Kick Passive Aggressive Pam Right On Out of the Party

Kick Passive Aggressive Pam Right On Out of the Party

I have neither ranted nor raved in awhile, and I think it’s about time.

It can be difficult to recognize a passive aggressive force in your life. They can be sucking positive energy from you for years before you catch onto them. Once you do recognize their energy-sucking powers, however, it’s time to get the frick rid of them. I’ve got a definition for you:

passive-aggressiveadjof or relating to a personality that harbors aggressive emotions while behaving in a calm or detached manner.

We all have some passive-aggressive moments, and I’ll get to that. It’s the people, however, who simply are passive-aggressive by nature that we need to cut out of the picture. I’ve got plenty of stories that involve passive-aggressive people, and I would love to go on and on about them, but this blog is not about singling people out (unless you’re ananonymous-texting asshat). This blog (usually) is about bettering myself, and hoping others are interested in doing the same.

So, how can you recognize passive-aggressive behavior?
Just log onto Facebook.
Facebook is interesting. It’s got the “status” option. This means you can post something about someone, call it a general musing, but know full well said person (and the rest of the world) can see it. Has this happened to me? Yes. Am I being passive-aggressive about it? No, and I’ll tell you why.
The antidote to passive-aggressive behavior is honesty.
When you try to contact someone directly, and get ignored, you’ve done all you can do…other than blog about it and get it out of your system.

How else can you recognize passive-aggressive behavior?
Gauge your general feelings.
Do you feel like a big pile of crap, even though this person told you “It’s okay, I’ll just do it myself.”? If, in fact, the person was really meaning to say, “Hey, I need help with this, and no one else is available…I know you probably don’t want to, but I’d really, really appreciate it,” they’re being passive-aggressive.
The act of simply saying what you mean can avoid hurt feelings, tense atmospheres, and misunderstandings. Hurt feelings are not something to ignore. Hurt feelings bubble and boil till they explode like a victim in a Bones episode.

So, I’ve babbled on about passive-aggressive behavior. What’s my point to all this? If you’ve got people who constantly rely on this form of behavior to interact with others, cut them out. You don’t need that negative ju-ju.
What I really want to hammer home, however, is that we need to recognize passive-aggressive behavior in ourselves, and kick it the hell out of town.
I know I’m guilty of it. Here’s a scenario:

Paul: Hey honey, is okay if I go play frisbee tomorrow?
Lauren: …
Paul: So, no?
Lauren: That’s fine.

Ding, ding, ding! That’s me, being passive-aggressive. Why don’t I just say, “Dearest husband, I love you. You are the handsomest in all the land, and I had plans to snuggle you into submission tomorrow…because you are roguishly handsome, and oh, so, snuggleable…I would much rather you stay here and snuggle than go play frisbee.”

It may seem harmless, but I know it frustrates Paul when I do it. He does it to me, too. We all do it…and it’s just something that adds stress. When you come right out and say something, it may not always be pleasant, but it’s definitely honest. That’s the important part.

I’ve done my best not to make this post in itself be passive-aggressive, but let me offer this: if I’ve acted like this in the past, and hurt someone’s feelings because of it, I welcome the opportunity to make it right. Please shoot me an email, and we’ll deal with it there.

For everyone else, just do me a solid and keep this in mind for all your future interactions, and I’ll try to do the same.

Be Kind

Be Kind

Friday started off like a normal day. Charlie and I woke up, ate some breakfast…I got some work done while Charlie watched a little Curious George. We sat down and read some books (translation: I read a book to Charlie while he played with toys or his own book, and may or may not have been listening to me), and played with some pots and pans.

Then we decided to go to the park.

There is a school next to the park we walk to, and they must have some kind of summer program going. When we got out there, a few groups were playing tag, and a big group was hitting balls around on the tennis court. Charlie was, of course, immediately drawn to the activity on the court, so we headed up there.

Like I said, it seemed like a normal day…and then, WHAM! I’m suddenly thrown back into Junior High…I’m awkward, not so popular, and very busy conforming to the “I’m a non-conformist” way of adolescent life.

As we came closer to the tennis courts, I noticed two groups of adolescent girls hanging out by a patch of trees. When I saw a girl go from one group to the other, say something while making a few snarky looking gestures, then return to her home group, I immediately got a sick feeling in my stomach.

This is a scene I (and a million other girls) know all too well. Somebody says something. Somebody else finds out about it. A friend of somebody says something to another somebody, and suddenly there is line drawn with two very vicious groups of somebodies on each side.

I don’t know if you know this, but girls in their early teens can be more vicious than freaking crocodiles. Just wait till you hear what they were arguing about.

As we got a little closer to the tennis courts, I couldn’t help but try to listen in on the battle of words. I couldn’t exactly pick up what they were fighting about, but I did hear the word “vampire” venomously spat out a few times.

