I feel like I barely ever disagree with people anymore. I have so few precious opportunities to build and maintain relationships, with the way my life is structured right now. I'm so consumed with the daily tasks involved with caring for my children, that the way I relate to other people has been shaved and pared down to a sort of streamlined and efficient thing.
What I mean is that... I spend time with other moms. Specifically other moms that like to be around my children and have a similar lifestyle to the one we lead. That way, no matter what Scout, Louise and I are up to, our friendships can be easily integrated into our lives.
This approach to socializing isn't on purpose. It's just that, I'm barely clinging to a thread of sanity, most days. I just don't have the wherewithal to start and/or maintain relationships with people who aren't up for a morning trip to the library, or who can't come over for a lunch of pretzels, peanut butter and apple slices at a moment's notice. I can't plan time away from my girls. I can't tell you for sure that I'll be able to see you if you're in town for a few days and have a busy visit scheduled, even if I want to see you a lot.
Disagreeing doesn't come up very often. The biggest debates I get into anymore are with a four year old and involve pressing subjects like a compulsive need to wear a certain pair of My Little Pony underwear. (The Rainbow Dash ones. Don't even tell me they're dirty.)
I notice, though... that every time I mention God on my blog, or the fact that I formula feed, I lose a few followers. My feed subscribe level drops just a little bit.
So, let me just say something.
I don't believe in God or support the institution of religion. For me, spirituality involves weather and words. It's about the feathering of my daughter's eyelashes and the way the sunlight catches them when my husband lifts her up to fly in the clouds. I don't even have any nice things to say about my extensive involvement within the confines of Christianity as a child. I don't try to find nice things to say. As a matter of fact, I purposefully voice opinions that aren't nice, sometimes.
Also, I don't (and didn't) breastfeed my children. I have reasons. I also feel like my reasons aren't important. I would be more than happy to share them with you, if this is something that is very important to you and you'd like to talk to me about it. Really. Go ahead and ask. I don't mind.
I'm not ashamed of my choices and experiences with bottle feeding, but I will say that I kind of don't care, either. When women start debating this topic, I just sort of feel happy that in a few more months, I can put the subject (and cost) of formula behind me forever. I don't care if you breastfeed or bottle feed. I don't care if you feed your baby a steady diet of pond water and snake pee, as long as your baby is healthy, cared for and happy. I care a great deal about it when people do things to neglect or hurt their babies. Feeding your child in a way that doesn't raise eyebrows within the medical establishment isn't one of those things. I just don't care what you do.
So, there we go. Those are two topics that people disagree with me about. I brought them up so that I might be able to say this:
I love this about grown up life. When I was young, things were always happening that had me cutting off and throwing away friendships right and left. I can't EVEN believe that she said that Robert Smith looks like an ugly woman. I'm not being friends with somebody who can't appreciate true sexy genius.
Now that I'm grown, I am fully able to say that my self-esteem is not so tied up in anything you think about anything, even in what you think about me, that your opinion could be dangerous to me. It's a very free way to feel.
Not only is it nice to disagree with someone without having it ruin my day (or life)... I feel like it has actually served to help me to appreciate and love some people even better, even more, because, when I realized that people's opinions aren't dangerous to me, I didn't have to reserve parts of myself, in case of disappointment. I am even able to appreciate and enjoy things about other people that are totally different, even in opposition to ways I conduct myself.
It's nice and preferable to agree, but it's okay if we can't. I will even go as far as to claim that disagreeing is, or can be, an important part of a real, grown up relationship.
What do you think? How do you deal with confrontation and disagreement? Do you feel like you handle it well? Do you find yourself only seeking out people who believe the same way you do? I'm just curious.