I have been stunned and astonished (and admittedly made rather nervous) by the response that I got to my last post. The attention, the comments, the discussions that were started – how incredibly unexpected. A large part of the attention is no doubt due to Rev. Gail’s support for my post, for which I am beyond grateful.
What I did not anticipate at all was the large number of stories that were shared by others who have also experienced pain from class-related social dynamics. The comments following the post feature a large selection of these stories, often told anonymously. I shared the link to the post on my Facebook and got wonderful feedback from friends there. A few people bravely engaged publicly in discussion on Facebook, revealing their own stories and struggles. A few others messaged me privately to talk about what I had shared and to share in their own turn.
What I take from the volume of responses is how much we need to talk about this issue. People are hurting from class issues, sometimes hurting for the whole length of their lives, and the more we stay silent on this subject, the longer this pain continues to be unresolved. And then it turns into anger and frustration, and our communities are divided by these invisible chasms.
I’m starting to think about next steps, for my own personal growth and also how I might participate in my UU community (there was the unresolved question at the end of my last post, about whether I would continue to engage on this issue; the responses and support prove that I must continue to engage). Some conversations have been scheduled with folks, and I think there are other folks I need to talk to, as well. There’s a Facebook group for UUs for Class Awareness which might have some interesting conversations. I’m starting to create a reading list (and any suggestions would be much appreciated) and to note similar websites and online resources. It’s just a beginning.
Two final notes/thoughts:
I’d like to clarify that the kind of discomfort that lead me to write my post does not occur frequently. On the whole, UUs are a great group of folks (that’s why I like to hang out with them). And the discussion session on classism was overall thought-provoking and respectful. There were just a few comments that made me uncomfortable and got me thinking about why I was uncomfortable, and the more I thought about them, the more I drew on previous experiences of feeling shamed and guilted for where I came from. It was a post written from years of suppressed anger.
And lastly, I don’t know how to respond when people come up to me and tell me that they read my post. It was such an intensely personal post, written without reservations and with full on honesty. And like all such things, it puts one in an incredibly vulnerable position. So if you run into me and comment on this post, don’t be surprised if I suddenly start behaving with all the awkwardness of Robinson Crusoe fresh off the island.