After Hurricane Katrina, there developed something of a hierarchy of suffering along the Gulf Coast:
- You lost the bottom floor of your house? I lost my whole house.
- You lost your whole house? I lost my house and my job.
- You lost your house and your job? I lost my sister.
- You lost your sister? I lost my whole family.
- You lost your whole family? I am dead.
That's right, the ghosts of the dead walk the streets of the Gulf Coast. Their presence is always there, reminding us that it could be worse. We could be dead.
Your life could always be worse. Someone will always have it worse than you. Seriously. But does that mean that we have no right to complain about the mundane? Hell no.
I'll complain about our Bar exam woes and the fact that I haven't had a manicure in forever... all within the same breath. Because they are my problems. They are important to me. Screw you if you don't think I am grateful enough to keep them in perspective. Your insinuating that I am not keeping my problems in perspective is an insult. Your suggesting that I am not grateful is an outrage.
I got gratitude for you right here. Bend over, let me show you.
The next time someone tells you, "Well, it could be worse..." just slap them for me. What they are saying is that they have no idea what to tell you, you are making them uncomfortable, and they would like to deflect the conversation and preferably end it right there.
"Our bills are killing me. I don't know where I expect to get the money this month."
"Really? Well, it could be worse. Your child could have an incurable flesh-eating disease and be deathly allergic to painkillers."
Wha-what? Um, yeah, you're right... I don't know... I mean, I just... Uh, okay, I, uh, well... Okay.
Conversation killed. Now let's talk about how your mother-in-law insulted your housekeeping, because that is important.
Look, our problems are our problems. We own them. They are ours. I'm not trying to beat you in the competition for who has the worse life. In the end, if you win, what have you won, anyway? Hey, I'll just give you that one. Congratulations. Your life sucks.
Now I'm still going to talk about how my diamond shoes are too tight. Because they are and I don't like blisters. So sue me.
I am grateful for everything and everyone that I have in my life. I know how good I have it. But damn it if I have to couch every single fookin' thing that irks me with "I know it could be worse but..." Hell. No.
The other day, I guest posted over at moosh in indy and dared to complain about how being the wife of a young lawyer sucks. Ass. A big hairy ass. I said that I'm sick of my life being about my husband and had the balls to ask, "When is it going to be about me?"
I then demanded a Volvo wagon, an annual spa vacation, and a housekeeper.
Oh yes I did.
And you know what? I'm going to complain freely when my Volvo breaks down. I'm going to whine when my massages aren't deep enough. And I'm going to bitch when my housekeeper doesn't scrub my toilets the way I like it.
I don't expect you to care. But I do expect you to listen. Because if you love me, you know me. You know that I am grateful and you know that I am not a raving idiot that has no perspective. You know that I know what is important.
And yet you will still let me vent about the small stuff.
Because if you don't let me vent about the small stuff, I will utterly blow my lid when it comes time to deal with the big stuff.
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