Kim, no stranger to controversy, fired back at her critics in a recent interview, comparing the attacks to bullying and saying, “People can be so mean! It’s not cool. It’s not fair!”
As I read through the interview, I realized that Kim and I were currently suffering from the same thing: an attack of the “It’s not fair!”s. I’ve been whining about being overworked and underappreciated and she’s been whining about being publicly eviscerated and the net result has been a lot of tears, fist shaking and a lot of, oh yes, It’s not fair. And you know what? It isn’t fair. It never is. It’s just part and parcel of the mortal condition. We all know this. And yet injustice always stings. (Paging karma?)
I’ve actually never seen Kim’s reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians (See me get all uppity about that? Coming down in 3…2…1…), but every once in a while I get really sucked into some tawdry reality show. And by addicted I mean I can’t stop watching until I’ve seen every available episode even if it means staying up until crazy hours of the morning and enduring endless repeats of the same idiotic Swiffer commercial. And I never manage to get addicted to something like, oh, Nova. No it’s always something juvenile and cheesy and poorly staged (“reality” my Pilates-honed hiney – as if every teen sits down their pregnant friend to ask her, “So, like, do you think you life is going to change now that you’re a mom?”). I won’t further humiliate myself by telling you past addictions (Dance Moms, Judge Judy, Catfish, 16 and Pregnant, People’s Court, I Used to Be Fat – oops that just slipped out) but Kim’s case of It’s-Not-Fair-itis reminded me of one dark night watching Teen Mom.
That night found me with my eyelids propped open with toothpicks, procrastinating a major article deadline, and watching the gazillionth episode – you might have seen it: it’s the one where a high-schooler with a funny accent (do only southern girls get knocked up?) and an adorable innocent baby realizes her boyfriend is a d-bag and her friends don’t want to hang out with her anymore because all she does is whine about her kid and parenting is a lot harder than she thought? – when a profound thought came to my mind. How do they all have such skinny thighs like 2 weeks after popping out a baby? It’s not fair!
I sat up and slapped myself. For the love of little green apples, I’m watching a 16-year-old high school dropout get “proposed to” by her teen-aged “boyfriend” and I have the gall to say “It’s not fair”?! Thank heavens you have those cellulite-free skinny thighs, sister! Use them to walk yourself right out of that trailer park! (Yes, I know what he said about y’all havin’ your own home an’ finally bein’ a famly an’ all but trust me, he’s sleeping with your best friend who also believes the pull-n-pray method is birth control.)
That wasn’t the first time I’d been sideswiped by an “It’s not fair” attack but it was the first time I cognitively realized how idiotic I sounded. Usually the attacks sneak up on me when I’m feeling particularly low about myself. Like when I see a family whose kids all sit quietly through church. Or when I see a friend’s gorgeous new house (or new boobs, ahem). Or when my husband goes to work and has 9 hours to himself while I’m at home working without the benefit of childcare. Or when I see a really thin woman eating a waffle cone with 3 scoops of ice cream at the mall, pushing infant triplets in a stroller. Heck I even think it’s not fair looking at celebs on magazines knowing full well that they’ve been photoshopped within an inch of their lives, not to mention they’ve been on a diet since they were 5 and all they eat are granola bars and yogurt. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve probably even looked at Kim K’s glorious glossy hair and muttered it’s not fair under my breath.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who sings the “It’s not fair” blues sometimes – it’s normal to want something better – but I’ve found that if I don’t stop them right away, they can send me into a serious funk for a long time. By golly I’ve listened to enough country songs to know that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wanting what I don’t have (looking at you Garth Brooks!) So in honor of Kim and not-skinny pregnant women everywhere, here are some strategies that I’ve found help me combat an It’s Not Fair Attack:
1. Identify the “It’s not fair” attack for what it is. Sometimes it just takes recognizing what you’re doing and acknowledging the futility of that train of thought to stop the cycle.
2. Focus on wanting what you have, not having what you want. It’s may be a cliche but it’s a cliche because it’s true. Counting my blessings is a one-way ticket back to happyville. It works so well that I actually keep a gratitude journal and write down three things I’m grateful for every evening.
3. Help someone else. Not only does it help you appreciate what you have but it makes you feel so good that you forget all about what you were worrying about before.
4. Do something else. I’m a magpie – oooh shiny! – so distraction usually works well for me. Playing the piano, calling a friend, tickling my kids, wasting an hour on Facebook… you know, whatever it takes. Actually maybe don’t go on Facebook – that sight has single-handedly launched more It’s Not Fair attacks than any in history, I’m guessing. Better yet, find something that makes you smile. Like right now I have a serious case of the grins because I got to look through Reader Cheeky Pinky‘s glorious wedding photos! (I hope you don’t mind the link, Beck, but I had to share because you are SO CUTE! I’ve never met you but any girl who uses baby hedgehogs as a cake topper is instantly my bestie.) Weddings. Babies. Cute old couples. I don’t mean to be a total girl here but they never fail to make me smile until my cheeks hurt!
5. Reason through it. During a really pernicious attack, sometimes I’m so far deep into my own self-pity that I can’t do the above tactics. So instead I call up my sister and she helps me take apart my simplistic thought and understand why I’m really upset. It turns out I wasn’t really jealous of the mall mom’s physique but rather I felt slobby and incompetent as a mom with my screaming kids and sweat pants and to me her perfect body represented the super-organized and put-together mom I wish I was. Plus, Super Mom probably has her bad days too. Maybe she’s chugging that ice cream because the triplets kept her up all night and she can’t have a Diet Coke because she’s nursing (oh land, can you imagine breastfeeding triplets?) and so she’s going for a sugar rush? Eh, I know it’s a stretch but it makes me feel better.
Do you have an “it’s not fair” trigger? How do you survive an attack? What is your go-to source for no-fail grins? What do you think about the non-stop Kim Kardashian body snarking – cruel bullying or warranted since she makes her living being gossip fodder??
P.S. If you need another reason to smile, check out Kid History vids. They’re not terribly new but if you haven’t seen them they’ll make you laugh until you pee.
(Click through to watch the video if you are reading this via your reader or e-mail!)