Mental Health… is your mental health my responsibility? If it is…then you’re screwed.
by Peggy Browning
I must ask again…is your mental health my responsibility? Please, I beg you, don’t make me responsible for it.
You will be sorely disappointed. And I’m sorry for that. Please don’t take anything I say as a personal affront. My opinion doesn’t matter…well, it does in my life, but my opinion does not matter to your life!
I am not an unkind person. But I often say the first thing that pops into my mind. Wild and crazy words race to my mouth, totally unfiltered and I say them. If you are standing in the way of this verbal barrage, then you might be wounded. Not mortally wounded, but you might be a little bit stunned.
Believe me, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wouldn’t be mean to you on purpose…ever. But my smart mouth gets me in trouble all the time. And I usually don’t even recognize that what I said was offensive to you.
If you are a store clerk or a waitress, you might want to check your mental health before you wait on me.
There’s a reason for this.
So here’s what happened today.
I went to the local JC Penney’s store because I wanted to look at the dresses and see what’s available that I might squeeze my plump hiney in for my daughter’s wedding in August. I know…I have about four months, but I just wanted to see what’s out there that’s considered fashionably acceptable.
As soon as I stepped inside the store… I mean, the door was still swooshing shut behind me…a young woman said, “Hello, honey. How are you today?”
And I said, “Well, I’m just fine, Sugs. How about you?” (Sugs – noun. Pronounced shoogs if you’re from the South or Texas)
She looked at me like I had slapped her. I didn’t even know I was being offensive, but her look told me differently. I was just being a smart ass and answering her like she had addressed me. I had expected her to laugh. She didn’t.
I guess she thought “honey” was a proper, even friendly, way to address an older woman. Perhaps her supervisor had even told her to call older women sugary, stupid names. I don’t blame the clerk…but I don’t like to be called honey and sweetie and baby. Ma’am works for me.
I don’t know of any woman my age who likes to be called those names. It feels condescending and like clerks and waitresses are trying to convince themselves they like you well enough to wait on you.
But back to the story… I felt like I had damaged this woman’s mental health (at least for 30 seconds or so) because she seemed hurt when I called her “Sugs.” And this is the lesson I wanted to teach, but didn’t because I didn’t dare to hurt her feelings any more than I already had:
Don’t let your self-worth or self-esteem be measured by what someone else says even if they are an asshole (especially if they are an asshole.) And never, ever, ever, ever put your mental health and well being into the hands of someone else. That is your own treasure.
Don’t let the careless words of someone who doesn’t matter to you at all harm you. Let it pass, their opinion of you doesn’t matter. And neither does mine.
I went back to Sugs’s register after I looked at dresses and chose a t-shirt for my grandson. We ended up laughing about silly stuff…I told her about my grandson talking about farts all the time which is pretty funny if it doesn’t annoy you to death.
I don’t know the state of Sugs’s mental health when I left, but I hope she doesn’t hold me responsible.