There was a time in my life when I was too shy, too reserved and too fearful to stand up for myself or to make decisions for myself. I was two. In fact, my parents were in such a hurry for me to walk and to talk, but as soon as I was able to do that, they pretty much told me to sit down and shut up.
All kidding aside, I was raised at a time when girls were expected to be sweet, happy and quiet, mostly quiet. I was so indecisive and fearful, that I really couldn’t stand up for myself. I wouldn’t even send food back at a restaurant when it wasn’t prepared as ordered.
When I was twenty-four, and single, my mother was afraid I would be an old maid, and she told me I shouldn’t be so smart or so good at sports… that the boys don’t like that. I had a hard time with that. It was the late 70’s and early 80’s, and mom was kind of old school. I knew if I repressed who I really was, I would pay for it later. (I was already repressing a lot of things that had already happened to me, that eventually affected me in profound ways.)
Finally, I met a man who appreciated me for who I was (was being the operative word). Early on, we had a great marriage and were blessed with two wonderful, happy healthy children. As time passed, and we were left with an empty nest, we were also left with the task of getting to know each other again. The difficulty arose when we discovered that we were at opposite ends politically in 2016. It has gotten exponentially worse, affecting our daily lives. I can’t express an opinion without it turning into a fight. I can’t even make a comment about current events without it being turned into a political issue. All we have left is, “Did you talk to either of the kids today.”
Consequently, I have had to return to being the kind of person I was as a child and young girl, and it is most uncomfortable. I am expected to be happy and quiet, mostly quiet. This is to keep the peace. I know it won’t last forever; in fact, I hope it will only last for another 18 months.
For now, I will hold my tongue.