The Line In the Sand and Self Love

I’ve just made a decision, supporting or voting for 45 is now a deal breaker. I don’t want to have people or family who support white supremacy or racism in my life. I got no time for it and I refuse to justify my right to safety in my body and community to anyone, least of all friends or family who think otherwise. It’s not about politics, it’s about basic fucking human rights. And if someone is too stupid to see that, IDGAF, seriously, not one. So, deleting more folks from fb, deleting from my life, don’t care who they are, don’t care how we’re related, don’t care how long we’ve known each other, don’t care how intensely we once cared about one another. That’s where I’m at and I feel lighter and freer already. Excising cancer from my personal life feels good. And I expect to continue to excise. I know who some of those folks in my life are.

And hey, I’m usually down to have a respectful convo or educate people if they desire (which of course doesn’t mean they understand things the same ways in which I do or presumes a specific outcome of like mindedness). What I’m not willing to do in engage in debate about any human’s humanity across any and every layer of oppression and privilege. I’m not willing to see ignorant, hateful, stupid shit throughout my timeline by people who claim to be my friend or my family while voting against brown and black people, linguistic minorities, immigrants, religious minorities, LGBT+ people, people with disabilities, poor people, etc. And I’m really not willing to sit beside them at a family function (not that we have many of those for me to worry about) or a friend get together. I’m through compromising my integrity, sanity, or mental health for that crap. And I’ll be here if they ever want to get real but like loving an alcoholic or drug addict, I don’t gotta stick around and see it or have it impact my life in any way. So, I’m breaking up with those people. Ball’s in their court.

And I should say, this is not retroactive. I clearly kept some people in my life who voted for that POS for reasons. Moving forward, this is how it’s going to go. I mean, I wouldn’t be hanging with someone who loved and supported David Duke. Same thing and this isn’t about 45 because this stands for any support of any white supremacist, xenophobe, homophobe, English only, hateful asshole inside or outside of this country. Once I know, snip.

I’ve been considering what I can tolerate and what/if anything I want to do about the handful of people still in my life because I love them so much. I guess I just gained clarity. Why am I expending so much energy and love toward people who don’t give one fuck about me in the depths of their souls? I mean, they’d never admit that but supporting this bullshit is exactly that. And it dawned on me that I wasn’t demonstrating love and care to myself by keeping them in my life this way. I wasn’t extending the same love and care to myself as I have been the people in my life who can’t be bothered to extend the same love and care to me. Accepting them and these belief systems into my personal life is abuse no matter how I look at it – either they’re abusing me or I’m abusing myself

Really that is why I’m taking these steps. I’m damned near 50 and just made a huge life transition – picked up roots of 25 years and relocated after working at one institution for 19 years and 6 months. I’ve been considering what life I want to build for myself here, how to fill my new life up, what to fill it up with, and how I want to live this next segment of my life. As I’ve gone through my belongings (and will continue to) and have started prioritizing what’s important to me and what I need, I’ve been doing the same with the people in my life.

I’ve poured a lot of energy, time, love, compassion, and patience into a lot of people in my life. As I’ve done this, I’ve started to recognize some patterns about myself that cause me harm where family and friendships are concerned. And I’m recognizing the ways in which my friendship or kinship has been assumed in some really problematic ways. For example, I had actual family members (more than one) espouse they couldn’t be racist because they have Black family and friends even as they voted for that slime bucket. Perhaps it’s presumptuous of me to assume that family member is me. There’s a 1 or 2% chance I’m wrong on that assumption. Or there’s that friend who pipes off with something or doesn’t stand up against something or expects you to laugh off/at something that is covertly racist because it wasn’t intended or it was a joke. Or it’s the step-family (which in my family I’ve never separated step from blood and that is a family belief and practice for many generations) who have all sorts of bullshit to say about people from different cultures, who speak different languages, who practice different religions. I’ve clung to family and friends as lifelines. I’ve also always been searching for my community, for my people. And I’ve had communities that were affirmative and amazing. Those have been few and sometimes far between.

As I’ve said before, for most of my life, I’ve lived in predominantly white areas. It was never that I’ve just gone along with these things. There’s a certain pain in clearly recognizing these things when this is literally every community I thought I was a member of. And I say “thought” here very intentionally. I fully believed and actually worked to be a part of these communities because that’s where I lived, went to school, the people I was related to, etc. Can one ever fully be a member of any community that either doesn’t recognize their humanity or refuses to see their identities (or explain it away with the comments – “you’re not like them”)? I keep coming back to, “No”. So I thought I was a member of these communities. So long as I had to make myself smaller, deny aspects of my identity, ignore the discreet racism, I was not a full member of those communities. How could I be? How could anyone be?

I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this basic truth. Actually, I do know. I have always been so focused on basic survival, I couldn’t fully see what was right before me. To do so would have taken energy and time I didn’t have. It would have meant leaving the only communities I had or knew. Now, my kids are raised, I’m in a location and a job I want to be in, and I have a small measure of financial security. I have time now to consider these things. And more importantly, I have the time to learn how to love myself better. I get to learn how to demonstrate love to myself. And that is the life I want to build in this new iteration of me.

Since learning to demonstrate love, care, and compassion to myself is a brand new practice for me, I’m certain I’ll have new insights that will impel me to make some other big changes. The decision to excise these people from my personal life is one I’ve been contemplating for some time now, well before the last presidential election. The thought of cutting off relationships has caused me some level of anxiety. I’m coming to fully internalize the fact all of that previously mentioned behavior is gaslighting. I already spent a too much time in a relationship where I was gaslit daily for years. Why would I accept this behavior around anything or from anyone again? I don’t intend to for one more minute. Somebody telling you they love you while abusing you. I choose me. This is the first step of learning to love myself.

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