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Category Archives: domestic violence

Don’t disrespect me.

When I’m teaching beginning English learners about verbs, I categorize them into 4 basic types; state, do, feel, and think.

A state verb is basic ‘to be’; I am (a woman, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, alive), I am — years old, I live in –. Your basic states of being…

A do verb is whatever you do….   Run, eat, play, sleep, etc.  Feel verbs are happy, like, love, angry, wishful, etc.  And a think verb is along the lines of want, plan, consider, believe.

So, what is respect?  For me, respect is a think.  Respectful can be a feel or a do, or even a state, but actual respect is a think.

And along the lines of you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself first, I believe that you can’t respect someone else until you respect yourself.

So how would I define respect?  I find it difficult to define think verbs without using variations of the word, but if I had to choose one synonym it would be equality.

When I believe that the life of another is equal to mine, I respect that life.  Which, when turned around, if I believe that someone else’s life has more worth than mine, I cannot fully respect myself.  If I believe that my life has more value than someone else’s, I can also not fully respect myself, because then I have subscribed to a value system that ranks life value, which automatically places me on a spectrum, in which I can be less than, putting me right back at unable to fully respect myself.

So, in my definition,

Respect is the belief of equal value of life, its states, thoughts, feelings, and actions.

When I feel respected I feel as if I am seen with equal value.  When I feel disrespected, I feel that I am seen as having less value, by the other person.

This concept of respect, it is something I think about a lot.  I’ve been through enough situations, seen enough abuse in my life, that I’m constantly trying to figure out how to respect myself and others, without being victimized.

Can someone be respectful without having respect?  Yes.  Doing a respectful action is part of social manners.  Someone can know and perform all the social manners without having ‘the think’ of respect for the other people they are performing those manners around.  Abusers use that skill very, very well.

Abusers are sure to point out all the “nice” or “good” things they do, trying to prove they’re a good person.  Look at this thing I did.  I do everything for you.  Watch me do this good thing, see I’m good.  I got this for you.  I did that for you.   I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I would never hurt you, remember all those good things I do?  Those prove what a good person I am.

But see, abusers don’t respect themselves or the people they abuse.  They’re trying to stay on top to prove they’re not less than anyone else.  There’s a deep need to be seen as being good, that people who respect themselves and others don’t have.  In my experience, people with high levels of respect don’t have to point out the good they do.  They hardly even recognize their respectful behavior as anything but just what should be done.  There’s no need within themselves to prove they are good, they just are good.  It becomes a state verb, not just a think verb.

Abusers, in my opinion, have subscribed to a rather stark value system; one with very few steps between, a rather black and white system.  They need to feel as if they are seen at the top of that system, because they feel that they’re not.  They make sure to use more, have more, be more so they aren’t seen as less.

And they see their victims as lower.  They test, and then pick people that have more respect, who subscribe to a much different view of the value system.  Isn’t that the crazy thing, I think to myself all the time; the people who respect others, who value the people around them, treat people well, fairly, respectfully, those are the people preyed on by abusers.

Truly, I think that if we subscribe to a value system on life at all, we are all, at some point or another, within a wide range of abuser and victim.  But, it has really struck me that the people who respect the lives of others, treat others the way they want to be treated, are caring, empathetic, giving, those are the people most often targeted by abusers for relationships.

It’s a weird kind of circle, abusers feel afraid of being less, so they make others feel less, to feel like they are more.  If you stay, you are clearly less because the abusiveness is tolerated.  But….. at the beginning, it’s tolerated because of the very respect for others that makes them a target.

And if you show any kind of equality, then they must knock you down to make sure you are less.  Insults become more personal, more derogatory.  Threats become more realistic.  And, I’m sorry’s become more frequent.

Sociopaths and narcissists aside, the abuser feels bad for being abusive, making them feel bad about themselves, perpetuating the need to make you feel bad, so they can feel good, which cycles around and around and around.

The nice side of an abuser can only be seen for a limited time though.  An abuser can only allow themselves to be seen as not having the power for short amounts of time.  Those short amounts of time are a manipulation, a way to stop the consequence of losing their victim; win them over again, prove how good they are again, be equal again.; because they want the respect, from their victim, that they can’t give themselves.

