It is January 28, 2018, and in a few days, we will be heading into February. The first month of the new year almost over, 11 more to go.
It was supposed to be my usual quiet Sunday morning but it took a turn early and my stress level was elevated. I have been talking to several people online for a while now. Still hoping for the best but being overly cautious at the same time, much to the annoyance of those that I talk to. Learning to trust others is still in progress for me, I don’t know how long it will take.
I video chat with two of them while the rest are by text only. It was after all this back and forth, because all of them wanted to talk at the same time this morning, that I finally had enough and started ignoring the messages. This lead to some of them being upset later in the day so I don’t know where those are going anymore.
It was during this back and forth I started to realize that there was this expectation being thrust upon me that I don’t like. It is the same thing I have always gone through with every friendship, relationship, job position and even with my own parents. A double standard of how I was expected to behave.
When people meet me, they assume that I am this quiet, shy, and not very vocal person at the beginning. This is until I get to know the person better. I spend a great deal of time observing others and determining what they are like. This has always helped me adapt to any situation and be able to work well within almost every job or course I have ever been in.
It is because of this shyness or aloofness at the beginning that people think I will always be that way. My true personality eventually comes out, this aggressive, competitive, in-your-face, blunt and sometimes brutally honest person. That personality is the reason I spend a lot of time alone. Most that have been around me do not like it or want to break it down. To put me in my place, so I’ve been told. This is usually about the time when relationships or friendships start to unravel, eventually ending.
I realized today that I have always had this double standard placed on me from the time I was just a kid and it is a problem for me. I truly believe that if others care for you or even love you that whatever personality, flaws or not, you have shouldn’t be a factor or change that. The problem is they liked you when you were agreeable and don’t want you to change or be different.
Growing up, I was the minority most of the time in the smaller towns I grew up in and was treated differently by my peers and my teachers. I had to constantly prove that I was just as smart, athletic and just as capable as others. Everything I did was judged more harshly than my peers. I never understood why as a kid and it turned into my own assumption that I wasn’t good enough. It was a difficult and confusing time. I now see that I was indeed being held to a different standard based solely on the color of my skin and the cultural identity I was born into. It was never about my abilities, instead, it made me angry and pushed me to excel.
As a child I also had to deal with double standard by my own mother and her husband. Once I finally started living with them at the age of 9, I was treated differently than their own daughters. Everything from clothing, school, chores, and extra-curricular activities. My half-sisters always got new clothes while I was relegated to ill-fitting clothing in the form of hand me downs from my mother, thrift stores, Goodwill or garage sales. There may have been an occasional new pair of shoes, jeans or maybe a shirt but that wasn’t often. I was always expected to be the one who cleaned up after my sisters, they never really had chores until they got older but rarely did them. This standard of treatment also spilled over into punishments or discipline for any wrong doing by them or myself. I don’t remember my sisters ever getting a belt, a shoe, a switch or an open hand to them. I use to think that I was taking the harsh abuse to protect my sisters because I was the oldest but realized later in life that it was just that, abuse and nothing more. It has taken a long time and a lot of therapy to let go of that pain.
As time moved on and I grew up the different standard of treatment continued.
I joined the military right out of high school and moved away. Talk about standards, we all had them because we were supposed to be equal. Being a female, especially a minority female, things didn’t always work that way. It was subtle, but it was there, not only from men but even by other non-minority females. I overlooked a lot of things that I shouldn’t have but when you’re outnumbered sometimes you just have to survive. So instead I made sure to excel, step up my game and become the best of the best. I did this all the way to the end until I retired. It was a long hard battle between myself and others but I accomplished what I set out to do. Yet another lonely time in my life.
After I left active duty, I spent the next few years taking on various jobs and continuing to run into the same issues of being treated differently for no valid reason. I worked hard to prove myself capable at every job I had and sometimes with success but a majority of the time I was just overworked without reaping any sort of benefit from it. Manager’s and companies took advantage of my work ethic by pushing more responsibility but never making the pay or title equal to the work being accomplished. It was frustrating.
During the course of me trying to conquer the world, I got married and had a family. This is when my personality kicked into high gear to overcome the depression and anxiety always just beneath the surface. I over scheduled myself constantly. Military duty, college, part-time jobs, my own business teaching cake decorating, parent volunteer, mom to four kids, daughter, aunt, and wife.
Sometimes I think that if I hadn’t taken on so much that maybe my marriage would have survived but the reality was that my own husband had a set of standards that I could never meet based on other women. I was not who he wanted but instead who he settled for.
He thought that he was doing me a favor by marrying the single mother of two but instead he should have just let it go. I would have been better off alone but I am grateful for the two more children I had by him. They are the best thing to happen from that situation.
I was never going to be the woman that he really wanted, she was long gone from his life. It was a constant struggle not being what he expected. Yet again another lonely period in my life. To want to be a married mom and wife only to have to face the constant barrage of insults, verbal and emotional abuse that went with it. Not only from him but from my mother, her husband and my half-sisters as well.
I survived it though and walked away.
Now at this period in my life, I am heading towards being alone and on my own again. My children will all soon be out on their own. I took a chance four years ago to walk away from everything I knew. To seek out what makes me happy and to not settle for just anything anymore.
The only bump in the road is this whole online relationship thing where my personality doesn’t translate well in text messages but no one talks on the phone anymore. So I will continue to fumble through it and break down any so-called standards of behavior that others expect of me.
I can no longer live a life where I am not who I have always been. I expect a lot from others because that’s what I always give back in return and I expect nothing less of myself. If you treat me well and care for me then I will do the same. My actions and character have only ever been based on what I feel. I trust my instincts and guts more than anything else.
So anyone that wants to apply a double standard to me, the way I think, my work ethic, or the way I live needs to stop and take a look in the mirror first, perfection does not exist. We are all flawed in some way but we all can do our best.
Double standards have been and will always be nothing but a way to keep one group in control of another. It has nothing to do with one’s ability. It is only based on the appearance, misconception, or stereotype of one group or person. It something that needs to end because it does nothing to propel us forward. We need to move toward more harmony and peace with each other. We cannot expect to expand past were we are if there things still holding us back.
Thank you for stopping by.
Have a good day wherever you are in the world.
My hope for you is that peace, love, happiness, and good vibes find you every day.