So, a tip to be happy is call my ... mother?

I get so sick of reading shit like that! The stupidity! I mean, fuck! Why would every slide-show creator, every article writer, assume that shit! Fuck their stupid, and fuck their ignorance!!

Wait, let me back up, I started off in the middle of my thoughts, rather than at the beginning where everyone can follow along.

I was perusing my news feed on Facebook, as I was waiting for my daughter and her friend to finish clearing up their sleep over messes, before I took her friend home. No big deal, really, usually there's good articles about things I care about like Equality or news from the LGBT front (I especially love the wedding photos!) or Occupy, or well, the list of causes I endorse is pretty large-- I should probably blog about the crazy quilt of causes one of these days.

Anyway, there's an article on the Huffington Post, "Make People Happy: 9 ways..." It's got this list of cute or nice things you can do to cheer up a friend. Stuff that's thoughtful but that we might not always think of, like pre-paying for their lunch, or getting them a Martini without the olive, if they hate olives. I like filing little things like that away in my head, you know, as a just in case my friend might need this. Besides, it's always fun to add stuff to the list of "nice gestures that will make me feel good too"...admit it, we do things because we enjoy that endorphin rush, just as much as we enjoy the joy we share.

Further down, as it usual for the HuffPo, there was a slideshow: 11 Simple Ways to Show Yourself Some love.

Hmm, I thought, OK, that might be interesting. Being a depressive, and also socialised female in the US, I know that I need to remember to treat myself some times. This sounded like a decent short-list; maybe I could find a thing or two that would be fun.

So I read it.
And I wished I hadn't, because I got so fucking pissed off.
Here's the 11 things; stop me when you see why I got angry, and hurt, and well, frankly I felt very ragey.
11. Make yourself a mini Thanksgiving meal; a turkey sandwich and a piece of pumpkin pie (the trytophan makes you feel better).
10. Take the time to snuggle, either with your SO, or maybe a pet (oxytocin levels go up when we're relaxed)
9. Doodle something happy-- this is supposed to put you into a happier state of mind.
8. Sing at the top of your lungs, if you're stuck in the car (something about an inner ear organ that registers lower tones, and you have to be loud to make it work *shrug*)
7. All together now: Do Yoga (that's the be all- end all for making us all happy, you know).
6. Pamper yourself, whether you're giving yourself a pink manicure (really, it said that) or whatever.
5.  Two things here: if you're so tired you can't stay awake, then take a power nap; if you can stay awake but you're super tired, meditate.
4. How about calling your Mom?
3. Feeling generous? Give a little, or a lot, or if you can't, maybe just think about what you're thankful for.

-- Wait, what was that? Back up one? Yeah, number four just about gave me a rage stroke. Now, to be slightly fair to who ever wrote the slideshow, it does say, "assuming the two of you get along reasonably well..." However, that just leads to so much ugliness that I haven't been able to finish this blog in a reasonable amount of time!

No shit, I've been working on this for three days now. Just trying to get the right words to come out of the tips of my fingers, as my fingers go all dyslexic and I type shit backwards, and upside down. (My dyslexia comes out pretty badly when I'm upset or irritated, or writing something that makes me irritated, so I suppose that stands to reason.)

The other two are pretty innocuous, go to a movie and explore your ethnic roots. Neither of which makes a lot of sense as a pick-me-up, if only because of the time involved in researching where you come from, and the price of tickets to the cinema. Thank Science for Netflix, I guess?

But I didn't even finish the slideshow at first. I was stuck on number four. Call your mom.

I know a couple very wonderful people who have had to bury their moms. I know how hard Mother's Day is for them, how they miss their moms, how much they would give anything to be able to pick up the telephone and call their moms for that verbal hug. I know that slideshows like this, while meant to be awesome and share some good things are painful to people like my friends.

If nothing else, these slideshows are inconsiderate. Think about it: given how many Baby Boomers had kids late, how many elderly people live in the US, how many of us have lost our parents to accident, illness or just old age-- the assumption that if you're having a day and need a pick me up that you can just ring up your mother is pretty shitty. Some of us have parents in their sixties and seventies-- and we're just hitting 35.

