I don't write very often.
I don't vote either, usually.
I don't leave comments on social media.
I don't put myself forward to be heard, because, from experience, I'm so afraid that what I have to say will be misinterpreted, misunderstood and worse, do damage.
Until I do.
Sometimes it's worth taking the risk.
For my own sake. So here goes...
Over the years of not saying much and watching and learning, I've noticed that we all have our 'lessons in life'.
Some are learnt financially. Some physically. Some sexually. Almost all, mentally.
Mine have always been the latter.
And what I've learnt is that not being able to express my Self and what I'm feeling, no matter how self indulgent it may seem to others, has the biggest impact on my mental health - or lack of.
One of my friends once described me as the most "Innocent/Switched on" person they knew.
I didn't know how to take that at the time but I've realised, over the years, that it's the perfect description of me, no matter how it's interpreted - by me or anyone else.
And it's also the reason why I keep my observations to myself. Because I never know how they're going to be judged.
And Judgement has been, by far, the biggest challenge in my life.
At first it was how others judged me but over the years, I've become more concerned by how others judge others.
The year 2020 will be memorable for so many events - and we're not even half way through it.
A month ago, when we were all so focused on COVID 19 and its inconveniences and horrors, we couldn't have anticipated the additional devastation of a black man being shot down while out on a leisurely run or another black man being asphyxiated - by a police officer. What is even more appalling is that neither of these occurrences were unusual or unexpected - by the black community. Only by non POC. So while the rest of the non black world are reeling with the injustice, the black community are adding the notches to their generations long List Of Suffering.
I'm a million miles away from that suffering - geographically and physically but even I, a Pakeha/Caucasian, can feel the pain, shed the tears and register the injustice. I know nothing of what POC experience every day of their lives but I'm grateful that my open and compassionate heart allows itself to commiserate - not just with POC but with anyone who falls into any minority, unappreciated and unrespected category.
But I'm one of the lucky ones.
Throughout my life (I see now how lucky I was) I was brought up with physical disability (family and friends with Polio), other cultures and races (Whanau related to me), gender and sex fluidity and mental health variations and this makes me feel for not only the people suffering, but those who haven't had the privilege of interactions with all of these individuals affected by what's going on.
Many years ago, when I told a new flatmate of mine that a number of my family had polio, she pleaded with me never to let her be in the same room as any of them. When I asked incredulously why, she said that even though she knew it was wrong, she had a compulsion to talk louder and be more exaggerated around people who had what she saw as physical disabilities. She hated that about herself but felt she couldn't change her behaviour.
So here's the thing.
I haven't been in contact with this flatmate in years but she now provides a service that 'gratifies' the sexual needs of the disabled - and, knowing what I know about her, I could not be more proud.
So all of this to say to POC, who're so disaffected, disillusioned and disappointed in 'whites' - there are more of us than you know who are just as disappointed in the people who've treated you unfairly. So if we mistakenly, naively 'stand up' for you or show any form of condolence - please understand that it's not a separate, heroesque, misguided show of solidarity - it's because some of us don't see ourselves as a colour or race, we just know injustice when we see it and can't help ourselves but to express our outrage.
If you feel indignant about anything us non-POC people might say, please just look to the core of what we might have said or done and judge the energy and intention, not the colour. Because, if there's one thing I can tell you from my heart, we experience racism too. Not to the extent you do (it's not a contest) but enough to feel you.
Being a proud (very proud!) New Zealander, I want to express my sensitivity to not just POC who are dealing with their turmoil but the Chinese who are being discriminated against for COVID and the Muslim community who was attacked just over a year ago. #blacklivesmatter might be the latest hashtag that's getting attention but #alllivesmatter is where my heart is focused.
I love and I love openly.
Even if I wanted to, it's impossible for me to discriminate.
So I just want you to know, anyone to know, that I feel for you.
It might not be enough, or seen as appropriate, or even misguided - but I feel for you.
And my only suffering is that I wish I knew what to say and that I could do more to ease your suffering...
Pimp My Attitude
You need to know, right now, this is all about me. I'm not educated. I don't have any (non-driving related) qualifications therefore, I'm not about to tell you what you should do - I know my place.
And here you are.
At my place.
So - welcome.
If you're here for 10 seconds, I won't even know so I won't be offended that you left early.
If you're here for hours and keep coming back, I will consider you a friend because the only thing my diverse yet loyal friends have in common, and what I appreciate most about them, is that they just keep coming back..