i wanted to shop online after i put my daughter to bed, resting my mind with some spare thirty minutes.
i needed to reflect on what i notice, instead. beginning with attention to my own pale skin, fingers tapping at a fancy computer. i see my skin and it is protection. from illness, bacterial or social. in social work school (education chosen to discipline myself to be a better citizen, thank you mom and dad for that value), i learned of my white privilege. sounds odd to say, similar to the sound of other socially constructed terms like disabled or queer. i see my own skin tone and i look underneath. it helps me to see – actually – the beauty in a wide range of skin tones in others.
as i went to bed election night, i couldn’t help but reflect on privilege providing security enough to blend according to the initial way many of my neighbors see blending: appearance.
i notice how i blend in other ways. skin connects curves that have allowed me to pass for the type of woman that (at least earlier in life, ha), received compliments for curves, feminine features if you will. during this election season, as people remind me of clinton corruption, i think for hillary clinton – is she most guilty of being the stronger, stoic kind of woman that pulls her away from other social norms? is that her corruption? cause if i had a dime for every corrupt line i heard from trump during the campaign, i’d be rich. his words and approach just align with a very commonplace, what did he call it? locker room speak.
maybe that trump type of corruption is so commonplace it is a privilege to not notice it?
i’ve looked and acted the white womanly part. i even benefitted from feeling what not everyone has the privilege to feel: lovable. not rejection.
digging a bit deeper, i notice total deviance. i have thoughts – political ones, spiritual ones, philosophical ones that if my neighbors picked up on them…they’d smell intruder. for instance, my husband and i looked for a home recently. we called it the menorah test. meaning – do we feel comfortable enough placing a menorah in our front window without fear?
i may have misjudged my neighborhood, to be honest. or maybe i don’t know what i’m talking about. maybe i don’t know how to trust anymore. because i’ve been jogging early in the morning, exploring each day a bit further, circles and circles right around my new home. more trump signs. then some more. maybe people think trump: policies for small government. maybe they project trump: their own republican agenda onto a great marketer. but recently the signs run me back home, quickly, wondering about my menorah test.
it’s ironic, trump has cultural and religious diversity in his family. however, over the course of his campaign he has spoken a language of narrowing acceptance and increasing – literal – rejection of people based on their skin color, their country of origin, their religion.
to me, anyone who can see past that – scares me.
spend a day getting to know your own privileges, it just might take you to a greater place of compassion. that white man who says he hasn’t been listened too. maybe he is burdened by poverty. it’s just, to me, when the history of white culture in america has been synonymous with “america has spoken” or “american values,” it is a recapitulation of very damaging and dangerous times this country had seemingly progressed out of. the support of the stereotypes and simple syrup trump pitched many americans, finds me running in circles wondering if parts of me that are not so privileged – not so of the majority are, in fact, safe in contemporary america.
please see me. all of me. and may that be okay, so my daughter can be proud of all that she is, just the way she may evolve.
mom dreaming. sunday. happy birthday mom! november 6.
her cries are calling to me again. and I will gladly tend to her.
there are bursts, moments when I am the me that I remember me as.
but even before my daughter, I had not been me for some time. we lose things, identity or way or defined arms. we grieve things deep and petty. she calls to me and i am not alone. but i am changed.
heavy butt sticks to chair more often, working long hours. i eat more to stay alert, to stay – present. i eat. because it soothes. little else does. don’t get me wrong, i married well and he tends to me and baby like nothing i could have imagined.
it’s just me and the space to be me, i’m losing traction. she is getting smaller and smaller. receding, further into memory.
that shining star, the could have beens. that narcissistic anthem of ambition, wrestling with intention until lack of self-acceptance bleeds through.
she is still calling to me, woken from a nap, delighted to fret and tease a few moments on her own inside her precious crib. from the time she started her cries, i wrote this. small, but something, i wrote to my old SaSsy self.
at six months
dear strong girl,
as you drifted to sleep in my arms, tonight – i scan the short yet magnificent history we have shared together. six months feels like six years in baby time.
you have been resilient since the beginning. i knew this after my first blood pressure scare, and i felt that as i was hospitalized right before you were born. the nurses reassured me that your heart was so strong. it was obvious, even then, you have an instinct to thrive. no matter what.
i have marveled over what a joy you bring into my life. our relationship melts together with innocent attachment. without judgment, we exchange few rules or expectations of how the other should be, except attunement.
you welcome me with those loud shrieks, the raspy giggle, and a smile that forms as if you made it just for me.
there are memories of struggle, too. you are my teacher of patience while i waited for you to finally, again, no – not yet, finally now, please stop crying, and, and not even yet, okay – now, finally drift back to sleep in pitch black night. oh, how i have feared the night, but – there too – you taught me bravery, adulthood, and surrender.
you taught me that we can all have dreams, but the ideal is in simplicity. make time for the simple things, you say to me through actions, and that this will be my path to peace.
you are pure love, as we all have the capacity to be. it’s just so obvious in you. and from you, love pours through me – onward across the universe. together, we bless humankind with hope and strength.
your sassy momma q
Year 22. Saturday.
A new kind of hero’s posture is the theme of the day, I say to myself, and queen kate didn’t even lead us into the pose in a literal sense.
Instead, she finished a series on our planets, devoting a session to our furthest planet – which part of me wishes I could recall which one it is now, but that’s just not how my brain works, so the other part rejoices in my ignorance – I’m smart. NOT knowledgable.
So she guides us through a narrative inspired by that outer planet. Something about inspiring creativity and opportunity. We scan our childhood, our formative years, our adventures and relationships, mirrored by movement. By the end, I find myself in a peak pose – dragon, with knee to ground and the other bent before me. I have to hold a deep lunge for an awkwardly long time. Split, she verbally reminds us of our wholeness, our collective unity, just the way we are …
It’s been a week. And I’m maybe that much closer to hero status. Whole again.
My mind wanders back to earlier moves, the narrative evolving. Kate reminded us to recall the nature of being a child, the stages of declaring what we stand for, and then all the adventures that come from claiming identity.
How do you declare your point of view?
Here. I. Am. I suppose.
I always wanted to be perfect. If I’m honest, I thought this was attainable. Til, maybe age 8. Prior to that, I only let myself speak the words I could spell. Always smiled, denied the memories of mistakes or tantrums and lied that I never started fights with my brother.
I was my own hero. Til, reality became apparent. Discovering you are not who you thought yourself to be, what a betrayal?
Or is it?
As a dancer in only the skeleton of my younger body, now, moving less and lamenting more – I transition my thoughts back into today’s most challenging posture.
I think about mistakes. My recent ones – intending to lead, to be a hero and how very flawed I felt – and I realize, my mission in life is to empower others to accept themselves, and how personally poor that I am at that – finds me most tragically flawed.
I’m not a hero that will do extraordinary things, nor tell people great advice. I’m an imperfect someone who will stew in the moment, taking on tough postures longer than most. Showing up for yoga class, listening to what another hero has to say, journeying alongside them reminds me of a different form of possibility and potential.
I may not be a leader, a manager, a high achiever…but I am honest, willing to stay with something long enough to see the truth, the purpose in stretching, embracing discomforts.
Stay with it now, listen to your teacher, listen to your being. Stay here. Stay here, now.
And that is my hero’s pose.