18.2.18 Garden finds
There are many days when it's hard for me to tell the truth because my truth is not pretty.
Over and over, we're told that it's beauty and success that makes us lovable and beauty and success that will save us. Make ourselves beautiful enough, attractive enough, filter our bodies and our lives enough until only what's pleasing and impressive remains, and the right people and opportunities will be drawn to us.
The most painful thing about it all is that it's true, or at least it seems to be. We've all of us lived long enough to see what's rewarded. We've all of us lived long enough to see what repels. What's worse is that we see everyone around us doing the same - we watch what they choose and who is chosen - and that only makes us believe it all a little harder.
It makes vulnerability a risky business. It makes my vulnerability feel terrifying.
Fear makes us silent and much that is valuable can be lost in silence. I'm trying to remember that and not be tempted to fall into it just because I'm afraid.
I read two things today that stopped me in my tracks.
The first was about Audre Lorde and her thoughts on visibility and silence, and I encourage you to read it here.
The second was hidden in the first: words by James Baldwin, who said “It’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.”
The world tells me every single day that I am lesser, but I don't help by believing it. I don't help by perpetrating it.
Either I believe that disability and its restrictions are something ugly and shameful and should be hidden away, and then hide myself away in response, or I don't believe that. And if I don't believe that, and oh god, I don't, then I'm going to have to start being braver with my visibility and braver with my truth.
Either I believe that love is something shallow and narrow, something that only really responds to perfection and beauty, and start loving like that in response, or I don't believe that. And if I don't believe that, and oh god I do NOT, then I'm going to have to start giving people the chance to love me as I really am.
Even if they still turn away. Especially then.