Five Ways of Resisting Without Punching Nazis

Of course, also be willing to feel uncomfortable. Discomfort is not the same as lacking safety…and it’s good to know how to differentiate between those. Talking about racial issues is uncomfortable. Challenging your worldview is uncomfortable. You shouldn’t expect yourself to tolerate feeling completely unsafe, but if you aren’t at least tolerating a little discomfort, you are probably not anywhere close to the growth edge.

 

Source: Five Ways of Resisting Without Punching Nazis

It’s my blood that flows.

I feel more and more like I’m at a complete loss with it comes to the country around me. If the legislation against abortion freedoms weren’t bad enough, we also have a man who was a hero during my childhood teaching men how to get away with systematic rape. I live in a place surrounded by schools but without citizens able to use basic research skills about who started the KKK. As if the founder matters when it’s still a thriving social club. The water that flows from my tap isn’t fit to use for watering my plants or drinking. Black people are being killed in front of their children for no reason and well-known, loud activists are forgetting because whatever happens to people of color is fine, as long as the rich white folk are kept rich. Women within a ten mile radius of my home want to stop hearing about our president’s history of sexual assault because it bums them out, without giving thought to the victims and survivors left my millions of men who think consent is not continuous. I’m told to be fearful of terrorists abroad when  it’s more likely that I’ll be shot at an LGBTQ event. I’m embarrassed to be in a place that screams about it’s freedom when we’re keeping more people in prison than any other country in the world, but are unable to give the same prisoners tampons.

 

Because of my tendencies towards disassociation and years of therapy, I’m good at finding ways to compartmentalize and cope around chaos. Despite my mental ninja skills, I’m finding myself at the end of my rope. I can’t sleep until things blow over. I don’t have enough money or the lung capacity to smoke these feels away. Drugs are expensive, hard to find, and not going to solve the problems. I have always been an advocate of talking things out. I talk to my mother, a woman who had been raped, beaten, threatened, and abused for the bulk of her life, and she wants to empower an entitled regime. My mother isn’t stupid. If she were, it’d be easier to accept her repeated opinions. A woman who cut my hair last week told me that all leaders do things that are wrong and the world isn’t fair. Is that ok with America these days? Are we really fine with our leader being a known liar? Is an alternative fact just as good as a fact, or do we not understand the difference?

 

I am blessed with several privileges that enable me to have a head start in most of life’s battles. I had the money to get a degree in my twenties. I have my health, my limbs, and most of my mind. I’m a pretty white girl and am largely left alone by all law enforcement. I have concrete skills that make me more valuable as an employee than someone who didn’t have my upbringing. I’m smart. I’m good at networking and talking. I’m a better communicator than most people I know. Maybe it’s a power trip, but why can’t I make any sort of goddamn difference? Maybe my disadvantages (incest, mental illness, gender) are enough to make me insignificant. I call my senators. I go to the rallies. I read about the bills and I talk to my friends. I vote. What the hell else can I do? How can I make something better when the avenues to do so are entrenched by the bullshit that keeps us feeble?

 

Deep breaths.

 

Falling into despair doesn’t help. I want to help. I want to be proud of where I live and of the people I call family. Nonetheless, I do not have the capacity to live a lie. I’m gonna call stupid what it is, and I’m going to spend time reading and learning the truth. There’s still a truth in my mind.

 

There’s also always the hope that I’m just a computer program in someone’s virtual reality and none of this is happening.

 

Times like this to help to enforce the idea that suicide is not an opinion in my life any longer. I can see why one might consider such a fruitless act, but I can mentally list it alongside a number of other dramatic, unproductive acts.

 

Since the only reality I can trust is the one more frequently before me, I have been trying to push myself into work. I can freeze moments and go back, perfecting the light and smoothing the colors. Reality can be altered from it’s original state only so much. If I fade the whole background to a solid state, will anyone notice? If the image in the foreground is pretty enough, does it even matter? No one will notice but me. What is my opinion worth?

 

I have to dig deeper through cinematic stores to find new horror to distract myself from the horror outside my doors. Last night I watched two girls eat their dad and was able to fall asleep shortly thereafter. Smaller things, less significant in the grand scheme, irritate me more than they normally would. I feel like I should be able to control a handful of things, and when even those are beyond me, I am at a loss. I can’t control my body, my home, my calendar-why am I even trying to work on societal plagues?

 

Days and nights blur together and I sleep between. I wake up wearing brown, making bread from scratch because it’s more comforting to the high-ups. Is this happening? I turn to see Jared, and the walls fade away. He holds me, his hand on my face, and maybe that’s real. Alone in the bathtub, a candle flickers and my stomach aches. Is a physical feeling more real than what my eyes tell my brain? What can I trust when nothing makes sense, when everything is being felt through a film of disbelief?

 

I miss my girlfriend. I miss the comforting feels of a blue state. I miss my friends up north and the way communication is valued.

 

Jared keeps me going. Hearing Amanda’s voice, seeing her when we can chat, gives me strength. Two smart, strong, independent and respectable people love me, rely on me, and find comfort from me. That helps a fuck ton. I have a car and a camera and a credit card if I need more. Over the weekend I was safe to give myself over to a friend and a fiber. I hung upside down and felt all the blood rush in my body. I am alive. I may not be sure when I’m where, but I am in existence. I have things moving within me, and sometimes I can feel them.

 

I am increasingly grateful to be free of dead relationships. I don’t carry Steph as a burden, and while nightmares persist, I am leaving more and more of Niki behind. I don’t have to take care of anyone. I am surrounded by independent folks who know themselves, and can even explain it out loud.

 

Balance, moderation, and purity tumble over my edges and smooth me out. I hope I look like a piece of ocean glass after I’m done.

 

A tiny lion hems me in, behind and before. She guards me from the darkness and licks the water from my face. I don’t think I’ll ever be without a cat again.

 

July brings my thirty-first anniversary of life. I’ll be reunited with Rick and Sansa, allies I have long missed. Mid-month I am pitching a proposal to a committee of kinky folk, aiming to get involved and aid a sect of my people. I want to weave back into this city, its scene and its activism. I am constantly re-committing to myself that my commitment is myself. I will not let unclear boundaries make me responsible for more than I can confidently accomplish. I am able to say no.

 

The oven beeps three times to let me know it’s been preheated. My easiest food this year has been a bagel. Currently I’ve been exploring the everything bagel and the use of cream cheese. More examples of the gifts my partners give me.

 

Life continues. Jared’s awake and the sun snuck up sometime while I was writing. Tonight I see friends, assuming I can keep my shit together that long. I need to floss and clean the floors. Maybe chores at the tethering factor to reality. I hesitate there though, because Liz cleans in the Inner World. Another tally to the side that says reality can’t be defined or distinguished.

 

Mirco-Aggressions of the Entitled Man

Mirco-Aggressions of the Entitled Man

This notice should be better addressed, as many of you are ignorant of your entitlement. You think that sexual violation is a plot line for Netflix series or that asking a fourth time for sex is ok because that’s your girlfriend anyway, and on some level, she owes you.

Newsflash: she doesn’t. No woman does.

Allow me to speculate. You were raised by a woman of the Second Wave, but you might not even know it because why would you? You are given the mixed messages of our time: sex is critical, but here’s a million scare tactics about the risks. Here’s misinformation and religious propaganda funded by our separate-from-church government. Our generation had access to porn that typically takes female pleasure for granted and sets a standard for impossible expectations across the board. Despite being told that girls can do anything, you didn’t see girls doing everything. Most teachers were women, but most doctors were men. Secretary meant female, congressman meant male. In history you’re told that the man’s last name marks the whole family. That first born sons, and then all other sons, inherit before women, for centuries. Queens beneath Kings. At church, the Sky Daddy explains his Word through men, discussing men, and heralding great men. No matter the lessons preached on afternoon specials, you knew you were better, more, somehow greater than your gender counterparts.

