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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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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.

 

Hormone 15 – a Mari-ism

Hormone 15 – a Mari-ism

My 15th year was a doozie.  Lots of things.   So many things made that year a humdinging, what-the-heck kind of year.  But it also set my mind to the trying to understand that year.  It made me want to figure out what it is about 15.

When my oldest son was a teenager, things were a bit of a whirlwind.  I wish I’d had the understanding and the ability to articulate what I know now, but as I tell him every birthday, he’s my guinea pig.  He’s my first go round at being a parent of someone his age.  So most of my parenting has been winging it with him.  However, I noticed and started to pick apart that 15th year of his as well.  Things weren’t great up to that point, but 15, that’s when they hit their fever pitch.

I learned that hormonal changes are far more than armpit and facial hair in our boys.  They may not have periods, but those hormones take hold of our boys and chew them up, same as our girls.  I watched, I took notice.  It’s the science-y part of me; I observe, I question, I contemplate these types of things.  I have learned so much by being his mom.   And I’m pretty lucky for it  🙂

As my daughter came up on 15, I took notice.  Like me, she hit hormone madness with a full speed ahead, hold onto anything not tied down, double-engine train.  The lack of subtlety made it easier to see the stark contrast of “adolescent behavior” pre 15, and smack dab in the middle of head-on 15.

I am grateful that even through their teens, we had a good enough relationship that we could talk about whatever.  They usually turned bright red or did this (especially my daughter)

when I talked to them about sex, but, I’d rather have red, gaggy faces than STD’s, early babies, and naïve meanderings that could end up with emotional trauma.  (yes my kidittos, you’re welcome, btw)

So I was able to talk to her a little and help her understand, a little better than if we weren’t able to talk, the madness that hormones wreak.  It was a more modest, less developed version of the talk I had with my youngest son, but it got most of the main points across.

And so, as I combined my observations with myself, my oldest son, my daughter, other parents and their teenagers, I was able to finally formulate and articulate the “You’re going to be 15 soon” speech.  A speech which I attribute much of the continued success in communication with him to.

And it goes a little something like this:

 Son, you’re going to turn 15 in a few months.

When this happens you won’t like me.  I won’t like you.

It’s ok because we are going to love each other all the way through it.  We’ll be alright, because soon after that, you’ll be 16 and we’ll like each other again.

You see, somewhere around 15, a brand new hormone will hit your body.  One that will change the way you see everything.  One that has plagued humans since the beginning of time and probably threatened our existence more than any other natural cause.  It is the hormone that spawned the saying,

eat their young

 

And here’s why.

Up until this point, the only way you know how to understand and relate to your moods and feelings is by what just happened.  EVERYTHING that affected your mood, happened outside of you.  If someone took your candy away, you got mad.  If someone brought you a present, you got happy.  If your favorite cartoon came on, you felt elated.  If someone said something mean to you, you got hurt.  If everything was just normal, you were just normal.

Your mood and emotion was, and is for the time being, entirely dependent on external events.

That is all about to change.

Don’t worry.  It’s part of life.  We all go through it.  We will survive.

The problem lies in how little we understand it.  So I’m gonna break it down for you.

Once this hormone hits your system, NOTHING, absolutely nothing outside of you will change, but your mood will.

Oh will it change.  Your mood will fluctuate like your vocal chords bud, with no sense of timing, or reason, or care for social circumstance.  Hormone 15 will mercilessly twist your brain up like it’s saltwater taffy on a roller coaster, out at sea, in a hurricane.

Yes, you get to add this to your changing voice, the fact that you stink, your Shaggy-esque hairs, and your extendo-limbs.

And because, so far, your mood has only ever changed by external events, you are going to try and find external events to lay blame on.  There won’t be any.  You’ll look for them anyway and you’ll find a few things that it could be; so you’ll turn all your hormonal driven emotion at whatever that is.  You will get confused and hurt and frustrated as you try to find the thing that made you so ……. whatever emotion you’re feeling.

(Usually the blame will go to me.  I get that now.  So I’m going to be able to handle it a bit better than I did with the last two, you lucky duck you.)

