1. I used to think brindle colored dogs were ugly, and tortoise shell cats, too, like a coven of hyenas held a secret midnight seance and magicked bits of their coats onto domesticated animals to make them mottled and homely and less likely to be adored than other, more beguiling creatures, but then I realized I was the one busy assigning worth based on appearance which seems to me now to be both silly and reprehensible, and I wonder what else I’ve gotten wrong.
2. I used to think broccoli and Brussels sprouts and lima beans and beets were horrible and should be abandoned as foods altogether, and now I think they’re the most misunderstood of all the vegetables and if folks just knew how to treat them we could all get along.
3. I used to think 1960s and 70s architecture and interior design were travesties and irredeemable, aesthetically speaking, but I found myself admiring a retro lamp in the store the other day and reminiscing fondly about the enormous, cascading capiz shell chandelier that commandeered the corner of my parents’ bedroom in my childhood home and wishing it was still around so I could hang it in mine.
4. I used to think I had to fold laundry and iron it and put it away in drawers. And now, well, I don’t.
5. I used to think men were the heads of households by virtue of their genitalia and a poor interpretation of the Bible, and I used to think a woman’s place was in the home due to same. Now I think adults are leaders together, are in charge of and responsible for themselves, ought to use their power over children wisely — by which I mean collaboratively and kindly and relinquishing as much control as possible — and that humans of every stripe belong everywhere, including the workplace and the home, because the more types of people we have in All the Places the more likely we are to learn to SEE each other and SEE the beautiful pieces we each bring to this Kaleidoscope World.
6. I used to believe people when they told me to be quieter and smaller and more “polite” and less crass and more civil and just sssshhhhhhh, Beth; SHUT UP already. Until I figured out their concern wasn’t for me or for the vulnerable and marginalized — and their concern wasn’t about ensuring equality and the right of everyone to pursue life, liberty, and happiness — but was instead always for the comfort of those in power and aimed at upholding the traditional power paradigms and not rocking the cozy boat for those of us who live with an outsized amount of privilege.
7. I used to think a liar and philanderer and vow-breaker and megalomaniac and money squanderer and, you know, white nationalist/racist like Donald Trump could not possibly be elected president in the United States of America because our people are better than that. But what’s the opposite of Nailed It? Because that’s me with that whole sitch. I did not nail it. I UNnailed it. DEnailed. DISnailed it. And I’ve spent the last three years coming to terms with how wrong I was and how much more I need to listen to the folks who’ve tried to tell us, for decades, for centuries, how deeply our nefarious system harms those who are already hurting.
8. I used to think the Church Universal was the defender of the broken-hearted and comforter of the grieving and protector of the children and the widows and the place to turn for strength in times of weakness and despair, and now I realize I confused “the Church” for Jesus Christ / aka God / aka Love Incarnate and that I idolized and worshiped the wrong one. Oops.
9. I used to think I had to comply and conform to be accepted in my community and in society at large, and I was right, but only in certain circles. I’ve learned, instead, I can Be Myself and not just survive but thrive outside those ancient tribes I once called home — those locked villages I once thought were “safe” — and I’ve found unsurpassable beauty out here in the wilderness meeting other wonderful, weird wanderers who are forging paths of kindness together, our own wonky tribe on the fly.
10. I suppose, in conclusion, I used to think what I used to think would remain what I thought. Steady. Reliable. Unshakeable. I thought I had my foundations figured out. The Evangelical Church a la Jerry Falwell circa 1980. ‘Murica post Civil Rights battles because We Already Figured Everything Out, right? And total and utter rejection of avocado appliances. Instead, I’ve found foundations must be rethought. Especially when they’re cracked and crumbling. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Who knew?
So I’m curious, friends… what did you used to think?
With love, and waving in the dark,
P.S. I need you to know I’m absolutely, 100% committed to Betty the Stove and Genevieve the Fridge, but I also need you to know I believe it’s time as a society we broach rethinking avocado appliances.