Yesterday I experienced a moment that stirred up all manner of emotions.
As some of y’all know a bitch is a culture addict with a background in cultural anthropology. I have learned to celebrate the belief systems of others and to honor a person’s right to cultural expression.
But that value and honor shit has limits.
So, yesterday…a bitch was having a conversation with a friend and we were both expressing our annoyance over the allergy-based drama going on in our sinuses. Another individual joined the conversation and took issue with our “negativity”. A bitch was annoyed…partly because my fucking head hurt and my eyes were burning but also because I have a right to be negative just like other people have the right to Let The Sun Shine! Let The Sun Shine In! The Sun Shine In! all up in my conversation about allergies.
Anyhoo, somehow or other this positive person introduced the notion that people choose to have allergies...that led to people choosing to be ill…which led to people choosing to be born in an oppressed group and be victims of genocide…which led to this individual saying that my autistic brother was born autistic because of choices made in a previous life.
Pause...sip orange soda pop...continue.
Now, that was where the value and honor other people's right to believe shit hit my mental wall.
The conversation ended...cough...and I quickly dismissed the individual because I don’t actually think this person is committed to that belief system or any belief system as much as jumping from belief to belief whenever and for whatever reason.
But the opinions this person expressed are not new and deeply trouble me.
When I was a wee bitch some preacher told my mother that my brother Bill was born autistic because she had not been forgiven for her sins. I’ll never forget hearing that…my mother told every person she knew through a multi-day phone-a-thon that the preacher was an asshole and that she would never step foot in that church again. I have heard that same opinion expressed from many different sources and, for a while, I internalized it. A bitch used to pray and pray to God begging for my brother to be “fixed” and it took me years to realize that The Divine One answered me…Bill’s perfectly autistic and a blessing as he is. He’s not a punishment…he didn’t fuck something up in a past life…he is not the wages of my mother or father’s sins.
Poor people aren’t poor because they aren’t faithful enough…middle class people aren't not rich as sin because they aren't as faithful as sinfully rich people...cancer isn’t a punishment for some lapse in positivity…Darfur didn’t have a genocide coming from some past life transgression.
The danger of this way of thinking is that it absolves us…you and this bitch and everyone in between…of any responsibility. It is a philosophy of Not My Fucking Problem that empowers believers to walk past, ignore and disdain others who may be in need. And it acquits those who do evil of what they have done and why they did it.
It also assumes an impossible level of control. If I falter…disease, poverty and misery. If I maintain…health, wealth and joy. “I” is at the center but not in a...dare I say it?..positive fashion. This bitch knows a true thing…we humans are powerless over a lot of shit, but we can control how we respond to shit.
Anyhoo, a bitch is all for positive thinking but I’m a believer in keeping shit real.
If there’s a pile of bullshit in the room, positive thinking may bring someone in to clean that stankified mess up or mayhap that someone will come because she wasn't able to stand the smell. Either way a bitch doubts the bull took that shit in the middle of the room because the occupants of the room where getting their negative on.
Bulls in rooms will shit in them.
A bitch’s secret would be to guide said bull back to pasture and latch the gate.