I was talking to someone else that day and he was complaining about this kid who's been really irresponsible and stuff lately. He called the kid a faggot. My brain just sort of froze. I get used to the Smith world where you rarely have to explain certain things (like being vegetarian or bisexual or pagan or whatever) and when you do you know you're talking to someone who's intellectual and will understand what you're saying even if she or he doesn't agree with you. But some people here would just have no understanding of stuff that i take for commonplace. Because i come from the suburban middle-class heteronormative Christian whatever community, i understand where these people are coming from, but a lot of times i don't know how to make them see where i'm coming from. I know this guy wasn't thinking about what he was saying, and an obvious response like "So the fact that he's a loser means that he's a homosexual?" came to me later. On one level i know that i have explanations for what i do (why i'm a vegetarian, why i claim the identity of "queer," and so on) and i know that it's good for me to sometimes have to explain these things, to remind myself of why it is that i'm doing these things, but sometimes i feel like it's hopeless, like the person i'm talking to isn't going to understand or i don't have a good enough explanation (that's a big worry, that i don't know enough about what i'm trying to argue or whatever).
I was talking to Jane after i read that May 16th letter in the Bulletin and she said something about when you're young you can complain about all this stuff but when you get older stuff like that tends to take a back seat to your family and such. I understand where she was coming from, but it upset me a bit, the implication that in the grand scheme stuff like petitioning to use "queer" instead of "gay" (like in "gay pride") when "gay" would be too exclusionary aren't really important in the grand scheme of things. Yes, compared to world hunger and such they're really quite petty, but they're still important. And some of it comes back to what i've talked about with my mom and with Sharon, about living a good life, about doing what you can, about how if everyone did little things, the big things wouldn't be quite so big. I can't rid of homophobia, but i can educate people about how their words hurt. I can't stop all animal abuse, but i can choose to not consume animal products. I can't stop all people from irrationally hating their bodies, but i can choose to not wear makeup, to not shave, to instigate discussions with people when they talk self-loathing or dieting or whatever. I can't change the world, but i can try to change my small part of the world. There's some famous quote i could insert here, but i can't think of what it is. Something like: to change the world, one must first change one's community; to change one's community, one must first change one's family; to change one's family one must first change oneself.
My mom's coworker Susan is all about the evils of the media and stuff, and last night my mom said ever since her mother fell, that has really taken up all of her energy and she's had trouble really caring about the evils of media. "You know what's evil? Evil is little old people in nursing homes that nobody visits," she said last night. "Evil is starving Afghan refugees." She had a third example, but i forget what it was.
I definitely understand where she's coming from, and it's certainly understandable that one can only care about so many things. And Jane definitely has a point. When you have a family to worry about, stuff that's more distant, more abstract, whatever, is harder to care about. And my mom made a good point that the people who work in the media don't exactly come to work and say, "How can we be evil today?" They're just regular people, doing their job.
I was heading somewhere with this, but i've lost it.
And wholly unrelatedly,
Buffy: I mean, look at me obsessing about being with someone. It's like... I don't need a guy right now. I need me. I need to get comfortable being alone with Buffy.
Xander: Well, I'll say this, she's a pretty cool person to be alone with.
-from "I Was Made to Love You" (BtVS 5.15)
It makes me cringe that i am quoting the same stuff to myself that i quoted at Joe not too long ago. Sigh.