This post will probably be all over the place so fair warning.
I spend a lot of time driving. My job is 45 minutes away, one way. Five days a week. I spend a lot of that time just thinking. I think about past conversations I’ve had with people and wonder if I said the right things or if I could have said something different. I often press rewind in my head to review the past few day or two and analyze. For example, last night I had quite an interesting conversation with a friend of a friend. When you meet your friend’s friend, there is usually an automatic impression. Its human nature. We can’t help ourselves. I wondered what he thought of me as I sat there thinking about all of the things I’ve heard and placing it to the face. The content of the topics we discussed were baffling to say the least. Here you have two black people, (and I have to define race here), talking about their feeling regarding interracial relationships. I like to think I’m a general, open minded person. My views are simple. You love who you love. Race doesn’t matter. Why should it? If the person you love makes you happy, that’s all that matters. He asked me how I feel about gay marriage. Same answer. I don’t care what you do in the confines of your bedroom. I hope its sexy as hell because that would make both partners happiest. He tells me he doesn’t like the white race. I didn’t know what that meant so I asked. People with white skin, he says, mainly of European descent. How do you know someone is European descent, I asked. Because I can just tell, he says. Instead of getting angry, I ask, why do you feel the way you feel? He says because if “they” wanted to change the way they treat black people they would. So I asked him, what do you do to change the way people view you. And he felt that striving to become a history teacher and telling the “real” truth would bring about necessary change. I wished him the best.
There was a lot more commentary in there but that was the short of it. I understand to an extent why he feels the way he feels but most of me just thinks he lives a sad existence. Attraction to a race is one thing but to condemn the whole race for past transgressions that you were not even a part of is downright astonishing. Do I think history should be swept under the rug? No. Do I want history to repeat itself? Of course not. Change is necessary. It will always be necessary. That’s how we grow and get better. I believe our history shapes who we are today but I believe it does it unconsciously. When you decide who to befriend, you don’t ask yourself what your ancestors would do or how they would feel. You weigh how you feel and how that individual makes you feel. If they make you laugh, if they inspire you, if they tug at a piece of your heart in some way; things are the things that shape your future.
Besides going over interactions in my mind, I think a lot about my dream job. I used to think it was a veterinarian. I love animals. One of my favorite land creatures is the elephant and one of my favorite sea creatures is the sea turtle. After various jobs, some in vet clinics, I realized I don’t have the strength of heart to be a veterinarian. I’m an easier crier and dealing with death is just not for me. Shutting my emotions off is impossible. I also realized I hate school. I made it the first four years but I was not motivated enough to continue the other eight or so. From here I thought, well I’m pretty great with computers, I love staying updated in the tech world, maybe I can get an IT job. This comes from many years of pet retail and finally burning out. Technology is where the jobs are. I hear that a lot and maybe one day I’ll actually pursue that. Ultimately I’ve come to realize my dream job would be to read. I enjoy reading SO much. It gives me life. I can hardly step through my day without imagining how Astrid is going to solve her interesting dilemma. I read chapters whenever I get a free moment and binge read on the weekend. I’ve been told before that reading is not productive but I disagree. It’s way beyond productive! That piece of imagination is my expresso shot in the morning! It’s my midnight snack before I go to bed. It stimulates my dreams! I strive to emulate the characters in real life because that world is fantastic! I learn their histories and how they deal with their present. The stories I read are not always fantastic. I’ll admit, I’ve read some books and didn’t finish them because there just wasn’t a connection. Nine out of ten times though, I am living! And let me tell you, it feels GREAT to be alive!
To connect my two ruminations (in my mind anyway) I leave you with this. History is a part of us, yes, but you will never connect with anyone if you don’t leave it behind. When I say leave behind, I don’t mean forget it entirely. Remember it. Grow from it. Learn from it and make your life the better because of it. There are people who want to be in your life, real and imaginary that don’t care about your history. Open your arms, your eyes, and especially your ears. Free your mind or at least free up a portion of it for new thoughts and visions. You’ll love it, I promise.