Present Tense

Confessions of a hard-ass

fistI have a confession to make.  I’m a hard-ass.  Check that:  I’m a reformed hard-ass.  Here is my second confession:  I was wrong.  For a long time.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I embraced the old ‘tough love’ philosophy.  But, really there was no love involved.  In fact, that whole thing is a smoke screen.  It’s just a way to be a hard-ass and seem like it’s kind and noble and ‘for their own good’.   It’s really not.

Most people really don’t need tough love.  They need kindness, encouragement, compassion and honesty.  They don’t need to be kicked when they’re down or told that they made a stupid mistake or that they get what they deserve or that if they had followed some particular set of arbitrary rules ‘this never would have happened’.

I’m embarrassed that I used to think that giving people a break meant that you were weak or wobbly or a ‘bleeding heart’.  I believed that punitive actions were what ‘those people’ needed.  Take away their privileges, make ‘em fend for themselves, teach ‘em a lesson.

I have changed my view.  I am finally conscious of all of the help that I got along the way.  I’ve realized that my success in life is partly due to luck and circumstances that shined like a beacon on me throughout my life, even as I stumbled.  I had a stable family with loving parents.  I grew up in a safe and secure neighborhood.  I went to decent schools and was able to attend college at my parents’ expense.

Even with all of these blessings and this foundation, I stumbled.  I take that back; I fell down, flat on my face into a gutter.  Several times.  Yet, that support system that had always been there, stood strong and pulled me up and out.  Not everyone is so lucky.  Not everyone has these advantages.

We all need help now and then.  We all fall from grace at some point.  Keep that in mind if you find yourself rolling out a verbal beat-down on someone.  Keep that in mind as you watch the news and start tossing out judgments against some person or group that you’ve never met.

Being a hard-ass is easy.  All you have to do is withhold love and kindness when someone needs it.  Or point out their faults or their weaknesses or why their life is in shambles. We’re all one or two acts or decisions away from shambles, my friends.

Be well and lighten up.

August 25, 2013 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , ,


  1. Jane, you are great! I’m so glad I found your blog.

    Comment by Marissa | August 25, 2013 | Reply

  2. Well, Jane. I have watched you, over the last few months especially, throwing out your various neurosis onto the table for all to see. And those of us who choose to read you when we can stand it, well, we have to deal with your stuff. Apparently it is best if we identify with your stuff and gush in that direction. That dysfunction makes us family it seems.

    I see you hinting of progress towards your wholeness. Over and over. But things seem to always come unraveled for you with yet another drama/trauma you have dredged up from the bottom of the lake. Maybe it is helpful for you to explore these things in public. I don’t know that it is all that helpful for those of us still clinging to you because of your celebrity. You are surely not personal friends with any of us. One thing I’ll give you. You have been transparent in showing yourself to be just like us. But for one thing. You refuse to get well. And you continue to find some way to stand on the balcony and preach to us at times. You ultimately have asked a lot of us to help you with your therapy.

    You owe us something for enduring you. I think we would love to see, somewhere along the line, that you have finally established a foothold in this life and things of your past no longer rule your psyche. Or torment us.

    When do we get to see you finally find your way out of the woods?

    Comment by Greg | August 25, 2013 | Reply

    • Greg:
      Yesterday is ‘my past’. I doubt I’ll ever find my way out of the woods and that’s okay. I’m feeling pretty good these days. You can quit me anytime you’d like, Greg.
      Thanks for your thoughts as always. I never really thought of myself as neurotic. Interesting.

      Comment by janelondon | August 25, 2013 | Reply

      • Yesterday is clearly not your past for you. Your present is your past at this point in time by the looks of things to me. So what do I know? It appears you gain support from your fan base craving drama by throwing these things out. It’s okay. But don’t count on us forever. You will finally have to face yourself. I’m still working through that brutality. It is not easy. And I’m not even a celebrity. I cannot imagine the ego you have to overcome to simply see yourself.

        Comment by Greg | August 25, 2013

    • Hmmm. Why so angry and bitter Greg? I resent all the “us” comments, you do not speak for me. You appear to be irritated with Jane’s thoughtful blogs. If it is so painful to read, then don’t read them. It takes a strong person to look inward and fix what we finally realize what is broken or just needs a minor touch up. It is a gift to be able to put it into thought-provoking writings that help many who are reading them. If you eat a certain dish and dislike it, do you go back everyday to see if you still dislike it? Life is a journey dude, we are all working our way out of the woods. Some like to help light the path for others, while some sit back and complain. Maybe you should find another path?

      Comment by Mary | August 25, 2013 | Reply

    • Dude, lighten up. I’ve been reading this blog for a LONG time now, and Jane has been doing just fine. Thank you very much. I don’t see any drama or neurotic behavior. Just a woman blogging about her inner life and how much her world has been expanding over the last 2 years. She is more than “well.” She has come into her own and has solidified her place in the world. I see her as happy and more free than she’s ever been. I should know, my own family is full of crazy nut job’s, so I’ve got a pretty keen view of what’s healthy and what’s not. Jane is doing just fine.

