Stubborn Like Me

When Max and his friend Jonas were around 20 and living in New York, they made a bet on who could go longer with shaving only one side of his face.

As you see, they committed fully to their bet. In the end, they decided to call it a draw, since neither of them would ever give in.

I’d like to say that Max got his stubbornness from me, but his dad is still the most stubborn person I’ve ever known. Once, he sat for hours in his car, on a scorching summer afternoon, trying to prevent another driver from pulling into a parking place that he thought was rightfully his. Max and I went into a cafe to wait it out. I explained that Daddy was playing a game. I assured him, sadly, that Daddy would win.

In my own life, being stubborn has been a quality I considered an asset, or at least a strength. No one can fuck with me and get away with it. I will never back down. I will never compromise my “honor.”

Lately, more than one friend has urged me to let something go….and I find it’s an alien concept.

When do you decide to “let something go?” Are there some things you refuse to “let go,” even if it would make life easier?

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45 Responses to Stubborn Like Me

  1. M says:

    I am stubborn in all the wrong ways. I refuse to let people in my life go that are clearly no good for me, yet I stubbornly persist in trying to keep them thus causing me terrible heartache, usually.

  2. WendyB says:

    Oh my God, that is the most adorable contest and fabulous picture.

    As for letting things go, you know that I’ve had problems with that! I think I have learned from my recent experience and am getting better at letting go of toxic things. But I am always sort of checking in with myself, like, “Are you doing that again? Is this situation okay?”

  3. theresa says:

    some things are forgivable and somethings aren’t. its impossible to let go of something that you find instinctively forgivable. even if you want to “just let go.” my parents taught me to move countries when this happens.

    I think its called “running away from your problems” in other dialects.

    our Costa Rica accomodations are open to you if you need to escape for a while. its one of the cheapest out of country plane flights besides mexico and canada.

    we have an isolated stretch of national park bumper land with rustic living space (ie camp platforms.) but there is a hippie hotel about 10 miles away that serves passion fruit margaritas the size of einstein’s brain.

    email me if you’re interested (now or ever.)

  4. theresa says:

    instinctively *un*forgivable.

    (god im so bad with typos that change the entire meaning of my sentences!!)

  5. Aja says:

    I am stubborn as a mule. And occasionally (though I’m getting better), I refuse to let go of the past. Because it hurts and I’m generally afraid of getting hurt again.

  6. Desiree says:

    It’s a crappy trait that I’ve always had, yet hated.
    The other day my fiance put it into another context. He said being stubborn is good, because if there is a loved one or friend in need of my support, I will never, ever give up on them. If there is a shitty arsehole that needs to be taught a lesson, it will be done. Being stubborn about how the washing is hung out is pointless and exhausting. Being stubborn in order to protect the vulnerable is valiant and courageous.
    I love that man.
    I’m going to marry him.

  7. Everyday I have to let go the fact people bite their nails and chew gum with open mouths making horrid noises on the overground, buses and tubes! It pains me to.
    I’m stubborn when it comes to morals, my morals. I won’t buy Burberry because they shut down the last manufacturing places in the UK. Happy to make about 600 people redundant for the sake of better profits/margins.

    And I’ll never back down over the haters and trolls. Whilst I understand they didn’t get wit and amusement or they felt Sea of Shoes was being attacked and needed to be defended, I fail to understand the vileness and timing of views. Debra in Australia who decided at the moment of deepest despondency and grief to point out SW’s failings and then get all hoity toity because people asked her to retract given the circumstance and this act set off a free for all of abuse, not wit or discourse just plain filthy abuse, mainly from the so called civilised South. I’m stubborn about this matter and I will never let it go.

  8. Alison Cross says:

    I don’t think I am stubborn. But maybe you should ask my mother… 🙂

    I’ve found it beneficial, on the whole, to be prepared to move, or to see things from the other side.

    It can, however, lead to utter paralysis and an inability to make a decision – so being stubborn has a lot going for it!

    Ali x

  9. BethUK says:

    Those are super human levels of stubborness. Compared to your family I fold like a little girl.

  10. Cybill says:

    I am slowly learning to tell the difference between being stubborn and making life difficult for myself. I can hold a grudge forever though, is that being stubborn?

