Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You'll understand when.....

Inspired by TJ whose post on this I missed some how. Hence why this is coming so much later than when she posted her thoughts on this subject.

3. I’m pretty sick of being told, “You’ll understand when you __________.” Whether it be get married, have a kid, get older, etc etc etc. I’m not a slobbering moron. I am pretty sure I understand a good portion of these things, at least in theory. Phil and I live together, have a joint bank account, do most everything together unless he is at work. I am pretty sure I “get” the whole functional, day to day-ness of being married. And no, I don’t have a kid, but I’ve been tired. Oh no, I totally understand. You, the one who has procreated, are the only one who knows what real tired is. No one else has ever been tired. Ever. EVER. If you have not expelled a baby from your body, you may think you’ve been tired, exhausted, ready to drop face first into your laptop, but you’d be wrong. Because only mommies know what tired really is. Anyway. I’m not eight. “You’ll understand when ________” no longer applies, like, ever. I may not have all the wisdom that years bring, but I am pretty sure that saying “I do,” having a baby, or any other life event doesn’t suddenly grant you special powers. I am reasonably certain that I possess the mental capacity to understand these basic concepts.

Me and Wulfa were talking about this. And both of us agree that non-baby-fied people do totally get just as tired as us on occasion. Heck, many of them get MORE tired. The tired factor isn't some exclusive thing that you get to experience as a parent.***

On the other hand... until you have a kid... you really don't know what having a kid is like. And if you for some wierd(by my standards) life reason have had to be responsible(solely) for a kid for a year... then sure you get it. Because that counts as "having a kid" but it has to be for a long extended time. Because watching kids over a week or two IS NOT THE SAME.**

And until you've lived with someone for a year or so... you don't know what living with someone is like. Because its so very easy to live with people for a few weeks... but after about 6 months if you didn't like the person to start with... you'll hate them. And I would say that living with someone that you are intament, intiment, intamint... I hate words. Anyways that counts for all the things about being married. Not the same thing(technically) as being married no but you get all the same effects.***

But to say that the phrase "you'll understand when" doesn't apply? What about if someone said: "You'll understand when he gets deployed". Because that's a HUGE life experiance that is hard to describe without experiencing it. Or "You'll understand when you give birth", or for people with my job: "You'll understand when you are deployed and get shot at for the first time". I'm sure there are others.**

Having extreme life events doesn't make you special or stronger... but most of those events aren't really understood until you have them. It is like knowing what peanut butter and cheese tastes like. Just because you do(ISHVI) doesn't make you any better than me. But I can't really say that I understand what that is like until I've done it.

** This paragraph disagrees.
*** This paragraph agrees.


Cap'n John said...

I rank "You'll understand when..." up there with "I know how you feel."

Excuse me, but no, no you don't know how I feel.

You only know how you felt when you went through the same situation. Yes, you know what I'm going through and you can imagine what I'm feeling, even try to empathize with me, but even then you still only know how you would feel in that situation.

I appreciate your sympathy and thoughts, but do not tell me you know how I feel.

Jem Baker said...

Enter Tycho: "Previously, I had something like a schematic of the required emotions: we're perpetually being groomed by forces ambient and direct toward some social ideal. I knew what I was meant to feel, and could produce an iconic representation of that response. But it's a construct - rational, as opposed to intuitive. I can try to explain it in terms of scale. It's the difference between a highly compressed .jpeg of a stop sign and the heat death of the universe."

Query: Why exactly are people investing so much emotion in presenting contrary opinions on this matter?
Be the stone in the river, let it wash over you, but stay firm.