hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Archive for the category “How We Relate”

Racing To November

Rushing through these months. Every day politics, politics and more politics. I think what bothers me more than anything is that I am coming a face to face with the fact I know NOTHING about the political process in this country.
Through misinformation or misunderstanding, what I thought to be true is false or it has an addendum.

Transparency is non-existent. One could easily fall into feeling like “It is pointless, why bother?” However, we cannot give up. It is up to US to fix this “structure” that we have been told stands and operates a certain way.

We need to understand and repair what is broken, in order to return to the business at hand in our lives. We should not have to wonder if we are successful in putting an individual in office who said they stood for what we liked or thought, once in the position will unmask and go the other direction. If that happens we should have a rapid way of getting that same individual out of that position, of which he or she is clearly not able or willing to do.

We want to have the ability to adjust, adapt, and promote change, well it cannot happen when someone is put in a position for LIFE! Hell we are oftentimes not even capable of deciding what looks good on our own bodies throughout our entire lives, let alone decide what will be good for our country and most of her people when we are dead and gone, at the tender age of 80 plus!

Our officials, elected AND appointed, should have the ability to start to make changes and even stay around long enough to see them implemented and start to take shape, but they should not be in office long enough to wonder or try to remember why  that something was implemented in the first place. TERMS people; everyone should serve a reasonable term, and always remember just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.

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My One And Only

Love…wonderful, inspiring, and yes sometimes toxic. Wonder why? Well how about the fact the emotions within are so intense, they not only need room to expand, they need room so they won’t explode.

I remember my “one and only” and while he was fantastic on every level he was also about as close to an obsession as one can be.  It did not work out.Fortunately, for us both I was very inexperienced and revenge was not on my mind, only possession. Indulge me for a moment; what takes place in our hearts and minds when we place so much “stock” in an individual and that individual does NOT really have any idea how much power, control, love we have given to them?  Why; because at times we do not even know ourselves. Well that individual can get “blindsided” and we wonder how things went so wrong.

My grandmother had a favorite among her grandchildren. My cousin was a sneaky, detestable, ugly (in manner and appearance) creature. He sported a gold tooth, undoubtedly someone had knocked it out of his foul, lying mouth. Yet when my grandmother looked at him she saw nothing but goodness and beauty. Furthermore, if you crossed this boy the wrath of Mrs. Ellis would come crashing down upon you. I believe she placed every emotion within her in him. He was her hope, happiness, and expectations all rolled up into one. As luck would have it he was true to his nature, not worth the trouble he constantly stayed in. He broke my grandmother’s heart and spirit. Perhaps this is unfair, but I believe he had a hand in her losing her sense of consciousness and she spiraled into the sad state of dementia, still longing for the return of her “golden grandson” who was merely gold colored, gold filled or gold plated whichever is the lesser.

Ultimately, we have to realize that “we” are in control of our own happiness. It is not dependent on what type of weather we are having, or how much money we will make in the third quarter, or if an individual likes us or loves us back. It IS about “us” and whether or not we are happy with self. We cannot hope to retrieve some part of our life by giving the key  to our hearts to a being who has other concerns, and of those concerns, what we want and need does not top their list. That love YOU give to your “one and only” is GIVEN, therefore the restrictions and obligations are NOT there unless “they ” choose to place them there.

And When I tell you I DO NOT UNDERSTAND…

That is EXACTLY what I mean. I was watching a video of great dance routines. These routines included tap dances of yesterday, they were men and women, they were you and old, they were black, brown, and white. All you could do was to be in awe of and admire the artistry.

Then the wheels in my brain started turning.. we can dance together, we can sing together, we can perform and admire one another’s accomplishments without a second thought. I thought about great athletes working and playing together without regard to anything but that athleticism. The summation was as such; We can sing, dance, work,  play, laugh and cry but we cannot live together because we are FAR too “different”. I am not naive by any stretch, but I need help here. I don’t know about anyone else, but I work so that I can have more time to do there very things we as a national community seemingly have no problem doing together. Yet place us on the same block, city, zip code and things get complicated?

