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“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou
You don’t know what you don’t know.
I grew up privileged in Orange County California. A conservative community of right-wing Christians. This was what I knew.
A white heterosexual female, at a time when a woman was taught to obey and succumb to men. Woman’s liberation was looked on as angry women causing a fuss. My parents loved one another so I thought that system worked.
I was wired with empathy, I felt and I felt hard. I dared not feel outside of my race, as a youth, I simply did not have the capacity yet. I turned my eyes away from the homeless, feeling uncomfortable. I had no idea where those feelings came from, I just knew that they were there.
I once dated a Mexican-American for years and loved deeply. How could I be racist if I have friends and family of all colors? How could I be a feminist without understanding how I was wired and try to re-circuit myself?
My dad is ninety-five almost ninety-six, he loves my mother that I know. I also understand he is misogynistic. He gave my brothers opportunities to build their careers. He helped me to raise my children and be a stay-at-home single mom. Not a subtle message.
The expectations that were foisted upon me were set. I was not to exceed but to support my husband. I was to play to a role that represents him, looking thin with a glossy plastered smile.
I was single for years that could explain that. I had many painful lessons to learn how to be a partner, much differently than “stand behind your man”.
I wanted desperately to see myself past socially constructed gender roles. I pushed with drive, passion outside a man or a husband. I worked hard at publishing my first book. Trying to prove to myself that I could achieve as a female.
Prejudice of any kind makes me sick. People need to see the person in all, homeless, colors, LGBTQ, white straight females.
A blonde middle-aged woman in my town and was walking by the beach. A rowdy group of thirteen-year-old boys rode past her on their bikes. One of them smack her backside and yelled “I smacked your white ass”. The woman was notably shaken and shared her story. This makes me sad for the boys mistreating and disrespecting women. Is there hope for them? How can we find hope for them?
Can we rewire ourselves from what we grew up with and what we now know? To know better is to do better. Can we help young men and women learn to see people with equality, dignity, empathy, and regard?
I grew up the way I did in the skin I did. I can not change that fact. I can only change myself as I strive to learn.
My Mantra: “I am grateful that I want to know more and do better