If the Julian calendar was a map of all my favorite fiction, February would be the Pit of Despair. I always feel like I’ve fallen in it and I can’t get out. Once we’ve assumed that I’m not turning to junk food to lift my mood, humor and encouragement are the only things that get me through. (The Wise and Wonderful Betty Gray used to commiserate with me in February. Whatever it is about this month, I’m just absolutely done with everything by the time it rolls around every year.)
In the humor department, the very unfortunately timed end of one of my favorite blogs, Regretsy, has me looking for similar sources of incisive wit. I haven’t found one yet. In the void, I have been watching a notorious internet flame war between two bloggers. Well, really one and a half bloggers, because only one of them has stooped to name calling and aggressive tactics. (Psst, if you know of a blog that consistently delivers the kind of irreverent humor April Winchell has been known for, please tell me so I can start reading it, before I’m reduced to watching Jersey Shore.) It’s really not very funny- more of an object lesson.
Reality TV and internet flame wars give us plenty of dramatic examples of tearing other people down. But even in real life, we all know people who habitually tear others down. It can take the form of subtle, disparaging comments in conversation or it can be blatant and malicious backstabbing. Either way, we’ve all run into it, and at times it can be hard to deflect it and not take it personally. For some reason, most of us don’t feel comfortable saying, “you know, that wasn’t a very kind thing to say.”
I, personally, don’t usually feel comfortable saying, “that is not a kind thing to say.” It feels like criticizing the other person’s behavior, which is rude. I’ve been taught that being rude to someone who has been rude to you doesn’t solve anything. (It really doesn’t.) But is it really rude or critical to call someone on an unkindness, or is it honest and practical? Is it loving to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they didn’t realize they sounded unkind? Is it more fair to give them the chance to make amends than to hold your peace? As someone who struggles constantly with hotheaded tendencies, I fear my quest to not just let loose my temper on the populace may be causing me to sometimes hold my tongue when I should give a calm, honest response. Let’s file this under “ways I need to work on myself,” shall we?
Speaking of working on myself, this has been a bit of a tough week. The fridge crisis is over, but the aftermath has created more than one “clean it up or burn it down” moment. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t skip a workout to clean, but… well, February is also noted for being my annual celebration of Let’s Throw It All Out and Start Over. So I’ve been a little erratic this week.
My workout buddy Jenn and I have vowed to help each other through the February Blahs. It’s the shortest month in the calendar, and we will NOT let it get the better of us. She tells me that, statistically, this is the week people most often quit fitness plans. I think the moral of that story is, “don’t be a statistic.”
Having someone to struggle through the Battle Vs. February with me is just putting the whole “Don’t tear others down” thing in context. It will never get us where we want to go, because it pulls down a support that could help lift us up. So I hold out my hand to you now, in friendship. I will pull you up over the hump of the year’s shortest month- if you will do the same for me.
And let’s schedule a Three Stooges marathon. Or something. STAT.
The scale has moved: -19 lbs
The inches have changed: -18 inches
I feel: determined to kick February where it counts.
I’ve walked: 104 miles and counting!
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home