Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Anne's Litany of Complaints

When my uncle first heard I was moving out to Cleveland, he said that once, he was traveling for business and stopped over in Cleveland on a Sunday. He attended a branch there and it happened to be fast Sunday. The first member got up to bear her testimony and in a sonorous voice, declared, "I have a grievance to bear..."and proceeded to excoriate the congregation. The next member arose after her and upon reaching the pulpit, pronounced, "I too have a grievance to bear..." and said his piece. Apparently it went on like that for quite a while.

Well, today, I have a grievance to bear. Actually, I have a list of grievances. I am still in a very huge amount of pain from the surgery. This is been the worst day so far. Post-op days 6 and 7 are supposed to be the worst, so I wasn't unprepared, but I didn't get to the end of my pain pills so I've been rationing them and it's been pretty bad. I finally got some new pills so hopefully I will be sunshine and roses tomorrow. I just have to wait until 9:15 (in 35 minutes) to take my next round of pain pills. Anyway, I was lying in bed, just about to fall asleep this after noon, after a disastrous attempt at eating mac and cheese, when the phone rang. I ignored it but then realized it might be my doctor calling to confirm that I needed pain pills, I scrambled out of bed and grabbed the phone just as it stopped ringing. It was an unfamiliar number, so I quickly looked it up. It was some remodeling company that wants to redo our kitchen cabinets. Guess if it will ever get the job.

So, disgruntled, I laid back in bed and tried to fall back asleep. It was slow going, and as my mind started to drift, I thought about all the things I was angry about. I got madder and madder until I thought I was going to burn a hole straight through my bed and crash through the floor into the living room below. So I thought I would share some so that my pain becomes yours.

1. Inapt analogies. Today, one of my friends wrote on facebook: "Claiming someone else's marriage is against your religion is like getting angry at someone for eating a donut when you are on a diet." Except that it's really not. Unless you do actually get angry, I guess. I think a more apt analogy is, "denying someone the right to marry because it's against your religion is like banning the eating of donuts because you're on a diet." Claiming that gay marriage is against your religion, when it is true is just being honest. It is like saying "Oh, I can't eat that donut because I'm on a diet." The mere act of saying that is not offensive unless you yourself want to impose your beliefs on others. I support the legalization of gay marriage for this reason. I have taken obligations upon myself, and to engage in homosexual behavior would be against my religion. But I think that the same offense I feel when I am mocked by others who would impose their beliefs on me is the same offense they feel when others block them from enjoying the same rights because of their sexual orientation. My personal belief is that the state should issue marriage licenses to any two consenting people at the age of majority who want to get married and otherwise stay out of all of it. The current "discourse" acts like there's only two options: legislate that gay is wrong or gay is right. But we can put our beliefs out there and let people choose for themselves. That's what my religion says, anyway. I want to be respected in my right to worship how, where, or what I please and I will respect others in doing the same.

2. Free-stuff complainers. The other day, Brandon and I went to a furniture store that was having a special give-away of $25 giftcards. You had to go, show that you checked in on facebook, and wait half an hour for it to be verified. It was an inefficient system, but I WAS GETTING FREE STUFF. I'M NOT GOING TO COMPLAIN BECAUSE I GOT A $25 gift card for doing basically nothing on a Saturday when I'm just hanging out anyway. But as I was looking on facebook to find out information about the giveaway, I saw a million whiner posts. One was even like, "I can't believe we only got a $25 giftcard." Seriously? they're a business--they can't just give their stuff away, and anyway, a $25 giftcard from them is better than a punch in the nose from me, which is what I feel like giving you. I am saving up my giftcard along with other funds, and when I purchase my furniture it will be $25 off. That's not $500 off but I'm still really happy with it.
Other times, Ruby Tuesday will give away free stuff. I love it. Their food is really good, and they got me hooked as a customer my giving me a free burger and sides. You have to go through a little process to get the coupon, but I've never had trouble with it. Not so for the hundreds of people who complain every time they get a coupon. "It takes too long, blah blah blah" So the first time they gave a burger for free. the second time it was free with the purchase of two drinks--which is still good. And still free. And people were freaking out about it! "you're liars" "That's not really free." It was very clear on the coupon that you had to buy two drinks and again YOU'RE GETTING STUFF FOR FREE. STOP WHINING ABOUT IT.

