Complaints-giving

Today is Thanksgiving Day in America.  All across our fair country families will be getting together to eat turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, to enjoy each other’s company, and to be thankful for the good things in our lives.

Well, in theory at least.

The reality is probably more along the lines of families getting together to drive each other crazy, children screaming and whining about having to eat all of their beans, men disappearing to watch football games, and women buzzing around the kitchen muttering about no one helping them clean up or trying to out-martyr each other.

And you know what?  I say go for it!

This Thanksgiving I think we should all take a moment to complain at the top of our voices.  I think we should all really let rip and tell people all of the things we can’t stand, disapprove of, or think or are unfair in our lives.  Let’s really go for broke and kick up a ruckus.

I’ll go first.

I am really angry that I’m still single at age 37 without any significant relationships to look back on or forward to.  I think I’m better than that and that I have a lot of really good things to offer a man.  I’m angry that no one has bothered to see me as a potential mate or even a date for dinner.  I’m annoyed that so many men that I’ve met are so selfish and can’t be honest about what they really want in life.  That goes for non-romantic-interest men too.  In fact, I’m pissed off that no one, not even my family, ever seems to be there for me when I really need them.  I’m furious that I have to struggle financially, that I have to work two jobs, three if you count writing (which I do) and that no one has offered to help.  I’m livid that the closest offer I’ve ever gotten of concrete help from my family is my aunt saying I could maybe, possible, rent a room in her house, but under no circumstances could I bring my cats if I did.  I hate that no one ever gets me anything even remotely useful or even in the ballpark of what I want for Christmas but instead fill up my already overcrowded apartment with glorified paperweights because they don’t stop to think about what I really want or need.  And I’m frustrated that I haven’t sold thousands of copies of my novel or that I don’t have thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or Blog subscribers.

Whew!  Yeah!  That was a rip-roaring bundle of complaints!  Grr!

And now I can take a deep breath.  Ah!  Now I’ve gotten that out there in the world.  Now I’ve said it.  Now I can let go of it and move on.

Complaining is like vacuuming.  Carpets get cluttered up with dirt, dust, and gunk.  That’s why every once in a while we have to bring out the big, obnoxious, noisy machine that scares the cats and makes them hide under the bed.  We flex our muscles and raise our heart rate as we lug those gigantic machines around to suck up all the clutter.  What we’re left with is a nice clean floor that may not be as fresh and new as the day we bought the carpet, but it looks a whole lot better.  The room looks bigger.  We can breathe a sigh of relief and say “look how much cleaner the whole place seems now!”

Complaining is a necessary part of the process of gratitude.  We all have so many things to be grateful for in our lives.  No seriously, we do.  But it’s so hard, impossible even, to see all of the wonderful things in our lives if we’re clogged up with dirt and unhappiness.  Nothing is ever going to be the way any of us want it to.  It’s human nature to be dissatisfied with what we have.  We all have complaints.  As long as you hold those complaints inside, letting them fester and grow and sink into the fiber of the carpet, you’re not going to have room for gratitude of any kind.

You have to let go of the bad before you have space for the good.

So now that I’ve ranted and gnashed my teeth and spit out all the crap that clogs me up when I’m feeling vulnerable I can take a look at the good things in my life, the things I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful that I have a vivid, crazy, lively imagination that has been my closest friend and ally for my entire life.  I’m thankful that it has provided me with hours of entertainment, made writing essays for school easier, gotten me out of tight predicaments, and given me wings.  I’m thankful that I was taught to go after the things I want in life rather than to sit back and feel sorry for myself for not having them.  I’m thankful that I have a few people in my life that I can call the best friends ever.  I’m grateful that I have the strength and health to work insanely hard so that I can make ends meet and pay my own way without having to mooch off of anyone.  I’m thankful for the recent changes in the publishing industry that have made it possible for me to share my stories with the world without having to venture down a path that I’ve never felt comfortable with.  I’m so very thankful that I discovered the wonderful sport of cricket and that I’ve become a part of the cricket scene in Philadelphia, made a name for myself and made so many wonderful new friends.  I’m thankful that I can see things other people can’t, and that other people see things that I can’t because it means I’ll always have room to grow.  I’m thankful that I can share these words with complete strangers and I hope that good will come into the world in ways I’ll never be aware of because of them.

