This shit keeps Me up at night. Seriously, it does.
After a thousand posts on Responding and Resisting Control in one form or another, and another thousand on trying to gain and regain some kind of Independence, I am slowly coming to yet another realisation.
But let Me digress slightly first.
I believe we are ‘controlled’ in one way or another, from the cradle to the grave. Some would say that this is ‘good control’, as in we need ‘checks and balances’ and some kind of stability to maintain a sense of order in society. Same goes for our daily independent lives. Routine and roles are allocated, whether we mean too or not.
We are hammered with gender roles, education ‘musts’, societal niceties, allocated roles, parenting tools and health ‘necessities’ from the get go. What we ‘see’, we absorb, one way or another. It’s the ‘nurture’ debate. That our environments mould us. That what we are taught, advertently or inadvertently, we take on board as a ‘norm’.
Each ‘group’ has a ‘standardised norm’, just as each household or family has their standardised norm. Whether that be that you attend church every sunday, or go to anti-abortion rallies, or discuss the politics of a certain party. Whether you have 2 daddies, or a single parent, or no parents. Whether your mother cooked your meals, or your father did the preserving, or your siblings vacuumed the floors. All these intricacies build up your ‘standardised norms’. Some we take on, inadvertently. Some we fight against.
And what are we fighting against? Control?
And what are we fighting for? Independence?
So we head off into the world to find ourselves; to establish our beliefs. To flex our independent muscles. Only to find that we are met with another, possibly differing set of standardised norms, that we are to conform too. Once again we are met with an array of information telling us what we should believe, what we should fight against, what is considered ‘normal or abnormal’, what is deemed justified or not.
And we filter that information based on the learning we acquired previously. Right? Racism is bad because Dad was of colour and he suffered at the hands of whites? Sexism is bad because my sister was made to lengthen her skirt at school and called ‘wayward’ when she didn’t want too? Eliteism is bad because my grandfather fought in the war? Christianity is good because Jesus died for us? Separating the whites from the colours before washing is good because mum did it? Showering daily is good because Nan said we shouldn’t smell?
With that information we decide whether we should be treated a certain way and whether those around us should be treated a certain way. Right? It’s OK not to have wheelchair access in every building because theres not that many people in wheelchairs. Right? It’s OK to ask females that are raped how much they drank because that might have bearing on why she was raped. Right? It’s OK to teach our children to sit quietly and listen to an adult talking because everything an adult says is important. Right?
So whether we agree or not, with what is presented around us, this process, based on the knowledge we absorbed before-hand, becomes a field of landmines to negotiate. And we react. We didn’t believe in all the christian stuff, so we’ve decided to turn to Buddhism. We don’t agree with segregation so we make sure we are inclusive to default. We never liked being told what to do so we won’t ever put limits on our own children.
And before we are able to get to the other side of that field of land mines, we happen upon a series of events, called Life. Included are sickness, loss, impairment and injustice. The stuff that was supposed to happen to someone else, not us.
So we negotiate our way around that stuff, as best as we can. Based on what? The knowledge acquired beforehand and after? We tackle sickness by going to the doctors, because thats what mum did and thats what the poster at the clinic says. We sign up for every single job we can find because grandma said ‘idle hands are the devils workshop’ and dad said ‘the bills don’t pay themselves. We ignore the lady that says she has ‘friends who are black’, because mum said ‘suck it up, you need the job’ and ‘Mary’ in HR was ‘let go’ after she made a human rights ‘complaint’. We pay the parking ticket even though we know we weren’t parked illegally, because dad said you can’t win against the system and every moment we delay not paying it, to fight against it, a ‘late fee’ gets added. We get insurance, like my brother suggested, and all the television adverts suggest, so the next time we’re robbed we can replace our stuff quickly.
We take up the cause or causes based on the information we ‘know’ and what is presented to us. We take the drugs because the specialist says we should. We send our children to school because they ‘need’ an education. We vote for a certain political party because their beliefs align with ours.
Whether we explore other options seems to come down to a couple of things. How trusting we are and whether we can think for ourselves. Right? But what if the other ‘reasons’ for how we respond or react, actually have nothing to do with trust or independent thinking? What if there was another piece of information we were missing?
We take the drugs because we are afraid of the outcome if we don’t. Our children get an education because it is illegal for them not too. We vote because it is the only system afforded to us.
These are not the options generally presented to us. We are usually wooed, blamed or sold the former. I’m assuming because it’s easier to get people to comply inadvertently than offer them a informed choice. Imagine if everyone decided to not choose as was pre-destined for us to choose. So does that mean that these choices are pre-destined? Would that not then make them not real choices? To be offered an alternative that isn’t really an alternative, is therefore a controlled alternative, is it not? By design, the alternative response is also a controlled response.
So we react or respond. We ‘free-think’ and come up with resistance. Awesome – Right? What if there was No need for Resistance in the first place? That the Resistance itself, is still Controlled? But what is there instead of complying or resisting? What is there instead of the notion of dependence and independence?
And this is where my realisation came too:
For Me, as an Indigenous person, I am able to look to what my tipuna cohabited like, prior to colonisation. In this existence there was No Dependence or Independence. There was only Interdependence, similar to the ‘community’ concept.
We had no concept of or word for poverty. There were no genders or allocated roles based on gender. There were only states of being that were seamless, transparent and interconnected. They Just Were.
And so I am left wondering, why am I trying to ‘reconcile’ or find wellness, within a superimposed system that was not designed for Me; does not care for Me and does not have my best interests at heart? Why am I trying to strive to be Independent when in actual fact, there is No such thing for someone like Me?
As morose as it may sound, colonisation was not designed to assist Us. It was utilised because complete annihilation and slavery was being abolished by the time the Crown hit our shores. We were not supposed to survive. Rather become willing slaves.
Now even in this realisation, there still has to be a silver lining, Right? Because what is the point otherwise?
What I hadn’t quite comprehended till today, was that just because they’re serving the dish, doesn’t mean I need to eat it.
By doing things ‘their way’, e.g.. -their drugs, their compensation, their options, their reasons, their labels – I am wanting and waiting for them to come up with the assistance and solutions, because somewhere deep down, I must believe they know best? That they have ‘more’ than I do and are able to assist Me with what I need?
But if I also believe what I quoted above – that colonisation and the Crown, were not designed to assist Us – To assist Me – then what am I waiting for?
Would it not be brighter to just do it my tipunas way?
Letting My Yes be Yes; My No be No; being as I Am – Now – with No reason or theory or thinking process attached; embracing Interdependence instead of In-dependence; defining my own version of ‘congruence’, intelligence, reconciliation.
It sounds a whole lot easier, does it not?