Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Life Is A Theatre~

I was thinking about the people in my life who are the closest to me. I was thinking about - - who the people are who are in my inner circle. Who are my confidantes? Who are the people I can count on when I am in a jam. Who picks me up when I am down? Who do I trust with my life story? Who are the select few who have my phone number (my home number)?

I was at a good friend's house -- a woman who is definitely in my front row… I was resting on her bed and something made me get up to read some of the postings on her board in her home office when I came across this beautiful quote that I wanted to share:

Everyone Can't Be in Your Front Row

Life is a theater - invite your audience carefully.

Not everyone is spiritually healthy and mature enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance.

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships/friendships/fellowships!

Observe the relationships around you.

Pay attention to:

Which ones lift and which ones lean?

Which ones encourage and which ones discourage?

Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill?

When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse?

Which ones always have drama or don't really understand, know and appreciate you and the gift that lies within you?

When you seek growth, peace of mind, love and truth, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the FRONT ROW and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.

You cannot change the people around you...but you can change the people you are around! Ask Spirit for wisdom and discernment and choose wisely the people who sit in the front row of your life.

"Just because no one has shown up who can love you on your level, doesn't mean you sink to theirs!"

By: Unknown Author

I am very grateful for the people in my life who sit in the front row… you know who you are. :)

Who sits in your front row?


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I Won’t Fear Love~

I had a conversation with God today and he told me he loved me!

Do you fear love?

This evening I meditated on the word Unconditional Love: “it’s the acknowledging and accepting of the presence of the divine - - it’s selfless giving and openness to receiving”

There was a moment in my life that I was truly AFRAID to be LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY - - afraid of what it would do to me if I had it or lost it.

The ideas that kept me afraid were:

That love is painful
That love hurts
That love betrays
That love beats
That love disappoints
That love demeans
That love belittles
That love breaks
That true love doesn’t exist
That I would never be loved
That I would never find love
That love destroys
That love leaves
That love lies
That love dies
That love ends

I am forced to look at where I have been and where I am headed. I must ask myself - - am I open to all of the experiences of my life? Will I allow opportunities to pass me by? Will I allow my soul mate to just pass me on the street without even so much as a hello?

I can not control what is happening around me - - but I will not run away from love. I won’t fear love.

In the middle of reading my meditation on Unconditional Love - -something wonderful happened. - - I got a myspace email from God. It stopped me dead in my tracks - - I was frozen… I can admit it frightened me a little - - but I shook it off and realized who the message was from and the true intention behind it. I just sat there with these fabulous BCBG high heeled stilettos - - because at the precise moment I received the email - - my cousin was giving me a pair of heels as a gift.

God wrote:

“I think often times in our day to day functions
we often forget these things
life is beautiful and should be enjoyed
we should take our interactions with others
and hold them close
this is very important

if no one has told you today
let me be the first to say
I love you”

My instinct was to respond with the unoriginal “I love you too.” I didn’t do that…. I feared love. Why do we get so wrapped up in timing or the right time that we think it’s appropriate for things to happen in our lives?

When you come face to face with love you must rise to greet it.

You just trust and know - - that at that moment you are in unconditional love. What about just hearing and saying I love you and not worrying about what it all means – where its going… why not just trust that there is something higher going on - - can we just accept being loved just for being who we are - - in THIS moment. No questions asked - - no questioning of intentions or expectations… no digging – no credit checks or references necessary - no searching – no fantasies or illusions - -just being able to receive love - - the love that we are worthy of.

I won’t fear love.

And to God I respond:

Allow me to accept the love you give me.

Thank you for loving me… I’m not afraid of your love. Thank you for loving me without conditions or preconceived notions or some fantastical idea of how this will all turn out.

And if no one has told YOU today…allow me to be the first person to tell you I love YOU!

With love,

Iyanla writes: “when I am able to convince myself that no matter what I do - - I am still not good enough - - unconditional love will show me the truth!”

I realize that I have loved with conditions that I be loved in return - - that if I am giving love I should receive it. How about just loving for the love of loving - - without getting love in return. Can we just love for the satisfaction of giving it? Loving without expecting certain responses or reactions from people - - I often expected something in return for loving my people. Now I can just love them anyway - - without getting that I love you back… I won’t fear love.

It’s enough to know that I love me and I know that I am loved.

I guess now I’m not afraid of love… I know that I am worthy of love WE ALL ARE - - I accept that love is my state of mind -- with these letters that I have been writing - - I have been expressing the deepest form of self love…I was born to love and I act and speak in love. I admit to myself what I really want in my life. Love is always present in my life. I love myself and others unconditionally. Love is where I live!

There is only one love!

As I accept, acknowledge and embrace the source of unconditional love, it becomes the guiding force of my life

Have you told someone you loved them today?

Do you fear love?


Monday, December 24, 2007

With OR Without You!

Its Christmas Eve… and I am alone… I have sent my daughter to her fathers for two weeks… I am sad because I will miss her but I am happy that I will have some me time…

Today I have been thinking about all the things that bring me JOY…

My daughter is the first thing that comes to my mind…

We had the best weekend together we watched: Rent, Fame, and Purple Rain… any time with her brings me joy. Just laying in bed for two days straight watching movies – eating all of our meals in our pajamas… it’s THE LIFE… Other things that bring me joy are time spent with my family, my parents, my sisters, my brother, my cousins, and all of my relatives and friends.

Just now I was on the bus and I was filled with joy watching these two girls talking about me - -the older girl was pointing at my height and I just smiled at them and I could tell that in that moment… I shared my joy with them and they shared their joy with me… the other thing that filled me with joy was while I was writing this morning I was watching a few U2 and Green Day videos and my daughter just peeked out of the bathroom and smiled… I know Green Day is her favorite so I was filled with joy listening to her sing… HOLIDAY…

When we make someone else responsible for being - - everything…

I could be sad that my baby girl has left me alone for Christmas. But I’m not sad - - I am filled with JOY because we are both doing what we want to do. We are doing what brings us joy. Me I get to write for two weeks GUILT FREE and she gets to get spoiled and some deserved rest.

Making someone else responsible for being our everything… for being our every happiness…

Giving ourselves fully to someone in THAT way… (And you give…. And you give…. And you give yourself away…) this song kept playing in my head as I wrote…

With our Without You by U2…

Giving ourselves away…

Happiness does not sustain me - - joy fills me.

Today I was reading about the difference between JOY and HAPPINESS…

“JOY is an internal process grounded in the knowledge of spiritual truth, the ability to trust, the wisdom of the divine, and faith in the process of life.” Iyanla


HAPPINESS which relies on events, things and people who MAY or MAY NOT show up in our lives…

Where JOY lasts… Happiness comes and goes… (we can buy things to make us happy, we may look to lovers to satisfy us – we may even look for happiness in outside forces). Joy is KNOWING that every we do have today - - is FINE just as it is - - RIGHT NOW in this moment! (With or without you)

Happiness HOPES that the thing we need will come soon… (That he/she/that thing - - that it will show up to make us happy).

No matter what I am going through - - I am full of joy… with or without you…

It’s not depending one something or someone outside of us to give us this feeling.

I was thinking about me in a relationship… I was considering which feeling state I would welcome in my life…

Me telling him: you bring me joy vs. you make soooo happy.

YOU make ME so happy – implies that if YOU leave me – YOU take all that makes me happy. Therefore I am left UNHAPPY. I’ve just given YOU complete control over my happiness - - I have made you responsible for making me happy and I rely on YOU to fill that.

But if I am FULL of joy - - and say to YOU - - you bring me joy… I am telling you that you ADD to something that already exists within me - - and if YOU DO LEAVE me… my joy stays with me. (With or without you)

This doesn’t mean that all will be great all the time or that every moment will be a joyful one… it doesn’t mean that things won’t make us angry - - it just means that - - when the sh&^ does hit the fan and it will – that no matter what we KEEP our joy.

Joy is the freedom and ability to make choices in the face of adversity - - accepting that we are on a journey and that nothing can stop us. It’s accepting that no one can take our joy.

I’ve been searching for the wrong thing - - looking for happiness. When its joy that I want to be filled with.

“Joy is what I create, attract and use to sustain myself at every moment of the day…”

“Joy begins within…”

“Joy is not dependent on people or circumstances…” Iyanla

When everything around me seems to be in disarray or not going very well… the joy inside me gets me through it - - I know that I am being taken care of - - this KNOWING brings me great joy.

I have spent the better portion of my life wanting to just be happy… stolen temporary moments that expire - - when what I truly want is constant joy - - a joy that fills me… and these days I am giving me JOY.

Joy can sustain me through anything and everything…

One heart, One hope, One love…

Joy to the world… and peace on earth… MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! (And everything you do or don’t celebrate… sending you wishes for JOY in your lives)

What brings you joy?


Sunday, December 23, 2007

I Make NO Apologies~

Are people willing to see?
Are people willing to be open?
Listening vs. hearing…
Are people willing to accept responsibility for their role?

What if one never accepts responsibility for what they have done to offend us?

