Recently my daughter found out, via Facebook, that her father had proposed to his girlfriend.
The sense of loss and dislocation she experienced as a result of the hurtful and impersonal way the news was broken to her, has left her reeling.
Especially considering she’d rung her father the night before his Facebook announcement to invite him to her school sports carnival and he never said a word to her about it.
He never turned up to her sports carnival.
Despite this, my daughter showed a level of maturity far exceeding that of her fathers, by calling him the night after her carnival to congratulate him on his impending marriage.
The words she spoke to him were thoughtful and considerate.
The words he spoke to her were arrogant and blasie.
She hung up the phone and burst into tears.
She’s been crying ever since.
Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.
- A Divorce Lawyer’s Tips on Co-Parenting (morganlawaustin.com)
- Children and Divorce (brookscail.wordpress.com)
Sounds like a simple enough request doesn’t it?
And for most people it is.
I can do it for brief periods of time when I really concentrate on it.
But in those brief moments of time I find that I focus so hard on reminding myself to look the other person in the eye, that I lose track of whatever it was I was saying in the first place.
No matter how badly I may have wanted to communicate an idea, whatever train of thought I might have been traveling on at the time, quite simply disappears.
It’s as if I can’t do those two things at once.
Because whenever I don’t try to rein my gaze in, even though it may wander all over the place, my though processes and communication skills remain clear.
I wonder what this says about me and how it affects the way others react to me?
I know for instance, that the idea of being able to look someone in the eye while speaking to them is often perceived as a sign of honesty.
It’s meant to indicate that the person speaking is telling the truth.
So what must people think of me when I’m speaking to them, yet not looking at them?
Sometimes the person I’m speaking too will actually turn around to try and see what it is that I’m looking at as I speak.
It is in those moments that I become acutely aware that I’m staring at a random spot on the wall or gazing at nothing more than the patch of invisible air just beside the person’s head.
Then there’s always that empty space just beyond the other person’s shoulder that somehow always seems to hold me spell-bound, for no apparent reason.
It seems I will look anywhere but into the eyes of the person I’m talking too.
One of the things I find so weird about this though isn’t just the fact that I can’t seem to look others in the eye when I’m speaking to them, it’s that I can easily, sometimes almost obsessively, look other people in the eyes when they are speaking to me.
It’s as if, when they’re speaking to me, eye contact is not just Okay, it’s mandatory, but when I’m speaking to them, eye contact becomes an additional sensory burden.
It’s almost as if I can’t do the two things at once; Speak and look into another person’s eyes at the same time.
I do not understand why this is.
I only know that for some odd reason, I can’t seem to do this thing that comes so easily to others.
I’m not sure if it’s getting worse as I get older or whether years of noticing people’s strange reactions to me have simply made me more aware of it.
I’m also not sure whether or not this indicates that I have Aspie (Asperger) tendencies, as I can look people in the eye, so I don’t actually have a fear of looking people in the eye, it’s just that I can’t look them in the eyes when I’m talking.
Does anyone else experience this or know what it means?
- Two Reasons I Don’t Make Eye Contact (threeweekstime.wordpress.com)
- On Reinventing my Aspie Self (myaspiefiles.com)
- Low Eye Contact Is Not Just An Autism Thing (forbes.com)
- How to Tell if Somebody is Lying (persuasive.net)
- Aspie Me on Trying to Let Go … (myaspiefiles.com)
- Eye Contact: What Am I So Afraid Of? (blackgirlnerdy.blogspot.com)
- 23/04/2013 – Our body speaks (boscouem.wordpress.com)
- Everyone Has a Battle: Diary of an Aspie (livelovedream7.wordpress.com)
- Starving for Eye Contact. ~ Sara Courter (elephantjournal.com)
- 10 Things I Would Say to a Female with Asperger’s Syndrome, if I were her Therapist (aspergersgirls.wordpress.com)
How we define ourselves, the labels we use and the accompanying social judgments that ride along with our choice of words, speak volumes about how we are positioned in society.
I think for women, especially mothers, the question, ‘so what do you do for a living?’, no matter how casually asked, has been a loaded one.
Should we define ourselves solely by our biological status as mothers, as so many women have done before us?
If so what type of mother’s are we?
Full time mother, part-time mother, stay at home mother?
Or should we strive to avoid the trap of seeking to quantify ourselves by the amount of hands on time we spend mothering in the first place?
On this issue I totally agree with http:// oneforthemummy.wordpress.com /2012/09/28/whats-in-a-name/ contestation over the use of descriptors such as ‘full-time mum’ or ‘stay at home mum’, when seeking to define ourselves.
I’m not sure why we as women still refer to ourselves in these terms, but we do. At least I know I have done and occasionally still do and probably will do again in the future.
Yet each and every time I do, I also know that I find myself becoming increasingly more uncomfortable about doing so.
To me the description of a mother as either a full-time mum or a working mum, automatically sets up that god awful, age-old debate concerning the roles of women in both the family and the workforce.
And apart from anything else, it also tends to rub in the even more appallingly ridiculous notion that being a mother and mothering, isn’t hard work at all.