These girls were fighting about vampires. Most likely, they were fighting about Wampires, but it really doesn’t matter. My point is that a junior high girl can turn something as innocent as a baby kitten into a reputation-shattering event.

It doesn’t matter what side your on, what your social status is, or who your parents are. Girls say terrible things to each other and those things hurt. And, please, don’t think I’m launching into a “I was unpopular and I’m mad at the popular girls so I’m using my blog as revenge” rant…Popular kids are mean to other popular kids, just like unpopular kids can be equally as mean to the other unpopular kids. I know I’ve done my share of being mean, and am no exception. When you’re starting to grow up, you know what hurts, and since the people around you are also growing up, you’ve got the inside scoop on how to obliterate anybody’s feelings.

As a mother, this terrifies me. I don’t know exactly what it’s like for boys, but I know they can be just as mean to each other. It seems to me, that it might be even worse…what with all the manhood and machismo getting flung around.

So I’m making a plea to my fellow parents: Please teach your children to be kind. Please teach them that each person is fighting a personal battle, and that we’re all in this together. The last thing we need right now is for us to be kicking each other while we’re down.

I know I’ve got readers who are parents: How do you guys deal with this? How do you plan on handling your kids’ social dilemmas?

You know, you don’t even have to be a parent…How did you deal with this when you were growing up?

Photo Credit: ffffound.com

The New Cowards

The New Cowards

Just when I start to feel like I’ve got nothing to write about, the blogging gods send me an asshat on a silver platter.

I had a very thought-provoking afternoon yesterday. Some genius out there decided to use an anonymous texting service to attempt to make me feel bad about myself. I won’t go into the gritty details, but I will say that the texts involved calling me boring, annoying, and (are you ready for this one?) middle aged. What’s sad is that this person was not only a friend of mine on Facebook, but someone close enough to have my phone number. I suddenly felt like I was waiting for the bell to ring and let me out of Trigonometry.

I’m not sure what kind of reaction I was supposed to have, but all I could do was laugh and shake my (25 year old) head in utter disbelief. What it did do, however, is get me thinking.

Technology has done a lot of very beneficial things for us; it’s given us the ability to reconnect with long-lost friends, communicate instantly with someone across the ocean…and talk smack to people without ever having to let them know who you are.

As a blogger, one of the things I have to get used to is that people are not always going to like what I have to say, and they have the ability to be vocal about it. The comment section on a blog can be a wonderful launchpad for discussion and connection, and I always welcome differing opinions. Even if someone absolutely hates what I wrote, I’m still interested to understand why.

This is where it can get ugly.

Many blogs allow you to post comments without having to actually divulge who you are. This means that you could hop on, tell someone their “momma’s so fat they sat on a rainbow and skittles popped out” and no one would be able to track you down and slap your stupid face. After all, it’s easy to state your ridiculous opinions when you’re wearing a mask.

These are the new cowards. These are the trolls that lurk under your social bridge, waiting to throw slime on your self-image.

So how do we, as bloggers and human beings in general, handle this?

We take comfort, that’s how. We take comfort in knowing that we’re content with what we have and who we are, and that we’re confident enough to put our authentic selves out there. After all, what are the reasons for giving out opinions anonymously?

1. You have nothing to back up said opinion.
2. You are embarrassed.
3. You are aware and afraid of the social consequences.

It doesn’t matter which reason applies; they are all symptoms of a socially fatal Yellow Belly. These people will be hoarding discontent and secrets until they’re able to buck up and be themselves. As long as you are staying true to yourself and the people around you, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Besides, if these trolls had anything legitimate to say, they’d put their names on it.

No Whiners Allowed

No Whiners Allowed

I’m sick of whiners.

Now, before you throw an “Oh whatever, Lauren, I’ve been around you when you have to perform any kind of hard labor and you’re a TOTAL whiner,” at me, let me explain myself.

Yes, I can be a whiner. When I was in college theatre, they had something called “Company Call.” Since it was a smaller school, there were a couple days out of the season where the actors and actresses had to help the crew build the set. I’m telling you, when I look back in my life on some of my least favorite (excluding actual tragic ones) situations, my mind goes immediately to Company Calls. I would do whatever I could to get in the least strenuous group, and still I would whine pretty much the entire time. I know there are a couple technical directors out there who probably still want to push me off a stage…

So why was I whining? Because I was lazy. Lazy, lazy, lazy. That’s what whining’s all about. Being lazy. And that’s why I’m sick of it. When someone’s whining, it means that they’re too lazy to make the best of their situation. Lots of people whine about lots of things, but this is the one that ruffles my feathers the most:

I’m sick of people who whine about their unhappiness.