You are going to wake up one morning and hate life.  The sounds of morning that once made you feel happy because you love breakfast, will be heard with hormone-affected ears and you will feel The Hulk want to rage out of you with each clank of a dish.

Your clothes will piss you off.

Your pillow will make you want to cry.

The sky, in whatever state it is in, will frustrate and confuse you.

The smile and hug I am used to, as you leave for school, will be replaced with a scowl, because your inner hormonal demons don’t want to be touched and can’t believe they have to go to school.

All of your friends will be going through the same thing and you will run the gamut of emotional torture, frantic clinging, and bouts of ecstatic wonderment in all that is new in the world, which unmistakably, now you all can see more clearly than any other humans that have ever lived.

Oh, that Hormone 15 is a doozie.  You’re about to get flip-turned upside-down.

The good news is that A) after that first rush year, it calms down, B) you start to figure out how to live in your new body, and C) you start getting so interested in girls you forget about not liking me.

Of course, that’s when we’ll have the next set of talks generally titled, “Respect” and “No babies”.

 

* I got very lucky with my children that I didn’t have to have the Respect and No babies talks before the 15 talk.  I did have a sort of graduated/ age appropriate series of talks with my kidittos…..  In fact my daughter chose to skip one, because she knew it was coming and didn’t want the embarrassment; and instead learned a valuable lesson the harder way.  Which taught me that age appropriate is “while it’s still informative, i.e. before it’s needed”.

 How was my “talk” received?

One morning, my daughter was already in her usual teenage morning huff when my youngest son woke up, within a few weeks of turning 15.  I heard the uncharacteristic banging of doors.  The, (characteristic) yelling at each other about time in the bathroom, but with an added, and new, note in the male voice.

There was a grumbly boy eating his breakfast, hunched over and scowling.  And a frustrated and bordering angry re-entry into the kitchen after being reminded to rinse his dishes.

A refusal to be hurried for his sister and subsequent second argument, followed by a slamming of the front door as he left to go to school.

And then, as he reached the end of the walk, he turned around, still storming.  I watched by the front door, prepared to rationally deal with what was CLEARLY the first day of Hormone 15.  I stood my ground, stuck a smile on my face as he opened the door.

He glared at me as he asked, “This is that hormone thing you talked to me about isn’t it?”  To which I calmly nodded my head.  He grunted, half smiled, and said he’d see me after school.  Then he closed the door and walked back down the path.

Hormones suck.  Being real helps.  Boys and men are just as complicated as girls and women.  Society teaches them not to show it, or to recognize it; to push their complicatedness away and ignore it.  But it’s there.  All teenagers go through these emotionally havoc wreaking, scary, hormonal changes.  I sure wish someone had explained any part of this to me when I was a kid.  But hopefully, I can help other parents and teenagers figure out a good way to get through it.

 

15

 

What do you think?

 

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The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

HEALING

Through a variety of ways, I have healed internally much faster than anticipated.  Mostly, through determination to not stay stuck in a place of fear.  However, there have been some other wonderful helps along the way. That is not to say I am through with the process.  Hell no.   But I’m farther along than I thought I would be right now.  Much farther.

My journey through becoming a shaman is slower than I expected, but far more powerfully healing than I anticipated.  It packs a punch and then I need time to process it all.   But, I am.  AND THAT IS AWESOME.  I am reaching and stretching and seeing life in bigger and better ways.  I am definitely more confident in my own abilities to trust my journey and its processes.  I am more confident in my spiritual strength and ability to follow my own path no matter who says what about it.

I have had to stare down my childhood and many of the ways that my parents, but specifically my father at this point, primed me for abuse in my future, albeit mostly unknowingly.  And I have had to work through the fear, very real and serious fear of confronting him about it.  But I’ve done it.  And he’s listened.  And though it was incredibly scary, it has been equally freeing since.

I am sifting through the book of my life and placing bookmarks between the pages I need to work on.  I am unfolding the page corners that I had dog-eared for quick reference; the stories I keep thinking back on, that keep me from growing.  I am going back and making new notes on the memories to remind little me that we figured out that problem.  And I am holding my book with newfound love, wrapped in my arms, against my chest; whereas before I held it at arms length, always afraid it would open to the wrong page when I wasn’t looking.