I ask myself as I read posts from”friends” of people I love and care about write about how awful the GOVERNMENT is but these same folks are former military people who joined to get benefits granted to them by our same GOVERNMENT. The same camouflage wearing, gun toting, flag waving individuals demanding their monthly benefits. I wonder how someone I love and care about can have such detestable folks in their lives..they are so very”different”. RIGHT.

I watched a young Muslim woman on the news last night, she was a representative of a group called C.A.I.R. (look it up). It made me sad to see her and several other representatives on a world wide network try to make people understand that everyone who is a Muslim does NOT condone the behavior of one or two or even two hundred radicals. They felt the need to explain to America and the world amidst this  latest tragedy that cost 14 people their lives, they are united with the mourners and pray for justice.

I think of the lives lost in the past year due to”questionable”police officers, policies and plain old citizens. Black Americans, who many want to believe somehow brought all of this carnage upon ourselves. I hear the voices echoing,” If they” would stop dressing like that, or talking like that, to listening to that music, or running away from police…” No every person of color is not a criminal, no every police officer is not bad, no every plain old citizen is not looking to target practice on young black males, but why should we hide from and ignore these facts when something tragic happens.

Are we really that shallow minded? Do we really take a visual and run with it?  Of course we do. That is what makes me sad.

The truth is all of us, on one level or another, looks for rhyme or reason for things which happen around us or to us. Sometimes those much needed explanations take on the deformed look of blame. We look to blame because we are damaged, hurt, and live in fear! There is nothing wrong with being afraid, as long as you do not allow fear to define your entire being. Sometimes the fear you house is a lack of understanding. Face your fear; as difficult as it may be, stare it in the face. You may find some understanding, thus discovering that thing you dislike so much, did in fact come from lack of knowledge. Once that is taken care of you will eliminate the need to randomly hate. For  America, while we are busy fighting among “ourselves”, perhaps “our” real enemy is out there waiting for the turmoil to reach a boiling point; at that point when we are at our most divided and weak point “they” will have the ideal circumstance, the perfect time to strike. How’s your fear factor doing now?

If I Knew Your Political View…

My son and I were discussing an actor( who will remain nameless because I do not care for this individual based on what I have read recently), he(my son) spoke of things which been said that had gotten passed me. In my mind I  tentatively added this performer to my list. Yes, my list of Don’t Like You/Your Political Views/Racially Insensitive Comments, Don’t Knowingly Support You/Your Product.

There is so much information available, I will never cease to be amazed by this. However, there are still only 24 hours in the day and between handling the necessities of life in some form of order one has to decide what all of the “other” things are important enough to take time out to research. Research IS necessary in order for one NOT to sound like a babbling idiot, because the very time you do not bother to research something and talk as though your opinion is KNOWLEDGE, you will get caught and called on it.

In regards to this actor, admittedly I have enjoyed his work in the past, I was not surprised though. I find that men who fit into his particular demographic are particularly displeasing to me. I feel the same way about the women as well. I remind myself HE IS A PERFORMER. What he has said/done is opinion driven and fueled by money. Designers, singers, dancers, artist, creative folk…liberal arts does not necessarily mean liberal- minded. I ask how can people who are my contemporaries be oceans apart from me, when we shared a very similar upbringings, same environments, locations, education and economics. I ask why? I see surface issues, but I also see the things that were clearly kept hidden.

I HATE the self-righteous battle cry/credo “do as I say not as I do”. Easy to feel that way once YOU have gotten the “crazy” out of YOUR system. Forget the idealism of youth, as wrinkles and back pain stare YOU in the face. Angry at the reflection, angry at the world..a world that hopefully will continue on long after you cease to. Where has YOUR hope gone?

I want to like you, in short let’s keep politics out of our budding friendship/relationship/entertainment choices as much as we possibly can.

T.H.I.N.K.

