Blogging Everyday in July|Comment, No Comment

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That is a picture of me.  In case you didn’t notice, I am a pale, white human.  My eyes are green, my hair is red (though it will someday be blonde again), and I freckle almost as much as I tan, which isn’t much.  That’s the way I was born.  I can’t change it.

Because I’m new to the South, there are things that I feel like I can’t write on because I’m still an outsider.  Similarly, I have avoided writing about something else for quite some time, because I feel like an outsider.  I’m not a racist person, but by staying quiet, it’s like I’ve just said “no comment” on the topic entirely.  But I have views, just as we all do.
However, since I’m a pale, white human, the closest I’ve come to racism towards me is being made fun of for saying I have Cherokee in me when all the native kids where I’m from are Paiute.  I don’t even really have enough Cherokee in me to really claim it anyway.

The thing is, I’m proud of my heritage.  My dad is Norwegian, and I’m proud to say that I am too.  Froiland means “happy place” in Norwegian, and when I shorten it to Froi, it simply means “happy.”  That’s what I want to be, happy.  That’s what I wish everyone could settle for.  Everyone should be able to be proud of their heritage.
But growing up in such a small town in California, I wasn’t aware of my privilege.  I guess most white people aren’t aware of their privilege.  And whether or not that’s okay is a completely different topic.  Another thing about growing up in a small town in California, there were very few African Americans in my town.  There were plenty of people with Hispanic heritage, and plenty of Native Americans, and, of course, plenty of white people, but we could count the number of African descended families on our fingers.  Not that we did count them, that was just the way things were.
When I was really young I was concerned that I was racist because I didn’t have any black friends.  But that’s because I went to a private school in a small town, and so I didn’t have the opportunity.  In high school and afterward I realized my concerns were invalid.  The color of someone’s skin has never made me like someone more or less.
Last year someone commented that I didn’t date white guys, which I realize is almost true.  Most of the guys that I have fallen for have been of a different race, but that’s not the reason we were together.  In fact, the person I fell the hardest for was an African American (he still is), but again, that was never important to me.  He was an amazing person inside and out, and the only thing my mother had to say about his looks is that he was very strong, bulky, when I usually like skinny, lanky guys.

I have a tattoo on my collar bone that says “All is Privilege.”  When I got it, it meant, and still means, that everything we have in life, including life itself, is a privilege, a gift.  We shouldn’t take life for granted.  Now that I’m older, here, in the South, and my privilege is being suddenly announced to me in a different way, I think my tattoo means something else too.  I need to recognize my privilege.  I need to try to use it for the betterment of society, because it’s not something that I deserve, purely based on skin color, anyway.

Racism doesn’t make sense to me.  What’s the point in disliking someone because they look different than you?  I think God made us all different because he likes variety.  If anything, our differences should be celebrated.
No one can help the way they were born, and no one should be hated for it.  No one is a lesser person because anything out of their control.  No color is more beautiful than another, because beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder.  Even if the beholder is wrong sometimes.

There are cops that are racist that are killing people based on their skin color because of their privilege.  And there are cops being killed, because someone might have decided that all cops are racist.  And that really is just as bad as hating someone because of their race.  It’s just as bad as hating someone because of their gender or sexual orientation.  It really is just as bad as hating someone for what they believe.  And it needs to stop.  Stop killing each other.  Stop hating each other.  Why isn’t there more love, acceptance, and happiness in this world?  Froi.  Happy.  Literally.

But maybe I should go back to leaving this alone.  Because it scares me.  Because I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to have input because I’m an outsider.  I will never be able to understand what it’s like to be pulled over because of my skin color.  I will never be able to understand being afraid to leave my home alone because someone might not like the way I look.  I will never understand being judged purely on my ethnicity.  Not in a fearful way.  And it’s not fair.  It’s not fair that there are people who do understand this.

This is my comment.  No comment.

Blogging Everyday in July|Long Distance Best Friends

I think a best friend is someone your soul is tied to.  Like a soul mate, but better.  Because they’re more than that.  They’re a sister (or a brother), a friend, sometimes a parent, and they’re someone you get to choose.  Or at least we think we choose them.  My best friend and I, I like to think we stumbled upon each other.  We were thrust together by cosmic intervention.
We grew up going to the same camp, but never met.  We attended the same college previews, but never met.  I’m pretty sure we went to at least one of the same music festivals and didn’t meet.  And we were both at the same Nex Gen Convention in Anaheim when we were 15.  We spent so many hours in the same place at the same time, but were steered constantly apart, not aware of what could be waiting right around the corner.
Michelle and I were in the same quad our freshman year of college.  We liked the same music and long road trips and so many other things.  We had all these inside jokes, but were constantly preoccupied.  Junior and senior year crept up on us, and I had spent the last few years begging God for a friend, a best friend, someone who was my person.  It took me much too long to realize that it was Michelle.  Whoever marries her is one lucky person.
After college, we were pulled in separate directions.  I ended up in Mammoth, while Michelle stayed in LA, and then moved home for some time with her family.  We still carried our soul ties though, and our inside jokes live on.  Last summer, almost a year ago, Michelle came to visit me in Mammoth and ended up staying.  She did the school of supernatural ministry that I did, and works at the same camp I worked at.  She even lives in the same house, although it became beautiful after I moved out.  We spent eight or nine months getting to enjoy time in the same place, even though we were too busy to really acknowledge it, then my heart was again pulled elsewhere, and now my home is in the South.  However, our soul ties remain.
I know that if my world is crashing down, I can count on my bestie to listen to me.  I know that she’ll still get my jokes, and we’ll still find things that remind us of each other.  I know that if I go a week or so without texting her, that she still loves me, and that she knows I still love her.  We are content.
Plus, we have matching tattoos, so I think our friendship is kinda locked in.

