In the last year I have been on the receiving end of varying degrees of inquisitiveness, dismissiveness and judgement, and mostly in relation to the fact that I am currently not at work. But also what I realise is that the way people respond and react to me is mostly to do with their own world view, I can either join in with it, or, listen with love and walk off. I also have to be aware that society drip feeds ideas about what is or isn't acceptable for me to be in the 21st century. Apparently, if I read particular newspapers, websites, magazines or watch TV adverts I need to:
1) Be able to work full time earning a good wage and competing with everyone breathing or of remote threat; I also need to be very good at this job and do everything to show you how much I love it and makes me valuable.
2) I must parent with loving boundaries but also make a meal that consists of no dairy, gluten, meat, additives or whiff of fascism during the production process and I will drop down dead if you mention nuts.
3) I must also be able to do crafting, bake cakes and make bunting, grow my own veg preferably in a loving co-operative with other ethical growers and do all forms of DIY, car maintenance and understand basic plumbing
4) I must be pretty (But not look like a slut), be able to enlarge or shrink the size of my buttocks depending on the current trend, understand the intricate details of contouring, mind boggling skin cream regimes and have very white teeth.
5) I must be able to perform sexual gymnastics but again not be a slut, and wear clothes that make me look sexually available but not prone to rape as that would be my fault for being too sexy
6) I should drink lots of alcohol but not be affected by it either physically or mentally as that would show weakness (Prosecco is where it's at)
7) I must love all women, but secretly compete against them to be the best female, and only associate with people that make me look good as social acceptance is a passport to happiness and freedom
8) If you are fat you're fucked
So what has all of this got to do with how I feel mentally and emotionally on a daily basis, and why does it matter? The belief systems that people hold and live by, generally dictate how they feel and act towards you. This can either feel positive, neutral or incredibly judgemental and negative. Other peoples reactions to me, depending on what they say or do, means that I have a response and reaction. It usually makes me feel a certain way. My response can also be intrinsically linked to my mood. If I am feeling hideous and very depressed, it's likely that if you tell me I am a rubbish person of no value, I may well believe you. How beliefs are spurted out in the day to day world by others can massively impact on my mood. Things can stick in your head like a barbed seed. They embed themselves and grow toxic roots of shame and self hatred. They colour the way you see yourself in relation to others.
Building resilience to the onslaughts of the unacceptable drivel, wherever it might come from, needs to be built by me. I won't always have someone standing with me willing to call you out for being an idiot. Self esteem, sense of self, having an autonomous sense of significance, worth and value in the world is vital to maintaining a protective skin of self love and protection. Also, accepting that all people hold world views, prejudices, judgements and values that differ from mine is pivotal in the acceptance process.
So when somebody starts sprinkling me with the, "Oh, I elevate myself above you as I tick the acceptability boxes that make me happier and better than you", and the "Oh poor you for not being socially acceptable by my enormously more important standards" I can let go with love. I can flaunt my inner joy and freedom that comes from a wholeness generated by not measuring myself to anyone else. We don't need to fit, we can just be ourselves. We can practice kindness and acceptance, listen with love and if necessary tell someone to get stuffed if it's appropriate.
A great read is Maz Lucado's "You are special" It's a kids book about celebrating being unique. I totally recommend it.
So I shall sign off for now, and plough back into my funny little world, upholding my mental health and joy in the mild chaos of my own personally shaped universe. My buttocks of peculiar shape salute you all!