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Eleanor Roosevelt Quotation: No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent



Joined: 4/28/2014
Posts: 18
bfrances
As I look back over nearly my 75 years, there are parts of my life where I remember feeling out of step with those I thought had it all together. I was so uncoordinated that in the fourth grade I felt humiliated because I thought that I had been targeted during dodge ball. By the time I was a senior in high school, when the popular kickball captain asked me do better for her, I got mad. Her arrogance made me laugh. She wasn’t smart enough to realize that if I could have done better, I would have done so for myself. I realized at sixteen it wasn’t really about me, it was all about her own self-esteem.

When my husband and I were in community college, and he was in a fraternity, we went to a few dances. Neither one of us could really dance, but I made dresses to wear, and we
muddled through. Later on in life I avoided dancing with anyone else protect to my dignity.

After a less than satisfying experience in childbirth, because I blindly went to my sister’s obstetrician, I decided with my second baby I needed to forego medication. I found a doctor versed in prepared childbirth. I wouldn’t allow myself to be drugged, left
alone, and then have my child taken by forceps again. After less than five hour drug-free labor with the new baby, I successfully nursed her for eight months. It was empowering to realize that my little one grew into a healthy six-month-old solely on nutrition from me.

Life went relatively smoothly for our family. We had a couple of medical anomalies with my two daughters, but eventually things straightened out. We lived in a neighborhood near my sister and had good friends who lived close by. My husband’s parents were in the next county and we saw them for nearly all of the holidays.

But I still harbored a latent fear of being discovered. I was a blonde green-eyed Jew married to an Episcopalian and we lived in a largely Christian neighborhood. I passed as a Christian. I exchanged Christmas gifts with my friends and as we had never talked religion, I passed as a Christian. It wasn’t a big deal because I was just a cultural Jew, never practicing.

But as the girls were growing up, I realized that I needed to come clean with my friends. I was apprehensive because I had experienced people telling anti-Semitic jokes in front of me, thinking I was one of them. I was prepared for it, whatever the outcome. I had achieved the confidence to say to myself, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

I talked to my friends, and they were dumbfounded that I thought it was necessary to keep it a secret. It made no difference to them. I was the same, they were the same. Things returned to normal.
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Comment by warren


Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Mazel tov! And thanks for writing.
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 1:47:52 PM
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