on the issue of masks

I’m wearing one. No question about it. I just bought myself a new one yesterday.

I’m investing money; I am in this for the long haul.

Some of you are choosing to not wear masks. Your prerogative.

I wish you would wear one, but if you’re choosing not to, then I guess I’ll just back up a few steps if we need to interact.

But what I have noticed is that backing up, covering my nose and mouth, conducting myself as if there were a global pandemic, is making me the recipient of ridicule and derision.

Many (not all, I guess?) of the maskless are getting quite smug. I’ve noticed it particularly in young adults – those who are relatively new to adulthood and to making decisions on their own.

And most interestingly, the worst of the smuggers that I have encountered are young women.

I’m not saying anything political or making sweeping generalizations about the population who are not wearing masks – I see young, old, male, female, white, brown, black.

If you want to go to the lake with your family and friends, god bless ya, I’m kind of envious, but I am making different choices.

I am saying something about the attitude of the maskless population who think that they are superior to those of us with our faces covered.

It shows in the condescending looks I get when I am the only one in the room with a mask. It shows every time an open-faced individual bumps into me – accidentally on-purpose.

Last time I went to Walmart I ran into a girl who I had babysat, who in turn babysat my children, and is now grown up, old enough, to be raising her own. We usually stop and chat, but as I was deciding if I wanted to make the effort that it takes, she looked at me with a smirk on her face, a “hrmph” on her lips, haughtily lifted her head and walked right on out of there, wholly superior to this old lady’s fear-ridden existence.

So yesterday, I went elsewhere to try to support one of our local business, and while searching the aisles for wood putty, a young lady, an employee, who went to high school with my kids (meaning that IF she is 21, then it’s just barely, making her still a child in my mind,) approached.

I greeted her warmly – as warmly as you can with half of your face hidden. She was lukewarm in response. At first I thought, “Maybe she doesn’t recognize me with my mask on,” so I said, “Hey__________, it’s me, HDD.”

She looked at me with “Duh,” written all over her face…

Which I could see the entirety of because she wasn’t wearing a mask.

Suddenly I remembered skimming over something on Facebook about this particular business and their lack of Covid-19 restrictions.

Should have paid more attention to that one.

Anyway, in response to her general inquiry about helping me find something I responded that I needed wood putty which apparently was one aisle over.

And apparently the only way there was for her to push past me, in the narrow row of wood glue and stain. She literally, physically, bumped me out of the way, with a total “I dare you to say something,” arrogance.

I did what any sane person would do as she passed…

I held my breath.

I was pissed, and yet I didn’t say a word.

For one, it’s too hard to talk while fighting for every breath through multiple layers of cotton and coffee filters.

Two, I knew that I would get no support from any of my fellow customers or the managers of the store. That was perfectly clear.

But the main reason that I didn’t say anything was that I am sick and tired of the animosity between the believers and the non-believers.

People have gotten so ugly with each other. Unkind. Disrespectful. Nasty.

As a mother figure, I could easily have justified saying to this gal, “Oh Honey – I really wish you’d be more careful and cover up your face.”

Of I could have said, “What the fuck are you doing getting so close to me?”

But I didn’t because we need to be gentle with one another right now in this topsy-turvy world.

And though I may be secretly judging those who are making different decisions than I am, I also understand that others are making the decisions that they believe are right for them, and while we each might (probably) feel very strongly about our positions, does it mean that we have to be ugly with each other?

I don’t think so.

I get it that if I choose to continue to isolate, to cover my face, to wash my hands 52 million times, that’s my choice and I am the one who is “inconvenienced,” by having to wear a piece of cloth over my face. It is my responsibility to take those precautions – which I am.

But I believe that it is the maskless’ responsibility to respect those boundaries – not push against them.

Literally.

Why must there be an air of superiority? Sure, they could be right and I could be wrong (and paranoid).

OR I could be right and they are about to get a lot of people very sick.

But, I’m keeping my covered mouth shut because we do not need more divisiveness right now and I believe in being kind. So why do people on the other side of the debate feel the need to totally disrespect me, my choices, my body?

