Life can be a pretty lonely thing for a human being. It’s hard to be alive and not yearn for a sense of belonging: somewhere we can feel welcome and safe and valued. Not just for what we have, or what we have done, but simply for who we are, just as we are.
I’ve known many people who appear to have found this in their lives, and are, for the most part, content and secure and as happy as people can get.
But I’ve known many, many more, when the truth is known, who are still wandering about this world, looking for somewhere they “belong”. I was one of them for most of my life, before I realized that for me, it just wasn’t going to happen.
Years of wondering about all of this have led me to my current perceptions, which of course, might change tomorrow, even at this late date.
So much of how life will unfold depends on the times and culture into which we are born and how well we can conform and adapt to it. Those whose skin and gender and class and abilities match up with the ruling majority find an even playing field on which to play the games already in process. Games chosen by the majority, played according to rules and norms set and enforced by those who have risen to the top of the ruling majority. This power elite, of course, in this country has always been powerful heterosexual white men. (I am still pinching myself to see if I am dreaming or not: did a black man actually make it into the White House?!)
Anyway, for those born into this structure who don’t happen to match up the majority population, like women, people of color, gays, and those who choose to come here from other cultures, it most certainly is NOT a level playing field.
I was well aware by the time I was ten years old that I would never be allowed on this playing field at all. I was a girl. A mouthy, sassy, rebellious little white girl that wanted to play football and hated dolls and starched, ruffled pinafores, born into a 1940’s super religious, totally sexist, all white, ultra conservative world. I spent 40 years in that world, doing everything possible to fold, staple and mutilate myself into some acceptable shape, and all it got me was a near death experience from end stage alcoholism. The good part of it is my two beautiful, powerful daughters. But I never knew a moments sense of “belonging” in that world. Not one.
I did get a taste of “belonging” in early recovery, when I finally left that behind, and ended up close to homeless on the streets of a big
scary city. It was the urban Native American Recovery Community who held out their arms and gave me shelter and love and hope. I bless you every day, dear Sisters and Brothers, for teaching me what life is supposed to be.
When I see the desperation with which some (not all, by any means) need to band together at dkos, and in other all white spaces, in defense of the status quo, I have to wonder how much fear is behind that. Fear of change: fear of losing something precious. Fear of losing a space where they have found “belonging”.
I dunno. I do know when I think about it from that perspective, I don’t feel so angry. I know what fear feels like, and how it can disguise itself as anger, even hatred of others. Been there, done that. Didn’t work out so well.
Well, enough meandering in Mooseville for now. 🙂