I’ve been listening to a podcast where a white woman and a black woman are taking the Outlander series apart and it is so damn funny. For instance, Claire being upset that Jocasta had slaves from the jump like she didn’t even know she was walking right into it. Like, no money to her name, no place to stay, still morally outraged. Now I know that Claire and I are the same person.
I feel like the web is the great equalizer. That there’s just as much chance that Oprah is reading as my best friend from third grade. I can go big with my ideas because I don’t have the power to implement them, but someone does. And someone who knows someone and back down to me. I don’t charge for my ideas because if they’re on this web site, I already know that it’s possible someone will just copy and paste and it’s fine. I don’t care about you. I care about top executives, intelligence officers, military personnel, lawyers, doctors, etc. If something I said rings true with them, that’s a chance to change the world.
The truth is that I have no idea what sticks and what doesn’t. I don’t know when I’ve written something profound until long after I’ve done it. For instance, my marriage article started out as a Facebook post and maybe 700 people read it. Once it transferred to my blog, it was……… more than that.
What if I said something in that article that actually affects the way the people who shared it act? Margaret Cho and Martina Navratilova both put me on their Twitter feeds, both people with huge platforms. A blog is the great equalizer because change happens when you’re doing something else. And whether that change happened to my next door neighbor or Barack Obama, it means something to me. It’s just that if I’ve meant something to someone with a bigger platform, it translates tangibly because I’m not powerful. He is.
I’m a songwriter looking for the right voice to amplify it, functionally speaking. I think the reason the marriage article appealed to people is that I actually took the cover off my life and let people see the real me. It wasn’t an advice column. It was what I’d lived… that I wasn’t speaking to people from a place of power.
That attitude continues today. It’s a noble effort at which I often fail because sometimes I lose sight at loving the whole world at once. Going back to brass tacks, loving myself, being selfish and impossible and human until I can get over whatever it is that’s currently making my asshole chew crackers.
I think it’s how most people operate, they just don’t write that down. They especially don’t write how it feels in every stage, so that you can see cognitive dissonance the way it’s meant to be seen. I do not have a 2D opinion of anything or anyone. That’s why I hate people’s actions and not them. I would never mistake the part for the whole.
My little brain gremlins will tell me all day long how incapable I am, and then either a friend will tell me something I’ve written resonated with them, or an author will. It means so much, personally and professionally. I know I can’t do right by everyone all the time because I never have enough information. People are so much more complicated than I’ll ever make them out to be, even though I already know that for adults, the reason why someone does anything is dependent on a bazillion factors. There’s no way to predict what’s in someone else’s head and where it came from without constant contact; being absolutely honest is key, because when my mind runs heuristics, I need them to be accurate. I am not constantly trying to predict someone’s behavior, but constantly trying to figure out what will resolve a conflict.
I work on probabilities in terms of what happened with my last interaction with you, and the way I’ve seen you treat others. It tells me how much I need to protect myself, because the more your words and actions line up, the more I know I’m safe. It is a series of questions all minorities face because they need to know if they need to be The Acceptable Minority or not. I am very, very good at code switching from having lived everywhere from NE Texas to Portland, OR.
I believe the black community came up with “code switching,” but it’s also the perfect name for “the pronoun game,” where you try to say “they” until you slip up and say “her” (in my case). It’s the perfect name for hiding all the things that make you culturally queer so that “no one can tell you’re gay.” We don’t much care around people who are already vetted. We care about strangers on the street. It could be deadly.
And, of course, I am not speaking as a young person here. I saw some shit.
Luckily, the culture has grown past that in some ways, and in others has just found other people to hate because it’s not as interesting to hate gay people anymore. Trans people are in the spotlight, because the culture doesn’t understand gender any better than it understood sexual orientation, religion, or race.
This gets harder when people want to elect a reality star with no experience over a war vet who speaks six languages and plays the piano. If that doesn’t prove my point, they didn’t elect anyone that smart in the primary of the party, either…. on both sides. We in the United States have lost our thirst for being smart. Everything needs to be short soundbites when there are none to be had.
I am just one person, and I can’t even do that about myself. I can’t give you a soundbite, which is why I’m horrible at Twitter. Sometimes I Tweet just for the exercise of seeing if I can fit a complete thought into the character limit and my Mark Twain starts showing….. I can’t make it shorter. I don’t have that kind of time.
I don’t have that kind of time is a recurring theme in my life because my mother died so young. I have to remind myself that my grandfather is 92 and doing fine, repeatedly. I also have mental health issues that are every bit as serious as diabetes, and I have to constantly monitor it in a way that’s exhausting. I have to think about what I think, then separate myself and treat myself like a patient. What behaviors do I actually mean, and what behaviors are a symptom or a trauma reflex?
The thing I monitor more than anything is people’s reactions to me. It’s not just their words, it’s the energy around them. It’s the subtext and the body language and the way we move around each other… whether or not touching would seem offensive, whether you’re turned off or on by what I’m saying, and calling it early when I sense you’re bored. I also don’t like when people talk to the point that I never have an opening to say anything, because at first I want to be gracious and then I become impatient. It just takes a very, very long time…. to the point that only the most self absorbed person in the world wouldn’t notice that I had only said my name so far. In fact, I am overly sensitive about talking too much and will often feel slighted and just let it roll, because I am so much more comfortable about letting someone else ramble on than thanking I am.
Except here. It’s the one place I know I’m not rambling too much because you picked to hear it. Whether it’s five of you or fifty million, you chose to be here and forget about your own life for a hot second.
I am currently waiting on a thunderstorm, windows open so that I can smell it rolling in. Petrichor is my favorite scent, and I’m not sure you could bottle it…. though if capturing it were possible, I’d bet on Jelly Belly.
The smell of the air when the clouds are so full that they’re going to explode imminently is a whole mood. There’s lighting in it. So much possibility and yet, I have to do ordinary things. I have to wash my clothes, make my lunch, and decide what I’m going to do when I can’t do anything else. I mean, I could go somewhere, but why? I have several good books in the works whether I’m reading or writing… right now I identify with the phrase “writing is like reading except the book is trying to kill you.” It just seems like a better plan to stay home than to walk to the bus stop in a gullywasher.
I would like to get margarine, but I think I’m just going to sub coconut oil for the roux… thinking out loud about lunch, macaroni and cheese with some sort of mind altering hot sauce. I’ve tried all the lesser brands, it may be time for one drop of Da Bomb. Bryn got me a bottle when I first moved here seven years ago and it’s still full. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I just just add the amount on the end of a toothpick and that makes the entire dish hotter than the other six sauces I have combined. If you’re going to do it, I wouldn’t recommend wings, because Da Bomb appears there (on Hot Ones, I mean). That’s because you’ll get it on your lips and that will be painful for WAY longer that you’ll want it to be. The fat in the cheese can support the heat of the sauce and you can eat it with a fork. This is my commercial for all of those sauces. If they’re meant to break your brain, but you actually like the flavor, add sugar or fat or both.
As good as Latinx sauces and spice mixes are, when I’m really going big or going home, I like Carribean. Nothing better than a hot sauce flavored with pineapple, or fresh chopped in a habanero mango salsa. I need heat as much as I need my mood stabilizer to function- it’s controlling my congestion with food and not Sudafed.
Somehow the rest of it got cut off…….. I have no idea what I’m saying. I apparently need to eat.