May 7, 2020
I debated quite a while whether to write this or not.
It is a very personal subject for me but I was finally pushed to a point of needing to say something and clear it from my thoughts finally after all these years.
First of all, this not derogatory or a commentary of all white women it is specific to a certain type of demographic. If I wanted to debate racism and bias that would take a long time, and in the end, there will never be a consensus of agreement.
I am a 49-year-old woman. I grew up basically at poverty level a majority of my life. I was raised in an abusive environment. In spite of these things I tried to excel because I knew that it would be the only way I could change my life into what I wanted. I studied and read, did well in school and graduated high school with a plan for my future. Did those plans come to fruition? Well, mostly, but not all.
In my early twenties, I became a single mother. I had served in the military where I excelled again and became the best at my job. Work has always been a level playing field for me and I always try to be the best in anything that I do. I learn more than what the job entails realizing this is the only way you become valuable to the company you are working for to receive better pay and sometimes promotions.
Due to the nature of my military position living and working on a military base as a single mother was not ideal so I made the decision to end my active duty time and return home to work and raise my son.
I came home and struggled as a single mother. Having to stay with my toxic family while trying to accomplish that was an ordeal but I continued on. I worked long hours and did the best I could. I continued developing skills in the hope that it would lead to better paying positions to support me and my child.
This went on for almost 4 years and then I became pregnant with my daughter. Once again, I was still a single mother but now with two children. This went on for a short while when I met my future husband. At this point in my life things where moving along and I had adjusted my life plan to meet the needs of my now growing family and responsibility to them. I had two more children.
The plans I had set in motion for myself as a kid where pushed back for brief period of time but they never left my view. As my family grew, I continued pursuing those goals incorporating them into my responsibility as a wife, mother, and military solder much to annoyance of my then husband plus still toxic family members. This is where the issue lies with the women, I have met in the workplace and while in school through the last twenty-seven years of my life, specifically white women.
Accomplishment. People see this word and for some it becomes this unattainable “thing” in their minds. Why? I have no idea. Each person has their own accomplishments in life and the only one that determines what those are, is yourself. There lies the problem because we compare ourselves too much to others, we consider similar to ourselves, we cannot live up to perceived expectations.
The reason why I am singling out white women is because during the last twenty-seven years that is the only group, I have met that has been so unkind and hurtful with their words and actions. Other women specifically minorities have not treated me in the same way. Also, very rarely have I had any issues with white men unless we were competing for the same position or it was dealing with our interpersonal relationship with one another.
This week I had to make a hard decision about my current job position then it turned into a necessary action of stepping down from my supervisory role because I now have a surgery pending later this month that will put me out of work for possibly several months.
I was originally debating stepping down because I have never worked in a place where I felt so unwelcomed and disregarded. The workplace is roughly 90% white females from age 15 to 55. That is also a part of the issue that I have, working with women within my own age group.
Every place I have worked or attended school at, if the woman was younger by 20 years or older by 10 years, we got along fine and some are still what I consider friends.
It is women within 10 years younger to 5 years older than me, they do not seem to care for me at all. I believed that I have narrowed it down as to why. Accomplishments and competitiveness. Yet, it is coming across as pettiness and bias instead. A majority of the time it is purposeful which hurts the most.
I grew up with relatives that were mainly women. I do not know how other women grew up but within my own family we knew that you have to work harder because you are a woman that is just the way it is sometimes. There are already placed expectations on you at birth solely based on your gender. As a minority female there may be more solely based on the color of your skin. Neither one of these is fair nor just but it can be overcome. The decisions you make will determine your outcome that is true no matter you gender, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, or any other factors you perceive as obstacles.
When I talk about what is purposeful and hurts the most is the way I get treated. At first, most women are friendly towards me. I try to be the is up front, open, and honest person with everyone that I meet. I tend to be helpful, compassionate, and caring in my dealing with others. It is just the way I am. Then it always turns. Usually, after a person asks questions about my life.
