Perspective

I know that many of my perceptions are wacky. That’s a lot of why I record them obsessively. I can track where I’m wrong and where I turn out to be correct. I often notice that I’m about to get dumped by tracking my perceptions. I notice that I need to leave relationships because I track. I notice that I need to give people more chances because even if I feel worried that I’m bothering them… look at how they still show up.

I track my life because moment by moment I can’t tell how I feel about my life or what is happening to me. Moment by moment I’m swimming in an intense soup made up of lots of chunky flavors, many of which are a distraction instead of being the focus of the soup. Because really, do you want huge chunks of iceberg lettuce floating in your tomato soup? Not so much.

There are moments when I’m capable of feeling bathed in the love of my friends. That moment is not always when I’m talking to my friend. Sometimes when I’m talking to a friend I feel lost in my own self-contempt and I can only perceive that in my mind my friend should revile me. I’m not capable of having feelings beyond that in many moments of being with/near my friends. It isn’t because my friends are doing a thing wrong. It is because my brain, even after all these years of friendship and living in a forever-home, still doesn’t register moment by moment that I’m safe. It’s not as pervasive or awful as it was…

But it is absolutely true. I have difficulty perceiving people as doing anything other than shunning me. Even when they are inviting me to their house for a chat. Even when they are making appointments to see me.

It isn’t your fault and I try not to take it out on people when I feel like I’m about to be shunned. But god damn if I don’t think I should be shunned basically all of the time. When you do not do so it just feels like you haven’t done it… yet.

feel like I am constantly about to have everyone I love tell me to go die in a fire. I’m afraid of this because if I felt like this really came from other people who I’ve set up as the important judges of my life and I got this message on the wrong day… I might go do something like that.

I have a weird thing in my behavior. When I feel unworthy I am more likely to comply with indications that I should hurt myself as punishment. I know I’m bad. I know I’ve hurt people. Of course I deserve punishment for that.

Isn’t that just how it works? You are bad. You deserve punishment?

Only it never worked out that way for the rich white people I knew. They were given more chances to abuse again. Only trash gets punished severely for stepping out of line. Or non-white people. They get punished extra for daring to not be exalted and white. I hate systems of authority so much.

When I was a kid and I fucked up in some standard kid way (like “painting” the bathroom walls with my Barbie hair and water) it always came with intense screaming and hitting. I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes that impacted other people.

Why the fuck didn’t my mom hand me a stack of towels and tell me I had to clean it up then I had to wash the laundry?

Why did I have to be beaten?

Last year I tried to make friends with someone. But it got complicated by extreme lack of sleep. When they got angry with me and started berating me in public I reacted like they were my mother. Because she is the same size and shape as my mother. I was told I was just a racist bitch who was behaving the way I was because she was brown.

Sigh.

These things are so complicated. I’m not going to defend my story to her. She gets to think I’m just another racist white bitch. That’s fine. Am I a racist? I sure as shit am not going to deny it. I try hard to look for signs of racial prejudice and stamp them out. I definitely know that I have escaped some of the standard racist white person actions.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not racist. I participate in a system that on a large scale penalizes people of color. I never get to claim to be not a racist. As long as I am ok with buying things made in sweat shops over seas and I never have to figure out how I feel about exploiting people of color for my ease…

I never get to say I’m not racist. Because it’s a lot bigger than “Am I upset with this person because they remind me of my mother or am I upset because they are a brown person daring to yell at me”.

I don’t think I get to say that she is “wrong” in her perceptions of me as a racist. I just don’t. I put scare quotes around that word because when one person judges another person’s motives right/wrong become so complicated and layered and…

I was told that being upset about being yelled at and threatened was the same thing as police shooting innocent black children.

Maybe that’s true.

Maybe it is all part of a continuum and I don’t get to pretend I’m right or innocent. Maybe I did something heinous and awful and terrible.

I was told I was going to harm them with my venom after the fight. I was told I was going to refuse to feed them, like other white people have; I was going to throw them out to be homeless and at risk… like other white people. But I continued to provide tasty, nutritious food after the fight. I asked, “When would you like me to arrange your flight home?” I didn’t say, “Figure out your own way, bitch.”

I tried my best to be honorable. But I’m being honorable within a racist system that prioritizes my feelings about someone else’s literal safety.

I don’t get to say I’m not racist. Even if I’m trying. That doesn’t really matter.

I do struggle to get past the set of statements that her hitting me would be “education” but white people looking at her is violence and she’s allowed to defend herself however she sees fit… but she’s not violent; we are.

I struggle with the belief that only white people are ever violent. The history of the world kinda shows that not just white people perpetrate wars and genocide. But I’m racist if I bring that up.

