Tuesday, October 17, 2017

You're Not My Real Dad

It's been an interesting week. 

Maybe it's been my focus on other areas of my life before now (namely moving, racing, not dying) that has kept me from recognizing a certain pattern amongst a certain demographic in my audience or maybe it's a newer phenomenon as I navigate the abrupt changes in large areas of my life and talk more about these changes, but I've noticed something. 

Older men sure seem to enjoy telling me what to do. They also really like to hand out unsolicited and often cliched advice, and then react when I say "Nah, we good."

Now, that line may set you back on your heels a bit. It sounds weird, right? It's a bit like 'wait, what did I miss?', almost as though you've walked into a movie halfway through and have no idea who is who or why anything is happening. 

Imagine my confusion.

I mean, I made it to 30 pretty unscathed. Well, let me rephrase that. I made it to 30. I survived. I have a lot of scars and some solid lessons but nevertheless, we're here. I got through some school, built a couple of businesses, coached and raced and trained my way into being someone that other people follow on social media (don't ask me why), but we're here. There were some speed bumps, a few life flights (3, to be exact) and more than a couple of near-death experiences... But I'm here. Learned a lot of stuff, failed a whole bunch, had a kid, almost went to prison, faced 'The Big C' twice and feel as though my adventures have molded me into a pretty well-rounded and humble person.

I'm still overly curious and probably ask way too many questions, but that's better than being braindead, amirite? 

So. Back to this really weird phenomena. I mean, is it new? Nah. Have I noticed it before? Sure. Has it gotten more concentrated? I honestly have no fucking idea. 

But this thing has been sitting on my brain for the last couple of weeks and as I've started calling it out, the results of my attention have been... 

Expected. 

Yeah. I kind of expected it. To be honest, nobody likes hearing "Yeah, dumbass, I know." Then again, nobody really likes being told "I know you. Let me tell you how to ________ the right way", either.

So let me be clear:

Fellas? You don't know me.

You don't know what I've experienced, what I have a background in, what I've been through. You don't know shit about my education, my childhood, my travels. You don't know what my deepest motivations are, where my psychological makeup came from, or how and why my brain instantly recoils the moment you start spouting off some of that precious, sage wisdom of yours. [Eyeroll.]

Now, a few of you have approached me on Facebook in the comments sections of my posts, trying to read between the lines. Some of you deeply internalize my Instagram captions or get all het up about my tweet threads. A few of you actually read this shitty blog or, god fucking forbid, have combed through every word I've ever put on the internet. 

But somewhere along the line, y'all decided that you know me. 

You've decided, in fact, that I'm a precious young thing who needs the guidance and direction that only you can provide in your infinite wisdom as A Dude Who Has Seen Stuff. A few of you have even decided that I'm a cross between an adopted daughter and that cute athlete you sorta 'look after'.

I'm not. 

Example: 



Here's the thing: those kids you mentioned, ALAN? THOSE are YOUR kids. If you're telling them to enjoy the good parts of life, it's probably founded in some semblance of observation about their day to day. Again, they're your kids. 

However.

I am not.

Another example:



Yet another one:






These are all from the last three days. 

THREE DAYS.

I'm a stranger on the internet who you presume to understand well enough that you're not only offering up advice, but getting seriously offended when I don't take it or when I call you out on the sexism of your assumptions. I'm a thirty-year-old who has seen many, many, many sides of life you likely can't even fathom and who has gotten to the ripe ol' age of 30 on much of my own steam, work ethic, instinct and survival. I was here before you found me on twitter or Facebook, and I will be here after I block your idiotic ass. I have existed before you knew of me, mister white guy who wants to take on a parental role, and I will continue to exist and thrive without your cliche, deeply sexist and ill-timed 'advice'. Why?

You don't know me from Adam. I'm literally a stranger on the internet that you (and multitudes of dudes just like you) are hurling advice at every day. But it doesn't stop there: you all demand that not only should I take your advice, but that I be grateful you offered it in the first place based on your entirely myopic and inaccurate assumptions about me, a person you absolutely don't know. You know your kids (or your friends or family or S/O). That's great. But you don't know me outside of what I've put on the internet -- you don't have a full picture of even 5% of a full picture. Not only are you comparing me to your teenagers and infantilizing and dehumanizing me based on your wrong assumptions, but you're assuming you see 100% of everything I've ever done and learned and know. You're assuming that you know more about me than I know about me. Yes, you are.

That's condescending as fuck.

It's also reductive to the point of negating all of my experience as an athlete, a coach, a businesswoman and a human. All of it. 

Here's the thing: I have an entire support system of people who do know me. People who know me intimately, who know me not-so-intimately, people who have literally taught me lessons I'll carry with me for the rest of eternity... And even they don't know all of me. It's impossible to know another human completely and for you, a stranger, to assume that you know more about my training program, nutrition, bike setup, physicality, emotional state, employment, finances, attitude, mental acuity, work background, education or ANY of that is wildly fucked up. 

To assume that you know what I like or need more than I know what I like, need and want is so egregiously narcissistic and blindly misogynist that I cannot even comprehend what a complete fucking prick you are to the people you've actually met in person.

So when I say "don't tell me what to do", it isn't because I'm some rebellious teenager who's striking out against a parental figure. It's because you literally have no idea of who I am and you have ZERO right or reason to be doling out advice based on your own emotional need for validation and acceptance as an authority figure of legitimacy.

That's called 'projection'. It's a pain in my ass.

Besides: if your advice is so good, why aren't YOU taking it instead of bothering me with a constant barrage of bullshit?

Don't tell me what to do. Go do your own thing and I'll keep doing me, mmmmkay? I'm good here.