If I say that I am a retired veteran, that I have raised 4 kids, or anything about trying to finish college it automatically turns to dislike by the other person. There have been times when I gave just vague answers not delving too much into my life but if found out later by the person, they are no longer friendly and I get shut out. I no longer get drawn into conversations anymore. I become this awkward person on the sideline.
Sometimes, I will try to strike up conversations making it only pertaining to them, asking questions but a majority of the time I get shut back out. Most of the time the person will not even talk or answer just walking away. There have been times when I have been at a meeting or gathering with other people and the person will purposely talk to everyone in the room but completely ignore me, it becomes painfully obvious that I am being ignored. That always affects others who do not want to be shunned too so they will stop talking to me as well. It is bullying, plain and simple. It is the ugly side of a person that each us can become in varying degrees.
At my current workplace this happened, again. It started with the person that was out sick when I started. Everyone was really friendly, joking, and talking a lot to me until she returned. She saw me that first day back and I introduced myself. She just looked at me, rolled her eyes, and walked away not even answering back with a hello. This was in front of everyone. I felt like someone just punched me. I did not know how to react except just go back to what I was doing. I felt so embarrassed.
It became progressively worse. She would be so talkative, friendly, joking with others but push past me like I was not there. Then one day she asked whether I had kids or not and I told her yes but they were all older, out of school or in college. That I was now an empty nester. This filtered back to the supervisor I am under who asked how old I was. I told her I was about to turn 49, she thought we were the same age, she is 36. That lead to her no longer being friendly towards me either.
The three of us are all working mothers to multiple children, we all had them at younger ages, they are married and I am not. That is the only thing similar between us. The only difference is our ages, race, work experience, and education. Yet, we are all supervisors working for the same company. We do basically the same job and work the same shifts together. Now, they no longer talk to me only to each other.
This has been the same narrative in every workplace that I have been in over the last 27 years of working even in the military. I really do not get it and I do not understand why it has only been with white women that I have worked for or with. I do not get the same reaction when it is a minority person.
I thought maybe because of the military thing it was intimidating to others so I rarely mention it anymore. I thought it was because of the education thing so I do not talk about that either. The last commonality is our children so I usually will talk about my kids and how proud I am of them but then that is a source of contention with other women if their kids are difficult or struggling with something. Now I just say yes, I have two boys, two girls, and that is it.
It is tiring, exhausting, and makes my anxiety go up even more. I have been treated so badly in some places that I quit my job. I hate that I feel this way. My friend asked me why I even bother caring about it so much. It is being accepted by others by being treated with some sort of decency or respect that I am seeking, not their friendship. I understand that not everyone is going to like me and I do not expect them to but being a decent human being towards others should be basic among everyone. It is called humanity and I always thought that was at the core of everything that makes us human beings. I guess I was wrong.
This behavior of mistreatment has not only happened in the workplace but with others that I considered my peers or even friends. When I was in my early 20’s and being an arrogant person I would throw the same behavior back at them but it didn’t make me feel good as a person and I didn’t want to be perceived as bully so I stopped. I would just let them treat me however, never saying anything back nor standing up for myself. Then I tried reverting back to getting in their face or calling them out for their behavior, that never goes well. I am at a standstill.
When I say white women within my age group there is a slight difference. Normally if the woman is an extremely competitive person then we get along fine with one another. We usually have a mutual understanding of one another. It is the women who may be perceived as complacent that normally have a problem with me. Yet, I do not see them this way. If you are mother, especially a working mother, I have great respect for you because I completely understand the struggles you face not only with being a mother to children but the responsibility you have to your significant other as well as yourself. I would never judge you on the life you live because it is your life to live. As well as I do not expect you to judge me based on my own life. It is mutual respect for one another that should be at the forefront but it never is.
As I continue on with my life’s journey, I can only hope that one day that I will be seen as a just a person. A person with good qualities that people see first and not my gender nor my skin color.
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Have a good week ahead and take care.