Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My "R" Word

There is a campaign out there to make people stop using the word “retarded” to mean anything less than perfect, anything awkward, anything unliked. I’m all for it and I’ve been doing my best to help those around me rethink their word usage. It’s not easy. It’s like using the word “gay” to mean anything less than perfect, anything awkward, anything unliked.

I’m sensing a pattern…

Anyway, this post isn’t about the misuse of the words “retarded” or “gay” (and I’m putting them between quotation marks to indicate their significance, not because I think they’re… less than perfect, awkward, or unliked). This post is about the word: “Remember”.

As in, “We already talked about this, ‘remember’?”

I found myself saying that over and over again when I was visiting my parents and every time I said it, I would mentally slap myself because NO! They don’t “REMEMBER”.

Every time that word would slip out of my face, I’d regret it and wish I could take it back. But it was out there, dancing around whichever parent I was talking to, sticking its tongue out and echoing, “remember? Remember. Remember?!” in a sing-song voice. If I hadn’t been so impatient and exhausted, I would have attempted to formulate less hurtful ways to remind them that topic had already been discussed and we’d reached a conclusion. They just needed to be reminded of the conclusion in a much kinder fashion, but it’s not easy after the 100th time reminding them of something.

Three times explaining to Pop that “We are going to the Mexican restaurant but we have to stop at the bank first. Remember?”

Multiple times telling my mother what I needed her to do. “You need to find a bucket to empty the cans into…remember?

“We’re going to take this load to the recycle and this load to the dump, REMEMBER?”

“We already went through this pile and it’s ok to throw away. REMEMBER?!?

So many times that word slipped out because I was not thinking and I just couldn’t…remember to stop.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Line in the Dirt

It’s not rock bottom, rather it’s that thick, nasty quagmire of stinking mud. Still a ways to go before rock bottom, but not far and not pretty.

That’s what I’ve hit.

I hit a few other things as well. Not directly, just by throwing some shit that lay within arm’s reach. Plus the pile on the floor that used to be on my desk. And the broken plastic container that used to house a tiny shredder. And whatever that thing was on the shelf that got taken out by some flying object just heavy enough to do damage and scatter anything it hit.

It started with pressure; pressure to give more and care less. Pressure to just turn the other cheek and say "whatever" whenever someone asked for something, or just fucking took it, without so much as a "thanks for the stuff."

And I sat there, without a backbone to my name, and let it happen. “Whatever,” I’d say and wish I really felt that way, wish I could say “not gonna happen” more often and stick by it. But I try to be nice all the time and saying “no” when people are in need isn’t nice.

Still, the pressure built with all the little nasty picks and pecks at me and my paycheck. I’m always being asked for my time, my money, a little more here, a little more there. People are always asking, and always with the assumption that I would do it and I wouldn’t mind because I rarely say “no.” I’m a nice person; I hate seeing people struggle and suffer.

Apparently I’ve not been looking in the mirror, because I’m having a bit of a struggle myself. Pretty much every cent I earn is taken away, either through bills of my own or food purchases that I share. That’s when it finally dawned on me that if I wasn’t reaching out to help everyone else, I might actually be able to live on my own paycheck and make ends meet. I could even have enough to buy a cup of coffee once in a while without first thinking, “Ok, I can do without something this time” or “I’ll put this on the card and worry about it later.”

Screw that. I’m done.

I’m done waiting for mercy from those who take. I’m done. I’m done. I’m done. I’m drawing a line in the dirt and I’m taking mercy on myself. I can’t expect others to lift me up when I know they have their own issues, so what am I waiting for? This is my money. This is my house. This is my time. And I’ll spend them on ME. I’m supposed to get pre-approved for a loan to buy a house, which I will do (at least I will try to get the approval) so my parents and my partner will have a place to live. I do this willingly and without hesitation (except for all that damn paperwork). I do this out of love and affection for my parents and Tam.


I’m done with charity. I’ve given and given and gotten very little, if anything, in return, and quite frankly, that blows.

I’m standing up, taking my sword and drawing that goddamn line in the goddamn dirt and saying, “This is mine.” Then, I’m going to attempt a step forward where I’ll draw another line and another and another. And I’ll keep drawing lines until my backbone has grown in and I really no longer care if people think I’m a bitch.

Because being nice has gotten me so far in life.