Given that background, and since I’m living in the Deep South and people are actually wasting their time fighting to save Confederacy monuments in 2017, let’s just assume you’re a Good Ol’ White Boy. You have so many advantages that having them pointed out leaves you feeling threatened. One more reason for you to lash out. Despite being raised by strong women who worked and reared your spoiled, selfish ass, you never took the time to learn to listen and hear. Your communication is shit, and you have no excuse.

As a teenager, as a young man, you have been steeped in this ignorance and safety for years. Your hormones start to rage, and maybe men can’t think as well when that happens. That was one of the many lines I was fed to compensate for violation. Whatever the fucking failure is on your end, that’s where it starts and exists and implodes. You grab your sister and force her into sharing her time in the bathroom. You squeeze the ass of that girl in gym class under the guise of playing volleyball. You invite yourself over and insist on one more kiss, one more embrace, one more feel before you go.

These are not the ones out there committing rape, although I’d wager one leads to the other. I’m specifically talking about the man-child community in America that acts the toddler, pushing his boundaries inch by inch. The boy that pushed his mom to give in is now pushing his victim with the same tactics.

And why wouldn’t he? It worked when he wanted that game system or that extra $10 for the movies as a kid. It works in school and sports. Ask one more time, maybe ask for a bit less. Make a compromise, strike a deal. As long as you get what you want.

Your wants are clearly more important than anyone else’s.

I’m trying to be sympathetic. I get that you’re ill educated and maybe unable to work Google. Maybe you don’t understand that one in four women have already been raped by age eighteen. And of course you don’t know that, because you are not someone a survivor would feel safe disclosing around. I bet you think you don’t know anyone who has been raped, assaulted, grabbed without permission, or taken advantage of, do you? Must be nice.

I’m tired of feeling guilty and weird that maybe I’ll offend you when you violate my space. I’m sick of worrying about telling my allies or minimizing my truth. I live in a victim shaming culture. Most women who are killed are done in by a former lover. You’re dangerous and more likely to be believed. I’ll be grilled about my alcohol intake and wardrobe. I don’t have the same safety to even explore the idea that you crossed a line. If I say the wrong thing, I could ruin your life. And we’ve already established how your life is the greater good.

Still, I have a ray of hope. I’m not the only one who sees you. I’m not the only one getting fed up. We’ve almost all been harmed now by you and your kind. My kind are talking. In the shadow corners, where you discard the girls and women you use, we’ve been whispering to each other. Our numbers are vast. Our strength is building. Our wounds are healing, and soon…one day soon.

For now, spread the word to the rest of your disgusting kin. Respect our lines. Stay within yours. And fear the worst if you can’t be strong enough to see us as equal creatures on this planet.

“But to be fair to myself, which I always like to be, the writing’s no good.”

Tonight I can’t sleep, so I don’t try. Or I haven’t yet, I should say. If writing doesn’t help, I’ll be cleaning the bathroom next.

Two nights ago I woke up in a cold sweat. Not usual and still, not expected.

PTSD is the process of being re-traumtized. It can happen when a survivor is triggered, when they are in unhealthy relationships, or when they self-harm. I’m sure there’re other ways, too. I sought out a church that fed, unconsciously, into my need to be a “bad” person. The brain wrinkles around what it knows. Trauma survivors know how to be traumatized.

Great.

I had been standing in the…I don’t know what the family title was for this room, but it stood in the center of Jim’s house. You passed through this room, elevated by a few stairs, to reach the living room from the kitchen and vise versa. If you went down the hallway leading off this room, you reached a bathroom, the master bedroom, and the double-size kids’ room. I was standing in the that unnamed room. My shelf was in that room. It was where we sang Have Mercy on a karaoke set. This wasn’t a place that existed anymore in reality. This wasn’t real. Granted, I feel that frequently. I make a note that from here on out, I am an unreliable narrator.

