I was taking the rubbish down to the communal rubbish area the other day, getting used to this new idea of somewhat communal living. I understand it's been a busy time for all my new neighbours. Moving out, moving in, dealing with the tsunami of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap and items you only now realise won't fit in our lovely new, albeit smaller, homes, and as such are resigned to turfing them.
But this night, I literally could not even enter the space, which is actually big enough to hold six skip bins, now I see it emptied out. But this night it was full. To the rafters. Full of boxes, some big enough for a small family to live in, boxes that had contained lounge suites and dining tables and televisions. Indeed there was an actual television.
It irked me a little. I had done the right thing and flattened everything, in fact I paid for someone to come and take away all my oversized boxes, and sheets of Styrofoam and swathes of bubble wrap, rather than just shove them in the space.
I mentioned to the kids that perhaps I should say something to the body corporate.
"Oh mum, don't be a Karen."
Oh hang on.
It's occurred to me in the past week or so that perhaps I do have some Karen-like tendencies. Perhaps just admitting what I have admitted about the bins is a fair indication of the truth in my self diagnosis.
I've been trying to avoid the whole Karen thing but Karen from Brighton has put us all back in the spotlight, daring to breach her suburb's borders because she was sick of walking the same streets.
(Part of me knows how she feels, I had to move suburbs to find some new tracks.)
And then there was Bunnings Karen, another Victorian, who refused to wear a mask and filmed the whole thing, telling the poor staff member that it was her right as a living woman to do what she wanted to do, threatening to sue the hardware chain for being in breach of the 1948 Charter of Human Rights.
For the record, these women are called Jodi and Kerry.
I'm not quite sure how Karen came to be. Growing up the kids who copped it were Nigel No Friends, Harry Highpants and Debbie Downers.
But in 2020, Karen has become a moniker for an entitled middle-aged white woman who likes to be in charge (think netball coach and P&C secretary), drives an SUV, and always wants to talk to the manager when things aren't going her way.
Thank lordy I am not blonde, nor rocking an asymmetrical bob, nor do I feel I am particularly entitled to anything, but I started to worry about whether I displayed too many Karen-like characteristics.
Thankfully I stumbled across an article entitled "How not to be a Karen" which had a few wise pieces of advice to steer me on the right path.
Ask yourself: Is it worth the fuss? It's a good question to ask in most situations. Usually it's not. But sometimes it is. I feel as though the older I've got, the better I've become at gauging this. Or the less worried I've become about what people think if I do make a fuss. Don't be worried about making a fuss if you truly believe you've been, or someone you love, has been wronged. Speaking up is not making a fuss.
Vent your anger elsewhere. I guess this is about not taking out your stress on innocent people. Yes, Karen from Brighton, we know you're a tad annoyed, but rather than take it out on someone else, pick up the pace and go for an angry run. Or play loud music in the car while you drive the streets of Brighton. Or take a deep breath.
Let someone else take charge. Do you really need another responsibility, asked the article. The answer to that one is a definite big no these days. It's been somewhat liberating during lockdown to be able to shed responsibilities. Nothing's been happening to stay involved in. And now things are kind of happening again, I've decided to stay out of the spotlight. It's great.
The conclusion I've come to is that it's okay to be a little bit Karen. I'm never going to point a gun at someone at a rally, and I'll wear a mask if I'm told to, but excuse me if I speak up about something that irks me. My name is Karen.
And check out Charm Offensive T-shirts for a range of fun apparel that will speak up as well.