Tag Archives: mean

So Then I Go And Blow All My Kindness Karma In One Fell Swoop


One of the doctor’s requirements to keep this horrible panic/anxiety manageable is yoga. Not a tough regimen for me to follow since I happen to love yoga. I have lots of yoga tapes (Rodney Yee and Steve Ross are my personal favorites). I have the discipline to practice yoga on my own or with others.  I have the mat, strap, block and cute yoga clothes that I actually wear to do yoga.

What is difficult is finding a great yoga instructor.

But I’ve found one. She is amazing. Let’s call her Belle. At the gym, when I was checking out the class to see if I was actually going to join, I tried Belle’s class first. I was in heaven. She is knowledgeable. She has the perfect pace for any degree of difficulty. She is personable, interesting and fun. I was sold and signed up on the spot.

And I love going to yoga class.

Unless Belle isn’t there. Or, should I say, unless Ursula is teaching.

Now Ursula (not her real name, of course) is not a horrible person. She just hates yoga and you can tell. Her true love is the strength training class she teaches just before yoga. If I had taken her yoga class first I never would have joined the gym. While she may know what a pose is called and how to demonstrate it, she has no clue how to get from one pose to the next. She doesn’t practice a true yoga flow. She doesn’t warm the class up. It’s as if she looked at a yoga cookbook minutes before class and said, “I’ll do this pose and this pose and this pose and that should do it.” Slam the book shut. Go to class. Bark the commands.

“Breatheinbreatheout,” she says, jammed all together, not telling us that as we push up into cobra we should be breathing in and pushing back into downward dog we should exhale. She just says, “Breatheinbreatheout” every few minutes. A reminder to keep breathing, I suppose.

I have suffered through her class a few times. The last time, while I was doing poses I had no business doing because I wasn’t properly warmed and ready, I swore, “Never again.” If she’s there, I’ll just walk out.

For passive, non-confrontational me? That’s a tall order to fill.

Today, walking into the building, I see the 8 o’clock class letting out at 8:57. A little early. For Belle, anyway. She’s chatty. Her classes always run late. That was my first clue. I see a fellow yogi. “Are you going to class?” I ask. She smiles a feeble smile and shrugs. My second clue.

With backpack and yoga mat slung over my shoulder, I skip the locker room to peek into the yoga studio to see who is teaching. Gingerly, I push the door open just enough to poke my head through.


Who should be standing smack dab in front of me? Ursula. That’s who.

“Hi,” she says brightly.

“Hello,” I respond.

Just Ursula. No one else in the room. I panic, imagining myself alone. With her. Doing cookbook yoga.

Face crestfallen, I begin to back out, remembering my promise to myself.

“Oh,” she says, her face falling, too. “You’re not staying?”

“Nope.” I turn on my heel and hightail it out of there.

No explanation. No excuse. Just “Nope.”

I feel horrible but I’m determined not to suffer through another one of her classes.

And my response to Ursula’s question. That was mean enough, right?


I don’t stop there.

Another yoga classmate, a newbie, is walking in as I am walking out. She recognizes me.

“You’re leaving already?” she asks.

I proceed to tell her exactly why I’m leaving and convince her not to go to class either.

It’s official. I’m an idiot. I’m a terrible, horrible person.

I think I just failed this Kindness project in one fell swoop.





Filed under Confessions

There Are Times When You Need To Keep The Snark To Yourself

“Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”

One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies. And it’s my favorite for a reason.

Because it’s true for most of us, although, we’d never admit it.

I enjoy a good tidbit of gossip. I try not to spread any but I admit, my ears perk up when it’s being shared. Some people have a higher tolerance for it than others. I’d like to think that I know when to stop, know when to keep my thoughts to myself.

But I’m no saint. And there are not many on this Earth that can prove that they are. Saints, that is.

