People Suck

Why can’t people just be happy for her?

It was her third marriage. People kept reminding her and anyone else who would listen to their mouth flap. Yes, it was her third, not that the number counted toward or against anything, though for them it did. They used it as a quantifier in which to judge her, instead of as a fact. Yes, she had been married three times before. They didn’t want to know the rest of the story, only that at one point, she had two other husbands. 

The first one died tragically of cancer. It was painful for her. He was older, and of course they judged her on that too. Even then, they didn’t care that she was stable, happy, and loved. Only that he was so much older than she was. When he died she was alone in the loneliest of ways. Three children who could barely understand where their father had gone. People pretended to mourn with her, but they didn’t really care. They judged. As they always do. Thus, she pulled away as she always did when she sensed toxicity and resentment.

She tried to love again, but the toxicity of others brought someone into her life that was fueled by their toxicity. It turned him against her. He manipulated her, threatened her, convinced her to marry him or else he would say, but the else would change. He’d find her, he’d hurt her, he’d hurt the kids, he’d hurt himself. He was desperate, and it made her desperate. So she married him to protect herself and her children, besides she could handle it she thought, and of course they judged her for that too. For trying to love. For letting his threats get to her. For ultimately marring someone else betraying her first marriage like her late husband was still alive. 

Nothing she did was good enough for them, and as the poison of their presence in her life seeped in, she began to believe that she would never be good enough ever. They all would find reason to talk. 

After having enough, and deciding to ask for her worth and being refused, she left him. They judged her once again, but this time for leaving. She decided not to listen to it. She took her children and moved away. Started going to church. Started learning to love herself again. Her children felt more free to be creative. She felt more free to be creative. Finally, she was ready to love again, and she did. They got married and are happier than ever! Of course they judged her again. They still do. But this time she shut the door on their words and made a home of love and safety for her family. They live happily and functionally. She finally feels that kind of safety and love she once had felt. Yet, they still judge. Out of ignorance. Out of malice. Out of loving to hear their own voices. They say the children must be emotionally torn apart, as if she had never spoken to them or gotten their input about it prior. Like she was being selfish. Like she hadn’t sat on my couch for several hours pouring out her soul about how the kids would feel and if they would let her get married again. Because she needed their permission. Not that those who judged her knew, and not that they cared. They just wanted to pretend to have empathy. 

I was so angry to hear how many people so openly talked about her in front of me. So willingly thought that I’d agree with them. So openly shamed her. So I spoke up, knowing that I too Would be judged, merely asking if they knew all these accusations for certain. Asking if they were living her life for her and felt as if they could come along and have a say in it. Asking if they enjoyed talking about her more than talking to her. So they stopped speaking to me. 

Neither she nor I have felt loss at their absence. 

I’m just getting so sick and tired of ignorant people talking about things they know nothing about. Especially when it has nothing to do with their lives. She’s not a relative. Her life has zero impact on theirs. Why open your mouth at all? LET HER LIVE HER FREAKING LIFE WITHOUT BEING AN OBJECT OF YOUR JUDGMENT! But, of course, we all judge. It’s our nature to want to. To gauge our lives against the lives of others and assure ourselves that we are doing the right thing. As if there is even a definition for that. I do it too. I catch myself being that person all the time, and realizing that I’ve got my own problems too. People ignore the fact that life is messy because people are messy, and a mess is a mess no matter how big or small it seems to be. 

If it isn’t your mess, just don’t worry about it. 

The Visit

“It didn’t go well.” 

“What do you mean it didn’t go well?” 

“She was pissed off at the state of the store.” 

“What was wrong with it?” 

“We had boxes of clearance that we were scanning out to send off to the clearance center in Milwaukee.” 

 “And she was upset about that?”

