The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.
― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
I read once in a roommates most deepest writings that hurricane sandy killed the non believers and saved those that believed.
But what about the children? Innocent, unknowingly mistake-making children whom deserve only the best. How about the children in the Middle East, dyeing horrible deaths from drones sent with a button from the other side of this Mother Earth? She cries, I swear by it. What about the children overworking their developing bodies, working days in and days out to make needless material objects for Walmart bought by this very same roommate, objects used maybe once and left to waste? What about those affected by globalization, a loss of culture, and a never ending identity crisis for the mistakes of Europeans made hundreds of years ago? What about the children forced into slavery of all kinds? And those forced to have children after being raped. Or those that live next door to you, starving while you eat three meals a day, with a small snack of 200 calories or less in between each meal. Or those that wish they could read? How about the children fighting cancer or aids, or those living with sick parents that expect care from them? Children lost and confused with no where to go.
I read her comment about hurricane sandy in her personal journal that she left out on the dining room table. Pages open and full of a false knowledge, the overall ignorance constantly protruding out of this close-minded, Midwestern world. Pages heavy with the scent of frustrated innocent children, asking this supposed god, why?
This morning, 52 dead in Oklahoma, some of them children. A state drenched with self-righteous Christianity. So I ask you, now what?
I find it quiet hilarious
that one of the things you didn’t like about me
you ended up doing
not as easy as it looks, is it?
Okay, maybe not hilarious,
but ironic that the heatheness in me
only spread to you
all while you were trying to save me
from my love of affection and hate of its opposing factors
I enjoy the seconds and years of my life I have spent
exploring beautiful beings Mother Nature created
Save me mother from the nature of the beast
Save me from yourself and the fake attitude you call believing
while believing is not knowing fact
is not always victorious when written by men many years ago
So listen here
Listen and hear the voice of a victorious woman
Living a life of love and affection
Saving the life of the little girl she used to be
A woman proud to have failed and lost
Failed at her highest and lowest
Only to rise and greet mother nature once more
Save me mother, save me
But don’t save me for the wrong reasons.
Today I saw a board for volunteering in Africa. Together, with the photos of kids playing games, laughing, and having a grand time, were photos of zebras. Now, realize that zebras are animals, and kids in Africa, just like kids elsewhere, are human. This board had me confused. Was this trip to help kids in Africa, or save Zebras from poachers?
It annoys me that the combination of photos of people and animals are so commonly placed next to one another, as if in the same category, when referring to non-western societies. To western societies, the exotic means everything that is not western, including exotic plants, exotic food, exotic animals, and….exotic people? That doesn’t even sound okay to me.
So then I thought, what if this was a board about volunteering in a suburban area outside of, let’s say, Chicago. Along with the photos of the kids, would there be photos of suburban wildlife as well? Sure, lets lump the kids together with the squirrels, raccoons, and occasional roadkill deer. They all live in the same area don’t they?
Quit making a spectacle out of the non-western world.
With everything that has been going on lately, I’ve been so crazy distracted. It’s like dancing to a song that you used to feel every beat to, so incredibly in sync with your body’s own rhythm. Then suddenly, you’re dropped onto an indecisive conveyor belt pulling you every which way, but you’re expected to keep dancing. No matter which way you decide to let it take you, you may never get back on beat.
If I stay in the house, I will always have to hide who I am. If rules are put on certain parts of the house, I will still feel uncomfortable no matter where I go.
She told me last night, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I even feel uncomfortable looking at you in front of them.” I expect that elsewhere (it’s a shame that I do.) But in my own house? Where are we supposed to go to feel safe?
So, here’s what happened with the roommates.
“When we signed this lease, we didn’t sign to live with a relationship. If I wanted that I would have signed for co-ed.”
TRANSLATION: I expect a relationship to happen between men and women living together. And even though I was warned that this might happen, I never expected this from you two. I mean, you did tell me it was a possibility, but I guess I didn’t believe you. If one of you could suddenly change your reproductive parts, then we wouldn’t have a problem.
“Maybe it was the way I was raised, but I would never have sex in the house. I see you as my family, and if my sister was doing this I would also talk to her. My boyfriend and I would get a hotel room. It’s just disrespectful.”
TRANSLATION: Let me impose all my stupid, ignorant, self-righteous beliefs on you. Shall we? Since I ‘Love you like family’, let me also make you my child, under my roof, where you will follow my rules.
“We do not feel comfortable with you two in your rooms alone with the door closed, or sleeping in each other’s room. How do we know you’re not doing anything?”
TRANSLATION: I think it’s weird to imagine two women having sex, because a man’s penis is so much more acceptable to have inside you, even if you’re lying to yourself about your orientation. Again, if you could change your reproductive parts, then it would make more sense why your door would be closed. It would make more sense why you want privacy. Too bad you’re both women, shoot. Oh and by the way, this is me trying to be your parent again.
