You know when you wake up in the middle of the night and you choose to not wear your glasses? You walk to the kitchen faucet for a glass of water and as you’re lying face down on the carpet on your way back as a result of clumsy feet, you stare at the world from that point and realize it’s not much different than how you normally see it? It’s an odd observation, I know.
Anyway, in that ignorant moment where I abandoned my glasses, and then I pay the price, I realize that the fuzzy and tilted world is my eyes finally seeing how I always thought it was.
There are so many undefined lines in our words, the boundaries we are expected not to cross. How far can we discuss the wars in our heads or the ones on the streets? Can we mention the thread pulled harshly and now unraveling in our government? Are we expected to ignore all of the “#me toos” filling up the walls of all the women, the people, we never knew suffered? Our expectations are pixels on a societal roster.
The angle from which I’ve fallen left me seeing my pitch black room tilted 45 degrees to the right.
The way in which people have grown to show their beliefs is tilted just the same. Words were once weapons against injustice, but now one of the biggest shots you can fire is a hard ‘r’ at the end of your slurs. The melting pot our past created was the biggest tagline of our country, until we decided we needed to “make it great again.” The idea of making the human race all equal became minorities wanting to outrank the rest, pleas for unity becoming the white man’s threats of being wiped out.
I grew up thinking glasses were kind of a sham. Sure, they helped me see, but they made me miss some things too.
I grew up thinking the world was hiding something bigger. Sure, there are good things that exist, but there’s more that sits below our fading senses.
I am an agnostic, white woman who was born from the history books of the least by-the-book woman I know.
My mother has mentioned the times she was assaulted in passing. She discusses the abuse like a bad sitcom on television. The Grateful Dead tour days were where she always started her life story.
She started Baptist and isolated by her parent’s strong grip, and she soon turned to whatever the hell she wants to believe and living life for the happiness of it. I’ve been present for the heated and sickeningly conservative family debates at Easter dinner about how a black man in office ruined the country single-handedly and that the people running from their homelands just wanted to destroy ours.
I’ve seen my mother’s face fall at the world she came from, then watched her look at me and pray I took her beliefs, that I was going to put kindness out into this wasteland from the words rolling off my tongue and the acts thriving from my fingertips.
I’ve never experienced the way people stared at me in department stores, watching me like I would spread disease because I was anything other than white. But, I’ve seen it. And I was too scared to mention it. It still haunts me.
But I have experienced the way people, men mainly, talk at me in crowded concert halls and in aisles at the grocery store, watching me walk in leggings and a t-shirt, the least seductive outfit I own. I knew that I couldn’t fight back. And I saw all the other women too scared to mention it. They apologized after he spat, “baby!” one more time and stalked off.
I’ve never been told to go back to my country, because without a doubt, I live here.
I have been told that I can’t take girls to prom, because without a doubt, it’s pure evil no matter the circumstances.
As much as I hate not seeing the truth, there is a reason I don’t fall asleep on the floor at night.
As much as I don’t want to seem weak, the real world, the ugly black and white world, scares me.
Friends beg me to still be there for them when they discover they’re gay, and my mother still cries at the fact that her mother hates Planned Parenthood even though it saved my mother’s life.
I’m privileged, so very privileged. White and straight and smart enough to not mention my lack of faith. Being a woman in this world is terrifying, but I know there are bigger issues.
I know that I’m lucky that I can’t write about them.
I lay on the floor, wide awake, staring at how distorted this room really is without a way to hide the issue, the same room that by the light of day is a safe haven, similar to this country.
After long enough, I stand up and walk back to my bed, under my roof, and with dinner in my stomach that is now churning at the thought that other people never get this.
I let sleep slowly take me, silently hating myself for never wanting to see this world without my glasses on again.