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Category Archives: Violence

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.

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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.

 

I ain’t no Humpty Dumpty; The snake’s skin

I ain’t no Humpty Dumpty;  The snake’s skin

Things are getting shook up around here and all for the better!!

I should be in Kazakhstan by the end of the month starting my new teaching position there.  I can’t even describe how excited I am!

Though I know most of these posts lately have been ominous and dreary, I promise on the other side of the screen some really positive things have been happening.

I started off my time in Montana quite concerned about finding my joy again.  I’ve always been able to find my joy, even when feeling down, but the more open my eyes have become to the abuses all around us, the more I ripped apart.  It felt like my soul was ripping apart. Finding joy was becoming difficult.

The blessings of my Shaman Path are many fold and one blessing was the realization, just when I needed it, that shedding my past, like a snake sheds her skin, is painful.  It takes work.  It doesn’t just fall off, it has to be removed.  It has to get pushed and split open and cm by cm pulled and worked off.

The ripping apart was a necessary part of the growth.  The falling off the wall was necessary.  The seeing was necessary.

But unlike Humpty Dumpty, this girl can get put back together again.  And how!

And I also realized, that my journey right now is not to find my joy, but to find my peace.  My joy is with me always, but I have not been able to feel my peace.

And that is what I’ve been working on.  Making peace, finding peace, learning peace, teaching peace.  Within my tranquility I feel my joy abundantly.  I just have to keep myself resolving into peace.

And – who knew?  I didn’t.  That ever crazy word that everyone wants and no one has, patience……  yeah, it’s not a single state, like happy.  It’s a multi-layered state, like peace.  Can I just tell you how much easier that has become once I realized there’s more than one part to it!

When you have patience, you’re overcoming anxiety and distrust.  When you have patience, you’re not looking for the instant gratification.  When you have patience, you are not letting the unknowns create fear.

I ask myself things like:  Are you afraid?  Are you anxious?  Are you looking for an immediate reward?  If I answer yes to any of those, then I examine whatever it is.  Patience is so much easier when you quell the storm that makes you impatient.  Game changer that one.

There is still much to be done, much to be written and much to be learned about the many ways we indulge abusers, don’t see abusers tests and warning flags, and re-victimize victims by blaming them.  But, I am in the works of creating my very own, paid for, hosted, and what ever other words I don’t even know yet because this is all really new to me website.  One where I can write my fun, travel, joyful, teachery blog posts on one part and the heavier, no one deserves violence, stop abusers blog posts in another part.  And a few other things I’ve been cooking up.

I know it’s been rough for those of you only wanting the read the fluffy stuff.  Trust me, it’s been hard to not have much fluffy stuff to write about.  I’ve had a harder time writing the good because I’ve been afraid of the good stopping if I wrote about it.  But, I’m learning.

As the snake sheds her skin, so too am I.  As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so too am I.

I’m still a little, bitty, brand-new phoenix, but I’m dusting off the ashes and looking around.

baby_phoenix_by_annezca-d5mp3l5.png

Kazakhstan, I am ready to embrace you.  Let’s get ‘er done.

 

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Understanding how deep we are invested into the abusive cycles.

Understanding how deep we are invested into the abusive cycles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did the chicken cross the road?

So she didn’t get eaten.

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

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

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

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

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

And we all subscribe to it.

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

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

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

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

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

There are no acceptable forms of violence.

No one is above consequence for violence.

No one deserves to live in fear.

No one deserves violence in their lives.

What do you think?

.

 

Of course hindsight begs the questions that can’t be known to ask at the beginning.

I keep asking the questions and having to remind myself that I couldn’t have known before what I know now.  Reminding myself that I am not the one to blame here.

Many people don’t understand my wanderlust, or how I can travel alone as a woman. And even those that understand that, have trouble with the fact that I let Spirit guide me as much as research. Thankfully there are a few that totally get me.

As I look back on the events that led me to Mozambique, I keep looking for my faults. There are some. One is that I could have taken more time to get my ducks in a row beforehand and not gone in so dead broke.

Even with that, I went for the job the same way I have other jobs. You get to know the people, get trained, get to know the area -once you’re there, not beforehand.  I did my research.  I googled the guy that offered me the job. I did some research into Mozambique.

I did not run willy-nilly through the wildflowers towards the great wilds of Africa without a care in the world. I checked it out. I was offered a job as an administrative assistant for a construction company, with room and board provided and a small, but for the area very good, monthly salary. I was told my visas would be covered by the company. The guy even gave me his full given name to look up. Everything seemed on the up and up.

Of course now I ask myself, why weren’t you more careful, why did you just believe him, why did you travel across the globe alone because some guy offered you a job?
Because the truth is, I was the same careful I was heading for Czech and Taiwan. I knew one person going in, I had not met before arriving. Turkey was a little different because I went with a friend. But I still went in with the idea that sure, there will be adjustments, but things will be ok.

Why do any of us believe it when we’re offered a job?  Um, because it’s normal to.

