This blog will upset you; it will frustrate you. It will hopefully provoke an emotional response; it may encourage you, validate you. Whatever it does, I hope it moves you to do so something; called someone; check on someone; sit with someone you've never sat with; ask someone how they’re doing; see something say something etcetera. I have been having challenges with this latest school shooting which I'm grateful for because it means I'm not desensitized. I have been having trouble just coping with this latest shooting as a mother, as an instructor, as a clinician, as a human being. I am angry!! It hurts to know that the one place that we used to be able to send our children for refuge, clothing, food, for education is now the most dangerous place on earth outside of a mall, clinic and church. Next to an abusive home, a sexual predator, drug dealer and kidnapper are no match for a kid with an axe to grind. The educational setting is a threat to the very safety of our children; this is antithetic to the purpose of a school. Daily our children are sent off to school and will either be made privy to the teacher’s drug use, a conduit for repressed sexual aggression of an adult, a punching bag or an experiment for the next round of Common Core Trial and Error training. But I digress; my point in writing this blog is to stimulate conversation on the fact that it appears that White men have always been weapons of mass destruction. From Slavery to the Civil War to the Jonestown Massacre to Columbine to the made up War on Drugs that castrated multiple communities of color. My concern is that the privilege that goes along with being a White man places every community, including their own, at risk. We allow the media to rationalize the violent behavior of white men and women to the very detriment of whole communities and civilizations. We ignore the fact that they are now America's number one problem with serial murder mass murder and terrorism being a predominantly white issue. Let me Define these concepts for you: terrorism, according to Google is the “unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” Serial/mass murderers are defined as individuals who kill at least three individuals but there is a cooling off period between each one. I remember once being upset with a friend because she wanted so much to draw parallels and define the difference between labels despite the fact that multiple lives were lost in the Vegas shooting; but, her white privilege afforded her the opportunity to do so. Sticking to the aforementioned definitions, our government, police officers and certain municipalities and systems are serial/mass murderers. Flint, Michigan politicians are serial/mass murderers. Timothy McVay, the KKK, the Neo-Nazis and the shooters in every mass shooting to occur in America to date, are terrorists. But now I'm wondering, why young white weapons of mass destruction aka terrorists, or old white weapons of mass destruction aka terrorists, are offered empathy, sympathy, and understanding. We seek to understand the pathology or cause of the desire to kill; was it because they were grieving or have some type of disorder? We don't want to just admit that they were inherently evil. The problem though in employing this type of tactic, is that it leads me to wonder should we not extend the same understanding and compassion to those who blew up the World Trade Center? Flew the plane into the Pentagon? Who dropped the bomb in 1941 Pearl Harbor? Of course not! Why, because the difference here is that these weapons of mass destruction are wholly Caucasian; European, white, whatever you want to call it while the above referenced terrorists were people of color. White men are and have always been weapons of mass destruction but social stratification, institutional racism and ignorance water and harvest the seeds of indifference that trick us into honing in on young men of color while white weapons of mass destruction gain access to the oblivious and innocent hoping to do nothing but live out their dreams. Long story shorter; this last shooter had more red flags and opportunities for intervention than we have states in this country. Had he been a young man of color, he would have been connected immediately to some level of Juvenile Justice and forced to receive treatment for whatever disorder or ailments punitively attributed to him. The reality is that while gun control will only control those already following the law, and mental health disorders are largely NOT responsible for these instances, white privilege and the refusal to acknowledge its presence across systems, will continue to prevent the appropriate interventions necessary for remedying these types of occurrences. Using mental illness to cover up inherent evil is only going to set members of the mental health community back 100 years in terms of minimizing stigma. We need real research and macro-perspective introspection along with an open and honest discussion about privilege, gun control, psychopathology, etc.
