Passion fuels the lives we envision for ourselves better than discipline or elbow grease alone.
However, a little bit of passion’s dark side — anger — may be the best defense of our identity, and a future that looks like us.
This week Dialogue2010 participant Elmira Bayraslı shared the anger that keeps her hybrid. Rather than assimilate or choose one social group to belong to, the daughter of Turkish immigrants in New York ferociously defends her hard-won ability to switch to independent American woman — and back again.
As an expat I know this righteousness-to-be-hybrid. A defense mechanism not only kicks in but is kept in place by a low level anger about external pressures to live and be a certain way. It’s been a cornerstone of my survival, and for many people living between worlds.
- boycotts of table grapes and iceberg lettuce make kids anxious when visiting un-PC families,
- a sneaked McDonald’s meal draws punishment while smoking weed does not,
- the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are off-limits (pseudo-military!),
- while the whitebread Brady Bunch and misogynistic Barbie are what’s wrong with the world.
Free Speech protests witnessed from baby strollers make this group a veritable Red Diaper Baby playdate.
Also glimpsed: the realization that much of what characterized a Berkeley childhood thirty or forty years ago — that is, the lifestyle and belief system of an alternative community, the anger that separated it from the rest of the nation — has now become mainstream in America.
So, my righteous sisters and brothers, what are you going to keep being angry about when it comes to who you are?
This blog has moved. Comment here.