I'm Noticing A Disturbing Trend in Myself

...which is that right when there's a multitude of shit floating around in my head that's worth getting out and commenting on, is right when I feel the most overwhelmed and can't write any of it. It's very unfair, like eating a ton at Thanksgiving, and then your favorite dessert comes out and you simply don't have any room for it. Then by the time you're not so stuffed and go to snag a piece, it's LONG gone (especially in my family). Sometimes, because of this, I'll end up writing about whatever happens to be at the top of the swirl, but it's not necessarily the most important--or even the most interesting thing. (I'm trying to write something every day. I missed this past weekend, but to write something every day is the goal here.)

I'm back to being really tired. Part of it is this weekend was non-stop; I had a very small get-together on my deck on Saturday, to wish my mom well as she travels to China tomorrow. (I'm really not digging the fact that she'll be gone 15 days. ) In the middle of that, my red loveseat arrived (which was a highpoint). On Sunday I went down to Adorama on 18th street to help her buy a PointNShoot Digital Camera (we got a Pentax), then went back to her apartment to show her how the thing worked, and then I helped her put Amy Winehouse on her iPod. The Professor met me and took me back to the Rock so she could pick up some stuff (including the old futon mattress that I was using as a couch) from my house cuz she's going to re-use it. Then I had to cook. Then I put together my new IKEA coffee table. Then I had to get the Sun to bed. Then... whatever... the usual battle between sleep and finishing those last things I need to do before I can go to sleep (bedtime: 3:30AM). It was hot yesterday, it's hot today, and the air isn't moving so I think part of my problem is a lack of oxygen affecting my asthma. I can't breathe and everything feels "heavy." (Actually, everything hurts. I just took Advil.) And yeah, there's that lack of sleep thing. But usually I don't feel this bad.

And I have to stuff to do, but I think the other part of my problem is this trial is next week. Starting next Wednesday afternoon, through Friday. Hopefully. Supposedly. As much as I dread this (and I do mean dread) I hope it goes off because I so need this phase of my life to be over. I hear they want to settle, FBB and his lawyer, but I don't want to give him what he's asking for and I think my reasons are fair and justified. But... it ain't up to me. It is up to God, ultimately, who I do believe in and I guess I should have faith that He's looking out for me and the Sun. But as a mother, I'm fucking stressed.

So all this stuff is swirling around on the top and I can't even begin to tackle all the other stuff that's swirling around at the bottom. But maybe I'll try.

On Saturday, one of the people who ended up at my house is my father's college buddy's wife, who's probably 30 years his junior. They adopted a bi-racial kid because *his* first wife had a black kid (I think the first wife was black, and I'm not sure that the kid was his). I guess the reasoning was the adopted baby would feel a kindred with her older sibling. But they live in a Lilywhite area of the Northwest and seem to think the kid is suffering from a lack of contact with people on the Other Side of the Divide. The Mom sort of hit it off with the Professor (and plus Professor is a therapist, afterall), so "DD" has been coming out to stay with the Professor (and the Diva and MoodMagicBarbie) on average about twice a year. You know, so she can pick up some Soul. DD says that basically, because her parents are white, most kids don't seem to associate her with being black or even bi-racial and so she doesn't seem to have "race" issues... but she is suffering from some serious "body issues" and the Professor is convinced that DD is an eating disorder waiting to happen.

But DD is a funny kid. Summer before last she came with us to Washington DC to the National Pow Wow and saw people that looked like her; last summer we took her to the Beach and to hang out on the Rock (which is the spot for Hispanic Day Out in the summer) and saw people that look like her, and I noticed that this go round, she seemed to be fully inhabiting her juicy butt and curly hair. But Mom is still convinced the girl has issues. (And I like Mom, but she truly illustrates the Professor's favorite quote: "95% of what's wrong with children is their parents.") Whatever. This go round, though, they brought a friend. Friend looks like Jennifer Grey Before The Nose Job and has huge boobs for a 14YO kid. Which is an issue in itself, and lends itself to all kinds of insecurities (And I should know... I was a 14YO kid with big boobs... and it didn't help that I was rail thin because of constant bouts with asthma. Ironically enough, to the brown-skinned people I hung out with, I was *too* skinny and had no butt... and because the boobs were so much bigger than the rest of me I usually wore bigger tops.)

