Something to Cry About

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Just after a punishment—corporal or otherwise—my parents had a saying, “Stop crying or else I’m gonna give you something to cry for.” 

The statement defies reasonable thought: whatever punishment had been dealt out was already plenty enough to cry about.  Wouldn’t an extra portion be adding insult to injury? 

Afraid not.  

According to the folks, my sisters and I had earned the punishment (we were not the victims of random and sundry rules and enforcements; all were laid out plain with a choice: follow them or else.  And “else” had its own clear cut definition too: the lips, the butt, the stairwell in the dark, no phone, t.v., dance, or skate party).   Of course that meant there was no need for tears.  Bottom line: if you did the  crime, in our household, it was expected that you were prepared to do the time.  Of course my sisters and I were never prepared.

But thanks to the folks I learned to be prepared for and to face my consequences without fear or confusion.  I know that every action has an equal and opposite reaction not just from studying Newton’s laws in physics class but from the folks’ ingenious way of demonstrating it. 

These days I kind of figure to be anything but dignified in the face of ugly consequences implies my own inadequate preparation.  And that is an insult to whatever injury I face.  Because it’s an insult to my intelligence.  If I knew better all along, I should’ve done better.

I think that the Universe, like my parents had with their quip, has a way of answering our lack of preparation and poor forethought.

Christians often say, “If you’re going to pray, don’t worry.  If you’re going to worry don’t pray.”  Considering that worry is a common pastime among too many people I’ve met along my journey I would venture to say it is like many verses, prayers, chants, and commandments that is more of a theory than a practice.  

But alas! The Universe has a way of answering the poor behavior of worry-warts.  Some people call it karma; some call it bad luck; others call it God trying to tell you something. 

As any of the above or none, I like to think of it as the Universe “giving you something to cry for.”  Every time you worry, the Universe gives you something worth worrying about. I’m not saying that every unpleasant thing that happens to us is, in fact, the Universe chastising us for our worries.  But I do believe that our worries are magnified by our perception of our Universe.

Don’t agree?  Keep worrying and watch how your worries—and problems–multiply.  ‘Cause once you start thinking about how you have no idea how you’re gonna pay the car note—which was too high in the first place (why she let you talk her into getting that car anyhow?), you’re gonna remember that the insurance is about to lapse too.  Which is gonna make you snap at whoever calls while you’re in the middle of worrying over these bills.  Which is gonna cause ill feelings between you and the caller who shouldna been calling tonight no way since she knows this is the night you watch Survivor.  Which is gonna make you wonder how in the world you gonna face her big ol’ butt at Thanksgiving (she need to go on a diet anyway always up in some dude’s face with her stank jeans).  Which is going to remind you that you don’t know how you’re gonna have time to get to his family’s Thanksgiving and to your own family’s in a single day.  (‘Sides his family is all stuck up anyway and don’t like you because you jus’ regular; your parents won’t the Huxtables damnit).  Which is gonna make you have a headache, take too much medicine, oversleep for work, and get a write-up ‘cause you’re late.  Which means that raise you were counting on is not coming through next month to help get a head up on your late car payment (But your supervisor’s a bitch anyway who tries to get with every girl there even though he’s married grinning all up in yo’ face.  Shoot, you got a man)…

I often question myself when I get to a place of confusion or fear—foster parents of worry in case you hadn’t heard, “What’s the worst that can happen?”  I have never been able to imagine anything worse than death and if I believe that the Universe reserves a pleasant place for good folks after all this is over, that doesn’t seem so bad.

Man, worry is just a chip off the old block: a big old crybaby of fear and confusion.  And I, for one, can think of plenty of things to cry about.  Yup, me and Worry could get real tight.  But Worry has never gotten me out of a situation; only made my situations worse.

So here’s what I’ve just been thinking:  if you find yourself in an abusive relationship, or just in a recreational pastime situation with Worry, it’s a relationship that you already know never shoulda started and definitely deserves to end, like, yesterday.  So give it the boot.

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