Friday, May 04, 2007

The internal struggle

This afternoon, an old acquaintance ran into me literally. She ran over the heel of my shoe in the line at the grocery store cash register. She quickly apologized and we went through the usual song and dance of how have you been, it's been so long. As I was walking away seemingly out of earshot except for some unexpected acoustics, I overheard her say, "Well, she's still a cow."

I had to laugh. I am about thirty pounds heavier than I was the last time we saw each other, and I was fat then. She has no idea of what I've done through the years, of how life has treated me or of what I've accomplished in terms of weight in the last few months or in terms of anything else over the course of my lifetime. She is about forty pounds heavier than the time I saw her last, before she had three kids. What mattered was that she could feel superior and let someone near her know that. What makes this funny is that she said the exact same thing the last time we saw each other. A friend happened to overhear her and tell me that time. Do I need to say that I really don't care that it's been over fifteen years since we've spoken?

Being in a rather pissy mood, I know just what I wish I'd gone back to say. "Of course, I'm still a cow. Species don't change. Cows stay cows. Bitches stay bitches." I didn't do it though. I went on to my car holding my tongue. Once again, I was determined that I would be the better person, and it hit me I was feeling superior in my own way. I'm no better than she is. I do think she's a bitch. I think her words and her behavior prove it, and there's no need for me to spell it out for everybody to see.

Feeling that way, why am I writing about it here? I know enough about her character to believe that she would think blogging is a waste of time and would probably never read or hear of this, so I do feel some safety. We weren't in a grocery in my home town, so it's not something that my local friends would witness and recognize. ( That's the great thing about living in the sticks. You often do your shopping away from home.) So I have the illusion of anonymity.

Why I do want to write about this is because I'm sick of trying to be a "better person." There are so many thoughts I've had this past week that I've really longed to just put out there. It's tempting to make a list of all the other retorts that have come to mind this week. The thing is I don't want to be that person either though. I know the damage that words can cause. I know that I'm better than average with words, and thus I have the potential to cause greater than average damage.

We live in a world that values rudeness, where people get rich because they have the ability to be insulting while looking or sounding good. Yes, I'm thinking of people like Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter and Bill Maher. We pay so much attention to the activities of spoiled rich young adults simply because they're still behaving like out of control teenagers in expensive clothing. So many people get ahead just by being manipulative.

Sometimes I feel like a freak whose values run counter to almost everything I see around me. I want to be this way even though it tires me out sometimes. I know that I have all the meanness inside me that others do. I know that I can be as selfish and superficial as the next person. I know that I can be better than that as well. There's something wonderful and glorious inside me, and it's there inside everyone else too. It takes strength to reach that though, more than I feel like I have.

There is more discipline, more self-control, more grit in doing the good, loving and gentle thing than there is riding rough shod over the world, but the temptation to become one of the bully-boys is immense.

ethics, morals, values


Blogger Theresa Williams said...

People love book and movie villains because they say and do things we think about, but won't. I think the problem with Imus, etc. is that they are real people saying mean things. We don't (at least I don't) get the same catharsis value from them. Taboos are meant to be broken one way or the other; it makes us healthier. Literature breaks taboos. Writing literature that breaks taboos is even more fun! Your bully can go suck an egg. :-)

May 04, 2007 5:59 PM  
Blogger Happily Anonymous said... least you know how she truly thinks.....very small-minded person and not worth the time or energy.

May 04, 2007 6:27 PM  
Blogger more cows than people said...

i'm baffled. how could she say something like that? your retort, held in, shared only here, is quite clever- i'm impressed. i'm also impressed that you didn't share it with her. i am flabbergasted at the rudeness. i'll have to think on when i say things like that thinking I go unheard. i sure hope i don't, but... it's best not to be too sure.

May 04, 2007 8:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

My problem is that I've always been an emotional chameleon. I tend to mirror the way I'm treated by another person. If someone is kind to me, I am kind to them. If someone is rude to me, I'm rude right back. I've always been that way, even before rudeness became stylish. And I must say, it's not something I'm proud of...

May 05, 2007 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

You really hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph! It is hard. Takes way more character. Takes help from above.

It's do-able though. One day at a time. And some days we slip and fall on our faces or our keesters. But we get up and dust off and go again.

This world will never acknowledge us for taking the high road. But still, we're making this world a little more tolerable. And one day we will be commended!

May 05, 2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

Oh, I so relate to this, and especially to the last 2 paragraphs.


May 06, 2007 4:08 AM  

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