Friday, February 29, 2008, 2:35 PM
This is not the dilemna that someone who chooses a career as a 'writer' generally expects. I'm no ascetic and don't disapprove of wealth, it's just that I've never been a Cinderella type of girl who ever planned on some dam prince, and even more ironically, I never thought I'd be particularly blessed with happiness or any kind or 'ever after'. My goal in life thus far has been to escape tedium, boredom, and mediocrity. But here I am. My fiance is a rich man.
I don't mean Walton family rich, but vastly richer than my brother-the-doctor rich. Rich enough that his money can make a difference in people's lives. Maybe even in history. And he is used to living with that kind of influence and I am not. I've been putting off even thinking of myself as someone with economic power. It's one thing to buy 30 printers for the media room of the foundation where I volunteer as a tutor for African American kids. That was fun. That was being some hipster Sants Claus. What is harder is seeing that this has changed their lives. It has changed the presentation of their homework. It has changed whether they get picked to be in the smart elite group for class projects. It has changed the parent/teacher conversations. And that's just one example.
What I don't like is that I've become a more valuable tutor than people who are better tutors and who volunteer more time. This seems wrong. And in so many other ways, gifts of money are more valued than gifts of time, even though it is far easier for me to give my fiance's money (hell, it isn't even my money) than for working women like my mom to give her time. It's not right. But it is real.
And so I'm starting to allow this into my sense of who I can be and what I can do. I've been campaigning for Obama with my fiance. We are especially campaigning in Latino and Asian communities. (My fiance is Latino; I am Asian, if you haven't noticed. We are both also biracial so it isn't always obvious.) We are also working with a foundation to create affordable renewable energy, mostly solar. It is exciting. It is not boring. But it is also really outside the box of being the powerless cynic I'm comfortable being. Oh well. Time for a change in many ways.
I'm posting here less as a result. If you are reading this and have any advice please comment. I don't mean about how to spend money. I have figured that out. About how to have a vastly different self image. And how to deal with people being so dam impressed with me, as if having a wealthy man in my life is some kind of effing accomplishment.
Sunday, February 3, 2008, 1:59 AM
The day that John Edwards resigned I was so sad that my chest ached. I liked his positions, his message, and the "son-of-a-mill-worker" mission. His speech from NO was really moving. A few days later, during the first Obama/Clinton debate, I saw something that made me admire him even more. Hill and Barack were falling all over themselves to convince the 15% of us who were Edwards Dems that they were the ones who would carry the Edwards message into the white house. They were the champion of the poor, the one least controlled by lobbyists, and even better, they both were grown ups that night. What I saw was that Edwards got his message across by personally getting out of the way. He wasn't the most compelling spokesperson. He wasn't in the right place at the right time. So he gave his message to those who could carry his torch.
It was also the first time I allowed myself to fully consider the impact of Obama. I haven't wanted to look at him. I am too much like him and I can't get around how much that unnerves me. We are both biracial. We both have a cut off from part of our heritage; he with his Kenyan father and African relatives. Me with my Irish mother's parents whom I've never met. I've actually seen them up close and they didn't even speak to me. I was 10.
And I wonder if what drives and compells me also drives and compells this sultry and alluring man. You just want to heal this battered woman of a country we call America. For biracials, you can't sink back into your personal history without splitting yourself in two. Without some paradox of self loathing.
Change We Can Believe In.
I want to believe it, and I'm afraid that if I let belief in and then wake up to find another old white warmeister in the white house, that it will be crushing. But what the hey. It's better to have a few months of hope than a whole lifetime of resignation.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 11:34 AM
The best writer on Bnet is st. claire. She posts almost exclusively on the Race issues forum, mostly on the thread "racist" makes white people crazy angry.
She is brillant in responding to both white supremists and white people who deny the existence of racism and White Privelege. With patience and persistence she points out the flaws in their logic without engaging in personal attacks.
I've wonderted lately whether or not its worth even posting here at all since the majority of threads are riddled with opinion void of fact or reasoning and harrassment of those who seek intelligent, respectful dialogue.
