Disrupting binaries

I have two thoughts fromĀ When God was a Woman that I’d like to expand on. One of the postulations the author asserts is that ideas of Light and Darkness correlating with Good and Evil originated from ancient racism. They allowed light-skinned people to invade and gain political / religious control.

I have been changing using the word Light to correspond with goodness, hope, love, or healing. I catch myself trying to say it and then thinking about the beauty of darkness, the stillness, and the power. Some flowers bloom at night. Roots grow in the dark. We close our eyes to create darkness, so we allow our conscious selves to feel touch more fully. This happens when we give big hugs or feel the full unclothed skin of a lover.

I have also been thinking about masculine and feminine. I dislike the binary because it’s so rooted in something that doesn’t change, aside from the small percentage of very brave souls on this planet – your sex. It allows little wiggle room to be one way one moment and another the next.

I’m changing my binaries to the following that can move and morph into one another:

  • Giving and receiving
  • Growing and nourishing
  • Yin and yang
  • Death and vitality
  • Leading and supporting

Healthier binaries still recognize the tensions of opposites and the life that forms between them. They also allow for the recognition that both always have to be present, moving, exchanging, and most importantly turning into one another for life to happen. Even death has to be an element involved in ongoing movement, growth, and being.

What’s good and what’s bad? The things that fit these labels change and move, and I’m grateful for that. Sixty years ago, a teenage sexual assault would not have made people deem a candidate unfit to be a Supreme Court justice. We know that our government, churches, schools, neighborhoods, banks, and employers still associate dark skin with bad. We know these institutions associate femininity with being unfit for anything outside maternal and marital labor.

Changing the words we use is not enough to change everything, and in the same breath, changing our words is so important to support the change we hope and strive to create.