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I’ve noticed a few folks talk about how the “little bit” racist things have been weighing on them over time.
I thought that maybe I’d not been experiencing it as much. But I’m definitely noticing it more now these days and am recognizing these experiences in the past. Wow. It has been an enlightening experience. I’m remembering all those times I’ve felt uncomfortable with interactions with folks, the times I felt put off—and I blamed myself for having those feelings. Yes, I’m a bit obssessive-compulsive, but that doesn’t mean that what I’m experiencing is okay.
I have been one of the most conflict avoidant folks. I dislike the presence of bad feelings between folks. I’m the peacekeeper, the negotiator. This is not without its toll. I didn’t share my true feelings because I didn’t want to hurt other people, even if I was hurting inside. I wonder what kind of programming I had to prioritize the wellbeing of white people over my own. I guess I don’t really need to guess. The answer is bound to be white supremacy (with a big helping of white fragility).
I’m seriously in need of a decolonization of self.
The rage I feel.
Time after time, Black people are being killed by the police. People make excuses for them. Now, when folks are justifyably angry, the president of the United States is threatening to kill Black people for protesting about the killing of Black people. He’s not failing to read the room (as if this kind of thread would ever be appropriate). He’s letting his racist roots show—once again.
This is so unreal. Or at least, not something I expected to see after years of progress. So many have put their lives on the line to fight for justice, for equity. And we’re doing this in the middle of a global pandemic! What is wrong with this country? Why is the government so unsafe for people of color? I remember when my family watched the TV show COPS as a kid. My mom would always squirm with discomfort when the police were taking someone down. I recall her saying that they were swarming like ants. A tactic that overwhelms the prey.
The “nice” or easy thing to do would be to keep our heads down so we’re not next. “If I don’t do anything to upset anyone, I’ll be fine.” Maybe that works for a bit, but through a simple misunderstanding or thoughtless action, you could be the next target. Constantly living in fear of doing the wrong thing is not sustainable living in a society that values freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Yes, don’t be mean to other people, but fearing that saying or doing the wrong thing could cost you your life? That is not right.
I’ve personally been spared a lot of state violence, but I’ve certainly had my fill of interpersonal conflic due to discrimination. But sometimes structural discrimination is difficult to identify at the individual level. We need to move back to get the bigger picture. What would my life be like if I weren’t afraid of being somewhere I shouldn’t be. What if I wasn’t afriad of taking a spontaneous action that might have someone think ill of me? Who will I be when I feel brave and confident in being equally valued as a human being in this society?
But, that can’t happen until we remove racist institutions. When our value is not based on our net worth. When our potential is not determined by our privileges of circumstance.*sighs*
We shall see.
This unprecendented time has brought out a new renaissance in my creative endeavours. Just yesterday I did a faux TikTok video that kind of expressed my feelings around lack of touch. I poured a good few hours into it and the result is entirely rediculous. I’ve been noticing over the last few days how I’ve heavily focused on nostalgia of years past—my obsession with all things Apple and Macintosh, revisiting old forums I used to frequent (or at least the ones that still exist). I have really come into my second isolation period.
In this time, I’m finding myself focusing on video once more. Looking back to my first Mac app (it was AppleScript-based) and getting it working again (why did Apple have to drop XIB for NIB?). Drawing and live streaming are also big focuses for me now. I had a long stint at sewing for masks (that world pandemic thing was still happening—even now) which gave me an opportunity to improve my sewing skills.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I think I do a lot better when I’m not constantly negotiating people and their drama (not that them having drama is a bad thing, but being more empathic, it makes it much harder to focus on myself). That sounds a little selfish, but I do need to take care of myself sometimes. It really helps me in the long run with my relations with others.
I’ve started playing some video games again—by myself. I don't usually play much on my own, but with the right games, I can enjoy them (I guess). I’m currently playing Donut County. It’s a light puzzle game that is not high pressure—I like that. I also preordered Paper Mario: The Origami King because I loved the first Paper Mario game which is the only one I’ve ever played (I didn’t get to play the sequel).
I wonder if feeling more connected to myself have anything to do with feeling judged when being around other people. Feeling self-conscious doesn’t do much for self-esteem I would imagine. Last year while on my most epic road trip, I’d come to the realization that I wanted to live alone again. I also decided that I really wanted to do more travel on the road. The moments of solitude then are echoing a bit in my experience now (but less outside adventure which kinda sucks).
Even with all that we’re going through together, the fact that we need to come together more than ever to save ourselves and our existence, people are returning to old ways of existing (meaning being racist and violent). I suppose it was not a realistic hope. I mean, this shutdown has been impacting the most marginalized folks the hardest. That’s not right. We should be more connected in our understanding of fellow folks…because we’re more connected than we might think.