  11. I think sometimes you have to let something go, not to let the other person ‘win’ but actually for your own sake. I am always conscious of the hate I feel for people who have hurt me or my family by their actions and words but then also worry that I am then becoming a really bitter person like the person I’m hating. I’ve had to walk away from situations not because I couldn’t win but that I was the better person and that all the worry wasn’t worth it. It is bloody hard though, just walking away but I try to think I am wasting precious time on oxygen thieves!

  12. Ann says:

    I am not stubborn. Some people mistake that trait for me not having a backbone, which is then fun to disprove.

    Two gorgeous boys right there, half-beards or not.

  13. KJ says:

    I’ve had to ‘let go’ about the fact that my father will never love me and never be interested in a thing I do. It sucks, but I had to do it for me and no one else – I had resisted for so long but it was just useless. It still doesn’t make sense why I had to – why it has to be the way it is.

    I suppose the thing I learnt is when you let go of something you get a bit more room to let something else really special in…

  14. Lara says:

    I don’t think you can make yourself let something go. It just happens. You wake up one morning and it either doesn’t bother you like it did, or you just forget about it.

    I’m a grudge-holder but I think it’s for my own protection. A “friend” made a pass at my boyfriend. I wrote her off, never spoke to her again and I’ll hate her for eternity… all because I never want to let someone like that in my life again. The grudge is a reminder to stay on point.

    I’ve also let go of things I never thought I could get over. An ex hit me. I of course left him but I was so angry for so long. Now I barely ever think about it.

    I agree with CameronPoe. Sometimes the upset consumes you and instead, you and everyone around you suffers double duty. What price are you willing to pay?

  15. sonja says:

    I’m stubborn, for sure. But lately ‘let it go’ has become a bit of a mantra, and it has been quite liberating.

  16. laura512 says:

    I’ve had to let go of a lot of hurt inflicted by my ex-husband. Some people think that letting go means forgetting about it, but it just means I don’t swim around in it anymore. I still don’t trust him, but I don’t allow myself to wallow in all of the old pain. All that does is limit me, and that’s what he wanted in the first place.

  17. RedPaeony says:

    I’m easy like Sunday morning.

    Except when it comes to my child. Then the mother blood comes out and I become Godzilla.

    “Is this a mountain I want to die on?” is my deciding quote when I get those stubborn feelings.

    Hope your birthday was lovely, btw x

  18. Mark says:

    Don’t let things go! Get revenge in creative and amusing ways! Believe me, my thinking cap has been on for the last month.

  19. karin says:

    There are some things for which I will not let go. Ever. But there are many, many things in every day life that just aren’t worth it. It’s a really freeing feeling, too, to just “let it go”. A better feeling than hanging on to something that isn’t worth it and possibly makes life harder.

  20. Bessie the Buddha Cow says:

    It’s a case-by-case situation, this stubbornness, for me. Sometimes there’s no choice but to be stubborn and other times I must let go for the sake of sanity and health. Knowing when to do which is the key. And I don’t always get it right.
    Funny, you should ask this question. When my son and I were asked which traits we liked the least in each other, we both answered stubbornness. When we were asked which traits we liked the most in each other we both answered the same again.

  21. Jazmin says:

    I’m stubborn and there are a lot of things I don’t want to let go of, especially when I’ve been hurt by people. However, I have come to realize that this is only toxic for myself, and what are they losing by my staying upset. Most of the time, they don’t even know I’m still fuming. Instead I’ve chosen to let it slip from my thoughts. I’m not saying I forgive, and I’m not saying I forget, but I definitely try not to dwell. My mom always says that when you’re angry you have two jobs, getting upset and then getting happy. I try to make my job easier and just let it fade to the background. There are other things that will keep me sane and happy. Little people (and I don’t mean in stature) deserve little attention. If you give in to the anger/fear they win. And I’m too stubborn to let those bastards win!

  22. Cami says:

    I seem to have refused to ‘let go’ of a relationship, that if ended (properly, for good, seriously this time, for real) would most definitely make him and I both much better, happier and more fulfilled people. Refusing to let go after so many years of a relationship with an expiry date that went up the day we met has created an addiction to the drama, the complaints, the desperation and the narcissistic need for self-confirmation. It becomes easier to be safe, comfortable and unhappy than independent and learning to be happy on your own again (and potentially lonely).
    Stubborn for not sticking the heel in when I should have.

    I think this half-beard could really take off, great style. How wonderful he is.
    x SW, I hope you are doing okay.

  23. alittlelux says:

    i am extremely stubborn. and i hold on to EVERYTHING. i internalize everything. i cultivate grudges. i gloat, i obsess, i get really really angry. i replay the moments over and over again. i imagine different endings, or what i would have done or said differently. i imagine people apologizing to me, wanting forgiveness…. but when i cut them out of my life some don’t notice, some don’t fight for me…. and then i hold onto that. all of it keeps me up at night.

  24. marie says:

    people insist i am stubborn, even though i keep telling them i’m not.

  25. Tricia says:

    There are a couple things I don’t think I’ll ever let go, and it seems perfectly natural that I shouldn’t. Why the hell should I, when they were so fucking wrong?!

  26. HelOnWheels says:

    I’m incredibly stubborn. However, in my old age, I am learning to let the “small” things go. There events/situations/actions that are completely, utterly unforgiveable, according to my moral compass. I hold on to those forever, hoping for justice for the wronged. I have cultivated grudges over events that are decades old because of this need for justice. I’ve cut people out of my life, never to speak to them again, because they’ve hurt someone I care about (even when the injured party has moved on!!).

  27. Witch Moma says:

    I’m a stubborn, vengeful, line drawer.
    I have a very decent adult life.
    I’ve let go of the notion that I grew up in an even remotely normal family.

  28. TheShoeGirl says:

    I like to always be right… even if halfway through an argument I realize I’m not. It’s so silly.

  29. TheShoeGirl says:

    Oh and that photo is AMAZING and so funny. I love it.

  30. sonja says:

    but stubborn can get a bad rap too – there are things to be stubborn about, because the alternative would be to let mediocrity rule, or assholes have the day, you know what I mean?

  31. Cricket9 says:

    I’m stubborn, but I learned to “let go” of things I can’t change – like not terribly happy relationship with my father. I don’t waste time and energy on a few people I hate – they have a tendency to “do themselves in” sooner or later. On the other hand – I’m a Scorpio, and I don’t forget..

  32. tressie says:

    yes. the trick is to let the small stuff go….and save the stubborness for that which is really important. My family member who screwed over my brother and me to get my mom’s fortune, That’s a biggie, but it doesn’t control my life…but if she was on fire I wouldn’t piss on her to put out the fire. And letting my ex-husband alone to be with the children on their own terms…well…karma is a bitch I tell you. I’m happy just gluing sequins on old shoes and selling them on etsy.

  33. Bevitron says:

    Probably some people need to be stubborn and some don’t. Getting older, I tend to think of stubbornness as a young person’s game. Some things you have to fight for, of course, but the grudge-holding and the never forgetting takes way more energy than I’m willing to funnel into something that gives me almost zero return. It gets easier for me to let go of shit like winning an argument, what people are thinking of me, feeling like I’ve been taken advantage of, and on and on. No argument is “won” thoroughly – there’s always a loss somewhere. If I’m taken advantage of, I do better figuring out how to not let it happen again than ruminating on the evilness of the opportunist who fucked me over. But honestly? Mostly? When you get older, you just plain forget a lot of shit that happens day to day. Now what was I pissed about, again? If that stays manageable, it’s a good thing. Saves a lot of drama.

  34. kt says:

    Sometimes I feel like a child, because I still feel pangs of anxiety about things that should be inconsequential at this stage in my life because I’m so far removed, yet I find myself thinking about from time to time. I can consciously let go of things, and know the reasons and how to, but it can still be difficult to quell the emotion. Also, I notice that when people claim to have moved on/let go, they’re usually in denial about it, or are premature in their belief in having let go. That can be a weird, less overt type of stubbornness in itself which is even worse because these things have a way of embedding and resurfacing later on. I guess the short answer is, yeah, I’m pretty damn stubborn and I’ve been told (mostly by my ex) that I have a difficult time letting things go. I value and desire justice way too much sometimes.

  35. Jimmy Carter’s brother, Billy (..member him?) was once asked, “do you approve of the death penalty?”

    He replied, “Only for those who deserve it.”

