“I’ve been called ‘uncompromising.’”
It was meant as an insult, but I didn’t take it as such.
You see, I grew up with nothing. As a woman, that’s never a good thing. Every day you have to assert yourself, brand yourself, make yourself known.
That’s also the way you become disliked. In America, no one likes the woman who doesn’t know her place. In America, the conservatives like a woman who doesn’t push, who doesn’t become, who isn’t anything. In America, they like you barefoot and pregnant, many, many times, if possible. They want you to preach about the goodness of life, vow pro-life, unless, you know, you happen to bring forth a baby who is Black or Asian or Hispanic or Gay or any other group that doesn’t adhere to their America.
So, yes, to this degree I am uncompromising. I like it. I am America at her best, or at least I think so.
I had a white conservative woman look down her proper nose at me while dressed in her attire which resembled someone about to take part in a fox-hunting, here in urban Northern Virginia. And, that should be all I should say. Because anyone who looks like they should be taking part in a fox-hunting, probably would. Maybe I was the fox. Her disdain of me would have led you to believe so.
There are different lives to be led here, you see. There are those who are wealthy, drive Jaguars, wear expensive fox-hunting clothes, holiday in London, have voices so tired with wealth, and who disdain those who cannot tell the different seasons of Vivaldi. When they hear laughter, someone obviously having a very, very good time—”Oh, I think they like this holiday too much.” As if enjoyment were a bad thing. And, maybe it is…to them.
I will admit. They’ve lived a satisfying life, for them. So what if their laughter doesn’t occur. They titter sometimes. They eat good food, believe that their artichoke egg dish is supreme despite the lack of flavor and the grease left on your fingertips. And, so what if at night between cold sheets they wonder about that woman who laughed a little too loudly, drank maybe a smidge more imported port than she should, and sang Sinatra at the drop of a hat and seemed happy. Happy?! As sleep comes, she knows, happiness isn’t as important as other things like propriety and being devout and wealthy. And, she does sleep soundly after that.
But I don’t. I have days where my sleep fails. Where I fear or worry over events I can’t control Over people going hungry or dogs not having homes or someone I failed, personally. And, no, I don’t sleep when I worry that I failed you, even when I wasn’t the most important person in your life because I wonder, what if I had extended my hand, what if you had taken it, what if you were still here today?
So maybe, I am not so uncompromising after all.
And maybe I am better for it.