(Because I can’t think of a better title).
I haven’t posted in a long time, but that only really matters to me. Because nobody else actually gives a shit about my/your writing & that isn’t self-deprecating or unique or “sad”–it just is. And that’s okay (& I actually mean that). I don’t really have a clear focus & I don’t really like the domain name & on & on.
And any topic–from tiny detail to grandiose–is already irrelevant because somebody else has written about “it” much more eloquently. And also the construction workers in the adjacent lot to my home insist on playing country music, which is causing my ears to bleed.
I am playing Florence & the Machine in protest, but I love her too. This channel also includes music from “Ultra Dance 14” which I assume means there are actually 14 versions.
And two-ish years of graduate school & academic papers & clinical rotations does not leave much time for creativity. I would rather escape into any Netflix world, especially if that world includes flying children or murderous high-schoolers or certain government employees in Pawnee, Indiana.
And everything. How do you summarize a year’s worth (a history’s worth) of terrifying world/country/local politics that continue to marginalize the most marginalized? Especially without dumbing down the conversation to simply party politics. Because that makes some (*throat clears: “progressives”) less accountable for (our) own shit. Because being “socially responsible” is fucking hard work. That’s all just basic. But it also seems petty/irresponsible/upsetting to say nothing about any of that & write about books or hikes or anything. But I think we need to read those things too. Or maybe I just feel the need to write about them occasionally.
And it is exhausting to have the same 101 conversations about…anything. Like you can rarely get to the more nuanced/deeper/layered conversation because you have to start at the most basic. i.e. Like conversations about racial microaggressions & the well-meaning-liberal-white-person trying to hijack the conversation to talk about Richard Spencer. (Also humbling to recognize we would have been that person 10 years ago). And I still have so.much.to.learn.
And that question about the “issues that mean the most to you” because as white people I guess we can just make a list & put polar bears as item #1. I don’t know how you can prioritize “x” over human rights, over systemic racism, over killings of brown & black people. But we can choose our list items. Choose wisely.
And calling people out is much easier than calling them in, right? Of course. Again, basic. In practice? I am terrible at this. But I also want to be allowed to express anger/disappointment/confusion/sadness/whatever without being tone policed (unless of course that setting is one where I am there to simply listen). And this does NOT mean that white people can/should express anger/tones/disagreement about what is “not racism” (because racism is defined by POC). And if we are feeling fragile/defensive/whatever then we need to talk among ourselves/discuss/learn not further traumatize POC by saying that our feelings are hurt. It does not mean people listening to experiences with sexual violence should get angry & disagree about the definition of sexual violence. This is just basic: NO #alllivesmatter or #notallmen. That totally misses the fucking point.
In other words, if I want to share my #metoo experience with someone & I’m in a space where I am allowed to do that, then that someone just better listen & believe & learn. (Let’s also not forget that #metoo was created by Tarana Burke, a Black woman & is a whole lot more than a hashtag). But if I am in a setting where a person of color is describing their experience with racism, that isn’t a time for me to argue/be defensive, etc. I better listen & believe & learn. Again, basic. And let’s not forget that conversations about sexual violence often center around white women. Actually, Me Too should center around marginalized communities. There is a lot more to say on this topic/combined topics, but I’m leaving it at that.
It is strange to be such a strong advocate for folks in some cases (i.e. as a nurse) but still feel more comfortable as a “quiet” person in many scenarios. But not want to be ignored/interrupted/”talked to” in the way that (men) sometimes do. So I feel the need to be outspoken…but also want to listen (but not to those men who tell me things I know better). I don’t think all these ways of being are conflicting…
Learning to take up space as a mostly introverted/quiet/”shy”/but-sometimes-loud-type person is a process. Because then comes the time when the white/able-bodied/middle-class person needs to quit taking up space. For me this is quite the “dilemma”/progression to figure out how to simultaneously take up space/have confidence/be assertive & take up less space/listen/sit down. I think these things are fluid depending on scenario & not mutually exclusive. Taking up less space does not mean losing ones’ voice, rather it “allows” silenced/oppressed groups to take up space (and I think “allow” is the right word because of white privilege/the power we possess as white folks). And we need to listen. Obviously.
And in online spaces, there are so many people of color, especially WOC writing so many words that need to be read. Instead of writing as much, I’ve been reading more & more of their writing.
And I’m thankful for those few dear family/friends who can have these conversations that are vulnerable/painful/funny/intimate/tragic. And those local organizations that are having these conversations like the MT Racial Equity Project, Forward Montana, The Extreme History Project, etc.
So I will continue to write about book reviews, nurse things (soon to be nurse practitioner things!), mountains, flowers, and such. But, behind all that are much more relevant things & if you aren’t reading about them, talking about them, then you really should be.
This is all just the surface. Basics. So read more. There is so much out there.
If you can’t find reading material, start by viewing the websites of the organizations mentioned here & the one linked article.
Books on my list (not read yet) are currently:
Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson)
Black Faces, White Spaces (Carolynn Finney)
All the Real Indians Died Off (Dina Gilio-Whitaker and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz)
Tears That Cannot Stop (Michael Dyson)
Stamped From the Beginning (Ibram X. Kendi)
We Were 8 Years in Power (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
*Featured photo is of actor Amir Talai holding up a protest sign that really summarizes all of the things. Read more here. Photo was taken by Rudy Espinoza.