My mother and father’s pastor is coming for a communal visit at 1PM.

I’m cleaning and cooking for a man who believes that people like me are sinners who should have no leadership role in his church, who believes he has the one way to heaven as told to him by Christ, and that people like me are unworthy unless we deny our nature.

I’m honoring a man who believes he gets to pick which injunctions in his Bible have to be followed and which can be ignored, and people like me are staying on his sanctions list.

And I’m doing this for a woman who hates it most when I make her take responsibility for her own choices or lack of them, and a man who wants to avoid me actually having my emotions surface.

And those “inclusive women” have disinvited me without ever meeting me.

Ah, holidays.

Can’t Afford

I am always aware of what I can’t afford. 

I can’t afford a dentist or a doctor, can’t afford a lawyer.   I can’t afford a new computer, can’t afford new boots, the old ones will do.

But that stuff, well, that’s just the obvious external bits.   The reason I can’t afford those is because of the other things I learned I can’t afford.

I can’t afford to care what others think.  If I want any breath at all, it’s the relationship between me and my creator.

I can’t afford to make easy us versus them assumptions.  I live in the battleground between the gangs, both them and us, and have to not do onto others what would be hateful to do to me, assume they are less than a unique indvidual.

I can’t afford to throw pain and hurt back into the faces of people who hurt me.  It doesn’t build connection, only affirms their expectations.  Their choices may be about them and their fears, and not about me, but it’s me who has to take the pounding.

I can’t afford to stop just because I feel pain.  Nobody can afford to engage my pain. 

I can’t afford to express my nature.  The costs are higher than the return.  

I can’t afford to expect anyone else to understand.   I’m in a place that’s not on the map for most people, and the others in places like this are paddling so hard against the pounding waves of stigma that they don’t have time and space for me.

I can’t afford to take the everday abuse of normative assumptions.  My skin is just too bruised and abraded by now.

I can’t afford to desire anything.  Desire is the process that society uses to control and manipulate.

Money, well, it’s what money always is: just the scorecard for what we get or lose.

It is what I can’t afford that is the barrier between me and hope.