I’m writing about Michelle today, not because missing her is unbearable, but because I’m not the only person with a long distance best friend.  Another girl who just moved here has a different kind of relationship with her bestie, because she has a different personality.  They need to talk almost everyday.  They talk on the phone and they text and they miss each other terribly.  How they survive?  I have no idea.  Their contentedness looks different than ours does.  But it’s the soul ties that hold us together.
Sometimes your life takes a different path than your soul tied best friend.  Sometimes you need time apart.  But this relationship isn’t like a romantic one.  It’s better, because distance doesn’t matter, it might even make it stronger.   Distance just makes being together that much better.
I don’t know when I’ll be going back to California to visit.  And Michelle has no plans that I know of to come to the land of the humid and the heat anytime soon.  And I think we’re both okay with that.  We are content in our life paths.  We are content with each other and without each other, because we still have each other.  That is all.

Blogging Everyday in July|Some Thoughts on Why the South is Better

So I had a drink.  And yes I’m writing this the night before it posts, so don’t think I’m drinking in the morning.  I tried to call a friend back home who I texted to ask a question to last week, and he never responded.  He also didn’t answer the phone.  I’m sure he’s busy, and that’s not a big deal, it’s just part of the California dream.  They miss your calls.  But they’ll also not call  you back.  Or text you back.  Because they forget, or didn’t see it right away, and decide that you’re probably not that important.  Not that you’re not important to them, you’re just not right in front of them.  You could be ten minutes away, or a thousand miles, it makes no difference.
In California, I feel ugly.  Not that I compare myself to the all the beautiful girls, or that beauty has anything to do with it.  It’s like my soul seeps out and they see right through me, and my inner beauty doesn’t seem like enough.  It feels like I can’t do enough.

Yesterday when I got off of work I called a friend because I was too lazy to text said friend.  Today he called me back.  I wasn’t sure why he was calling, and it was simply because he had noticed that I had called him and was just getting to the point where he could call me back.  My friends here care enough to call me back.  As if I’m important or something.
My friends here try to take what I say to heart.  They try to make me feel comfortable.  They act as if  I’m part of the family, and they care when I’m not around.  There is a community that I’ve never experienced before.  It’s like I’m heard.  Like maybe I’m not ugly.  Like maybe I matter.

And this isn’t to belittle my California friends, because they mean the world to me.  But sometimes I make them my world, when I could never be their world.  This is my world now.  Big skies and clouds that light up.  Lightning bugs and actual lightning.  Humidity that could make me cry, and thunderstorms that make it all worth it.  All of the stories that meant the most from my childhood took place here.  I’ve come home, somehow.

Here, they’d notice if I disappeared.

Blogging Everyday in July|About Interrupting

I feel as though my life has been interrupted abruptly.  But it’s my fault, really.  I got used to being treated a certain way, used to a certain lifestyle, used to a certain version of respect.  But I interrupted it.

One thing that I’ve noticed here in the South is that people don’t really listen.  Not all people,  but a lot of people.  Why do I say this?  Because it’s a land of interrupters.  I don’t speak  or tell stories because I like the sound of my voice.  It’s a bonding experience.  Stories build community.  But most of the time when I have something to say I am cut off, because someone else has an opinion.  Or even better, because they weren’t listening at all.  I can be in conversation with someone else, and instead of waiting for me to finish, people will interrupt.  Like I don’t matter.  Where I’m from, that’s disrespectful.  You only do it if you have no manners, or if you really don’t care what a person has to say.  And it’s something that I hate.

When I want to speak with someone, and I see that they’re already in conversation with someone else, I will stand and wait.  Unless it’s something time sensitive.  Which it rarely is.  But maybe it’s just because I’m timid.

At work I’ll be helping a guest and another one will walk up and start asking questions.  These people don’t know each other.  And they don’t know me.  How did they reach adulthood and not learn to wait in line?  Wait your freakin’ turn.

There’s a coworker that ignores and interrupts me, no matter what I’m saying.  Even if I’m trying to explain a work situation.  Then I’ll get phone calls later, when I’m at home, because I was interrupted when passing on information.  Literally, listen when people are speaking.

I can be hanging out with my friends here and start telling a funny story or sharing some information about myself, and someone else will just start talking.  Like I don’t matter.  Like I wasn’t just saying something.  It makes me feel as though they don’t have any desire to get to know me.  And they don’t really know me now.  Obviously.  I haven’t been here long enough for anyone to know me.

And I’m trying not to to take offense.  Because I don’t think that they mean anything by it.  I was just raised a certain way.  I grew up a certain way.  My heart just feels disrespected.  Sick of the interruptions.