Ravening Wolves

Gray-Wolf.-Courtesy-U.S.-Fish-Wildlife-Service27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

Ezekiel 22-27:29 


There is nothing to say about passion that hasn’t been said before, except this, it festers under the skin, like a wound that never quite heals. We search for that salve we can rub across the wound and for a brief moment, it works, then we realize the salve was full of grit and all we have done is taken the top layer off and opened it up to the air.

Damn that hurt, again.

I have become cynical. I weep at the history, I weep in pain some days as well. But I have become cynical. As I look down the barrel of another surgical intervention, I have become furious at the lack of compassion and empathy this nation has for the weak, the aged, the young, the disenfranchised, those different from ourselves. We celebrate the ignorant among us, whether this celebration is through their election to high office or their constant media attention, it is nonetheless a celebration. Meanwhile, we ignore sometimes even vilify those who do good works, those who deserve our attention through their contributions to society, our communities and our lives.

I weep when I consider the consequences of our apathy. I am appalled when I realized we are more concerned with the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass than we are with just how diminished the office of the President is by the disrespect shown to kim-kardashian-ass-memes-funny-6this President by every member of the GOP in elected office today. Really people, is this what we have become? I am disgusted that every single Sunday I hear the same tired conspiracy nut jobs (IRS, Benghazi, Sharia Law and Muslims, Guns Guns and More Guns, oh and let’s not forget there is no Global Warming and Make War not Peace).

I shudder when I listen to the first off the Clown Bus to enter the fray officially tell me to ‘Imagine’ a world he envisions,  one based on Christians values and morals. I cannot begin to imagine a world where all bets are off and corporations and people in his tax bracket will have all the rights and breaks while the rest of us suffer the consequences of his worldview. This though is the world of no empathy and no compassion Mr. Cruz wants us to imagine.

Of course, Phil Robertson falls right in line with Ted and his ideas. At a prayer meeting yesterday this is what Phil, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family had to say about those who didn’t profess a Christian view. This is what we would have to look forward to if Ted became president of the United States of America.

The worst part is, some of this is already happening across this land. Laws to strip those who are not Christian, White, Heterosexual are already being passed. Laws to enable businesses to discriminate against others based on their ‘Christian’ beliefs are passing state legislatures across the land. These new discrimination laws are enabled by people like Ted Cruz and encouraged by the fact that Phil Robertson and his network still exist on without any of us saying no, you are not allowed to say these things and stand on the First Amendment as your protection. You are not allowed to pretend it is just a joke ‘fantasy’ to threaten rape of young girls, decapitation of women, neutering of men simply because they are not of the same faith as you. What the hell is wrong with people they think this is ‘okay’.

Which leads me to the next problem, as a victim of violence I look at this nation and think to myself always when will it end? When is enough ever going to be enough, when will we say as a nation, not another child, another man, another woman will lie in our streets. When will we say not another parent will bury their child, not another child will pick up a gun in play and end up killing their sibling. When will we say enough? When will we say the police are not sanctioned to murder our citizens? When will we say enough? Surely, there comes a point in time when the lives of our citizens are of greater value than the profits of the corporations manufacturing the guns that are killing us. Certainly, at some point enough of us will stop and think, the laws in place today are not protecting anyone but those who are profiting most by our deaths, by the deaths of our children.

Then I saw this and I was brought to my knees. I realized it was us, Elyse over at Fifty Four and a Half simply put it out there and I found it stunningly simple and in your face.

Which leads me here to this, another great example the debate, of what is wrong with us as a nation and a people,. Is this ‘Free Speech’, the First Amendment at its finest? Or is it something worse, something so deeply disturbed I cannot even find the words. You tell me, with no lead in other than to say I had to watch it twice before finally realizing it is parody but also defines the the terrible ease with which anyone could do exactly what this video lays out, step by step.

