Lots of people told me I would love the show Insecure on HBO. I watched it. I didn't love it, I really didn't even like it. I just resonated with parts of it. There's a character who is using dating apps, and her struggles are all too real. Men who just one want thing. Men who don't know what they want. Becoming the crazy girl I swore I'd never become...ugh all too real. She called it a numbers game. "You have to f*ck a lot of frogs to find your prince" she said. It's a bit crude for my taste, but it's kind of true. I have essentially started viewing men on dating apps as experiences on my path to true relational fulfillment. That's kind of a bleak thing to coprehend. I also say "this is just practice" or "this is just for the book" - which at first was utter bullshit. I wanted to find someone. I still do. But it's so crystal clear that I will not do that by swiping on some person I do not even slightly know. So now, it's true. When I'm bored, I swipe, I get a date, I learn something about myself (usually) and then I'm back to the drawing board.
It's not a sustainable system, I know. But it's reality. Hopefully one day it won't be. Ok, Lauren. Let's talk about something other than your failures in the dating world...
I also resonated with the main character's struggle to be taking seriously in her thoughts and beliefs about black people and culture - even though she's somewhat "white-washed" and "not from the hood" (or at least that is how she is portrayed). I went to see a play the other night with some friends and it was focused around a black man's experience with the police. It was heart-wrenching, and frankly was a little much for me to process, but one thing that was profoundly clear, is that there are white people in my world that think they can fully empathize and articulate what it's like to be black or non-white. Like, I have a friend (for the sake of this conversation, it's important to note that she's white) who has two black sons. In the post-show discussion, she shared that she has to educate her sons about certain things like police brutality and she has to be extra careful with them. At night, they can't be outside (I mean...because they are kids) and especially not playing with any toys that resemble guns because...well...the police can't really tell the difference and they are black and that's just a bad combination. My parents had similar conversations with my brothers, I'm sure.
Another lady, who frankly had been shooting off her mouth in such an unbelievably oblivious way the whole night, said "I have to do that for my (white) grandchildren too!" and then I just couldn't.
REALLY LADY? You have to educate your white grandchildren about a system that is fundamentally prejudiced against them? NO CHANCE. That's white privilege in full-force, not understanding or accepting that some things are just different for you because of the color of your skin. Ugh. Infuriating. That was not a very good dissection of this anecdote, and frankly I am pretty terrible still at expressing all my thoughts about race and such. But this woman pushed me over the edge. She doesn't get it. She never will. And lots of well-meaning white people still look at me and talk to me like they get my experience in some sort of "higher" or "better" way than I do. One thing I am thankful for is that the friend with the two black sons never talks to me like she knows better. Because she knows she doesn't. I know she raises her kids like that too. It's refreshing. But it's rare. Like "man-splaining" is a thing - I kind of think "white-splaning" is also a thing. Maybe I'll unpack that more later.
I've realized as I do these freewrites that it's just lots of complaining. I want to get better about that. It's what is currently circling around in my head though - the tensions. I need to get serious about mindfulness and positive thinking, I think. Maybe then what comes out will be more profound or rich. I might also try this in a public place, so I can pick up on some of the surrounding activities happening. Pontificate about other people or something like that. Get out of my own head as a writer, for once.
There's the timer.
My friend Paul is a terrific writer, and does a "Friday Freewriting" exercise that I decided to steal. I will try to do it once a week. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write. Who knows what will come out. Then, I'll edit for mistakes and post. Easy.