Why do so very many sentences seem easily translated as "you ain't shit"? I, myself, am both witness to, perpetrator of and (on my best days) revolutionary against these crimes of speech and thought. Murderous is the human heart. That sounds profound; I just thought of it, but surely someone has said it before. Murderous, because if I annihilate you, and, systematically, everyone around me (at least those who either refuse to worship me or pose a direct threat to my being worshipped, which I think is mostly everyone), then only I will remain and I can be God. I know, I'm taking things a little too far (I can do that- I come by my hyperbolic tendencies honestly, by blood- I'm Puerto Rican, everything is a big deal- and by upbringing- my mother had a mediocre grilled cheese at a local deli yesterday, she proclaimed that they stole her money and that she would starve before ever eating there again, ever!). But hear me out. I'm no theologian, nor am I a sociologist. I'm not a social worker or a teacher. I'm not even a great blogger. I think I'm a good mom (the kids ate green beans last night and there was almost no bribery involved) and a decent wife (I am consciously practicing not controlling my husband's life, as in, I've stopped taking such great interest in when and where he gets his haircut, though if you ask me the Vietnamese guy is the best cut for our money...) So, my qualification to assign deeper meaning and motives to peoples' words lies only in this- I have a heart. And I know what my heart hears when my mom says inquisitively "oh, you're leaving the house without earrings?" or "There's no rush, I can wait if you want to run upstairs and put some lipstick on", it hears; translation: you're not cute and you ain't shit. And, I know what my heart means to communicate when I say "Oh, you've already turned your air conditioners on? It's mid-May and 80 degrees outside, we wait until it hits 90 in June, you know, to conserve". Translation: you're a spoiled wasteful brat and you ain't shit. It explains why I don't want some people to know that I pay someone to clean my house (I'm lazy and incompetent and I ain't shit), and why I am ok if other people do know (they have one too so can't say anything.) It's why we say "I told you so" and why we act like we (I say we, because I'm hoping I'm not the only freak in the world who is damaged in this way) weren't hurt in the first place when some apologizes to us. So, yes, once I make others subtly feel small, inferior and once I make sure they are solidly convinced of my greatness, I can rest easy, as ruler of the universe, impenetrable to criticism, pain, failure and then no one will think of me, let alone say, "you ain't shit."
This is very ugly to write down. This may need to be one of those posts I compose but never publish. There are lots of posts like that, for lots of reasons. Usually it's because it just a plain old crappy post. I"m mean really, who wants to read about the stale nuts in my banana bread (I thought I could tie stale nuts into something humorous, it didn't work.) It's ugly to write and say and admit, and maybe I will bury it because, generally, I refuse to be exposed. And yet, on my best days I resist the urge to be better than the closest adjacent fellow human, on my best days I am endowed with a spirit of truth telling and grace that shocks even me. True, these days may be months apart (and by 'days' I may only mean one momentary impulse that lasts all of 35 seconds before I realize I've been dethroned and quickly set the peon in his or her right position...) but still, there are glimpses. I cherish those moments. The moments when my heart is able to see another and say, "I'm sorry that I just called you nothing, I'm mistaken, you are most certainly not nothing. You are a work of art, a work in progress for sure, but art nonetheless." I cherish those moments when I can expose a lie for what it is and the moments when I have the wisdom to stop up my ears, walk away, smile instead. I cherish those moments when I pray for my enemies, perceived and real, and can honestly recognize when I have been an enemy to someone else. The moments when I set my boundaries and when I respect the boundaries of others, asking forgiveness for my trespass. So, I am going to publish this post (it's actually a fairly safe bet, since not many are reading, but it's a step). I am going to choose today to be one of those days, one of those moments.
With my apologies for yesterday, and tomorrow,