Thursday, April 29, 2004

The Big Battle

Yesterday was my husband's birthday and I was a real toot. He is always so nice to me on my birthday (six days earlier). I had a bad day yesterday and I came home and basically took it out on him. On his birthday. We worked it out but I still feel bad.

I went researching yesterday with two members of my team. I always end up in a bad mood after a research day. I figured out why. One) Materialism exhausts me. We flitted in and out of five or six gift shops and such, researching gift bags and journals. Every store had adorable little knickknacks arranged to entice you to buy them. When you are in a cute little boutique, you start drifting into a trancelike, and completely false, mindset. "If I buy this tube of sparkley pink lip gloss, then my life will really be better." I usually come away from these research trips with two or three new pieces of useless doodads. But yesterday, I fought it. Every time the trance began to come over me, I shook it off and tried to think of the estate sale that we had after my grandmother died. Boxes and boxes of my grandma's "precious things" that were essentially fodder for flea marketers.

Two) All day long, I listened to my coworkers badmouthing everyone else we worked with. Hey, I am no saint. It's so easy to participate (especially when you have nothing else in common with your coworkers besides other coworkers) and, for a fleeting moment, it makes you feel better than everyone else. But after awhile, I started feeling icky. So in addition to battling my materialistic tendencies, I spent half of the day struggling to keep from tearing other people down behind their backs. I was completely emotionally exhausted by the time I got home.

I don't know if anyone else struggles with the "talking bad about other people" disease, but I have come to realize that it is one of my greatest battles. I know that pretty much everyone does it, but that doesn't make it right. I've known that it was a problem for a long long time, but I've sort of convinced myself that it wasn't so bad. "Not as bad as being an alcoholic!" I secretly thought. But that's a big fat lie. It is bad. So, this is me, standing up and saying, "My name is Ellen and I criticize other people to make myself feel better." I truly wish that there was a 12 step program for something like this.


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