She shook her head in disgust, and said something I'll carry with me forever.
"I could have been a prostitute, you know. I could have been out on the streets if I'd made one wrong choice. My brother could have been a drug pusher or a pimp. There's no reason for any fortunate person, with enough to eat and the opportunity to go to school and do the things I couldn't, to be doing stupidness like this. I raised my brother, I raised my three children, I never slept on the street or with a man for money, even though that would have been easier. It's not a matter of strength. It's a matter of doing what you need to do, period."
A matter of doing what you need to do, period. Truer words were never spoken.
The difference between venting and complaining
This has been on my mind lately because it's crunch time. Exams and final assignments are on top of us and I'm hearing a lot of complaining.
Not venting. Complaining. There's a difference, even though it's slight.
Everyone needs to vent sometimes. I get it. The little things pile up and you need to get it off your chest. I certainly do this. And it's okay to do it a little more often when you're feeling especially stressed.
Complaining, though. Complaining is when you can't get through a conversation without dropping in how much your life sucks. Your family is crap, you've been busy, your dog pooped on your rug, you got a zit, blah, blah, blah. I'm not talking about saying it, and then giving a little sigh and laughing and moving on with your life. That's under the venting category. I'm talking about the people who seriously believe that their life is more terrible than everyone else's.
These are the people who can't be vented to. These are the people who, when you say something that's been bothering you lately, just because you need to not keep it inside, start the next sentence with, "I know, I..." or, even worse, "No, I..."
And it's always followed by something that makes you go "Really? Jeez, poor you. Just look at all the damns I give about that."
I'll gladly be vented to. I'll gladly offer my support when it's necessary. If you start complaining, though, you lose that privilege. You officially go under the "things that are totally irrelevant" column.
Oh, your family is messed up? So is everyone's. You're tired, even though you don't work? Wah-wah. You're just positive you've got depression or bipolar disorder or something? Why the hell are you talking to me about it? Do I look like a psychologist? Clearly you're not that worried about it or you'd talk to a professional. (And no, that quiz on Quizilla doesn't convince me.)
Any of these things when posed in a venting situation is fine. I totally get it, you need someone to talk to, and I'll lend an ear. When they come up over and over again, every time I talk to you?
Seriously. Just...go away.
It's a matter of doing what you need to do, period.
Not so bad, is it?
I've got familial skeletons in the closet so big I'm going to have to buy a bigger house to fit them all in. I'm tired. I work. I go to school. I've got health issues on all sides, including some unknown illness that's decided to take me hostage lately.
Do I vent about these things? Sure. But I make a marked effort not to complain about them.
I smile, and do what I have to do. With practice, it's not even that hard.
Just recognize that your life doesn't suck. It doesn't. You live in Canada, you're attending school, you have a job, you have the resources to speak to someone if something is really troubling you. What the hell is so wrong with your life?
Nothing, that's what. So just do what you have to do. It'll make your life (and the lives of the people around you) that much more okay.