July 18, 2012

Books and Covers

Today has been an unsettling day. I've been trying to figure out how/why to pinpoint... to be able to phrase the depths of the sadness of it.

But sad isn't the right word. I can't think of it. Maybe by the end of this post, I'll have flushed it out.

There is mother of some kids that went to school with my youngest. I'm going to put it right out there... I have spent the better part of eight years detesting this woman.

How much did I dislike her?

I disliked her so much that one day in the Mall, my three kids said to me, 'oh Mom, look, it's Mrs. Smith. Quick. Go hide behind that shrub!' They teased me for hours as they know that I'll do anything I can to avoid her.

How much did I dislike her?

I was in the Mall at Christmas with my Mom and she said, "Bou, that woman is trying to get your attention..." and when I saw who it was, I think I visibly shrank.

And I've had to really think about why I have frickin' hated her so much, and what it comes down to is she always acts really stupid and I thought nobody could be that damn dumb, so she wasn't worthy of my time.

Anyone who wants to play the tall skinny stupid blonde needs to play that game with someone else, because I don't throw that ball. I have no respect for people who play dumb intentionally. It pisses me off.

So I've felt that way for a long time. I've never been mean, outright mean, but I've gone out of my way to not be around her. I've been aloof. And all my friends know how I have felt about her, because things have happened, she's said things that have pissed me off, or done something I found extraordinarily stupid, and I did not hold back... at all... in letting my friends know exactly what I thought of this seriously stupid woman.

And her husband died a couple days ago and now I'm hearing things about what was really going on that has shed some light on her and who she really is and her situation.

And I don't feel bad... not really... because I didn't know. And I'm not a gossip. I don't stand around with the groups of Moms that talk about what has happened to whom and when. So how was I to know?

But yeah, maybe I do feel bad, not that I could have helped, but that maybe I would have held back judgement not warranted and I could have cut her a bit more slack.

Because you can't be stupid or weak and to stand guard over your children, making sure nobody hurts them. You can't be stupid or weak to make sure your children get the best when someone has dealt them a crap hand. You can't be stupid or weak, when you finally stand up and say, "I'm leaving and taking the children because we can't do this anymore..."

And I'm not going to go into it except to say that for the last 10 years it has been a hellish existance for her and suddenly things said, actions noticed, situations make more sense and for that... I have great compassion.

I don't know what is going to happen to this family, but I pray for them. And Bones and I are going to the funeral on Saturday because I said to him, "It is the right thing to do. Your friend will remember for the rest of her life that YOU were there."

It's been... eye opening. Do I want to be her friend? No. But I won't avoid her anymore and I won't roll my eyes. I know now from where she comes and it is not a good place.

And I know now the kind of woman she is... and it's not weak or stupid.

She's not what I judged her to be.

And yeah. I feel bad.

Posted by Boudicca at July 18, 2012 09:04 PM

I have done some things to folks in the past that I am not proud of. There is no way I can go back and change them. I "know" now that I am supposed to forgive myself for being that ass that I was, but I find I cannot. So, I beat myself up for it and try to move on.
Try and move past it, say a little prayer for her and hers, and forgive yourself.

Posted by: Papa Guy at July 18, 2012 11:33 PM

Wow, what a courageous post!! And the lesson that Bones will learn from this is one that words alone can't teach.

I think most of us can say we judged someone wrongly and felt that bad feeling when the "other truth" came to light. But most of us don't have the courage to admit it. I am one of those people who believe that things happen for a reason, and if the reason behind this is to teach Bones some compassion, then I'm guessing that the good mother in that woman would understand.

Posted by: Peggy K at July 19, 2012 04:16 AM

It's been quite an eye opener for the kids, in particular for Bones. It's also been a case of 'you never know what is going on in someone else's house...' It may look all wonderful and nice, but it's a facade.

It's opened up some talks about psychology as well. Bones was like, "Wait, just because he was XYZ and did ABC, you want to be her friend now? What about the time she did this... and this...?"

I told him, I have no desire to be her friend. She's not someone I would hang out with. But there is no reason for me to be anything but nice, like I would be to anyone else. The avoidance has to stop. And that her actions were a result of some other things and I explained some cause and effect and why people behave certain ways.

It doesn't give her an excuse for some of it, but it does. She said something kind of insulting to me once. I just stared her down and walked away shaking my head at her absolute stupidity. One of my girlfriends said, "You don't see it. She is intimidated by you and doesn't know how to respond..." and I said, "It's irrelevant. She's dumb. There is no reason to respond."

I look back on it now and I realize that friend of mine knew some things I did not.

Crazy. Absolutely crazy.

Posted by: Bou at July 19, 2012 06:32 AM

I agree with Peggy; what an important life lesson for the boys!

You're certainly not alone in misjudging others... we all do it... but you are to be commended for changing your mind and being open about it with your children.

Posted by: pam at July 19, 2012 07:52 AM

You can only relate to people by what you see. It does no good to make excuses for a person because she might have x, y, or z wrong in her life and allow that chaos to become part of yours...especially if she did nothing to change them. Granted, I don't know the whole story. But if her way of dealing with those problems for all that time was counter-intuitive to the way you would have personally dealt with it...you couldn't have been a help anyway. Yes, be supportive in this sad time...and hope she can move forward in a better way.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at July 19, 2012 09:33 AM

I've been that woman.

Posted by: Rave at July 19, 2012 11:52 AM

We all are guilty from time to time of making judgements about people without knowing all the facts. The fact that you admit this and are willing to make amends makes you a better person than many.

Posted by: diamond dave at July 19, 2012 10:23 PM

As usual Peggy summed up my thoughts beautifully. Every year I seem to get some new lesson in the fact that everyone is doing their best with what they have today and it sticks until the next time I decide that no one can *seriously* be that clueless and really this person *must* be doing this because they have some "other" intention ... sigh ... maybe I'll have it figured out by 85! Here's hoping. xx

Posted by: shaz at July 20, 2012 09:26 PM

You can only operate on the information you have.
I think that's forgiveable.

Posted by: PeggyU at July 20, 2012 11:52 PM

There are people who, for whatever reason, we just can't like. Yes she might have been going through hellish times at home, but the outside world can only deal with what it sees. How in the world are we supposed to distinguish between a person having a bad life behind closed doors and a person who is simply not nice because they have a sucky personality?

It's a most excellent lesson for kids though - the fact that what you see on the outside is not at all what might be happening inside. Don't envy what someone seems to have because it might not be at all what you think it is.

It will be interesting to see how she changes now that he is gone. I agree, you will be able to be nicer to her (at least for a while). Maybe she will become a nicer person to know or not.

Posted by: Teresa at July 24, 2012 09:42 AM