I was not planning on posting this on my website, but given the events in Charlottesville, I decided maybe it’s not such a bad time to post it. There is a difference between silence and listening. There is a difference between talking and acting…
I will not pretend that I have answers. I cannot speak for other people, their experiences, or their feelings. All I have is my own history to draw from, my voice to share my thoughts and opinions. Because of that, I try very hard to be discerning in my words and speak when I feel that what I have to say is worth putting out there. It’s not easy to decide when or if my words will contribute constructive conversation. I went through a period of not saying enough, then times of saying too much. As a woman, I feel the effects of patriarchy and its silencing intimidation. As a person of color, I feel the effects of white supremacy. As a multiracial person, I feel the effects of identity crisis and not feeling like enough. Silence is not always about not having an opinion on an issue, sometimes it is the act of listening. And I’ve been listening. Listening to arguments, justifications, light and love, support, put downs, non-apologies and self pats-on-the-back.
To me, it’s all a jumbled mess when I look at Facebook. Frankly, I hate most social media and feel that particularly Facebook will be the downfall of society. Things one would never say in person to anyone, suddenly become normal. It’s not real life. Even if you have the possibility of seeing a person in real life doesn’t seem to stop people from making reactionary, angry, and sometimes irrational statements. Not to say this doesn’t happen in person, but the frequency and level of this online is exponentially more intense. If you didn’t have social anxiety before, I’m fairly certain you’ve developed some form or level of it now because of it.
Yes, I do see the benefits as well. It is an amazing networking tool. There are many connections I would not have made without it. But I have spent enough time watching conversations devolve into unproductive fighting. Also, I’m not here to educate white people about how to not be racist. I’ll say it again. I’M NOT HERE TO EDUCATE WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT HOW TO NOT BE RACIST. I have spent my lifetime and will continue to spend my life (unfortunately) justifying my existence in this world to people who want to know “what are you?” I have found that the older I get, the fewer people I feel like spending my energy on. Very limited number of people get my time and energy, even fewer get my patience. If you are a grown adult and can’t be bothered to do the research in finding resources that will guide you in racial matters, I don’t have time for you. I will leave you with suggestions for podcasts like Pod Save The People and Politically Reactive and then say good day to you. If you are someone who truly wants to listen and I care about you, then let’s talk. Let’s do the work together. Because yes, we ALL have work to do. No one is exempt. We all have to deal with our own baggage, prejudices, and personal demons before we can approach bigger subjects.
There are issues in the burlesque scene popping up in my old home of NYC as well as my new home of Nashville. Things that make me sad, frustrated, defeated, and ultimately weary of those who don’t see them as problems. Several years ago, I would have written everyone off who didn’t agree with me. Today, I am disappointed as I try to maintain empathy. I am more than angry. I want to shake several people I have looked up to since before I started performing. And now as one of few POC in a smaller city, I feel more isolated and disembodied than ever. Moving to this place was way harder than I have admitted to anyone, even my husband. I’m searching for compassion for myself as well as others. I’m desperately trying to find ways to lead by example and open lines of conversation. At the moment, I find myself too angry to do so. I want nothing more than to tell everyone to sit down and shut the hell up. I cannot speak to anyone else’s feelings, only my own which are basically that there is actually too much unproductive posturing. I will not spend hours rehashing bullshit posted online. I have better things to do. I’m fairly certain you do as well. I already dwell too long on things I should not, Facebook is most definitely one of them.
I. Am. Tired. I am tired of non-apologies. I am tired of people patting themselves on the back. I am tired of having to read every post about someone who does not deserve the time of day. I am tired of people NOT ACKNOWLEDGING THESE ISSUES AS ISSUES. All actions should have consequences. Yes, I want people to publicly apologize for fucking up. Yes, I think it’s important to know where people stand. No, I will not take the time anymore to work towards progress with people who never cared in the first place. I also will probably hold anyone who is remotely toxic or stressful away with more than a 10 foot pole. I have probably not earned the right to be so inflexible, but I seem to have lost my filter in the 34 years I’ve spent being treated like a novelty, fetish, and alien. I am picking and choosing my battles. But at the end of the day, I owe you nothing. If you know me at all, you know this took me a lot to say. I’m looking at the big picture. Change starts with the small things. I’m starting with myself. I’m starting with the few people I care to spend energy on. Slowly expand and pass it on as I go.