Not long after I moved back to Cardiff and into my house, the Jehovahs came knocking. Two tiny, very sweet old ladies rang my doorbell whilst I was in the middle of emptying boxes and – caught up in the excitement of someone ringing my brand new doorbell – I rushed downstairs and opened the door. I inwardly groaned as soon as they held out The Watchtower leaflet. I wasn’t interested. I didn’t have the time to discuss whether suffering is a punishment from God. The only suffering I was interested in was the stacks of boxes upstairs that STILL needed emptying and where the hell I was going to put(/hide) Sunny’s stupid, ugly alligator head that had somehow survived the move from London. In spite of all that, I found that I just couldn’t bring myself to slam the door in their sweet old lady faces or even gently tell them that I wasn’t interested. I felt bad. So instead, I stood in the doorway and decided to humour them for ten minutes. When they handed me The Watchtower I took it and even joked that I needed something to read since all my books were in storage – even though I knew it was going to end up in the bin before they’d even made it to the end of my drive. I didn’t want them to think I was mean.
Fast-forward three years later and those sweet old Jehovahs are still coming back. We’ve settled into a rhythm. They ring my doorbell once every couple of months, ask me how I’m doing, drop off their leaflet and then disappear. They know my name. They know my dog’s name. The window for telling them that I’m not interested and have thrown away every single leaflet they’ve given me without reading a single word has looooooong gone. And so here we are, all because I was too nice to tell them to go away.
This is just one example of how I’m constantly sacrificing my time and energy to spare other people’s feelings. Social guilt all over the shop, all the time. So, when I spotted The Good Girl’s Guide to Being a Dick in the airport bookshop, I knew I needed to pick it up.
Alexandra Reinwarth realised that her day to day behaviour was constantly being triggered by her fear of what other people thought of her. She realised that she was spending far too much time with people she didn’t like, in places she didn’t want to be, doing things she didn’t want to do, all because she worried what people would think of her if she told the honest -often brutal -truth. She needed to “become a bit of a dick”. The book explores her journey in taking back control of her life (becoming more of a dick), from ditching a friend who was constantly using her as a doormat, heading into the office without a lick of makeup and dealing with difficult family members – full of funny and insightful anecdotes and advice on how to stop caring what people think.
It’s not a very long book – only six chapters – and so was an easy pool read and I pretty much swallowed the whole thing up in a couple of days (mostly because I kept getting looks around the pool on my choice of reading material and decided that I needed to wrap things up pretty quickly. Ha! Three chapters in and I shed that concern!). While it’s not a traditional self help book in the fact that it doesn’t really contain any real techniques, it’s full of examples to follow and reads like a pep talk in the art of living honestly and getting what you want (without turning into an actual dick in the process!).
I mean obviously I don’t want to become a dick. But, reading the book has made me stop and think of all the times I’ve told little lies or put my own happiness aside because I’ve worried what people would think of me; the world won’t end if someone doesn’t like me. I’ve started to notice whenever I’m heading down that road, and I’ve become a little bit more honest with those around me about what I care about or don’t like. Of course, the true test will be whether I can tell the Jehovah’s to politely bugger off next time they ring the door bell. They are due, after all…
Have a great week! Or not, whatever. 😉