Once upon a time I was sitting in a coffeehouse reading, as strands of conversation from another table wafted over to me. Under discussion was Israel’s right to exist. I was very young at the time and had not heard the phrase before. That is it, I said to myself. That is what I am looking for, the right to exist. Now Heart has revealed these words by Sonia Johnson:
I am determined to live in a reality in which the concept of “earning” a living seems as bizarre and sad to everyone as it has come to seem to me. […] [T]he irony is evident: by making us perceive success at work as proof of our value, patriarchy tricks us into working long, hard hours to maintain it as a system.
But more than that, that phrase exposes the father’s cruel lie that we must earn the right to live. […] [L]ife doesn’t need to to be – in fact, can’t be – earned, and we are destined to recreate that reality.
3 thoughts on “Sonia Johnson”
Every time I talk to my friends back home, one of the first questions I am asked is, “Do you have a job yet?” Some of them find jobs on line and email them to me. I’m always like, “don’t worry about if I have a job or not, I’m not asking anyone for anything.” But still I get, “you can teach on-line, you can do this, you can do that.” I have been called Tommy (from Martin) more than once. It makes me feel as if what I am doing, which I am doing something, how what I am doing is defined is something else, but I am in fact doing something.
We (husband and me) have a running joke, his answer to everything is a three-letter word. Being the macho (appearing) man he is, one may assume that three letter word is S-E-X. But no, it is in fact J-O-B.
He will set me up for the joke, and I will know what he is doing and we will still engage, as in when I am wearing a holey shirt (riddled with bleach spots) he will say “that’s a very nice shirt,” and I will reply, “well if someone around here would give me some money maybe I would not have to wear a holey shirt,” and of course his replies that he has the answer to my problem. Get-a-job.
I am not a job, a job is not me.
“T]he irony is evident: by making us perceive success at work as proof of our value, patriarchy tricks us into working long, hard hours to maintain it as a system.”
And everybody’s in on it: the landlord, the grocer, the doctor, the merchant, everybody. There’s tremendous reinforcement to get in line (and stay there), as well as a range of punishments for not doing so. Even children in the home, if you have them, become part of the process of locking you in – God forbid they shouldn’t have this “thing” or that “opportunity,” all of which are bought (of course!) with “earnings.”
I got a writing friend. S/he likes translations bound to an original never elusive, always there.
And reading. How bad!