Friday, August 19, 2011

Did She Really Say That?

I had a new client come over this week. She was, on first appearances quite a pleasant, chatty lady but she left me standing there at the end with my jaw almost on the floor feeling like I'd been insulted.

She'd come to have elastic sewn on the bottom of her daughter's running tights. Apparently her daughter is quite the athlete. She'd been offered a position at Brisbane State High - a state-run high school that you can only get into if you are gifted academically, culturally (music or drama) or in the sporting field. Well, all my three sons went to Brisbane State High so when the client mentioned this I quickly told her that my sons went there - thinking this would establish a rapport. But even quicker (I don't think she paused to draw breath or to listen to what I said) she told me that she'd told her daughter that if she wanted a GOOD education she'd go to the local Catholic girl's school.

So in that sentence she'd managed to let me know that my choice of school for my children was inferior.

Then she went on to let me know what a great seamstress she was. She had been told that she had a gift for it when she'd done 16 weeks of it back in Grade 8 and then she used the phrase that I hate most in the world - "no offense". The sentence she used it in was - "No offense, but I chose an academic route instead of continuing with sewing"

Talk about sweeping generalizations. Obviously because I was just someone who sewed in a room under the house I was obviously academically inferior. AND I sent my kids to a school where they'd get an inferior education. It was nice of her to let me know how many wrong choices I'd made in my life.

Thing is - she couldn't have been more wrong. I chose an academic path through high school too and got a degree in the field of my choosing. I also finished in the top 5% of students in the state in high school. The school my kids went to had much better results academically than her daughter's school last year and my sons all finished with marks that got them into the uni course of their choosing. The fact that I didn't stay with vet science as a career was because I wanted to be a stay at home mum and I was lucky enough to create a business which I love and can do from home.

From the moment she walked into my workroom she was judging me. And finding me inadequate. And yet I see myself as successful. But success to me isn't having a big house, expensive cars, sending your kids to private school and dressing in designer gear. Success is having enough money to pay the bills. Having no debt. Having a job I love and customers that I adore (obviously I wouldn't count her in that category). Having time to do the things I love - like running. Having time to be there for my kids - even though they're pretty grown up now. Having wonderful, caring friends. Being content with my life.

I count myself as rich, fulfilled and very blessed. And I saw her attempts to make herself seem impressive quite sad.

I got to have a little Facebook rant about it and told all my friends. Generally got it off my chest. Then yesterday she came back to pick up the tights and asked me if my ears had been burning on Wednesday night because she'd been talking about me. Couldn't help but wonder if her hair had caught on fire from her burning ears on Tuesday.


  1. I get the same feeling sometimes (my situation is VERY similar to yours) and even though it makes me feel bad, I tell myself that it doesn't have anything to do with me, but everything to do with the bad manners and insecurity of that person. There are just some people in this world who can only feel good about themselves by putting others down. And then there are the rest of us, who wouldn't dream of being so rude!

  2. People like her don't deserve the energy we spend thinking or talking about them. You are one of the most accomplished women I know and your sons are amazing young men...that's all that counts :)

  3. Hold your head high - you have a lot to be proud of!

  4. She's a bitter, cranky lady, in my opinion! Any time someone needs to feel superior by making someone else feel inferior, well, there's an issue. We all know you rock!

  5. What a ridiculous woman who needs to make others feel badly to feel good about herself. Ignore her.

  6. You handled the situation with more grace than I could probably muster. It always hurts when someone makes negative comments about my loved ones...I think that is worse than if someone is putting me down. She isn't worth thinking about anymore!

  7. How ridiculous!! I know many people like that, it's the ones who actually feel so low about themselves that they have to bring down others to their level! You are one of the smartest people I know and write one of the most intelligent blogs out there. Shove your blog in her face next time!!

  8. I hope she accidentally farts in public and embarrasses the heck out of herself.

  9. That woman doesn't deserve my comment.
    You must be proud of yourself and your family.

  10. Hey Charmaine,
    Love your blog! I am not a violent person, but people like this woman make me want to punch them in the face!! As you know, it's obviously a sign of her own insecurity, and good on you for holding your head high! You rock! I feel sorry for that woman's daughter, who will no doubt turn out just like her. :)


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