I’m not inconveniencing anyone. I am not spreading a deadly disease. I am not forcing any of my political beliefs on anyone. My mask is not taking away anyone’s constitutional rights.

My masked friends declare that they too have been on the receiving end of physical contact, snide remarks, and general disdain. I am not imagining this.

But what I can’t imagine is why it has to be this way.

There is no need for condescension.

No reason to be smug.

PS: Before any of the maskless gets all hyped up – I am fully aware that there are many of the swaddled that are verbally taking people out for NOT wearing a mask. That’s not okay either. And to you, I say, “Be kind. Be respectful. Play by your rules. Socially distance yourself…

And for Fuck’s sake, don’t start shit with your neighbors.”

 

 

 

still in high school

Yep, that phone call kicked up a few things for me.

Fucking high school. Was there anyone who really felt like they fit in?

I went to the public school in my town until I was in 8th grade. Then I went to my all-girls high school in another town, which was a 45-minute train ride away.

My parents were friends with a whole different crowd, most of whom belonged to the same country club as we did. Those were the people with whom we hung on weekends, family gatherings, vacations.

There was some overlap between the groups, but not much – at all. My friends with whom I had grown up all went to school together. I no longer did.

The gals from high school…part of what added to the fish out of water feeling was the fact that I other friends, in other places. I wasn’t totally immersed in the friendships from school.

And my parents’ friends’ children? Most of them went to boarding school, so I didn’t quite fit in there either.

Between all of these groups of kids, I never felt like I totally belonged to one because I always had a foot in another.

Some might say that it was great that I had so many friends and such a diverse group at that, but that’s not how it felt.

What it felt like was that I was always scrambling to find my place, a place where I didn’t feel like a bit of an outsider. And I never quite got there.

Now, let’s add a bit of bullying.

There was a gal named Camilla who, in our younger years, wanted nothing to do with me because I went to public school.

No shit. She taunted me relentlessly during tennis lessons and wouldn’t hit the ball to me (unless it was AT me) claiming that I shouldn’t be there, that I should just go back to my public school friends.

In school in my town, 8th grade, there were a few girls who I thought were friends who turned on many of us behind our backs, producing one of these:

In our version, I was raked over the coals because I didn’t like wearing the color red. For real – that was the problem with me.

I still don’t wear red.

In high school, because of…

(I honestly have no idea…)

…Janet C. hated me and was determined to make my life miserable. We’d known each other a bit since we were little, (certainly not well enough for her to detest me like she did) but starting on day one, freshman year, she made it her mission to make me feel like shit.

Which I did.

She put old food in my locker. Put signs up on the windows of our classroom doors, ridiculing me, while I was trapped inside learning that a+b=c. She called me sluglips.

Even after she left our school and went elsewhere, she still pursued her prey. Then, we ended up in college together and she continued her bullshit.

And I continued to let it bother me.

I moved west. I still floundered my way through friendships and relationships.

Then I came to work at Outward Bound – prompted by one of the summertime, boarding school friends who I never imagined actually liked me. And now she wanted to work with me?

I remember sitting in a meeting with a bunch of other OB course directors – total misfits, totally weird people. I looked around at one point and thought, “I kind of belong here.”

It was a completely new and almost frightening feeling.

Now I live in this great little community and like I said yesterday, I feel like herein lies my tribe of rough and odd and funny and kind folks.

There was a great group of women with whom I raised my children – they are all still super connected – I distanced myself when I met MXB.

I was the girl who dropped her friends for a boy.

For a few years there, when I was with MXB, the much younger man, I hung out with a community of women – there were 6 of us – that felt like mine. In hindsight, just like in hindsight about every other friendship in my life, I realize that they too weren’t my tribe.

But I was SO excited to feel like I was “in.” That I actually had a group of friends to which I belonged. I got a little carried away, a bit over-enthused about being a posse. I was Lindsey Lohan with the Queen Bees.

And as soon as the breakup happened and I no longer had my link to this community, it fell apart around me and I was no longer one of them. I was, once again, on the outside looking in.

I need to stop here and say that there was one gal, one, who didn’t drop me like a hot potato. I will always be grateful for her.

