So…here it is. My first official blog post. And it’s already nothing like what I thought it would be! I thought I would be explaining the title to you, telling you about me if you don’t already know me, finding some clever and quirky things to say to keep you interested…..but NO!
I think one of the reasons I haven’t already written a novel (because I am asked that question frequently) is because of distraction. I’m a lot like my dog Bella…easily distracted. I can be telling you a story about one thing, and then BOOM! Glitter! Bird! Look! I get going on something else. Just like now. You will frequently hear me say “stay on the train” because I will eventually make my point, and come back round to the station, but you need to stay on the train. Sometimes I get jumpers, and I get it. It’s hard to focus on someone who is so scattered. But I’m not really scattered, I’m a storyteller. It’s what I do. A long lost friend of mine, who actually talks more than me, once said “If you can’t keep up with my conversation, we can’t be friends”. I laughed at the time, but realize I feel the same way. I am almost never lacking for words or conversation, even if I don’t know you.
I’ll preface this first story with a simple fact. A couple of things I don’t like to talk about or write about are religion and politics. I will touch on my feelings about why in another post, but I’m trying not to get too distracted and get to the matter at hand.
Over the weekend, I met a guy who we’ll just call “Guy” to protect his identity. From the encounter I had with Guy, I can say that he’ll probably never be my friend. However, I will admit alcohol was involved so maybe he is not really who he seemed to represent, but I kind of doubt it. We admittedly both over imbibed and I have zero idea how the conversation came up, but I heard him drop the “n” word several times, referring to African Americans. Ugh…now, if you know me, you know that is intolerable to me. You also know that I’m an educated woman with a pretty strong opinion about that line of thinking. I literally JUST got done writing a research paper about civil rights and oppression for a literature class after reading “The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. I spent over 20 hours researching, trying to sum up 1952-2018 in under 10 pages. You can view it here if you’re interested, I’m still waiting on the grade for it. I literally just had a conversation the day before with my friend at work, where we compared getting pulled over by police for the same infraction (rolling stop) and how it was handled in her case and in mine. She’s black and I’m white. Very different scenarios. And you know what? Hers was scary.
Well, half a bottle of wine in, the intelligent thing to do would have been to get up and walk away. But sometimes wine speaks on my behalf and unfortunately that is what happened here. I finally, after listening to his rant for about 15 minutes, said “Are you trying to come off as a white supremacist? Because you are.” Now, drunk Michelle is generally fun and hates engaging in this sort of rhetoric. But…it happened and I can’t change it. He was off to the races. I tried to explain what I had researched, and he said that the fact I had researched it made me biased. What? Ok. I knew in that instant I was not dealing with a rational person. He told me, in so many colorful words, that I was full of it and that blacks are NOT still being oppressed today. He talked over me and I had a hard time getting a word in edgewise, which is crazy impossible because I talk A LOT (if you talk more than me you probably need a 12-step program). I tried to tell him about the experience my coworker and I had getting pulled over. He couldn’t hear me. I tried to tell him I love my job at Wayne State because I embrace the diversity and have met so many interesting people of all different cultures in the staff and student body. I learned SO much about Muslims from a student in my last class; she was just awesome in a single word. He told me she must have been entitled to even be sitting in the classroom.
Insert my all-time favorite emoji – the eye roll.
When it became clear he would never hear one single thing I had to say, I pretty much pulled back and let the drama calm down. I needed to remove myself from the situation, which I did by standing up and saying “What was your name again?” to which he responded “Guy”. I put my hand out, shook his, and said “Great to meet you. I always enjoy a good debate.” Then I got up and walked away.
NOW…if you know me, that scenario is unheard of, especially if I’ve been drinking. My BFF, Cheryl, (you’ll get to know her, she’s the Gail to my Oprah), said “Really? Wow! I can’t believe you didn’t pull his testicles out through his throat!” Well, there was a time that would have been the case. I’d like to think I’ve matured. I need to let it go now, but I saw this meme this morning on Facebook a friend had posted (see below), and without reference to your positive or negative thoughts on Barack Obama, or religion, or politics, I think we can all admit he is an amazing orator and what I truly appreciated was the bottom line message “the only way that I could live effectively with people who have different beliefs and different faiths is if we have a civil society that is, in fact, civil”. This meme is what made all this bubble up for me this morning, because it really had been kind of bugging me all weekend that I allowed someone like that to get under my skin. I should have gotten up and walked away like I saw a woman that I’ve just recently gotten to know do. Guy and I will never agree on racism. We both admittedly said a few inappropriate things to each other in the heat of it. But I chose to be civil. No one pulled out guns. No one got into a Jerry Springer situation. I made the choice to be civilized in how I ended our encounter.
Maybe I don’t need another post to introduce why I chose to call this Chaos & Naked Grace. I think this one just about sums it up. The world is full of chaos. It’s full of things we don’t agree with and don’t understand. It takes sheer, pure, unadulterated, naked grace to navigate it. Because at the end of the day, we always have choices. And I choose grace.