“Said it looked messy. So now this week we have two more corporate visits.” 
I nearly walked out in that moment. Not only was it absurd that they were giving us corporate visits on one of the worst weekends to do so, but on the weekend our Regional Visual Manager and District Manager were on vacation, and only days after we were experiencing the trauma of our store manager abruptly leaving us. We had no leadership. We were understaffed because of a sudden outbreak of bronchitis. All of us were at our wits end. Considering we were running the store on a busy sale weekend with only three associates and a manager I thought we had done pretty well all things considered. The clearance product was all packed, scanned, and ready to ship by the end date. So there were a few boxes out on the floor? There was someone at the station working on them while they were there. Corporate had no reason to complain, but corporate always complains. They all do. They try to rule with an iron fist of fear, and never with actual empathetic leadership skills that FastCompany magazine always told me about. 

That day, I had three managers for other stores come to visit and help out. I was called in every which direction. I felt like I had accomplished nothing, and yet, things were getting done. Were it not for that and the fact that I had only just bought my house and needed a stable job, I would have quit that day. Thankfully I had made no rash decisions. Thankfully I had gotten the help I needed in order to get a better handle on the issues I knew my store had, but didn’t have the staff hands, or staff that cared, to get done. 

What pisses me off about the whole thing, is that most of the time when we want feedback or need help, we get ignored. Half the time our e-mails just don’t get answered. Half the time our store managers don’t actually get us answers, or pretend they did when they never asked. It isn’t until after they’ve suddenly gone and quit we suddenly get told all the lies we were lead to believe. Then we are thrown into a chaos so panicked that we end up making things worse. 

At the same time, they do too. Corporate comes in with lists upon lists of issues. Things we simply cannot get done with so few hands. We are missing two managers. A store manager, and a Home Store manager. Our last Home Store Manager up and moved to California. Living the dream with her BF, and probably enjoying a Bloody Mary on the porch of her LA apartment hearing traffic beneath her feet and enjoying warmer weather than we could even comprehend in Wisconsin at this time of year. 

Part of me is so envious of her. 

So I didn’t quit. I’m still there. Discouraged that my applications get rejected and that there isn’t much out there to switch to. I’ve considered going completely design freelance. Still, with how much Papyrus love there is out there in this town, I’m not sure this town is ready for good design. Still, I’m so burned out on work. Black Friday is coming and I was hoping to be gone by now. I suppose I have no reason to complain. I suppose I’m just not in the places I wanted to be because I’m not meant to be. Or am I just not trying hard enough? Am I just not aiming high enough? 

I’ll never be sure. All I know is what isn’t happening. It’s discouraging, especially during a week that has had its fill of discouragement. 

Give The Gift of Affirmation

I become extremely saddened when I see someone post a status about something meaningful or personal on their social network, and no one comments or affirms their realization. I’m sure you’ve seen it a lot too. Someone overcomes an I stoical in their life, or makes a really deep and meaningful realization and decides to become super vulnerable and post it on Facebook….and no one likes or comments to affirm their realization. Or worse, someone posts something funny or negative in response, negating the seriousness of their post or just plain being a jerk. 
I’m not the type of person who posts super personal things on Facebook. That’s what this blog is for anyway. 😉 Yet, I find myself very empathetic towards those people who do post serious personal reflections on their statuses. It’s only a few words, but those are words that mean something to them. They set those words free to the public, and for so many people, there is nothing worse than when the public cuts them down or doesn’t care. 
In many ways I wonder if social networking is desensitizing us to the emotions of others. We see so many passionate debates and drama ridden comment threads, that perhaps when something encouraging or meaningful happens, we lack a response because it’s not in-your-face dramatic? It’s not calling for you to notice as much as the political posts and the Facebook fights, so you end up not noticing, or when you do, you feel nothing. Someone has something good happen in their life? There are about thirty million bad situations overshadowing it. Or perhaps the person reading the status is jealous and has to troll because life hasn’t been so easy lately? One never really knows and can only speculate. 
Still, I feel for those people a great deal. I do my best to at least hit the like button or add a small comment if encouragement to their status. It’s the least I can do to show them that someone out there cares.