The other day, a lady on Twitter was posting about how she'd eaten loads even though she wasn't hungry. I tweeted back that I had too and she said, "why do our brains do that to us?" I replied that I didn't know about hers, but I was fairly sure that mine had done it because it was pissed off about being single at Christmas.
Her response was "but you have your baby, you can't be lonely."
This is a lady who can't have children; she's written for a national paper about how she can't have children and how she's sick of hearing how hard mothers have it because at least they can have children and she can't.
I didn't want to be insensitive; I know how hard I found it when I thought I would never have a child. I told her that yes, I was very blessed to have my child, but she goes to bed at 6pm and the evenings are lonely; it would be nice to have some companionship. We ended up having a bit of a Twitter argument where I tried to explain that having a child doesn't mean I want for nothing, and she tried to explain that apparently, yes it does. Some of her tweets:
With respect, I'd say my position is harder. And everyone would like someone to lean on from time to time.
Don't know how to say this politely but I really don't have the capacity to hear it from people in, what I see as, a blessed position.
This really upset me. I really wanted to send her a string of 50 tweets explaining exactly how my position is not really the ideal she imagines: how I live on a grotty council estate surrounded by drug dealers and people who let their dogs shit on the stairs; that I often have days where the only person I speak to is my toddler, who isn't quite capable of holding up her own end of the conversation; that her saying these things were tantamount to my saying she was in a better position than me because she was single and could go out and get drunk in the evenings.
Instead, I switched my phone off and went to bed. But a week later, it's still bothering me.
Don't get me wrong; I am eternally thankful for my beautiful daughter. I am beyond happy that we are both alive and safe and have escaped a dangerous situation. I am grateful. I know I am blessed.
But does that mean I should want for nothing?
Isn't that the same as when other women complain about their husbands and I think "at least you have a bloke to pee on the loo seat and leave the lid off the toothpaste..."
I think the human condition is such that we are generally never satisfied. We always want more. And we always look at someone who has what we want and feel like they should just shut up complaining.
Perhaps I should just accept my lot in life, and stay here on this estate where some kids seem more able to swear than to count to 10 and all of the outside areas stink of piss. Maybe I should just buy some ear plugs for the night times - or better yet, go outside and get drunk/stoned/whatever-ed with the people who stand out there shouting in the wee small hours. Perhaps I should just settle for the life I have. After all, I have my child and I should be happy with that, right?
By the same token, women who are single without children should accept their lot, and be happy that they can go out and party whenever they want; they have no ties to bind them, no responsibilities, nobody waking up screaming from a nightmare at 2am; no man snoring and keeping them awake; nobody to have to share the bathroom with.
I think there's a fine line between living with what you have, and wanting more. The trick is knowing the difference between what you have to accept, and what you need to change.
I'd like to think I can change where I live, the fact I'm single and lonely, and the fact I write posts like this a week after the event rather than having the ability to think of these words on the spot and reply in 140 characters.
And yes, I fully get the irony of doing a post about gratitude followed by a post that rants about people who tell you to be grateful. I'd like to think there's a marked difference between the two though.