If we’re being honest, this year didn’t start off on the best note. Mason and I were on our annual New Year’s Eve getaway, this time in Friday Harbor, when after a five-course dinner our bodies betrayed us in the most embarrassing ways on the walk back to our Air BnB. It was a bonding experience we could have done without, but later re-told through tears of laughter and humiliation to our families. What a way to ring in the new year. Let’s hope tonight’s New Year’s Eve dinner settles better.
2017 was the year of doing something. It was the year of taking action, of pushing back, and holding myself and those around me to higher standards. I guess you could say it was the year I’d had enough.
There were a lot of uncomfortable, but necessary, conversations. There were protests on the streets of Seattle, financial donations to advocacy groups, and phone calls and letters to my government representatives. There was almost a fight at a music festival when a man called me a name after cutting me off from my friends. I don’t think he expected me to whirl around and confront him, cranking my neck to look up into his eyes, with such immediacy and fire. “What did you call me?” I demanded. He left quickly at the ushering of his friend.
Not that I am one to get into fights, but it really did wear on me how badly some people treated others. From the top down, it seemed to be everywhere and all the time. And when it came to how some people treated me, and it was badly, I just wasn’t having it. There were several occasions where I had to think through how to take the high road without letting people walk all over me. In one instance I had to cut ties. I don’t need cruel people in my life and what you allow is what will continue, right?
There was one instance where, after much hesitation, I got involved in someone else’s experience of being treated badly. It was at a social function where people were drinking and having fun, except for one couple who seemed to be having a difficult time getting along. I didn’t know them well, but I could see that he was laying into her awfully hard while she was trying to calmly reason with him. Little excerpts of their conversation floated toward me across the room and it continued to escalate until finally I couldn’t sit down any longer. “Shut your fucking mouth,” he said to her. “You’re such an over-dramatic piece of shit.”
That was it. I had to do something. I was up. Off the couch. Across the room. My hand on his shoulder. I leaned over to him, “Can I call you an Uber? ‘Cause I can’t listen to you talk to her like that for one more minute.”
Was it any of my business? Probably not. Did it cause drama? Maybe. Will it make any difference? I hope so. If nothing else, I hope she knows I have her back. And I’d have anyone’s back in a situation like that.
After a year of “doing something,” I still wonder how we can hold each other to higher standards in regard to how we treat each other. How can we speak up against abuse, cruelty, and disrespect without playing into “drama?” Is there a way to gracefully establish boundaries and enforce consequences that won’t cause irreparable rifts in important relationships? I don’t know yet but something’s gotta give.
If nothing else, my hope for 2018 is that if we cannot be kind, we be quiet.
Happy New Years, loves.
Outfit details below: