ReBlog: Epoch of Autocratic Fuckery

This was EXACTLY what I needed to see today!

In these trying times, we must find something/anything that makes us feel better.

Chuck writes:

“I want to articulate a finer, more poetic sentence than the one I’m about to write, but I find that difficult, so instead I’m going to go with the sentence inside my heart:

Shit is pretty fucking fucked up right now.

I mean, it just is. Look around. This country, and by proxy the world, is a hot, hot mess. It’s like a preschool where all the toddlers are drunk and have been given power tools, oh, and also, they’re not toddlers but actually tiny grifters pretending to be toddlers, and they don’t just have power tools, but also, THE POWER TO REWRITE AMERICAN POLICY AND LAW AND THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM FOR SEVERAL GENERATIONS AND..”

Read more here

 

 

 

Advertisements

Human Flow

 

“Being a refugee … is the most pervasive kind of cruelty that can be exercised against a human being.”

img_0086

I watched a documentary the other evening on the refugee crisis which has been steadily escalating for years now. There are some pretty scary statistics shared and the numbers of human beings displaced is rising faster than can be safely or humanely accommodated, even by those countries willing to offer refuge.

Maha Yahya, Acting Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, shares her wisdom that  if children grow up without hope, prospects, or a way to make something of their lives, they can fall prey to exploitation, including radicalization.  “Many of them are traumatized by unimaginable losses at home.  They’re angry, frustrated, they want to make a difference in their lives… they’ve seen their homes demolished, their families killed, and there are children who themselves want to go fight.”  “They think it is a way they can get revenge for the horrors they lived through.”

Ai Wei Wei filmed this documentary in more than 23 countries at 40 of the world’s largest refugee camps, and he shares the lives of victims of conflict of every age, with both words and heartbreaking images that you will never be able to forget once seen.

I have so much respect for Ai.  My son, the artist, introduced me to his work a few years back, and I follow every move he makes very closely now. He has lived such a unique life and always highlighted social injustice with his art in ways that make it impossible to look away.

 

Until I watched Human Flow, my awareness was limited to the Syrian refugees, as many of them came to Canada, and their stories have been shared on the national news frequently. I interact with them in the stores, and hear many wonderful stories about how easily they have integrated into our communities.

Last month, when I started hearing about children in cages in the US, I broadened my reading and researching on the subject, as I truly couldn’t understand why anyone could or would deny children safety and care. The images I saw and the audio of the those children crying for their parents broke my heart.

As a mother, I wanted to hold them and rock and rock and shush them and tell them everything would be ok.

I understand the need for limitations and vetting and security for countries.

I understand fear of difference and how bigotry exists and blooms within society.

I even understand to a certain degree the decisions that need to be made to maintain law and order. There’s a reason I am not in charge of those decisions.

I don’t believe in borders.

Borders are a social construct designed in my opinion to separate, and that is something I find almost humorous, in relation to how I see the world.

How can an arbitrary line no one can see on the ground keep anyone in one place?

The displaced humans of the world are growing in numbers that it is not sustainable to safely manage in the near future. We need to do the work now to make space for these people, both in our countries and in our hearts.

The human spirit is strong, and while many give up due to age or fear, the strong will continue moving into and over borders, either with permission or with force, either legally or under the cover of darkness, if necessary.

And while that is frightening to many, it is reality, so the time to do the right thing, the kind thing, the human thing –  is now.

 

Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/btf-syrian-refugee-program/

 

 

CAR: do refugee children go to school?

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of: https://www.coopi.org/en/car-refugee-children-go-school-2774.html

 

 

Alan Kurdi lifeless body.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47737832

Forgiveness

 

I have spent a fair bit of time in the last week thinking about what forgiveness means to me and how much better my life has been since I decided a few years back to start forgiving folks for my own good. I wasn’t particularly concerned with how it made them feel, and in most cases, they aren’t even aware that they were forgiven for their trespasses against me.

I wrote a few months back about a horrific accident that occurred here in the country that I call home and my own survivor’s perspective of the aftermath of these sort of events. I was focused mostly on the hope that all the support the boys and their families had following the accident, would continue through the years to come.

This past week it was announced that the driver of the semi that struck the bus has been charged with 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. The general consensus seems to be that he blew through a stop sign. He will have his day in court, or many, and based on the comments I have read (don’t ever read the comments section!) he will likely be far safer in jail or prison than he will ever be out on the streets again, unless he changes his appearance drastically. That saddened me. Really saddened me and brought up feelings I have long held onto related to my own “accident”.

Prison will not be the worst punishment he endures- not even close.

