Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reverse Prejudice Does Not Exist

Have rhetorical questions gone out of style?  Rhetorical questions in my status on Facebook has caused me to unfriend two very specific people, and because they were acquaintances and not close family or friends, I decided to get rid of a lot of 'friends of friends' as well.  Just in case my style of expression is out of their cultural experience or at worst, goes over their heads.  These two people in question I felt were and are very woke to today's issues.  As people of color they have been woke far longer than I.  BUT they are not woke to how I express myself as a writer or a human, and grossly misunderstood a post I had shared about a young black man trying to play the race card on me, as prejudice.  I had mentioned in the post 'the readers digest' version of the events, knowing that most of the people that know me would know that I am first and foremost an ally.  Of many if not all of the groups of people that have, in this country, been abused, jailed, beat up, and murdered for expressing their God given rights to civil rights.  Yes it's a God given or whatever you believe runs the universe, right.  It's not a law, it's a basic human right.  And in this young man's situation I believe he had/has a problem with authority, not the fact that I'm a woman and he's a man or the fact that I'm white and he's black.  ANYONE that would have turned him in on the train for breaking the rules and being loud enough to be disturbing, he would have come down on.  And when HE tried to play the race card with me, by accusing me of it being 'personal' well, I laughed.  Out loud.  In shock.  No one had ever accused me of that, and I was at a loss for words for a moment.  His using this lame excuse to try to get out of breaking posted rules and being rude and uncaring, (a statement that he said, "I don't care." over and over to anything I asked) was probably what pushed me over the edge. 

I posted the event, and at the end closed with three RHETORICAL questions.  Here they are, as well as I can remember: "As he left he turned it back up and called me an ugly bitch.  Was I an ugly bitch because I'm white and he's black?  Or was it because I'm a woman telling a man what to do?  Or was it because he was young and I'm older?  We may never know."  These are rhetorical questions.  Not meant for information or needing an answer but just posted to make my readers think.  And perhaps to stop the mansplaining before it starts.   As a woman I find that over explaining things helps with that, sometimes.  So I've gotten in the habit of it. 

After these two people, one a man and one a woman of color, jumped on me about my post saying that if I wasn't trying to claim reverse prejudice why would I even mention race?  Did not understand that since he tried to play that card, not I, that it was important to the story.  I tried to explain to which the man then said, I don't even know why this is a status just delete it.  So I did.  I actually deleted it because they asked me own words, about my own experience, on my own wall.  And all my friends responses.  I honestly think she was more upset that I didn't call out my 'mostly white audience', as she put it, for expressing and sharing their personal stories of similar things happening to them, by people of color.  They weren't trying to bash people of color, they were trying to make me feel like I wasn't alone.  You know. Like friends do.  It's not my fault what my friends choose to say to me.  And in all honesty, I didn't even notice.  And this is where I was wrong.  I didn't notice.

I should have.  It's a subtle way of allowing negative talk about people of color, on a mostly white wall.  And this is an area where I need to be woke more.  It's very subtle.  Like a headline I read on this topic recently on my feed.  Where it said, "We don't even realize the racial profiling that is going on around us because it's so subtle, but once you see it you can't unsee it.  For example:  The shooter was a white male, a loner, or mentally ill.  Where the same situation if a person of color did the murder would be, The killer was a black male, or the thug, or terrorist."  Notice how not just the descriptive word of the suspect is much more of an attack and 'fake news' but the verb...shooter vs killer.  The media does this on purpose to keep us scared of each other.  White murder is mentally ill while a black one is just a terrorist.  Doesn't make sense to me.  And that's just the tip of the ice burg.  Most of the murders in this country are mentally ill.  I don't care what your color is.  If you take someones life that isn't attacking you, you are crazy.  Not a terrorist, not a thug not a loner (how lame is loner as an excuse??) You're crazy.  Period.

So now I'm back to posting my blog every week, and perhaps NOTHING else on my wall.  Because I don't want to risk upsetting the fragile people out there that look to me for compassion and understanding.  Has the Facebook world shut me up?  Nope.  They just proved their level of ability to deserve my complete thoughts. 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Poilsh Wedding of The Year!

