Thursday, June 28, 2012

Old Ladies with Balls...

First off, let me say that I've been getting a lot of people telling me that they've been reading my blog, and I just want to say thanks!!!! I started this blog for me to kind of processes my feelings and talk about things I wanna talk about, regardless of who is reading, but it's really gratifying to know that people are interested in what I have to say and read my blog on a regular basis.  It's pretty cool when my friends and family tell me they like my blog.  So I just wanted to give some love to people who continue to read my posts.  Thanks everyone!!!!

This blog is basically and excerpt from my journal.  I wrote this almost two months ago, but I thought I'd share:

So the past week has been really interesting... There's so much to talk about, and not enough time to talk about it!  So many little things and big things have been going on, but it's really the little things that I ruminate on the most.  For example, I was on the bus today, on my way to Mills, and this woman is sitting across from me, no big deal. I'm reading a book on my kindle app, trying to blend into the environment so no one will talk to me (I'm not fond of bus talk, let's just put it that way).  And at the next stop a young woman gets on the bus with three kids, a stroller and a car seat; she basically took up three seats.  So the older woman gets up and sits next to me so the young mother can sit.

Still no big, deal, right?

Well apparently this was a huge deal for the older woman.  She began to talk with me (well, she talked AT me), telling me that I needed to stay in school and not spread my legs for anyone, and that I needed to realize that having babies was a bad idea.  She said that the young woman was a bad example, that I didn't want to be her, and that no nigga was worth having babies with at my age (her words, not mine). Then she said that I had no idea what it was like to have to pay rent and utilities and groceries, and that if I had kids I would have to get a better job and focus only on them, and my life would be over, no one would help me and I would be on my own, because it's no one else's job to raise my babies.

Then, after ranting on about how terrible kids are and how much they ruin your life, she asked me if I actually had kids.  I told her no, and she continued to tell me all the reasons not to have kids, and that I need to stay in school and lose weight and keep my legs closed.  Then she asked me if I go to church.  I told her no, and that sent her into a frenzy.  Apparently everyone needs to go to church, especially me, and that I had no reason not to go.

In summary:
  • She shamed teen mothers
  • She told me I needed to stay in school, lose weight, and not have sex
  • She told me that I need to go to church or I will end up like all the rest of the "bag girls with babies".
Okay, maybe this was more of an incident that I previously thought. But to put it all in perspective, this conversation happened in the span of like 5 on a bus crowded with people, 30 minutes before I arrived at school and began to write another 10 pages for my finals.  But it really got me thinking about a few things: how people make assumptions, the stereotypes of young mothers, how people give unsolicited advice, and the concept of beauty.  For one thing, this woman made plenty of false assumptions about me-- she assumed that I was heterosexual, she assumed that I had a low-paying job, and she assumed I was entirely dependent on my mother financially. She also assumed that I was sexually active, and that I needed to be reminded to have safe sex because obviously no teenager is going to use a condom or birth control.  Then she made the conscious decision to tell me how to live my life, despite the fact that she knows nothing about my life or how I choose to live it.  And I let her do it.

Why? Why let her not only degrade and invalidate the experience of teen motherhood but also let her yell at me for reasons that are falsely guided and also none of her business?  Because she was old!  That's right, I have no problem being honest about it. She was an old lady, and in my book old ladies get to say whatever they damn well want to, whenever they want to, and you just sit there and listen. Even if it's totally off target.  Even if it's rude. Because you never know when they'll spill out a little nugget of wisdom that you can actually use, and also because they're old-- they've spent most of their lives keeping their mouth shut just like we do, and they've earned the right to say all the crazy shit they feel is necessary. 

At the same time, should I just let people talk to me in such a way? I'm not saying I would "teach her a lesson" or anything like that, I'm just saying there's a difference between being respectful and letting people walk all over you. 

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