Newsflash, mothering is hard work. Just because it doesn’t come complete with a recognized financial package and a demarcated award wage, does not mean that it is not legitimate work. It is and it deserves to be acknowledged.
Of course once you get past the whole full-time, part-time, stay at home debacle, you are then faced with the more modern conundrum of whether or not you’re a married stay at home mum, a single stay at home mum, married working mum or a single working mum?
If we’re honest about it, we know that each of these patriarchal definitions arrives complete with their own unique brands of social baggage and more often than not, moral judgements.
Which you might not mind confronting so much if you were simply honestly being asked whether or not you were a Miss, Mrs or Ms,…… but when the question is supposed to be a harmless social ice breaker like ‘what do you do for a living’……? Somehow the automatic roll call involved just doesn’t seem to fit.
Especially considering the fact that feminists worked hard to legitimise the title Ms, specifically so that women wouldn’t have to automatically define themselves as either married or single, instantaneously.
Of course these days the term Ms has become synonymous with divorce, so that now it’s used primarily to define a woman as a divorcee.
So that particular piece of hard worn anonymity still hasn’t been able to purchase for women the same rights as men, who only need to declare the letters Mr before their name, on any and all occasions.
Quite simply I find the inadvertent information that each additional label sends out, when applied specifically to women, nothing short of astounding.
Not to mention a double standard of enormous proportions.
And I think we as women really need to ask ourselves whether or not, in this day and age, giving out that sort of information to a casual observer is really necessary?
I mean, even in today’s world, it’s still not a definitional issue that men are exposed to, as they have always tended to define themselves by their employment status alone anyway.
Even if they didn’t hold that stop-gap , men are rarely expected to divulge their status as either a full-time dad or a single dad with such an easily laid out , ‘what do you do for a living?’…. the way that women are expected too.
But I guess the bigger question is, why do we even feel the need to try and define ourselves by what we do?
Personally I prefer to define myself as a human being, who happens to be both a woman and a mother.
How do you define yourself?
- Mother Lands (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- Motherlode Blog: Full-Time Work Means Better Health for Mothers (parenting.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Working mums healthier than stay-at-home mothers, study says (todayonline.com)
- Working mums healthier than stay-at-home mothers (telegraph.co.uk)
Now here’s a scandalous statement; I do not own a credit card. I do not believe in credit cards.
It’s not that I don’t believe that they exist, for they do indeed exist.
Rather, I don’t believe that there’s any longer a need for this continuous line of revolving credit, that we’ve all gotten so used too.
There’s simply no reason for us to keep dipping our hands into the pockets of others in order to “afford” our daily bread.
It’s not like we have too put everything we purchase on credit.
We do it now because we’ve gotten used to the feel of it.
It’s become a mind-set that we baptize our children into.
Turn 18, apply for a credit card.
And why? Because that’s just the way things are done.
Even the language we use around this adhoc system of permanent short-term loans, which is what credit cards actually are, is just so deceptive.
We call them credit cards when in fact they create nothing but debts.
Yet we go on merrily marking our accounts with debits, that we can’t afford. Meaning that in the long-term, we owe more money to others than we actually have.
But don’t worry you can pay it off overtime. Only of course, few of us ever really do.
Most of us add far more to the mountain than we could ever seriously hope to chew through in the time allotted to us.
And let’s face it, there is nothing what so ever about owning a credit card, that ensures personal credibility.
More often than not credit cards contribute to the ever-growing trend within out society to deny our personal responsibilities.
In fact 9 times of 10 owning a credit card can be argued to encourage people to routinely display acts of poor financial judgement accompanied by a very limited sense of personal responsibility.
Gone are the days of saving up for what you want.
Now instant, plastic, gratification rules.
Yet it appears the more easily we come by things, the less our capacity to value anything becomes.
I remember back in the 80′s when the talk of the town was the wanton waste that first world countries thrive on.
Flip top societies I believe we were being called back then.
Use it, break it, waste it, bin it.
For awhile we felt chastised by the ease of our own greed and repented by pledging huge sums of money to poorly run aid organizations.
Until they then too became such big businesses that the corruption within them became inevitably yet another part of the money hungry chain.
The collapse of our conscience became once again only a hop skip and jump away.
So we stopped donating to others and started donating even more greedily too ourselves.
Like dieters deprived of chocolate for more than a week, we feasted on the smorgasboard of modern life and then when the time came to pay ,we simply purged ourselves clean with the cloak and dagger routine known as a personal bankruptcy claim.
And through it all, we learned nothing more than the nifty little trick of being good for a year or two, before gorging ourselves again.
My Grandmother used to say; ‘Act in haste, repent at leisure’.
But these days I don’t think we even do that.
We might grumble a bit about the intrest rate payments on our credit cards, but we don’t repent and we don’t stop using them.
And here’s the point, the reason we don’t stop using them is because they’ve become a way of life.
Yet they are a way of life that we don’t actually need.
We’ve just been fooled into thinking that we do because they’ve been promoted as making our lives so much easier.
After all they’ve made us safe…… haven’t they?
They stopped us from having to carry great wads of cash around and made us feel as if we no longer had to worry about being mugged in the streets.