When friends, family or acquaintances are going through especially tough times, I zip it. Major and embarrassing faux pas? Ignored. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I wouldn’t want my financial or relationship woes savored for entertainment.

But the “What? Not again?” annoyances that pop up? I’ve been known to share with my closest and dearest friends. I’m not proud of it. But apparently, I’m not too ashamed to stop. I call it “unloading” in order to assuage my guilt.

I reign it in when things get ugly or mean.

“There’s never an excuse to be mean” – wise words from my brother-in-law.

Words I try to live by.

Especially in the comment section of a blog post.

A mildly controversial topic that I blogged about months ago, suddenly became popular in the blogosphere. And one individual, who shall remain nameless, had much to say about my take and those of my readers. The comments to my other commenters were just plain mean. Not worth repeating. Not constructive. And frankly, not even argumentative. (Which I may have allowed, if only to encourage discussion.)

And then, after copying and pasting an admittedly, ill-constructed paragraph of mine, little Ms. Snark said:

“Oooooo. Well said. Kudos to you, Oh Great Writer.”

I enjoy a lively discussion. I am not of the ilk who feels if I don’t agree with you, I shouldn’t comment. I like differing opinions. Sharing a point of view that is different from my own is welcomed here. It’s one of the many ways that I grow as a human being.

But gratuitous snark and sarcasm?

That is not welcome here.

Or, anywhere for that matter.

(Yes. The Blogosphere police chief has spoken. Now, run along and comment somewhere else. Constructively. Kindly. And with no malice. You’ll feel much better about yourself afterwards. Trust me.)


Filed under Blogging, Soapbox

If Only We Could Wrap Their Hearts In Bubble Wrap

We attempt to protect our children from the weather, illness, accidents and the boogie man. Most of the time we are successful. Sometimes, we are not.

There is one thing that proves to be a fruitless fight.


“Mommy? I had a horrible day today,” #2son says to me over cantaloupe and crackers after school. I settle in for his tale of woe.

It contained the usual. Dropping his jacket in a puddle. He didn’t get to sit in his favorite seat on the bus with his favorite friend. They ran out of pizza at lunch and he had to have chicken drumsticks. Which he loves. But still.

The worst thing that happened? It was during the fire drill. They were all filing outside and a younger kid, a kid in the 1st grade, was walking ahead of #2son. They were to wait under the tree and Mr. 1stgrade moved a branch aside and looked like he was holding it for #2son to pass. But just as #2son got close, as he was smiling and starting to say thank-you, Mr. 1stgrade smiled and let the branch go. Hard. Smacking #2son in the face. And then, Mr. 1stgrade laughed.

“Why would he do that?” my son said with tears starting to fall, “That was so mean.”

The look of innocence in his eyes broke my heart. And he wasn’t crying because of the sting on his face. He was remembering the offense. He was tearing up because of the sting in his heart.

“Why was he smiling? And why did he laugh? It wasn’t funny. Nobody else laughed,” my son implored, trying to make sense of such meanness. “And he was younger than me. I was about to thank him. He doesn’t even know me. Why would he do that?” he asked again.

I had no answer. I hugged him. And said something about sad, angry people and how they lash out at others because they want people to hurt as much as they do. But it was no consolation.

And my son’s innocence was shattered.

How do we protect our children from mean people? And if we could, should we? When our oldest daughter was dealing with some mean-girl shenanigans years ago my husband said, “Better she experience this now, when we can help guide her rather than protect her and then have her experience it when she moves out, when we’re not around to help.” I suppose he’s right. Reluctantly, I agreed with him. But why do we have to experience meanness at all?

I can make him wear his seat belt or his bike helmet. I can feed him Flintstone vitamins and make sure he drinks his milk. I put him to bed at a reasonable hour. I know his friends. I read to him and he reads to me. I do everything I can to make sure he is safe and loved.

But I can’t wrap his heart in bubble wrap.

But oh, how I wish I could.


Filed under All In A Day's Work, children, parenting