I think we need to have a little talk about all of this.
When I was a kid, I was told to work hard, get good grades, go to college, and I would get a good job. When I was still forming, I was told that if I were a good person, everything would work out. Be nice– right? Work hard– right?
As I grew up and faced the reality of you, even as it got more and more harsh, I was told “everything will work out.” As I approached college-age, I started to see that a college degree wasn’t worth all it used to be… yet, still I was told to work hard, be a good person, and all would work out just as it was supposed to.
In college, it was clear: college would not be enough. I would have to go to grad school. In grad school, it was clear: an MA was not enough. I would need a PhD.
But, like a good puritan, I worked harder and harder. I sacrificed time, money, and relationships for the “better good” which I thought I could see– just over the horizon. I looked at the you in which I existed, and thought “it’s all worth it” because eventually I would finish grad school, get a good job that I loved doing, and it would really be all good, just as everyone had always said.
See, that’s the thing– the only way people get through all this hard work is to promise themselves and others that it’s for some reason; that it will eventually pay off. The only way anyone finishes a PhD with an ounce of sanity is by thinking it will be ok; it will pay off… The only way anyone makes it through the struggle of growing up is by telling themselves that eventually everything will be as it should. We walk through life repeating that mantra as if we are sleep talking for 30, 40, and 50 years…
And I’m not talking about getting to a place where we can sit back and see– look, it’s all perfect… I’m talking about that moment, the tiny breath that means it’s ok. I got a job. I can pay my bills.
When I turned 27, you decided to give me a test; a rough streak that would make me stronger in the end, or that’s what I thought. You took away my partner, and my best friend, and my mentor all in one year… But you weren’t done…
When I turned 30, I decided to donate my kidney, because surely the “gift of life” such as that would satisfy your unending need for more sacrifice and more hardship. But you took my kidney and its recipient too.
And that’s when my faith in you started to crack in a way I think might be irreparable. No matter what anyone says or does, I can’t possibly understand the reasoning for that. I can’t possibly see that the loss of Pai Tama after that level of sacrifice will ever be ok. I don’t know if there exists a level of strength that could balance out that break. Maybe what doesn’t kill us, just doesn’t kill us… I don’t think I am stronger now to the level I would have to be to make that ok.
Still, I have held onto the faith left inside the clay pot I carry on my back. There is a crack, but I have tried to hold onto the slowly leaking faith…
But now I am not sure.
I am a good person. I have worked hard. I have a good work ethic and am a good citizen, but it is not working out. I don’t have a job. I can barely make ends meet. I have been struggling for so long. I am exhausted and don’t know how much longer I can hold on to this slowly leaking puddle of faith in you, world.
I don’t need to be a super star or even rich. I just want to be able to teach and pay my bills.
And really, the last straw is something I realized just today.
Today, when the womyn in my life repeated that mantra, “it will be ok,” or the one about putting out good intentions into the world, and all the other things we tell each other to avoid accepting that it might not work out…. when each of the womyn said those things with the best of intentions, I started to think that you have to be pretty damn privileged to say that… but I stopped. Because, that’s not exactly right…
Yes, saying “it will all work out as it should” or “everything for a reason” to someone who can’t make ends meet is a statement of privilege, but more importantly, it’s a statement of passive acceptance….
We have been hypnotised into passively accepting this faith in you…
I am pissed. I am frustrated. I am angry. I feel totally scammed.
And with good reason.
I don’t want to passively accept this anymore. I will not be some quiet little grrl, you can walk all over. There is a time for faith, and there is a time for outrage….
and dear world, I think we both know that the time for outrage has been here for a while.
I hope that one day I can have faith in you again, but for now, I am going to be enraged…
and I am not going to be quiet about it.