3 articles Tag judgement

Going Public

A couple of things have happened this week that have made me think about the way I feel about my blog. Firstly, a new work colleague suggested that I add her on Facebook. I post all of my new posts onto both my personal timeline and my blogs page, so if I were to add her on there, she’d become aware of Mum’s the Word fairly quickly. Secondly, I was talking to one of the mums of a girl in Edith’s class and she mentioned that she was friends on Facebook with some of the other mums. Although I was already friends with two other school mums on there, I realised that I was cagey about who I added because of them seeing my blog.

The thing with blogging is, although I’ve now met several other bloggers in real life and consider a few of them to be very good friends, I mostly forget that real people read what I write!

I had a message the other day from some who was in my class at school. She got in touch to let me know that she really enjoys reading my posts and that she felt like she knew me even though we’d not spoken in over ten years. I was so touched that she took the time to make contact and it really made me think about the fact that, even though I’ve been pouring my heart onto a computer screen for the last two and a half years, the thought of people reading your thoughts is quite an abstract concept – until they tell you!

I like to think that this blog is a pretty good representation of me. I’m brutally honest about my thoughts and feelings, probably to my detriment at times, but I find it hard to censor myself for the most part. What’s the point of writing if you’re not being honest? If my writing wasn’t authentic I’d be better off writing fiction, surely? But, when you put your heart on a page, you leave yourself open to a lot of stick.

I think it’s mostly paranoia. I reckon other bloggers would agree that writing a blog is brilliant when people comment on your posts or engage you via social media about something you’ve written. I’ve had debates in my comments that I’ve been thrilled about, even when people are being negative about my opinion on something, but by contrast I have this overwhelming fear that I’ll write a post and then walk into the playground or my office and see people whispering about me or judging me in some way. The stupid thing is, they probably do that anyway, everyone gets judged by their peers, but it’s one thing being judged and it’s quite another to serve up a WEALTH of material for people to judge you on.

I asked in my fave parent blogging group on Facebook whether I should say “screw it” and go public and I had a mixed response. Some said that they have hundreds of co-workers who read their blog and they love it, others blog completely anonymously and wouldn’t have it any other way. Someone also made the VERY cogent point that basically anyone who knows how to Google could find my blog anyway, without very much effort at all.

Basically, I’m in blogging limbo.

Am I right to be scared? What would you do? Perhaps I’m missing a trick and I should be littering my every path with my blogging business cards?! Who knows.

I Don’t Use The ‘C’ Word.

What would you think of me if you were reading a blog post and I used the n-word?

What would you think of me if you were reading a blog post and I used the word ‘queer’?

What would you think of me if you were reading a blog post and I used the word ‘retard’?

I’m guessing you’d be really shocked and appalled, right? Shocked that a (reasonably) well-educated woman would use such inflammatory, bigoted and ignorant language, yes?

Well, dear readers, this happens to me all the time. There’s a word that I see popping up here and there, from people I consider to be pretty enlightened, that makes me feel increasingly uncomfortable.

The ‘C’ word. No, not c*nt, I’m not that delicate. The word that offends me so is chav.

This is a word that has now made it into the Oxford English dictionary and is defined thusly:

a young lower-class person typified by brash and loutish behaviour and the wearing of (real or imitation) designer clothes.

According to the dictionary, it could be either a contraction of the Romany word ‘chavvy’, meaning child or young person, or from the place ‘Chatham’ in Kent where the word supposedly started.

Either way, do you see the key phrase in there?

‘Lower class’.

This is the point – if you wouldn’t use the n-word, queer or retard, you have no place using the word chav. If you’re shocked and offended by racism, homophobia or discrimination against disability, why does classist intolerance not have the same effect? It’s not okay to hate or judge someone because of the colour of their skin, their sexuality or how able-bodied they are, so can someone explain why it’s okay to mock, deride and write off a subset of society because of what they were born into? What they’ve been brought up knowing? What they maybe couldn’t afford or have the resources to remove themselves from?

I think Plan B put it a lot better than me in his TED lecture when he said this:

“I believe that there is a demonisation of the youth throughout the media. And people are falling for it, because if you’d had no direct contact with the kids that I’m talking about how the hell can you judge them? Because you’re only judging them based on something you read in a newspaper, aren’t you?

See, this fuels the fire. If you call kids words that are derogatory to them just because they are unlucky enough to be born into a family that couldn’t afford to give them the education that you had, they’re going to hate you. Of course they’re going to hate you and you’re going to hate them because of their actions. And it’s this vicious circle that goes round. By calling these kids these words you push them out of your society and they don’t feel part of it. You beat them into apathy and in the end they just say: “Cool, I don’t care. I don’t want to be part of your society.””

So, maybe you should think about that, next time you label someone a chav.

The Last Word.

Last year, not long after I started this blog, I wrote THIS post about how I collect straws. The basic premise of being a straw collector is that a person who collects straws goes about their day and if something negative happens, they store it up. Then the next minor thing happens and they store that up. They collect up all these ‘straws’ of anger, until they get to the final one and then they snap. I’ve been trying my hardest to not do this, and although I still have a bit of a temper if I’m pushed, I am a lot more chilled out in a lot of ways.

There is, however, a character flaw that I have which is something else that I should really work on, and that is the fact that I feel like I must have the last word. If I argue with someone or have a disagreement, I always feel like I’ve been totally wronged unless I get them to change their opinion. I’ve had disagreements with people in the past which still weigh heavily on my mind because I didn’t get an apology or a retraction from them, even though I know they were totally wrong. I’ll admit, I have a huge chip on my shoulder when it comes to people judging me wrongly. I know who and what I am, and I think I’m a very honest person when it comes to myself, but when people get it wrong, it winds me up terribly.

I have internal conversations which people where I say all of the clever things that I wanted to say during an argument, all of which prove them wrong, make me look wonderfully intelligent and urbane, whilst employing great amounts of grace and wit. Of course, arguments generally just degrade to a point where no one employs much wit, and all that’s being slung is something which rhymes with wit, so I never get to really employ all of these skills that I’ve honed so well inside my own head.

But it’s not very healthy, is it? Sometimes, when I’m walking the dog or washing up or going about some other brainless task, I go over petty rows in my head and I get so wound up that I end up with an ache in my gut and a mood like a bear who’s been disturbed, mid-hybernation. I suppose it’s a bit of longer-term straw collecting, but I just can’t seem to let it go.

I suppose I need to know that I’m not alone in this. Does anyone else do this, or am I the only one with an over-developed jaw muscle from all of the teeth grinding that I do? It can’t just be me, can it? Does this make me a terrible person, this need for people to know that I was right and they were wrong? Gosh, when I put it like that, it does sound that way, doesn’t it?