Picking Up Other People’s GARBAGE



Hank: How was your day, mom?

Me: True answer or true easy answer?

Hank: (putting his phone in his pocket) True answer. What’s up?

Me: (deep sigh) I let other people’s stress hurt my feelings today. Half of the fault is on them for not being aware that they were rude or dismissive or just selfish when in a position of service and half of the fault is on me for letting their behavior hurt my feelings. I need to work harder on not picking up garbage.

Hank: Like real garbage?

Me: Isn’t someone else’s stress and annoyance garbage? Emotional garbage should be disposed of like we handle our physical garbage. First all garbage must me REDUCED! Why are you making garbage but more importantly why am I picking up your garbage? I need to leave it with you to sorted and disposed of responsibly. (deep sigh) I have been struggling all day because someone gave me wrong information and in being proactive I triple checked the information that was provided and someone had to go FIVE FULL MINUTES out of their way to help me.

Hank: Well, that was nice that they helped you.

Me: I agree, but I picked up alllllllllllll her garbage and carried it with me all day. (counting it all on my fingers) I picked up her annoyance at my having set up my appointment wrong, her annoyance that her co-workers misinformed me on multiple fronts, her annoyance that something she set up to be simple is made complicated by other people, her annoyance that I was honest about my frustrations in a respectful manor and without laying the blame or fault on her, I picked up her frustration that I was in a predicament. (holding up five fingers) My picking up her garbage is not her fault. Ultimately, I believe she is a good person and she went a whopping five minutes out of her way because she is the ONLY PERSON IN THE NATION OF PORTUGAL capable of doing her job correctly to accommodate me, but I picked all that garbage up, I carried it with me and it ruined my day. It made me extra sensitive when my doctor scolded me for being eight minutes early instead of twenty minutes early to my appointment this afternoon. I seethed with resentment that every other appointment with her she has been 45 minutes late and I have had to wait for her time and said nothing instead choosing to understand that her time is valuable to many people and I was happy to share it. My doctor was merely annoyed that for once she was running ahead of schedule and I ruined that for her, but that didn’t mean I had to pick up her garbage. I could have left it on the floor with my sincere apology that she chose to ignore and not pick up. My blood boiled for the rest of the day because two people took their frustrations out in my general vicinity and I picked up their garbage, made it my garbage, ate it up and let it rot my soul instead of leaving their garbage behind.

Hank: I do this too! I pick up other peoples garbage and make it my garbage!

Me: And it is our fault! Everyone is entitled to a bad moment. You, me, them, everyone, but it is our responsibility to not let their bad moment destroy our day. True, caring people understand, are compassionate, but leave the garbage behind.  I have got to stop picking up other people’s garbage!

Hank: But how do we stop doing it? When someone says something it hurts my feelings so much. Sometimes it isn’t even about me it is the way they say it at me. Does that make sense?

Me: Totally. I completely know that feeling. The Majority of the time other people’s garbage has nothing to do with us and therefore is not our responsibility to pick up and carry! We need to work harder at walking away!

Hank: That is what I am going to think about from now on: garbage. I don’t want to touch garbage.

Me: And even if you do you need to learn to dispose of that garbage as soon as possible. There is recycling and trash cans on every block! I should have taken out the trash 6 hours ago, but I am still carrying this stinking nonsense and it is only hurting me. Those two women have let it go, have moved on and haven’t a thought about me or how I suffered today BECAUSE I PICKED UP THEIR GARBAGE. They didn’t give it to me to dispose of! I volunteered as if it were my job. I need to do better. They were annoyed at best and moved on quickly. This destructive habit is mine to solve.

Hank: You’ve been stressed all day. I saw it.

Me: True story.

Hank: No more garbage, mom!

Me: I am going to work on this. What about you?

Hank: I will do my best to not touch or throw other people’s garbage away before it ruins my day.

Me: We will work on this together.

Hank: Good idea. You can tell me, “Hank, I have picked up a bunch of garbage today!” and we can talk about it and I will remind you to throw it away!

Me: Or if I see you starting to pick up someone else’s garbage I will whisper in your ear, “Don’t do it. That garbage is not for you. Leave it! REDUCE the waste you must dispose of daily!” We make enough emotional garbage on our own! We don’t need to pick up other people’s!

Hank: Deal.

Me: Deal.

Hank: Do you feel better?

Me: Intellectually, yes. I’m half way to feeling better and this talk really helped, thank you. I will be kind to myself for the rest of the night and forgive myself for hurting myself with other peoples ROTTEN SMELLY GARBAGE NONSENSE.

Hank: (returning to the YouTuberverse) I am here if you need me.

Me: Thanks for listening, Hank.

Hank: No more garbage, mom!

Me: (fist up in defiance) No more garbage!