Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some people just shouldn't speak.

Today is a snarky day and I just have to rant.

There are people out there who are so messed up in the head that I really can't understand how they function. There are some things you just don't say to people, especially people you don't know. There are more things that you just don't say to anyone, and if you're thinking them, you seriously need to reevaluate your life and probably get some professional help.

I was at the gym today like I am every weekday for my Pilates and yoga classes. When my class was over, I picked up my son from the gym's child watch. He was fussing a lot, so I sat down in a nice comfy armchair to the side of the entry area to feed him.

After a couple of minutes, and woman walked up to me. She stared for a minute, put her hand on her hip, fondled a cross around her neck with the other hand, shook her head, and said, "I just don't understand why God lets people like you have children."

Okay... um... what?
No explanation, no other dialogue. Just that. "I just don't understand why God lets people like you have children."

I don't use acronyms very often, but seriously, WTF, lady?!? First of all, doesn't your book say not to judge others? Don't you God-fearing folk remember that it is not your place to assume God's "plans". Ignorance is not bliss, and neither is insulting other people.

I had to think about what I was doing to offend her, and realized it could be any number of things. I am offensive to a lot of people just because I'm not like them. I'm vegan, I chose not to alter my perfect newborn son's body for cosmetic purposes, I'm short enough that people assume I escaped from Munchkin land and am now living under an assumed identity in Kansas, I am not a Christian and don't hang out in the closet gathering dust on the matter. I mentally made a list (I like lists because I can number them and math is fun) on the outward ways I must have been offending her and deemed unworthy of my child by a total stranger. Some possibilities are absurd, but so was this entire event. I have an overactive imagination and like to speculate...

1. I was breastfeeding -- Oh no, this is the big one, the most obvious offense against the moral fiber of the Midwest. Doubly offensive is that I was nursing a 9 month old. I didn't have my boob popped out for everyone to see or anything. After 9 months, I've learned to be discreet, even without being cocooned in a cover. I'm sorry, lady, I'm not going to formula feed just so you feel better about yourself. I try to give my son the best I can, and since these babies are fully functional, they're my baby's for nutritional satisfaction. I'm not going to pump for a bottle either, because then I end up engorged from not feeding him. I'm not going to feed him in the bathroom, because that is disgusting, and I'm not going to wait until we get home because it is downright cruel to let him scream in hunger. If you don't like my magnificent mammaries and how I use them, ignore me and walk away.

2. My presumed age -- I get this one a lot. I look like a teenager, but I'm 28. For this reason, I don't assume anything when I see mothers who look like young girls. My husband is not cradle robbing, I am not in high school, and I'm about 10 years older than I look. Maybe she was jealous because I'm aging well.

3. Cloth diapers -- My little guy's diaper was showing, mostly because I had him wearing a pair of leggings I made from knee-high patterned socks. I don't like putting him in pants because he crawls out of them. His cute little fluffy butt was showing under his onesie. I don't know, I've seen some people get pretty damned defensive about their disposables. I think sposies are disgusting, but I'm not about to come up to another mother and berate her on her choice to use them.

4. The diaper bag -- I have a really cool diaper bag. It's hand made our of really bright fabric covered in tropical scenes and parrots. Maybe too feminine for some tastes? It does its job so I don't complain about it. If it was too feminine, maybe I should have bought the pink striped knee socks to make his leggings in after all. But I can't do that! He'll catch The Gay! By a similar token, I turned parts for a potential afghan into a yoga mat bag, which was sitting next to me. It is bright, obnoxious, and a good use of afghan squares I lost the instructions for.

5. My book -- I was reading Steven Hawking. How Godless of me. Better watch out, intellect is contagious.

6. My shirt -- I like woot. Occasionally they have a really sweet shirt I can't pass up. Today I was wearing my recycled phoenix shirt, and the picture clearly showed above my nursing son. It is the life stages of a phoenix (flight, flames, reborn) in a recycle symbol. I guess since my version of apparel rebirth had nothing to do with Zombie Resurrection Jesus, praising Jesus, loving God, or any silly play on words or corporate symbols in the form of altered advertising, I must be an unworthy parent. Maybe I should buy the vegan "Praise Seitan" shirt and see what she thinks of that.

7. I left my child in the gym's child watch for an hour. Someone else is raising my child.

8. Conversely, I was not at work and it was the middle of the morning. I must be a leach on either my husband or society.

9. My tattoo -- I have several, but the only visible one at the time was the treble clef over a blue moon on my ankle. Didn't you know? Tattooed people are unfit parents.

10. I radiate Godless heathenism. It must be true. I mean, look at me, I have an invisible "Atheist" tattooed on my forehead. Only Christians can see it. I just looked in the mirror. Non-believers must not be able to see it, because I certainly can't. My child is unbaptized so I must be sending him straight into the bowels of Hell. Save him! He must be saved! His soul must be saved so he can go to Heaven! Nah, that's his choice, not mine. If he wants to believe in something, he can, but I'm neither going to encourage it, nor discourage it. I have texts from a dozen different religions in my house. He can read them and decide for himself what he thinks. Just because I don't believe, didn't baptize him, and only go into churches for weddings, funerals, and La Leche League meetings doesn't mean that I shouldn't be a mother.

What did this woman see when she looked at me? She's the only one who knows, and all I can do is speculate.

"I just don't understand why God lets people like you have children," she said, and I stared at her in shock. I really can't believe she said that, but she did.

I stroked my son's hair and he stopped eating and smiled up at me. I gave the first response that came into my mind. I smiled crookedly, snapped my book shut, and said,

"I guess Darwin wins in the end after all."

She walked away in a huff, and I returned to feeding my child.

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