Some days I really believe that I must be from some place far, far away. From some other planet, some other galaxy, a walk-in to this body here on Earth. I feel alien sometimes, like everything around me is foreign, unusual, nonsensical even. I don’t always seem to know exactly where I am in time and space, as though I’m having one hell of a lucid dream in some other dimension. Am I some alien dreaming I’m a twisted human being, or a twisted human being dreaming I’m an alien? I don’t understand how most of this world functions, how it works. I especially don’t understand how people work, unless there is some deep emotional movement going on. That I do understand, but I can’t live there. I don’t understand my own emotional upheavals, but I can empathize with everyone else’s. Ain’t that somethin’.

I’m sitting here, waiting on a 12-step meeting to begin. This Zoom modality is fine, but my eyes are really tired. I think I’m cranking on a cataract, because when I look upward, I see a kind of film that floats in front of my direct line of vision, and it’s definitely on the surface of my eye. It’s transparent, but it moves, as though it was a soap bubble on the surface of some water. But that’s just my story. Maybe I just need eye drops, more lubrication. I know that I need new glasses…just renewed my vision plan, so I should make an appointment with the optometrist. I’ll get right on that, after my standard multiple hours/days of procrastination. I crack myself up sometimes.

I’m in some kind of weird and unsettled state right now, and I’m not even sure why. It’s more of that disconnected thing…the denial of my comments in that online group I mused on earlier is messing with me. I don’t know why I should care. This is so par for the course…I don’t understand some advanced principle of anti-racism, or group dynamics, or something and so they will decline to post my submission because, well, I obviously just don’t get it. Obviously. I am really beginning to think I don’t want to get it. I don’t want to have sure answers, the ones that come from some academic knowledge base, some formula, some theorum. It frustrates me when I have an intuition about something, but don’t have the vocabulary to express it in words other people will understand, particularly if they are the Ph.d types. I’m just not interested in that, although I would like to be able to compete, or hold my own at least in discussions. That doesn’t seem to be making any sense, but suffice it to say that I’m a bit frustrated with being tongue-tied with people that have credentials.

When I was a corporate ho, and that is exactly what it felt like when I worked for a corporation, I failed diversity class. It was a train-the-trainer kind of thing, multi-week duration. The diversity consultants – multi-million dollar contract – had a copy-righted plan for teaching us how to teach our colleagues. Because their plan was THE plan, you had to be able to present the training in exactly the way they taught it. Well, that didn’t go so well for me, because I felt like if I got the concepts, I could teach it the way I wanted to. Um, no. That’s not the way it’s done in that world, so…between a bit of stage fright and not being able to remember the exact vocabulary and sequence of items to be included, I…summarily…flunked. I was devastated. Felt incompetent, which is one of my worst nightmares. I do not want to feel incompetent, and just that word makes the hair on my arms stand up. But, I had not demonstrated competence in my ability to present the required material, so…see ya. I must relate, however, that a couple of years after my failure, the company was bought and the diversity program was scrapped. The consultants were tossed out on their academic expert butts, and the whole program became a historical blip on the timeline. So much for great ideas.

Anyway, back to the whole issue that upset me so much earlier…I suppose part of the real sticking point for me, or at least the discomfort for me, is a question of my identity. When my comment was dismissed, and they declined to post it, I felt as though I didn’t fit into a group that I should fit into. Racially, we share the same identity, so I should be able to navigate there better than just about anywhere else. But that has never been the case for me, and so this has brought up all the old insecurities about who the hell am I, where do I belong, I’m not even competent about my own racial identity. What the hell is THAT all about. Moving just slightly past this, however, I’m thinking about something I was told a while back, by a trainer in a church-based class. We were discussing racial/ethnic identity, and I said to her that I wasn’t sure there was a container that fit me in that context. She said, without missing a beat, “Create your own.”. I’ve never forgotten that, and now…I suppose that’s exactly what I’m being called to do. Create my own racial identity, because I really don’t fit into any of the prescribed ones available.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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