Connected and Vunerable
Posted by: A.H.M.K. in Guest Blogging
I know Im not alone; Im not the only one thinking these things. Recently I read This Bridge Called My Back and I was so grateful to the women who exposed their frustrations, insecurities, and anger. Their words provided company in lonely places in my brain. I was so grateful that they were having thoughts and feelings then, that they are pertinent to me now. Over 21 years aren’t separating us at all.
Merle Woo’s “Letter to Ma” written in January of 1980 especially influenced me to make writing personal. It exposes Merle’s relationship to her mother:
I believe there are chasms between us. When you say, ‘I support you, honey, in everything you do…I know you mean except my speaking out and writing of my anger at all those things that have caused those chasms (140). I desperately want you to understand me and my work, Ma, to know what I am doing! When you distort what I say, like thinking I am against all ‘caucasians’ or that I am ashamed of Dad, then I feel more frustration and want to slash out, not at you, but those external forces which keep us apart. What deepens the chasms between us are out different reactions to those forces (141).
I found comfort in those pages- connecting with the intimacy the author. There are more layers and perspectives, though, than the ‘safe’ pages of This Bridge, and dwelling in the theories of it. We have to move forward.In the preface of This Bridge We Call Home Gloria E. Anzaldua addresses why it’s important to progress into another mind frame:
Twenty-one years ago we struggled with the recognition of difference within the context of commonality. Today we grapple with the recognition of commonality within the context of difference. While “This Bridge Called My Back” displaced whiteness, “This Bridge We Call Home” carries this displacement further. It questions the terms of white and women of color by showing that whiteness may not be applied to all whites, as some possess women-of-color consciousness, just as some women of color bear white consciousness…. Today, categories of race and gender are more permeable and flexible than they were…(2).
I, like many others, think thinks every day that im not proud of- things I would not say out loud because they are damaging and rooted in miseducation. But the embarrassing things I feel are useful to expose, I do. Why? Because I think about how much I respect those who speak their heart, mind, fears, weaknesses and biases.We have such a long way to go; the least we can do is not to be alone in our miseducation. There is a theory out there that encourages separating the person from her patterns, anger, disillusionment, distress, and all the other shit that futher separates us.
While, im not able to do make those separations all the time, I still believe in the basic idea that people are good and that our environment beautifully and seamlessly inlays division and mistrust of eachother.
If class doesn’t separate us, then race.If not race, then age.If not age, then sex.Sex, then sexuality.Sexuality, then gender. Gender then awareness.If not this, then that until I’m standing alone wondering why I feel so damn lonely.
Im angry. Angry with people who don’t understand what’s happening right under our noses,Angry with middle and owning classes unaware of privilege and luxury,Angry with people who don’t think their racist,(And because this just happened) Angry with people who trick me into eating meat when they know I don’t eat it!
Staying angry is a stagnant place.; it further solidifies separation between each other. I feel, though, that anger is part of the journey- that it allows passage into another place. This place allows one to see the separation of a person and the pattern- an opening beyond a ‘safe’ space for conscious women.
Later in the preface, Gloria Anzaldua addresses safe spaces and urges:
Staying ‘home’ and not venturing out from our own group comes from woundedness, and stagnates our growth. To bridge means loosening our borders, not closing off to others….To bridge is to attempt community, and for that we must risk being open to personal, political, and spiritual intimacy, to risk being wounded(3).
I am completely on board, intellectually, but in daily practice, I loose stamina quickly. There is much work to be done. So let’s not be stagnant.
I hope these thoughts make sense to some one out there and gives the courage to feel less alone and continue making progress.
cross posted in Texas and Egypt