While I was never charged with anything following mine, my passenger in the car with me died that afternoon. She was very young- only 20. So, I am in the unique position of actually somewhat understanding what is going through that man’s head right now- and none of it is good. The only reason I didn’t receive criminal charges was because it was a known trouble spot of an intersection, and following my crash, the transportation safety board removed that particular vehicle crossing and made a new entrance. Here, it takes so many accidents/deaths by number, before they will make changes like that.

I was sued twice following – once by the step-father of my passenger, and once by the train conductor- each request was for a million dollars. I had been warned it would likely happen, as in the case of family members who lose a loved one, it is pretty standard practice. In my relative naivety, until the insurance company contacted me, I thought I was personally responsible for paying those millions, as I received my copy of the first letter prior to the insurance company receiving theirs.

I was still recuperating physically and hadn’t even begun the work on my psychological wounds when I received the letter from the step-father. I was in a pretty dark place and only dealing with those things that were absolutely necessary, like finding someone to drive to grocery store with my bank card to buy food for my kids, and doing my best to wake up alive every morning.

Every night/morning for over a year, I would jerk awake sometime between 1 and 3 hearing the horns and the screams and tasting the blood and smelling the gasoline, and feeling the weight of April’s body slamming into mine as that train hit us. Every single sense I had, wide awake and stabbing at me like unforgiving needles.

Not one inch of my body or mind was spared on those nights.

I would lay there and look up at the ceiling after the terrors and wonder if this was why I had been spared death, and not her. I wondered about suffering and retribution and about heaven and hell and how we all pay the piper in our own ways and in our own time.

I would try to understand the why’s.

Why her? Because she was pure and full of light and love and her journey here was over. She had done everything she was sent here to do. She had taught and learned the lessons and fulfilled her contracts with others.

Why not me? Because I deserved to suffer and be in pain. I had run and dodged and slipped my way through every dangerous event and place I had allowed myself to be a part of. Now I had taken a life. I had murdered a young girl with my stupidity and inattention to my surroundings. Only the good died young, as my mother used to say, so I was pretty damn sure I was left here with the purpose to feel this pain for the rest of my days. 

I worked with a psychologist who specialized in PTSD, and slowly started to heal. She utilized EMDR therapy on me, which was exhausting emotionally, but was extremely successful with my psychological trauma. It was the first and only time in my life that I went in search of help of that kind, having been brought up in a home where we kept our private problems in-house, and not to be shared with outsiders. During my time with Robin, other things came out that I had long forgotten, so it turned into much, much more than it had originally been meant to be. I saw her until my extended health benefits dried up. She had provided me with the tools I needed to take my first steps onto the path of actually living again.

Not surviving, not healing, not enduring- actually wanting to move forward and live again, for my sons and even for myself.

I will always hold a special place in my heart for her help in showing me the way through it all to the other side. At the end of our last session, she gave me a big hug and told me I needed to truly forgive myself or I would never recover fully.

5 years after my accident, I received a letter from a psychologist that was treating the mother of my passenger. He asked me if I would allow him to send me numbered questions from his patient, who was struggling to move forward with her own life following the loss of her daughter. He was working with her on forgiveness. On forgiving herself for past events during the time she was raising her daughter, and on forgiving me, in order to let go of the hate she held in her heart.

I sat on a chair in my kitchen for over an hour, holding that letter in my hand.

I traced my fingertip over and over the stamp edging, round and round, while my mind wandered to how I was going to deal with this request. In the days following, I asked my son, and my mother for their advice on what they thought I should do.

They both told me to not respond at all; their concern was for me and the progress I had made, and they worried that I would slide back if I had to relive any of it again.

What neither of them knew, was that I had never stopped living it. Not for one moment of the time since it had occurred. It was so entrenched in every part of me, it was now cellular.

Like the blood flowing through my heart, or the oxygen moving through my lungs.

I wore it like a branding on my soul and always would.

I ended up answering her questions and sent them back to the psychologist. I was more concerned with her healing than I was with my own. Some of them were very difficult to answer.

I lied on the ones that I thought would only hurt her more. Questions about her relationship with her stepfather. Questions about why she left home. Questions about if she had ever shared information with me about her mother’s decision to side with her stepfather, rather than with her. I lied about her forgiving her mother for that. I lied and said she told me only a day earlier that she loved and missed her mother very much.

I answered truthfully on the questions that related to the accident itself.

She was dead instantly- she didn’t linger or suffer- she didn’t cry out in pain.

In the moments leading up to the impact, she was laughing and singing and excited and full of life and love.

I licked the envelope when I was done answering her questions, and walked the letter to the nearest mailbox.

I remember sitting on a rock after and looking at the clouds in the sky, through teary eyes, watching them slowly move and morph in shape as they drifted lazily above me. The sun was in the exact position it was in on that day in June, casting the same warmth, blinding me with the same dazzling rays, but this time I was alone.

