Beyond Colors

by breannruthwhite

Tonight after dinner we were sitting around the table discussing tattoos, and what we would get if we were to get a tattoo, and I don’t know…. that conversation always leaves me feeling flighty. What permanent image would I want to be sewn into my skin?

I have wanted to come here and write since the election. In my current neck-of-the-woods, saying the election” carries uneven weight. Some people are very pleased with Mr. Trump’s victory. Others dislike him, but take comfort in the fact that republicans have control over things. Some are sick of hearing about the whole ordeal and want us to “pray for our president”.

I gave myself some space and time to process because I couldn’t (and still can’t) find clarity in the emotion I feel over the election. Late night comedy has given me words here and there. I keep using John Oliver’s wombat analogy; I am no more comfortable giving our president-elect a chance than I am giving a wombat permission to fly my plane. But what choice do I have? He has been elected into office. And come January, all the ugly, wistful promises he made for the past year may or may not become a reality.

Personally, when I think about the the future, it seems daunting. I think about all the illusory progress we made as a nation. About the environment and the world my children have to grow up in. I think about guns. And the human beings who seek refuge. And how arbitrary it all is. How if it were us – fleeing this place with our children in arms, how unfair and hopeless it would seem when we were turned away and labeled criminals.

I think about how we as a society respond to those hot-button issues with a kind of preprogramed velocity. How we run with our easiest emotion and flock to those who agree with us. And we never question it. We never think twice. Because if something initially seems wrong, it must be wrong. And I think about how nothing is that simple. No truth is black or white.

I think about Hillary a lot. Because her battle for the presidency unveiled certain, deeply imbedded beliefs I had about women.

And I think about all the uncertainty I feel.

Don’t leave now. It’s not all Dismaland and depression here tonight. There are a few things I am certain of. One of those things is who I want my sons to see when they look at their mom.

I want my children to look at me and know that despite a society who mistrusts and dislikes women, that I don’t feel shame in the fact I am one.

This is kind of a big deal. Because I have spent a good portion of my life, since I can remember, trudging silently through, making almost all of my decisions, most of them bad, from beneath the weight of shame. I believe that most of this shame originated from being a woman. And never quite fitting into the shape I believed a woman worthy of love needed to fit into.

And this lie needs to end now. It never was acceptable. Because I want my sons to know that women represent a profound strength; that women can lead and govern and initiate good, revolutionary change as surely as we sustain life.

I want them to see a person unbound by easy judgment. And I want them to know I will always think things through. That I will always listen before deciding. And that despite living in a world where so much feels wrong, where so much is labeled as black or white, I will always try to see all the colors and everything beyond them.

I want them to see a force to be reckoned with. And this is all easier said than done. Because I know they will, God-willing, grow up and live-into what society has taught them to think. I know they will formulate their own opinions and disagree with me and even hate me for thinking differently than they.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I hope for something better.

. . .

Don’t get me wrong. I respect the art of a beautiful tattoo. But as of now, I don’t think I will get one. I think that if I ever feel an unshakable urge, I will take a sharpie to my arm and write “beyond colors” into my skin as soon as the last application starts to fade. I will do this for as long as it feels right. And I will do this with the illusion that maybe, just maybe, with time it will make a difference.