my two greatest fears for the future… are both related to the only constant in the universe that i know: change.
the first that causes me to lose sleep is the hyper reality of violence towards women in the world, as i attempt to raise two precious little girls within that same existence. it is a plight that i do not understand completely, masked by my masculine privilege, a patriarchal residue acting simultaneously as a protective armor and destructive weapon, unintentionally and absolutely wielded. i am reminded of this every time i suggest to my wife that she go for a jog as the evening sets in, every time my father (and almost every other family member) attempts to connect with his granddaughters by immediately complimenting their physical beauty instead of their personalities. i am reminded by the media that my students consume, misogyny disguised as music, every time my female students become a spectacle for the campus when fighting with the physical fury i have stereotypically reserved for my brethren. i am reminded by the headlines that i seek out. and although i am hopeful to see the inherent resilience that comes along with recognition and respect for femininity, i am a new father… and fear is not above getting the best of me. it scares me to read posts like this on a friend’s (nemesis’s) blog about the nature of YA literature’s treatment of the female protagonist, as well as the ever present parental paranoia of attempting to mitigate the powerful presence of princess archetypes. what can i feed my children that will nurture more than harm their wonderful feminine spirits? i just don’t see this system of subjugation, no matter how subtle these days, changing as quickly as i, a privileged man would demand for “my” daughters. i am scared.
the second fear that constantly raps its knuckles on the window of my distracted mind is the certainty of change. one that we are in complete denial about despite being in the midst of its absolute reality. the climate is changing, faster than we are. i am reminded every morning i commute to work, reviewing a lesson plan that i hope plants seeds of consciousness as well as tools of practicum that will combat the cancer of denial, every time i listen to the radio. i am reminded every time i breathe the air in Los Angeles, void of rainfall so desperately needed. i am reminded every time i bike over the concrete river that is our very own LA. i must keep the hope, this i know… or there is nothing left. and although there are many examples of the resilience of life (human and otherwise) to breathe faith into the future, the slight mathematical mind in me worries greatly about scale and impact. reports like this and this do not help quell the fear. i wonder, as a father, how will i prepare my children for a world that is on the verge of so many tipping points? this plays out in my teacher mind as well.
change. that is what we all want to affect. positive change in the world. and it is a process, an act. fear stands in the way of any act, renders us inactive, paralyzed. facing our fears is the first step in overcoming them. i guess this is my attempt tonight to do that.
the drawing below was co-created by myself and Niloufar Angel Gomez, my eldest daughter. she taught me that even scribble scrabble on daddy’s new notebook had possibility embedded within, creation can be flipped from destruction, with the right perspective. you could tell what was on my mind… what still is. i hope Nilou’s lesson holds out to be true.