Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lessons learned from a trash-talking mother

My mother has an outer shell so tough that for a long time I didn’t realize there was anything soft inside. She will often find humor in situations that you’d never think have a lighter side. She will make comments so wry that you might question whether her emotional heart is actually functioning. Her perspective can be so tough that her words have  made me cringe. I see this side of her most clearly when someone has been foolish, or whose lousy judgment has led them to some misfortune that one wouldn’t wish on a dog.

God help me, but I sometimes hear my mother’s voice and sentiments coming from my own mouth.  I happen to have a kind tone of voice, so people are often surprised when I cut through the sentimental and get straight to the core of a matter. I like to get to the place where you either fish or cut bait. Over time I’ve pissed off and lost a couple of friends. But life teaches you after a while that bosses can be mean and unfair,  a short-tempered moody lover probably won’t be much fun for long, a married lover is a married lover, money can be tight for very long periods of time, and so on. No amount of complaining, wishing, and hoping will make it otherwise. So when faced with such dilemmas, my mother’s voice fills my mind loud and clear.

Looking back, I realize that I, too, have sometimes been a fool and fallen into a mishap that I should have seen coming. But while it was happening, I managed to keep it moving, keep my chin up, do whatever the heck was in front of me to do. And this is where I see the value of my mother’s biting perspective. When life gets hard,  we do something that makes sense.

So even when a person is neck deep in crap, it’s the belief in oneself that moves her step-by-step out of the muck to the other side. My mother’s view of the world has taught me it's our attitude about situations that make us tougher than the circumstances that life will bring. At the end of the day, it’s about whether we see ourselves as victors or victims in our lives. And God bless her, my clear-thinking, cigarette-smoking, junk-talking mother has never seen herself as a victim. And she is almost always a happy woman who can find something to laugh about.

As we start a new year (beyond 2012!!!!) ask yourself, are you a victim or a victor?

Heads Up Readers!
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