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Category Archives: abusive cycle

Divide and Conquer – Let me paint you a picture

Divide and Conquer – Let me paint you a picture

I wanted to paint a picture today. I bought a canvas the other day. A big one. The first of this size for me and I’ve been pretty excited to see what happens with it. I really thought, I definitely planned on painting with real paint on a real canvas, but apparently, this morning I will be painting with words again.

Last year, I was walking through the mall next to the school I worked at in Tirana, Albania with a friend of mine who had also been raised in the USA. As we walked towards the escalator, we saw 2 women with a few children walking towards the escalator from the opposite direction. The two women were covered head to toe, with nothing showing but their eyes, the black cloth flowing entirely over them. 

Picture taken from pintrist JILBAB STYLE https://www.pinterest.com/pin/160370436710598011/

My friend said to me, “Crazy how the first feeling is fear, how we were taught to be afraid”.  And it’s true. The first feeling I felt as I noticed the group was a little jump in my tummy, a little moment of fear, a quick flash of the mall getting blown up. See, I’ve been taught burka’s represent a group of people who are “out to get me”, people I should be afraid of.  I’ve been spoon-fed the belief that all Muslim people are terrorists.  

Truth is though, these were just two women with their children shopping at the mall, just like we were. They were merely women who had a different religion than me, dressed differently than me. It was me that was wrong and I almost immediately censored myself and redirected to what I know is true.  I have lived in 3 Muslim countries, as an American, as a non Muslim, and not had anyone ever try to blow me up, yet my stomach still jumped in that first second. I still had that initial flash.  20 years of propaganda worked. 

How do you automatically feel when you see someone with obvious signs of being a Muslim?

I’ve seen all kinds of Americans react the same way, thinking that all Muslims are crazy, jihadist, extremists who will happily blow themselves up to blow us up. Divide and Conquer. In America, everyone is afraid of Muslims now, because we have had almost 20 years of propaganda to ensure that reaction. 20 years of adding Muslims to the list of divide-ees worked its way into my subconscious psyche.  I live a life that proves that propaganda is not true, but I still had that initial reaction. 

So who are these, the divided, the “them” that Muslims now are among?  Well, there’s women, LGBTQ, People of Color, immigrants, apparently the Chinese have their own ‘them’ group now aside from ‘Asians’. And we’re really pushing the Democrat vs Republican us and them groups hard. No longer are those terms for parties or ideals, but rather they are very much like Sneetches, with Sylvester McMonkey McBean at the wheel of that machine.  Division.  It’s how you win over countries, start world wars, eradicate groups of people, and apparently it is how you run America.

In this crazy thought blizzard that would not let me paint this morning until I wrote, I saw a bunch of pictures. So I ask you, What are your initial responses/thoughts/gut feelings when you see each photo? What do you automatically think about before you start to censor yourself?

all above photos from stock photos at canstockphoto.com

And now to the main idea that wouldn’t leave me alone. The reason I had to write this instead of break ground on my new canvas.

Did you think of the one individual in each photo or did you think generalizations about whole groups of people? Did you name the group? Were they positive or negative thoughts?

So, what about the photos below?

all above photos taken from Google search results

Did you think of whole generalizations, or do you think of that one person in the photo? 

Did you you name the group “white men….”? Or “American men….”?

We have been taught to think of American white men as powerful, just, smart, capable, lawful, inventive, breadwinners, heroes. 

One guy messing up doesn’t mean all of them are like that. We don’t think of them as a group in the negative. We single out negative ones, group together the positives.

Yet, the generalized narratives for any other group are almost entirely negative. All powerful women are ……..    All Muslims are ……….  All young black men are ………… All Asian girls are ……….. All gay men are ……..   All blondes are ……    And the positive ones are singled out.

That conversation from last year kept coming to mind today, a flood of pictures and generalizations. All the thoughts I have been told to think about people.

And I cannot figure out why it is so easy to dismiss the wrongs of individual white men. 

Why it is so easy to group other people together and give them all the identity of the worst examples in their group and why we don’t ever do that for white, Christian, American men.

Why can white men actually shoot up places, kill many people, be a mass murderer in action and be unharmed as they are arrested? Yet a black boy playing cops and robbers can get fatally shot by an actual cop. An autistic man can get a fatal injection of ketamine as he is apologizing for walking home with a mask on. 

Why can a white man go to trial for actually raping a girl and have the spotlight be for what an athlete he is? Yet a black boy can be hung for daring to look at a white girl?

Why can white men take over a government building fully armed and have no consequences? Yet peaceful black marchers can get tear-gassed and beaten with batons for marching against brutality.

Why can white men steal millions of dollars, billions of dollars through corporate crime and bailouts, yet every day black people were denied the ability to get a loan or buy a home, or even rent in some areas.

I do not understand why white men can DO the things people conjecture a black man could do, and have no bodily harm done to them.  Yet black men can be killed, black children can be killed, black women can be killed in their sleep having not actually committed any crime at all.  

I do not understand why white men get a trial, where they are seen as innocent until proven guilty, but black people seem to have the proof of their guilt automatically built into their skin, so cop’s think they can just kill without a trial. 

I see people posting, being so dismissive saying, “The government is trying to control you by telling you to wear a mask”! “The governor’s are infringing on your rights by putting the state in lock-down!”. “Don’t let the government tell you what to do! Vote them out!”

But the US government is openly, systematically, removing your rights, the checks and balances that hold our democracy together. Even as the parts they are doing behind closed doors get brought out into the open, it is ignored.

