Friday, June 11, 2010

C for Choice

Every single day, we’re faced with them. Some are bigger than others. Some can be made in a split second while others take further research and thought. We suffer the consequences or reap the benefits from them. They’re almost always available to us, even if we do not see them. What am I speaking of?


I am consistently amazed at how many people don’t seem to grasp the simple concept of choice. A lot of times, the only choice available to us is choosing our attitude. How we choose to respond to life situations can make a bad situation much worse or significantly better.

Life is a matter of perspective. In many ways, it’s only as hard or as bad as we make it or as we believe it to be. When the going gets tough, you can sit around and pity yourself, expecting others to pity you as well. OR You can realize that you have sole responsibility and control over your life, and as such, YOU are the only one who can make the changes that are necessary to make life easier or better.

I know that we all throw ourselves pity parties here and there; I’ve definitely thrown my fair share. It’s important to be able to vent, and I think that’s a natural way for many people to deal with stress and emotional upset. However, there’s a definite difference between venting and consistently whining about anything and everything that comes to mind. If you’re regularly throwing the same pity party over, and over, and over again, you eventually get to the point where no one’s gonna show up anymore, because they’re sick of it.

If your “party guests” (i.e. friends, family, etc.) have offered to help or given helpful advice in the past and you’ve refused to acknowledge it in any way, preferring instead to wallow in your pity puddle, then you can’t expect them to continue to listen to you. This does not mean you should find new victims to prey upon…

It never fails, in any given class, that there’s at least one student who seems to think that his or her life is harder than anyone else could possibly imagine. This student typically thinks class discussion time is meant for her personal therapy. It drives me insane!!! On Wednesday, we heard multiple tales of woe from young single mom.

Ms. Poor Me is a young, single, stay-at-home mom, but she works. (Yeah, I don’t get it either.) She works split shift as a medical assistant at a nursing home, which is apparently the hardest job known to man. She also attends school full time. As such, she’s overwhelmingly busy and overburdened. She gets up in the morning, gets the kids off to school, grabs an hour or so of sleep, heads to class, comes home and gets the kids off the school bus, works on homework, makes dinner, grabs a couple hours of sleep, heads to class, heads to work, goes home and sleeps for about an hour, and wakes up and starts all over again. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?!?!

I will full out admit that I wouldn’t want her life. I couldn’t do it! Constant exhaustion does not work for me. But, home girl apparently fails to realize that she has some choices in there. Were I a single mom with a couple kids, I’d make different choices in order to avoid some of the exhaustion. I’d find people to help out with the kids—the ex husband, family members, daycare—and I’d only attend classes part time. Trust me; I’d love to be able to go to school full time in order to finish my degree quicker, but it’s just not feasible! I have to work, because I have bills to pay. In order to strike some kind of balance between social life, work, and school, I decided to take classes part time. I want to be able to put as much effort as possible into the classes I do take, but I don’t want my marriage, my family relationships and friendships, or my work to suffer.

I made my choice. Homegirl made hers too, but she fails to see that. Instead, she wants pity and adoration from everyone around her. We should all be patting her on the head and kissing her ass while saying things like, “Oh! You’re a single mom. That’s incredible! I know that takes a lot of work. Good for you!” or “Oh, man, your life sounds exhausting! How do you do it?! You’re awesome!”

I understand that there are some things that are beyond our control. It’s probably nearly impossible for her to find a better job in this economy, so she’s forced to work around that. I know that she probably didn’t anticipate her divorce, so there was no way for her to prepare for being a single mom. I get all that. I also understand how hard being a single mom is; I was raised by one, and saw every single day how much she struggled to provide for her family. However, there are still some things homegirl can change to make life easier; however, she can’t see that, because she’s too busy feeling sorry for herself.

Then there was the guy who talked about how his wife was horribly discriminated against by Minnesota’s major university. Apparently this guy’s poor wife was forced to take a semester off because she was pregnant and that pregnancy became high risk, rendering her virtually disabled. She had a note from her doctor indicating that she was to be on bed rest and that movement should be kept to a minimum. Despite this, the university would not find a way for her to travel between classes on campus. My question: WHY is this the university’s fault or problem?!?!

