Misunderstood

I'm having a hard time saying what I want, or need, to say right now.  That doesn't change the fact that I need to say it and staring at a blinking cursor isn't helping it get out.  I'm feeling a bit, well, hurt.  There, I said it.  It's out.  Now, maybe, I can explain it.

Over the last week, I've been having some issues with some friends.  Apparently, several friends from high school, who I had become friends with on Facebook, take exception to my lifestyle.  They don't like that I'm childfree, that I don't appreciate organized religion, and that I'm liberal.  I had a very minor run in with one of them after I mentioned that I was going to do some housekeeping on Facebook (she asked if I was removing "mombies and fundies"), in which I felt attacked without provocation.  I later removed her (along with everyone else I went to high school with and some of my old WoW friends) from my Facebook.  I needed to clean it up and get some of my privacy back.  I suppose that even though I blog, and put myself out there, I still need somewhere I can go where I'm not completely exposed.  Apparently blogging makes me self-righteous and diluted.

Shortly there after, I got a not-all-together unexpected letter from her, in which she a lot of hurtful things.  She said hating moms is the same thing as being racist and that because I wanted a baby when I was 18, that I'm not childfree. I got the impression she believes I'm a basket case who's using the childfree label to account for some sort of psychological issue.  I've been called a lot of things for choosing to be childfree, but a lying, racist, headcase has never been one of them.  Sadly, while she leveled accusations against me for something she inferred (that I consider her and her sister breeder mombies, neither of which are true), she showed just as much intolerance for my lifestyle as she accused me of having for hers.  The email was peppered with compliments, she called me smart more than once, said she admired me for being able to put my unpopular opinions out there, but the overall tone of the email was incredibly hostile.  I emailed her back, explained my side of the issue as carefully and honestly as I could, but haven't heard anything yet.  It would appear, on further reading, that she feels sorry for me for not having kids.  I hope to hear back from her because I really don't want her to misunderstand me.  If she wants to hate my lifestyle, I want it to be because she actually hates my lifestyle, not because he misunderstands it or infers something horribly wrong about my feelings and beliefs.

It's funny, actually, because the email suggested that I'd write about this here, which is honestly not something I had intended to do.  I was going to keep it private, but decided against it after seeing something today that changed my mind.

While browsing around the net, I came across a blog started by one of the friends I removed from my Facebook -- previously mentioned friend's sister.  She and I had been writing back and forth for a few months via facebook, so I felt we were on really good terms.  I read through her blog until I came upon the first one, posted in August, in which she calls me a "liberal, child-having, lazy...uh... friend?"  She didn't use my name, but the context is clear and here I thought we were on good terms.  She had emailed me a few times, expressed interest in my blogs, said she felt I was a good writer.  The emails between us were always very cordial, in fact, friendly and when I removed her from my Facebook, it wasn't without a great deal of regret.  The only reason I removed her, to be truthful, is that I felt I couldn't remove the others without doing so.  She and I even maintained a friendly, if somewhat sporadic, correspondence on Facebook after she wrote that in August.

I suppose, in addition to being hurt, I'm a bit surprised that she smiled to my face (so to speak) after saying such hurtful things.  If she didn't want anything further to do with me, she should have said so.  We're all adults, it would have likely hurt my feelings, but not nearly as much as finding this does.  I really want honesty and to be understood, not to be called names and have hurtful accusations leveled against me.

Sometimes, we grow apart, and the gap widens, until we're standing on opposite banks, looking toward something we don't even recognize anymore.  We reach the point of no return, when the only emotions that can breech the gap are the painful, hateful, hurtful ones.  I just wish I understood why what they think is bothering me so much.  Maybe, it's because before all this I still considered them friends.  Even though in the past we've had some issues, I still want them to see me for what I really am and to think I'm, like I do, that I'm a good person, something they clearly don't.  I suppose it's the people from the past, the ones you care about despite yourself, that are most capable of hurting you.  I know people I've met since I've been an adult, people that know me now, who don't have nearly this much power to hurt me.

It bothers me to be judged and misunderstood, especially be people who have no business judging me.  In light of it all, there are a few facts that remain eternally true.  The first is that I'm comfortable, if not completely happy, with my life and who I am.  I like being childfree and though there are some childfree people who're hateful, I'm not generally one of them -- contrary to popular beliefs, I don't hate moms, I just dislike children.  I have a lot of insecurities, that doesn't mean that having a baby can fix them, especially considering that I've never met a mother without insecurities of her own.  I may amount to nothing, yet, but I'm only 31 years old and not having a "traditional" career doesn't make me less.  I'm still working on my BA, it's taken me a long time, but I've overcome a lot of hurdles to get where I am and I'm proud of myself.  I may be overweight, but that doesn't make me lazy.  I may not be completely financially stable, but that doesn't mean I'm trash.  I may suffer from depression, but that doesn't make me a headcase.  I may not like organized religion, that doesn't make me an immoral heathen.   Finally, and this one is important, I do not need, nor do I want, your pity.

