Monday, January 12, 2009

Yes, In America.....Part 2

......Thanks for coming back to finish this story. I wondered if you would.

During the holidays it is the busy season for my line of work. Often, you are paired with another employee to handle the work load. This year was no different, and I found myself working across from an employee of the opposite gender as myself. This person is very funny, witty, and a real joy to work with. He also is a very compassionate person and seems to have a knack of reading people very well.

One night, (remember I work nights....lucky me!) I happened to notice the said women I told you about yesterday, once again looking as if she wanted to gouge my eyes out. I must have made some type of facial gesture because my fellow co-worker, Pete picked up on it. The conversation below is what transpired from this one incident.
Very carefully, and very thoughtfully, Pete proceeded with the following questions. I have tried to relay them here exactly as the questions were put to me on this one particular night.

Pete: What do you think you would do if you worked 12 hours a day, everyday and you had to give your paycheck to your husband and did not get anything out of your paycheck but a full tank of gas and ten dollars?
Me: Huh? Right....not in my world.

Pete: No....hear me out. You know how this time of year, there are great sales going on and say you wanted to go to the store and buy yourself something but all you have is $10.00. You asked for more and you were told you did not need anything and the answer was no. What would you do?
Me: Someone better be ready to start running from the end of a baseball bat!

Pete: No.. no...hear me out....What would you feel like if it was your duty to bring money to the family and this was not option?
Me: Huh?... Duty? Well, if that was the way it was, then I'd dang sure not work 12 hours a day....are you for real?

Pete: Yes, I am for real.....What if you knew it was not an option and it would cause shame to your family if you did not do what was necessary to bring as much money into your household.
Me: Huh?... Well, they (the family) would get over it.....I would not agree to that. This is America, are you crazy? Everyone has a choice. Who and what are you talking about?

Pete: No.. would do it because it is your culture to not question. If you did question, your brother would come to your house and beat the heck out of you because you would have shamed your family by disobeying.
Me: Huh?... Ha! I'd like to see him try to beat the heck out of me.....I would not do it....plain and simple....this is not a 3rd world country.....come on, Pete.

Pete: How do you think you would feel if it was expected of you to cook and entertain your mother-in-law when she is at your house, all day long until your husband gets home. All of this after you have worked hard for 12 hours the night before, and the only sleep you get is after 5:30 pm after your husband comes home, and you have to be at work by 8:00 pm. The only sleep you get in a 24 hour period is what you get at work on breaks and lunch and the couple of hours at home....Remember, this is expected, not an option. How would you feel?
Me: Look, forget how would I feel. How would you feel, because...I would not do it. Are you kidding me??? Someone would not live to tell about what I was doing. Seriously. Who treats someone like that?

Then, all of a sudden the light bulb went off in my head. Who was he talking about? Then it hit me, he was talking about Miss Sour-puss herself.

Me: Are you telling me, right here today, in America... The United States of America, where we have the freedom to choose for ourselves, live our lives without fear and the choices we make are not dictated by a over ruling husband that this woman does not know she has a choice? Come on, I don't buy that. These women have a choice, and they have lived in this country long enough to know that they have a choice.

Pete: No, they don't have a choice. Remember this is their culture. Because if they did try and change their situation they risk fear of being discarded.
Me: Well, that does not sound so bad....discard me!

Pete: No.... no, they also risk losing their children.
Me: Wait just a minute....What?
Pete: Yes. Its true.

Then Pete proceeds to tell me about how this said women's husband, the one who is always mad at the world, in order to teach her a lesson for questioning him, took her small child out of the country for over a year. She could not see her child for a year and ran up thousands of dollars in phone bills begging him to return here to the United States with her child. Vowing she would never question him again. No friggin' way.

I could not believe this was happening here in the United States, today. All of a sudden I felt so sorry for this lady. Pete told me she was not the only one, there were several women working in my place of employment from the same ethnic background who's lives were much of the same. Unbelievable. Unrealistic. Unimaginable.

Me: Pete, tell me this. Why does this women hate me so much. I can tell she hates the sight of me and I have never done anything to her. What gives?

