Ok so in my last installment, I spoke of linguistics and culture and marginalization. I started my post referring to a book called Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things by Lakoff. Well, the subtitle of this post seemed to be a misnomer. It appeared to have nothing to do with the posting and I promised a revisit to clarify why I would post that in the title. I also promised a LIGHTer posting…I hope I achieve that.
I am a bibliophile. I have a back patio filled from floor to ceiling with boxes of books. I have also given away as many books as I currently own. Funny for a kid who hated reading while growing up.
I have spent years dreaming of writing books. When I saw the title of this book, I thought, the title alone would get this book to the top ten best sellers. Twilight is a book that I have read the first 30 pages of the first book. It did not hold my interest in the least. I have however watched all but the most recent movie version of the books.
One day while chatting with a group of guys all professing to have experienced SSA, one of them said, I confess I love the Twilight books and movies. I turned to him and ask what the heck ever for. He sheepishly began to describe all the reasons why this was so. I sat in amazement as he described various parallelisms. Since then I have lost contact with him, and I would have contacted him before posting as to get his permission to share these ideas. Alas, I hope he is not offended that I have posted them here. If he were to contact me and want recognition for these Ideas, I would more than happy give him credit for them. Then recently I saw a piece about how Twighlight was Stephanie Meyers taking the Vampire concept and overlaying it on the Mormon Pioneer experience. I believe it is more the former than the latter.
Twilight for my friend best represented the SSA experience. How you might ask?
One group leaves larger group and tries to assimilate into the society at large.
If the society at large were to find out that this splinter group existed their bigotry might lead to the smaller group to have to go further into hiding.
The larger group is obsessed with converting the society at large to becoming their KIND.
Packs of other anti-undesirables seek both groups out and hunt them down.
The larger group is well organized and uses every advantage including the splinter groups own very nature against them.
Heaven forbid one of the splinter groups were to have a mixed marriage with a member of society at large.
When the larger group comes after the splinter group, the anti-desirable group joins with the splinter group in a temporary truce
The larger group and the splinter groups SPARKLE! (my favorite)
There is an uncontrolled urge that makes both the larger group and the splinter group outcast.
The splinter group is anxiously engaged in a good cause
There is the ever present issue with blood
Guys biting each others necks
Ok before I start getting too graphic, I will move on. I am sure there are many more.
To me Twilight had all the necessary elements to have the title Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. I think it should have had this title as well. I think Twilight was a dumb name that had nothing to do with the content of the book. Then something just hit me. For me Twilight is a LABEL and Women, Fire and Dangerous Things is a CONTEXTUALIZATION. Much like Gay is referred to as a LABEL and Same-Sex Attraction is a CONTEXTUALIZATION.
Language has a very strong influence on our beliefs and on our behavior. Sometimes we are not aware of its impact on us. That impact is very subtle and at time can be deadly even spiritually deadly. Now before you freak out and say that I am saying that LABELS like Gay are wrong or dumb. This is not my argument. FAR FROM IT. What I am saying is that a label or a contextualization can create a sense of being different or special. When used to highlight a certain state of being special or victimized such language creates a cultural divide and practices marginalization and exclusionary language which spiritually deadens and separates. Anything that I do to push people away and marginalize them says more about me than it does about them. Again, it is not the words that are used, but how they are used that matter most.
Likewise, any time I point out someone else’s faults or shortcomings, I need to step back and ask myself what is it about what they are doing is bothering me (Gay or Mormon, or both). The fact that this is bothering me might be a reflection of something that I am fracturing off of myself. If I am bothered by certain aspects of others(Mormon, Gay, or both), maybe it is because I am suppressing or denying that same trait or aspect of myself. Because I am fracturing this off, I can no longer live an honest, authentic, integrated life.
Brene Brown has a quote, “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s OUR fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” I might add that until we embrace the dark we cannot fully embrace the light. I am not saying embrace the evil. Hear me out. Until we can embrace our whole selves (LIGHT and dark), we cannot embrace others (dark and LIGHT) without judging them. Until we find ourselves comfortable in our own skin, we will never be comfortable seeing our shadows reflected back to us in others. Until we can see the “bad” reflected back at us and still love ourselves (especially that reflected in others), we can never follow the second and great commandment. LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. Maybe what I need to embrace is women, fire, and dangerous things, even that feminine, fire, and dangerousness within me. Who knows, maybe it is this that I have fragmented off to the point that my skin burns. Maybe it will take me loving and embracing this inner darkness for me to be comfortable in my own skin to be sparkly. Until then, women may be too fiery and dangerous for me.
I will end with this scripture from James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and offend in one point, he is guilty of all” May we all recognize that what is on the outside may or may not reflect what is on the inside. May we practice inclusion instead of exclusion. May we seek to embrace the visible darkness of others outside so we can find the hidden light within. And finally, may our burdens become LIGHT (the sparkly KIND) through the atonement of JESUS CHRIST!