Mentally, I’m on vacation. Somehow, my thirty-four year old brain relates “semester break” to sleeping in until noon, eating junk food, and getting up to comic nefariousness with my friends. (I’m mature like that.) And consequently regards the cooking, cleaning, laundering and toilet-washing of my everyday as “Someone Else’s Problem”.
Which means that, when the last extra kids were getting packed into carseats so their workworn parents could feed them pizza and call it a night, I was standing in my bedroom in my running tights and nothing else trying to determine if yesterday’s sodden sports bra was a better choice than the underwire I’d worn all day.
The part of my brain that usually stores laundry-relevant data was turning over a question a classmate had sent me about the racism versus xenophobia debate. It’s my personal opinion that racism is socially derived. Because even if we allow that xenophobia might stem from a biological drive to create groups for survival reasons, it is still miles away from classifying a group of people as “born slaves” or otherwise subhuman based on identifiable physical or cultural attributes. Racism is a refusal to understand. It is a negative, oppositional act built on social constructs that support an individual’s refusal to see another individual as anything other than the stereotypes assigned to her group. Xenophobia means “I fear you because you don’t look like us and I’m afraid you might hurt us”. Racism means “I hate you because you are an animal masquerading as a human being and yet refuse to drop the act”. There is nothing primal about that.
Muttering this to myself, exorcising that demon, I remembered that I had a yoga top with a shelf bra that could support my (very) modest rack for a brief weekday run. I layered it under an ancient long-sleeved cycling shirt, dropped my phone in the low-back pocket and laced the earbuds through my collar. And ran. Feet thumping, chest aching, living inside the beat. My demons poured out through my pores and my nose, died in condensed breath and dropped lifeless to the pavement. I am alive in this world, however flawed. I am flawed in this world, living in the beat of this life. This breath. Alive.
That is primal.
I’d better do some laundry.