So, the past couple of weeks have been tough. I lost my heart dog and I miss that sweet little face every damn day. Now, I’m in the process of moving. Yay, me. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so they say. But what does that even mean? As you know, my mind tends to wander off the rails quite often, so I’ve been thinking about these turns of phrase people often use. There’s a catchphrase for practically every situation.
Whoever said, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” was obviously never in a crappy relationship. Or the victim of bullying. Or, you know, ever had a job dealing with people. Guess what? Words can and do hurt. Yet we throw this phrase around like it’s the North Star guiding us to a better place.
People employ phrases, aphorisms, idioms, metaphors, and clichés like they’re a dime a dozen. (See what I did there?) Seriously, these recurring collections of words are too often used as substitutes for real, honest, valuable conversation. I’m not even sure people understand what they are saying when using some of them.
Can’t see the forest for the trees. Two in the hand is worth one in the bush. He’s a fool who cannot conceal his wisdom. Don’t count your eggs before they hatch. By the time you puzzle your way through some of these, the topic of conversation has moved on, with some people none the wiser.
If the shoe fits, wear it. Just because it fits doesn’t mean I should put it on or that I even want to. Have you seen some of the heels out there? Whether they fit or not, I’d undoubtedly break an ankle. Then we’re back to sticks and stones… and now heels.
The best is yet to come. Really? ’Cause, it certainly feels like the older I get, the more tired and run down my body grows, the less “best” I feel. Not sure I’m turning that one around. I’d prefer to go back to childhood when I didn’t have bills and my mother chose my clothes and I didn’t have to decide what to make for dinner every freakin’ day.
And now we’re back to “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This right here. This is the phrase that people love to spout at the worst times, when you are feeling so down in the dumps that one more stupid aphorism or euphemism or whatever literary label you put on it can’t hurt. Can it? (Refer back to sticks and stones, if you really want to know).
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Does it, though?
I experienced a devastating loss last week. I had to have my dog euthanized due to ongoing health issues. He was my heart dog, and my heart is broken. I miss his funny little face and soulful brown eyes more than any words, however witty, could express. My other dog is now sick with a collapsed trachea, which is getting worse, and I’m unsure what the future holds. I never was a fan of being kicked while I’m down.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m moving. That would be because my landlord is selling the condo. Finding a place in the age of a pandemic is challenging, to say the least. Not to mention that landlords and management companies have jacked all the prices up by HUNDREDS of dollars. The renting world is not what it was a year ago, that’s for sure.
Crap at work just keeps getting deeper. The powers that be keep piling on and piling on because hey, why not KEEP the salary of the two people we laid off a year ago but GIVE the work to someone else, namely me, and then keep adding to that the entire year and going forward. My boss has fantastic ideas on how to grow the business and wants me involved. Oh, that’s great, you might say. You’re a marketing whiz, you might proclaim. Yet, this translates to me continually starting new projects while maintaining my already overwhelming workload. Its. Exhausting.
I’ve just recently started putting serious effort into writing a book based on summers in WV and old family stories (à la Erma Bombeck in style). You’ve read some previews here in this very blog. The problem is that I’m too tired and too broke to give it the proper attention because I’m too busy making someone else rich.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But does it? Does it really? Or is it more like whatever doesn’t kill you gives you anxiety-ridden dysfunctional coping mechanisms? You won’t be dead, and the PTSD is a hoot!
Michael Brady, a University of Glasgow Philosophy professor, claims that Nietzsche meant to suggest that one should take suffering as an opportunity to build strength. But you know what? I’m good. I’m okay with my weaknesses. If not having to grow stronger means I can have my dogs here with me, alive and healthy, I’ll take it. I’d prefer to move where I damn well want, and have more time off work, or at least be paid well for the time and effort I’m putting in. I’d like to be writing more without fear, and I’d certainly like to stop spending so much time making someone else rich.
I don’t need to be stronger. Where’s the aphorism for that? The one I keep coming up with is an unappealing metaphor and 2/3 curse words. One guess as to what it is.