Just Can’t

I was chatting with Danya on Twitter, about Fleabag and clergy and sex, and it occurred to me that we and our wise friend Laura could do a great job of writing a book about sex and clergy. That is just a dream, of course (at least as far as I’m concerned; Laura and Danya may be able to make it work). There’s so much that I’m obligated to do that the collaborative project won’t happen, even though it could — and that made me a bit sad.

On the other hand, it’s useful, helpful, to remember that simply because one can do something, doesn’t mean that one can do it, for lot of reasons. There are few clear pathways, and most people face obstacles that limit what they end up actually accomplishing, and I’m in almost every category of the most privileged, least limited demographic groups in the world (in history, for that matter). For most of the people among whom I walk day by day, they can do more, given the opportunity; they can see that possibility hanging there in front of them, and they know to the core of their being that they’d do a good job of it. But the playing field isn’t level, there are internal constraints as well as extrinsic constraints, and there are obstacles that arise from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are record companies that won’t listen to your band; there are directors who won’t cast you; there is that debilitating ME that flares up just when you were going to get an opportunity; there are White folks who won’t treat you fairly, men who won’t, posh people, straight people, citizens who won’t give a migrant a break, well-intentioned model citizens whose goodwill extends only to the point of what doesn’t pinch them personally…. The range of circumstances that can make possibilities into impossibilities can’t be calculated.

At a point where resignation, clear-sightedness, determination, and keeping alert for the opportune moment interact, there may be an ideal attitude — but who could presume to condescend to people who don’t see even that as a possibility for them? I’m not here to judge anyone, and my ruefulness is just a tiny droplet of the seas that my neighbours have to swim in. I’ll hold onto it, not as some injustice done me, but as a pinhole into the daily weight on my neighbours’ shoulders.

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