would that we could find a way to silence it

in my facebook feed this morning, i came across a post about an ou daily op-ed which claims that nude bras, band-aids and cosmetics advertisements are racist.

half the country’s in an uproar because espn gave the arthur ashe courage award to caitlyn jenner.
south carolina took down the dixie flag because it’s racist.
heads up, people, this is the confederate flag:
this is the one that shouldn’t be flown anywhere. ever. 
and as a friendly reminder, the emancipation proclamation only freed the slaves residing in union-occupied territories of the south. the north could keep all theirs. it was a brilliant tactical move by president lincoln to help end the war quicker. a war, by the way, that was not about slavery. 
let me say that again: it was NOT about slavery.
it wasn’t about people in chains, thought it damned well should’ve been. it was about states thinking they were better than the country and that they shouldn’t have to be so regulated by the national government. it was about rebellion and ego and greed, and the self-righteous south lost because they didn’t have the industry, thereby the money, to perpetuate the war they started.
the flag that is being hated upon by so many right now is the battle flag of confederate general robert e. lee.
because it has been tied to the domination and subjugation of a people for so long, people see red when they see it: they’re angry because a symbol of what made the southern culture good is being desecrated by those who see it as a symbol of what made the southern culture bad. 
let me digress for a second…
i’m not the best at communicating, which is a horrible source of contention for me. i hate feeling so powerless. and i am. when i can’t find the words to say what i want and need and think, when the only time i can raise my voice is when i’m sitting at a desk pounding on some keys, i am reminded of how much i lack.
yesterday, i took my car to get the tires rotated and balanced. i had tried to do this last weekend, but they were too busy, and i didn’t feel like waiting, so i made an appointment to come back. when i got there, the guy started telling me something like well, you’ve not brought this car in before, and… it was the same thing i’d heard the week before. that guy was much more helpful, though. when this guy said it, he sounded like he only took care of customers who’d been there before. i just wanted the tires rotated and balanced; i’d made my appointment. i was late for it (and i was feeling guilty for that), but only by four minutes (so not that guilty), and i’d had to wait another ten to even be acknowledged by the staff because they were so busy. i’d begun to think that perhaps because i was late, they’d given my time to someone else. so i was perturbed by his can’t do attitude and my tardiness. and i was short with him because of it. i managed not to cuss (hooray!). but he had to act like i had cussed him out, which annoyed me even more. but eventually, we came to an understanding.
i’d decided that while the tires were being tended to, i’d go get the man a drink. (it’s fucking hot here right now, and he’s working in it, in a hotter garage.) he wanted blue powerade.
so i go to the gas station and get it. and i’m standing in line, and this guy behind me is standing too close for my comfort. at first, i find a way to cope–i turn my back so that i’m looking out at the shelves of products and am leaning against the cash counter. i can see better this way. i have a better comprehension of the room, of the space. but i’m still anxious.
when it’s my turn to pay though, i have to turn back round. so now, i can’t see the floor because of the counter and because the register in operation is close to the station’s door and because the man is standing too close. i have to see the floor in my peripheral or i lose all concept of the space in which i stand.
to put this in ways yall might better understand, this scenario would be like yall standing right in front of a movie screen with people on either side of you. 
everything is much too close, and you feel trapped.
the attendant’s trying to ring me up, and she’s telling me that the gatorade’s on special and asking if i want that instead, but all i can think is get the fuck back.
i turn to him and ask, in the kindest voice possible, please don’t stand so close to me.

his reply is that he’s not standing too close.
i tell him that he is. 
he says that there’s three feet between us. 
i don’t understand three feet. that number, that measurement means absolutely nothing to me unless i’ve got a ruler in my hand. i should start carrying measuring tape in my bag.
i’m quite positive, though, if i were to reach out, i could touch him and my arm would not be straight. that’s my bubble, folks. that’s how big it is. if i can extend my arm completely and not touch you, i’m great. i understand that this means my personal bubble is huge, and probably unrealistic, but it’s what i need to function without enduring panic attacks.

(i just measured three feet; there’s no way there was that much room between me and him. i know this because my arm isn’t three feet long. i’d venture a guess that there was barely a foot between us.)

he’s reluctant to move and is being a dick about it, so i look to the attendant and tell her to ring him up. i step back, far away from him and gesture for him to go ahead as i do so.
and the guy’s raised his voice now and is insisting that three feet’s plenty of room, and i’ve raised mine and am yelling that i have no concept of that because i have no depth perception–
and yes, i know. those words, no depth perception, are as incomprehensible to many of you as three feet generally is to me. but i don’t communicate well, remember?
as that guy’s leaving, the guy behind him says, don’t sweat that, man.

like the guy’s in the right.
that pissed me off, too, because in my mind, all the first guy had to do was take one step back. if he’d done this, he wouldn’t’ve been offended for whatever reason, i wouldn’t’ve lost my temper with him and the other guy, whom i’d said was as much of a dick as the first guy was, i wouldn’t’ve had the panic attack and been so frustrated that i’d cried in a public place. something that should’ve taken five minutes took twenty because i had to wait for everybody else to go, for the store to be empty of customers before i could approach the counter again. the attendant wouldn’t’ve had to have to stop her work to calm my overly-sensitive self down.
maybe he was in the right. maybe i should’ve just found a way to endure the trapped sensation long enough to get my shit and go. it certainly would’ve taken less time. i could’ve gone outside after and stood there breathing in the air of the open space.
the point is–and i’m including myself here, folks… i certainly don’t mean this to sound preachy, and i am most assuredly not without fault–all this is is hate.

all of it.
i hated that the man was so insensitive. he hated that i’d made such a big deal over three lousy feet. i hated that i’d lost my temper and made myself a spectacle… again. i hated that he couldn’t take one step back. i hated that to feel better about the interaction i’d had with the attendant at the tire shop, i had to go buy him a beverage. that’s not to say i minded doing it. i like doing nice things for people; i’m a firm believer that it’s the right thing to do. but i don’t like that i do them to assuage feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

i hate that the other night, after having watched trainwreck, as i left the theater and battled my way through the throngs of people to get to the bathroom and then the elevator, that i had another panic attack on the way to that elevator and was pressed up against the wall for much of the walk toward it. i hate that when a woman stopped because she was concerned for my well-being and asked if she could help, i very much appreciated the kindness but, because of her closeness and the throes of that attack, the only words i could muster were, you can move.

an african american woman hates that a bra, called nude, isn’t nude for her, that stores don’t stock enough bras that would be construed as nude for her skin type. that band-aids aren’t. that, to her way of thinking, cosmetics advertisements only feature white women.
society hates a flag because it represents something ugly. and the re-runs of a popular television show have been pulled because the characters in it drive a car called the general lee that’s painted like lee’s battle flag.
an olympian’s been given an award for courage because she has owned who she is, finally, and people have to belittle this because, to their way of thinking, that’s not courageous. i read a post on facebook yesterday in which a man says that forty percent of the transgender population has attempted suicide, and that if even one person is saved from that because of caitlyn jenner, he’d call that a victory. he’d call it heroic. i concur, sir.
it’s so easy to be ugly to each other. it’s so easy to take up arms against each other and use such simple tools, like bras and band-aids, to do the wounding and the maiming. it’s so easy to do this and then hide behind the first amendment and its privilege of free speech, as if it can justify that hatred and ugliness.
all any of this has done is feed the monster of animosity in each of us.

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