Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Whole Life Has Been a Lie!

I love to watch some reality shows that concentrate on people's behaviors.  No, I'm not talking "Hoarders", that gives me anxiety... and the creeps.  I'm talking about like the matchmaking shows where they get people to understand their own behavior and try to make them more acceptable to others.  Also the business makeover shows like "Tabatha Takes Over" or the "Kitchen Nightmares" type shows.  Where the owners are made to realize why their business sucks so bad and it's usually because the owner is a putz or inept or just oblivious.  Don't judge me.  I'll tell you why...

People's perception of themselves can be wildly out of whack with reality.  Those people with mental disorders like anorexia or plastic surgery addicts, not withstanding... everyday people don't always think of themselves the way others do.  Good or bad.  So I love when these shows secretly videotape people, then show them the footage and how they come across.  "Wow I seem like a real (insert any of the following) - asshole, loser, whiner, prick, arrogant jerk, Debbie Downer!"  That's usually the result.  Then you have some narccisist (read: douchebag)  in denial that still thinks they were in the right and it was the editing, or that the behavior was still warranted.  Mel Gibson, anyone?  But sometimes the opposite can be true, a person can be surprised when they see themselves on film and they are oblivious to the fact that people do like them.

 It all made me realize that I would probably be pretty horrified if I could see video of me dating a few years ago.  It made me realize I was a girl behaving badly.   Yea, I cringe when I think of it now.  No wonder that guy never called me again because I sat there regailing my tails of woe for hours about how crappy my marriage was and how poor I am.  *face palm*  It's a wonder I didn't come back from the bathroom and find the guy dangling from a noose.  I'm sitting here flogging myself right now, trying to atone...

Our behavior is a combination of things... stories people have told us and stories we've told ourselves.  If you were like me and had nuns telling you what an evil child you were all through grade school, you start to perpetuate the myth and tell yourself the same story.  In reality, a nun could have said that only once, but I kept believing it and perpetuated it in my head.  So when I would get in intimate conversations with people I would starting relaying to them what a degenerate I was/am. 

Truth is, I've never done anything really bad my whole life.  I only ever got in trouble for performing my own version of Pop Up Video in class frequently (I always had a factoid, joke, or side comment about the subject at hand) or I was caught laughing at someone else's remarks.  I never skipped school, never did anything illegal like stealing or drugs, never dated bad boys, didn't drop out, didn't get pregnant, never got arrested.  My only crime was that I was sort of a class clown.  Does that make me bad?  NO!  And God damn it, stop thinking it does!

I guess the other thing that makes me feel bad sometimes is that I had an unsuccessful marriage.  However, I am not responsible for his behavior, I can only own that I recognized it was bad and got away from him.  I also feel bad that for the past 10 years, I've been broke because I've had no big huge career.  However, I did have one pretty successful career and that was being a parent, because I have raised some really great kids, I have a son going to NYU next year (are you sick of me saying that yet?).  I'm just broke because their Dad stopped paying his half, and I have stepped up my efforts to try and make up for his half of the money.  *subliminal message - hire me for marketing writing and social media now!*

Sometimes I can't accept my successes though, it must be that Catholic guilt.  For instance I feel bad being on my boyfriend's country club membership or that my kids go to private school because I still receive foodstamps.  See, how I am?  The kids got scholarships and aid to the private schools because they are extremely smart, and it doesn't cost my bf any extra to have us on the membership, so shut up, Madge!  The people at the club and school don't know I get foodstamps, well I guess now they do!  I can still act dignified, can't I?  Does being on government assistance mean I should immediately start shopping at Wal-Mart in slippers and ratty, dirty jeans, hanging off my ass?

I realized all this the other day when my 15 yr old daughter was talking to me about dating, and I said yea my boyfriend in HS was 2 years older than me.  She was very impressed, so I elaborated.  I said "yea, I was on swim team, cheerleading, and track, he was junior class president, a football player, captain of the swim team".  She was very impressed and asked what he looked like, so I pulled out an old picture album.  "Whoa, he's hot Mom!  Even for an old picture, he's hot!"  I said, "Yea, I guess he was."  And I realized I did have it good.  Until I moved to a new high school jr. year and everybody was mean to me, but by the end of senior year I was in the popular crowd again.  I persevered.  It's what I do.  So I thought to myself, I guess I am good.  I need to remember that and portray that to others... without becoming a douche.  :)


  1. we are on worst critic...everybody needs a little bit of help every now & then ( that's what food stamps are for) I had em" I used them..and I don't have to have them now..but I'm broke only because I never deny myself yeah I got it good .

    1. I mean deny myself NOTHING

  2. funny, i've been rolling a similar theme around in my mind, but haven't felt like writing about it...finally got around to reading you, and kazam! there it is. ;)