Conversations with an Indigo Child:
Me: What’s on your mind:
The Indigo Child: People want to know why our children are tired, anxious, and riddled with depression. We are tired; we are tired from rapid shifting in our moods as we await the ever-evolving battle on our earth, resources and future. We have attachment issues because our parents who are absent in our presence as they drown in the murky waters of social media, smart phones and instant gratification coupled with the emasculation of our fathers, the de-feminisation of our mothers and the lost values that belonged to our grandmothers and grandfathers. We have anxiety and worry about our futures as homeownership becomes a memory and affordable housing is nonexistent; student loans haunt our dreams as we see our parents increase their underpaid workloads to make ends meet in a way that is almost taunting. Barnyard and Candy Crush games become the apple of our parents’ eyes with their excitement and emotional response greater than that given to the achievement of walking, talking, toileting and educational achievement. Reaching the final level of Black Ops or Crush Saga is as important as reaching 10,000 friends on social media, yet more important than attending parent conferences, PTA meetings or enforcing discipline. Apple, Samsung and Hewlett are our foster parents while police officers are disciplinarians without restraint. Our president loves to hate, lives to kill and claims that he destroys to build. Our schools are war sites and learning is the equivalent of forgetting. People listen to ignore, talk to put down and fight to disagree. Our depressed little minds are unsure of who we were created to be because the structure around us is crumbling; where we used to grow up with some resemblance of hope for the future, we are hopeless. The people who are supposed to build us up are building their profiles. I sometimes think and I wish that the people that I knew on Facebook were as cool as the people that they are in real life. It's funny to me how people can live such dichotomous lives. We as their children see it. The lack of structure in homes and communities condition us to fail. We are anxious and worried because we keenly aware that we are not being equipped to take on the futures; we are angry because we are facing a future we did not choose. The dollar will be worthless. We have lived in war since 2001; schools are cesspools of inequality and violence. We children have been left to make grown-up choices and are punished subsequently. We are punished by dirty water, polluted air, high rates of living, political failure etc. This is what we are faced with, and this is why we are tired, anxious and depressed.
Love and The Great Divide
So I have been thinking: am I one of the lonely few people who tells their family members, children, co-workers and friends, that I love them frequently? For example, during our “Drops in The Bucket” time in our leadership team meetings, I tell my peers with whom I have bonded that I love them. And getting off the phone with my siblings, parents and grandparents, I tell them I love them. With my friends, both old and new, I tell them I love them. Obtaining a reciprocated response is not the point or goal; simple recognition of the love I have for that person is. I think to love and to be in love are different but the same. Its one of those concepts where I really believe that I prefer friendship love to romantic love at times, because people “in love” tend to fall out of it. I just want the love. I want to feel free about professing my love for the individuals in my life who make my life worth living: my friend who travels and strives to break generational labels placed upon her, my friend who is finally seeing some flickers of light at the end of the tunnel in her quest to obtain her God-ordained greatness, my friend who truly is a superman in his own right, and my friend whom I’ve loved since I can remember who I frequently have to remind to be safe. I love my family and I love my friends and the grace that my God sees fit to extend to me daily. My father who has an unusual amount of intellect married with humor, and my mother whose glare you can feel through walls, to my grandmother who everyone refers to as the nice lady to my grandfather who has this James Earl Jones-esq essence and says much while saying little- all of these people give me life. My uncle who knows a little bit about everything related to conspiracies yet really is a nice guy. My siblings who are individually awesome and creative and bad ass who will swoop down with great vengeance if I needed them to, are some of the greatest and kindest people ever to breathe and walk this earth. My daughter’s father who entertains frequent bouts of fuckery but sometimes has great regard for my health and safety has even taught me lessons that contributed to my feelings of worth. My child whose strength and confidence and extraordinary humor is an individual like one I never met and never knew I could create, let alone parent- is my lifeline currently to my higher source. I have a friend who always reappears when I need her, one who sends her love from Phoenix, and many others who have really helped shaped me and achieve my goals. How could I not say that I love them? All too often this world reminds us of how unimportant, isolated, weird and strange---I mean really!!! Fill in the blank. We are really conditioned to look to what we are not before looking to what we are. The people in my life truly transform me with every single interaction and I believe they need to be rewarded by being loved and accepted in the same manner they have loved and accepted me. I know that it can be awkward when someone who you have no romantic interest in, says I love you. I don’t want people to feel awkward, I want them to feel loved. This is fulfilling for me and spreads love in an ever increasingly divided world. I need to be able to profess my love for people. I wanted to write this because we have so many misconceptions about love and who is allowed to love and what it means. I think love includes- let’s start this shift in language when we talk about love- love includes acceptance and reminding people that they are loved, simply because they exist. Feeling the freedom to say it also means that you are reaching a point of self-awareness and actualization where someone else’s opinion is mattering less and less. This being the case, because I know that I am loved simply because I exist, and because of the amount of wonderful people in my life reinforce it by being present, I am going to tell whoever reading this, that I love you. And I mean it. Because chances are, if we met, I would love you, simply because you exist.
