The Joy Thief

I have this relation who I secretly refer to as the Joy Thief. Why? Because anytime anything good comes my way, she has to cop an attitude for why it didn’t happen to her.

Example: one day one of my novels hit the USA Today Bestsellers list. I shared the news (this was the last time I shared such news with her) and her response, “Oh, that’s nice. It must be nice to have a job you get paid for even when you don’t work.” She was referencing my receiving royalties after the book is released. Uh, excuse me? I worked my ass off to write said book and to market said book to get that many copies sold. It didn’t just happen.

She isn’t a writer so she really doesn’t understand how much time and even money goes into writing a book. Yet, every chance she gets she remarks how jealous she is of me for not having to have a real job. Again, 25 books didn’t just write, publish and market themselves. If she wants to be a writer and collect royalties, then shut up and write a book…or two dozen.

Another circumstance, I got food poisoning from eating at a restaurant with my ex-mother-in-law (a mere coincidence? I’m not sure….). Anyway, I had to cancel my plans to help her move some lawn furniture because I was camped out in the bathroom, calling Huey on the big white phone. Instead of a “Oh no, I hope you’re okay. Is there anything I can bring you?” She texts: “Lucky you. I wish I could have gone to eat at XXXXXXX.”

Really? She really wants to play that card? She goes out to dinner probably 5-6 times per week and only a week ago, she was bitching to me about it because it was making her fat. She’d moved up two bra sizes in the past three months because her husband had been taking her out to eat every night. I eat all my meals at home except two days a week I’ll eat lunch out because I have to travel two hours from home for some medical stuff that takes a few hours before I have to drive two hours back home. Then this particular night I went to a $9/plate large-chain Mexican restaurant because my ex-mother-in-law was in town for one of her two yearly visits and get deathly sick and she’s bitching that she’s never gotten to eat there?! Next time she can take my spot. I don’t know what was more uncomfortable sitting at the table with all my ex-inlaws (my ex-husband wouldn’t take my kids, so I had to and got roped into staying) OR driving home and feeling like three pounds of crushed glass was working its way through my intestines. I’ve never clenched my cheeks so tight in my entire life. I prayed my asshole wouldn’t fail me on the way home.

Thankfully, it didn’t.

The examples could go on and on:

She came with me once to a craft fair. I paid for everything I purchased with cash, she used her credit card for most of hers. She commented how lucky I was to just have money to blow. I spent $75 total (admission, lunch for both of us and a few nicknacks) because that was all I had in my pocket. She came with only $20 in cash used it at the first booth, then fished out her credit card for 3-4 other shops where she bought so much crap we couldn’t carry it all. I’m not lucky, I came prepared and stopped when I reached my limit.

She got in my car once and saw I had a DQ Blizzard cup in my cup holder. “I wish I could have gone with you to Dairy Queen.” I didn’t even eat the damn Blizzard one of my kids did.

I helped her move stuff all day and when we were done I said I was going home. “You’re so lucky you get to go home. I have to stay up all night and unpack.” Well…I did just use my back and my gas to move you. Not to mention it took longer than it was supposed to because she was running late so I had to ask another friend to pick up my kids from school Now I need to get home to my house full of kids and cook dinner and do homework.

I wore a dress to church that I bought from the clearance rack at Dillards three years ago. “Oh, I love your dress. Where did you find it?”  I inwardly cringed. “Dillards.” “It must be nice to go to the mall so much. I buy all of my dresses at yard sales.” That’s an outright lie and I know it. I’ve seen her plunk down $150 for a dress at a department store and at the fair and at a boutique. She also swears flip flops that are at least $40-50 a pair. Who the hell pays that for flip flops??? I clearly got into the wrong business if that’s what people pay for flip flops. I can string you up a pair for that! I honestly don’t care how much her dresses cost compared to mine. I don’t care where she gets hers or where I get mine. I shouldn’t have to justify wearing a department store dress to anyone. Period.

She gets her feelings hurt if someone buys her a greeting card priced below the $3 mark. It’s a freaking piece of paper. In my family, we do The Nana. Meaning we send the wrong cards for different holidays.  Then we just keep them and re-circulate them. It’s great.

If I’ve had a bad day, hers is worse. If someone compliments me on something I bring to a potluck, she has to tell everyone about when she made that same dish and what she uses so I could improve. When I wear anything she hasn’t seen before, she says it’s cute and asks when I went shopping.

I have come to learn not to say anything other than how the weather is. Otherwise, I cannot enjoy a treat. I can’t talk about writing or she’ll bring up how lucky I am not to have a “real job”. I don’t tell her when I’m going anywhere fun or when I’ve done anything fun because she has to suck the fun and joy and life right out of it! And she wonders why she doesn’t have any friends except me…

I’ve bitched for about a 1,000 words to say this, if you’re a fun-sucker and do this crap, stop! You seriously won’t have any friends left. If you have (or had) a friend like this, advice please!!!

May your day be merry and your friends treat you right,

Imma B.

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