Rachel and Ross's wedding was so beautiful and surreal I felt like I was in a movie.  There was a video camera and two major photographers, dressed in black and trying to be invisible but among all the ivory, pink and grey they stood out more than they intended. 

The church was a catholic one so it was resplendent in gold, marble and immense stained glass.  Everything was polished to a sheen and the large TV screen for full Sunday Mass, seemed small and almost hidden within the full sized statues and praying alcoves of Mary and five other saints I would never have been able to guess.  The crucified Jesus was enormous at the end behind the communion alter, and of course the church was decorated for a wedding so you might say it had it's 'Sunday best' on.  Speaking of Sunday best the Mother and Father of the bride, as well as the musicians, were wearing their traditional Polish wedding outfits from who knows how many generations.  Very hot and humid day and I'm sure they were exhausted in them, but love and tradition.  They of course changed for the reception into beautiful evening attire, but I really admired their traditions.  I wish I could have understood what they were saying.

But the part that made me really feel like I was in a scene from the Godfather was that the entire service, with the exception of one reading, was all in polish.  I know the Godfather was Italian, for all you mansplainers out there, but I don't know either language so I was just as lost.  But listening and trying to understand was exhausting.  I also felt like it was a beautiful service even if I couldn't understand it.  I've been to church enough to get the gist. 

After the ceremony we went to her mother's house for food for about another 45 minutes until the reception began.  And there were a lot of polish foods to try and I tried many of them and loved them all.  Hoping to discuss the wedding and find out some of what was said in their traditions, I quickly found out that most of her relatives don't speak English.  So I ate, smiled a lot and tried to communicate without words.  Which worked much as you would expect, only when something funny happened around me with one of the kids.  I was hoping there would be more friends like me at the reception that spoke English.  Her mom had had me ride with her to her house from the church and one of her cousins took me to the reception.  "You need not take a bus.  Momento."  And 'poof' a ride was provided.  Better than Uber.  Which I'll get to later. 

The reception was also a fun time for everyone, and I generated to the table with the only people of color and I don't mean just skin, one gal had red hair as red as mine is blue.  And I was right this was the cool table.  Unfortunately it was also the young table.  Not as in children, they were too busy dancing to be at a boring table anyway, but about mid to late twenties.  And not as cool as my First Daughter or her friends, but cool enough for me.  And they spoke English.  A language I could understand.  I wished the people there my age spoke English or wanted to speak it with me, for some spoke some, but it was a family gathering and I was a stranger to everyone there except the bride and groom.  So I tried to let my personality shine and make some connections but they seemed to be more interested in going outside to smoke cigarettes or take many, many more shots at the open bar then I felt inclined to do.  After all I was in a west-side neighborhood I didn't know, and had to get myself home on the two buses I had used to arrive.  I needed to keep my head.  Now the wedding started at 3 and the reception at 6.  I left around 10 and got home by 11.  So I had felt that I had made a strong appearance for someone who knew no one and spend the majority of the time just listening to a language I didn't understand.  And polish is not like French or Spanish where even uncultured American's can pick out a word here and there.  It's more like a German/Czechoslovakian mash up to my ear.  Beautifully full of hard consonants and round vowels.  I was tied and alone most of the time at my table, and while the bride did come by once or twice to check up on me, I certainly didn't expect that.  But she's a dear.  And was disappointed that I was the first to leave.  But I assured her that I'd had a good time that I was just bored and tired and I felt like I should get home before it got too late, and then was when I found out my table thought I was cool and they had liked me, as a few of them who were outside smoking anyway, decided to wait with the bride for my first ever Uber ride home.  (who got lost on the way, and called me for directions in a neighborhood I had only been in once before with Rachel two weeks prior.  But he made up for it and was a safe and and reassuring ride home.  I gave him five stars)  I even had to download the app and get started which I did before all the drinks.  I sampled the homemade lemon drink the father and mother of the bride warned me to sip, which I did, out of a shot glass.  I sipped three of them and boy were they strong.  Then a red label whiskey with the kids.  Ouch that stuff is harsh.  And I settled on red wine the rest of the night.  Not hung over this morning, but I did drink a lot of water.  

