While reading 8 Centimeters Deluded: Washed Up Jellyfish or Breast Implants? I had to laugh out loud at the line:
Gag me with a 3D, acid-free photo corner.
She was referring to scrapbooking (and she could not have echoed my sentiments more) during an adventure packed blog regarding social niceties and the cringe reflex - but go check out this amazingly witty woman!
Not much further along in my blog meanderings, Jennster bemoaned
that's when i just look around wondering if anyone else in the room feels like an outcast like i do. and i always decide that no.. i don't think they do.
Honey - I sure do! I remember when I was at my most vulnerable in life (besides the every day vulnerability that washes over me in some social settings). I lived in a beachside suburb where I knew NO-ONE. A single mother refugee from an increasingly dysfunctional relationship break-up set down in the middle of nuclear-ville. I am sure that all the females in the little nests for miles around shuddered at my coming and I sure as heck have no idea what the males were thinking as I was at the point where I was truly invisible to the actions and reactions of that species.
I lived there 18 months - not one day during that time did it get any better. Oh, a few old dears would appreciate the cuteness of my toddler and I did corner a neighbour into a discussion about dogs once - but that was it. If they had been ungenteel folk I am sure that I would have found graffiti plastered across my walls "Begone - Heathens Not Welcome" - but they were very polite in their stiffening of lips and sniffing disdainfully as I perambulated their streets.
I would like to say that once I moved, all that changed - but change was very gradual and there were days during our journey where I could have shrivelled up into a ball of see-through cellophane - and there were people I met on my journey who I think wished for this response.
I often wonder why it is that people seek to feel better about themselves at the expense of others? Maybe it is because I am a woman that I feel this most keenly in the camp of women but I do not wish to be sexist and say it is a purely woman thing.
I have noticed it most since being a mother - no, since being pregnant with a child.
It began innocuously enough...
- Do you know the sex?
- Do you want to know the sex?
- How much testing will you do on finding out if you have a perfect child before birth?
- How much intervention will you seek/accept in having the child?
- Cloth/Disposable? Breast/Bottle? Dummy/Thumb? Working/Stay at Home?
- Choosing to be a single parent over a dysfunctional family?
- Playgroup? Swimming Lessons? Music Lessons? French Lessons?
- Kindergarten, day care; home-based care or grandparents?
- Drinking? Smoking? Vegetarian? Allergy free?
It did get better at the old school before I left - and that is because I found a group of awesome mothers - both single and married - among whom I really felt I could be myself - and that was a truly liberating experience.
I would love to say that it remained all wonderful when I moved to Paradise - but it didn't. In fact I felt so shut out by other parents it was truly painful. I made an effort to be friendly at school pick up (which I attended as my daughter felt so shut out by other children) and I have never before met such a solid wall of resistence. The only person that would speak to me was another new mother.
Gradually it has changed - mainly through relentless volunteering and therefore the children will say hello to me. I also met another mother who I clicked with - and who could recount her very similar reception six months previous - so I knew it wasn't me. And I have also found some fringe-dwellers amongst the phalanx of disdainful matrons who I can relate to.
I would love to have the guts to turn to these women (and a few men, I might add) and tell them that I am NEVER going to conform to whatever their narrow standards may be and to just get over themselves - but I dare not run that gauntlet of artfully cocked eyebrows. So instead I will cultivate my slowly growing posse of pleasanter parents and know that there are people like me - we just don't run the P&C!
Having said all that, I wonder do I do that to others? Are there people who think that I do that? Do I dismiss others because of some inner snob? I would like to think not - but then I have to think that these people do not deliberately make others feel small - do they?
But hey - I have found an online club that is made up of women just like me - or rather, possibly rather unlike me but enough like me in the "I am not going to play the mother game competitively but for the joy of it" that I feel more at home. They are Omega Women - go check them out!
And finally - a preview for the blog I aim to do tomorrow: I have to thank the internet for saving me during those dark days alluded to above - I found a group of like women online, and for the last 4 years I have known and loved these women for the beauty they have in their lives. One of these ladies is part of a group called "The Betty Boobs" and this year they are doing the 2007 Arizona Breast Cancer 3-Day! which is a 60 mile walk to raise funds and awareness for two Breast Cancer charities. As a teaser for tomorrow's post here are the shirts they have created - and you can own one too!!!