Now, let's not get things twisted, haters. I am in no way saying that I don't want to be me, or that I'm ashamed to be me. I'm just dreaming, ok? You know, how sometimes, kids will dream of being princes or princesses, or adults dream of being super rich and famous? It's the same thing, except that 1. for you, it's reality and 2. I don't want to stay. Besides, it's all well and good for you to look down on me and try to shame me; you sure as hell aren't wanting to know what it's like to be me!
Let's get this started, shall we?
Let me get money out of the way, ok? I know what it's like to be well off. I was born into such a family. My birth dad worked hard to get the family to the state it was by the time I was born, and beyond. I know what it's like to go to the opera and plays and eat at five star restaurants. I know what it is to live in a nice house and to have several homes, cars, TVs, phones, back when most families only had one of each - maybe. Unlike many rich folks today, our family knew the value of money, so we didn't splurge often. We were not extravagant. We had nice clothes, but we weren't fashion plates. We had several nice cars, but not Ferraris, Rolls Royce's or Mercedes. Ok, so you get it, right? We didn't need to bring attention to ourselves simply because we had money. When I had my cushy jobs, I was the same way. Yes, I lived in nice buildings in nice neighborhoods, but that was all. My years with the nuns taught me that having a ton of money while others suffered was obscene, so, to this day, I don't want to be rich - I do want to be comfortable again. I want to be able to pay my bills and have a good amount of money left over. I want to be able to save money and to have some nice things again. Thankfully, this is the only dream that is within my grasp. All it will take is me either getting the right cushy job again or starting my own business again and working to make it take off. I plan to open a business again very, very soon, so relative wealth, with hard work is within reach.
Now, on to the hard stuff.
I want to know what it would be like to be a guy. How does it feel to know that you rule the world, that you are favored, that you make all the rules that govern people's lives, that you are taken seriously, that you are the stronger gender, that you are superior? How does it feel to know that even if you are rock-bottom poor or severely disabled, that you are still better than people like me? I'd like to know what that feels like, just for a little while!
What's it like to be White? All my life, I've wondered about that. I never developed the gonads to ask my White friends, family or even my beautiful wife, so I'm asking you, my readers. What is it like? What's it like to to know that you are the top, that you are superior? How does it feel to know that you rule the world, that you're automatically thought to be the smartest, that though you are dirt poor and severely disabled, you're still better than folks like me, because, at least, you are White? What is it like to know even without being aware of it, that you don't have to care about what I care about or know the things that folks like me need to know in order to survive? How does it feel to know that you can go anywhere, do anything, be anything? What's it like to have automatic privilege so ingrained and inherent that you don't even know you have it until it's pointed out to you? What's it like to know that you can make all kinds of mistakes, live a life of crime, be as obtuse, unclever, unlearned and ignorant as you'd like, and it won't be ascribed to your entire race? How does it feel to know with certainty that you can make all kinds of shady deals, have no scruples or ethics, work the system, live off welfare, hustle and scam and it'll be on YOU, but not your entire race? What's it like to know that in the Western world (which is the one that really matters), your culture is the dominant one, your beauty is the ideal beauty, your history, literature, philosophy, poetry, etc., are automatically taught in schools, and people like me had better learn it better than you if we want to succeed? What's it like to know for sure that your life is priceless, while mine is worthless, that though you were a horrible excuse for a human being, when you die, good things will be said about you, but, though someone like me lived an exemplary life, when we die, people will try to dig up any dirt they can on us? What's it like to be a pauper, but know you can go anywhere with ease, while folks like me who are millionaires and billionaires get followed around stores, publicly frisked because we might have stolen something, denied in all kinds of ways, and assumed that our wealth came from criminal activities, while your wealth is assumed to come from hard work or family inheritance? I mean, really, what is it like to have all these perks simply by virtue of the color of your skin? I want to know what that's like. I want to live it, if only for a little while, so that I can understand, so that I can be - oblivious, live in peace, be - valued.
I want to know what it's like not to be disabled, or have a visible disability. I want to know what it's like not to be thought of as stupid, what it's like to be valued as a person, to know that if I'm bullied, something will be done about it, and it won't be seen as a joke, or nothing serious, that if my parents killed me, that they wouldn't be seen as heroes or long-suffering. I want to know what it's like to not have to face physical and attitudinal barriers at every turn. I want to know what it's like not to have to fight for civil and human rights that you take for granted. I want to know what it's like not to have a price on my freedom and independence - if I don't cost the state or government over and above x amount of dollars, then, I can live in my community, get the medical treatment that I need, get the equipment, services and supports that I need to survive and live on my own. I want to know what it's like to go into a store, theatre, restaurant, stadium, school, courthouse or place of worship and know that I won't be stared at, be told I'm in the way or that I'm a fire hazard or have someone be rude to me simply because they can, or act strange because they don't know how to deal with me, or ask someone else what I want.
I wonder what it is like not to be seen as an abomination because of my orientation, what it's like not to have to worry about getting beat up or killed or disowned or fired or discriminated against because of my sexuality, what it's like not to be expected to hide or live a lie because of whom I love.
Seriously, folks, I wonder about this. I wonder and even obsess on this quite a bit. How can't I, when literally every day, even every hour of my life, I hear of someone who belongs to one of the groups that make up me is killed or some other injustice is visited upon them? Is it any wonder that sometimes, without hating ourselves, people like me may wonder what it is like not to be us? It's not that we don't like ourselves, our culture, our beauty, it's just that we are - I - am curious.
Now, here's a serious question - do you wonder what it's like to be me? No, not the cool, quirky Angry Black Womyn you know, think you know, or have heard of - I'm talking about the Black woman in the wheelchair you see on the street. I'm talking about the Black guy in the hoodie or the Latina girl in your class, the Asian guy sitting next to you on the bus, or the lesbian Native American woman marching in the Pride parade, the kid with down's syndrome who walks your dogs, or the autistic kid who's always there to help you carry your groceries into the house. Do you wonder what it's like to be us, to understand where we are coming from, to have some inkling of our lived experience? Do you even care to know - or are you scared? What do you feel? I want to know!