They really don’t matter. But bitch-bitch-bitching provides a minor release of tension brought on by bigger things which are likewise unchangeable, but are unable to be relieved. I nitpick the small things to survive the real problems. Anyone who wants to bitch about my bitching is free to take to her own blog and paint the town red.
SLEEPING: Jesus, Honey, the sheets! No wonder I sleep like an innocent rock and you fidget like a whore in church. When you are composing yourself for slumber, make sure the sheets / blankets / whatever is on top of you is evenly distributed over your surface mass. If this sounds like ridiculous focus on trivialities, keep in mind the alternative: when you have a huge pile of laundry on top of you, it creates excess warmth in some areas, light coverage in others, and breezy gaps where your body least expects them. Even the differences in weight confuse your senses and put them on the alert. This is the same principle applied to sauteeing vegetables: regular knife cuts allow uniform distribution of heat and even cooking. It’s the same damned thing.
COMPASSION: I’m a social worker. I do not want to hear from shitty social workers who say things such as, “Oh, I know what they want to hear on the test, and it’s bullshit! You just have to tell them what they want to hear and do your own thing anyway. That twelve year old girl who is sleeping with that 25 year old guy down the block? You don’t need to earn her trust. You just need to tell that little slut to go do her homework.” I am ashamed of people who think this ass-hattery is professionally appropriate “tough love”. Some ways teenish girls act out when it comes to control issues: shoplifting; starving themselves; sex. Yeah, I’m sure she’s not getting enough judgment at home.
JUDGMENT: my boundaries are weird because my SW values are real and my personal history is real, too. I am stridently anti-IPV/DV, but I saw my grandmother goad my (drunk) grandfather mercilessly on enough occasions to make me wonder if she wasn’t doing it to feel even more self-righteous when, after an hour of being screamed at and put down, he hit her. He was in the wrong all the way, no question — but she was not stupid and her actions seemed deliberate. Even though she was the wage earner, she felt powerless because her father, whom she adored, died when she was a young teenager. She never believed a man would stay. Are we all trapped, or what?
TRAPPED: getting over the death of the old friend’s husband has been wracking me. A part of me is laying low and thinking Hey, at least this is some sort of stress inoculation for when some other friend’s spouse dies…but that’s no good either. For now, it’s just the DEATH reaction — eat too much, drink too much, sleep too little, worry about the unlikely disaster with fresh energy due to the highly unlikely having happened to him. To Them. So better to race to the grave, which I dug with my teeth, because that is a certain outcome. And death is the one thing we all have in common; the one thing that awaits the healthy and unhealthy, the rich and the poor, the stupid and smart, the prudent and foolish. Living healthy might buy me some time, but it doesn’t get me off the hook.
ON THE HOOK WITH MORE JUDGY JUDGY: I would never say this to my friends, for the main reason that anyone’s opinion other than your own doesn’t matter two hoots in a thunderstorm. But I still feel lip-curling disdain and sickness at the tum when I see certain things, and I get to condemn them here (or generally holler WhatTheFuck?! to the high heavens) because It’s My Goddamn Blog After All. That caveat in mind: a friend…not a real friend, but a Lovely Associate In A Different Town, one I could feel really close to given opportunity but am staunchly in favor of as a human, has done one of the things that makes me gnash my teeth. After her joyous union to the person of her dreams, her partner, her soulmate: she changed her name to hyphenate hers to theirs…and he didn’t change his name at all.
I get ladies who take their husbands’ names, absolutely, but hyphenation puts me on alert to see if both spouses made the change. When the answer is no, I get really bitch-snarly. There are a lot of reasons to cater to tradition and take your husband’s name: sentimentality, superstition, enjoyment of tradition itself, convenience in dealing with insurance, schools, property ownership, hospital care, banks, and inheritance. There are very strong reasons to keep your birth name, your so-called maiden name: a woman is not a man’s property, and her birth name should not be erased. The marriage of two individuals shouldn’t require each to change…
…or it should require both to change. And therein lies the itch. The reasons to hyphenate a birth name with a partner’s name are very good. It shows partnership, equality, commitment of both parties. And when a woman hyphenates and her husband does not, I get the strong message that she wants an equal partner…and he is not as committed. Or perhaps he is a weak suck who thinks “men don’t change their names when they get married!” or even the classic pathological Butthurt that she didn’t take his name (as a Real Wife™ would do). To give the anonymous guy credit: for all I know, he argued that she should not change her name at all, but she insisted. I am not holding the husband accountable for the wife’s decision. I’m just saying that it sucks, that’s all. “I’m joining with you! I’m taking your name even if I’m keeping my own, too! And you’re…letting me do it! Without making any changes of your own! This will be a 100% equal partnership, I’m SURE of it!” Sigh. Cool, old chum; do your thing. I will try to keep my blush, my cringe, and my snarl to myself.
LAST: vaguebooking. ENOUGH of that shit. We all think non sequiturs all day long. If you feel the need to publish those random phrases, those symbols without referents, you are either pathologically needy or secretly invested in punishing those friends not catering to your passive-aggressive demands for attention. The most generous response to vaguebooking is to ignore it and move on; any related response is begging for more information, and that is codependency of the purest ray serene. The least generous but still non-negative response is to reply with another non sequitur, just as mysterious — after all, it matches the post — but it can be taken as a hostile act by the person who thought a post saying “THANKS A LOT UNIVERSE I REALLY NEEDED THAT RIGHT NOW” would be appropriate to share with friends rather than keep private.
And I do understand that some people are helped by vaguebooking, by throwing things out to the ether in a way visible to all but pointed at none. I get it; I do. But this is where I share my irks, and it irks me. As we say at social work happy hour:
“I am a therapist. I am not YOUR therapist.”
(We’re usually saying it to each other.)