It is probably daily that I put my hands to my head and say, “I just can’t live in this country anymore.” The surge of frustration washes over me before the words are uttered and continue through me, even as they pass. I know, for now, that I am trapped, and that knowledge is deepening angst.
It is not that I believe somewhere else is fundamentally better than America. I am aware that each modern land skillfully hides its flaws in a beautiful game of cache-cache that it plays with onlookers from foreign soils. I am not that daft, as I am wont to say when infuriated with a yokel. I adore calling them “daft” as I am fairly certain they have no real idea what it means, only this vague feeling of being insulted by someone smarter. It is my word of choice, “daft”. Or the even more damning, “obtuse”. I am giggling in my mind, but I digress. I am not so silly as to believe that the countries that I idly daydream about running off to are actually better than America. I do know that they are different, and at this point in my life, my mind necessitates some sort of novelty. And more importantly, and this I know for certain, they have not spent my entire life lying to me. I cannot deal with the mendacity between me and America anymore than Big Daddy and Brick. I just cannot do it anymore.
The subtle stream of lies have always been aware to me. My mother made certain of that. She could not just let you enjoy the sweet lie America placed before you like some poisoned dessert, no. She had to tell you that the damn dessert was poison. So if you decided to eat it, you did it with the full knowledge that you are being complicit in your death. She pointed it out in others. She pointed it out in herself. She was brutal about the truth. It was not dressed up or sugar-coated. It is ferocious and hungry and vicious as hell. In fact, *you* were actually the dessert. The thing to be won. It was merely fattening you up. How much would you continue to eat? How good does it actually taste? You can feel that feeling, can’t you? It’s killing us all, you could nearly feel her ask and say like a whisper that crawled across your skin and infected your soul. But hey, believe the lie if you want.
Flash forward, because damn, you have to. I am finally living and loving me in this strange situation of always being very restricted because there is something about our lifestyle that is just not quite right. It is not that any of us are doing anything wrong, you understand, it’s just that, well, everyone is not so accepting, and as much as I know that I am a good person and I love myself and you for being a good person, people kinda want to burn me at the stake for how I was born. Wait. Hold the phone. What the fuck did I just hear? Yes, everyone, introducing the part of the teen years I never mention. The part where a wonderful man took on a savage burden of mourning his sister who was his dear friend, and now raising her two impossible children, while trying to manage a career that needed to never mention he was gay. Keeping secrets is difficult for children. It weighs on them in unfathomable ways. Honestly, I still don’t know all the ways it affected me. But what only ever made it worse was the quality of this young man’s character and any part of this beautiful man ever needing to be hidden. The thought of that word “hidden” was spit from my mouth. There is no piece of this man that should ever feel that it needed to be in the shadows. The depth of this man’s soul is limitless. He has changed, for the better, nearly every person that he has ever spent any real time with. And the notion that his livelihood would be lost because he is attracted to men instead of women disgusts me fully. And it occurred to me that we lived in a country where it was okay to bigoted against gays. It was a bastion of hate for an entire nation. And still, I pushed that feeling down, that gnawing aching feeling.
“What’s it like to be an interracial couple?” Well, it is certainly fielding that dumbass question in uncountable pluracy. Sometimes, it is like leaving an area because the racial tension is so thick that you feel it in your veins as your blood shatters from being ice cold. You will find later that an interracial couple was killed, a proximately where you stood, and you will not be sure if you were the catalyst or just some kindling. You’ll never fully know if your father-in-law is a racist… or just an asshole. You will look someone in the eye and tell them that this is your child and shudder at the assumption that you were possibly the nanny. You will weep when your child is called a nigger. You will worry as your son grows. You will face bigotry and hatred and stupidity that you will mostly handle with some modicum of grace because you know in your home, these issues do not exist. They will evaporate on wisps of smoke, and you will be allowed to just be a family again without care of color or knowledge of race. They will just be interesting anecdotes.
I have noticed we hate the poor. The further I got from poverty, the more I noticed it. I guess it is like some secret handshake of the wealthy. I begin to feel in discussions about the poor as my poor husband must have felt when people discussed race not knowing his wife was black (that had happened to him several times, by the way. It would be heartbreaking and eye-opening). I couldn’t imagine why people with so much would hate those with so little. What trickery of magic made people believe the poor were constantly lazy and always wanted to steal from them? What made them think the poor were just these unworthy people? The recurring themes seemed to be taxes and capitalism. If we can convince people that all of their tax dollars are funding the poor, we can actually rob them to support the wealthy all the while propping up this broken economic system. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the propaganda minister on that one was a fucking genius! Not only did he convince the middle class but also many of the poor! By some slight of hand, they actually have the poor believing that if you are outrageously wealthy it is because you worked hard and earned it! That is my third statement ending in an exclamation mark. That is how unbelievable these ideas are to me! It is completely incredulous to me, looking at the family Walton, to believe that those heirs worked hard and earned that money. Laughably impossible. But I guess being stupid is not a hobby save for the mega-rich, the wealthy, and the middle class. The poor can get in on this, too. So I reviewed my tax bill, researched how my dollars were spent and became sick. Two point six percent (2.6%) of my tax dollars went toward all of what we know as welfare. That’s it, 2.6%. But the poor were robbing us blind, haphazardly picking out pockets while we worked hard and the rich worked harder. So I sat on my bed and begin to yell via social media. Because of another cute little meme about class warfare by an uninformed bully.
Simply put, conventional tomatoes in America never seem to rot. They stay fresh looking and tasting for weeks. I thought this was normal until my biologique French tomato rotted after two days. What the hell is in my food why it never rots? Why do I eat constantly in France and still lose weight, but I can trim down to one meal a day here and gain? Why is this drumstick this large? Why is organic this expensive? Why can we not truly know what our “food” is because I have eaten other food and this is not food. Who is our government in bed with on this food issue? So now, I can’t even eat? Done!
The timer in my mind and body went off, and that sound has not stopped thundering since. Sometimes it shakes me awake from my sleep. Trembles me to the bone like freezing rain. I just can’t live in this country anymore. The constant pain from the continued kicks-in-the-crotch. That doubled-over ulcerous feeling where your stomach is eating your throat. That resigned, heavy feeling of Atlas carrying the entire planet upon his shoulders. Weighty, deepening pain of ripping sinews. Red. Raw. That is what home is for me now. A clawwing, scratching feeling like something under your skin or a man trapped in a coffin. The ache of that sound. It eats at me being here. It is like a tumor in my gut, purplish-black and bulbous, growing and pulsing.
As a finishing note, did you know guns are going to keep your family safe? Or allow your son to commit suicide, or your toddler to shoot your wife, or some other family member to murder another family member, whichever comes first. That’s how it works here, but you are never supposed to talk about that.
I just can’t keep living in this country. I really can’t.