I saw this on a team message board on my moonlighting job. That job needs  to be as inspirational and motivating as possible. I am grateful for it none-the-less. So after once again being human and flawed I am inspired to write about one of my many, many, many flubs. I hope it will help someone else and perhaps myself do what my title suggests, but that does not necessarily mean anyone will in fact have to change.

“Before you speak THINK

Is it True

Is it Helpful

Is it Inspiring

Is it Necessary

Is it Kind”

Imagine a society of political correctness; nothing out of order, no one offended, facts to the point concise and non controversial. Well it certainly would keep us from being offended, but would it truly keep us correct?

There are some things we need to know. They are not all pleasant. They may pierce a bit but if they are helpful, if we allow ourselves to gain something of value from them, we are better for that information and the surface hurt can be put aside. Remember “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?The  Emperor was so “wrapped up” in looking good he was easily deceived into believing almost anything, including invisible garments.

In our imaginary-politically-correct perfect society we are addressing being able to say something, anything that is not absolutely nice. Why is that? That is because even in the fantasy of perfection we cannot deny that which is real.  How can we exclude the need to be made aware of something that is not-so-nice? We realize that in process we would eliminate our ability to appreciate that which is nice.

Therefore, I encourage you to THINK before you speak, I encourage you to listen but THINK about what was said, and finally I say consider the source.

” You Got To Give A Little…”

There is a portion of a song in this piece’s title and I think it is felt in my heart as well. Emotions can sometimes seem a bit unbalanced.  There always seems to be one who gives more, there is always one who seemingly takes more, one who needs more and one who provides more… we could go on and on but the bottom line is we all need balance.

Human beings in every way are not able to or function poorly when we have too much of this, or too little of that, but medium portions give us what we need to excel. Balance, we are all about balance.My birthday is in October, I am an October Libra and a child of the era when Astrology was a craze. I still hold my zodiac sign near and dear to my heart, with that said the balance thing is a very BIG DEAL to me.

Our group is numerically “grown up”. Therefore it is expected that some of our behavior exhibits that”grown-up” status.  I am not talking the weekend motorcycle ride in the mountains, the periodic dancing all night long, or even the occasional roller coaster ride with the grand-kids. I am talking about the one-on-one relationships spouses, friends, parents, children. What type of time and effort are you putting into these relationships in order to obtain the desired results?

Let us begin with the subject of desire. We can go for the G-rated version but with commercials advertisements for E.D., ultra sensitive condoms, and libido enhancing lubricants we have a tough battle to face. From the very beginning you and your mate were on different time clocks; now they may have been close, you may have managed to synchronize them a great deal of the time, but they were still different. Now the slow down comes(I have friends who vehemently deny this..) you /him, her/you it matters NOT, the sync is no longer syncing. You’re ready, I’m not. I’m ready you’re not. One day you wake up and realize we simply..are not and have not for some time now. Do spouses understand that even though two have instrumentally become one, the two still exist?

Now let’s be fair time is something we all could use a little bit more of, but what would we do if we had it?  In the mere 24 hours of the day we must do life; needs, responsibilities, goals, dreams, assists, and leads. You look up one morning at 3:15, due in part to your insomnia and read your friend has become a grandparent for the second time. You say to yourself,” When did he become one for the first time..how did I miss that?” Then you say, I just spoke with him in January 2014, you realize it is June 2015. All those passing thoughts of, I need to call or I’m gonna stop by flash through your brain. Now you feel terrible, what kind of friend are you? Then you come to your own defense and say, “Well contact is a two-way street.” You now have given your conscious momentary relief. However, how long will you actually feel better, exonerated or will you at all?

We are the 50 Somethings therefore in most cases our parents are the 70 to 80 Somethings. Life is challenging now or it soon will be. We have our health to stay on top of, but we also MUST concern ourselves with theirs. They grew up and came of age in an era where natural and organic foods were not the top of the heap. McDonald’s was a way of life for many, diet sodas were great and everyone smoked..cigarettes. Take the poisons they fed to themselves out of the factor and you still have to put aging in. If you have both parents it is a bit easier for they have one another for companionship. Yet you are still gonna deal with some degree of “Needy”. You love them, but at times the guilt-trip is one you’d rather NOT take. Then you have to justify yourself to outsiders judgmental looks. Remember the phrase, “whose your daddy” juggle the words around a bit and you come up with the self defining question “who is the daddy”. It is prophetic, isn’t it?

