Subtitle: Stop being a judgmental A-hole.
I’ve been wanting to write this particular blog for a long time but have repeatedly struggled with a few aspects of it. The biggest struggle has been whether or not it would cause some friction in friendships and my community. But then I realized if that happens, those people are part of the problem I’m going to write about. So, here we go.
Perception versus reality. It’s been evident for a long time in this town that people would prefer to just let their perception of you cloud their ability to actually get to know you. At one point this even deterred us from buying vehicles we like, because we knew that it would cause people to talk. Then we made the wise decision to say screw it, if people talk we don’t need them anyway. So, in light of some recent comments that have been made in our community, I’m going to clear things up.
Perception: we have two BMW vehicles, so we must be rich, pompous a-holes.
Reality: Thanks to BMW being smart, their styling hasn’t changed much, making it hard to tell how old a vehicle is. My suv is 8 years old, my husband’s car is 6 years old. Both were purchased used and combined cost less than a lot of the brand new vehicles people we know have purchased. In fact, my Kia I had cost almost as much as my husband’s BMW.
Perception: we own two properties, so again, we must be rich.
Reality: firstly, we no longer own two properties. After 6.5 years of owning a townhouse, we got tired of the never ending problems with keeping it tenanted. Secondly, that property was a crummy townhouse in a not very nice area that I purchased myself prior to meeting my husband. I purchased it after years in a controlling and abusive relationship, to prove to myself that I would be just fine no matter what. It was cheap, rightfully so, most of the surrounding properties were drug addicts and the condo management was awful. I lived in it for a year and a half and then rented it out… Making barely enough money to cover its costs.
Perception: I have a house cleaner, so I’m either too rich or too lazy to clean
Reality: well, I am a bit lazy and hate cleaning, however as I’ve said many times over, this literally saved my relationship. When Lucy was born we had a lot going on in life in addition to a new baby. I also was dealing with major anxiety issues. The rage induced by the simplest things was indescribable, and threatened to ruin my relationship with my husband. He pushed to have a house cleaner come and honestly, I’m glad he did. It allowed us less stress and more ability to focus on other things. We’ve budgeted since then to include this, however once we move I will no longer afford it.
Perception: my husband makes a lot of money
Reality: people often think this because he’s an engineer and I’m able to stay home. He does make a good wage, but realistically it’s not all that different than what the miners make (and he has 4 years of difficult university he had to pay for to get his wage). We budget well for me to stay home. We rarely go on vacation. We’ve actually never been anywhere warm or tropical together. We don’t have cable TV. I buy most of my clothes second hand, same with clothes for the girls. We literally have coats and other items that are 10 years old. We sacrifice luxuries so our kids can have me at home.
There’s a lot of other things I could say, but those are the most common misconceptions about us. The most frustrating thing is the people who make snide remarks about us are often the same people spouting off about teaching kindness and inclusion. They’ve never even bothered to get to know us, they’ve just judged us. This is partly why we made a decision to leave. Four years here and I feel, in many ways, like we were never going to be truly accepted within the community. It’s exhausting feeling like you have to try so damn hard for people to look past their perception of your life and actually get to know the reality. What is our reality? We are just a normal little family who budget and sacrifice. We have big hearts and care about the people around us, and if people took the time to get to know us they’d know that we are very loyal and giving friends.
So next time you feel like judging, try getting to know the people first. Not every BMW owner is a dick.