Few people seem to take me seriously.
I guess it doesn’t help that a lot of the time, I don’t take myself seriously. I rarely answer the question, “So what do you do?” In fact, I avoid it at all costs. Because people give you rather smug smiles when you say you’re writing a book.
“Oh, you’re writing a book?” they say with their eyes glazing over in high-pitched, condescending voices. The one time I responded by saying I had a publisher for said book, I watched the other person’s eyes pop with interest. Suddenly, I was interesting. But I was no longer interested in talking to her.
Don’t even get me started on what happens if you tell people you write a blog. “Oh, you write a ‘little’ blog?” A LITTLE BLOG? Sometimes, I want to guilt them and say, “Actually, I’m too disabled to work full-time. I’m in pain 24-7. And when it rains, I want to crawl in a hole and die.” But I said something like this once to someone and they almost cried. I don’t, generally, like to make people cry.
That’s why when I tell people, my blog has led to many writing opportunities and even public speaking and then of course, (people who don’t know me) ask me what I talk about on speaking engagements, I say “myself.” When I say this, I get a look that says “Okay, narcissist” but should I really tell someone I’ve just met my whole life story? Maybe, I should tell them to go read my little blog and find out.
Lately, people patronize me most by treating me like a little kid who doesn’t know anything because I don’t have kids (or thankfully, a gray hair on my head).
I wonder, sometimes, if I should regal these people with stories about co-parenting my younger sisters: changing diapers, then potty training them, staying up for countless sleepless nights when they cried because my mother locked them out of her room, making meals every day since I was 10, eventually kidnapping them and then fighting for custody of one sister for three long years while I worked two to three jobs to support her until I crippled myself and converted to Orthodox Judaism in the same year.
Don’t let the wrinkle-free skin fool you, I want to say, I have lived.
Please, please, think of me the next time you want to treat some poor unsuspecting person like an infant who just got out of diapers and has led a very sheltered life. I warrant that since you haven’t walked a day in their shoes, you have no idea what kinds of shocking stories lie behind a youthful, otherwise calm-looking, veneer.
Well, at least, the JTA (Jewish Telegraph Agency) takes me seriously. This past week, they named me #9 out of 100 Most Influential Twitterers. Thank you, thank you! But, of course, most people don’t take Twitter seriously so this makes no one (except other Twitterers) take me more seriously.
Maybe it’s time to grow some gray hair?