If you’ve never heard the story of Paul and the thorn in his side, basically, in 2 Corinthians Paul, a devout follower and spreader of the Good News of Jesus, writes that in order to keep him humble in his missionary work he was given (by God presumably) a “thorn in his side”. Not a literal thorn in his physical rib cage region but it is believed that some great annoyance or issue or burden was placed upon Paul during that time to either: 1. keep him humble or 2. strengthen and foster his relationship with Christ.
And of course Paul was able to still worship God and do his job in spite of the thorn/annoyance in his life. I think that’s dope and super deep…too bad this post is neither that dope nor that deep because the list that follows is of things that simply just annoy me on a occasional basis so if you may have thought this post was headed in that deep, other-meaning direction, my bad…
People Who Tell You How Much They Dislike Something They Know You Like
Me: “Aghhhhh Janelle Monae’s album comes out next month (which it does) and I’m so excited. I’ve waited three years for this and all the singles have been great, and I think it has the potential to be the greatest of all her works!!!”
Lame Who Wants to Kill My Vibe: “Oh gosh. I cannot stand her! She is so weird with that uniform and I never get her songs. And only people who try too hard like her and you need to learn about real music, blah blah blah”
Now it will be one thing if I ASKED you your feelings about my preferred TV show/artist/movie/book, but I didn’t. So why in the good Lord’s name do you feel compelled to just rain on my fandom? And even if something someone likes is problematic there is a time and place to take a critical lens to someone’s tastes without coming off as a complete jerk.
*outside 2chainz concert*
2Chainz fan: AGHHGHHHHHHH Chainz is the illest MC alive. He is unrivaled in all his works of art and his lyrical skill cannot be topped by any of his peers!!”
Now would NOT be the time to point out his misogynistic themes and poor grammatical structure. Maybe later, when you have a brief booklet on misogyny in hip hop culture and its trickle down effect on its listeners, but not now.
People Who Try To Tell Me How To Feel
This one actually angers me. When I’m in my feelings about something, whether it be anger, sorrow, or apathy, that is NOT the time to tell me what I should be doing/feeling because that’s how you reacted to the same situation. The hugest display I saw of this was last month [July] when the Zimmerman verdict dropped. People went out their ever-loving mind telling people how to feel and what they should be feeling. When people took to Twitter to express their outrage and sadness (all normal reactions to a traumatic event) the “more enlightened than thou” tweeters ran amuck throwing out what people should be doing. A few of my favorites were:
“Well y’all don’t care about black on black crime so why y’all mad now (this one is just not true for reasons)” “I don’t know why y’all shocked y’all should’ve saw this coming” “I don’t understand why y’all sad, y’all should be angry.” “There’s no need for anger, God will have the final say so.” “There’s no need for violence, your anger will not change anything”
Folks are grieving, and hurt, and angry and all these other things and you have the AUDACITY to tell them why they should or should not be feeling the way they do. Let’s just put this in context, if your brother/sister/child died and on the two year anniversary of their death you got a bit emotional or a bit angry that they are no longer here or depressed and then some one you work with came up to you and told you “don’t you think it’s time you stopped being upset about this” or “instead of sitting here and being sad, how about you go out and avenge their death or make it right. Your sadness is futile”.
If that’s how you reacted to the situation fine but don’t try to force the way you felt or dealt with something down others’ throats. It is a waste of time and energy. And it only makes me want to slap you.
Folks who LOVE to Speak About Change But Have Yet To Move An Inch From Their Computer to Do Anything
So when i say speak about change I’m referring to those people who complain about lack of change but have yet to try and cause any. It sounds a little like “I cannot STAND New Orleans, this is the worst city ever, it has nothing to offer, I’m moving and never coming back“.
Yeah that’s helpful.
I was raised to believe that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. So I’d like to expand that saying to “if you do absolutely nothing to change your environment/situation/life for the better, I will completely ignore and disregard your complaints”. [Not to be confused with “if you have tried to change your surroundings for the better and stuff still didn’t work out” which is totally possible because life happens] I won’t say you can’t complain because can/cannot refers to the physical ability to do so, so you CAN complain all you want but I CAN and WILL ignore all your complaints if you aren’t making any changes to your situation and will give you this face:
People Who Don’t Realize They’re Completely Empty
In this age of smart phones and iPads, it’s so easy for our generation to get caught up in these false definitions of importance and self worth. I don’t believe our generation is particularly more prone to this than the generations before us, there have always been distractions and things to make you think this was true value over something else. If it isn’t work, school, Jordans, technology, or your boo thang(s), there’s ALWAYS something that can easily be placed as your definition of meaning and purpose in life. But you need to look over your life at the present and see if you just enjoy those things or if they are framing and shaping and fueling your entire life. Because if they are, you may have a troublesome road ahead of you. So many lives get ruined by people who are constantly searching for meaning and purpose in things that just won’t ever be enough. SO instead of ruining lives, breaking hearts, or destroying dreams, search deeply for your meaning and your purpose and what you want to live for.
Highlighting menial benefits over greater disadvantage
THIS ONE RIGHT HERE!!!! Happens all the time to people of a disadvantaged or exploited group. If you follow me on Tumblr you’ve seen me rant about this before. Being a woman and a Black (and a Black woman) I hear these types of things frequently. Basically this generally happens when a marginalized group is expressing their struggle or ways in which they have felt oppressed or slighted and then the listener (who is most likely not of that particular group) points out some random, insignificant benefit to being part of that marginalized group.
Black Woman: Well you know, it sucks when walking down the street and men are cat calling at me even though I carry myself “appropriately” and I work hard-
Black Man: But at least y’all get in the club free before 11….at least somebody thinks you’re pretty…that’s nice right?
Black Woman: It sucks that I have to work five times harder than everyone else to be taken seriously in my workplace just because people expect me to have skated in on affirmative action. I’m very proud of my heritage and I hate to have to shed all the things inherent to my race to be accepted..
Non-Black Person: Yeah that sucks because black people are awesome. I mean y’all have great food, great music….
I just told you all these ways in which someone (probably your respective group) is furthering my oppression and you’re going to sell ME on why it’s still good to be me?! I have never seen that be an effective method of listening and/or empathizing with people when they trying to tell you their struggle. As well-intentioned as it may be, it comes off as dismissive and/or jerkwad-ish. I’ll admit I used to have it bad with doing this when folks were telling me their problems but you know better, you grow better, you do better. (And I know not everyone does this but it’s happened frequently enough to me for me to point it out.)
Well that’s about it lovelies! Please share anything else that grinds your gears or irks you to know end. I’d love to hear it!
-Brini Bri, aka @kewl_briize,aka msbribap, bka the coolest chick you’ll ever meet.
“Or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”- 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
2 thoughts on “The Metaphorical Thorn in My Side (aka Things That Grind My Gears)”
Hahaha I literally grabbed some popcorn for this one. Topics 2 and 3 especially perturb me. I felt this post was coming. My sistah senses were picking up your growing annoyance with the recent outpouring if ignorance.
Bahaha. Yes girl this was a long time coming especially with all the foolery we had to take this summer