1. My love for Shakespeare, begun just before ninth grade, when I attended the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
2. My love for Harry Potter novels and movies (can't wait for July 15!).
3. My wish that I'd been born in England.
4. My love of British literature in general, including such authors as Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, etc.
5. My belief that the accent sounds infinitely more refined and polite than the standard American accent (only the deep southern accent, to me, gives it any competition). I have a similar reaction to people who speak with a Spanish, Italian, or Russian accent.
So I slip into the accent several times a day--with my kids, with the church choir, etc. I have even considered interviewing for work with a British accent, and maintaining it 24/7 (at my husband's encouragement).
Only now the roof has fallen in on all of this. Richard's mother came for a visit this weekend, and she told me plainly (more than likely parroting what her other children said last time I visited Shelton) that speaking the way I do is "creepy." I told her it wasn't (and it ISN'T!!!), and she insisted it was weird, like "speaking Klingon." Not only that, but my husband--the one who had once encouraged me to interview using a British accent--admitted, in front of her, that he found my accent "annoying"--after I had just written a blog praising the dork! My MIL insisted that it was creepy because I'm "not British."
Needless to say, I got pissed. I told my husband--in front of his mother, no less--that he was not only wrong, but he was wrong to have brought it up this way, after telling me otherwise. I went upstairs as I burst out crying, and I didn't stop until my husband came up to apologize (and I still cried for a while after that).
It wasn't the disloyalty, though, that hurt. I was devastated by the whole thing because I truly am an Anglophile. I love all things British, and to be told that something I found so much joy out of was "creepy" was devastating, somewhat like wearing an outfit I love more than any other, only for someone well-meaning to tell me it made my butt look huge.
On the other hand, I think both my husband and his mother are wrong. "Speaking Klingon" is equivalent in one way, for it's an affected way of speaking, and a few Trekkies probably get some joy out of expressing themselves in that way, even though it isn't their usual way of speaking. Honestly, I don't think there is anything wrong with that (people should do what makes them happy), but my habits are only somewhat equivalent, and here's why:
* No one is raised speaking Klingon as a first language.
* Millions of people speak with a British accent, and have for centuries.
* Klingon was a fictional language from the start, with varied words that must be subtitled to be understood by the English speaking populace.
* British English is merely a dialect of English, and is understood rather easily, especially by those who have heard it before. The fact that Richard and his mother do not understand it as well means they have simply not experienced it enough. Subtitles are NOT needed--if anything, British English is easier for me to understand than many American dialects.
More than anything else, it's a matter of being non-judgmental. I don't tell Richard that his football watching is "stupid." It makes him happy, even if it bores the crap out of me, and therefore I want him to watch (so that he's happy). His happiness outweighs my own personal opinion. In the same way, all of my relatives and friends have little quirks like this, yet I don't mind them, for those quirks and habits make them happy... and it's not my job to tell them what I think they should do with their lives.
Yet much of my family (well, Richard's family) believes it's perfectly fine to tell each other where they are going wrong in their lives. One person is told he eats too much, another that she is too angry all the time, etc. The problem isn't my accent. It's that my husband and MIL think they have a right to correct me for it, to judge me for it. I don't think they have that right at all. It's my accent, and therefore it's my business. They should leave me alone.
What do all of you think? If you're afraid to tell me the truth, feel free to write in as "anonymous." I'd love to have another perspective... though I doubt you'll change my mind (you can try, though).