Well that is my rant for the day my friends. Passion, if we don’t get it and soon we lose everything we stand for as a people, everything we once stood for as a nation. We have been slowly eroded; we have stripped down bare and shown the very worst of ourselves for the past six years. We have shown our dark and ugly side and those of us who should have stood up and spoken up, we did little and said little. We should be ashamed for allowing it to go so far. For those of us with the means to do something, we should be ashamed for not doing enough, for staying home when we should have been in the streets even where we might not have been fully embraced. It is time, it is past time that we push the boundaries and demand the change we need to make this a nation worth living in and fighting for, not just for some people but all people. We cannot afford to do otherwise.

Want to tell A & E what you think about Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty: aefeedback@aenetworks.com

Summer Sun

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen all you have isn’t enough, then what?

When everything you are isn’t good enough, then what will be good enough?

When your entire history is poured on the ground and the only thing you can make is mud pies, should you plan to forever go hungry?

Someone once said to me, “You won’t live to thirty”. Yet here I am I lived past fifty.

Someone else once said to me, “I will kill you”. Yet, here I am alive. They didn’t succeed in killing me though they damned near broke my spirit.

Another person said to me, “You will never amount to anything, you are stupid”. I believed them for years and let their judgment dictate my direction and choices.

I approach my next birthday, sooner than I like to think and I consider the consequences of my choices. Pardon me while I wallow in a fair bit of self-pity, maybe not self-pity so much as ‘well shit, what next’. I stare down this slope of the unknown and consider options:

–          What is next for this last third of my life?

–          Why am I asking who I am at this late date?

–          Should I even care about definition or instead just get to living as best I can?

If you could, would you say despite not being enough, not being good enough, despite dust turning only to mud, I am still grateful. My heart is full of gratitude I have lived, I am alive and my eyes have beheld great beauty, my soul 013has burst with laughter and I have trod paths both new and ancient searching for nothing more than passages to joy. I have risked my heart more than once, because well because I am a romantic and despite I have had the ever-loving shit stomped out of me more than once I still believe in love. Despite a tough as nails exterior, despite scars, not just on the inside but some prominent ones on the outside, I am still somewhat mushy and sometimes all too forgiving of the failure of others to take care of the gifts I freely give.

I often accept hurtful words and judgments of ‘less than’ and ‘not enough’ as the truth. I often absorb these through my skin and into my heart. I allow these judgments, harshly rendered to send me into myself searching for different truths or forgiveness. I reach outward sometimes-begging forgiveness for harm unintended, other times for harm never done but easily identified as mine.

Hard to believe anything but early judgments even after all this time of fighting for new definitions. Yet still I will live my life with a grateful heart for all the gifts of light, laughter, joy and pathways to victorious survival against great odds. We might not always be warrior queens, perhaps it is enough sometimes we simply find a sunny spot and be thankful for the color yellow and the warmth at noon.

Am I crazy? Maybe just a little. Am I still a romantic, seeing the world through rose colored glasses? Yes, I suppose I am. The truth? I suppose the truth is, still after all this time I simply want to be loved just as I am, flawed, scarred by a life I didn’t ask to live but lived in the best way I could.

That is all, just loved; perhaps after all that was and is too much.

Victim Impact Evolution

Tuesday night I was at the Federal Prison (FCI) in Fort Worth as the single speaker for Victim Impact group. I don’t know if they had other speakers on previous nights or if they will have others on following nights, I do know

FCI Fort Worth, Enterance

the Fort Worth program is unique in several ways from other programs I participate in, here is how:

  1. There is always only one speaker per night
  2. Often the participants take the program more than once
  3. Smaller groups

Victim Impact is intended to help offenders gain insight and understanding into the affect their actions have on others. It is a voluntary program for those on the inside. Those of us who speak are also volunteers; we didn’t volunteer to be victims obviously, only to ultimately step outside of our rage and pain to tell our stories where it might do the most good.

