OGRe Home is a community for Outsider Grief Relief. Grief arises from exclusion. We try to exclude what we cannot accept, but we fail because the unacceptable always pushes its way back in. If we can't accept our weakness or dependency, we diminish our crips and our mothers. If we fear our unbounded sexuality, we punish or mock our queers. Then, we're shocked when the crips and queers take to the streets, or that nice woman of color who was supposed to stay on the other side of town actually marries our sister.
Relief comes from bringing the Outside Inside. To get beyond Us and Them, we must acknowledge and even embrace the stuff we project on to others. Intimacy heals the split between self and what we think is Other. Conversation and play transform conflicts into fertile ground for creative solutions.
Even though our goal is to go beyond identity, we start by seeing things as they are. Here are some groups that remain in the margins of our culture.
People of Color: I am NOT a racist. Well, yes, I am. It is impossible not to internalize racism. Assumptions are transmitted without our awareness, and actions follow. To heal racism, we all need to raise awareness, then take responsibility for change. I write from my experience as a white woman, and also include guest posts from and conversations with people who have different shades of skin.
Crip People: "DisTHIS!" said Lawrence Carter Long, as he introduced films that featured disability: "No handkerchief necessary, no heroism required. This is disability through a whole new lens." If there were ever a time when we needed a whole new lens, it would be now. Scapegoats and enemies multiply while we remain stuck in narrow vision, unknowingly replicating the very scenarios we rail against. What better way to open our eyes than to encounter a surprising body in our field of vision? What better way to get unstuck than to find movement in impossible places?
People Getting Old: If you are getting old, the only way to stay in the center of things is to emulate the young. Buy the cream, the injection; go work out, do whatever, but don't get old. It seems obvious to note that excluding the old bites back. Whatever we internalize becomes the way we see ourselves as we age. But most people just don't believe it til it happens.
Queer People: People who are Not Heterosexual, or maybe even Not Male or Female: Queer culture has a lot to offer the rest of the world. Shared parenting, building community, challenging assumptions about gender, sexuality and monogamy; these are just some of the amazing benefits of including people who don't fall squarely into the heterosexual category. You could argue that that includes all of us, but then you must be one of us.
Moms are People, too: Some people promote the idea that Mothers are at the center of everything, but if you are a Mother, you might have noticed that your particular personhood can be entirely irrelevant to people who know you as Mom. As a consequence, you may have submerged or even forgotten your own needs and wants in the service of being the right kind of Mom. That's what they want. Disappear for 20 years, then emerge with no marketable job skils only to receive all the blame for the failings of your child.
Back in 2005 or so, I went on a tear about Martyred Moms, revealing my personal struggle. My daughter is now a teenager and, for her privacy and mine, I'm not telling stories, but I stand by my plan: Take enough for ourselves, forgive our own mothers, teach our children self-acceptance through example.