Monday, August 5, 2013

What Am I Doing? What Are We Doing?

I started this blog as a writing exercise and a creative outlet.  I also really enjoyed reading blogs.  I had this sense that they were letting me into hundreds of individual realities and hence, providing an authentic look at multiple lives as they are lived by real people.  This despite the plethora of Pinterest ready homes, recipes, DIY projects, and obsession with Anthropologie.  Behind all of that was real motivation and human action.  There has to be something behind this really specific, softly lit nostalgia right?

The thing is . . . even though I was into that whole deal, my life, my real life interfered. My real life looked nothing like what I scrolled across in my news feed.  At times, the Davis execution and the Zimmerman trial specifically, the disconnect is jarring.  How is the whole world not thinking or talking about this? Why is there nothing . . . not one mention in comments even, about Trayvon Martin on my favorite parenting blog?  The comforting community of Pinterest addicts and lovers of glossy white trim began to feel a little less welcoming.  A little less congenial.  A little less relevant

Then it hit me, maybe I'm just too black for this life.

Sometimes the assumed universality of my favorite sites is just too much to bear.  It's nothing major.  (No, we don't all want to laugh at Sweet Brown.  Your use of hip hop slang for comedic effect is more than just incredibly whack, although I really can't stress enough how whack . . . .)  It's not overtly racist, but the absence of any sort of cultural awareness of any kind has me instinctively bracing for impact.  (Because not really racist and not overtly racist still hold potential for violence.)  Especially when the world at large has seemingly become more hostile than usual.

Maybe I just don't fit in here.

I haven't been posting.  

I haven't been posting because I can't write.  More to the point I can't write the way I assume blogs should be written.  I can't write the way the popular bloggers I follow do.  I can't write in ways that either unconsciously or conscientiously avoid controversy.  I can't write that way, even though I would like to write that way and have that soft focus, beautiful life-at least in print.  

My writing can't assume universality because my blackness and my femaleness and my general poor-ness get in the way.  I can't write about aspirational furniture, or DIY projects when I have all this blackness in the way.  I can't write about being married without all my blackness, and accompanying respectability politics, getting in the way.  I can't write about step-parenting because my husband's blackness gets in the way and makes it less about parenting and more about how men, allegedly, don't stay with or take care of their children.  I can't write about feminism because my blackness and my insistence on being included, get in the way.  I can't write about beauty, especially hair, without including my blackness.  I can't write about politics because my blackness makes me predisposed to high blood pressure and other stress-related diseases.  

I can't classify my blog as one thing or another because I am not one thing or another.  My whole world is not about blackness . . .  but, come on now, my whole world is about blackness.

My whole world is also about gender, about socioeconomics, about misrepresentation, about misrecognition, about advocacy, about shame, and about silence . . .  crushing silence.

I have felt silenced by the overwhelming representation of ordinary life.

So I haven't been writing.

I have been working, and teaching, and struggling towards making some kind of life and having some kind of family.  Trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.  Trying to not go gray in vain (!).  Trying to keep a handle on my sanity and my sense of self in a world that feels, at times, like it's going mad.  

I haven't been writing, but I have not been idle.  I can't write . . . but I'm going to write anyway.

1 comment:

  1. I totally understand, being a white man and all. To be serious though, yours seems to be the type of blog the world may need. Some blogs can't be labeled. When a blog is about life, you write about what is happening in the now. And you have to let it go where your creative juices are flowing. Trying to fit into a specific box may not work. That is the reason I don't write.

    If I were to write what I wanted, I probably wouldn't have a job or a family. They would see what hides behind my laid back attitude and would not accept it. And I need the job and family right now. Maybe one day.

    Anyway, I don't know if you sent me the link to your blog today, but I am glad I read it.


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