It’s time for “A Little Help From My Friends.” This week, it’s Danie Taylor. We met years ago in Las Vegas. We worked together. Across the room. But, we also “worked out” together. I would see Danie at the gym, we’d do our cardio, and get to know each other. We both once lived in New York. She moved up the ranks at work quickly. She’s witty, fun, and full of life. She’s also an amazing writer and storyteller. I’ve watched her life transform! She now lives in San Francisco.
Enjoy Danie’s blog.
A Tale, From Danie D:
When Dayna asked me to be a guest blogger, it took me a whole night to decide on a topic. I woke up the next day with a clear subject matter in mind. I decided to write about myself. Honestly, it’s a fascinating topic, about which I am the foremost expert on the planet. I was going to write about being selfish, versus being self indulgent. I’ve been feigning selfishness lately, while being self indulgent. I mean to say instead of doing what’s best for me (selfish) I’ve been doing only what I want to do (indulgent). I’m not proud of myself, or of my new habits. I planned to regale you with examples to clarify my intent, and to show you where I failed.
This post is not that.
Instead, this post will tell you a tale, possibly showing you more about me than declarative sentences ever could.
This tale takes place in a bar, just before Sunday Night Football. Three friends and I were sitting along a half-wall, with a counter top to our backs. Next to us was a guy on a stool, drinking some wine. At one point, he got up, put a coaster on top of his glass, and walked away. He didn’t say anything to us. We didn’t say anything to him. In our collective mindset, he didn’t have to ask us to save his seat. He was our neighbor. He had done us no harm and was deserving of the same courtesy we would have wanted extended to us. In this case, seat saving.
A minute goes by and a dude sits in The Wine Drinker’s seat.
“Oh, we should tell him someone’s sitting there.” – Me
“Someone’s sitting there, just so you know.” – Girl between me and The Wine Drinker’s seat
“Then I’ll move when he gets back.” – Alpha Douche
Alpha Douche was gruff, but some people just are. The Wine Drinker returned (with nachos) and placed them next to his wine. He didn’t say anything to the Alpha Douche and the Alpha Douche never looked up from his phone.
“We should tell him that’s him.” – Me
“That’s him. This is his seat.” – Girl between me and The Wine Drinker’s seat
“Then I’ll get up.” – Alpha
“And I would be glad to hear it from him. and not some piece of shit like you.” – Alpha Douche
Cue the audible gasp. We sat there stunned. The Wine Drinker was stunned. People in the three booths within hearing distance were stunned. It was stunning in the worst way possible.
“And you know what else? You’re fat.” – Alpha Douche from a few table lengths away.
“What?” – Girl between me and The Wine Drinker’s seat
“You’re fat. Right here.” (references love handles)
At this point he’s being shuffled out by his friends, who will not look us in the eyes. He pulls up his shirt.
“This is what skinny looks like.” – Alpha Douche
“That’s what a dickhead looks like.” – Me
Alpha Douche was gone, but his words weren’t. In all honesty, I wish it had been me. I wish I had spoken louder and taken his attention. I mean, she was acting on behalf of my observations. Also, I’m a little older, possibly more confident and definitely more combative. Had his friends not been ushering him out so quickly, I would have gladly stood toe to toe and… well… if we’re being honest… assault him in a flurry of knees and elbows. I would have liked to hurt his face as he was hurting her feelings. I wanted to kick out his knee caps and immobilize him for the brunt of my fury.
But that was neither the time nor the place. He left. She was quiet. Our neighbors swooped in with support. The Wine Drinker asked if she was alright. She nodded. A guy from the booth behind us put his arm on her shoulder and did the best thing a guy in that situation could do; he bashed the assailant. Apparently the Alpha Douche has made a name for himself in that bar. A guy from another table made other disparaging comments and gave her a high-five. There was a clear victim in this instance and she had a clear instantaneous network of support. I was extra proud in that moment to live in San Francisco, where being within earshot automatically means you’re involved. I was proud no one acted like it didn’t happen, or that there was nothing they could do about it. Strangers cared simply because what happened was not right. I felt part of something greater. Maybe she did too. But it did not stop her from going to the bathroom to cry.
Logically, she understood everything I said to comfort her. Emotionally, it just did not matter. I said to myself “this will be my blog post.”
I don’t write to share my account of a stranger’s story. I write to tell women to grow a pair. Toughen up. Stop wilting and waiting. Learn to love yourselves. I mean it. Learn to see your value. It’s not something you can fake. It does no good to pretend. I mean especially not if the bravado disappears when a stranger calls you fat. All this girl was left with was her own thoughts, her own gut reaction. I’ve been in that “fight or flight” moment – which is really “cry or confront.” It’s a moment that stretches, giving you ample time with your thoughts and insecurities. When my moment came, I cried. That was more than 20 years ago, and I can still tell you the color of the paint on the walls. That moment stuck with me. It helped shaped me. I’m grateful for it.
I’m not sure what it would take. I’m not even sure it can be done. I’m saying I see a need for women to love themselves. I’m not saying we should become complacent; we should always strive toward something greater. But we should never be disarmed by a drunk with a chip on his shoulder. We do amazing things. We know that? I’m asking why don’t we act like it?
(You can find the rest of my ravings here)