This is not about you it’s about me.

I really try not to whine. Whining is different from talking things over with people. There’s a wheedling, “pity me” quality to whining that isn’t present in a good talking-out. Sometimes, though, the urge to hit the martyr bandwagon is strong, so very strong, and I don’t always resist the wienie whiny syndrome. I thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who has listened patiently to these screeds. You are truly heroic to have resisted the urge to slam the door in my face (or throw the phone against the wall).

When the urge strikes to pile a bunch of “poor me” on some poor soul, I try to step back and do the whining just to myself. Maybe even mumbling it all aloud when I’m securely alone. About five or ten minutes of this exaggerated pity party is all I can stomach. It doesn’t always prevent me from repeating this act with another person, but it makes it far less likely. There’s nothing like bathing oneself in the sticky glub of whinosity to give one (me) a strong desire to want to come clean. Coming clean is impossible when the sticky mess of whining is involved.

Coming clean involves talking about important things without the martyr flags flying; it also means refraining from sarcasm or put-down wit—another trap I all to easily fall into. Outrage and insult are as often about life not turning out as we wanted it as they are about genuine concern over injustice. It’s important to know which is which, being straight first with yourself so you can then be straight with others. If you’re not sure where your motivations lie, keep your powder dry but don’t shoot any salvos. If you’re not sure where your motivations lie, the best thing is to keep quiet.

Listen to the crickets chirp in the lull. I’ve been doing a lot of listening to the crickets lately chirping outside the sitting room window on these warm summer nights. Although the sound is about biology, attracting a mate, to human ears it’s a soothing, meditative sound. It induces in me a mood for contemplation, a desire to see things straight. Contemplation is the antithesis of whining, which is all about the martyr, all about life disappointing us. Contemplation is about accepting the moment for what it is now, good or ill. I don’t always get there, I all too frequently fail, but I am trying at least part of every day to savor the silence and let go of accusation, acrimony, and martyrdom.

It is so very hard, especially when life is disappointing, and when I am not feeling well, as has been the case for most of the last month….Ah, you see, the whine creeps even into this. It is hard to resist. But so very necessary.