“You Are So Slow”-A Reflection into Personal Insecurities

Spokane Photographer Crystal Madsen

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting in my car in a Spokane Valley grocery store parking lot finishing up a texting conversation with my BFF about marketing strategies for the next year (she’s kickass and thrives off of my motivation to manifest the life I want to lead). We are discussing how annoyingly (but inspiringly) “up in my business” she is lately when I see a young family exit their truck. First I see the mom working to pull her nine month-old from his carseat and place him on her hip. She appears to be similar to most of us women making one-last-stop before the big Christmas dinner…no makeup, yoga pants, and her unbrushed hair hanging in her face. She walks past my car toward the store and that’s when I finally notice the dad. He’s quite a few paces ahead of her, looks back over his shoulder at them, and spins around to begin walking back toward his family. As he takes the child from the mom I hear him say in the most flat and monotone voice, “You are so slow.”

Not, “Let me help you,” or “Would you like some help?” or “Everything okay?” Not even a smile, a wink or a glimpse of playfulness. My jaw drops and my phone falls to my lap. I am appalled. Then suddenly my brows furrow as I watch the family briskly walk through the parking lot, Dad of course still a few paces ahead of Mom. The spitfire feisty side of me wants to hop out of my car, run to the dad and give him a piece of my mind: “Have some patience and understanding you cotton headed ninny muggins!” The level-headed and keep-to-your-own-business side of me restrains me in my car, seething with disgust. I tell myself “You don’t know the back-story. Maybe she was nasty to him in the truck. Maybe he didn’t get a good night’s sleep and the holiday hustle and bustle has him out of sorts. Maybe they were in the middle of cooking their holiday dinner and ran out of an ingredient, so had to run to the store to grab it and he’s afraid dinner will be ruined if they don’t move quick enough. That’s got to be it!” As quickly as I calm myself down with reasoning, I am just as quickly fired up again and find myself shopping in the store with my eyes peeled back, hoping to bump into them.

Is there really ANY reason to treat our partner in this way? Ever? Even if they were running late, had a spat in the car, and Christmas dinner was in jeopardy. Is insulting your partner in front of your young impressionable child justifiable? On Christmas Eve?!?!?! (That cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating…” Okay, I’m done with the holiday movie insults.

Why am I writing this blog? It has nothing to do with photography or my business. Sometimes we run into a situation that fires us up and ignites something inside of us that forces us to reflect inward. I can’t stop thinking about this scene that played out in front of me. I can feel the mom’s defeat, frustration and failure. I understand her need-to-please and to be good enough…only to come up short…again. Those words, “You are so slow,” while simple, and maybe said with no thought whatsoever, cut so painfully deep. And that pain doesn’t go away. The impact doesn’t go away. The message doesn’t go away. It’s a stamp, a brand, a label. So many of us in relationships live to please our partners. We want to impress and make them proud. And I’m sure we do that to a fault because when we fail, the fall is so great that it’s difficult to fully stand again to our full height on our own. We rely on our partner to help us rebuild our confidence in pleasing them. We crave the acknowledgement that we’ve done something right. Receiving a kudos and pat on the back for effort, especially when we fail, sends us to new heights. It creates a trusting bond in the relationship and confidence that we will never feel like a fool, no matter what we attempt. Equally so, on the flip side, when we are trying to build up our confidence again and we receive ramification, our confidence is shattered and we become completely deflated. We become broken. If we continue to receive negative attention for our shortcomings, we become accustom to never being quite good enough. Our self-esteem takes a hit and our sparkle dims to a dull flicker.

Have you found yourself in a relationship similar to this? Which side were you on? Have you played both roles? I don’t have advice for the partner on the receiving end of negative attention as I never learned how to deal with or correct it…I just coped for as long as I could.

As for the partner dishing out the negative comments and slights, you are causing more damage than you can ever imagine. Positive encouragement, forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, and realistic expectations will nourish the person you fell in love with and will guarantee they will grow right along with you. Our four keywords in my current household are “Love, Kindness, Respect and Gratitude.” If what you’re about to do or say doesn’t reflect at least one of these four words, you need to pause and redirect your thinking. Obviously when your partner pleases you, simple phrases like “Great job babe! I’m proud of you!” go a long way. But what goes even further and builds that trust is when your partner feels they failed you and you have the opportunity to say things like, “That’s okay! I love you for trying so hard. It’s really not that big of a deal anyway!”

An occurrence took place in my home last night that supports my argument and plead for kinder words and understanding. My boyfriend gifted me a brand new bass guitar for Christmas. Let me tell you, I am an extreme beginner. Like a I-don’t-even-read-music-beginner. So I probably shouldn’t have been attempting to tune the instrument. But, I did because I was so anxious to begin. I didn’t realize I had the tuner set to guitar opposed to bass. So I kept cranking and cranking the tuning key to get a higher pitch until the string snapped…IDIOT!!! As soon as it happened I realized how I had gone wrong and should have slowed down. Then my heart sank. I just broke an expensive gift that my boyfriend gave me. If I would have waited and asked for help, this wouldn’t have happened. My head started spinning with anticipation of all the different types of reactions I might expect. My face turned red, I began sweating and my heart was beating out of my chest. Will he be pissed? Will he ask me, “What the hell were you doing?” or “Why didn’t you do research before tuning it?” Will he sigh with annoyance and point out how expensive the gift was? He has never acted in such a way during our year-long relationship, but my mind was conditioned to expect this type of treatment and I’m still working on moving past it. What he did was immediately say, “Oh babe, no big deal. We will just take it to the shop tomorrow and have them fix it and tune it. Seriously, don’t worry.” That was it. I just gaped at him. Where was the “What were you doing? What did you expect to happen? It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out”??? It wasn’t there. He didn’t try to correct me or teach me a lesson. He didn’t put me down or show me in any way that he was annoyed or disappointed. He simply de-escalated the situation and let me know it wasn’t a big deal. And in his eyes it wasn’t.

I am sharing these personal experiences because I’m hoping to reach both partners who find themselves in my stories. I want the Parking Lot Mom to know that I see her, that I feel her, and I relate. I want the Parking Lot Dad to know that I see him, that I feel him and I know he doesn’t feel how his wife feels. If he did, he would pause. If he could feel the damage he was causing with those seemingly harmless comments, he would redirect his thinking and express himself in a more kind and thoughtful way.

Thank you for allowing me to get on a more personal level. Sometimes shit just needs to be addressed.

Spokane Photographer
114 W Pacific Ave
Spokane, WA 99201
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“You Are So Slow”-A Reflection into Personal Insecurities | / Posted on | Over Coffee, Shoots

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