Tomorrow is Losar, the Tibetan New Year. I’ve just learned that the word losar is composed of two words, lo means “year ago” and sar means “new fresh.” I like this idea of refreshing the year. Also, this is a Fire Rooster year (it’s all over the place as the Firebird year).
I also like the idea of taking Fire Rooster and regurgitating Firebird, the year of the Phoenix. A year of renewal, burn the old to give birth to the new. A year of reincarnation for us all, some of us without even dying.
What I don’t like about it is the whole burn it down part of the Phoenix story. That might be my entitlement talking. Though I don’t think I’m entitled, I know I am. I’m white and middle-class. I’m so middle-class that even in poverty I act like I’m still middle-class; my clothes are well-made, if worn. I actually had to buy new pants after I lost weight when my Fibromyalgia morphed into IBS.
I eat organic, locally grown food. I buy heavily during the summer and I preserve food for the winter. That’s both madly old-fashioned and radically new-fashioned (or recently enabled and re-fashioned, I can’t decide). I let go of other things: television, movies, concerts, restaurants, live music, vacations, and more. My priorities dictate my choices.
I mostly feel invisible in the larger culture. In spite of some amazing steps forward in our society, I’m still lost from the crowd. I’m the gazelle sacrificed to the hunters by lot; my lot is that I’m not a member of the herd.
May we have a year in which we come to our senses, may we learn this lesson: “politically correct” is a phrase used to demean people who exhibit kindness, empathy, and curiosity about others. That dangerous other.
Let us rise from the ashes of our horror and dismay, let us be renewed, let us be politically correct where that means: be considerate, treat others as you think they want to be treated, and think about more than yourself. The idea of self-sacrifice shouldn’t be applied to mean that those who disagree need to sacrifice themselves on the altar of rage.
All the same, I’m nervous. I feel like I did the day I headed home from school knowing there was a crowd waiting for me. When I came around the hill in the middle of our complex and I saw nearly every member of my grade seven class standing there, with Kelly Dewar standing in front, pissed as pissed can get. My feet started dragging but I walked straight up to her. I had lots of practice at this. I carefully removed my precious glasses and put them on the curb of the parking lot we’d gathered ourselves in, everyone moved to encircle me, and Kelly beat the crap out of me while I stood there, arms limp and useless at my sides. That’s what I feel like these days, that I’ve come around the hill and I see disaster standing firmly in my way. I don’t run, I don’t fight, I don’t even hide.
Just as an aside, as a kid I hadn’t heard the word phoenix and had sounded it out to end up with something that sounded more like phonics.