I have a social contact on Facebook that I met when I was working with activists long distance to help prevent the Personhood legislation in Mississippi from becoming law. For some reason I am not sure about, that contact feels that it is appropriate to mentor me unsolicited. In everything from where to eat in my new home (which could be helpful) to how to discipline my daughters, which is absolutely unfuckingcalled for, particularly from a someone who does not appear to have any children born of her flesh or adopted.
I got a job today that I am really excited about. It’s in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan at the Columbia University division of New York Presbyterian Hospital. It’s an oncology unit that I am genuinely excited to be able to support through a transition because it sounds very similar to the unit I began my nursing career in. Doubly, due to my poor coping with the suicide of Luigi’s ex when she found out I would be moving to Long Island with him, my physical health and mental health deteriorated during my last assignment at Dartmouth College, which is an Ivy League Institution. And they didn’t cut me any slack in my referrals. So, I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to make inroads with another institution with international prestige.
Because I’m excited, because I overshare, I told my Facebook community that I would be working at NYP, and this acquaintance that feels the need to mentor leaped upon my status to advise me, in increasingly erratic and unfounded manners, about how to handle myself in Washington Heights. She called it “dicey” and suggested I take a cab below 96th street until I hone my “instinct” about the neighborhood, which I will do if I am “lucky.” She’s incredibly far off base in all of these statements for multiple reasons including but not limited to: I have spent many days and nights in many metropolitan areas, (including Manhattan, New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Denver, etc. etc. etc.) without incident, because I learned to handle myself in cities as a teenager when I used to run away for days at a time; her advice was borderline racist, because Washington Heights is largely Dominican; I have a very dear friend who is very familiar with that area that I’d already planned to ask for travel and etc advice; the thing about being afraid in a city is that it is OBVIOUS to people who would do you harm, and that makes you vulnerable; and yes, Washington Heights has been notoriously dangerous in the late eighties and early nineties and has since been gentrified and is among the safer of neighborhoods in the city, statistically.
She means well, but it’s very irritating. I’m almost 33 years old. I have an eleven year old daughter and an eight year old daughter. I have a husband (now). I’ve maneuvered through a life that has included violence and addiction since The Day I Was Born and this person I have never met is persistent in making presumptions about me that I don’t think I like very much. I certainly am not grateful or thankful for her guidance because it’s delivered in such a condescending manner. And I’ve maintained my contact with her because she’s very knowledgeable about legal issues (highly intelligent woman, exceedingly educated) and is congenial but I’m starting to feel more than encroached upon.
I shut down my twitter account this week as well. I’d spent over a year diligently working on my thought curation, acquiring followers, trying to follow people who are smart and witty and powerful intellectually, you know, inspiring. I formed some friendships through that account that I earnestly value and it strikes me that maybe to some of those people, I am as cloying and demanding as The Advisor is to me, and I am so. Hopeful. That I am not. I shut it down, because I wasn’t ok with how much of myself I was erasing, how much I was fashioning in order to make it “easier” for people to read my thoughts, like I was going to be famous? I shut it down because I wanted to be genuine, I am a mom, I have mom problems that include laundry, every thought that comes out of my face or fingers is not witty or literary and that is human, and to deny that? like, you know, like it isn’t just an ansible or a fancy telegraph? It seriously was skeeving me out.
I started a new account and am following only people who mean a lot to me, who inspire me, who comfort and who I would feel comfortable having in my home, who I would love to cook for, and go to the zoo with our kids or for drinks, but not in a loud grungy club. In doing so, a person on Twitter who was to me what The Advisor on Facebook is, (not necessarily threatening but just too much, you know?) got wind of my new handle and it made me uncomfortable. I don’t feel strongly enough to block, but…. it’s just very awkward and I kind of hate feeling like I’m honor bound by universal law to continue engaging with people I honestly am uncomfortable with.
But to be honest? FUCK. THAT. I don’t owe anything to anyone but the people I share blood and finances with. I can be nice without being codependent. And no one owes it to me either. And that is fucking ok. Okay? Now let’s hug.