    In other words forgive only the forgivable, I guess he was saying.

    Personally I’m spineless and would probably forgive Hitler if he offered me a cookie.

    Betrayal makes me more sad than mad.

  36. Dru says:

    As of this past Sunday, I got myself a law degree. I’m fucking stubborn about the fact that I refuse to use it unless I’m starving- I don’t ever want to be a lawyer or anything similar, and taking up faffy NGO work is not an option for me- it’ll be the fastest route to my death in six months if I do.

    I’m also being rather stubborn about not speaking to a parent who (among other things) didn’t get it, and thought every other option I might have chosen for my life was, well, faff. I only stuck with it this long because I was forced to, and it’s a combined Bachelor’s degree so quitting would have left me with no college-level qualification at all- but fuck it, I can’t keep going down this road. Staying alive was hard enough as a student, it’d be impossible in the tiny incestuous fishbowl world that is lawyering in this country. And I have to be stubborn about it, because if I’m not, (and sorry to put it in such corny words) I’ll lose myself.

    But the smaller things? Those, they can slide. A bit of internal snarking helps with that.

  37. ellio100 says:

    i’m called stubborn sometimes, but actually i’m scared. i’m scared of change and scared that if i’m not in control i will be obsolete.

  38. Mark says:

    Let it go? Come on! You can turn revenge, retaliation, and anger into art, if you try hard enough.

  39. Winter Bird says:

    I just want one of Theresa’s passion fruit margarita’s!

  40. RLC says:

    @ Cami I was in the exact, exact same relationship for two years. For at least a whole year I didn’t go one single day without crying for some reason, he didn’t go a week without either crying or punching something/someone (the someone was sometimes me) and we just lived off the comfort of having one another and the relief of making up after a big fight. When you’re “stuck” – for want of a better word – in that kind of relationship, being alone seems fucking terrifying, but I tell you I’ve been single for about 9 months now and I feel so bloody free and happier than I did for the two years we dated, happier than I was even in the good parts.

    SW I wish I were more stubborn like you. I let almost everything go, from the deaths of loved ones to people being morons to friends hurting me badly. I refuse to hold even a small grudge and I never dwell on the past, which sounds like it could be a good thing, but it’s not, especially when someone has wronged me in an awful way and I’ve forgiven them within a day, or if I’ve lost someone or something that I move on from too quickly. Be stubborn! It shows you’re headstrong and have faith in your own opinion. And if anyone tells you otherwise, just say you’re too stubborn to change.

  41. liz says:

    That’s such an amazing contest, so hilarious. I’m on the other side of the spectrum, i let everything go, even when I shouldn’t, even when it ends up hurting me. I’m working on being more stubborn in that respect

  42. Cricket9 says:

    Well, I’m not about “letting EVERYTHING go”. There are things that are unforgivable; there are people that don’t deserve to be called “human beings” and I don’t want to have anything to do with them. I broke up with a friend who turned into a demented bitch and did everything to make my life miserable. I will never, ever speak to her again, and I don’t care if a train runs over her. I just don’t spend time thinking about her or plotting for the train accident to happen. I get angry, I don’t tolerate bullying, and at this point in my life I’m not particularly afraid to speak my mind or intimidated by authority. Im my youth I was, however, a people pleaser and a doormat. Things change…

  43. Bevitron says:

    What Mark said? – turning it into art? Yes! Absolutely! I’m talking about the kind of art you sell. Which gives you $$ for your anger and vindictiveness, which is the way to go, as far as I’m concerned. But I do see that as letting it go. A difference of interpretation, I guess.

  44. hammiesays says:

    I can only let go when I stop looking. So I am learning to stop looking. xx

  45. dorkmyster says:

    I dont think the stubbornness is bad in and of itself. It’s where you choose to focus the quality. Like, I would like to refuse to let anyone get to my sense of myself or my peace of mind. I wish I were more stubborn about that. THat would be a good thing. Stubbornness about ego and pride is just too painful to hold on to. So I think the question is ..What are you going to stubborn about ? I refuse to battle over a parking spot. I’d rather walk further even if it means I miss the first fifteen minutes of a movie. I stubbornly refuse to waste my time convincing someone to agree with me. Great subject though

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