Friday, January 22, 2010
Opposition - my introduction to 'Again'
I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all of humanity in friendly embrace.
I have been contrary all of my life. I rarely did or said what was expected. Honestly, among most of my peers I am the mildest. I am not extreme in appearance or attitude but how I think is out of the ordinary. As usual, I am not about changing minds; I am about integrity in the face of opposition. If I try to be honest and truthful and if what I say belies one’s belief-system, I feel I am like a mirror – one can see who they are or who they are or are not in me. I do not need anyone to agree with me or believe what I believe. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I am simply writing my truth. I love writing and I adore this subject-matter, reincarnation, but I am very aware that it is considered controversial. The thing is – controversy never stopped me. I am so willing to “push the envelope,” I am willing to go the distance.
Once I had an affair with a gay man. No, he was not bi-sexual, he was gay. Confused? Since then, he has been in a relationship with another man for more than ten years. I got flack from gay and straight people. Did that stop me? People have a very difficult time with blurred definitions. I understand that people need to believe in categories. At times these categories resonate with one’s behaviour and at times they do not. I believe these categories are often constructed, a fiction: Possibilities and options are limited – ways of being are limited. Obviously, many people do resonate with their definitions. To stretch our minds is good. At times certain definitions just do not fit.
If my actions made my life harder or if they would prevent me from carrying on, I am not sure what I would do but I have been blessed with a constitution and life-force full of fortitude. I am very resistant to opposition, I am very strong. Not thinking or believing what other people do is habit. I tend to resist what most consider the norm. That is why I can write this book. In many ways, I am preaching to the converted and in many ways, I am in complete opposition to fundamental beliefs.
I am more about layering codes than dichotomies. What that means is, I prefer blending realities rather than separating them. To me, nothing is cut and dried. There are no absolutes. No givens. If someone is hoping for a black and white definition of reincarnation, I highly doubt they will get it. To me, partiality reigns. All I know is that there are glimpses and fragments of knowledge. We are not privy to the whole picture. We are accordingly limited by our senses. To find evidence of this, look at various animals and their realities. The world of the fish in the fishbowl is the fishbowl. All it knows is some “hand” feeding it. This could be magical or omniscient to a fish. The fish is severely limited by its environment, senses, etc. So moving on from this, I understand that I can only know so much. I am a fish in a fishbowl. I am limited and any quest of mine is circumspect. I can explore the unknown, the mysterious, other notions. I can observe the hand that feeds me, my fishbowl. I can know a warped reality, a skewed perspective. I do not believe in concepts that invoke ideas of the real, the solid or the secure. Things that are shaky or wobbly feel more appropriate.
I enjoy stability in my life but I am unfazed by change or difference. I find the qualities that involve the so-called strange appealing. I know that some people find my attitude kooky or weird. Being set-apart or anomalous is great to me. I prefer the fringe or edge. Tremendous power resides in deciding to be oneself – whatever that entails. It might be very contrary to others and it takes strength and courage to own one’s truth. Bravery exists in many different areas. It can be small – a child in the playground standing up to a bully, – or large, like Martin Luther King, Jr.
Personally, I truly believe that standing up for oneself has great value. Putting oneself in harms way because of a decision to manifest integrity can, and often is, a real possibility. I believe the alternative is worse. Challenging dominant ideas is fraught with danger. It might just be easier to surrender, to be defeated, but where is the fun in that? The decision to own power is, well, powerful. I keep thinking of Rosa Parks: “…an unknown seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. This brave woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance, but her lonely act of defiance began a movement that ended legal segregation in America, and made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.” Power, inspiration and possibility: Incredible. We can all make a difference. Just because one’s life may feel ordinary, it is important to know that we are capable of the wondrous. A decision not to give up a seat can change thoughts, attitudes and ways of being; ways of understanding. A small gesture can lead to a revolution. We are all capable of impacting others and we are meaningful beyond our current or obvious circumstances. It might be impossible to see the big picture; so we need to follow our guts and hearts. Recently, I was seated to eat near the kitchen in a restaurant. I am currently disabled and in a wheelchair. My mother said it reminded her of segregation. I will never let this happen again. I will insist on being seated elsewhere. An out of sight, out of mind mentality will not apply to me. That this mentality by others continues to pervade is astonishing.
Are you aware in the early-to-mid 1900’s it was illegal to be “found ugly” on the streets of some mainstream American cities like Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Municipal Code, sec. 36034) and Omaha, Nebraska (Unsightly Beggar Ordinance Nebraska Municipal Code of 1941, sec. 25) and Columbus, Ohio (General Offense Code, sec. 2387.04)?
Your punishment for being caught (in) public ranged from incarceration to fines of up to $50.00 USD for each ugly offense.
Here’s how the Chicago Municipal Code described and enforced The Ugly Law:
No person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object or improper person to be allowed in or on the public ways or other public places in this city, or shall therein or thereon expose himself to public view, under a penalty of not less than one dollar nor more than fifty dollars for each offense.
The goal of Ugly Laws was allegedly to preserve the pretty facade of the community. The disabled, the indigent and the poor were a part of society, but nobody wanted to deal with them and fewer still wanted to actually look at them. So laws were passed to keep the deformed — especially those with Cerebral Palsy and other disfiguring diseases — inside and out-of-sight.
The way I think and the way I look now will just have to be dealt with.