Day 1635 – Day 1654
I’ve been working on an idea for a post for ages now. It isn’t that I haven’t wanted to write, nor that I’ve been feeling ungrateful. It’s an important idea and one that I’ve been churning around in my life but I haven’t been able to see it to fruition. Failing to write that post has left me feeling a bit let down. Winter is dragging on and on, and at the same time that time seems to stand still, the inability to write has left me watching time march on without producing anything.
To break out of this rut, I asked my niece for a one word writing prompt that I would work into my next post. I’m grateful to her for helping me to break through what I feared was becoming writer’s block.
She chose the word: ‘drag’. Edit: I asked friends on social media to give me one word writing prompts which I will work into future posts and my cousin Adele gave me the word ‘inclusive,’ after I had already completed this post. I guess great minds think alike. This post will be inclusive of both prompts. (see what I did there?)
As well as friction, there is another meaning of the word drag that comes immediately to mind, and that is the act of dressing against one’s outwardly observable gender, without being transgender. I love to go to drag shows. There is something rebellious and fun loving about flouting convention and of being way over the top. But dressing in drag is something very different to being transgender. Years ago, that line was very distinct. Now, identity politics makes this a bit more blurry for me.
I’ve been noticing that I see the world through a certain lens. I am a well educated, white, Western woman. I see the world firstly with a cis-gender and fairly straight lens. I see it the way that I am. I then expand out to include queer reality and that of people of colour. I take into account what it might be like to be non-white and not straight. But I usually sort of stop there. I don’t exclude those who are transgender or pansexual or asexual. I have people in my family and friend group that identify as one or several of these identities. I just neglect, in my language, to reflect this. I ‘m grateful for my friends of the younger generation who are automatically much more broadly inclusive in their language, as a matter of course. I know that there are many people out there whose bias would say “Those people should not be included,” and that isn’t my bias. Now that I have noticed it, I make a conscious effort to be more inclusive, but habits of a lifetime are hard to break. If reminded, I certainly will broaden my language, and I believe we all have equal rights and all deserve to be treated inclusively. My limited language does not mean that I am not liberal. But I can easily be misunderstood.
I try to overcome my own bias to use language that reflects how I am, and thoughts that reflect my own world view, but I will probably never succeed, because the fact is that I can try to empathize with those who are not like me – and I can get pretty far with that – but I will never know what it is like to be you. I can wear your clothes for awhile; I can go in drag, but I will never be in your skin.
I take the attitude that we are all One at a more spiritual level and I look for the commonalities between us. And I am grateful whenever I find common ground with people. But that is not to negate that your experience is different from mine. Your lens on the world is as valid as mine. We may not agree, but we can respect one another and find our commonalities, together.
On social media, I notice that people seem quick to take offence and to assume that someone’s perspective can somehow keep another person down. I understand the concept of white privilege, and I’m sure that I am blind to some of the ways that I benefit from it and some of the assumptions I make. In addition to confirming that this is a place of inclusion for all people, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, national origin, religion or belief, I ask readers to assume the best of intentions on my part. One’s choice of language seems to be the start of arguments on social media, and I wonder how many people are intentionally being exclusive, as opposed to having good intentions, but being unaware of the ways they are stuck in their own perspective.
If I have a blind spot, I welcome being made aware of it, with respect for one another.
There will be, in everyone’s life, some people with whom we cannot agree. I remember an evangelist trying to convince me that I must do this or that in order to “be saved,” and I told them what seemed obvious to me at a very young age: you cannot drag someone kicking and screaming, to your point of view. If they are to come, they must do so willingly, in their own way, and in their own time. I can still respect people with whom I disagree, because I can put myself in their shoes and see why they believe what they do. And I hope that they will do the same, for me. As long as neither of us imposes our opinions on the other, we can overlook big differences in opinion, finding our common ground and dwelling there, because we respect one another.
However, when respect is gone, they’re gone.
Respect is the one non-negotiable requirement, that must be present, in order for me to engage.
That might seem harsh, but, as we used to say in school: “quelle drag”
For what are you most grateful this week?