Monday nights are now the official start of my weekend. That means I’m currently end-of-the-week tired. My knitting sat right next to me. I even held it for a little while; enjoying the feel of the stitches I’ve made, the dips in the needle tips, worn in from use. I’ve stopped being upset with myself for these ‘wasted’ evenings.
With the amount of knitting I’ve been doing the last few months (even before quarantine happened) there will be nights when, as much as my hands and soul crave the work, I am simply more in need of the rest. Last night was one of those nights. It was also a night for me to get lost in one of my favorite shows: Good Witch.
I love the way magic is portrayed as being simple and more a use of personal will than spells and high ritual. I love the Earth based nature of it. I’ve also noticed that the older I get, the more I enjoy things taking their time. People enjoying the relationships they have without always trying to advance them. When those relationships do evolve, they are so much sweeter. And right now, it provides me with a comfort that leaves me smiling.
I’ve almost always been a more hopeful person, even in my darker years. I can’t think of a time when I ever really lost faith in humanity. Even when we fled our home due to violence and the police refused to help almost at all (I even remember one laughing as my parents explained what was happening to us and proudly tell them -in front of their kids- that there was nothing they could do. Nothing they were going to do) there were still so many people in our lives that came and helped us through that time. Even at great personal risk.
See, I grew up in an interesting city, and my perspective of it will always be a bit jaded to a child’s. We left our city shortly before I became a teenager. Not because we were fleeing violence, but so my mother could continue her education and pursue her calling. The city I grew up in suffers from crime, violence, drugs, racism, and the rest. Just like any other city. We also have roots from all over the world. Irish, German, Polish, Italian, African, Jewish, Arab, Greek, Indian, Macedonian, Puerto Rican, and Native American, to name the more dominant places of origin. I grew up learning how to celebrate all these cultures and differences, but at the same time, I knew that racism existed.
I watched it in my school. I saw how some teachers treated us all as individuals deserving of respect, and others who saw something different. I watched how our white-male principle tried to intimidate our black-female vice principle (who was an amazing influence on me even though I hardly knew her. Watching how she got things done in a broken system was inspiring, even to a nine year old). I watched it in the streets and at stores. Some places everyone was treated the same, other places I saw the difference. Even as a child, I could appreciate our celebration of diversity as a city, and still see the built in inequality. I could still see the faults in the system. I was raised to speak up.
This has been something on my mind lately. It can’t just be that I was raised in a city that showed me diversity working. I’ve even spoken with a few people about it and they do not remember the rosy pictures on tv that I do. Since that first conversation, I’ve caught a few bits and pieces of some of those shows and thought about what they were teaching. See, I grew up in the 90’s, a decade my mom and I have been referring to it as the illusion of peace decade. I remember that the tv shows I watched had a lot of diversity, and I don’t just mean a mix of black and white. I mean diversity. I watched shows that were predominantly one or the other too. These shows did not ignore that diversity, and instead the characters were often excited about it and wanted to learn from each other. They also addressed the hate and ignorance they would experience in their lives. Head on. Talk about it. Support each other through it. Make plans to help change things. I don’t see that in tv anymore. It all feels so divided these days. It definitely seems less diverse than I recall.
But back to that idea that I had this exposure because of city life. My parents were very deliberate about what they allowed us to watch. My mom made an effort to find these shows and we often watched tv together. Our mom made sure to discuss what we were watching with us. To this day, it amazes my siblings and I that other kids did not have this. Other people were never taught to critically look at what they were consuming and to fully appreciate the messages everyone involved in its creation was trying to convey.
So, not only did I have exposure to programs with diversity, but I had parents who talked about these things with us. Us being white didn’t mean we got a free pass on these issues. We were right in the middle of it. I also had a mother that wasn’t afraid to learn new things and encouraged our questions (except maybe on those end-of-the-week tired nights!). She was always as honest as she could be. My parents also had quite the community of people for us to grow up in. All these adults that respected each of us and our intelligence and our curiosity.
I have come to understand that I was given quite the rare gift of a childhood. We endured hardships, terror, upheaval, and been right in the middle of a lot of difficult things, but I was raised in a loving and supporting home with a lot of people to enforce my worth and personal power. I was teased at school, insulted, and verbally abused, but it didn’t leave the scar it could have because of the love I had growing up.
I was raised to know how to keep myself safe, but also how to stand up for what is right and how to notice when things aren’t right. I was raised to listen to others, because only they can tell you about their experience. Respect for other people and the earth was constantly reinforced. We were shown true love in action.
On nights like this, when I’m too tired to knit, but not enough to actually go to sleep, I remember that love and simply let myself relax into a wholesome and heart-warming show. I remind myself that good exists. All the ugliness can wait until tomorrow.