Sunday, February 04, 2007

Book I read: You're Wearing That? By: Deborah Tannen

You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation By: Deborah Tannen

I checked this thing out so long ago with all of the best intentions to read it and be all educated with its wonderfulness but then life sort of got in the way. And what I mean by life is all this bloody keeping the damn house in perfect condition so that for the one chance that someone will want to buy it and think "Dang this house rocks and it's super clean I think I'll buy it." to put me out of my misery so I can get back to having hobbies and stuff again.

What was I writing about again? Oh yeah this book about women and how they converse. Really it can be applied to any relationship, basically this book comes down to the meaning of language. Both verbal and nonverbal. How well you can express your needs and the true intentioned meaning is how to master the art of good relationships.

If you are a woman and have a mom and sort of keep in touch with her then you may find this book helpful or at least interesting. I did not really need to read this book as a way to help me guide myself through the brambles of conversations with my own mother. Actually in that manner this book is useless. My mother and I, at least from my perspective, never really had some of the issues covered in this book. I have never left a conversation with my mother feeling angst or anger on the level described in the chapters. Okay so there were a few times of incredible irritation, but hey, I was a teen and the world revolved around me so there. Anyway. I can't say that my relationship with my Mom has been riddled with judgement. I have never felt judged by her, not to the point of being guilt ridden and depressed. I wanted her to be proud of me (and still do) we're all kids inside, and we desire positive encouragement. So that's what I got. Up front honesty and reality.

Example: I never really had a curfew just plain 'ol communication and responsibility. She made it very clear in a non-Mom tone, more like a, just so you know tone, that if I chose to be out doing whatever that's cool. But I had to still maintain my end of the teen-child world bargain. I had to do my chores to contribute to the family life, I had to be at school at 730am every day, I had to pass all my classes and graduate, I had to pay for most (she did often treat me to movie nights, shopping, etc.) of my goofball extracurricular activities with friends, I had to tell her where I was when out with friends (because since I was still a minor she was ultimately responsible for my well being and she preferred to know in advance if I were to say put her in jeopardy of sanity, and/or needing to pick up at the jail.)

R-e-s-p-e-c-t tell me what it means to me......

It prevents lots of problems that's for sure. By respecting each other you can understand one another's perspective. She knew and understood my need to grow and build my own life experiences; making my own support network of friends. And I knew that she was Mom and in charge until I was truly ready to walk away. I'm sure there were things that I did that were cringe worthy, maybe not, I was really a boring kid. I tried to have fun but knew myself to be too responsible to be that uninhibited with my social actions. Stupidity never got anyone into college or a decent job. And those were my motivating factors throughout high school.

I had problems more with my father. And for a bit I wondered and self doubted myself and then it hit me. It was not me, not my problem. It was him. He was the jerkface loser. At that point I realized that his judgmental dominating force could no longer choke me. I could breathe and break from that haze of hate and free myself to see the glory of the world ahead of me. A path that I chose to go where I need. No barriers or perceived failures. He was never pleased and most likely never will be. And when I came to terms with that my life became better. Yeah sure I really wish I had a normal relationship with my father where I am glad to see him but that won't happen. When a person is a harbor for so much hate it can only seep out and infect those around them.

Okay back on point. The book was very insightful. I read it to improve my interactions with people. I work full time in a public service profession and I never know what sort of person I may encounter every day. Because of that I tend to read books with this topic. This book is meant for mothers and daughters but certainly be for any relationship between women. Women really know how to push buttons; We master the art of icy jabs and that can be detrimental to our relationships. Understanding how to decode those metamessages being thrown around will be an asset for me.

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