Posts Filed Under self-esteem corner.

People suck. Expect it, Move on, Be free.

by Janelle Hanchett

Yesterday, Ava came home very upset. Like really upset. She was emotional and distraught and seemed overwhelmed and lost.

She explained that she had been betrayed by her friends…her “friends.” Not only had there been some flakiness surrounding the science fair (which Ava takes so seriously it sort of alarms me), she found out that two of the girls at her slumber party had snuck into her room and read her diary, after telling Ava to “please leave” because they were “talking about something private.”

She was absolutely betrayed and could not make sense of it on any level: why would they lie? Why would they hurt her like that? Don’t they really care about her? Aren’t they her friends?

As she asked these questions I did my regular searching-for-the-right-thing-to-say routine, in which I inevitably realize I am not cut out for this shit and should not be trusted with somebody’s emotional development.

I listen to her feelings and empathize and commiserate. I feel the urge to say supportive, encouraging, hoo-rah good-mothering comments to her, to boost her spirits and make her feel better…but I just can’t. I can’t get them out. I hear them in my head: “Oh, maybe they were having a bad day. Be a bigger person. Look for the good in them.” Blah blah fucking blah.

But just like in The Stuffed Seal Incident, I can’t bring myself to say them, mostly because that crap never worked for me or helped me and it pretty much always just pisses me off. All that positive self-talk crap.

So instead, I say the truth.

“Ava, people suck. People are self-interested and self-centered. Every person, no matter who they are or how much they love you or you love them or how good they seem, WILL, inevitably, at some point, let you down. They will fail to meet your expectations. They will hurt you. This is not because they are bad people, but rather because they are human. And as humans, they are flawed.”

Maybe that seems pessimistic or negative or defeatist, but I don’t really think it is. And here’s why: because it’s true.

It’s reality.

And the truth, in my opinion, is where the freedom lies and real growth can occur.

All that positive self-talk just polishes my anger into something more palatable, or covers it up long enough that I forget it’s there. Ah, but the truth. The truth changes things.

Now if any of you have a close relationship to a human being who has never once failed to meet your expectations, please let me know and I will adjust my theory…but as far as I can tell, not a single human has ever lived on this planet without royally fucking up at least once, injuring the people close to him or her in the process.

I’ve done it. Sometimes I don’t even know I’ve done it. I let people down without even knowing they expected something of me. I’ve been so lost serving my own interests that I don’t even realize my friend needed me. So I’m an asshole consciously and an asshole unconsciously.

That’s actually kind of impressive.

Anyway I was on a roll, so I kept going. “Ava, this doesn’t mean we just roll over and accept the way people treat us without question. We get to choose who is in our lives and who isn’t, and you can cross those girls out immediately if you want, and with reason, but either way, the sooner you let go of the expectation that friends and acquaintances are going to treat you in thoughtful, considerate ways all the time… the sooner you’ll be a happier person.”

And she thought about this. And thought. And thought. And finally said “Yeah, I see that, because I hurt people all the time and get mad and feel bad about it. But I just want them to see that they were wrong.”

And so I said something to her that changed my life when a good, [very mean, very real] friend said it to me: “Well, would you rather be right or would you rather be free?”

She looked at me like I was insane.

But I think she got it one some level…

I chose not to go on, chose not to explain that it’s freedom from bitterness and resentment and pain – freedom from that aching feeling that comes because the world just won’t do what I want and nobody behaves and no matter how hard I try, you fail me. You hurt me. You let me down.

And I think they won’t. But they will.

And I will.

Because we’re human.  That’s what we do.

Oddly, when I see that, when I see the humanity in the other person, when I see that they are just like me, I am finally able to forgive them, to move on with a clearer head and less pain. Or at least it doesn’t last quite so long.

And maybe I will walk away, ultimately. And that’s cool. But whether I choose to love them despite their flaws or kick ‘em to the curb, I don’t have to carry that sickening feeling of betrayal, of deep-seated hurt – because I wanted you to be something you literally cannot be. (The Person Who Never Lets me Down.)

I don’t know.

It took me 30 years to learn these lessons. Just kinda hoping she gets it a little earlier.


