Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to Be Kind

In my last blog, I mentioned that people seem to have no qualms about saying totally socially inappropriate, insulting or at the very least, irritating things to me.  I am not sure why this is.  I am not sure why their mothers never taught them to be kind.  I know that one major lesson I stress to my own kids is, simply, don’t be a jerk.  It is kind of a number one life rule for me: don’t walk around being an asshole for no reason.  Life is hard enough for everyone without your stupid bullshit.

I want to go over a few jerky comments people have a tendency to say to me and what they could say instead.  You know, to be kind.  Has anyone heard of that?  Being kind?  I think it can be taught.  I shall teach you.

Situation: I took a chance and dated a new guy.  He turned out to be a narcissistic, bi-polar sociopath.
Typical unkind response: "Where do you find these guys?" or “Why are all the crazies attracted to you?”
What I’m thinking: I don’t know.  I shine a giant dickwad-symbol off my balcony at night.  It's like the bat-signal but it's the image of a man with a giant penis for a head.
Kind response: “Oh my god!  People are such psychos!  Remember that alcoholic, drug-addicted, transvestite, sex-addict I dated in college before I met my sweet, witty and pudgy husband? Don’t worry Katie, it happens to all of us.”

Situation: I am a single woman who is over 30 years old. 
Typical unkind response: “You’re single?  What’s wrong with you?” 
What I’m thinking: Have you seen your husband lately?  Seriously, can you even bring yourself to fuck that guy?  The over 30 dating pool almost solely consists of bitter divorcees who look like your husband and mental patients.  
Kind response: “You’re single?  Holy cow, are you lucky!  You don’t have one extra person to clean up after, cook for, and sexually entertain.  You are the smart one.  Nice work.”

Situation: I am a gluten-free vegan.  People always ask me questions about my diet while I’m trying to eat. 
Typical unkind response: “You don’t eat meat, gluten, or dairy?  What DO you eat then?” 
What I’m thinking: I eat nothing but salad, all the time.  Oh yeah, with a dressing made of the blood of a small child…for protein. 
Kind response:  Shut the fuck up and let me eat my food.  There are actual foods that I can eat.  Maybe Google the food pyramid while I finish my meal.  No, Doritos are not a food group.

Situation:  I have been up for 48 hours straight because I was doing homework all night, I have worked a full day, coached a soccer practice, and now I’m at a school function.  I am standing by myself, minding my own business. 
Typical PTA Mom response: “That’s a nice shirt.  It’s not really your style, but I like it.” 
What I’m thinking: I’m not really having thoughts, just images of bashing things. 
Kind response:  There is no comment actually needed here.  Leave me alone.  What the hell are you doing anyway?  Who are you?  My cruel, racist, evil grandma who loves cutting people down for no reason?  Is this your legacy?  

We are not friends.  You don’t even like me.  You’re only here to entertain yourself by insulting me.  I am a hard-working person, with feelings.  I am tired.  Go away.  You know what?  The whole problem here is that you are bored with your life.  Try reading, getting a hobby, producing something, playing a sport, exercising, go…be happy…do something that makes you happy.  Then you won’t be focused on insulting me.

So, you see, being kind is quite simple.  Get off your pedestal, if only for a moment, and empathize with the person you’re talking to.   If you can’t possibly bring yourself to empathize, and you feel an insult brewing in your brain, choose to be quiet.  Your silence can make the world a much better place.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Smug Married Wife

For the first time I am starting to experience what I shall call Smug Married Couple Syndrome.  (I stole the term “smug married couple” from Bridget Jones’s Diary.)  Smug Married Couple Syndrome is characterized by a condescending and loudly proclaimed pity for all single people, especially for those single people over 30 years old.  Honestly, I have only experienced this horribly annoying pity from the Smug Married Wife of the aforementioned Smug Married Couple, but it does seem to be a common disease that needs to be addressed.  I don't have enough money to pay Brad Pitt to read a Smug Married Couple public service announcement, so I am going to address it here.

I would like to illustrate an example of Smug Married Couple Syndrome so that you’ll really understand what I am talking about.  I recently was out for a girls’ dinner to celebrate my friend’s first wedding anniversary.  (Please don’t ask how this came about, it’s not important.  I said it’s not important!!)  My friend was talking about how grumpy and grandpa-like her grandpa has become towards his wife, which made me start talking about how my grandma and step-grandpa used to wage bitter, psyche-scarring wars with each other when they were supposed to be taking me and my sister on “vacation.”  That’s what happens when you pick your spouse while drinking non-stop and then decide to permanently sober up I guess.  Anywhooo…I stopped my story about my feuding, ex-alcoholic relatives, and said, “Oh wait, we’re here to celebrate love, not to talk about cranky old married couples.”  My friend replied with, “Yeah, we married for true love, you just fucked up.”

I have been thinking about that joke waaaaaay more than I should, and I would like to say a few things about it.

1)  Where did that come from?  Did she think of that years ago, and this was the first vaguely relevant opportunity to fling this particular insult?  

2)  My husband cleaned out our bank accounts, left me for another woman when I had no job, and a baby, and toddler to raise, AND I have been single-momming for nearly 10 years now.  I think I have been sufficiently punished for my questionable choice in men.  I do not believe that I need a newlywed to rub said choice in my eyeballs with Disney-princess-true-love-coated-boiling-acid.

3)  If you still believe in true love, you’re a schmuck.  I will not hesitate to remind you of your youthful ideals when your spouse gets hit in the pelvis by a bus or a 25 year old waitress, and you decide you want to try dating again.

4)  All of you Smug Married Wives are this close (I’m holding up my fingers really, really, really, really close to each other) to being me.  I understand that this is scary for you, but you should play nice, in case there actually is such a thing as karma…and buses that hit people in the pelvis.

Why do people have absolutely no qualms about saying these totally socially inappropriate things to an exhausted mom whose entire goal in life is to try and be the best mom she can be?  I am going to work on a blog that outlines what you should not say to an over 30, working, single mom and tape it to my forehead, because apparently a lot of people in my life need some stringent guidelines laid out so they can stop treading on my self-esteem.  That’s officially my next project.   So anyway, to be continued…soon.  I promise.