3. Marriage deniers. I was trying to think of a snappy name for this, but that was the best I could do. As I was going into surgery the other day, an anesthetist popped in to tell me how it was going to go down. He was asking me basic questions and then said, "You are much too young to be married." This is not the first time or the fifth time that someone has said that to me, but I still don't know how to respond. Brandon was right there in the room. Maybe I should have been like, "Oh my gosh! I didn't realize it until right this moment, but you're right! I've made a horrible mistake! As soon as this is over we're getting a divorce!" There's a horrible voice at the back of my head that thinks maybe this was just a "no, older than you want to be person, you're still young!" but I have to call too young on that one, or get a lot of therapy. When I told people I was getting married to Brandon, so many of the people that I admired at school were terribly disappointed in me, asking if I was pregnant, why am I doing this, etc. I guess marriage is code for giving up on all academic pursuits and stuff. Maybe I should say I'm a lawyer when they say that. I kind of like the freak out, instant-divorce approach, though, except I would never joke about that because I do actually like being married. Despite being so incredibly, sickeningly young.

4. Shooters were "bullied" into it. This one makes me so angry. There was a school shooting yesterday in Chardon, Ohio (which is in our stake!). Five people were shot and three have since died. And people are like, well his parents got arrested for domestic violencing each other when he was two so that must be why he did it! They also claim he got bulled. Guess what? I got bullied when I was a kid. It was horrible. In kindergarten there was a girl named Heather who would say mean things to me and pinch me. She pinched me even harder after I went to a teacher for help. In elementary school I was teased for my weight, and another girl, named Heather incidentally (guess what name is not on our short list for future kids?) would track me down at recess, push me to the ground and rub snow in my face every day. I thought I would suffocate! I was teased for having a broken arm, for my early-onset acne. When I was in eighth grade, I don't know if there was some sort of pact or something, but it was really bad. There was a boy who would flat tire me every single day after gym. The worst was probably that I got a big puffy blue coat from Old Navy. It was expensive and I so badly wanted to fit in. I would wear it and feel so fashionable. But then after school, this boy would find me and he would start pushing me while I was wearing the coat. There was a  big circle of cheerleaders and popular kids and he would push me around in front of them and they would all laugh. It happened a couple times and I went to the vice principal who was really mean and said I better not be falsely accusing somebody. So anyway, that was painful to write, but I feel like I have serious street cred as a former bullied person. And guess what happened? I never took a gun to school and shot up a bunch of people. I grew up and I learned to overcome that stuff. There's a part of me that is still really sad and still really hurts when I write that, but the fact is that things got much better when I went to high school (though I was teased for going to the "wrong" high school for the first little while). And things changed in 8th grade, after my disastrous interview with the vice principal. I was walking with my friends, and the flat-tire idiot was at it again. I stopped walking and let myself fall back in line with him and in front of everyone demanded, "What is your problem? Do you have something you want to say to me?" And he never bothered me again. That was the moment that I stopped being a bullying victim. I stopped being shy (I had been so painfully shy that even my teachers would make fun of me). It is one of the moments in my life that I am most proud of. I have never responded to bullying as a victim again. But to claim that bullying makes people do terrible things ignores the fact that we all have our own choices to make. and 99% of the people who get bullied NEVER shoot up a school or workplace. I don't blame or credit bullying for anything I do, good or bad. I don't blame my parents for my behavior, good or bad. I am responsible for my own behavior, regardless of my background. No matter where I am in life, I can be doing better. I hope that other bullying victims feel the same way because ultimately we are all responsible for our own happiness.
So to look at this idiot who shot up his school as some kind of anti-martyr really bothers me. Sure, he may not have had a healthy or happy home life. Sure, he may have been bullied in school. But guess what? nobody pulled that trigger but him. When you're 17 you're responsible for knowing that killing people is wrong. I won't feel sorry for him and I am not sorry for judging him. Defending him as "being pushed to the edge by bullying" makes bullying victims seem incapable of handling adversity, when the actual truth is that the vast majority handle immense adversity and grow up to be strong, capable adults. As someone who suffered serious bullying while suffering from severe anxiety and depression, I know exactly how hard it is to experience but also how possible it is to get through it, without having to kill anyone.

Whew. I feel better now, and I'm all complaining-ed out. I took a vicodin about ten minutes ago so hopefully that will help a little, too.

1 comment:

Janelle said...

(1) I totally agree with you on the gay marriage thing. I have a problem with using my agency to take away the agency of other people.

(2) I admit I'm guilty of being a free-stuff complainer sometimes.

(3) I think you totally should whip out the "omigoshwhathaveidone?" sometime, just to see the reaction.

(4) I don't feel comfortable judging the shooter. Bullied or not, we'll never know the whole story, his emotional/mental state, or his reasoning (if it can be called reason). But I get what you're saying about bullying not being an excuse. I was a bullied kid, too. It stopped when I moved out of state. (It slowed before that, but it's hard to completely get away from your tormentors when you still go to the same school and have the same classes.) Oh, and I knew plenty of bullies named Heather as well, oddly.

You're awesome, Anne. Can I be like you when I grow up?