That doesn't even go into the reason that I am so bothered by this tip for happiness, this tip for showing myself some "Love".

My mother isn't dead. I could pick up my mobile phone from its perch on the desk tier next to my monitor and ring her up at any time. If I did it right now she'd gush how much she missed me, and how have we been, and how much she loves me, even if I have been an ungrateful little bitch who doesn't know how to let bygones be bygones. Oh, and have I spoken to my father, how is he, anyway?

Then she'd launch into what I always called the Misery Litany. She's one of those people who honestly believes that the Universe swirls around her, and that we all really need to know how awful her life is, at all times. I'll hear about the money troubles her and her new husband are having, how he has to pay alimony to his bitch ex wife, and how she can't wait until he's done paying child support for his five or six kids (I can't remember how many there are). She'd tell me that she was doing this or that with work, and that her mother and father are so ill she just feels all stressed out and just doesn't know what to do. This litany goes on for an hour some times. It's very depressing, hearing someone complain and bitch and moan and cry and while for that long. But if you interrupt this Litany, she has to start it from the top! So it's better to just put the phone down, or place it on speaker and "Mmmhmm" and "Wow" and "Oh my" at irregular intervals until she's done.**

Then she'd launch into the Litany of Recriminations. This is the part of the phone call where she tries to guilt trip me for moving so far away; for living my own life; for believing her when she told me she was done with me and I wasn't her child any more. This is also the part where she tries to guilt-trip me back to church, and tells me again and again how God loves me and just wants me to serve him, in a way that's pleasing to her, so she can brag about it to her friends-- I mean, in a way that's pleasing to him, and shows him all the glory.

After that verbal dressing down she'll ask how I'm doing. If I got "Oh, we're doing alright. Been volunteering with a local no-kill shelter. Kids go back to school in two weeks" out, I'd be doing well. Probably I'd get "Oh, we're doing all---" before she cut me off and had to run take care of something terribly important, some where else.

But, Em, how can you know this? You haven't spoken to her in four years. (Yes, it's been that long!)

Well, even when our relationship was decent, say a 5 on the 1-10 scale (with 10 being "I've got the best Mom on earth) that was what our conversations were like. She telephoned me while I was still in hospital after giving birth to my youngest kid to tell me I was despicable, and that she wanted me to "call off [my] witchy friends." Yes, really! I had no fucking clue what she was talking about; turned out she was taken in by that 'someone searched you on the criminal list' spam that went around ten years or so ago.

That wasn't the worst, but merely the most bizarre, I think. Everything in our relationship was always about her, and how I could accommodate her. Always. Never a give and take. Never. She doesn't have it in her, I don't believe. She's an undiagnosed NPD, so there really isn't space in her world for anyone else who has actual feelings.

That's why slide shows and "call your mom" tips piss me off. The vast majority of my friends did not have a good mother. She was busy trying to feed them, clothe them and keep the heat on; she worked all the time; she was fleeing an abusive relationship with their bio-father; she was so religious that there wasn't space in her heart for them and Jesus; she never wanted kids to begin with and was stuck with them.

There are more reasons, more of us suffered from having a fucked up mother than not. I think maybe five, total, of my friends had good moms. Moms who wanted them, who loved them with everything, and who didn't punish them for the sin of being born. Five.

Yeah, so fuck HuffPo, and Fuck their slideshows, and if you can call your mother for a verbal hug, don't fucking tell me about it. It feels like you're rubbing it in. You're rubbing in the fact that you have a mom, that she loves you for who you are, not who she wants you to be.  You're rubbing it in that she's not dead, hasn't disowned you, still cares that you're OK.

I know it's not your fault. I know damned well you don't mean it that way.
Doesn't mean it doesn't hurt like a motherfucker, though.


**My sister and I still speak on occasion, which is how I know what's going on with everything; it's like hearing a soap opera plot, except that the only players are my mother and her husband. It's very, very disconcerting, but also kinda funny. So, that's how I have an idea of what she'd start in on.


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