So many great discussions in isolation– big chunks of time freed up space to consider things we haven’t thought of or talked about in a very long time. Sometimes, that discussion is with ourselves.
I’ve been thinking about a man I was once in love with, a man who rescued me at the lowest point of my life, showering me with affection and love and care in the most beautiful of ways. He truly was a knight in shining armor, Prince Charming and a savior, all rolled into one.. It’s funny how the Universe always seems to provide just what you need when you need it (even if you don’t know you need it. More on that later.)
As a man from a blue collar family in the Deep South, his views were different from mine, me being a Yankee girl from the Northeast. But none of that mattered in the early days of this Cinderella story,
If you’re not a prince by nature you can only keep up the pretense so long. The first clue that my magic slipper was getting uncomfortable was when I mentioned running into an accomplished Black professional man we both knew.
In the conversation, I mentioned that I thought he was a fine-looking man.
“Oh Carol,” he said, “don’t make me sick.”
What made him sick? The idea that I would find a Black man handsome.
Yes, that was the Deep South in the late 1970s.
Needless to say, when the mask fell away, the romance was over, at least for me. The slipper no longer fit. The pumpkin rotted. And I was done.
Of course, it’s always possible for people to change and grow, but that’s not what happened. It could have–he’d had a few broadening experiences before he ran back to the safety and familiarity of the South.
He’s in his late 70s now. He’s drawn into his closed little southern white world even further. He just loves Trump. Insults gay people. Has not treated his wife very well. And in general, he has become more rude, insensitive and intolerant than I would have ever believed possible in my Cinderella world 40 years ago.
I’ve thought a lot recently about how world views develop and how they make such a big difference in attitudes. I like to think that there was a moment in time when he could have gone a different way. There was that moment when he’d stepped out of his safety net and into a completely different milieu. Once he’d re-entered the Deep South world he’d left, that moment passed. And his newer attitudes went the way of all things seeking equilibrium.
It’s a sad story and I got a little teary writing it. He isn’t all bad. He’s just clueless. And while the old me would’ve hated him for it, at this age I see that everyone, including Trump supporters, are victims of the choices they make, choices that form the way they see the world. And sometimes, without the power of critical thinking, those choices turn poisonous.
I know a lot of people like that and I’ll bet you do, too.
I’ll always love the Prince Charming he was to me back in the day. I’ll never love or respect what he is now.
This is one of those posts without a point. Enough if it makes you think a bit about how people come to their attitudes and beliefs about the world.
And how that plays out for them and the world around them.
We know all about that. We’re living it right now.