But seriously, what kind of asshat kid reads somebody else’s DIARY? Little bastards.

Slacker Resolutions 2012

by Janelle Hanchett


I went to the gym today. I know. How clichéd – going to the gym on freaking January 2. There were like 17 billion people there, all of them looking super interested and impressed with themselves. I know I was.


New Year’s Resolutions.

I also went to the grocery store, where there was an inordinate number of people in the vegetable aisle.


I think not.

And I totally get it. I fall into the New Year’s Resolution trap. It feels all fresh and new and possible, you know, to start a new way of living, abandon old habits or take on new ones or get skinny or rich or married or whatever.

So as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve decided to jot down a few of my resolutions for 2012. Though I’ve called it Slacker Resolutions 2012, it could also be entitled “The Aim Low List”, or “I’m never going to do any of this shit anyway so let’s set low expectations to avoid excessive disappointment.”

To get my mind rolling, I Googled “most common New Year’s resolutions” and pulled the top 10. Then I modified them a bit, you know, to fit.


Resolution 1: Spend more time with family and friends.

Slacker modification: Stop telling my husband I want a divorce every time we fight.


Resolution 2: Eat healthier food.

Slacker modification: Stop eating chocolate in the middle of the night.


Resolution 3: Exercise.

Slacker modification: Park in the far-away spot immediately, as opposed to circling the lot 9 times hoping a closer one opens up.


Resolution 4: Enjoy life more/be less stressed

Slacker modification: Stop saying “fuck” so often in front of the children.


Resolution 5: Quit drinking.

Slacker modification: Buahahahahaha already did that one.


Resolution 6: Get out of debt.

Slacker modification:  Demand that my husband handle that whole debt situation immediately. If not sooner.


Resolution 7: Learn something new.

Slacker modification: Complete one craft.


Resolution 8: Travel to new places.

Slacker modification: Order something new at the taco truck.


Resolution 9: Help others/volunteer.

Slacker modification: Huh?


Resolution 10: Get organized.

Slacker modification: Stop basing laundry decisions on how many pairs of clean underwear are in my drawer.


I don’t know, but I think this is a pretty solid list.

Slightly unrealistic (particularly the not saying fuck one), but still, pretty solid.

And you? What are your slacker resolutions?

No really, do tell.

This could get good.

Santa turned my kid into a crackhead!

by Janelle Hanchett


So…you know what’s worse than disagreeing with somebody’s opinion on the latest parenting controversy?

Realizing you don’t have an opinion on the issue because it never occurred to you to give a shit.

Um, yes.

That’s where I stand with the whole Santa controversy.

[And yes, there is a controversy, friends. And it’s a big one.]

Well, maybe not that big, you know, compared to like world hunger or something, but still. It’s pretty big. Big enough to warrant at least 9 thousand blog posts and Facebook discussions.

Some people, evidently, think he’s creepy. Like pedophile creepy. Something about old man, kids on laps, bribing, etc. Mmmmkay. I’m not going into this. Next topic.

Others “can’t stand lying to their kids that way.” Oh come the fuck on. You don’t lie to your kids? Whatever. YOU DO TOO. “Mommy, what were you and daddy doing last night after we went to bed and I heard those sounds coming from your room?” “Um, uh…we were…um…reading the Communist Manifesto. Loudly. In intervals.”


Some people hate the materialistic part of it all. You know. Gifts and crap and whatnot and rewarding good behavior with stuff and bad behavior with, well, stuff. I suppose I can sort of get behind that one except that I can’t, because I like showering my kids in crap from Walmart and I often resort to bribing them. I mean I try not to, cause that’s some seriously shitty parenting (so they say), but when I’m in a bind, I’ll go there. I will.

And we’re all still breathing.

And then other people love the fantasy and play of Santa and think it’s all magical and shit.

But check this out. The only thing that crossed my mind as I read all these passionate diatribes for or against the fat gift-wielding man was “Uhhhhhhhhhhhh…(blank space and stares)….oopsy! Forgot to think about that one!” And…Guess that’s one more parenting approach I haven’t considered at all and thanks A LOT for making me wonder if I have damaged my kids ONE MORE TIME in ONE NEW WAY because I didn’t make a conscious decision about Christmas traditions but pretty much just continued the traditions of my family with no forethought, insight or contemplation.

