October 30 2013

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“What do you do for a living” There is no question more hurtful, more aggressively intimate, more tedious than this one. Personally, I would rather discuss my bowel movements and have often thought of hitting them off at the pass with some of my own bizarre questions. I do not have job. In Sweden to say you are unemployed is unforgivable. The revulsion is always apparent and it lowers your social standing dramatically.

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There is no dodging or dropping this question as an answer of unemployed demands a detailed explanation. “Stay at home mom.” Is not a valid answer unless your child is an infant. In any case they would immediately follow it up with “What did you do before?” “What job will you be seeking when you get off your lazy arse and return to work?” Swedish people do not generally work part-time and thus do not regard those with part-time employment in a very favorable light. In the future I hope to get a part-time job. Full-time employment is just not viable unless I can find an effective treatment. This question will no doubt plague me until I am in my 60s.

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There is really nothing worse than explaining to a complete stranger that you are disabled and how that disability effects every facet of your everyday life. It is much too personal for a first time conversation. I have considered answering I am a writer but I imagine that they will want a recitation of my work, which my horrific memory prevents. Or better still “But what is your real job?” I doubt writer would fly in an extremely efficient, practical country. The only Swedish books I have seen are detective novels (and terrifying children stories) and if you have ever seen Swedish television it is hard to imagine poetry would even be considered a legitimate form of writing.

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Another question I get asked frequently “Why do you only have one child?” Apparently I am single-handedly responsible for the population. I should answer because my vagina is not a clown car but alas once again I must explain that I have Epilepsy and with each pregnancy my condition worsens. “I do not want another child” is not optional and is considered selfish because any responsible parent should be generating children for the first child’s amusement. Babies are not toys!!! I do not work, how will I afford all these babies if I did have them? How will I care for them properly if in the process of having them I am further disabled?

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17 responses

  1. I know how you feel, although your situation is far worse then mine. In my country many do not have jobs, so the pressure is not as big as in yours. The question is still annoying tho, and so is the judging. Even if you had a job, there would always be someone who would say “Thats not a good job, why are you not (insert)?”. Same goes for the children. When I gave birth to my son, a few months later, complete strangers just kept spamming me with “When’s the second one coming?” , at the same time calling me a lazy worthless shit because people here have a “You cannot be married and a parent in order to qualify for the job” policy.
    You are a wonderfull person and I KNOW that if it was possible for you and when you do get a part-time job, you would work really hard and you would work good. people are just nosy and annoying and should look at their own lives instead of probing into others.

    • I do not mind being asked personal questions but it is the interrogation method and the judgement and the unconcealed disgust. The probing as well they won’t drop it even if it clearly makes me uncomfortable, even though it makes them uncomfortable! Sometime because of language issues the person gets the impression that I have a severe mental disorder and not a neurological one. Not that I don’t have some mental health issues but I don’t think I classify as criminally insane haha. As for children that is a very personal choice and even if I didn’t want any children that shouldn’t concern them as we are not married or considering marriage. It is decision for myself and my actual husband. I just don’t feel anyone has the right or the qualifications to judge/dictate the lives of complete strangers.

  2. Ha…I was a stay at home mom for about 10 to 11 years. 🙂 I am very proud of that fact. Only went back to work because they were both in middle school and with their bus schedule I was home alone from 7am to 4pm…so I went back to work.
    I know being in another country it is probably harder to deal with their “views” on what you should be or do. You are an amazing mom and do what is best for you. 🙂
    Although now I am picturing a vagina clown car…..thanks lol

    • haha sorry about the visual Thank you so much Anja! I just went with Isadora to spend my mom’s birthday money she got a Ukulele, I ordered a bongo a simple one with a pretty painting on it, and there was another thing a Guerre? I have no idea but I wanted her to have some real instruments. She has a keyboard which she loves and plays all the time

  3. I’ve always hated this question. Except with where I’m at in life, people are always asking “what are your plans?” But you never really know for sure. I just know I get by with what I’ve got, even though it doesn’t really feel like all that much. I always feel like the people who ask me that always expect more from me, and it’s hard to not let things like that get to you. It’s especially more hurtful coming from a loved one.

    • I know what you mean it is a challenging question and like you I feel that when I do manage to formulate an answer it disappoints my audience. Usually I get so nervous that I simply cannot come up with an answer even though I have plans and goals. I am such an internal sort of person though that I doubt my plans would make much sense to other people. Family is first in my mind. The type of jobs I am interested in would not earn me a large salary and for me that is perfectly fine because material possessions rank rather low. I have everything I need and then some and I am content with that. I have a very dated cellphone, no internet capabilities I love it but people insist that I need a different sort of phone. Why? I really only use my cell as an alarm, for emergencies, and for doctor’s appointments lol I hate the molding aspect of society that we must all be, feel and want certain things

      • Yes! I never believed in having overly expensive materialistic things either. I just don’t feel the need to own things like a big house when I don’t even need one lol. You’re right though, you get what you get. Most of the time, that ends up being all that you need, and I think that’s a good philosophy to live by. =]

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