Ok. I’m racist.

Now what?

What is the point of declaring someone racist or bad? What do you do with that? Shame, clearly, but since when has shame motivated positive change.

I’m not saying “Be nice to me or I’ll stop being your ally.” I’m not your ally now. I may or may not be your friend but I didn’t sign a contract saying I will provide specific aid in exchange for you providing specific aid. That didn’t happen. We ain’t allies. And if I do sign such a contract you being nice won’t be the point. It’ll be that I absolutely must depend on a set of aid from you so I simply must do my share. It’ll be selfish as shit.

Will I stop making friends who are not white because some not white people have told me I’m a racist bitch? Well, no. That would be mean to the people in my neighborhood and my life who are not white whom I’ve been friends with for many years.

I don’t think that having a negative experience with one person needs to define the rest of my life. I’m not afraid of brown or black women or men or nonbinary people in aggregate or even singly unless they start yelling at me that they will hit me.

I feel like… I feel like it’s ok that I feel like this. I don’t get scared until you start telling me that you will “teach me how to behave”. I know you hit your kids. I know you hit your kids and tell them they aren’t allowed to cry because you don’t want to hear it. They told me. In front of you. And your facial expression clearly indicated that you knew it was a problem and you were not happy with your kid saying that in front of a white bitch.

Boy you were pissed when I told your kid that anyone who tells them not to cry when they are in pain is wrong.

Oh well. He needed to hear that for once in his fucking life.

You were wrong to lie and tell your son you weren’t crying when we fought. You were lying. I don’t give a shit if I pissed you off by saying, “Of course we were crying. We had really big feelings and when you have big feelings they need to go somewhere. Crying is one of the most healthy ways of dealing with those feelings. When you cry you don’t need to move the feelings into another area of your life and act out badly.”

I thought your head would spin around and pea soup would start flying across the room. You were so pissed that I thought I had the right to share “my” culture with your son.

I’m sorry I traumatized your family by saying it’s ok to cry when people hit you. I will probably do that kind of shit again.

Even though you hate me and view this as one more usurpation of your right to indoctrinate your kid into your culture. You spent many of the hours you were here complaining about how it is fucked up that your culture has no support for your mental illness and it is fucking terrible that you have to go to white people for help… but you hit your kid and tell him he isn’t allowed to act like it hurts.

Fine, I’m racist. But that doesn’t absolve you of doing your own work within your family.

Other people being fucked up does not absolve me of my responsibility to deal with my behavior within my family. I still have to look at my children and see what I’m doing wrong. I still have to grow and change. I have to give my children support against me. I am not infallible. I am not perfect.

If you believe that mothers cannot be questioned no matter what… I’m pretty sure that’ll lead to a few problems sometimes. Especially if you think it’s fine to beat your children.

But I’m just a racist white bitch so what do I know.

I wish I could stop thinking about this interaction. I really do. I waited almost a year to write this explicitly about it. I rarely avoid thinking about it for more than a few days. Is this one more demonstration of how evil I am?

I don’t care if it makes you mad I am going to use my reality distortion bubble to tell kids that it’s ok to cry when they are in pain. Even if they are black. Black children deserve to be able to acknowledge to themselves that they are in pain too. I know you think that I’ve never raised a black child so I don’t deserve to have an opinion. I’m sure you are right. But I’ve been around human beings and all the human beings I’ve known have had emotions and they had to deal with them.

I sure hope that you are right that your black sons need to be beaten and told they don’t deserve to cry when they are in pain because that is the only path to black manhood. If you are wrong… that’s going to suck for your kids.

But you’re right. I don’t get to decide you are wrong. That’s one of the many things that white people do. We think we know best in all situations and we don’t.

I’m still going to be that asshole who tells these kids that their feelings are legitimate and they get to have them even if they inconvenience the people around them. Even if their mother doesn’t want to hear it.

If talking to your children this way means I am a racist pig, just like the police who shoot black children, as you screamed at me, then ok.

Ok.

One of the advantages of not believing that I am a good person is that when I fuck up… it is basically par for the course. If I do something awful…. well… bad people can’t do good all the time. That’s just not a reasonable expectation. I’m a bad person doing my best to do good things as often as I can.

I’m going to miss the mark a lot. Maybe this is one of the times.

I hope I didn’t actually hurt those kids by telling them that it’s ok to cry when they are in pain. But I might have. I don’t have the scope to know.

That’s the thing about actions. It’s hard to predict how they are going to go in the long run.

