Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mope and Suffer

People who suffer from chronic pain sometimes forget they suffer from chronic pain.

Let me rephrase that...people who suffer from chronic pain work hard to forget that they do, and sometimes achieve that result long enough to be unpleasantly surprised when it inevitably rears its ugly head.

Because if your choices are "mope and suffer" or "try to be as normal as possible," you try.

You always try.

And, depending on the nature of your situation, you can sort of get there. Everything seems normal.

Then one day you find yourself laid out on the sofa with the pillows stacked just so, watching Paul McCartney sound check videos on YouTube with only your right eye open because you think it is entirely possible your left eye might POP OUT due to the fact that it, and the rest of your face feel like they've been whacked with a shovel.

I might be slightly obsessed with that Shovel To The Face thing...

Also...hi! Have you seen that cool sound check video? Get it before the lawyers swoop in! (https://youtu.be/_wlhdWiq77o)

I...am never sure how to go about discussing the fact that I have basically had a headache every day for the last 11 years, or that my ears are always ringing a little, or I always feel a bit of pressure behind my eyes.  I prefer to avoid the subject entirely. The problem is, when you never talk about it, even your best friends forget that it's a thing. Then, when you're not acting like "yourself" they ask what's wrong and you say something like, "It's the same shit that's been wrong for 11 years."

Then everyone feels bad.

Ultimately I suppose that's why we avoid the topic--in addition to wanting to pretend it's not really happening: It's that you're trying to make other people feel better about the fact that you feel like shit by pretending you don't feel like shit.
That's notvas martyr-y as it sounds. Maybe you got sick of them asking about it when it first started happening, or maybe they were just never all that interested to begin with.

So you pretend, until you can't.

I'm so used to pretending I'm fine that even when the pain comes back kicking, I maintain my normal activity level long past the point that I should. It gets to the level of, "Hey dipshit, it doesn't matter what pair of glasses you put on. Your eyes are blurry BECAUSE YOUR HEAD IS FUCKED UP."

Anyway...that's my day, today. Sofa-bound. I'm telling the blog instead of telling my fiends because I'm pretty sure nobody here will ask me to explain it or tell me I should "just go to the doctor," as if that thought had never occurred to me in the eleven years I have had a headache. (The only person I want to talk it over with LESS than a friend would be yet another effing doctor...) Secretly I want my friends to bring me ice cream and keep me company but I suppose "mope and suffer" is meant to be done alone.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Combative

I have not been able to watch the "arrest video" of Sandra Bland.

I have seen it roll, without sound, or with subtitles, or hearing only a snippet, several times today, but can't bring myself to watch the whole thing because I'm afraid the ugly will make me physically sick.

Of course, I have that privilege, of not seeing it. The subject of the video does not.

I sense that the cop in question will appear to me as one of the evil racist characters in a movie about the civil rights era, only not as elegantly written, and that's why I don't want to watch it. Those characters make me feel sick, too.

In those movies, there is a lot of oppression and killing, and, at the end they show the victims displaying some grand dignity as they rise above it all.

I suspect that part of the reason you see the "dignity" piece at the end is because we want to tell ourselves, "See, they're OK! They're OK. They made it."

Like it wasn't that bad.

We soften the picture so much that it becomes completely detached from reality. We pretend the suffering was short term and that everybody is happy now.

But that movie hasn't ended yet--it's on some infinite loop at the part that made white people uncomfortable.

I...am weary, as I think a lot of people are. I am weary even though I, as a typical white American, can turn off the TV or not read the hash tag, and ultimately never experience anything remotely as awful at the experience thrust upon Sandra Bland. As someone smarter than me said recently, if you're tired of hearing about it, think how tired you would be of living it. That, stupidly, adds another layer of exhaustion to the whole thing, because I'm not capable of living it, so...I dunno.