I am ready to travel and teach again.  I am ready to meet new people and find more joy.  I’m ready to start being me again.  And it feels pretty damn good.

RESEARCH

My research and discovery process is and has been enlightening to both the awareness that is already out there and to the still greater amount of awareness and education that is needed.  I have discovered terms I had never heard of, yet know the details of intimately, like Gaslighting.

Unless you know the term, you can’t find it as a form of abuse.  There’s no Google lookup for the individual terms within the forms of abuse, that I’ve found anyway.  It takes looking through hundreds of other avenues to find the term, then start looking that up. I’m working on changing that.  I’m collecting terms.  In fact, if you know of any, please comment, I need the help.

Boy have I had my fair share of gaslighting!  Look it up, you’ll be amazed, enlightened, and hopefully strengthened in your understanding of abuse, how to spot it and stop it.  And I’m starting my own new term, Halfening, the victim-blaming coddling of an abuser for fear of repercussion, after those that did it to me.

FEAR

I don’t like to think that I’m afraid of the unknown.  I actually like heading off into some new adventure, not sure what to expect or how things will turn out, who I will meet along the way, but ready to find out.

However, the unknown of where and when my next adventure begins…….   I am not liking this unknown at all.  I actually pretty much hate the interim.  It causes me panic and to make decisions too fast in order to at least be headed in a certain direction.

BUT HEY, I am in learning mode.  So, even though I’ve had a couple different opportunities to just head into the crazy wild blue, I haven’t taken them.  I’ve given more thought, I’ve taken more time.  I am learning.

LEARNING

I’m still working through the fear of trusting myself.  It is frustrating because I know that I made a fast decision to head off to Mozambique, but I also know that I was guided there.  I trusted my guide and I am actually coming out of this far stronger than even I would have guessed.  But, I am keenly aware that I was guided there to find out that I don’t know how to see the signs of abusers.

I asked for understanding of what happened with Sven.  I thought I had figured out my confidence, my refusal to put up with abuse, my love of self.  And then bam, confidence shaken.  And on the heels of that, Willem Johannes Goosen, aka John Goosen, of South Africa, happened.

This lack of confidence is a layer of the thick blanket of victim blaming that we hold onto.  It is both safe and suffocating.  I need to trust my gut and the results of following my gut.  Sven went against what my gut told me, but he worked until he convinced me.  Mozambique was completely following my gut.  Bad things happen no matter what.  Great things happen no matter what.

During the time I thought Sven and I were moving forward, I was so happy. I was so in love.  I had a great time, and I don’t regret one minute of it.  People ask me if I ever think of revenge; plot for someone to beat him up or something.  I don’t.  Truthfully, the best revenge is that he lost me.  I’m pretty awesome.  Don’t abuse me, and I’m top freaking notch.  That’s his loss not mine.

Mozambicans are wonderful people.  The local people amazed me in so many ways.  The scenery was wonderful and I am so grateful to have been to Africa.  And because of what happened in Mozambique, I have learned what happened with Sven, and what happened with the ex-husband and the few other ex relationships along the way.

I need to trust my gut and press forward with the decisions I make based on my instinct, without fear.  That blanket makes it safe to say, “if only”, “why didn’t I”, “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”.  Those things feel safe, like they will keep me safe, but bad things happen no matter what.  Hiding from my path doesn’t keep me safe.  Running into or away from, doesn’t guarantee safety.

Just like I keep telling my little step-neice, it’s ok to make mistakes, that’s how we learn.

and

GREAT THINGS HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT

ANOTHER DREAM

I need to stop worrying about safe and put my focus on non-abusive.  I had a dream last night.  I was swimming deep in the ocean with a group of whales.  They kept coming over to me and then going up to get air.  Somehow I was not needing to go get air, yet they kept insisting I should.  After I did, they showed me where land was and so I went up.

Everywhere I walked there were snakes. They were mostly out in the open, yet all of them had only their head and part body showing, the rest curled up in their hiding places.  A few were slinked back inside their hideout.  There was a child with me, and we were walking together.

