Thank you, to everybody who wrote or commented. Y'all are so kind, and just amazing. And can I tell you how sad I am how many people completely get what I'm talking about? Why? Why do women do this to themselves? And do men do it? Is it sexist of me to think that with women, it's our bodies, and with men, it's their wallets? Their jobs, their income, their status. Would that be easier? Or worse?
I just keep wondering what we're so afraid of, and why. I've been chewing on this one a while: Why do we, as women, attack each other so much? I know, that whole Mommy Wars thing has been done to death, but I haven't read any of those books. I just know that a lot of the women who write online, honestly, about their own experiences--their own pasts, the things they've survived, the feelings they have about themselves, as mothers, daughters, wives and partners--end up, at one time or another, being attacked, either by people who know them and take what's written personally, or by complete strangers. Specifically, I'm thinking of Beth at Crazy Us, Heather at Dooce, Melissa at Suburban Bliss, and Alice at Finslippy. (I'm not linking in text tonight because I'm tired and sloppy but all these women are in the blogroll over to the right.)
Yes, I know, those sites get a lot of traffic and thus are more likely to get negative comments. But it isn't just that. Because you know it's just an extension of everyday life. I don't understand why some stranger would attack these women who honestly seem to be genuinely good people, just trying to figure it all out. But then I don't understand why I would, even if just in my own mind, attack the two women who showed up at last year's elementary school Field Day in high heels and Paris Hilton getups. Fine, I considered it tacky and really bizarro. But let's be honest--in my head? I was a bitch. It was not just a passing glance askance--it was full-blown bitchiness. The word "slut" definitely passed around among neurons, followed by theories as to the women's brain capacities and questions of their fidelity and level of honest devotion to whatever spouses might be in the picture. I never spoke to those women. They could've been the smartest, kindest women on that field. I wouldn't know.
It's all fear, though, don't you think? I think fear is at the heart of all hatred, even the small hatreds that I tell myself are harmless. I think people attack each other, and themselves, out of fear. Why the hell do we care what choices other people make (assuming, of course, that those choices are not causing other people pain or suffering)? I also think, and this is especially true when it comes to motherhood, that most women are so terrified that they project pain and suffering onto the results of any decision that contradicts their own. For example, if I decide to let my kids sleep in my bed and you decide to Ferberize them, your way is obviously opposite of my way, so if you're right, I'm wrong. I can't be wrong, so I have to make YOU wrong. And not only do I have to make you wrong, I have to make you a horribly abusive and uncaring parent who is fucking up your children for life.
The thing I can't figure out is why we can't accept that there isn't any "right" way. Are we terrified of having no control over what happens to us, to our children? Do we feel so adrift that we have to be right all the time? And what if we are wrong--what do we think is going to happen? What ax are we expecting to fall, to make being wrong such a horrible possibility? Do we just have too much time on our hands, that we have to find something other than survival to obsess about? Why do we have to be so fucking mean to each other?
Aw, screw it. I'm going to bed.