This weekend, while a short one, has been a bit of a head trip for me.
Last minute my mom calls and says my dad’s 60th birthday get together has been moved up a week. I ordered my gifts online. So they were in the damn mail. Happy 60th. I.O.U. Daughter of the year, amiright? Plus my man couldn’t make it. Probably for the best since the last time he came over to my parents house he was sick with allergies for three days in December. Merry Christmas.
Anyway, I’m rambling but I’m trying to set a scene before I get heavy.
My aunt, uncle, my mom my dad and me sitting in the back yard of my suburban childhood home (well, teenage-hood home) cicadas humming up a storm in the heat and an order of Mandarin fake-chinese food and a few rounds of Mt. Gay rum and diet Pepsi bringing us together. My little brother had to work a shift at Pizza Hut so hid in the basement until he had to leave. Probably to avoid being teased by his tipsy big mouthed big sister.
White Wonder-bread ain’t got nothing on us.
My family is a group of news junkies with a lot of different opinions and experiences fueling those opinions. We’re also drinkers. Every gathering is a game of word-based Russian Roulette, and I think that’s just how we like it.
I used to hate it as a kid. Grown ups yelling about things in the world I didn’t understand or care about, and then the fall out when people ran out of facts to back up their opinions and so would resort to just cutting up their opponent on a personal level. I’m not trying to bad-mouth my family. I think a lot of white-bread middle-class families have similar experiences. In fact I think being force fed too much politics too young is at least subconsciously part of why I went to school for journalism in the first place.
If you’re noticing I keep referring to my family as white and referencing our socioeconomic status as suburban-Canadian middle class, it’s because for as long as I can remember I’ve hated that we had things that other people don’t for reasons I could point to but not articulate. And it’s only recently that I’ve been starting to forgive myself and my family for their colour orientation and privilege. Even though the idea of white/straight privilege is wrong on its face, it’s not my parents’ fault they were born who they are and they’ve reaped benefits from it. They work hard. They’ve earned what they have. It just sucks that not everyone who works hard gets back what they put in. Just to be super-duper-absolutely-fucking clear: I’m not saying I forgive the culture of white privilege that has plagued the world since England and the Norsemen built their first ships and thought “I want that.” But I do forgive my family for when they say things that to my ear makes me cringe. I’ll call them on it, but that’s all I can do. Maybe it’s not my place in the grander scheme of things to be offering forgiveness. But to me, their upbringing is as foreign to mine as anyone’s. Maybe I’ll change the word ‘forgive’ to just withholding judgement.
I think the Catholic in me is still obsessed with forgiveness and blame. Sin and punishment. Reality, though, is so much messier than all that shit.
I just finished reading Eddie Huang’s Double Cup Love and I’ve been listening to a lot of Angel Haze, Eminem, The Pretty Reckless and old-school P!nk. So my brain has been bubbling over thinking about race, culture, identity, gender, sexuality, rage and why I get angry at the things I get angry at. Why I think the way that I do and if knowing yourself is a goal that can ever truly be accomplished, or if it’s just an ever changing fluid exercise that isn’t meant to have and end.
And maybe anger is only as good as who and what you’re directing it at.