I finally found something stupid enough to send you. My cousin (freshman in high school) says “It’s lit” constantly, and I find myself wanting to throw shit at him. Like I know it sounds dumb, but I can’t help it. The phrase is like nails on a chalkboard to me, and it brings up all of these feelings of aggression in me, and I can’t seem to get it to go away. What do I do?
I mean yes, it does sound incredibly dumb. It sounds amazingly, incomprehensibly, “what the fuck is your problem?” level dumb.
But also, I totally get it.
I think plenty of people have littler verbal tics, phrases that others use, and even just faces that drive us up a wall. It often doesn’t make sense, but it is what it is. Even if Martin Shkreli was a saint, most people would still beat the shit out of him because come on.
How can you not?
For me personally, my pet peeve is any time someone says, “I’m baaaack” in that awful, sing-songy, supposed-to-be-ominous-but-really-just-insufferable way. It makes my skin crawl and makes me want to punch a baby just thinking about it.
None of this is to say that feeling this way, or acting on feeling this way is okay. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s cool. It sucks. It’s an incredibly dumb way to feel.
But where does acknowledging that that’s dumb get us? Nowhere. It accomplishes nothing. It certainly doesn’t change the way we feel. It doesn’t make you feel less like throwing rocks at your cousin.
In fact, this is even more of a problem because the usual solution to life’s problems (talking it out) doesn’t help here. It doesn’t matter how calm or respectful you are, asking someone to stop saying a phrase because it irritates you for no good reason makes you sound like a psychopath. It doesn’t matter how politely you say it.
“Excuse me. Pardon me. Yes, hi. Could you stop saying ‘that’s what I’m talking about?' I don’t mean to be rude, but it makes me want to bash my head through a wall.”
See? You sound like a lunatic.
So what should you do?
Sorry, this sucks. But you have one solution here: get used to it. You grin and bear it. Accept that the phrase is out there, and eventually it won’t bother you so much.
The good news is that this isn't a copout. It is an actual solution that can help you, and it works beyond your annoying cousin repeating insufferable phrases ad nauseum.
This goes for all irritating things in life. Things that are actually painful or damaging are their own problem. But anything that’s merely annoying is something you can assimilate to. You can get used to it because it’s not actually hurting you, it’s not attacking you, and it doesn’t really have any important impact on your life. Remember that it doesn’t really matter, and that it’s therefore worth accepting.
So stop internally fighting. Accept “It’s lit” into your life. Every time you hear it, say to yourself, “Yup. That’s something people say, and I can live with this.” At first you won’t believe it, but eventually you will, and eventually, you’ll feel less like murdering your family, and that’s generally a positive emotion to have.
I always compare myself to my sister and it sucks. I think maybe it’s because my parents subtly do it all the time. They won’t say like, “Your sister has an PhD. Why don’t you?” But they will kind of talk about us in the same breath, and I know that’s kind of what they’re thinking. It feels like shit, but I can’t really say anything about it, because no one is directly doing anything. But it’s gotten to the point where I feel negatively about my sister, who doesn’t do anything wrong. I think a small part of me even roots for her to fail sometimes. I’m fucked up, aren’t I?
First of all, don’t worry so much. I mean yes, you are totally fucked up, but we all have our shit. Your shit just happens to be toddler-like envy.
So after you read this, here’s the first, and most important question to ask yourself:
Are you happy with yourself? Step outside of how you think your parents see you, or even how the entire world sees you for a second, and look at your life objectively.
How close are you to getting what you want? How are you contributing to the world, and are you happy with that? How much do you enjoy the activities in which you partake?
Forget about everything else until you’ve answered these questions. Focus on this for a while and evaluate how you feel about your life.
Then give this a shot: Every time you start to feel that comparison come on—be it from a passive aggressive comment, the joy your family receives from your sister kicking ass again, or from your own stupid neuroses—do all you can to stop it in its tracks. Remind yourself immediately that that doesn’t matter. Remind yourself that your life is not a competition, and how somebody else doing (even with your same genes) is no indication of how you’re doing, and that you're kind of being a fucking idiot right now.
I know you’re not a bad person (Okay, I don’t actually know that. You could be a douche. But I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt). I know that if you strip away your insecurities, you really are happy for all that your sister has accomplished.
So try to keep in mind that her journey isn’t yours. That sounds like some insufferable Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul bullshit, but that doesn’t make it less true. How she does is irrelevant to how you do. Stop comparing yourself not just to her, but anyone.
Instead, always return to the original questions. How do you get more of what you want? How can you be happier with what you’re contributing? How can you stop looking into your neighbor’s yard and bitching about their pool?
Focus on you, what you want, what you have, and repeat mantras of gratitude, and not being a whiny little bitch.
I promise you won't be such a bitter monster, and you'll live a life of much more peace.
My grandma is a bitch. Sorry, but it’s true. She wasn’t always like this. She’s gotten pretty insufferable since her health started to get worse, and we had to put her in a home. I get that that must suck, but since then, she’s just gotten so mean. She’s been mean to everyone—the caregivers, my parents, and me. She’ll just unapologetically say really vicious things all the time, and she brings down the mood in every room she’s in, and I really hate it.
I wish I had a solution that sounded fun to you. I wish I could tell you to tell your grandma to fuck off and let her die alone, because I know that’s the fantasy you have in your head.
But I can’t.
The thing to remember here is that your grandma’s life sucks—which okay. I know you know that. But you have to constantly remember. She has to rely on other people to help her take a shit, walking is an ordeal, and if she trips on a bunched up big of her rug, she could fucking die. She misses out on life because she can’t go many places, and even when she can, she can’t see or hear half of what’s going on.
None of this excuses her behavior. And yes, she’s also behaving this way to you, because she knows you can’t leave her to die because you’re family (and to nurses because they’re paid to get yelled at by people like that). It’s totally straight up abuse.
I’m not about to say that you should stand for it…well not exactly.
You should talk to your grandma about it. You should appeal to any bit of a gentler side she has left. Something along the lines of, “Grandma I understand that what you’re going through is tough, and that I can’t fully comprehend all of the ways in which it sucks right now, but you’ve got to be less of a bitch, please,” should do the trick. Really sympathize with her as much as possible. Always seek her better angels, even when her worse ones are telling you you’ll never get a decent boyfriend with thighs like that.
See how she responds. If she responds with warmth, that’s a good start, but keep in mind that it’s just a start. You still have to follow up and ensure that she continues to be kind. If she doesn’t, make sure to keep saying, “Tisk tisk, grandma. You’re being kind of a cunt again,” (or something to that effect). Keep her honest. Keep her in line.
If her initial response is more vitriol and calling you a pussy, then walk out. Leave for a while. Make her think about herself.
Then eventually come back. If you can’t get her to stop, you can’t. But I’m sure you cutting her out of her life would bum your relevant parent out, and no matter how you slice it, it is a little fucked up of you (calling nana a cunt on the other hand? Totally cool.)
Regardless, it may be beneficial for you to move forward keeping in mind that your grandma doesn’t know shit about you, and that her words are largely meaningless. She’s just a grouchy old lady who takes her shitty life out on you. Getting insulted by her should be treated similarly to getting insulted by your dog. It’s meaningless. Maintain zero respect for it.
For some real advice that calls you on your shit and makes you feel terrible about yourself, e-mail me here.