so right to me.

    Often when I feel like I might understand some root cause all those big, important issues you mention – things like global poverty, corporate greed, environmental degradation, war – I have this sense that it’s simply that people are TOO sure (which then of course I recognize is itself another form of feeling certain!).

    Anyway, this piece reminded me a lot of Kathryn Schulz TED talk on being wrong; she talks a lot about creativity growing out of uncertainty. It’s cool!

    Oh, and this is how I make cauliflower delicious!: http://www.theppk.com/2010/11/cashew-vegetable-korma/

  34. Jenie responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    I feel this way about the word “whatever” in an argument. It’s so dismissive.

  35. Jensketch responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Kate are you familiar with The Current Conscience?

    http://thecurrentconscience.com/blog/2011/09/12/a-message-to-women-from-a-man-you-are-not-“crazy”/

    I think you would really like that post and after you read it I’d love to hear your own thoughts.

  36. morgaine responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    I felt funny about this article, and I couldn’t quite figure out why. I’ve since elucidated it.

    I associate the phrase “get over it” with gay pride – “we’re here, we’re queer, get over it.” It’s always been a positive thing to me in that sense. Theoretically, the idea that “anything is important, as long as it’s important to someone” is great, but in practice it’s flawed. I don’t believe that all views need to be tolerated equally. Obviously in a legal sense they do, as free speech applies to everyone and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I see no reason not to deny mental space to people who are patently unreasonable or flat-out bigoted. If someone’s telling me that two men don’t have the right to hold hands, or that women don’t have the right to contraception, or that evolution shouldn’t be taught in schools, I am going to shut them down. Such people do not deserve my consideration.

    I realize I’m on the very fringes of your argument, Kate. I agree with you in the context of relationships and quotidian interactions – I’m just interested in the larger implications.

  37. Kate responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    @morgaine
    I was waiting for a comment like this…You’re right. Nothing applies to everything. And there are definitely things that people need to get over. Things like racism and sexism and homophobia. So that definitely complicates the point I was making here.

    I am not a philosopher or a politician or a social theorist. I am not trying to make a perfect argument, and I can’t imagine that I’ll succeed in doing that.

    But you recognized the point I was making, and its context, anyway. So I feel OK about this complication :-) And I appreciate your point, too.

  38. Kate responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    @Jensketch
    I’ve seen this before. I like the piece. I think people should talk more about “gaslighting” or making women out to be crazy. I’m honestly not sure what “crazy” means anymore, but I know that it’s an insult targeted specifically at women. Which is interesting. I’m always the slightest bit frustrated when a man gets a lot of attention for saying “women are great!” Because I feel like that should be obvious, and because there are so many women talking about this stuff. But I’m still glad it’s getting attention.
    What did YOU think?

  39. Kate responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    @Diana
    Check out comment #18! And I miss you.
    My grandmother just emailed me asking for the cauliflower recipe. I feel special. And I also hope it actually is the best cauliflower ever, now that it’s getting so much attention.

  40. morgaine responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 9:34 am #

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-dismissive-arguments-that-you-only-use-when-youre-wrong/

    This article showed up on Cracked this morning. Pretty relevant. :)

  41. Melinda responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Another brilliant post, Kate! ;)

    People have always told me to “get over it” when I share my feelings on anything from body image to abuse to the racism I’ve experienced.

    I view that as an attempt to silence me. It invalidates the very real struggles that I and others must deal with as we journey through life.

    I even went to a so-called therapist who was unsympathetic and told me to “get over it”…this person was female, which shows that lack of sensitivity isn’t limited by race or gender.

    I love what Melanie and Valerie had to say on this as well, because they are both right. Pain is pain. I’m sick of people telling me my feelings don’t matter. I’m sick of being dismissed because somebody views me as being whiny or ungrateful or bitchy or crazy. I’m sick of being told that my problems are insignificant because others have it much worse.

  42. Jensketch responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Well Kate I don’t have any issue with a man writing feminist essays. I think it’s a little silly to worry about where truth comes from. I also haven’t read about Gaslighting from any woman – but I stumbled onto that article. I don’t seek any of it out. I follow Skeptifem’s blog and that’s about it. So I found it pretty organically.

    However I will note the irony that when I started talking about the article I needed to add the caveat that it was written by a man for the more… ardent feminists I know. Because that matters so much to them, as if he can’t have a view because he has a penis. I just don’t agree.

    What I liked about the article was how I felt it would empower women to know what to look for when being treated in such a manner. They could begin to stop the cycle because they now had the ammo to fire back. They could begin to teach the men in their lives (and the other women, too) to stop doing this – and what it means to be doing it at all.

    I’ve told several women about it – and all of them, to a woman, had been treated thusly by almost everyone they knew. It’s a gigantic problem that’s floating in the gulf between the sexes and it should be addressed more significantly.

  43. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    @Jensketch
    It’s true, we’ve all gone through something like he’s describing. And it seriously needs to be addressed. And like I said, I’m glad it’s being addressed. I agree with your reasons for liking the piece.

    I don’t think it’s silly, though, to comment on where it’s coming from. I don’t have a problem with a man writing about this. I’m glad this particular man is writing about it so eloquently. I will never have a problem with important issues being addressed, by anyone.

