About Being Kind, About Judgy People, and Relationship Hairballs

At a very young age, I realized, “Everybody’s got something.” The “something” is the hidden battle, the hard bits, that may or may not be public. A secret, a trauma, a disability, a hardship, a “something.”

When a was, I don’t know, like 10…? Two neighbor kids “played school” and taught me my home phone number. Yes, 10.

I was a conundrum. My family often described me as “7 going on 30.” I was cynical and had an early mastery of dark comedy. I was a thinker. Yet, I struggled with some very basic, academic tasks. Anyway, these two sisters thought it was ridiculous that I didn’t know my own phone number and sat me down until I got it.

In childhood, I attempted invisibility and was happy with it, but sometimes I couldn’t stop the obvious display that I was, not “like the rest.” This “outside looking in” space is probably why I knew so many of my neighbor’s secrets.  Children often told me their secrets. (It’s not unusual, still today, for people to tell me deep dark things in a manner like I already know… like I’ve known all along.) Secrets I kept and will always keep. Secrets that reasoned their behaviors, perhaps. Even though I was the “brunt” of the teasing or ignored altogether.

Still, I knew then, there was always “something.”


My first year of high school we moved to a new neighborhood. One day, a girl from one of my classes came to my house and asked, “Would you like to go for a walk?”

“Uh…walk? to where?” I asked.

You see, she would walk outside, just to walk outside. I would walk outside to, well, to the car. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

My walking friend’s high school years were full of stressful situations, learning curves, loves and loss. As were mine. Her stresses were different than mine, but we shared those years like we were holding hands from two different dimensions.

Our senior year, the school gave everyone this weird “stress survey.” I don’t know why.  If 50 were “average” (let’s just say) then she and I both scored about, I don’t know, 250. We assumed that was the case for everyone, because, high school.

Nah. Some of her friends had scores of like, 10.

I don’t know any of those people now. I hope they’re OK after living through an entirely unstressful high school experience. I can’t even imagine…


When I first heard the phrase, “Be kinder than necessary, because everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” I was struck not only by the truth, but also the implication that this battle is not the battle you think it is.

I’ve often written about how my son Marcus, an adult with Down syndrome, is not a “battle” for us. His life brings joy and peace to me, and so many other’s. As one friend put it, “Isn’t it funny, Marcus is the least of your worries.”  I will grant you, past medical hardships were real and present “battles” and I do battle for and with him on points imposed by society, hardships that are outside of our control.

When my mother had her own battle with cancer, my “battle” involved more than her cancer. It involved all of the complexities of our relationship and our past, wrapped up in a giant hairball of her struggles, her needs, and each of our responsibilities – to each other, to our own well-being, maybe even to the universe.

Back in high school, my walking friend said to me, “I think your mother is an alcoholic.”

“Oh…she drinks a lot,” I said, “But I never see her drunk.” (I didn’t live with my mother except in the summer.)

“Yes,” my new friend said, “That’s the trick. She’s always drunk.”

My mother explained to me, “No. An alcoholic has to have a drink at the same time every day. I can drink at any time.” Sooooo….

My mother is a victim of victims, as they say. She has a lot of her own personal “somethings.”

Come to think of it, everything with my mother is, and continues to be, a giant hairball.


I try not to allow other people’s “judgements” – “affect” me. Ha! That’s so cute. It feels ridiculous even writing it.

More accurately, I wish I could get over other people’s judgements affecting me. They don’t know. They. Don’t. Know. What I do, what I can do, what I have done, what I am trying to do…OR any of those personal battles that are, frankly, none of their damn business. And sometimes, there are folks who think they do know. Those are the worst. AmIRight? People who



what you’re going through. So they should definitely be allowed to pass judgment on your actions, decisions, intentions. People who know you (me), people who know (other person in the judgement zone) so clearly, they, in all their compassionate knowledge, are eligible for the judge robe and wig. #AmIRight? OY!

Unless you’re helping me, out of kind determination, to learn my phone number, for example.  Or walking beside me as a friend. You can just take your judgement and…well, put it wherever you’re hiding your own “something” you don’t want to face and leave mine out of it.


