I had this lovely lighthearted post all set in my head for today’s word – organize – but then I got home and went through my social media feed and … I just can’t. Life, as any other show, must go on and, while I absolutely can’t lose sight of the finals I need to prepare for / write up or the to do list a zillion items long for the competition one week from today, I just can’t bring myself to focus on those things in this moment.
My heart is bleeding and broken, for sure, but mostly I’m angry – I’m fucking furious – and I need a constructive outlet to channel that force. The energy that each of us carries inside is an incredibly powerful tool when directed with intent. All that remains is to decide on my path.
None of us has the option of pretending this isn’t our fight. None of us has the option to request deferment because Reasons. None of us has the option of resting on our laurels. The critical piece isn’t so much what each one of us does to bolster the fight / fighters –> it’s just that we each do what we can.
Some have been fighting this fight for ages on the front lines. Right now it feels like the front lines are everywhere and that’s because it’s true. Some have stepped up alongside to solidify those lines. Some have joined the impromptu rallies this evening to support. Some have used the power of their dollars to support. Some have used the power of their calling and others the power of their art.
Starting by acknowledging, then analysing, then adjusting your own attitudes and assumptions and activities is a necessary step. It’s where we all begin. When you’ve fought tooth and nail for what you’ve managed to carve out, the idea of someone calling out your privilege is painful. I’m not saying you should pretend that pain isn’t there –> I’m saying you need to recognise it and let it go. Move past it. If you get caught up in the reactionary viewpoint that you worked hard and are therefore somehow exempt, you’ve missed the point. For all that the challenges that have shaped you are important –> this isn’t about YOU. Acknowledging privilege isn’t a defamation of your character or a questioning of your integrity or a devaluing of your work ethic.
No one is asking you to give up your seat at the table. You simply need to scoot the fuck down and make room for others to join –> even and ESPECIALLY if those others don’t look like you, think like you, talk like you, dress like you, love like you, fuck like you, etc. Don’t worry, the table has magical properties and adjusts to fit the size of the group. Your share isn’t going to be smaller because there are more people. In fact, you’re likely to get a better piece of whatever deliciousness is being served at this gathering.
That said, you are being asked to understand that you aren’t the best choice to sit at every single table on the planet and to realise that you don’t have an inherent right to sit at any and every table you may come across in this life. You also don’t get to weigh in when other people are selecting the tables that are right for them. You may well have an opinion about the size, colour, and shape that might best suit the specific table for the space under consideration but so the fuck what? Remember how opinions are like assholes? Well, in this case –> it’s entirely possible that you’re the asshole.
I keep coming back to the idea that if people could just actively choose NOT to be assholes as they move through their lives, we’d go a long way toward peace and understanding.
- Don’t assume you’re not an asshole because you consider yourself a nice person. Lots of nice people are assholes on a regular basis.
- Don’t assume you’re not an asshole because your social circle contains one token “other” on the fringes that you’ve said ‘hi’ to more than twice. Vaguely knowing one person that’s not part of your demographic identifiers doesn’t count as diversity.
- Don’t assume you’re not an asshole because you’re a member of a marginalised group. Turning this into a melee where people are actively fighting against each other for the same meagre scraps tossed negligently by those in power isn’t a viable solution.
Work actively to find and root out your personal, internal assholery. Because this infection of homegrown terrorism isn’t going away. The time for the yummy bubblegum flavoured antibiotics has passed. It isn’t going to be resolved quietly and calmly. Quiet and calm is what has allowed bigotry and hatred to fester and spread. Now we’re mired in pus. So work to clean the wound and excise the damaged tissue. Choose to be a part of the solution.
And, at the end of the day, don’t be an asshole.