My Big But


I am the Kim Kardashian of big buts. I’m smiling as I imagine furrowed brows and crinkled noses:

“She spelled ‘butt’ wrong.”

But, I spelled it correctly, and as if staring at a reflection of a big butt, my ‘but’ came into view while reading August McLaughlin’s blog post, “The Question Too Many Women Ask.”

Here’s what August said:

We want to be extraordinary and unique, but without ruffling anyone’s feathers; to feel beautiful just the way we are, but without others judging us harshly against their standards; to live full, authentic lives, but without letting others down by not living up to their expectations.

Two of those “buts” especially resonated with me:

  1. I hate to ruffle feathers. (So I “suck it up” and ruffle my own internal feathers by holding back opinions, words, the “real me.”)
  2. I don’t like to let others down by not living up to their expectations. (So I live somewhere I don’t want to live, end relationships someone doesn’t want me to have, stay home when I want to go somewhere, choose a profession because the one I want isn’t “worthy enough,” refrain from writing something because it might hurt someone’s feelings, change my plans because it doesn’t fit someone else’s schedule, and on and on and on.)

For awhile, this is all okay. I’m pretty easy to get along with, and I don’t have strong feelings about much of anything. But, there’s this little voice inside me–I call her “Jannie.” Like water, she trickles quietly, but like water, her persistence will wear down rocks in her way, carve canyons if necessary.

Maybe someday Jannie will speak up sooner and louder. Then, I won’t waste so much time living with this big but of mine.


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6 Responses to My Big But

  1. erinleary says:

    I used to be much more “but-filled”. Now, I am better at saying what needs to be said and being selfish when needed. It’s taken a lot of practice, but the results are worth it! And no one has been too shocked or had to leave on account of my behavior. Give Jannie the floor once in a while. 😄


  2. I bet Jannie is grinning big time – and may be grabbing the mic! 😉 It’s incredible what a little self-awareness and honesty can do. Boldly sharing your big buts (LOL, love!) is like Jannie-fuel. I really believe that, and in you. So touched that my post struck you.


  3. I can empathize. For me, it’s when the pain of staying on a certain course becomes more intolerable than the pain of veering from it that I make the changes I need to make. I keep telling myself “when I’m old” I won’t care what people think or say or do in response to what I’m saying or doing… but then my definition of “old” keeps changing!


  4. Mustang.Koji says:

    What an extraordinary post, Jan. A wonderful play on “but”… but it’s not the same as oshiri. 🙂 Oshiri perhaps the Japanese influence of gaman leads to Jannie. 🙂


  5. mendyknott says:

    Excellent post and vital to women, esp women artists and writers. Big buts keep us from doing our real work so often. Thanks for the reminder Jan.


  6. paywindow7 says:

    I too have a very, very large “BUT”. Not, however, in the context you’re using here. No I’m at the age were one looks back over their life and reviews the wins vs loses. The pain I caused and the wounds I suffered. Second guessing the paths taken, and the ruts traveled, weighed against the “what ifs”. I know it’s not a healthy thing to do but (there it is again) I was never one to do everything as directed. I’m now following here and I look forward to reading your stuff. If you allow old men that is.


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