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It only takes once: "common" sense, embarrassment, Italy, Meghan Markle, and you've all seen Saltburn now


photo of a narrow street in the cinque terre

All it takes is once to be in a new sort of room with new sorts of people to rid you of your anger held for people who require “common sense” instructions. Having dealt with a whole host of people, sometimes traumatized, it’s often literal ignorance or neglect. I don’t mean willful ignorance, I mean genuine “not knowing.” Displaying this anger shows me more about where you haven’t been allowed grace and the rooms/relationships you're keeping yourself in. I’m not above the frustration because I am an avid researcher when I don’t understand, but common sense is common to a set of people. People are different, so what constitutes “common sense” will be, too. (If it exists at all.) 


I’ve been really lucky in my life thus far to have a wide range of experiences across location, race, gender, class, and more. I also have that gift where I could talk to a plant. I like people to feel seen in my presence. (I’m now much more discerning because I only want to talk to people that want to talk to me 99% of the time.) I am genuinely fascinated by humans. I am fully expecting, and hoping for, there to be more experiences in my life when I don’t have a clue outside of my intuition. I want to learn more. 


Sometimes you’re trying to demonstrate your own belonging and, occasionally overtly, your superiority by the punch down. Sometimes you’re working off the charge of times when you were the “rube.” Try not to, if you’re up to it. Never be embarrassed by the world being bigger than you consciously knew. You’re just one person. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to expand. You are, after all, divine dust at the heart of you. There’s a whole cosmos. It takes lives-long work to rediscover it. 


There’s a subtle subconscious fear that keeps our lives smaller than they need to be for the perception of safety, and this anger is one of the ways it comes out. I’m not all sweetness and light. It’s simply something I’ve become aware of, so I chose to do something about it for myself. You’re so much more connected to and focused on your power when you allow yourself to let this go. It changes your psychospiritual and material landscape.


Let me tell you about a time I got embarrassed by something I didn’t know. Some years ago, I conflated the Cinque Terre with the Amalfi Coast. Groan if you need to at this juncture. At the time, I was studying in a luminous city in Tuscany, Italy called Siena. The Cinque Terre is so named for its 5 towns and is in Liguria in the north. The Amalfi Coast, which I had been to more than once at that point, is in the south and has 13 towns. There’s a bodybuilder in La Spezia I owe a kiss. 


They’re different. My wires got crossed. I got embarrassed. Largely because of whom I was talking to, which was a firmly "middle class" white British young man who had condescended to me from our very first conversation (with grating faux-politesse, of course). For those of you who don't know, I've spent a fair bit of time in the U.K. over my lifetime. I had also traveled to every continent but Antarctica by 18. I'd even been to the Amalfi Coast. There are no qualifiers needed. He didn’t like me. I made a mistake. And this was when I still cared about being liked. I admitted I was mistaken. I don't know if I mentioned then how I had gotten confused, but it really didn't matter.


I was "too me" for him, and he found me irritating. This was at the height of the Meghan Markle hate train, so plenty of white and white-adjacent Britons were feeling quite anti-exuberant Black American. There had been other microaggressions, and I knew he thought me quite dim. One of my peers, entranced by the accent and "good manners," threw me under the bus after one such microaggression. One of my two closest friends on that trip was non-white Latina. She caught it immediately. The others simply didn't pick it up. How could they? It wasn't their "common sense" and they didn't have to make it so. I felt soothed by my friend's eye contact and subject change, but from then on, I can admit, I wanted to irritate him. 


The urge didn't stay for long because my ADHD truly makes people out of sight out of (conscious) mind but, evidently, the experience stayed with me. I have one of those indomitable natures. That strength and light attracts everyone, including people who hate it. Someone trying to make me feel badly about myself is like issuing a dare to my soul. It’s my cue to shore up whatever they’re picking up on in my base or return whatever projection they’re sending my way. It took me longer when I was less connected. But I always did it.  Two months after that moment, I visited the Cinque Terre.


Since the last spring or so, I've been quite intentionally launching myself out of my comfort zone like a Marine. Trying new sorts of activities, talking to new sorts of people for the past year, spending a ton of time in a new state, flexing new ways of being, testing my power... I had gotten tired of being "the expert" in a room. While very few can match my knowledge of "human," I know there are people smarter than me in the areas they have been gifted with or have cultivated. I'm eager to continue meeting them and learning from them. I'm not going to be embarrassed. I'm going to be a student. There are still things to discover and be excited about. Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be mean. Be curious and receptive. You’ll find this whole thing a lot more fun.

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