This weekend, a very minor event caused a disproportionally large downturn in my mood. At first, I was agitated and disgruntled because of a small little email. Then, I because more agitated and disgruntled because I was agitated and disgruntled. I felt that I was going way overboard and couldn't figure out why this little email consisting of a few sentences was bothering me as much as it was until it suddenly dawned on me. I wasn't upset by the email. I was feeling dismissed and discounted and it wasn't the first time I felt this way with a particular group. I have felt discounted because I had a child. I've felt discounted because of a zip code. I've especially been discounted because I knit, and heaven forbid, spin.
Granted, we all make minor judgment calls when we meet people or even when we have known people for years. I wonder though how often these "small" judgments prevent us from seeing individuals as they are. I have had people make assumptions about my political beliefs, my religious beliefs, my interests in certain activities, and my values because of my address/ the car I drive/ the number of kids I have/ my hobbies/ the color of my hair/ where I go to church/ where my son goes to school/ my love for the color red. Then, people act on these assumptions in both positive and negative ways without ever taking the opportunity to find out if their assumptions are true.
I get odd looks when I pull my current socks on needles out of my designer purse while wearing a suit. I may be hard to pin down into a certain category or group, but then again, aren't we all? Shouldn't we be proud of the fact that we don't fit neatly into a boxed in statistical grouping? More importantly, I think we should try very hard to not box anyone else in, either. I know I hate the feeling of misunderstanding that accompanies being dismissed and hope I remember the feeling well enough not to do it to anyone else.