Sticks and Stones

I've always been thin-skinned. People in grammar school and junior high used to time how long it would take to make me cry. This was fun for them. I have a delightful habit of dating guys who are mean to me. If I had a whip and a hair shirt, I'd use them constantly. I have bipolar, which means there is a constant cruel voice in my head telling me I'm worthless, stupid, and a bad person who deserves to be punished. This voice is always there, despite the fistfuls of meds I take every day. 

So yeah, I'm a little thin-skinned.

I take everything personally. Someone needs to clarify something with me that I've said or done? I'm a terrible person. It's my fault. I'm bad, and wrong, and why not throw ugly and fat in there too, because why not. 

I can count the number of friends I have who are also single on one hand with fingers left over. Why is this? Because I'm bad, stupid, unlovable. Ugly and fat can go in there too, because that voice is like the annoying henchman to the regular bad voice who kicks me when I'm down. 

So yes, words hurt me. Probably because I can't escape words. They're always in my head. A constant chatter of hate, a constant bully on the schoolyard. It's screaming at me right now, by the way, that this is the most self-indulgent pathetic whining crap I've ever written. 

So yes. Words hurt me. 

I was sitting outside last night smoking, three straight days of insomnia making me irrational and confused, when my neighbor asked me if I was gaining weight. Instead of saying that it was that time of the month and I was bloated as hell and laughing off the whole thing, I burst into tears and ran into the apartment, slamming the door. Real mature of me. 

The voice laaaaaaaaaaughed and laughed. 

I'm 33 years old, and I'm still the girl in the fourth grade who was so much fun to make cry in front of the whole school. I'm a grown ass woman and I spend far too much time apologizing for things I didn't do, because even if my rationality (and my mother) tell me that I should never apologize for things I didn't do, the voice is stronger. The voice is paramount. So I hide, inside my apartment, inside the computer, inside myself, where it's safe. 

Sticks and stones. I'd  take them any day. 


Sticks and Stones — 25 Comments

  1. Oh, sweetie.
    My usual advice is “Tell ’em fuck ’em” (good advice from dear old dad), but I’m not sure that’ll work in this case.

  2. Your neighbor is an ass. Whether you have gained weight or haven’t… that was just rude. The only people I can think of that I’m ok with asking if I’ve gained weight are doctors… and my grandmother… because that’s how she is.

  3. @Colleen: My grandma’s the same. It’s delightful, isn’t it?
    @banshee: I know lots of people who are married. I know nearly no one who has a successful blog that I read on a daily basis. Who would that be? Oh. You!

  4. Seriously, who says shit like that? I’m with Colleen. I know it’s impossible to turn off that mean little voice… just remember to try to listen to the millions of other little voices who are telling you how fucking great you are.

  5. Your reaction might remind people not to ask such ridiculously insensitive questions. That oh, yeah, those utterances from their pie holes have an impact.
    In the meantime, hugs from afar. Although you count your dearest friends on one hand, behind you is a bleacher full of virtual acquiantances, cheering you on. (But quietly. We all kind of hope you get a nice nap.)

  6. Who the hell asks a woman if she’s gaining weight? Seriously, WHO DOES THAT??? I hope that your reaction made them feel like a complete ass. Good GOD.
    You’re awesome. Just in case you needed another voice to reinforce that.

  7. And here I am, thinking you are not only beautiful, but also funny and intelligent. Every time I see that you’ve tweeted, I’m a little bit happier – and every time my feed reader shows a bloggy from Inverse Candlelight, I skip reading it right away – opting instead to save it for my trip home from work, where I usually needs to be cheered up a bit.
    You are one hell of a writer, and you seem to be a truly good person.
    I hope nice words stay with you just as well. 🙂

  8. Appropriate reaction to the neighbor:
    “I’m so happy they made an exception to the No Jackass rule at this complex. Otherwise, I never would have met you.”
    (then you give him/her a big thumbs-up)

  9. Do you want me to come sit on your neighbor so she knows what fat really looks like? Cause, for serious? You are NOT fat, and she clearly needs to be shown the difference.

  10. Your neighbor is a moron! You are beautiful and talented and, as my mother used to say, your neighbor is probably just jealous of you! Also, it is much easier to be thick skinned when you’ve had enough sleep. I hope your meds start letting you sleep soon.

