Why are your intentions better than mine?

Hey, this is the first blog post that I wrote, that due to complications with my umw blogs account is not being posted until now.

When I first read the quote by Lila Watson I could not grasp how my path to liberation could be intertwined with those that live so differently than myself.  People whose daily goals are so different from mine could not possibly have much more in common with me than the basic biological needs of being human.  Having the emotional intelligence of a five year old, I tried to think of how my friends would have responded to this quote.   Immediately I was reminded of a time in high school when all of my friends had decided that they were Marxists and started wearing Che Guevera shirts shouting “REVOLUTION” down the crowded hallway of bustling students.  Despite the lack of signals indicating an immediate student’s revolution, I was sucked into the counter-culture fervor.  After school I would meet up with my friends in someone’s garage, whose parents had so generously donated to our cause by allowing us to move the power tools into a shed in the backyard and put couches in the side that was not occupied by the family van, and sit on these puke green couches that smelled like the 70s with burn stains reminiscent of our parents’ own rebellious past.  The quite buzz of cversation would become progressively louder as people’s frustration for suburban culture became the central topic.

My attempt to disassociate myself with any and all things that contributed to my classification as a “privileged, little girl” forced me to resent all of my parents’ hard work and determination.  I resented the things I owned and how I got them.  I felt immense amounts of guilt and judged those that did not feel the same.   One particular evening, having found myself on the same couch, listening to the same music and hearing a mild variation of the rant I heard yesterday from the teenage boy sitting across from me on a bar stool, I smelled something extremely foul.   Assuming it was the 17 year old cat that had not been seen in three days, and had probably died underneath the forest green windstar we shared the space with, I turned my attention back to the matter at hand…my decision of what to make myself for dinner.

Lost in thought, I did not notice our diligent speaker of the night rise from his wooden stool and walk towards the mini fridge I was sitting next to.  My daydreams of bang bang shrimp and diablo pasta were quickly dashed however, as fumes that could come from no source other than the fiery pits of hell brought me closer to death than I had ever been before.  My worst fears had been confirmed, not only was Mr. Giggles the family cat still alive, but our own revolutionary leader had not bathed in months.  In addition, his drink selection from the mini fridge was grape kool-aid…such a rookie mistake.

The point of the story above, I know it was long, is that what I realized that day was: (a) I hate cats because I secretly wished Mr. Giggles had in fact passed away underneath the van, and (b) I, as well as my friends, had tried so desperately to remove ourselves from “typical” society that we were still allowing society to define us.  It could have been true that this kid was just lazy and chose not to shower for that reason, but my guess is that he wanted so much to be alternative and different that he made the conscious effort to not shower, and in that sense, was still allowing society to control what he did and how he did things.  The only difference was that he did opposite of what was asked, but in this particular case I do not think anyone gave him a high-five for is resistance.  We were still bound to society in that we were trying desperately to be free.

My personal path to liberation has to involve the understanding of the world for how it is, not how it is generally perceived by myself or anyone else.  Instead of instantly judging a situation I want to be able to take the opportunity to understand it.  The path to liberation is not found through money or loans, or by opposing these things, but rather by providing yourself with the relationships necessary to grow and learn.  This is my intention in traveling to Honduras.  I want to learn about these people and their culture in the hope of gaining a better understanding of myself and the role I have to play in this world.

These intentions are certainly not altruistic by any means, but if having good intentions does not necessarily mean that good will come from your actions, then selfish motives does not necessarily mean that all of my actions will breed adverse effects.  Perhaps good intentions blind us to the task at hand.  If we are not able to think objectively then we are not able to fully grasp the result of our projects.  The pursuit of doing “good” and creating a positive change clouds the true affect of our actions.  Despite their rough, and albeit smelly, appearance, my friends wanted little more than to change what they saw as the problems in society.  Their well intended rebellion blinded them to all outside influences, and thus bound them to the same narrow mindedness of those they despised.

I want to go into this project starting off with no expectations of how this will turn out.  I want to simply do the best that I can and judge the success of my actions after.  I understand that this means continuing to potentially do harm without knowing the full consequence of our actions, but we must also understand that doing nothing helps no one.

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