Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

struggling for beginner’s heart ~

struggleI saw this today, and flinched. Literally — a kind of internalised wince that shook me. I have been so angry lately …

There are signs from the universe (I really do believe the universe talks to us — but you do have to listen) that I need to work on this. The anger, I mean. But here’s my problem:

A dear friend sent me a short piece he’s working on, the day after the Trayvon Martin. verdict. It was about an incident from his recent past, where a director he was working with told him ‘not to bring black to it.’ How can an African American NOT bring his or her racial identity to the table? What are black Americans supposed to do with a comment like that??

Advertisement

And what does that comment even mean?? What kind of idiot would say that to someone??

I keep fighting this tired fight because it’s important. To me. To my friends. To members of my family. And — I humbly insist, over & over — to America. To the world.

But it takes a huge toll. And yes, sometimes I worry it’s my identity. I don’t want that to be true, but I know at least one of my own sisters has muted me on FB. She gets tired of politics.

I don’t blame her, really. I’m tired of the idiocy that masquerades as American politics as well. :) And I’m struggling (a very different kind of struggle) to remember that even unkind people are sons, & daughters, & wives, & husbands. And fathers & mothers. And people I know…So it behooves me not to swear (which I do far too frequently! and just got chewed out for, professionally!). To remember I make others crazy, too.

Advertisement

There is more to who I am, of course, than my ongoing fightjustice definition for social justice. Still, I remember even at the tender age of 9, not long after my youngest sister was born, standing on one side of iron gates. A very young Việtamese woman — certainly not twice my age at the time — held her baby out to me, pleading w/ me to take it. To feed it. And I knew even then that life was not fair. My sister was upstairs in our villa, well-fed, clean, destined to be educated & protected. This woman’s baby had nothing. And probably never would.

Advertisement

Some piece of me responded then — and continues to respond — to that inequity. Later, I would stand up to bullies (sometimes w/ a broom, but you use what you have!), sometimes w/ words, sometimes w/my own two fists. I refuse to be one of those silent onlookers to life’s injustices. So maybe this ongoing battle is my identity. It certainly is what led me to engaged Buddhism.

But I want to believe it’s not the struggle that defines me so much as it is the people behind each statistic, each act of racism and moral cowardice. It’s the idiot who doesn’t understand that Ben can’t peel his race away like a wet shirt. That my niece can’t choose the way she loves, anymore than I can choose the size of my heart. It’s the unnamed men & women & children who stand mute, locked within safely distanced numbers. Each of these has a part in my struggles.

My struggle has identity, but it isn’t really mine. It’s all of ours. I hope you think so, too.

Previous Posts

poetry as mentor
So by now everyone knows it's National Poetry Month. And ...

posted 3:37:56pm Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

what poets do
I'm always trying to explain to people 'why poetry?' But today I found a poem that says it far better than I can, and by one of my favourite poets ~ Lawrence ...

posted 12:22:13pm Apr. 16, 2015 | read full post »

day 15 of National Poetry Month
Yes, it's tax day. But it's also the mid-point of National Poetry Month! Whoohoo! Today, I thought I'd share with you some gems -- haiku. It's a form ...

posted 6:57:23pm Apr. 15, 2015 | read full post »

keeping bees...
One of my grandson's earlier words was Bee! My phone wallpaper is a bee, and there are bees on my jewellery, on cups, on various elements of my ...

posted 2:59:22pm Apr. 14, 2015 | read full post »

the intersection of then and now
I've had a lot of different jobs in my life, as have many people. But I've also had several 'careers': jobs where you invest time & education to ...

posted 4:47:37pm Apr. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.