Tuesday, October 16, 2018

(my)Passion

I think I was born hippie. Maybe it was the time (quite likely). Maybe it was the place (less likely).

When we moved here I thought I "knew" so much about race and inequality - and I was so wrong. It's much worse than I thought, and so deeply in us. We are so isolated in the north and surrounded by unrelenting whiteness, and so those of us who don't consider ourselves racist can pretend it's a thing somewhere, but after all rational people aren't like that and MOST people aren't like that. Right? And the problems in our own schools and lower income communities are simply about density and no jobs or...something. Right? Then you get here and the blinders get all ripped off - and this isn't even the deep south - and suddenly you're like "WHO ARE THESE HUMANS AND WHO THINKS LIKE THAT?" Then you dig deeper and discover the deeply entrenched social justice issues that affect everything from voting rights to schools - all aimed at keeping a group down, and keeping people riled up against one another - and...it's such a tangled mess. I'm living in a state with voting districts that are shaped like snakes and octopi. I am living in a state that's probably about to enact voter ID laws that will further marginalize the have-nots, regardless of skin color. I live in a state where a man can smoke a bowl, get out of his truck, and get killed; standing while black. I am looking to move back to a state that is deeply racist and pretends it isn't, which is super easy when your towns are 99.3% WHITE.

Then there's the planet. Poor thing. We get given this amazing gift and what do we do? Rape the ever loving crap out of it in a short-sighted gluttonous assault. We suddenly "need" meat three meals a day (not including snacks!) which is so destructive to the environment on so many levels from water use to land use for commodity feed crops that could be growing plant-based foods with 1/10th the water and land waste and we would be PERFECTLY HEALTHY - hell, we would be HEALTHIER!! But we continue to kill ourselves and the planet and the powers that be come up with new ways to compensate for those of us leaving the meat and dairy markets by touting Keto or Paleo as the new cure-all when the science clearly shows the exact opposite is true...the organism has subsisted on the planet for millennia with meat as a side dish, not a main course. And we are stuffing it with all this animal flesh and fat, while our cancer rates and heart disease rates continue to skyrocket. Sometimes in my more paranoid moments I think it's intentional - cut down on the population by killing 2/3 of us off with food. Last man standing, holding a carrot and a bunch of kale, wins.

Then there's the animals and the small humans - and I go back in my child-mind to the picture of Jesus from Sunday School, all white and blue-eyed, with his long hair and beard, surrounded by a rainbow of small children and small animals, dove of peace seated on his shoulder. "Suffer the little children to come unto me..." and "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren..." and ok yeah He didn't mention animals, but really. I have never been able to put the cow on my plate completely into a context that makes sense, and that's even harder now, having watched all these things...could we raise animals for consumption without ethical quandaries? Maybe. But that's not what we do now. What we do now are things that any ethical person, witnessing in person, would want to report to someone - immediately - to make it stop. BUT WE EAT THAT SHIT. And kids - talk about an abused group. Kids and old people - the groups we all say we care about, but never put our money where our mouths are.

And on it goes.

Trying to find "a passion" in all of this is like trying to choose which of your children to throw off the life boat first. "But I love the people and I love the planet and I love the babies and I love the animals and I love the snakes and the bugs and the birds and all the things and..." what do I do with all that?

Death and dying has been and continues to be very important to me, in the way birth is. The arrival and departure of a soul should be sacred; it should be an occasion marked not with solemnity, but with respect and awe. When we lose that we lose our humanity. Hell, we've lost our humanity.

I am not perfect. I fall, fail, make mistakes - but I keep open and willing to learn and grow and change. And I am seeking truth endlessly. I find nuggets and store them away, but hoarding does me no good - the nuggets MUST be shared. They must be spoken, they must be set free.

So what, then, is my passion, my calling, my "thing"? This has been a topic around here lately as we both wander through mid-life, coming to grips with the past, making sense of it, and moving into the future.

My kids, grown now, are still my passion - but in a different way. Now my focus needs to transition to their children. All I have learned, I can share with them. Make them all sugar free, flour free, and vegan, and get their parents breathing down my neck (insert evil laugh here). OK, maybe not - especially in a world where pizza and Pepsi are everywhere - but at least introduce them to the natural world in a way that creates awe and wonder and the reverence for all life that we lack - and if someday they chose to opt out of the animal-cruelty based food chain, then good for them. Teach them that all humans matter. Teach them that all animals matter. Teach them that THEY matter.

Outside of that, I feel like I need to find a crusade that brings all of my passion into play. Advocacy, which is ironic because that seed was first planted by the shrink last year, but I have not been able to find the path to it yet. I need....a foundation of my own, with an endless budget - I shall save the whole world! I suppose I also probably need to make enough money to feed myself, damned capitalist system. But I would so rather just give myself away to the things that ignite me. Who needs a paycheck when I am talking about restoring sanity and humanity?

For the time being, still lacking a clear direction, I want to get certified in plant-based nutrition (for which I require that green evil we all so depend on in the modern world). In my perfect world I would go back to school near-full-time, gain degrees in nursing, social justice, nutrition, education? I am not sure what best suits the rambling, incoherent path I seem to be on. Actually it isn't incoherent. I mean, at the core of all the things I am passionate about lies the same thing.

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