Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Thousand Disappointments Part 4

It's strange how tenaciously people hold on to obviously wrong perspectives. Or, not strange, but frustrating with a little dash of eye roll. I am mostly used to being treated the way I am, but I'm not exactly happy about it.

When I go out by myself, I get treated like a child (a lot of people think I'm about ten years younger than I am). I get people repeating things slowly when I question things that they do, especially if they are doing or saying something particularly asinine. The minute they find out how old I am or that I am not a complete idiot, I get the 'you're a smart aleck, know-it-all, always trying to upstage and prove how smart you are' kind of thing. I call this the "I'm better than you no matter what" perspective.

Yet when I go out with my children, I become a statistic. I get a lot of nasty looks, and some people will speak to my children without even looking over at me. When I am acknowledged, it's to give me advice on how to raise my children. What? Is the fact that my children are behaving too much? On top of that, it is usually assumed that I'm unmarried, even when there is evidence that says otherwise. I guess wearing a wedding ring and going by "Mrs." doesn't mean what it used to. Is everyone assuming that I'm trying to hide the fact that I live on welfare with six kids who have five fathers? Damn you, Maury. I call this the "all black women with children are promiscuous, single mothers" perspective.

And then, when I am with my husband, I am invisible. I am nobody. All communication goes through him. There have been many times when my husband has given me a message from someone, and I have thought, 'I just saw them. Why didn't just they tell me?' If I do speak up, I get raised eyebrows. On the other hand, I am bothered less so that's a perk. I call this the "oh, a man is around to speak for you and tell us your opinion' perspective. This one is, oddly enough, the most confusing to go through.

I feel as though the minute I step out of my house, I am judged. And, in a negative light, at that. I find myself hating to go out. Hating to be talked down to, be sneered at, or be ignored. I stay silent because talking, arguing, gets me no where. People get very angry when someone who they hold with such contempt atttempts to stand up for himself.

In the end, it is depressing to be suprised when I get treated with decency.

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