Monday, May 25, 2009

The Soul of An Activist

Digging up bones. You gotta wonder what makes a person do it. I know a lot of people wonder why I'm doing what I am with my life.

I've given myself a project this week, of going out into the garage and digging out my first rocking horse, and I really consider it my first horse at all. It was a birthday gift from the governor of Alabama, in 1966, on the occasion of my first birthday.

When I was thrirteen my father almost beat me to death for defending blacks and Jews.

That I was born into a family of somewhat powerful, committed racists, has been a question mark hanging over my head, I believe, since the very day of my birth.

I have no questions at all, though, about what saved me personally from the fate of becoming one of them. One, I was born a redhead. Two, I got to Texas before the age of three.

There were however, things I could not be saved from, like abuse. Most of it was admittedly my own fault, for not just shutting my mouth [probably the red head part]. If not my own fault in spirit, my own in being dumb enough to try repeatedly standing up to it, and I'm lucky he didn't kill me that one time.

I'll say one thing for growing up regularly physically beaten, you get tough on the outside, and "I have a dream" has a very personal meaning, for me, on the inside. Being inspired was not a curse for me, although outward circumstances, if they could have been seen in full light, might have definitely led some to believe it was worse than a curse.

Then of course, there is the question of the inside person, the one people can't help wondering about when you make them nervous. The natural questions arise about, what on earth could make a person that driven, committed, intense or passionate? It violates their sense of balance to see someone throwing themselves into what appears to be nothing but a hurricane of trouble.

Life experience is what motivates everyone to do what they do. That mine for a long time seemed to be not much more than a series of unfortunate events has led me where I am today, and for that I must be grateful.

Along the way I had a crisis pregnancy, and had to make "the choice". After carrying her to term, and dying on the emergency room operating table, before inexplicably coming back to life once they got her out. I placed her into the arms of a loving couple who could not have children, five days later. I have been married and divorced, twice and have buried the only son I will ever have, who lived with his father, and at the age of 14 committed violent suicide. I have been to jail for protesting outside of an abortion clinic, and served jail time for the offence. I have also danced at the wedding of the little girl I made "the choice" to give a life and a future to. I have faced down American KKK members [in my own family] and Nazis [may their names be erased] up in Wisconsin.

I have many heroes, one of them being my Aunt, Maybell Mitchell. She was a suffragette, holding meetings in her home, standing at the top of her staircase giving loud speeches to huge crowds of women who would gather there, while scaring the Hell out of every man in Atlanta, threatening to get women the right to vote. She was also the only other redhead in our family, besides my grandfather's mother. That my cousin Margaret based the character Belle Watling on her never shocked me. Although, admittedly, basing the character of a whore, on your mother, must say something about some issues you have, lol.

When I saw with my own eyes what was happening to women and children in Utah and Arizona, I had one of those moments. The kind maybe only people like me, who are willing to walk up to the hurricane have.

It was a moment of understanding that there would not be very many people would come along who would know, and understand the kind of despair one feels when they believe no one knows, or even knows to care, what is really happening to you.

I look at my past and I still see hope. I look at the future and I see a fight, one worth the winning.

I don't know why I want to dig the horse out from 30 years of junk and dust, I just feel like I need to do it. Maybe it is to remind me that I'm trying to steal something from my past. The governor liked me so much he made a gift. I'm sure he never imagined what was in the soul of the little redheaded toddler he seemed to love, and if he had, he would have never given it to me.

Ride it like you stole it.


  1. Dear K D,I would like to think that the reason that the governor who gave the little redheaded toddler the gift of a rocking horse,did it precisely because he caught a glimpse of her soul and saw the precious treasure of a human being, that she has turned out to be

  2. maybe it's the bloody Marys but I love you, Steve...well, no it's not the bloody marys... Just looking at George and thinking of you ;)