Last week I wrote that the older I get, the less I care about how I’m perceived by others. I’m noticing that also goes for voicing my opinion, good bad or ugly. Apparently this whole aging thing has dulled my sense of concern in regard to what slips out of my mouth.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not condoning being rude or hurtful. Not at all. I’m just saying I no longer feel the need to remain silent when something strikes me as wrong, or to temper my response to please someone when I’m asked my opinion and it happens to be different from theirs.
Generally speaking, I think women (more than men) struggle with confronting friends when they have a criticism, even if it’s constructive. My women friends avoid this scenario at all costs because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.Often, women tolerate bad behavior, all the while staying mute then venting to others later. Why did she do that? What did I do wrong? The simple solution: Just ask!
I’m also an equal opportunity opinion-giver: While shopping, a friend once asked if I liked the pants she tried on. I said I liked the style but they seemed a bit tight to me. She replied, “Great, that’s just how I like them.”
The thing is, I didn’t need to fib to avoid hurting her feelings and that felt good. It’s all in the delivery – the way we say what we’re thinking. I’m finding that honesty isn’t cruel and it doesn’t have to be rude.
In my younger days, I often allowed people to get away with bad behavior. Now I’m apt to speak up. For instance, when a grocery clerk says he’ll take the next person in line and someone at the very back comes forward, I want to say, “Seriously? Are the rest of us invisible to you?!”
Instead I say, “Excuse me, but I believe you were behind us.” The point is I now speak up and that leaves me less inclined to want to smack someone for their selfishness, and I’m no longer regretful for staying silent. So it’s a win-win.
Some people are oblivious to how their actions affect others and some know precisely what they’re doing.
A while back, a nasty woman I know (whose nickname is the Vicious Termite – VT) pulled one of her usual petty stunts to cause trouble at a gathering. In front of everyone, and to VT’s surprise, my friend called her on her shenanigans.
“Tell me why you did it,” my friend said. Since VT is never held accountable for the trouble she creates, she squirmed like a cornered lizard.
Right about then I blurted the answer: “Because she’s a shit disturber.”
It just shot out of me like projectile vomit. Sad to say, some people only respond when smacked in the face with brutal bluntness. And you know what? There hasn’t been a peep out of VT since.My point is, the older I get, the more I realize life is too short to tolerate things I used to, simply because I didn’t want to rock the boat or be thought of as mean or confrontational.
So in that regard, I’m taking Twain’s advice to “…throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor…” In other words, rock that boat! Say what you need to say and damn the consequences.That is, however, unless you encounter someone who is mentally unstable, someone carrying a weapon, or someone much, much larger than you. I mean, let’s not be stupid.
Here’s my Eggplant Parmesan recipe:
2 large eggplants
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 cups (or more) Italian bread crumbs
Olive oil for browning
3 cups tomato sauce (use 2 15 oz. cans if you like more sauce)
½ lb. sliced mushrooms (or more if you like mushrooms), Sauté in butter. (I don’t sauté them. Less fattening, just as good)
12 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced (I buy the packaged shredded mozzarella – easy peasy).
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (can omit if you like. I don’t notice it when I do)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel eggplant and slice ¼ inch thick. Dip into egg which has been beaten with oregano, basil, salt and pepper and granulated garlic. Then dip into bread crumbs. Brown quickly (med-high) in olive oil, turning once. Add more oil as you need it. Drain eggplant on paper towels. In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, put some tomato sauce on bottom so eggplant doesn’t stick. Add a row of eggplant, cover eggplant with ½ of the tomato sauce, put ½ the mushrooms on top of that and ½ the cheese. Repeat for another layer. Add Parmesan to the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. If you have eggplant slices left over, make another layer and repeat. You can ad-lib.