They stopped the threat and fear that we had of having our houses broken into and ransacked by thieves looking for bundles of cash.
Yes credit cards made it safe for us to walk the streets at night and leave our houses unattended while on holidays.
If only they had, then perhaps it would have been all worthwhile.
Now days of course crime has gone high-tech and a million and one internet scams have shot up overnight with the potential to wipe out not just a wallet full of money but an entire bank account in one foul swoop.
But hey, we don’t have to worry about that now either, seeing as how so few of us actually have any savings in our accounts to draw on.
Is it just me or does anyone else wonder what’s so credible about living life with a credit card these days?
Safer? Smarter? More credible?
I don’t think!!!!
- Teens and credit? No way. (bestcreditrepaircompanys.com)
- The Basics of Credit Card Debt Settlement (nationaldebtrelief.com)
- Credit Card Consolidation – The Right And Wrong Alternatives (nationaldebtrelief.com)
Yes it is true. I believe in Mirror Balls and have done ever since Hot Chocolate first (supposedly) sang ‘I believe in miracles’.
I’m still not 100% convinced that Hot Chocolate didn’t indeed mean to sing ‘I believe in Mirror Balls’ instead of miracles.
I mean really, who wouldn’t want to write a chart topper about Mirror Balls?
Bless their glittery little multifaceted souls.
And I’m pretty sure that I can’t be the only person out there who’s spent an awfully long time singing the wrong words to songs.
I mean so long, that when the correct words are actually put in front of me, my entire mind goes into some kind of instantaneous denial.
A denial so strong, that I find myself automatically spluttering out the phrases, “No it can’t be, that simply doesn’t make sense, who on earth would write a line that? No I don’t believe you.’
All of the above phrases are then often followed by the dreaded utterance….. ‘My version’s better anyway’.
Which often signals the end of all conversation regarding the matter.
But honestly, I don’t mind the odd mistaken verse.
Sometimes, (ok a lot of the time) I actually prefer it.
So come on….. ‘Hit me with your best shot’ (don’t you think that bee’s hot?)
And share some of your lyrical liberties with me .
This is the question Jeanette Winterson‘s mother asks of her after she reveals that she is gay.
It’s a question that probably a lot of family members silently ask themselves when ever someone they love begins living a lifestyle that, in many ways, runs counter to the ‘normal‘ expectations held out for them.
When in comparison, a respected life full of frustrated denial, would appear, on the surface, as being ‘oh so much better.’
Well if not ‘oh so much better’ then at least a thousand degree’s closer to being normal…. right?
Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. And…. Uh….. Once ……Again……..Wrong.
I’d say it’s a pretty normal desire to want to live your life free of prejudice and discrimination while going about the daily business of following your own personal hopes and dreams.
But if you’re not convinced by that, here are few other reasons why it’s wrong to equate normalcy with being happy.
Firstly, being normal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
After all, the term ‘being normal’ in and of itself, requires that there also be an accompanying ‘abnormal’ somewhere out there.
So as far as coining a term for happiness goes, ‘being normal’ isn’t exactly a term that leads one on to assume limitless joy. Far from it. Instead it leads one to automatically conjure up unpleasant images of it’s counterpart.
Secondly, being normal doesn’t necessarily prevent you from living a life free of frustrated denial.
Ever hear the story about the mother who longed to be studying at university but instead found herself looking after children 24 hours a day?
Now we may consider her life normal but it’s a form of normal that’s also a thousand miles away from being free of the frustration of having one’s hopes and personal needs denied.
And thirdly, really, just what is it, that we consider to be normal these days anyway?
There are people out there making their cats wear costumes and play piano’s while videoing it just so they can put it on the internet because they think it’s cute.
Now I ask you, is that normal?…………….( Well yes maybe once is OK).
I guess the point I am trying to make is, that apart from anything else, I don’t think happiness is really an equation that requires normalcy to balance out it’s other side.
Or to put it another way, happiness and normalcy are not two sides of the one coin nor opposite ends of the same sea-saw.
Happiness is simply not an either or proposition.
It is not,
Gay/Different = Unhappy…… or …….. Heterosexual/Normal = Happy
We all know that there are plenty of happy Gay folks out there and just as many miserable straight ones too.
So what would happen…..,
If we decided to make being happy…..,
Instead of trying to equate being normal with happiness?
Put quite simply,
We could reverse the equation,
In such a way,
That doing anything that makes you,
As a person happy,
Could become the predominant norm.
In which case any and all routes to happiness could be incorporated within the realms of normalcy ……..
Normal [living a life following the strict delineations of normalcy handed to you by others at all times] = Happy…..
Happy [living your life in any way that makes you happy] = Normal ……
Which equation would you rather be tied too?
- Normal has to include justice and equality (kaieteurnewsonline.com)
- Normal, Unique, & Crazy (michelewhitney.wordpress.com)
- Thoughts: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson (bonjourcass.com)
- ‘Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?’ by Jeanette Winterson (rowenadunn.wordpress.com)
- Guilty Happiness (seayoga.wordpress.com)
- All She Needs is Love (sylviagardner.wordpress.com)
- Misery is the new Happy (merakristina.wordpress.com)