lundi, décembre 14, 2009

The pity factor

What on earth do they think of me, I wonder sometimes.

Honestly, I'd rather not wonder. I like to go through my life feeling like, in general, I'm part of the crowd.

Lots of us have to deal with bad luck, or broken relationships, or, particularly recently, financial problems.

Telling some friends about my septic tank melodrama (want me to talk dirty to you?), I was stunned into brief silence when the wife said: "You always have such troubles, Elizabeth. Our lives just go along without problems."

As it happens, that isn't really true. But as I grinned at her husband, I have to admit I felt a bit pissed off.

I've know real grief -- a brother lost, way too young. A mother who never got to meet her grandchildren. But oh my goodness, I've been so blessed in so many other ways.

Am I pleased that my neighbors got a variance 25 or so years ago, when this was the WildWild West, to bury their waste in my yard? No, of course not. Will it matter in a year?


I have so much -- healthy children, a place to live, money enough not to stay up at night wondering how we'll eat, good neighbors, work that fulfills, a God who loves me... and who loves you.

Yes, it would be awesome to have a man here to help me cope with tanks and toilets and folding the wash -- and all those other things some men are good at. And if he shows up, it will be another thing to marvel at....but I'm not feeling sorry for myself.

So why do you?

I am more like you than unlike you -- you who fluff your feathers in the perceived security of a marriage, or good health, or successful children.

I think it might be different in a less conservative area, where there wasn't quite the same stigma to being a woman with a failed marriage who hasn't buried the evidence by remarrying.

But when someone starts with the supposition that managing my life without a man makes me less competent, I bristle. I know it says more about them than it does about me, but kid in me still stamps her feet.

That being said -- I have a suggestion for those of you who pity us.

Start with what we share -- and what we don't share won't be quite as frightening.

4 commentaires:

dadshouse a dit…

I think people who fear or condemn single parents are probably scared to think of their own lives, should they end up alone. I.e. whatever they say is about them, not about you or other single parents.

BigLittleWolf a dit…

There is so much buried in these paragraphs. For one thing, "failed marriage" isn't a term I use often. Marriages end. Not all, but many. That doesn't mean they failed, or even that the individuals involved didn't give their best.

Single women not as competent (respected?) as the married ones? That makes me shake my head and wonder what planet they live on. I agree with DM - a lot of denial and fear, lest it happen to them.

Yes, there are always things to be grateful for. Very.

Offcenter a dit…

Yes, David, I agree -- and it shouldn't bother me. But it does sometimes.

And BLW, "failed" is my term, reflecting my own sense of us trying hard for years to make something work. It isn't the term everybody would use or should use. You are right...many give their best, and some people, like us do better as coparents apart.

norman pease a dit…

it could be my financail and or social position, or my age....but at some point I pretty much stopped being concerned about what others thought about me, especially acquaintences. I think my response to your friends may have been a slightly sarcastic...well, how wonderful for you....may it continue all the days of your lives.