I don’t really want to write about the mess that is Washington, D.C. So I’ll write about Maria Kang instead.
Maria Kang has three kids. She does not use that or her busy life as an excuse not to whip herself into shape.
Kang posted this photo on Facebook. Some took it as bragging, but but she explains that it was intended to inspire other moms.
The three-year-old son cracks me up every time.
She could’ve dressed more modestly, but since the point was to show that she had gotten back to washboard abs after three kids, not much more modestly. It would’ve defeated the purpose of the pic.
The kids serve notice that she isn’t posing just to be a sex object, as they scream (literally, pretty often) “I’m taken!” The words at the top drive the point home.
I wanted to inspire people,” she explains, adding that the “What’s your excuse?” part was simply a borrowed, popular phrase that’s been used in various “fitspiration” campaigns. “I wanted to say, ‘I know you think you don’t have time if you have kids. But if I can do it, you can do it, too.’”
Simple enough, and pretty obvious. But haters, they hate.
The picture has gone viral, with more than 16 million views on Facebook, and has generated more than 12,000 comments. And while much of the input has been of the supportive “you go, girl” variety, plenty of it has been made up of angry, offended personal attacks on the photo subject, calling her everything from “obnoxious” and “fake” to a bad mom and a bully.
That photo doesn’t read “bully.” It reads “happy family” with a side of “Um-hmm.”
Kang responded with one of the best non-apology apologies ever.
“I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer,” she wrote, in part. “What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.”
And the haters, they done gone and hated some more.
That post brought a frenzy of negative responses, including, “Those precious little things need their mommy more than they need you to have glamour muscles,” “Not that I *NEED* an excuse for not working out, but here’s mine you self-righteous idiot … fibromyalgia,” “You are part of the body shaming problem that is going on in North America and other parts of the world,” and “You are a bully with a super inflated sense of your own self.”
All that from one picture? Seriously?
Many others, though, rallied in defense of Kang, with “Never apologize,” “Get a life and leave this woman alone,” and “Well done!” Because of the barrage, Kang has put together a FAQ page about her personal life, with responses to many of the criticisms and accusations she’s become accustomed to hearing. For example: “Do you work?” (Yes. She owns two small residential care facilities for the elderly.) “Do you have a nanny?” (No.) “Are those your kids? They all look different.” (“I have to say this is the funniest comment I’ve read. Of course, my children look like both the mother and father,” she writes. “I am half Malaysian Chinese and Filipina. My husband is a Caucasian mix of German, French, Norwegian and Spanish. They are all my kids.”)
I didn’t post this just for the eye candy. It’s not even really about being in shape, as I’m not there myself. The spirit is often willing but the feet have gotten weak lately.
It’s just that as I get older I’m finding that I have less and less tolerance for whiners and excuses and the “you’re just being MEAN!” mentality out there. Life is mean. Deal with it.
I don’t know if that mentality is actually growing and spreading, or if social media just sticks it in our faces more and more. In real life you can choose to just not spend much time around negativity (well, unless they’re family, in which case you’re stuck with ’em but you don’t have to let them own you). Social media makes it more difficult to avoid cultural dumpster dives and full-on garbage assaults. It’s tiresome. And it does appear to be growing rapidly.
On the flip side, I’m more tolerant of people who just seem to get their stuff together and keep it that way. Maria Kang has her stuff together and is trying to inspire others to get their stuff together. I have zero patience with people who read envy and spite from that.
Life is hard and thankless enough. It often pays to be cynical and expect the least from our fellow humans. At a minimum, when someone does something good or noble you’re pleasantly surprised, whereas when you expect the worst, you’re rarely disappointed. I guess that’s one reason Obama and his Democrats often annoy and surprise me, but they never disappoint me. Haters gonna hate and liars gonna lie.
Much of life is pretty obvious. Get an education, and by that I don’t necessarily mean lots of school. It means know how to do stuff competently and strive to improve. Work hard. Do your best. Don’t be a slacker. Avoid doing obviously stupid things. Don’t surround yourself with losers unless you have the ability, will and desire to help them not be losers anymore. Otherwise, they will drag you down. Develop enough smarts to know a loser when you see one. And don’t be a hater just because someone somewhere has achieved something. Chances are, whatever conditions you’re dealing with, and we’re all dealing with conditions of some kind, you could’ve achieved something too if you’d just stopped envying and whining.