My First Black History Lesson

I learned about MArian Anderson

It was my second grade class in 1976 and we learned about this remarkable opera singer who fought racial prejudice to sing opera and Carnegie Hall and then for President FDR at the Lincoln Memorial. I don’t have a lot of memories of my school years from when I was 7 years old, but I do remember some of this. Mostly I remember coming home with my lesson paper to show my mother and her smile after looking at it, and that she made a phone call and told me afterwards that we were going to Connecticut that coming weekend to go visit the Fishers. And I remember being very confused until she sat me down to explain.

Mrs. Fisher is Marian Anderson.

Yes, she autographed my schoolwork and my mother saved it.

My mother was friends with this older couple that had a farm in Connecticut and their name was Mr. and Mrs. Fisher. I don’t know how she was friends with them, how she’d met them, but we’d been to visit a few times and I liked to play with the animals. It was a working farm (I think it was a cattle ranch, actually), in Danbury Ct. So when I learned that Mrs. Fisher and Marian Anderson was the same person, I was really surprised! I enjoyed learning, and I enjoyed music, as I was already studying ballet and my whole family was musical but the impact of what she’d done wouldn’t hit me until I was much older. I was a mere child, and she was an old lady. I just wanted to play on the farm, not listen to the grown-ups talk. That is, until the one time, the ONE TIME she treated us to a living room performance after lunch. I was probably one of the few lucky people to get a “command performance” from a living legend, and I didn’t even know it. She sang Ave Maria. To this day, when I hear that aria, I think back to that living room– and the blues and golds of her wallpaper, and her table after lunch, with the dishes still not cleared yet. Her voice bounced off the walls and the dishes and everything rang a bit from the power behind it. I remember that *feeling*.

I’m 52 now, and today is the last day of Black History Month. I don’t need to write about WHO Marian Anderson is. There’s plenty of information on who she was as a performer, or as a role model or even as historical figure. I am writing this not just as a tribute to a person who was part of the struggle to gain equal recognition during the early half of the 20th century but also as someone who was important to my mother, although I don’t remember how or why. I only know that Mrs. Fisher, as I knew her, was a friendly lady with a big voice — and a bunch of chickens that ran around her front yard. And she let me ride her pony sometimes. And I learned about her when I was 7 years old in the 1970s, at a time when black history wasn’t often taught in schools, particularly in the first and second grades (my first and second grade classes were mixed together.)

Balancing Act

Since my “One Word” Intention of 2021 is “Balance”, I seem to have lost more of mine than found it so far. I wanted to try roller skating for exercise and fun (and to get myself OUT OF THIS HOUSE because OMG pandemic blues), so I bought a good pair of beginner skates and a good set of protective gear and went out to the newly paved parking lot across the street to try them out. I haven’t skated in years; the last time I rolled on anything was…um…hmm…I don’t remember. I used to have inline skates and may have used them back in 2013. Anyway, it’s been a while. But I do know how to skate, I’m just sorely out of practice, sorely out of shape and apparently, horrifically off balance.

I was doing all right in the parking lot, wobbling a little and fell a couple of times – but made sure I fell forward onto my well-padded knees. I’d tried the skates on in the back alley when they first came in and tested those pads, so I knew they worked really well (my alley isn’t as smooth as this great new parking lot) and I’d made the necessary adjustments as per the skating videos I’d watched to the wheels and such. All was going well, except…me. I’d not really prepared ME. I’m nearly 52 years old, very out of shape, with fibromyalgia, arthritis, anxiety and depression and while I practice yoga, I don’t do it often enough to say I’m strong and flexible and can balance well on one foot or the other. I’m in a rut, have been even before the pandemic but COVID made it worse. So when I got tired after an hour in the parking lot, I decided to pack it in and not overdo it. I tried to do the smart thing. It just wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t take the skates off to go back across the street to my house. No — I went DOWN the small driveway into the street, thinking “I got this”. No, dumbass, you don’t got anything. What I got was spilled across the asphalt in a BAD FALL, flat on my front. I did everything wrong, throwing my arms out wide and ended up wrenching my left shoulder so badly – the one I’ve had rotator cuff surgery on in 2011. I’ve lost most of the range of motion I had and hopefully, haven’t torn anything too badly. I’ve returned from my PCP’s office with a steroid shot and NSAID cream and returning in a few weeks to see how I’m doing before any potential follow ups with an orthopedist and…who knows.


