Dangerous Compassions

other cultures

other cultures

“Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you,” is a quote I like.  Often I feel like a failed attempt at doing culture.  It could be an autism thing, or just having different values and skills.  Disability is isolating and hard in so many ways.

Do you feel like a successful member of your society?  I like to define success in a way that includes me.  I like to welcome myself.  But I’m a fail as a United Statesian, and I’ve felt that way for a long time.

Recreational shopper?  Nope.  Retirement plan?  Not planning on it.  Amassing a fortune and empire?  Nuh-uh.

Have a house and car?  A religion most people comprehend?  Enjoy hamburgers?  Have a job at all?  Clearly, I am not United Statesianing very well.

An exciting thought I had recently is: What if I could be a good society member in other cultures?

travel day

Wow, yes.  It blew my mind.  This is how the thought came to me.

Ming and I were having a travel day.  We were near Bakersfield, on our long search for home.

Suddenly I had a craving to hear some music I heard a lot when I was a young person.  It’s music of Islam.  My ex and I had the 13 cd set and loved it, during grad school and right after.  Yes, I found it on youtube.  It sounded very good to me.

I really like this cd in particular, with so much call and response.  These days I associate call and response with kirtan and Hinduism.  But of course, anyone can do this!  I wish to study many types of music.

But mostly, I want to do this singing.


I started having a fantasy that Ming and I moved to another country where people sing like this.  We could live in this other culture and be successful.  We could be looked upon generally as successful, proper persons.

But in the fantasy, I was a man.  Ming and I would both need to go as men, so we could sing in a group like this.  I get the feeling ladies and enbies would not be allowed.  They would be somewhere else, doing a different thing.

Felt good to imagine a new life I’d never imagined before.  In the fantasy, we had a baby.  The child would be a native speaker and help us learn the language.

Hmm, not sure it really works that way.  My fantasy unfolded with its own energy.  Like a kid usually does.

other other cultures

I considered Mexico.  No, I could not be a good Mexican woman.  But maybe I could do better at another gender there also.

Gender is a big part of culture.  So we need new cultures, and or cultures to stay alive and flexible, changeable, and real to the needs of the people who make our lives inside of them.  Thank you to all the people who are doing new culture work.


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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