The government has been dividing us and telling us how to think about each group for centuries to keep themselves in power. You want to talk about control. Read up on the United Daughters of the Confederacy and their little side project the Children of the Confederacy. Or read more about the American Housing Project its purposeful prohibition of African-Americans from buying homes. Read up on why it was so sadistically meaningful to have a rally in Tulsa. It is not the mask that is controlling us, it these divisions being pushed on us through text books, commercials, training programs, signs on walls, in courtrooms, on newspapers.

I wanted to paint this morning, but I had to write this. I had to say this. I had to raise my voice to the injustice of propaganda. I had to raise my voice to state that saying Black Lives Matter IS saying all lives matter and saying all lives matter is removing the call to create justice for lives that do not currently enjoy the privilege of justice. 

And saying Black Lives Matter lays the foundation for equalizing all the Them groups, but saying all lives matter is an Us distraction that actually perpetuates the divisions. Once there is equality, then it will be okay to say all lives matter, it will be the most appropriate thing to say then. But until there is equality, we have to raise the voices of those unequal. 

We have to challenge ourselves to see individuals and stop believing the US and THEM talking points. Notice initial reactions and thoughts and challenge their validity.

Most Muslims aren’t out to blow you up.

Most black men are not out to harm you.

Most Asian …..   aren’t…….. 

Most …… aren’t ………

……..

I want to keep erasing that record, or CD, or whatever you want to call the loop that is playing in my background. It is okay to stop right here and realize it is time to change.  No one needs you or me or anyone to have a breakdown over the past, but we need to stop letting ourselves be divided, stop thinking in divisive terms. We should not be in a competition for our lives to matter. There is no harm in bringing others up. It does not diminish our star to have other stars around us. We are stronger together.

And we have to start SEEING the crime and terrible, awful things that white, American men are actually doing. Call it out, name it, and make an example of their crimes being punished. They cannot keep hiding behind the whiteness, especially as people are getting killed having done nothing wrong.

I will keep standing.

Love and Light everyone. Now I am going to go paint something on my canvas.

 

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An open letter to my biracial son from a white mother who did not see color.

An open letter to my biracial son from a white mother who did not see color.

Dear Son,

I did not know then, but as Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I want to accept my shortcomings and failings, my ignorance, and even those things I chose not to see even though they were visible. You know I try so hard to be a voice against racism and have since either of us can remember. This year I have spent many hours trying to learn more, listen more, and think more about my path and how I can be the best advocate/ally I can be. I know that it is in continuous work that we unpack the nontruths we are raised with. In all of this, one day about a month ago, I was given another moment of enlightenment, of realness I had not known with this kind of clarity before that moment. I was given a glimpse into your current world and it has taken me this month since that moment, to open that vision more and look around inside it before I could write this letter to you.

This ‘vision’ gave me a fuller understanding of the difference between racism and white privilege and why white privilege is what holds racism together. I thought they were the same thing, even as I understood more and more about white privilege; even as I knew and you knew and everyone that knows me knew that I am not racist, what I didn’t know is how pervasive white privilege is in that even if you are not racist, racist crap is done in the ignorance of white privilege. I chose to walk around inside that moment and realized, understood some of my part in your pain. It helped me separate racism and white privilege so that I can examine them independently. And it is from this new understanding that I offer my apologies.

I am sorry that I raised you with the “I don’t see color” brand of racism.  It was not fair. I did not even realize it was racism. I thought it expressly wasn’t. But because I chose not to see your color, I did not prepare you for being a black man. I did not understand that you would not be seen in the world as my loved son, but you would be seen by all the world, except me, as a black man. I did not see color, I saw my son, and as beautiful as it is to have you as my son, I should have seen your skin. I raised you with white privilege, not just my own but I unknowingly bathed you in it as well. Your ability to see the world with open eyes was blanketed by my white privilege.  I did not learn the difference between non-racist and anti-racist when you were young. I fought for nonracism. I thought by not seeing color I was doing the right thing. I am sorry.

Your “knowledge” of what white and black “are” was dipped in that invisible white privilege tub. I was not ‘there for you’ the moment you realized you were black, because I did not get it. I understand now, but that moment is gone. It is part of the past that makes you who you are today, and it happened without my love for you as even capable of being part of it; because I did not see color when I should have. My lack of color-vision, my lack of intentional choice for you to see good black role models, my ignorance and the pervasiveness of racism told you that your being black made you all the negative connotations white privilege puts on black people.

I did not raise you white or black or brown. I raised you as my son. I thought that was right. I loved you from second one. I raised you in love, you know that. I supported you every way I knew how. But there was one especially important way I did not give you what you needed; I did not give you the knowledge of how to maneuver in the world as a black man, how to be proud of yourself as a black man. And now I can see how incredibly difficult it must have been for you to identify, articulate, or even really understand what and where that lacking was and came from.

You could not have said to me, no one could for that matter, that I was racist or that I did not love you, or that I wasn’t trying my best to overcome racism all around me. So how could you explain to me the deep injustice you felt, the injustice I did? The injustice I served out as love. I still do not fully understand and honestly never can. But I can apologize and hope that we can come to a mutual understanding of where to go from here.

I apologize for not being a strong enough advocate for you against the racism that permeates the family of the man I was married to. I chose not to see it because I thought I could love you enough for all of us. That was not fair to you. You had to grow up not aware of why you were seen as so different, treated so differently. To be honest, though my ‘not seeing’ was partially in ignorance, and thinking that mistreatment was due to how you were conceived, not that you were black, it was also partially from wanting to not have to see it.

