I volunteer at my daughters school on Tuesdays. She was sad the other day following recess when I was there, so I asked what was bothering her. She said “a boy in my class said “Julie’s so stupid” (a black girl) “and I’m really sad, it hurts my feelings a lot because I’m part African.”
WHOA Nelly… my family is pretty white. My daughter’s abdominal skin, which rarely sees the sun, is so translucent that hints of her blue veins adorn her darling belly like little streams down a rock wall. I tried to explain she wasn’t, but she argued that I’d told her she was (literally back and forth 3x… no I didn’t honey, yes you did, no baby I didn’t, yes YOU DID!, no I wouldn’t because we’re not, yes we are.)
“Baby, you’re half HUNGARIAN, Eastern European, not African. Remember, grandma is 100% Hungarian…we make goulash…okay sweetie? It’s reeeeeaaally sweet that you were concerned. That wasn’t a very nice thing for that boy to say.”
She walked away slowly, mad at me, sad and confused that she wasn’t part of a group of people she’d wanted to be a part of. She showed such compassion for a 10 year old, deeply connected to the suffering of another member of the human race. I began to see our sense of belonging to and kinship of all people, and smiled at the gift pain can give us…a feeling of connection.
It’s interesting how truly believing something, makes it truth. And how if you want to believe it, it’s hard to be talked out of. I catch myself thinking I know how to be happy or I know how to give and receive love, but really, it’s just what my head believes is right because it’s comfortable for me.
Now I’m gonna go mix up a batch of the best chocolate chip cookies because that’s comfortable… I’m Sugar D, so I gotta live up to my name. (I may throw in some flax seed or whole oats to make myself comfortable that it’s more nutritionally balanced!)
And it’s all about balance. Thinking deeply, writing, reflecting… then spontaneously and simultaneously feeling light-hearted for a batch of cookies feels like I’m wholly enjoying my life, and that feels good.