My letters…

I have spent the past week with these thoughts and feelings about my letters…my sharing them… going through some self doubt… Someone close to me has been warning me all through my writing process that I should reconsider what I publish about my life… that I shouldn’t share what I have been sharing…that I need to be careful not to alienate myself from those I love… that I need to be careful with my words - - that I don’t want enemies… that I may end up alone.

People will be angry and may not like what I have to say but I can not stop speaking my truth…

How does this process serve?

Why now?

I was told: “My words are bullshit…sounds like a bunch of bullshit…”

Are you listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth?
What do you hear when I speak?
What do you hear when you read my words?
What do you believe to be the truth about me and where I am coming from?

I’ve read somewhere that people in general filter out a lot of what is said to them in conversation - - that we’re generally terrible listeners hearing a small percentage of what is actually being said.

I am so guilty of this.

When I was younger if I was in debate with someone – the other person could be in mid sentence – mid thought explaining or defending their position - - stressing a point… and I would be caught somewhere in my own thought forming my rebuttal - - reciting it in my mind so it comes out exactly the way I wanted it to.

These days I just tell people to keep repeating what they say to me over and over again until I have fully processed it. It’s more important for me to listen than it is to be heard…

Today I am feeling that I make no apologies for my words…

I make no apologies for the way I choose to heal and deal with my history… with MY story… I have NO FEAR of seeing myself, knowing myself, and being my Divine Self. Thank you creator for showing ME… I am growing into my full potential…

I am expanding beyond the limits I have placed on me - - I am growing past the limits I have allowed others to place on me. I am expanding my understanding of the truth, my experience of joy and how I love… One must be willing to expand… to be open to the process of growing.

“Life is a process of growing and outgrowing and growing some more…”

And this is exactly what I am going to continue doing. I keep moving forward - - honoring my process - - even when others can’t understand why it is I do what I do… even when people don’t honor me… I keep moving forward… keep doing what I’m doing…

My worth is not attached or contingent upon being forgiven… I have made penance for my sins… I forgive me for the errors of my ways… there will be no lashings…or crucifixion for the words I put on the page.

I was sad yesterday - - after a conversation with someone in my life… but I realize I must grow through this. Allow it to evolve… be patient that all will work out the way it is supposed to. I must be patient and faith filled. I am feeling quite drained at the moment.

When people don’t own their part, acknowledge or recognize their role in what has happened… there is nothing I can do about that.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Are we better than the person right beside us?
Are we better than the homeless man on the train?
Have you never made a mistake?
Are you perfect?
Who do we think we are?
Who are we to pass judgments?
Why are we so self righteous?

My purpose and intention for sharing my truth and sharing my indiscretions is not to try to convince someone of their past - - or to get someone to see what they may not be ready or willing to see or hear… one must be open… its about dealing with my past and healing and growing through it.

One must be willing – are we willing to grow beyond where we are?

Today I will seek the truth about myself and live the truth of my being….

I’m a work in progress!


An Organized Mess…

“Get it together…”

“Everything happens for a reason…”

“All will be revealed in due time…”

“You can’t move forward unless you look backwards…”

All expressions said to me on one occasion or another…

A lot of my days used to start off and end with the words:

“Today was the day from hell!”

Whenever I would meet up with my best friend I would start off the conversation the same way… and then I would just go on and on about how unfair life was - - how miserable my life was - - complaining about an unfulfilling job and what ever it was I was rambling about in my description of this day from hell. And she would always tell me, there is a reason for everything… there is a lesson in this… I was listening to the words but missing the message.

My life was exactly the way I was painting it… because I was the artist… at any moment I could have chosen a different brush and color for a more precise stroke… or I could have trashed the painting and started fresh with a new canvas… but I kept painting over the same piece over and over again… it was full of reds, oranges, yellows… the picture resembled FIRE… my moment in hell. I was in pain when I was having days from hell. I was in internal hell and the fire was getting hotter and hotter. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get out of it – I kept painting me there.

We develop in order – exactly when we are supposed to - - everything happens right on time…

I was unfolding right on time… I needed to be in hell to decide for myself if THAT was the way I wanted to continue living… do I want to live in hell - - or paint my way out of hell.

My days started changing… I am not sure when it happened - - when the change in me started happening… but I was having less days from hell and more days filled with happiness. I guess it must have started when I realized I was born to write. I read today that my force… assures me that the divine plan for my life… will unfold in an orderly manner according to my level of development…

How many times have I thought I was ready only to find out later that I was NOT ready… when I fall - - that too was in ORDER - - I needed to have those days from hell so that I could continue to keep getting ready…

The word I am meditating on today is ORDER!

I read today that: “the order of my physical environment is a reflection of the order and state of my mind” it went on to say, “A clear and opened mind is evidenced by a clean and orderly environment.”

I disagree with this - - and agree with it… I feel like a clean environment is only clean on the surface - - I take huge offense to this… that somehow someone who lives in a neat and orderly space is more open than I because their space is clean.

This is an illusion!

The most immaculate space can be the most miserable environment with the darkest of emotions.

So if my home is disorderly (and yes my house IS - - I collect research so I have tons of paper work and am surrounded by books in my space) am I to take this to mean that I am somehow blocking myself. I agree that a cluttered and disorderly mind would allow for blocks… but that my space would imply that I have it less together than a person with an orderly house… I can’t agree. I pride myself in calling me “An Organized Mess.” :)

My personal belief is that I prefer to clear out the garbage and mess on the inside before even tackling with the crap that surrounds my house. But that’s just me.

Of course if you enter a clean house - - free of clutter - - with clear space… it gives off the vibe of WOW they must really have it together - - look at how they live… so would this mean you walk into my space and it WOW she’s a hot mess and is far from having it together?

I went on to read: “the condition or order of the environment demonstrates what I have learned, what I am thinking and what I am ready to receive.”

I definitely agree with this… I know that for me I will and am getting here. The place where I am physically, mentally, and emotionally IS a reflection of the order or disorder in my thoughts, beliefs and emotions… but in some cases the cleanliness of spaces is a cover for the real mess that resides in the crevices…

Order for me means that I am exactly where I need to be… in this moment in time.

I can admit that my life in some ways is still in disorder - - there is still work I need to do. For me to have order - - I must get me in order and I will continue to do the work to get me in order.

I realize that my life is being ordered when I see and recognize that I am exactly where I need to be – doing what I am supposed to do and I know that everything I need will be provided.

For this I am so grateful.

Now my paintings are filled still with reds, oranges and yellows - - and those colors symbolize the sunset for me… the end of an amazing day filled with purples, pinks, sky blues…

What does order mean for you?
How does order show up in you life?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Like a bird in the sky…

Everybody’s FREEEEEE to feel good!

It's done. I did it. The moment I finished it…

I was walking with Chermelle last night after a very productive writing session. And I just looked at her and said. IT'S DONE! It's no longer inside of me. I no longer have to carry it.

I felt really light in my chest...

I was weightless, unburdened - - FLYING!!!

Everything looked so different to me in that moment.

Chermelle needed to remind me of what I looked like yesterday - - she said I was smiling, that I felt liberated. She said I told her, it felt good, so good in fact that it was the first time I'd ever felt that feeling of goodness.

I felt great.

I felt that it was gone, done, completed - - the poison is no longer inside of me!

I felt emptied of it.

I feel free.

I feel good.

The song that came to mind was EVERYBODY'S FREE…to feel good!

Freedom is not a moment or an experience…

Freedom is not something that can be given to us.

Freedom is a state of being. It's not something anyone can give us.

Freedom is something unexplainable – something that is felt in the mind, spirit and soul and I felt it all at the same time. It was an incredible moment. An emotional moment – I'm somehow different NOW…

My chest feels clear…

I feel open…

I can breathe.

With every breathe I take it feels different – freeing me even more…

I have never felt this free…

There were lines from that song "Right to be wrong" that spoke to me:

I've got a right to be wrong
My mistakes will make me strong
I'm stepping out into the great unknown
I'm feeling wings though I've never flown

I've got a right to be wrong
I've been held down too long
I've got to break free
So I can finally breathe

You're entitled to your opinion
But it's really my decision
I can't turn back I'm on a mission
If you care don't you dare blur my vision

Whatever's out there waiting for me
I'm going to face it willingly…

I was left feeling relieved… ready… I'm like a bird…

This is what I said last night: "Today is the moment of my transformation - - today is the first day of my life. I see things so differently now. I'm unblocked - - I AM FREE!"

This is a feeling I want to hold onto for as long as I can…

I no longer feel pain
I no longer feel hurt
I no longer feel guilt
I no longer feel shame

For this and for every thing that I receive I am so grateful!

I am FINALLY free…

This is what freedom feels like…

This poem summarizes what I feel brilliantly:

Ego Tripping , by Nikki Giovanni (1973)

I was born in the Congo.
I walked to the Fertile Crescent and built the sphinx.
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light.

I am bad.

I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with Allah.
I got hot and sent an ice age to Europe
to cool my thirst.
My oldest daughter is Nefertiti.
The tears from my birth pains
created the Nile.