I’m sorry that I could not care for your children all day, then listen to you process how white people have wrecked your whole life and culture all night long and do that while providing the chipper physical demeanor you needed in order to be happy. When I started crumbling and you screamed at me that it wasn’t ok… yeah I finished crumbled. Like a fragile whiny white bitch. It’s true.

I will fail under a lot of kinds of pressure. That’s true.

Is that part of being racist? Probably.

You asked how my friends handle me having strong opinions because when you screamed at me and shamed the shit out of me it didn’t get you what you wanted. Well… they start by letting me sleep so I can have rational conversations instead of losing my mind.

I’m terrible about boundaries like that. If someone is a guest in my house and they want to sleep all day I cover for them with their children. When that same person then has the energy to stay up all night and I’m supposed to be an audience… I’m shit at saying no. Even though I should have said, “You know how you slept all day and I didn’t? I need to go to bed now.”

I was wrong to not enforce those boundaries. It is part of why things ended so badly. I absolutely deserve responsibility for all of my failures around not being able to regulate my voice anymore after days of no sleep.

I wanted to listen to you. I hurt myself to do it. I listened patiently for long enough to know for absolute certain you were never interested in a conversation. You just wanted me to listen to how white people are shit and they’ve ruined your life.

I did listen. Night after night. I know. All white people are shit. We should all die. I know.

I know I know I know I know I know I know I know I know

White people traumatize you by existing and they should disappear so you can go back to living how you want to live.

Only that’s not possible for eleventy million reasons I’m not getting into and oh man.

I honestly don’t know where to go. There isn’t another country in this world that wants me. If I wanted to leave this continent so I stopped being a colonizing piece of shit… I don’t know where to go. Which doesn’t mean that things should continue as they are.

I’m not your ally. But I do think the US government needs to give more land back to the Indigenous people. I do think the US government owes reparations to the descendants of Africans we kidnapped and enslaved and dragged here against their will.

Oh fuck yeah. Not because I’m an ally. Because I think that is how the US will move forward as a powerful country. It’s enlightened self interest. I want to live on a continent of people who are treated honorably and who live with dignity and safety. It’s a selfish motivation.

I want the police disarmed partially because the motherfuckers need to stop shooting black people and partially because they need to stop shooting ANYONE. WHAT THE FUCK. Your job is to protect and serve, not to feel intimidated at the slightest provocation and shoot innocent people. What the fuck.

But part of living with dignity and safety means that when someone hits you, you get to decide if you are in enough pain to decide if you need to cry or not.

It’s all so complicated.

When you take two people with chronic severe physical and mental disabilities and you put them together…

Sometimes there are fireworks.

Is that because of racism? I think it can be and I think it might be influenced by more factors. How many people are truly motivated only along one axis?

I’m not saying I’m a good person and you are bad. I don’t believe that. I’m saying I think that situation went to hell in a hand basket and I know I did wrong but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

I’m pretty sure that there is rarely a situation in which I am genuinely The Problem. I think that problems arise based on difficult interactions between people. All people have problems and that doesn’t mean that it is all their fault entirely when things are wonky.

Sometimes people can do the best they can and they are still embedded in the broken systems that created them and they are still acting out oppression even if they don’t mean to at all.

My intentions aren’t important. Not even to me. The results of my actions are important. And I don’t get to decide what those results are.

6 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. Quiet One

    You did a good thing last year. Your friend didn’t appreciate it much but her kids were given an amazing experience.

    It doesn’t matter what color either of you are, the fact remains that the mental illness involved would not allow it to have gone any other way.

    Reply
  2. Shelly

    I….

    I have lots of feelings about that person who was in your house.

    I get what you say and how you feel.

    I…. well I want to rage in your behalf and on behalf of those kids.

    Reply
  3. Michelle

    I also have lots of rage-y feelings.

    I see why you let her into your home, having observed some of what she’s written online.

    I believe it is OK to cry when someone hits you. I believe it is such an important, healthy outlet. I grew up in a family that represses emotions like that and I think it was terrifically unhealthy. I think I would have had a much easier time making friends and navigating relationships in general if I was taught how to handle big feelings instead of being ridiculed if I let them out.

    That said, there are circumstances where being able to repress has been an important survival tool. Nut I think you can teach that…without beating your children and without ordering them not to cry.

    I am really sorry that you opened your home and your heart and were treated that way. it was wrong.

    Reply
    1. Krissy Gibbs Post author

      I think she was genuinely reacting from a place of trauma. I don’t think she was acting maliciously… I just think she should never enter the home of a white person again if she hates them so completely.

      It’s ok to say, “Entering the homes of white people traumatizes me and I act out. So I don’t do it.” *shrug*

      Reply

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