While sitting in my office today for a long stretch of time grading, I perused all the gossip websites (an attempt, I’m sure you’ll understand, to feel mindless for a few minutes). Anyway, while reading one particular site, I came across some information about Kate Winslet that I found interesting:
Kate Winslet is divorcing her husband, Sam Mendes.
Today, I am thankful for Kate Winslet and her divorce.
This seems vicious, I know. I am not happy that they are divorcing, per se. Instead, I am happy because it makes me feel better about myself.
You see, like Kate Winslet, I also have two kids from two different fathers (Did you know this about her? I didn’t. In 1998, she married Jim Threappleton and in 2000 they had a daughter, Mia. They divorced in 2001. In May 2003, she married Sam Mendes, and they had a son, Joe, in December of 2003 [Did you do the math? That’s right–pregnant when she got married]. They announced their split and divorce this March 2010).
I had Maddie in 1999 and split from her father 6 weeks later. We were never married, and he had a serious drug and alcohol problem, so I’m sure no one could fault me for leaving him. I certainly don’t. Then in 2007, I met Luke’s dad, got pregnant, and was quickly married, only to separate 2 months later. It was a whirlwind romance that burned out as ferociously as it started. I had Luke in 2008.
Having two kids by two different fathers and not being married makes me feel–to be frank–like white trash. And I’m not alone in this feeling. Admit it, it kinda is. It doesn’t matter that my kids are 9 years apart. It doesn’t matter that I’m an educated, responsible woman. It doesn’t matter that I keep my house spotless on most days and that I know exactly where a comma goes. It doesn’t matter that I’m a fun, personable, NORMAL person. None of that matters to most people. To most people:
I AM WHITE TRASH.
At least, that’s how I feel on most days. When I meet someone and I tell them I have 2 kids, and no I’m not married, and no they’re not from the same dad, I see a certain look in their eyes. Maybe I’m imagining it, but I don’t think so. In fact, when I said to my mom a year ago that I’d love to have more kids, she looked at me shocked and said, “Have you lost your mind? You already have two kids by two different fathers. How are you going to deal with a third father and his family and then all the other stuff?”
Point taken, Mom. I get it. It’s trashy. I know.
So it brings me great solace to know that Kate Winslet is also in my situation. Because, let’s face it, Kate Winselt is NOT white trash. She is the youngest person to accrue six Academy Award nominations. She won an Academy Award for her role in The Reader. She is stunning, and let’s face it, she’s almost the epitome of gracefulness and class.And while I have not achieved nearly the status she has, I am just as classy and graceful as she is (well, on a good day).
So when I start feeling bad about myself, I’m just going to say: Is Kate Winslet white trash? Of course not, so how could I be? I will walk with my head held high and feel good about myself and the decisions I made. I know they were for the best.
And so the next time my mom says something or I get a look from a stranger who just gave me a shocking look when I tell my story, all I’ll have to do is make a mental picture of Kate and say with confidence, “Kate Winslet? Ever heard of her….”