Archives For Not Fitting In

Is it possible to fall in love at 8 years old? I did. I can’t say his name, because he went on to become well known in the Manhattan music scene. Part of me itches to write it; and accidentally reach him, this man I’m still a little in love with.

He lived upstairs from me. We became “boyfriend-girlfriend” 3 year later, in middle school. I was 11, he was 12. My first kiss. His mouth tasted like warm honey.

People say love is blind. Which includes color blind. He was black, I was white. We didn’t say “African-American” back then. I didn’t see his color. Or rather, my love for him transcended it.

I was 11 the first time someone hurled this vituperation at me: “N-word Lover.” I was confused. Yes, I loved him. What did that even mean?

He was an incredibly talented drummer. He lived for music, and for me.

When we were in 8th grade, boys from another neighborhood chased him into a deserted area.

Hunted him, like an animal.

And broke his arm.

It healed. I did not.

By high school, we were apart, and I knew the agony of first love ended. Off he went to Music and Art, as New Yorkers call it. High School of Performing Arts, the school the movie “Fame” is set in.

We’d broken up before that. Our families stepped in and demanded we split right after he’d been attacked.  These words awaken a memory that pierces me afresh. Details have been imprinted permanently; then veiled. Now the veil is lifted.

I had that revilement hurled at me many times over the decades that followed. Anytime I dated a man of color, I was abused by both races. White people felt I was somehow betraying my race. African-American or Hispanic people felt I was “stealing” from them, dating men I had no business dating.

It’s No Man’s land.

In the end, I was a coward. I married a white Jewish man I shouldn’t have crossed the street with. Because he was one of my own “kind.” I’m not saying I didn’t love him – I did. Deeply. But by the time I met him, I only dated Caucasian men. I’d had enough.

I live in an area where there are almost no Jewish people. I didn’t know that when I bought my house. Even if I had- it wouldn’t have mattered. I just don’t think about those things.

But now I have a child. And I have to think about those things. He is always the only Jewish kid in his class. He feels very alone. He suffers for it.

He had a best friend last year. His mother sought me out on Back-To-School Night. Came in, calling out, “Where is Little Dude’s mom, Andrew cannot not stop talking about him!”  We exchanged numbers. They were BFFs from the first day of school. Inseparable for months.

Until Andrew found out we were Jewish. After that, he never spoke to my son again.

When you have a kid, and they hurt like that…it’s different than your own hurt. It’s much, much worse. It’s an amalgam of your pain and theirs. Times one hundred.

And this week, yet again.  We’re hosting a holiday breakfast in his classroom. The class mom emailed the 4 of us running it, asking who would like to read a holiday book. Little Dude was all over that.

“Mom, please, YOU be the reader!”

He’s been listening to Christmas books for the last 5 years. So I volunteered. The class mom asked if we needed the librarian to help us choose something.

“No thanks, he’s picked his favorite Hanukkah book. It’s hilarious, and the kids will love it.”

She sent me an email.  No holiday books allowed. The teacher only wants winter-themed books.

After I could breathe again, I starting working on how I was going to present this to my son. I ended up just saying it very offhandedly,

“Oh, Mrs. Dugan wants a winter-themed book; we should go the library to get one.”

He’s too smart for that.  “What? Since when? That’s crazy! They read a Christmas book every year” and on and on.  That night he cried himself to sleep, which he hasn’t done in years.

 —

I needed to put the pain of this somewhere. I wrote a post about Real Life Trolls attacking me.  I titled it:

“Confessions of a N-word Lover.” I spelled the word out.

Because of all things in the world,  I abhor racism the most. Because I’ve proudly loved black, white, and brown men. Because I thought I would use that word blatantly and take the stigma off of it. Like the artist who inspired me to become a writer – Patti Smith.

I contacted Le Clown, because I was borrowing a phrase of his in the post. I wanted to make sure he was comfortable with that.

 And then he took the time, because he is the incredible Clown he is, to tell me that he was worried for me. That he feared I would be attacked, not by trolls, but by well spoken people. And that it was perhaps not my place to take the sting off this word, because using it lacked sensitivity.

