This post is going to be long, rambly, and scattered – in other words, just like every other post ever written on this here blog.
But first, I want to say a great big hello to all of my new readers and Facebook fans. Over a year ago, I wrote a post for Redbook. The post was titled "10 Things You Should Never Say to the Mom of a Big Family", and it was picked up by Yahoo! Shine. As of today, it has been shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook. My Facebook fan page grew by almost 300 in a 24 hour period this week.
I was stunned. I guess that this post really hit a nerve.
So, HI, new people! Welcome. There's lots to read in the sidebar - this blog is ELEVEN (!!!) years old. Wowza.
What I want to talk about today is that famous quote, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." In theory, I do agree with this. We should all be strong people who can handle things. If someone tries to make you feel bad, that's their problem, their insecurity, their issue. But that's not the reality, is it? And sometimes, you can be a very strong person – really one of the strongest people on the earth today – and you can walk into a doctors office feeling great about yourself because finally your kids are back in school after two snow days off and you've gotten a shower AND a hair washing AND makeup applied AND your clothes match AND are clean - and a nurse on a power trip makes you feel like total shit. As if you are an inconvenience, and the free samples your doctor promised you will be coming directly from her pay check and how DARE you try to get one over on her?
What I wonder is, where do people get off making other people feel stupid? I get that it's a power thing. People who have power, even a little bit – whether they be store clerks, nurses in doctors offices, secretaries in school offices – sometimes, when those people get power, it does corrupt them. That sounds very hokey, but it's true. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And you can go into a place of business feeling good about yourself, happy with where you are in life – and ask a question of an office worker, who slaps you down, and immediately, you feel small and stupid. And even if you say to yourself, "I do not give the stupid secretary the power over me", well, she still has it, because no matter how much you vow that you will not feel stupid – you still do.
And it's so, so stupid, because - take that nurse or secretary or doctor or Company President out of their environment of privilege - set them down in any suburban grocery store, as this article suggests - and NO ONE KNOWS WHO THEY ARE.
Just like, off this blog site - no one know who I am. Even though I had a post go viral - I'm no more important than anyone reading this post.
One thing I'm trying to realize in my life – and this sounds really incredibly stupid – is that I don't know everything. Yes. I realize that that sounds dumb. But hear me out. Once you reach a certain age, we all think that we know everything there is to know. And we really don't. We grow complacent in our knowledge, secure in our status - after all, we've probably had the job we have for a while, been dealing with the body we inhabit for multiple years. We may know lots of stuff about lots of things, but there are areas of our life in which we have no knowledge. And someone else may have that knowledge. And we might like them to share that knowledge, and sometimes they do it gracefully. And sometimes, they don't. Sometimes, they share it grudgingly, as if the sharing of that knowledge, or the help that they give, is a physical ache - as if it requires blood letting and comes directly from their pay check, leaving them penniless and unable to buy a cup of water - all because they were required to sign a form for you or help you with a stubborn computer program.
I've tried to start looking at myself with this magnifying glass. Do I share my information gracefully? Do I make other people feel stupid if they don't know the same things that I know? Will I make other people feel as if they're wasting their time talking to me – that I'm not helpful – or courteous – or kind?
I put my pants on the same way as you. (Unless I'm wearing a skirt - and it's currently 16 degrees outside, so there's no skirt wearing going on.) I have things I'm great at - writing, being on time, cooking/baking, being organized, taking care of people - and things I'm not so good at - running, maintaining a weight loss, keeping the laundry up. If you are good at the things I'm not good at - it doesn't mean I'm not worth anything - and maybe if I need some help, or you need some help, or Susan or Mary or Patti or Cynthia or Megan needs help - we can all pinky promise to provide it without an attitude of protest.
Knowledge and help shouldn't be given grudingly.
None of us is more important than the other.