Un-Entitled

Life is most interesting…the twists and turns of it, the places you end up literally “minding” your own business.

There really are no accidents.

I just finished watching a documentary about a well-known singer and songwriter accused of abusing many girls and women – which I came across channel surfing. It is likely the most disturbing work I have ever seen. I did not want to watch. But as the well-being and empowerment of women and girls feels to me like one of the reasons I as placed in this body and in the world at this time, I could no longer look away. In order to make any real difference, one must listen and bear witness to the vulnerability and fragility of the human spirit – far from comfortable, but obligatory.

It is now 3.30 on a Sunday morning. There is no way I will sleep without placing some thoughts and feeling elicited by that documentary on paper. Need to release that energy, those emotions I cannot quite articulate or completely feel in this Moment. Writing has always been my therapy.

Here goes:

My theme in 2019, the year I turn a half a century old, is taken from one of my favorite songs, the beautiful African-American spiritual, This Little Light of Mine. The intention is to consciously be a Light and create the space to recognize and encourage The Light from others. I believe that we are indeed in this thing called Life together and, as such, we are each other’s keeper.

So, the notion of fellow humans – children of God – out there who consciously endeavor to hurt and degrade others – especially children and the emotionally vulnerable – purely for their own gain, shakes me to my very core. Intellectually, I know such beings exist – politically dictators who have (and continue) to wreak utter havoc on the lives of millions upon millions of humans, priests behaving badly, and it goes on and on. I have seen up close with friends and family, domestic abuse and its toll.

Still, watching that documentary, hearing story upon disturbing story told by people who look like me, my sisters and friends, saddened me deeply. I am also stunned: How does a human brazenly disrupt the lives of so many young girls and women as well as their families and get away with it for so many years? Is one born that way, the way of darkness and depravity? Is it nurture – an abuser grows up immersed in the sewage and consciously decides to repeat the pattern? And then one wonders about the abused – young women who appear to be so easily “trained” to take and accept humiliation and maltreatment from a man? To be so controlled that not even the desperate plea of your own parent moves you?! Bon Dieu.

Everything is within a context, yes? This became crystal clear to me when I saw the movie, Monster with Charlize Theron years ago, and reinforced with every episode of Criminal Minds that I can sit through. The Monster is not created within a vacuum. Circumstances – often violent and sadistic early in life or some serious trauma later in life – come together to produce such a being. This is not to take the responsibility from that individual for their actions. Again, everything is a matter of context. Any one of us, placed within a particularly toxic and “uncivilized” environment, can easily (and quite abruptly) revert to a more basic, “primitive” state, descending way down to the Abyss of our consciousness – saying and doing things we could never even conceived as possible. I am remembering now as I write that this was the lesson – the warning – that the Lord of the Flies (the only book that remained with me well after high school) sought to teach. We contend that we are the “highest” of the animal species. Still, our behavior toward each other repeatedly demonstrates that the human psyche is delicate terrain. Like walking on very thin ice, it does not take much for us to crack and rapidly become undone.

I watched and heard the stories in that documentary – one after the other, incredulous. Wondering how does this happen? Yet, knowing exactly how it happens. You do not wish to place any blame on the abused – especially when they are women (members of your own sex) and where minors are concerned. Still you wonder, what wound was so glaringly infected, need so deep and vast, that the predator could smell it a mile away? We tell on ourselves, my grandmother reminded me shortly before her passing. Energy speaks so much louder than words.

And there but for the Grace? Plan? Will? of God go I. I vividly recall how innocent I was heading to College – a school chosen because I had fallen, at first sight, deeply “in love” with the sophomore who had come to my high school to pitch the University. My freshman year, every time I saw him on campus, my heart literally skipped a beat. I was so hopelessly infatuated with him – it was crazy. So, when a friend from high school asked me to be part of a group of women helping him and his line brothers with the grueling pledging process for admittance into a fraternity – the same fraternity to which “my love” belonged – hell yeah, I jumped at the opportunity! As a member of this group, I met the beautiful girl that he – my crush – was said to be dating. Still, that knowledge didn’t stop me – the smart, geeky, “good” girl raised by the quintessential strong black women – from being in his room one night, alone sitting on a mattress with his head on my lap. He, now a junior; me, a freshman and virgin in every sense of the word. I have absolutely no recollection of how I got in that room nor how I left. None. My memory has never been strong to begin with. Hence, such a gap is not unusual. I do not get the sense that anything untoward occurred. And, so I consider myself “lucky”. I was so vastly and profoundly insecure in College and – looking back, knowing what I know now – clinically depressed. Miles from my smothering, overprotective parents, family and wider community, anything could have happened to me. Anything and anyone. My emotional wounds were bleeding profusely, the perfect prey was I. There but…indeed.

