Friday, November 11, 2016
november kaboom, take 2
That's how I feel on the inside. My poem for that goes like this:
I pledge allegiance
to liberty and justice for all.
Looking at me, you wouldn't notice any hard shiny edges. On the outside I look the same as I always have: an ordinary, middle-aged woman white woman. You'd see me get in my late-model Mazda and know that I'm privileged to drive my own car, with enough time and money to decorate it with pink and green flower decals. Even my bumper stickers are pretty ordinary: two public school logos and a "Wag More, Bark Less" magnet. (You might assume that means I love my dogs instead of owning cats.)
You wouldn't know that when I first left my husband and moved to London in 1991, I thought I'd cut my hair short, stop wearing teacher skirts and go butch to suit my new lesbian lifestyle. After a lifetime of privilege I felt so safe, even as I altered my whole identity, that it never occurred to me that I might endanger myself with a style makeover.
As it happened, I was still mostly myself after a year in London. I couldn't ever commit to the butch look, and eventually understood that I wasn't even a "real" lesbian--instead I'm a real bisexual who found the love of her life in a woman instead of a man. So that ordinary, middle-aged white lady you see getting into her suburban Mazda is, invisibly to most, a bisexual woman in a same-sex marriage with two children conceived through artificial insemination.
Unless I open my mouth, I'm pretty safe in this "new" America where my fellow citizens, emboldened by an ignorant, selfish and hateful winner, feel free to aggress. I'm not black, I'm not brown, I don't have an accent, I don't wear a hijab, I don't stand out.
So I'm opening my mouth. Not in protest because my right to marriage is now endangered, although it is, and not because my worth as human being will be questioned, because it will, and not because my children's security will be compromised, because it may be. I'm opening my mouth because it's not fair that I get to be invisibly safe as I go about my business, while whole populations of Americans are waking up worried about what ugliness lies ahead because of how they look on their morning commute, in their day at school, in the next weeks or months or year.
I'm unsure if this is any help. I'm even a little unsure of my motivations here. I just feel like I don't want to be hiding right now, that--KABOOM--this country is not what I hoped, believed, and committed to on the day after the election in 2008. I feel like I've been relaxing in safety for 8 years, here in suburban liberal Maryland with my white skin and my flowered Mazda, and that I have to get out of the car now and walk with some folks who are strangers to me.
And I don't have a poem for that yet.
The round-up is with Jama today. Safety in numbers there, and maybe in baked goods.