We all have stories. How we ended up where we are, the chances taken along the way, and perhaps the “what ifs” that dot our lives. The choices we have made stand tall and clear as we peer upon our histories. The choices we knew weren’t exactly best but we made them all the same and how our lives moved forward as a result. Some of us have stories about college and marrying those we met at the ripe old age of 19. We weren’t exactly compatible, and we knew it, but we made the choice to marry all the same. Or there are those that went directly to careers either just out of high school or just out of college. The leap from student to professional in a matter of months.
And there are those like me that took a different route, moving abroad to do something different. It wasn’t about doing what everyone else was doing or rebelling against what everyone else was doing – it was about following a path and taking advantage of opportunities.
My stories never fell into the traditional American story or one that society looks upon with a great amount of approval or joy – which isn’t to say that my story is negative or extraordinary or beyond belief or sad or anything of the sort… it is simply that it is different. Were I European or Australian, it would be more mainstream. But in America… well, I might just be that person that lives slightly beyond the curve and is thrilled and happy to do so.
At this point in my life, I am probably more American than I ever have been.
Like many others, I have a career. I own a home. I am involved in my daughter’s life and her school functions. I am an active part of her activities as well as my own. We attend theater events as much as time allows and travel to the extent possible.
And that might be where the similarity ends as we aren’t a soccer family and I am not a soccer mom. We spend our weekends beyond the neighborhood as much as possible, do not spend much time in a car, and we are a wonderful mother daughter team – the kind of relationship I always dreamed I would have with my kid… and together we have created it.
Two people that march to their own music; two people that might not even have a drummer in the band.
Two people who genuinely love the lifestyle and the experience shared – as diverse as it might be.
My relationship with the Diva’s dad was no different. It was one that was singular in nature and defied labeling. It just was what it was.
So when, after ten years of not wanting to be a dad to our daughter, and hiding her from everyone significant in his life, circumstances changed and he was allowed to choose to play a role, I found it stunning to find my relationship with him, our individual relationships with our daughter, and her future labeled, scripted, and taken from the singular nature to the common, everyday, this is what every other divorce looks like so this is what it looks like for us too.
Martian wrote about a Japanese saying “The nail that stands up must be hammered down” on the post On Sandwiches.
“The nail that stands up…” That is me. I could relate to that idea as well as the visual.
I am very comfortable being the person who is not like everyone else – who has different ideas, who lives a different life, who doesn’t need external validation… My daughter loves her life that doesn’t really look like anyone else’s in her class or in her family. She and I are one of a kind – and we love who we are.
Yet, how comfortable is society with one of a kind? How happy is society when it finds the singular nature that doesn’t fit with the rest of the community?
How happy is the system with the idea that there are situations that just don’t fit? It isn’t happy with that at all as things that don’t fit, the nails that stand up, well, they are gray. The system, and it doesn’t matter if we are talking the law or the courts or the business world, or the schools or the hospitals… the system doesn’t like gray or different.
Suddenly the Diva’s dad wasn’t about singular nature of relationships. Suddenly I was the nail standing up- the nail that had to be hammered down while he was looking for bench marks and models and the comfort of the known and established and the arms of a society that was more than willing to help him remove the individuality of the situation eve if maintaining the singular nature would benefit our amazing daughter as well as her relationship with both parents.
There is safety in numbers.
There is safety in the masses and in the hammer and in the black and white and the system.
And yet, this nail still stands! These nails still stand and will remain standing!