I was 16, married almost a year when I was raped. Then as a stupid 16-year-old with no support system, I went on the only kind of spiral I knew. The kind of spiral that screams Help Me but is only ever seen as “what a stupid girl”. But when I discovered I was having you, that spiral came to a screaming halt. Nothing in the world could stop me from giving you the best mother I could be, in every circumstance life threw at me. So, when I say I raised you to be my son, it was with all the love I had. I tell you on your birthdays, “You’re the first …. year-old I’ve ever had. You’re my guinea pig, I’m probably going to screw it up, but I’ll try my best and we’ll love each other through it.”  I never saw you as black, or white, only ever as my son. I was trying my best. But not seeing, not identifying, not allowing you to own your skin was not fair, and it was not enough. I see that now. It was all I had and all I understood. I do not berate myself for this. I cannot feel guilty about it either. I did not know any better then. But I do now, and I can apologize for what I did in my ignorance, and for what I did not do. I can apologize from now and where I am now and what I know now.

I am sorry for thinking that trying to explain away your blackness, because that was “on me” and my circumstance, rather than try to help you accept who you were no matter what, was enough. It is not that I did not accept your being black, I just did not understand that accepting your blackness, seeing your skin, went beyond the shame I felt for my circumstance. I spent decades trying to understand how to release my shame. Part of my healing is to speak out and not hide, and that remains true, but I did not see that I projected that shame on to you whenever I talked about it. I did not understand that not only was I not protecting you from that shame, I was creating it for you. I did not see how the rest of the family’s underlying racism deepened that shame and that my not speaking out for you hurt you.

I thought my love for you automatically removed the shame for you. But it did not. I thought every time I told you how much I loved you I was creating a safe harbor. Instead I gave my shame to you as an undercurrent, something you could not speak of, or see, or name because my words forbade it with every proclamation of how much I loved you. I am sorry. I didn’t know.

YOU have nothing, NOTHING to be ashamed of.  I am sorry that I created that in you. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but my lesson, my healing should not have caused you pain. I am sorry. The part of my life that was before you, was erased because of you. You brought me life; your life brought me to life. You taught me how to love. Do not ever feel ashamed of that.

You are allowed to feel all the feelings associated with the complicated mess of being black in America, of the only father you’ve known being racist and having a mother that did not understand how to navigate raising a mixed child in that environment. I wish that shame was not part of it, but I understand now that it is, I put it there. I am sorry, I did not mean to.

Son, be a proud black man. Be the strong black man that you are. You have love, strength, compassion, empathy, tenderness, and intelligence. You are talented, brave, and work hard. I am sorry I did not tell you before this that you are all those things as a black man. That you are worthy as a black man. YOU ARE WORTHY just because you exist, regardless of any misdoings, and in spite of anyone’s words or actions that say otherwise. You are worthy of the love you were denied because of your skin color. You are worthy, you are enough.

I am sorry I did not prepare you for things like shaving the right way, putting your hands on the dash, having people follow you around a store, or the understanding that you were given the worst ‘end of the stick’ in so many situations because people thought the black in you made you naturally ‘bad’.  That is not true. You are only inherently awesome. Nothing about your skin color determines the kind of person you are. I should have advocated that more for you.

I am sorry that your white privileged upbringing set you up for the belief that ‘black’ means violent, untrustworthy, and prone to criminal behavior. It does not. That is a white privilege talking point, a way for uninformed white people to categorize and maintain a level of ‘fear’ and therefore keep power. It is an unspoken belief that underlies the family you know. The truth is, for you, the violence you know came from watching and being part of abuse at home. That abuse came from a white man, so do not chalk that up to some inherent blackness. But also, do not allow it to be part of your life. You are better than that.

I am sorry I did not see color when you were young. I am grateful I do now. I have always been grateful you were given to me. From your first flutter, you have taught me how to more fully love everyone. Being your mother taught me to SEE COLOR in that moment when I learned what I should have taught you about shaving. That was my first understanding that you are black; and you were 19 or 20. That sucks.

I am grateful that you are my son and for the many ways you have helped me see the very different experiences people have in life, simply because of their skin color. I have understood through 30 years of being your mom, I need to remove the white privilege blanket that covers everything. To step out of that bath. I keep growing, being your mom helps me know that seeing color is the only way to create change, to see the disparity, the real world as it is. I am grateful that because you are my son, I had that moment of clarity a month ago to help me better understand the pain you are in now because of your childhood.

Without you, maybe I would have kept on in my invisible privileged life, but I am not because I have you. It’s a long process, but with each new layer I can uncover, each new thing I can pull out, I learn how to love better, how to be a better human. You are the reason I choose to keep looking for those layers. I am grateful that maybe I can help others see too. I am, have always been, and will always be proud to be your mother. I love your skin.

White privilege is a crap sandwich. It is known as invisible because, it’s like the people who have never been fired unjustly and cannot see why that person is so upset. Or like people who do not have children yet, make all kinds of judgments on parents who do things differently than they think they would. White privilege lives in the ignorance of not having been through a thing. It’s subtitle should be white ignorance, but that would probably go over less well than white privilege….

Just like people who haven’t been catcalled, whistled at, hollered at through a passing window, followed, and know to hold their keys a certain way, don’t understand why other people do that; white people do not see the complexity of being not-white. I did not see the complexity of your not being white.

 Just like people who have been raped, see the world more clearly and try to survive in it anyway, black people, people of color do see. They live and survive in the world they can see better, more clearly. They see it and I did not give you that sight when I should have. There is this world in which you live that I did not prepare you for but put you out in it thinking I had.

Healing requires us to speak about the wrongs done, put it in the light and examine it. My recognizing each piece of white privilege as I see it does not induce disgrace, but spurs the choice to move ahead doing better because I know better. White privilege is a not-knowing. And where racism can be examined, seen, explained, and criticized, white privilege is unseen, unfelt, misunderstood, and hidden. It is all the ways we do not know we cannot see.

