Negative Nancy and the House Mouse
Why is it that negative people are always so loud and obnoxious? Have you ever noticed that? Aren’t there any shy, reserved negative people? They are always the first in a room to burst your bubble when you excitedly show your friends your new haircut, and up pops the loud mouth Negative Nancy to blurt out how your bangs look just a smidge uneven, but its otherwise totally you. Its a strange thing about the Negative Nancy. We all have the power to be one, but to properly fit the title, you must have cultivated an actual reputation for honing the skill. You know the type, you share some fun news or proud moment on Facebook or twitter, only to have the NN come along and steal your thunder. “I Finally got promoted!!! All those long hours have finally paid off! I am on my way! Next stop the bosses chair! LOL #payraisesrock.” And out of the shadows is the ever present Negative Nancy lurking like a tiger, waiting to pounce. He comments, strangely, almost immediately after you share your news, “How long’s it been now that you been workin there anyways? Took your sweet time working your way up the ladder, huh? LOL. Didn’t want to break a sweat huh?! jk LOL” It’s fascinating how the use of a few characters like “jk” and “LOL” sprinkled into the language are supposed to make us look past the fact that this person is being a complete A-hole. But, there you have it. There is always at least one, Negative Nancy in our lives. They come in various forms. Sometimes its the jerk, sometimes its the poor-me guy, sometimes, its the “It’s not mean, its called sarcasm, geez” genius. The interesting thing is that almost all Negative Nancy types are in utter denial. Their favorite rebuttal is that they are just truth speakers. Uh huh. It’s as if these folks are missing the tact and sensitivity genes. Recently I have received many varied responses in light of my departure from my banking career. I’ve heard everything from genuine well-wishes, to downright absurd questions, but my favorite, yes my most favorite of them all has got to be from the Negative Nancy who pins silly labels to everything and everyone. If you have a disagreement with someone, they immediately label you a “drama mama.” Don’t wan’t to join in on every event they create?- skip out on too many and you are a “Debbie Downer.” Enjoy getting your Christmas cards out early each season? Bonus points if they were handwritten. Bummer, “Over-achiever.” I was recently dubbed a “House Mouse” by a Negative Nancy. I laugh at the sheer imagery this name brings, for me it conjures up the cute blue Beatrix potter bunny… and the frazzled old lady who lived in a shoe. I am neither mousy, or housy, but, if the shoe fits (couldn’t resist that one) and well, with four children, since hey, I do have a lot of kids by today’s standards! Then sure, I will embrace the label. House Mouse. Sounds cute. No need for me to feel less empowered by my choice to stay home and leave the career world just because some Negative Nancy tries to spin my head with hurtful insinuations that I have somehow failed at something, and being a House Mouse is my booby prize. I am quite happy with my choice to stay home with my family. Heck, nothing much has really changed… except of course the paycheck. For the last seven years I have worked from home. Choosing to work for your household and your family in no way takes away from one’s educational or professional accomplishments, nor does it mean that someone else is somehow inferior for only having ever been a “House Mouse.” Oh, and in case you are wondering, during my research for this little post I though I ought to look up what pop culture deems a House Mouse to be these days… the urban dictionary website describes it as: “A term used in the D/S community for a submissive who’s responsible for taking care of the home, cleaning up after play parties, and tending to any needs of the Dom.” Well, all be. So, um, to clear the air here, though I love my husband dearly, and keep a tidy home, I am as it turns out not a House Mouse in the slightest. Seriously though, after this latest dig at my current life choice from a NN who was all to quick to find a way to work my new S & M title into conversation, I can’t help but let my mind wonder a little. As the digital world of relationships continues to expand though devices and websites, with so many more real emotions are handled via emoticons, I wonder how many Negative Nancy’s will go on to become full-blown bullies if their behaviors are left unchecked? And how do the social media sites, blogging communities and the like, encourage these types to really unleash however, and whenever they choose. I see a pattern with the Negative Nancy of social-media land especially, although for the most part, this also rings true in our “real- breathing the same air” life. A Neg Nancy hides when there is praise or support to be given, but emerges right when there is shame, condemnation or any opportunity to be snarky. Speaking of snarky, let’s just call that what it really is. If you have ever been told you are being snarky, truth is, you are likely a Negative Nancy. That word doesn’t get thrown around unless there is merit. You have to earn that one. Say something a time or two that is offbeat, you might be having a bad day. Continually be the guy who we can bet on to provide the jokes on cue at someone else’s expense, particularly when it appears as instigated, and in poor taste, say when that person is really vulnerable, and that is being snarky; a true hallmark of the Negative Nancy. I have had friends in my life, dear friends, family members even, who I would say definitely fit the title of a NN. What I wonder is, why do people feel its ok to treat others this way? Is it because they are just about doom and gloom in general? Or is this negative behavior a bit more cunning? I tend to think the latter. Pot calling the kettle black, I admit. The question is, why are some folks wired this way? Was it nature or nurture that made them so bitter? I would venture to guess that perhaps our form of popular communication with each other (namely hiding behind our devices) has in some way damaged our ability to be truly empathetic. We spend far more time focusing on the vast negative information available to us out in cyberspace than on the positive, which is just the way humans are wired I understand. Give us a memory to recall where something good happened, but there was a sprinkle of bad, and we can recall in vivid detail, the bad. So I think its partially inevitable that some people, who are already naturally pre-dispositioned to search out negativity and feed off of it, are now just gluttons on the excess available to them each time they plug in or log on. How many times do we all idly sit back and read a comment to someone having a weak moment or witness it in real life, and think, “wow, that was harsh. That person could just really use a break, kind word, or friend right now.” Sometimes all it takes to deeply affect someone is simply to notice them, but If you want to really impact someone’s life who needs it, stand up to the jerk who decided to feed off of someone’s weakness by honing in on the negative in a situation like a zombie from Walking Dead. If you have a Negative Nancy or two, or maybe three in your life, even if they only reside on the left side of a newsfeed most of the time lurking in the shadows, be willing to stand up to them. And by stand up to them I mean fight their negativity with positivity. Realize that being confident and positive is literally the best antidote to the Negative Nancy. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go clean my shoe.