Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Papi seemed uncomfortable with my suggestion. I think he got up and moved around a little. He said stuff about not being willing, in a racist world, to bring a mixed race child into the world. Neither of us as dark skinned Black people believe that shite about how light skinned mixed raced babies and people will herald the end of all racial domination. It's genocidal bullshit completely predicated, not on white domination and white privilege being attacked and finally dealt with, but instead on the genetic demise of people who visually manifest as too dark and therefore as too different from artificially constructed ideals of beauty and humanness.
I think about what it would mean for us to have a baby in the family with light coloured eyes, skin and potentially with limp(er) hair, who strangers, without even a scrap of critical analysis, will attempt to give access to light skinned privilege. I think about the kind of grounding work we would have to do in order to make sure that child feels loved and connected and critically conscious in ways that will encourage it to be an ally to Stinkapee and Shmolee, not another door to domination.
We talked about race and making babies with Papi's still too new to tell what will happen white female lover.
But he also said something that shocked me. He said that, given what he knows now and how much he has grown, he couldn't consider having a baby with another woman because the kind of care he would know to offer her would leave me feeling resentful.
I had to struggle with him a little conversationally to tease that out. I invited him to think about soap operas and television scripts. I asked him to think about my very recent conversations with Bran and Michele about their relationship(s). I hoped that he would connect some more with who I actually am, as opposed to bringing jealous, binary minded, heterosexual, patriarchal relationship scripts into our midst and using these as a basis for intelligent conversation.
I reminded him about how important family is to me, making family and about how everything else, stupid jealousies, insecurities, resentments...all these pale in comparison to the thought of us having or making or allying with more family. It's a no brainer for me. Growing our intentional extended family is most important to me.
Papi and I made jokes about our favourite show - Big Love - about the celestial kingdom. We talked about which sister wife we each thought was the hottest. :) But mostly we talked about how much we connect with the mandate of the family in the show which is about making the family larger and stronger...about making home. It's just that, as a matriarchal feminist, my ideas about how to do this radically differ from the patriarchs in the show. :)
I talked about making alliances with poly loves and about how I understand that this is just something you do. If I love someone or think I will eventually love them it makes more sense to powerfully, emotionally ally with their loved ones than to make enemies of them. Making enemies of them does not build strong family. It makes space for diseased and damaging interactions.
Eventually Papi came back down. But I was still sort of looking at him as if to say: Who are you and why don't you seem to know who I am?
I talked to Papi about his insistence on keeping things inside him functioning in familiar ways, according to the toxic family rules and culture he was raised in, as a way he had blocked my endeavours in the past. I said that just by maintaining a world view and a way of understanding our relationship that solidly grounds him in his oppressive familial past, he actually intentionally gets in the way of us building anything markedly different.
I can't remember how conversation switched...but it did...to Ophelia, his mama. Probably...oh, yeah...because I talked about how she hadn't trusted me on bit when she first heard about me. She grounded in oppression and in a colonial cultural heritage rather than in her feminism. She understood me as interloper, as woman who stole her son's virginity (which I didn't), as black widow spider who trapped her son in an unwanted pregnancy. All scripts, all constructs.
I understood that for me to be in relationship with Papi, Ophelia and I would have to have a powerful bond. That's what I set out to intentionally craft with her. I said to Papi that it wasn't about Ophelia and me falling in love, falling into friendship. It was about me understanding the kind of familial bond I wanted to have with her and working actively to create that despite the kinds of drama that could have unfolded.
Papi talked about me loving Ophelia. I said that I did...do. We both agreed that she loves me, too. We talked about her life choices, choices that had allowed her to maintain a popular, well respected foot in diseased family and community spaces where I cannot walk...with ease...at all. We talked about the fact that she chooses connection to the toxicity because this is what she knows after 71 years of life on this planet. I sort of bowed my head and felt like crying.
She doesn't understand her choices as choices intentionally made that contribute to the level of anxiety, aloneness, fear, misunderstanding and disease in her life and in the life of the family she has created. She believes she has no choice.