So, I apologize for what I did not know, what I did not see, what I did not do. I apologize for what I did in my ignorance. I apologize for those things I pushed to the side, so I did not have to confront them. I apologize for not standing up within my home the way I stood up outside of it. I apologize for not giving you what you needed to be a proud black man. You know I love you. You know I have always given you everything I could. But I can see that everything I could was not always enough, and I am sorry.  

Sincerely,

Your ‘thought she was woke but realized she’s still waking up’ mother

Is “White Privilege” a useful concept in the current UK context ...
Trying to pull out what I can every time I see something in there.

#inspiration #motherhoodrising #honestlymothering #doingthebestican #onceyouknowbetterdobetter #blacklivesmatter #iamnotcolorblind #seecolor #unpackingwhiteprivilege

 

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Ok, I’m writing….. I don’t know where this will go

I’m not really sure what it is I’m supposed to write about exactly.   I feel like it is something having to do with abuse in whole, specifying what happened in Mozambique.  But, friends, thinking about it all is overwhelming.
The last two years have been head spinning for me, and have seriously altered the way I see things.  The healing that has come from the last two years is far more important to me.  Yet, for some reason I am being led to continue to write about the events of the last two years.
First, I think it’s important to say – While back in the US after my time in Mozambique, an interesting phenomenon began to occur.  Simultaneously with my spiritual healing, I also began to see more of the dark side of things.  Fear began to overwhelm me at times.  I have never had panic attacks before.  Now I do.
I am realizing that along with seeing the greater good, comes seeing the greater bad.  I’ve always been decent at seeing both good and bad in situations, trying to weigh each against each other and making decisions based on how I feel the long-term outcome is more good than bad.  But now, now I am in a league I didn’t even understand existed.  I can’t NOT see the ugliness humans are capable of, and I also see the good so much deeper than I did before.
It scares me frankly.
My ability to be right here, right now is a cactus to hold on to.  I see the future impact of what the right here and now can bring.  It’s not an easy lens to look through.  But mostly it is difficult for me because, though I struggle with the adult land of all this, it is the children I am having the most difficulty with.
And by that I mean, seeing how the obscene scale of abuse that humans are capable of, and pull off constantly, affects our children.
Our beautiful children come in to this world innocent.  It is our societies that hone them into future abusers and we are all abusers.  Let’s be real about it.  Even if we don’t consciously abuse others, we abuse ourselves so regularly.  White privilege affords many of us the “right” to be abusive without feeling that it is so, or knowing that we do.  It shatters self worth across the board. It creates such a systemic divide and conquer system, that everything we do is in it and we don’t even know it.
How do we overcome?  We are creatures of habit, of comfort.  Even as we explore and expand, we maintain those spaces in our psyche that keep us comfortable enough to push past this boundary or that boundary.
And how do we deal with those that push abuse past the “acceptable” places?
I am currently friends with someone who pushes my verbal boundaries all over the place.  To be fair, though I would never have been ok with some of the things that are said, I wouldn’t have been so emotionally torn over them before the last two years.  I have never been ok with the nigger, ho, etc., being thrown out every fourth word in a sentence, but I have tolerated when people around me have spoken like that, saying to myself, “it’s the vernacular”.
But, it’s the vernacular of people who have been oppressed and degraded to a point that these derogatory words are put into common language, in order not to be hurt by it.  I own these words so they don’t hurt when you say them.  Because, guess what, words really do hurt.  Even the rhyme is meant to deflect, push away the hurt that comes from people saying mean things to each other.

It’s a verbal avoidance display of the hierarchy that comes with divide and conquer societies.
And I can’t handle it.  I can’t listen to it.  I don’t want it around me.  I screams in my face about so many things that are wrong about how we raise our children in this society, how we have it set up to raise them, even when we are doing everything “right”.
Reading through some of my light summer reading… (haha) I ran across this from Chris Biffle;

“Listen carefully to how rebellious students talk to each other… there is a continuous struggle for hierarchy, authority and power inside their group. They support each other out of fear of not being supported and of being ostracized, but their ongoing battles build up enormous reserves of bitter energy.

…harassing each other is their way of life, the way they maintain rank in their group. Think of a clique of challenging students this way: you’ve got Leaders, Followers and Bottom Dwellers. There is usually one Leader, call him El Supremo (or La Suprema, if you wish) and many Followers and Bottom Dwellers. El Supremo maintains his position by harassing Followers and Bottom Dwellers. Followers maintain their position by harassing other Followers and Bottom Dwellers. Bottom Dwellers maintain their position by harassing each other, and, when it is safe, joining in the harassment of Followers who are being harassed by other Followers and/ or El Supremo. So, these cliques are small societies that run on humiliation, intimidation and reprisal. They are only truly united when they face Outsiders, especially Outsiders who are in Authority.”

Biffle, Chris. Whole Brain Teaching

Add to that how society teaches our boys not to feel any emotions outside the “be a man” box.  Which btw, not feeling emotion is a part of a sociopaths profile.

Think about that for a minute.

And I guess that brings me to the sociopath that I had the misfortune to connect with, John Goosen.

The last few days I was in Mozambique, the every ready and apparently effective, “I’ve got an illness, feel sorry for me” tact was thrown and hooked into the people that I should have been able to count on to help me.  The available, yet meaningless tears as he said his I’m so sorry, to them.  Said he was diagnosed as a sociopath, and had decided to go off his meds when he left for Mozambique the year before.  (Though to my knowledge there is no such thing as a medication for sociopaths.)  His sorry for them having to take me in, his sorry for my putting everyone out.  He shouldn’t have been so aggressive, but he didn’t understand why I was causing everyone else to have difficulties because of it.

