He cancelled his plans for reasons unknown to me. Then he invited me over. I had already cancelled other plans because I was exhausted so I declined his invite and decided to spend the night working. His response to learning that I was at home writing is something I will never forget:
“You’re a hard worker. Will take you far.
(Don’t forget to live)”
A thousand thoughts flooded my head. Funnily enough, none of them were agreement or appreciation for the unsolicited advice. What I am appreciative of is that I am finally able to recognize when men are being condescending to me. I felt sorry for him that he felt threatened. Threatened that I, on a Friday night, chose to write, to do the thing that I love to do, instead of sharing his company. Sorry that he, a writer himself, considers writing as “not living.”
I admire him. I respect his drive. I enjoy our banter. But that day, he surprised me in a way that I don’t like being surprised. He blindsided me with assholery. He mansplained. He projected. He fucked up.
Suddenly, I remembered the time he said, “don’t write a blog about me,” and I replied, “I make no promises.” Well, I was being serious. The only promise I make is to write. And since writing for me is living, I guess I actually have been following his sage “don’t forget to live” advice. And now for some unsolicited advice in return:
Don’t tell women what to do.