I was not afraid of the snakes, but I knew I couldn’t give them any energy/ acknowledgement/ attention or they would bite.  I had to teach the child to see without giving acknowledgement, to not be afraid, not be curious or get too close.  The scenery was varied as we walked, rocky, grassy, outside, inside, and there were snakes in a snack booth and a book case.  They were talking to us, some trying to be helpful, give advice, offer to get things for us, but we had to remember they were still snakes.  If we gave them any acknowledgement, they would bite us.

There were many blue things as well, blue was a significant color.  There were people, men, women, children all around us, some talking to the snakes, some not.  Some were holding the snakes, some were collecting them, but many just ignored them.

Snakes and whales have interesting meanings in dreams and as power animals.  I’m curious to see what comes of this.  But I woke up feeling very good.

That’s all for now follks.  I’m doing really well.  I’m looking forward to my next adventure.  I’m singing, crying, laughing, and otherwise feeling the feels of life and loving it.   Go be awesome today, I plan to.

 

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The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

They say when things get tough, that’s when you see people’s true colors.

In each of my trials, I’ve been shown the “true colors” of my friends.  I’m lucky to have so many good friends.  I appreciate all the calls, messages, shows of support, and offers to hang out now that I’m stateside again.  And, I truly appreciate my online friends as much as my in-person friends. 

Blog of many colors

Right now I’m coming to grips with how this atrocity even happened.  I was handling all that Mother Nature was dishing out; no electricity, no running water, violent storms, horrendous heat, Typhoid Fever, with a fair amount of grace I think.  And then without warning, at the end of my weakest state, John Goosen went on an unprovoked ape-shit rampage and decided to fling me around like a rag doll to make me listen to his drunken rant.

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  That’s normal.  I write more on my good days, but lately it’s writing about my bad days.  That’s also normal.

I value being able to read through other blogs to see the uplifting and helpful information out there.  Feeling like there is a community of people who understand the process I am going through is so wonderful.  Sometimes it can be difficult for my in-person friends to understand.

And then there is always the hope that through this blog someone else can be helped as I work through everything and keep living the day to day as well.  Life goes on and this is how I’m trying to learn as I go.

All the Colors change

Once something traumatic has happened, you see the world differently.  I see the world differently.  Not better or worse, just different.  Things that were once important aren’t any more.  Things that weren’t important suddenly are.  Everything is colored a little differently.

Different or not, I’m still trying to walk through this world. I’m still trying to learn from this and become a better person for it.  I still see the beauty in the sunrises and sunsets.  I love listening to the birds in the morning and the coyotes in the evenings.  I enjoy conversations, cold beers, painting, reading, laughing.

But behind it all I’m trying to find my voice, give voice to those who don’t have it, and blaze a trail for change.

I pick at and piece through the trash pile that is the ways abusers work.  It is alarming how often I pick up a piece of that trash and think, “Oh, that looks familiar, that must be mine.”  Only to turn it over and see an Abuser’s name on it. It’s a bit disheartening to see how pervasive the blaming/ shaming way we treat victims is. 

For example, we all have heard “there’s a way victim’s walk, or hold their head, or (….) that clues abusers in that they are a good target”.

First,

and I want to scream this at the top of my lungs,

NO ONE SHOULD EVER. BE. A. TARGET. 

It doesn’t flipping matter if PersonX walks around with a real sign that says, “I let people abuse me”, PersonX should not get abused.  PersonX should not be a target.  PersonX should feel and be safe.  End of story.  Even if the sign has shiny flashy lights with arrows.

No one should be a target.

Think about that for a minute.  If PersonX has poor self-esteem, (and that shows through their posture), there are people out there who are compelled to hurt PersonX because of it.  Abusers look for people who already feel inferior, then Abusers humiliate them, isolate them, manipulate their emotions, make them feel crazy, makes others think they’re crazy. 

And instead of denouncing the Abuser, instead of stopping the Abuser from finding and hurting others, the general population looks at PersonX and says, “hold your head up more, walk straighter so abusers won’t target you”.  Everything gets shifted over to PersonX.

