Laws of Attraction

Revelations occur in the strangest of moments. Right in the midst of my procrastination, as my attention span struggles to grasp on my work, I tune into my roommate’s video that’s playing in the background.  “That’s not something I’ve been trained to be attracted to”  flows from her laptop. She’s watching another episode of BKCHAT NYC, as she usually does. This time on the topic of race and attraction. I was halfway through writing another blog post when these words resonated with me.

“That’s not something I’ve been trained to be attracted to”

Weirdly enough, people often say that you either marry your parents or see yourself turn into them. Now, this is understandable. Our earliest example of  ‘normal’ behavior in relationships comes from our parents. From them, we learn how to socialize, to communicate, and most importantly, how to love.  Previously, I was working on a blog post about how trauma during youth and coping mechanisms can impact the presence of personalities (more on that later).  So I was already in the mindset of Damaya before her days at the fulcrum.

Essun’s story began by mourning the loss of her son, Uche, at the hands of the very man she married. Jija was the personified sense of self-hatred that Essun was force-fed since birth. Her mother resented her being, her kind dismissed her abilities, and those around her only ever saw her as a threat. So why exactly was she attracted to this sense of intolerance?  Well, she was conditioned into seeking it. Sadly its a practice we see often as a form of ‘salvation’. This idea of ethnic cleansing and cultural erasure is much more powerful than any other form of racism. By making someone hate themselves, you replace the possibility of harm with the guarantee of change. That’s exactly what happened with Essun in this case. While the dismissal by other races causes insecurities, Essun’s inability to accept herself was what prompted her need to reinvent herself.

One of the earliest stone lore excerpts states “Tell them there is a standard for acceptance; that standard is simply perfection” (Fifth Season, 76).  She grew up with this mentality that she had to improve herself to fit in. She transferred those ideas to her children as well by asking them to mask their orogenic selves. Jija represented The Stillness’ standard of normalcy. To gain a place by his side was to simultaneously gain the acceptance of society. To marry someone with such a hatred for your race, for the part of you that you conceal, is a constant reminder that that part of you is beneath you. It is a constant reminder that the alibi under which you live in is an upgraded version of who you are. Think of it as an ever-present reinforcement of your label of less than.  Essun was trained to strive to be anyone other than herself.


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