Also at this gathering was an IndirectFriend of the parents, who is also a pretty close friend to Mima. IndirectFriend runs these "salons" where she gets afrocentric artists and writers to come to her home and do their thing--read their works/sing their songs/show their art--and she charges a small admission and makes a lot of food. She's trying to resurrect the feel of the old-style Harlem Renaissance salons. I went once when she featured Poppy, and the evening was enjoyable enough.

As an "elder," she's a nice enough human being though not quite as warm as Mima. But she took an instant dislike to the White People and proceeded to make little snide comments under her breath. What pissed me off was that she was making assumptions about the young girls--their unhappiness at being surrounded by "us"--and she was way off the mark. While DD is pretty comfortable around us--having been jammed in several hotel rooms as we went to Pow Wows or crammed in the Professor's van when we do Tar-Jay or the beach or whatever--the friend was not comfortable mainly cuz she didn't know us. They were also having "food issues" since they are claiming to be vegan (but a 14YO vegan eats grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese... and besides the Professor thinks that they're only vegan cuz they're trying NOT to eat/on the verge of bulimia) and there was steak and chicken on the barbie with a light tossed salad on the side. So they weren't eating--and I know their asses must have been hungry. Cuz 14YO girls are always hungry, and these 14YO girls in particular have been turned loose on the Big Apple with spending money (something the Professor and I are *appalled* at; the Diva only got out when she was that age cuz she'd run away) and have done a lot of walking.

I was pretty annoyed. I was annoyed because I can sit down with the best of 'em and talk about White People (yes, we do that--it's almost a sport in some circles), but I freely admit that I am an Equal-Opportunity-Hater. I was annoyed, because since I *am* an Equal-Oppportunity-Hater, when someone is in my home it's usually because I can tolerate them up close for a longer-than-normal amount of time. And anybody who knows me in real life knows that I don't *often* have people come to my house. No matter the color. People stress me. I was annoyed because this IndirectFriend didn't know the history behind why The White People were there in the first place, didn't know shit about them, yet she felt compelled to pass a judgement on their presence, and it really pissed me off. It also pissed me off that she was wrong; and so busy being self-important that she couldn't see what was really going on. But I was busy running the grill (I'm a fabulous outdoor-cook, if I do say so myself, and I'll have to tell you all why that's true), and keeping folks fed, and making sure PerpetualMotion wasn't climbing/throwing/hitting/knocking over something and that my kid and the Moon ate that I just didn't have the moment to interject the conversation with my strongly worded opinion. Which I will do under normal circumstances. But I tell you what; IndirectFriend came as a guest of someone else, but she won't be receiving any direct invites from me. Later on Sunday, I brought it up to the Professor and she had caught some comments and was annoyed, too. And BigBear managed to get a word in on their behalf and kind let IndirectFriend know we didn't share her sentiment. I was relieved, though, that Professor was as annoyed as I was.

See, I hate everybody because I think generally, people suck. I don't care what color they are, what they look like, who they are related to. Human beings have some really nasty traits, and left to our own devices we seem to be hellbent on destroying each other. Or talking about each other, or cutting each other out of deals, or taking shit that doesn't belong to us. Sometimes its Group A that has the power and lords it over everyone. Then Groups C and D get made and convince group B that *they* should be in charge and then that works for a while until Group B starts to lord it over everybody. I don't think anybody's exempt from being a victim, and I don't think anybody's exempt from being a perpetrator of nastiness. If you look at history from the moment it was recorded, somebody somewhere was making life miserable for somebody else. The fact that these days it's all "color-coded" is some new shit (in the overall large picture), and in another couple of hundred years when everyone is all the same shade there'll be some other way to categorize and separate and discriminate against.