I was so devastated during that period in my life – so crushed about the loss of community. But I realize now that it wasn’t as much about losing the individuals as it was about losing my (perceived) place in a group.

The loss of fitting in.

I felt like once again I had fooled myself into thinking that people liked me when in all actuality, they didn’t.

Fucking Brutal.

So every time I accused everyone of acting like they were in Middle School, I was the one who felt like I was still in Middle School, dealing with Camilla and Janet and the girls who wore red.

Crawling out of the black hole has forced me to re-examine every single relationship I have in my life. Friends, family, not-friends, long lost friends.

And people around here who I have always liked and admired,

and assumed that they too, didn’t necessarily want me around.

Well, I am learning that some people actually do like me. Some even want to hang out.

But more importantly, I am realizing that variety is the spice of life and that I am so very fortunate to have people from all different walks of life who are walking varied paths in my world. In my tribe.

I don’t have to be a part of a group. I don’t have to be a part of a “community” that is really just a clique.

Why would I want to limit myself like that?

 

 

 

Adulting

So there’s this:

And this:

This evening while I was doing a little spring cleaning I came across these matching boxes.

They’re heavy-duty plastic and they seal tight.

Good thing, since they once contained my dad’s ashes.

And now, I can’t throw them out.

Not because of sentimental value, mind you.

No no.

But because they’re really good boxes.

Residual Pain

There are a few times in my life over which I still carry much grief.

Some events I’ve moved on from, and some, I can’t seem to shake completely.

Things that haunt me. Things that no longer make me feel like I’ve been punched in the gut but hit a tender spot for sure.

I look at the ones from which I can’t unstick and follow the common thread – thinking that if I can figure out why I can’t let go, then maybe I will be able to.

The ones that still won’t heal are the ones in which there was a loss of trust.

Betrayal. A lack of integrity. And misunderstanding of who I am as a person.

I still feel wronged by something I got in trouble for when I was 17.  I don’t even remember what the punishment was but I was innocent of the crime and I still want to say to my mom, “That was unjust. I didn’t deserve that.”

Unjust. That’s another piece of the pieces that I grieve.

Around these incidents, time periods, in each situation, I have felt as if I’m being treated unjustly.

As if my side of the story wasn’t heard, or that it even mattered.

And the result of a couple of these incidences involved loss of community.

And a lack of accountability.

I hate being the victim. It is a very unbecoming trait.

And yet, there are times when I do feel like I deserved better. Does admitting that make me a victim?

The loss of friends has been brutal. The loss of trust even more so.

There two of these pivotal moments in time that have been sort of in my face recently and I woke up this morning feeling sad. I wrote for a while, trying to sift through the layers down to what it is that I need to let go of, what I need to be able to do that, and what, ultimately, do I want as the end result.

I read this thing this morning about regret. Basically, it said that having true, honest regrets is a good thing, a healing thing, a way to move forward and basically, do things differently in your life.

I have regrets, for sure. Amongst other moments in time, I regret that I couldn’t manage to handle these situations better.

I wish that my emotions didn’t run amok when I feel misunderstood.

Being treated unkindly, disrespectfully, and not having a voice…those things cause me to raise my voice.

And those are the same damn things that still cause me to fester.

The biggest thing is that I really don’t know how to interact with certain folks.

There’s a desire to let bygones be bygones, to fall back into ease and comfort and laughter.

Move forward, put the past behind, hang out and just enjoy each other’s company like we used to.

But it’s not possible. You can’t go back to what was because it’s not what was anymore, it’s what is.

And what is feels all kinds of cattywampus.

In other words, I am missing the friendships that I thought we had before I understood what kinds of friendships they actually were.

They were fun, relationships, not bad ones, which is why I really miss them, but they weren’t what I thought, at least not at the level of what I desire in a true friendship.

I have forgiven. I think.

But forgiving doesn’t mean that there is no more sadness or pissiness. It doesn’t mean that all personal interaction from this point forward is jovial and warm.

And, according to Desmond Tutu, forgiving doesn’t mean that you have to have a relationship with the other person.

So forgiveness, yes.

Friendships?

I just don’t know.

It’s awkward.