So, who am I to judge?? Not all the women in the documentary who charged that singer songwriter with abuse were teenagers. Some were grown folk – as we say – women thirty years in age and older. The girls, we can better understand and sympathize, their brains are still developing. The women…a little harder to comprehend. Does not age bring wisdom with it? Not necessarily. He was much older – as they usually are. Long ago, I heard someone say that we are all school buses carrying with us all our ages. The Inner Children – along with its pain, trauma and confusion – does not simply go away. Everything is energy. According to The First Law of Thermodynamics, Energy can neither be destroyed nor created. It can only be converted from one form to another. If the negative energy of past trauma, shame, pain, and hurt are not spoken truthfully, faced head on, and transformed constructively, it festers infecting the individual from the inside out and/or enabling destruction via the hands of another just waiting for the opportunity to unleash their own unresolved anguish. It’s a dance, the human interaction.

The idealist in me would have us all first acknowledge and begin to deal with our individual issues and demons, thereby coming as “correct” as is possible to the relationship dance.

I pray for us all what I continue to pray for myself: that we re-member always who and what we really are – Light (one so strong and powerful that it can never be dimmed for long. The courageous women who shared their stories in the documentary and survived horrific abuse are shining and inspiring examples of human resilience.)

I pray that we re-member that we are truly many parts of the Same One – so what you do to the perceived other, you do to yourself.

I pray for a level of consciousness and conscientiousness toward each other, and Mother Earth as a whole, that would render us humble enough to re-consider the notion that humans are the “highest” of God’s millions (perhaps even billions) of species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pearls from Tears

I remember well my fascination with oysters – rather unattractive on the outside, very rough around the edges. Yet, inside, lay a much sought-after jewel, the pearl. When later I learned that the pearl is the by-product of an irritant entering its sensitive insides, I understood why the oyster so resonated with me. This was me, my life: nothing particularly compelling on the outside – by typical standards – but inside, my heart and my mind, utterly extra-ordinary, beautiful, invaluable and unforgettable. 

To this day, I draw my sense of self-worth and place from what lies beneath my skin, that which cannot be seen or felt by most. Alas, residing in a world where the outward appearance is a major determinant of one’s currency and where the attention span continues to rapidly decrease, what place is there for the pearls that lie within? Will anyone pay attention? Does anyone care?

For us, the human oysters, the world’s daily dismissal serves as the irritant; our tears, fodder for the formation of precious pearls. They pile up, the pearls, on our delicate insides, yearning to be seen, worn, to adorn. They were not meant to be stowed away, these iridescent fruits of vulnerability, discomfort and despair. No, they are gifts to be brought to the Light and shared.

And so, with lips quivering, hands trembling and hearts pounding, we take a tentative step, and then another; we open our mouths to speak, softly at first; we pick up our pens and write, allow the pearls to flow out, and then quickly hit send.

Some of what we offer will fall on fertile hearts and minds and be valued; most will be discarded or just plain ignored. No matter. The response is not our responsibility; we are tasked only to release.

Voice

It is a
courageous
conscious

Choice

for a woman to use her Voice
to speak her Truth
from the root
of her pain
and shame
at relenting
to an old patriarchal
game
that would have her use
sex
for financial gain.
A decision that then
drives her mad,
utterly insane,
a mute
filled to overflow
in self-disgust and deep blame;
a sad dimming of her Glow,
her innate beauty she can no longer see,
feeling more like a mere commodity
to be bought and sold.

Without a Voice,
her story left untold,
passing The Burden
onto the next generation.

The Long Arm of Slavery

Molecular memory,
this may inform
the long arm of slavery.

The past
reaching relentlessly
into the future.
Those who were once deemed “master”
carry the seeds of feeling superior-
better than those they enslaved:
the men shackled and emasculated;
the women relegated to nannies and maids,
their dark bodies laid open
to cavalierly invade.

Trauma being made
on and in both sides;
a slow
imperceptible
suicide.

When will we finally realize…

 

Waking from a Deep Sleep

I am

waking

from a deep sleep,

wondering

Where am I?
What is it
I had to eat?
How did I get here
to these beliefs?

I rub my eyes

as I try

to make sense

of what has become complete nonsense.

I hear the ancestors cry;
they ask why?

Why are you and your kin moving back?
Do you not realize this is a slap
in the face
to those who were brave?
Don’t allow our sacrifice and pain
to have been made in utter vain-
wasted blood, sweat, and tears
over the course of hundreds of dark years!

Wake up from your deep sleep,
the antecedents weep.

It is now your turn to learn
that freedom ain’t free;
it is your sacred responsibility
to the past, present and future
family.

#MoreLove

More Love

this is what the world

needs more of.

More time spent together

remembering we are

keepers of each other.

