Peacemonger Mom

My son just enlisted in the military. I'm a peace activist. Why couldn't he have rebelled in some other way, like being republican?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

"This Will Be Fun."

Amazing the strength of one little sentence, isn't it? I am currently in freak out mode (when am I not?) over the upcoming peace conference where I will be presenting a paper in an academic setting for the first time evah. So yeah, a little freaked out. Also, it will be in Newark, New Jersey, and I will be going alone. When I visited with Mom and the kids and we went to the beach, she commented a number of times on the changes in me - not least of which being that I am doing and saying things that she never expected me to do or say. I think this is a good thing, but I'm rather surprised at my behavior and plans too. I have never been one who enjoys the whole public speaking thing (odd choice of professions I've made, then, huh?) and to present a paper, in a city and state where I've never been? A little on the bold side for me, I think. Or at least my mom thinks so. And I do too, sometimes. Sometimes I'm really surprised by the changes these past few years have wrought in me.

I still keep my lip zipped around Certain People, although I know that Certain Person would be surprised, appalled, probably disgusted, certainly (I hope) embarrassed or ashamed, if she knew the hurt she has caused (and why I am so bothered) by her comments and awful Conservative Viewpoints (Homosexuality is wrong, bisexual people are faking, etc. etc. Republican Talking Points and Thoughts on the Apocalypse and the Book of Revelation Go Here, then follow up with vigorous eye and ear scrubbing by PMM). It's just really hard for me to keep my mouth shut with her, even though I know that nothing ends well with her - one cannot argue and win - there is no winning. There is only increasing decibel levels and increasing shrillness. It's just very difficult to enter into a conversation with her and think that you are going to even be able to successfully make a point. So I don't.

But her views on groups of people I care about are hurtful. Driving past a group of Latinos standing in line for a staffing company, she referred frequently to "them" and "they," then went off on a tirade about how her middle school was really rough, and it was because of all "them" standing around near the school, trying to get work, but she would always see all these trailers that "they" lived in with nice cars outside, satellite dishes, etc. Jesus, girl, don't you hear the poison that is spewing out of your own mouth? Aren't you ashamed that you are so xenophobic?

I know that what I do for a living and the subjects I teach are offensive/bothersome to her. She wants to argue with me, I can tell, but it's very difficult to argue with someone who refuses to engage you or your ideals. I just won't do it - we are in too tight of a living arrangement, and I am simply not up to trying to straighten out her pointy little mind.

Hmmm. I seem to have travelled very far afield from my initial idea for this post. I was going to write about how much fun the peace conference is going to be, and how educational, and how I was focusing so much on my own paper, and worrying about that that I had not yet reached a point where I could say, "Yippee! I get to attend this conference!" rather than "Shit, I've got to attend this conference, wow, I wish I could back out." Then I received a very nice email to those attending and presenting about various details, etc., and the writer closed with the sentence, "This is going to be fun."

I apparently need that pointed out to me sometimes. Although when one is swimming in a Kiddie Pool of Negativity, it is just to be expected I suppose.


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1:39 PM  

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