It’s a ploy.  It’s not real.  It’s meant to distract and diffuse.  Once he was “sick”, I became “unreasonable”.  I became the abuser because I needed help, and kept demanding justice for what he had done.  People don’t want to see abuse so much so, that they will turn on the victims even while they’re still black and blue.

And interestingly enough, I am watching this same style of scenario play out, yet-a-freaking-gain.  And again, the players involved are magically unable to see the power hungry abuser for what he is.  He keeps everything clean and above board around the people he needs to.   Shakes the right hands, greases the right wheels. He’s got just enough twisted around the players just below those, uses just enough of the looking like a good guy, says what they want to hear, and bam, they turn their head to everything else; the abuse of power, position, the verbal abuses, and yes, even the physical abuses.  Just choose not to see it, not to do anything about it, and in fact keep him right where he is because they choose to see only the “look like a good guy” things.

Frankly I’m amazed at how easily we choose to see what we want, opposed to what is.  I kinda still wish I could.

My ex-husband always looked like the good guy to people at church, or work.  No one could believe the things that he would do at home when only his family was around.  And I played my part as well.  I was the happy wife when others were around.  I was the one who caused any issues.  I took all the blame, until I didn’t any more.

Then it got worse.  Until I stopped playing the game, started seeing the truth instead of what I wanted to see, it escalated only slightly through time.  But then it escalated rapidly.

And even after I left, he played on everyone.  “I’m so worried about her, what is she doing?  Do you know where she goes?  I need your help to help her”.

I guess this is just a general rant……   but the main point I’m seeing in this rant is

We need to wake up and start looking at truth.  The real truth.  And change it.

Fear of the unknown is powerful, and that’s what we’re heading into.  All of us are living in a world that is rapidly deteriorating as an inhabitable place.  All of us will be dealing with how to get basic necessities like clean water and uncontaminated food before too long.

Sadly, we need to see how we treat each other faster than we need to see how to treat our power supplies.  

Because once we’re in the depths of the struggle for our collective lives, how we treat each other will be the final determiner.  How quick we are to just blow each other up instead of share and compromise and work together will be the truth that decides if we all die or find a way to live on.

Being all in for me and mine will leave a very lonely planet.

So how do we wake up?  How do we help others wake up?

I hear, “that’s just how it is”  “stop being so sensitive” “this is how it’s always been, since the beginning of time” and it makes me want to vomit.

Yes, of course this is how it has always been, why do you think it is so deeply entrenched in EVERYTHING.  But that DOES NOT mean that it needs to remain so.

Our world is all filled up with people.  We don’t need to go conquer new lands any more.  We have automatic everything, we don’t need to enslave people anymore.  We live in a globally connected and political world, we don’t need to have wars any more.  We have complex languages and lots of people that can speak any number of them, we don’t have to have language barriers and lack of communication any more.  We are not living in the same scope as the people who created these hierarchical systems were.  We don’t need them any more.

Yes, it’s been this way for 4000 years, ok.  Truth is truth, but WE DON’T NEED TO ANY MORE.

I don’t need to stop being so sensitive.

We need to help others become more sensitive.  Not only do women need to stop ” remembering their place”, men need to stop “being men”.  Let’s all just be people.  People who don’t subscribe to the -ism’s, don’t teach them to our children.  Let’s be people who work together for the greater good.  Let’s be people who leave a better world for our children, a world without abuses.

#noonedeservesvolence

I guess I need to just keep writing.  Whether or not I want to, and then what ever is supposed to come out will.  I’m trusting in my guides, who have been sending me every thing they have to tell me to write on here, so I will.

Peace and love to you all!

 

The Pendulum

The Pendulum

Today, this morning, my heart is heavy.  My soul is crying.  Every place I go, people harm each other.  The -ism’s abound. Racism, sexism, ageism, etc.  The historic ruling method of betterism is as rampant today as it has always been.

I am better than you.  My god is better than yours.  My house is better, my land is better, my job is better, my skin color is better.  My army is better than yours.  My views are better than yours.  And so the Pendulum swings.

Pendulum

One side getting pulled up, having maximum potential.  And as he comes crashing down at those below him, he meets resistance.  The other side demands, cries out that they must be equally high!

And they are right.  But, if they only want to be equally high on a Pendulum that swings back and forth, with brute force in the middle as they meet, only transferring energy from side to side. No one wins.  Equality will never be found.

We HAVE to stop the Pendulum.  We have to get off the ride.

depositphotos_10208334-Pendulum-ride-at-the-amusement-park.jpg

On this ride, no one gets to be equal in anything except their turn at fear.

We are passengers on the Divide and Conquer Pendulum, throwing insults and violence as we careen back and forth on the fear ride.

And this isn’t even a fair assessment.  White Privilege makes one side heavier.  White Male Privilege makes it even heavier.

The Pendulum is only being swung from one direction, knocking into everything else, causing only chaotic energy at the bottom, enabling a few to get pushed upward on the other side of all those in the middle, who are just getting smashed into, feeling the energy moving through them, with no way to get anywhere with it.

All the -ism’s are different ends on the same ride, different end balls getting smashed into by the same originating force.

Many people say I can’t understand what it is to be a black American.  That is undeniably true for the most part.  But, as a woman, I can understand more than you give me credit for.  All women, regardless of color know harassment just by being women.  We know the victim blaming that will come no matter how we were dressed or behaving. We know the fear and risk of deciding to walk down a street alone.

No, I cannot completely understand.  I cannot.  I know that as well.  My status as a white woman has given me privilege, that even as much as I understand, still provides me with more just because I am white.

But I can and do empathize with a great deal of understanding.  And because of that, I also know that the only way for all of us to get equality, is to stop swinging the Pendulum.  To get off the damn ride. To refuse to play.  To STOP killing, harming, insulting, and believing in the betterisms.

YES, it is far more dependent on those who have the privilege to stop swinging their balls.  I know.  I fight for it all the time.  I get into discussions regularly with people who say “I’m not racist.  I’m not privileged. I have black friends.  I treat girls well.”  Who also catcall and judge every girl walking down the street.  Calls anyone or anything that doesn’t behave they way the want a “nigger”.  People who turn their backs on, or blame Person A when a tragedy strikes, because Person A should have …..  People who blame ALL of this group because a few did something horrific.  People, everyday people, riding the ride, comfortable in their discomfort because it’s what they know.

We need to get uncomfortable.  We need to be willing to throw away Betterism first.  Once that one is gone, we can show that all the other ism’s are a form of betterism, and they too can be discarded.  Then, can we look at each other as equal.  Equal in our decision to get off the ride.  Equal in our humanity.  Equal in our choice to stop giving our money and time to fear of not being ‘as good as’.  Because, ‘not as good as’, is a strand of betterism, it’s the fear of not being enough, of being unworthy, of not being significant, of being deprived.  Betterism hits all the basic human fears.  And all negative actions begin in one of these fears.

fears

 

We need to be brave, face our fears, be accepting of each other, stop, JUST STOP needing to be better than in order to feel self-worth. And for Pete’s sake, STOP KILLING EACH OTHER.  STOP BEING VIOLENT.

I support the #BlackLivesMatter movement in part because I have a black son, but more importantly because any mother of a black child shouldn’t feel guilt for having had their child, shouldn’t feel fear every time they leave the house, and shouldn’t have to go to  their child’s funeral because someone else couldn’t face their own fears, and chose to be violent instead.

#noonedeservesviolence  NO ONE.

We have had amazing leaders who proved that peaceful protest is better than war, better than violence, unites instead of disenfranchises, and gets things done quicker.  When the aggressor feels there is justification in being aggressive, it only strengthens the viciousness of the cycle.  Peaceful unity, standing together in all of our understanding that we don’t really know how to do it just right because we’ve never had an example of how to before.  All we know is that we want to give our children a future that doesn’t involve the Pendulum; a future where we have stepped off the ride; a future where we are equal, blessed in our diversity, but equal in our humanity.

My hope and prayer is that enough people feel the same, that we can collectively get off the ride quickly.

Love and light to you all.

 

An open letter to my children: Life is a learning process, so learn the good and let go of the rest.

To my beautiful adult babies,

Once upon a time I held you deep inside me.  I cradled you and kept you safe.  I loved you from the second I knew you were.  That hasn’t changed one bit.  I still hold you deep inside my heart, cradled and safe in my love.

I didn’t always do everything right as you grew up, but I tried, and I’m glad.  I always did the best I knew how to at the time.  I wanted to do my best for you.  You brought out the best in me.

I gave you everything, all of me, especially when you were little.  I was always there.  I rarely let you cry because I was right there for you.  Every moment that you looked for me, I was there.  I wasn’t anything for myself, I was only your mother.  I spent every moment doing all I could to help you see how loved, wanted, cared for, and cherished you were.

But because there wasn’t any part of me that was just for me, I allowed abuse to grow.  I turned a blind eye, justified, and felt I had to lie in the bed I’d made.  Because I didn’t nourish me, I didn’t know who I was or how to be, or how to stand up for myself or you.  Because I had become so dependent, because I didn’t believe in myself, I stayed longer than I should have.  Once I saw how far it had gone, how much it was becoming part of how you saw the world, I knew I had to stop it.  For your sake, I found a way to stand up.  Because I love you, I looked for a way to discover me.

I ended a heartless place so that you could have two places that could love you, instead of one that sent the message that abuse was ok.  I love you, so I fought for you.  I can only account for my place, and for my place, I gave you all I had to give; discovering and maintaining only the smallest part of me, for me.  Thankfully, you have also received love from your fathers home.

I gave you everything I could.  I fought for what I feel were injustices toward you.  I fought for continuity, for safety, for fairness.  I held you when you felt the pains that came from the unfairness and purposeful deprivation meant to punish me through you.  I tried to support you and let you feel the freedom to be yourself that I had never felt.  I cried for and with you as the abuses changed but continued.  And I started to search for myself.

I should never have given up all of me.  It made me blind to the beginnings, the place where I could have stopped the abuses before they affected you all so much.  I should have finished school no matter what I was told back then.  I should have gone to College even when you were all little.  I should have not made you so dependent on my being there for everything, instead of helping you know you can stand on your own feet, feeling that you could trust yourself.  I should have maintained enough self that I could have stood up for you when you were little, and stood up for myself from the beginning.

Not everything was bad.  I am grateful for all the love and good that has happened in both homes.  I am grateful that much of the abuse has abated and that you feel loved by both your parents.  I am grateful that you have multiple places you can feel cared for, wanted, and safe.  I am grateful for the many examples you’ve been given over your lives of the good in people.  You have strong characters in your life to draw example from.  It is ok to see the bad, walk away from the bad, and still love the person.  Often the reason I hurt so much is because the pain was being sent from someone I cared about, someone you cared about.  But that doesn’t take away from the good.  You have been given much good along with the abuse.  One does not negate the other.  Appreciate the good, always.

Learn from my mistakes.  When you go into your future, your relationships, maintain YOU.  Remember who you are without anyone else, who you are all by yourself.  Be ok by yourself.  Determine the things that are important to you, and don’t compromise them for your partner.  Get your education, get experience that will help you maintain you.  Those two things, education and experience, are the only things no one can ever take from you, without killing you.  Don’t make anyone dependent on you and don’t be dependent on anyone else.  Make sure that you can survive without anyone’s help.

Build yourself up so that you can be a good person, friend, partner, and parent.  Don’t give up who you are to be in a relationship, add to who you are, and be the kind of partner that adds to who they are.  Don’t accept manipulation, coercion, degradation, belittling, threats, or any form of abuse from anyone, but especially not from the people you love.  Know who you are-so you are not easily swayed by others. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others.

And also learn from the things I did right.  Let everyone be who they are.  Support those you love.  Fight for those you love.  Maintain boundaries for yourself and for others.  Set yourself routines and goals. Get your education and go see the world.  Learn from your mistakes instead of lashing yourself over them.  Recognize your strengths AND your weaknesses.  Listen to people, watch people, and learn from everyone around you.  Try your very best to put aside your ego and think what it must be like in their shoes, think from their perspective.  Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others.  (yes, these two are both things I did wrong and things I did right)

Recognize and stay away from abuse and abusive people.  Don’t be an abusive person.  Reflect on yourself and see where you can change things.  It’s not only ok, it’s really important to reinvent yourself as you mature.  Look for the good in people, it’s usually there.  Give a few chances, but not so many that it becomes acceptable.  Know how to walk away with dignity.  Stand up for what you believe in.  Know how to step in with full intention and love.

And, learn from others.  Learn from those you love, those you like, and those you don’t like.  Sometimes we don’t like something in someone else because we’re hiding that same thing from ourselves.  Take a look; see if that’s the case before making a rash decision.  Understand that people will hardly ever see the real you because they are living their own lives, and that’s ok.  First impressions are rarely real and other people’s opinions are only their own.  Get to know someone before making any decisions about them.  Become friends with everyone.  Sit down and have real discussions with people.  Watch others for the sake of learning, not comparing and judging.

You are all adults now and the transition is complete.  Who you continue to become, how you choose to treat yourself and others is on you.  You have good and bad influences from everyone in your life so far.   You get to choose what influences to keep or to let go.  Letting go of a certain trait or way of doing things is not letting go of the person that demonstrated it.  I hope there are things that you choose not to follow my steps in, because I know there are better ways now too.  I hope you see things that you do choose to follow my lead in.

Life as an adult isn’t always easy, in fact, quite possibly, it is rarely easy.  We’re here to learn, we’re here to become the best we can be.  So don’t give up.  You’re better than that; you’re worth more than that.

Being a mom isn’t easy.  I’ve cried and felt like I was ripping apart over your lives at times.  I don’t see that changing, I care as deeply as any mother can.  I’m not the mother of children anymore, I’m the mother of adults.  It’s a weird new universe we exist in now, and I’m excited for what it can bring.  As we all go about living our adult lives, creating our own spaces and ways of being, the most important part of our relationship will be communication.

I’m grateful for the wonderful communication we’ve had most of your lives.  I think we’ve been luckier than most in that department.  It will be even more important now, so make sure you do your part.  We are all each other’s support system, don’t be the weak link in the system.  Let’s stay lucky.

Every day I am grateful that I am your mom.  I was blessed with three wonderful souls to care for.   My love for you is how I have finally come to find and love me.  I am who I am because of each of you.  And I maintain who I am so that you can have a better example than I gave before

Go be the best you can be.  Draw the best from all your resources, let go of the things that harm you and others.  I am proud of the people you are and excited to see who you continue to become.

 

I love you,

Mom

 

 

Understanding how deep we are invested into the abusive cycles.

Understanding how deep we are invested into the abusive cycles.

Once upon a time I loved Elvis Presley.  My parents played his music all the time.  I knew every hit song by heart.  My sisters and brother and I would swing dance in the living room to Elvis and lots of other oldies.  His musical movies were a highlight to my not so light childhood.

Fast forward through troubled early teens and into an abusive marriage and through to finally getting divorced.  On the upside of that fast forward, I was lucky enough to have been a full-time at home mother to my three amazing children.

So those first few years of their spending every other weekend away from me, were exceptionally difficult.  Not just because they were the first times in their lives I’d ever been apart from them for more than a school day, but also because I knew they were spending the weekend with a man I had divorced because of his violent, manipulative, controlling and harmful behaviors.

I can’t even describe the first weekend.  But I made a plan, of sorts, for the next few.  And one of those included going to my childhood happy place and watching an Elvis marathon.  I rented every Elvis movie at the Blockbuster down the road.  Yes, back in 2002 Blockbuster was still open.

I made popcorn.  I got Twizzlers.  I was set to get through a weekend in a happy place that ignored the real world and existed in song, dance, and “the good ‘ol days”.

And then I started watching and what caught my eye, even back then when the self-loving person was just being formed.  When I was barely learning how to see abuse for abuse, I stopped watching after the 4th movie. I had seen Elvis hit a girl in every one and couldn’t handle that reality.

Here I was finally learning it wasn’t ok to BE in a situation where daily concern for what would happen was normal.  I was finally learning how to stand up for myself and not accept abusive behaviors.  And I here in my happy place, I was seeing that it was in fact ok and accepted by one of my childhood idols.

In my last post a fellow blogger and Elvis lover mentioned that he does not hit a girl in every one of his movies.  At first I was going to re-watch them and check for myself, to make sure, because I did make a blanket statement.

