5 Rules for Being a Good American

I saw Anne Lamott speak years ago, and something she recounted (told to her by a Jesuit priest friend named Tom) has stayed with me all these years:

There are 5 rules for being a good American:

  1. Don’t have anything wrong with you.
  2. If there is something wrong with you, fix it immediately.
  3. If you can’t fix it, hide it.
  4. If you can’t hide it, stay home—just don’t show up or you’ll make other people uncomfortable.
  5. But, if you insist on showing up anyway and making everyone else uncomfortable, at least have the decency to feel ashamed of yourself.

These rules enjoy multiple, frequent applications—to stigmas about and discomfort with ADHD, neuro-atypicality, mental illness, addiction, bereavement, physical challenges, varieties of gender and sexual orientation… to all kinds of human differences, in fact, that are too often seen as something wrong with you.

Show up. Be seen. Just as you are.


BrainPickings.org review: “Rewriting the Book of Belonging: Anne Lamott on the True Gift of Friendship and the Uncomfortable Art of Letting Yourself Be Seen”

*Anne Lamott*

I heartily recommend any of Lamott’s nonfiction. This woman is wise.

 

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