Things on my mind yesterday morning:
People dismissing other people’s opinions because of their race with special emphasis on white people dismissing the opinions or experiences of other white people because of their “privilege”. Being white means I don’t experience life as a black or Latino or Asian person but I have eyes in my head, I have the ability to listen to – and learn from – the experiences of non-white people. More than that – the assumption that all black people are having the same experience as each other is ludicrous. Dismissing anyone’s point of view based on their race is RACIST.
Cop hating. This has been a pet peeve of mine for as long as I can remember. There is no question that there are evil cops out there because if you take any group of people – grouped by any criteria you like – you will find evil in that group if the criteria includes “human beings”. What bothers me is that most of the people I’ve known in my life who think all cops are bad are people who have had reason to fear them – people who routinely do things like BUY OR SELL DRUGS. Either that or they are people who have bought into the idea that all people in positions of authority are bad and that level of paranoia is something I have ZERO patience for. Policemen/women have the toughest and most dangerous job in this country* and they deal with people who are in crisis or who might be committing crimes. We charge them with the dirtiest most dangerous job and then expect them to not be human? That’s bullshit. Imagine the stress of being the person no one wants to see every single day?
Things I’m thinking about this morning:
Censorship in social media. I can’t say any more than that on the subject.
Having people in positions of power over you exert that power while pretending not to exert it is a mind-fuck. People asking things of you they have no legal right to ask of you and pretending it’s just a “suggestion” while knowing you will understand that it’s an order is very uncomfortable. It certainly underlines one’s powerlessness. I think there are millions of people feeling this way in this country right now. This is not an economical climate in which the little man has any power – the only economic period worse than the one we’re in right now was the Great Depression. Most of us have jobs that can easily be done by others and our expendability makes us vulnerable in ways that we wouldn’t be if opportunities weren’t so thin on the ground. I don’t like this feeling that if I were to lose my job there isn’t much out there that I am qualified for and those jobs I’m qualified for pay next to nothing and you have to work grueling hours just to make a tiny amount of money and most positions out there are just under full time so that employers don’t have to pay you benefits – it’s a really nice way to be milked for all your sweat while leaving you hanging out there with zero safety net. This all depresses me so much.
So if I do anything to fuck up my employment we will be up shit creak in a leaky raft. If there’s one thing I am an expert at – it’s fucking things up.
This is on my mind as friends look for employment and don’t find it. This is on my mind when Philip has a bad week at work and starts feeling anxious about his job and I feel the dark vast emptiness of the cliff at my feet which is how close we are standing to complete devastation and ruin. We’re finally doing okay – we’re paying the IRS back, we’ve almost paid back the Oregon Revenue Service, we have actual dollars in our savings for the first time in years. Yet one false move and there’s nothing to catch us. This feeling of powerlessness and weakness of position is deeply uncomfortable. I miss the days when I was employed at Mulberry Neckwear and I not only did my job really well – I did it better than anyone else at the company. Had I not walked away just so I could take a bunch of math and French classes and then had a baby and left the work force for five years to be home with my kid and then been self employed but not making it for a couple years before our complete ruination – I would be in a much better position today.
Except that Mulberry Neckwear eventually went under as so many companies have.
The point is – I do not like living in fear. I have been endeavoring not to – to take each day and each month that we’re doing better as a good sign, as a move towards a more secure position in life.
Then every now and then I am made to realize just how fragile our situation really is. And it should comfort me to know that so much of the work-force in this country is just as vulnerable as I am. But it doesn’t. So I’ve been thinking about that. I can’t regret having left my job to learn math and to stay home with my baby so all I can do is dream big and hold steady. But right now I feel very very small.
I’m also thinking about how the context in which we use words is powerfully important. Thinking about the words “crazy” and “mental” and how some mentally ill people find those words offensive because they are rarely used in a positive way, but I don’t mind. My message to the world is that mental illness often comes with gifts even if not everyone with mental illness can access those gifts of perspective and vision. When someone hurls the word “crazy” around I say “Yes. What of it? JEALOUS?!”. But in a perfectly literal way the word crazy is meant to imply that something is over the top or disordered and wild or not of this reality – and in a perfectly literal sense that is a just description of a person with mental illness. Mental illness IS about minds being disordered in some way or another. Mentally ill people often stand out because their behaviors and reactions to things tend to be over the top. Furthermore – mentally ill people can often tap into things going on in the world and with other people that non-mentally ill people can’t see or understand and when we express these observations those who don’t have our gifts think we’re talking crazy-ass shit. Right. So to my way of thinking, in every way possible – calling me crazy is:
a) a compliment because I wouldn’t choose to be other than I am
b) it’s a fairly accurate (though exaggerated) word for my mental environment
c) exposing your own mind’s limitations and I feel a little sorry for you
However, I do try not to call other mentally ill people “crazy” or “mental” if I don’t know them well enough to know if it would offend them. In my general language I reserve the right to call things “crazy” if they seem over-the-top and if someone’s behavior seems irrational and/or disordered I will, if I choose, describe them as “mental”.
I actually call people crazy all the time. It is a compliment even if they don’t know it. It means I think you fit well into my tribe and while that may not seem like a good thing – it’s where most of the brilliance, creativity, innovation, and progress of the world come from. You don’t have to be mentally ill to have these gifts but chances are good that if you have them you are, to some degree at least, blessed with a mind that operates differently than the average mind and chances are good that you suffer from the challenges these gifts impose as well. Which means that even if you aren’t deeply touched in the upper works – you have a foot in my camp. Don’t be scared – you are in excellent company.
I am about to sew two over-shirts in obnoxious patterns. I have been wearing mostly black and brown for years now. I miss color and patterns. But I am as huge as my hugest and it seems unwise to cloak myself in a shirt of cabbage roses, but I’m going to do it. Let’s just say that I’m continuing to try to embrace what I am now instead of punishing myself constantly for what is not entirely my own fault anyway and what part of it IS my fault is so understandable that I need to stop hating myself for it. Obviously I’ve been working on this for years now and just as obviously haven’t made much progress. However, this is my gesture of love – that I will go out in public wearing a shirt covered in a retro print of cannibalistic hot dogs with a constrast print of green with white polka dots. The hot dog print is weird and wonderful and makes me laugh. So I’m going to be the large lady rocking the outrageous prints. (This is some bravado on my part and the veneer of bravery is papery thin so please do not poke at it)
Last night in my dream my mom was making gin out of grape juice. And someone was trying to sell me cans of pumpkin juice. It was not nice. My cats got out. I helped watch someone’s newborn baby.
This morning my cats actually got outside.
I have asked Philip to resume working on the cover art for Cricket and Grey. I will resume efforts to get it published in e-book format as well as print on demand.
I hope none of us get skewered on the forked tongue of this Wednesday.
*Obviously firemen also have an extremely dangerous job but I would say that since their job doesn’t involve people actually trying to hurt them – it’s not on the same level of stress and danger. Plus – everyone worships firemen/women as heroes. The only time anyone thinks of cops as heroes is AFTER they’ve died in the line of duty.