AS

Too Much

Beloved,

These are awful times. Pandemics of biological, ideological, and political origins. Strange things are happening. I hope some of them will be for the best.

What is wrong with Wisconsin? I used to think of Wisconsin in very positive terms, even thought of moving back there…no more. My memories of my best friend girl, of Willem (who will always be Billy to me), of Larry U and the music, of the pig and dairy farms, of brats roasted in the ground, of theatre class, horseback riding. So many good memories. Wisconsin’s state motto is Forward. Why have they become so backward?

My precious son said to me last night that I should write my memoirs because I have lived an odd life for a Black woman in America. I’ve never been one to talk about myself. No need for a key light. Had enough attention when I was youngster with a hard body that dirty old men lusted after. People often wondered why I wore my hair short and sported oversized clothes. Silly women who wanted me to conform to the look of the day would call me son as if that would make me change the way of looking I chose for my own protection. It isn’t a good feeling to have Sheriffs cruising you as you walk home from elementary school.

My mother was a remarkable woman. Not one of the silly. Working-class, conservative in the way of Protestants, a Texan, a praying warrior. Daughter of an itinerant preacher and a very young mother, she was orphaned and raised with her brother by a maiden aunt who seemed to have had a cruel streak. Nevertheless, she did not let my mom and her brother go to an orphanage. We took care of our own, even if that care was not always the best.

Fortunately, Mom had a fighting spirit. She got out of Texas by dint of hard work. She was educated in the deep South in the 1930s and ’40s. She could read and cipher better than many of today’s so-called graduates. She was educated by Black teachers who cared about her success. They knew the road would be long and hard and they wanted their students prepared as best they could be for the struggle that was and continues to be Black life. Mom passed the love of learning to me. She encouraged my tendency to stick my nose in a book. She taught me how to use my hands to craft things, garden, take care of myself and my surroundings. She taught me to question everything. She raised me to be self-reliant. She did not pass on the abuse from which she suffered and escaped as soon as she could. Always kind and patient, she was the best friend anyone could ask for.

Mom grew up post-Depression. She knew how to save a dollar. She didn’t believe in frivolity, but she knew how to have fun. We would make our fun, dancing, listening to music, cooking, growing collard greens and flowers. Just the two of us. I learned a lot from Mom, but I never learned to like cornbread and buttermilk. That is one of those country meals you ate when there wasn’t much else. It was filling and seemed to have plenty of nutritional value. I much preferred biscuits (homemade) and syrup, you know, sopping!

I learned to live simply from my Mom, so what I’m living in today is disturbing. All this greed and self-centeredness. People who haven’t a clue of who they are because they can’t take the time to look within. Everything is externalized. All this need for representation and validation from sources that could care less about any of us. If I had grown up with these needs, I likely would not have grown up at all. No one represented Black folks except Black folks back in the day. Always separate. We had our own films, our own music, our own everything. We were linked by our exclusion. We were much closer to one another then. We were togehter in the struggle.

We are coming together again, but we are still divided. The class divide is greater. Many of the working-class have no love for the Black elite and the feeling is mutual. No matter my level of education, I have always identified with the working-class, the proles. Sorority sisters irk me. Frat bros are sickening. I digress.

There’s a march on Washington today. The message is vote. The message is make demands. I’m down with all that, but I think much more will be required to make a change in this peculiar time through which we are living.

Peace, Beloved.

AS · Bad Faith · Community · Health and wellness · observations · social observation · trauma

What is Wrong with US?

Are we really all racists? Are we all irresponsible? Are we all trying to die? From opioids to laundry pods, are we really this stupid?

I can’t watch the news unless it comes from someplace outside of America. I am sick of being exposed, on the daily, to the lies, misdirection, and hatred coming from the top. I don’t want to see that ugly man’s face, but it is plastered everywhere. I can’t use social media because he is everywhere there. He gets way too much publicity. Is this all a ratings race? Who is winning because it certainly is not the public, who is exposed to “information” we cannot trust the truth of, nor can we believe.

An orange ass, who has done nothing in his life but lie and cheat, has no right to be in office. He has no right to expose me to his ignorance.

Is money the only thing that matters in this country? Being stupid certainly seems to be the movida of the hour. Eating laundry pods? How are people being raised nowadays? Where is the sense?

My son tells me that people now have pet children. They have a child, children, but fail to parent them. Single mothers look for mates, children in tow, rather than parenting the children presently in the world. Children have smartphones and tablets to babysit them before they can talk. No wonder they are sexting at age 8. What happened to childhood? What happened to responsible parenting?

The airways are full of the lowest of the low in terms of showing us what behavior is extant. Incest, hatred, murder, bigotry, jealousy. Every day we are exposed to the most negative, loathesome, debilitating, demoralizing behavior. Is this what we are expected to become? I have never seen upright behavior spurred by constant exposure to nastiness.

Like the little dog I saw in my twitter feed. He’d been abused all his life and cried when touched gently. It took a handler a while to calm the poor animal, but she broke through by showing patience, gentleness, kindness. Eventually the wee beastie stopped crying, relaxed and was able to begin responding in kind. It didn’t take long, but exposure to something other than the abuse he’d experienced was required for him to make a change.

I suspect our media is attempting to turn us all into mindless drones. Thoughtless, without empathy, stupid. I don’t like thinking this way, but I am continuously shown this behavior, encounter this behavior in the world, where I know I cannot trust anyone’s word, where I expect the worst and always receive it.

I wasn’t always like this. I was once an optimist. My son says I still live in fantasyland because I want to believe in people. It is getting more difficult to stay in fantasyland, though. I have been robbed, cheated, lied to more often in the past two years than at any time in my life. Confronted with the unending hubris of humankind, I am stunned by how far we seem to have fallen in the US.

Completely distressed.