I am a beautiful woman.

I gazed on the forest and burned
out the Sahara desert.
With a packet of goat's meat
and a change of clothes,
I crossed it in two hours.
I am a gazelle so swift,
so swift you can't catch me.

For a birthday present when he was three,
I gave my son Hannibal an elephant.
He gave me Rome for mother's day.

My strength flows ever on.

My son Noah built an ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day.
I turned myself into myself and was Jesus.

Men intone my loving name.
All praises all praises,
I am the one who would save.

I sowed diamonds in my back yard.
My bowels deliver uranium.
The filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels.

On a trip north,
I caught a cold and blew
my nose giving oil to the Arab world.
I am so hip even my errors are correct.
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went.
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents.

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal.
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission.
I mean...I...can fly
like a bird in the sky



Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Stolen Innocence

Who are you to steal somone's INNOCENCE?

On the train today I saw this beautiful Central American girl – she had dark hair – dark eyes. She must have been 4 years old – she was just swinging around a pole… smiling and laughing… she had no worries in the world – happy about life. The train was her playground and it didn't matter who was around looking – nothing could take away her happiness. She kept playing and playing. In that moment I couldn't help but think of ALL the kids I see daily.

The other day I saw this cute Asian boy sitting next to his mother who slept while he drew these incredible drawings of what I can only imagine will be a video game in the future that he will develop. I also remember this family sitting across from me on the train a little girl, her mom and dad all playing together acting silly – it was beautiful to watch.

Even the little baby in the stroller who was with angry parents who were arguing when the baby looked at me I just smiled and she/he smiled back and in the moment I knew that nothing else mattered but the two of us smiling back and forth while the grown ups were piss't at each other.

But then I recall some other moments I run into children…

Like the little boy who was walking with his father who was happy one minute and then got slapped in the face for speaking…or speaking in a tone the dad didn't like.


The little boy walking with his mother who in Spanish kept telling him when they approached McDonalds - - habre esa puerta - - silve pa algo… (open that door - - be worth something - - or be good for something) by the way the child could only have been like 3 years old.

But the worst moment for me was the day I actually saw a mother slap her child in the face - - just imagine the sounds echoing loudly over 125th street a noise that went through me - - a noise that felt like she just slapped me… SLAP - - OMG it took everything I had not to step to her and say – "why don't you slap me like that. You're such a big woman… so powerful - why don't you pick on somebody your own size." I wanted to beat her ass. Straight up! all I kept thinking was MAN what will that little boy grow up to believe about himself… that he's special - - that he's gifted - - that he can be anything… where will he find his sense of worth when the people closest to him are stripping him of that?

If I had to pick ONE thing is this lifetime to fight for… its violence against women and children - - but specifically abuse against CHILDREN.

On the train I couldn't help but think of all the little girls in the world who aren't happy…who don't know love…who don't know their worth…who don't know their beauty…and they don't know this because there aren't enough people around them to tell them so.

I hate the news but I started replaying footage in my mind of the latest news events:

Father leaving his girlfriends house asks to hold the baby (who is weeks old) he wanted to hold her for one last time… he took that baby and slammed the babies head into the railing on the steps in front of the house.

Or the little girl, who was chained to a chair and starved to death - - beaten, raped…

A Mother drowns her two kids in the bathtub.

A Father stabs his ex and their four kids.


Then I went digging curious about what's happening around the world:

<em>Example 1: 11/7/07 Foreigners held in little girl's murder, rape case

By ANDREW SAGAYAM / GOMBAK: Police have arrested four foreigners in connection with the brutal murder and rape of nine-year-old Preeshena Varshiny.

Example 2: 10/2006 / Amish school shooting / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia / Location Bart Township, Pennsylvania, United States / Target(s) West Nickel Mines School / Date Monday, October 2, 2006 / Attack type School shooting, mass murder, murder-suicide, massacre

Weapon(s) shotgun, handgun / Deaths 6 (including the perpetrator) / Injured 5 / Perpetrator(s) Charles Carl Roberts IV / The Amish school shooting occurred on the morning of Monday, October 2, 2006, when a gunman took hostages and eventually killed five girls (aged 7–13) and then killed himself at West Nickel Mines School, a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States.[1][2][3][4][5] Police report that the gunman was Charles Carl Roberts IV,[5][6] a 32-year-old milk-tank truck driver who lived nearby.

Example 3:,2933,311537,00.html

Arizona Girl Beaten, Left Dead for Days in Apartment With Sister

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 / PHOENIX — A 12-year-old girl was beaten with an electrical cord, and her parents left her dead body on the floor of her bedroom for days before they called 911, according to court documents released Tuesday.

Police also found the girl's 9-year-old sister in the apartment when they arrived. Officers said the sister was "cowering in the shower with several bruises, burns and a broken arm," according to court documents.

The 9-year-old gave police a different account as to how her big sister died.

She told police that she saw Troupe make her sister go into the tub. She said Troupe poured hot water on her sister as punishment for not cleaning her room.

The 9-year-old said she heard her sister scream and get out of the tub. She saw her step-mom whip her sister with an extension cord. Troupe then pushed the 12-year-old against the wall and punched her stepdaughter in the face until she passed out.

Afterward, the 9-year-old said she put her hand on her sister's heart and did not feel anything, according to court documents.

The girl also said Troupe previously beat her and her sister.

Girl beaten, doused with hot water to be laid to rest

Associated Press and The Arizona Republic /Nov. 21, 2007 07:04 AM

A 12-year-old girl who died after she was beaten with an electrical cord and doused with hot water as punishment for not doing her homework will be laid to rest Wednesday.

Example 4:

Class VI girl beaten by teacher, suffers fracture / Tuesday, December 04, 2007 20:11 IST / JAMMU: In yet another instance of corporal punishment despite the law proscribing it, a class VI girl was allegedly beaten mercilessly by her teacher for not getting a high score in a school test. She has fractured the fingers of her right hand, is in a state of shock and is too scared to go back to school.

Example 5: In the New York Times

Child Deaths in Shelters Are Rising / By LESLIE KAUFMAN

Twenty children died in shelters during the three-year period from 2004 to 2006, with by far the most — 12 — dying in 2006, the report said.

November 29, 2007

Example 6: African Crucible: Cast as Witches, Then Cast Out / By SHARON LAFRANIERE / A surprising number of children in some countries are identified as witches and beaten, abused or abandoned.

November 15, 2007

Example 7: I found a site with a news feed titled: Child Sexual Abuse in the News

Example 8:

From The Times May 9, 2006 / Child murders shock villagers
Neighbors view each other with suspicion after two separate incidents in rural France / By Adam Sage / ANGER, shock and suspicion hung over rural France yesterday after the murders of two young children who were snatched from their parents in separate incidents over the weekend. A four-year-old boy was raped and murdered while his parents were participating in a young farmers' dance in their village hall in central France.

There is not a day I don't think about abuse toward children. It's not just these vicious attacks toward children that upsets me - - it's where it actually begins for children - - in the home.


I keep recalling moments in my own life when children could be playing having a good time – happy as can be - - and an adult will come in the room - - piss't off at life - angry at the cards that are dealt them and they bring that poison home and put it on the kids. I am guilty of this… I may not put my hands on my daughter but she has been the target of a lot of my aggression that NEVER has anything to do with her - - I have had moments when I have hated the world - - and I have punished my daughter when she is NOT the person to blame. For that and for any time I have hurt someone as powerless as me - - I am sorry.

What is it about being in that role that gives people the right to put there hands on a human being regardless of the age. And I am not talking just beating children, raping children… I include verbal, mental and emotional abuse… the words that destroy children.

What gives them the right to rob them of their innocence?


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Going through the E-Motions and my thoughts on FREE SPEECH:

“Am I courageous enough to live the truth of my desires without fear?”

It’s difficult not to question myself when I am being questioned!

I am free to write about my experience!

How do we as writers respect the privacy of people in our lives while respecting and honoring our place in the experience - - and our right to write about it?

Afraid of my greatness! During one of my last therapy sessions my doctor said - - “what are you afraid will happen? What is your biggest fear about moving forward - - what keeps you back - - what keeps you from achieving success – of having what you want?”

She asked me to imagine myself standing in front of a door - - with my hand on the door knob - - and she asked me “what keeps me from opening that door? What do I think will be there once I open that door?”

I got really scared while I imagined that moment - - and my immediate response was that NO ONE would be there. That the people I loved the most would not be there.

I was sitting at my desk at work yesterday re-reading over and over again the blog I wrote that upset someone I loved - - wondering what exactly was it that I wrote that offended or hurt the person. I was thinking to myself - does the person feel I attacked them? So I called my sister immediately in mid thought and I said I need to say this to you before I forget it - - she said ok go - - I am willing to sacrifice my relationships with the people I love if it brings them together.

And today that feeling hasn’t changed - - I just wrote in my journal - - I AM WILLING TO LOSE EVERYTHING IF I AM SERIOUS ABOUT HAVING ANYTHING!

