I don’t expect anyone to understand

Yesterday I attended Naropa’s Intercultural Fair ? which included several tables set up representing the diverse (mostly international) cultures at Naropa. The finale was a drum/singing/dance performance by an Ogalala Sioux family which ended just as the rain began. When the singer finished his song (based on an arabic melody he heard in Iraq while serving in the Army) we hurriedly carried in the tables and chairs.

Most people left then. But there was an impromptu gathering in the basement of the admin building (Goldfarb Studio) which included a moving speech by the Student Life Diversity Coordinator, a bilingual poem about racial names/categories, a couple of songs, and a group discussion. The tone of the event was drastically changed and became much more charged, more real.

Afterwards I approached a staff person, the Diversity Affairs Student Advocate, offering to volunteer my time to help open El Centro de la Gente (Naropa’s diversity center). El Centro de la Gente is currently closed and the door is locked. Only twice have I seen it open and then only briefly. I offered to sit there in the afternoons so that the doors could be open and the place could be used. I find it particularly disheartening that a center called de la Gente ? has its doors locked.

As a follow-up to that offer I sent an email to both staff person (the Diversity Affairs Student Advocate and the Student Life Diversity Coordinator).

The Student Life Diversity Coordinator met with me today. We talked for about an hour, a deeply emotional and lonely hour. The specifics about El Centro de la Gente are that they will be hiring a work-study person to keep the center open and they will kick off ? with some major happening in a few weeks. I was invited to the kick off ?.
Much of our conversation centered on a statement in my email that I am a person of color.

The Student Life Diversity Coordinator was really trying to be nice. I could tell and I appreciate her effort.
But I left her office feeling profoundly alone.

I am not surprised by her response to me, it is what I’ve experienced all my life. Until coming to Naropa I had never let myself be so vulnerable to it. I hadn’t opened myself up to people because I feared they would judge me. I had hoped/expected for this place to be different, for the people to be different.

This place is no different and these people (us people) are no different from all the others (all the rest of us).
I feel alone, outside, other, rejected and unwanted but only partially and for supposedly good reasons.

I am going around this whole thing, not making it plain, because the words which have been given to me speak only betrayal. Silence is also a betrayal.

So I use words this way, using words that aren’t saying what really is.

Absurd. Irrational.

What I’m really doing is looking for a door or a crack in the words that will let me through to a place beyond loneliness.

Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to one. ?

~Carl Jung

1 comment to I don’t expect anyone to understand

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