In this past week I lost something that is (was) to me a safe place. Yes it may have been on the internet… and yes to some people that isn’t as “real” as other things. But I still mourned it. The way I have lived my life for so many years the internet has been a safe common place for me. Whether I was in a rat infested hovel in India or being eaten alive by mosquitoes in the jungles of Borneo, the internet gave me a sense of connection to the world that I seemed so hell bent on running away from. The internet is a place where I work and socialise. This may seem sad to some people, and some days it does to me too… but the world is a crazy place now, technology rules and we are all connected yet completely disconnected from one another all the time.
I faced, once more, the negativity and hurt that can come from misspoken words and stubbornness. I saw friends get hurt on both sides of an argument. I watched as names, petty, hurtful names, were thrown around as if we were children in the playground testing the boundaries of the real world. But this is the real world. These are real people, with feelings. I made a decision to step away from it all. To step back so that I could retain the love and the respect I had for each of the individuals involved. So that I could protect my relationships, each separate relationship – to do that, I lost the whole.This post isn’t about what happened though. The event that took place did so in a private place, a safe place that is respected and the last thing anyone needs is it to be publicly discussed any further than it already has been.
But this event, it reminded me of something that it is easy to forget both as an individual and as a parent. It reminded me of the responsibility we all have over ourselves. Our own happiness and the affect that we have on each other and more so the incredible affect we have on our children. I looked at Bo a lot this week, wondering who she would turn into. What sort of adult she will be. What sort of woman she will be. Will she be strong? Will she be feisty or argumentative? Will she be calm? Will she have a short fuse or will she be patient. How many of these characteristics are already in built into her and how many are given, like gifts, as a direct result of the behaviour that she is surrounded by. Her fathers behaviour. His choices. The way he talks to her and to me. And mine. How much will her friends influence her? How will her first boyfriend shape her? How will her siblings (which I truly hope she has) change her? I know that all of these people; friends, parents, siblings, lovers, teachers; had an incredible influence on me. Both good and bad. Shaping and changing me throughout my life. But some of this. Some of who I am, must have been there when I was born… But more of it, more of it was choices of others that turned into choices I made again, later down the track.
When a baby is born they know nothing of fear. They know not of discrimination, they don’t understand bigotry, sexism or elitism. They don’t know that in our world we are classed in a system. Where some of us are more valued than others. Babies don’t know. Babies don’t know trust or love or respect. They know not of cruelty or homophobia or injustice. They don’t know pain or joy or friendship. They have no understanding of empathy or decency or the difference between the truth and a lie. They will learn all of these things, throughout their life. And the very first person they will learn it from is us, their parents.
What sort of teacher are you?
We walk this path of life alone. Together. Each of us with our own path to tread, our own decisions to be made our own mistakes to learn from. But we are never alone. We are standing right beside each other. Instead of fighting it. Instead of judging, if we banded together. Truly banded together not only would be set a better example for our children… we would be better for it in ourselves, too. Motherhood, or perhaps life in general, is a gift. A terribly difficult, rewarding, painful gift. No choice you make can take that gift away.
This game of competition that has been built around us. This world of judgement. It’s not actually necessary. We don’t have to be like that. We have learned it. We learned it from the people around us as we grew up, but we don’t need to pass all of it on. Haters don’t mean to be haters. Maybe they just don’t know any better. Maybe they are scared and lonely and unsupported. Maybe we can never know enough about anyone to ever truly place judgement upon them.
What do you think… is it possible? Is a utopian world where women stand side by side with other women, in support and in love and in trust… is it possible?How will any of this affect my daughter? How will this change her? Who will she be?
Don’t hate the haters ladies. Hate the game. Hate it enough to change it, together, because together is the only way that it will change.