Could this woman not have found a wheelchair or some other solution? If not, why did she expect the university to? Is getting pregnant and having children not a choice? I’m hard pressed to believe that she absolutely had to get pregnant, let alone a semester or two away from graduation. If her degree meant so damn much to her that it was absolutely devastating that she had to take a semester off, why did she choose to get pregnant at the time that she did? (I know; I know. These things aren’t always planned. That’s still a choice. She either didn’t use birth control or didn’t use it correctly. If birth control failed, she obviously chose not to use Plan B.) I know she probably expected to have a normal pregnancy that would cause no issues, but how do you not think of the “what ifs” beforehand? Am I the only one who does that? Is it really so inconceivable to think things out ahead of time in an attempt to consider, and hopefully prepare for, all possible outcomes? What. The. FUCK?!?!

Do people really not realize or understand that having children is a choice? IT IS! Newsflash, people of the world:

You can choose not to procreate!
(For those who might not understand such big words: You can choose not to have babies!)

In fact, I’d encourage many people out there not to even think about having children! There are ways to still have sex and not get pregnant; of course some birth control methods are more foolproof, and work better, than others. For example, I have an IUD. I do not want children, but I’m also not ready to completely eliminate the possibility, which is why I haven’t chosen permanent sterilization (yet). Thus the IUD, or “egg scrambler” as Music Man so affectionately calls it, which I love so much that I would seriously hug it if I could.

I apologize if I seem particularly "ranty" today, lovely reader. I’ve just had it with my classmates. The parents are by far the worst. It’s as though, because they’ve made their contribution to prolonging the existence of the human species, they think they are to be revered and admired. That they’re able to go to school on top of providing for the family they chose to have is apparently a feat of superhuman proportions.

A message to my classmates:
If you chose to have children, and you did in one way or another if you do have them, you are not special. Many people have made the same choice, and many of them work just as hard as (if not harder than) you at being good providers for their families. The world doesn’t owe you anything simply because you contributed your DNA to the cause of creating a new life, so quit your bitching!! Go ahead and pat yourself on the back all you’d like, but don’t complain to the rest of us when you break your arm doing it, and don’t expect us to lose our shit over how completely and totally amazing you are.

Look, we’re all pretty damn incredible for going to school. We all can be applauded and admired for seeking out higher education and for working hard in our classes. Okay?! On the same note, many of us pay quite a bit of money to take these classes. I, for one, don’t appreciate my money being wasted on your cries for attention or attempts at free therapy, so knock it the fuck off already!

That is all.

Not so much love,
~ Elle

P.S. While we’re at it, please learn how to write in proper English, paying special attention to spelling and grammar. Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with you?!
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  1. Amen, sister! I bet you feel better now...

  2. I am glad you got it off your chest!!!!!!

  3. love it! I could not agree more! :-)

  4. I totally agree with you. I think I'm going to make my mom read this post. She's been having a run of bad luck, granted, but she makes it so much worse by complaining about it non-stop. She's driving me nuts.

    And, yeah, the people with kids...I feel the same way. You chose it...stop complaining about it.

  5. Elle, this is an excellent post. I agree with you, especially about the woman with the high risk pregnancy. I was working at the time I was pregnant and put on bed rest. I would never have thought that my employer should accomodate me. I truly believe some people's expectations are obnoxious and unfortunately color my thinking about even less innocuous requests for accomodations. I know that's not politically correct. I'm being brutally honest. Sorry.

  6. Great rant, very well put!

    And I seriously thought this was going somewhere else as I was reading it. As in not at all school related. :)

  7. Yep, there is certainly an assload of entitled and whiny parents out there. I have one (only one:) person that I complain to about regular stuff that no one else wants to hear.
    She's so willing and awesome to be my sounding board. (I am hers as well) I love that we have each other!

  8. VERY well said, I completely agree! Cheers!

  9. Love it! You're not studying psychology by any chance are you? I remember well those days--free therapy for everyone! Only it was called "Psych 101" and "Abnormal Psych," etc. the blog and will be back to check out more later!

  10. I really enjoyed reading your blog. Very inspiratinal. I am attempting my very firt giveaway on mine right now, so if you like Burger King, then come on over and enter. The prize is a $5 gift card from Burger King.
    Thank you for letting me visit.

  11. Thank you for saying it out loud!

    Having babies is a choice people! I get so annoyed when people have them and then complain about finances and lack of sleep and not having any time. Really. I don't want to listen to it. And just because I smile and nod does not mean I care. It just means I don't want to look like a total ass and just come right out and tell you I don't care.

    I have had my share of pity parties, but I only let them last for the length of time that it takes me to drink a glass of wine. After that, no one wants to hear it anymore.


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