I could very easily make a list of every group of people and name something I hate about them, and get really riled up about it, too. But here's the thing... active hate takes up such an awful lot of time and I am a profoundly lazy beeatch. And I learned something over the last few years; love really is just as powerful. You just have to be careful who you love, and loving someone or something shouldn't cost you anything, and it shouldn't cause you pain. If it does, you really need to rethink it but on the whole I'd much rather spend my time loving the people I'm with, than trying to hate on some people. I made a promise to myself, when life started kicking me in the teeth, that I would live my life to the best of my ability. Sometimes, I don't succeed. Sometimes the catty/mean/unnecessary comments get past my lips. Sometimes, I'm mean and thoughtless and am not even aware of it (which is really the worst, I think) but I try.


Julie said…
Now I feel even worse that I missed Saturday. It sounds like it was quite the gathering. That sucks about IndirectFriend. Your initial description of her salons had me thinking - Hey I want to go to one! But the snide comments thing is SO not cool. I think no matter what you may think of any particular group - when you're invited to gather with people - you should treat all the other guests as individuals and put that group nonsense aside. Plus, it's just plain old rude to walk into someone's house and have something to say about their guests.

I would have been interested to meet DD too. Having grown up the way I did, I am always interested in how similar circumstances affect other kids when they're one of the only bits of color in their environment.

And yes - I find that the whole eating disorder thing is frequently present in such situations. I'm still working it out, but I think even though on one level you can feel so comfortable that you don't think there's any difference and you don't feel connected to racial nonsense - on another level you know you're different. And it's really easy to focus in on a difference that you feel you can control - hair and weight being the two biggies.

Please woman, GET SOME SLEEP. I don't know how you do it. I can maybe stretch out the no sleep thing for 3 or 4 days, but then I have a day or two of early bedtimes because my body just can't take it. You really have to get some rest.

And don't forget you've got people around who are here for you as you're going through what's hopefully the last of this court craziness.
LJ said…
Wow, J. I've never met anybody who thinks the same way I do about people (not that they've let on, anyway). Starting with your "...I hate everybody because.." paragraph, you are speaking my head. All the way through the end of your post. I'm a lazy beeatch who generally doesn't like anyone. LOL but it's true. And I dislike everyone equally. LOL Wow. Anyway, didn't want to steal your blog, but just wanted to say "wow. that's *so* me, also!"
your friend XPM
Natalie said…
Dude. J. Way too much stuff to comment on, but I totally get it. Or, as much as I can considering the color of my skin. ;) No, really.

I once worked for a major player in the mortgage industry; there, I was a member of a diversity work team - not because I was invited, but because my boss spearheaded it and needed an admin-type person to do some of the work. So, by default, I was included in the group - this high-powered (except for me, of course) group of folks of various colors and cultures. And it was profoundly interesting to hear some of the things they discussed. The one thing that sticks out for me, though, was a discussion where one of the Black Women talked about how, amongst other Black Women, they talk about Black Men a certain way (I'm guessing fairly bluntly). They tone it down a bit amongst their Hispanic friends, but to White Women? Point blank, she said we will never diss a Black Man in White Women's company. I'm sure there are exceptions, but it was really amazing to witness this dialog where they talked about how, while race sometimes doesn't feel like a major thing for them, obviously, there are some things for which the context is framed in terms of the color of the skin of those with whom they're speaking. (And I know there has to be a way to write that sentence a bit more briefly, but I'm not going to go back and figure it out.)

Anyway, it was interesting - there were Vice Presidents there who, when talking about this stuff, lapsed into a different sort of "speak" - not the way they'd talk in front of colleagues in general, or among the other members of the group outside that room.

I don't thing there's a way to be objective about race and experience. Because whether or not it feels like a non-issue, it always is. Which sucks.

And now that I think about it, I'm not sure any of this is relevant to your post. Eh, sorry.
Regina said…
You took the words right out of my head...

there is a quote that sits above my desk - I am not sure if I got it from you or just somewhere -but it says "You will find as you look back up on your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love" - and those are the moments that GIVE energy and don't suck it away.

Hope you have lots of those moments - and that things go well in court!
The Bear Maiden said…
All of you all's responses are so relevant that I think I'll have to address them in another post, rather than here :)

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