I try very, very hard not to hate people.
I’m not talking about disliking people. I think it’s human nature to dislike certain people. We can’t all click. There are just some people you don’t like, and you can’t force yourself to like them.
The guy who interrupts you every time you talk because he seems physically incapable of listening. The guy who almost seems Tourettesian in his random bursts of profanity and who just STARES all the time, and you’re not quite comfortable being around him in any capacity. The guy who walks past you pulling too hard on his adorable dog’s leash in frustration, and the poor dog is cowering away. The woman whose self-esteem is at such a low that she feels the need to talk in a baby voice and lean over every single man she comes across to get some, any, all the attention in the room.
You don’t have to like these people (and I’d be surprised if you did, honestly) but you don’t HATE them. I mean, probably you don’t. You most likely see them as minor annoyances, at best. Like gnats.
As I’ve aged, I’ve apparently acquired this annoying tendency to empathize with everyone – even the most annoying human beings. It doesn’t make them much easier to deal with, but it does tend to make my reactions to them a little less huffy and eye-rolly.
“She probably has had a really hard life,” I’ll think about the woman who’s yelling at her child in the grocery store. Or, “I bet she didn’t get paid enough attention when she was a child,” for the woman who constantly puts emo statuses up on Facebook to the point I need to hide her just to maintain my sanity.
It doesn’t always work. Just ask my mother, or friend K. They know me well, and they know my reactions to things.
“You can’t hide it when someone’s annoying you,” Mom said recently. “You might THINK you’re being good about it, but that person knows. Trust me.”
She told me once I had a glass face. Anything I’m feeling is clearly visible. I think it goes hand-in-hand with wearing your heart on your sleeve, which is another thing I’m sadly guilty of. If I love you, you’re aware of it. I can’t hide it any more than I can hide being female, brunette, or American. I could TRY – I could wear a costume, dye my hair, affect an accent – but you’d know it was fake.
Friend K. thinks it’s hilarious, honestly. (I adore friend K.) “People need to know to stay away from you when you’ve got that face on,” she said once at the theater. I looked askance at her. “The Back-the-Hell-Up face. It’s such an Amy face. I don’t understand how anyone can see that face and not immediately just walk right away apologizing. But they just keep talking! As if all is ok! When it clearly isn’t!”
So apparently I have a face, when I’m annoyed. I suppose I could try to control it, but I think I’d look like someone raised by gorillas trying to learn how humans smile. It wouldn’t fit on my face-area well.
(Strangely, if it matters, I CAN pretend I’m not annoyed. I call it acting the benign fool; a friend and I were discussing it recently and he told me knew it as being dumb and agreeable. What you want to do is act like one of Shakespeare’s fools – foolish in front of people, wise when you’re on your own. And you want no one to realize you’re acting. Here, I’ll give you a lesson. Let’s say you can’t stand your in-laws, but you know if you’re rude to them, it’s going to raise hell at home. So you need to pretend you’re ok with them. But you can’t STAND them. I mean, maybe you don’t HATE them, but they annoy you. So here’s what you do: act like you haven’t ever had a deep thought in your life. Not stupid; just a touch vapid. Be funny, but not desperate for laughs. Laugh at their jokes, even if they’re foolish. Have bright, happy, engaged eyes. Tell stories that are fun, and light, and topical. Avoid topics that matter. Keep this up for the duration. You will feel your soul dying; just keep counting down the minutes until it’s over. When you leave, congratulate yourself. Because it means you won. They have no idea who you are, they have no idea you can’t stand them, and you’ve retained the peace at home. Beware, though – the people who love your dumb-and-agreeableness want you to come back frequently and often. You’re just that much fun to be around. I tell you this from experience. The fact that a., they weren’t able to see through your charade and b., they like the fake you more than the real you…it’s a little disheartening, to be honest.)
Anyway, Tangent McGee, as I said. I really, really try not to hate people. First, it’s just bad karma. Second, what the hell good does it do? None. You don’t accomplish anything with it. Mostly it just gives you a stomachache. Plus it totally gives that person power over you. Because they live in your head. Like, all the time. Like, ALL the damn time. I don’t want to spend more time thinking about the people I hate than the people I love.
Sometimes, though, I fail miserably.
