I’ve never really understood cruelty. I’ve never really understood how someone can *choose* to be mean, and uncaring.
From the obvious, very big stuff (man kidnaps woman, rapes her and forces her to live in a tiny cell for years) to the smaller stuff (people who make fun of other people for disabilities, physical appearance and limitations). Now, I have admitted before, and I’ll admit it again, I am sensitive. I get my feelings hurt easily. But I rebound rather quickly. Often times, the things that I get my feelings hurt about are the things that no one ever intended me to get hurt about. A misplaced phrase or joke or statement that misses the mark and stabs me right in the heart.
That is not what I am talking about today.
Today, I am talking about my sister-in-law: the evil one that my brother married after my sister-in-law passed away (I’ve written about her before). She’s not evil simply because she’s not *her*. I don’t operate that way. When I have sincere disdain for someone, it is normally quite justified.
My reasons for not liking her are my own, and I won’t share them here, today. Mainly because it’s what *I* hold against her, and the reason I am bitching is precisely because people use online forums to be vague and passive-aggressive and overall terrible. Some of my friends say and do things that they wouldn’t *ever* do in person. It’s disillusioning, really.
My daughter had her Homecoming Dance on Friday. In my corner of the world, this is a big deal. Last year she was stood up. This year, different boyfriend, and much different excitement. She was genuinely excited. And I was, for her. Before the dance I took pictures of her, and pictures of her and her boyfriend at the dance. Then I gave her my camera so she could take pictures, too. The next day I posted those images on Facebook for my friends and family to see.
Not even 5 minutes later, my sister-in-law posts, “Braces are only $119 a month. Some people should get them. Just sayin’.” (**Side note: my daughter has pretty crooked teeth. I’m not going to lie and say that she has the perfect smile; she doesn’t. But I know this was directed at my child.) I said nothing, and noticed that my brother, her husband, writes, “Who?” under her status. Later she writes, “That’s all I’m gonna say. Lol.” LOL? L-O-fucking-L????
(**Another side note: I’m so crazy stupid pissed about this, even now, that the hair on my neck is standing up. And just a tip, when I start to feel like a peacock, I’m really angry!)
I looked at that status for a while. It crossed my mind to say, “Maybe that isn’t a priority for them.” Or, “Not everyone values their appearance.” And… even, “Let’s not throw stones in ugly houses.” Or, “Books on tact are even cheaper – you should look into it.” But…. I said nothing. It would suit no purpose.
I didn’t choose to get my daughter braces. She’s grown up with a speech/learning disability. Needless to say, it’s been challenging for her. She’s had a hard time making friends; she’s struggled to identify with her peers; she’s spent most of her life introverted. The hubs and I talked about braces, and even last year brought her into the discussion. Braces would be another obstacle. For a child that already has a difficult time with communication, this would make it a little harder. She’s not ready for that. I’m not going to force her. I’ve forced her to do way more difficult things, so don’t think this is a cop-out. I’m not sheltering her as much as I am giving her the choice. For now, we choose not to.
But are you fucking kidding me? This is supposed to be my family! These are supposed to be the people who support me through anything. They are supposed to be the most caring people in the world. Um…. she doesn’t fit the bill. She never has.
I thought a lot last night about how to handle this. And… I’m choosing not to. A wise friend of mine said, recently, “Sometimes the best reaction is to have no reaction at all.” Yes, indeed.
I thought about lighting up Facebook with a bunch of “vaguebooking” directed at her. I thought about telling her, outright, that she was a miserable human being. But then……then grace caught up with me. And really? I feel sorry for her. She really *is* miserable. She *is* unhappy. She doesn’t have many friends, and struggles to build strong relationships. She is 30 years old and acts like she is still 20. She confuses “bitchy” and “assertive” on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, she uses “bitchy” as a badge of honor. Like, somehow, telling people that she is a bitch absolves her from any accountability to tact and courtesy.
I feel sorry for people who are cruel. Having been on the receiving side of cruelty too many times to count, I know that the people who dole out such behavior are insecure and angry. They are weak. And that isn’t me. I’m not weak. And, while I don’t need to tolerate that type of behavior, I also don’t need to engage in it, as well. It starts a cycle. She does this, so I do that. It becomes a pissing contest that I don’t need to participate in. All I would do is confirm her belief that people are difficult to get along with. All I do is give her an affirmation of mistrust. I won’t do that.
Instead… I’ll do nothing. I’ll show her some grace that she, apparently, isn’t able to. I will forgive her, because that is what she needs.
Today, forgive someone and let it go. Whatever *it* is. They aren’t wasting any time on your heartache, or your disappointment. So forgive them, and move on. It’s the only thing you can do, if you want to show your strength. Take the high road. Be the light in the world that you wish to see.
That is all. I’m all better now.