I am so incredibly stressed out by waking up every morning in Bizarro World. The world where DJT is seriously the republican nominee and black men GOING ABOUT THEIR DAILY LIVES are killed day after day.
Whenever I’m anxious, my coping mechanism is to throw myself whole-heartedly into my family, my hobbies. To surround myself with the familiar is calming, and the busy-ness of activity settles me.
But this year, something is off. Way off.
I have not sewn more clothing, or knit more sweaters, or run more miles, or been more present with my family than I ever could have so far this year.
And still, I feel so unsettled.
This is a knitting and running and sewing blog. Not a political blog. Not a social commentary. But I think that the political and racial situation here in the US is affecting my ability to post regularly, to revel in the accomplishments (athletic and/or maker) of the folks I follow, and it has sucked the joy out of just about everything.
From 1988 through 1992, I lived as a minority. I was a white girl living in somewhat rural Japan as an ESL teacher. At that time, there were only a handful of foreigners living in that part of Japan. I had no access to credit and required a guarantor (my boss) to secure an apartment, telephone line (yes, late 1980’s), bank account. I was pointed at, referred to as a “gaijin” (foreigner), and randomly asked for my passport or gaijin card by Japanese police. As a white woman, I was a good minority. Sometimes I was invited, mostly as a curiosity, into Japanese families’ homes. I had students who owned businesses and asked that I model their products. On the other hand, retailers assumed I couldn’t speak Japanese, and even when I did ask questions in textbook Japanese, often their reply was “oh, I don’t speak English.” Better yet, random strangers would stroke my hair.
At one time, I thought this gave me some insight into living as a minority in the US. But you know what? It really doesn’t. Not at all. Because for all the inconveniences of having to show my gaijin card, or having strangers pet my blonde hair, or kids pointing at me like a zoo animal and yelling “gaijin,” I KNEW I would come out of the experience alive.
And this is what distresses me. That an entire American demographic has no idea if they’ll come out of their experience alive. That they can do everything right. And still experience car trouble and be shot and killed on the side of the road.
I am struggling to figure out what I can do. I know from a lifetime of knitting that stitch by stitch, small consistent actions have impressive results. What are the small actions I can take to get to better results? Colin Kaepernick is taking a knee.
What’s my knee?
This blogger has these suggestions. These are all things I can do. I’m going to focus on #3. Between my work and social world, I feel as though I have a considerable pulpit. I’m going to use it.