Lastly there are our “bundles of joy”. No more 3 A.M. feedings but don’t you periodically think, “why don’t they get _____, this is so easy”. This generation just has no idea, sound slightly familiar? I think we have heard that statement/those type of statements before directed at some other group of young people. My children have made me proud, but can I be honest, it is difficult to refrain from the meddling parent role(wonder if there is some genetic connection). I don’t want to run their lives, although we all know I could do a much better job of it IN MY OPINION. I know in the most respectful way they know, they want to tell me at times to”bud out” but they were raised better than that. I also know at those same times, bud out is exactly what I should be doing. We try to keep it at a minimum, but could we try a bit harder?

Finally a final summation…support your children don’t smother them they will be fine they come from good stock;love your parents even when they are difficult they certainly did the same thing for you; take time out of your tight overbooked schedule and give your friend 15 minutes it’s a start; let your spouse know they are still number one in your book even if the book’s cover is faded and spine is slightly damaged. I suggest the giving role, because you can.

 

 

Omission

Going way back, we can all recall not being told the truth. Through the innocence of childhood, through the self-preservation of teens, and finally the deception of adults. Okay may be we don’t have to go all that far back after all.

With nothing particular in mind the thought came to me regarding our inability to tell the truth, or the talent many of us possess in telling lies. I examined from the youngster to the elders. I did not take analytic notes, I simply noted behavior. Therefore, this is not a judgement but merely an observation.

I am a liar.. after you finish your gasp prepare to take another…so are you. Mind-boggling right? No it isn’t, and pardon the pun truth is, we are all liars. For by definition a liar is someone who says things that aren’t true. The definition does not say one who tells a certain number of non-truths, it doesn’t state that barring the tales meant to preserve feelings. nor does it give immunity based on age. Untruths=lies; Do the math.

Make yourself feel better by eliminating or excluding yourself from the pathological liar status, but perhaps you fit into another category and also take into consideration by virtue of those numbers, you may actually qualify.

In growing up adults are quite a mystery to children, they tell a child to do one thing when they themselves do something quite the opposite. It often takes the child transitioning into adulthood before the realization clicks. Therefore, no matter how hard you try to disclaim it, a little liar that exists is  often someone you helped create. We say how we admire children’s innocence and honesty, when in fact all we want to do sometimes is get away from or avoid that cute way ” Little Johnny” points out your wig looks crooked in a crowded room. It may take one incident like that, or maybe “Little Johnny’s “parents will be so embarrassed after the 20th time they pull their angelic offspring to the side and give him wisdom for all times, “If you cannot say anything nice… you can all finish this.

The fact is the truth can sometimes hurt, and if you want to be liked you cannot go about hurting people. Omission is the kinder gentler way we think, but is it really? Drawing the line in the sand we ask which would be better?  I think about leaving a key component out of some piece of machinery or perhaps an ingredient in a recipe; the machine may not work or work properly, the dish may not taste just right. How does an omission affect the party(ies) involved? You tell yourself it is better for__ if they don’t know. When in fact it is better for you, if you are the culprit or the doer of the deed. You may not have silver tongue and be able to deliver the information in a fashion that will not make the situation uneasy, so you work with what you have and use that forked one you do possess.

Little white, falsehood, fabrication, blatant, omission…words that have one thing in common you decide which one is worse, but do not be deceived or deceive yourself they are all lies.

Twice A Child V-LIVING

Okay,  here we are and we now know,  It is what it is.  Trouble is where do we go from here? What do we do, how do we cope now that life has changed on us, where are the solutions ?