8 comments

  1. It's true that you've changed a lot in the last 10 years. You have new interests and many of your views and ideals have changed. You have to remember though that these people aren't judging you, they're judging an imagine of you that they've crafted from old memories and current assumptions. You have friends who know you well and love you dearly. You have family who cherish you and believe in you, and you have a husband who loves you and will always be there with you.

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  2. Kristyn,
    There are two sides to every coin. Here is what I read, written by you, right before I wrote that blog:

    Comment by Kristyn — March 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm
    Every single one of my “friends” from high school have become total “mombies.” I don’t speak to them anymore, they all decided I was the devil when I left my first husband and stopped talking to me, but two years ago I decided to maybe try to rekindle the friendships. Ugh. That was a nightmare I wish I hadn’t put myself though. Not only are they total servants to their babies, all they want to talk about are the joys of motherhood and how only a mother can know true, honest, selfless love. Blah, blah, blah…stupid breeders.
    It’s sad because a lot of them used to be interesting. They used to have aspirations and goals, they used to want things for themselves. Now all they want is to talk about their kids.

    Kristyn, you state "Every single one of my friends from high school..." Naturally, I have to assume that includes me.

    Ouch. That hurts. You talk about feeling misunderstood. How do you think I feel? I have worked HARD in my life to achieve my goals, and I have always made sure I didn't become one of those people who acting all special and holier than thou just because I had kids. And now I realize there is this large group of people who may be shoving me in some "stupid breeder" category, just because I have kids.

    If you read my comment: "She got the idea from a liberal, child-hating, lazy... uh..friend of ours." it is bad. Yeah, I should not of written that. But Kristyn, compare it to what you wrote. Your comment is so much more hateful.

    But you know what? Even though you stated "every" single one of your friends has become a "mombie," I decided to get over it. I told myself that you wrote hat out of frustration and anger, and maybe that statement did not include me (or my sister). THAT is why I kept writing you. I let go of my anger, and decided not to hold onto this. Unfortunately, I should have gone back and erased the blog, but did not think of it once my anger subsided.

    I AM sorry I hurt your feelings I hope though, you are sorry you hurt mine as well?

    Well, at least we have one thing in common: We both feel misunderstood.

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  3. Here's what I've learned in my life about people like her (I'm related to several people like her):

    They lash out at you like this because they are incredibly insecure. Normally I hate all that psychobabble that is supposed to make you feel better about people not liking you (like, "If someone says something mean about you, it's just because they are jealous of you!!") but I think there is some truth about this insecurity thing. They are SO afraid you are looking down on them that it eats them up inside and they have to make sure you know that THEY feel sorry for YOU to make themselves feel better for having convinced themselves that *you* are feeling sorry for *them*.

    I hope she comes back with a decent response, but if she doesn't, you'll just have to accept it. I recently lost a friend I didn't really want to lose. I did something stupid and apologized but her reaction to the whole situation showed me her true colors and that she wasn't as good a friend as I'd thought she was. And you might find the same is true, here.

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  4. Response to Pheona's post:

    The one being referred to in this blog is not "insecure." The one she is referring to, my sister, has no reason to be insecure. She has a successful career as a middle school teacher. She is smart--only a couple classes away from a Master's degree. She is CUTE...like 5'4, 115 pounds, flat tummy...in shape from kick boxing (and Kristyn can verify I am not lying here--they used to be great friends). She is happily married. She has two beautiful children. But she has a LIFE. She doesn't overwhelm the world with details about her children. Her children add a richness to her life, but they are not the only aspect of her life.

    She does not like being called a "breeder." And either do I. Do you not realize this? This is a term normally applied to animals.

    Imagine this: If you own a dog, and you come across a group that calls all dog owners brainless dimwits just because they don't ever want to own a dog...wouldn't that be infuriating? We are NOT upset because you choose not to have kids. That is YOUR personal choice. What is upsetting is that you criticize anyone who has made THEIR personal choice to have children. There is a double standard at play here.

    By the way, I understand there are MANY annoying mothers out there. I actually love the website, STFU Parents, because those types of moms annoy the shit out of me. However, after reading these childfree sites (Yes, Pheona's website as well), I see that all mothers are being shoved in the same category. In the struggle to defend your childfree decision, you have disparaged and belittled those who chose to be mothers. I just don't understand this logic.

    Yes, there are annoying mothers out there. There are also REALLY annoying people who are not mothers. There are annoying people in every group of society. But should a whole group be judged by the more distasteful members of the group?

    One more thing: Before this comment is judged to be just a response to "insecurity," I better point out that my sister and I are twins, and I am working on a doctorate. This comment is made out of legitimate concern over the hatred I have observed. If one is not so immature, they can recognize that someone who disagrees with them might actually have a point. Dismissing one's opposing view as "insecurity" can be seen as a sign of...well...insecurity.

    Thanks for reading.