That respect then becomes demanded for.  Respect me.  Look at everything I do.  I’ve been good, now respect me.  I’ve been respectful, respect me.  Respect me -or I won’t do these things -or I’ll take these things away -or I’ll make you fear me.  Fear=respect right?

Once those cycles have repeated enough….. it can, and often does become more than threats, more than derogatory slights.

People who haven’t seen these cycles, in all their stages and multiple wraps around a relationship, struggle to understand.  But it really comes down to value, equality, and respect.

 

I continue to stretch out and increase the many increments of the value system, trying to get as close to the zero point on this half-life depreciation.  I meditate and pray for help to respect myself, by seeing the intrinsic value of all life around me, as well as preserving my self-respect by not allowing others to treat me as less than.

I’m not finding it very easy.  Power is a corrupter for those who don’t respect themselves or others.  I do not seek out power.  Others see that as weakness.  I am open about my short-comings, because I want to learn, not because I think I am less than, but others see that as a weakness.  They cannot see their own faults, and so shift the repercussions of their faults to me, blaming me, saying she even says she has faults, this is her fault.

Because I do not seek out power, does not mean I don’t have power.

I have my power, my control of self.  I do not need to control others, because I understand that any form of trying to control someone else, is abuse.  But others see that as weakness.

 

I am not weak.

 

I keep getting up, and I learn.  I learn and I grow.  I have been getting stronger and stronger.

 

Just like learning a language requires repetition, practical experience, and meaningful use, so does truly learning respect.

I’m confident I can say, I respect me.

I respect you too, so understand that means that I won’t accept your disrespect of me or others.

I’ve spent a life time earning my own respect through giving, forgiveness, educating myself, kindness, tolerance, and doing my best to understand even those people who have hurt me terribly.  I’m not perfect.  I still have trouble fully shaking the value system.  I have spent a lot of time working through that system to get where I am now.  I still have much to learn; but I respect myself enough to understand I don’t know it all.  I respect others enough to know that I can learn from them, I can talk with them, I can share with them, without ever needing to hurt them, belittle them, or make them feel less than.

This is my life in words.  I keep writing about abuse, learning, traveling, and being me.  Glimpses into my head means glimpses into my progressions through healing.  It’s a freaking process man.

Maybe someone out there today needs to read that they’re not alone in trying to understand respect.

Maybe it was watching the special on the Dalai Lama…..  maybe it’s just my life right now……

Whatever it is,

Light and love to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We are no longer establishing ourselves as the brightest beacon for freedom or opportunity.

I will never forget my children’s words that day.

I remember where I was when I got a phone call from a friend, who knows I don’t watch much television, and especially not news.  It was early in the morning; the kids had just left for school.  I was cleaning up breakfast.

Turn on your television.

What? Why?

Just turn it on, I don’t even have words, I can’t…. just turn it on.  Turn on the news.

And then, hours of staring in disbelief as one of the Twin Towers was in flames after being plowed through with an airplane.  Then the second airplane. The second Tower. The people running covered in dust and ash.  The horror.  The tears and emotions I couldn’t even describe or put reason to.

I lost all track of time until my youngest son, only in Kindergarten, so only half days at school, came in the front door.  It took me a second to register that he was standing at the door looking at me.  I immediately called him over to the couch to sit with me.  I put my hands on his head, kissed his head, his face, and pulled him close.

How are you?  Did you see what happened?  Did they say anything at school?

Mommy, it’s so sad.

I know Boo.

He turned at looked at the TV, stared for a minute.  I could see so many thoughts going through his young mind.

What are you thinking?

There are so many kids without their mommies or daddies.  So many kids that won’t get hugged tonight.

This child blew me away.  I thank the stars for his incredibly sensitive teachers.  I don’t know that he came to that realization on his own or with their help, but I do know that if they had not been very sensitive to the fact that they had very young and impressionable children in their care, while they were trying to deal with their own emotions that morning, he could have had a very different outlook that day.

Those words would be enough, the enlightened realization that other children would be not just suffering, but unable to find comfort from their parents.

But, from the mouths of babes we find real truth.  I’ve told this story before, maybe 20 times.  But it has not felt more poignant than today.

President Bush came on the television later that night.  The kids and I all watching, listening as he said “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

Then, as the President ended his speech, he quoted a bible verse and said, “May God Bless America”.