  11. I’m bothered by this. It’s never what you see that counts with people who can feel your pain and love you and that includes what you call “fat;” “ugly” is nowhere apparent. What’s the saying? “Those who matter don’t care, those who care don’t matter.” Besides, physical beauty is a transitory possession, but beauty of the mind and tenderness of the heart are everlasting: you have these in abundance. For what it’s worth, you and what you do are very important to me.

  12. Miss Banshee…you must remember you are fabulous. Repeat after me, ‘I am fabulous.’ God created you in his own image. He loves you. We love you. Ignore the haters. Light eradicates darkness. Go look in the mirror and look deep into your eyes, reflecting on how perfect you are AS you are. You are never alone. We are all out here cheering for you, smiling knowingly at the things you have the courage to say and we do not. The web world is a much better place because you are here. A welcome presence.

  13. Holy Mother of Pete. EVERYONE knows you NEVER ask a woman if she’s gained weight. Everyone except your neighbor I suppose. Of all people, another woman should know that for serious. I’m appalled.
    On the other things, I know how you feel, I know those voices. They speak to me constantly too. I just wrote all about it in my journal last night. It feels like punishment for doing something wrong in life. And I have done plenty of things I deserve punishment for so that just fuels it. I take the meds, I go to therapy, I do ALL of that but the voices never quite go away. I’m trying to learn to ignore them. To find MY voice inside me that will speak louder than any of them. To tell them, and me that I’m worth something, I AM pretty, I AM worth a damn, I DO have friends, I DON’T deserve to be treated badly (especially by men, but that’s a hard one). Anyways, I know I probably didn’t cheer you up, but I do know what you’re going through. It’s not just you alone out there. I’m working on finding MY voice, I hope you find yours too.

  14. When someone asks you a personal question, look them in the eye, wait three seconds, and ask without any rancor “Why would you ask such a question?” It gets the point across without confrontation.
    And never doubt how very much loved you are by so many people.
    p.s. my daughter wonders the same thing about why, at 31, she isn’t married yet. There’s no answer, but it isn’t a character flaw in her… or in you.

  15. ::face palm:: This is why I hate people. Hardly anyone thinks before opening their mouth anymore. It makes my brain hurt.
    I have the same voice in my head. Its ability to project has lessened in recent years, but its still there, ready to taunt me when its feeling sassy. I know it’s hard to ignore, but you’re more than capable. You’ve overcome worse things than this. Be strong, and be sure to flip off that neighbor when next you meet.

  16. Best thing I’ve figued out to do so far is to tell people”I don’t like to hear comments on my weight. Good or bad”
    Cuz I don’t. If someone tells me oh “you loook healthy” I think “they just said I look fatter. I’m going on a diet asap”.
    Since I’ve told the “weight commenters” to stop, they have. And they were not offended, far as I can tell.

  17. You are talented, honest, beautiful, brilliant. Your neighbor and anyone else’s opinion cannot change that. Thanks for being vulnerable enough to share your heart with us all. We should all be as courageous as you.

  18. You need to tell your neighbor: “Well, I gain a pound for every insensitive, asinine comment you make to someone, so I imagine I’ve gained a TON of weight!”
    BTW-I think you’re intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, vair bee-yoo-T-ful, and the “voice” can go to hell. Maybe my “voice” & your “voice” can start picking on each other & leave us alone, eh?

  19. I totally sympathise with you. Asking someone about their weight is super super super rude.
    I have a question though. I have a coworker who is also very very thin skinned. Whenever I point out something that is wrong with anything he is involved with, he gets incredibly defensive. I never call him about by name or point fingers. I’ll just point out that something needs to be fixed. I feel bad for the guy, I mean life must be pretty rough if you take everything personally, but how can I deal with him and get my job done? What is the best method to deal with a really thin skinned person.

  20. I have two friends who were out walking one time when some teenage boys drove by and yelled that they were fat. This scenario is my complete nightmare. Your neighbor also sounds like a nightmare. How do you even respond to something like that?!

  21. You live near some horrible people. I mean, that lady that sat outside your window and talked loudly on her phone until you blasted her away with Manson? And now this? And actually…various other things you’ve written about in the time I’ve been reading your blog?
    I know words hurt. I have that same awful voice in my head. Except mine sounds a scary amount like my mother.
    I’m also still trying to get over what Tina Fey said. I used to like her. Who knew she was such a snobby elitist bitch? For the record, I care about what kind of sandwiches everyone EXCEPT her had for lunch. Now, that voice that sounds like my mother says I can never be a successful writer because I tell people I bought really awesome shoes or that my cat did something adorable.
    *conspires to make loud noises so you can’t hear the voice in your head*

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