11:58 pm - Sat 3/01/03
(At the library, on Oxford and 7th. I thought the library wasn't open till noon today, but turns out I was wrong. Too bad I wasted $3.50 at the internet cafe earlier, but such is life...)
I've been thinking a lot about my writing in here, since I've had more time to think about it and less time to actually do it...
I told Jason M. at work yesterday that, while I never out-and-out lie in here, I do sometimes "omit" in such a way that the truth of a situation is not completely revealed.
A small example; I said in here recently that I was proud of myself for not going too nuts and spending my 401K money on candy and gum during my week off.
But what I haven't said, and something that's caught me by surprise, is that I've had a problem with doing exactly that since I've been back at work(The "surprise" comes from feeling like there'd be more of an issue with spending money during my week off, when I had loads of free time. But as I've felt my enthusiasm for life flagging because of work, the urge to "ease my pain" with fast food and the like has increased).
It's a fairly small thing, but to me, it represents something sort of important; I presented in here that I was mastering my impulses--not spending money I shouldn't, not eating too much junk food, etc--but for awhile now, avoided admitting that I'd "slipped" again.
I knew when I started doing this that "honesty" would be the big issue.
Here's a much bigger example of something I've "omitted" in here...
There's something I think about a lot since I moved to LA.
I'm not ready to join the Klan or anything like that, but I have to be honest, I have wrestled with more racist feelings since being out here than I ever did back in Lansing.
And it makes a certain sense--I grew up in very small towns, and even in Lansing, moved in pretty "white" circles--but it's still been disconcerting and upsetting to me. I've alway intellectually acknowledged racist feelings, but to have them really "come to the fore" out here has been a whole other thing.
What am I talking about, exactly? Feeling odd and uncomfortable at often being the only white person I see in my neighborhood. Keeping a hand on my wallet when I'm riding the bus and there's standing room only (I never did that back in Lansing). Noticing, when I'd really rather not, that certain ethnic groups seem to use the bookstore as a lending library more than other people.
I really do think those kind of feelings are both hard-wired in our biology, and also part of the society we live in, but nevertheless, I don't want them in my head. That's not the person I want to be, that I think I'm supposed to be.
But I will say this--I may wrestle with racist feelings that I'm uncomfortable and unhappy about, but the point is that I "wrestle" with them. And whether racism is part of my makeup, part of my biology, part of my society, or whatever, I think it's my responsibility as a person to go against all that, and to constantly remind myself that, while there are people who will fit any stereotype--there's a reason stereotypes become sterotypes, after all--it's my moral obligation to treat people as individuals, and not as monolithic groups who all behave the same way.
And to my credit, I think I really do that.
But it still doesn't mean I'm happy or comfortable with the fact that my first impulse seems to be to judge the "other" group unfavorably, to be scared, to be...uncomfortable.
I'm going to try and become more honest in here. There will always be limits, of course--though I think thos limits are very much open to shifting and moving about--but I don't want to feel like I'm trying to present myself as something I'm not.
But my computer time is up.
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