I must believe that those who love me will always stand with me even if they don’t like what I am writing about - - I can’t be a people pleaser - - its not who I am.

But on being a RESPONSIBLE WRITER… I take that very seriously. There are ideas about writing with the reader in mind. I think that as a writer I struggle with this. Are my responsibilities to write the TRUTH or filter it through others…should I check in with society and my community? I feel like I’d never get any writing done that way. Most of the writers I know have shared with me that considering how their writing will affect others is precisely what keeps them from coming to the page. This is why people don’t write or why they don’t commit to writing - - for fear of hurting a family member.

I am not afraid to speak or write the truth. I must remember who I am - -and why I do what I do and the place that I am writing from.

My daughter was upset with me for sharing in my blog Random Thoughts what happened between us during our trip away - - that I put it out in the universe for the world to see our personal business… I had to explain to her my reasons and defend my right to write what is important to me - - while at the same time never really putting in ALL the details of ALL that was said during that moment in our life. The conversation jumped to censorship and anonymity…

I’m not here to make anyone comfortable if it means I make myself uncomfortable!
I’m not here to conform!
I’m not here to be controlled!
If people don’t understand what I write – then there is nothing I can do about that!

I will never censor my truth for anyone - - not even my daughter - - it’s not what I do - - while I will always protect the real names and faces of the people I write about – I will not censor how I write my relationships. If you are in my life in any way - - and you are an important player in my game - - then there’s a very real chance you will be apart of my writers life.

I talk a lot about truth - - and that’s a big deal to me. When I allow anyone or anything to make me doubt me - -MY SKILLS - - and what my true intention is as a writer is - - I dishonor me.

If you know me at all - - you know the place my writing comes from - - I should never have to defend that. What I must understand is that I have NO CONTROL over how my words are going to be received. The only thing I ever have control over is what I put out into the world with my words and deeds. And as long as I am good with it - - then I’ve done my job!

I felt a little attacked by the person who I hurt with my words… (I need to build thicker skin because it wont be the first or last time someone calls me on something they don’t like) what I have to remember is that I will not and can not please everyone all the time. It’s just not realistic.

I found myself second guessing myself - - I can not allow others words to cut me - - or break me down - - I know who I am and why I do what I do and I owe NO ONE an explanation and I make no apologies and I don’t need to defend myself. I spent last night and night before that and this morning trying to release and let go of the feelings I got from the response I received on something I wrote. I almost took down my blog because my words made someone I love uncomfortable. I allowed it to make my words feel worthless - - not valued… (I had to keep replaying the song NO ONE, by Alicia Keys to bring me back).

My dominating feeling yesterday was ANGER…getting off the train this morning I was thinking about love and anger. How can I be angry and still love? I was juggling thoughts about which emotion I would choose to dominate my thoughts and my day… if I have two choices to be angry or walk in love - - which is my guiding force?

LOVE is always my force.

However yesterday, I kept hearing the words from the email: “FOR ALL OF YOUR SKILL…” I kept replaying that to myself - - for all of my skill - - or lack thereof - - I twisted the words even more - - so I could feel a direct hit - - a deeper assault - - for all my skill as a writer - - that I am skill-less - - without skill… and on and on I went. And it may not be how it was meant - - but that’s how I CHOSE to see it.

I had to get some perspective and really look at the source… the person wants a reason to be angry with me – all I can do is stand in love. Worse case scenario is that my family -not support me during my writers journey… (I go back to what I said to my sister - - if what I write makes my family stop speaking to me - -I am willing to risk that if it brings them closer together). It’s a chance I am willing to take.

These thoughts are emotionally draining for me.

Writing is how I heal…
Writing is how I release…
Writing is how I love…

When I allow someone to tell me how to be - - then I stop being me. You might as well put me in a cage.

So I must get back to my core - - back to filling my cup. I was feeling mentally drained and exhausted.

My BFFL Laleet read a passage to me once about people who won’t be ready to hear truth… “Cast not your pearls before swine. Neither give what is holy to dogs.”

This passage came up for me in my meditation while reading One Day My Soul Just Opened Up… the author adds “avoid at all costs giving of your knowledge, time, and energy to unworthy causes and people. How do you know if they are unworthy? If you have to fight with people to accept what you are giving them as an act of love, then they are not worthy.”

“Trying to convince people that there is something you know that could be beneficial to them when they are resistant to hearing you is a waste of valuable resources.” Iyanla Vanzant

I have to keep that in mid as I continue to find my force… that just because I am ready to hear truth, speak truth and live my life that way - - that those closest to me may RESIST it and may not be on the same page at the same time - - but that I must continue to move forward anyway. I am never alone.

The word I am meditating on today is FREEDOM

The ideas that flow through me are free speech, free to be me, free will, free to choose, free to love, free to forgive…all the things that freedom means to me.

“When I am aware of what it takes to maintain my mental, emotional, and physical well being and I make conscious choices toward that goal, I am exercising my freedom.” Iyanla Vanzant

“Freedom is the recognition of the truth.”
Iyanla Vanzant

I read today that what determines freedom - - is that once you decide what you want and whether you are willing to do what it takes to get it, you are free to follow your dreams. In order to be free you must be clear about exactly what it is you want and be open to any and all possible means of acquiring what you want.

I really needed to read this today… she closes the chapter on Freedom saying: (I changed some of the words)

“When I stopped comparing myself to others, competing with others, when I was able to honestly want the best for everyone, when I became willing to make choices and accept full responsibility for their consequences, every chain of that held me in a place of mediocrity and unfulfillment fell away…. I discovered freedom as an inherent part of my life the day I stopped telling my force what I wanted and asked how I could serve my force.”

There is something very freeing about knowing that my force believes in me.

“Freedom is a state of mind.” We are always free to choose something else.

What has a hold on you?

Are you free?


Monday, November 26, 2007

Outsider Looking In

Written on Saturday, November 24, 2007

Where was the love?

I read somewhere…

“Where there is hate there can not be love. LOVE & HATE can not dwell in a house at the same time!”

I usually start writing by creating lists for my thoughts and ideas - - often it could be a list of words to help bring out what I want to convey. WORDS I want to incorporate in a particular piece.

The words that jumped out the most for me from my weekend away and the time spent with people in my life are about how unhappy they seem and the way they speak to each other.

Words I heard this week:
This is my space!
Not in this house!
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things!
This is how you should live!
She’s never gonna change!
When will they ever learn?
I’m sick of it!
I don’t want to forgive her!
I’m piss’t off!
I can’t live like this!

The sense I got internally with all that surrounded me was there was a lot of:
Lack of acceptance
People demanding respect but not giving it
A deep pain
Something evil
Even hateful
A dark cloud
Emotionally draining

There was an overwhelming feeling of sadness; a lack of individual acceptance and respect for each others views, thoughts and beliefs, there was a lot of DARKNESS and a great deal of pain. I found myself remembering a time when I allowed darkness to be my most dominant emotion.

So today when I read my meditation on AFFIRMATIONS - - I was thinking about the words I use to affirm myself daily. I couldn’t help but think of all of the words I heard used to address people who supposedly love each other just this week. Most of the discussions and conversations escalated into fighting and yelling. I felt the pain of the blows that were thrown with words.

I’m not going to use there real names - - I’ll call them:

Miss They Say I’m Never Gonna Change (NGC)
Miss Doesn’t Do Anything in the House (DDA)
Miss All Too Controlling (ATC)
Miss Yelling at the Crack of Dawn (COD)

From the moment I saw Miss All Too Controlling I new she was carrying so much built up anger just on her face and that she was looking for the moment to release it. She has a low tolerance for the things that tick her off and there’s plenty to choose from. She has much to say about the running of her house - - and how the rules should be adhered to. I got the feeling of WOW - - how must it feel to feel like an outsider in your own home - - or worse a prisoner in your own state of being.

Then we have Miss Never Gonna Change who acts selfish and the family feels like she’s inconsiderate of their feelings. And as an outsider looking in - - I can see why they feel that way. They feel she only does what serves her and not the greater good of the family. NGC and ATC butt heads quite a bit as ATC isn’t a fan of how NGC chooses to live her life and ultimately how her actions affect the house.

Miss Yelling at the Crack of Dawn - - does just that from the moment she wakes up – she seems to wake up resentful and angry to start the day (not without reason - - because she is in her right to be angry). I kept thinking what would make her happy? When is she happiest? Why don’t they hug each other first thing in the morning? Why don’t they greet the day with I love you’s?

And finally we have Miss Doesn’t Do Anything in the House - - and her name should say it all. This is the problem the house has with her. Its in how she keeps her room - - how she doesn’t pitch in with the house - - the complaints about all the things she could do better. Because nothing she does meets the house standards.

I was left wondering is there something in the air in the city I was visiting. Are they all doomed to a lifetime of misery and unhappiness? Its interesting - there are people who say and believe that Rhode Island is a non progress state and I have personally felt that way on more than one occasion (especially when I lived there) that as long as I was in RI - - I would never accomplish anything. I was just thinking would I have known that I was born to be a writer if I stayed there?