Why are people so afraid of Abusers that they can’t stand up to them?  I stood alone in trying to get people to see see John Goosen as an abuser.  The other people in Mozambique were so afraid to stand up to him.  He needed to work. He needed his space.  It wasn’t good what he did, but he’s sorry.  He needs medication.

Not a single person, other than myself, looked at him and called him out.  Not one person actually stood up to him, except me.     

It has been enlightening to say the least, to realize every single person I’ve discussed abusive situations with has given ways to change PersonX.

Ex:   “I’d try to get them alone to tell them I could help them if they leave the abuser.”

“Abuser has a (…) problem.  PersonX needs to be more understanding.  I mean get away, but then they need to worry about themselves, not Abuser.  Good riddance, they can deal with themselves”

“If you just tell them to leave, they say ‘it’s only one time’, or ‘Abuser loves me’.  You have to give them little examples how to leave without really saying they need to.”

“I don’t understand why PersonX would go back after that.  PersonX needs to get their head examined.”

Not a single person suggested that the Abuser needs to change. 

The Abuser straight up thought, “Hey PersonX looks (insert adjective of choice ie, lonely, sad, etc.).  If I make them a little less (adjective) they’ll take any shit I dish out.”  “If you feel bad, I want to make you feel worse.”  “And I’m going to make you and everyone else think it’s your fault.”

And everybody else thinks, “PersonX should’ve made themselves look less like a victim.”

This is what abusers do.  They work the whole scenario from the beginning.  From the initial lure to the end, everything and everyone in their environment is part of the set up to get off scott-free.

Our True Colors

I think we are so entrenched, as a general population, in generations upon generations of dysfunctional families, war torn memories, secrets, and lies that we don’t even know how to see the first red flags anymore.  Abusers have done such a trick on the mainstream psyche that when we finally see the red flags, we all point fingers at the victims.

But how can we stop the abuse from happening if we start at the end?

What do you think? 

As you’ve heard/ read my and other stories, how many times have you asked the ‘questions of change’ to the victim rather than the abuser? 

How can we change that scenario?  How can we really stop abuse if we don’t change it?

 

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The Blog Tour Blog Post

Thank you BetterNotBroken for your wonderful and thoughtful blog; you have helped me and many others.  And thank you for the invite to be part of The Blog Tour!

Let’s see there are a few rules…..   I need to answer 4 questions, write an original piece, and nominate 4-5 other bloggers.   If I nominate you, and you accept, you are supposed to answer the same 4 questions, nominate other bloggers, and write your original piece to be published on Monday, June 8.

This is not the first time I’ve been invited to something similar or given a blog award. It’s not the first time I’ve accepted. But it’s the first time I’m following through. I have been worried about having too many people read my blog. But, as I’m in “conquer fear” mode, well….. let’s do it!

1             How does your writing/ creative process work?

Oi. I don’t really know. I write how I feel at the time. That’s about the only prerequisite I have for myself. I don’t write on a prescribed topic or stick to one thing. I write when I feel like writing, I don’t stick myself to a schedule. I’ve tried a few times to do the 30 day challenge and I have yet to complete one. Doesn’t mean I won’t, just haven’t yet. My process: write when I feel like it about what I want to.

2             What are you working on at the moment?

Right now, I’m working on how to spot the abusers. I’m trying to pull out the secrets and display them so that we can all just be safe. No one should have to worry about their safety. There are tells, I want to put them out there.  Oh, and my fear of dogs.

3             Why do you write or create what you do?

I started as a way for my friends and family to know what I was up to as I finished University and embarked on my journeys around the world. Now I write because it keeps me whole. And hopefully it brings goodness to the world on some level.

4             How does your work differ from the others in your genre?

Well, how does it not really? I think all diary type blogs are unique. We all have different lives, learning different things. Maybe mine is different in that I jump from topic to topic.

The blogs I nominate are:

MarriedNomads

MeerkatTravelGang

Taiwanna Adventure

Our Life in 3D

And now for my original post:

Dear Me,

I hardly ever tell you, but I know how strong you are. I know I tell all the ways you aren’t strong too often. I’m sorry. I know you put your brave face out there and make comments about how awesome you are to make-up for all the awful stuff I tell you.