Now, I am perfectly fine with that in general.  I believe that if you are American, you should pray to whatever your version of God is, that America stays safe.  That’s cool.  I’m even ok with the President quoting a bible verse, even though I do feel there is a little mixing of church and state in that, which by all technicality shouldn’t really be done. But, since the President is Christian, and he is doing his praying to his belief of who God is, ok, he’s entitled as well as any of us.

What surprised me, and has stuck with me is my oldest son, then 11 years old, looking at me, a million questions in his eyes, and saying,

Didn’t the people who flew the planes into the Towers do it because they think their God is better?

Sort of.  These people were very extreme, but yes, they claim they did it because we don’t have the same faith.

Then why would the President say God bless America? Isn’t he doing the same thing?  Isn’t he saying our God is better than theirs? Won’t they come do something else to prove their God is better?

And then my 3 young children and I had a pretty incredible conversation about how the pilgrims first came here to flee religious persecution, and why that was the main reason our Founding Fathers created a government that was separate from any church, so that religion would not guide the way our country ruled itself; allowing the tired, poor, huddled, homeless and tempest tossed because they understood that religion can rule the home, but should not rule the state.

We talked about how the President’s words could make people like those who flew those planes want to hurt us more, but that freedom is what our country is standing for, not God.  That’s why we have freedom of religion here.  Some people don’t want freedom for everyone, they want to control everyone instead; and very often they use religion to control. Being ruled by one religion is exactly the opposite of what our country stands for.  Freedom is what our country is founded on and what we hope to preserve.

It has been so difficult to watch the events of the last year, as the freedom our country stands for is being turned on its heels, when the words of President Bush,

“A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

“Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened.”   (Emphasis added),

have been twisted and turned in on themselves.

We are now in a time when our beacon of freedom and opportunity have been shut off.  Our doors are being shut to the religiously persecuted.  We’re pushing out or shutting down anyone that doesn’t suit the religious beliefs of the ruling party, fit the physical description of the ruling party, or the ‘class’ of the ruling party.

We’re being regularly lied to, gaslighted, slight-of-handed, and fed a stream of incompetence disguised in power.

On one level, this has been very good for the awakening of the people to see how we just haven’t come as far as we thought.  Merely pushing things under the rug, doesn’t make them go away.  Hiding under “that’s just the way it is”, isn’t going to work anymore.

Now more than ever we need the prayers, to whoever you see as God, to pray for America to make it through this intact.  Those who help build our country, feed our country, and strengthen our country, have had their sense of security and safety threatened… by our own government.

Those lucky of you not to feel threatened by this, try to understand that just because you don’t feel threatened, doesn’t mean no one else does.

We are no longer establishing ourselves as the brightest beacon for freedom or opportunity.  Our government is trying to close off entrance to our bright minds, our families, our doctors, scientists, our workers, that come from Muslim countries our government doesn’t have business interests in, or Mexico because “they’re not like us”.

Our government is not only trying to rule using religious beliefs as a motivator, it’s trying to push an elitist, xenophobic, misogynistic back-peddle.

I know it’s going to hurt a lot of feelings out there, but America is not a Christian nation.  We are a nation that allows freedom of religion.  Our founding fathers separated church and state on purpose, so that we could not have a national or state religion.  You cannot claim to stand by the Constitution and also say America is a Christian nation.  You can’t, it’s not true; the First Amendment makes that idea illegitimate.

Church can rule the home, but it should not rule the state.  Choose to or not to use birth control, depending on your beliefs, but NOBODY’s personal religious beliefs should be determining the choice of other Americans.

I don’t believe in abortion personally, I have never had one, but my belief should not rule out the ability of another woman to make that heartbreaking choice.  It’s their choice.  Let God do his own work in the end, it’s His/Her/It’s decision on who is ultimately “heaven” worthy, not ours.

