confessions of a middle-aged mean girl

I am not a nice person.  I once made someone cry and I enjoyed it.  I am currently holding grudges that date back to the Reagan administration.  When people ask me for spare change/a cup of coffee/a bus ticket to Kansas City/$2500 to pay their back rent, I just roll my eyes.  It’s not that I don’t have compassion, I do.  I just don’t give it away like some twink* with daddy issues at a bear bar**.

And I have tried to change.  I have tried to be a different person.  But the truth, for all of us I believe, is you will never not be the person you are.  Like a recovering addict in a twelve-step program, the best I can hope is to resist temptation…because while for some, revenge may be a dish best served cold, for me, revenge is a dish best served always.  And now that I’m a parent, I need to Dexter that way of thinking — by which I mean I need to control it, not stab it to death in a plastic-lined kill-room before dismembering it and throwing it in the ocean off the coast of Miami.

I need to lead by example.  I need to toss my spare change into the cup.  I need to forgive.  I need to not make people cry, and if I do, I need to at least not enjoy it.  Last night before bed Chris told us about a boy in his class who cries all the time.  “An annoying cry-baby,” Chris called him.  My first urge was to agree, to make a joke at the expense of the boy, but then I remembered back to a year ago.  I remembered Chris, tears welling up in his eyes, desperate not to leave us, desperate not to go to school.  I remembered picking him up at the end of the day and hearing from his teacher how he had cried all morning.  An annoying cry-baby.  My annoying cry-baby.

So instead of agreeing, instead of making a joke, I gently reminded Chris that he was once that boy and that maybe before he threw shade (as the kids say), he should consider that the boy was crying for a reason.  Maybe he missed his parents.  Maybe he just needed a friend.  Maybe Chris could try being that friend.

Because at the end of the day the world has enough people like me in it: cynics who laugh at those chumps who tearfully post videos of three-legged dogs on Facebook before dumping ice on their heads and then declaring in a recycled meme how “they will not be defined by their past”.  I might be a not nice person, but that doesn’t mean my kid has to be too.

twink (n) – a young gay man, age 18-24, with little to no body hair

** bear bar (n) –  a bar frequented by hirsute middle-aged gay men; Daddy types

The more you know…!

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