I started the entry below before election month. I am currently so overwhelmed by everything going on, I can barely breathe when I think about the state of affairs. I feel sad, angry, fearful, unheard and oddly motivated. It is more important than ever to unite as HUMANS, and to treat everyone with love and insist on mutual respect for all. I've said it before, and I will say it again, promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Rise above, we can do this.
I have been reflecting quite a bit on humans these days, as is most of the country, and pretty much most of the world. I know that I am not alone saying how sick I am watching how we focus so much on our differences in such horrific ways. Opinions are vocalized in such an aggressive and hateful way towards someone that is different than "us", that at times it feels almost difficult to turn the other cheek, or walk away peacefully. I frequently wonder if the foul humans will ever open their minds and ears, and at times feel like it is impossible for them to see through all of their fear and hostility.
I pondered if there was a time or instance as to when I may have realized that I was anything besides a person living on this planet, unaware of my sex, race or sexuality. I tried to recall a moment in time where I may have been made aware of the fact that I am not a guy, or that I am a gal. I am this, or I am not that.
As the story goes, my parents knew I was always gonna be Me, starting at 3 years old. They said I insisted on dressing myself, and there was no way of my folks getting around that what so ever. Many times I dressed exactly like my brother Matt, which consisted of only shorts and a visor. Sometimes I looked like a drunk princess, cowboy and pirate dressed me all at the same time. Other times I just ignored clothes all together, and just chose footwear. Either way, I was a happy kid, and my folks were down with me being Me.
While in Montessori, I told my dad that I wanted my hair cut like my friend Evan. Evan was super cool because he was photographed on the cover of a cookbook eating a brownie, need I say more? He also had rad, black rimmed glasses, and I had always wanted glasses. Plus, he would record goofy shit and sing with me and Matt on the cassette recorder, so he was all that, plus a bag of chips.
My father stated that Evan's hair was curly, and that mine was not, so it wouldn't have the same shape if I cut mine off. Apparently it would be difficult for me to sport an afro, due to my blonde, lifeless locks and I was crushed when my father said " I don't think you'll be able to get the same style as Evan's hair".
I had absolutely no idea that I was different than Evan, until that day, or anyone else for the most part. Not only was my hair and skin color different than Evans, but I was different from all humans, everywhere. Holy. Fuck. My mind was blown wide open.
Sometime after my realization that I was not black, my parents told me a story about when my mother taught grade school in Omaha Nebraska before starting a family in MN. Mom was one of the few white employees in that particular school, and my parents became close friends with a fellow teacher and her husband who were both black. The 2 couples went out one evening, and were walking to a restaurant together. At some point some people yelled racist remarks towards the 2 couples, and the couples just kept walking, ignoring the loud mouth jerks. A bit later, a person driving by threw something from their car at the 4 of them and yelled more hateful remarks. My mother stated that they were shocked, horrified, angry and feeling pretty damn scared.
I distinctly remember wondering why a person would be hated because of how they LOOK, not by how they ACT?! What did the 2 couples DO to be disliked so much? Why do people think it is bad to have a skin color different than your own? My parents explained to me in the most basic sense what racism is, since I was quite young, but they could see that I was all sorts of confused, scared and miffed.
I began observing how people came in all sorts of styles, heights, weights, colors, and ages. I would draw pictures of humans, making sure to display their clothes with the precise color or print, their exact hair color or style, and their correct shade of skin- which for some, would change with the season due to sunbathing, etc. I absolutely loved it when people looked different from the next and I made sure to always present each person exactly how they were, correct eye color, digits and all. I'd like to think that I knew each person's individuality was important to who they were, and to be appreciated, even when I was young...or at least I had not been taught that being different was negative. I am truly lucky to be able to say that.
It deeply saddens me to know that only a small child has those pure, unblemished views of other humans....until we fuck them up. As we grow older, our brains are so congested with outside voices and internal fears, it seems almost impossible for us to avoid projecting our insecurities onto others.
We only know what we have been taught.
Hate is learned.
Love is every human's birthright.