On Being Difficult

I wasn’t truthful with you in my last post about not having many words to share right now. My Oma pried as to why this might be when we spoke a few days ago, so I have been thinking about it.

The truth is I have a lot of things to say. I say some publicly, here on this blog. I say some one-on-one with certain people. and I keep some things I think about to myself.

We hold many roles in our lives – sibling, daughter/son, student, teacher, professional, boyfriend/spouse, artist, thinker, yogini, friend, confidant and many more. We balance all these roles that require others to tell us who we are in them. We need other people to tell us who we are – like we are reflected back to ourselves in a mirror of you.

We are filled with expectations about these roles by others. We carry so much “water”, or expectations, that go back so far in our histories, through our ancestors, and from those in our surroundings ancestors. We don’t spend enough time learning our own assumptions about where our values and beliefs come from and whether they make sense for us to hold those beliefs today, in this moment in human history.

Which brings me to what I wanted to write about: “on being difficult.” The informal roles in my family of five are many, as is for everyone else in the family. On family vacations, I would decide what we were going to do that day – whether we would bike ride, which restaurant, whether we would play cards. I was the decision-maker, and perhaps, my mother was the co-pilot. “I’m not telling you what to do, BUT…” she would tell us, when everyone knew that she was telling us what to do.

I have been put in this role in other social settings too. I find that sometimes my friends defer to me to make decisions about what we should do, where we should go, asking me for advice on life. And I am ultimately happy in this role. It’s one where I feel I can share my values with others and help us all be the best people we can be.

So on being difficult? My loved ones – family and friends – don’t always want to hear what I have to say, and I have to be ok with this, and sometimes I get labeled as “difficult” because I do not “go with the flow”, as they say. I am have never been able to just “go with the flow.”

I will use the example of my brother and his finance’s wedding coming up. As I read each day about how to play my part in the public health crisis, all signs point to what we have been asked to do my health experts since the beginning: do not gather in large groups of people; wear a mask; socially distance; wash your hands. All of these recommendations go against everything that would occur at a traditional wedding. All of these recommendations go against an obligation to others to not spread the virus because we know in this moment in the US that it will lead to more deaths.

My role in my family is sometimes to try and direct the ship, because normally my opinion is asked or questions are missing from the conversation because others are too afraid to ask them, but when my questions and opinions are not what wants to be heard, I get labeled as “being difficult”. It’s easier to call me difficult than to try and not take it as a personal attack, but listen to what I have to say. I am not always right. I am often not right. My intention is not to be difficult, but for everyone to make the best decisions for our collective humanity.

I guess I have become a bit like Taylor Swift in that if you are a part of my life you risk being written about in a blog post or oped (I’m still sorry Jamie), and I am sorry about that. My friends and family, you are important people in my life, I hope you know that. You are incredibly loved by me.

I am only difficult because I expect so much of you. I respect you more than you understand, which is why I hold you to a standard that may be impossible for anyone to reach. I am sorry if what I have to say has come across as being mean. I am sorry if it has come across as being insensitive. I am sorry for how it might have felt, for how it still might feel. I can’t know what you feel, so tell me, use your words and tell me. We can all try and be the best people we can be, including me.

I want you to make the best decisions for your life, but not just for you, but for all others who you surround yourself with.

Because we are all so incredibly small individually. Such short and small lives. So incredibly short.

But collectively, we are a beautiful humanity, and we must preserve that.

So go forth, with love for each other and make the most of this short and precious life.


And finally, a special thank you to my parents, today and everyday, particularly when for the next two months as I live at home. Thank you for having me back in your home. I know I can be difficult, but know that it’s all done through love.


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