The other day I wrote a post called "Too Much but Not Enough" . It is about not belonging. About how I live in this in between neverland sort of world with one foot in one society and the other foot in another. Accepted but to a certain point. At times it is very uplifting and joyous place and others it is very frustrating. Today was one of those frustrating times.
Just when I think I am accepted and not an "outsider", I am instantly reminded of how very different I am from my husband's family. Not only that I am culturally different but that no matter how much they claim to welcome me and claim to understand, the reality is they don't and most likely never will. They have seen "Americans" in movies and believe that is how all Americans live. I was raised in a very poor Southern family. We didn't have indoor plumbing. We used an outhouse. We farmed, raised tobacco, animals, cut hay, wood for heat in the winter, drew water from a well.
It's always amusing how my husband's family will watch me clean. The first time I swept the floor I thought they would have a heart attack. Every one of my sister in laws, MIL, aunties, cousins, everyone came to watch. It was all they talked about for days. An American who knew how to sweep the floor! It was too much for them. They had seen movies. All Americans had servants, maids, people who did those things for them, but not this American.
Today again I was reminded that while on the surface they see me in reality I am invisible to them. Their image of what I am will always be how they see me. The fact that image is far from reality makes no difference. In their minds I am that image because every American they have ever met or who has ever visited here has fit into that image. They can't accept that I don't. I have given up on trying to make them see me. It isn't worth the effort. They will never see me, but even as I type that sentence there is a part of me that still hopes. That wants so deseparately to be seen, to be heard, but I just can't keep that door open. It is toxic and insane to continue repeating the same action hoping for a different result. It is time I let go, but that is easier said than done.
So for now whenever they refer to me as that image instead of the real me I just keep silent. It is easier.