Okay, disclaimer time:
First of all, I’m ranting about whiners, not whining about whiners. There’s a difference.
Secondly, I’m not belittling anyone with actual depression. I realize that sometimes you don’t actually have any control over your unhappiness.
And thirdly, I’m not trying to pretend that I don’t whine. I do, and I wish I didn’t. I’m working on it.

Anyway…
There are many things people whine about, but these are some of the ones I’ve been seeing lately:

“Waaaaaahhhhhh…I HATE my job!”
Well, get a different one. Oh, you don’t want to put forth the effort? Well, there you go.
The job market’s terrible, you say? Well, sounds like you should be pretty grateful you’ve got a job.

“He/she broke up with me, I’m so SAAAAAAAD!”
I know, trust me, I know it hurts. I realize I’m only 25, and that some people are going to say “Oh, pshaw, 25? Like you know anything about relationships…” Well, shut up, I do. I’ve had more than a few of them, and I’m pleased as punch with the awesome marriage I’ve got now. The one, maybe most important, thing that I’ve learned from those broken relationships is that I was never alone. After you look up from sobbing and realize you just got snot on your best friend’s shirt, you should stop, take a breath, and thank the Heavens that you’ve got this amazing best friend to get you through this.
Don’t get me wrong. Everybody needs a good week, week and a half for public relationship recovery. I get that. But seriously, too much longer than that and you’re going to have people fantasizing about slapping you across the face.
You’ve got a great life, you’ve got great friends, and if all else fails, you’ve got yourself. Be grateful and find a new hobby or something.

“My life sucks. In general. It just sucks.”
No, your life doesn’t suck. You suck. (Now, generally, I don’t like telling people they suck. It’s a pretty rude thing to do. But, you’re being rude to life. So there.) Because you’re too blind to see that life is awesome and you’re too lazy to do anything about it. Your big Spring Break plans to go to Cancun didn’t work out? Well, guess what? You’ve got two weeks off to do whatever you want. Go out with your friends. Go for a drive with the music turned up. Go sit in your favorite coffee shop and read a book that isn’t a textbook for once.

If you have time to whine about something, then you have time to get up off your butt and do something about it.

I know everyone’s lives are different. I also know that (generally) the ratio of actual tragic events compared to commonplace annoyances usually pans out to be much heavier on the annoying side. So let’s find a way to take our whines and turn them into something productive. Even if it’s just one thing today, it’s progress…and we should always appreciate

In Defense of the Day

In Defense of the Day

Crappentine’s Day. Valen-vomit. A Day in Celebration of the Corporate and Commercial Whores.

Believe me, I’ve heard them all and am still unphased by every one of them. I prefer, in fact, hearing “Happy Crappentine’s Day” to hearing someone blather on (and before I offend anyone too much, I’ve had beef with the Greeting Card Company complaint for years now, so this blog has been a long time comin’) about the commercial birth of the holiday, created by Greeting Card companies in order to make money.

Waah, waah, waah. No, seriously, somebody call the waaaaaaaambulance.

How many of you out there have a diamond ring on your finger, or hope to be presented with one in the future? Do you think that when the De Beers company discovered they could make diamonds more accessible to the public, they didn’t advertise the crap out of the “diamond engagement ring?” Of course they did! Why else would the greater public make the decision to start spending horrific amounts of money on something that was previously tremendously horrific? Because that’s what society decided was valuable, that’s why. How did society come to this decision, you might ask? Oh, yeah, marketing and advertising.
Why do we choose TGI Friday’s over Ruby Tuesday? They’re both mediocre, Americana-clad, family dining establishments.

Wait…Ruby Tuesday has the salad bar… Let’s replace Ruby Tuesday with Applebee’s, in this case.

I can tell you why I (pretending I had previously eaten at neither) would choose one over the other; it’s because I liked the commercial better. Or their gift cards looked more vibrant, or they put off a more family-friendly feel. All advertising, friends, sorry.

Then there’s the very similar argument that celebrating Valentine’s day somehow makes the actual Love less heartfelt and more shallow and materialistic. Okay, that’s fine. So…when a person goes and spends HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of dollars on fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, are you going to go up to them and say, “Hey, Happy Commercialization of your Patriotism Day?” I don’t think so; in fact, I think you might get punched in the face with a beer can or a bowl of potato salad. That’s because the exact same argument can be used here. “Why do you have to have a special day set aside to celebrate Patriotism? Why can’t you express your patriotism every day without have to buy things for it?”

Or, better yet, “Why do you have to set aside one special day to celebrate the baby Jesus?” Or, “Why do you have to have one special day to celebrate someone’s birth? Why can’t you express how much you appreciate their existence every day in a more heartfelt way?”

Did the Greeting Card companies invent my birthday? I don’t think so.