Thank God.

I took it down.

If people don’t read you, then your message exists in a vacuum.

Mostly, I took it down because the thought of hurting anyone is abhorrent to me. As immune as I am to that word in print, others are not. Others did not grow up desensitized to it through repetition.

Le Clown was right.

After I posted today, I went on my reader to comment on some posts.  Bloggers had unfollowed me; beloved bloggers.

And now? Now I have to sit with the fact that I hurt some of you. Maybe many of you.

What if you unfollowed me because you’re  African-American? Or if you’re married to someone African-American?  Or you just thought it was disgusting?

This post is to say, if I hurt you, I am sorry. I was insensitive. This was a hard lesson.

Yes, I am provocative and edgy. But to hurt people? The way I’ve been hurt? The way my son is being hurt? To do the exact thing to people that incited me to write the damn post?

It’s tearing me up. And now I have to live with that.

We have to do better. Intentions are not enough. If my actions are insensitive; cause pain, whether intentional or not, I need to examine those actions.  Better yet, to think before I act.

I wish I’d had the courage to marry the boy upstairs.

And we were sitting here right now, and he would kiss me with those beautiful, honey flavored, color blind lips.

Kiss these tears off my face.

Kiss these words off my lips.

Did I do the right thing, taking that post down? Talk to me. I’m listening. 

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I wake early so I can experience the rare delicious stillness in my home.

Drink my coffee. Write down snatches of dream residue.

Work on a post. Write. Rewrite. Ponder. Then,

LIFE

CHILD BREAKFAST MOMMY WHERE’S MY PROJECT DAMN NOW I’M LATE CAN I CALL YOU BACK GET YOUR SHOES ON I’LL EMAIL YOU THE FILE WORK PHONE CALLS EMAILS PARENTS STUDENTS RUN BUSINESS PICK UP CHILD DO HOMEWORK FUCK YOU COMMON CORE! KARATE HIP HOP HEBREW SCHOOL BABYSITTER EX HUSBAND TUTOR STUDENTS TUTOR STUDENTS TEACH CLASS TEACH CLASS TUTOR STUDENTS HOME CHILD HE TALKS: MINE CRAFT BLATHER BLATHER BLATHER SCHOOL RECESS AIDAN DID THIS BRENDAN DID THAN WHAT SHOULD I DO MOMMY? I DON’T KNOW, PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE? THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT, UM, GO TO THE TEACHER? TALK. ENGAGE. READ WITH HIM. GREEK MYTHOLOGY. SHOWER BEDTIME.WHAT WAS YOUR SAD TODAY? YOUR HAPPY TODAY? WERE YOU ANXIOUS TODAY? LOVE YOU MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF GOOD NIGHT .

AHHHH.

QUIET.

I write. Think. Rewrite. Hit “Publish.”

I believe that blogging, first and foremost, is writing. But perhaps I am wrong. Feel free to expostulate.

A specialized writing, to be sure. I have much to learn. But I see that the best bloggers, the ones I consider “Blogging Superstars,” are unique and compelling writers. They connect with the world around them. Their followers connect with one another. It’s a beautiful dance of thought and community and I want IN.

I’ll admit it. I want to be a Blogging Superstar someday.

But I am CONFUSED. Because lately, I see bloggers who are considered “Blogging Superstars” and to me, they are just “Fame Whores.”

Perhaps because I am embryonic in the word of blogging, I don’t understand the rules. But the person who inspired this blog, has given me advice to “write truthfully what you’re feeling,”

I know that successful blogging is hard work. At this moment, I am a dilettante.

To truly touch people; to inspire; to build an audience that communes not only with you but with each other- to create this beautiful world of thought and ideas and shared emotions and support- this is an undertaking of a very high magnitude.

Sacrifices are made. I am making them.

Even though I have to be up close and personal for my job, I’m a mess lately. I look down at my chipped, 3-week-old Lindsay Lohan mess of a manicure. My hair goes unwashed. Thank God I can rock a hat. I dress for work in the easiest thing possible – the clothes left slung on the chair the night before. Sniff the blouse pits. It’ll do.