So I have this job right. It has been the bane of my experience for somewhere near the last 90 days. I think this is because it brings out the mustard seed size of insecurity in me while challenging me and driving me to new levels of self-competence I did not know I could achieve. My supervisor, the Executive Director, has challenged me in ways that trigger my ego on alternate universe sized levels. One is related to the book that speaks about four agreements. The one that tends to get the most focus is the agreement where one is to make no assumptions. I remember once, at a team meeting, a peer of mine rebutted that the “assumption” as labeled by our supervisor was more of an observation and continual experience to which my supervisor had no response. I chuckled. I think that I chuckled because it became apparent at that moment, that anyone could label your experience an assumption thereby negating the need to accept any level of responsibility for the way others are experiencing them. I think that one of the things I love most about the work I do is the realization that any observation or assessment must be backed up or evidenced by some behavior or explanation in order to substantiate the label chosen. I think assumptions are necessary because they require conversation and discussion and disagreement which breeds inclusion and increased self-awareness when done correctly. I think it is an opportunity to share experiences and discuss barriers. Assumptions can be both positive and negative but in any case it could be what sparks a much needed conversation.
If you have a small child in your life that is close to you, and I mean close enough to where they make or break your decision to procreate, have you ever noticed how the little things matter the most to them when deciding on whether they have been betrayed? For example, have you ever gotten a bite to eat while on the go without that little person being with you? Only to experience later that they are totally caught off guard and feel completely betrayed? “Mommy, you ate without me?!!!” The sudden realization that you have a life outside of their life is a totally disorienting experience for them. Here you are, the center of this child’s world. The sun literally rises, sets and revolves around moments of fellowship and interconnectedness with you. How does that leave? Does it begin to dissipate after that first meal they realized you had without them? And how come we never gain that level of intensity again, for another human being. The exchange as you get older, at least in my generation, appears to be lusting for someone rather than genuinely wanting to be in the presence of another individual with whom you feel incredibly close and interconnected without physicality. You literally belong to that child and no one else without the perversions that typically go along with that level of control. I was just wondering this as I experienced that my grabbing Panda Express without my daughter was earth shattering for her; and her reaction, was earth shattering for me. It made me really know that everything about me is loved, needed, watched and important to at least one other human being simply because I exist.
There's a keyword here in the title, it's “Thinking.” Lately it seems that people lack the ability to critically think about certain issues; rather than think, we rationalize. We curb the inclination to investigate or research; ask an extra question. Instead we compare the effects of the issue such as “did it affect my home, my family? Did it affect my money, my health?” Using devices sometimes causes a person to tune out the whole world. I myself at one time or another have been lost in the timelines of social media, and binge watching television shows. Honestly, the media would have me believe that the sky is falling! Yet its not falling by me, so why should I care? The apathy is real. I find myself wanting to break free! I become baffled at the inner debate to deactivate accounts or disable apps. Do I really get nervous when I think of volunteering, joining a club, or going outside to view who my neighbors are? In response to that inner debate, I rationalize that everything's ok, and say to myself “don’t be so negative.” I 've come to the conclusion, that fear of living outside the box drives our now inability to disable apps and electronics. My subconscious raises many questions- Is it negative to question the motive of watching T.V. for 5 or 6 hours, Is it negative to get absolutely angry to see yet another video on my timeline of some cop engaging in what seems to be a crime regardless if it is a legal one or moral one, am I completely desensitized- I smack my lips and continue to swipe my thumb against the screen of the little box in my hand refusing to think critically for fear I may put down the little box and return to living outside of it in a world different that when I went in to the box.
