Being a Scoffling – Some August Thoughts

In the spirit of celebration for the recent #Oxford Dictionary new words list for 2015, I have one of my own. Scoffling – one who has been ignored, mocked, gently(?) bullied into believing that anything they have to say or do is only worth a dismissive wave of the hand, which is what a #scoff usually is.

dtspg trip to asbury park boardwalk 8-15 (4 of 118)This idea came about after talking to my 84-year-old #mom about attending my first same-sex aka “gay” wedding recently. The pictures of two men embracing each other in front of family and friends was too much to bear, and she held up her arms to deflect the sight before her. When pressed, she admitted that a man/woman union would have been taken more seriously by her. In any circumstance, one would have said, well this is a person set in their ways and that, while not being malicious or #lyncheous (another word #coined by me), she is genuinely taken aback by the concept of all love being equal. I am sure that in another era, a mixed-race union would have been equally offensive and #faint-worthy (I am on a roll here!).

But it wasn’t the circumstances at that moment that inspired me. Being with an elderly parent is in itself an event to be processed. When I did the reflective part, spending time analyzing her and my reaction to her, I realized that it wasn’t just an isolated event to be #shunned for my liberal, open-minded, yes, might we say #Unitarian/Universalist views. It was a culmination of past emotions and feelings that Mom and only Mom can evoke.

Moms are especially important in one’s development and social integration. For instance, Mom is the one to tell you to put the napkin on your lap before eating, to not talk with food in your mouth, to shake hands with new people, to wait until spoken to by an older, or slightly more distinguished person, to respect and admire bravery and achievements. To remind you, her child, of how special you are and how your hopeful development into a happy, stable adult has meant so much to her.

None of the above is true in some cases, like say mine. Mom lives for the moment. She has no opinion, never had, about atrocities to women, social issues, any of that. It was left to me to figure things out, and find out, sometimes painfully, that a lot of what she stands for or doesn’t, is just not, well, viable. So getting through to adulthood was another revelation for me, as I adjusted my attitude and shed the burdens of inadequacy – and still do.

I mean, I am still a scoffling. I have been hand-waved, pooh-poohed and told that I am either over-reacting or over-sensitive to each and every hurt feeling experienced in the intimate circle of family. Such gatherings are fraught with imagined scenarios and responses, the very thing one should not do. Focusing on my own reaction to scoffs, I cannot see through the scuffs on my soul and spirit at the same time.

So, in solidarity, I join with the #halflings, #ogrelings, #elflings, #thinglings, as a #scoffling and take my place among the unique, interesting and proud beings of this life.

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