I’m in my month and am having massive cramps. I never have cramping. There’s a major storm on the horizon predicted to show up in the early am with the potential for torrential flooding, hail, and tornadoes. Donald Trump was sworn in officially as the 45th President of the United States.
I’m well aware that Donald Trump being sworn in isn’t causing storms or my woman parts to cramp up. -_- Or is it? No, but I digress. It’s just been a day today. One where everything feels strange and unusual, but you simply can’t put your finger on exactly why. My parents giddily watched Trumps inauguration on the telly. We’re not a family that watches presidential inaugurations. One would think that I might resort to such tactics as to refer to him as Dump Truck or Trumpster. However, I detested when my parents reverted to such middle school antics when they referred to Barak Obama as Bamadama or That Black Guy In The White House. I’ll have none of it.
It doesn’t mean I’m OK with him being elected or sworn in. It doesn’t mean that I’m OK with him, his cabinet choices, Republicans in general, or everything the man stands for or plans on cutting or enacting while in office. I’m not OK with any of it.
And it is very, very, very difficult and trying to live in a red state, but more so to live in a red house. I’m not even sure when we actually became a red house to be honest. With so much hate, and pretty non-existent compassion, spewing from my parents mouths I sit here questioning how I am the person that I am today. I might understand it if I actually fell onto the Republican chopping block, but as it stands, I really just fall between the cracks in this ongoing war.
I am not:
- Lesbian, Bi, or Transgendered
- Black, Indigenous, Latina, Asian
- a Veteran
- Sexually active (contraceptives, abortion)
- in a relationship (domestic violence, different race partner)
- employed (fighting for a living wage, being paid less than a man)
- on Medicaid/Medicare/ACA/any health insurance
- Rape victim
- Non religious
- On occasion seen as “other” by the white population
That’s not a lot of things to make me empathetic to the plight of others. Yet, I am empathetic to the plight of others. I am an ally. But how, if my parents are very against everyone else? Is it because I was emotionally abused growing up? That I was bullied and made fun of in school because I was overweight? Is this what made me against bullying/abuse of any kind?
Hell, I even had kids in high school say I was a lesbian, like it was the worst thing to possibly be. They tried to shame my sexuality. Even though I’m not a lesbian, I can honestly say that I’ve been hit in the emotions and vulnerability the same as a lesbian, or any child of the LGBT community. I was personally attacked on this very issue. It didn’t trigger an issue in me, since I don’t identify, but it still hurt knowing that they were actively trying to hurt me.
I’ve had people assume, on the telephone, that I was black, and then in person they actually said, “Oh, thank god, you’re white.” That kind of malicious intent; the feeling of being seen as not good enough, not even a person. I’ve been hit with that before. I am definitely not white, in the sense that she meant it. I was not a kindred spirit to her. I am not the “right” kind of white. And I’m glad to not be the “right” kind of white. But, not being a black person, I’m certain that it didn’t affect me in the same way; on the same level emotionally, but damn was that a cruel and callous thing to say. Letting up in her hate and prejudice only when she assumed I was just like her.
I’ve had a lot of strange incidents that apparently don’t happen to your general, run-of-the-mill white person. I even understand what it’s like to not have white privilege, even though that is an odd thing for a person to say. One would think, “Oh you’re white, you just don’t understand the concept.” I’ll admit that I don’t know whether it’s because I’m seen as not white enough or simply because I’m overweight or both. I really don’t know. But I have seen the privilege of which one speaks. Where the little white girl gets everything handed to her and you get the shaft. I have personally felt that. Perhaps it is not exactly the same, but I know the feeling. Believe me. And I’m not talking about the pretty blonde cheerleader getting a date while you don’t. I mean where security stalks you through the store and insists on looking through your purse… but doesn’t do it to your white friends. The real deal.
On very, and I mean very slim occasions have I actually been afforded the white privilege that’s talked about. I can count on one hand the number of times it has happened. It doesn’t make me bitter, and I have no idea why it happened in my life, but it certainly made me empathetic… unless it was already in my nature to be so?
One of the newest talks going around the old watering hole that is Facebook, is about the ACA going away. The ACA, as in The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. Personally, this doesn’t affect me at all. I’ve never been on health insurance of any kind. And when this started up, I was denied enrollment because the Mississippi state government (majority Republicans) voted to not expand Medicaid, which would have been where I fell on the line. So staying or going, this means nothing to me. However, I think that all people should have affordable health care. So, I fight for it. Even though I’ve always been denied it, I will still fight for it.
