The space between singing in the rain and crying in the shower

I’ve had a few people tell me they were less than impressed at my post about my disdain for ‘inspirational’ hashtags a few weeks ago. That’s fine. Nobody likes everything on the internet, and nobody likes everything I do. 100% fine. That post was not intended for any specific audience, or intended to offend anyone, but for an insight into why I hate them so much, I though I’d share this:

Last night, my three year old didn’t go to sleep until 11.30. Ish. I don’t know for sure, because in between sweating my balls off in 7000 degree heat, taking her back to bed, giving her a cuddle and then not giving her a cuddle (‘go back to your room now Mum’), opening her windows, closing her windows, taking her duvet off, putting the ‘right’ blanket on, being told she didn’t want any blanket at all, laying down with her to rub her back, and then not rubbing her back (‘stop it now Mum’), retrieving the teddy she didn’t even actually want, I lost track of the time. Then she woke up at 6.30 this morning. Not a huge deal, surely? Except that she usually sleeps from 7pm until 7am. Which means that today she was operating on about 50% less sleep than she usually does. No problem. Surely.

Today, after being out for a few hours, I had the pleasure of being serenaded with two hours of screeching/whining/crying/yelling from my sweetheart. Stern words from me were an incredible study in ineffectiveness. Once home, I immediately got into a cold shower, sat down and cried. Got out. Cried some more. Breathed deeply and reminded myself that she is learning how to process her emotions, she is only three, she is even more tired than I am. Then she put her squishy little face on my shoulder and said ‘sorry Mumma, for I being grumpy and crying today’. Which made me feel like ASSHOLE MOTHER 2.0. The rest of the afternoon/evening passed regularly enough (she had a bath; I intervened when she poured water all over the bathroom floor, didn’t intervene when she peed in the bath and then 5 minutes later drank the bath water, put her towel round her wrong, put out the wrong pyjamas, read Guess How Much I Love You, tucked her in and held my breath that she WENT THE FUCK TO SLEEP THIS TIME). Once she went to sleep, all I fucking wanted was to go and order one of everything off the menu at KFC, but I can’t bloody leave her home alone for another 10 years or so.

This day was not remarkable. It wasn’t unusual. It happens, on average, three or four times a month. And that’s alright. I can mostly deal with it (crying in the shower is dealing, right?). But then I pop onto social media for some light browsing before I tackle the 300 household tasks I have to do, and I see a picture of a palm tree against a sunset with #lifeisbeautiful underneath it, and I want to drown myself in pissy bathwater. I know it’s no one else’s fault that I’ve had a shitty day. I know people are allowed to put whatever the fuck they want on their own social media. I know I have it in my power to not look at shit I don’t like. I KNOW ALL THAT. I just wonder – is seeing a picture that has had time, editing, and sometimes money go into it, that inspirational? I can’t stress enough that I don’t give a shit about the content, for me it is about the pretence. You post selfie after selfie my friend, show me that smoothie bowl pal, hit me with those beach snaps babe, but if you have to do it while pretending that you are bestowing inspiration on others, then you are being disingenuous. Inspiration isn’t a gift you get to give someone because you can take a nice photo. It’s not the thing, it’s the intent behind the thing, ya know?

My house is blissfully quiet now. For how long, I don’t know. I’m waiting for a knock on the door, and the inspirational sentence, ‘Hi I’m Jack, I work at KFC, and I read your mind and brought you one of everything off the menu’.

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I am way ahead of you…

At the end of a very brief romance approximately a year ago, I was told ‘yeah, I didn’t really wanna deal with a kid’. On a date once, I was told ‘at least you have a pretty face’ – the very obvious implication being that that was all I have. I was reintroduced to a friend of a friend recently, who told me he remembered my ‘big bum’. While speaking to a friend at a bar once, his friend sent him a text asking why he was ‘talking to such a fat cow’. I had someone tell me recently that he laughed at my writing ‘mostly for how bad it was’. I’ve been told several times that ‘guys only talk to you because you have big boobs’.

I honestly do not know what the point of being such an asshole is. Because, the thing is, there is nothing on that list that I haven’t already thought about myself. Sometimes I don’t want to leave the house because I worry I look like a fat cow with a big bum. I wonder all the time whether my daughter and I will be a team of two forever (though we all know three’s a crowd, so I reckon that’d be alright). I have had boobs since I was 12 years old (pretty old for a cow), and I’ve always had a fear that they’re the only reason people are talking to me. Every time I write something I am filled with crippling self doubt, because I know so many wonderfully talented people, and I wonder ‘why would anything I say be worth their time?’. The joke is on the guy who told me I had a pretty face though, because most days I don’t even have that.

For most of us, it is a hard enough battle to be kind to ourselves without having to fend off insults from others. I have never given anyone permission to speak to me like that, so why have I given it to myself?

Unless someone is the kind of raging douchebag who talks about ‘grabbing women by the pussy’, there is absolutely no point in slinging shit at them, because most people are their own worst enemies and their own biggest critics. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t tell someone they look tired, because whether they are or not, you telling them that will make them tired. Of your bullshit. Don’t be the person who makes someone’s day worse, when maybe it’s taken them all the courage they have to get out of bed. Being a dick doesn’t serve anyone. I’ve never felt good after saying something nasty about someone, and I’ve definitely never felt good after saying something nasty about myself. So let’s stop fucking doing it. OK?

And just by the way, (forgive me for breaking our newly made promise so soon), someone who does talk about ‘grabbing women by the pussy’ shouldn’t be in charge of a knife and fork, let alone an entire fucking country.