This is a very difficult entry for a couple of reasons. Due to the fact it is the final entry for this series, as well as it is something that I am currently experiencing. I do not know how to feel from day to day. Am I guilty because I am not right there physically, in the “trenches” or does my guilt come from relief that I am not there in the “trenches”. Is my bravery and acceptance a disguise for fear and denial. Do I keep busy so that I am not in a state of constant infantile bawling, because the person I love, respect, need is no longer here with me. Yet an image and a sound-bite tells me different.  What is it like for her; trapped by her surroundings real and imaginary. Moments of being seemingly lucid only to be followed by complete confusion. She is angry, she is determined, and she is afraid.

The process of life gives you 9 months to prepare for the arrival of new life, yet when life ends it is a flash. Be it prolonged illness that feels like it will never end or a sudden unexpected accident, the truth is life still does stop in the cessation of one tiny breath. The deterioration of the mind is a cruel painful experience. Each time I see a lost soul walking down the street I fight the growing lump in MY throat, because I know that IS someones loved one.

Think about scenarios you have witnessed, someone speaking crossly to a poor soul weak and frail. Nurses and doctors along with family members  trying to hold down a silver haired being who is screaming and fighting with ever bit of their strength. The Aging Process can be cruel. You do not witness that poor frail person being spoken to in a cruel fashion telling their child how bad each and everything they try to do is, yu do not see the silver haired person fighting off nurses, doctors and loved ones throwing things when they don’t get their way or wandering off time and again without a trace. You don’t have the “luxury” of knowing the worry, the pain, the frustration, the hurt that WILL take it’s toll on an able-bodied strong human being. Try not to judge as an outsider, as an observer. As a participant, buckle yourself in this is GOING to be a rough ride. There it is life coming straight at you; yet YOU can be blind-sided, YOU can get the sucker punch in your face. There is no preparation for this experience.

I recall aging friends and family members who have been confined to assisted living facilities, convalescent hospitals,etc. I can clearly see the faces of folks I do not know lined up in the hallway or sitting in a chair in their solitary rooms. Some faces cry out for help, some stare blankly ahead. We, the ones left behind search for a glimmer of hope, a slight chance that the person we love will return.. Medical science has yet to  figure out a way to release the mind from the confines it sometimes finds itself locked in. Therefore we are left with that hope, that prayer the one we love will one day come back. How heartless would we be if we said,”They are gone forever”. How heartbreaking is it to know and feel that very same thing. I wish I could tell you how to accept,” My loved one is gone and I didn’t even get to say good-bye”. I cannot. Remember your heart is fragile and so is your soul. Try to keep loving them even if they are not aware, even if they are mean to you…try to remember the love.

 

A View From Inside-Part IV

I cannot blame today’s youth completely. I believe we parents did not prepare them. We were so busy making it better for them, because we could. Our parents and grandparents fought long, hard, deadly struggles. We forgot, the pain, the long talks, the faces of disappointment, anger and fear. We did NOT want our children to see that in us. We forgot to remind them that trouble is always waiting for an opportunity. What happened it bypassed us and went straight for our jugular vein. It knew we would not let it slip up on us, but our children, weak vulnerable that was the target. While they slept, while we were away from them to far to fight for them, it pounced.

I recall hearing time and again, “It’s a jungle out there”. As a child, I dismissed it as one more thing adults say that children don’t understand, but they are not talking to us anyway. The older I got it made more sense, it became relevant to my life it addressed the competition involved in staying alive. Now I could relate. Once my kids were born it took on a whole new meaning.

As the mother of two sons, I remember the days they were born respectively. Back in those days you did not really know what you were having until the child was born or if the ultra-sound tech got a “lucky” shot. I remember wanting girls both times. I told my boys as young adults, not to hurt them but for information. I did keep a deep dark secret from them and that secret was I did NOT want to face the challenges and likely heart break having a son who was black could bring.   I knew in spite of everything one can do to prepare that man-child, a predator waits for him. I also knew that I faced having to tell my innocent boys about this treachery or leave them helpless and clueless. I was afraid for them. Hell of a choice AND one that I had less than a decade to decide which one was the right one.