Pete: You don't know?
Me: No. I don't get it.
Pete: You have not done anything to her, but you are everything she can not be.
Me: What?

Pete: You are a true Caucasian American women. Your life is all she dreams hers to be. You come in here everyday happy, friendly, you look nice, you look rested, you exhibit all she wants so badly but can not have.
Me: Rested? Not always. Happy? Not really. I would rather be at home!

Pete: But you get what I am saying. No, you have not done anything to her personally. But it is the image of what she can not have that draws the hate so fiercely.
Me: I can not believe all of this. In The United States of America? Unbelievable. No wonder she is always mad at the world. If that was me, I think I would have one dead husband for putting me through so much hell. And one dead brother for thinking he was going to bully me. Unbelievable.

Pete: No....remember it is the culture. The culture is stronger than what a country stands for. The culture is stronger than what one's heart desires. The culture dictates what their lives will be like.
Me: They have a choice.

Pete: If they choose differently, they risk losing everything. Plain and simple. Everything. They have no monies of their own, so how would they leave? No home, no car, no personal belongings, no children, nothing. It all belongs to the husband. They would have nothing. Culture.
Me: No wonder she hates me. How sad.
Pete: Now, you know.

I felt so sorry for this lady, I forgot how mad she has made me over the last few months with her nasty looks and hateful attitude. I am sure she will never warm up to me. And I am not so sure that if I was in her situation, that I would even want to like someone who in her eyes has everything she does not. It is really unimaginable to me.

I can not believe in The United States of America in the year
2009, that women are being treated in such a fashion and in their culture it is acceptable.

I am so glad that I live here in the land of the free. I am so glad that I am not from a culture that treats women with such disregard. Because I know myself, and I would not take that lying down. I am so thankful my husband knows not to try this crap on me....LOL.

I learned something that night. People really do judge a book by its cover, even if they will not admit they do that.

She....judges me from the outside...what she thinks I am. If she set her prejudices aside and tried to read the inside, she would know my life is not exactly as wonderful as she thinks it is. Nothing is that wonderful. She might even like me just a wee- bit.
Me... I judged her for horrible attitude, even if I don't want to admit it. I had a feeling she was a miserable person, but really had no idea to what extent that was true. If I was originally guessing the nature of her book it would have been a horror book, her being a mass murder, but in reality it was a tragic drama and when I looked more closely, and she is the victim.

Joy list entry number two: Joy in knowing I have the option to choose. Joy in knowing my culture does not direct my life and I am free to chose. Joy in being a women in the United States of America and respected.


  1. Great post Suzanne. I'm glad you got some insight into this women's plight. My nephews are homeschooled and they always compete in History Day. Last year they won 1st place and represented the state of California in their dramatic presentation of "Honor Killings" in Pakistan and believe it or not the U.S.A. It is amazing what women in other Cultures are subjected to for the "honor of the family". Frightening...

  2. oops my sentence makes it seem like they did their presentation in way. History finals were in Virginia...
    The honor killings take place in Pakistan and sometimes in the U.S.A....

  3. I left you a sweet award on my blog if you want to come and claim it.

  4. We have similar problems here. It is hard to believe that in this country this can go on also, but it does.

    Thankfully it is decreasing, with education, support, and cultural changes. I am not sure what we as a different culture can do to help, maybe just be a supportive listener should they ever choose to confide in us.

    Great post, and so well written.


  5. I was so excited that you posted part 2 today. I was anxious to hear the rest of the story - but now - it has just made me sad. I will try to remember this story the next time I'm shunned or ignored or looked upon with less that enthusiastic eyes...and try to put myself in another's shoes, if only for a moment.
    Thanks for an eye opening post!

  6. Now the next step is to hopefully put hope back into her life and make her see you can be a support system, a women that can encourage her through this rough time? How do you approach someone like that? Invite her to lunch? Give a hug? Prayer, prayer prayer.....
    what a nice insiteful entry. It makes me even more thankful for my life good days and bad.
    blessings, angie

  7. What an incredible two day post. It is hard to believe. Like I said yesterday the only thing you can do is pray for a change. At least you know the answers which should make it easier to live with.
    Roberta Anne

  8. We all are quick to judge. However, we tend to forget maybe someone is also judging you as well. In the past, I have been guilty of that, but age has set a different perspective. Let your actions speak for you.