A friend of mine just said to me that living in Providence is like being a caged animal - - there are perimeters to where you can go. This hit me hard - - I was just hearing him out as he went on and on about why people come to RI and the kinds of people that are in RI. (That conversation is for another piece). But I’m really curious to know - - what does it feel like to be a caged animal - - WOW that shit is deep!

Do people really wake up feeling like - - THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS…and because its as good as it gets - - do people settle for the little they got and do they believe this way of thinking? I can’t say that the entire state has this black cloud that follows them because that wouldn’t be fair. What I will say is that most of the folks I came across during my weekend spent the majority of their time looking miserable and just disrespectful to one another.

I try to feed myself the most beautiful words of encouragement and support. But on a few occasions I caught myself saying some pretty rude things - - even though I said it in jest - - I still meant what I said and it was pretty rude. A woman I was sitting near during a football game made fun of me for not knowing the sport or understanding the terminology and different plays… the first rude comment I let slide - - the second I told her to shut the F up… it wasn’t very nice - - but I got the feeling she wanted me to be rude to her.

So back to trying to say loving words…

The wonderful thing is that it seems to have rubbed off in my home - - because my daughter gives me beautiful words daily - we feed each other - its truly amazing - - we affirm one another constantly - - sometimes we can be a little conceited but its all in fun - - like right now we are in Providence, RI on Thayer Street at Au bon pain - - getting our work done - - I am writing my blog (its about time - - I haven’t written in four days) and she’s sitting across from me reading a book called A Separate Peace… and out of nowhere I said to myself - - man I love myself - - she just looked at me and smiled and went right back to reading.

She gets it - she gets what I am doing. I can say I am loving myself because the fact that I am sitting here right now at my computer typing these words - - shows me how much I really love myself and those around me. Writing makes me so happy. Writing is how I honor me. So as I think about how happy I am in my present state - - in most of the areas of life - - and in my day to day encounters I feel that I am walking happiness - - and that I bring that with me everywhere I go (for the most part).

I was reading my book, One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, she quotes Maya Angelou – its about the power of words - - saying that WORDS are like little energy pellets that shoot forth into the invisible realm of life. Although we cannot see the words, she said, words become the energy that fills the room, home, environment, and our minds. Maya described how words stick to the walls, the furniture, the curtains, and our clothing. She believes the words in our environment seep into our being and become a part of who we are.

MAN if that is true… then words can cut deep.

How do you suck out the words that cause hurt and pain?
How do you remove the hurtful way you speak to one another?
How do you remove the negative words you say to one another?

I can’t help but think about the people I am surrounded by – those people in my life who are NOT happy. There were stolen moments of happiness but they are not completely happy. From the moment I arrived to Rhode Island on Wednesday it was constant fighting. I wanted to leave the moment the yelling began.

I remember DARKNESS being a place I used to be at regularly with my family, my parents, my sisters, my ex who ever I felt to be a threat to me - - because I was always so angry – I was angry at world and the cards that were dealt. I constantly judged peoples actions, telling them how they should or shouldn’t be (I felt I had some right because people always judged and criticized me) - - I told people what the right way is for them to do a particular thing - - like speak to one another…

Although during this trip I refrained from saying anything to anyone about what I saw - - these days I’m just an outsider looking in - - and while I was feeling every blow of every punch that was thrown at one another with words. I also knew that in a few days I would be leaving those words behind.

Those words that I hear that were not out of genuine love - - but of criticism - - that every discussion turns into a debate or argument - - that when issues do affect a specific individual it does affect all members of the house – but there are ways to say things - - very loving ways - rather than come up with a solution to help the person it becomes attack mode – topped with examples of past flaws that the person might have committed. No words that were being said contributed to forward movement or growth as a unit… growth in love…

I was just thinking how I would love to moderate a conversation between these 4 women - - so they can really see what it is that they do to one another - - they are all guilty of hurting one another. I would love for them to really hear what the other is saying without forming their rebuttal in their minds - having them repeat back what they just heard - - and what they think the other meant by what was said… communication truly is an art (and I certainly DO NOT profess to be some sort of expert - - my daughter could attest to that) but as the outsider looking in - - what I will say is the current way that they communicate is not working - - its not bringing them closer together - - its further separating them.

I wish they could see the affects of their words on one another - - for every good moment gets outweighed by all the bad moments… as this outsider looking in - -imagining myself as a permanent player in these surroundings - - I would feel disrespected, devalued, and demoralized just by the words that float in the house. If you’re told so often that you will not amount to anything - - you tend to believe it…

I should know because this is what I believed for much of my life… that anything I wanted was impossible to have – my goals unattainable - - I believed I was unworthy, not to be respected and would never be taken seriously – that I would never find love - - where did I get these ideas from? Who told me these things? And why did I believe them? So for me being the angry biatch - - served me because I fought people for respect. That’s the thing I wanted the most - - and now I have respect for me - - so I no longer need to fight for it… (Alright so I didn’t remember that during the game - - I’m human).

The conversations weren’t spirit filled - - love filled and part of me just wanted to stay silent… and that is hard for me to do… to just hear them out - - because everyone truly wants to be heard and they deserve to be loved… I only hope that I served them the best way I could by showing them love. There is incredible healing that I see needs to happen and must happen for each of them individually - - in their own ways - - so they can come together and heal their home. I pray that they will come together in peace and love and find loving words and honor one another for who they are. There is value in everyone.

It doesn’t matter who leaves the home - -who is forced out - - the words are already in the carpets, in the walls in the pictures - - all the figurines - -the stairs - - each floor of the house - - reflected in the windows and mirrors…as a writer everyday I understand more and more how powerful words are… the words we use to address those we love – the words we choose to go off on someone we feel has dishonored us - - shit one of my favorite words is the F word… I can admit that when I am angry it feels good to release the F bombs… but once I have released it… what I am left with is the after effect of that word - - and the experience of where and who I used that word on - - who I might have assaulted with a word.

Does it make me feel good after?

Sure it does!

It feels good when I release some of my rage in the heat of the moment - - when I’m not thinking about the aftermath of the words I choose to use.

But do I feel good putting my rage on someone else? Letting them have it with my words - - because this is in effect what I am doing - - I am transferring my poison on someone else and that my friends is really shitty. It certainly isn’t very loving. In dishonoring you - - I dishonor me… so NO it doesn’t feel good to disrespect anyone - - because when I disrespect someone I am disrespecting me. And I CAN NOT and WILL NOT have that in my space.

Everyday I learn more and more how powerful words are - - how they guide my actions - - the words I heard were translated into negative perceptions of me - - perceptions that I chose to believe about me - - perceptions I chose to live up to. The words I heard in the past broke me – today and everyday I have an opportunity to say new words - loving words - - words of truth to myself. I flood my mind with positive thoughts about me…

Here’s what I say to me:

I am worthy of loving me all day everyday.
I speak words of truth, love and every good thing I desire to experience.
I am a divine reflection of universal love!
I am whole and complete!
I am unlimited and abundant - - my life is so good!
I am joy in motion and give my words as gifts.
I am all that I am, and life is graced my presence.
The truth of who I am cannot be altered or changed.
The way I treat myself determines how others will treat me.

So to the women I love:

I want you to remember who you are… a gift in my life…

Miss All Too Controlling - - you are strength. You made it seem flawless - - handling your darkest hour - - you pushed all your personal feelings aside to walk in love - - you really showed what you are made of…whatever the dark clouds are that are following you – LET THEM GO - they do not serve you - - you cannot have the happiness and love you so desperately desire unless you release the demons that have a hold on you.

Miss They Say I’m Never Gonna Change - - dream big, pray big, leap big, believe big! You are following your dreams and with every step you take - - I see how badly you really want this and I know that you will have it… you are showing me a fearlessness I have never seen….clean up the past - - because while you may want change in your life to happen - -it can ONLY happen when you are ready - - and if it doesn’t come - - its just a delay - -it can only come when you are fully ready… so keep getting ready - -there is still some work to do where you stand…

Miss Doesn’t Do Anything in the House - - you are LOVE - -you may be young but you possess a maturity that you are never given credit for - - I see how much you love your brother - - you treat him as if he was your son - - know one should worry about you because you have it more together than the adults you live with. Don’t allow anyone to tell you what you can and can’t have – there is nothing you can’t do - don’t hold yourself back for a boy - - don’t keep you from having your dreams come true - - don’t stay in a state for your friends or a man - - because chances are if they were given an opportunity to make their dreams come true they would leave you in a minute. Nothing is forever – there is not a second to waste - - get off your ass and make it happen for yourself. And yes girl - - please pick up your room. But do it for you…

Miss Yelling at the Crack of Dawn - - you are the ROCK - - the glue that holds the house together. You are the reason we go to your house, meet at your house, party at your house. Every good quality the family has is because of you. Rather than look at the things that anger you - - look to those beautiful things that you have created - - because every member of that family came from you. I love you so much.