I always have mixed emotions heading into the Victim Impact Groups. My mind sprints down well-worn paths, through dark times in preparation, honestly I never know what I will say or what direction I will go. At Fort Worth FCI the entire two hours is mine, it isn’t the panel sessions where there are three to four speakers, this is my time to shock and awe. This time was different; so much has changed in the last year. Some of those changes caused me to retreat inside myself, to live within my own battered emotional landscape this was part of my evolution. Some were normal justice system; the first release of one of my attackers last month and then within 10 days of each other, notification the two others were entering the Parole system. I am having to rethink my position on a great many things, my normal calm was well, not so calm.

FCI Fort Worth Fenceline, perhaps my own as well

I usually like Fort Worth FCI, I like the smaller groups and for some strange reason I like the interaction; it is less formal, less structured than the other panels. Yes, it is still a Federal Prison and yes I still walk through the gates that clang loudly as they shut behind me and through the yard, always a strange journey; yes, I am still facing a group of offenders and delivering ‘my story’ so they might learn something from it. There was a difference this time though, as I drove the hour to my destination I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was a difference. I don’t usually have speakers’ nerves, this time I couldn’t focus my thoughts, something right under the surface kept beating against the door kept locked tightly, my emotional reserve.

The cliff notes version of what we are supposed to say:

  1. Tell the story of what happened, how you became a victim
  2. Tell the impact of the crime
  3. Make it real and make it emotional

Usually when any of us speak the story is the largest part of our time, all the details all the horrifying gruesome details. I don’t know why this is but for some reason this is what we have taught each other to do, to make the violence real. This is especially true for those of us who are first person victims, there aren’t many of us, but for those of us who are willing to stand up we have been coached and so we follow that three part script.

This time I found myself standing in from of thirty men, some of whom I had seen in the program before all staring at me expectantly and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t follow the script. I had all this time to fill and I simply could not do what was expected of me. My voice has changed; my story has changed in the twenty years since the crime I have evolved and in the year since I had last been at FCI things had happened that had caused me to re-think some of my positions.

MAAT Goddess of Truth and Justice, Courtesy of Wikipedia

I told my story, that hasn’t changed the violence and the facts haven’t changed.

I told the impact on my family and friends, that hasn’t changed it is only the truth.

Then I talked about evolution, my own. I talked about how it felt to know the first of my attackers was out and free. Not about my anger, my fear for him not of him, his entire life lost for a stupid childhood choice. I talked about their choices as well, their children as victims just like the three who shot me. I talked about Remorse and the need to hear the words and see acts of contrition, not simply because these words and deeds move an offender towards early release, but because they are true and heartfelt. I talked about Forgiveness and the truth of it, not that it is due or a right, but instead it is a gift they may never receive, not from any of their victims including their families.

I talked for an hour. After that hour I opened the floor and instead of talking at the group I talked with them. The one question that nearly tipped me over the edge:

Had I ever considered ‘they’ were my victims as much as I was their victim?

My answer was of course NO. His explanation was that by demanding justice, by demanding they remain in prison for their full term, by continuing to ask how the state could consider Parole where there was no sign of remorse I was victimizing. That perhaps they did feel remorse but did not know how to express it; he felt remorse for his bad acts but had difficulty. I simply pointed out that he was taking steps to learn by participating in the Victim Impact Program; but never could he equate my demand for justice as a victimization of my attackers. They got time, I got life.

A comment from one of the participants who had been in the program previously:

You are calmer now, not so angry.

Finally one of the questions that I thought was interesting and generated some discussion:

How do you not hate?

I am going to leave this one open to anyone who wants to answer it. I might come back and answer later, it is funny but I have never hated my attackers.

My plate has been full lately and I am trying hard to find my normal balance, my normal pragmatism hasn’t been in operational mode. It is the season of Victim Impact, I am wondering if I should sit this year out, try to shake what holding me hostage the fence line holding me back.