    But I don’t think that means we can’t also look at WHY it’s attracting so much attention, and what that might have to do with the fact that a man is writing it. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but the fact that it makes me a little uneasy might have something to do with the irony of a conversation about how men get to be rational and women are crazy in which we only perk up and pay attention when a man explains rationally why we shouldn’t call women crazy….It’s just a little complicated, that’s all. And it’s a little frustrating that people are so impressed when a man recognizes that women are being mistreated. But maybe I’m being too defensive. I’m sorry if I didn’t explain myself very well in my original response.

    But I also don’t appreciate being called silly. And I find it a little ironic, under a post about how people dismiss other people’s perspectives.

  44. zoe responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    i want to e-mail this to all my friends who don’t understand that sometimes, i just need someone to listen to me, not tell me what to do. i also need to practice listening. none of us know what ought to be.

    so, i find myself hurt and misunderstood because, very often, people don’t understand the craziness of a mind in recovery from an eating disorder and a life time of depression. it’s messy and weird and hard to explain. i hear frequently things like, “just let it go” or “just stop thinking like that”. recently i experienced a total melt down post-clothes-shopping. after exploding insecurity all over my friends, i was told, “it’s just clothes.” but it’s never “just” anything.

    i am tired of being made to think my problems are silly ones. i am tired of being afraid of vulnerability and, ultimately, possible rejection. communication is vital to understanding though. like you said, i need claim my space to share and own the legitimacy of my issues. i think it’s wonderful bear said something about how you were not taking his issues seriously. however, i think women back down from exploring their feelings because we’re supposed to be “perfect” in all ways. men are allowed to disagree. women are not. being overly emotional marks women as “crazy” and “unstable” instead of *human* and *normal*.

    anyway, now i’m getting off topic and into gender rants so i’ll stop. thanks for clearing up my muddled thoughts, kate!

  45. Jelly responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    The first time I read this, I somehow read it as you were being told to get over it, so I got a bit of the message mixed up.

    Anyways, my boyfriend likes to say, “I’m over it,” when I’m talking about something that is frustrating me (admittedly, some of those somethings are minute issues). It drives me mad to no end, and I’m still trying to figure out how to express this to him, and why it’s driving me mad. It’s like so many parts of a whole: he’s not listening, he’s telling me my concerns or thoughts aren’t worthy of discussion, he’s calling my feelings silly, and more.

    Reading this reminds me that, while I’m wrapped up in my hurt feelings, he’s trying to tell me something too, but that doesn’t negate how I’m feeling.

    Convoluted? Yes. Confused? Definitely.

    By the by, you reminded me that I bought a cauliflower last weekend, and I should probably do something with it!

  46. Julia responded on 09 Apr 2012 at 12:08 am #

    I feel that this is the crux of so much of what is happening in my life right now, and for some reason I have no trouble talking about it in a comments section while the blog that I convinced myself to start sits silent and waiting.

    After moving back “home” and realizing and having a Surprise! pregnancy, I found myself with a one-month old that wouldn’t sleep in the dark unless we were skin-to-skin and chest-to-chest. In my quest to “fix” him I’ve discovered: that I left home for the wrong reasons, come back for the wrong reasons, had a baby for some right and some wrong reasons, stayed with his father for more wrong than right reasons, and am a SAHM by default for reasons I still don’t delve into. My point is this: all of this stems from the fact that all my life I haven’t been allowed to have “bad” emotions, and only allowed to have “good” ones when it was “appropriate.” And I’m still in a place where when I hear anyone, for any reason, say, “Get over it,” I see red and must contain a strong urge to draw blood. It’s a process, and everything you said here resonates with me. I found you when I was researching Unschooling and I stayed because lately your words are the fork that taps a crystal wine glass, and my thoughts are the notes reverberating. I enjoy a sense of melodrama.

  47. Kate responded on 09 Apr 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    @Julia
    Thanks for staying. Life is such a colossal web of right and wrong reasons. After a while, it can get hard to tell the difference, because they lead you in such unexpected directions.
    I doubt your baby needs fixing, though. I bet he just needs you.
    And I’m looking forward to reading your blog.

  48. Eat the Damn Cake » you big softy responded on 24 May 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    [...] As it turns out, I have something to say. [...]

  49. Eat the Damn Cake » the ugly woman detective responded on 19 Jul 2012 at 9:04 am #

    [...] seem to spend a lot of time thinking about how everyone else looks. In life, people like to say, “Just get over it!” With appearances, this means either you’re pretty or you should get over [...]

  50. Eat the Damn Cake » as it turns out, women don’t like to be raped responded on 22 Aug 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    [...] why? Sometimes this enormous anger collects in me and it pushes up against all of my surfaces. Why are we supposed to be reasonable about this? Why are we supposed to open our New York Times and nod and murmur assent as we read that experts [...]

  51. Eat the Damn Cake » the approval of men responded on 19 Oct 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    [...] But it is not all about men. That would be a huge oversimplification. It’s presumptuous to imagine that all I (or any other woman who has expressed insecurity about her body) need is some male approval and a healthy dose of rationality. [...]

  52. “… before they crush me.” « afrikanking responded on 24 Oct 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    [...] But it is not all about men. That would be a huge oversimplification. It’s presumptuous to imagine that all I (or any other woman who has expressed insecurity about her body) need is some male approval and a healthy dose of rationality. [...]

  53. Julie responded on 29 Dec 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve always been frustrated and angered by this phrase. I think now I’ll translate it into “I want you to be well and happy.” I think that’s what people mean deep down.

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