My parents want Obamacare to go away. They hate it. Even though it afforded them some nice pay cuts in health. Free medications, free mammograms, free screening or test for this or that. They used the hell out of that system. I include the mammogram specifically because it was the first instance in my family. Mom went in for this specific check up. She detested Obama and his new health care “scheme” that had just hit the scene. The nurse said happily, “Aren’t you glad for the new insurance?”, while my mom grumbled. “Because your mammograms are free today because of it!” Mom still grumbled, but less than before… but only for the rest of that day and then it was back to hating Obama, his family, and his health care shenanigans.
With the ACA sliced and diced, no replacement to be seen, and with the Republicans gunning to slash Medicaid and Medicare, I honestly don’t know what my parents will do financially in the health aspect of things. I know that they’ll blame it all on Obama and all of the Democrats because they are sucked into this crazy “news” cycle; the one which paints exactly the picture that they wish to see. They’d be better off reading the National Enquirer for Christs’ sake! At least it’s mildly entertaining!
While most of my friends online are hearing racist/misogynistic diatribes from fellow “friends”, I have to hear it from my own parents, in the house that we share. On a near daily basis. If it’s not one thing then it’s another. I have to hear how blacks are ruining the country or how girls want abortions like candy. Or how gay people are into pedophilia and bestiality and their gaining marriage rights will open the flood gates for more abominations. I remember the days when the most used words/phrases I heard (that grated on my nerves) were “pop/punch of colour”, “farmhouse sink”, and “shabby chic”. Now it’s the overly used and obviously misunderstood “abomination”. If I never hear that word again, it will be too soon. I said the last time, to myself, that if I heard it come from my dad’s mouth another time I would scream. And when he did it again, I did scream. Very loudly. In a lot of frustration.
It’s very difficult living with them in their dotage where they flood their brains with misinformation, sucking it in like the breath of life. Where they sit around and just absorb the hatred through their pores and spit it back out onto me like the bile that it is. Am I an easy target? Do they wish to sway my thinking? If it’s the latter, then too little, too late. I did speak about this before, but it reminds me of our Christmases during my childhood. How everything was this one way; all about baking and twinkle lights and trees and stockings. Then after seven years (for me, thirteen for my sister), my mom suddenly wants to change everything. She wants Christmas to only be about Jesus and wants us to sing Happy Birthday to him before we can get out stockings. Too little, too late there too. We were as willing to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus as a cat is to be submerged into water. The kind of conditioning they’re wanting to happen is never going to be effective since I have almost 20 years of adult life experience under my belt.
I’m glad they didn’t try to condition me in this way from an early age, where it more than likely would have stuck. But I’m not so certain it would have worked either. There’s too many things, out in the world, that happened to me, for my brain to be so inwardly centered on abominations and fear mongering. Also, since a very early age, my natural instinct was to be drawn to what I did not know, not to be repelled by it. I didn’t shy away from the “weird” people speaking “weird” languages wearing “weird” clothes. I wanted to know all about the people who were speaking in a way that I did not understand; the people wearing clothes that I found beautiful and extraordinary; the people who didn’t look like me. I read up on them and got to know all of them in the best ways that I could. I was like a fish to water. I couldn’t help myself. I found them fascinating and beautiful.
I wanted to know all about this type of carving, or that type of dress, this type of prayer, that type of face paint. What this word meant or that phrase represented. What beliefs were associated with this special garment. The more I learned, the more my world expanded by leaps and bounds. The more people I saw in books the more I wanted to know about them, and so on and so forth.
I remember riding around in the car with my dad once. I was probably twenty-four. I was driving actually, so I had the radio tuned to a station and they were playing Middle Eastern music. My dad, upon realizing that it sounded “Islamic” wanted to know why I was listening to filth like this and wondering if I had already joined up with the jihad. I was stunned and hurt. “Dad, do you really not know your own daughter at all?” He had nothing to say, so I went on. “I’ve been listening to this type of music since I first heard it, when I was five. It’s not political, it’s not something about war. It’s beautiful music from a culture that I’ve been learning about all of my life. Geeze, dad, where the hell were you?”
