After Bromance, Dadvice, Friyay, Shankita and Momversation among others, I'm stuck for a word that can be called the
momversation mom-version of Dadvice. Could you guys please come up with something?
A while ago on a Monday, I shared some Dadvice with you, where I told you about a little gem of wisdom my dad gave me on a lazy Saturday morning. This time though, I'm going to give you a mom-version of it. I feel so lucky to be getting "parented" even when I'm living 5000 miles away from home, trying to "adult" my way through life.
The other day, I did something that I'm not proud of. While talking to my mom and absent-mindedly scrolling through something, I came across a picture of someone I dislike. The person in question is wayyyyyy at the top of my list. I mean, if I were given destructive anti-hero super-powers and asked to wreak havoc on the world, that person would be the first one in my torture chamber. The fact that I have a list, and that I have fantasies about becoming Megamind, and that there are torture chambers in my fantasies, are themselves proof that I'm probably not a very good person. I'm expecting a call from my mother to discuss said torture chamber any minute now.
But on that day when I saw this person's picture, I casually made some very derogatory remarks about their appearance and started laughing at my own witty comments. I was on a roll, you guys. I made comment after comment after comment, and you know how I find myself to be hilarious. I laughed for quite a while. But the laughter stopped when I realised that there was an icy-cold silence coming from the other side. I knew that silence all too well, and it became very obvious that my mother didn't approve of my humour. She didn't necessarily chastise me too harshly but she made it known that she didn't appreciate humour about anybody's appearance. That she didn't raise me to be one of those kids who stooped low enough to attack a person's character or appearance to show my disdain for them in other areas. That it was very low to speak in such a manner about someone else even to one's own mother, spouse or best friend. And the best part? She personally has no regard for this person herself. If she were the kind of person who maintained a list, this person would definitely be on it.
I felt HORRIBLE. From the time I was young, I have been constantly corrected every time I behaved in this way. It was always abrupt and constant. I must have been around 4 when my mother asked me to fetch something for her while we were spending a holiday at my grandmother's house. I remember responding with "Why are you asking me? Tell one of the servants". On that day, the word "servant" was removed from my vocabulary and both my parents consciously insisted on referring to them as "domestic help". When I was in college and living with other girls in a hostel, one of them told me that I wasn't washing my face right. She said something to the tune of "only use your fingers to scrub it clean because if you use the palms of your hands, you'll dry out your skin". I immediately called bullshit on that and the next time I spoke to my mother, I said, "Well, let her take care of her own skin which in my opinion needs more attention than mine". I was asked to stop being an arrogant, self-important piece of shit who was proud of the things she didn't even earn for herself. Okay, she may not have called me a "piece of shit" but her correction of my character came swiftly and firmly.
I'm sure no matter how many times we're told not to behave in a certain way, some innate crappiness of our characters do surface from time to time, making us do/say things that we should feel ashamed of. I'm so glad that I've been constantly corrected with so much care from the time I was young, which is one of the only reasons why I have a filter to avoid saying stupid things directly to people. But like any other human, I slip too. I still catch myself saying these things even in the absence of my mother. I say them to Shane and my best friends. Sometimes, I laugh out loud by myself after thinking those things. But one constant in all those slips is that the minute those words come to my mind or even escape my lips, I remember my mom. I remember that I'm being a douche. I've been constantly and immediately corrected so many times over the years that it's like muscle memory, and 90% of the time, I find the self-control to shut the fuck up or to even avoid thinking those things.
So with this post, I want to first of all, thank my mom for giving me this muscle memory of "if you can't be kind, then at least don't be a douche" (I just made that up 'cos she doesn't use the word "douche" but that's the essence of what she always told me) and secondly, pass on this wee bit of mommy wisdom - Do not stoop low enough to attack a person's character or appearance to win an argument or to generally express dislike towards them.
I think that one's a gem and should be something every kid is told growing up.
I hope that by sharing this with you, I'm ensuring that you will share my mom's wisdom with someone you love as well. Love and positivity to you!