ACCEPTANCE is so necessary… acceptance is recognition… acceptance takes you out of fear and anger…

We all want to be accepted… especially by the people we love…

Here is what I offer each of you from Iyanla:

“Acceptance is the essence of respect for ones self and others. When you accept the reality of your life, thereby demonstrating your willingness to make a conscious choice, you honor the wisdom, strength, and tenacity of the divine spirit within you. When you accept the reality of the choices others have made, realizing, although you may not like what is going on, that you have the strength and the courage to live through it, you honor the right of others to choose without blaming them for your wounds. It is acknowledgement that there are needs and circumstances other than your own.”

We do not know the damage our words have on those we love…

Who have you hurt with words?


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Random Thoughts

Today I feel like the weather, cold, damp, nasty, cranky, moody and miserable.

I woke up this morning and felt at peace - - but then when something that didn't go my way - - like putting my nose ring in - - it made me angry and I allowed that moment to take me through this day.

I'm looking out the window at my desk and it's raining - - it is just so yucky out.

I was trying to do my meditation and feed myself some positive words - - but the only words I was allowing in were negative thoughts… about people, places and things - - I don't think I smiled at one person today and that is very out of character for me.

But you know what - - I am sick of being the smile for everyone else - - I would love for someone to walk by me and lift me out of my mood with a smile.

How do I pull myself out of this mood?

Part of me just wants to stay pissed off and take out my frustrations on everyone who walks by me.

Here's a thought… yesterday I was in a really great mood - - I got on the train and sat next to the most wonderful man… he had flowers – he was so happy that day - - I wasn't sure why he was happy but I could tell he was floating on a cloud – I was reading my book and he was just humming a tune. We got to a train stop and this lady got up and stormed off – saying in a loud voice - -

"I can't wait to get off the train - - someone has on way too much perfume…"

I just laughed - - thinking good thing it's your stop lady… the gentleman on the cloud just made this sound and said,

"Oh well – yeah its me smelling all nice - - I put on perfume and bought these flowers and this card for a coworker" as he smiled at me - - saying that the woman he was giving the flowers to was like his mother – and he wanted to do something nice for her because it was her birthday. HOW SWEET… (I thought if I wrote about that moment I would smile…but it didn't work)

On the bachelor….Brad didn't choose either woman to be his bride… (Good for him) I thought if I mentioned the bachelor I would laugh - - because that moment on TV went down as the number 1 event that happened on TV last night. (no laughter)

I'm sitting her sifting through my thoughts trying to pin point what my problem is so I can go in and fix it…

My relationship with my daughter is changing right before my eyes… I never thought it would happen - - I had hoped it wouldn't happen.

My daughter and I went away for the weekend and everything was wonderful up until the last hour when we were shopping for souvenirs - we walked into this cool army navy shop and the first thing she sees is this cool army green hat with the peace sign… we have such similar taste - I sooo wanted that hat…but she saw it first.

We continued checking out some stuff - - I stopped in front of these cool messenger bags - - when she approached I offered to trade the hat for the messenger bag. She said NO that she didn't like the bag…and just got silent - - I paid for our items - -I bought her the hat – got the bag and some other things for me and we left.

Once we were outside of the store she didn't say two words to me. We went from having a fabulous weekend to ICE COLD… we didn't speak for what seemed like thirty minutes - - the only time she spoke to me was about stopping and buying her some additional items.

The weekend was ruined for me immediately.

I was so hurt – I felt bad about myself. In my own head I was trying to understand what it was that had her so angry with me.

It was that I bought the bag…a bag that is similar to her style of carrying messenger bags… I never felt so bad – I felt like one of those mom's that hangs with her daughters friends – trying to act young – wearing clothing that is not age appropriate. Yeah my thoughts went there. I was so piss't that I didn't even want to look at what I had purchased because everything in that bag made me feel like I had done something wrong.

Why am I crying?

I have been sad for two days – 2 days too long.

I feel her pulling away from me. I shouldn't take it personal but I do. A part of me wants to be so very close to her… I love the things she loves… mostly because she loves them. I think my daughter is so cool but I sort of feel like she wants me to find my own way – and at the same time I'm torn because haven't I been showing her the way all this time - - and for the longest time hasn't my way been all about her.

I feel like I am currently going through an identity crisis of my own. I'm pretty grounded but it's starting to hit me that I am more than just Courtney's mother.

Maybe that's why I am so upset today - - because I no longer have my little girl who relied on me for everything - - she is pulling away from me not because she doesn't love me – but because she is trying to find herself.

She wants her own identity separate from me - - and I should want the same for me – separate from her.

So yes I am really sad today…I'm in mourning - because I know that I must let her go - - but I don't want to. Because once I let her go - - I have NO choice but to figure out who ALICIA is and what she wants? I can no longer hide behind motherhood. This is a scary place to be.

Send me a smile.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Blogs I'm Reading~

What a wonderful weekend family. I spent all of Saturday writing with the NYCLWG – it was intense but amazing. I will blog about what I gained later. Right now I want to share a bit of reading…

Allow me to introduce you to:

I will start with my favorite read this weekend - she's known as *Boozy Irish Floozie*:



The Professor:

Bloo Writer:




Ordinary Childhood:

Wishing everyone a blessed day!


Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Masquerade Ball

We all wear masks...

Today I am thinking about all of the people who I will walk by on the streets this morning, all the people I walk by daily, everyone in my life, those people I have just met, the people I may never get to meet, the girls last night who got into a fist fight on the bus right in front of me and my daughter—who just one minute before they started throwing blows smiled at me, or the couple last night who were cursing each other out outside my window she was threatening to leave his ass telling him she would have him thrown in jail and him calling her terrible names all while I was on the phone checking in on my pops...

We're all just people in survival mode, who are just doing what we do, living how we live, many of us – most of us constantly at the masquerade ball.

The masks we wear pretending to be happy in our failed relationships, hoping that the person (our significant other) who we blame for our unhappiness, we hold onto the idea that they will change…that if we only love them more, if we just stick by them at all costs, if we take all there shit. Praying that they will stop cheating on us or abusing us (physically, emotionally, or verbally) - holding on to the faith that love really does conquer all and that they will see the errors in their ways - - somehow miraculously seeing that "our love is deep and they'll stop hurting us."

The mask we wear day to day hoping to be noticed, that our potential will be recognized and acknowledged, we the undiscovered talent, wearing our false confidence mask. Those of us who demand to be respected (but we would never dare bring that power home and speak up to the people we need to speak up to) those of us who wear the mask of "the real tuff guy" who will go off and put a person in their place that person being the cashier or that manager at Popeye's, KFC or McDonalds. These are the same masks that would never dare raise our voices to our bosses or someone we perceive to be more superior to us.

We wear a mask pretending to be COMPLETE people - people who are really broken inside with real problems and no idea how to fix them.

In my "Keep it Moving" blog - I mentioned that I stopped writing after November 4th 2003.

Here's what happened to someone I respect:

She always wore a mask - - but this time she wore a special kind of MASK for a year and this time she was fully aware she was wearing that mask. She was a zombie, a machine, the walking, talking, breathing dead. She went to the same office building for 12 months - - 6 of which she relived that horrible moment over and over again - every single day - - every day she stepped into that office after he left. The simple act of opening a door changed her life completely.

Whenever she went to open any door it sent chills up her spine. She dreaded waking up every day. But she did get up - not because she wanted to - not because she was happy to be alive - but because she had no choice but to go on living and do all the necessary things she did to get by in her mediocre life...and going back to that office was the responsible thing to do.

Before November 4, 2003, she was happy, she loved where she worked. It was one of the largest magazine publishing companies and she worked with a great man. His name was KB. He was incredibly brilliant and just a vibrant human being. She started her career as a temp, was very new to NYC and had much to prove and tons to learn.

So she put on her mask of: "super modelesque/no problems in the world/have it all under control/like she got money in the bank/all smiles all the time" that's the mask she was sporting. She would have you believe that she was no nonsense, no joke and had it all under control.

Meanwhile, back in the room she was living in, as she slept on a twin bed with her child - she prayed every night and lit candles hoping she would get hired (its funny how when shit really gets rough - we all of sudden find God -- in hopes that he will come in and save the day). But she prayed faithfully, everyday in the morning when she woke, in the shower, as she walked to the train, during her train ride, on the elevator to her job, during the day while she worked, during dinner while she ate and at night before she put her head on her pillow, She prayed and prayed. She prayed she would get hired permanently because she was so very desperate for money and living in NYC wasn't cheap and she had tuition to pay for her child who was going to private school.

She wore her mask well - she had everyone fooled.

Her temp assignment was about to end and there were no positions available. She invited KB to lunch one day (which took balls because its not customary for executives to dine with the help) she wanted to express her gratitude and her passion for the job and share with him her desire to work for him and her eagerness to be apart of his team.

He said to her, "don't worry - - I think you're fabulous - - you're not going anywhere - - even if you have to sit in the bathroom all day everyday until I find you a slot - - you're not going anywhere!"

And she just smiled because she knew he was a man of his word. And true to his words she sure did end up spending some time in the bathroom and hiding out in conference rooms where he gave her little projects to keep her around. She was hired permanently a couple months later becoming KB's assistant in addition to supporting a VP.

