Jan 25, 2020

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO: Reality just takes some getting used to (still) - Chapter 29

76 years old, in the studio,  the foot of the Fuego volcano, Sacatepequez

Will I adjust?  Will I accept realtity? Will I ever be calm in the face of "things" that are both inside my ability to "change" and/or accept completely "things" outside of my power to do anything about?

My whole life I have been a "privileged" white person.  Or, at least I did have privileges because I was/am male and a member of the "White"  race.  I am English-American. 

 I didn't/don't  think  much about my "privilege" because almost all of my life I have known I was also a despised "minority" by many. No matter the color of my skin.  Being loathed and despised for  "being Gay" didn't feel like a privilege.  It felt more like shame as I strived/strive to be a whole, and fully integrated, part of the human race.   I make/made a path to follow which included what I thought, and mostly think, was/is wholesome,  enjoyable and personally expressive way to live  my not-so-underground life.  I have always wanted, and have been,  part of everyday society and not only have I lived/worked among isolated and privileged groups but also I have lived/worked in more modest surroundings. I have lived/worked in several different cultures and I still live in one that is different than that of my origin.  Many people live/work in cultures different than their own, do you?

I drank alcohol, I always liked it.  I liked it when I was a child stealing sips of beer as my father did gardening on Saturdays in our back yard.  I helped him do the yard work but each time he disappeared around a corner I joined in by enjoying his cold beer.  He never knew, nobody did and I still love cold beer but haven't had one since 1978.  December 13, 1978. I moved away from active alcoholism.  I couldn't stop drinking but I reached/screamed out for help and my addiction was lifted. I received support from a group of anonymous drinkers like me who wanted to stop drinking. 

Sobriety.

 Alcoholism is not a skin color and it is not a "privilege" that many people survive. An  alcoholic like me likes to think drinking "sets one free" to be the unique person he, or she,  was meant to be. 

It worked inside of the me for years.

 I thought it worked even as it dimmed/harmed 
 my ability to be the authentic me.  I was afraid to be me and the alcohol helped me feel fearless, no more coward in me.  Alcohol gave me a sense of well-being that I always lacked as I stumbled my way through other peoples ideas of  morality and who I thought, they thought, I must be.

It didn't work.

 I would need to find a self-accepting/natural way to be me and stop beliving the lies about me and people like me. I had believed the fear and demeaning words that some people spew out about me and people like me.  There was no avoiding reality if I wanted to have a full life, the life I had received, if I didn't accept my  right to be me and pursue happiness and integrity.

 Being me does not include having less  consideration for you but you ought to  stop with the blind injustice/bigotry and falsehoods and all-out resentments directed todward LGBTI people and others.  The age of blind/ignorant  hatred/fear of the " other" must end.  There is no place left to hide as truth emerges and the slandering of others dies along with one-sided privileges that must fade and blend into everyones everyday life.

To be continued

Leonardo Ricardo
Sacatepequez, Guatemala
Central America



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