In an Oops/Fuck World

That moment when someone you haven’t seen or heard from since you were 13 years old messages (you’re not FB friends) to tell you that although his politics are near-polar opposite yours, he’s been checking in on your Facebook for over a year to see if you’ve got any new political commentary and in the process realized that he’s envious of you because you have a clear gift for wordcraft.

And for a millisesecond, you experience the peace of a simple act of generosity, then he adds: “except for all of those obscenities, you’re an amazing wordsmith.” Then, in way of explaining— perhaps just to himself, for I didn’t inquire—why he has kept coming back he adds, having clearly resigned himself to the defects, “But: that’s just Amy.”

Thank you. Really hits the spot. Now tell me, random acquaintance: do you like me better with eyeliner or without, smiling or more serious; should I wear low-cut sundresses or is that too flashy? What exactly can I do to make your experience of me more comfortable?

And even just a few years ago, I didn’t used to cuss as much as I do now. I took great care to stifle my own expressivity so as not to make waves, going out of my way to avoid offending someone because I not only didn’t know how to make space for myself, I also didn’t see my self separate from the societal conditioning that raised me.

But experience paves new roads to truth. And in the last few years things have gotten loud. Child trafficking, the meat “industry”, the double-barreled crises of anxiety and suicide, whales dying with tummies full of plastic and Trayvon, a kid, killed for wearing a sweatshirt…., all existing as cattle prods for evolutions. Since within the sights and sounds of this suffering world is the sights and sounds of a society structured on toxicity and denial which now must do better.

For the real shit of all these implanted social requirements is the starving polar bears, reduced arctic ice to reflect the heat of the sun and 12 years to unchain from lifetimes of human assumptions we were clearly mistaken about. And the truth of this world is that we clutch pearls about cussing, and not about some homeless person pushing his dog in a shopping cart. We speak our offense about a women saying whatever she feels is best but not about wealth inequality or a planet so imperiled we’re counting down years from only the number 12 to when we won’t be able to exist here anymore. We grant tolerance to a wordsmith and allow ourselves to miss that our opinion on the subject might be just a big pile of useless bullshit clearly enunciated.

And in panning out—in making the next 12 years our potential entire lifetime—we’ll all need to cuss—panic, rage, topple—and speak anger free of the societal constraints that have previously anesthetized us. Because conformity won’t get us to survival and when everything we said, thought, and did were all wrong, we now get to save ourselves by allowing one another the space to be all the things we never were.

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