Not complaining about not complaining

Four years ago, the effervescent Jane Williams observed that I spent a lot of time describing the people, places, and circumstances about which I strove to refrain from complaining.  She hazarded the mildly voiced guess that doing so tiptoed perilously close to complaining.  I saw the wisdom of her thoughts and switched gears, for which I remain in her debt.

Now I study the people, places, and circumstances at hand and wish that I could throw this mission over my left shoulder and have me a good old-fashioned bitch session.  I’m joking but just barely.


A video making the rounds on social media depicts a trio of sad women yelling at a clerk.  One of them snaps, “Are you laughing at me?  Don’t you laugh at me!” and my heart clenches.  I can remember hurling just that accusation at a customer service rep in a Kansas City business.  And you know?  I think the clerk was laughing at me.  I had gotten upset, and justifiably, but the vehemence with which I registered even my valid protest had risen beyond the pale.  His laughter might have been mocking or it might have been nervous.  I saw it as treacherous.

I remember how I felt in that moment.  The error which I strove to protest cost me $200.00, which it took me about a week to recover.  My life had fallen into a shambles — a true mess, not just a bad hair day or a summer cold.  I barely dragged myself from bed each day.  I could not even bring myself to ask anyone for help. I had no idea where to begin to salvage the tattered remains of my existence.

I should have been at home. I should have been in a shrink’s office. I should have been sleeping, or enlisting the help of people who cared about me. Instead I stood at someone’s counter screaming because I had no idea what to do and the guy smirked at me.  I had had weeks on end of last straws and his giggle put me over the top.  I felt just like the lady in the video which I watched in horror a couple of days ago.  Are you laughing at me?  Don’t you dare laugh at me!

I understand her anguish.  I don’t laugh at people anymore.  I’ve been on the receiving end of that demonstration.  However innocently meant, that particular sound, in that moment, can sear a body to the core.  I stood  in that woman’s shoes once.  I could never do that to another person.

This journey has broadened my understanding of life in immeasurable ways.  I’m not complaining about not complaining.  It’s done my spirit a world of good that might just make a decent human being out of me yet.

It’s the sixteenth day of the fifty-fifth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

One thought on “Not complaining about not complaining

  1. Jane

    Thanks for the nod, Corinne. I’m glad to know my comment was more helpful than hurtful all that time ago. In “Focus” lingo, we call that “moving a position” and you have clearly done just that.


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