What the Hell America

0-9jzicdodmhkgda85I have written this, rewritten this and then written it again. My words have stopped one hundred times. My ability to place into words, written or otherwise my thoughts on the tragedy that is our current national mood, I am at a loss.

We are three weeks from the election of Donald J. Trump and his God Awful running mate Michael R. Pence. I watched, numb and mostly in stunned silence as this travesty took place. Actually, I watched for months as Trump stomped, whined, insulted, bullied and assaulted our senses without a single person truly taking him on, not the media, or the opposition, not the majority of his own party and not the public.

I watched as we all shook our heads, thought never would the GOP allow this buffoon and life-long Democrat to represent them, to take over their party or be elected POTUS. We ignored what was before us every step of the way.  We whined when he insulted entire groups, when he bullied, when he assaulted, when he got into twitter wars, when he suggested his opponent be murdered, when he suggested a foreign nation hack our systems and interfere with our election. But we didn’t demand he be taken down by the systems we have in place such as the Justice Department or the FBI.

No, we did nothing at all, we piled onto our own nominee instead…Benghazi and Email all the way.trump-pence-03

Like so many I watched as the perfect Manchurian Candidate plowed through practiced professionals, chewed up the press and sucked in the disenfranchised, left-out, angry and ignorant with the aplomb of the reality star he had been for decades. We shook our heads as he selected as his running mate the most far right homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, hate and fear mongering insider there was out there and we said not one damned word.

The DNC offered up Hillary Rodham Clinton as the anointed candidate for our acceptance. With little in the way of opposition and despite her many flaws the Left was told it was her turn now. It seemed we were to be led by dynastic houses rather than the democratic process.

We laughed and shook our heads, we polished our wit as we watched Martin O’Malley be skewered and drop out. Bernie Sanders snuck up from the true progressive left claiming ideals and ideas at odds with Mrs. Clinton and the DNC and forcing at least a conversation, carrying a true populace standard. What did we do? We impaled our own candidates, at least those with the nerve to challenge the anointed. We disregarded the corruption of the super delegate system, we disregarded the voice of challenge. We disregarded the message. We laughed as we ushered Hillary onto the stage as the pre-determined and anointed candidate of choice.

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One thing on Hillary, one thing only. I have never been a fan of Mrs. Clinton, however, I also believe at least 70% of what is said about her is flat out smear tactics that have stuck because it has been said often enough over the past thirty years. She is not the devil most believe her to be, in fact, she is an accomplished, knowledgeable, well-educated public servant. Is she perfect? No, but then who is. Has she made mistakes? She absolutely has, so have we all. My problem? If even 10% of what is said is true then she is corrupt, who the hell wants to elect a person to the presidency knowing they are corrupt. I know I don’t.

But it seems this nation did not care if the President Elect is corrupt, so long as they got to choose the corruption.

This nation has elected a president who wants nothing more than to enrich himself and his family. Yes, that’s right that is his primary goal. Make no mistake, this is not a man who looks at the Presidency and says to himself, “How am I going to do right by the 325 million people in the United States over the next four years.

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He isn’t concerned, he doesn’t give a shit about the lives of those people, not the ones who voted for him and certainly not the ones who didn’t vote for him. If this isn’t obvious yet, it will be.

What can we say? What can we do? I have watched as some have taken to the streets. I have listened as some of those on the streets have espoused their anger at election results in one breath while in the next admitting they did not vote. What? I have watched as one with the least to lose has challenged results in multiple states, raising money to do so, okay this is good right? Yet, where does the excess go? Who will benefit in the end?

I have watched old friends vent their fury at the outcome, draw the lines that are at once ugly and specific.

If I am White I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am a White Woman, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am Heterosexual, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am White and Heterosexual, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am any or all of the above, I am to blame and I have no right to any opinion. No matter how I voted.

If I am any or all of the above, I am to blame, I have no right to any opinion, no matter how I have voted this year or in the past and no matter what I have done throughout my life to open doors or make positive change. The lines have now been drawn. Friendships are now set aside. Civil Discourse is no longer possible.

I have watched this play out time and again. I am saddened by it. I am silenced by it. I weep for friendships lost. I weep for our nation, for the fear engendered by this election, for the hate boiling over in all corners, for the normalization of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny. I weep for where we are going. I fear for all of us, mostly I fear for those who will be most harmed by what is to come.

I wonder, how do we begin to attack the hate and bigotry being normalized and enabled by this election, by this President Elect and the cabinet he is nominating? Where do we start if we are unable to even remember our own friendships and alliances? How do we even begin to undo what is done if we are only willing to fight within our house. We came out. We voted. Did alliances hold? Not always, but we have to look beyond and we have to talk rather than point our fingers. We have to reach out rather than beat down. We have to work together rather than lay blame within. We cannot afford more loss, more giving ground.

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If We Were Having Coffee-Dang

imagesIf we were having coffee I might spike my own but politely ask if you would like me to spike yours. I am good like that. It has been one hell of a summer, I mean that on many levels. I think I will start with a song, do you mind? My friend and frequent inspiration Kim at My Inner Chick left this for me the other day, I added it to my Writing Playlist and now I am playing it as we sip our spiked coffee and chat.

First, how have you been during my absence? Talk to me! I am certain there is much to catch up with in your life, I have been terribly remiss failing to read your words, talk to you and keep up. I have watched all of you, truly I have just failed to acknowledge your outpouring of thoughts on life and the world. For this I can only offer, I will try to do better and ask you to talk to me, before I ramble off into my own little world of chaos.