I’ve travelled across the globe, alone, for jobs several times now. There was nothing heading in to this that was more abnormal than any other job you get from online contacts. Hindsight is the only reason I, or anyone, is asking these questions.

And this is the more prevalant form of victim blaming. Why did you/I do that? Why didn’t you/I do that? Why weren’t you/I more careful?

-This is IMPORTANT –

These questions put accusation on the victim, when it is the assailant/abuser that needs the questions!!

Why did he think it was ok to lure someone in, knowing full well that he didn’t own any company and couldn’t provide
any of the things he lied about? Why did he think it was ok to lie? Why wasn’t he more careful with this person
that trusted him? Why did he think it was ok to send off their passport so they couldn’t leave the island? Why does
he think it’s ok to verbally, physically, and situationally abuse the people around him? Why did he lock someone in
a room? Why did he assault that person? Why did he plan out the lies he would tell others about the assault, in
advance of the assault? Why does he think he shouldn’t have any consequences for his actions?

These are the real questions that need to be addressed.

If I keep asking all those victim blaming questions, I can’t grow and move forward. The questions I need to ask need to come from where I am, not where I was. Some of the questions I need to actually ask myself are: Do I feel like someone is going to attack me everywhere I go? Is travelling alone a bad idea? What can I learn from this situation? What do I want to do next? Am I really going to go back to Africa? To Mozambique? How can I do my part to protect others from the harm this guy is capable of?

I know that Spirit told me to go to Mozambique. I don’t even question that. One could ask why, seeing as how my entire time there was one frantic disaster after another, and I totally see that point. But I never felt and don’t feel that it was wrong to be there. I questioned the things that happened, but not that I wasn’t supposed to be there.
I believe there are two main reasons Spirit led  me there.
One: I do have work to do there, I do need to go back for that work. But it is a harsh land, a harsh people, a harsh spiritual environment. I was under near constant spiritual attack while there. I was given a glimpse of what I need to gather before going back. I needed to experience, in order to understand what I need, so I can accomplish my work there.
Two: I believe that this man sensed my unguarded personality and preyed on it. However, unlike the average woman seen as vulnerable, I am a spiritually, emotionally strong woman. I am not weak just because I choose not to close myself off and present a guarded and leery woman to the world. I believe I was Spirit’s way to stop this man from preying on someone without my strength, and damaging another human being past a point they could deal with, or for many years, or both, or possible killing them.  Am I ok with having gone through this in order to have protected someone else?  You better believe it.

Do I think someone is going to attack me everywhere I go? No, by and large people are good. If I judged the world only by the harm that can be done, well, I’d never leave my room. Is travelling alone a bad idea? No. I’ve been doing it for a while. One out of hundreds of people I’ve met in my travels does not deter me. Do I need to be more careful than a guy travelling alone, yes. Sadly. Should it be that way? NO!

And when we start putting all the blame where it belongs, ie the abusers and assailants, and catcallers,
people who think that women are property, then women can start being safe just because they are a human being with
equal rights to safety, not because they’ve armed themselves enough.

Am I going back? Yes, I need to gather my resources in order to do it right, but yes, I will be going back. I have work to do there.

One big lesson I am learning is to let go of the emotional pain that comes when you feel betrayed. I had no emotional connection to the guy that assaulted me. But I had an emotional connection to the family that turned their backs on me and began flinging ridiculous accusations at me. Spirit will take care of me and them in whatever way it sees fit, and I have to let go of that feeling of betrayal. I am, but I’ve had a couple days of frustration over it.

Losing a trust is such a big deal to me. Partially because I know that others can trust me. Partially because I have witnessed time and time again, that when you give people trust, they become trustworthy, when you give them honor, they become honorable, and when you give them abasement, they become corrupt, etc.

I choose to see the best in people, give them the best of me, and believe that it will bring out the best in them.  Nine times out of ten, that’s the case, so that one kinda hurts when it’s a “friend”.

I answered all the questions going in, to the best of my ability to without being able to see into the future. Sure, the same questions looking back will result in different answers, but we don’t live life in reverse. So I take my lessons, my insights, and my resolve into the future. A future in which I will travel, I will teach, I will not let fear get the better of me, and I will do my best to create positive change wherever I go.

Remember as you go through life and encounter similar situations, to ask yourself  if the questions you are asking put accusation and blame on the victim in the situation, or on the aggresor/abuser, where it belongs. At no point, under no circumstance, no matter what they believe in, who they love, what they are wearing, drinking, etc., should anyone feel that violence or a crime against them is their fault. We have a basic human right to dignity and safety, period. No one has the right to violate, hold hostage, assault, or commit a crime against us for any reason. None, there are no reasons that are acceptable. No moments, no amount of alcohol or drugs or jealousy, or
anything, ever, for anyone. Ask the questions that support the victim: How can I help you? What do you need? When do you need me there?

I want to thank all of you for your wonderful support and kind kind words! I haven’t posted many of the comments that I’ve gotten, but know that I have read them and love you for them!  Soon I’ll be back to posts that are less grave.

 

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