Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lessons Learned in 2009 - Fourth in a Series

I'm Kind of a Bitch

To be honest, I didn't learn that just this year. I certainly didn't just become a bitch this year. But 2009 was an excellent year for bitchiness, and I think I may have perfected it.

I've been angry all year. And with good reason: The economy stunk, my employment status was under siege, something like two-thirds of my co-workers were laid off - how's that for some survivor's guilt? - and every time I thought I was getting on top my financial situation, a car would break down or a pregnancy would terminate or some other damn expensive problem would crop up. It takes more than anger to be a bitch - it takes pettiness, jealousy, fear, and serious control issues - but anger is a prerequisite. And nothing is better for fomenting long-term, irrational anger than the economy. It's huge, it's complicated, and getting mad at it accomplishes nothing, so you can rage against it at will without worrying that it may give in and do things your way (unlike, say, spouses or employers).

But 2009 had more going for it than the Great Recession when it came to honing and refining my inner (and outer) bitch. For example, there were iPhones. These ubiquitous little devices managed to make me extremely envious of the amount of disposable income it took to own one, while prompting absolutely no desire to actually own one myself. I found that maddening. It was like watching someone stuff hundred-dollar bills into a cow's mouth. You don't know whether to laugh at the folly or cry at the waste.

Then there was family. I'm fairly certain that most of my family considers me either a bitch or a lunatic. It's academic; they're two sides of the same coin. The term you use depends on whether you like me or not. But my family drove me to distraction this year. I'm not going to air the dirty laundry here, but suffice it to say that I gave as good as I got, and I'm pretty certain that no one ever became a bitch without having people around who truly loved them. What can I say? I'm blessed that way.

Then there was me. I take full responsibility for being the way I am. Why wouldn't I? I've worked very hard for a very long time to understand myself. I think 2009 was a good year for self-awareness. So many people screwed up so many things that I was able to spend a lot of time asking myself what I would have done instead. Very good for opening up a dialogue with oneself. It starts with a rhetorical question - e.g., "What the hell was Tiger thinking?" - and then leads you to various insights, such as "Elin needs to milk him until he's drier than Octomom after a 2 a.m. feeding." It's an excellent technique for getting in touch with your inner bitch, and it has the added benefit of exercising your outrage, snap judgment, and knee-jerk reaction muscles. I highly recommend it.

Oh, and I can't leave out my friends. I love them all. They never let me forget what a bitch I am. And frankly, without them, I might run the risk of being a much nicer person. So thanks, everyone. This year more than ever, I couldn't be this big a bitch without you.

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