Dangerous Compassions

what have you changed your mind about?

I saw this book at the library–What Have You Changed Your Mind About?  What a great question.

what have you changed your mind aboutI remember when I was in high school, I had a friend who was an environmentalist.  She was upset that a special northern place was being considered for oil drilling.  It was a wild place–I think it was the Arctic National Wildlife refuge.  Yes, were there plans to drill there, in the 1990s?  Reading the wikipedia article, I see the desire to drill there has been controversial since the 1970s.

I asked my friend, “If there’s no one there, why do we need to protect it?”  I imagined cold tundra and loneliness.

My environmentalist friend was aghast.  Like–that’s the point–we need some places left pristine and safe for the animals there.

I felt embarrassed.  Something in me had believed the hype of the world existing for people to use as a resource.

That’s an example of something I’ve changed my mind about.  Parent Earth is sacred.  The land has a right to exist.

I wonder about that friend and what she thinks now.  Did she change her mind too?  Maybe we switched places.


I used to think rap sounded horrible, when I was a kid.  The bass felt like an affront, and I was alarmed by the language.  Rap felt violent.

Then I realized some hip hop is affirming, and I liked the lyrics.  I got into the Digable Planets for some years.  My ex liked the Beastie Boys, and I slowly eased into them.  I enjoyed some Parliament Funkadelic very much, which is a precursor to rap.  I learned about chocolate cities and found a new depth of respect for Blackness and Black experiences.

Then I started listening to Public Enemy and realized that the affront I heard in rap is appropriate.  Rap afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.  The anger I felt is spot on.

Once I found some lady rappers, that’s all she wrote.  The rest is history.  I wanted to rap myself, and I dabbled in that, creating a song about a chicken I had as a child, and some other raps that matter to me.

I’m still not keen on harsh language.  For example, I don’t want to call anyone a bitch, or listen to any rapper who’s calling women bitches in a non-consent way.  But rap went from something I felt pushed out of to something I can actually do.  That’s quite a 180.


My post yesterday tells part of my gender journey from believing there were only “boys and girls” to something more accurate and radical.  When I was a kid, I over-simplified myself for the ease of people around me.  That was part of my survival when I had less power.  I choose to do much less of that these days.

It’s actually a big story, how I changed my mind about gender, and I try to keep blog posts rather short.  I’m a curious person which keeps me open to new information.  I’m willing to consider different ideas.  Oh yes–I’m a slut for ideas.  I have experience with new ideas blowing my mind, which can be scary but is important.

Curiosity is a big part of how to learn and an important value.  When someone isn’t curious, it scares me.  I feel I should avoid that person, like they are missing a key part of being human–maybe they are missing some soul.

Folks who think they’ve seen it all and they know it all are creepy.  I don’t want to fall under their spell.  I need to stay in motion and seek out truth.

A person who has the confidence and hubris to think they know it all is dangerous for me.  Yuck, I’ve been abused by men who project that, and I never want to get derailed again.


What have you changed your mind about, reader?  Do you have what you need to stay curious?  Do you enjoy being curious?

I never want to be like the math teacher who’s almost retired and only wants to drink instant coffee and smoke cigarettes in the break room.  Kids need to learn algebra, and that’s never going to happen if you don’t care.  Please stay curious about numbers, people, fashion, culture, the school, the weather–anything.

Please don’t give up on reality.  It has new things to show you if you keep showing up.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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