I’m going to try to use Dragon this morning. Let’s see how bad this is.
I was thinking about something. I was thinking about the connection between cultural values and what it means to be a functional adult. One of the many things that was valuable on this trip was getting to see that it means so many different things to be functional in different parts of the country. There really and truly is not one way to be a functional adult.
What does it mean to be prepared for life?
Noah spends a lot of time telling me that I shouldn’t care so much about what other people want to think. Then again Noah appreciates the perspectives I have because I have spent so much time doing exactly that. It is easy for me to figure out what somebody else might feel in any given situation. I don’t always care. I don’t always change how I act based on what somebody else might want. But if I sit down and try hard I can figure out what somebody else might feel. It is a skill.
I know that this type of emotional labor is considered somewhat standard for women; I have had to work very hard for the level of skill I have earned. My life has not been much like other people’s lives. As a result I have had to work very hard to understand the depth and breadth of human experiences. If I had just stayed focused on myself I am pretty sure I would have ended up a monster.
I spend a lot of time looking out, looking at the wondrous variety of people in the world. I have an enormous problem with having contempt towards my own group but I have a very hard time seeing how other groups could earn the same level of contempt from me. I don’t understand the way most human beings do group loyalty based on what they look like. Pretty much everyone who has hurt me has been white. The structural support system that has created white supremacy has not really worked well for me. That system depends upon having people who are on the very bottom upon whom everyone can take out their frustrations.
There are people in this world who are treated like they are important and there are people in this world who are treated like they are disposable. White superiority treats all white life as superior to lives of other races. But there is still the bottom fraction of white people who are considered expendable in the process of the people on the top getting what they want to get from life. We are considered collateral damage.
I have had the incredibly unusual experience of surviving being treated like I was worthless. Most of us die.
I have a lot of survivors guilt. There is no deserve in this life and I know that part of the reason I survived was because of that fucking white privilege. I don’t pretend that I can say I know what it means to be a person of color in this country. I can read and read and read and that will still never actually teach me what it means to be that kind of person.
I can only have the experiences I have had. My experiences have shown me quite a range of human possibility.
I want to drag everyone up with me. I did not deserve where I ended up. No, I do not deserve where I have ended up. No one could deserve the degree of luxury I experience. But I get it anyway. Is it fair? No. But it is.
I spend a lot of time telling my children that with great privilege comes responsibility. If you were born blessed in this world if you were born with a full hand then you have an obligation to share. There are many people in this world born into extreme want through no fault of their own. No one asks to be born. Many of us were not wanted at all. It is not our fault that our parents could not provide a way (I said adequately. Dragon heard a way. That is an interesting contrast.) for us.
(Side note: I have been talking for half an hour. I feel like I could have written 10 times that much if I were typing. I only had to stop and fix a few things. There is a part of me that wonders if maybe it might actually be good for me to slow my thinking down anyway. The experience of talking to the computer today was really weird. It felt a lot more like trying to translate my emotional experience into a second language. It is kind of funny to me the way that I have found a voice through my fingers in a way that hurts me very badly because using my actual voice is so very hard to use.
Literal speaking out loud it’s harder. It is terrifying. Speaking my opinion has often caused a lot of problems for me in this life. In my experience, Noah is literally the only person with whom I have been able to have a consequence free relationship when it comes to having opinions he doesn’t want to hear.)