Original Story: https://valentinelogar.com/2011/12/11/231/

Lost in Transformation

Flicker.com Image

That first rush of infatuation, the giddiness of a new relationship. It is like riding a tilt-a-whirl at the carnival, up and down, faster and faster and then the sudden stop. The world comes crashing in and down around us.

Does he like you as much as you like him? Is he the one? Are you the one for him? What should you do, how much should you do? What does he like? Who can you ask that will tell you his likes and dislikes with precision so you can follow a script to his heart. When will he call again? Should you call him? How many texts a day are too many? His last girlfriend was a blond, should you bleach your hair? His last two girlfriends had big tata’s, does this mean he is definitely a breast man, how do yours measure up? Should you ask him or just get a new rack as a surprise, how much does that cost anyway.

STOP…..are you insane or have you simply forgotten yourself in the rush to find a mate.

Do you find you have suddenly stopped girls’ night out? Are your friends wondering where you are or worse who you are because when they call you these days you rush them off the phone to keep the line free while you wait for him to call. This is a sure sign you have begun the slow descent into the strange and horrifying world of lost personalities and lives, that place where you leave yours at the door called ‘relationship’.

Linger too long in this bleak alternative universe and it is a hard road back into the life you left behind. Worse yet, the partner you are pursuing might not join you in that desolate place you have stumbled into; you may be on a lonely excursion. What were you thinking when you made the decision to forget yourself, your friends and even your family excluding them from your life in favor of your newfound paramour? Did he ask for this sacrifice or is it just your way of showing him your dedication and love.

If you remember the list from the first in this series, Chasing Perfection several of the items on that list had a consistent theme:

  1. Giving up our own life (family, friends and interests)
  2. Lack of Ambition or Sacrificing Ambition
  3. Not being our authentic selves
  4. Trying to change ourselves, worse trying to change him

These are clearly woven together into a single strand and for those of us who transform ourselves in our desperate attempts to be loved and accepted we are ultimately lost to ourselves and those who truly loved us just as we were. So what happened? Where did we detour on the road to self-actualization, personal ambition and fulfillment in favor of what can only be termed emotional thralldom.

Before going further, it is important to sweep out the notion that we are talking of those circumstances brought on by abusive partners. Those partners who isolate you from society and strip you of self-esteem, financial support and personal ambition do so to enable their abuse. While it is true if we see the early signs and don’t run, we are enablers through our continued presence. Usually abuse of this nature is slow and stealthy. The abusive relationship has an entirely different pathology and one that we won’t delve into here.

Lost in Transformation

The phone rings and you don’t answer unless it is him. How many Friday nights have you waited for him to call? When did you determine his phone call was more important than chatting with your friends or for that matter a

ZelDaily.com Image

Saturday of shopping? You use to take on special projects at work, sometimes working late nights or over the weekend to complete them; this represented opportunity for you to advance in your chosen career. Now your boss wonders if you are ill, perhaps have a brain tumor because not only aren’t you volunteering for special projects your regular work is suffering and you are out like you have rocket fuel under your heels at 5:00pm sharp.

You are making clear choices in your life, giving up yourself your friends and your personal ambitions to mold yourself to someone else. Ask yourself, did that person ask for these sacrifices? Are you far enough along in a relationship where these sacrifices are warranted? Is there any clarity to your thinking in making these changes, who are you becoming and in this becoming how authentic are you now?

The person you were when you went on your first date who was that person? Isn’t that who was attractive to the man you are now changing your cosmos for? Will he still be attracted once you change yourself completely into who you believe he wants?

Do you honestly believe in making the changes you will somehow, some way retain your true and authentic self or is that less important than gaining the man?

How happy will you be once you have converted entirely to a shadow of the person you once were to gain the esteem and love of a man you barely know and who will now never know you.

Red has done a marvelous piece on Self-Actualization and I recommend a stop at her shop to participate in this discussion.

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