The light is on in the kitchen, and I slink along the inside wall of the room. I’m listening. There are two people speaking in the kitchen. One is using an inflicted accent. No, more of a squeaky sound? Higher than normal pitch and with unnatural giggles at forced intervals. The reply to this sickly sweet tone is a deeper, thicker voice. An older man replies between coughs, words sloshing from his mouth like excess bourbon. I prepare to see a younger version of myself with my father. I’m having a flashback or a nightmare. Depending on which, things could get really outrageous. Nightmares deal far less in logic. I breathe deep and steel myself. Facing my fragments are the best way to reform the way my brain works. I was taught to fear and harm, but I have proven that I am strong, able to challenge what others think and able to deal with this insane shit. Yeah, I tell myself. I’ve got this. I slide further down the hall and can see the pair. Down the four brick stairs that lead to the garish yellow kitchen, I see my father seated at the dining room table talking to a woman seated before him on the dining room table.

It’s my ex girlfriend. My ex and my father are acting out…something. Something I can’t watch.

All of the air in my body goes out of me. My gag reflex is suppressed by the fear of being discovered. Niki can see me if she looks up. I don’t know if she has her glasses on or not. Wait, I tell myself. It doesn’t matter if she can see me or not, because this is not real, and therefore not happening. I start to recite my current reality: I’m an adult, a thirty year old adult, living with a dude who loves me, and a cat, and my paintings. Jim is dead. Jim’s been dead. This isn’t happening. Breathe.

I’m cut off in my mantras by my father asking, “what happened?” in the way Niki liked being asked that rhetorical question. My stomachs regains my throat. Pushing it back down gives my mind a moment to try and find reality. It was just here, and I can’t still be having these nightmares. I can’t still, fucking still, be depressed and broken over this old bullshit. My anxiety rises as I circle back on how mentally fucked I am, to have this unconscious pairing.

Niki starts reading those goddamn texts. The ones that didn’t have anything to do with what she needed to fess up to me, but totally, explicitly, in graphic detail, explain what she and Daddy Mike were gonna do in my bed. Those text messages. Yeah, and she’s telling my father how she wants to be treated. Every thought in my mind is a train at full speed, followed by another, and another. I’m being rushed down by huge steel monster thoughts with blaring lights and screaming horns, hopelessly warning me about my eminent death. What the fuck is happening? Where am I? When am I? This didn’t happen. This couldn’t have happened. Do I save her? Does she need saving? Jim isn’t alive. Jim can’t hurt anyone. Niki can hurt herself if she wants, she’s an adult. Niki does hurt herself. I can’t let Niki have Jim hurt her. She has no idea what she’s doing. It’s not my job. I couldn’t do it if it was my job.

He’s going to rape her. I just know it. I don’t know what to do. I can’t fucking move. I can’t cry out, I can’t stop him, and I can’t stop seeing this nightmare unfold. My brain is melting. She’s got a pacifier in her mouth and I hear a chair groan across the floor. Jim’s standing.

I’m so angry her. I don’t know if I could ever be angry enough for someone to deserve this, though. I hate that woman; that child; that idiot that I was in letting myself be strung along. But I can’t let this happen.

I’m not breathing. I see my skin start to fade into shades of shadow purple. I’m fading away into the dark of my hiding spot.

The room is presented to me through a new lens. I’ve moved to the back part of the house, where my father added in a spot for Alex’s room. I think he spent one partial summer there. We don’t talk about it.

From this vantage point, I see the dining room dead on, save for the black stripes of shadow. My view is filtered by old wooden slats over the bottom half of the door. I’m shorter now. I sit with my knees bunched up to my flat chest, and try not to rock back and fourth. The door might not be locked, but checking would draw attention. The room still houses the same two hosts of my horror, but the surroundings are silent. I can see her mouth moving, I see him pulling, pushing, her screaming and laughing, his lack of stamina due to drink, ashes falling from his lit cigarette onto her back and it’s slow. It’s all happening in deafening silence, in slow motion, before my stupid, stupid eyes. As I try to talk myself back to proper height and time, I start to hear three sounds. They layer like a mix track no one wants. I hear the brown Crown hitting the inside of the bottle before it enters inside him. I can hear the paper on hisCamel burn closer to the filter as he takes a shaky drag. And lastly, I hear a child crying.

I don’t know if it’s me.