St. clare confirms for me the real power of words. Sometimes words get at the heart of the matter. Her words point to those places where ignorance, arrogance, and greed masquerade as equal opportunity and optimism.
Thursday, January 3, 2008, 12:06 PM
Isn't all of life really and essentially a rhythmic and erotic belly
dance of belonging to a story, a common event, a slice of sweet
immediate NOW? Only in the circle of my extended family do I ever
experience fully belonging to anything. Specifically, my Japanese
family. My uncles, aunts and cousins were all here this holiday season,
which takes a lot, since they live in New Zealand and Japan. Since I
never see myself in either the Japanese nor the white faces of my
relatives, I look for that deep pool of acceptance in the eyes. If that
is there, I can relax and be myself. My mother's eyes are the only blue
eyes that are deep enough for me to relax into.
And now they
are gone and I miss them. I started a scrapbook by placing a picture of
each person on a page and writing down what I know of them, and ways in
which I've grown by knowing them. Being a writer, each picture is only
5X7, and the 12"12" page is crammed with my journaling. I keep hearing
my aunt tell me to use empty space in design. Whereas my page of my
dad might say, "He walks like the dust of his coming and going swirls
into mysterious formulas that would reveal the secrets of quarks and
proteins, if we could only observe him carefully." Hers would say,
I guess my extended family is my empty space,
although I hadn't seen that until just now. They are there in what's
not there. What is here is my CAR!!!!! I got a 2008 Prius in Barcelona
red for Christmas from my fiance!!!!! He is such a devil. On Christmas
morning, everyone knew that there was a new Prius parked outside except
for me. So he gives me this box, beautifully wrapped, and inside is an
expensive but so not me coat. I tried to be diplomatic but really, it
was disgustingly ugly. I thought maybe I'd like it better on, so I put
it on, put my hands in the pockets which I always do, and there was
this funny button, which is the new keyless security system in a Prius.
The coat was strictly a joke.
Thursday, December 20, 2007, 11:13 AM
I've been happy lately. We took a trip to the land of snow! Stayed in a cross country ski cabin. Moonlight on snow creates this eerie and spectacular blue sparkle, a chilling beauty, and I think of creatures of all kinds snuggling in burrows as Mr. Right and I shake off our wet scarves and curl up in a quilt by the fireplace. And for this particular isolated evening, I become silly and carefree. I kiss him without the sadness that has lately clung like some invisible vine across the chest. And this is my new happy place.
Friday, December 7, 2007, 11:20 AM
I finished watching Roots last night while curled on the couch with
my fiance and his kids. The earlier episodes, showing the mindless
brutality of slavery, left an indelible impression. I willed myself to
watch the horrible scenes of whippings. When they could no longer bear
to hear the screams, those responsible went deaf. The screams and the
agony and the pathos are not in our history books, not the ones that
tell history as white people saw it. As LeVar Burton said in the
commentary, Roots was the first mass marketed history of US slavery as
African Americans saw it.
The last episode had two scenes that
really captured my cognizance. One is where Tom is left alone with the
white man who has whipped him. Tom ties him to a tree. Asks him how it
feels. Ignores his pleas. Takes the whip. Swings it. Lets it crack on
the ground by the man's feet. Does not physically harm him, but lets
him know what it feels like. Lets his imagination be the karmic
payback. Tom's wife rushes to him, tells him she is so proud of him.
like that because forgiveness has historically been wrapped in the arms
of forgetfullness. They are drinking buddies. Go numb, forget. No more
problem. Then if someone brings up the problem, you freak on them for
ruining your forgetfulness (but that is a whole other story).
Tom does not forget, does not walk away and let the white man forget. He forces the white man into a state of empathy.
He cracks open the man's deafness. Then he walks away. Which says "I am
your moral superior because I will not take revenge.'
In the end,
the family stands on land they now own, and they fall to the ground
with hands stretched to heaven, and they tell Kunte Kinte, the African
ancestor who was captured by slavers 3 generations back...they tell
Kunte Kinte that he is now free. And the ground that was blackened by
blood is polished to a radiant ebony by the knees of prayer.