I believe that one of the ways we experience oppression in our lives is by internalizing it, by colluding with it, by actively maintaining it...by telling ourselves we have no choice in the matter.
I believe that despite having multiple experiences of oppression some modicum of personal power is maintained in my life when I remind myself that I can choose. When I dream I choose. When I rebel I choose. When I create I choose. When I attempt to birth a life for myself and my family that supports intentional family building I choose.
A woman's right to choose isn't just about abortion. It can't be. It's about the personal power and consciousness she/I can bring to bear in all facets of our lives against all odds.
I continue to believe this is possible. I must invest in creating more, not less space for possibility grounded in choice, to manifest in my life and relationships and family.
I feel frustrated.
My relationship with Ophelia is stagnating. I feel that, even as she understands the logic of what I'm offering her, the healthiness of it, the potential an alliance between her and my family, grounded in implicitly posed challenges to herself, her choices, the family she intentionally created and the community she is a part of, Ophelia maintains her energetic and emotional distance, these days.
As do I.
This is really the story of my life. Over dinner I said to Papi that nothing had quite worked out how I had envisioned. Papi smiled uncomfortably and agreed. He said that who people have been taught to be, the ways they have been taught to behave always take primacy over what is possible. They cling to what they have been taught/forced to believe is possible, even though what they're clinging to stunts their growth, sucks the life right out of them, undermines their possibilities for joy and continually damages them emotionally in ways that scar deep.
I looked at Papi and felt annoyed...but also relieved that this was not a conversation where I had to persuade him to get it. He was lucid and not defensive in that moment. He understood what I was saying and meaningfully contributed to the life of that verbal interaction.
I'm looking for something. I'm not having access to it on this blog with all of you...in this moment. I'm looking for something that will save my life, that will support and sustain the building of something powerful and real. I worry that what I write may increase the sense of well being for others in particular ways...but what I need in order to continue and live and love and breathe...it isn't manifesting here.
I'm thinking about blogging alone...truly alone...without viewers/readers/voyeurs, for the next little bit.
I need to write not as a relational activity, but just as something for me, selfish, internal...not reliant on people jumping into conversation with me because they need the conversation to save their lives, as much as I need the words, the exchange to save mine...
No more griping about that not happening at a level I can manage and wrap my mind around. I just need to dive deep and go see the monsters and wonders for myself.
I'm going to keep an eye out for fellow divers. But I won't hold my breath. I won't need to. The deep is really the only place where I can truly breathe. Treading water in levels higher up is what gives me the bends.
smiling...breathing deep...more smiling.
I figure at some point I'll surface again and probably be feeling more hopeful about conversation and engagement at whatever level people can manage. Maybe the spring will feel like a better time to blog out loud, in techicolour, in plain sight.
Who knows? But right now, I need to do for me.
Thank you all for coming to be with me for a bit. I appreciated everything you chose to bring.
It's 2:47pm. I'm going to have a shower. I actually feel like having a shower. I've been feeling depressed. Last night during a short chat I told Bran that I was thinking of getting a prescription for valium. He asked if I had thought of anti-depressants. I said I was worried about not being able to feel, fuck, create, think clearly on multiple interlocking levels simultaneously. I said that life was offering me way too much information and that I was having difficulties processing all of it...but that I wanted to have access to what is going on for me. He asked me if I'd thought of valerian or st. john's wort. I said that those seemed more my speed. I was supposed to go do that this morning but I slept all morning and right into the afternoon. I just couldn't find a reason to get off the couch.
Then I got up and thought and made connections and made a move and now I feel more energized.
I'm going to go out into the light of day to pick up Stinkapee. We're going to a cafe to draw pictures...hopefully of Black girls who look like we...her and me. :)
Later I'll come home and make dinner. Then tonight once the house is quieter I'll dive...
Blogland goodbyes to you all.
Goodbye, warmest regards and big hugs,