W42ST Daily 6/9/2020
“I was married for 10 years to an abusive man,” a reader wrote to me this week. “He had a hair-trigger temper and a huge sense of entitlement. He thought everyone was out to keep him from achieving whatever he thought it was he was supposed to be achieving; especially me. Everything I did upset him and, as the years went by, he became increasingly militant in making sure I stopped doing things ‘wrong’.
“I became pretty good at placating him when he went off on me for using the wrong size pan to reheat the leftovers, or any one of a million other infractions, which of course I didn’t know were infractions until I did them. I immediately apologized profusely and promised never again to do the wrong thing I had done. I flattered him obscenely and stayed out of his way and usually managed to restore ‘peace’.
“But, every once in a while – very seldom, but sometimes – I just couldn’t. Things would pile up and I’d just lose it. It was never planned. I just couldn’t contain my anger and hurt any more. I’d scream at him and throw things and break dishes (my beautiful china). Because I couldn’t attack him directly, I’d use whatever I could get my hands on in the moment, usually something of mine, sometimes something of mine that I cherished, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but trying to get him to ‘see’ the hurt and anger and upset that he was causing.
“That’s what happens sometimes.”
The past week of protests against systemic racism and police brutality have had us all examining our own hearts, trying to make sense of a situation that simply doesn’t make sense, and work out what part we can play in the solution.
“I’ve been thinking about this more,” she wrote later, “and have come to the conclusion that, because he didn’t respect me, nothing I did would make him see how he was hurting me. If I did not complain, I was OK with it. if I did complain, I was crazy and out of control. Someone more powerful, someone he respected, would have to have intervened on my behalf.”
White people made this problem. It’s our job to fix it.
And while we’re on the subject, I found this a fascinating read – “A riot is the language of the unheard,” said Martin Luther King.
NEW YORK STORIES
I had my first taste of Ethiopian food last week. Damn! How come nobody told me about this? (Disclaimer, Jenny, you’ve been telling me about it for months – now I realize what you were going on about.) As we celebrate black-owned businesses in Hell’s Kitchen, this is the story of Queen of Sheba.
MAKE ROOM FOR JOY
These are serious times, make no mistake. But yesterday Marcy (and Rob) Harriell reminded me that our sadness doesn’t need to diminish our joy. And our joy doesn’t diminish our sadness. It’s OK to smile. Never stop smiling.
Activities for ages five through eight this afternoon, as the Intrepid Museum guides us through the solar system, from the rings of Saturn to the craters of Mercury. Sign up here (it’s free).
This webinar tonight is for white people new to racial justice work. Sign up here.
The online Criminal Queerness Festival features playwrights from around the world, providing “a platform for artists facing censorship, shining a light on critical stories from across the globe.” Find out more here.
TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS
Coach Rachel Rodgers, along with a few trusted entrepreneurs and experts, is hosting a free town hall tomorrow to discuss creating lasting change in the small business industry for those committed to building anti-racist organizations. Sign up here.
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