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Rainbow Quartz
11 April 2016 @ 08:54 pm
We live in a not-so-great city, with regards to poverty and crime - 92.4% of of the city lives below the poverty line, there's gang-activity, there's drugs. Like, I get it. This city's not the best.

But so much of the disdain my parents exhibit during our house hunt (which, I want to explicitly point out, does NOT involve them - they are not moving, at is just my husband, son, and I) is obviously racially motivated (our city is 90% Hispanic) and involves a total lack of understanding of the nature of the crimes they're concerned about. I'm not saying it's not scary and there isn't a degree of risk involved, but almost all the crime in the city is motivated by drugs, and it's dealer against user or vice-versa. Again, no rose-tinted glasses, that sucks, but there isn't a lot of random crime against random people - that's not the way things happen here.

And it's not like I'm seeking out the more problematic areas, I'm just trying to be realistic about what's on the market and what's actually going to be affordable. We aren't going to ever be able to afford things in most of the neighboring cities, save for the ones they likewise object to - we just aren't. We don't make enough money. But we also can't live with them the rest of our (or their) lives. That's not an option. I mean, maybe it is technically, but it's really not. I would lose my mind. My mental health has taken a significant blow already, and we've been here less than a year.

Their problem, especially in regards to my mother, is they have NO IDEA how to express an opinion or give advice, and they turn it around on me to make it look like I'm the unreasonable one.

My mother will say the SAME thing, day after day after day. She will push the SAME issues, tell me the SAME cautionary tale day after day after day. If I do not agree with her, or I do not take her advice, I am told the SAME thing, in a louder, more condescending, and insistent tone day after day after day. When I inevitably snap, I'm accused of being combative and incapable of "taking advice."

First of all, advice that is not asked for is not advice - it is meddling. Secondly, advice is given ONCE - you GIVE someone your advice and then they HAVE it. Transaction DONE. Pushing it over and over and over is an attempt to exert control over them. It's not advice, it's nagging.

Thirdly, advice given comes with the implicit right to be refused. If you refuse to concede to my refusal, then it's not advice, it's an attempt at a command couched in passive-aggressive "helpful" language.

The bottom line that they just can't seem to grasp though is one that has come up in other situations as well, especially with regards to raising my son. My mother has these bullshit circuitous arguments with me that you, just, you can't fucking reason her out of. Here's an example (not verbatim, but a good approximation) of arguments we have literally every day:

Me: I don't want Nathan (my son) to watch so much TV.
Mom: He doesn't watch that much.
Me: Well, ok, but I'd really like him to watch less.
Mom: [rolls her eyes]
Me: Look, put the TV on when you need to get stuff done, I'm not saying NO Tv. I get that you can't spend every waking second of babysitting entertaining him - you have a life and a home to take care of, too. But he's at an age where he can play independently most of the day, and when he's fussy and you're either in the middle of something or need to take a break, put on some TV. I'm not unrealistic...
Mom: YOU watched a lot of TV as a kid and you turned out fine.
Me: Well, I just don't want him to watch that much, I think it's delaying his language.
Mom: Well, that's just stupid. Do you believe everything you read online?
Me: ...I didn't just randomly read that online, I've had this discussion with Michelle and a bunch of other people at work (Note: Michelle is a Speech and Language Pathologist. My coworkers are Special Education teachers).*
Mom: Yeah, I worked with kids too, Jess. And I raised three of them. I didn't listen to everything my doctor said.
Me: [getting heated] So I'm getting shit on for listening to my doctor - who has been a fucking DOCTOR for thirty plus years, and a FATHER and GRANDFATHER - and I'm getting shit on for listening to the SPEECH PATHOLOGIST who has TWO KIDS and is a FUCKING LANGUAGE PROFESSIONAL - but I should listen to you unquestioningly?
Mom: That's not what I said.
Me: Then who should I be listening to, hmm?
Mom: I just went with what felt right.
Me: Well, I FEEL like he shouldn't watch so much TV.
Mom: [rolls eyes] Yeah, ok.

Side note:
My reading articles on the internet about child development - even if I cross-reference them - is apparently stupid, but the day I came home saying my doctor gave my son the all clear for peanut butter, she went on-line and Googled every article she could talking about how many babies have allergic reactions and recounting them all to me even after I explicitly told her to stop. So. Yeah.

NOWHERE in her objections to where we are looking for a house - in the interest of getting out of here sooner rather than later - has she ever considered the fact that her treating me like I'm an idiot constantly,* belittling my parenting skills, or talking to me like I'm a child might be one of the contributing factors, nor that the most helpful thing she could be doing at the moment is not acting like I'm incapable and incompetent.

Also, NOWHERE is the recognition that she hasn't left the house in a meaningful way in YEARS, and my brother, who travels the city on foot constantly, has given me a much more even and thoughtful perspective on various parts of the city that, contrary to her beliefs, I AM willing to listen to - because they are based on current and real LIFE EXPERIENCE, and not racial and class stereotypes and blind fear.

Also, for the all shit you can talk about this city, the new mayor is making real strides, and really putting forth an effort into cleaning up and improving it - plus, in so many ways, I feel like the city is undergoing a cultural renaissance. If you know where to look, there are pop-up yoga classes, gaming events, meditation and yoga, theatre, small independent artists, poets, writers, crafters, movie-makers, etc., there is a community of entrepreneurs and social activists... like, there is a LOT of potential in this city as well, and it's affordable and close to baby-sitting and both of our jobs. If you're truly concerned for us, help us find someplace suitable instead of just screaming about crime in vague, angry language.

Anyway. The realtor got back to us. We've got a couple of houses to look at this week, but there are two that I really, really loved the look of (based on the listing) and I DON'T want to jump on them this early in the game, but they are affordable, in a nice area, and I hope they last long enough to be a real prospect. The last nine months have had their good moments and their bad moments, but the overall emotional impact has left me feeling like absolute shit, and I'm looking forward to having my own space again.

* We got into an argument once about a period of human development and how people respond to stress, and her argument against me was a mocking, "oh, listen to her, she's a psychologist now." I've been in Special Education for over a decade, have a degree in Moderate Special Needs Education, work in a specialized program, and am routinely the one they place with their "tough" cases. She took a few Psych courses in college and taught Head Start for two years. Clearly I'm the idiot and she's the expert. It's literally like there is NOTHING I can do to convince her I might know one IOTA about ANYTHING.
Rainbow Quartz
10 April 2016 @ 08:34 pm
I've been away from LJ for... I don't even know, now. Months, I know. Maybe 8 or 9? I honestly figured I'd be gone for good, not because the site did me wrong or anything, but because I just simply couldn't keep up with it. I was so consumed by work, and my son, and my changing body, and our housing situation, and just feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed with the daily machinations of life - the energy I was expending just existing was so, so exhausting.

But I've found a new normal. I'm back on track losing weight (10 pounds so far), we've started the house-hunting process, my son is walking and on his way to talking soon, I've been doing more writing and art recently (neither very good, but at least I'm doing it), and I'm finding an increasing desire to return to personal blogging. I know so much of the world has moved on from LJ - and I am elsewhere as well, I'm on WordPress and Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and and and - but LJ will always hold a special place. And if I'm going to return to keeping an online personal blog, I'm going to return home to LJ.

I had a lot of fun here. I've been here for fifteen years. Nothing can recapture the community feeling of those early days, but even in my last foray here (2011 to 2015), I met a lot of cool people, and would like to do so again. Local people even better, since my social circle has grown lamentably small, but that's something to bemoan another time.

It's strange and comforting to be back in my little blogging ghost town. I can't deny that.

I'll pen and pin an About Me for new friends soon.