Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mean Adults Suck

I believe that every child, no matter how good, goes through at least one "mean" phase.  To wit, my middle daughter, who is normally a ray of sunshine with a sparkly smile and a fantastic sense of humor, occasionally has these moments:

This is a more typical look for her:
But she is ten, and when she comes home with stories of classmates being mean to each other, I can help her process, can tell her that fourth grade is a hard time and that, as much as she gets annoyed by us, she is lucky to have a family that loves her, doesn't hit her or scream at her, and is in general exceedingly fair to her.

And then I tell her it will get better when she grows up, which is a lie.  I kind of have to say it, though.

I am one of those stupid people that believe the best in everybody, and consequently get hurt over and over again.  You'd think I'd have learned by now.

You know, the guy I'm seeing has two other girlfriends.  People at work make the little clique on Mean Girls look friendly.  The guy at the grocery store that slammed my car with his fist and screamed at me when he was clearly going the wrong way on a one-way street area in a parking lot. The speaker at my college graduation said that Santa Claus was fake (and surely Emily wasn't the only child young enough to believe in the audience).

Yeah, I pull in bad luck the way honey attracts bees.

But I am not mean.

It's funny, we have a running joke in my family that I am cursed.  My mother used to yell at me when I said it and say that it was because I have a bad attitude, but now she just smiles and shakes her head, because really, what else do you have to do when the truth is self-evident?

I am not mean, but a lot of people are.

I keep my mouth shut a lot, whether my family and close friends believe it or not, about all the meanness I see every day.  People lying to feather their own nests.

Like, a few days before Gabrielle was born, we went to Babies R Us and people that were not overtly pregnant had parked in the "for expectant moms only" parking spot.  Now, it's not that I doubt they were pregnant, but we'd gone to Babies R Us dozens of times and parked far away because I didn't think it was fair to steal a spot from someone who obviously needed it.

Like, people being appointed to committees to promote kindness when they are the meanest people of all.

Like, people that talk smack about people all the time because they have nothing better to do.  I mean, does it make you feel better to criticize other people?  Do you sleep better at night knowing that you're making fun of someone that could use the support of a friend instead of being made a joke of?

I'm speaking in generalities, obviously, but the truth is that I could get very specific because mean people are everywhere.

So, why are people mean?  Are they jealous?  Is their own self-esteem that bad?  Are they willing to lie and put on a fake face for the people that make decisions? Is it really that hard to live a life of kindness, to treat people the way you want to be treated?  If you see someone struggling, isn't it easier to lend a helping hand or a listening ear than to talk trash about them?

What do you think?