Those words are not true, but you don’t like to hear how good you are. I was just trying to keep you comfortable. I shouldn’t keep repeating them. It’s not fair to you. You’re good with uncomfortable. It’s one of your strengths. I’ll be better.

I don’t tell you often enough how brave you are. I know you say you aren’t, you’re just living your life. But you live your life by your heart. That’s bravery. You don’t take no for an answer when you make up your mind. That’s bravery. I sit silently hoping nothing goes wrong and ready to help you pick up the pieces in case it does. But maybe if I told you more that you are brave, told you more that your courage in the face of obstacles, that taking that first step, every time, made me so proud of you, maybe you would take more first steps.

Your fearlessness scares me sometimes. But we get to have wonderful adventures because of it.

It’s ok to stay open. It’s ok to still be all of who you really are. You have been so true to yourself these last 10 years. I know I keep telling you that you should be more like other people. Sometimes I get so frustrated when you refuse. But, it’s only fear I’m speaking.   Why should you listen to my fear? I’m really grateful you don’t. It’s habit, but all habits can be broken. I will work so hard on this. I don’t really want to be like everyone else. I like you just the way you are.

I’m sorry I keep stringing out those mean questions, flooding you with doubt. You don’t bring these terrible circumstances to you. You are not defective. You don’t have a sign that says, “abuse me”. Those people are out there, with or without you. It’s their place to choose their actions, not yours. It is their wrong doing to harm you, not yours. Their abusive nature is their legacy, not yours.

I know you’ve been hurt. It’s ok to feel the pain. It’s ok. Feel it and keep speaking. Speak up. Speak out. You have a voice that can help others, which can help stop abuse all over the world. Your strength can help, can make a difference.

Go ahead and do it. I will be here supporting you. Along the way there will be more people supporting you. Look how many friends you have supporting you right now. Please forgive me for a life time of misguided thoughts meant to derail you from the inside. Remember this when the naysayers start talking. Remember to dismiss them. They are not speaking from truth, but rather from their own derailing misguided inner voices.

You are kind and patient and accepting and loving. That is your legacy. You know thousands of people and only a small handful have hurt you. Kind and accepting are not bad traits lady, they’re pretty damn good ones. Thank you for not entertaining those doubt-inducing questions, no matter how persistent I was. I am ashamed I ever asked them. I won’t again.

I want you to stop joking when you say that you are awesome. Please believe it. You are. Keep taking the hands of others and help them see how awesome they are, but believe it of yourself as well. Because it’s true.

It’s almost lunch time, so I should probably stop writing so we can eat. Keep strong my darling. There are bright beautiful skies ahead.

If YOU also want to join the Blog Tour, let me know  🙂  

Good Luck to you all in your many adventures!!!  Thanks for reading  🙂

 

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Each time I rise

The last 12 months of my life have been a true example of how the yin and yang of life works.

Once upon a time, the rotations of this wheel took a long time. Now as I continue to grow, it turns more quickly.  The changes are more immediate.  The ability to see paths of growth more illuminated.

From getting a good job in Turkey, a country I had longed to see for years, and discovering the beauty of the land and people – to the overwhelming need to remove myself.

From being happy on my own- to a dream like relationship – to the nightmare of its sudden end.

From the relocation to this beautiful country and island on the promise of a job – to the realization that the job didn’t exist, the money didn’t exist, realizing I was being held “nicely” as a hostage, getting typhoid, visa issues, – to building a rapport with the people, starting to teach again, loving my students, having people smile and try to talk to me everywhere I go – to the nightmare of this week.

This last 12 months has given me highs and lows.
I have seen beauty and ugliness in all the places and people.  I am surrounded, everywhere, by amazing people I am grateful to call friends.
We are all here to help each other.

I believe when I go home, I will be able to curl up for a little while; enter the ash stage, I am burning now.

But I will be reborn again. Each time I rise, I am stronger, brighter, and more complete within myself.
I don’t know the next step yet for sure, but I will be a force, a powerful force for change.

 

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