As a person who makes a study and living from image, public relations and similar science, I must say...the bad guys in the USA have been bringing their A Game to this "paint black people as lesser humans" for...well, forever, essentially, or at least ever since they first thought about bringing one to this country. They don't even need the secret meetings anymore-- everybody knows exactly what to say to maintain the image:

"He went for my gun."
"She was being combative."
"He/She had a shady past."
"He shouldn't have talked back to the cop."

And we nod our agreement, like, "yes, yes...they talked back...he had no other option but to wrestle them to the ground and perhaps put a bullet in them." We don't even notice how utterly absurd that is that we have drawn a straight line between You Committed A Misdemeanor (or no crime at all, just perceived non-compliance) and You Must Die.

We keep buying this shit. It's killing us like a cancer, but the sales pitch is so perfect at this point that even some black people believe it.

I guess my question is, who has to be killed before we wake up to the notion that it's wrong?

Seriously, I'm asking as a sociology question.

Do you remember how when HIV was new-ish, everyone said, "Sure it's bad but that's one of those things that other people get, not me"? And then Magic Johnson happened and Snap! we all woke up to the idea that it was bad, AND we could get it too?

That's what I'm talking about.

I have seen numerous intelligent, well  respected and well paid people who happen to be black say out loud on national media, "Hey, you know what? It can be different for black people sometimes. We have to tell our kids to behave a certain way to hopefully keep them safe, and we have to be really, really on top of our game to make it because of this perception of 'less than' that permeates our community."

So it's not like nobody famous is saying it's an issue.

Where is the Magic Johnson moment? When does the turnaround happen?

Every time there is some highly publicised and sketchy death of a black person in this country, there is an immediate "What were they doing to deserve it?" followed by a round of "Here's the victim's criminal record". And very handily, the dye is cast and a killing is "justified."

At what point is this society finally going to kill a game changer? Someone not so easily dismissed as "justified?" Are we there yet?

Let me be clear. I don't want any other people to die in this way--to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong person's bad day. I don't want that. Each time breaks my heart.

I want it to be now. I want that person to be Sandra Bland.

I already see people online saying, "she shouldn't have been so arrogant or talked back to that cop." To them I can only ask, when was the last time YOU spent 3 days in JAIL for failing to use your turn signal? When was the last time you were pulled over for ANY reason, and asked to exit your vehicle? Because the thing is, it doesn't happen to everybody, so I get that you can't relate. It only happens to some. If you're white, you can sit there and tell that cop you know your rights, and nothing will happen to you. If you're not white, you are somehow, bizarrely, charged with "resisting arrest," which is...what the fuck is that? You can't be resisting arrest if you're not being arrested for *something* in the first place and after 14 times of asking, "Why am I being arrested?" that cop never once answered Sandra.

Even if it turns out that she did in fact kill herself in that cell, the reason she was in that cell in the first place is all right there on that sickening tape. It's wrong in every possible way.

So I am asking...hoping...that it is Sandra who turns out to be the game changer. Please let it be her. Let us put ourselves in her shoes as best we can in our privileged existence and say, "Yes, if that had happened to me, I would identify that arrest as unjustified and wrong."

Keep saying her name.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Misery May Love Company, but Company Thinks Misery Should Crawl Off and Die Already

Every once in a while, I answer a random phone call and as a result, end up spending a fair amount of time consoling a friend who just got done talking to their parent and that (shitty) parent chose to make their own kid feel bad because their kid happens to be gay.

I'm sending a mental shovel to the face for that parent.

I'm picturing that Johnny Depp movie Secret Window, and, obviously, the shovel to the face scene. That's the exact Shovel To The Face I'm picturing for that dad.

Or should I say "dad"?

"Misery causer"

"Idiot"

"Your Idea Here"
 
Worth noting, my friend is not some scatterbrain dipshit deserving of any kind of scorn, much less scorn from her own father, and she has been with her one partner 4 times as long as any relationship I have ever been in.

Can the bigot POS generation just die already?  And leave my friend a big fat inheritance that she ironically spends on some kind of super-gay party?

Because that would totally bar-tend for that function.
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