I wrote that as a Facebook status, then took it down three minutes later. That’s how long it took for me to get over that particular sentiment.
I’m sure I’m not the only mom who’s ever felt that way, and 180 seconds after the thought entered my brain, I was thinking: That’s just silly. Being overwhelmed has nothing to do with being a real mom, or even a good one (whatever the fuck those mean in the first place). Damn all of these judgmental pricks. Damn all of the media hype about moms being too busy to cut their hair or buy a decent pair of heels. Just because I have time to do both, does it mean that I’m not doing a good job? (And for that matter, just because I’m able to run around while wearing 3-inch heels, and I like doing so, does that make me less of a feminist?)
Nope. Of course one doesn’t have to do with the other, just like the facts that I feel free to smoke; my wardrobe choices are singled out as “questionable” (tank tops, V-necks, shorts, skirts, tight jeans, high heels, platforms, etc.); the neighbors see Riley with his nanny more than they see him with me – those have nothing to do with my mothering skills, either. But people think they do. And that fact is something that I’ve simply learned to ignore. Truth: generalizations and stereotypes are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you have to try to fit them.
It’s become second nature to not become fazed by other peoples’ criticisms, expectations, or opinions. When someone voices their thoughts about me, I coolly drag on the conversation for however long I’m comfortable, then change the topic. Fact is – and I don’t mean to sound like a superior bitch – it doesn’t matter. I’m not saying that I’m perfect, and I’ll definitely engage in intelligent discussion/debate, but at the end of the day, more often than not, my perspective won’t be moved. Because, ya know what? Me and my life might sound crazy to you, but believe it or not, I’ve thought long and hard about the shit I’ve done before I’ve done it, and I’m damn proud of the road I’ve traveled and the person I’ve become.
Along with this renewed sense of calm and confidence is a definite identification with social liberalism, which to me basically means “I may not get you, but I respect and appreciate you and whatever it is that you’re about – up until you molest a kid/rape someone/etc.”
Social liberalism, to me, means a suspension of judgment [up until a point; see above]. It means not having double standards. It means that when you say you’re okay with a lifestyle, you’re really okay with it. Not any of this, “It’s okay to be [insert profession/sexual preference/race/ethnicity/nationality/age/etc.] just as long as you’re not [a person of social status/my loved one/romantically involved with my loved one/etc.].” Point blank: If you say you’re okay with people being gay, but you have a problem with your kid being gay, then you’re not really okay with gay people in the first place. You’re faking it – most likely because it fits in with the ideals that you’d like to espouse – but you really see being gay as inferior, and that just ain’t cool.
I identify with people who are offbeat, unusual, misunderstood, and queer (sexually and just plain strange). I’ve battled my own demons, taken paths that were right for me, and fought for acceptance, respect, and legitimacy – and I deserve all of the acceptance, respect and legitimacy that I’ve gained. For every part about me that soothes the majority’s worries about my identity, there are a million other parts of me that make the average Joe raise a judgmental eyebrow. And although I will play to the sympathizers, I will also acknowledge that that’s what they are: I appreciate their kindness and empathy exactly because this isn’t their fight, and they’ve chosen to take up arms. Thank you, sympathizers. But also: Be weary of claiming possession of this fight because it isn’t really yours. You may only help where permission is granted.
And if you choose not to heed my words, that’s fine, too. Because, really, what the fuck do I know? Keep on pushing, and you’ll eventually find a niche that fits your groove. Just because it ain’t my niche doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong. Even if I think it is…
Maybe this is inner peace or freedom or simply not giving a fuck. All I know is, it works for me. My competitive streak has disappeared. Now I just feel… complete. Like a force of nature. A force to be reckoned with. A force that’s completely blessed. I’ve come to the conclusion that I may never know the *right* answers, but I know which ones are definitely *wrong* for me, and that’s all I really need to know. I’ll grant you the respect to go about living the best way you know how; I’ll never look down my nose at you or expect you to do anything than what you’ve promised; I’ll engage in heated discussions with you and will be quick to apologize if I come off as offensive in any way; I’ll be honest with you – and I’ll even try to be honest with myself. And all I ask of you is the same.