I want to tell a story; lets call the main character Mary. All the other characters will be referred to as Trials (intermittent issues) and Tribulations (intermittent issues that linger and burrow into the dangerous canals of the darkness called the subconscious). So, Mary is born, raised and eventually transitioned into the trickery of adulthood. Throughout childhood she had trials that conditioned her to turn anxiety into energy, worry into optimism and hope into action. She enters adulthood with the rose colored shades on only to have them snatched off and stepped on by the bully called student loans, his friend called taxes, their buddies called responsibilities and the leader of the gang called grief and broken heartedness. As she transitions through her twenties and into her early thirties, self-awareness and confidence increase as she knocks down trial after trial and suppresses the experiences of tribulations. She builds self-confidence through prayer, meditation and achievement. Her child brings a level of motivation and satisfaction that can only be a gift hand crafted and delivered by God. One day, as she glues the final piece of the rose colored glasses back together, she is stunned to see that they are presenting to her a world view unlike any other. She becomes keenly aware of the obvious generational curses/behaviors/ mistakes passed down from her maternal line. She instantly becomes aware of the seeds planted in her since birth and watered daily by the gardeners that are parental interactions, social engagement, social media and religious influences. She becomes aware of her ability to change her thoughts, thought processes and overall self-view. She becomes strengthened at the thought of breaking and developing new mental models that are in alignment with who she knows at her core she was created to be. She becomes aware of the grace and peace of her higher source and excited about possibilities. She becomes aware that her renewal came at the expense of her rose colored shades.
Hello Friends and Welcome back. This week's blog is one about the realization that I came to subsequent to a grueling Barre Class thanks to the wonderful app Groupon. First let me shout out the wonderful ladies at The Bar Method who have been more than patient with me as I try to remember that my current journey is between me and my body; no one else. So here I am wondering about life and its purpose and my current journey of amazing blessings and equally amazing disappointments. I have struggled lately to feel balanced and in sync with my chakras and spirituality these last few months. So I decide to venture out and try something new. I purchase a Groupon for five classes of barre fitness in Hermosa Beach. I feel pretty good about the purchase. I feel even better when I drive to the first class, amazing walking up the stairs, almost invincible during the stretches-wait for it- then comes the first set of exercises. I begin to feel weak; out of control, and infantile at best are the emotions raging through my mind and muscles as I work to keep up and not compare myself to the seemingly perfect ladies who appear to do this on a daily basis. Then Lacey, the instructor comes over, and tells me I'm rocking it. Then it hits me; this journey is between me and my body, no one else in the room or on the planet. Then every out of sort emotion begins running through my veins as I hone in on my feelings of imbalance while trying to use the bar for support to turn out knees, flex my feet and squat while squeezing my glutes. It hits me, I have been competing with every celebrity, every friend, every sibling, every person on the planet who has in some way set some unrealistic expectation of some life experience in the last year. I have been racing the clock of others, listening to the ticks of other womens' biological workings and managing my emotions to the perceptions of others. I have been meeting unrealistic expectations that are not even mine. My journey is my journey as is my body, time, money and life. My journey is between me, myself and I; and these barre classes are between me and my body. I will move forward reminding myself that each experience is between me and my spirit and those with whom I share space and energy ongoing. Love of self is my goal beyond the superficial and I hope to share this walk, this journey with others who look for support through Jacob Joseph and Jabez Family Counseling and Professional Services Group.