Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What I deserved.

There's a lot of of awful television out there. A lot of awful movies, plays and music too. But television is the one that really gets the brunt of the 'what crap' sentiment. Sifting through the available nonsense shows that pollute the airways it's easy to see why. Understandably television also gets the bum rep from so many because it is so egalitarian in that it's free (mostly) and the number of homes without a television vs. the ones with... well, it doesn't take a genius.

Of course amongst the drek there is some gold - get out your sifter and find it. It's not easy. But tonight I was watching something (taped) and there was something that really hit me. Something that struck an emotional, real-life, chord for me and I have to decry all the television naysayers because of it. If something as seemingly inane as television can be so well-written (and acted) that it causes an emotional reaction, causes a desire to create and make something of your own, then how 'crap' can it really be?

Any form of expression that elicts that sort of click in the brain, that sort of "me too" response deserves some kudos and the label "art". That's what art is supposed to do, isn't it? Make us feel, make us share, make us understand that we are not alone. This 30 minute show, entertaining as it was, was not art -- until the moment it triggered my own 'me too' moment; and memories of some very sad times.

The moment was when someone was forced to admit to herself that she deserved more than she was getting from a relationship. Someone else had to say the words: "you deserve more" for her to face it and that, my dears, is real. So many of us accept so much less than we* deserve and we keep accepting it and taking it, because deep down - even if we won't admit it to anyone else or even to ourselves - it's all we believe we are worth. We'll put up with the most insane behavior from people we want so desperately to love us back that we will rationalize ANYTHING - even down to them having a baby with someone else! Really.

We'll keep doing that, rationalizing, making excuses, until we don't know which way is up any more and instead of facing the fact that we DO deserve better we turn on ourselves rather than on the person who is mistreating us. That is, of course, until we realize that the real abuser in the scenario is ourselves.

We will allow others to do to us what we would NEVER tolerate being done to our friends, our family, our loved ones. But treat us like worthless garbage? Oh sure, bring me another heaping plate of self-loathing, thanks. And how about a side order of treat me like shit, just don't leave me.

Sometimes we only see the truth when someone outside the situation, not a friend who has said it a million times before, but someone completely outside, spells it out for us and makes us admit to ourselves that we are the only ones allowing ourselves to be treated badly. Yes the person who is hurting you is responsible - but unless you're looking for martyrdom and a possible sainthood after death - you are responsible for allowing them to stay in your life and continuing to treat you badly.

I was the absolute queen of letting people treat me like hell: family, lovers, friends - anyone! I do not allow that any more. I do not fight with people to try to change them, I do not beg for 'things to get better' - people are as they are, if someone treats you like dirt the only way to make it stop is to cut them out of your life. YOUR life. You are not here to make them a better person. You are here to make yourself a better person - and to live your life as happily as you possibly can and spread that love around. If someone in your life makes you feel bad about yourself, or sad, or hurts you in any way but accidentally (and I mean like stepping on your toe!), take a look at what why you keep that person in your life. And then look in the mirror and repeat with me:

I deserve better.

Because you do. We all do. And we can have it - if we learn to love ourselves first.

Geez... all that from one line of a television show. Now THAT'S Art!!

*by we I mean me


BetteJo said...

But it's so true. I believe in the saying - we teach people how we want to be treated. That makes us take responsibility for allowing people to treat us badly.

Been there - done that - ugh. Unfortunately a lot of the time it takes women (in particular) years and years to come to a point where they believe they should be treated better.
Great post!

mikster said...


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Great post!

I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Yes, we all deserve better. I know people think I'm very deprived since i don't have cable, which means in San Francisco I am able to get at best two or three stations that aren't pure snow. I don't feel the least bit deprived. Sadly, Dr. Phil is one of the shows that I am able to receive, but I refuse to listen to his "I want you to get excited about your life" rants.

Joy said...

Bettejo - Thanks! I agree we do teach people how we want to be treated. Things get confusing when you are trying to be nice, or generous, and instead of teaching someone to be those things to you they take advantage of your good nature. I think that's where when we have to learn to say "no" even if it means not being quite as nice as we'd like to.

Mike - Say it louder my brother! ;)

Whim - THANK YOU! That's saying a lot, because you know I think you COULD say it better! :)

JT - You gave me the shudders when you mentioned Dr. P. I was terrified you were going to say you watched him! *whew!* Don't scare me like that!!