I looked at the unfamiliar URL and shrugged. “A blog?” I asked.
“Oh, not just any blog. Remember Poor-Me-Erica*? She’s got a Poor Me blog and holy cow, she hasn’t changed at all. It’s a gripe-fest the likes of which you’ve never seen. Poor me, I’m poor. Poor me, we couldn’t really afford baby #1, but we’ve had a couple more on purpose and we can’t really afford them, either. Poor me, I’ve got three kids and I’m going to school and I’m tired. Poor me, I’m getting a free education, but the professors don’t kiss my ass. Poor me, I’m getting free food from the government, but I don’t like the stuff they give me. Poor me, poor me, poor me.”
“Really?” I asked, setting the paper aside. “It can’t be as bad as all that.”
She picked up the sheet and set it squarely in front of me. “Read it,” she said. “Oh, and get a load of the comments she gets. She’s got a big following and while many offer sympathy and support, some disagree and when they do, she rips into them. Really, read the thing.”
So I read. At first, I was amused. We knew PME a handful of years ago when she had one adorable child, a sweet and very tolerant husband, a full-time job that she was itching to quit (last I'd heard of her until now was that she had quit the job in a bit of a huff), an I’m-always-right attitude, and a huge chip on her shoulder about a government that she thought should provide handsomely for her because she’d popped out a kid and the medical community because her birthing experience wasn’t as she’d envisioned it. The world, to hear her tell it, was out to stomp her down. Back then, I chalked it up to youth and immaturity, though she wasn’t a kid. She was probably 28 or 29, but some people cling to immaturity and a sense that the world owes them something just for breathing, longer than others do.
Apparently, some cling to it forever and their resolve deepens with time.
As I read, my amusement changed to annoyance. My friend was right. PME has gone from a little pitiful to insufferable. She is still in school, still choosing not to earn any money, and still angry that the level of direct financial government assistance and indirect financial government assistance (through government-paid grocery supplementation and free medical coverage) that her family receives isn’t, in her opinion, sufficient and tailored directly to her preferences.
PME has always been opinionated, and that’s a good thing. But she’s stepped it up now to being full-out obnoxious. A self-declared champion of women, she vehemently supports the right of women to choose freely and be both respected and honored for their choices regarding work, relationships, sexual freedom, pregnancy care, birthing options, and the subsequent care and guidance of their offspring. That’s good, right? Well, usually.
The thing is, PME champions the rights of women to do things in the exact way she believes they should be done, but for those who follow other paths, she is comfortable to ridicule and demean them, both in general terms and directly, woman-to-woman, when someone comments on her posts with an opinion that differs from hers. If a reader cites a study to support her beliefs, she tells them the study is invalid. When they relay their personal experiences, she tells them they are uninformed, ignorant, or simply unwilling to see the truth. Her truth.
And yet for all her self-declared brilliance about knowing exactly how everything in this life should be done, she admits that she is unhappy. She’s posted repeatedly about how she screams at her husband if he doesn’t do exactly what she wants, when she wants—and sometimes, even when he does. She writes that her family and her in-laws offer continual emotional support, cash so that she and her hubby can take the kids on little getaways, and free, regular child care. They jump when she needs them to so that she can get to class, study, or tend her blog, yet she bad-mouths them on that same blog if in conversation, they dare to say something she finds unenlightened. She genuinely loves her kids—that much I don’t doubt—but they appear to be very low on her priority list when it comes to allocating her time.
She states that she’s stressed, miserable, anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed. She wonders what she can do to alleviate some of her problems, both personal and financial. She asks readers for their input. Those who tell her that she’s perfect and it’s the rest of the world that’s effed up get patted on the head, but those who give her what she specifically requests—advice—are belittled.
One reader suggested that maybe PME might want to postpone the completion of her advanced degree until her children are all in school full-time and her financial situation eases up a bit. The reader noted that since she already has her Bachelor’s and free childcare, she could get a job and maybe go to school part-time to finish her education. That, to me, sounded like very sound advice, and it was offered in a kind and supportive tone. I’m sure you can guess what kind of reply that poor reader got. It wasn’t pretty.
Really—and this opinion may or not be met with approval—I think that since she’s getting educated and fed on my dime (and yours!), I’d like to see her get her ass to work. I work. I’d rather not, but I do. I have bills to pay, so every night, I set my alarm for an unholy hour and when the damn thing goes off, I drag my sorry ass into the shower.
A few days after she handed me the paper with the blog’s URL, my friend gave me a call. She wanted to know if I’d read it. I told her that I had. “Did you comment?” she asked.
I hadn’t, and I told her that. I added that I didn’t see any point. She agreed and said that she hadn’t, either. “Weren’t you tempted, though?” she wanted to know. “Wasn’t there a part of you that wanted to spell it out in plain, direct, cut-the-bullshit-and-grow-the-hell-up English?”
Oh, yes. Just as my friend had been, I was certainly tempted. But neither of us had the time. We both had alarm clocks to set.
*Not her real name.
I’m blogging my way from A-Z. Please check out some of the other A-Z’ers.
One blog every day, that’s all you have to do: NaBloPoMo
One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage.