Tradition is just peer pressure from the dead
The dead are powerful. The dead are invisible but their imprint is everywhere, tendrils of belief that curl and hook into sight and sound, winding their way into darkened rooms and open spaces, into minds still soft from birth.
Tradition wants you to be Mr/Mrs/Ms and to tick a box for your gender. Tradition wants to know how to treat you. Deference or dismissal?
Tradition spent time sorting the world, categorising and labelling in its neat boxy handwriting:—
— School: Geography, Maths, Chemistry, English Literature, English Language, Physics, French.
Instructions for use: Choose one or the other. This or that.
— Hospital: Dermatology, breast cancer services, endocrinology, haematology, pain management.
Instructions for use: *Choose one or the other. This or that.
*You were once asked to choose between the leg specialist and the back specialist. You needed both so you chose neither.
Tradition delivered power to private schools and exclusive universities, posted it into the mouth of children so they got to like the taste. The flavour lingers on the tongue, fattens the belly, stays in the blood stream.
Tradition likes a committee, an agenda, a set of rules. Tradition sets out the punishment when the rules are broken, frowns upon the transgressive, the queer, the outsider and free thinker.
Tradition brought you up to be a good girl, a good wife, a good mother. To smile, make an effort, to be selfless and nurturing.
Tradition is peer pressure from the dead.