Gone are the days when I positively affirmed every day in the shower, and shared uplifting memes. Now I see these past behaviours as tragic extent of mine and others’ unawareness. I thought if I changed my mindset and concentrated on dismissing the negative and amplifying positive activism, that the world I wanted would resettle itself with my aligned actions.
Trump wants to make America great again, Theresa May wants to take Britain out of Europe. What they mean is that they want to return to a simpler more ignorant time, one where white people could exploit others–be parasites–without accountability. Abort the awareness baby. Abort.
What I see when I look in the mirror is someone to fear. Someone who will cost society money–a liability as opposed to an asset. And I’m scared. Terrified even. I feel like I’ve fooled those I love and who love me. I’ve always wanted to be loved and to be the kind of person worthy of being loved. And now it’s as if they’ve got a present wrapped up in a shiny bow but opened it up just to find something ugly and vile inside. Me.
We attach to those of our ilk, beyond rationality. And few of us have enough self-awareness to overcome it. The law and our systems were designed to counteract this; ‘the law is reason free from passion’. The very concept of the American electoral system is based on a fundamental belief that some people are able to be more objective than others and will vote for the benefit of all. And yet because of the strength of their own self-interest, the strength of their own reptilian instincts, they will naturally fail to do so.
So white folk, we have a task in front of us which might seem huge, but really it isn’t. It is to face our own prejudice when the most obvious and comfortable way to survive is to stay in our bubble. It is to step up and be accountable for our ignorance, even if ignorance is part of our humanity. I will hold your hand as we overcome our fragility and cultivate empathy and battle our minds which tell us that it’s not our problem.
Your limits are otherwise known as your boundaries, they’re what you use to protect your power, to govern it responsibly. They’re what allows you to interact healthily with others.
But when people are dear to me, I feel they deserve more than ghosting. They deserve at least an attempt to explain why our relationship will be changing. The choice is not binary of course, we could simply be less in each other’s lives. I could reduce contact, fobbing them off with excuses until I achieved my desired effect. But that reduces their power of consent. If they knew how I truly felt about their values and/or consequent actions, then they may choose to cut contact altogether.
There are some instances where objectification is entirely appropriate and needed. For a short while–for example–a baby cannot walk, and cannot feed itself. They have no agency, no power to decide on where they go or what they do. As parents or caregivers we take on this agency. We are literally a baby’s arms and legs… we dress them, we feed them, we pick them up and put them down.
These relationships do not live in the past, because for the women at least, there is no past. There is only today. And in my grown life I have sought to emulate that characteristic of those relationships. Why?
Some people will rarely experience that hopping up and down to have sex. Some people will never feel a ‘fuck yes’ about anything. They will make their decisions based on past experience and educated guesses more than a soul-thrilling desire to go for it. They are the emotionally blind. And there’s more of us than you might think.
As a child my memory was rewritten time and again–first by my mother who tried to erase who I was to serve her own narcissistic needs, and then as an adult by an abusive ex (ditto). At twelve years old, I experienced a car accident which must have had more of an impact than the months I don’t recall and I drank my way through my twenties, actively trying to forget many things, which I’m pretty sure had an even larger impact.
But I had broken something, something which seemed tiny and unimportant but which turned out to be the foundation of our relationship. I had broken an unspoken and sacred pact with myself. The promise to keep myself safe. And the castles we had built together started to crumble.
Did I choose to suffer when I was beaten by a man who said he loved me? I would have told you no. Never. And anyone who told me otherwise I would have deemed cruel. Privileged. But now it seems I am a person who embraces that truth. And admitting that maybe, just maybe, I am both cruel and privileged (the latter is certainly true).
The desire to change beckons. The voice tickles and taunts as it invites me out to play and it says… time to change, time to have fun, why so serious?
The hard part is when those people who’ve been your loyal supporters, even friends over many years come across a showstopper in your thinking. Something which they decide personally offends them. Many of my articles are controversial and have been notable both in a number of new followers and in those who abruptly stopped following.