If you know Hallmark, you know their snarky Maxine character by John Wagner. This morning I realized I am a Maxine in the making! Of course, I can’t stop with that simple realization, I have to delve into why I am becoming less Strawberry Shortcake and more Maxine-like with each passing day. Let me lay back on the couch, you take notes…
I love my mother and she did her best–and it is important to acknowledge that–in raising me and my brothers. She imparted to each of us a responsibility to be kind and good, that we reap what we sow, and that we are accountable for our actions. She also drilled into us the saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And truthfully, I lived my entire life doing just that…treating people with kindness and respect; believing they would treat me the same. Oh dear.
Mom was correct that we should follow the adage because it is the right thing to do, but she failed to mention that doing so is NOT a guarantee others will mirror our actions. There it is: Years of having unspoken expectations that others would be as kind and charitable to me as I have been to them, along with the resentment that they didn’t behave according to my expectations, equals a harsh slap into reality!
Actually, I came to this realization–or received this slap–quite some time ago, but it is just now I’m starting to see the effects of it. At my core I am kind and generous, and that will not change. However, what has changed, and will continue to change, is the stepping away from the assumption I had that others would respond in-kind to my actions. In its place is knowledge–knowledge that I must make my desires, opinions, and boundaries known. That means verbalizing. In verbalizing, I risk that others may see me as snarky, bitchy, or demanding. See me as you want, I am not apologizing for it!
Like Maxine, I realize–as all of us should–that I do have valid opinions, wants, needs, and boundaries and it is up to me to be clear about them. I still advocate living by The Golden Rule; but I also believe in being authentic and speaking your truth.
So, if you ask my opinion, you’re going to get it. You may also get it without asking. If you tell me something that doesn’t sit well with me or my values, I will call you on it. If you offend me, you’re going to know it. If you take advantage of me, you will probably just be cut from my life…sorry, I’m so done with that!
Maxine has taught me to state what’s on my mind, but to also embrace my quirky sense of humor, notice the world around me and drink martinis as often as I like. Life is too short to do otherwise! Of course, those who know Maxine also know she’s a smoking, cynical, politically opinionated, crab. For now I’m only embracing the upside of Maxine…but who knows what the future holds!
I love Maxine. She’s brutally honest, she’s clear on what irks her, she knows what she likes, and she doesn’t apologize for who she is. She’s no Mother Teresa, but has a lesson for us all. What could you learn from becoming Maxine-like?
The Yellow Kite