I’ve been going into the HB archives lately when I’m doing my makeup. I just love it so much. I think my favorite thing about it is when Shankar does his little pause and I can predict what he’s going to say next.
It happens almost every time. I love it.
Anyhow, this was a good episode, and because I’m so scattered all the time I initially thought I was a fox.
I’m also biased toward foxes. They’re my favorite animal, and there’s a company in Russia that has legitimately domesticated them. And PBS says that they are “genetically fascinating but terrible pets,” but PBS is full of shit (according to the rules I have set in my own head) because they’re only $9,000 and when I win the lottery/sell my memoir I’m fucking buying one and you can’t stop me, PBS. I’d like to see you try. PBS.
As this article so perfectly states it, “foxes are adorable, and we want to hug them, and we want them to like it.”
Also, juniper fox.
Oh my God I cannot even. I can’t even stand it. They’re so perfect I need to gag and die.
From the Russian Institute of Cytology and Genetics you can get yourself a silver/black, platinum, or Georgian white fox, if you like or you can go good old-timey red fox. Which is totally what I’d do. I grew up in the woods, and there was this huge picture window in our kitchen. We rented a farmhouse, and we’d sit at the table at night and look out the window onto the pasture, which had a huge pond in it. And one night, three deer ran across the pond and behind them, chasing them for no good goddamn reason at all was a red fox. He slipped on the ice and slid across the pond on his belly and ever since then I’ve loved foxes with a sick passion. I even wrote a column about it this past January, which is going to be part of my Keystone submission package next year.
I won another Keystone this year, by the by. Second place again, for columns. Denny Bonavita beat me to first again. I’m trying to convince him to come to the awards so I can pick his brain and learn everything he knows. So that I can beat him next year.
Anyhow, I started the episode thinking oh, yeah, I’m totally a fox. Because I’m inattentive-type ADD incarnate and I’m constantly in at least three different worlds, simultaneously, in my own head. I know that people who want to believe that ADD isn’t a thing want me to come to the “realization” that it’s not ADD it’s mild dissociation, but metacognition is my Olympic sport and I know myself, man. Because Socrates told me to know myself and I was like “okay, dude. I will.” And I do and I have ADD and mild dissociation so don’t judge.
I’m not projecting at all.
Not at all.
But then here’s the thing: I, too, see a big picture item and, if it resonates with me, I go full steam ahead regardless of how practical or pragmatic it is. I, too, am guilty of perseverating on the same idea, obsessing over the same thing, kamikaze style, until I’ve run myself into the ground.
It’s why I’m getting paid to write. I’m not getting paid a lot. I’m not, like, a big shiny writer or anything, but I decided I was going to be a writer and even though the whole world was like, “girl, no, get a real degree and a legitimate job,” I was like, “nah, world, I think imma be a writer anyway.”
And I am. And it’s important to be a little that way too.
Also, Amy Schumer.
I’ve been conflicted over Amy Schumer since Amy Schumer became a thing that happened.
Mainly because I have a lot of negative countertransference with her. Even though the whole idea of transference/countertransference is Freudian, and even though Freud was a fucked up cokehead, and even though I’m not engaged in a therapeutic relationship with her at all, which is a prerequisite for transference, kinda, and even though if I were in a therapeutic relationship with Amy Schumer she’d probably be the therapist, not me, because that’s how messed up I am.
But Amy Schumer brings out all my shame.
Like, I look at her with her big girl voice and her fearless use of it, and I get all squirrely inside because I’ve been raised to believe that we don’t think icky things and we definitely don’t say them when we think them, and icky things are basically anything that’s not sunshine, rainbows, or emotional candy sprinkles.
Anything real or raw or unattractive is unacceptable. That was the unspoken rule among the women who raised me.
But I have so many real, raw, unattractive things inside my head and outside, on my body, and I can’t keep them hidden because I’m just not that coordinated.