Before we get started, can I top you off? Well then, let me pour some more into both of our cups. I am tempted to switch to a nice tall Bloody Mary, I think we might both need one.

Last Monday was my fifty-ninth birthday. Yes, I am embarking on my sixtieth year on this earth. Most days I don’t feel that old. Truthfully, I can remember when I believed sixty was ancient, one foot in the grave and ready for the retirement home. Sixty years on earth? Good grief, my mother use to tell me if I kept it up I wouldn’t see past thirty. Do you think I lived this long to spite her?

If we were having coffee I would tell you what frightens me is the two candidates for President are not much older than me and I wonder if they should be running for President, I wonder if they aren’t too old for the office. Should we be demanding new standards for this critical office and all our other government officials, standards that include term limits, mandatory retirement ages and top ages at which a candidate can run for office. Am I being ageist? Yes, perhaps I am; nevertheless, when the Constitution was written Life Expectancy was significantly lower, as in thirty-six, living to the age of seventy and beyond was almost inconceivable, though a few did. I would like to call attention to the ages of those we call our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) who conceived of and fought for our liberty.

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Well, I will tell you no matter who wins in November I am not leaving the country. I love America, I may hate the politics and the politicians. I may hate the state of the nation, our horrifying injustice and our failure to thrive across so many measurements. But truly, I love the dream that is America and believe in my heart we have the ability to do better. Our utter failure to even present acceptable candidates from which to choose is only one measurement of our failure, there are so many others; Donald and Hilary are simply the face of the lethargy and fear we feel right now.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am finally working to complete the move into my new home. It has been challenging. Maybe I needed it to be challenging so I didn’t settle on ‘good enough’ but instead worked on the details, looked at the small things that would please me over time and spent my budget wisely, ensuring each expenditure was specific and exactly what I wanted. Every time I unlock the front door, I struggle with what is still needed before I will be happy, yet I sigh with relief knowing it is mine and an empty palate waiting my touch.

To say very little has gone right would be a vast understatement. This entire process has introduced me to a new level of patience, a new level of please just stop dancing on my last nerve, a brand new level of I will not kill a human being today. Yes, this move has taught me a great deal about myself, my desire for privacy, perfection, my own way and ultimately my willingness to bend where needed to achieve my goals.

When I started this hunt for new digs, I wanted a woman cave that encompassed an entire home with every room an extension of who I am. This was the first home I have purchased where there were no children, no husband nobody but me to consider in decorating, I wanted what I wanted; it was an act of pure selfishness an act of self-love. I perused real estate websites endlessly, I watched home improvement and remodeling shows for hours. With each marathon, I had a list of ‘love notes’ of things I wanted, things I loved. Additionally, I knew where I wanted to live; what city in the Metroplex even what zip code.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you all those plans went to hell the minute I walked into the house I bought. It was a 1976 rambler that someone had partly flipped, badly. The Professional Inspector, well let’s say he should have his license examined he missed so many obvious things that are now costing me before I can even start on the fun stuff. Even as I work through problems, contractors are running away, or seeing a woman and giving me bad pricing. Things are going slow or at least not as planned. I thought I would have all my projects done before I moved in; that didn’t happen. Now, I am moving in two stages. This one is hard, but it will get done hell or high water. I had great help yesterday to empty a 10X20 storage unit out, now everything is stacked floor to ceiling in the back of the house as we couldn’t put anything on my newly finished stained concrete floors. I am still in my apartment till next week, I will have to figure out how to move my apartment at that time. Packing throughout the week then moving over the weekend, of course how to get that done without movers will be a different challenge. Budgets are now starting to get challenged!

This week I will be meeting with a new set of contractors, maybe I will finally find some who will paint and stuff. Wish me luck.

I you ready to put your feet up? I surely will be by the end of this coming Sunday. Wish me luck.

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If we were having coffee

 

 

Introversion and the Blues

My silence is indicative of my battle with the blues and my aversion to making it public. Isn’t it odd, I have known for years I battle this insidious and all-encompassing emotional sea. This time, I let the waves take me further out, nearly sinking me. This time, I gave free rein to my nature and thus failed to notice as the blues silenced me and built my walls higher and stronger than they had been in years. This time, I looked out of my already well-built bubble of introspection and introversion, shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘fuck it, I am fine, I am good; I can’t care’.

My silence is indicative of the hurt of the past few years. For far too long I have cared too much for to many only to be told it isn’t enough. It has broken me emotionally, financially and worse it broke my trust in others, long nurtured is finally broken as well. I always believed if I was good to others, it would be returned; I was wrong. Time and again, I was wrong.

My silence is indicative of fear. You might ask me what do I have to be afraid of, but that would show you only know my name and not who I really am. I don’t blame you for this, it is who we are as a people, who we have become. Uncaring, unjust and focused entirely on ourselves, unconcerned with anyone outside of a small circle of ‘just like us’. Unwilling to hear anyone who speaks critically, asks questions, or offers any other voice but what is inside the echo chamber of our own narrow thinking and vision. Willing to lash out at friends and allies of years, name them as enemies and call others to do the same when they question the echo.

My silence is indicative of fatigue, both personal and social. This year-long season of the American Horror Story has worn my patience and my hope thin. There is no critical analysis that can be done in the political arena of today, no justification for what the American public is offered as options for President. We argue over who is worse, not who is best. We have become a laughingstock 20ab55a5576cffe1dce94c2fc4b236b0on the world stage when we aren’t a diplomatic nightmare. Our politics and our politicians belittle the dream of America and turn us into a Reality TV show for the amusement of the world. We have lost our way, our demons are on the stage and we must select which one will lead us into perdition.

