Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Deep thoughts

While reading my blogs today I came across a link to a great post by Bobita called "Enough is Enough!". She talks about our expectations for success and how we are limited by our cultural expectations of what we should have and who we should be.

I suddenly realized that, for whatever reason, these people had been able to step outside of the "American Standard" box…you know that box that none of us realize we are in…but that acts as our definition of what “success” or “wealth” is. Because we live in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, we live in a box. It is propaganda, sometimes called social or cultural conditioning…the collective agreement as to the meaning of some otherwise arbitrary concept.

Take success, for instance. Our American Box describes success as having money to burn, having lots of expensive toys, designer clothes, eating at the right restaurants, moving up the career ladder, and power. We define success largely by APPEARANCE.

The word, “success”…is arbitrary. It has no meaning, except what meaning we confer.

This really hit home for me today. As a stay at home mom, I have had to live with the cultural stigma that I'm not a successful, productive, person because I choose not to "work". I realized just now that this is only true if I allow it to be. I can decide to live outside that box. I can choose to feel successful and productive. I can choose to change my own beliefs about success and therefor change how I feel about myself.

Stepping outside of the box also applies to our adoption. Choosing international adoption is defiantly a step outside the American "norm". Choosing to adopt a black child is a red flag to the world that screams "I'm different". A trip to the supermarket becomes a statement on our beliefs about race, adoption, and family. We can no longer stay in our comfortable little box and let the world think what it will about us; we are choosing to be conspicuous.

It feels good...and a little scary!


Rhonda said...

You know, I was thinking a while back how this country leans towards looking down upon SAHMs. Why is that? The great thing about the women's movement was that it gave us the right to CHOOSE. It didn't tell us that we're only worth something if we wear a suit and leave for work every morning. There has to be a medium where all women are respected...no matter their choice to work or to stay at home. Ok, off my soapbox now.

I never considered the idea that a trip to the grocery store becomes a statement. But you are right, it does. I think that's cool, but I can imagine its a little scary too.

I can't wait to read about your experiences in Ethiopia.:)

Margaret said...

Amen sister. I don't have the option to be a SAHM, but if circumstances were different I would jump at the chance. I think it's such an important thing for a child. (The fact that I can't stay at home is one reason that older child adoption works well for me.)

Adopting as a single parent is also outside of the norm. It's one thing to become a single parent, but planning it is something lots of people don't understand.