I wake up. I’m sitting upright. I must have cried out because Jared is awake, talking to me. He’s rubbing my back, telling me that we’re safe. It was just a nightmare. The cat was disturbed from her slumber as well. An indignant noise is made softly as the tiny lion circles her people, seeing why we are moving. I breathe. I hold one hand to my face and try to find my center. I pull the blankets off and the ceiling fan blows over the sweat. My body is suddenly chill and I am tall again. It was a nightmare. Jared is making soothing sounds as he lays down again. The cat sits between our heads and is unhappy when she’s moved to the foot of the bed. I’m at home.

I am ashamed for even having such combinations of ideas in my mind. I’m disgusted that people do this shit: to their children, to themselves, etc. I fucking hate Niki, which is kind of annoying. I’d hoped that bitter phase would be over rather than out like the tide. A glimmer in this shit pile is the realization that while I’m comfortable hating Niki, I’m not okay to hate Jim. I’m afraid of him. I feel fear, shame, guilt, doubt, suspicion, and any other number of emotions; not hate. I’m not brave enough to hate Jim. Niki is easy to hate because she’s a blip on my late twenties that I regret, in part. I don’t like regretting things. I regret not talking to Brian for months the way we did in the last week. I regret that I lost good friends and a sense of family when I ended things. I really regret that I didn’t dump her when I first thought to do so. The hate part is probably more about me hating all the dumbshit things I said and smoked to keep myself blind to Niki’s drama. It helps that several people have told me that Niki downright fears me, and that she goes to great lengths to avoid me when I’m up north. The image of Niki in my mind is that harried girl who obviously had been up for nights crying, but still couldn’t manage to form a goal after eight days of thinking about “things”. She isn’t a threat to anyone. So, without fear, I feel hate. All the hate I would feel towards Jim, towards the situation, towards my whole general trauma, is easily sloughed onto my ex. Again. lol

With Steve it wasn’t quite like that, but I did have Steph comparing him to Preston, saying he’d financially raped me, etc. lol Steph telling me about boys taking money they didn’t earn. And with Steve I mostly hated that I’d sold my car. I still can’t believe I sold my car. What an idiot I was. Am, potentially. I feel and fear that I am an object with unlimited potential motion towards idiocy.

Aside from nightmares that have made me fear sleep altogether this week, life is pretty grand. I have amazing love surrounding me. I’m doing good meditation work. Mindfulness progress. My Carolina jasmine is climbing with gusto and my creeping Jenny is dropping down vines over the fuchsia bird cage turned planter. I can’t quite remember the day, but I haven’t bailed on commitments or social things. I had open, honest talks of note with my sister and mother this week. I entertained the idea of aloping over the long weekend but choose to sleep in. I finished season three of Grace and Frankie. I took pictures of a frog in the bayou. I sang, had it recorded, listened to it, and fucking shared that nonsense. I’m facing the challenges. My challenges feel like privileged, first-world, pretend, and highly unrealistic challenges, but they knock me on my ass all the same. I’m fighting. I’m waging my own battle and I’m trying really hard here. What else can I do but that?

What the Water Gave Me Last Night

I float as much as I possibly can in the 14 inches of warm water I have in the old claw footed tub. My body folds into a bow shape. My legs part open and my elbows fold behind my head. The daughter of the sea king may have stitched me into existence with her magic sewing needle, and now I float like flotsam. I close my eyes and let my head slowly sink into the bubbles.

When I talk about Jared to other people, one of the first and last things I announce is that he loves me and that I haven’t lied to the man. I feel at a deep level that only someone I’d have to trick would be this interested in a future with me. I don’t even notice I’m saying it until it’s out of my mouth. It floats above me in incense air and my mind trips over the sentence. I stumble back. Of course, I don’t lie to him. Of course, he loves me. He’s been with me for years. I’m moving in with him. We love each other. How long until I can stop qualifying my worthiness? No one else is doing it but me.

I’m reading five books at the moment; it’s something I haven’t attempted since college. I’m also taking classes online. I’m gonna learn how to pressure wash a house and the inside of a garage next week. I’ve scheduled shoots for this month and am discussing future dates in multiple states. Studio lights are being shipped to my house.

