I was riding the bus to the Red & Black Cafe when I suddenly felt a swell of anger rising in my chest as I realized that it is only, just now, that I am learning about the real history of the United States. And alternative models to the politics and economic system that we've been practicing in this country. I felt angry at what is considered "alternative" in this society, and the misplacement of values, and the way our children are undereducated - the fact that in parts of this country the question of whether or not to teach evolution is even STILL A QUESTION - it just pisses me off.

I am not sending my hypothetical future children to public school, and maybe not even to private school unless it is some type of free school operated by people who truly have a clearer, more truthful vision of what this world is and can be. I don't want my children to be raised up on a foundation of lies, and then have to spend the first 10 years of their adulthoods trying to undo the massive racist, sexist, homophobic, nationalistic, capitalist trauma that has been done to them. While I can't insulate them from it entirely, I can at least give my kids something precious: Time.

I feel robbed of so many years of my life. Even though my parents offered alternative ways of looking at things (e.g. religion, diet, black history), there are so many things they didn't know, so much history they could not pass on to me because they, too, were products of this culture.

The word radical is really starting to make sense to me.

I need to be very conscious and willful about the choices I make now. The type of future I want to live is taking shape in my mind. I have a purpose. I don't know exactly what it is, but I know in which direction to seek it.

I love my friends; they have opened my eyes to so much.
The spanish feels like it's spilling out of my ears; my head is swimming in a Spanish alphabet soup.

Walked the 2.5 miles from the office to Trader Joe's and back. I haven't been walking much the last two weeks, and it felt so good. The evenings are warm these days and I felt unencumbered. No hurries. No activity puts me in a better state of mind than walking. I thought about Miguel de Unamuno and his daily walks in Salamanca. He was a predictable sight out there on the same path, day after day. If people wanted to talk with him during the time he reserved for this practice, they had to meet him there on the road and walk alongside him.

For homework tonight I have to write an anthropomorphic poem about my favorite fruta o legumbra. This is so exciting to me because I love poetry and I love learning the spanish through literature. Today in class we read a poem by Neruda about tomatoes running through the streets, and another poem by a chicano about tomatoes being the happiest of all vegetales, growing round and smiling, looking like christmas trees.

I thought about how I can spend less time at work without quitting this job. There's a possibility that I might be able to pay off my heinous, old credit card bill in the next few months. If that happens then I will have no debt at all except my house. And then perhaps by this time next year I could switch to part-time and increase my schooling. It would be nice if I could work just 4 days a week, 6 hours a day. I would even be willing to work full-time during the busy season and then switch to part-time when the work slows.

I thought about this and many other things when I was walking. No matter what is passing through my mind, I cannot worry and walk simultaneously. Maybe anxiety doesn't like the outdoors or fresh air or exercise. Estuve feliz. Estoy feliz todavĂ­a.
I have to admit that a large part of me leans heavily towards the notion of a Universe Without Design. Growing up Muslim, I was taught that creation was proof enough of God's existence, but I experienced my first doubts when I learned about hermaphrodites. Then, I worked for an organization that provided respite care for children with disabilities, and I learned about a young teen who was born with a condition that compelled her to vomit 100 times a day. And she wasn't the only one. I remember thinking, "What is this?" The seeds of agnosticism planted right there.

Oh, and yet another reason I won't be joining the military. (Yes, over the years I have considered it numerous times.)
Many years ago I participated often in online message boards, and I recall a conversation I had with a black man about Islam. He was vehemently anti-Islam and anti-Christian and I perceived him as wacked and "afro-centric." He told me that I and all the other black Muslims were suckers. Surprised, I asked him why he would say that? And he stated that the same people who would reject Christianity as the religion of the white slaveholders turn around and accept Islam, which is the religion of the Arab slaveholders. I told him that Islam was about liberty and there was no racism in it and Islam helped to abolish slavery, etc. He said, "Oh yeah? Then what about ..." and named off some African people that Arab Muslims had destroyed or forcibly converted. I told him that he was clearly ill-informed because when Islam spread through Africa it was willingly accepted and it was a very peaceable transition. I remember that he scoffed at me and emoted something along the lines of, *So-and-So leaps up and flees, leaving [me] to her ignorance and stupid religion.* I was taken aback and a little disturbed - that someone could make such untruths.

It's so strange to look back on my life then. Read more... )
[livejournal.com profile] bram wrote another thoughtful post today. This, in particular, got my gears whirring:

When you look at the great cultural accomplishments of humanity, what we've left behind us, what's surprising is how little it owes to "family values" and how much it owes to single borderline misanthropes living in cities (from Socrates to Beethoven). Largely, cultural advancement lay beyond the traditional deities too.

Now I'm pondering my future. Some days I feel that all I want to do is finish school, get married, have a kid or two, and have a stable but interesting and active lifestyle. Basically, become a yuppie with kids. Other times I feel I'd be okay with never marrying, never having kids, and I want to dedicate my life to study and travel. But the life I live now is closer to the former possibility. Am I too old to change? What do I have to give up to make that transition from ordinary life to a life of challenge, change and difference?

I've been so comfortable for so long, and trivial, quotidian happenings distract me from anything greater than my own, small life. It's dawning on me that I am either going to have to make sacrifices to achieve that extraordinary existence; or I need to be content with a life of mild, little pleasures.



December 2013



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