I'm weird. I always have been. I was the strange kid at my tiny little 300 student school. I was Catholic, wore a lot of black, listened to alternative rock, & didn't run with what crowd there was. I'm still weird, but for totally different reasons these days. Yes, the fire red hair & propensity toward psycho-billy style is a little non-mainstream....
Being immersed in a lifestyle that you weren't raised in or exposed to is very hard. I can get my head around the society junk, the appearances & whatnot. Everyone wants to be thought well of. I can wrap my head around being publicly polite to people you may not exactly like, that's what Southern folks call manners.
Now, what totally escapes me are the games & manipulation. The truly fake accolades, the association with fake people for silly reasons, ignorant back & forth over petty things... it just blows my mind. The spreading of exaggerated information or rumors to watch a relationship unravel... The people I've always associated with would be considered societal underdogs. The tattooers, artists, former dancers & dealers, blue collar workers with bills to pay. Honest people who never lie about who they are, not even to themselves. Ones who know what it's like to go without, who've seen feast & famine. I'd rather spend my time & energy on people the "upper class" looks down their noses at than the "upper class" that is constantly competing & lying to get one up. Since I've moved back to this little town & been exposed to another layer of it, it's had quite an affect on me. I wasn't raised with dissension in the family. Yes I have siblings & yes we have our minor quarrels but never have they affected our relationships. Neither my sister, my brother, nor myself would dream of pitting one against another to our parents. We don't compete for love, attention, or favor. We were raised that such behavior was unnatural & ungodly. To watch adult people do this around me now is unsettling. I see young adults baiting & manipulating their parents for the simple joy of the conflict.... who does this? Who is given the information during their youth that this is acceptable behavior of a young woman or man?
There is such a thing as healthy competition. It usually stops with a winner being gracious & a loser not taking it personally. This can exist within families... At least I've been told it can. From what I've seen, such competition is ugly, it divides, & leaves lasting marks on the hearts & minds of all involved. I can't fathom not talking to my sister once a week, be it online or on the phone. My mother & I are not close but we treat each other with the respect we are both due. She. Treats me. With respect. And I have always treated her with such because that is the nature of things. I understood as a child that she is older, I don't have to agree with her, but I do have to give her her due. I have earned hers with the way I've lived. I've proven myself & received my own. I don't beg for it. I didn't fight for it. And I never went out of my way to make myself out to be more important to her than my sister.
Even when I was making ignorant mistakes no one, especially not one of my family members, ever went to her to make the situation worse. We don't make snide comments in an effort to see how far the fur will fly. We harbor genuine remorse when fights or disagreements do occur. We talk. Like real adults should. We are brutally honest with each other. A trait I have been told here is rude. My parents took care of us for as long as they could. They gave what they had, sacrificed a lot of themselves to see us through. My sister & I do the same things for our children. We do not spoil. Not because we can't, but because we believe it leads to selfishness. I've stopped Honey from spoiling my daughter, I have a good child who puts others before herself. I won't allow anyone to ruin that.
I'm weird. Out of place. Harsh. Rude. Tactless. If those traits earn me respect from my parents, my siblings, & my closest friends, so be it. If being falsely polite, gentle, & verbose make me popular with fishwives disguised as spoiled oil field wives, you can keep it. It's taken me into my 30's to be ashamed of people in my inner circle. I was really hoping to never feel that way. I won't lower my standards to please certain people who had & subsequently lost my respect.
One more lesson learned.