This quote has been wandering through my head for the past day so I have decided to create some resolution for that. I've been rather absorbed with several issues, including the writing of a set of posts about my post-cancer-diagnosis body. However, during one of my breaks to come up for air, I realized that a rather dear sister-friend of mine was experiencing something that she did not deserve to go through alone. It seems that a certain blogger (who shall not be given the benefit of a link from me at this point) had decided to focus her energies on attempting to coerce my sister-friend into kowtowing to her needs.
It's rather sad, really. Upon my initial visit to the blogger, whom I've decided to refer to as TheNeedyOne, it seemed absolutely brimming over with promise. Like me, she is a mami blogger, a woman of color and she and I happen to have similar views on certain institutions. However, the hypocrisy that I also found there left me simply shaking my head at it all. Incredibly, it seems that behind all of the machismo and bravado, there was only one basic emotion behind it all and that was envy. You see, my sister-friend has a very well-developed blog where almost every post she writes draws in a very impressive mix of readers who are quite eager to flesh out the topics my friend introduces.
Enter TheNeedyOne. She's also a blogger but for many reasons, her work doesn't garner the same level of interest as my sister-friend's does. Anyway, she happened to be mentioned by another blogger who has ties to the sacred space created by my sister-friend. Evidently, she (TheNeedyOne) did not approve of the fact that this blogger did not view some of her assertions with the deference she seems to be accustomed to in some sphere of her life. However, I think one would have to be the sort of person who, as Dickens said, "could build a church...by squinting at a sheet of paper" in order to consider TheNeedyOne's next actions as healthy or even logical.
Instead of stating her grievances and negotiating for a solution that would be satisfactory to all of the parties involved, she chose to play the role of petty dictator. She attempted to force my sister-friend to change the entire nature of this blog that was functioning rather well the way it already was. As a result, she ultimately got what she gave off. That is, treatment that was considered rather unsatisfactory to those who received it. I do wonder, how did her behavior get so reinforced prior to this situation as to make it the sole means (of expressing herself) she was able to exhibit when all of this occurred? Unfortunately, because of our differences in communication styles, I doubt that we could even discuss the answer to that question in a way that I would find worth my time.
What's with the sense of entitlement that so many physically healthy people feel? Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke of poverty as being beautiful in a way and this always aggravated me when I was relatively healthy and enjoying the benefits of my solidly middle-class existence. I'd seen how the possibility of drifting back into poverty was a motivator like no other for those adults around me who had seemingly "lifted themselves up by their bootstraps" from their childhood of subsistence-only living (spent in some "ghetto", "barrio", "tenement" or "housing project") to achieve a Black/Native/Latino/Asian form of the "American Dream". So, how could poverty be a beautiful thing? Well, so far as I've come to see, it's not the poverty itself that is beautiful inasmuch as it is what the poverty can bring with it and that is something that I was only able to see once I was further along on my personal journey.
And that sometimes-companion to poverty is appreciation. It's true that not everyone who experiences poverty of some type will come to appreciate something about life. There are certainly an abundance of folks who will remain bitter and indignant despite the fact that their experiences with oppression only amount to minor inconveniences when measured against the grand scheme of things that people on this planet have faced. However, outside of this group, there are those who use the situations they go through as a means of finding the bittersweet, an opportunity to explore those financially unrewarding but ultimately exquisite delights that are available to every individual with some modicum of sapience.
I think that this ability to see the beauty inherent in everything is what ultimately separates these two potentially powerful women (TheNeedyOne and my sister-friend); One has it and the other, as far as I can see, does not. So, where does this leave all those involved? Well, instead of allowing TheNeedyOne and her cohort TheRiverDenial to co-opt the spaces that my sister-friend has worked so hard to craft, they are simply free to create their own spaces where they can determine what topics will be made a priority. Sometimes, the best we can do is to leave someone to follow their dreams and create their own reality because to do otherwise would require us to forego the pursuit of our own dreams and that is something that no stranger (i.e. those outside of our support systems) has any right to expect us to do. If someone wants to view this as proof that your views and theirs have some sort of adversarial relationship, then that is their issue to work out if it is to be worked out at all. In reality, they may thrive on proving to themselves that there is a dichotomous relationship between them and everyone else. So why take away what seems to make them happy by giving them what they claim will make them happy?
Shared sacred spaces are a wonderful idea but there is no reason why all must be assimilated into the Borg. Having a voice on the internet is not a zero-sum situation. There is room for an infinite number of views to create their own space without diminishing the intrinsic value of any other voice that wants to be heard. I would love to help anyone develop their own space but I REFUSE to allow my space to be defiled by those who seek, not to deconstruct, but to destroy all that I seek to create in order to temporarily satisfy their need to "come, look, and conquer". I only hope that my sister-friend will take the same stance and reclaim that which is hers and hers alone by virtue of her hard work.