Friday, January 14, 2022

We're probably all just faking it...

At first glance, a cute and entertaining little meme. But what is it about this meme (and others like it) that makes us share and share and share again? I think the answer is two-fold:

1. Most (though clearly not all) people start their day with some form of caffeine. I believe we probably attribute a bit too much of our ability to actually get up and be human to such things, but, man, does it help! People often find coffee/caffeine comments to be humorous and relatable. And we like being able to relate to other people--even if it's just across the great abyss of the interwebs. "Oh, you feel like crap until you've dosed-up in the morning? Me, too!". At the heart of it, we're all struggling to 'adult' and knowing we aren't alone is at least a little comforting.

2. I think the real key to this meme is the 'pretend you know what you're doing' bit. Who hasn't felt like they're totally faking this whole I'm-a-grown-up-who-has-their-shit-together thing? My husband, who is clearly brilliant and very hard-working, even struggles to appreciate his own abilities and worth. It's normal. We all do it at some point... hell, some of us do it daily. Understanding that other folks out there who seem to have it all together are struggling inside just like we are is an important part of coping with the feelings of inadequacy that we all feel from time to time. Myself, I feel almost every day as if I'm totally faking it. One of these days, someone will realize I'm not as smart or as good at my job as I pretend to be and then it will all fall apart. According to the internet, I'm not alone in feeling this way. And maybe that's one of the best features of the internet: it lets us know, in little ways and big ones, that we are not alone.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Emotional Contagion and Self-Care

As someone with a very empathetic personality, I have had trouble my whole life with sort of absorbing other people’s pain and problems. But this problem is not limited just to those of us who are somewhat overly sensitive—emotional contagion is a legit scientific term. You’ve seen it yourself: those people who seem to be able to light up a room, that guy at work who is always cranky and brings the whole office down, the increase in stress from just being present in an airport. According to the very scholarly source, Wikipedia (lol), emotional contagion is important to personal relationships because it fosters emotional synchrony between individuals. A broader definition of the phenomenon suggested by Schoenewolf is "a process in which a person or group influences the emotions or behavior of another person or group through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotion states and behavioral attitudes"

Now, while empathy and the ability to feel for those around you is often a GOOD thing, it can be detrimental as well:

You know that one friend who always has some sort of drama?

That family member that just cannot be pleased?

The coworker that only ever complains?

Did you ever notice how being around these people affects you? It can be super draining, right? One bad apple and all that. It can seriously ruin your mood—even though nothing bad has actually happened to you.

This brings me to today’s meme:

It’s important to relate to the people in your life and to be there for them. However, you’ve got to take care of yourself and your mental well-being as well. You have to recognize the people bringing garbage to your station and send them (politely if possible) on their way. A friend or family member might need to share difficult emotions or situations with you, but that doesn’t mean you should let them park them in your yard. You can’t take care of anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Friday, January 7, 2022

That Time I Found a Baby

 So, it was a normal morning. The husband had already left for work and I was making my way out the door when I encountered a tiny human (probably like 2 years old?) on the sidewalk outside my door. I was momentarily dumbstruck. We stood and stared at each other for what felt like an awkwardly long time. I looked around the parking lot... no one around. What to do? Do I just assume someone knows about this child and continue to my car? She was very small and didn't walk great. Shit. I can't just leave her here. I bent down and asked her where she lived. She pointed a chubby little finger at the apartment next to mine so I walked over and knocked on the storm door. The main/inner door was open, but all the lights were off. I rang the bell. I knocked some more. No answer.

I turned around and the little girl was still standing there, barefoot, staring at me and looking very distraught. It was chilly out and she was just in a little dress. I went back in the apartment and got my smallest cardigan and came back out and put it on her. I was at a loss. Should I call the police? Surely one of her parents is around here somewhere. I asked her where her mommy was and quickly found out that this tiny human did not yet speak sensible English. Again, shit. We spent quite some time trying to communicate until I finally just asked her if she could show me where her mommy was and she pointed across the street. Okay. Progress. I looked at her bare feet and then at the cold, nasty parking lot... then back at her tiny bare feet. Did I mention that I'm not good with kids? I bent down again and asked her if I could pick her up. She nodded. I picked her up and positioned her on my hip. She was a heavy little thing. Okay... so the plan is to pick up some stranger's child and let her direct me across the street to God knows where... this can't possibly go wrong.

I looked at my watch. Shit. Going to be late for work. I pulled out my cell and called my boss at the time: "Hey, I'm going to be late... I found a baby in my parking lot..." I wish I could have seen his face. I'm sure it was priceless.

So me and tiny human start to walk out of the apartment complex toward a random house across the street when a car pulls into the parking lot.

"Papa!!!" screams the tiny human.

Shit. He's going to think I'm freaking kidnaping his baby. I hustle along behind the car to where it parks. A large man steps out of the car with a, let's say, 'distressed' look on his face. I immediately hold the child out at arms length and say, "I found her out here and she said her mom was across the street..." He took the child, glared across the street, muttered something in a language I do not know, and then disappeared into his apartment. I was left standing alone in the parking lot, baffled. Well, jeeze, you're welcome.

Random Thought #1

Random thought: I'm not afraid of being bitten in the bum by a snake. I'm afraid of being bitten in the bum by a venomous snake. Let me start over. There are folks out there with horror stories about snakes coming up out of their toilet (and sometimes biting them). Well, where I'm from, if you see a snake in the water then you pretty much assume it's venomous. Ergo, toilet snakes are probably venomous. And I find that mildly terrifying.