Community Magazine

With Justice

By Amanda Bruce @RecoveryisCake

ScalesMy mother, who is compassionate to a fault and takes care of all living things, even the insects, complains when I don’t tolerate family gossiping about me because she is more committed to order than justice.  She wishes I would try harder with people who have told me I never should have been a mother.  This is a divide between the two of us.

I stand alone, with justice.

My husband, who is loved by many and is the definition of unconditional love, very adeptly uses humor to navigate his way through treacherous situations.  He does it even when he really should confront people who treat him like shit.  Because jokes are easier than saying, “THIS RIGHT HERE.  I DON’T LIKE IT.”  I see this, and I remind him of it, and he smiles uncomfortably and changes the subject.  This silence is a cavern I can’t scream across.  I am alone and mute.

I stand alone, with justice.

My friends find “the love of their life” and I know this very concept sets them and the rest of us up for failure.  I watch them change their names on their wedding day, badges of honor to them, a small stab in the side to me.  I am sad.  I am sad these women, who are full of wonder and guts and determination and CHOICE and degrees, have simply thrown away their identity.  They respond to me defensively, “it was easier”.  They say, “I didn’t want people to be confused about who my child was.”  They say, “I hyphenated it!  Which is a good compromise,” but I know the truth: that the scale will not balance itself out until women give their names to their children for thousands of years.   Until they take the time to examine the patriarchal systems they are too tired and stressed to look at.

I stand alone, with justice.

I am, at heart, a little white girl from the Massachusetts suburbs.  If I feel this alone with justice, how do people of color feel?  People who are not cisgender?  How do all the mothers of black teenagers in hoodies feel?  Knowing that the only way they can talk to their son is through a picture?  And hearing privileged white men and women shout back “All lives matter” after you just told them your baby was gunned down?  Are they seriously going to steal the damn attention back? Their damn children are ALIVE.  Their damn children are the norm. Their damn children can fit in anywhere. Their damn children will hold implicit bias towards my children even if their parents are fucking woke.

She stands alone, with justice.  But so alone, it’s suffocating.  So alone, she gets angry and then you accuse her of things you think her “people” just have, because they’re THEM.  But you made it. You played a part.

My alone ain’t anything compared to hers.

You see, we all have a choice.  What are you more committed to?  Order, or justice?

From personal experience,

justice is damn lonely,

but you’ll never sleep badly at night.

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