Friday, July 16, 2010

Platitudes

Update #1: Cat’s not outta the bag yet. Still in a holding pattern on that little news item. However, that hasn’t stopped my stupid little brain from spinning into a frenzy of guilt/anger/dismay (lather/rinse/repeat). It’s not exactly realistic to expect myself to stay out of that kind of mental flagellation, since I seem to be programmed to do that sort of thing deep down to my very own DNA. So I’ll cowboy up and get over that for now. You know? I’m an emotional wreck. Myeh. What’s new? No need to guilt-up over that when there's so much other crap going on these days.

So now we get to Update #2.
Because I’m an emotional wreck, I did have one day at work where I just totally lost it.
For like an hour.
Could. Not. Keep it together. how humiliating

Oh and then someone sees and they’re all “you okay?” and it starts all up again because obviously I’m so big fat not okay and I totally big fat do not want to talk about it lest I end up uncontrollably sobbing great heaps of ooze all over my desk for the next 43 hours. But no, the well-meaning and the thoughtful all come by with a caring hand on my shoulder and a pat-pat and a there-there and a “if you need to talk” and it just dismantles me all over again.

Emotional generosity is not something I’m used to in a workplace. It’s wonderful and it’s sweet and that kind of warmth dismantles me utterly every damned time. (On the next Oprah: Hey KF, why does kindness piss you off so bad?) Also it’s humiliating to cry at work. So stop making me frikking cry at work. Then I get mad. Because it's not even work related. You know? Then I cry some more. Then I finally pull it together and then some new wonderful person comes by and is like “aww” and hugs me and it’s back to sob-ass central station.

But that brings me to what happens to people when they get wind of your bad news. The platitudes start coming out. You just got mugged? “oh they’ll get theirs!” you’ll hear. You just had a terrible, frightening accident and were injured kinda badly? “oh, you’re so lucky, this one friend of mine had it way worse” you’ll hear. You just found out that someone in your family is facing a frightening and aggressively traitorous medical situation? “oh, I’m sure it’ll work out, it was fine for this other friend of mine and her uncle” you’ll hear.

Statements like that, when said to someone in the throes of angst, never land like they’re supposed to. The new mother, frustrated with her baby’s sleep schedule does NOT want to hear “just you wait, it gets worse”. Neither does she want to hear about how YOUR baby slept so well. Screw you. I know you’re trying to take the pressure off by highlighting that things could be worse but fuck that. Things can always be worse. There’s probably some asshole telling rape victims in Rwanda that they should be at least happy that they’re alive and that things could have gone a whole lot worse pat-pat there-there.

I hate shit like that. “Just you wait” "They'll get theirs" "It could be worse"

“It could be worse” Oh yeah? You’re right. I could go to jail for ramming this sharpie up your nose. I don’t want to hear that it could be worse. You know why? It could be a shitload hell of a lot better. And THAT is what I’m lamenting, and THAT is what you cannot take from me and fuck you for trying. What you're actually saying is I should feel better, really, because I’m not currently infected with 3 deadly, flesh-eating viruses while also being on fire. No really, I shouldn’t sweat the diagnosis thingamajig because gee whillikers at least I’m not unemployed AND *gasp* being torn asunder by wild, aids-infected dogs with bad teeth and gimpy legs. Fuck you for trying to tell me that my grief, my frustration, and my angst are unwarranted because “it could be worse."

Fuck you for saying that when I got beat up I should have just set my hate and anger aside because some invisible deity who lives on the top of a mountain on Zarcon 9 will someday decide to do the accounting and condemn my attacker to a lifetime of feeling bad about himself. That’ll teach him. He’ll grow up, get an unfulfilling job, have kids that like to eat chalk, and the dog will pee on his designer carpet. Revenge shall be mine! Fuck you.

Fuck you for saying that the hardship I’m undergoing right now for the very first time in my whole damned life is about to get a hell of a lot worse even though when you, yourself were in this stage you were shitting real live solid gold bricks about how hard it was and how nobody understood your pain and how you just wanted someone to listen to you and maybe help with the dishes once a week.

Fuck you, too, to an admittedly lesser degree, for saying “let me know if I can do anything for you.” Oh good, now I have to put together a laundry list of soothing chores for my well-wishers? As if I don’t have enough on my mind. You want to do something nice? Refill the copier before I get there to do it for you. You want to “help”? Bring me a cup of hot tea and don’t pry into what it was that has me all freakin’ unhinged like this in the first place. Don’t put me in the position to direct my shattered brains toward thinking of something small that you might do for me in order to make you feel better that you are participating and helping and stopping the poor sad girl at the office from sobbing uncontrollably.

Fuck you for suggesting that I’m not allowed to cry because it makes you uncomfortable. It makes me pretty uncomfortable. I don’t want to know how you think it’s awkward as hell, too. I don’t want to hear your platitudes and your there-there speeches because you are not speeching to make me feel better, you are speeching to keep yourself from feeling worse.

And that’s selfish and cheap. And it’s stupid.

Okay, KF – you big mouth you, all full of foam and wrath and self-righteousness… what the hell do people say when they see you gone to pieces like this?

Try this: “I’m sorry to hear that things suck for you right now. Hang in there.”
Try bringing me a fresh cup of tea. Wordlessly. With not even a lifted finger of consolation until I’m at least pulled together enough to breathe evenly. Let me come to you and thank you in my own time, when I can breathe, and when I can talk whole words without ropes of drool and agony flying from my swollen, red face.

Or try this…. Leave it alone. If I’m at the end of a dark hall, sobbing, staring at the carpet, I’m obviously trying to pull my shit together in an out of the way place where people won’t be bothered by my supernova of dismay. If I want to talk, I’ll come find you. If I don’t, I won’t. Leave it.

“That’s not very nice, KF. Those people just want to help you. They’re trying to be nice. You’re an ass.”

Oh, I see. Now I have to concern myself over if I’m going to hurt your feelings? I’m kind of in the middle of something here. I don’t freakin’ want to be nice right exactly now, thank you very much. And you know what? I don’t have to be nice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stand on the sidewalk downtown and shout rude epithets or anything, but are you kidding me that you are pissed off that I wasn’t nice to you when you decided to come over and tell me that things could be a lot worse so I should just get over it already? Really? And I need to be the considerate, invisible and sweetly emotionless girl and suck it up and bride it out and shake your hand and kiss your feet because of this overture of kindness because I’m supposed to be nice? It is my only earthly duty to be nice, is it? The only value I have on this planet, the only reason I need bother myself with the use of any more oxygen is to provide my unending font of nice to the people around me?

Right exactly now, you can sit on nice and take it for a spin up the Eiffel Tower if you want. Fuck nice. Right exactly now, I’m not really in the god-damned mood. For nice.

And if I see you, someday, choking up at your computer or sobbing in the stairwell… I will poke my head in and make sure you haven’t slashed your wrists. I will probably say something like “do you want a glass of water?” or, depending on how well I know you "would you like me to close your door?"

I will not ask what’s wrong, it’s not my business. Maybe I’ll offer a fresh box of tissues.
I will. not. tell you things could be worse. IF something has driven you to cry in the stairwell… I’m going to guess that as far as your personal plot-line goes… things are shitty enough.

2 comments:

Mountain mama said...

*wordlessly slides tissues*
*wordlessly slides tea*
*wishes the tea hadn't spilled all over the tissues and computer keyboard*

KF said...

Thanks MM.
I needed that.