My silence is indicative of my despair. Yes, I said it; despair. Despair for all of us that we are falling down a hole of ugly we will not be able to recover from. That we are drawing lines we will not be able to erase for decades. That we are allowing the fringe to speak for all of us, rather than standing up speaking up and screaming ‘Shut the fuck up’ when the extreme ratchets up violence, animosity and nativism without a single voice of dissent. When the extreme causes friends and neighbors to call into question the loyalty of decades and shed those alliances and friendships simply to appear more ‘correct’. Where once reasonable people on all sides joined together across political, gender and racial lines to form alliances for good, now those same people are using the language of the extremes and burning down the houses, without care demanding a return to what once was without understanding the consequence of their demand.

My silence then is the only response I have, the only response I am able to offer in this time of terrible turmoil. My silence and my tears as friends of long standing turn on me and call out for others to do the same because I question within the echo chamber. My silence and my tears, as I come to realize how terribly used I was in my time of weakness and sorrow. My silence and my tears, as I watch the nation burn itself down. My silence and my tears, as I watch the extremes on both sides grab the disenfranchised by the throat and shake mightily until out of the pile of brokenness walks the fury that is seen protesting senseless deaths on the streets of our cities or the Trump supporters screaming ‘Make America Great Again’ as they ignore his casual ignorance, racism, sexism and all other ‘isms.

Will my silence continue? I hope not. I hope I can begin to write again. I hope I can start taking an active role in my own life again, become part of the world again. I hope, honestly, I can start interacting with the world again without simply wishing to curl up and crawl into myself. Each time I have tried lately, it has not been an overwhelming success. This world, well it dumbfounds me. I love it less and less. I pay for my interactions within it on more levels then I am happy with. Nevertheless, I am part of it and should not give in to my overwhelming desire to simply retreat, it is far too easy.

black-and-white-girl-nature-photography-favim-com-356563My silence is indicative of the blues. I understand it is easy when you combine a natural introvert with the blues it is easy to do what I have done. So now, I will try to knock the wall back down. So much of the time I feel so very much alone, so very much as if I have to do this on my own. This I think, this reluctance to open the door and let others in, let others help me, let myself be disappointed again; this is another part of the blues.

I hope you are all well and I will be trying to visit.

Fallen Apart

soapboxpileTo support one thing does not mean I am against another. I want to make certain all who read my words understand this, to support one thing does not place me at odds with another thing. I can be for both, I can be in support of two seemingly different things. How you might ask, it is simple and I will tell you in as simple as terms as possible.

I am for humanity. I am for human dignity. I am for justice, fairness. I am for all of us, together as a people, as a nation finding solutions that will move us forward toward sanity and peace. I am at a loss, not just for words but my spirit is seeping away, hiding in a dark corner and refusing to seek the light any longer.

We are a people of disquiet and terrible, tragic division. We are not a single people, joined together by our desire to become stronger through our diversity and our shared history. Instead, we have sought the lowest common denominator, sought the very worst in ourselves and celebrated these most terrible and violent traits that drag prejudice and fear. Some of us protest the violent and senseless loss of life, we march and raise our voices demanding justice and change, yet the only thing that truly changes is the divide widens, the chasm of mistrust grows between us and violence increases. In our demand for recognition, our voices raised seeking justice that has not been ours in the past we say with one word, allies and friends be damned and cheer as innocent blood runs in the street.

The language of divisiveness has torn us down and apart. A mirror has been held up and we have seen ourselves, the worst of ourselves and embraced it. We have forgotten that good exists in abundance. We have chosen instead to ratchet up the hate, the vile rhetoric that will incite fear and violence on both sides of the ever widening abyss. Our leadership, whether elected or otherwise,5-signs-from-last-night-s-game-of-thrones-that-point-to-the-rise-of-daenerys-the-derange-996054 uses every opportunity to politicize death and mayhem, to feed our fear and fury. We are spiraling down the rabbit hole toward anarchy and those who would be king, they sit and rub their hands together gleefully as we fulfill their mad desire.

We watch in horror as another Black man is gunned down in the street or in his car as his child watches. We listen in horror as amateur journalists put their deaths on Facebook live, rather than offer them comfort and we justify their actions, we understand their actions because we need to know we need to see the bad acts. We forget to weep, we are immune we have seen this all before replayed over and over, these deaths simply cause our fury. Another senseless death. Another child, father, husband murdered by those sworn to serve and protect, murdered by those who will not be held accountable.

We blame the victims, searching for any misstep they might have made in their past, smearing them in public to justify their death. We tsk tsk as their death is replayed, over and over and every pundit tells us what we should think of them, depending upon what side of the chasm they speak from. We see the pain of their family, the fury of their loved ones and the demand for justice sends us to the street, more and more often with terrible results.

DALLAS, TX - JULY 11: Dallas Police Chief David Brown

We pay men and women to put on the blue, to ‘protect’ and to ‘serve’ us, the people. We demand they do so and without them Anarchy would rein in the streets. Yes, we must demand they be held to a higher, more perfect standard. We must require they be fit for the job they perform. DPC David Brown had been doing that, going against what many believed would work in Dallas, he charted a new course.  Dallas has become a model city, proving community policing and modern ideas can work in large diverse city. We cannot ever be good with the mayhem, the chaos and misery they cause in our cities, our communities. We must not turn away, thinking just so long as it isn’t at our doorstep and so long as we can justify it with a good old fashioned smear campaign of culture, people or individual we can ignore it as ‘not our problem’.

