Sometimes my bean is wise beyond her years. She seems to have an innate ability to see things for what they are, understand the greater picture, and she isn’t afraid to share her wisdom. Lately, she has been pointing out one of my character flaws, or bad behaviors, if you will. It’s not the fact that she isn’t afraid to call me on the carpet when she feels I am not behaving as I should; it’s her insight and wisdom that get to me. I just don’t understand how she has such knowledge and understanding. From where does this knowledge come? I certainly am not as insightful as she, and I am almost half a century old.
I often make fun of myself. Be it a coping mechanism, an emotional guard, or just poor self-esteem, I don’t have a problem pointing out or laughing over my shortcomings. I know I tend to make comments about my weight or appearance, but this is mostly said in jest. It began when we were shopping a few weeks ago. The Bean pointed out a few things she thought I would like for spring. She pointed out a pair of loose, flowing pants with a lovely floral pattern. I told her I really liked the pants, but if I wore those, I would look like a big, fat floral a$$. Jordan stopped in her tracks, looked at me quizzically, and said, “Why do you do that?” I kept walking and said nonchalantly, “What?” Jordan responded, “You talk mean about yourself all the time. You hardly ever say anything bad about anyone, and you’re always saying we shouldn’t judge people because we don’t understand their whole situation, but you talk bad about yourself all the time.”
I have never really thought about this, but she is not wrong. I told her I was just being honest and trying to be funny. I don’t believe those pants would be flattering on me. I could imagine the image from behind, and I think I would look like a big, fat, floral a$$. My dear girl told me I’m one of the prettiest women she knows, and I should treat myself with kindness and respect. Hmmm, I think she has heard that somewhere before.
I didn’t think much more about this conversation, but once again, Jordan pointed out the unkindness I speak about myself apparently regularly. I had a bad day with my lupus; actually, I’ve had a series of bad days. When I have a bad day, everything hurts, I feel exhausted, and my head feels like it is filled with glue. I just can’t seem to think straight, follow a repeated routine, or think logically from one step to the next. I lose words, struggle to express my thoughts, and fumble with speech. I hate how I feel these days. I had made a series of mistakes in the soap studio, and Eric seemed irritated with me. He later sat me down and told me he doesn’t get angry with me; he gets angry at seeing me have to deal with this. When I struggle, he feels helpless, worried, and frustrated. When I picked up The Bean from the bus stop, she asked me about my day. I told her I was having a bad day and had made a bunch of stupid mistakes. Again, she pointed out that I don’t allow her to refer to herself or anyone else as stupid, and I should not use that word to describe myself or my actions. She again pointed out that I am unkind to myself and how I speak badly about myself. Again, she is not wrong.
Last night was another episode and lecture from my very wise daughter. We go to Lone Oak Farm every week for raw milk. I now have a collection of seven glass milk bottles that need to be returned. I have had said milk bottles seat belted into my backseat for a week. I went to Lone Oak yesterday and forgot to return the glass bottles that have ridden around in my car for a week. I didn’t realize my mistake until I drove Jordan to taekwondo last night. Jordan pointed out that the milk jugs were still riding in the backseat with a seatbelt holding them in place. I sighed and said, “I forgot about them. Your mom is such an idiot.” My daughter took my hand and squeezed it. She then said, “Mom, you just did it again. Stop talking bad about yourself. You would tell me not to use the word idiot to describe myself or anybody else. Your body doesn’t know when you are joking or if you are serious. All your body knows is that you don’t speak well about yourself, which is bad for you.” I asked her where she learned this, and her response was, "TikTok. It's not all garbage."
My daughter is absolutely correct. I’m not sure how she has become so wise in all her thirteen years. I certainly hope it's not all TikTok. I've sorely underrated this app if it is from TikTok. Regardless of where it came from, she is right. I am not even aware that I do this. Is it instinct? Is it a knee-jerk reaction? Is it a poor excuse for a coping tool? Is it a window of how I really feel about myself? Maybe it is all of these things. What really bothers me is that I look, feel and sound like a hypocrite to my child. Obviously, the lessons I try to teach her have had an impact. She can reiterate my words almost verbatim. However, I didn’t lead by example, and I wasn’t even aware of my mistake until she pointed it out. She is correct, I would not allow her to speak in such a way about herself, but I don’t follow my own rules. I always felt my parent’s parenting style was, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I hated this approach and often felt frustrated and angry. I vowed not to be a hypocrite with my child, and I failed miserably.
I believe actions speak louder than words, and my actions don’t set the example for how I want my girl to treat herself. When she hears me talk unkindly about myself, it inadvertently gives her the green light to do the same. This is something I really need to work on and improve. I believe words have power. My words are powerful enough to make my child stop me in my tracks and call me out on my bad behavior. I have promised Jordan I will make a solid effort to be aware of how I speak about myself. Being aware and present about what one says is just as important as the words used. I need to do better.
Our teachers in this life come in all forms. My child teaches me something new about myself almost daily. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, don’t talk bad about yourself, and keep washing your hands.