Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Deep Down Inside, I'm Sort of a Koombaya-aholic. But Always with a Touch of Snark.

I recently received a gift that spurned an argument amongst myselves. The argument went something like this:

Snarky Zube: Ummmmmm, okay. So how the hell do you thank someone for that?

Koombaya Zube: Well, that’s easy, you simply say, “Thank you for the gift. It was very kind of you.”

Snarky Zube: Right, and just ignore the bit where he said he finds my blog disturbing?

Koombaya Zube: You know, why get into a tangle? I mean, he sent you a gift. Say thanks and leave it alone.

Snarky Zube: But it was akin to, oh, I don’t know, kicking me in the groin and following it up with a french kiss.

Koombaya Zube: A really snazzy french kiss. Leather bound. With your name engraved on it.

Snarky Zube: Right. An appropriate follow-up to getting kicked in the groin.

Koombaya Zube: But the thing is, unless dude works at a bible factory, one attached to a DVD store, and gets a hefty discount on engraved bibles and Passion of the Christ DVDs, he spent quite a bit. To send you a gift. So you say thanks.

Snarky Zube: I KNOW that, but see, that's a pretty passive-aggressive play to yank out of the playbook. This guy calls me a sad, little girl who writes a disturbing blog, then smooths it over by saying, “I don’t mean to be condescending, yadda yadda,” and then gives me a really nice gift. And there’s no way in this situation to address the negative stuff he said with out coming off sounding like an asshole. It smacks of the, "No offense, but insert offensive comment," bullshit that I can't stand.

Koombaya Zube: But, you know, why give him the impression that all heathens are assholes? I mean, we're really not an asshole.

Snarky Zube: Well, not always. Thanks to you.

After a little more internal dialogue, I've concluded that there is a way to make both of the girls happy. I'm gonna be all Koombaya and say thank you for the gift. Sincerely. I don't ascribe to any religion but I'm nothing if not well read. And surely the twelve years of Catechism I piously endured through elementary and high school are a bit rusty, so I wouldn't mind brushing up on my bible skillz. And while, odds are, I'm not going to be witnessing for the Lord anytime soon, I don't mind the education at all.

I appreciate you sharing something with me which worked for you and I can tell it was heartfelt. I am so happy that you found your answer in Him. I would never, ever, ever in one million and two years begrudge anyone for having faith in something. Whether it's something a whole host of others believe or whether it's something Lone Rangerish, like paying homage to the Staypuff Marshmellow Man. Whatever brings you peace and fulfillment and happiness, dude, you go with your bad self.

Now to give voice to the snark. I take issue with some of your letter. I'm not posting the entire thing; just a portion which I'd like to address. And for my other readers, please know, the rest of the letter was very genuine and not unkind.

I have read your blog several times and to be honest, I find it very disturbing. Not by just the fact that you had an abortion but because you feel such a need to share it on line. I feel the same as some of your other readers that have responded that you have never really dealt with the whole incident of being raped and having terminated your pregnancy. I am very sorry for what you have been through and I sense that there is a part of you that is very empty and lonely on the inside and no amount of talking about it or getting the approval of others is ever going to fill the void that is in your life.

When I read your work, I hear a frightened, sad little girl that is searching for something that she can’t quite put a name to. Why else would you feel the need to always appear to have it all together on the outside when on the inside you’re so unsure of yourself.

I am in no way condemning you or judging you for your past or present lifestyle. We all have done things that we look back on and regret or question. We’re all human.

Okay, first of all, I'm certainly not an idiot. I am well aware that having a public diary opens me up to both friend and foe. I'm a big girl, though, so I continue with that in mind. I never said anyone HAD to agree with me. In fact, I think I've said the opposite quite a few times. And in case it got lost in the blather, NO ONE here should feel compelled to agree with me. Ever. It would do me a great disservice.

