Continuing Education: A Delicate Rant

Yesterday, Ferrett tweeted “#wip I think the worst thing a person can do to someone is to overlook how they’ve changed.”

#wip “I think the worst thing a person can do to someone is to overlook how they’ve changed.”

— Ferrett Steinmetz (@ferretthimself) February 16, 2016

It was a timely message because I’d been affected by recently learning that there is someone out there making assumptions about my character without really knowing me. Worse, this person (and I don’t know who it is, nor do I want to know) hinted at having some sort of credibility because they read some of my blogs once and maybe talked to me a few times so, they knew me.

Now, I’m the first to tell you that what inconsequential people think about me is inconsequential to me. But they were talking to someone I do care about, and trying to imply something negative about me that I don’t believe is true.

Anymore.

Also, (because I’m hormonal right now and things that normally don’t piss me off are pissing me off), I had a damned good reason for being that way in the past.

I don’t want to get into details here, so I’m gonna go with a metaphor.

Let us suppose that I got into a car accident two years ago and injured my leg. Because of this injury, I limp for a long time. Anyone who met me could visibly see the limp as I did not try to mask it. In fact, ’cause it’s me – I regularly blogged about my experience in the accident and my struggles with the pain in my leg.

But I go to physical therapy. I work on strengthening the muscles in my leg, and though once in a while I might get a bit of sciatica, I manage quite well at walking without limping after two years.

And then a good friend of mine asks me to join their team for a 5K charity run. I’m not a huge fan of sports and running, but it’s for a good cause and I decide it’s worth my time and energy to train for this event. I’m committed to this challenge and I’m training every day without complaint.

Another teammate is discussing my participation with a friend of theirs (who isn’t running in the 5K at all, by the way). My teammate is asked, “Wait. Phi? I know Phi. Doesn’t she limp like a motherfucker and hate exercise?”

Now, was it the “worst” thing a person could do? To negate nearly a year of self-work to overcome my totally-reasonable limp? To actively attempt to devalue or cause my friend and teammate to question my participation on their team? To suggest that because mystery person met me a few times and saw me walking funny six months ago that they know me?

Maybe not the worst thing. But it’s a rude thing and a bothersome thing. I spent most of the day yesterday trying to remember that someone’s misrepresented opinions about me are not my problem.

And I’ll get back there. I’m almost there, actually. But I won’t pretend that I didn’t spend a solid couple hours of my day yesterday feeling very put-off by it.

I’m reminded of the concept of “continuing education.” A doctor can go to medical school and become Board Certified, and an insurance agent can get their license to practice insurance sales; but, in order to maintain their good standing in their field they are required to participate in a minimum number of hours of continuing education, or they lose the right to practice under the guise of being “licensed” or “certified.”

Someone who was my friend two years ago or six months ago that has not had any meaningful conversation with me in the last three months doesn’t get to claim that they “know” me anymore. At least, not in the sense of being able to make a qualified judgment on my character, my motivations, or my qualifications to run in a 5K (that’s still a metaphor). A lot has changed in that time.

So, I mean, I don’t know. Do I have to lay down a disclaimer here? I wasn’t feeling great yesterday. My mood was sour and I’m mostly over that, and today I’m also feeling a little bit on edge emotionally (probably because of imminent bleeding).

But three weeks from now, if you go around telling someone that I’m a sourpuss moody bitch and you know this because you read this blog, I’m gonna fucking cut you.

Got it?
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