Thursday, May 26, 2011

Defining moments.

While attending my cousin's wedding last summer, I spotted my grandmother's sister across the crowd and my heart skipped a beat. She looked exactly like my grandmother.

My grandmother had passed away more than 10 years ago and I miss her presence. She and I had always been close. She was special. She is on my (very) short list of people that I admire and strive to emulate.

With these emotions peaked and a lump in my throat, my heart was racing as I made my way across the room to speak with this woman who looked so much like my beloved grandma. I somehow felt like I was getting a second chance to talk to my deceased grandmother.

This is how the conversation went:

Me: "Hi _____, I don't know if you remember me. I'm Carolyn's daughter."

Her: "Oh! Yes." *somberly* "You're the one who was having a really hard time....." (referring to my short marriage and quick divorce from one of the biggest douche canoes on the planet)

Me, stunned, "Uh. I guess. That was 10 years ago. Sometimes things don't work out."

Her: *proudly* "[Her husband's name] and I will have been married 60 years this year."

Me, "Congratulations. I didn't get married until I was 30, and I married a man 10 years older than me, so we probably won't be alive to see our 60 year wedding anniversary."

Then I turned and walked away, shocked by the hideous interaction with this woman that looked so much like my sweet, precious grandmother. I felt like I needed to shower with a Brillo pad to remove the ugly conversation that had just occurred. Looking back, I wish I would have stood in front of her, downed a shot of whiskey, yelled "YEEHAW!" at the top of my lungs, did the splits, then patted her husband on the ass before I walked away. But I guess that is why they say hind sight is twenty-twenty.

I couldn't believe that this woman was defining me by referencing a 1 1/2 year ugly period of time in my otherwise pretty good 35 years of life. What. The. Fuck? I was at the wedding with my husband of five years and our 3 month old (most adorable on the planet) baby. I had already gotten enough of my figure back to look pretty good in my dress. I had an equally adorable three year old at home with a sitter. I was in a successful marriage to a nice man and a mother of two. Do you know what all that says to me? Winning! Could she not acknowledge that? It seems a bit more significant than a strange 1 1/2 year dark period of time that happened over 10 years ago. But apparently, to her, my failure defined me. Wow.

This all too special interaction made me realize two things:

1) This woman may have looked like my grandmother from across a crowded room, but this woman was NOTHING like my grandmother. NOTHING.

2) Some people really just focus on the negative, your failures and the dramatic. I like to refer to those people as assholes.

But this did get me thinking (watch out for the smoke!) What defines us? Is it our successes or our failures? Is it how we handle ourselves when things are rough, or when things are great?

Do my desires or my actions define me? Does the fact that, when my husband's fucking volume 11 snoring wakes me up and is the leading factor to my insomnia, I want to kidney punch him, what defines me? Or is it the fact that I restrain myself and rise to make him breakfast in the morning?

Does my past define my future? Because I had one failed marriage, does it mean that I will now, eternally, "have a hard time" in all relationships? Or is is possible that I will succeed?

Why do people say such rude things? Are they trying to "teach us a lesson" or just perpetually keep us down?

Okay, I'm done here.

In other news: I baked really good gluten free chocolate chip cookies the other evening which means that I have been eating cookies every morning with my coffee. The Breakfast of Champions! With those cookies, my cowboy boots and my cop sunglasses, I feel ready to take on the evils of the world. Bring. It. Except the clowns. You bastards stay the hell away from me.

What has someone said to you that stunned you?

17 comments:

  1. Ugh, that wasn't a pretty conversation! Sometimes eldery people say the darnest things!

    The thing someone has said to me that has stunned me the most? "You're fat."

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  2. Some people just live to bring other people down. It's unbelievable. Sorry you had to deal with that and I don't blame you for walking away.