Last week seven people lost their lives senselessly to violence. We do not know all the details surrounding the deaths of Alton Stearling and Philando Castile, but we know enough. We watched in horror as they died. We have also watched in horror as their lives have been dissected and their characters smeared.

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Their deaths have led to nationwide marches, demands for justice, demands for change and unfortunately in some cases demands for the blood of police. Which was finally met on Thursday night at a peaceful #BLM demonstration, with shooting of twelve Dallas police officers, resulting in the death of five. Not just any twelve, not just any five, but in retribution specific targets were selected based on race and their wearing of the Blue.

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Dallas mourns their fallen. I mourn the fallen. I mourn with the families of Alton Stearling and Philando Castile, their loss is devastating. I mourn with the families of the fallen officers, their loss is also devastating. In truth, how can we mourn one while celebrating the other? Yes, to all of those who have said ‘good’, to the loss of those five police officers I say shame on you and truthfully ‘fuck you’. We cannot mourn one without mourning both to do otherwise is ignorance on our part and shows a lack of compassion that strips us of our humanity.

Why don’t we know by now, we are one people born of struggle, fire, blood and tragedy. We are one people, born of spiritual poverty and horrify mistakes. But one people generations removed from our beginnings yet it seems still mired in the ignorance of our ancestors, still clinging like Velcro to our history it seems we will continue to refuse to climb out. If we do not learn to reach across the divide we are doomed. So yes, I can and do support both. I can and do see both and desire reconciliation, change, justice and the creation of a better more perfect nation. This, this tragic and terrible one, it has to end. But violence, bloodshed, hate and bigotry this will not end well for any of us.

If We Were Having Coffee-Circles Unbroken

If we were having coffeeimages we might have it here, in my small but a little bit cozy apartment. I still haven’t fully unpacked, there are a few boxes I have no clue what they contain. I struggle to figure out how to organize the bits and pieces, but have finally decided maybe I simply don’t need too right at this moment in time (more later). I would offer you a seat either at my table, on the couch or outside on the porch overlooking the pool, what is on offer is a selection of hot or cold beverages today. Yes, I still have the Tequila in the freezer but I am not feeling the need, happy to provide some for you though if you feel as if it will help you through the day.

It has been terrible out in the world, hasn’t it? I remain stunned by the lack of viable candidates for POTUS from the two major political parties. I stand ashamed for us as a nation that this is what we have to choose from. The USA has for years called themselves the leader of the free world and we have stomped through the world as if we had the right to be there, telling others how to run their nations. We have plowed through nations, as if we had the moral obligation to ‘right’ the wrongs. I believe we can safely say, we are not the moral / ethical standard bearers of jack shit any longer. We haven’t been for a very long time, probably for far longer than any of us realize but with this election cycle I think it is safe to say we can put down our national ego, tuck our tails between our legs and keep our happy asses at home.

The news has been full of terrible and tragic. I can hardly bring myself to turn on the television anymore. Worse yet, though we seem to have a plethora of reasons to take a hard look at ourselves and make changes, those we have put in charge don’t seem to be aligned with us. Forty-nine dead in Orlando at the hand of a maniac, two young girls dead at the hand of their mother in Houston and still nothing. Congress people ‘sitting in’ on the floor of the House, deemed nothing more than a ‘publicity stunt’ by a tone deaf House Speaker, while a nation clamors for change. The DNC ignoring the voices of millions to define a platform for the future distinctly not Progressive and not inclusive of those who have said ‘Never Hillary’, nearly insuring a future Trump presidency.

Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

I believe we are seeing the beginning of the end of our once great nation.

Maybe I will take some of that Tequila after all, what about you?

If we were having coffee I would have to turn the conversation toward some better subjects, this one has been a bit morose. Honestly, when I sold my house and moved to this apartment I thought I would be here for at least six months. The market in Dallas is hot and rough right now, houses come on and off in the blink of the eye, they are also expensive and I was beginning to think I was going to be priced out of the market. Honestly? I was getting a little bit afraid, thinking maybe I had made a rash decision in selling my house. Well lo and behold, I simply needed to broaden my mind and my search field. Not only did I find something that suits me quite well, I made an offer, but I am in the tail end of the escrow process.

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Not there yet mind you. The inspection is done, out of this there were some concessions made and I am happy. The appraisal should be back next week and I don’t expect any surprises. My finance package is with the underwriter and though there are always questions because of my status as a ‘contractor’ and private business owner, I honestly don’t expect any real problems. The house is fun, it is 2,400 sq. ft. all on one floor. It is imperfect, just the way I like it, needs work but it isn’t a disaster. Built in 1976, it has great potential to be fabulous! There are some things I will do before ever moving in and other things I will do over the next two years to make it entirely mine.

Things to do before moving a stick of furniture into the house:

  • Fix all faulty AC venting
  • Fix plumbing in master bath
  • Remove all carpeting and tile throughout house and replace with stained concrete or hardwood
  • Repaint entire interior
  • Replace exterior door hardware
  • Install security system
  • Remove screen door
  • Widen interior office door (converted garage) and hang Barn Doors
  • Replace electric kitchen appliances with gas (oven and stove)

Seems like a long list doesn’t it? I know it seems daunting to me too. But honestly it isn’t that bad, either cost or effort wise. Most of it is small stuff, likely the worst one on there (cost) is the floors, I simply cannot tolerate carpet though. The funny thing about this little gem in the rough? It is a ‘flipped’ house, the current owner put lipstick on a pig, clearly watched far too many house flipping shows but didn’t pay attention to the important stuff, thus ended up having to pay $5,000 in repair concessions which will go a long ways toward my ‘things I have to do’ budget.