“Even my brother was uncomfortable when he came to visit. He would send me texts whenever I wasn’t home to hang out with him, about how uncomfortable he was. He said he loved it here, that he didn’t want to leave, but that he couldn’t stay even if he wanted to.”
TRANSLATION: I wasn’t home to see if you really were all touchy feely near my brother, he would just text me saying that you were. So I believe him. He’s also 18 and completely unexposed to life. Oh, and visiting and staying in our house, but you should still change how you act in your own house to accommodate the ignorance of others.
“I’m more disappointed with her, but not so much with you. (To her) I feel like I can’t come into your room and talk whenever I want like we used to. I miss you. I’m really hurt by this.”
TRANSLATION: I’m more disappointed with her because she’s supposed to be a ‘good Christian’ like she used to be, like how I pushed her to be. Since you’re not religious, I’ll just ‘give-up’ on you and lay all the weight on her shoulders. Let’s make her feel more like crap for everything that is going on. You on the other hand, thanks for fucking things up and putting her in a bad place. And even though the only thing that is different between her and I is sexual orientation, lets pretend that it’s her fault that I don’t feel comfortable being the same friend I used to be to her-because you know, my lack of acceptance makes it so easy for her to hang out with me. Come on, do I look ignorant to you? I’m hurt that you may assume so. I’m also hurt by the fact that you’re happy now. Thanks for hurting me! Here’s some good ol’ guilt.
“And I’ve been struggling with this subject. With homosexuality. Because I see nothing wrong with it, but the Bible says it’s wrong. I’m trying not to judge. I’m not following God right now, so I have no room to talk. This isn’t about religion though. It’s just the fact that we’re uncomfortable with how close you two are getting. And that night, when we heard you two upstairs. We just don’t want that in the house. I’ve just been uncomfortable lately when I come in and see her sitting on your lap, or holding hands. We saw you kissing once.”
TRANSLATION: I’ve been struggling with the subject of homosexuality, because my conscious tells me love who you love. But this book written by men thousands of years ago is telling me that you two should only love men. Not that the times have changed or anything, ya know? I’m not judging you or anything, even after I laid out all these stupid rules for you two. I mean, I’m a heathen, too. But if I weren’t, if I was a ‘good Christian’ lately like I should be, then I guess I would have room to judge—which really means I’m judging you, no matter what. Oh but this has nothing to do with religion, even though I mentioned it, and you know, talked about it for a while. Oh but forget everything I just said about religion, because I’ve already said it, and I’ll say it one last time, ‘This has nothing to do with religion.’ So anyways, now that we established that, because I swear it has nothing to do with religion, lets move onto the real problem. I don’t want to hear lovemaking in this house, because I rather you go elsewhere, or I don’t know. How about the complete opposite. I rather hear acts of hate than acts of love. Like you two arguing would be more acceptable. Or how about staying silent. Because that’s really what I want you to do. Stay quiet when having sex, stay quiet about your sexuality, stay quiet about not being happy due to my selfishness, just fucking stay quiet. Oh, and I’m not mature enough to laugh it off and just bang on your door and tell you two to shut up. I don’t know, maybe I’m bitter I’m not getting any myself. So no sex, no cuddling, no touching. Hell, I mean heck, don’t even look at each other. Not in your own house.
“If we can’t work this out we need to start looking for two roommates to either replace you two, or us two.”
TRANSLATION: So after all those rules I just imposed on you, you should feel welcomed in this house once we figure all this out. After this passes I hope we go back to the friendships we had. But really, if you don’t do what we say then it won’t work. Oh a compromise? Yeah, we’ll see about that….
So I’m at a coffee shop… the same one I always go to. Next to our table there are 3 girls, reading scripture and filling out worksheets. I have seen them here before. The main one talking is their teacher, or what I’ve heard people say “spiritual leader,” and the other two girls take her interpretation and make it their own. It’s weird being on the outside of this, watching, listening.
You know, I can’t help but notice the way she talks, and laughs, and her general demeanor.
And I’ve seen it time and time again. I don’t like to sound prejudge, and I always try to walk around this place with an open mind, knowing that I come from a different culture.
Her eyes are almost glaring at the girls while they speak. She intentionally looks at them in the eyes, even though she seems uncomfortable doing so, but that proves to them she’s a good listener, right? And she laughs a lot, even when it doesn’t make sense to, or something is not funny.
She reminds me of my roommate, the one that doesn’t agree with my “lifestyle” and laughs randomly at things I say to feel more connected with me. It’s fake.
Fake, fake, fake.