Granted, I think we could all work harder on expressing our appreciation for things in our daily lives. That’s for sure. You should probably tell your loved ones that you love them more. You should probably be show your patriotism by being more active in you daily civic duties. But does that mean that people should be judged for picking one day to celebrate these things? Hmm…no, I think not.

Now, there is another group of people who hate Valentine’s Day, and I’ve got less of a problem with them; but not much less.

I know that sometimes it sucks to be single. I also know that I’ve probably been pigeon-holed into the category of “smug married,” but, trust me, I remember what it’s like to be single. Especially on Valentine’s Day. And, yeah, I was sad to not have a ‘significant other’ to spend it with.

And then I wised up and realized I did have a significant other. More than one, in fact. I had best friends and family who loved the crap out of me. So, what did my significant others and I do? Slapped on some makeup, got appropriately tipsy, and sang Karaoke till our lungs felt like giving out.

And we had a blast. Why? Because we all knew that even though we didn’t have romantic partners at the time, we DEFINITELY were not alone.

Are you unimpressed with my example? Howsabouts a real-life Facebook status from a good friend of mine:

Valentines Day. Not a fan. But I did have fun making cards with the kids and Adria (her daughter) made one just for me. 🙂

Hey, it’s okay not to like Valentine’s Day. I personally can’t stand the Fourth of July. Some people love it, though, and I’m going to do my best not to be a crabby pants about it. But really, though, I hate firecrackers. They make me want to punch people. I don’t, though, and that’s what’s important.

So why don’t, instead of bashing the holiday today, let’s stop and think about how lucky we are to have Love of any kind in our lives. I promise it will make you feel at the very least an eency-bit better, and even an eency-bit is better than nothing.

Also, you’ll probably avoid getting punched in the face with a bag of red and pink M&M’s.

FFML

FFML

WARNING: I’m about to drop an F-Bomb. Just so you know. Only one, though. Promise.

So, this has been bothering me for awhile now. I’m sure most of you are pretty aware of the term “FML.” If you’re not, (sorry, Grandma…) it means “fuck my life.” And I HATE it. It’s predominantly an internet term (phrase?), but people text it and say it and it just makes me angry.

I know, I know. I love my self-deprecating, sarcastic humor just as much as the next person, but this one really pokes my bear. As much as I want to rant and rave without any kind of organized fashion, I will fight the urge, and lay it out for you:

There are a few different categories of FML:

1. Self-inflicted
2. Really. Really?
3. Okay, yeah, that sucks, but still…

If you go to the website www.fmylife.com, you will find many stories people have submitted that they feel are worthy of the label “FML.” I’m not sure if this site is the origin of the term or simply a perpetuation of it, but either way, it’s party central. Super Lame-O Pity Party Central, that is.

The most predominant and, in my opinion, unforgivable style of FML is the “self-inflicted”FML. Here is a (paraphrased) example:
“Today, my female significant other broke up with me via text. She is sitting in the same seat as me on a long car trip, and we still have a few hours to go. FML.”

Okay, buddy. First of all, what did you do to make her dump you? Secondly, and more importantly, whose fault is it that your relationship has become so technodependent that this chick is Dear John-texting you? Yours. And hers. Not your Life’s. Your Life has been busy providing you with plenty of opportunities to communicate like an actual human being. Next!

The next kind of FML is just, well, stupid. I file these in the “Really. Really?” section. Things like (and though I’m paraphrasing, I’m not making it up):
“Today, I called my out-of-state parents to see if they would use their credit card to order me a pizza. They said no. FML.”

Really. Really?
No, but seriously. Really!?
Obviously, this FML doesn’t warrant too much confusion on why it’s stupid. I could say a lot of things, but what I will say is that if that were my son, I’d pay for a plane ticket to get to his house as fast as I could and slap him across the face with a piece of pizza. And then I’d eat it in front of him. Moving on…

This last FML, filed in the “Okay, yeah, that sucks, but still…” section, is a little different. Time for an example:
“Today, I got home to find my apartment broken into and completely ransacked. All of my furniture and valuables were gone. FML.”

Okay, so, yeah. That really sucks…however…let’s check a few things. A) Are you still alive? B) Do you still have family and/or friends who love you? C) Is the robber still in your apartment? (You should probably check this one first, now that I think about it…)

If the answers to these questions are, “Yes, yes, no,” then I’d say rather than “F-ing” you, your life is doing a pretty good job of taking care of you. Maybe you should get off the internet and try to figure out how you’re going to clean up your current situation.

Not to get all Debbie Downer here, but what really bothers me is this: In a culture where suicide is running rampant among younger and younger demographics, treating life as something that is not only casual and trivial, but aggressively trying to screw you over, is just plain dangerous. Instead of actively pursuing ways to make life more fulfilling or even just tolerable, people are running to their computers or phones to whine to the entire universe about how they are flippantly taking their lives for granted. This is not a healthy trend. So I say “F-it.” FFML.