The Problem is Me

~It’s 11 a.m. and let me tell you, I have had some struggles to deal with today.

  • I’m on vacation in Croatia, staying in an apartment complex with other families from all over Europe.  There is a coffee bar by the pool where I’ve enjoyed bijela kava the past two mornings.  When I went down to get my caffeine fix this morning, there was no barista.  And damn it, I really, really wanted some coffee.  A normal person would just brew a pot on her own, but for reasons I cannot explain, every time I’ve ever tried to make coffee here, it has tasted like ass.  I had to walk three blocks to a cafe to get coffee.  THREE BLOCKS.
  • It’s really windy here today.  Too windy to put up the umbrellas at the pool, so instead of typing this while sitting on a chaise by the pool (sunscreen or no, I don’t dare expose my alabaster flesh to the Croatian sun), I’m sitting on my covered balcony.  THE HORROR.
  • My husband spent last night in a neighboring town with some of his Croatian colleagues at a wine tasting.  He’s on his way home now, and has already reported to me that he’s a little green around the gills.  ~No one could have possibly predicted this outcome.~  That’s a tilde within a tilde, in case you’re keeping track.  It’s like a main dish of sarcasm with sarcasm on the side.  There’s going to be some whining involved in my day.  I’m used to it, because my kids are jerks, but whiny 42 year old men are JUST THE WORST.

My life is HARD, y’all.  This white privilege nonsense is not all it’s cracked up to be.~

I’m setting all my tildes aside now and speaking to you from someplace deep within my typically stone cold heart.  It makes me feel vulnerable, which I typically avoid like the plague.  Vulnerable; because I have a crippling fear of saying the wrong thing, of being misunderstood, of exposing truths about myself I’d rather not acknowledge or showing you just how ignorant I am.  All those things ARE gonna happen, in this post and in others.  I’m sloooooowly starting to accept that fact.

For the third August in a row, I am on the trip of a lifetime with my family. Three weeks (at a time, seriously, who does that) in Europe, mostly Croatia, though last year we came via Italy and this year enjoyed a few days in The Netherlands.  If you had told me ten or more years ago this would be my reality, I would’ve laughed in your face.  I post photos on social media ad nauseam, and doubtlessly annoy a helluva lot of folks by going on so about how much I love it here. Whether or not I show it, though, any time it comes up in conversation, I’m a roiling mess of awkward sauce on the inside.  I have never denied that I am a product of privilege, but this feels like privilege on anabolic steroids.

While we’ve been enjoying our ocean view and rosè and pool and fabulous food and wonderful company; white supremacists were marching through Charlottesville.  I haven’t read every last commentary out there, or even followed the news of it terribly closely; but I believe the body count is currently at three.  And my initial response has essentially been:  Fuck you America.  I can deal with you no longer and I am fucking done.  My family and I are never coming home.

How very nice to be able to respond to the situation from my perch here upon Mount Privilege.  That’s not a response, that’s me being a complete and total piece of shit and not dealing with the problem.

And, it gets worse.

I have been shocked.

Even though the 2016 Presidential election was about race, and we elected a dude beloved by the likes of David Duke and Richard Spencer.  Even though hate crimes have surged.  Even though black Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to be killed by police.  Even though a mosque in the suburb neighboring mine was attacked just last week.  Regardless of all the unending bullshit we’ve all been slogging through since November, I have been shocked folks are marching through the streets with Nazi flags and torches in the United States in 20 fucking 17.  Never in a million years would I have predicted it.

I am the problem.  My ignorance, my denial, my lack of action.  And, even though I realize I am the problem, I feel paralyzed.  Why spend my energy when it’s all hopeless? Why spend my energy when apparently folks who share my lines of thinking are, if not the minority of the population, are at least a largely silent majority?

I’m putting this all out here for catharsis, because I have no answers.  I don’t know what my next steps should be.  I don’t know what America’s next steps should be.  I just know that today sucks, and I am really fucking embarrassed by the part I’ve played in creating this shit show.