I am an Optimist. It’s the role I chose for myself even before birth, and I do my best to maintain that balanced level of keeping positive and keeping it real. Sometimes it’s difficult because this Optimist also owns a temper. When I was younger, childless and without the wisdom I have now, I often didn’t care; I let it go, let that temper fly and soar and strike hard, instant annihilation of a target. In the aftermath, rarely did I feel remorse as feelings are raw and true and one can’t take back the truth. One can try to hide it, act like they don’t see it, but the truth is always there.
Then as I aged, became a mother (four times over), I was blessed with new wisdom, new understanding, more experience, and – probably most amazing – gifted with something I hadn’t had before: Patience. Not a lot of it, let’s be real, but for me to have any is a big improvement. I am a much better person now than I was; I have evolved, and continue to evolve and work hard to transcend. I’ll never understand those people who say they wish they were younger. I am so very glad that I am not; that those rough years are in my rearview mirror. (It is not easy being Indigo.)
As I work towards the goals I set for myself, I try not to be negative, certainly not to keep things that hold negative energy around, especially thoughts, views. However, I may be Indigo, but my skin is Brown, and as such, certain negative aspects of life find me. It isn’t at all difficult as I live in a small and beautiful town that is Montana’s center, and have for nearly a decade. I’ve lived in the state for 20 years. And in that 20 years, I learned to juggle.
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
Or maybe I should say “gamble” because when weighing dealing with race issues and the color of my skin against maintaining some semblance of peace and anonymity for my children, I always have to revisit the roots my father planted when I was a little girl dancing the 2-step with her Dad by standing on his feet.
This time, I took a gamble on Facebook. Yesterday morning, after reading about the extreme and blatant race-skewed sentences given for rapists with equal proof but not equal skin, I wrote the following and posted it to my Facebook page:
You know… Sometimes the pain is too excruciating to bear when my desire to put forth nothing but Positive Energy out into the Universe clashes with my equally strong desire to check and school impossibly stupid people about being Brown in Lewistown.
The passive-aggressive bullshit is what really gets me: What are the odds of working someplace in this town with openly racist people? I mean, I get the “keep your enemies close” concept, but really? That’s acceptable? Talk about the potential for a hostile work environment.
Or, one of my favorites: Giving kids the day off from school on MLK Day but rationalizing it by calling it an instructional “PIR” day.
I’ll delete this post once I’ve calmed down (again) as it decidedly not my most positive energizing effort and I am a believer that one gets back from the Universe what one puts out, and because I generally feel the need to remain chill for the sake of my children.
This is why I take in news in small doses… And hearing about the prison sentence given to Corey Batey compared to the mockery of a sentence given to his fellow douchebag rapist, Brock Turner (and yes, I am sneering right now) just set me off.
And no, I don’t feel that Batey should have a lesser sentence. I have children; if anyone messed with my kids, I’d string them up in my basement and make Hannibal look like a Teletubby. And I have a special hate-on for rapists. That said, it is fucked Turner isn’t facing the same time for his crime. See how his tender little self would like it.
Equality, people. Why is this so difficult?
I was hoping it would open up dialogue in my community. Yes, I only am friends with people I actually know in real life on Facebook and therefore you’d think would be preaching to the choir, but I wanted to hear what that choir had to say about my post. I even admitted that I’d be deleting that post from my page later because I don’t like keeping “negative” stuff up on the internet, out in the Universe.
Only one friend – a woman who used to live in my town but moved to one of Montana’s larger “cities” years ago – commented in a positive way. Zero likes. No choir, but a soloist. One brave white girl, and bless her heart, for I did appreciate her willingness to put herself out there with me. Yet after I deleted that post, and then added one thanking her? Five people “liked” that one. WTF?
It saddened me. Deeply saddened me to see just how much people in my town do not like disrupting the status quo. Saddened, but not surprised. Saddened on multiple levels of my being. I won’t ever forget what one so-called “friend” said to me:
“I’m a white man. I don’t see how my speaking about it would help you.”
My mind stutters over that to this day, for that would have been exactly why it would have helped me, not to mention his own not quite white children.
And I just loved hearing of how another white man in this town – a supposedly devout Christian Catholic – tried to deny me, a biracial woman of color, that I even knew what discrimination was. According to him, he was a professional “equal opportunity” discerner for his federal office and therefore he was capable of determining what was discrimination against Blacks and people of color and what was not. And according to him, I was just being overly sensitive.
People in this town, in this state, in this Nation, seem to think that because they agree with something, they don’t need to speak out and voice that agreement or otherwise reflect or shot it. And that’s a damn shame because I know that there are so many good people of all colors in my community that do agree with me, whom are my friends because they recognize my Awesome, and not because they want to claim me as their “Token”. And for those fellows of my community who keep their mouths shut for fear of retribution (whether they’re Muslim, Mexican, Jewish, Black, Asian, or other) I understand why. Please recognize though… Unlike some of you, while I can pick and choose which battles I’m going to fight – and I often do for I think of how it may or may not affect my children first – I cannot pick and choose the color of my skin. I can wear a shirt that says “#BlackLivesMatter❤️” and take that off at the end of the day… the next, wear a shirt that says “#AllLoveNoHate?” and take that off at the end of the day… the next, wear a shirt that says “#JustBreathe – Clean Air=Clean World?” and take that off at the end of the day… But my visibly Brown skin is 24/7. There is no “end of the day”.
And sometimes… I get tired.
My Facebook post (above, no longer on Facebook) represented one of those tired times. I’d hoped to get an emotional boost by seeing some form of visible support. But I didn’t. Save for one.
I hold hope for this town, because I have to: Anything else is unacceptable to me. I live here. I raise my kids here. I work here. I have friends here. I support local businesses here: My money – while sometimes stretchy – is just as green as everyone else’s here. This is an absolutely beautiful place to live and raise my children and I recognize just how lucky I am.
To my Peeps here, especially those of my own generation (because we are the Most Excellent of all generations)… Silence may be Golden, but it can also be deadly. Please, don’t be afraid to speak your mind, share your thoughts for positive change with our community by writing in to our local newspaper. It needs your voice. And there are those of us who would greatly enjoy feeling your support, self included. ?
I hit a wall, I thought that I would hurt myself
Oh I was sure, your words would leave me unconscious
And on the floor I’d be lying cold, lifeless
But I hit a wall, I hit ’em all, watch the fall.
You’re just another brick and I’m a sledgehammer