Kin Lane

Tearing Down My Foundation of Lies

To see your stepfather declare on Facebook that there is no white supremacy, and no racism in the Republican party, and that if it does exist, it does so within the Democratic Party may seem like an easy thing to dismiss when you live in the heart of white supremacy, but once at the edges, you begin to see it for what it is-—an inexcusable lie. Not just a lie nobody will ever find out about, it is a lie that everyone knows is a lie, and most will never question. The kind that perpetuates systemic rot of the soul. It is just one of many lies told each day, and when these people are able to raise children on these lies, the lies become the foundation for their reality. A foundation that is unstable, but you can’t quite ever put your figure on why or how because the truths are buried so deep, the instability will just reveal itself in uncontrollable rage, anxiety, depression, and other deeper darker currents that you just can’t swim your way out of. They just exist. They consume you on a regular basis. They become you. This is the real damage of these lies, not the lies themselves, but the flash floods they cause downstream throughout ones life.

The man stating this on Facebook is the same man who also says that Vladmir Putin is a good person, and the claims of Russian influence on the election is a hoax. Despite throughout the 1980s this same man sharing regular horror stories about how bad the Soviet Union is, resulting in me and my friends spending our evenings and weekends training in the woods and rivers for the impending invasion that was always right around the corner. The grown up I trusted was saying it, so it must be true. He was unable to unpack the lies and fears he was told as a child, only to perpetuate them in their most modern form around the house and in the yard when I was a child. Telling lies as if they were truths. This impending invasion is why we didn’t go to Los Angeles, and why we stockpiled food in our pantry—-much of which had to be thrown out on a regular basis. Not only is he unable to see his lie as a lie today, he doesn’t understand the damage his lies have cause in his own life, the children he brought into this world, or the children who were just left in his care–like I was. It is pretty obvious that someone is not equipped to confront the world when they can say so confidently that white supremacy doesn’t exist. There is just too much evidence to the contrary. No sane and honest person can stand on this hill in 2020, sorry. You are in denial.

After being completely outside the tractor beam of this reality for over a decade, and having been moving away from it for over 20 years, when confronted with a statement like this from someone who so completely shaped your reality in the most formative years of your life can be earth shattering. It isn’t that one senile old white man told such a blatant lie, it is that you realize your entire reality was shaped and groomed by this man who so whole heartedly and blindly supports the white supremacy. You realize the books he gave you to read were just lies. You realize that the life skills he equipped you with were actually were meant to slow and hinder your evolution, not actually protect you in the world and let you grow and flourish. You realize you were raised by someone who moved to the woods because the world terrified them. You realize that everything you were taught would now need undoing if you were to function in a diverse world. You realize that you were raised on a steady diet of rugged individual libertarian not because someone cared about you and wanted you to succeed in the world, but they were just reading from a script that was handed to them, and you were just a random cast member selected to be in this isolated play directed by someone who had no life experience. You realize that all of your deep seated anger and mistrust was because you had been lied to for so long, from such an early age, that you can’t even see the origins.

Once you realize your house is build on such an unstable foundation your first inclination is to just move. That is what I did. I think many of the friends I grew up with just opted to deny their foundation had any problems, or that their house even had a foundation. As soon as I turned 16 I knew something was off, and I began looking elsewhere for a place to call home, but I really didn’t have an understanding of just how troubling and difficult my journey to replace my foundation would be. If you had shown my 18 year old self what I know now, I probably would have run the other way and kept my head in the sand. It’s lonely. It’s terrifying to admit that everything you know, and all of you success is built upon lies. I still get sick to my stomach thinking about the work I have ahead of me. The rage that rises in me when someone I care about calls me out for saying or doing something racist, not because they are trying to be mean to me, but they are simply a person of color who cares enough about me to say something. I can’t ignore this gift. No matter how angry I get at the world and myself. There is no going back. There is no explaining to others, no matter how well meaning, how to follow in my footsteps. There is no one way to rebuild the foundation. I can only share the bits I have learned here on my blog, and encourage people to read, open their hearts and minds, and close their mouths and listen. Not just to me, but to the world around them.

My immediate reaction to one of the many men who have been inserted into my life after they say something like this on Facebook is to set them straight. Right? You just tell them the facts. No. You don’t. It is up to them to go out in the world and seek truth. Just as I have done. It is not up to me to do the dance on Facebook, or travel hundreds of miles to go argue with them at family gatherings. It is up to them to choose truth or delusion. There is something seriously wrong when you can publicly state that white supremacy doesn’t exist in America in 2020. Sorry. You are beyond a point of return. I am not saying there is no saving these people. It can happen. I am just saying it isn’t my responsibility to do it. I owe nothing to them. In fact they have done so much damage to my reality. That door is closed. I have no interest in arguing known truths. I have traveled too many roads to spend any waking moment of this amazing life I have been given telling the same 10 white person stories over and over in a single corner of this amazing planet. There are just too many other stories to be heard out there. Fact and fiction. If you are going to spin yarns, at least make them good. If you are going to call something a truth, at least explore the world enough to be able to speak to the scope of that truth. Do not just believe something is just a truth because people who look, act, and believe just as you do call it a truth. Get a second opinion. Seek out diverse opinions and ideas. Most importantly, the web does not equal truth. Even the existence of fact on the web renders it questionable. The web is not our friend, and it sure as hell shouldn’t be where we debate fact and fiction.

I am in full demolition mode when it comes to tearing down my foundation right now. I believe nothing I was told as a child. I believe no memory I have in my mind. I question it all. Not because of a single white man who tells lies, but because the reality I grew up in was completely fabricated. Because it was a nutrient deficient environment to be raised in. Growing up in the beautiful wilderness does not mean you grow up with a healthy view of the world. It doesn’t mean you will be equipped to be an adult human being living in this world. It doesn’t mean you should be in charge of raising and educating other human beings in this world. I have gotten through most of the really scare aspects of tearing into my foundation. I am sure there are pockets I haven’t found that will shake me to my bones, but I think I’m much more equipped to deal with these things today. I have considerable distance, both time and geographically from this reality. Sadly something Facebook can circumvent like some sort of wormhole to my 1980s past, but I just have to be mindful that this exists and minimize the time I spend in this strand of our universe. I am just going to keep peeling back the layers of my foundation and processing them by writing here on the blog. Whenever I get weary I will stop and read a book. Right now I am reading essays from James Baldwin, which is giving me the tools I need to sift through the rubble of my foundation looking for signs of life. Providing me with new words, phrases, and views of the world to replace the reality I am shattering by questioning everything. I am finding it takes many words, phrases, and diverse truths to replace every lie I am finding in my own past. An essential part of me working forward on this is making the time to read books, and listen to other diverse voices. Without it, I am afraid I won’t be able to sufficiently undo the lies I’ve been told, and that I have told myself over the years.