And as I age I say them more and more, and every time someone stops me and says, “oh, that column where you said all your icky things really loud and obnoxious-like? That was my favorite thing,” that shit just encourages me. You know how your teacher used to say “don’t laugh at the obnoxious kid in the class, it just encourages him?”
Well, I don’t know why it was always a him, but I’m him.
I’m that kid.
And every time you tell me you like my column or my blog it just encourages me.
Anyhow, even while watching the Amy Schumer movie this weekend with Shanell, I had pangs of shame and guilt for every time I can remember in the recent as well as my personal ancient history were I was authentic. In what I said, and what I did. In walking around without sucking in my gut or consciously elongating my spine. It happens more and more and while it feels good I also have to beat back my internalized shame every minute for having done it.
It’s a whole thing I’m doing. So I’ve had this conflicted history with Amy Schumer where I know who she is and I know what she does and I know why so many people claim to hate her and it’s because she’s honest.
Amy Schumer is honest and imperfect and not ashamed of it.
And that’s why people hate her. Because we’ve all been told that honest imperfection without shame is unacceptable. Unless we lived some sort of unicorn childhood where we were accepted for who we were unconditionally.
I hate every one of those people.
Because I’m jealous.
Anyhow, for the rest of us, we have to learn to live through that legacy of shame and self-loathing, and it’s a long hard road out of hell (#shamelessmansonreference).
And I love what Amy says about how if you’re an outspoken woman with an honest message and not ashamed to speak your mind, they automatically go for your appearance.
God that’s so true. And, also like most women, I’ve been taught to be ashamed of how I look. I used to diet and exercise, and like my addiction issues in the past, which were my frantic attempt to not have to deal with the little moments when who I really was broke through the layers of subterfuge, I am not a part-way kind of a gal. I can’t just eat better and move more. I have to go all in. I have to spend an hour and a half on the treadmill every single day, and I have to commit to a diet of water and crushed limes and the occasional slice of turkey jerky.
It’s like…imagine you are bullied every single day, by someone you love and want to love you back. So you wake up every day, knowing that even if you starve yourself to the size of a twig and never ever say a single thing wrong your whole life, you still won’t be quite good enough, but you make that your life’s mission anyhow. And then it comes true. No matter what you do, you’re still not good enough for this person. Now, imagine that that person lives inside your brain and you can never, ever escape her. So even when you decide to get better, you now aren’t devoting all your energy trying to meet an impossible standard, but trying to just be yourself while that person is standing there 24/7 telling you you suck even more for it.
Your bully lives inside your head.
And you can’t get rid of her.
And that’s just one small facet of living with Complex PTSD.
Anyhow, I want to be more like Amy Schumer. And I also love how she talks about things she might have joked about a year ago that she wouldn’t joke about now.
That’s so important to the idea of authenticity. I think often we say, “okay, I’m going to live an authentic life.” So then we spend all this time thinking about our authentic selves and who we want to project out into the world, and how to reflect our truths or whatever other hippie ass way you want to describe it. And then we commit to that.
But here’s the thing: if your authentic self isn’t changing and evolving in response to the world around it? Then it’s just as fucked up as every other, earlier, inauthentic version of yourself you failed at living up to before. You’re no better. You’re not being authentic you’re just being different. You’ve changed while staying exactly the same.
Look, I suck at explaining it but Daniel Kahneman is better at it. And he talks about learning to laugh at your mistakes and how that’s really the only way to grow from them and to improve as a person.
There’s an entire Hidden Brain interview with Kahneman that you really should listen to.
I know. I need to start getting paid for pimpin’ dis shit.
You hear me out there, Vedantam?
I’m just sayin’.
Student loans, man. I could use a little help. I’m flushing them your way. If, you know. You wanna float me a little green that would be…I mean that would be awesome, bro.
Just puttin’ that out there, is all.
Foxes. Amy Schumer.
And my ongoing massive brain crush on Shankar Vedantam.
That is all.