I understand the concept of it being murder, but while there is no viable ability for the fetus to live outside the womb, it’s inside her body.  That gives her the choice to choose how to best take care of her body.  Some people take vitamins, some people take a prescription to keep their bodies and minds healthy.  Sometimes, a woman may need to terminate an unplanned pregnancy to keep her body and mind healthy.  It’s never an easy choice, it’s not made lightly, and it’s none of anyone else’s business.  Trying to create laws about abortion is a religious verdict, and has no right to be part of our country’s laws as such.  And planned parenthood does SO MUCH MORE than abortion services.  Abortion counseling, that happens before any services are rendered, clearly indicate and elaborate on options other than abortion.  Planned Parenthood also offers adoption counseling….

They say it’s so unfair that Muslim men “make” their women wear hijabs, (to cover themselves, to protect themselves from unwarranted stares).  They must stay covered up? That is terrible.  That is abuse of male power.

But, yet it’s acceptable to “make” someone have a child, no matter the circumstances.  No matter their ability to emotionally or physically or financially take care of the child.  It’s acceptable to “make” someone risk getting pregnant, risk getting sexually transmitted diseases, risk not detecting breast cancer.  That’s ok.

It’s morally right to have no option for gynecological health care, but to make someone wear a head covering, no.

And yet, a woman who is raped, will be asked that horrible victim-blaming first question, “What were were wearing?”

They say it’s so unfair that Muslim men “don’t allow” their women to have freedom.  They must be accompanied always.  They’re under their man’s thumb constantly; that’s so terrible. That is abuse of male power.

But yet, it’s acceptable to “not allow” women to have a legal foundation to argue upholding or gaining their legal rights as citizens, because American citizens are still allowed to be treated differently by gender.  Women face far more difficulty fighting for their rights as citizens, if those rights have been violated because they are women. The government can still pass laws that consider men and women as different kinds of citizens.   Yes, still. Yes, in America.

I don’t want any more terrorists in America.  But I sure don’t want an America that sits inside its walls shivering in fear either.  That’s what Shrump is trying to do.

‘Everyone that doesn’t fit into the plan, OUT.’  ‘Quick! build the walls, their coming to get us!’  ‘Aren’t we great?  Look all the bad guys are out there now.’ ‘America first, America only.’ ‘Why doesn’t anybody like us? We’ve been so good to them before.  Look at all those good things we did, very good things, the greatest things, that’s why we’re great.’ ‘Fine, we’ll show them!’

All the -isms are being put out in full force for the masses to feed on.  It’s so familiar.  We’re ok, the -isms don’t affect us.  The -isms are only going to find the bad guys. Only bad guys fall into the -isms, and they’re all bad guys.  Sure, there’ll be a couple mistakes along the way, but it will be mostly the bad guys.

America, wake up.

Please.

This isn’t going to make America great.  It’s going to make America fall.

I want a great America, for my children, for my future grandchildren.  I want a great America.

But, for that to happen, we need our beacon turned back on.  We need to stand for freedom and equality for ALL. We need to have compassion, dialogue, and a standing respect of the land.  Greatness does not come from supreme powers, greatness comes from shared values, mutual respect and understanding.

It certainly doesn’t come from cozying up to Putin, or devaluing the media, or having no ascertainable ability to tell the truth, or repeating propaganda, or hiding personal ties to whatever, or telling everybody in the world fack off, America first, or religious persecution, or racial profiling, or any of the astounding non-American things that have happened in what is days away from only the first MONTH of Shrumps administration.

This guy is what is going to make people like those who flew those planes want to come back again, not saying God bless America.

 

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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.

 

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day to all of you.

Though it is a day to celebrate women, it is also a day to remember.  A day to remember strong women like Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, Maya Angelou, Tina Turner.

Maybe more importantly it needs to be a day to remember the not as popular, not as well known, and even the not as strong women.  They are the reason we need the strong and public women to continue to rock their badass selves. 

The unspoken women.  The trying to fit in women.  The not sure what to do women.  The I want to be brave, but someone might hurt me women.  The don’t know any different way of life women.  The under someone’s thumb women.  The just living every day women.

They are the reason we need an International Women’s Day.  A day to recognize that women are just as vital, just as capable, just as deserving of the rights of life, as a man.

But, for me, most importantly, we need to remember that women, start as girls.

Recognize the diversity, the importance, the strength in girls before it is systematically stripped from them.  Before they are repeatedly taught to believe they are less than, let’s remember.

Celebrate the humanity, the capacity, the ability in our girls.  Don’t insist they must be a round peg to fit in the round hole that social norms created.  Give girls the belief that they are, because in fact they are, capable of learning, doing, being, wanting, finding, creating anything they choose to.