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Assuming all goes well, I will close on the house 11-July and all the work will be done within 30 days. So I will be living in my new home by 1-September. Exciting stuff.

One more thing that is sort of exciting, if you have followed along with me for a while you might remember a few years ago when I wrote about the Grown Assed Man, here and here that I wanted in my life. It has taken me a while, it has taken a few missteps and a couple of stumbles. It has been a difficult time of resets, finding my own personal comfort zones and learning that I am first very good company and second a very good person and woman. When I finally found my way through all that, I also figured out what I wrote in Grown Assed Man Parts 1 and 2, that really was in large part all of it, what I wanted and needed in a partner/lover and that I deserved it all. The other thing I discovered? I deserved to have it all, but having it all was different today than I thought. Today having it all meant retaining my independence and personal ‘self’ even while growing into a commitment that might just be with that Grown Assed Man I wrote about.

So that is what has been going on, just small things. I hope as always you are doing well and you will tell me what is going on with you. As usual I have taken over the entire conversation. I do want to share this with you, I found it recently and it has stuck with me, I hope you find it as poignant as I have.

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Really America, WTF

Soapbox LogoI simply can’t imagine how we got to this place in time. I know, I have watched it all and often railed against it all; yet still I simply am unable to wrap my head or heart around why we are here, at this place as a nation, as a people. My only real and heartfelt reaction to it all is, REALLY JUST WHAT THE FUCK.

I am struggling to make sense of it all. Trying to understand the definitions and terminology. What we say and believe and just how quickly we erase history so we can pretend something new is the only thing that is true. My heart weeps for Orlando. There are no words to express the tragic and terrible of what has happened, for those gone and for those left behind who must now pick up the pieces of and move forward.

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CNN: Mourners at one of many makeshift memorials in Orlando

The human lives lost, the human lives changed forever these are what our focus should be. It didn’t take long though for our focus to change to labels and politics. It wasn’t but mere minutes before we discovered and begin to shift through the blood and anguish, searching for the agenda to latch onto; depending on our own deep-seated and personal design. Never mind, the humanity and need of those in the center of this terrible tragedy, those ‘who knew best’ saw the opportunity and like leeches they attached and attacked.

There are those who see this as an opportunity to raise the flag on gun control. Well yes, there is a need to have this discussion. Most reasonable, thinking people agree. But did you need to flood social media and my inbox with reminders within 3 hours, before bodies were removed from the streets? Before loved ones were informed of their loss? I am on your side, truly I am but I would prefer if you would show some empathy and compassion. I would also prefer it if you would stop using the same tactics as the opposition, stop using fear. Get your facts straight, start calling things what they are rather than what suits your agenda, stop using hyperbole, please. Don’t misinform, inform.

imagesThen there are those who want to raise the flag of Islamophobia (Donald). This really is a red herring and thinking people know it is. We know there is an element of violent and radical Muslims in the world, just as with any religion there is an extreme element and they commit terrible acts. We see their horror stories and hear their latest atrocities screamed at us, constantly. We need only turn on our television to hear about their latest acts of violence against those of their own faith (their primary victims) or be reminded how they hate us by the talking heads of the Right. We need only listen long enough to hear commentators tell us how they are representative of the entire Islamic faith, all 1.6 billion of them. In our minds, we know this is a lie. We know, yet we are afraid because we listen and we can’t help ourselves.

The reality is each and every single time another tragedy happens we look for a reason, beyond the obvious. Another asshole, another disenfranchised, miserable human being murdered innocent people. Maybe they were Christian (Dylan Roof, Timothy McVeigh) Extremist who wanted to strike a blow for their religion or race or gender or maybe all three or any combination. Maybe they were Radicalized Muslims (Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook) who wanted to show their loyalty to their religious ideology. It doesn’t really matter, does it? Terrorism is exactly what it is, no matter where it comes from. We shouldn’t apply a different standard when it is committed by Christians versus Muslims, it is one and the same thing ultimately; it is a violent act against Americans, against America. It is a tragedy costing life and freedom.

 

What I know is the person who shot up Pulse was sick, a lost soul and we as a nation shouldn’t focus on him, shouldn’t give him status in our dialog. He wasn’t a terrorist rather he was a single human being, he hated himself and sought to murder what he hated most in himself. He attacked those he feared and hated; murdering what he hated. He claimed allegiance to a terrorist group in his final hours, he self-radicalized over the months prior to his terrible and tragic act, yet in truth by all the accounts of those who knew him he wasn’t religious. He was, simply self-hating, racist, closeted and lost. He struck out and destroyed lives in his self-hatred. Remember though, he wasn’t an immigrant, he was an American he was one of us.

What I know, there are forty-nine innocent Americans dead. There are fifty-three innocent Americans wounded. There are one hundred and three families who will have to figure out how to put their lives back together, how to get up out of bed every day, make it through the day and live with the horror of lost lives, lost loved ones, lost futures and what ifs.

I weep for Orlando. One more community that must pick up the pieces. I weep for America, once again we must look at ourselves and it seems we will turn our backs on what is so obvious. Our refusal to fix what is so terribly broken. The great divide and our failure to act, to stem the tide of hate and fear and the violence it invokes.

We must ask ourselves, are we one people or many small communities?

Do we come together, working for common cause and finding compromise or do we continue to dig the trench wider and deeper?

