I have had a full week. That’s what a friend of mine, a transpersonal psychologist, used to say when he was going through a difficult time,…”the week was very full,” he’d say, and I’d know what he meant.
So, with that said, I am feeling stumped about what to write about. I will not use the “b” (blocked) word, because I don’t believe I get blocked, just stumped every once in a blue moon here.
All I can think of to report is the continuance of my obsessive need to talk to every black person I see when I’m out and about. It’s like I have OCD, only maybe I should call mine, ODC–Obsessive Desire To Connect (with black people).
Here’s an example.
My daughters are taking acrobatics class at a local studio. I love their dance studio. It’s run by this powerhouse woman, Ms. Christine, who it turns out appeared on the Lawrence Welk show when she was a ten-year-old tap dancer. She has a huge blown-up photo of herself in her tap shoes hanging over her desk to prove it. Anyway, the place is always bustling, and I so enjoy the energy of all the children and teenagers moving about the space. Most of all I love the diversity of the kids and families that go to the studio–black, white, Cape Verdean, Dominican–just a nice mix of all kinds of people.
Today was Picture Day at the studio, meaning the girls had to dress in their Lion Kingish looking recital costumes, hairs in buns, faces all made-up, to pose for their class photo. When we walk into the gym a few minutes late, the place is already buzzing–girls flitting around, putting on their headbands, gelling their hair into place, practicing photo poses on the floor mats.
I get in line to pay for the photos. I ask the women in line ahead of me how things work, and am happy I am talking with women of color. The women weren’t sure of the answer to my question about whether we can order group photos, so I turn around and ask the cute, Cape Verdean looking middle-school age dance students if they know. Again, I give myself points for talking to them, wherein my daughters have been too shy to break the ice with their classmates. I cut my girls some slack for being new to the class, when most of the other girls have been taking classes there for years. But still, I can’t help but wonder if they feel intimidated being in the minority for a change, as two of five white girls in the class of twenty-five. Or not so much intimidated, as feeling like they don’t belong, or perhaps they worry that the girls don’t like them. I think I’ve mentioned before, that I seem to be seeing that as my girls get older, the kids in their classes seem to self-segregate, perhaps not so much in the classroom, but certainly outside of school.
But me, I have to talk to every person of color there is. Is this some kind of diagnosable disorder? Some kind of reverse racism? I don’t know–sometimes I just think it’s a beautiful, rich thing to talk to someone different than me, to engage and be kind to all whose paths we cross. It makes life that much better–much better than only being around everyone that looks and thinks and acts just like me. What fun would that be? I’ve always sought out “fun” so maybe that’s what this is all about. Connect. Fun. Joy. Maybe having ODC isn’t so bad after all.