By which I mean it’s the beginning of the year. I’ve moved to a new city–with all the hassles that come from being the good tenant who follows those disastrous ones you see on HGTV who left the place a god-forsaken wreck–and I’ve begun a new job.
For the past week I’ve been in Mexico with my fiance Harel. It’s been delightful spending time with him, but also stressful since money issues always tend to creep up on us (making it even more important that we reach our GoFundMe goals).
Today I’m not talking about money, though, but rather language.
Part of our financial strains are due to Harel’s recently transitioning from one job to another. He’s completed his TKT English certification course, and while he takes the certification test on August 8, in his new job he’ll be teaching English to business professionals. So on Tuesday, I was able to join Harel in a workshop his new job provided on the proper place for a native language when teaching a second language. While I’m not a teacher of language, I am a student of Spanish, and listening to a dozen teachers discuss differences between Spanish and English, my mind tried to take these challenges and generalize them.
Friends, I said in a weekend Facebook post, I need your help.
I’ve learned a lot about systems of (dis)advantages over the past few years, and newsflash, I have a lot of privilege. In fact, it’s hard for me to find much in my life that isn’t a result of somewhere someone giving me me something that someone else was denied–whether it’s my assumed intelligence because I’m white or my assumed leadership skills because I’m male or so many other things.
So how do I hold onto any sort of self-worth when everything I thought I had fought so hard to achieve was really just handed to me?
For a long time I’ve supported the Human Rights Campaign–one of the largest and most well-known LGBT civil rights advocacy groups in the world. But as of today, I have severed my ties with them–and here’s the reason why.
I recently republished one of my first serials on the Writingwolf: a superhero origins story called “Super.” It had started as a simple prompt–if you had superpowers, what would they be?–but ended up inspiring an entire world of characters.
Let’s be honest, many of them existed long before the prompt: I watched X-Men cartoon growing up, and the idea of having superpowers always fascinated me. So, naturally, when I started writing about superheroes, the floodgates opened and an army of characters began fighting for a place in this fictional world I was creating.
Some of them were granted entry. Others were given tickets and a place in line. And then, for over three years, they waited patiently. That waiting ended in 2013. But at what cost?
I read this week’s teaching for the first time more than a month ago–and I knew I’d loathe the moment I got to it. When the week opened at a conference in DC and continued with a maddening rush to pack my room and move on campus, procrastination came easily.
But as Hillel might remind us, “If not know, when?”
So anxiously I plow forward. One last teaching to end them all.
More importantly, let me introduce you to their rapists.
One of my friends at Guilford Tech was raped by his father. One of the guys I worked alongside was raped by his older brother’s best friend. One of the guys I’ve met at N.C. State was raped by his first boyfriend. I have a friend who was raped by her ex-husband, and another friend who was raped by her boyfriend. One of my very best friends was raped twice–by people she didn’t even know.
And people say there’s no such thing as rape culture.
Women can multitask, park their cars better, and ask for direction–but the sorry male species can’t do a damn thing. It’s a beautiful world where you grow up with low expectations, isn’t it? A standard of male success is dying without going to jail. Poor women. They actually have to do something to be successful.
Open wide the doors of your home and make the poor welcome as members of your household; do not engage in small talk with your wife. (Now if this be true for one’s wife, how much more does it apply to the wife of a friend! Our sages derived a lesson from this: One who engages in small talk with his wife harms himself; he will neglect the study of Torah and in the end will inherit Gehenna.)
I’m like, Huh—what?
So I’m tempted to say this one’s worth skipping since I will never have a wife, so it doesn’t apply, but if I’m truly to learn anything (and I hope I’ve already learned something), I have to realize that even the most far-out teachings can still have a lesson hidden somewhere in them for everyone. Going back to the precepts we began with a month ago: Be cautious in your decisions.