In Dominican culture, there is a concept called educedo. Being educado literally translates to being educated, but in its actual usage translates to something closer to being civilized. Dominicans believe that someone who is educedis social, intelligent, warm, courteous, and mannered. To be deemed mal educedis a great offense (and one often lobbed at my by my parents when I interrupted them in conversation with another adult or opened the refrigerator in a house that wasn’t mine.

As an adult, I’ve come to recognize the term educedas being closer to being civilized. I have a contentious relationship with the idea of being civilized, as it is not just a perforative act  of following social norms but also a conforming to the expectations around me despite how I may feel. I see being civilized as both a state of existence and an active signaling from the space around me. I am being civilized in the same way I am being assaulted. It is something done to me. 

The opposite of civilized is barbaric. The implicit message is that my highest self, the one I am meant to show most often in professional contexts, is one the ignores my bestial self. The problem with this is that I am an animal. I eat food, sleep, poop, and play like any other savage in the wild. When I am in an environment that doesn’t reinforce my base animal needs, those needs manifest in wacky ways.

In the spirit of recognizing all of my needs, I embrace my whole self. I am both civilized and barbaric. Denying either is the true offense.

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