I thought a lot about why so many humans are hurting here emotionally in the United States despite everything that is available to us in terms of material comforts (my sister Em is very philosophical so we have some great discussions).
One thing I thought is this…
that there really are not good connections across several generations in the U.S.. It seems like each generation is first of all concerned with itself and then with the one preceding or after it. So the very young are basically feted and applauded as they enter the world, lots of party showers and baby toys, and the elders are basically kind of ignored even though both are equally important to maintain some kind of intergenerational balance.
I know …
that there are lots of exceptions to this because the U.S. is made up of a lot of cultures many of which are connected across generations. But in the dominant media culture of the U.S. and media the “family” is seen as a unit not really connected across or between other units or between other units. I guess that’s my perspective as queer in the United States. I would like to self identify in this essay (no surprise right? \(*_*)/ )because a lot of the queering of perspectives and theories gets lost as it is extracted into other things out of context. Like fashion. But I digress.
after I thought about intergenerational stuff, I thought about the idea of mentorship. I’ve been thinking about that a lot because basically, at 48 I’m the oldest surviving member of this immediate branch of our family. When I realized that this summer, I totally freaked out, because I realized that through my actions I have a lot of responsibility. That is to say, there comes a time when it doesn’t really matter what you say, it’s what you are doing that people are looking at.
Like for example…
I’m at some pole in my life story and process called “menopause” (didn’t mean to scare anyone) And to be honest, this culture we are in is completely scared of menopause, which is sort of ridiculous because there’s so much more change in the world, what’s a little menopause thrown in?
Anyway, I surmise that some of my younger sisters are kind of looking at me to see (in a family with a history of depression) how I am dealing with it. Ha! Well actually I am dealing with it pretty positively. I have a pretty good series of awesome family stories that now I know to be about mid life changes for the women in our family. I can sort of rely on some of those to get me through my darkest hours.
but I digress…
…..Back to my sisters.
Because of everything my sisters and I have gone through in our lives, all of us deal with this stuff with a sense of humor and also non judgement for the most part. That’s good because judgement takes up a lot of mental space to maintain. But we are no strangers to a realistic view I’ll call pragmatism. And an infuriating optimism. My mom survived and even thrived on a peculiar kinda optimism. Optimism of the moment.
A word about “family of choice” which in queer world is so important and so devalued, but I guess has its own reasons to be invisible and permeable in this culture. In the above discussions about family, it can be so easy to be achingly alone in even multigenerational traditional families maybe because the importance of blood or sangre or ideas about genetics and connection. Because despite the powerful pull of genetics on this idea of identity, there are so many other bonds that are equally important. Like bonds of history and shared stories, and fluid connections, no comments please. With just genetics as a means of connection, you get essentially tribes of humans who are connected and almost imprisoned by an idea of collective identity based on genetics and who’s gonna have the next baby. Which doesn’t really always behoove women, that arrangement. .
And also for those who are queer or outliers in any way, an identity based exclusively on genetic attachment can be devastating and alienating. Conversely an identity based solely on the interconnections made through life, leaves something lacking. I can kind of speak to this a little bit anyway, certainly I’ve had some good reasons to cut loose from my family at certain points, but in the end, I’ve managed to make the connections with those who can understand and not judge, as well as in the younger generations, at least to date. And actually the importance of making connections to the adoptive side of my family, painful as it can be for the history it holds, it’s really important.
So back to mentorship…
I have thought a lot on who in my life has been a good mentor. And who I have learned from. Basically, a good mentor is someone who is a good listener, a person who understands when its the right time to say something,a person who does their best not to impose their values sets or imprint on someone, a person who tries to align their own values with their actions, and has a no-strings attached policy toward providing mentorship once they have taken that on. After I thought that through with the humans who have mentored me, I basically realized one of my current mentors is my dog. Yep. My dog. So basically Frida my dog, who is aging quite well I think, Frida is my Yoda. I’m not sure if she would appreciate the analogy, but I’m keeping it to myself.
So in summary, I have decided to put my dog Frida as a write-in on the ballot when i go to vote for President or Senator. Joke. Kinda. The way things are going.
yours in the metaverse
Think Tank Operator
AstroDime Transit Authority.
but one source of inspiration…
Relational Beings S_M, K_G, Frida, Tig, Luvy. y mis hermanas. y sobrin@s tambien, amig@s y los Guapos. y mas.