What jumps out at me is that you said my blog disturbs you. Which, okay, to a degree I understand why you'd still be reading. I like to watch Fox News because it's sort of like a Sean Hannity/Bill O'Reilly Hate Sandwich and I like to take a big bite, remark on how chewy and disgusting it is, spit it out and flip the channel to CNN or CSPAN. I know when to put down the remote and walk away. And if I'm contemplating sending Sean Hannity an Obama '08 bumper sticker accompanied with a letter explaining what I think his 'problems' are with regard to his political views and if he would just believe like I do so that I could accept him, well, I pretty much missed that "Put the Remote Down' window.

I'm not forcing you to read my blog just as no one forces me to watch Fox News. But if my blog disturbs you on a visceral level, well, it might be time to take a break. Hell, even my adoring husband needs to take a break from me once in a while. It's not hard to believe that a very religious reader might need one as well.

I found this quote in particular pretty offensive:

...you have never really dealt with the whole incident of being raped and having terminated your pregnancy.

Through years of therapy, writing, speaking for Planned Parenthood and the simple and profound fact that EVERY DAY I live the life of a rape survivor, I don't know how else you'd want me to 'really deal' with it. It seems a large leap you've taken into my brain to draw the conclusion that I haven't really dealt with it. If you're implying it doesn't seem as though I'm over it, then you're right. I'm not. I never will be. Thank goodness for that, too, because if I were to ever be 'over it' I'd imagine the experience wouldn't be such a catalyst to do, what I deem, good works. I hope I never get over it.

I don't pretend to know all the answers here. I don't mean to portray myself as even 'having it all together'. I'm a jumbled mess of Zube-ness and I kinda like it that way. However, where you hear a frightened, sad little girl, I hear a Merely Confused, Albeit Opinionated, Pretty Sarcastic, Hopelessly Pollyanna, ADULT WOMAN. One who doesn't take so kindly to the paternalistic approach. But, we'll never see eye to eye on this as we're individual beholders. But I can promise you that where you see that little girl, I see a woman. And I am proud of her.

In the end, do not think that your attempt to reach out has gone unappreciated. I do appreciate it and I hate to slap the hand that reaches out in an honest attempt to save someone. But I do like to couple my helpings of religious proselytizing with a healthy mound of salt. And I don't feel the need to be saved. I thank you for the gift and will continue to carry on with my lifestyle, the one you are not judging. And don't you worry about me regretting this Fondness of Saying Fuck Lifestyle, or Whatever the Heck Lifestyle I am living. I do try with all my might not to waste my emotional fortitude on such a useless emotion as regret.

Peace to you. I am glad you found Jesus. Truly.

11 Leg Humps:

Crazy Lady said...

Handled with grace and finesse. Beautiful.

AmyD said...

If you don't mind me continuing with the snark for a moment. Were you to send this guy say, Conversations with God, or The Four Agreements - he'd be offended to no end.

Why is it ok, for someone to invade your life, make assumptions, and then send you *IMHO* inappropriate "gifts" as long as you are a holy roller?

I'm sure this guy would not have had your grace, gratitude, and eloquence had you thought it best to send him rosary beads.

I for one support you in all the progress you have made, all the things you do for others, and your ability to put yourself on the line by opening up about what you have been through.

If someone finds that "disturbing" than clearly they would prefer to live in a sanitized bubble era 1950's where all the bad shit was going on but nobody every talked about.

Crys said...

you're right, this person was probably doing what he thought was best at the time. there was no malice.

still, i honestly believe that these types of Christians don't truly understand how condescending they come across. or arrogant. or narrow minded. if others do not believe the same as they do, then they are wounded, enslaved, in the dark or worst of all, unsaved. they are doomed. there is no allowance for simple human experience, for interpretation, for different ways of coping. it's simply THIS IS THE WAY, I WANT YOU TO HAVE WHAT I HAVE BY GOING THIS WAY. and if you refuse, you are just another swine they refuse to throw their "pearls" to. it's endless. it's exhausting. i know, because i was a fundamentalist Christian for YEARS.

this post was excellent. thank you.

Miss Britt said...

First, I very much want to steal your "Pro Child, Pro Choice" sticker.

But ANYway...

Forgive the misuse of religious terms here, but you handled this with a lot more Grace than I would have.

