Delicate – by Karen

19 Feb

It has been a much too busy week. It’s true that I despise people who embrace being “delicate”. I also despise people who enjoy being busy and who wear it like a badge of honour. So it is with due shame that I disclose that this week, I have been too busy. I have neglected some favourite activities (like posting on Far Flung Four, and thinking about what I’m going to post on Far Flung Four) and some of my least favourite activities (like preparing pages for the K1 “class pet” journal detailing the exciting week Waldo the Wombat spent at the Gould house. This is made unenjoyable by my son’s disinterest in craft and my perfectionist tendencies resulting in a too professional-looking product which I force him to scribble all over. Learning outcomes?)

But… why do we despise these delicate people? I suppose I have been mulling over it just a little during the week, while never  coming up with a satisfactory answer. You see I suspect it reveals something bad about my character. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

You know the icky feeling you get, when you realise that a grown adult is jealous of a child? When you hear someone say, “well we never had anything like that in MY day”, and you realise that they actually resent an advantage available to a child, which offers nothing but benefit to the child and, through building him or her up, makes the world a better place? Because they never had that. Because they were hit and not taken to ballet and so other children should be hit and not taken to ballet.

I kind of get that icky feeling when I think about “delicate”. That I am being the resentful adult as I’m reminded of a girl I instinctively disliked, who was tiny and frail and yes, Tabitha, WAN. Who trumpeted it to all and sundry and would point out that she simply couldn’t contribute to tasks that other people could because she was a very small girl – it would be too physically demanding and also UNSAFE. These folk seem acutely aware of their peril in the urban environment, as though they’d been living in Singapore too long.

Why should I despise her? Why should her character anger me? She was undeniably small and incapable of lifting heavy things and probably was the victim of citydwellers in a way that robust and earthy types are not.

I think it’s two things. Firstly, an evolutionary drive to kick out the weaklings that will sap resources and threaten the success of my tribe. This is sound. Secondly, a jealousy that there are some people who, through congenital lack of robustness, get to sit back and enjoy the pleasures of being cared for. This is unsound, Karen, unsound.

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5 Responses to “Delicate – by Karen”

  1. Beth February 20, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    I love a post that is a complete conversation with oneself. I almost feel rude for butting in here… so I will just wave, and whisper that “I get what you mean. I had a wan aunt and delicate doesn’t get me so much as a wanton “victim” does. Can’t stand a manipulative victim.” It does say a lot about us, but like you I think it’s useless to pretend that we don’t feel repelled by it.

  2. Tabitha February 20, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    Com-PLEX. It does seem strange to have such violent feelings towards such unthreatening people. For me, I think it’s about women doing a disservice to their whole sex by being helpless and pathetic. When a delicate girl gets attention for being delicate, it means there’s a bold brassy woman out there somewhere not getting the attention she deserves. So yeah, basically it’s about my own hang-ups. SURPRISE SURPRISE.

    This blog is like free therapy sometimes.

  3. Beth February 20, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    P.S. That’s very funny about Finn’s homework. I was just saying to Jeff that I bet I get all perfectionist over Leo’s homework. My BTN homework was always a work of art – constantly upping myself, trying to get 21/20. Learning outcomes indeed!

    • Suzysiu April 29, 2012 at 7:14 am #

      Er, but… You didn’t really have a wombat come to stay at your house? As that would be AMAZING (speaking as someone who has never gotten close to a wombat), impractical and unethical. Was it a stuffed toy? That sounds quite sad after I’ve imagined the chaos, danger and the magic that a real wombat might cause. Though I do like stuffed toys. Or was it an English project inspired by “Diary of a Wombat”. I’m confused, and er sorry to focus on this minor point. I look forward to learning about Kindy.

      • Karen May 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        I think I’d better clear this up – it was a stuffed wombat. Pity.

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