As this International Women’s Day comes to an end for me, my wish is that, from birth, we give our girls what they need to be the strong women we are preparing the world for. That we continue to recognize the worth of women.  That we respect the difference and diversity of women.  That we carry on with the work to bring light to the injustices of objectification and minimalizing.

Light and love to you all.

 

My stories do not define me

I got one of my favorite compliments yesterday.  I was told that having met and known me for a while without knowing any of my stories, this person would never have believed the types of stories that make up my life.  The way I interact with the world does not indicate that I have survived things that have broken other people.

This is an affirming testament to my belief that my stories do not define me.  They are part of me, but they do not define who I am as a person.  They do not dictate how I interact with people, how I look at the world, or how I carry myself.

I don’t think our stories should define who we are.  The things that should define us are the ways we overcome, our grace in the face of adversity, our strength to persevere, the beliefs we have in ourselves and the world, the creativity we see in and give to the world, and our ability to nurture gratitude.  Every single one of us, every single one, we are important to someone.  We may not feel it all the time, but it’s still true.

Your religion, or lack of religion, my religion or lack of – also do not define us.  Our color, our hairstyle, our sexual preference, our financial circumstances, our family situation, our location; these things do not define us.  They are part of us. They play a part, but they are not our defining characteristics.

Our actions: the way we behave when no one is watching, the way we learn from our trials, the way we treat ourselves and others; the way we honor and respect ourselves and others; the time we take to be part of our world, the way we allow others to be themselves, learn their own lessons, those are defining.

I have some really bad days.  Days that are painful emotionally, painful physically every second that I’m awake and even a few while I’m asleep.  During my most difficult days, I am grateful that somehow I have enough reserve strength to look into the pit of “Give Up” and say “Not today”.

There are days that pit looks like the most comfortable bed in my head where I can curl up and just not be.  There are days that pit looks deep and scary, possibly filled with endlessly deep, shark-infested waters.  There are days where that pit looks a lot like a bottle of beer or Jack Daniels.

Sometimes have to say, “not right now”, because I can’t plan through the whole day.  Even on a minute to minute basis, I say no to giving up.  Even when it doesn’t seem to make any sense not to, (truthfully, even the rare occasion when I should), I don’t give up.  I can’t.  I have things to see, people to meet, places to go.  If I gave up, I wouldn’t be able to do them.  I don’t really like that idea.

The choice to not BE my story, it’s a deposit in my reserve tank.  The choice to push through fear, that’s another deposit.  There’s no one magic thing that keeps me moving.  It is consistently making choices to be who I want to be; not what others think I should be, not what the choices of others tells me I should be, and not what strays from my belief in myself.

I choose not to be broken.  I choose not to be a victim.  I choose not to hurt others just because I’ve been hurt.  I choose to be trustworthy and trusting, no matter what other people’s choices are.  I choose to: love, forgive, believe, be compassionate, learn, and follow my dreams.  I choose to behave the way I feel best, no matter who I’m with, where I am, or what anyone else is doing.  These things, they are deposits; the things that get me through when things get difficult.

Since November I’ve been presented twice with situations in which women are the abusers.  To me this is doubly frustrating.  Because they are women they also abusing the role of victim.  They play like they are the victim while holding money, circumstance, and perceived power over the other person.  They feign being victimized to control how other people see and feel about their situation.  Their victim battle cry is, “Look how I helped them with this and that.  I paid for this.  I gave them that.  I tried to help them and now look what happened!”  When in actuality each act was a pre-calculated move to control the situation and be able to have that cry in the end.  They are setting a situation up to look like a victim while actually being the abuser.

I truly feel like these women are worse than their male counterparts.  Women abusers make it that more difficult for actual victims to get the help they need, by preying the system with their cries of suffering.  When we, actual victims, try to insist on our needs, our rights, we get stymied by the remnants of these women’s abuses.

It’s on days when I am flatly reminded that abusers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders, that I can feel overwhelmed.  These days when I have to remember that my stories do not define me.  I am not the victim.  I am who I choose to be and I choose to be a Phoenix.

Good night from a little country of the world.

 
 

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

 

 
 
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