All and all I'm very glad I attended and got to see them exchange their vows, (That part was in English and I recorded it hoping it would be) and very honored to be included in such a close knit family and friends event. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Another Birthday Gone

Well, constant readers I'm a year older.  And all in all it was a very good birthday.  I didn't hear from my son for the first time ever, and it made me just a little sad to realize it, until First Daughter said that she didn't think it meant anything since he never celebrates his own birthday, it just doesn't mean anything to him.  And I know she's right.  After all, you get to a certain age and it really is just another day.  But what a great day I had.  So many of my friends and family reached out over facebook to wish me a happy day.  And in person. 

The wee ones finger painted me two masterpieces, and gave me the most yummy red velvet cheese cake.  I don't how they kept it a secret but they did!  :)  And first daughter called and texted more than once which was wonderful.  And Second Daughter took me out to dinner at my favorite English Pub and brought me a bottle of wine and made me my favorite lemon cupcakes.  And Rachel and Ross gave me surprise Krispy Kremes.  It continues to be a treat filled weekend.  You have to understand with my kids living in a different city I never expect anything on my birthday.  And I feel very loved a blessed.  I heard from almost everyone. 

The ones I didn't hear from always make me a little sad, until I realize that it's probably because they just forgot or they have drifted so far from my life that perhaps it doesn't matter.  And with my birthday being on Friday the wishes are still rolling in late.  Better late than never I always say.  :)


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer Fun!

I had the most fun yesterday running around with...,hum... lets call them Rachel and Ross, and planning their wedding.  We had a makeup trial that Rachel hired even though she wasn't as experienced as we would have liked.  We could tell she knew her stuff but as Rachel put it, "Some things will have to change by wedding day..."  so we'll see.  And two weeks before her wedding the photographer cancels on her?!  How unprofessional.  She's hoping she'll see her deposit back.  But my friends on Facebook came to her rescue and suggested over six different photographers and one I know for sure is available and they have already talked and are continuing to discuss.  Fingers crossed for her.  It was a very stressful day for her and I was glad I could be a calming effect for her and help her with her littlest one.  We even had time to stop at Ulta and get my makeup collection a much needed update.  I even have blue lipstick and mascara for Wizard Con with Nikki Sweat in August.  I shall be a Tardis blue vision.  lol  I can't wait!

I even got to meet her parents and see her old neighborhood, "We are in the hood now, girl!  You can tell everyone you spent the day in the hood!"We wedding shopped at this little shop and stopped for lunch at McDees.  Nothing like drive through to quiet little ones.   they invited me to a birthday bbq for one of their friends but I was feeling like I'd had enough people so I took my swag and stayed home.  It was a very pleasant day, and I'm really looking forward to their wedding in two weeks.

It reminded me of the time that She of Little Combat Boots and Mr. Myah got married and I was maid of honor.  All the things that went wrong at the last minute and how we got them all fixed.  I knew everything would come together, it always does.  But the memory made me miss them and their little family even more.  Hopefully we shall be able to see each other soon.  I hear there is rumor she might be coming to Chicago for a conference in October and saying with me.  Fingers crossed again.

I also might be going home to see First Daughter and First Son and Only Daughter-In-Law over Labor Day which I'm also looking forward to. 

What a difference a day makes.  Last week I was feeling sorry for myself and had the blues over a date in personal history that always makes me sad, and this week I'm looking forward to future events with none of my past invading.  I like it like this so much better than being chained to the past either with bad memories or toxic current reminders.  Some people just can't leave me alone, and one day I may have to just stop responding.  Oh for the strength!  But I am weak in this one area.  And always have been.  I chalk that up to my childhood.  It was lonely and quiet, as my adulthood has become.  And I longed for a sibling or a best friend to relate to.  But my father moved us around so much that I never had that until high school.  And didn't really have a best friend then.  Only thought I did.  I was always the third wheel.  It wasn't until my early thirties that I found She of Little Combat Boots, and she has been my best friend for over twenty years now.  Good things do come to those who wait.  But that doesn't mean to shut yourself up and remain alone.  Unless being alone is what you desire. 