Are we Americans or do we continue to place the hyphen in front to create the definition of who we are, separate and apart from each other; always. Do we stand up together and build one America for all of us, no matter our differences. Do we search for ways to come together or do we finally fail as a nation. Do we allow the hate-mongers, the monsters to win, to finally draw the lines of segregation back into place, build the walls so high we never see over them again or do we stand up, as a single people in solidarity and say no more, never again and stop what is causing us to fail.

I weep for America, I weep us all.

 

If We Were Having Coffee: Tequila Would Top Mine

Yes, I know we might be having coffeeimages, tea or even the more refined Wine but honestly this past month deserves the bite of Tequila. Good, strong sipping Tequila. Nothing foofy with umbrellas and silly stuff, just a fresh from the freezer, where I keep it for times like these, sipping Tequila. .

So, if we were having Tequila with or without our coffee, we would be sitting back in my undecorated but praises be, nearly clean to my satisfaction, apartment. From 4,200 square feet to 1,000 square feet is one hell of a downsizing and I honestly didn’t think I could do it, I honestly thought I would lose my mind. Instead what I am finding is a strange peace settling over me as I maneuver through the weird minimalism that is becoming the norm for me. Even after I thought I had shrunk my needs to the bare ‘must have’ I found myself needed to shrink down even more, things I thought were absolute needs became sacrifices to storage in favor of other objects of desire. Amazing what becomes necessity when you shrink your living space.

Would you like another one? Excuse me while I top of my glass.herradura-anejo-tequila-17

You know I have told you about my year, shared with you that I have struggled on many fronts this year. The struggles have tapped me out on many levels, shredded my confidence, my hopefulness at times. Certainly my imagination along with my energy has been drained. I have had to really take out my spirit and examine closely what drives me, what is needful and what is a priority for me. I have had to make choices I never thought I would make, shed myself of what was doing me harm even when this scared the living hell out of me. I have stared into the abyss of my history and torn the curtain away to the future I thought I wanted, sometimes having to set aside people and things so I could begin to truly rebuild.

This has been a work in progress, it started a few years ago when my husband left without good-bye in December 2013. I have struggled to find my footing, to find my heart and my spirit. I have worked to find the independent me under the debris of hurt. People have taken advantage of my vulnerability, I don’t blame them, I put it out there with my need to be seen, to be loved. I put a great big sign over my head, “Here I am…Use me”.

Then after I lost even more confidence along with thousands of dollars, I finally pulled back into myself. Set my need for ‘love’ aside in favor of true healing. Small steps, sometimes backward steps, sometimes no steps at all but instead simply standing still in the space I was and taking a few deep breaths. Focusing on the right then, not trying to force healing but letting the world wash over me, rinse my hurt away in small portions. It wasn’t easy, I wanted everything and right now. There were days when I thought I would miss out on the rest of my life, nothing was working and I was emotionally atrophied; at least I felt like this was the case.

footprints

Early last year I jumped into a relationship to stem the hurt and loneliness. It was an unhealthy relationship. What I learned from it was wonderful though. I learned I would rather be alone than part of an unhealthy relationship. I would rather be alone than part of a relationship that hurts me. I would rather be lonely and alone than lonely within a relationship. I learned I can stand up for myself, I can say no. That is what I learned. It was a good lesson. I learned, I do not have to accept pain as part of being paired. I learned it is better to be uncoupled than unhappy. I also learned what I want in a partner, in a man. I learned what is important. In the ending unfortunately both of us were hurt, it was nevertheless the right thing to do, for both of us. Now I can couple without fear, I know my desires and my limitations. This was a critical step to finding myself, now I am happily settled with myself.

Can I top you off? I could use another splash. I am rambling on about myself, I hope you don’t mind.

This past month has been a challenge. You might have noticed I haven’t been around much, my plate has been full. In truth my bucket has spilled over, leaving me exhausted and exhilarated at one and the same time. I thought I would not make it through the month of May, I did though. Here is what happened and why I find myself sitting here with you sipping Tequila:

  • I moved into my new apartment and nearly finished the unpacking process
  • I finished the downsizing, though I couldn’t have done it without a few well-placed kicks in the ass along the way
  • I performed a wedding for my friend and barrier against the storms of recent years, Red
  • I attended the wedding of one of my younger sisters in Seattle and was reminded of how wonderful family can be, even in large crowds. Yes, my family is big and raucous.
  • I finally met my newest found sister and had a long breakfast with her. We are the odd ones out, part of family but found members (born outside, adopted out and unknown till adulthood).
  • I finally started the real search for my next job, though I know it might be long and harrowing I also know what I want and I am going to hold out for what makes sense
  • I started writing again in my journal and will start to write here and read again because I am giving myself permission and time
  • I stopped holding myself to impossible standards and took a deep breath without crying
  • I read my own posts from a few years ago and realized how far I have come and how some things are still true. I was amazed how far I have climbed out of the void I was in three years ago.

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What I have figured out through all of this?

I can do this. I am enough. I may be scared, it is fine, scared is normal sometimes. I may be sad, it is okay to be sad sometimes, this is normal. I may be lonely now and then, it is fine to be lonely so long as it is the loneliness of waiting not the loneliness of ‘alone’. I can do this, I am enough. I am worth it and I am enough. That is what I have learned.

CoffeeShare2

If We Were Having Coffee: Out of Control

imagesIf we were having coffee we would finally have to find a coffee shop, my house is in chaos as I try to sort thirteen years of ‘hoarding’ in a week. What the hell was I thinking? Order anything you want, really it is on me just for the company.