All she could think about was how fabulous her boss KB was. Whenever he walked into the office - he would show up with the fiercest outfits and his diva strut. He was always well put together and he smiled every time he walked by her. His door was locked this particular day which was normal for him as he would often lock his door so he could eat quietly and not be interrupted. The only exception was if he was running late for a meeting. That the only time she would buzz him.

It was 3:30pm; he needed to be at a meeting, so she buzzed his line – no answer. She knocked on his door and when she didn't get an answer she called out his name. She did this a few times and still got no response - she figured perhaps he stepped out and closed his door. She went to her desk to get her spare key - knocked on the door one more time and unlocked it. she opened the door slowly and there he was at his desk with his head down. She thought he was sleeping - she called out for him Kevin, Kevin - wake up you have a meeting. She thought maybe he had a headache because his arms were crossed and he had his head gently placed on his arms. To her it just seemed like he was sleeping.

So she went behind him to wake him touching his shoulder - Kevin wake up. she shook him a little - no movement. She touched his neck - no pulse. She touched his face - ice cold... she ran - - she ran as fast as she could for help - she interrupted a meeting and told them that Kevin wouldn't wake up that something was wrong. They ran to him and she just stood by her desk pacing, a mess, scared out of her mind, worried, crying, hoping that he would be ok and not understanding what had happened. Someone called 911 because paramedics came to the office... she never left her cube... when they finished doing whatever it was they were doing inside his office - they opened the door.

Kevin was dead - and she couldn't watch them take him away on that stretcher, covered with that sheet – she refused to leave her desk - in fact she was so scared that she was hiding under her desk because it was unbelievable to her. Still today its still unbelievable.

I stopped writing when Kevin died on November 4, 2003 when I found him.

It was the horrible, devastating, and incredibly traumatic experience I had ever encountered. I went to work the very next day and did this every day for so many months. I never mourned his loss I just kept going back to this building. I had to go back into his office every day when Kevin's replacement started – I had to open that door again and again. I was devastated.

When he died (as is the case for anyone we lose - the stories that we tell each other to console one another came pouring in and this time it was no different).

My Kevin stories are few but amazing… in August 2003 during the NYC blackout I was at the office and was scared because we thought that perhaps it was another September 11th situation (my daughter was out of town thank God) but he asked me if I had anywhere to go. I told him I didn't know what I was going to do and he invited me to go to his house and stay with him for the night. We went searching for water and flashlights. The man only had gold fish to eat, some olives, nuts and vodka – but no real (he dined out a lot). When his best friend joined us we stayed up talking for hours. He took me to lunch all the time and shared his dreams and goals - - he was going to be big - - and had already achieved greatness. The week before he died he gave me this gift certificate - which I didn't open until after he died. One day when I was on the phone taking a message he just shoved it in front of me and said, "here this is for you... enjoy... you probably can only get a pair of earrings with this – but enjoy." When I opened the envelope after he died I found a $500 gift certificate to MaxMara (which is sort of like one of those stores on 5th Avenue where they serve you champagne and give you the star like treatment). I later received an email from a coworker who said to me... "you know Kevin told me he was giving you a gift certificate. He came up to me and said "can someone buy something really nice with this?" And she told him of course. When Kevin told her who the gift certificate was for - that he was giving it to Alicia - she said wow that's really nice of you - he responded - she's really nice to me.

You just don't forget people like him. But he too wore a mask – pretending to be happy at a job that no longer was bringing him the joy that it once did. He too had a story that no one knew - - the things that made him beautiful.

Oh yeah very important detail... November 4th is my father's birthday. Kevin Belden died on my dad's birthday. I truly believe its so I never forget. And I never will forget him.

The masks I've worn:

I wore a mask when I left Florida summer 2002 when I pretended all was right in my world

I wore a mask when I started working at a new job - pretending I could hold it down

I wore a mask meeting men pretending I was a complete person – the total package

I wore a mask for my daughter that we were ok - when we were one step away from being homeless

I wore a mask after my boss died (and he was the best boss EVA) and I was left dealing with finding him and pretending to be ok and that I could still do my job while pretending to like the people I was working with

I wore a mask when I went to work for the worse boss ever

So when we walk by people on the street we must remember that they matter - people are important in this world - people are valuable - - my mentor Kevin Belden... taught me that. He didn't have to care for me - or about my life – or about my child… but he did.

Its important to care what happens to the people around us. Its so important to connect with people - - everyone has a story. We have no idea why they where the masks they wear. But once we take the time to know someone, reach out to them and touch – we find that they're less likely to wear a mask while with you.

To Kevin Belden…I dedicate my first publication…we'll meet again!

To my father…Happy Birthday!


Monday, October 8, 2007

The Myth of Christopher Columbus

Why do we celebrate Columbus Day?

I had something wonderful happen to me this morning - - actually stuff has been happening over the last few days – its like I've been preparing for what was going to come this morning. Have you ever heard a message, read a line in a book, or a song, or a line in a movie that you swore was placed there just for you?

Over the past few months I've been working on a huge project - - I've been transcribing hours of interviews – for a piece I'm writing on Afro Latino's. This subject is deep because we have some Latino's who are not interested in hearing that they are African - - the blackest Dominicans claim that they're white. So I've been working on this piece for a minute…yesterday I finished one of the biggest interviews – it was a conversation I had with my favorite NYU Professor – we spoke for several hours. She gave me tons of information – the conversation was a journey through history and the history that has never been taught. By the end of my taking notes I ended up with 26 pages worth of wisdom. As the interview came to a close she kept stressing that what I need to include in my piece was about the Moors in Spain – she admitted that there wasn't a lot she could offer me in this area – but stressed the importance of me finding out. Now I just finished hearing those words Sunday.

So Monday morning, October 8th 2007 – Columbus Day my alarm goes of as it does at 5:00am to WBAI…and I ignore it…it just plays – finally when I was making NO movement to get out of bed my alarm automatically shut itself off. Two hours later I decide to get up and get ready – I turn the radio on and to my surprise WBAI's wake up call is playing a recorded discussion on the Moors (on a personal level I was deeply touched – because I knew that I was supposed to hear this) NOW on a community level…this is information that should be shared. I am not sure who the speaker was – because I didn't catch his name he's a Professor at Emerson here's what I learned…

For a nation that celebrates Columbus Day – another way to look at it…

"Yam Karu - - The reality of the Native American"

It is said that slavery began in 1492, when Columbus began his supposed expedition to civilize nations. He arrives to his newly found land…and what we're taught is that Columbus sailed the ocean blue on the Nina, the pinta, the Santa Maria…and that he discovered America…

"We're not taught that Columbus encouraged the color coding of slaves – the creation of permanent labor – by force – and put a collar on them – with no pay – we are still suffering the psychological damage"

"In 1492 it marked the end of the Moorish rule in the country - - the moors had ruled Spain for 900 years before 1492. The most important element in Moorish Spain were the moors with their Islamic ways and Jews who had been there for 1000 years when you talk about the moors and Jews living together in Spain its not the same as here in NYC they lived side by side in harmony you could not tell the difference between them – other than their religion… only their religion defined them – the moors were highly civilized (evolved) and welcomed everyone from all religions – if only they had been like the Christians and rammed religion down their throats. The moors tried to civilize Spain for 900 years and did not succeed. The Christian Spanish –Castilian – remained ignorant even after 900 years.

After the fall of Granada – you hear – they defeated the moors - the first thing they did (Spanish troops went to one of the Moorish leaders) was approach the moors leaders – a man who was a cunning fellow almost as treacherous as Ferdinand – his opponent - they made a deal – he was paid (like Judas) 30,000 gold pieces and a mall principality where he could live with his people. The Moorish leader hands over Granada to Spain and the first thing they do is burn the books – some of the most priceless literature in the world of learning – it was the moors who gave back Europe – it was the Moorish island scholars who translated all of the great documents - Greek philosophies, Greek sciences, that had been lost to Europe and gave it back to Europe - - what a mistake! We don't hear that – we hear the great Spanish were going to civilize the world - in sciences and medicine. There wasn't a Spanish leader that didn't send out for a Moorish physician to look after them when they were ill. We are not taught that the moors were the most advanced physicians and scholars in Europe - - if you see the instruments that they used in the 14th and 15th century – you still see them in our hospitals today.

They never tell us the moor civilized Spain - - they never tell us that without the Moorish scholarship there world never have been a renaissance in Europe. No credit is given to the moors. Who were the moors? Who were the moors from Africa – they were from North Africa? You want to know what moors look like – go to morocco now (some are the darkest black, shades of brown and white). The moors were predominantly dark African people – buying slaves - - some of the Moorish rulers got so fair because of inter marriage. That some of the lighter Moorish people used to die there skin darker in order to legitimize themselves in the eyes of the followers – and we have Michael Jackson lightening his skin. (To be white was uncivilized – this is interesting…)

It was an African invasion of Europe that happened in 711 the – that began the conquest - -the only place that wasn't discovered – they went into Italy – France – tremendous expansion of Moorish power and if you look at old prints – the soldiers were ebony."