Then there’s the odd balancing act a woman of my age has to learn to do with wanting to be helpful and actually doing harm to others. I keep forgetting that YES, I am NOT a millennial nor Gen Z; I am Generation X — I am MUCH older than many of the people I come into contact with lately, especially as an ally. It’s ME that needs to change if I want to be an ally. My experiences may have value but they are rooted in a past where I failed to create a world for these young people that’s the safe one I promised them. These children and young people are living in a world and fighting against the very policies that my generation promised we’d topple, and failed. Worse, some of my generation are THEIR parents doing the very harm, enacting the very policies that these kids are fighting to take down. So my language – the use of words that I think are going to comfort, or express concern or perhaps show that I have some sort of wisdom of age and experience to pass down do not actually help — it is often the language of the oppressor. I am a white middle aged woman. I AM the oppressor, no matter how much I don’t want to believe it. I may not have oppressed anyone *personally* but it’s been my kind that has done it. And I speak THAT language.

I’ve done incredible harm, to myself and to another (or others, plural), lately — being off balance. I really need to work on this.

My therapist is gonna tell me it’s a matter of being mindful. He’s right. Duh. “Stuck point diary, here I come.”

What is Balance? 

Is is being able to stand upright and not 
Fall Down?
Or stand on one foot?
Is it being exactly half of two parts:
Some of this and some of that
Or perhaps sixty-forty.
What is being in balance or
Finding your balance
When the whole world seems cockeyed
And careening, like a car on 
Two wheels instead of four.
And you're a passenger in the
Backseat being thrown from side to side.
How does one find their balance
In a world so off it's own center?
So determined to push you over
As soon as you find yourself a 
Good, rooted stance?
Or a good mixture?
Too much one way and you're off, again.
Poke.
Try again.
Inhale, exhale. One foot, another. 
One step, another. 
Stand, mix. Breathe.
Balance.
Practice Makes Perfect. 

YOUR GOD IS NOT MY GOD(S), NOT REALLY

an existential ramble while washing the dishes

I’ve been thinking about how I, as a pagan and Buddhist, often respond to posts or comments from Christians about God. I’m often using masked language, to assuage their fears or misconceptions about me since I’m a witch in the Deep South, the Bible Belt, and must live among these people. They are my neighbors, my acquaintances in rescue and in activism, my fellow yoga practitioners. I often feel as though it’s safer to be queer in the Bible Belt than it is to be pagan. I don’t wear my pagan regalia publicly, but have no problem with having my rainbow or LGBTQ+ symbols seen. I’ve been threatened only once in my 30+ years of being pagan, and many of that a public priestess in NY and that was here, in Alabama, simply wearing a t-shirt. 

So I will often choose to use language that’s couched in pleasing terms that I’ve heard used in yoga studios, that “God is Love” or that “it doesn’t matter what you call God, as long as you practice love and compassion”. And in many senses, that is true. In the Buddhist sense, it is most definitely true — compassion and loving kindness is all you need, you don’t need a “god” in any sense to be a practicing Buddhist; there is no religion involved. 

Once upon a time, back when I was a hardcore elitist BTW (British Traditional Wicca, of the Alexandrian variety) participating in online pagan forums, I was often called a “fascist meanie poopoo head”, one of the “meanie brigade” that feasted on the “fluffy bunnies” in neopaganism that lacked critical thinking and would combine gods from disparate pantheons and say things like, “Wicca is whatever I want it to be.” No, no it’s not. I’m still a FMPPH, I used to have the t-shirt (yes, there were even t-shirts made once there were so many of us that corrected the misconceptions of newbies and fluffbunnies), and Wicca is a specific religion with specific deities and you can’t just stick Kali and Odin on your altar and call it Wicca. It might be fulfilling to you and you go on with your bad self but it’s not the initiatory Mystery Tradition with the particular Gods you meet in the initiation circle. End, full stop. 

So. Why am I using this simplistic “fluff” analogy now? I was thinking about this as I washed the dishes yesterday. 

Many years ago at my job, I was talking with a co-worker about this very topic on our smoke break, about creation and evolution and whether there was an “intelligent design” or it was God or what. He was (is) very Christian and believed in the Biblical take on creation. I, being a rational and non-Christian person, believed in evolution but was also willing to entertain the idea that there’s a “God” or Divine force that had a role in all of this. My rambling explanation as to what I believed happened has now become less of a ramble, and more of a “this makes sense to me” and also explains (to me) the existence of many Gods AND how we as humans understand them. It’s MY take on it all.