I’m not talking about Tom Cruise (he’s the worst, but I don’t hate him.) I’m not talking about that terrible Westboro Baptist Church wackadoodle (he’s the devil, but I don’t hate him. I don’t know him, and he hasn’t directly injured someone I love, so I can’t hate him. I wouldn’t mind if he fell in a really deep hole and then someone filled in the hole with cement, though. I mean, by accident. Like, they just happened to be filling in holes with cement, and that was one of the holes, and they were all “Just doing my job!” and WHOOPS! he got buried alive in all the cement.)
There are RULES to hating. I have to either know the person and they hurt me SO DEEPLY there’s no turning back, or they have to have injured someone I love so deeply that I don’t need to know them to hate them. And I have to have thought about it a lot. I can’t just offhand-hate someone. I mean, it’s a pretty serious thing, this hating.
Luckily, there are only a handful of people I really, truly hate.
And I can assure you, they’ve done sincerely terrible things. Which I will not go into. Because I am most sincerely attempting to pretend they don’t exist. With varying results.
(Side note: If you’re thinking, “ZOMG, is it ME? Is Amy talking about ME?” No. I’m not. Because a., if you care at all if I’m talking about you, you’re not one of the people I hate – the people I hate, I can assure you, hate me back, it is totally a mutual-hatred thing – b., I’m about 99% sure none of the people I hate read my blog. Or, well, no, thinking about it, two of them might, because they might like to keep an eye on their enemy. But they don’t comment or anything. They just lurk. I’d poison-dart-frog blow-dart them through the blog if I could, but sadly, science has not yet made that a thing. And c., if I’ve spoken to you in any capacity in the last year or so, you’re not one of those people. Because, like I said, I’m trying very hard to pretend these people don’t exist, and it takes a good long time to go from “pretty annoying” to “ZOMG EFF OFF AND DIE.”)
I know there are ways you are supposed to forgive people who have harmed you. By like meditating or doing calming things like, I don’t know, breathing in and out in a nice way, not like panting or something, because that’d be off-putting. Or maybe whenever you have hate-thoughts, replacing them with friendly thoughts like “I sure did like her hair, right before she tore my heart out with her sharp stabby talons.” Or “I guess I remember those really good times before he did that thing that, in retrospect, he should have been locked up for, had I had the presence of mind to call the cops.”
I don’t care for meditation because it seems difficult and my brain’s just so damn busy I can’t imagine the amount of work it would take to turn it off, and calming breaths seem like some sort of wacky hoodoo. And the hatey thoughts always replace the past-friendly thoughts, if there were past-friendly thoughts for that person there to begin with.
As I said, I try very hard not to hate people. It’s pointless and it’s self-destructive and it makes me yell at my laptop if I come across them online. Naughty cusses are said. Sometimes creative ones, sticking together many cusses to make one very long cuss that probably has the power of all those cusses COMBINED. It’s like the Justice League of cusses.
I think the only solution here is, people, stop being hurtful towards me. Like, little hurts I can get over. (Or, sometimes big ones. My heart is surprisingly more rubbery than one would think, and I get more forgiving as I age. It’s a little-known fact of adulthood. It also upsets Dad. “STOP FORGIVING PEOPLE!” Dad shouts. “It’s like if someone stole from you, and then you invited them BACK into the HOUSE to steal from you AGAIN!” And I say, “Oh, Dad. You know I have nothing worth stealing except Dumbcat, and they’d just bring him back once he started leaping on their spleen at 2am and vomiting cat food on their good rug.” Dad doesn’t believe in forgiveness. Once you are dead to Dad, you are dead to him FOR! EV! ER! And there are many ways to be dead to Dad, from injuring him, to injuring his loved ones, to cutting him off in traffic that one time in 1971. I find that a very Christian attitude, don’t you?)
Or, I suppose, I could get a lobotomy.
Give me some wisdom, here, people. Are people dead to you forever? Can you just move on from things? Have you gotten a lobotomy and, if so, do you have a doctor you recommend? Did someone really, really piss you off one time and you can’t get over it? Or just tell me a story. It’s hot, and I’m feeling hatey, and I don’t feel I can be overly demanding.
Here is a song about hating people courtesy of my lovely blogging friend Alice. She makes me happy. So does this song.
And for added goodness, there’s this one, which makes me giggle because it’s just so damn upbeat.