Remember to live your life for you and not for anyone else.  Even if that means you have to be a little cruel to be kind to yourself.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

You're Own Worst Enemy

It will be the fourth of July soon.  A traditionally explosive time of year for me personally.  Pun intended.   And one, that since my move to Chicago, has been put to rest.   Which I'm happy and grateful for.  Most people have a time of year that is hard for them.  Could be because of a tragedy that they could not control, or maybe even an act of God that changes their life forever.   But for me it was a powder-keg of a situation, that in my youth and selfish pride, I had to light a match to.  And in the end broke not only my own heart but three others.  Yep three.  Just over thirty years ago I made some rash choices, mostly out of fear and regrets, that set me on a path of discovery.   That path has not been easy and for most of it, with the exception of my wonderful children, it's been alone.  Oh I've had relationships.  Bad ones.   And I've had times when I thought Fate was on my side.   But I was wrong.  Knowing what I know now I'd do it all again to have my kids just the way they are, but that's not what this blog is about.  If you know me at all, you know that already.

No.  This is about me trying to do what most of my friends would say is 'Get over it.  It's been thirty years'.

Not saying they are wrong. Just that they have had a different journey, perhaps.

For you see, to them I'm a nice, older woman, who seems to have lived a great life full of experiences and always has an opinion on what to do.

Not saying they are wrong.  For I changed so much in that time.

Karma is an interesting event to watch unfold.   I'm sure you've had your share of cheering silently in your mind or out loud when someone, like me, has hurt you and gotten what they rightfully deserved. And it's true what they say about evil coming back on you ten fold.  For in the thirty years since that fateful day, when I hurt the young heart, too inexperienced to love me in the way he believed he did; and I hurt the more experienced heart that truly loved me.  (Thank the fates that he found real and true happiness in my wake). But, I eventually was the architect of my own karma. By choosing, once again, the worst choice of the three before me.  (This has been my life curse.  To always be part of a triangle of love and pick the person most like me.  The most broken.  Instead of the strongest.  I guess birds of a feather really do flock together, even if the best for you, is the opposite that attracts.).

But as I said, I would do it again, because not to would erase one of my children. And I couldn't EVER want that.

So here I sit.   Wondering when the fates will stop putting this choice before me.  And I believe, since my move away from any possible temptations and my self imposed exile to solitude, I have finally beaten her.   If I can't make the right choice, I shall remove all choices from me.

It's always best, in the end, to dungeon up the real monsters.  Because then they can't hurt anyone else.  And truth be told, I'm much happier without the guilt or the temptation to give into my own selfish needs.  While I grow and learn from my mistakes in life, I can't help but wonder, if they wonder, if I've had enough bad karma; or if they truly still wish in their heart of hearts that I still suffer as they did.

Since I still hope the worst for all the men that came after, that did to me what I did to the three of them, I can only say that my real test of karma is forgiveness.   Well, it's easy to forgive some of them.  But painfully hard for me, to this day, to forgive them all.  Completely.  Two or three are still chained up in my mind being slowly tortured by life.  And, much like you, if you're reading this and I happened to have hurt you in the past, I secretly enjoy their 'bad luck'. As I'm sure you enjoy mine.  And hope that as they experience their own karma, from my hurt, that it lessens my own bad luck.

I know.  I know.  "Karma doesn't work like that." I can hear you already saying it to me.  But you know what?  We make our own reality.  And in mine, it does work like that.  The more good choices I make the better my life has become.  And I can't ignore that fact, when I compare my past to my present. 

I hope this fourth of July won't find me in the company of any of my past.  Either on line, in life or in my head.  That last one is the hardest to control, for my head is always buzzing.  Anxiety sucks.  But if you have to have it, I guess I'm glad that mine manifests itself with rage instead of being paralyzed with fear, or unable to get out of bed and do my work.  You see I get angry.  I plot revenge.  And I leave your life.  I don't forget.  And sometimes, I don't forgive either. 

This is the real problem.  Because if I can't forgive you, how can I forgive myself? 

Cheers, and Happy Fourth.