Institutionalized

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-8-25-52-pmI started this post a couple of weeks go… prompted by my impending final divorce date and the fact that I have to bring a witness who can answer 5 questions about my life– to prove that, no, I have not rekindled a relationship with the person I am trying to divorce. The state puts the onus on ME to prove that I am really, actually serious about wanting to end my marriage; the money, separation, custody agreement and year plus of waiting are not, apparently, enough. And the ex? He gets to sign a paper and not show up. This post was going to be about feeling re-victimized time and again in this process… but now it’s bigger than that. It’s about all women. It’s about all that we have at stake today. It’s about what we could lose, who we need to be for our future, and where our moral compass lies.

I know it’s not a surprise that our court systems let us down now and then (ahem, giant understatement, ahem) but through the 18 or so months I’ve been wrangling a divorce in this great state of South Carolina– I have to say, I feel victimized over and over and over.

That’s what I wrote and then left dangling in draft form because it felt whiny and overplayed. Wah, wah we KNOW, women are paid less than men, women bear the burden of all of the things, I am a giant feminist, yadda yadda.

But now I’ve decided to pick it back up again because feeling like an institutional victim extends beyond me. It extends to the millions of women, and marginalized people, that our country backs into unmovable corners every single day. And our systems not only allow it, they are built to sustain it.

Also, the fact that I had so internalized this dialogue about women being whiny complainers showed me something about how deeply this runs, when in fact we are the lesser-treated, less-respected, more often attacked and vulnerable group. And don’t get me started on folks who IDENTIFY as female or somewhere on the spectrum… lest they be OF COLOR, well, even worse.

We all know the current election is a giant shit-show, yup. And usually, when politicians are involved, le shit is le show. Totes. But what was a funny, SNL-writer’s goldmine, just got unquestionably actually icky. And scary.

I am almost out of funny. Out of snark. And that’s really saying something for me. I don’t know where we begin to fix this broken thing.

I wrote an earlier post about WANTING to be so jazzed about our first woman President and I will vote for her, unequivocally yes. I, at times, identify with her. I was cheated on. I have borne the brunt of that searing shame and picking up the pieces for my kids just like she did. And she did it in the WHITE HOUSE.

I loved the Humans of New York piece where she talked about being the only woman in her law school classes- yes, yes I get that. I’ve seen her speak in person during this campaign and it did give me chills when I thought- look at HER, yes look at HER GO. Pant fucking suit and all.

So what is it?

I think the it is something I very rarely talk about publicly. The it is my faith. My faith in a loving and gracious God who created every actual human as they were meant to be. Every hair on your head– your black, white, brown, immigrant, gay, beautiful head– woven as some force beyond ourselves meant you to be. EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.

To be clear, I don’t think it’s about Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, or Buddhist– it’s about moral compass.

Where are we folks? Where is our NORTH? Because I feel like we are walking around, lost in the woods, seeing the same damn tree over and over, but afraid to veer off course and INSISTING LOUDLY THAT WE KNOW THE WAY. What’s guiding our choices? What small, still voice are we listening to on right/wrong? Why are we so lost and how do we find the way?

I worry that we’re addicted to busy.

I worry that we’re addicted to stuff.

I worry that we’re addicted to social media and validation through likes and re-tweets.

I am guilty of all of the above.

I said something online this week about un-friending me on FB if you are voting for Trump. First, I think I mean it, but I don’t think that actually aligns with my values and what I just wrote there about loving you exactly as you are, so that’s a conundrum. I can accept difference of opinion- fuck we NEED different opinions.

But I cannot support hate. And what’s gotten so scary to me is the HATE I see this man spewing– and even more shocking to me is that SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO NOT SEE IT. I am afraid that the addiction to busy, to noise, to fear, to media, to not feeling all the feels… has allowed a societal numbness to take root. We are institutionalizing ever more deeply, hate.

And what scares me even more is that there are people who identify with what Trump is spewing as fervently as I find it horribly offensive. 

Some people listen to him and go YES FINALLY SOMEONE IS SPEAKING MY TRUTH.

And that, THAT is the stuff I think we need to unpack. Why is that someone’s truth? Some part of me wants to label them as trash (being way brutally honest here)– just nasty rotten trashy folks who don’t know better. Um, super moral compass-y of me huh?

But, is that really the case? Likely not.

We are disconnected from one another. We are disconnected from a grounding in moral compass. We hide behind screens and lob horrible nastiness at strangers. We have become an unfeeling, institutionally angry society.

And, I got nothin’.

As usual, I come to the end of writing about my feelings on a subject I am passionate about and feel a little lost- because I have no solution.

I am a results-driven gal– I like checking off boxes. But these? They feel leaden. These boxes we need to check feel intimidatingly large. They feel impossible.

What I can do is make my little space of the earth just that much less hate-filled. That much less busy. That much more purpose-filled. I can take time to be present to my people. I can say how I feel and tell my people I love them. I can volunteer. I can donate. I can pray. I can run. I can take long walks hand in hand with someone I care for. I can listen to my kids snores as they drift into dreams.

I can, and I will. I might need some reminding, but I know you’ve got me friends.

And… I reserve the right to post snark on the interwebs when I watch debates, cause dammit, I am human and can only promise to re-route so much.

Take care of each other please. Take care not to further internalize or institutionalize hate that marginalizes. I know there are others of you out there and I know we can take small steps northward.

xo

 

 

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