I am not one of those people who think that there is a “lesson” or a “reason” behind everything. I have a friend who is suffering a host of health issues who is proof to me that NO not everything is a lesson, not everything has a reason, not everything is meant to teach us something and that karma doesn’t exist. I say this because if karma existed her dropkick ex (who voluntarily signed away all of his parental rights) would have the health issues she is battling and she would be healthy and able to fulfil her dreams.
BUT I do believe that we can choose to learn from our experiences and that sometimes the lessons we can choose to take are important.
I had yet another run in with the Tinman today. I was naughty and I was speeding up the hill to grab Mayhem for a medical appointment I had forgotten and I got a speeding fine. Oops, I knew it was coming and have already started putting money away to pay for it. So his first communication in weeks was “This came today. Pls send me your drivers license number and address so I can submit a stat dec to say I wasn’t driving.” …. so I sent him back a pic of the amount of child support he owes… childish I know. To be honest I took offence to the tone and that he is still acting like he is somehow “better” than me. So in the ensuing spat I called him out on his failure to talk to the kids weekly (even when I am doing the calling, so he doesn’t even incur the cost of the calls), his failure to pay child support, basically his deadbeatness (is that a word?). So he responds with “well you should get a job and stop bludging”…. yeah. I am a full-time student with not one but 2 full-time study loads, I look after the kids and do ALL of the running around for them, manage my budget without the money he legally owes me and I am the bludger… I think his logic is that I am not actually pulling a wage and so therefore I am not worth the respect owed to everyone else….
Thing is he knows that this is a hot-button for me. He has had 7 years to learn my insecurities and my sore spots and my weaknesses. He knows that I have been insecure about not working since, well, forever. What I do or don’t do is really irrelevant because in the end this is his conversation ender. He knows that if I hit to close to home with my criticisms that he can call me a bludger and I will end the conversation. I will hang up the phone, I will get upset and probably irrational because that is one of my big fears, that other people will see me as a white trash dole bludger who is sponging off the government.
But that is where the rub is, he is playing on MY fears. MY insecurities, MY vulnerabilities. I am very aware of what other people think of me, I am very aware that I have 3 kids to 2 different fathers, that I am unemployed, that we live in a craptastic house, that we are almost officially below the poverty line. I am aware of all of these things and I know that humans are a judgy lot. I am aware that some of the mothers at the kids school look down their noses at me because I am single and unemployed.
Thing is does it actually matter what he thinks? Hell does it matter what anyone else thinks?All 3 of my kids are loved and cared for and cherished. They are fed and clothed (although trying to convince them that they need a new pair of socks every day is fighting a losing battle… little ferals!) and for the most part clean! I work hard to make sure that they know that I love them and that I would move mountains for them. I know that I am working hard, I know that in a few years (hopefully no more than 3… wow that’s a long time) all of this struggle will be worth it. I know that I am building something great here. So why does it matter that someone who clearly hasn’t got their own ducks in a row, who clearly has their own issues, thinks of me??
The lesson that I am choosing to take from this interaction is that it doesn’t matter what he thinks, no matter what I do, even if I was working full-time, studying full-time and parenting all of the kids single-handedly he would find SOMETHING to complain about, not only that but I know that if he can’t FIND something he will just go ahead and make it up! I need to get over this concern about what people think and realise that there is no way to please everyone, that I can only please a few people and so I need to figure out who it is important to please. He no longer makes my list of people that I choose to care about. His opinion no longer matters.
The other thing that I learned a while ago but which has been refreshed for me is that you don’t know how someone got to be where they are. They could have tried to do everything right and ended up at rock bottom. They have a story that is all their own and it’s not our job to judge, because no matter how harshly we judge them they are probably their own harshest critics.
So that is my learning for today.