"Just have it and give it up for adoption."  Because pregnancy and childbirth are totally safe and easy and free of cost, and don't totally change your body and life forever no matter what happens to the child after you give birth, right?

"Just stop taking everything so personally/expecting perfection from yourself/thinking about things so much."  I wish I could, but see, I have this brain that kinda doesn't let me stop doing those things.  What, you think I *like* being obsessively miserable and hating myself for every tiny failure in my entire lifetime?  Does that sound like fun to you or something?

"Just eat healthier and exercise more."  I've never thought of that before!  How incredibly simple!  Except that I can't afford much produce, don't like or know how to cook more than the couple meals I eat all the time, can't force myself to enjoy vegetables despite trying and trying, and dislike the taste of water.  Oh, also I have chronic back problems and low energy and am cripplingly self-conscious about exercising in front of other people, so any exercise I have to do has to be low-to-no-impact, easy, and something I can do in my house while my partner is at work, without boring the crap out of me.

JUST: (adv.) merely, simply.

I hate this word.  It minimizes.  It trivializes.  "Just" do this, or that.  It tells me the person speaking thinks the action should be easy.  It ignores circumstances and individual capabilities in favor of a normative narrative of what "everyone" should be able to do.  It also implies a moral judgment - the speaker obviously believes the course of action is not only easy, by their own arbitrary standards (usually heavily influenced by society's standards, of course), but the *right* thing to do.  It erases conflicting emotions and tells you the choice should be easy, and therefore being conflicted about it is wrong.  It invalidates peoples' feelings and experiences. 

From a stranger or ideological opponent, it's sneering, condescending.  From a loved one, it's even more damaging, a slap in the face.  It is the worst word, a metric fuckton of condescension, patronization, minimization, trivialization, all wrapped up in four innocent letters.

So please.  If you are ever tempted to 'splain someone's situation and the course of action you think they should take by saying "just do X", DON'T.  No matter how obvious the solution seems to you.  Just don't.  Step back, think about why they might not have done that yet, and find a way to offer advice - IF they asked for it in the first place, which in my experience the object of this unfortunate phrase usually didn't - that doesn't imply that the person is stupid for how they've handled themselves and their situation so far.  Respect their decisionmaking process.  Try giving them the benefit of the doubt - try assuming that they *do* know what they're doing, and that they *do* have reasons for handling things the way they have. 

But for the love of all that was, is, and ever will be..."Just" stop.

Feel free to add and vent about other "just" experiences you've had to deal with in comments.


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