However, I feel that even if he doesn’t hit a girl in every single movie, which I will easily admit I may have exaggerated with saying every single one, the comments on the blog I feel prove my point better than describing the movies.

This is in NO way a personal note.  This blogger’s comments represent the ideology I was addressing in the last post, the idea that we are all in on this brain washed, brain washing dance of abusive cycles.

It’s not her, but she helps illuminate how we’re caught up, how often we don’t recognize the beginnings, the first ways that we are taught how to be victims and that violence is acceptable.

So please, be understanding and know that I am not using the comments in a personal way, but in a so many people think this way she just happened to be the one that said it, it’s not about her it’s about what the comments represent generically.

“….he only hits ronnie to try to revive……The Trouble with Girls is to sober Sheree North up –

and he also disiplne spanks a girl in Blue Hawaii and threatens a spanking in Fun in Acapulco –

it’s the response to girls too young and otherwise, it’d the girl actying hysterical….”

Part of  me is crying on the inside because I know that I used to believe that there were acceptable forms of violence as well.  It has been one of the most difficult processes within myself to see how deeply I have been invested into abusive cycles.  It is overwhelming to see how deep we are all invested in them.

I am also very lucky to have been in many more non-violent situations than violent ones, as an adult.

Because of that luck I can say with full knowledge that there is NO reason to revive, sober up, or discipline a girl with violence.

I have passed out from drinking too much and been revived without a single hit or smack to any part of my body.  I was revived with gentle hands pushing hair out of my face, a glass of water to my lips and requests to drink.  I was revived with a helping shoulder to get me to stand up.

I had a seizure in Mozambique when I got Typhoid Fever.  I was not revived with any form of violence, not even a shout.  I came to with people around me worriedly saying my name, holding my head, and basically protecting me.

I have had multiple panic attacks since my attack/ assault in Mozambique.  None of which were met with a smack to calm me down.  In fact, I think I would have completely lost my mind if someone had smacked me at that point.  And not in the mental institution way.  People spoke calmly to me, helped me get my breathing under control through their words and their own breathing.  They sat beside or spoke with me on the phone.  No one even hinted at thinking about smacking me, even when I seemed completely hysterical.

And, unless you are playing out an agreed upon sexual role play fantasy, there is absolutely NO time it’s ok to spank, (even if I was ok with spanking small children), a full grown girl because you think she’s misbehaving.  It is violence meant to assert dominance and superiority.

I don’t need to watch any more Elvis movies to show that they did their work.

The idea that there are acceptable times and forms of violence against women continues to be imbedded into our generation.  Spanking, hitting, smacking are all ways to hurt, intimidate, remind of “place”, and dominate.  None of them are ok.

They are not even ok with children.  We are not our children’s dominators – we are their teachers.  We shouldn’t try to control their actions and commit them to submission to what we think is right for them.  We need to teach them to discern what is right for themselves and how to think through situations to make their own conscious decisions for their behaviors.  They are not our property, we are their mentors.  We are how they learn to adult.

Hitting children teaches distrust and fear.  It also teaches them to believe there are acceptable forms of violence.

The beginnings of the cycle are difficult to discern because it’s a circle, it’s the chicken and the egg.   But the only way to stop it, is to see it.  We, as a society, are so very deeply rooted in these cycles that it’s extraordinarily difficult to see the pattern.

SO I ask you to rethink the answer to the question:

Why did the chicken cross the road?

So she didn’t get eaten.

That chicken finally realized that no matter the amount of feed, hay, barnyard fun with the rooster, or whatever else made its life the norm it knew; that chicken finally realized at the end of the day it was going to get eaten, so it left.

Elvis, is not to blame for the violence in his movies.  He didn’t write them, he only acted and sang in them.  And, he is also a product of the ideology that violence against ‘people seen as less than you’ is acceptable.

We all have the moments when we feel that someone is less than we are.  We are taught to.  If we hadn’t been taught to for generations, there would be no reason to have to bring awareness to the rights of others.

We have to bring these awarenesses because, through White Privilege, we have been socially conditioned to believe that any one not a white, affluent, heterosexual, Christian male belongs in a hierarchy of ‘LESS THAN’s’.

We have to bring awareness to minority rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, etc because we are ‘the less than’s’.  Through standard Divide and Conquer practices, all the ‘less than’s’ are fighting separately and therefore remain less than.

And we all subscribe to it.

Minority women and non-minority women are fighting over whose women’s rights are more valid to fight for.  Though the LGBT community stands together on some fights there are still the lesbian activists that are anti-man, gay or not.  There are gay people who are racist and black women against immigration rights; the list goes on and on.  One of my very good friends fights hard for LGBT rights, but still thinks the Confederate flag, a symbol for fighting against the US government in order to maintain slavery, should fly proudly – because that’s what he was raised with.

If the Confederate flag had represented fighting the US government to maintain enslaving anyone identifying as gay, he would think differently about that flag.  But the divide and conquer approach works really well.

We remain glued to what we’ve been taught, right or wrong, even while trying to fight for our own power back.  Our need for habit and creature comfort keep us in the cycle, keep us from seeing the cycle, keep us divided, and keep us abusing and victimizing each other.

Violence is one major part of the abuses that keep the ‘less than’s’ subdued, controllable, and less than.

We, all of us, have to see abuse as abuse and stop it.  We have to see all forms of violence as abuse, and stop it.

There are no acceptable forms of violence.

No one is above consequence for violence.

No one deserves to live in fear.

No one deserves violence in their lives.

What do you think?

.

 
 
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