This week has been a challenging one for me. Social media and the news have not been pleasant.
Small towns is Texas are not the only one with racism, sexism, and crooked cops.
As someone who lived in Texas for twelve years, and Sebida for four, as well as Los Angeles, and the UK for fifteen, I have seen some shit. And yes, much of it comes out in my writing.
But I lived in Sebida a quarter of a century ago. And it was small town Texas.
I think our mind balks sometimes when it is confronted with lack of progress. And that has been me this week.
Because in London, England, a metropolitan city of over nine million people, in 2021…
- Someone, and it does not even matter that they are royal, asks an expectant first time father ‘how dark’ his unborn baby maybe?
- An intelligent, strong, and independent woman is forced to surrender her keys, wallet, and passport to her in-laws?
- And yes, a young woman was murdered by a corrupt cop. To make that one worse, he had been investigated for indecent exposure? And victim blaming is pointing a finger at her for walking alone after dark?
So, no, folks, evil does not reside in Sebida, Texas alone.
I make no bones about the fact that growing up in the South in the seventies, my family was racist. The last time I visited them over a decade ago, they still are. I could not wait to become an adult and escape that little mill village. And those small minds.
I spent my late teens and early twenties drifting. Cancun, Mexico. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Baltimore, Maryland. In my early twenties, I married my first husband and started a family. My first husband was what my family called a Yankee, college-edu-me-cated fool. But I adored his stoic, lesbian mother, despite her flaws. I wasn’t so sure of his father and baby sister who looked down their noses at me.
Within three years, my intellectual, upper-middle class husband had betrayed me. He found Jesus. And checked the brain that had first drawn me to him, at the door of the church. But I grew up listening to…
We landed in Texas somehow. And for twelve years, I tried my best to make it work ‘for the kids.’ As my odler daughter told me, that was the worst thing to do.
I left Texas after my divorce from the preacher to immigrate to the utopia of LA. Watching the television series LA Law as a youth, I always imagined it as this progressive, hippie mecca where everyone was accepted for who and what they were.
I was wrong. Racism followed me to the city of angels, or more accurately awaited me there as well. Los Angeles is in many ways more racially volatile than Sebida.
When I first visited London to meet my ex’s family, I thought I had found it. A place where the color of your skin did not matter. My ex and I could hold hands on the Tube and no one even looked at us.
But race here is much, more complicated than that. It is tied up with another -ism, one that does not have the same cliche in America – class. The two are so entwined that unless you are upper-middle class or higher it is almost impossible to unwind them.
My bubble popped six months after I moved here. I was taking a class, one that was incredibly diverse. During lunch, my mixed-race infant and I approached a clique of what is called Yummy-Mummy’s here – upper-middle class and white. I asked if we could sit with them. One chair had only a bag in it. I was told, ‘sorry, our table’s full.’
As a multiply-neurodivergent person who was the brunt of bullies throughout school, approaching anyone is challenging for me. I walked away, fighting back tears, and sat alone with my child.
Then I noticed another mother from the class across the room, also the mother of a mixed-race child. Had she too been rejected by the ‘in-group’? Or did she know better than to even try? Let me be clear. Both that woman and I were educated professionals on par with these others. So, why were they unwilling to a move a purse?
I have experienced other class/race-based prejudices over the years. But what makes racism almost impossible to deal with in the UK is denial.
Americans know they have a racism problem. They may not agree on how to address it. But no one denies it’s existence.
If I had the audacity to confront those women, they would have turned the tables on me. I was being ‘too sensitive.’ Americans see race everywhere. Don’t be ridiculous. You see that same denial of culpability in the off-handed way that Prince William denied that the royals are racist.
And I have not even gotten to sexism issue and victim blaming.
After over half-a-century on this planet, I get frustrated at how little progress we have really made about some of the most pressing issues of our times. It is hard not to.
But I am still an optimist. I believe that humanity can do better. That we can leave this world a better place for our children and grandchildren. And I hope that I never lose that.
I am also a realist. I won’t live to see the world I dream of.
#ReconciliationTX, Agartha, and Regenesis are my mountaintops.
They are the world that I believe we can build.
On person at a time.
One family at a time.
One community at a time.
Even in those fictional stories, there is still ‘evil,’ hate, -isms, and -phobias. Honestly, there probably will always be.
The difference is…
Those things don’t have to control us. Don’t have to rule our societies.
We have the power within ourselves to be better, to do better. And that begins with the person in the mirror. The only one that you can truly change. That you can control.
So, if that was not enough ‘preaching’ (I was after all once a preacher’s wife), then I invite you to join me Sunday morning at Sebida Methodist Church.
Yes, I know that I have only been posting #TroubleTexasStyle Monday to Friday, but this weekend, well it seemed only right somehow. So let me introduce you to…
Mercy, Laura, and Stacey are trying to packed that little wooden church. So please join them…
And no, this ain’t turning religious. Remember we have Grandfather with his indigenous beliefs, Celestine with her New Age, and Brent, whose only gods are science, rope/cuffs, trust, and family.
It does not take religion to make us better people. And being religious does not guarantee we are. As I have said often, I always found better friends in clubs than church.
I am excited. That mountaintop is in sight. Or at least the end of #TroubleTexasStyle and the beginning of #ReconciliationTX.
Goddess (or whoever/whatever you believe) bless and keep you all,