Shit-talking. Not nice. Not behavior to model for your kids. But I do it. I try to curb it, but then I find myself talking trash about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or a neighbor who I think drinks too much.
I was out with a friend last night who clued me into another mom who had been talking about me at a recent party.
"That R. She's going to burn out. She's working. She's doing stuff in the kids' classrooms. She's going to burn out."
It was harmless. It wasn't a horribly mean thing to say. But it was a judgement on how I live my life. It didn't come from someone I am particularly close with or even like for that matter. And I don't find it to be a true statement. I rarely feel like I'm on the edge of burning out. Tired, yes? But breakdown? No. Yes, I juggle a decent amount of stuff in life, but that is all by choice and I am grateful for those choices.
You buying what I'm selling? Good.
So if it's not true, if I do indeed have my shit together, why did it sting to hear that about myself? No matter how much you say you don't give a rat's ass what people think of you...
Well, you know. We all give a rat's ass. Or maybe half a rat's ass. And maybe more than we care to admit to ourselves. That's why we don't walk around naked burping and farting at nice restaurants. We care. That's why we teach our kids not to pick their noses or slurp their soup. We care.
Do I seem crazed? Do I look like I'm losing my shit with too much on my plate? Am I not doing a good job as a mother? Am I not doing a good job in my career?
Funny how just a little harmless shit-talking (that really, truly in my head I know means nothing) sent me straight into thinking, analyzing, evaluating and judging myself.
Because that is really what's underneath all of it: Any shit talking I do about anyone else, I do way more about me to myself. Another friend of mine recently talked about her need to be perfect. How she is hard on everyone else around her, but 10 times harder on herself.
Ding, ding, ding!
And it's not like I sit there and say "You suck! Try harder!" It's more like "Ugh, why can't you be more patient?" or "Shit, the laundry didn't get done" or "The kids have been eating carryout three night in a row this week" or "I should have followed up with that client a bit more."
It's not an uncommon trap to fall into. When I was younger, it was called "ambitious." As you get older it can morph into "neurotic."
So, as we come up on Thanksgiving, I am making two promises to myself, at least for today (because you can only focus on the day, hours, minutes, seconds in front of you, no?):
- No shit talking about anyone else.
- No shit talking about me.
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