Can you believe this started with the FTSF promptneighbors” or was it “neighborhood”? In any case, check out the rest of our friend’s link ups here or here.  Have you seen Avenue Q? A mature, well, more aptly immature-yet-not-child-appropriate Broadway comedy that includes puppets because, why not? This song is one of neighborhood, neighbors, ranting, and also sings to my point, “everybody’s got something.” Take a minute and enjoy,

“It Sucks to be Me”


One More Note to the Universe:

Thing is, it does not suck to be me. However, the “real life” hard stuff going on in my family and others close to me right now…it’s not easy or quick to “fix” stuff. About the tasks, and even people, I am “neglecting” because, real life doesn’t allow me to do everything, even when I try, trust me, no one is more sorry than myself that I can’t do or get to it all (and more!). My house is a fiasco, my personal email hasn’t been touched for weeks, there’s always more I should be doing for…everyone it feels. But today, I decided to write (rant), do laundry, pack for my next business trip, shop and cook healthy food to keep my boys going, plus other harder obligations. Tomorrow I will work, then hopefully either spend some time with people who bring me joy or maybe watch BBC to decompress for a few precious minutes, before we hit it all again. I confess, Universe, the judging hurts and affects me and so, I handle and react the best way I know: I write it out. I’m doing what I can with what I have, if you want more, then  “throw me a bone, K?”  Also, Universe, since I know you’re gearing up the storm, thanks for the time to write and prep today, I’ll use it as fuel to get us through the next bits.

2018-05-05T13:10:14+00:00Categories: Grown Ups & Downs|Tags: , , |8 Comments


  1. clark May 5, 2018 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    ok, since you’ve written my post for me (and, for that matter, most of our people)* I can just head out in any old direction, right?

    The line I got the most from in your post was:

    …know…exactly what you’re going through. So they should definitely be allowed to pass judgment on your actions, decisions, intentions.

    Of course those who do, have a tendency to not…at least not in a judgementally** way.

    I take this as a reference to the truly amazing phenomenon of ‘identification’, as in ‘I can identify with that’.

    The amazing thing about identification is, imo, the fact that one can benefit from another without involving a social/personal transaction. And god knows. clarks are not so good at negotiating social/personal transactions (hell, I worry that the total stranger in line at the gas station might down-grade me in his opinion if I accidently let it appear that I’m cutting in line. lol)

    to identification, I am allowed to know that what one person has triumphed over (or simply survived) gives me hope that I will either have the same strength (or durability) just on the basis of my willingness to identify with them. I don’t need to ask for permission, hell, its not necessary that they even know! through identification I am permitted to draw strength or hope from another.
    This is, imo, very big with clarks (especially when it comes to the periodic descent into a very bad place that many of us are subject to being drawn down into.)
    To see another clark come out of that place is the single (and perhaps only) hopeful thing available to many of us. And, conversely when we see others heading down we can look for ways to make ourselves available or even just visible, that they might identify with us.

    as always, your posts speak to me and therefore generate somewhat long flights of commentation…
    thanks .

    *given that the topic is, ‘What is it like being a clark/Outsider
    ** not a ‘real’ word

    • Mardra May 6, 2018 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Thank you so much, your “long flights of commentation” both bring me joy and a certain sense of validation.

  2. Pat B May 5, 2018 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Beautifully said. Sometimes one needs to feel safe to rant. I’m sorry for the “real life hard stuff” that you are experiencing in your family and those close to you. I hope things will even out and you will feel more able to cope with all your responsibilities.

  3. Kenya G. Johnson May 6, 2018 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I’m glad you took time to write and rant. Much of that last paragraph feels like me sometimes and I carve out just a little bit of me time when I write something and link up with FTSF. There’s always something else I should be doing or enjoying to maximize the time and day. I’m getting ready to decompress now and read a book because I’ve got a long week ahead. Blah!

    • Mardra May 6, 2018 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks for stopping, I decided to post (even though it’s a rant) in the hopes at the very least people can relate. 🙂 thanks for reading.

  4. Kristi Campbell May 6, 2018 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    UGH without being all “oh, girl, I know what you’re going through” (because I don’t), I will say that I’m sorry you’re going through difficulties right now and that in some ways, I am too… so although I have NO IDEA what you’re going through (because I don’t), I know the feeling of dealing with crap that takes us away from personal email and life, and that sucks. I hope you get back to a better balance soon. Also judgey people SUCK.

    • Mardra May 6, 2018 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      Exactly! Thanks Dear, backatcha. <3

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