Lately, I’ve started to wonder if I’m turning into a Karen.

Now, before all of the Karens in the greater Courier readership area take to their keyboards to complain – or worse, march in and ask to speak with my manager – let me explain. I knew many Karens in my life. I am proud to call some of them my friends. None ever behaved in the way today’s notorious Karens behave. So I use it as a simple term of endearment, and as a shorthand way to refer to a belligerent personality type.

I have wondered how I would feel if bystanders started telling these outrageous women to “stop being such a Kris.” Would I like it? Absolutely not. But I like to think I could have a little laugh at my own expense.

This summer, I got a taste of what it must be like when I noticed an anti-gemini trend taking hold. Being a proud gemini myself, I found this offensive. Many of the best people I know are geminis, including my daughter. Geminis are clever, intelligent, fascinating and, ahem, modest to a fault. What’s not to love? I mean, it’s not like we’re a bunch of scorpios. But I digress.

So when a rash of Karen videos went viral this summer, I eagerly scrolled through the comments to bond with strangers over shared outrage. But every now and then, I’d become the target of all that Karen hate when someone would snark, “Let me guess, she’s a gemini.”

What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Never have I asked to speak to a manager. I have been on the receiving end of Karen-esque behavior, however, and guess what? When Karen asked to speak with my manager, my supervisor always had my back. In one case, I vividly remember my boss saying he truly hoped Karen did call him, because he was looking forward to giving her a piece of his mind.

Never have I worn my hair in a short, asymmetrical cut like Karen. Never have I gone out looking for a confrontation. I mind my own business, and would never consider telling strangers what to do, where to jog, how to live or when to do anything. (That includes the neighbor who still has a holiday wreath on display in September.)

Live and let live, that’s my motto. I don’t interfere. But every now and then my daughter teases I might be veering into Karen territory. Teens are good for that. She will hint I am being a hypocrite and immediately snap me back to reality.

Case in point: now that I’m in my 50s, I suspect I may be getting a bit cranky. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a window and wonder, “Who is that and why is she so grouchy?” Then, I realize I am that crabby lady.

A furrowed brow and frowny face is contrary to everything I represent. All my life I’ve felt the glass was half full, life was beautiful and people were inherently good. But now I find myself using the past tense when I say those things.

The new me isn’t sure about any of that anymore. Blame it on the pandemic, or the current state of politics. Whatever the reasons, I realized I could be evolving into a Karen and decided to change my ways. I had to act fast, before I started engaging in entitled micro-aggressions and making pointless calls to 911.

In hopes of raising my vibration, I considered a gratitude journal, but decided I wasn’t there yet. So instead, I shopped for simple reminders that I should be thankful and spread positivity. I picked up a “bless this house” throw pillow and some loungewear that promotes messages of peace, kindness and love. At least it was a start.

Ironically, it seems anytime I am plumping that pillow or wearing one of those outfits, I’m doing the exact opposite of the preachy messages they send.

One day, I was venting to my daughter about my unfair domestic workload while making the bed. My T-shirt read “Do what you love; love what you do.” If that wasn’t enough, I was arranging the pillows so “bless this house” was dead center. She rolled her eyes and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and then doubled over in laughter.

Another day, I was ranting to my husband about the morning news just moments after opening my eyes. Our teen walked through the kitchen, pointed at my “stay positive” pajamas, and flatly said, “got to stay positive, mom.” I nearly spit out my coffee. The hypocrisy is real.

Soon, she will be taking driver’s education classes, so lately I have been especially careful to set a good example for her when I am driving. I avoid distractions, always try to obey the speed limit and take extra time at stop signs.

At one busy intersection, I had to wait quite awhile before I had an opportunity to safely pull out into traffic. Granted, I was alone, I probably would have gone sooner. But with an impressionable teen watching my every move, I decided to take my time.

Apparently this was not acceptable to the person driving an oversized pickup behind me. He was riding my bumper for miles and decided to be helpful by honking his horn each time he thought I should go.

I tried to think serene thoughts, but the next time I heard that horn blare, I looked at the iced coffee in my left hand. I hefted it to gauge the weight, and fantasized about whipping it backwards through the open window. For just a moment, I imagined how satisfying it would be to see it smash it against the windshield of that pickup truck.

Then I noticed the logo on the cup: “Life is good.” Indeed, it is.

And the beat goes on.

Kris Ferrazza is a former reporter, assistant editor, copy editor and columnist with the Courier newspapers. She lives in Waldoboro.