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A Future Where Everything Is Included?
small intermediate waxing gibbous detour from "feminism"
We live in a world with dichotomies. With two sides. There is seed time, there is harvest. There is night and day. There is man and woman. That is how the species of human continues itself. But there is the stuff of our head that has contrived those differences through conditioning and expectation and there is the stuff of our bodies and biology that are factually and functionally different. I first heard about gender nonconformity from a preteen writing student in 2008. I am grateful for that experience.
This is true with emotions as well, I can love and hate something at the same time.
I am about to deliver the teaching of the Pollyanna.
I am not naive. And nothing and no-one is truly objective. We are always privileging one thing over the other because we are our perceptions. But we can try to be non-binary. We can try to live with love and respect for everyone, no matter what.
We are always privileging one identity over the other, because we have many identities everyday. (Family campers will remember this one from Lama Rod Owens - link in its entirety below.) When my student first explained the use of they/them to me I was privileging my writer/teacher identity.
Me (aghast): “That is not correct grammar!”
Student (shrug): “That is how it is now.”
Thankfully I had a good relationship with the student, and they stuck around to teach me many more things!
I can see how my conditioning as a writer, as a student of English, as a white person who wanted to get things right, made me grasp at an idea that there is actually a right and wrong in language. This idea has been gripped in so many ways throughout time.
I will fully admit, words matter. But I think its important to say, understanding matters more. I put a lot of time and attention into how I say things, and still sometimes I make mistakes. Even when my goal is to do no harm.
Language is a growing and living thing, it can be corrupted and used for ill purpose like any other living thing, and it can always be redeemed. That is a truth that I hold self-evident.
To me, the purpose of language is understanding - utilizing it to build and grow more meaning and understanding - and what my student was telling me is that the ordinary divisions of boy and girl, are not going to stand. We were not going to classify and divide. We were going to chose a middle ground, which moves all the time.
And just as important as how things are said, are what things are left unsaid. As I have begun this newsletter I have been very aware of what I am leaving out. When I chose to pivot away from yoga and focus on writing again, I choose to let go of other plans. I let go of my regular Saturday class, and with it some ideas, one of which was meant for this month. I had anticipated creating an anti-racist yoga series. But I am trying to find the right pace and be strategic and yet the world spins on.
As a child I observed and reserved judgement. I knew how to wait. I had a lot of experience waiting and I entertained myself by reading. Those other worlds were so much fun. This is a lead in to “Patience is a virtue bullshit.” You’ve been there. Well it has it’s place.
Maybe many of you have probably seen the quote that had been at the bottom of my email account for years. The Pema Chodron, patience keeps you from going left or right. A patience that is not bored and not exhausted and not beaten down. Not a trap or an insult or an excuse to not act, but one that allows you to really see yourself and let those obstructions within you to move out of the way. A patience that makes space for emotions, triggers, and cringes and allows the next world to unfurl. There is a seed time and a harvest.
Last week, Amir Locke, a black man, was killed in Minneapolis by MPD during a no-knock warrant. During this African American History Month. There has been a series of articles by reporters of Minnesota Reformer about various things that yet another death of an African American man by the hands of police has brought to light. One thing is that no-knock warrants haven’t been banned as Mayor Frey claimed on the campaign trail. They are still allowed in some circumstances and police claimed that this surreptitious entry would be the safer approach for both police and the people they are pursuing. In response there has been many groups speaking out against no-knock warrants. Including some unusual suspects: the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus. Paul Gazelka, former republican majority leader, called for an immediate review at the legislator. Kelly McCarthy and chair of the POST board has some interesting things to say at the end of this article. Read more about it. It is not the time to look away. The patience to remain here with this issue is a virtue.
I have never read the Pollyanna books published in the early 20th century. I’d love to hear about them if you have. But I know from what RuPaul has said on a Dan Harris interview that Pollyanna saw everything, it wasn’t that she turned a blind eye to what was hard to look at, she just chose to see the light. Bringing myself back to promises and forgiveness in order to act. And action is hope. May this path be as inclusive as heck. May none of us turn away in arrogance.
I will link the YouTube of the interview below. My kids brought me to RuPaul and I love him. Henry says that he doesn’t think RuPaul cares which pronoun I use and I am trusting that is true, because I would like to show him the utmost respect. He has done much good for this world. More soon.
Much love, Tina
Lama Rod Owens: https://www.lionsroar.com/do-you-know-your-true-face/