Yes, I admit it.

I have not deconstructed Santa.

I have not considered the implications, insinuations, assumptions or underlying messages contained in the gift-giving crap extravaganza that is our Christmas. I like it. It’s fun. That’s as far as I’ve gotten.

I did not consider the long-term effects of my lying about who deposits stuff under the tree. I pretty much just did it.


My bad.

But I’m gonna level with ya. If my kids end up hating me for being a crap parent with poor ideals and pitiable execution, I can promise you it won’t be over the whole Santa thing. I have done so much worse than that.

My yelling alone pales the threat of any long-term Santa-induced trauma.

Easily 5 years of therapy material right there.

And then there’s my mouth and the incredibly poor decision-making surrounding it. For example, last summer I told my (then) 5-year-old son about bears and “friendly” ghosts (look, it’s a long story and it’s complicated.). But really. Who the hell does that? That was a baaaadddd choice.

I didn’t think about it beforehand. I MADE A MISTAKE.

So you can see why I’m just gonna let the whole Santa thing go.  Other people can worry about that sort of thing.

I have much bigger fucking fish to fry.

For example, figuring out how to not tell my kids stories that scare the crap out of them for a year.

Or really, thinking before I talk at all would be nice.

Now THAT would be a gift.

And I don’t care who fucking brings it. Incidentally, I don’t think my kids would either.

Maybe Santa will hook that up next year. He is real, isn’t he? He better be. My mama told me he was. And she never lies! She said he WAS REAL! HE MUST BE REAL! Why are you looking at me like that? Did she lie? Did the evil bitch LIE TO ME ALL THESE YEARS about Santa Claus? Oh agony! Oh pain! I CAN’T FACE MY LIFE NOW THAT I KNOW MY MOM TOLD ME A STORY ABOUT AN IMAGINARY MAN, CHIMNEYS AND GIFTS.

I shall not recover!

My inner child is weeping.


Okay that was fun.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.

On the Occasion of being Called Unoriginal

by Janelle Hanchett


I have accepted my lameness in most areas. I have fully embraced my sub-par performance in pretty much every facet of my life, particularly parenthood.

But today, somebody referred to one of my blog posts as unoriginal.

And that pissed me off.

Because it was true.

It was unoriginal. She was referring to the last post I wrote (about Ava getting flipped off). I could begin with a link to the post I wrote about sarcasm so perhaps this commenter could see that I was just ranting for the sake of ranting in a silly, over-the-top way and there was not much seriousness in it at all. But the truth is that when I got to the end of the post I said to myself “and…now what, Janelle? Where you going with this. Say something interesting.”  But I was too fucking tired. And I just wasn’t feeling “deep.”

I’m sure that has never happened to the commenter in question. I’m sure she is universally profound.

Not me, though. Sometimes I just rant. Sometimes I write shitty blog posts. Sometimes I FAIL. Thank goodness there is always somebody though, standing at the ready with their flaming sword of truth to show me the error of my ways. Ah, the flaming sword of truth. I stole that expression from a friend of mine.

So setting aside the fact that she misunderstood an entire blog post on account of the fact that there is no sarcasm font (or something) and somehow thought the purpose of the post was something other than a base, superficial rant, I would like to write a few things about my ACTUAL response to this whole flipping-off thing.

But wait a second. Can we talk about context and purpose for a moment? Let’s get something straight. Some posts are deep and profound and REAL. Other posts are silly and shallow and NOT REAL.

But I digress.

This commenter also discussed “veiled violence” and admonished us for going on and on about how we’re going to “cut a bitch” (which is so funny it’s making me LOL as I write this. I effing love you people.)

The Flaming Sword of Truth. Yay.

Beyond the cute use of alliteration, I’m not totally sure what her point there was with the “veiled violence” thing – perhaps that we should be teaching our kids something beyond “cutting people.”

Oh COME THE FUCK ON lady we were JOKING.