While I was sitting there, a white butterfly caught my eye, and I watched as it fluttered and danced and flew closer and closer to me. From blade of grass to tree branch, to post, eventually landing on the top of my hand.

Its wings were transparent in the sunlight and I slowed my breathing and sat perfectly still, watching it settle in on my hand, twitching its wings softly on my skin. Seeing the flesh of my hand through its wings- watching in wonder as it sat there on my warm hand.

It stayed with me for as long as I needed it to and then flew away up towards the clouds in the blue sky.

I watched it until it disappeared from my sight and then got up and headed home to my children.

 

Canada Day

It happens most afternoons: Just before I nod into the haze of a geriatric nap, my mind teases me with recollections from a former life.

With my eyes closed, the images develop in my imagination like photos taken by an instant camera. They are from 40 years ago, but they remain as vivid as the aroma of my morning coffee.

View story at Medium.com

Heeling(Healing) Soles(Souls)

I have been feeling a little vulnerable lately and not even well enough to tap away at the keys.

Today I decided it might be good to wander about on Word Press for a bit and the first place I always wander is to Calen’s.

Her Sandbox Challenge this week was this:

What message just for you is hidden in this ancient writing?

maya writing.1

My first thought upon looking at the image was how remarkably similar it was to my heels. Then the thought popped up that I have been meaning to book a pedicure for the last month or so but that real life has intruded on even that one hour of peace and comfort I could have provided for myself. I really could have booked that appointment- had the number on my cell and would be basically two taps with my finger directly to the shop.

But I have been so tired. SOOO incredibly tired and low energy. Useless.

I have completed the tasks that need doing, like working and taking care of my cat, but other than that, I have basically sleepwalked through the last few weeks.

I know what started it.

It was seeing the news that humans have now sunk to the low of caging children.

I like to think I am pretty cynical and jaded, and I truly told myself that there was no possible way he would be allowed to sink this low, without someone…ANYONE…stopping him and his need to feed his fractured ego with evil-doing.

But, as has happened many times in the past- I was wrong.

I read, I watched, I listened to audio and then I shut down. I just could not take anymore.

And my feet and the rest of me suffered for it and continue to suffer.

I have some sort of strange rash appearing on my back, which I think is atopic eczema. The irony of this affliction is that the worst thing for the little dry patches is water.

Dry, itchy, aggravating. Especially when I cant reach it except with the spaghetti scoop which comes to bed with me every night.

My feet and my back and my soul all make me feel dry and itchy and aggravated and out of sorts.

Barren and empty, like desert flowers begging for any sort of nourishment to make the cracks disappear and replenish the cells with the fluid of life.

I need to know that I am not the only one feeling the cracks and caverns and schisms occurring right now in the world.

Am I the only one who sees fire and burning and hears children crying for their parents?

I don’t take good care of myself when I don’t feel well emotionally.

I really let myself go.

I am not sure why that is.

Is it the effort and energy required from an exhausted woman or is it disinterest or the knowledge that one day this husk that carries the me that matters will not longer require tending?

What any logical woman would do would be to book that appointment for the next few days and even add a manicure to the appointment, as there is no better feeling than having both sets of nails done and pretty.

But it seems so pointless to me right now.

I instinctively know that my looks are not going to matter in the next while for the work that may need to be done and what my part in it may be.

I’ve let my hair grow long and rarely wear it down unless I am brushing it, which I do often. Brushing my hair soothes me and my spirit, for some reason. My hair is drying out too, and I have stopped colouring it. It is pure white like my mother’s in the front- beautiful white. I frequently braid it, to keep it off my face and out of my way. Then I unbraid it, while reading tweets about monsters and the people who lie and abet them with their evil.

I don’t speak of the terrors I feel often, as I can tell people are sick and tired of all things political and don’t want to hear it. Those people would rather sit back and then moan and wring their hands once it is all over. I know those people. There were so many of them during the Holocaust.

So, so many.

My hypervigilance is a symptom of my PTSD. I know that. But I also know I am not crazy and I can feel the danger.

I can even taste it some days. It tastes like metal or copper. A bit like blood, in fact.

I am doing what I can in order to soothe the trauma-beast within me in whatever way I can to keep it from becoming more hungry.

I might drive out to the mountains this weekend and spend a day sitting on a log thinking of nothing but the scent of the air around me.

It is supposed to rain.

I can tilt my head back and open my mouth and let it in.

I can wiggle my feet while the rain falls over them.

Maybe it will fill up the cracks and heal them.

Maybe I will breathe deeply again.

Maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Sale

Sandbox Challenge: Vulnerability

 

Hazel eyes so full of pain

   leaking slow moving snakes of shame

       like twisting streams down the cracks of his face.

           Hollow and black like the deeds and the mire and muck he plays so impulsively in.

 

Liars lips begging forgiveness from a well long run dry

   from putting out the endless dumpsterfires he creates from his chaos

      & burning all who dance close enough to the flames

          mouths gaping like fish out of water, perishing from the fumes of his toxic entrails.

 

Heart hardened and closed, mute to the cries

   of the damaged, needy child within him

     who bellows and then whines the apology verses that

        are as familiar as the back of your own hand.

 

Nothing left of the man in this moment

   just the plaintive cries of need and feed and bleed again.

     Your saviour’s cape musty with age

        polluted by the stench of regret and shattered trust.

 

Searching carefully for any shred of the man who so

   lovingly brushed your hair by the light of the moon and

       softly traced his name all over your skin with fingers that felt like butterflies landing

          to soothe you back to sleep after the nightmares.

 

Your mind plays tricks and makes you

   believe it can’t have been so long

      but it has been years

         since that man last appeared.

 

To witness daily the vanishing of the soul of a man

    is a suffering that cannot be written in words 

      he seeks his solace in the flare of the flame

          and in the pipe to his lips.

 

A Feast of Friends

“I should’ve died in my 20s. I became successful in my 40s. I became a dad in my 50s. I feel like I’ve stolen a car –a really nice car– and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights. But there’s been nothing yet.” Anthony Bourdain

 

Today is always a hard day for me. A day to be endured and survived.

Lived through.

When I awoke and saw the horrible news that Anthony Bourdain had taken his life, and on this particular date, I was slammed by so many feelings at once.

I know many are mocked when they grieve a public person in a personal way, but the ignorance in that sentiment is that these people have been in our homes. Sometimes daily.

We spend time with them when we can’t face the thought of being with our own people and trying to explain why we hurt. We hope they take our minds off our own shit and we feel not so alone in the world when they are with us.

Sometimes it is just their voice on the television, during our self-imposed disconnection to space and time – on our couches or in our beds, that keeps us tethered by a delicate strand to the rest of the world.

June 8 2002 is the day I had a horrific accident in my car with a freight train.

My passenger, a beautiful young girl, died on top of me in the car. (Official version to keep questions to a minimum.)

In reality, her head was severed from her body and was in my lap.

I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following that accident, and had no control over the thoughts that appeared in my head forever after that.

Over the years, I have gathered many tools in my toolbox, and am pretty happy with my ability to quickly pull them out as needed. It is exhausting, but I always quickly remind myself that the alternative to surviving and being left in this state is not and has never been an option for me.

I am fortunate in that I have not ever suffered with depression as so many others do. My thing is crippling anxiety and panic attacks, and as long as I can get myself to my safe place internally, all is good.

Following my discharge from the hospital all those years ago, I spent many, many days at home on my couch, watching Anthony on A Cook’s Tour, and would drift in and out of my opiate dreams to the sound of his voice. I could fall asleep on a tour of Tokyo, and awaken in Cambodia with Tony, traveling the narrow aisles of the market, joking with the locals and joyously taking in the beautiful tastes and culture of the places we traveled together.

I just knew his was a soul I connected to. He had the same absolute enjoyment, interest and fascination with other cultures and their ways of living that I have always had. The intuitive respect and understanding that the differences are what brings us closer together.

His was a wandering spirit, as is mine. I know he was not always in the same place his physical body was in, and that his mind went even more places than he ever showed us on his many programs.

And to be superficial but honest? He was so hot.

Most recently, his passionate support for the #metoo movement made me love and admire him even more. For a man of his age and generation, to stand beside and sometimes in front of women that were being brutally crucified on social media, showed me his heart and what a wonderful human being he was at the core.

To have someone like Tony as an ally for this movement, firing shots at misogynists on Twitter and in the press, made me so incredibly happy.

Years ago, after recuperating from my physical injuries and in a good place with the mental ones, I thought of writing him and thanking him for “being there” for me during my recovery. I wanted him to know that he played such a huge part daily in my healing. And then I scoffed at myself that someone as famous as him likely receives so much mail, that he couldn’t possibly have time to read it all.

Hearing that he took his life today makes me wish I had reached out to him back then. Just on the off-chance that he did see that letter.

So he would know in those places inside him that hurt, that he had healed another person just by being himself and sharing his life and experiences with us all.

That he had made a difference in my life and at a time when I was most vulnerable and alone, he provided me with something more important than a culinary masterpiece – he gave me hope that if I could survive one more day, I could perhaps travel with him from my home to the next exotic place.

Rest in Peace Anthony – what a life and legacy you leave behind.