Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

With me, what you see is what you get. That’s right, I am probably one of the original WYSIWYGs. Forgive the caps. My computer grammar program insisted upon them.

I don’t put on airs. I don’t cheat, I don’t lie—well, sometimes I lie to myself, but I’m working on that; and sometimes I might not tell you the truth if I’m trying to spare your feelings, but that will be about something totally superficial. If you feel really good about how you look that is far more important than my subjective opinion.

I don’t know how many times I have been told, through my life, to “not tell other people my business”. I never could get a really good answer as to why I shouldn’t let people see where I screwed up. I believe in being transparent, because…well, because I do. I always let people see me, warts and all. I’m past 60 so I’m not likely to change. And I hope that if I do change it is for the better.

I’ve been through enough crap and lived through the consequences of enough bad decisions (my own) in my life to have come to the conclusion that honesty, humility and kindness were the best traits for me to aspire to have. I’ll tell you quite plainly my choice to do so was selfish. I wanted to be the best me I could be.

I knew I would never be beautiful; I knew I would never be skinny, or rich, or exceptionally clever. So going after any of those goals would have been a waste of time. I could never have achieved them, so all I’d get for my efforts would be constant disappointment and unrelenting frustration. Who needs those two negatives dogging them everyday?

I don’t really need to be any of those things, anyway. I need to have a roof over my head, and I do. I need to help provide for my family, and I do. I need to help others, and I do that when I can. I’m blessed because as I look around I know I have all that I need to have—and I even get a few extras, things I don’t need but thoroughly enjoy. I am blessed and highly favored!

And I am still working on being the best me I can be, because I am not there yet. I stumble, and sometimes fall hard on my ass, leaving ego bruises that take a long time to heal. Now, I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I am perfect, or even that I aspire to be so. I am still capable of making the most colossally stupid mistakes you could ever imagine. And there are days when I have the worst attitude of anyone you’ve ever met!

My bitchiness is legendary—but fortunately, not on display very often. When it does rear its very ugly head, and I feel really awful because of it, I recall words my mother once said. At the time we were a household of three females. I couldn’t have been more than 13. My sister, six and a half years older, was at that point in her life when she was in possession of all of the secrets of the universe, and was never wrong. She liked to prod me, and she liked to nag me because even at 13, I was overweight. On this one particular occasion I thought I was going to get punished by my mother—and get it good. I don’t remember what my sister said or did, but I’d apparently had enough, and told her, in an exceptionally loud voice, to shut the hell up and leave me alone. I stomped up the stairs to my bedroom. If my door had been capable of it, I’d have slammed it.

I stewed for a couple of minutes, and then I just had to know how much trouble I was in, because in our house you didn’t talk like that. I could hear my sister complaining to our mother. I slinked out of my room, and got down on the floor beside the air vent that was just a grate between the upstairs and the downstairs. Just in time to hear my sister demand: “Well? Aren’t you going to do something about her?”

I’ll never forget my mother’s response. Her voice very matter-of-fact, she said, “No, I’m not.”
My sister clearly didn’t like not having her request/order ignored. “Why not? You can’t let her get away with being so rude!” In case you were wondering she was one of the people who taught me how to be bitchy—but I digress.

I heard my mother sigh, and then those very understanding words—words that from her were rare, indeed. “Everyone is entitled to be in a bad mood from time to time.”

Words of understanding from my mother that I held dear then, and now. And a lesson in acceptance that took me longer to learn than it should have.



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