I didn’t even care that it was only a few years after 9/11. I didn’t even realize that most of white America was up in arms over hating Muslims. To me, 9/11 was not the fault of Muslims. It was just the fault of (possibly our government) and some crazy people. Everyone’s got crazy people that they don’t associate with. Plus, I live in a small place. There aren’t any mosques here. There isn’t a large Muslim population. This was the first time I’d heard my dad even say anything about Muslim people; for all I knew he was unaware of their existence up until that point, or dare I hopefully assume that he knew about them and didn’t hate them. No one I knew was bashing Muslims… or at least not in front of me. Now I can’t escape it. With more and more years to fuel the fire of hate towards them it seems that I just can’t get away from people wanting to talk about “them there people from eye ran wantin’ to teach their Islam in our schools.”
Every week something new is said and I wonder who these people are that I’ve called my parents for 36 years. Something happens where I wonder why they have no idea of my likes and dislikes, or my interests. It’s like everything about me is new to them, like somehow recently they’ve lost their upstanding conservative daughter, because I’ve turned into this raging sensitive liberal who things everyone is equal. At this point it wouldn’t surprise me if they discovered that I adore cats. I mean I’ve been talking to them, cuddling them and cooing at them since my baby time, but if somehow my parents missed all of that, it would be the same as everything else about me that they’ve apparently never noticed.
It doesn’t even matter how many times I tell them that I just can’t hate other people. Sure I can dislike someone on a personal basis, where we know each other and we just don’t get a long, but I can’t hate entire groups of people, as it’s just not something that comes naturally to me. If I tell them, they stare at me like my head is green. If I go on to explain even more reasons why, say, that I can’t hate black people, I give them my adopted mom and family as an example, or that the black kids at my school treated me like an actual person, or how those black teenage boys at the grocery store didn’t laugh at me or call me Shamu when I slipped and fell or that all the black workers or shoppers there genuinely kept asking if I was alright, when white teenagers did and still do make fun of me and most white people don’t treat me like I’m a person at all. How could I hate black people when they’ve been great to me and far more so than white people?
My parents stare as my one green head multiplies into three. I can give them examples, upon examples, upon examples and entire phases of my life to illustrate how I couldn’t possibly think as they do, because of this or that. They act like I’m pantomiming to them in Ancient Greek.
They tell me that gay people are an abomination, but state that they have no problems with gay people, but that they’re going to hell and conversion therapy seems fine and dandy to them. Then they ask me if I’m gay. After years of trying to state that gay people are people and don’t deserve to be call abomination or seen as second class citizens, all I could finally do was say, “If I was, then I sure as hell wouldn’t tell you! You would disown me. You would disown and hate your own daughter because of something insignificant and trivial as who I chose to love.” When they said they wouldn’t… “Really? Because with all of your talk, you could’ve fooled the entire world!”
We’ve not since discussed my sexuality, or whether or not I was “turning Muslim”.
And I can’t even really get mad at my parents in their voting for Trump. Sure, I have to hear a lot of hate and fear mongering from them, however, anything that Trump actually said, well… to them it’s all Liberal propaganda. He doesn’t hate minorities or the LGBT. He didn’t say anything negative about the disabled or about veterans. He doesn’t hate women and the whole pussy grabbing fiasco, again, was just Liberal propaganda. I can hang my head in horror that my parents aren’t smart enough to actually research and find out about things and simply swallow lies like the best chocolate ice cream while making certain that their blinders are on good and tight. But I do believe them when they say they didn’t vote for Trump because he stands for any of those things, because to them, it was all made-up; pure fabrication.
I can’t hate them for their vote, but I can certainly think that they are stupid. I hate to say that my parents are stupid, but they aren’t even trying to build a strong case against it. They’ve thrown any rationality that I might have thought they once possessed out the window of a fast-moving car. I don’t even know when it happened. I’m not ever certain if I was there to witness it. I’m not even sure if I ever merely imagined it. But whether there was any logic there to begin with, it’s certainly MIA now.
I feel like The Keeton family to their Alex P. I still ponder how it could have happened. In fact, I started this blog post this afternoon, and in the evening my sister is agitated and saying to me in the kitchen, “Who are these people?! How are they are parents?! How in the hell did we turn out the way we did?!?!” All I could do was excitedly stammer, “I know!” several times, because it’s on my mind a lot lately.
