Photo by: iStock

The Older I Get, the More I Want the Things Money Can't Buy

by Miranda Gargasz
Photo by: iStock

What do I want for Christmas? That’s a question I get asked over and over each year. I never have an answer because I’ve never really been all that materialistic. Sure, I like to have this or that, but most often it’s something small that I usually buy for myself. The majority of my money that gets spent on me – a luxury, as any mom can attest – is usually blown on books. I like to read and write. Pretty simple stuff that doesn’t require much.

Lately, I’ve gotten to thinking, though. There are things I want, but no one is going to be able to hand them over Christmas morning. They simply can’t be given that way. Things I want are…

1. An end to Mom-Shaming.

I cannot express enough how exhausting and devastating this activity is. I hate it so much. Just the other day an older lady saw me buying a boxed item in the baking aisle and said, “You know, it’s just as easy to make that from scratch.” What the little old lady didn’t know is that my attempts at making this particular item from scratch have seriously BLOWN. Like, the dog wouldn’t eat it, kind of BLOWN. I can’t tell you how long I cried about my homeade attempts to make food I could buy in a box. All I can say is… I tried. That should count for something? Mom-shaming means that it doesn’t count, and that is unbearably sad. I’m not Martha Stewart, and that gene was not on the option when I went swimming in my genetic pool.

2. An end to fat-shaming.

Sitting at a restaurant the other day I heard a man ask his wife, “Who is that woman on TV that you watch? You know. The fat one?” That’s all the information his wife needed to name Rosie O’Donnell. Seriously. I nearly stabbed them with my fork. I hate that a person’s weight is what defines them to so many people. It’s truly one of the last acceptable prejudices. It makes me sick. Regardless of anyone’s opinion of Rosie O’Donnell, if your first descriptor of her is that she’s fat, the problem is YOU not HER. If you look at me and all you see is a fat woman, it’s time to consider deepening your pool, because yours is pretty damn shallow.

3. More of the ‘feminist love’ from my sons.

Tony came to me and said, “Mom, my friend shared a meme with me that said something about women needing to be in the kitchen. He thought it was funny. I didn’t get it. What does that even mean?”

My response: “What do you think it means?”

Tony: “The truth?”

Me: (nodding my head)

Tony: “That he’s an idiot.”

Seconds, please.

4. A confidence boost.

I want to stop feeling like I haven’t earned my place at the table. Any table. As a mom, writer, aunt, in-law, wife, friend and human being: I feel like I let people down more than I help. There are days that I win like a boss. There are days that I am barely holding on, trying not to circle the drain. Regardless of what day it is, I’ve done the work. I’ve put in the effort. I need that boost of confidence to help me say to myself, “You are enough.”

5. Less self-imposed stress.

I want to tie a blindfold around the eyes of my Type A personality, offer it one last smoke, and blow its brains against a wall. Nothing has to be perfect. There are no perfect people. We are all our own special brand of f#cked up. We should embrace that and go with the flow. I’ve lost sleep over the fact that someone visited my house and the carpet looked unswept. They came in and looked at the floor with disdain. You know what? They didn’t know that I swept twice that day. They didn’t know that my vacuum bag got full and, much to my chagrin, that was last damn bag I even owned. I didn’t have time to go get another one before they came over with their white gloves and scowl. So what if the dog fur collected in the corner looks like I murdered an old woman or spend my free time shearing dogs? I’ve done my absolute best and that should be all that anyone, especially me, expects.

6. More people going out of their ways to write nice comments.

This one sounds like a no-brainer. I have seen so many folks doing good things and putting goodness out into the world, but that all gets swept away by just one jerk being an idiot and leaving troll comments on articles I (or other writers) have written. It’s not hard to be nice, people. Seriously. I don’t agree with 90% of what I read on the internet. I only comment when I have something positive to add to the conversation, or if I can voice my opinion in a way that shows I’m a grown human being who disagrees with the author and showed up with my manners intact. If the only comments you can leave are your guesses about my I.Q., and how that is impacted by the color of my skin, then just keep on truckin’. Those are personal attacks, not opinions. No time for that B.S. here.

7. More love, less hate.

You’d think this one is a no-brainer, but it’s not. Who in this world couldn’t use a little more understanding, love or kindness? Who could deal with a lot less hate? There are easy answers to these easy questions, but somehow, as human beings, we lack follow-through. Some people get so blinded by their anger, or are so very married to their opinions, that they don’t take the time to step back and see the bigger picture. Hate grows like weeds. It needs no attention whatsoever to take over this world. Weeds choke out the flowers just like hate chokes out love. When given the right attention, and making a concerted effort to eradicate hate, love will bloom. Mightily. Heartily.

If I were to get everything on my list, in the immortal words of Louis Armstrong, what a wonderful world it would be.

Miranda Gargasz is a writer from a small suburb outside Cleveland, Ohio. She is a contributor at What the Flicka? and The Huffington Post. In February of 2014, she published her first collection of essays entitled ‘Lemonade and Holy Stuff’. You can read more on her Blog, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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