Thursday, April 16, 2009

Telling the Stories

I took my dog for a walk today. It's been a long week and I wanted some fresh air, some quiet time.

There were packs of suburban moms. They seem to run in packs out there.

I usually go out later in the day but today I was there by 8:30am. I don't think I'll do that again. Wave after wave of moms in their jogging suits, some with coffee in hand, walking their pure bred dogs.

I felt out of place. Me, in my jeans and John Deere hat, with my mutt.

Pure bred mutt. All mutt.

It's not new, mind you. I always feel out of place in packs of suburban moms. At the elementary school, I have been around long enough to meet most of the parents and I have a comfort level there.

Today, though, I was trudging along thinking about teasing, taunting and bullying. What I could do to make a difference. How do I keep talking to my kids about it without them feeling like I'm obsessed.

I am obsessed.

I realize, after a conversation last night, that my kids face not only teasing about themselves, but about having a mom that "looks like a dad." Why, they are asked, does your mom look like a man?

Hey, Jake, your dad is here.

It happens a lot. I don't tend to notice it much anymore because I always get called sir.

Do any of these moms, briskly walking by, have to deal with this?

All kids get teased at some point. There is no question about that. Why does it feel like it has escalated? Is it that cell phones and facebook pages are now being used to taunt? Is it that they are inundated with media images that promote comparison and competition?

How can we make it better?

What happened to a country proud of it's individualism? Or is that just one more lie perpetrated by the media.

I turned up a hill to a more remote part of the woods. As always in my life, the woods bring me a sense of calm. Safety.

Sirdeaner Walker is going to speak tomorrow at Springfield College, at the breaking of silence there. I am in awe of this woman's strength and in the quiet, I knew the answer.

We have to keep telling the stories. Over and over again. That's all I know how to do, and I realize that is the most powerful thing to do.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:49 PM  
Blogger tcs3600 said...

Exactly. Tell our stories, again and again and again.

I'm another mom who looks like a dad. My son is under 2, so his cohort doesn't ask tough questions yet, but the older kids notice me.

I have never been graceful or articulate about responding to people who don't get me. But now, for my kid's sake, I need to model a skillful response, one that tells my story with pride.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Seda said...

Yes, tell our stories. Another great post, Sara.

Reading your post, though, I feel so blessed. My sons have not yet been taunted (that I know of) about their "Maddy." It's just the great good fortune of my neighborhood, though. One of my trans man friends and his son have survived viscious taunts, threats, and swastika tags on their door.

There is so much to do....

9:04 PM  
Blogger Sue J said...

Good post, Sara. It's the stories and our faces that go with them that will combat this bullying and name-calling. I'm sure that the anonymity of taunting by cell and by computer are attractive to the cowards among us. People say things online that I cannot believe they would ever, ever say to a person's face.

You are exactly right. Telling stories is a powerful tool. You're a great story-teller, and I always look forward to reading your stories. Thanks.

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