So, I’m not the most conventional person in the world but I take a certain amount of pride in my sense of responsibility. However, unconventional people are not supposed to be responsible or have a work ethic or many of the other things I believe myself to have and people find it much easier to judge on appearence than actuality. I know this. I continue to have this thrust upon me. I guess it really should stop getting to me one of these days.
The current situation is this, my sister, The Princess, is getting married in November. She wants there to be eight (yes eight) bridesmaids. In the case of seven of us, thats me, my cousin, The Proper Girl, and five of Da Bitches. The eighth is my fifteen year old cousin, lets call her the Fashionista. I went to see my family for my Mum’s birthday and give them presents from Peru last October. These were mainly handicrafts and some coca leaf sweets for my cousin. I admit, this was a troll, handing my cousin the sweets and explaining to her father, my uncle, that they were made from the same plant as cocaine was derived from. He knew it was a troll and rolled his eyes until I explained that no, there was about the same amount of drugs in the sweets as in coca-cola (well, probably less actually…) I also, over the course of the day made some off the cuff stupid joke about vodka jelly on the hen weekend. I can’t actually remember what it was.
It was made because at The Proper Girl’s wedding which my Aunt (my father’s sister, parent of The Proper Girl) had been present at, I had made awesome vodka jelly with sweets floating in it (for I am the goddess of jelly making). However my Uncle (my mother’s brother, parent of The Fashionista) seems to have taken some sort of offense at this joke and apparently is concerned about allowing The Fashionista to stay with the bridesmaids over the course of the wedding and/or hen-do. This despite The Princess bending over backwards to include The Fashionista in at every level of the wedding including having two separate hen-dos (one where we can do adult things and drink, and one where we do girly things and have face-masks and pedicures). This despite The Princess assuring him and his wife of exactly how much of an eye everyone will be keeping on The Fashionista. (This and the fact that The Fashionista is a pretty responsible sort of girl herself…)
There is absolutely nothing I can do about this, except vent my frustration on-line…ah hello internet!
What do I really want to say to him? I think that I was a teacher for three years and eleven to eighteen year olds were my speciality. That I was an active Girl Guide Leader for eleven years and they’re ten to sixteen. Does he really think I was letting those girls get pissed every night? I was once the sole responsible adult for a group of eight teenagers on an army camp – not suggesting the squaddies weren’t responsible adults but they weren’t directly responsible for the kids.
I suspect that his worry is born of the fact that he used to read The Fashionista excerpts from my blog – yep this one, back when it started in 2003 and heavily detailed the active sex life of a twenty year old (yeah, do the maths, she was seven). More relevantly it also made clear what I thought and what I still think about a great many areas of life. I’m sure that I wouldn’t make many of the choices that he has made were The Fashionista my child, but she isn’t and he is her father, it’s his right to do so. My opinions and beliefs aren’t supposed to be preached to anyone, though I wouldn’t hide them from her either (and nor has anyone asked me to).
My notions of what is and what isn’t appropriate around children do differ from some people I know, but jokes about vodka jelly wasn’t on my list of dodgy for a (then) fourteen year old. Coca Leaf sweets, I thought, were more risque. My inner check list is ultimately a combination of myself and how would I be expecting to treat this child in school. Now talking about drugs and alcohol to say anything other than ‘Just Say No’ would be a definite no-no in school, but myself and friends at that age were smoking pot, having sex and trying to get into pubs…ergo – somewhere in the middle of those two should be appropriate. As long as I don’t admit to said family member exactly what I was doing when I was her age – should be ok…apparently not.
I know I’m unfashionable right now but I happen to think that having the odd drink with family when you’re a teenager is a good idea. It means you have some idea about drinking when it does come to parties or leaving home and heading to a bar for the first time. You never know, the amount of my friends who hate the taste, it may well encourage teetotalism from an early age. Of course if any of us were planning on getting blotto over the course of the wedding then yes bad plan…but then my sister would kill us anyway. I do think it’s possible to be responsible for a fifteen year old after one drink, I don’t think the same is true of a five year old.
But what really gets to me is that I get the feeling my Uncle is judging by appearences…I’m not the girl who worked with kids because she wanted to be a teacher, and worked in schools every year from the age of fourteen up so she could have the best possible chance of getting into teacher training college. I’m the girl with green hair and multiple partners and a pagan religion and I’m being judged as such. I have no right of reply and no chance to defend or explain myself because this is about a parent deciding on the best course of action for his child. I can get frustrated about the fact that she’s fifteen and really wants to be a bridesmaid, but ultimately one stupid remark by myself gets to ruin that for her and I can’t do anything about it.
And, and, and, it’s not fair!
(stamps foot for emphasis)