My mother has an art degree and has traveled the world. She is very bright and quite astute and is naturally talented at interior design, but being from an area of the US that has a sub-culture that highly despises “pretension” even among its elite she pretends to be much more ignorant than she is.
Yes. It’s Mother’s Day and that’s my opening paragraph.
When I talked with her today she wanted gush and tell me all about a “new” (bourgeois) store she recently visited that she called “RH”. She’s been to Restoration Hardware before. I humored her.
The thing is it gets old. People who had parents who sent them to the Middle East on vacation in the 1970’s after finishing an art degree aren’t “down home” the way some people are. But most of her family very much sees themselves that way and internalizes the idea that to appear otherwise openly (you can be subversive about it) is slightly evil. Certainly not good. It’s a family culture rooted in Scandinavian and pioneer ruggedness that has its finer more admirable moments and there is a real, endearing humility to it but it’s hard to maintain that façade constantly. Unless you’re invested in it. I never have been.
After being in a bubble until my mid 20’s I slowly began to realize how other people would perceive her family. I also began to realize how being raised in her family had affected me and how I presented myself.
Some are intimidated by her family because they feel beaten at their own “I hate pretension” game by people who could be rightfully “pretentious”. But I can’t stand that dynamic. Other people (mostly from larger coastal cities or who have been influenced by US coastal thought) see them foolishly as “country folk”. To that I just shrug my shoulders. Whatever. They are country in a way. Other people… Well…maybe that’s about it. There are almost no other views. We’re not a world that easily tolerates diversity of thought anymore.
Yet, I’m not like them, for better or worse, and they’ve never been particularly pleased by that. I have a few people I keep in touch with but most people are and always have been suspicious of my lack of an accent, genuine, proud and open interest in the opera and innate “feisty” and “intense” personality. “Maybe she’s like so and so.” (Someone with an anger problem or who was seen as difficult or bossy.)
It’s been an unpleasant Mother’s Day so far. I’m glad I’m alive as a mom. We all just lived through a pandemic. A lot of kids lost their damn moms… It’s vile. I feel incredibly fortunate I’m not watching my kids from the other side. But…it’s been challenging. A lot of people are rude and self-focused these days (not just parents) and if you’re like that back to them they often only see their own side. How can someone who’s privileged be so unaware of their privilege even if they’re mostly bullied by asshats most of their life who have psychological issues? I mean! Wow. It’s so weird right? It’s my job to make ALL of YOU feel good. Constantly! Right?!
Eww. Look for the quiet, “timid” and pretty one who seems unaware of it and crap on her with all your problems or issues in whatever way you feel entitled to (sometime by an imaginary God different than the one who cares about me too) until you feel high as a kite.
If it feels good do it! Right?! Perfect logic.
Yes, my blog did just get dark. Oh well.
Next year, like my birthday for the past 27 years, I’ll just forget Mother’s Day exists in my life. Not because my kids aren’t amazing. They are. They are amazing. But because everyone else (not my kids) I know well (other than maybe a previous few people) makes it difficult to celebrate.
And that’s my mommy blogger moment. Now back to prettier things…