Monday, November 26, 2007, 10:22 AM
There was incredible gratitude shown at our Thanksgiving table this year. My beautiful man and his kids joined twelve of us. Our gratitude circle, where we hold hands and thank God for the new things in our lives this year, lasted 2 hours. Then we ate like beauty queens who'd just discovered bulimia. But afterwards, around a candlelit livingroom, Dad told us some of our family history. It was really shocking. I am glad that I know but I am struggling to comprehend why such suffering and
unjust pain exists. There must be a point to it all!
My grandfather was in an interment camp during WWII. He
watched his father get shot and his mother get raped. He died a very
broken, mentally tormented man.
My mom won't talk about her childhood, but judging from my aunts (her
sisters) it couldn't have been pretty. My aunts are raving loons.
Somehow my parents found each other and managed to create a fairly
decent life for us 4 kids. But I feel like I am carrying my grandfather
on my back sometimes. I need to create a safe, racism-free,
compassionate, and sane world before I can safely set him down.
Friday, November 16, 2007, 8:33 AM
An email I got this morning started me thinking about how I, a former love cynic, with a PHD in Kick Him to the Curb, am now so deep in the sea of love that I don't know how I ever lived without him. This woman wrote that she had a love like mine, an older dood with that right combination of gentle and rough that makes all women lose our minds, and she married him and then 2 years later he died. And my heart just clutched when I read this. OMG! Because for me it's been about 'do I want him?' and then "I do! I do!' and I hadn't considered the remote possibility that someday I could lose him.
You know who had it right about love? The Sufi mystic poets, Rumi and Hafiz. They warned me that love was going to put me through changes.
Love comes with a knife,
not some shy question,
and not with fears
for its reputation!
Love is a madman, working his wild schemes, tearing off his
running through the mountains, drinking poison,
and now quietly choosing annihilation.
is grabbing hold of the Great Lion's mane
And wrestling and rolling deep into Existence
While the Beloved gets rough
begins to maul you alive.
True Love, my dear,
Is putting an ironclad grip upon
The soft, swollen balls
a Divine Rogue Elephant
Not having the good fortune to Die!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007, 11:10 AM
I'm thinking about parents and children and the legacy that they either wreak upon you or bless you with, depending on who they are and how old you are. (When I was 16, there appeared to be more wreaking than blessing).
Until last year, I practically had that Larkin poem as my mantra:
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.
My parents were these sort of cultural creatives who have spent
their lives saving the world and being the change you want to see in the
world and all that. I was the only kid who had to collect for Unicef when
I went trick-or-treating. I went to peace rallies when my
friend's parents took them bowling or boating. So what's weird is that I've
been running into friends from high school a lot lately.
They think my parents are kewl. They want to come over and
visit MY PARENTS. So I guess going bowling isn't all that
I imagined it would be.
Thursday, October 25, 2007, 12:28 PM
= passion, creativity, sexuality, and paradoxically, destruction as well. I'm thinking of this in regards to the California fires. It seems that we've used our creative powers to build more houses and bigger cars. And why? Because we've used our sexual powers to create more humans! We have 6.5 billion people, which is over 3.5 times the size of the Earth's population at the beginning of the 20th century and roughly double its size in 1960."
Fires are inarguably part of Mother Nature's
recycling program. But the mega-fires, like the California fire, are
caused by the footprint of humans. Global warming is the #1 reason for the increase in megafires. (Christian Science Monitor)
The cycle of drought and high temperatures
that increase with global warming have made natural fires abnormally
intense and destructive.
So... we make more humans, and more houses and cars for all of us, and one result is that we've unleashed far greater destructive forces.
So I'm thinking that we really need to get it together here, as in, accept that we live in a web of life that demands balance. We've got to stop making such short sighted, impulsive, and individual choices. It is spiritual law, environmental law, and physical law that we are all connected, all part of each other, and to the planet on which we live.
Living as if "we are all one" doesn't mean being stiflingly polite and that's it. We are all one means we all survive together or not at all.
Can we use our fire
effectively? Can we really create a world that works for everyone? Or will we literally burn in a Hell of our own making? Wow, that's a little creepy, even for me. But hey! It's almost Halloween, so creepy is seasonally correct.