A couple of years ago I worked at a restaurant as a server a few times a month. It was a second job and my coworkers were all approximately two and a half decades younger than me.
One day we had a gentleman who came in and was decidedly unsatisfied with everything about his experience (specifically I’m talking about his dining experience but I wonder about the rest of it as well). He was so rude that he made the girl serving him cry. I don’t like stuff like that.
See, I have a lot of mothering bubbling under the surface with no convenient outlet, so if you happen to be two and a half decades younger than me, my maternal instincts will leak all over you. None of the unwitting recipients of my Mama Bear have complained thus far because I don’t sMother.
Which is kind of the way I had hoped to parent my own kids.
Where was I? Oh…I offered to take over the table for her. Through tears she said, “Are you sure? He’s really mean.” To which I replied, “Girl, you have NO IDEA the things I have been called. And I lost my kids. Seriously, try to hurt my feelings.” She laughed.
I make people laugh about hard things. I don’t know if it’s exactly a gift, but it feels like it.
Humor is holy.
Here’s the thing. I cared about the guy’s steak. But he wasn’t upset about his steak. People aren’t mean to people because steaks aren’t cooked to their specifications. I didn’t know exactly what the guy was mad about, but I knew enough to know that even if he called me a dumb cunt, it wasn’t about me.
I’m telling you, if you really want to get some shadow work accomplished, get yourself some enemies. Someone with an agenda intended to expose you. I’ve been called things that would suck all of the moisture out of a dog terd. For real.
The guy was a dick, but I didn’t care, which deflated him a little. I cared about his service but I didn’t care about his anger or nastiness. He wasn’t any more satisfied with his steak when we made him a brand new one, but his display of ugliness deescalated a bit.
This is sort of a magic trick I’ve learned.
Recently, all up close and personal, I was criticized for not standing up for myself because ‘You have to fight fire with fire!”
Guess what? I didn’t care. About being criticized, I mean. And I didn’t ‘not care’ in an asshole way. I just kind of shrugged. “Eh, maybe.”
I’m sure after the exchange they pitied me an idiot.
But it did get me thinking. What AM I doing?
I try not to let my mind THINK real hard about stuff because then I end up caring about it too much and believe it or not, that makes me feel less compassionate. Weird, right?
But you can also mitigate fire by depriving it of oxygen. And that feels more resonant to me. I don’t fight fire with fire. I simply deprive it of oxygen.