I haven’t touched another being for nearly two months. I miss touch. Sometimes I touch myself or imagine others touching me. Us humans are social creatures, and for most of us, touch is very important. When people ask me how I’m doing, my response is often, “I miss touching people.”
Living in this unprecedented time of a pandemic that has scarcely left any country untouched, the United States has been a perfect storm* of disaster* (*CW: adult language). Following the election in 2016, the dismantling of government programs and regulations, the ineptitude of leaders. We beat SARS. MERS, well I’m not sure about that one. I fear that COVID-19 will be around indefinitely because we couldn't get our collective selves together to knock this out.
So many folks are losing their lives, dying alone…and instead of us all coming together by staying apart, folks are clamoring to ease restrictions on gatherings and economic activity. Why? Because people can’t survive on what they’ve been paid in the past and what the government is (or in too many cases) isn’t paying them. We don’t need an economy to feed people. By my best understanding, the reason we have money is to make sure that some people don’t take more than they need without giving anything in return. But wait. I think we do have that problem. The capitalists who are taking in a lot more money than they’re giving out seem to be taking up more than their fair share. If only there were a way of redistributing that wealth to folks who aren’t able to get enough to survive or have a decent life.
I haven’t spoken to you about one of my greatest joys in entertainment: Steven Universe. I first started watching this show while recovering from surgery. Being on drugs, it was a delightful experience. But after the drugs wore off, I was still raptured by this world.
The mystery, the sheer joy, the themes of love and abuse are all too real for to ignore this show as just another children’s cartoon. The epilogue series not only dove deeper into those themes, but brought closure for fans who’d felt the tremendous impact of the presence of this show on their lives. I’ve done quite a bit of processing with this show being the prompt.
Not only is the story compelling, but I find the music so incredibly beautiful and moving. The art too is such a treat for view as the story unfolds. This show is magical (both in content and in reality). I never thought I could feel this deeply about something as an adult. It’s amazing. Go watch it if you haven’t already.
Three days ago, I went to my first funeral ever. I've only ever been to memorial services in the past. This was a very different experience. Having a body present was a bit unnerving for me. I've been so sheltered from it that I really don't know how to handle it. I have no desire to see bodies. When I pass, I wish my body to cease to exist. When my bunny died several years back, I had him cremated. I did not collect his ashes. Personally, I'm not afraid of dying, but I do fear the evidence of death.
My first funeral ever was for a dog. We knew each other and had lived together at one point. Since we hadn't lived together for a while, what words do you say? I was saddened by their passing, but we weren't very close. We didn't spend a lot of time together.
Rituals around death are interesting. I think what I do is mostly done in private. Thoughts and memories and of course tears. I feel extremely sensitive to scenes of death. And that is reflected in how I respond to the death of others. From an anxiety perspective, it's overwhelming.
I’ve had quite a year of learning. About love. About myself. About others. And about this country. I feel the most adult I’ve felt yet!
But first, an update. My old MacBook Pro seems to have restored a bit of battery life. I unplugged it to take to a presentation (but then totally forgot it at home, but that’s another story) and the next day it was still pulsing it’s sleep light (remember those‽). After my iPhone 3GS’s battery expanded, I’ve been afraid of destroying a computer by charging a bad battery, but they seemed to have better sense than to charge one that was unsafe. So, now I have an old computer that I can unplug and take places. Yay.
Okay. Back to what I’ve learned. For the last several years—a decade, actually—I’ve been living with other people. On my long road trip (yeah, I totally did that), I learned that I really felt best when I had more time alone. I enjoyed seeking out people for social contact, or, at least I knew it was something that was healthy for me. I tend to be a homebody who stays home and interacts with the folks that are around me. This is probably due to how I grew up. I didn’t have school friends and did most of my socializing with my sister. I fall into the same habit when I live with other people.
On my road trip last year, I traveled over 11K miles in about a month. It was my most epic road trip ever and it has cemented my love for being out on the road. I long to go back. Being nomadic felt good. I wasn't tied to too much stuff. There was always something new to see.
Did I mention I did the trip in an EV? I’m super fascinated with them now. I guess I'm always going to be a geeky nerd.
When I started writing here, my fascination was mostly around art and computers and the web. The web. It has changed so much. It’s such a regular part of our lives now. It’s no longer special. It’s been so standardized and focused on social media platforms. I miss the unique experiences I had out here. I get nostalgic just thinking about the old forums I used to visit (that have now been abandoned—replaced by the monolithic social media networks. Big business has taken over. And the hackers and the scammers. I miss the days of setting up a web and email server and not worrying about updates unless you wanted a new feature. The worst that happened to me was being an open relay for spam. Nowadays. Holy crap!