Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The World I Live In

"Sometimes I think I live [ ] in a parallel universe. That is, I know that I live in a crass and boorish culture, a culture of shock jocks and road rage, "reality" television and thong underwear, corruption and consumerism, mean porn and meaner theology.  I know all this. And still the world I move through is rich and beautiful ..."  - Kate Braestrup from Here If You Need Me

That pretty much sums up my life right now.  I am surrounded by huge trees older than my grandparents, wild animals, domestic animals (especially the four living in my house with me).  I spend my days with my friends and my neighbors and horses.  I feel like I'm surrounded by a cocoon of all my nice neighbors who come from all over the world and have all different religious and political beliefs but are still kind, wonderful friends.  I wish everyone could be as lucky as me - I seriously do.

It's good to finally live somewhere I can relax and feel at home and like I belong here.  I didn't realize until I was out of it that I never really belonged in the city and now for the life of me I can't figure out why people enjoy living in the city so much.  But I leave it as that is what they like and my not understanding is exactly like why they are baffled why I'm so happy out here.  What I'm even more baffled by is why I wanted to live in the city so much when I was a teenager and rejected everything that makes me happy - like nature and animals.  I think it is because I wanted to run away from who I was and immerse myself in a different life where I could forget about myself. 

Yesterday we had some banking business we needed to take care of at BECU, the closest one being on 2nd Ave and Pike Street - which is infamous since I was a little girl for being crack-central.  Well, I'm not sure crack was around when I was a little girl so back then I guess it was coke/heroin central? Anyway, our office is in Pioneer Square and parking is heinous downtown so I walked up there with my boss ... who is way taller than me and walks really fast.  I finally complained at one point that he needed to slow down and he grabbed my arm and said, "Come on, I'll drag you!" and started jogging for a second.  Sigh.  It was really good for me though after being sick for so long,  I need to get back in shape.

Anyway, we got to the bank and I was so thirsty I could barely think of anything else.  I asked if they had a water fountain and the banker said they had water but no cups and he sent a message to one of his co-workers asking if they had cups hidden somewhere.  After about five minutes I asked, "Have you heard anything back about the cups?" and my boss said to just go buy a bottle of water, he could handle it while I was gone.  So, I went across the street to the convenience store and bought a bottle of water.  While I was at the check-out stand I was thinking the girl behind the counter was tiny and the boy behind the counter looked very innocent and white (although huge) and I thought they looked very vulnerable for a well known corner of drug dealing and prostitutes.  I don't know - maybe it's cleaned up down there since I was there.  Just as I was thinking maybe it had cleaned up some, two gangstas came strutting in being their loud selves and making all sorts of hooting, hollering sexual comments about hot mamas and hot white chicks.  I realized after a moment they were talking about me and for a second got super embarrassed and then just shrugged it off and the big guy looked a little horrified and I said, "I haven't heard that since I was young," then added, "It's fine. They're just having fun," and left feeling like I'd just walked out of a scene from Law & Order.

It was weird though how outside of that I was.  I don't doubt that those guys are probably capable of a lot of violence and some really bad shit.  But at the same time, it wasn't affecting me - they were like caritures and I was looking at them wondering if this was a phase in their life and if they'd always be like this and what would it be like to be them?  It never felt like it had anything to do with me.  If they had meant to make me feel like I'm just piece of white meat or somehow bad, like all I'm good for is sex -  they didn't succeed because other than that moment of embarrassment when I realized I was the target of their comments, I just went back to feeling like me.  Which is a nice thing to happen after a lifetime of internalizing everything that was said to me - especially when I was a little kid and used to get bullied a lot.  I also don't think they had much intention other than thinking they were being cool and they could care less what I thought- whether my feeling were hurt or not.

I think having a place I really like living with a community I feel really secure in is the ticket to that stuff not upsetting me.  And that it's a surprise when it happens instead of a normal occurrence I have to constantly emotionally deflect.  I posted about it on Facebook and one of my friends who lives in the city just went off on how much she hates those guys and I realized I enjoy not really giving them any energy - angry or not.  It just exhausts me to be so angry which then leads me to feel helpless because I can't think of anything to do to actively get rid of obnoxious people.  I'm trying to take that stance with politics and our culture as best I can - do what I can to make things better but not let the anger at the fucked-up stuff eat me up inside when there's nothing (at the moment) I can do about it.  I imagine that makes me appear apathetic or uncaring but it actually helps me function better so when there are things I can do to make positive change I have the energy instead of feelings so burnt out from frustration and rage and feeling like I'm a victim to assholes that I don't have the energy to move.  It's part of my attempt to not *feel* like a victim even if someone wants me to be.  I'm actually learning this from my boss who has a career going up against some real powerful assholes, yet he continues to function and not get bogged down in a sense of helplessness at the sight of how big the corruption is.

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