I Have Earned the Right To Complain


I always hear older people – like older, older; not me older, which I am clearly becoming – say that they have earned the right to complain. “I pay my taxes, I worked a full career, I served in the United States Army…I have earned a right to complain” is something my father – who lives with us – says regularly.

Like daily.

Maybe it’s just him rubbing off on me, but I’ve caught myself saying a similar elderly person’s rant more and more as of late.

For example…

We live in a condominium owned by my husband’s family – purchased for him and his brother when they were single, and rented out only until this past June when we moved in.

We take care of the upkeep of the place – as in, we do and pay for routine maintenance and upkeep. There were a lot of things not tended to in the years it was being rented out, some even my husband’s fault from when he was living here before we met. We have taken care of all of them. All of them.

We pay the mortgage and HOA fees, every month.

We live according to the rules of the home owner’s association, we help organize a crime and safety group in the community, we contribute positively to the community however we can.

I have earned the right to complain.

Another example:

My husband works in film. He’s in editing for a television and video marketing firm, and he works at night and for a company that has no qualms with employees essentially living there. I see my husband for maybe two hours a day, if I’m lucky.

I can’t get him to remember to take his keys out of the front door when he gets home.

I can’t get him to remember to take out the trash when he gets up in the morning.

I have adjusted my own schedule every day to make sure to make him dinner at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, before he leaves for work. One day I made soup and bread and he actually had the balls to ask if I should make sandwiches to go along with it.

We are unable to make plans with anyone, ever, unless it’s on a Sunday – the only day he is truly “off,” and even then it can’t be too early because he’s used to staying up late and sleeping away the morning.

Over and over and over and over, and over and over and over, again I have had to explain to little broken hearts why dad is not home for X sport, Y event, and Z family time.

Last weekend, my husband got back from work exactly 15 minutes before our 11 year old’s tennis tournament began. He had been up all night, and therefore fell asleep in the middle of the tournament – at one point falling over almost completely into the bushes next to his chair.

Right now I have been sitting by the front door, waiting since roughly 2:30 in the morning for him to get home so that we can leave for another weekend tournament. It is now 6:00, and there is absolutely no sign of him.

Enough anecdotal evidence? Sadly, I could go on for several blogs-worth…

I have earned the right to complain.

I have more:

I gave up my entire career and education to become a stay at home mom. That doesn’t go without the occasional feelings of remorse for all that work I did in grad school for nothing.

My life is often reduced to Disney channel and conversations with the only daily non-child interaction I have: the dog.

Then I have to hear people say that it must be nice to live my life and be a lazy housewife. A lazy housewife who cooks and cleans for at least 8 hours a day, acts as personal assistant, washer woman, and – by the way – also homeschools the other hours until I drag myself to bed lest I suffer death by exhaustion.

The grass is always greener, or so they say… But on a particularly bad day, when I haven’t had any other adult interaction in as long as I can remember, and I finally get some by going to Costco only to find food in my hair…

I have earned the right to complain.

Shall I continue?

Two months ago I got a cut and color at a new salon (well, new for me).

It was the worst cut and color I have ever gotten.

She didn’t actually really color my hair – you could still see my blonde roots coming through. To this day I still can’t figure out what process she did on my hair, maybe toned it? I’m not sure, but it certainly wasn’t coloring.

The hair cut was terrible too. It’s grown out in just two months, and looks something like a large rat’s nest sitting a top my head.

When I vented about it on social media, I was given shit for venting. I paid $165 for this “cut and color.”

I have earned the right to complain.

Here’s my point:

8f43e47f31b4c70ffedc43516f7e4edad6095b22b1f39a432b2ebe68e6e7f79bI don’t like being the person that everyone thinks is a complainer. Every single time the complainer opens his or her mouth, an assault of whining and bitching and griping and complaining comes out.  If you ever talk to me at a party, or watch my feeds on social media, you know that’s not the case. Complaints account for maybe 10% of what comes out of my mouth and my tippy-typing fingers.

But I also feel as though when people complain, however little they do, that there is now some need for the world to retaliate not with compassion, but rather with a social backlash. And that’s all people focus on: 90% of what I talk about or post online is positive, funny or informative; and yet somehow the 10% or less (complaining) is what they all focus on. I see it happening to others, as well.

People post e-cards about how the Internet isn’t for complaining, and you hear people talking at parties about how life is something to be always-positive and ever-grateful for. And they shame people that speak candidly about shitty situations with pithy statements like “just remember that other people have it worse off than you.”

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When did life become something we always, 100% of the time, have to be super positive about? Why can’t we all complain once in a while? I mean, crappy situations won’t get better if people don’t talk about it – right? If there is a problem in your community, you should complain about it. If you have a bad salon experience, you should share your gripe. Then, follow up those complaints, and do something about it.

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A few days ago, I realized that social media is starting to give me social anxiety. For one, I share a lot of articles  – like a lot – on social media. But that’s what I do to get more traction on my blog, and anyway they are damn good articles and people should be reading and getting educated about the world a little more. Then I saw a nasty post from a family member (who shall remain nameless) about how people who post a lot of things like news and world affairs on Facebook have no lives. Now I know that’s bullshit, but it still made me self conscious about sharing things the following day.

When I started reflecting on the realization that I was doing that – inhibiting myself for the sake of not having to hear shit from others – I realized how little I share about my own life anymore, as a result of this social media anxiety. I don’t complain online anymore, and I don’t complain in person anymore either. Family functions are a “hi, how are you? Me I’m good, same old same old” and the conversation is over. I want to complain about my bad hair cut and the drug problems in my neighborhood and the refugee crisis in Europe and the war on women in our country, but I stop short for fear that people will highlight that no one wants to hear a complainer.

Moreover, I want to hear other people’s complaints. I want to be there for others, and vent along with them about all the injustices everywhere between my local frozen yogurt stand and the world at large. I always thought that the point of having relationships – friendships, family relationships, romantic relationships – was to be there for each other, even when it’s over a complaint session about everything shitty going on. Sometimes, people need to share happy life events together; sometimes people need a shoulder to cry – or complain – on.

It feels as though no one is allowed to do that in this world of post-modern positivity. Everyone must be happy all the time. If you have something go wrong, no matter how big or how little it is, keep that shit to yourself – no one wants to hear it.

What a terrible world we live in, where that is the status quo.

On the contrary: I pay the bills. I live the life. I have to deal with the consequences of everything around me. I truly feel that I have earned the right to complain. Everyone has.

 

 

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One Comment on “I Have Earned the Right To Complain

  1. I truly enjoy your post. It’s something I go through on a daily basis. If you don’t complain about anything, how can you voice your opinion on what’s going on or wrong? I for one complain a lot. If a person doesn’t complain about anything at all, to me I feel either they don’t care about what is going on around them or in the world; or their lives are too perfect. Very well put.

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