He quotes the film Elsid - - as "pure fiction – the Moorish leader was a bandit – he fought for both sides – they got corrupt. They never tell you that 10 years before 1492 – a small force from Grenada defeated a mighty Spain army. What you cannot win by force you win by guile. The Spanish couldn't defeat the moors."

A poem:

"I am Christopher Columbus
I am he who did miss the land India
I thought I discovered that which was never
How clever
of me to see
The land beyond
I came to tame and claim
in the name of Spain
I am Chris – don't diss – my his…story
I inspired…Moorish selling
I exterminated, perpetuated, hatred
Red men, yellow men, with black men I make no friend
I attack, arrowack, cut off their head, wrote instead,
that the caribs ate them like bread

I never told you this before
But my chief navigator was a moor
You know the moors they discovered Spain
Those blacks who came from the African terrain
The idea that the world was round
I got from these same blacks in some little Spanish town –
Now you may ask – what was blacks doin dare
But they ruled for over 700 years - -
they made a great mistake then
Instead of enslaving us the made us their friend
Some survive – stayed alive – fought the invasion, European division, European aggression - - the fight between Europe and Europe expansion
I wrote your history for you -
did not tell you true –
not all black men came as slaves
You will know the truth in the waves that brought the ships

I am christopher Columbus
I gave Europe power over all the earth
500 years of your blood, sweat and tears
now you celebrate , recreate your death,
let the glasses touch with the blood of your fathers and mothers,
give a toast – to my arrival - - my survival - -
the land is still mine –
the pope is still the divine –
yes –
drink your own blood and call it wine -
nothing in the pages of my history will block our your misery - -
who shall celebrate my victory - -
your children praise me – I am your only history

I am Christopher Columbus - - I died but you made me live
Give me the place once more - - let me discover you again –
the stain my father blood rule - -
fool you celebrate my coming - -
no I will not go – not from your mind –
restore me for all to see –
keepers of evil –
shepherds of my people –
lead them to the alter of lies – your ancestor cries –
will not be heard –
word after word –
pages of history written –
the victims are once more bitten.

1492 to you
the beginning of western world democracy
1492 to me
the beginning of white supremacy"

(by Poet – Adu Baluka – not sure if I am spelling this correctly – poem called Columbus's Ghost)

What's interesting here is that we learn a history that teaches us that in 1492 Columbus strolls up and civilizes this world…We never hear that this land is stolen –we hear stories of Plymouth rock – and how the pilgrims arrived and they coexisted with the Native Americans and they had some sort of huge feast and lived in harmony –I have never heard a native American historian tell this version of the story… we need to re-write U.S. history – there is much to be included.

The speaker continues:

"We live in a Columbus Day myth….1492 something magical began to happen – this intrepid sailor – other people also made the trip – people crossed the Atlantic on anything that could float…"

Yes he took the journey – not the best way to come – a black Puerto Rican scholar – Aurelio Theo – was in the archives in Madrid looking up material on Columbus and found documents pointing out that the Moorish sailors were very advanced in their sailing skill that they were trained to tell direction by watching the way the waves and currents moved. They were brilliant."

"With racism there are all kinds of distortion"

He talked about when Ponce de Leon – a greedy genocidal man – tried to colonize Florida for 100 years…that the native Americans fought – they fought ferociously – they weren't having it – they were the Appalachia (not sure of spelling)…they were great fighters/warriors.

"They had long arrows and special bows – they neutralized the Spanish who were coming – Europe was invading…they wanted to control all of Florida" (It made sense that the Spanish wanted to control Florida…they wanted to block the slaves from the leaving – block all exits.)

"At the time when disease wiped out a lot of the Native Americans – blacks began to run away into Florida – slaves escaped from Cuba – going to Florida – and the LARGEST rĂ©sistance in the history was of the Columbian era – its one of the best kept secrets in North American." We must question why this is.

"Go to all the African American studies departments around this country – ask them how many blacks fought a continuous insurgence in the continental United States for 150 years and that by 1856 – 2/3 of the entire armed forces of the US was fighting against those Native Americans and African insurgents. You would think something of that magnitude would be everyday knowledge to you - that you would have learned this in elementary school. You were never taught this! None of you know this - you were taught that uprisings were crushed!"

"Seminoles don't exist – this word was used to describe blacks who escaped from the Carolinas and Georgia and VA – the first Seminoles were black – how do we know this – the white army were writing letters that they were fighting blacks in Florida.

Wherever we have united – the black and native Americans are natural allies- they worked together…"

Why isn't this in our history books? And why are we still celebrating this day…considered a day of genocide…

I leave you with another piece of reading:

"F$^ Columbus...Columbus Day means Genocide Day"
By Roberto Mucaro Borrero

"As Columbus Day fast approaches so does the realization that it is one of the most controversial of 8 U.S federal holidays. At least 17 States do not celebrate or recognize the holiday and plans for annual protests and related educational initiatives are well under way across the United States.

While some Americans question why all there is so much the controversy toward the "discoverer of the New World", I am reminded of the collective "human spirit" that brought together the nations who developed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. The United States was among the original signatories of this Convention whose second article states that genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

In light of this definition, as we review the legacy of Columbus - from the acts he personally committed to atrocities committed by his "countrymen" and successors - one would be hard pressed to not see the connections to the genocide of Caribbean and other Indigenous Peoples throughout the hemisphere.

Whether "mixed or full blood", the contemporary descendants of the first Indigenous Peoples to meet Columbus, the Taino, Carib, and Arawak Peoples are survivors of what can be considered a centuries-old campaign of genocide committed against our communities. From the encomienda system to the sterilization of our women to the commodity and genetically modified foods that have been imposed on our rural or urban "ghetto-ized" communities, this genocidal campaign continues albeit in subtle forms. These vestiges of old colonial regimes masquerading as a new world order affect the well-being of not only our present but our future generations.

Although Columbus himself never set foot in the United States, Indigenous Peoples throughout the country recognize that the celebration of the federally (tax payer) funded holiday called Columbus Day is a symbol of genocide. Promotion of Columbus as a "hero" is racism as its one-sided mainstream presentation attempts to sanitize the injustices committed during his time or the injustices that continue to be committed against our Peoples today.

Indeed, Columbus Day supporters vindicate the celebration of these injustices under the guise of an alleged "civilizing" of savage, non-European peoples.

With regard to racism, I refer to the Webster's definition, which holds that it is "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." In the same definition, racism is further defined as "racial prejudice or discrimination."

Again, by reviewing the motives behind the Columbus enterprise as well as his actions toward and against the Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean, we can link not only the man himself but his legacy and symbolism directly to racism. This link can be made much in the same way there was an outcry against flying the Confederate Flag on U.S. government grounds. The Confederate flag is linked by many to the legacy of slavery and it is generally accepted that slavery in the past or present constitutes a gross human rights violation unacceptable by "civilized" standards today.

Columbus was a slave trader and the majority of his contemporaries promoted and exported this institution. Fueled by his philosophy of racial superiority, Columbus instituted systems on behalf of the King and Queen of Spain, which fundamentally denied the self-determination of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples.

This racist philosophy has been supported at all levels of imposed government regimes including past and present educational systems.

Contemporary Taino descendants should have a particular interest in this subject as government and educational institutions continue to deny our right to self-determination by denying our existence. The denial of our right to self-determination is a violation of our basic human rights. Our right to self-determination was recently acknowledged by the United Nations with its adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Non-Taino academics who are elevated to the status of "experts" on our culture without any consultation with our communities are intentionally or unintentionally parties to these human rights violations. While we remain "invisible" peoples with no rights, "they" remain free to say and promote what they want to say about ancestors, our people and our heritage.

Make no mistake if you are a Taino, your rights are being violated everyday whether you want to admit it or not. These violations do not discriminate against "full bloods or mix bloods" as they are violations against our communities as a whole. Our most recent example of the violation of our rights as Taino people is evidenced by the "Grito de Caguana" protest in Boriken (Puerto Rico) and the arrest of Taino people occupying our sacred ceremonial grounds. These violations, these examples of racial prejudice and discrimination as well as the promotion of symbols of genocide against our ancestors and our peoples must not be tolerated even at the most subtle level.

Referring back to Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 3 states that along with genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; attempt to commit genocide; and complicity in genocide are all punishable by law.

As we turn our attention toward the state-sponsored promotion of symbols of genocide such as Columbus and Columbus Day, it becomes ever clearer that our present and future generations can not afford our complicity. While the legacy of Columbus is a part of our collective history, it is not a legacy that should be sanctified with a national celebration at the expense of those whose ancestors gave their lives defending their liberty against a brutal and unjustifiable oppression."

Roberto Mucaro Borrero is the President of the United Confederation of Taino People’s Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination. He is also the current Chairperson of the NGO Committee on the United Nations International Decade of the World..s Indigenous Peoples, a Special Committee of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations - CONGO.