      Comment by Roxanne | August 26, 2013 | Reply

    • WOW. Greg. Talk about hardass. You don’t have to endure anything that is optional in your life. You can turn off the radio. You can unfollow/unfriend and never EVER click on a link to this blog again.
      We ALL have to overcome our egos to ‘see ourselves’. Jane has taken her opportunity at ‘celebrity’ and used it as a conduit for the rest of us to see that ‘fame’ hardly precludes us from the pain of being human.
      Since I know her personally I can say without reservation, if I were to weigh her transparency against your response, I would have to say that YOU are the one with the bad case of ego.
      And just for the record, JANE you CAN count on me forever. Yo? 🙂 Namaste and thank you once again for the wisdom. I learn at the feet of the master.

      Comment by kandisnz | August 26, 2013 | Reply

  3. This hits home for me this week. I tried exercising caring and compassion this past week with my alma mater’s football team. Do a little fundraising for a school that could use some kindness and really found myself so disappointed in the human condition. Why don’t these kids work? What are their parents doing? Were among some of the commentary I received. Really, my answer to that is…what does it MATTER? Who cares who it is that provides the kindness and support just so long as someone does? So amen Jane, well said.

    Comment by lizzyc1973 | August 25, 2013 | Reply

  4. You are right, you were a hard-ass. You have changed, as have most of us. Your blog hit home with me with the work that I do because I have seen people literally flinch when I tell them I work with delinquents, and specifically juvenile sexual offenders. Most people haven’t a clue how these young men get to where they are now. “Lock em up” Throw away the key” They aren’t worth our tax dollars. What they don’t realize is the life they have lived would have caused most of us to crawl into a fetal position and give up a long time ago. Not all of them. But most. How do you respond when I kid tells you he remembers his only Christmas that his dad was there, when he was 7. His dad wrapped a present for him. It was a block of wood he had found in the alley. Or that his mom sold an hour alone with him to some old man for some crack. Would that impact your way of thinking about others? I know that the general public do not know these things, and that allows me to give them some slack, and show them some understanding. I choose to help. I really don’t know when I decided to help, or if it is just me attempting to make up for some long lost discretion. All I know is that some people will allow you to help them, and some won’t. Most of the time it comes down to how much damage has been done to their sense of trusting others and allowing themselves to ever be vulnerable again. Thanks for the blog Jane. Hope I didn’t bring anyone down.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd, Ann Arbor, Mi. | August 25, 2013 | Reply

  5. I have also listened over the past year to you and all the things that you have struggled with, as you have made some very big, life changing decisions, that did not come easy. You have seen fit to share these struggles with us, even though you do not know us, or even with your radio presence deemed it necessary to feel the need to do so. I think you have done it to share with others in sharing the fact that life changes us and in response, we have to change as well. We go foward, we go backward, but in the end we hope that forward motion wil prevail. Please don’t let anyone with negative thoughts deter you from sharing such important parts of your life with us. You are an inspiration to many of us. And many of us relate to your thoughts, and thought processes. Some of us have no one else in which to get these enlightments, so thank you for that. You also remind us that we need to continue to improve on being the best HUMAN BEING we can be in this life. We only get one life to make that happen.

    Comment by Sherry | August 25, 2013 | Reply

    • It is clear that Jane needs our solace. Eternally. Thus she will never get well. She does not want to. She gains her self esteem from those who throw down on her game. At the end of the day, that does not work. She has to know this by now. But she refuses to see that. One of us needs to tell her to quit feeling sorry for herself. It is quite boring. For the record I have tried to reel her in. Not working.

      Comment by Greg | August 25, 2013 | Reply

      • Oh, for the love of….I have never seen a “poor me” display from Jane. This particular post is FAR FROM THAT. Obviously, someone crapped in your Wheaties.

        Comment by Roxanne | August 26, 2013

      • Good One, Roxanne!!!! Hope I can remember that one!

        Comment by Big Sis | August 26, 2013

  6. Amen, Jane….I could have written that myself (if I had your talent). Well said!

    Comment by Claudia Anderson | August 25, 2013 | Reply

  7. One of the reasons we quit listening to your show a few years back was because you were so judgmental of others. But I tuned in a couple of months ago and discovered that you had turned a corner and were much more reasonable and loving to the listeners and folks you talked to on the air. Age changes all of us and usually mellows us out. I am happy to be a listener again, and even though you are in “Pure Michigan”, I still appreciate listening to you during the day when I am at work. Thanks for growing.

