I used to to doodle poetry in the margins of my college-ruled notebook paper when I was in elementary school.  Then in middle school I felt like margins were a waste of space and money (not mine of course) so I started ignoring the little faded magenta line and writing from the way-to-perfect cut on one side until my words fell off the other end of the page.  My teachers didn’t like this.  In most cases it resulted in a forced re-do, and in my Advanced English class it affected a few grades until finally I returned to forced status quo conformity.

In real life, that isn’t always an option.  I can’t change my gender.  What is in my pants puts me in the margin of society, which despite attempts at advancement and fancy lip service, still operates by the ‘Good Old Boy System’.  Study of current social constructs around the world shows immediately that patriarchy is alive and well.  I can’t change my color or that of my children, nor do I want to.  We are not currently a part of the majority in this country, though in the winding lineage of all three of us a few of our lines are drawn in white, more of them have unique untraceable colors.  All my life my olive complexion and curly hair have created a buzz of curiosity around me over my origins: Is she mixed? Are you Jewish? What is that girl? Where are your parents from?  Is she Indian? Is your hair naturally that curly?  The inquisition has variations but you get the drift.

The point is, both on paper, in the virtual almost world and in realfeel life, what’s going on in the margins is important.  What’s going on in the margins has to make it’s way into the center or truth becomes linear instead of circular-and that’s not the way progress or unity work. It’s not the way time, space, DNA or community work, either.  We wrap around each other, swirling into a symphony of truth and understanding, blending into and out of our minds and experiences, realities both seen and unseen.  Too many voices, stories, families, communities and lives are left in the margins of our current social norms in “reality” and never get examined, much less accepted.

Women are not just subjects to be masterbated to or silenced.  Multiracial families are not just commodities to bring diversity to the college, firm, country club or church.  They are a part of humanity, not trophies for a display case.  Not every couple who gets pregnant found Mr. or Mrs. Right first.  And when they choose “no” to abortion, they don’t automatically choose a marriage certificate.  It’s funny that the same pro-lifers that scream the loudest have no involvement, or even outright disdain, for those children they fight so hard to save.  These marginalized children deserve the same love and acceptance in school, and if you teach hate and segregation at home then send your child to public school, they mimic your behavior through bullying and exclusion.

The occupants of this world are cruel with word and action, but there is another way.  We can embrace all that is written in the margins.  Learning to love what is different from us expands our ability to appreciate our own families and lives.  It gives us new friends and makes we for new experiences.

My margins read like this:  Don’t conform to what the cacophony of voices keep screaming.  Seek peace and pursue it perpetually.  Love yourself and all your experiences because they make you who you are.  Love everyone regardless of their lifestyle.   Tell your story while you can because you are the only one who will.  Don’t get so busy you forget to take care of yourself.  Take at least an hour every day to do something you love.  This is what I love–writing about the margin–where I live.


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