We’re all made of the same stuff,

crafted from sanctified dust;

unique yet the same,

OneLove with different names.

In you, I see my divinity;

In me, you see your humanity.

We are but mere mirrors –

brothers, sisters.

We must re-member

What We Really Are,

never from our Light

shall we stray too far.

More Love

that is what our world

craves more of-

give It,

receive It,

preach It,

commit

to

Love.

Make It your religion,

your only reason for being.

America

“O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me. And yet I swear this oath-America will be!” Langston Hughes

 

My country

strives to be

a sweet Land of Liberty,

a Crown of Beauty,

from sea to shining sea-

an example

a beacon

to other countries

and peoples

to witness

the possibility

of beloved community

amidst vast diversity,

of justice

amidst adversity,

of kindness

in the midst of such plenty.

America,

this grand, young experiment

in democracy-

governance

of

for

by

We, The People.

Still struggling with its meaning,

back and forth, we go;

to and fro,

from the high

to the very low.

Another birthday,

America 

tentatively celebrates,

expressing gratitude

for what is good.

While also cultivating

a firm commitment

to manifesting

for all

that which is

honorable,

innocent,

hopeful

within the

imperfect,

complex,

uncomfortable

experiment

that gave birth to a nation

of immigrants.

 

 

FREEDOM

All humans yearn to be free;

to manifest our unique destiny;

to be wholly who we were designed to be.

A caged bird loses its melody-

it cannot fly-

let alone sing-

with clipped wings.

What an utter shame,

a sorrowful loss

this game…we play

of a boss,

of another mere human

knowing better than us.

Why do we so easily

give our innate power away;

so often stifle what is inside us

to say?

We all lose

when we chose

captivity

over

creativity;

conformity

in lieu of

individuality.

We are encouraged to be ourselves,

to come out of our protective shells,

then

often

shunned

when a few

do not see

as we do.

Labeled sinner,

we are marked with a scarlet letter-

excommunicated

mutilated

married

raped

shot

subjugated

stoned

burned!

These, it is believed,

is how we learn

to be silent

remain quiet;

stay small

do not stand tall.

What is the threat

that freedom for all

is perceived

to beget?

The shackles

bind

both ways.

What so ever you do to me,

that you do unto thee.

All humans

were meant to be

free.

No matter the costs

or how long,

Spirit will indeed

sing its songs.

 

 

 

 

 

Fated

it comes relatively easily,

that which is fated.

the steps run smoothly

as if actions in an incredulous movie!

one feels as if riding a powerful wave

toward that thing God long ago named;

this place He slated

for you alone,

to grow, to blossom, to come into your own.

“this is your path, walk in it,” He declares.

“trust me. do not let your heart be troubled nor scared.”

not all in this life need be a struggle,

an interminable inner fight

to discern where one belongs,

which way is right.

indeed, sometimes a boulder is thrown –

the Universe knowing better

than to reach you with a mere quiet stone.

Urgent, desperate prayers come up constantly to the sky:

“help me!” they all cry.

God cannot do for us

what He cannot do through us.

that we are each other’s keeper –

a remembrance that is sacred, an absolute must.

The call for help

is responded to

by an ever-evolving self

that consciously

with a sense of deep conviction

and moral responsibility

relays relentlessly:

“here I am, Lord, please use me.”

This surrender,

ego placed out of the way,

then renders

the necessary space

for one’s fate

to perfectly navigate.

 

 

 

 

What will my role be in The Revolution?

What role will I play in The Revolution?

What will my Lord require of me to help bend that long arc of the moral Universe always toward justice?

How will I be asked to repay the debts to those who came before, who took the hits and falls so that I might on their broad, brave shoulders stand – in the moment – free and tall?

To whom much is given, much is required. A government truly for the good of all the people and run by all the people comes at a high cost – the cost of caring, of voting, of marching – of being ever diligent and vigilant, opposing with steadfast love the misguided forces that would hate from the place of fear and darkness cutting through all our human hearts.

What role will we the people play in The Revolution now that the pendulum has swung back, seemingly all the way to the other side and another time – the response to the call for higher love and broader inclusion; the response to the call for pluralism and government visually reflective of its many peoples?

When did we forget our basic tenet that we the people are One – E pluribus Unum? Either we stand together – united, or become completely undone – indeed, extinct – by the misperception that we are not one and must only lookout for number one.

There is no middle moral ground; we can no longer simply stand around, desperately seeking a savior to come down and bear the heat for our collective neglect and defeats.

No, the answers are not out there – never were. The heroes lie on the inside and have thousands of faces. Be still and know that we each have a specific role to play, some piece of the work to claim, an assignment bearing only our name.

May we the people with courage and deep conviction, accept our respective tasks to ensure our beautiful American Experiment lasts, and the freedom for which it always strives remains vibrant and forever alive.