Ah!  That felt good.  It’s nice to be reminded of the good side of life.  I don’t know if I would have been able to feel so thankful if I hadn’t felt free to honestly express all those negative things that were taking up the brain-space I needed to feel that way.

So give it a try.  Dump out all the bad.  Rant here in a comment if you want to grouse about something that pisses you off and be heard … but not by the people who you have to live with.  And then fill up all that empty space with thankfulness.  But get rid of the crud first.

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8 thoughts on “Complaints-giving

  1. What a post, Merry. Wow. Not in the mood to dump but I am grateful that I can ‘see’ as you alluded to, and that God gives me the strength to handle that gift. I am blessed with a family (but miss quiet) and I am grateful for the time I do have to do at least some of the things I love to do. As per writing as that ‘3rd job’ don’t forget promotion/networking is job 4.

    Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

  2. Wish I was a millionaire! But I’m not, and that’s ok too. I had to wait till I was nearly 60 to find the right man, It was worth the crud and the other 3 marriages! After all, they gave me my two kids, of whom I’m inordinately proud! Now I just have two cats and one man. Well, my kids will always be my kids…as evidenced by all the Christmas chocolate I just bought to send! When the right one comes along for you, you will truly appreciate him, as I truly appreciate my Sid! I hope for that for you and that it doesn’t take so long, of course!

    • Thanks Kate! Yeah, I hope it doesn’t take that long for me too. 😉 Of course, I’d settle for some of that Christmas chocolate you just bought. Heh heh heh

  3. What a great post!
    Let’s see. I’m pissed because I don;t get to spend as much time with my family as I want to. I never get alone time with my hubby. Right now I have 4 ADD/ADHD plus other crap boys I’m taking care of. My book is written and I’m ready to send it inot the world, but my editor is doing a final edit, and my hubby isn’t done painting my cover and both are doing this for free so I can’t bitch but instead have to sit patiently and wait. I’m angry that my ex has been out of work for over 3 years and our son is now in a private school and I’ve got to come up with all the money. I’m angry that both my hubby and I suck at managing money. I’m angry that I have been ‘trying’ AKA focused on losing weight for several years and have only gained more.

    Wow- okay that’s enough for now.

    I am grateful I have a wonderful family who loves me. I’m grateful my job pays me enough to completely support my family and I have a boss bending over backwards to help me with these children. I’m thrilled my 17 year old son is at a school he loves and getting A’s and B’s. I’m very glad my ex loves our son, and doesn’t cause many issues. I’m thrilled I have finished two books and I have friends will to help me make them amazing. My eyes tear up when I see the beautiful cover my husband is painting for me. Kilian is the most amazing editor, and she really helps me clean up my book while keeping my voice. I’m so grateful I have money to mismanage. And I’m grateful for this blog because it’s changed my outlook on today 🙂

  4. Hm.

    I’m pissed because I graduated from my schooling at almost the precise instant that pretty much every publication in the world decided, hey, we don’t need to pay writers a salary and give them insurance or vacations or benefits, like all those other people who have job skills! Let’s just hire writers freelance! I’m pissed that my asshole former boss cost me my day job after three years of working absolutely crazy hours. I’m pissed that no-one seems to give a sh*t about maintaining a streamlined and timely system for paying freelancers. I am pissed that every time my husband eats something on the couch, he leaves his dirty dishes right on the carpet, and I’m pissed that I perpetuate this nonsense by wordlessly taking them to the kitchen every time because it is useless to gripe.

    But I’m grateful for ice cream, books, trains to read them on, pretty goldfish, a nice family, great in-laws, ice cream, meeting with fascinating people and places and getting to call it work, writing and calling it work, ice cream, and probably a lot more things.

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