My girlfriend sends me pictures, texts, Snaps, and her voice across the miles, but I miss her deeply. the freedom to love without fear of a paralyzing trigger is bliss. Sometimes when I’m walking (listening to book #4: It by Stephen King) the air will shift and I think I smell her shampoo. My chest rises and falls and I hear the water compensate for my moment in the tub. I exhale loudly, imaging myself like Calvin in one of his baths. I picture myself blowing all the water out of the tub and Hobbes getting soaked in the corner of the bathroom. I slide back out of the water. My hair is streaming across my face. Because of my brilliant whale impersonation, the bulk of my thick locks parted beneath my nose. I laugh alone in the bathroom. the sound ricochets around me. I only hear responses in my mind.

Split will be on DVD soon, and I want to write about my feelings concerning the movie. I want to be vocal for those of us who aren’t. I’ve always been that girl, despite the many encouragements to maybe not be.

Stephen King delivered a beautiful death sentence to Little Georgie in the first few chapters of It. “…and George Denbrough knew no more.” The file of philosophy was pulled up in my mind, thinking about the concept of thinking and therefore being. When one knows no more, they cannot be. I felt I’d seen a gleam of gold among the silver.

For the first time since I lived on Poet’s Row in Cap Hill, I’m going to hang my Costa Rica keyholder. Vilma and my foster family gave it to me when I first arrived in their home, along with a stuffed monkey and beaded lizard bracelet I wore that bracelet every day until it broke off of my wrist. There was a hand-written sign in a quality of English that surpassed my Spanish welcoming me home.

I’m one and a half books away from the end of the Baudelaires’ dismal plight. I just realized that several of the orphans guardians have had the initials J.S. and am excited to see what that will come to mean. I can’t imagine it’s accidental.

Despite the burns I’ve received (and am still enduring by having my things held hostage) recently, I’m going to make lunch for Jared to take to work. He may take it as expected within the week, adding tips on how to better improve his eating habits without asking after my own, but I doubt it. He might start expecting me to cook all his meals, all the time, although it’s highly unlikely. Or he could become ungrateful and decide the efforts I make at home and for him personally aren’t worth respecting me or our relationship, but years of evidence does not support that theory. At an admittedly slight risk, I thrust myself forward into acting upon devotion.

The more news I watch, the more music I add to my “(Ani) For the Revolution” playlist on Spotify. I am ashamed to know so many people who still defend this fool, 45. I am plotting revenge via consciousness-raising movie nights. I’m waiting to hear back about training to be a clinic escort. I’ll be giving blood next week. I have to do what I can, or we stay with things like this. And this, this sad situation for immigrants and women, Muslims and Jews, trans folk and anyone who wants to have a planet in 100 years, is not acceptable.

In between the work of moving into the house and shifting Jared’s things, I’m listening to the Gang’s wackadoo schemes and wondering if Prezbo will stay on teaching. I’m slowly seeing friends. I’m trying to take extra time with Jared. There’s no rush. I’m here now, and we have time.

I stand up in the tub, pulling the white rubber plug from the drain with my toes. I reach for the bathrobe my aunt gave me the year I started healing. It was sea foam green originally but now is white. I wrap myself up. The robe engulfs me now compared to the size I was in college. Water drips from my purple, green, and gold colored toes onto the tiled floor where tiny puddles that reflect only steam form around my feet. I flip on the fan and open the door. The room is cleared almost immediately, the air itself having been too warm and looking for a breeze to ride down the hall to the living room.

Trump runs the government like a business

shakemyheadhollow

In the corporate world, when the executive makes all the final decisions and those who disagree are replaced, it’s called business as usual. In government, it’s called fascism. The reason democratic governments are not run like businesses is because there’s a different set of risks associated with the concentration of power. When you refuse access to unfavorable press and discredit judges for checking executive power, you have just gone after the two basic firewalls between us and fascism. This is why Michael Moore says that a coup is underway in the U.S. and no one realizes it. In fact, Trump himself may not realize it, as I suspect he is just managing the only way he knows how, oblivious to the historical implications.

I think U.S. institutions are strong enough to stave off the coup, but people need to stay vigilant and vocal about the implications of Trump’s manner of using…

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