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  5. Yes, I wrote that. I'm really very sorry that it hurt your feelings, Shannon, but there is some misunderstanding in that, too.

    However, the only thing I would recant about that statement is that I said "every single one." I was talking, in that comment, most specifically about certain people-- who will not be mentioned here, because I don't to start more trouble than has already grown out of this issue. I was angry, yes, and that sprang from a lot of that anger. You, Shannon, and Jodi, are not the people I was talking about and it was unfair of me to clump you in with the people I was. For that, I do very sincerely apologize. It was wrong for me to make such a broad generalization. That doesn't change the fact that for some of the people we went to high school with, it's the truth, whether you like the terminology or not.

    I absolutely stand by that statement, save for what I've already said about being wrong about including all of you together. And, before you suggest that I must have been talking about you or Jodi because I tried to rekindled the friendships with the two of you a few years ago, I also regrettably tried to rekindle the friendship with others. Others who I do feel that way about, will always feel that way about, and feel like I have the right to that opinion.

    Yes, Jodi is very cute (if appearance matters at all), she has absolutely NO reason to be insecure. She's also human and if you're human with no insecurities then you're the only one alive. Everyone has them, whether they have a reason to, or not. It's a part of the human experience.

    I was hurt about being called "lazy." Honestly, I don't consider myself lazy, though I am liberal, so that's not an insult. I do NOT hate kids. I don't like them, I don't want them, but I don't hate them, either. I was also hurt that if you were angry at me, you didn't say something so we could stop this from becoming what it has become. I really never intended to piss anyone off, or hurt anyone's feelings, but it's really fucking frustrating to be asked all the damn time why I don't have kids. What's even more frustrating is the people who can't accept that and feel pity for me, like Jodi recently did. That bothers me more than being called "lazy" or "liberal."

    Finally, more than any of the insults, I was upset (and a bit confused) about the fact that you called me a "facebook friend" and differentiated that from a "real friend." If I'm not a real friend, then my opinion shouldn't matter to you, right? It's upsetting, because I felt like we were on really good terms in emailing back and forth.

    If you didn't want to talk to me, I could have accepted that. Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a total basket-case who can't cope with real life.

    One last thing, I never claimed to be a victim. It's possible to feel misunderstood, especially when someone gets angry or defensive with you but refuses to explain why with anything but their opinion about what they think you believe, without being a victim. Bring your grievances to me, I'll answer them, that's never been a problem for me. I'm a lot of things, unopinionated isn't one of them.

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  6. You said the "every single one" part of your statement was inaccurate, and was not meant to include my sister and I. I will accept that. That is basically what I told myself after my initial reaction (of anger) subsided. That is why I was able to shove that aside and engage in a dialogue with you over facebook. I really try not to hold onto things.

    And once again, I am REALLY sorry about my comment. I was mad when I wrote it. I don't know if you are lazy or not--I know I am really lazy a lot of times. I don't really care. Same with "liberal." Half of my facebook friends are liberal, including one of my best friend's, Julie Wheeler. Sometimes it is fun to argue with her over her political views. Her views do not affect my overall opinion of her. I guess I added all the adjectives just for more effect. As for the "facebook friend" comment--you already know the answer to that. You, out of anyone, know facebook friends and real friends are vastly different--you just deleted a large number of your "facebook friends." That comment was also made out of anger.

    I AM sorry. I realize the comment made me appear two faced, and the truth is, I really was not feeling any animosity when you and I were writing each other.

    Regarding my sister, you are right. EVERYONE has some insecurities. What I was attempting to convey was that her feelings regarding certain things aren't necessarily due to insecurity. I just wish individuals would be willing to consider the validity of a person's perspective rather than immediately dismissing it as"insecurity."

    I am sorry that people are constantly asking you why you don't have kids. It must be very frustrating to feel as if you are constantly having to justify your own personal choice. I can't imagine that--I suppose it would be like people asking me all the time why I DO have kids. I just wish you, and the other childfree websites, would not turn motherhood into some form of mockery. Or at least acknowledge that not EVERY mother is annoyingly awful.

    By the way, until I had discovered the childfree sites, I always saw those who did NOT have kids almost in a glamorous light. I love my kids to pieces, but I would feel a little stab of envy over their freedom and ability to be spontaneous. Then I saw the hateful remarks on the sites, and now I don't know how to see the childfree anymore.

    You said Jodi expressed pity for you. I don't know what she wrote, so I can't even respond to that. Just know that my sister really cares about you and misses you. She really valued her and your friendship, and it is hard for her to feel as if you are perceiving her in a negative light because she is a mom. Anything she says is out of caring, otherwise she would not waste her time. Sometimes, she even tells me she wishes you and Mike were still married because his current wife is about as exciting as a pile of mud.

    Kristyn, I hope we can move past this?

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  7. I decided I'm tired of arguing and this could go on forever. If you want to talk to me, email me. Comments on this entry are now locked.

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