This Article Pertains to Item 7 the List of Excuses
Silly excuses that remain unchallenged by us “white people”
Further thoughts on Excuses. Some excuses we make are pretty lame really, and just don’t hold up. Are we fibbing to ourselves, or is it just about saving face? Either way, in the long run excuses help no one least of all ourselves and need to be challenged. People will not like this, which can make the challenge of the challenge well - a challenge! :)
We were up at the shop yesterday, and bumped into Amanda. The poor lady was in tears. Who is Amanda? Amanda is a lady that I bump into regularly on my daily walks. She lives alone with her dog Reuben (another miniature schnauzer hence the connection) up near the Coburg Lake. She is a walking train wreck and it really upsets me to see someone suffering like that.
Amanda is in her late fifties. Life has taken its toll on her. She has had a succession of boyfriends who have abandoned her, plus an abusive father. This constant desertion and abuse has undermined her self esteem, so that she lacks confidence. Despite all of this, she is an incredibly likeable person because she is funny, and artistic (she has made some beautiful prints). She was and continues to be very popular with the boys, but now she attracts some rather seedy looking men. I wish they would just go away and leave her alone, but she needs some love. We all need love and you can’t blame her.
Anyway, as I said, she was in tears and really distressed, because she has to look after her mother who is obese and elderly. She was upset because she was let down by her sister regarding this care. Her roof is leaking when we have had just so much tropical rain and she has no money to fix it. She cannot survive on the pension it doesn’t cover her costs. And because she is an emotional wreck, she cannot hold down a basic job. She was up at the shop to spend money she doesn’t have on cigarettes via credit card.
When you try to help her, it doesn’t really seem to do much good. She doesn’t seem to be able to listen, only to talk about all of her problems. And talk and talk.
Really sad when you are a kind person and don’t want to just abandon someone who is in so much distress.
She is one of many women I encounter who are desperately lonely, and have no familial support. Down so low they cannot lift themselves up and out of their morass and if you reach in to help, they pull you down there too when you can’t cope. On top of it they seem to take Alcohol and its effects make them even more depressed.
My friend Suki is Punjabi. He says that in traditional societies, such as that of his ancestors, situations like this do not take place because the family MUST look after one another. When familial disputes arise they are taken to a village elder, who settles them. The elder knows how to do this because the elder is old and wise. Families must help one another and support one another, as that is the rule. Hate your family, or love them, it is not until you reach times of desperation that you understand the value of the support they provide, to protect you from the world. That is why it is really important to keep them together. Suki looks after his incredibly demanding 81 year old mother without ever feeling sorry for himself. And he does this while coping with the high pressure deadlines and demands of his profession working as a software architect/project manager for a major bank. He comes home an cooks for his mother, and helps her into the shower and bathroom. Waiting on her hand and foot. He would never dream of putting her in a home. As a white person, I and most of my friends struggle with this relationship of duty. But Suki is so “within himself”. Meaning that he never feels the need to blame other people for how he is feeling. His love makes him feel secure and connected. Unlike Amanda.
And what does this have to do with the List of Excuses?
Well, I wanted to add a new excuse to the list, which was provided by my sister the other day. This one is “no internet access” You see four weeks ago my niece headed off to Paris for a one year work and learn the language jaunt. I sent her what I believed to be a supportive email before she left. I spoke to her on the phone. Then I put nice message on her FB wall about a week later. Of course she was settling in, I didn’t expect anything much, although a FB thumb’s up would have been polite. Then I posted a list of sites that teach French. Nothing. Ok, I guess if Internet access is scant such is life. Then a few days ago, to my chagrin, I looked on her site, and she had sent many FB messages to her friends but to her aunt? Sweet nada.
My sister was unhappy with the dissatisfaction I expressed. “She has no Internet access was the angry excuse” To me the reality is that her priority is not familial but it should be. I have tried to maintain the family bond, but my family are so frosty, and unsupportive (for people like these the Kit came into existence) that they make it very hard to maintain connection. Suki says, “Why cry over something that was never alive”. But I do cry, because they are family, and we should be connected. I cry because without the connection a vulnerable and sensitive young woman can too easily end up becoming like Amanda who alone and unsupported are wretchedly miserable and unable to help themselves they turn to alcohol. The only people that seem to profit from this in our society for the white and uptight are the counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
I think that my expectation of my sister to remind my niece of her duties probably seems unfathomable to both my sister and niece. But then, like me at age 22, they have had little to do with the Amandas of the world.
Article 7 is from the What the Hell Is Your Problem Kit, A Kit for Uptight White People.
You can see the Kit here: http://issuu.com/veronicagrow/docs/kitforuptightwhitepeople
read more here
You can Purchase it at Readings, Metropolis, Brunswick St Books, or Brunswick Bound