Wandering While Dressed Differently…Thinking Differently
I wandered into a few different thoughts and conversations lately that I thought I would share with you to see what you thought. Perhaps it was the fact that this is graduation week for many colleges around the country (including SUNY Plattsburgh). Perhaps it was an easing of tremendous tension from having approximately seven significant weights lifted from my shoulders over the last couple of weeks. Perhaps it is just my nature! Anyway, let’s get this party started….
Finally, the summer has arrived (okay, I know technically that it’s spring, but after our long winters up here in the North Country of NY, any hint of sun has me putting on suntan lotion, and I’m Black). So, I am ready to wear less clothes and tighten up the body. Am I alone in struggling with exactly how much I celebrate the change in the weather with how much I can actually reveal? I look at women in the workforce wearing shoes that show their toes, sundresses that allow their bodies to benefit from fewer constraints, blouses that do the same. Yes, if I wear shoes that show my toes, clothing that allows my body to benefit from fewer constraints, etc. I feel like I am doing something wrong. Am I tripping? Is this a double standard? Is this sexism in some form that we just don’t discuss? Should I settle for the rationalization that women have been oppressed in such a sundry of ways within our society that they deserve these little societal perks that are off limits to men? Or, should I wear my plaid shorts, sandals, and open collar shirts and get over my anxiety that people won’t take me seriously because men just don’t show their toes in the workplace. What are your thoughts?
When is the last time you considered your mortality? I remember first considering mine when I read an article in the Los Angeles Sentinel (a Black owned newspaper that addressed Black folks’ reality). The article stated something about a Black male youth having more of a chance of surviving on the front of WWII than reaching the age of 21 in South Central L.A. From that point on, I became somewhat fixated on this thing called “death.” Then I became preoccupied with the fact that my father, who had been murdered, died at 37 years of age. His father died young, and his grandfather died young. All of their deaths were violent. Couple that with a dream I had that I was never able to shake which had me dying at age 27. Well, suffice it to say as I approached 27 I was freaking out, paranoid, essentially immobilized in fear that if I ventured too far from the safety of my residence I would be increasing the possibility of something drastic occurring. I got through that period then really didn’t think about it again until I was about 36 looking at 37. Yes, there I went again. Suffice it to say, I experienced my 37th birthday with no major incidents and as Elton John once sang in a song, I’m still standing. Have any of you ever experienced these types of thoughts before. Did you experience your thoughts as a result of your life situation(s)? Do you think our diverse realities contribute to our sense of awareness of our fragile mortality? I wonder if younger men and women look down the road and engage, at any level, the fact that the road ends at some point, at least in the context of life as we know it. It would seem apparent that poverty might contribute to someone asking themselves one of those big questions “is it worth it all?” I’m curious though does wealth breed the same thoughts, albeit for different reasons? Do you think thoughts about our mortality might differ along ability and racial lines? It might seem like a far-fetched question, but if you look around you and see most of the adults in your life who reflect a reality similar to yours, dying at 45-50 from ill health, even though some of it may appear to be self-imposed (though the reasons we drink alcohol, eat the foods we eat, etc. may be worthy of discussion themselves) or genetic, it may have an effect on your perspective on mortality.
Lastly, as I wander away to enjoy this beautiful summer day (I know, I know, its spring) is it okay if I play my way if it doesn’t get in your way in any way? Whose to say your morality should keep me at bay. Should I allow other’s shortsightedness to prevent me from entering the fray, undercutting the pay I can receive from life if I dare to see it my way and muster the energy to not succumb or stay locked into what could be for me a dysfunctional mode of behavior. Or, should I listen to what they say because it actually might sway J (W that is) if he takes the time to contextualize what they say, after all, it just may make sense, if I’m not dense! I know, this was too immense, perhaps too intense, made no sense, and you read it all with no recompense. What can I say, this is what you get sometimes when you wander with J (W that is). Hey, I'm human and prone to bouts of silliness as well!