You wanna know what I really told my daughter? You want that? You want fucking original? Fine. You got it.

I told her people are assholes. I told her some things happen that leave us feeling desperate and abused and vulnerable. And that hurt turns to rage. It manifests as anger as our ego tries to protect itself. Then comes the urge to retaliate, the apparent need to act out and “get somebody back,” thinking for sure if we “really get ‘em” we’ll feel better and some of the hurt will go and we won’t be angry anymore. But it never works. We talked about the futility of that retaliation, how when we retaliate with more violence, we just become sick inside ourselves, and end up feeling worse than before, deep down, no matter what we may tell ourselves. We suffer like our abuser by holding onto rage – and we infuse with power that which we struggle against.

I suggested she look for the Buddha nature in that woman – for the spirit of God within her, making her our teacher.

I told her about Ghandi – about how he was shot in the heart point-blank on his way to a speech, and as he fell, he looked in the eyes of his murderer and whispered to him a blessing of love and forgiveness.


No, I did not suggest to Ava we hunt this woman down and kick her teeth in. I did that on my blog, where it’s safe to be over-the-top, shallow and sarcastic.

Well, usually.

And this, folks, is yet another reason I’m not a kindergarten teacher.

by Janelle Hanchett

Sometimes I think I have a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Is that an oxymoron?


At any rate, I have a few “hang ups.” And sometimes, they concern me.

Like today. Today we had to leave one of those mall play area things because this kid had a ring pop.

Okay that sounded even weirder when I wrote it. Let me explain.

Today, for the first time in my life, I went to a mall on Black Friday. Mostly due to chance. Was driving by on the way home from Thanksgiving at my brother’s house, baby started crying, mall was on the left, we went in.

And I thought to myself “Huh. This is the first time I’m not avoiding a store on Black Friday.”

Then we entered the mall and I remembered why I avoid stores on Black Friday.

But I digress. As usual.

So we’re in this mall and I start walking 4 steps into stores then turning immediately around due to check-out line lengths, knowing that even if I saved fifty bucks on whatever, hell, even if they HANDED me fifty bucks, I wouldn’t stand in those monstrous lines with 25,000 neurotic deal-hungry humans.

But that’s not the OCD part. Despite appearances.

So we’re in this mall and since the actual shopping isn’t panning out, we buy some coffee and decide to let the baby and kids run around one of those enclosed play areas.

Seemed like a fine plan.

And it was.

Until I noticed this girl with a ring pop. She had this ring pop, blue to be exact, and it’s appropriately on her finger. She’s running around sucking on this thing and waving it around, going down the slide and whatever…and…crawling on the ground dragging her ring pop then picking the fuzz off it and licking it again.

I stare at her with my jaw agape. At least I think it was. It was in my head.

I swat Mac and show him. Appalled.

He says something along the lines of “Yeah, and we wonder why people in America aren’t going to college. I mean the ring pop problem alone…”

And I realize he’s going to be no help in this situation.

I yell for the kids and tell them to avoid the ring-pop girl at all costs.

They look at me like I’m fucking insane and go back to playing.

Next to her.

I’m cringing.

I’m imagining that blue sugary spit-covered mess touching my baby’s head.

I glare at her parents. Obviously.

I realize at this point I’m being a nutjob. But there’s no going back at this point. I’m totally hung up on this – staring and obsessing and contemplating the destruction of our society, one ring pop at a time.

I get up and grab the baby, put her on another structure.

Ring-pop girl follows. Sucks the candy then pulls a piece of hair from her mouth, which was, evidently, an unwelcome guest clinging to her delicious Red Dye Number “Cancer” treat.

I can’t take it. Decide we must leave. Right NOW.

And…we leave.

Okay so is that OCD? I mean in hindsight it really wasn’t THAT big of a deal, but something about it just disgusted me and I couldn’t stand watching her flail around with that thing in mid-air, just ready to bop one of my kids in the face so I then had to clean sugary mess off their mostly clean mugs.

I just threw up a little in my mouth.

And that, my friends, is just another one of the many reasons I am not a kindergarten teacher.

I hate ring pops.

Can we all just agree ring pops are a freaking bad idea?