People can be pretty judgemental. No new news, right?
I myself have had people stare, whisper to one another, pass remarks loud enough for everyone else to hear, and nudge each other and nod in my direction waiting for me to put enough distance between us to be able to safely comment about whatever it is that struck their fancy - or failed to. I can understand that it is only to be expected to no longer go by unnoticed when you're visibly modified, and/or have brightly coloured hair, or hair that is partially or completely shaved. However, it does not justify rude behaviour.
I have had friends of mine over the years feel uncomfortable, thinking there was something wrong with them until they realised that the stares and comments were aimed at me. This happened mostly when I would be in the company of someone i don't get to hang out with that often.
Being judgemental about people who look different than you do is a very nasty vicious cycle that can easily be broken, if only you take some time to actually ask questions whenever you don't understand the mechanics behind the differences. "Did that hurt?" is a very annoying and stupid question to ask, but it is preferable to rude behaviour.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy getting the stares from young children. They tend to have this amazed wide-eyed expression on their faces, and are not afraid to ask questions. One time, I was at the supermarket with my brother, and this young child - no older than 5 years of age - kept walking past me - either trailing behind, or running ahead of the parents - and staring in a somewhat perplexed but fascinated manner. Every time I caught the wide-eyed stares, I smiled or waved at the child. Finally, the parents and their child walked past me at the same time, and I heard this young child ask "Mum, why is that lady dressed like a witch?" It made my day and muttered under my breath "Because I am," and kept walking. Apparently, to this child, a long black skirt, a black top, and a black fedora hat are what witches wear.
Another time, a child asked her mum why my hair was pink. The mum seemed to be embarrassed by her daughter's question and hushed her. I would have rather the mum answered the question, or told her daughter to ask me directly.
Children are extremely inquisitive, and I firmly believe that this characteristic should be encouraged. Why should a child not be allowed to question things? Do we sincerely live in a society where we have been brainwashed to the extent of us training our children to bow their head and go 'Yes sir' to whatever they are told without ever questioning the whys and hows and whats and whens?
I mentioned already that I'm a modified individual. To some of you, this might sound odd, so I shall explain what I mean by it. I have a passion for all things [or nearly all things, anyway] related to Body Modification - which is basically the term that describes a number of temporary and permanent adornments applied to the human body. Examples include, Piercings, Tattoos, Subdermal & Transdermal Implants, Suspensions and Flesh Pulls. It is in fact to this passion of mine that I owe my opportunity to become a parent, since I got to know the ex on BodyMod.org - an online community which is a place I call home. I have met many extraordinary people via this community, and have flown out to meet them on numerous occasions.
It was during such a travelling experience that I had the pleasure of getting to know two of the most awesome children ever. I was staying at my friends' house during my visit in the states, and their 3 year old son, as well as 8 year old daughter, were around most of the time. They have been brought up in an environment where different is the norm. This does not mean that they accept everything without question though. During a conversation with the 8 year old girl, she was busy 'tattooing' me - which meant, she was colouring in my existing tattoos with her glittery pens. At one point, she asked me "Why do the tattoos I make wash off, and the ones my dad makes stay? Like the ones you have. How come they don't wash off?" As you might understand from her questioning, her father is a Body Modification artist. I tried my best to explain to her the difference between drawing on the skin, and drawing under the first few layers of the skin. She seemed happy with my explanation.
I am a firm believer that children should be told the truth - without sugar coating anything. Yes, you can skim over certain details which they won't understand, and use simpler terms [if your vocabulary allows you to] - which I sometimes struggle with simply because I like big words and tend to use them on a daily basis - however it is important to stick to the facts.
There is one thing I do not understand though. Why is it that people expect you to change drastically the moment you tell them you're about to become a mother? It is almost as if you're expected to scrap your individuality - you know, the one you spent all your life building? - and fit in the Mummy Model. You're almost expected to become a Stepford Wife. Screw that.
I got lectured by my doctor one time about how he thinks I should take out all of my piercings and start anew, now that I'm about to become a mother. I won't say he's a jackass, because he isn't. I truly believe he said that out of genuine concern and because he cares. However, I strongly disagree with him, and I told him so. My mother also seemed to expect me to tone it down and go for natural coloured hair, and to grow out my mohawk.
I may be a mother, however I still respond to Rosalind. Mum is just another aspect of me. It isn't who I am - it merely is part of who I am.
I got thinking about all this not because of any recent incidents, but because I observe other pregnant women and the way they dress. Some go for the Mummy Model, and you can tell they're happy with it. Others are evidently uncomfortable in that format, and yet they still do it to conform to what society in general expects from them. Others still remain true to themselves and don't change much from their pre-pregnancy days, other than being somewhat a bit more practical in their choices by perhaps switching low-cut jeans to jeans that are more adequate for their new body shape.
There are those though, whom I cannot figure out. Extremely high heels, hot pants that are barely distinguishable from underwear, Crop tops - you name it. I cannot imagine for the life of me what possesses people to wear those clothes beyond the early teens, let alone for anyone to wear them whilst pregnant. Fine, that might be what is comfortable for them to wear - however I personally don't see how high heels are safe - especially when pregnant since if you fall, chances are you'll not only hurt yourself, but Baby as well. Re: too much skin being exposed, I just find it inappropriate anywhere other than the beach.
To finish off, I'll say one thing I found out through experience when it comes to pregnancy and clothing- maternity clothing is overpriced and overrated. Thanks to my tendency to yo-yo in weight, I ended up having enough clothes of my own to fit me properly from beginning til now and have not had to buy any maternity wear. What this means is - have a look around the normal shops before you go for maternity wear. Drawstring pants and skirts will become your friends, as will loose fitting long tops. Skirts and trousers that have that t-shirty waistband thing going on will also become your friends.