The right choice was for us to take them away from the element. We moved them into a predominately white environment complete with a public school system that ranked among the scores private schools in Southern California. Whew, now I could breathe. There we were defeating the odds, so we thought. They were from a two parent household, above average income, educated parents and an area that was “safe”. Remember that decision I had only a decade for? The first came in the form of them being ostracized by people they were entrusted with. Fortunately we were always present, always watching over, always apt to pop in. However, didn’t we take them to this place so we would NOT have to do all of that?

My eldest son did not experience this unyielding ugly and potential danger first, it was my youngest. I always wondered about that. My eldest is dark and clearly black. The “baby” had his own grandparents laughing at his fair characteristics, but that happens in our families more often than NOT. I remember the day we took him from a beautiful little church school on the peninsula, because no one would play with him; they were afraid of him because he was a big boy. I thought how could ADULTS allow that to go on? Furthermore not bother to tell us. He went to that little church school two weeks before we found a more diverse environment. If my husband, who was ever-present (as I was), had NOT happened along to bring him a surprise lunch, we may have never known. He was a big, tall kid, he has big tall parents so that did not phase us, but being told the other children were afraid of him. Remember he was also a fair-skinned child.

In the wake of so many ugly police related wrongful deaths I wonder if the fear began for these same policemen as early as preschool? If so did an insensitive teacher, like the one at my son’s former school, ignore the behavior. I cannot say enough times I do not believe all policemen are bad, I do believe all police departments could benefit from addition training. Clearly something is being missed.

 

A View From Inside-V

Now I address fear and anger for the future. Each day something more happens, each day the media releases information that incites and upsets me. Married to a black man, mother to two black sons and expecting a black grandson. I cannot forget what is done to men in our race just because of their skin color. I watch people try to explain away the injustices, trying to make these terrible things our fault exclusively. Please understand and do not get me wrong, for everyone has to be held accountable for their deeds. None of us is exempt in this sense.

However, let us examine the phenomenon of the victim victimizes, the punished punishes, the abused is now and abuser. What do they all have in common?It is simple really, you survive something horrible and bad, but you are not treated and healed therefore you believe the treatment you were given is the treatment you must give.  You view these things as normal, the way it should be and you act accordingly.

I came across a piece about the family of actor Don Cheadle. His family genealogy was the subject matter and it was uncovered his ancestors we enslaved by Native Americans. It seemed to come as somewhat a surprise to him and others that watched the piece also were enlightened. While I knew of the enslavement of our ancestors, I also knew there were men who rose to the esteemed position of “chief” in some  tribes as well.  Mr. Cheadle remarked about the status of his kin as they were at one point people without a country. Being slaves of the Native American tribes put them under the jurisdiction of those same tribes and once the USA determined and declared slavery was illegal, those Native Americans were NOT under the rule of the USA. In many cases a separate negotiation had to be conducted for the slaves to be freed and then only to be placed in a status as outcast. They were not American citizens and they were not recognized as members of the tribes either.

I initially shook my head in disgust and disbelief. I asked how could a people who were treated so horribly by the white European settlers turn around and adopt the very same hideous practices. However, Native Americans often took slaves from wars among the warring tribes. “To the victor goes the spoils…” I do not want to trivialize this, but to point out how these negative practices are cyclic.

The behavior has to be modified and changed. Bridges and positive interactions will breed positive interactions. Stop believing every black man is a man with the strength of 20 angry men on crack with an I.Q of 7 because he was stopped by the police, justifying “shoot first ask questions later” mentality. Understand a mere fashion trend is not a disguise for a hardened criminal. We charge our law enforcement officers with many tasks but one task they must take on, along with a great portion of our society, is to not merely look beyond an individuals  skin color; no they must go one step further and they must do it rapidly, they must do what John Grisham asked of his audience in A Time To Kill, “Imagine them white”. Can you accept the challenge?

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