Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Fantasy World



Like many people, I've spent a lot of time in my head the last year. 

It's not unlike my childhood when I pretended my home was *actually* a boarding school for the blind, our bikes were horses, and instead of parents I was surrounded by professional educators who were warm, competent, and certainly childless. 

Or like my adolescence when I spent an inordinate amount of time struggling to picture heaven from all angles: from mathematical (try dividing eternity by 2 next time you have insomnia) to optical (no sun, no night, colors that don't exist on our color wheel?) to moral (how can people be happy in heaven if their relatives are on a perpetual barbecue in hell? is ignorance bliss?)

My fantasy world these days makes NURTURING ITS YOUNG its #1 priority. I dream of a society that refuses to buy police one more tank or even rubber bullet until EVERY school is stocked with paper towels, hand soap, free lunch that smells good, and a full-time nurse. Imagine if we agreed that all children--regardless of zip code or parentage--deserve real food, clean water and air, a safe home, health care, education, protection from violence, and the right to play at recess even if they forgot their ID.

Teaching would be honored, and financially rewarded, as a noble profession, with no tolerance for adults who model bullying in the classroom. (In the same vein, cops who violate the public trust, and men who commit violence at home, would forever forfeit any right to carry firearms.)

Mental health screenings--for all kids and caregivers--would be as regular as dental ones. New parents, or abusive parents flagged by checkups, would receive mentoring. Cities would competitively invest in quality childcare to attract companies. Children would be taught from toddlerhood how to care for their bodies and their minds, how to expect respect, and how to say no. Schools would get all the resources they need to fully fund music programs AND drivers' ed. And the healthcare coverage! Funded by taxing the corporations getting fat off our consumption, helpful drugs and therapies would finally be easier to get than deadly ones, even for teens or young moms surviving on $2/hr plus tips!

We'd keep strong families, of whatever shape or immigration status, intact--never killing or jailing or deporting parents over pieces of paper. We wouldn't let fostered children simply disappear. We'd interrupt the detention-to-incarceration pipeline with targeted social support until private prisons go bankrupt and law “enforcers” have to stop using body armor manufactured by American slaves. Maybe fewer kids would grow up wanting to wear a bully’s uniform or to escape their lives by dropping bombs on other kids with a remote control and would instead find meaning in trauma-informed social science, biological research, diplomacy, the arts.

We'd cease building prisons and we'd start centers for healing, with trees and gardens and libraries where Neil Gaiman's work isn't banned. Lots of sunlight. Treatment would focus on recovery, restoration, reconnection, relationships. And probably pancakes and puppies.

Maybe my fantasies are a buffer for my mental health, or maybe they're a threat to it. 

I used to imagine I was blind. 
Now imagination is the only way I can live with my eyes open.


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