It's a very odd situation to be in really, mine I mean. Recent events have conspired to ensure that I am 95% "out", at least in my local area, but that's OK. Had I been asked how I felt about being "out" four years ago, the likelihood is you would have found me in a crumpled heap in a corner, but that's because at the time there was a very large element of a very small community determined to make sure I was "out" to all and sundry and further, to make sure that the full brunt of all that entailed in a small town was brought to bear on both myself and my daughter. How times have changed.
These days I view it as a very strong position to be in because I believe that if it's not a secret, then it can't hurt you. So my neighbours, my family and all my good friends know too, that I am a chubbier and probably narkier version of Belle. Their support and their acceptance mean a great deal to me actually, not that I'm so insecure that I would seek their support but when it comes to protecting my daughter then I will take any help that is on offer.
When we initially moved to Ayrshire some time ago, La Princess befriended a couple of little girls and at first everything was splendid although I did have one or two inner "niggles". Two of the girls concerned began to literally live at my house at weekends, ostensibly because I was a "cool" Mum, in other words I let them bake cakes in the kitchen on a Sunday and didn't have a nervous breakdown if there was some flour left on the counter. Having (at that point) never met the parents of one of the little girls though, I began to have concerns when her parents said it was perfectly OK for her to spend the night at our house and she could come back the following day, um .... whenever.
Quite obviously, I'm not a child abductor or serial killer, but they didn't know that. Again, I'm not nominating myself as "Mother of the Year", but if my heiress to the throne wanted to stay out all night then damn sure I would be down to the house to meet the parents and make sure I knew who they were and what they were about. These "sleepovers" happened on several occasions before I actually met the parents and I'm sorry, but I found that odd. Following on from that came the Sundays. I literally became the "Pied Piper" of the locality and every time I sought to go out on a Sunday with La Princess, there were two little tag alongs, kicked out of the house for the afternoon with a fiver and a "make sure you say thank you".
None of that became an issue until it became known locally who I am. Suddenly, those little girls who were kicked out of their houses routinely because their parents needed "to rest" were no longer allowed to come to my house, or hang out with my daughter. I have to tell you, that hurt. It hurt me, because I had welcomed them in with open arms when they were clearly a "nuisance" at their own homes. Stepping aside from my own feelings though, it hurt La Princess, because she couldn't understand what she had done to create such a rift, and given that I had only begun to explain to her about the nature of my job then I really couldn't explain the actions of some severely hypocritical and bigoted parents.
The good news is, since then we moved again and are now surrounded by the most wonderful, loving and accepting people, who will stand by us and support us no matter what, a position which is very much reciprocated. The irony of it all is, we still bump into those girls and indeed their parents, and it's all I can do to stop myself bawling them out on sight, but that's not who I am and it's not the values I want to instil in La Princess either.
So instead, since they know who I am and I know they read my blog then I would like to say the following -
Congratulations. Congratulations on teaching your daughters the very values I have gone out of my way to avoid as a Mother. Intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, and downright dogmatism.
Myself ? I'd rather continue to teach my daughter acceptance, assertion, self-worth and a belief that no matter who or what you come up against, let it never deter you.