  9. I'm going to play devil's advocate for a moment, because like you, I wouldn't put up with this either. We also wouldn't have married this man because he never would have dated us in the first place, and if he did, we'd figure him out pretty quickly.
    I think the saddest part of this woman's story is that they came to America for a better life (I assume), and maybe it is better in material things, but seeing the way others live around them must make the situation for the women much, much worse than it would be in their native land where everyone lives like that.
    What if we had to move to another country for work (husband's job, etc.), and it was a place that oppressed women? What would we do?

  10. I am so glad you posted this, Suz it is good for all of us to read--I am sorry you are the one having to go throught this---But now that you know the story just keep praying for her and I will also ---God can change things for her---there is nothing too hard for God---He can make a way where there seems to be no way. I will keep you in my prayers as well, as I always do---some how you two will make a friendship and you can become the only bright spot in this lady's life---Yes, we are so Blessed to live in America and we should all be praying for our co untry and leaders that our freedoms are not all removed---so many have been already. Good Job !!! Glad you have Pete to work with. Be safe !!

  11. Wow, Suzanne, what a touching story. I have encountered so many hurting people that I had learned this lesson many years ago. It is hard for me to get it across to others to not be so quick to jusdge but I too am still guily of it if I encounter someone with a hateful attitude.
    Maybe you could leave a small plant or flowers on her desk to let her know she is special.
    Good luck!

  12. Very interesting story and so painful for her to have to live among women who are so totally different from you. I would have thought her to be more reserve and hide her dislikes. I find suppressed women usually cling to those they want to be; in her treatment to you, she must hate living here. I guess all you can do is smile and turn the other cheek. Hugs.

  13. A very thought-provoking post. Thank you. laurie

  14. Hi Suzanne...I'm just shaking my head over this whole story. I don't know why people come to the US for a better life and continue to live the life they left behind...but I applaud you for having a more open mind. I feel sorry that she is missing out on knowing you for the loving, caring lady you are. ♥ Bo

  15. Wow that was sooo moving, Suzanne..thank you!! it certainly makes me appreciate my freedom of choice...we are so very blessed!! xx

  16. OH this kind of thing makes me so angry. And so thankful that God decided to create me in the here and now - So very greatful that Jesus gives us freedom and grace - and so very sorrowful that others do not see or hear or understand that great gift.

    Like other commentors, I'm wondering if there is some way for you to reach her? I'll be praying for both of you.

  17. It is hard to believe that anyone would or could live under such oppression. I guess you'll be turning the other cheek more often.

  18. Wow. That is so sad. I'm glad you chose to be nice to her regardless otherwise you feel like a real heel huh?? I too am grateful God chose to let me be born in America with this culture. Of course if I had been born in another culture, I wouldn't know any different would I? ;D

  19. Wonderful Post Suzanne..well put and to the very sad for this woman..this was like reading that Book " not without my daughter" also Sally fields did the movie about this life story..we were born here so our freedoms just come to us naturally girl..I will pray that God does touch this womans heart..Oh girl this just breaks my heart that in our world as we know it this would not happen..Suzanne I will be doing the Vintage Thurdat thing again..and thanks for being a great hostess..hugs and smiles Gloria

  20. Well, you are a better girl than me, I would have told her off the first couple of days. Then most likely felt like a cad for about a day anyway. Amazing how some live here under our noses. Great post.

  21. Sad. thanks for sharing the plight of the unknown woman. Is it wonderful to gain empathy?

  22. Compassion is the first step in helping this woman. Maybe God has placed you working where you do for "such a time as this". I think I would look as this situation as an opportunity for ministry. Have you read the book "Same Kind of Different As Me"? This true story took place near Dallas/Fort Worth and I bet you can easily find a copy at the local library or bookstore.


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