I am an old woman

IMG_6636Breakfast this morning, diced apple, shredded carrot, and raisins.  Yum.  I will never make it on the paleo diet – I found the chicken repulsive and the steak last night just as sickening.  A year as a vegetarian seems to have made me a vegetarian.  I think meat is disgusting.  But I do enjoy this little paleo dish.

Yesterday was fairly horrifying if I must say so myself.  I went to an astoundingly wonderful meeting in the morning, knowing I had a migraine but it wasn’t that bad yet.  By the time I got to the movie, I had the headache,  waves of nausea, and photophobia.

My friend and I saw “The Butler.”  She loved, loved, loved it.  I found it disturbing.  I am not in love with movies that have you crying for 2 + hours. And that was certainly one of them.  I left the theater thinking I might need to call someone to drive me home I was so sick.  But I made it home safe and sound, took migraine medication and went to bed.

She called last night and wanted to talk about the movie.  She may have had a few drinks under her belt – in fact, I am quite sure of it.  She couldn’t stop processing how much she loved that movie.  I liked it, but I told her I was actually alive through a lot of that stuff and it was extremely emotional and disturbing.

Is it really fair to use 2013 lenses to view an 11 year old girl in 1963?

I was not a southerner.  I was a northerner.  I was not a racist nor was my family.  And yet, I wasn’t a freedom rider.  Sorry.

I told her about 1968, I was 16, Martin Luther King had just been shot.  That weekend I flew from Chicago to Youngstown, OH.  On that trip, we all sadly looked at the smoke coming from the cities burning.  To a 16 year old, it was terrifying.  It felt like the world was ending.

My friend is 10 years younger than I am.  This is all history to her.  It is easy to be on the “right side of history” when you weren’t there.  Her family did not discuss “religion, politics, or money.”  Honestly, she never heard of the Black Panthers until yesterday in the movie.  In my family, we discussed politics and current events at the table every night.  If you were going to participate, you better have your facts straight.  From as early as I can remember, I read the newspaper every night and watched the nightly news on TV.    When I told her this, she responded that she grew up in a “loving home.”

She likely was a little tipsy.  I was very sick.  I got off the phone and was disconsolate.  I think I learned two lessons though:

  • Don’t talk to people when I have a migraine, not even good friends
  • Do not ever talk about race with anyone younger than 60 years old.  They will not understand your context – at all.

I think we have entered a time when we cannot tell the truth anymore.  I cannot share with anyone some of my processes in this life.  I am a product of where and when I grew up.  Please don’t think I judge anyone based on their racial identity, or grew up being taught that.  I grew up in a town that had a rich history of being a major stop on the Underground Railroad.  I idolized those people growing up.

I guess saying you were scared when all that unrest was going on sounds selfish from the perspective of 2013.  But I was a KID dammit!

I will now zip my lip and you will never hear another word from me on this topic.  I will probably even delete this post later today.

This morning I am washed out and limp from the migraine.  I don’t know how I am going to live with these in my new job.  But I learned a few things yesterday about what NOT to do.



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6 Responses to I am an old woman

  1. Annette says:

    Oh Mary I’m so sorry about your headaches. My mom had those for years when I was little…I remember they were agonizing.
    I spent my first few years in Oakland Ca. Right across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco. I can remember talk of the Black Panthers and I can remember being afraid too. We were JUST kids responding at a gut level to what was happening around us. My mom didn’t have a little kid filter and felt if it was happening in the world then we could discuss it. Sometimes it was all very scary.
    Thank you for your comment today on my blog. Very meaningful. I read these awful statistics and predictions on heroine/meth users recovery rates….but then I think, “But Mary’s daughter did it!” Your girl gives me hope. I know it’s not easy…but she’s alive and putting one foot in front of the other building a life for herself. Bless her heart.

  2. Syd says:

    I imagine so many African-American’s no matter what their age still see the racial bias in this country. It’s sad that there is still much to be done in terms of racial equality. The law is explicit but the intent in the minds of so many people is still far from equanimity. I was moved by what I saw regarding the Civil Rights Movement. It was something that I remember and affected my views on how we as humans treat each other. So much to contemplate.

    • I have always believed that our only hope is relationships, marriage, and babies…. when your grandchild is black you aren’t likely to keep whatever bias you may have had. When your husband is hispanic, you get a whole different view of what that means, when your co-worker is muslim………….etc.

  3. Kelly says:

    There are some things that I avoid talking about in an effort to preserve relationships. It’s kind of sad that I can’t have an open, honest, matter of fact discussion about my beliefs– but it’s okay. I would rather not talk about it, than argue about it.

    I’m sorry your headache turned into a full fledged migraine. I wonder what it is, if anything, about your building that brings these on. Have you ever been on a preventative treatment for migraines? I haven’t, but I’ve heard of them and I’ve heard people say that they do prevent “most” (not all) of their migraines.

  4. Sage advice Kelly. I know better, I think I fell into it because I was so sick.

    I have taken preventative medications, one made my blood pressure so low I could barely stand, the other caused some very dark suicidal depression. I put an air purifier in my office yesterday and looked up “NASA air purifying plants,” then went and bought one.

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