I can ponder about the person I was a small child; the person who instinctively knew to question, to ponder, and to know. The person who instinctively embraced, the person who was driven by fascination, the person who didn’t understand hate. I can ponder whether or not the seeds of fear and hate had been ineffectually sown into my brain, or whether no such sowing occurred. I can ponder whether all children are driven by the same things that I was; whether there is an inevitability to buck the family system or to accept it whole-heartedly. I can ponder whether my outside stimuli helped to mold me into the person that I am today; if it helped me to understand, to empathize, and to demand equality.
I can ponder if my parents’ stories were true in the moment or mere fabrications to better counteract the 1950s establishment. Did my mom really help baby sit a black baby when the mother was shopping, when it was taboo to do so? Did my mother really befriend a Jewish boy? Did my father really feel that segregation was stupid? Or is hind-sight 20/20 and they’re only now seeing how foolish things were then? Did they really even like Medgar Evers or Martin Luther King Jr. at the time, or were they only telling me fancies in my childhood. Inadvertently fostering a love of these Civil Rights hero’s when they themselves could have cared less? Or are my parents slowing sinking into some sort of dementia. Did they try to buck the hate they were surrounded by in their formative years, only to have it be the only remaining part of them as they make their slow descent towards the end of life?
I have all of these questions and yet I’ll get no answers. Everything’s fabricated into some weirdly spun web where I’ve been somehow caught in the middle. I can’t get a straight answer out of either of them. There’s one story that my mother has told my entire life. That in my baby time I wouldn’t walk. Not even a little. Yet, on my first birthday, my grandmother gave me a pair of jeans and a shirt with blue whales on it. I was put into these clothes, then got up and ran across the kitchen floor. Not to my mothers waiting arms, but to my grandmother. My mother always told this story and bitterly ended with how I ran to my grandmother and not to her. In the last few years, she recounts the tale differently. She’s all smiles and the ending has me running into my mommy’s arms. One story is a lie, and of course I’m going to say it’s the new version. It’s not the only story that’s changed recently. Does this play into my parents new-found political manifesto? I don’t even know anymore.
I honestly don’t know who these people are. I don’t where they came from, because these aren’t the people who raised me. They certainly weren’t very liberal, but they never seemed or appeared to be so racist and hateful or stupid.
The argument would always be, “So move.” Easier said than done. Well, apparently not for most of the population, as they seem to find it easy to acquire or make money. I would see a therapist to figure out exactly what’s going on with me (Do I have mental illness? Am I on the autistic spectrum?, etc), but I don’t have insurance or the money for that. But it is exceedingly difficult for me to qualify for a job, to be considered for a job or hired, much less to keep one. I’m always on time, I follow the rules, but for whatever reasons, I am not the right person for the jobs. The only person who ever understood this was my brother. He knew I wasn’t lazy or that I did my utmost best at a job. He understood because he was the same person. Always having trouble with jobs; getting or keeping work, but had a great work ethic, followed the rules, was on time, didn’t steal, etc. Is it our manner with the public and were we unaware of it? I don’t have the answers, as he never saw anyone either and no he’s dead.
So, knowing my terrible time with getting or keeping jobs, why in the hell would I take out student loans, a business loan, or credit cards? I could never pay them off. There’s no money saved up. There’s no money coming in. Where exactly should I move? The streets? Because that’s where I’d end up, no doubt about it. No doubt at all. Needless to say, moving is not in the cards. At least not at this time. Hell if money were no problem (as it seems to be with everyone else, as they have no problem making or obtaining money), I’d have traveled half the world by now. That’s more of a top priority for me than moving. I’m adding this in, because I’ve always hated that argument, “Just get a job. Just move” likes it’s the easiest thing in the world.
Also, as an addition to one of my last posts, The Hullabaloo over Great Americans Day, there’s also this… Alabama Found Guilty of Racial Gerrymandering. I hit on voter discrimination in that last post, but I’m sure that racial gerrymandering plays a role in Mississippi, and perhaps a lot of states. North Carolina and Wisconsin were recently held accountable for this. It’s not that it’s not there. It just depends on who’s looking for it. And I believe that gerrymandering is way more prevalent in our country than this supposed voter fraud debacle.