    Comment by Jeanne Major | August 25, 2013 | Reply

  8. Wow, I really appreciate “Greg’s” candor in the comments! However, did someone go to his house and twist his arm and say to him “You have to read Jane London’s Blog!!!!”… No one did that to me, at least not that I recall! I take from your blog what I wish to get out of it! It’s nice to know that some of us (Greg) is perfect and isn’t constantly a change in motion…like the rest of us. I know I don’t have this thing call life figured out and I don’t really try to figure it out all at once. Your blog constantly reminds me to breathe, remember others and appreciate what you do have vs. what you don’t have, therefore I read your blog! Keep it up Jane…! ♥

    Comment by BeckyB. | August 25, 2013 | Reply

  9. It seems to me that Greg is being a bit of a hard ass himself don’t you think?
    Thank you Jane for sharing your life with us – the good, the bad & the ugly. This blog hit home with me because I whole hardly admit that I am a hard ass myself at times. At this point in my life I am better at knowing when I need to step back, shut up and stop being so rigid and hell bent on holding others to my standards. I am more conscientious about it now and I am thankful that I have people in my life who could have easily kicked me when I was down, but they didn’t. That is the funny thing about life, no one knows exactly how it is supposed to be lived, and which way is the right way? Being a hard ass all the time is not only tiring, but it wears you out. Live and let live I say. Life is a lot less stressful when you tend to your own garden instead of judging the blooms in someone elses.

    Comment by Terri | August 25, 2013 | Reply

  10. Being a hard ass is so often a cover for fear — fear that the other person who is the object of our hardassery will not succeed without us. Such hubris. (Guilty as charged.)

    Comment by Jim Grey | August 26, 2013 | Reply

    • Jim,
      Agreed…thanks for the clarity.

      Comment by janelondon | August 26, 2013 | Reply

  11. AMEN! Could not agree more!!

    Comment by marge beem | August 26, 2013 | Reply

  12. Greg needs to quit reading Jane’s blog and work on himself! What hateful, selfish comments! I admire you, Jane, for what you’re doing and for the courage to share it.

    Comment by Pam Nelson | August 26, 2013 | Reply

  13. I think it is very amusing that Greg chooses to be a complete hard-ass in response to this blog post. He made me laugh outloud at his silly rant. Probably just a troll who wants people to respond to him. How sad for him. And good for you Jane – keep your insightful posts coming.

    Comment by Distant listener | August 26, 2013 | Reply

  14. I quit listening to Dom and Jane a few years back because I did feel that both hosts were judgmental and cruel with listeners as well as those in the news. A friend recently started posting a couple of Jane’s blogs on her facebook page and I began reading them. I love this post Jane. I admire you for admitting where you were and moving on. We are allowed to make mistakes and to grow from them. Good for you Jane, I may just have to tune back in.
    Greg, by the way, is looking for attention. Jane may be or do many things but I have never heard her begging for our love or attention.

    Comment by Jen | August 26, 2013 | Reply

  15. To all – I am absolutely willing to admit, right here, that I actually agree with many of your criticisms. My post here was indeed out of order. I offer a full and unconditional retraction and sincere apologies to any and all I have offended. Especially Jane. Jane, I don’t recall when we first met in here but it has been a while. We have certainly had some enlightening interactions. But I also have to admit that it is likely in the best interest for all concerned, myself included, if I’m no longer notified of any future posts you may publish. I have very much appreciated getting to know you a bit “off the air” and wish for you all the very best in your life. Greg

    Comment by Greg | August 26, 2013 | Reply

    • Wow, well said Greg. That was quite a transformation in a days time. It takes a certain amount of maturity and humility to respond like this. I hope that you are sincere and are not the walking around being a bitter person when there is so much to celebrate in life. You know that you can choose to read, listen to and watch whatever you wish. Our choices are many. Hope you find what it is you are seeking.

      Comment by Tim Lankerd, Ann Arbor, Mi. | August 26, 2013 | Reply

  16. […] Confessions of a hard-ass ( […]

    Pingback by Life’s Playlist….. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long by Otis Redding | Notes from a Southern Kitchen | August 27, 2013 | Reply

  17. Jane, I think it takes A LOT of courage to write so openly and honestly the way you do in your blogs. I confess to being somewhat of a hard ass myslef, but mostly with my children (it seems like I had no choice in their teen years)! However, now they are on their own and it’s easier for me to let go of that. I’m sure that being in my 40s also helps. I’m glad that you are strong enough to share your observations on life and hope you are not discouraged by people who feel the need to spew negativity!

    Comment by M | August 27, 2013 | Reply

  18. You should take 365 of your blogs and put them in a book for a “daily” lesson (for lack of a better term).

    Comment by Lynett | August 27, 2013 | Reply

  19. I liked what you wrote because I am not a hard-ass. I am also worn out just reading the comments today. I think you give us a lot to think about. Thanks Jane

    Comment by Karen | August 29, 2013 | Reply

    • Karen,
      Thanks. Glad you took the time to comment:)

      Comment by janelondon | August 29, 2013 | Reply

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