Think Feel Act –
Oct. 20, 2020 – Hearing racist and homophobic insults were a standard part of life in Waco. So common that I didn’t think much about it. I, too, even engaged in ignorant dialogue and derogatory slurs “as a joke.” Now I can see that the joke was on me.
You know how they say if you hang out in a bar long enough, you’ll end up ordering a drink? My version of that is: If you live in Texas long enough, you’ll end up voting Republican. I voted Republican in the 2008 election — despite my views on the aforementioned social issues. I found myself in a conservative echo chamber where it was “easier” to repeat talking points than to read about which candidate was aligned with my values. As I said, it was a confusing time. While this was all going on, I self-medicated regularly from ages 15 to age 29. Whether it was alcohol, drugs, sex, or calorie-counting, I taught myself how to use those self-destructive behaviors as tools to avoid my depression and anxiety. I didn’t care much about tomorrow, let alone engaging in constructive political discourse. Though I was a high-functioning substance abuser, the thought of fighting for social change never crossed my mind when I was actively trying to hide from reality.
At age 29 in 2015, I moved to the hyper-political New York City — right before the 2016 presidential election campaigns began. I also quit drinking just a few months after moving here. Suddenly, I was plugged into a reality where nearly everything seemed to be a political statement that I could no longer ignore. So I learned. A lot. It was easy to avoid politics back in Texas. In fact, it’s rude to discuss politics and religion there. Folks often view anything that challenged the status quo as inappropriate. Now, in New York City, it’s considered tone-deaf to ignore the patriarchy, privilege, and pillaging that have shaped our country.