Saturday, my sister from another mother Red of M3 fame and I, sat out in fabulous Texas sun and conducted the first of what will be three (3) garage sales. We didn’t do too terribly badly though both of us forgot our sun screen and both of us turned a bit pink by the end of the day, her far more than I. It was interesting to see what people bought, fascinating really. I have only one thing to say about this entire garage sale thing, well maybe two; (1) I am not taking a single thing back, what doesn’t sell is either being donated or going into the trash; (2) really people offer me a different price, don’t steal.

Sunburnt

Red’s Sun Burn

If we were having coffee I would tell you about my penchant for order and having things always in place in my surroundings, I might be a little bit OCD. I told someone last night I was not doing well in the chaos, it is the truth, and last night I crawled into my spare bed and cried myself to sleep. There are so many things still to do, so many things still to sort, so many things without a home or needing a decision and I don’t know where to start or how to get it all done by Thursday. If you are wondering why I had to crawl into the spare bed, well I was able to sell the master bedroom suite, bed and all. Sleeping in the new bed makes me realize just how spoiled I have been with all that space.

The other thing I have realized through this process, while I am not really a hoarder, I have amassed an ungodly amount of miscellaneous stuff. Stuff from travels, stuff from wandering through life, mementos; just stuff. Now I am sorting through it all, some of it makes me laugh as I remember where and when I picked it up, other times I just sit down wherever I am and let the memory wash over me.  Then there are the books, every single book I love, years of book collecting. Books of escapism, books for research, antique books, books for words and cookbooks. I am going to store the collection that remains after the purge, but the harder part was letting go, so many books to just let go.

If we were having coffee I would have to tell you about my adventure with Verizon/Frontier Communications. Last week has been special, I will tell you this has pushed me over the edge and came at a time where I really was staring into the abyss already so didn’t need anything else. When I woke up at 4am last Wednesday, I wandered up to my office to check e-mail and wander through social media, hopefully get some blog reading done and see what was going on in the world only to discover I had no internet connectivity. Like any reasonable person would do, I reset my router, then I turned it on and off, then I reset it again and again and again. No luck, nothing worked. So I waited until Verizon/Frontier tech services opened at 7am. You should know, Verizon sold off their businesses to Frontier last month. Just for extra background, you should also know I have a business account, my Service Agreement with Verizon was my account could not have down service time for more than 24 hours, it is why I pay a premium for my services.

Wednesday morning I called. They told me to reset my router. Just for shit and giggles I did, ten (10) more times between 7:30am and 1pm. Yes, that is how long I was on the phone with them the first time, granted most of that time was spent on hold. The second call that day was to customer service, where I finally got someone to agree to a service order for a technician to be sent out the following day. That person mentioned my Service Agreement must be verbal, she couldn’t see the Verizon agreement for 24 hours. Oddly though, when I placed the order to move services to the new apartment and stated I did not want to move my landline she could see the $498 penalty I would have to pay for dropping services but couldn’t see the Service Level Agreement of 24 Hour Down Time, interesting.

FRONTIERSUCKS

Thursday came and went, without a Technician. I called, at noon and they said they couldn’t tell me when because Frontier doesn’t do service windows. I called at 3pm and they told me I would have to call back at 5pm, the last dispatch. I called back at 5pm, the lovely little man at the other end of the phone explained they had never dispatched because the ticket had been turned over to the VOIP department, until that department released the ticket no tech would be dispatched, he couldn’t tell me when that would be. I called Friday, same discussion but now I have been without services which includes both internet and television for three (3) days and am told I will not have services over the weekend either. So I tell the nice little man in Customer Service I intend to cancel all services, can you guess what happens next? Not only can he not find the original order to move those services to the new apartment but he has the unmitigated gall to tell me the penalty for cancellation would be $1,329, really?

Frontier, has cost me five days of potential work, has prevented me from looking for work, has breached their contract with me and actually believes they will charge me a penalty for cancelling services they are unable to deliver…….really? I admit, I lost my temper. I admit what came out of my mouth was impolite. I had finally been pushed over the edge.

If we were having coffee I would tell you, don’t try this alone. Don’t try to move alone. Don’t try to pack alone. Don’t try to do any of this alone. It is too hard. I know it is nearly over, nearly at the end. But honestly? My nerves are so frayed I am snapping, I know I am forgetting things, I know I am going to lose friends before it is all said and done. Clearly, I haven’t been to visit any of you for weeks. It isn’t because I don’t want to, believe me I could use a break and something positive right now. I will be back though, I will get back to you, I will start reading again, commenting again, interacting again and writing again even. Maybe I will even share some more positive stuff happening in my world, things that don’t suck (there are a few).

I really hope you would interrupt me now and then, jump in and tell me what you have been up to. I truly do hope you have had a better time of it than me, I would love to live vicariously through you!

If you pray, pray for me. If you don’t well laugh alongside me while I finish this move. Next week, despite it all I am off to Hot Springs for a few days of R & R.

CoffeeShare2

Weekend Coffee Share: One Down

imagesIf we were having coffee I would be sitting at my table and hoping you would share it with me. If you want tea, I would be sure to show you the slim pickings I have to brew (sorry), or you can share my pot of thick as mud cowboy coffee. Yes, there is plenty of creamer selections, sugars and honey.

Things sure have been up in the air this past week, sometimes I think this is a trial by fire just to see how determined I am to set to rights what is wrong. It has been all I could do not to snap at those I love, not to crawl into my closet and stay there, not to fall to my knees and beg the universe for mercy.

