I’m Slow

I know, I know, everyone already saw this video of Dustin Hoffman months ago. But I want to take the theme from my previous post about how men and women aren’t THAT different (or that’s my idea anyway) and apply the same principle to this. Today I saw a post online from someone whose partner left them because of their tics and I found that so frustrating that I ended up wanting to do something about it (write a blog post).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPAat-T1uhE

“There’s too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed, and that [Tootsie] was never a comedy for me.”

The real reason this is so touching is because we can all relate to it on some level regardless of the gender aspect. What Hoffman says here is true — we are all pressured to feel that women must fulfill certain physical characteristics (and even moral and emotional ones) to be acceptable. And it is very beautiful that he recognizes this. But this is so beautiful on the subject of difference and bullying in general, because all of us miss out when we disrespect others for being different. While it’s often more obvious and blatantly oppressive, women are not alone in having standards imposed on them by society; men have things they’re expected to live up to as well, and so do all of us as people, no matter what our gender is. Hoffman is crying not because he feels guilty for mistreating anyone, but because he realizes he missed out on knowing a lot of cool people. He missed a lot of really great things in life. And that is something real to be sad about — not only for others but for yourself.

So if anyone mistreats you for having OCD or tics, or if anyone dumps you from a relationship because they can’t handle how different you are, please remember that they are the one missing out — not you. It might sound really stupid or cliche at the time you are going through a heartbreak, but when you see someone like Hoffman crying because he finally gets it, maybe it will start to make sense. We should be acceptable, lovable, and desirable as whole people — not artificial, detached concepts and ideals which are difficult if not impossible to live up to.

Non-OCD Gender Rant

Whenever I hear men complain about how they don’t understand women, or women complain about how they don’t understand men, you know what I don’t understand? Those statements.

I have plenty of trouble understanding people. I have this problem often. But I think it has a lot more to do with each individual rather than any stereotype of how men or women are supposed to act. Because the fact is that if we really think about it, I think most of us will find that the problems we have relating to other people actually have very little to do with their gender.

We are told that men or women typically act this way or that way, or have this or that problem in relationships. Women are supposed to be more caring and nurturing, and men are supposed to be less talkative (at least about their emotions). But you know what? I dare say these stereotypes are not true. I dare say that because we’re told to expect them, we consistently see what we expect to see. We see the caring and nurturing in women while dismissing it in men. We believe what we want to believe is true, but the stupid thing is that what we want to believe comes from what we are trained to believe. If we want to escape it we must develop self-awareness, awareness of the world around us, and the ability to re-train our brains.

I really believe men and women are basically not that different. Physically, yes — but mentally, I think we’re pretty much the same. Is this a radical statement? Perhaps, but I’m not sure who it would shock more — which side of the political spectrum, I mean. Because that’s not to say I don’t perceive inequality and the need for feminism and all that; I certainly consider myself a feminist. What I mean is that when I have a fight with my husband, I want it to at least be a unique, individualized fight — not some stereotypical, gender-conforming couple fight. Is that too much to ask? Like, when I tell him about my problems, and he tells me a terse solution and acts insensitive, and I tell people and they’re all “ohhhh lol men just want to fix things and women want to share their emotions!! thats how life is lol” but yet wait a minute. That’s stupid because you could say the same thing if my husband comes home and tells me how hard his day was and I start offering callous, practical solutions to that. So stop. Stop with all this gender-conforming advice, people. Just stop. Also, I’m studying to be an engineer and my job will be to fix things so f*ck you for saying I’m not interested in fixing stuff because I’m a woman. I guess when my computer breaks I should just cry and share my emotions about it, then go nurse some crying babies while multitasking.

Neil Hilborn – OCD

Most of you have probably seen this by now. It’s been spreading around the internet like wildfire — which is a very good thing. It’s a spot-on testimony about heartbreak and OCD, and how they can become horribly entwined. I haven’t posted about it until now because, well, there’s just not much I can add to it. It’s brilliant, though, and anyone who hasn’t seen it yet definitely should take the time to. It’s a powerful 3 minutes.

I don’t want to blame all my relationship problems on OCD, but it certainly does make things a lot harder. It’s like you have a hard work-out already and someone just ups the speed on the treadmill without telling you — or something like that.

I’m struggling to find something else to say, but the only way I could is by going into a long, detailed personal history and while I could do that I’m just not in the mood right now, and there would probably not be sufficient benefit for my readers to outweigh the effort. My problem has always been that it never feels right, I never feel accepted, I always feel rejected, and even when I don’t ask for reassurance what I feel is acceptance of rejection, never that I’m not rejected. OK, maybe there have been occasional times that it felt OK, but they quickly pass. And you know what? When that is always the focus, it’s hard to solve or even identify any other problems that may be occurring.

My daughter is screaming at me right now because she can’t take her boots off (???), so it’s hard to put much thought into this.

Lazy Brain

Sometimes I think because I’ve developed the habit of repeatedly checking over the years, my memory has started to depend on it and not work as well. Maybe it’s just an illusion, but does anyone else feel this way? It’s like my memory has become lazy because it knows I will keep checking over and over anyway. I find I have to concentrate and check things really mindfully, otherwise I know I’ll want to keep checking it. Not only that, but a part of me actually becomes unsure whether I really checked before. Like, I have to kind of say to myself in a loud (mental) voice: “I AM CHECKING THIS RIGHT NOW SO THAT I WON’T NEED TO CHECK IT AGAIN IN FIVE MINUTES. WHEN I WANT TO CHECK THIS AGAIN IN FIVE MINUTES, I WILL REMEMBER THAT I CHECKED IT JUST NOW.”

The other day I opened a closet door, looking for something, didn’t find what I was looking for and closed it; and I kept opening it again and again, to check. Every time I closed the door I got a feeling: “Wait. Maybe I wasn’t thorough enough. I need to make sure.” And it was clearly an OCD feeling, but yet I also feel that when I check things I can get into a habit of doing them carelessly, because I’m so used to repeating it over and over.