It seems to me that whenever anyone appears to be comfortable in their own skin and head online, there will always be people who want to point out that you "are trying to look like you have it all together".

And to them I say:

Fuck you, good sir. Fuck you.

Zube Girl said...

Crazy Lady- Thank you. Really.

Amy- You totally reminded me of something I meant to address in this post. I talk about what happened to me because it has given SO MANY WOMEN A VOICE. Even if I am the only person they are sharing their story with, that means a LOT. And I have heard so many stories. The thing is, people tell me I'm brave. But I'm not near as brave as the women who face this all alone. With no outlet. I share for them. And if other people don't like it, that's their own problem.

Crys- I agree 1000% with what you said. And it is awesome to have your perspective having been there yourself. I know this person didn't mean me any malice. But I also don't think he wanted any other answer than, "Oh my GOSH, I am so totally saved! Thank you for showing me YOUR way!"

Miss Britt- I'd happily share that Pro Child, Pro Choice sticker with you! It couldn't be more true.

And yeah, sometimes I think I need to be a little more liberal with the fuck you's. It's pretty annoying feeling the need to hug everyone all the time.

Meghann said...

"However, where you hear a frightened, sad little girl, I hear a Merely Confused, Albeit Opinionated, Pretty Sarcastic, Hopelessly Pollyanna, ADULT WOMAN."

That line, right there, says to me that you've dealt very well.

I had more to say, but it's not my place to tell this person what my own personal views are. That's for my own blog. :)

Courtney said...

You handled that marvelously and with grace and with tact.

Kudos to you.

And I think you're a pretty amazing adult woman, too.

Happy Villain said...

What *I* find really disturbing is that the excerpt from your gifter's letter is predominantly about him. Most sentencence begins with "I", and it's all about how he feels and what he thinks.

It's condescending. The gift itself is condescending, and even though it might have cost him actual money, he did it because he thinks his way is the right away. The one thing I've learned in my life, as I have grown into an adult woman (like you), is that there is no one way to being a good person and finding your way in this world.

He wouldn't like you to think he's condemning you or judging, because that would make him wrong and un-Christian, but he also was clear that he doesn't approve of you blogging about the rape and abortion, and he calls you a frightened, sad little girl who is unsure of herself on the inside, which to me, is a judgement.

He ends it by saying that we have all done things we regret, as if you should be regretting your ways of life, and that, my dear, is primo judgement. Whatever good was meant by sending you a bible was overwrought with the letter that contained so much negativity.

I would send the bible back to him with a kind letter telling him that I appreciate the gesture, but if the gift is intended to put me on the "right" path, then it could better be used by another, because my path is the right one for me. And I'd simply wish him peace, because this is a person who has no idea how hypocritical he is, and telling him so would only make him defensive. I wish the guy peace. And I'm glad he didn't send me a bible, because I wouldn't have handled it as well as you.

And you know that I think you're a fabulous woman, an inspiration, and your path in this life is beautiful and bittersweet, as are all of our paths. I'm so proud of you.

Phil said...

Y'know, I hate to break it to the gifter, but he IS being judgmental. What we (anyone who blogs) shares on the Web is merely a snippet of ourselves. No matter how often we post, or what we post about, or how intimate the subject matter we share, it will never be more than one small piece of who we are. He's taking that one little bit, drawing up his own interpretation of the whole "you" and coming to a conclusion about what you "need". Sorry, but that's judging someone.

Honestly, Zube, you dealt with it a log better than I would have. Someone sending me such a "gift" would have received it back, along with a note along the lines of "Christopher Titus stated that after a near death experience he read through the entire Bible twice, cover to cover, seeking answers. He stated that he could sum the Bible up in one sentence: Don't be a dick. I'm returning this 'gift' because I believe you may need it's message more than I do. Thanks."

Echoes in a Nomad's Head

P.S. And I'm a Christian ;)

Patti said...

Nicely done. My first time here, and I'm definitely coming back for more.

rebturtle said...

You go with your Zube self(ves)! I could make a nice long dramatic post about how much I appreciated this article, but I can't think of anything constructive to add that hasn't already been said. You rock, and I'm a new fan.


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