The final appraisal was Good Enough, the buyers have said yes to one stipulation I have said yes too selling for less than I wanted to sell for. We all have agreed to some terms that were not in the original contract, hopefully in the next few hours we will have a final contract to sign and it will be done with a closing date within this month, then I can move on from here. New life, new choices to make. I won’t be entirely happy with the outcome but honestly I will be in better condition than I have been.

I would proudly show you how I have started clearing out cabinets in anticipation of moving. Even with everything in the air and not knowing till just a few hours ago I tried to keep a positive view on this process. Then I would point to the full up baskets of CD’s, well over 1,500 I have already ripped to my IPod. This represents about half my music collection, it is a painful process to get them all onto my IPod finally but I swore this time I wasn’t carrying them with me, not again. I am finally going digital on this one thing at least. Will I get finished before moving day? Surely I do hope so, one less thing to think about, pack and carry.

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There is so much more to do, closet upon closet to clear out. Decisions to make about what to keep, what to sell and what to donate. What will go to a very small apartment with me, meaning what I absolutely cannot live without and what will go to storage until I find my next permanent home. So many things to consider, so many choices to make. I wander through my home today and think there are many things I take for granted in my life, many things of great beauty I hardly see until now that I must actually look at them and remind myself of their stories.

If we were having coffee today I would tell you about my week of introspection. How I have been thinking about family, friends and lovers (past and present). I would try to open my heart to you about how I have too often pushed people away for fear of being hurt even while I loved them. I would tell you about my natural inclination to take care of others within relationships, whether family or otherwise, how I am happier when I am taking care of others than when I am having to be constantly in charge, the boss, the strong one. I would try to explain how difficult it is for me to constantly be on guard, to be in charge, to feel uncared for and not trust others to catch me if I fall. This has been part of my week of introspection, part of what has driven me inside of myself.

I would tell you I recognize my strength, my competency and my ability to take care of myself. I understand I am able to stand up for myself, live alone and be happy alone even. I realize how much I have survived in my lifetime, that in truth it is more than most. I am good with my life as it is. I am good with the decisions and choices I have made. I am good with the person I am, with the outcomes of my life. Being strong, it doesn’t change my inner core, who I am or what makes me happy. It doesn’t change what I want in the future or the type of relationships that work for me. This is what I am discovering. I am also discovering, I will not settle for less than what makes me happy not from family, friends or lovers. It is vital I stand up and ask for what I need or I will continue to not get it.

This is what I would tell you over coffee, that all of us should always ask for what we need and expect to get it.

After I finished my ramble I would hope you would jump in and tell me how your life was going this week, what is happening in your world (beside the terrible of the political season). I am going to hope you world has had some joy. I promise you, I would listen without interruption.

CoffeeShare2

Things I Know

Sleeping BeautyI know we have an infinite well of compassion, empathy and love at our disposal. We are bottomless, we are never tapped out. Not ever in our lifetimes do we run out of ‘good’.

We might retreat.

We might close the spigot.

The truth is though, we remain full up no matter how much we give. Truth be told, I suspect the more we give the more we have within us to give.

I know we learn throughout our lives. We learn every single day and through every relationship. Sometimes we learn how to become better people, other times we learn to love in better ways. Sometimes we learn our capacity for love, other times we learn our capacity for pain.

With experience we change, our world view changes. Who we are changes as our understanding of self and our place within the world grows. As we learn we find our footing, we determine where we are comfortable, what makes us tick, what makes us sing, what makes us dance. We emerge as our true selves, like butterflies from our chrysalises.

I know we all have the innate ability to forgive, ourselves and others. Not the forgiveness many of us are taught in our churches, but something much deeper and more intimate. As children we are quick to let go of hurt, fast to return to those we love. It is only as adults we hang on to our anger, plot revenge or simply wrap ourselves in painful reminders building shields to protect ourselves in the future.

We forget, anger and hate are active emotions requiring our participation. Forgiveness does not mean you give someone, not even yourself, a free pass. It does not mean you have said to anyone they are free to do harm again. Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to most of us, it is a hard fought battle of letting go. Sometimes, even as we forgive we also must say ‘no more’. There are times when we must see our only choice is letting go, lovingly and with great compassion, simply letting go.

I know each of us is unique and wonderfully made. We are, each of us, flawed and perfect at once. We are forged within the furnace of our family and later by the fires of society; whether tragic or magnificent, usually both, we are formed. As we walk through our lives both alone and with others we are formed into something distinctive and entirely individual.

So many of us these days try to fit in, try to hide our light in anonymity primarily because there is a certain safety in numbers and shades of beige and gray. We fall into the common thought that ‘fitting in’ will gain us acceptance, get us further in life or even provide us a more comfortable living. Maybe this is all true, perhaps if we work hard to strip ourselves of what makes us distinctively us we will have an easier time in the world, but then we will also have to wake every single day and force our spirit into boxes of conformity that may not fit as well as we like, that may squeeze every bit of life from us and leave us gasping for breath.

I know we are meant to dance in the rain with abandon and joy.

I know we are designed for pleasure and it is not a thing to be ashamed of or to shame others out of.

I know we are infused with the spirit compassion and forgiveness.

I know we are intended to give and receive love without stinting or judgement.

I know the world has corrupted our vision of ourselves as human and humane, who we are and what we should be. We have too often substituted joy for shame, compassion for weakness and love for sex in our pursuit of anything to fill a hole in our spirit and our heart. Far too many of us look toward others to define a reality that isn’t our own and then we judge ourselves as failures for not living up to impossible standards.

All of these things I know in my heart. As I continue to work through what I need, how to free myself and where to go from here, all these things I know.

14-April-2016

14-April-2016

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