Facebook Series on Love, Friendship, Being Seen, and Seeking Understanding: Part 1 of Post 3

Post #3 — How these truths I am sharing can be used by the opponent/s to support things that are anti-life. I am going to go after mega and conservative churches. I hope you will listen, because this is not hate. I am saying we can do better, and it is time for us to lay down our defenses and seek understanding and compassion.

This post is coming in two parts. I think these posts are easier to read in smaller chunks, even though they are still long. What I am doing cannot be condensed at this point. It needs the long form for the journey. This is a marathon to gain clarity and deeper understanding—and, hopefully, continued curiosity throughout life so we can continue to grow and heal.

This is actually short form when you consider I probably should be writing a research paper on this. I might just do that one day. Anyone want to pay me to do that?

Part 1 of Post #3:

I am reading “Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis”—Yes, another book. I want to know what is going on with me. Why do I feel the way I feel and why am I doing all this damn work unpaid. It is dedicated to middle-aged women of America. We are not imagining it, and it is not just us.

I come from Generation X. A generation lost between Boomers and Millenials—our parents and the kids we babysat. The reason we are called Gen X is because no one knew quite what to do with us. We were deemed unknowable. (SEE, THIS IS NOT IN MY HEAD) We are America’s neglected middle child. We have been hit hard financially, have tons of debt, and are squeezed between aging parents and kids. Here is the thing that really resonated with me: Gen X WOMEN were an experiment in crafting higher-achieving, more fulfilled, more well-rounded version of the American woman. In our midlife, we are finding this experiment is mostly a failure. Yes, women from the Boomer generation blazed the trail for women’s achievement, but for Gen X it became the expectation. We were supposed to have it all. We were infected with a virulent strain of this “having it all” virus.

Meanwhile, no norms were changed in what was expected of us in the home either. We are tired!

It is funny because you can look at me and say I come from the privileged end of this, and in some ways yes. But we used our privilege to our detriment. The career I was in was killing me and I would have never seen my kids had I stayed in the oil and gas industry. Jake is a school teacher and teachers are paid low by design. It is a feminized profession that was supposed to be supplemental income to higher-paying husbands. So when I decided to get out of a decent-paying profession that would have probably laid me off anyway because jobs were being sent elsewhere, I felt like a failure. I was not the woman who would have it all. And people will question my decision here. But I wanted to live.

I had no idea this feeling had been culturally encoded in me.

Jake and I have worked so many jobs and struggled to get by, and I have felt like what I do does not mean much because it is valued so little by society. Jake has never made me feel this way—it is culture. Jake tells me all the time he could not do what he does without me. In regard to my family, I am so grateful. I went through a storm to know what to look for in a partner and I am so glad I found Jake. Societally, I have felt like this, though: I am a helper who is behind the scenes who does not really belong. I feel like I disappoint people more than I please because I think people see my possible potential, but it does not look like what is expected. So what I do now is NOT the gift.

Does that make sense? I am saying this with deep compassion. This is culturally indoctrinated in us all.

When I say we used our privilege to our detriment, I mean detriment. Even though Jake was the official person in place as an employee with a soccer club, we both invested heavily and it cost us a lot of time and it was not great pay. But we loved it. If we could have done it for free, we would have. We had to have something to supplement education pay and my bookkeeping pay (That is another post). We even took on 3 extra soccer teams for free when a travesty happened. We should have said no, but no one knew what to do in a moment like that. We were all traumatized and lost. I do not blame any of us for that. We thought of others first, because that is what culture had taught us was honorable—and we believed it to be right at the time. But we were shaken and extremely sad.

Here is what we learned when we put others first when we should have taken our own breath:

Jake was cruelly attacked by a parent. They sent a letter to everyone on the team and the soccer board after a game because we, the club, did not have it immediately figured out what we were going to do post this terrible ordeal. They never asked how we were feeling—we were literally dying inside. And all they were really pissed about was Jake playing the kids equal time—at 8 years old. It cost us a very important futsal game.

The silence from everybody after that letter was sent was probably the most traumatizing thing of all. But I get it, no one knows what to do when things get uncomfortable and it feels like it is all falling apart.

May I suggest this: Please do not be silent. Do not let your friends suffer. Bullies only bully when you let them.

That was the first struggle where Jake was attacked and the system wanted silence. Guess who broke the silence?

Me.

I wrote the person back and let them have it. I told them this was our precious time being given for free so we can figure things out. We have all the kids’ best interest at heart and want them ALL to learn the game and enjoy it. And to just stop with the ”I have a star” threat. We have been through that before and they are welcome to leave.

Then it happened again in a different way. Once again giving help when ASKED to someone in need. A system thought it could treat my family however it wants in an unjust moment. The system was being reactionary instead of being reflective or informed. I had to rise up, again.

It was surreal watching people’s reaction in the system seeing an unknown woman rise up and say “NO!” I am informed, and I actually pay attention. I will seek and find. I have a depth of wisdom that leads me not only to wisdom but also deep compassion. And that includes for me and my family. I will fight for us just as hard as I do anyone else.

But y’all, this is why I can’t sleep. I have been invisible and seen as some sideline helper who really does not matter. Until I have to fight and say that I do; that we do too.

I am tired.

This is background info for the next post.

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