It is the late 70s. Mr. Miller’s World History course. The very first time I hear about global warming or face the fact that many people in this world lack clean drinking water. This was junior high, so I was about thirteen. Idealistically, I suggested transporting ice caps from the poles to the desert. He smiled and kindly pointed a few problems with that plan. But then he said something along the lines, ‘But we need more out of box thinking like that.’
More than four decades later and…
- A young woman was murdered while walking home alone – by a London Met police officer who had already been reported for exposing himself.
- A sixteen year old black young woman calls the police – they shoot her – dead. Then taunt the crowds with shouts of ‘blue lives matter.’ (Yes, I know the knife. But as the parent of an autistic person who has taken knives from drawers, that does not excuse the ‘trained’ ‘adults’ in this situation. There were hundreds of different ways that situation could have been de-escalated.)
- People are dying of a disease, especially those in poorer countries without access to vaccines.
- And that global warming that was just a theory back then – threatens a mass extinction of life on this planet.
It is so easy to say…
Yeah, but what can I do about any of that?
Honestly, that is the excuse which most of us use every single day. Sometimes followed by:
- I vote.
- I give to charity.
- I recycle.
- I’m not a racist.
But all of those are passive. They pass the buck to someone else. To the government. To charities. Even to god. It’s always someone else’s fault. The state of this planet and injustices in our societies get blamed on group think; ‘that’s just the way things have always been.’ Anything but assuming personal responsibility for the choices we make on a daily basis.
That is all a lie. A lie we are fed to keep us in line. To keep existing power structures in place. And our indoctrination begins early. Even if our parents didn’t ‘beat’ our creativity, passion, and compassion out of us, and many do, even then, the moment we step inside a school or church. Hell, sometimes just stepping outside of our homes, and those ‘rules’ intended to keep us in line begin to eat away at all those things and our very souls.
Yesterday, I went down a rabbit hole. I received a promotional email from one of those find old friends from high school sites. Usually, I just hit the delete button without even looking. But I don’t know why, this time I not only opened it, but accepted the cheap 3-month plan. Then I lost myself for a couple of hours down memory lane. And what I discovered shocked me, or maybe it didn’t…
Of all those people that I knew, that my autistic-ass ‘looked up to,’ wanted to fit in, and be liked by, almost all of them still live within 200 miles of our hometown. Many never left, even those ‘ambitious’ ones. But the ‘successful’ ones, who like me got out, many have returned to that very small minded place. Okay, I get it. Half of Sebida fits that bill, too. But if you look at those people’s profiles, their minds didn’t expand. They didn’t learn lessons of thinking outside the box, creativity, compassion, or acceptance. And their profiles exhibit a distinct lack of passion. Not just the ones that are married to the same person (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
I went upstairs then and talked as I do with Alan. I told him, ‘Now, I understand Trump.’ When you are fifty-five and have never really lived, you’re so dead inside you can’t even smell the shit. You just survive.
Don’t get me wrong. My life has not been a bed of roses, until recently, and even then, it’s more edible than pretty flowers. I have made mistakes. HUGE ones. I have lived hand-to-mouth, come close to eviction, had to go to food pantries, hell, I’ve even been homeless a couple of times. I have been in abusive relationships. And I’m sad to say, I have used people, as well as being used. My soul has been as black and blue as my body after a visit with my sea captain.
But those experiences are tough as some of them were, I don’t regret. Well, only a couple. They have made me the person I am. They have expanded my world-view. Helped me to beyond the lies and to unravel most of that indoctrination.
I’m sure that my profile will cause quite a stir. Here’s what I wrote:
How does a young girl from Drayton, SC end up in Swansea, Wales, UK? Three marriages, six children, 42 moves. Including stops in Baltimore, Houston, and Los Angeles, and few other places. Jobs from bank teller to exotic dancer to preacher’s wife to personal trainer to event planner/fundraiser and now homemaker, urban farmer, and writer. It’s been a life and I have few regrets. Though, looking at those yearbook photos I wish I could tell her to relax and enjoy the ride. She was not as ugly as she thought. Though my autism did make for some rough times trying to make friends when I didn’t understand the rules. I hope all of you have found the love, happiness, and fulfilment I have. Goddess bless.
Yeah, I’m sure loads of them will be ‘praying for my soul.’ But as I’m fond of saying, they can ‘kiss my lily-white trailer trash ass.’
But what the heck does any of that have to do with global problems? And why the heck do I think any of them are my problem?
Because I have not stood up. I have not spoken out. I have not confronted those injustice when I saw them.
I bought into that lie. What could one poor white woman do? I didn’t have money like Bill Gates. I didn’t have political power like Hillary Clinton. I wasn’t famous like Jane Fonda.
Oh, I did a bit. I gave, not just to charity, but to people in need. I probably gave more proportionally than Bill Gates has. Though when he dies, it almost all goes to charity. I always think, why the fuck you waiting to die? You have more than you can ever spend. Divest yourself of 90% now and you’ll still have more than most people. As for famous, well, if you’re reading this, then what little bit of ‘fame’ I do have is being well spent. And ya’ll know I don’t believe that politics every changes anything.
Yes, I pick up trash in our local park. Yes, I grow more than we can eat and share the rest with those in need. Yes, we regularly donate to the food pantry. Yes, I reduce, reuse, and recycle. I’ve even marched in more protests than many people.
But it’s not enough. The truth is…
It will never be enough.
No, that is not another of those excuses for not doing anything. It is a recognition that my life does count. That what I do every single day does matter. All those things that I do may not seem like much. All those stories I write may not make best-sellers lists. But that makes a difference. To someone, somewhere.
The lesson is that when enough of us are ‘turned on’ things will change. That’s how it’s always been. What I am saying to you is what I would say to myself and to those ‘friends’ from high school…
As long as you are breathing, do the right thing. Each day. Every day.
It’s not too late for them to start living and learning.
Or you, either. Hell, every day I learn a bit more and put those lessons into action. And every day, I do a bit better. When I was in ‘that’ church, there was a saying… ‘God ain’t done with me yet.’ I might not be in church or believe in some judgmental god, but I do believe that there is plenty of life, love, and good left in this ole’ girl.
So, go, get out there and…
So, today, this week, and for the rest of your life, accept that you can make a difference. That it is your obligation and privilege to speak out, shout, for those without a voice or those whose voices have been oppressed.
Goddess bless each of you,