Growing up, I had a tendency to argue. The words “firecracker” and “pistol” were often used to describe me. I had an opinion on everything and I always felt like everyone needed to hear it- and agree, of course. Growing up in a predominately right-wing conservative area was hard, but it also fueled my fire. It only made sense that I would end up in San Francisco, the liberal city of free love, gay love, and protest love. I definitely felt more at ease around all the free thinking hippies and proud rainbow flags; but an interesting thing happened: I stopped arguing. I stopped getting fired up. Perhaps this came with age, or maybe you just start to care a little less after the twelfth protest in a month, I don’t know.
My values never changed, mind you, I just no longer felt the need to shout them from the rooftops, to battle people. Opinions, whether you agree with them or not, are valid, and I learned to let everyone have theirs without judgment. It felt nice. So I chilled out.
Just last night I was on a date with the most gorgeous man. It was our fourth or fifth time out together and I had been looking forward to our date all day.
When you like someone, and things are clicking, naturally you begin to talk about your passions and your opinions. When you take it beyond the superficial, it can become a really enjoyable part of the human experience. This guy is bright, sharp, and funny, so I figured we could have a pretty great conversation.
However, this particular evening I just wasn’t super interested in talking about anything heavy. It was taco Tuesday, he was rocking the man bun, and I was too interested in what was going to happen after dinner to dive into his topic of choice- the military.
Those of you know me know that I can get worked up if I’m pushed. I do still have that voice, and a lot of sass. Hello, you’ve read this blog I’m assuming. I have a tendency to speak without a filter, and I’ve gotten myself in trouble from time to time. But for the most part, these rants and raves don’t come without provocation.
San Diego is a military town. This beautiful hunk of a man has a military background. I have plenty of friends and acquaintances that have served and I have nothing but kind things to say about them and their line of work. Am I fan of war/violence? No. Do I like guns? Not at all. Do I appreciate their selflessness, hard work, and dedication? Without a doubt. That’s pretty much as far as I’ll ever choose to comment on this subject.
For whatever reason, my delicious man candy wanted to discuss it, so I did my best to tread lightly. When asked if I had ever dated a guy in the military, I gave a half-hearted “kinda…” (a one night stand with a Navy SEAL with huge pecs doesn’t count in my book, but you never know), and proceeded to say, “I didn’t think I’d ever have that much in common with one (BECAUSE: I don’t like violence/war/guns).”
HERE is the point where I should have changed the subject, gone to the bathroom, choked on my gum…anything. But because I was questioned further, I somehow ended up saying something along the lines of: “I was always just kind of bothered by the military recruiters on my college campus because I felt like they were targeting the brainless and it’s not really fair”. UGH. KALEY.
What happened after this statement is similar to what I’d imagine being sucked into a black hole is like.
Everything changed. He couldn’t get out of there fast enough, he was aggressive, and he looked at me with a blazing fire of hatred I had never seen.
I should NOT have said brainless, I know this. This was the trigger that ruined an otherwise good night. What I meant or should have said was vulnerable. Or maybe even naïve. Because I believe that you are, in that point of your life, very vulnerable, and very naïve, and recruiters have to know that. I felt that way when I started college! You’re figuring life out, you’re making choices, and you don’t know what you want. I, in no way, shape or form, think that people in the military are unintelligent. Far from it! I’ve called myself brainless on numerous accounts and I definitely do not mean it the way he took it.
Unfortunately, when you say something that hurts someone, they don’t care what you meant, they care about what you said. And I said brainless. And I regret it.
Jonah Hill does not hate gay people, and Justin Bieber does not want to be part of the KKK (I hope). Much like Jonah Hill on Jimmy Fallon the other week, my eyes filled with tears and I apologized profusely. My intention was never, ever to offend ANYONE. There was nothing I could say to change his mind, though, and he icily cut the date short, probably never to be seen again.
I am not Justin Bieber, I am not a celebrity, I do not feel immensely responsible for everything that I say because I do not live under a microscope. To quote the handsome man who now hates me, “You’re a writer, you should know better.”
I was asked a question and I answered it, plain and simple. I said a really stupid word that I did not mean. I apologized, and I meant it. But, as a writer who should “know better”, at what point do I stop speaking my truth? When do I sacrifice the opinions and words and thoughts that make up the parts of me? How far do I go before I realize I’ve offended everyone? Should I apologize for the words that I say, or should I apologize for the way you perceive them?
I don’t have a Delorean, so an honest apology is all I can do. If people want to make websites about how much they hate me, or end a date before the tacos even arrive, that’s fine. You have that right. But I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach and I know it’s not because I didn’t get to finish my margarita.
I don’t ever want to hurt someone’s feelings with the things I say or write. I appreciate being called out, and I take everyone’s opinions into consideration. That being said, I think that someone who wants to date me will probably have to have a thick skin. They’ll need to handle my lack of filter better. That doesn’t mean they have to love it, by any means. They can challenge me, educate me, debate me- I encourage it. I just don’t want to lose a good person over a mistake.
My honesty is what makes me, me. My poor word choice assists in defining me too. These could be my biggest virtues or my biggest faults, I don’t know.
I’ve sabotaged a lot of good things in my short life, but this was the biggest and most surprising thus far. I’m never going to stop writing, and if anything, I will probably say less stupid things, but I can’t guarantee the elimination of poor word choices altogether. All I can do is apologize and try to be better.
Thank you to everyone who has put up with my mistakes and shortcomings, and stuck with me through them. If anyone has any future dating advice for me I’d be happy to hear it.