I survived working retail at Christmas time. Barely. I really don't want to repeat the experience next year, but if I need to, I know I can survive again. (With the right shoes. Otherwise you're just asking for constant foot and leg pain.) It also makes for great people watching. I was just the proverbial fly-on-the-wall a lot of the time, quietly refolding a table of sweaters for the 50th time that evening. A whole parade of the good, the bad, the ugly, the screaming and tantrum throwing and, occasionally, the kind. But one day I came face-to-face with someone that scared the living shit out of me.
A woman was shopping with her four children, a toddler in her arms and the others clustered closely around her. Her brown hair was skinned back in a serviceable ponytail and she wore glasses, mom jeans and an oversized shirt that looked filched from her husband's closet. There was a tightness around her eyes and forehead that was practically tangible. She had a please-god-just-let -me-get-my-stuff-and-get-out-of-here-in-one-piece look on her face. She probably had to rush home and get the dining room set up to host the bratty Achievement Day girls that won't ever sit still and spend the hour crawling in and out of the doggie door. Or maybe she's stuck serving in the nursery for the fifth year in a row--since one of her kids is always in there anyway--so she and her own kids have a constant virus of some sort from the sick babies who's dipshit mothers send them to nursery sick so they can give their stupid lessons in YW. And maybe she could make it to Homemaking night if her husband would come home from work early enough. But he rarely does, so the only social life she's allowed is denied her. She tends to stay at home because it's just easier than hauling all those kids around. The first word out of her mouth to her kids is "no" because a "yes" will probably mean more work than she has the energy for.
That woman was so scary because she was ME. The me I was just a few short years ago. The days of the once-a-year haircut. Of never showering alone or even managing to pee alone. Forget shaving the legs or using moisturizer. Who had the time? Or the money? I just wanted to cry and hug this woman. I wanted to tell her asshat husband to get home and watch the kids for a couple of hours, damnit, because they're his spawn too! Then I'd take her to get a nice hairstyle and some flattering jeans. Just because having those babies has done a number on your body didn't mean you still can't look good. And no more baggy men's shirts, sweetie. You deserve better. And going to the temple does not constitute an acceptable social life. Get some friends, get some interests. Realize that you are important in your own right and your feelings are valid! Don't stuff them down with a box of donuts and a plate of nachos. Deal with them before you're big as a house! If you don't realize that YOU ARE AN AWESOME HUMAN BEING then how will anyone else know it?
Whoa! I didn't realize I had still had so much pent-up anger and resentment. But damn, that felt good.