I tweeted to Michelle Obama as FLOTUS yesterday. It was in response to her farewell from the position speech. I know it’s entirely possible she won’t have time to scroll down an epic thread to find and read my message. On the tiniest chance she would, I poured my heart into the tweet. Then I cried a bit. Then I made fun of myself for crying on Twitter. It led to my laughing instead. I’m so glad I got to exist while Michelle Obama was FLOTUS.
I have a feeling I’ll be jogging more than marching on the 20th to stay warm. Fortunately, I have the proper equipment to ensure it doesn’t end in frozen tears. The woman who is guiding me (and several others) in participating in the resistance got retweeted by Rosie O’Donnel today. That was exciting! Rosie will be fighting beside us. I love it when celebrities use their fame for good causes. Angelina Jolie and Mariska Hargitay excel at this as do many others. I was taught by more than just my mom to avoid becoming fanatical about Hollywood stars. I’ve been listening to and trusting Lisa Bloom since her Court TV days. She was the first person who taught me about ethics on TV without any puppets or cartoons. The Kardashians and their ilk never had a chance to take root in my world because I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand when I was a preteen. I used to have nightmares about Ellsworth Toohey.
Reading was a favorite activity in our house when I was growing up. My brother, Steve, was into comic books. He shared Little Lulu and Archie and Jughead with me. Kevin gave me a paperback copy of Dune for my 11th birthday, and I’ve been hooked on sci-fi since. My mom read novels of all sorts, while Heather preferred age-appropriate serials. Most of my interaction with the world before the Army came through reading books. In school, my peers were in another league when it came to socializing. They were dating before I figured out how to initiate a conversation without throwing up from the anxiety. I’m proud of my schoolmates. The horror stories I hear from my autistic friends about their experiences make me grateful for what I had.
These humans who as young children whipped me with jumping ropes and told me my name was Kunta on the playground after seeing Roots on TV, grew into teenagers with good character. That day on the playground still haunts me, but I forgave them in real time because they were traumatized, and I wasn’t the only child sobbing. It’s not something a child should watch without a parent nearby whispering truths in their ear. Such as, “This happened a long time ago, and nobody who did these awful things is still alive. America doesn’t allow slavery anymore.”
It will also remain a measuring point for the incredible growth I witnessed in them between elementary and middle school. Today, when I run into old schoolmates, I look them in the eye even though it’s difficult for me. I do it because I want them to know I know they’re decent people. They taught me prejudice is a teaching opportunity, not a reason to lash out. It’s still working for me.