My house is dirty -pfffft. A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.

My body grows softer each day I skip the gym. Yes, I SKIP THE GYM. You would have to perceive “gym as religion” to understand that I can actually SEE my muscles cannibalize as I write this.

I have hit “reset” where priorities are concerned, so I can get to know my fellow bloggers and feel their minds. To see the ORANGE LIGHT, so we connect.

Oh my God, I dig it. Let the wordplay begin.

I’m having BLOGASMS when you come in here and comment. It’s better than sex.

Maybe not.

I know authentic Blogging Superstars when I encounter them. And most of them have an entire life to be lived outside of blogging. But they make it work.

And their love for the written word is plain and true. They are bloggers, yes, but they are WRITERS.

And some of them generously use their Superstardom as a platform to help others. What graciousness. What magnificence.

But what is this other thing? This Fame Whore?

I can smell them at fifty paces. I just can. It’s a “Project Girl goes to High Fallutin’ College” thing. I have a sense of smell like a Doberman.

Fame Whores are aspiring Superstars. They blog in earnest; write well; answer all comments; read and provide thoughtful commentary on other blogs.

But there is a frenzied desperation in their actions. And I can see how badly they want not to be a Blogging Superstar, but a STAR. It debases the process.

He/She knows no life outside of blogging. How do I know this? Because I DO. Because wherever I go, he/she is there. He/she commented on 483,000 blogs before ever launching his/her own, to ensure a following.

Such strategy. And I thought this was about writing.

He/she is at every blog I ever read. It has taken me a month to read the blogs he/she has read in 3 days. He/she works must be independently wealthy, have a sugar daddy/mommy, or an administrative day job, and gets to spend the better part of the day commenting commenting commenting commenting.

Goddamn my stupid educators job where I try to make a difference in people’s lives. Really gets in the way of my blogging.

He/She are tweets constantly. Non stop. Usually at carefully selected Blogging Superstars. Holy Shiz. I check out Twitter, and all he/she does is TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET.

Twitter groans under the weight of another of his/her ridiculous self-endorsing re-tweets.

And her/his writing, while good, sometimes excellent, not SPECTACULAR. Yet they are universally lauded. Such is the epic self hype of the Fame Whore.

Even the Blogging Superstars, whom I love and adore, are bamboozled. I am sad.

I am jealous. Because I want to be a Blogging Superstar.

But my life is not set up to be a Fame Whore. I don’t have the time to exploit the Internet mercilessly. And I’m not sure I want to go that route. Because tsunamis, while powerful, can cause destruction.

Destruction of what should be pure and good and true. WRITING. Which, as I started this post with, is what the foundation of blogging really is. Or not? I don’t know anymore.

James Altucher, a blogger whom I admire tremendously, believes if you want to be a really good writer, then write several hours every day. And read, 2-3 hours every day.

So, Fame Whore. Be still. Be quite. Enough with the tweeting. The rah-rah rah-ing. The bells and whistles.

Use some of that time to Read.

Reflect. Drink tea and look out your window. You already have a gazillion followers. Read some more. Observe. Sit in a cafe and just listen to snatches of conversation instead of the constant sound of your incessant social media self-promotion.

Unless this is all about trying to become a Professional Blogger.

AHA!

 

aha-moment

IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY!!

Ohhh, I get it. You want to make a living, financially humble as it may be, off of blogging or writing. Of course. you do. We all do.

So that’s why you are everywhere. That’s why you tweet tumble Facebook Pinterest Instagram Snapchat Google+ Linkedin Flickr Deviantart Tagged LiveJournal till I want to

blind myself like Oedipus Wrecks Blogging.

That’s why you have hijacked all my friends who never were.

You feel you have to you strategize nauseatingly to make money off of blogging.

Well played, Fame Whore. You will, no doubt, have the career I never had, or never will.

It’s all about money. Even blogging, I suppose. Today, I am sad.

I’m ready to hear what other bloggers have to say. I can take it.

Namaste, Samara

 

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