A NOLA STORY:
No one is to blame, and I am not complaining. I am happy to be me.
I know what it is like to be hated on so many levels:
…as an adoptee, a bastard, an illegitimate child, as the adoptee in a tight-knit family of blood relatives
…as someone returning to their birth-family (which consists of people who aren’t prepared for them and who fear what they will reveal); as the ugly duckling who finally discovers people who love and welcome her as one of their own (although my adoptive mother totally accepted and loved me)
…as a member of a family from a country (Germany) that America just defeated in a horrible war, a country which committed indefensible attrocities; as the adopted daughter of a man who never felt disloyal to that country, as the adopted daughter of a man who had neo-Nazi friends (even in 1983)
…as an American Traveller-Gypsy, as someone who has rejected sedentary society, as someone who will never identify fully with settled people and their society (We Travellers are hated by most sedentary people everywhere. We learn how to scratch our heads as though we may have lice because this sends a message: “Stay away from me.” If you don’t understand this, it’s because you are a sedentary person; you will never get it. Don’t worry about it.)
…as an autistic who is perceived as “normal” (as NT [Neurotypical]) but who obviously doesn’t fit in there (“Why does she do those things? Why doesn’t she act right?”); as someone who is told “You’re not autistic” by NTs and even by some family members
I walk around this city of New Orleans in a state of perpetual discovery and awareness–both of myself and others and the place itself.
Walk on by… walk on by… walk on by…
1.) I am someone who has never belonged. Given away at birth. As I say, I am now, after decades, extremely happy about this. I realize it has given me a totally unique perspective.
2.) I was adopted by outcasts: Mom’s Roxbury, Mass. family (10 kids, first-generation German-Americans) were hated locally since she was little (she was born in 1908; WW I was going on as she was growing up); Dad–and our fammily–was hated for being German, especially after WW II when I was adopted (in May of 1946).
3.) Add the interesting seasoning of being autistic: independent (actor and thinker), smart, original thinker, logical, and sensitive. I believe–based upon the Boswell brains and the suicides of my birth-father and birth-paternal grandfather–that tmy Asperger Syndrome is genetic and that I inherited it from the Boswells.
4.) Finally, add my Gypsy blood. Whether or not I actually am related to English Gypsies (Boswell is a famous English Gypsy name) or not is irrelevant. (As Judity Okely points out in The Traveller-Gypsies, the English Gypsies and Irish Travellers are not related to the Rom or any other group who come originally from India; they are outcasts/proletariat who dropped out of their own societies and began a life of travelling.)
What matters is that, except for my first eighteen years, I have been unsettled or, put in a positive way, moving and travelling around. I believe it is in my blood; it is definitely in my nature.
I do not identify with sedentary people–especially not the middle class and above (though I was raised in the middle class by upwardly mobile, “successful,” working-class parents).
I have made a unique, original and very interesting (to me) roux out of all this.
I see the New Orleans Caucasians as existing in a box. I prefer to not relate intimately with anyone in that particular box. That said, I know and like some New Orleaneans who are Caucasians and thus in that box; I will not give up these friendships. As Caroline Flake writes in her book New Orleans (1992), cognitive dissonance does not exist in New Orleans: my conflicting ideas do not matter to me.
I do not ask for anyone’s understanding of this; I do not ask for forgiveness or praise.
I never ask New Orleans Blacks to acknowledge me. I never initiate contact except in a very general, acceptable way (i.e., saying hello). They (like Whites) could never understand where I am coming from.
I am a totally unique phenomenon socially (we are all totally unique individually, personally). I don’t expect anyone to ever really understand me, but I try. I express myself–like here in my blog.
But the fact is that I identify with the NOLA Blacks–and I am not talking about the middle class (and above). I mean the poor and working class NOLA Blacks. I never expect them to understand this.
New Orleans is, as ever, very divided racially and economically. I know where I stand; I know who I am.
Amazingly, sometimes NOLA Blacks realize who I am (after talking with me, even briefly) and exactly where I stand. All I have to do is be me. If anyone cares to really look, who I am and where my alliances lie is exceedingly clear.
I am not interested in anyone’s analysis of all this. I am not interested in the least in what people think of me. I have experienced others’ hatred from the very beginning of this lifetime.
I am writing my blog for me. If anyone else enjoys reading it, great. Welcome to my world.
When I go out into the world every day, I am a total loner. I think I would actually shrivel up and die without my friends and other loved ones, but socially, I go it alone – like most autistics.
I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks of me or of my social positions. As the song “Better Man” by Kebmo says, it doesn’t really matter if no one ever knows how I feel.
All I know is that it makes ME feel free and feel good to write all this down. I love the feeling that it’s organized and set down somewhere.
I believe in Eternal Love between two people. Set in stone. United body and soul. I am never alone because of this. It’s more than a belief. I tell people it’s my favorite fantasy so they won’t be threatened by my beliefs. But really it’s what I know is true.
TODAY, on the street IN NEW ORLEANS
Me: How ya doin?
Young guy: Hey, Baby!
And you wonder why I love New Orleans? It’s ALL in that exchange.