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  3. Dude! It's like we've been seperated at birth! I, too, married a douche canoe (although, gotta be honest, didn't know the actual term until I read it here) and we spent 11 glorious months actually married. Then 3 years in the l-o-n-g-e-s-t (non)divorce proceedings EVER. Except, I've got THREE kids from THREE different fathers so, as you can clearly see, I am all about the whole 'image of failure' thing. The thing is, if you really knew me, you'd know the real story and the real story is one filled more with pain and sadness and frustration rather than I'm just a complete F-Up, you know? Some people just don't get that...

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  4. Great post today! Very heartfelt.

    I suffer daily through the negativity of three women in my office. One is so bad she will sit at lunch and complain that her frozen dinner isn't warm enough, but instead of reheating it to a more desirable tempature she will say "Oh, I guess I can finish it anyway."

    Today this same woman sat in all her overweight glory (boobs as big as basketballs and all) took one look at Skinney Girl Shelle and said 'Wow Shelle that's a HUNK of cake you have there'

    Even though it wasn't directed at me; it stunned me that she actually said it. And for the record the piece of cake wasn't that big of a "hunk"; and Shelle weighs about 130 pounds soaking wet so I say "You go Shelle!"

    People can be rude and hateful!

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  5. This was a really good post. Some people do love to be negative. Sadly I work with two of them. Sigh. I just try to be as positive as possible, even when they make negative comments about my optimism.

    And then I just think in my head, "Bitches."

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  6. I think we are defined by our choices and how we react when the chips are down.

    Sounds like your grandma got all the sweetness and her sister got all the sour!

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  7. well, i do know as we age and get achy and crotchety, sometimes our attitudes become negative and jaded and bitter. for her 60 yrs of marriage, she seems to have become judgemental. or perhaps she just hadn't gotten any news about you since your grandmother died and only knew that one thing about you. but to 'rub it in' about the 60 yrs of 'successful' marriage she's had...

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  8. A wise man named Albus Dumbledore said, "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." He adds a "Harry" in there, but I didn't think you'd need that.

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  9. @Furry- I've been called Fat too. I usually laugh at the person saying it to me.
    @kelly- Thanks. Sometimes the hardest thing for me to do is walk away. My first instinct is usually Attack!
    @Tina- Thanks! I know people like that too. Ugh.
    @Grammar- Thanks! Do you ever tell them that they are being terrible?
    @Tova- Right on!
    @Tex- You are right. I lived in a retirement type town for many years and knew lots of crotchety elderly. I did think about that being the last piece of info that she heard about me as well. But still.... Ya know?
    @Tish- I <3 Tish

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  10. @Lauren- I need to read the Harry Potter books. I have only seen the movies (hangs head in shame).

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  11. @Phoenix- The whole story is always filled with the reality of the situation. I think that you are awesomesauce, for the record.

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  12. I'm usually the one saying the rude things. I dont mean to. I stick my foot in my mouth a lot and then kick my own ass later for opening my big mouth.

    BUT, I think most people say ugly things because they want to make THEMSELVES feel better/bigger. Or they just stupid oblivious, in which case they should be made to wear a sign.

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  13. When my first husband was in ICU with a tramatic brain injury and his best prognosis was to stay alive as a vegetable for an unknown amount of time, one of his friends came to visit us. It was her husband's 4-wheeler we were on that put us in the ICU. She just HAD to thank me because seeing us go throught this really "got her marriage back on track"!!!!!! Oh, you're welcome that my fucked up luck saved your marriage, let me know if I can shoot myself in the foot the next time you stub your toe!
    I'm just glad that I'm able to undersand that most people who have douchey tendencys don't know what to say in an unusual situation like the one we were in.

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  14. Oh, and you are totally defined by your ability to with hold your kidney puch when Broc is snoring beside you. You wouldn't even need to make breakfast...just witholding the punch is lovely. :)

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  15. Is it alright to call an old lady an asshole? Yes? Good. She was being an asshole.

    I'm sorry she wasn't whole enough to acknowledge all the wonderful things that have come into your life since that insignificant little blip so very, very long ago.

    whatevs, old lady. don't expect Johi to bust out the green suit for you anytime soon.

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  16. Once again, it is clear why my readers are the bestest.

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