A little sweet, a little sour.

The craft show I worked today was fantastic. A great venue, wonderful organizers, lots of vendor support, friendly staff at the store… I could go on an on. Food trucks, pie, lovely fellow vendors… really it was a great day. The girlie and I had such a good time.

But something happened.

I was sitting there with my daughter, enjoying some music and the sunshine and the children playing under a bubble machine, when an older woman walked up and began chatting with me about the shinies. She spied my hamsa necklace (a piece by a local artist that I always wear) and asked me if it was the “Hand of God.”

“It’s a hamsa.” I explained. “Well, it depends actually. Muslims call it the Hand of Fatima, Jews call it a hamsa. It’s essentially the same symbol in either faith, good luck, averting the evil eye, all that.”

“Are you… are you a JEW?” she asked me.

“Yep.” I said, feeling a little confused but still smiling because I was not quite grokking what was happening.

She stepped back. Like straight up stepped back and recoiled visibly. “Euw.”

I blinked. “You know… it’s all good. It’s okay. We’re all related, really.”

“GOD I HOPE NOT.” she snarled, and huffed away.

I told her to have a nice day because what else are you going to say? My momma raised me right and rudeness in the face of rudeness just engenders more bad feeling.

I’d like to say that I went on with my day, just blew it off, but I were being truly honest? It still left a kind of bad feeling and it made me sad. It hurt.

Really, really, we’re all just folks here. It got me thinking about all the ways we’re finding to divide ourselves. Nationality, religion, orientation… we’re all in this together. We stand or fall, sink or swim, together. We are more alike than we are different, and it makes no sense to me for attitudes like that to persist in this day and age. I really think that our well being as a species depends on us getting it. And besides, everything I’ve ever read about most of the world’s major religions tends to lean towards “love your neighbor even if he’s not like you and tend to your own stuff.” more than “recoil in disgust from what’s different and stick your nose in other people’s choices.”

I’m going to try to let go of what happened today, remember the great stuff and just move on. Because it truly was a GREAT day.

I’m still working on it.

I really don’t feel like being enlightened or woowoo or a class act or a big person. I really just wanted to say, “Hey lady, that’s a crappy attitude. Stoppit.”

I’m just going to keep reminding myself that we are all related. And sometimes, our relations are not what we would choose. They just show up and we have to deal. But we do, always, have a choice in who we are and what we say and how we relate to the world around us in the face of them. And sometimes, we have to chew on it a bit, while we figure out what those choices look like.

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About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
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10 Responses to A little sweet, a little sour.

  1. She was ugly. You were gracious. I admire your ability to remain graceful in that wackiest of all wacky situations (“Wait: this isn’t REALLY happening, is it?”). Gosh.

    Good thing the mighty Mark Morford just wrote his perfect column the other day — re-read it and feel a little bit better… then a little bit more better (as that nasty backside gets farther and farther away); and eventually maybe only a tiny speck of today’s ugly-encounter will remain.

    Thank Providence for art, and tea, and real friends, and knowing that Nice outnumbers Nasty any ol’ time (now go sanitize the Shiny that she pawed).
    xoxoxoxoxo,
    Trix

  2. Bjo Trimble says:

    Yes, we are all related, but even relatives can be ignorant, intolerant (and intolerable) and downright annoying. We all have relatives we’d just as soon not admit to, and who make us sigh when they show up for family affairs. It doesn’t mean you have to accept their ignorance or intolerance. You can choose to speak up or not, but the elephant is still in the living room. We will never get rid of deliberately stupid people, unfortunately. But we can do what you are doing: make ourselves better people to offset the negative ones. Reach out our hand to others who have been hurt by these people and help them get past the ignorance and intolerance. — Bjo

  3. cambriaw says:

    these days, I get more ignorant comments about my religion than I do my race, but it still sucks. I thought they stopped making people like that. The more interracial we become, (hopefully) the less we’ll have to deal with ignorance on that level. Just know that your biracial Mormon friend from Rhode Island still loves you πŸ™‚

  4. You get high marks in my book just for not calling her a Nazi. Goodwin’s law or no, it sure did walk like a duck. (Or would that be a goose?)

  5. TawnyPixie says:

    WOW. That is completely shocking!
    Don’t worry about struggling to be a class act or enlightened. Everything you wrote here shows that you already are.

  6. rebecca says:

    Oi! First she totally has a brain the size of an acorn, and karma will come back to bite her. Second, you are totally ok to feel anger at this, feel it deep. Your sense of connection and rightness and acceptance will return, but first you really need to let it rip and FEEL your feelings. It always seems like the small minded are holding us back, from living a better future, but really they are the few and the weak. The bright lights of our society are always there to keep us moving towards peace, and you my dear are a light bright enough for me to see all the way over here. πŸ™‚ XOX

    • TheLabRat says:

      I completely agree, Rebecca! Fortunately these bird-brains are the minority… but UNFORTUNATELY they are noisy enough to create a bad taste in the mouth for the rest of us who DON’T think their religion is the ONLY religion for everyone. And thank God (by any name) that there are bright lights like you all.

      • Rainy says:

        I’d say that having a “one true way” approach (whether it applies to religion or belief system, politics, sexual orientation, marriage rights, whatever) is not a particularly flexible or positive stance and it does not lead to a lot of growth or understanding. And that kind of attitude seems pretty common across the board of belief systems, unfortunately. It is not particular to any one.

  7. TheLabRat says:

    Rainy, I am truly, heart-deep saddened by that woman’s treatment of you. She dared to strike up a ‘comfortable’ conversation with someone wearing a religious emblem, and then condemned that pleasant stranger for being of a religion not hers. Asking if something is ‘The Hand of God’ is just openning oneself up for a religious discussion, which apparently she had no right to do with her tiny little blinder’d mind. Yes, we are all in this together, regardless of nation, creed, color or any of that other garbage we seem to take such pleasure in wrapping ourselves up in. Forcing someone to have a bad feeling for the rest of the day, or with luck, only until the victim’s own emotional strength can purge the poison, was a wicked thing for her to do. But what you did in response, the attempt to pass on if not common sense a bit of pleasantness to her day was a really honorable thing (I refuse to say ‘nice’, because it’s been over-used, and has very little meaning). You are a far brighter spirit than she is, though she will never understand her own unhappiness and need to instill ugliness in others’ lives. As I am quickly learning southern phrases, I’ll offer this to her “Bless her soul.” (cuz she certainly needs it!) Anger management training has taught me that the opponent’s ability to negatively affect our mood can be controlled by our own ability to refuse to let that happen, but it is a very, very difficult thing to do sometimes, especially if the attack is completely out of thin air and on our defenseless blind side. I hope you quickly recovered your positive, upbeat spirit. And I hope she didn’t ruin too many people’s day with her foul ‘holier than thou-ism’

    • Rainy says:

      I am really hoping she went on to have a nice day and spread a little sunshine in her wake. Her attitude hurt me, but probably it didn’t apply to everyone at the faire, so maybe I was the only casualty! What’s that story of the two Buddhist monks and one carries the girl across the river but the other can’t put the idea down? I’m still carrying it. She’s probably forgotten all about it.

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