Recently Hubby and I were out nightwear shopping for his mum. As we made our way to the till, with selected garments in hand, we saw a couple we know. They’re about the same age as us and their kids are at school with ours.
As we chatted the lady spotted the garments in hubby’s arms. “I have that!” she exclaimed excitedly. I never in a million years would have thought she’d wear something so frumpy, and I panicked that Hubby would tell her we were buying it for his mother! I needn’t have worried, he did a great job talking about the fabric, it’s colour and softness and warmth and we made our way to the till to pay.
A few days later, as I drove past their house, I smiled to myself at how well we’d done not implying that our friend wears granny clothes when it hit me… They must have thought Gary was buying it for me! And I do NOT wear Granny Clothes!! I starting furiously thinking of ways I could set the record straight without insulting her taste in clothes. While of course I didn’t think for a moment she was frumpy, I would explain, I would certainly never wear anything like that!
It must have taken me a good 5-10 minutes before I got a grip. If she likes something, and thinks I’d wear it too, surely that’s a compliment! So why did it matter? And why had I over reacted so strongly? Someone had misjudged me over something (very superficial), and I had felt a ridicously strong urge to justify myself.
As the weeks went on I watched helplessly, as one of my children had to deal with a playground of people spreading lies about them. It put the silly granny clothes incident into perspective, and I watched with admiration as my child wisely navigated a very unpleasant situation. They chose to say very little to justify themselves, and allowed time, and true friends, to ensure the truth was revealed.
I don’t know where the fine line is between needing to correct every minor misunderstanding, and speaking out to correct major injustices, but I do think our voice is louder when it’s used less. Or maybe our voice is loudest when we speak up for injustices affecting others rather than ourselves?