The Big Bang

(I am not a cosmologist, so please don’t roast me for not knowing the true physics. I’m paraphrasing.) Out of nothing, the Universe just expanded into existence. In my tiny little human mind, there was nothing…the void. Then two atoms appeared and somehow found each other and…boom. Things started to happen. They reacted and the Universe expanded and came into being. In a simplistic way, those two little atoms are positive and negative, Yin and Yang, God and Goddess. The ONE GOD, the ONE GODDESS and from them all the others come. Choose your pantheon, your culture, your time period…doesn’t matter. Heck …some other planet out there in some other galaxy — their Gods also derive from these two little atoms and these two ancient, simple, male/female, positive/negative, yin/yang, attracted to each other from across the yawning void of nothing to create it all. It matters not your gender identity or sexual preference in this creation story – it just takes the joining of two opposite halves to create.

BUT Where Did Those Two Atoms Come From??? Why Did They Exist In The First Place??

Whatever, or Whomever created them….is GOD.

That unknowable, unimaginable…FORCE. That WHATEVER that came from absolutely NOTHING and created two tiny little atoms, or particles that are literally just well…held together by FORCE and heat and gravity and stardust and all the other stuff we are made out of. THAT, to me, is the ultimate Mystery. You may speak to “God”, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, Ares, Odin, Cernunnos, Ogun, take your pick. But They are made of this stuff. This same unknowable Mysterious force that made it all happen. Ultimately, that is ‘the one true God’ and IT is most likely completely unaware that we’re so in awe of it all.

All the others come from it, as do we. We are all made of this “star stuff” this same basic breakdown of the matter that made the Universe. We as humans just bound together in one form, on this one planet, with brains that think about how we got here and created the idea of divine beings to explain our existence. So I’ll never understand why we all fight over which God is the “right” God. They ALL exist. They are all worthy of reverence, or faith, or worship, if that is someone’s path. But WE are also of the same stuff and therefore — worthy of reverence (compassion) and faith (love).

So no, my God(dess) is not the same as my neighbor’s God. They are different. I have different rituals, different beliefs and different practices. But deep down, They are made of the same stuff. As am I. And I shall continue to treat my neighbors and acquaintances with the loving kindness and compassion that I do. It’s not always returned but that’s OK. They’re learning. And I will continue to use the analogy — it’s not wrong.

Finding my Voice in the Fog

When you have fibro, you lose your mind. Fibro fog takes EVERYTHING from you. I used to be a wordsmith. A master communicator. I could express myself in so many ways — spoken, written, in dance, in song.

Now I struggle to even say the simplest of things. To get across even the simplest of ideas. I stumble over my words and sound stupid or say the totally wrong thing– it comes out so very wrong because I couldn’t find the right words in the jumbled up mess in my head … I KNOW what I want to get across but the words…they’re…somewhere….hiding from me. No, not that one, not that one, that one will sort of work? OK, I’ll have to use it because I can’t think of the right one.

I once couldn’t remember the word for “tire”. I had to describe it.

And dammit if it’s not frustrating as hell. I get frustrated because I end up having to explain myself over and over, trying to explain what I mean when all I had to say was ONE WORD or IDEA in the first place — but it’s right there…out of reach.

And my frustration sometimes gets taken out on others too. How many people have I lashed out at because I’m mad at myself? How many people have gotten angry with me because I’ve said the wrong thing, and then start babbling, trying too hard to make up for my “stupidity” when I’m just…well….not being mindful.

Mindful that I’ve lost that part of myself. Mindful that I need to slow down, listen, take my time. Process. It’s OK….maybe I don’t need to say anything in that moment. Be quiet. Even if someone asks me for my opinion, they don’t need it right that moment if my words aren’t there. I can still yell “FIRE!!!!!” in case of emergency.

But I must slow down. Accept that this damned disease has taken from me everything precious, and I must protect what’s left by being mindful of it. The words are there, somewhere. They’re not lost, just hidden in the fog. They’ll come. I have to give them time.

The fog does clear, after all. Clear days happen more often than not. So why do I continue to fight the fog? (Part of the #BalanceIntention series for 2021)

One Word ~An Intention for 2021

This is sparked by a blog post by an old friend from my way-back days, her wisdom inspires me, even though we rarely speak anymore. Our paths diverged, and a life in the Bible Belt doesn’t allow one to be a public pagan outspoken Witch like I once used to be. So I watch from afar, nostalgic for the days when we danced the bonfires together. Ah… I’m croning. These are the remembrances of a world gone by for me. I truly am getting old. On to the meat of my blog post.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.

I find them to be unnecessary and often ridiculously negative or sparked by the latest diet craze. It’s always about doing something that will make your life “better” by making you get rid of something that you don’t need to be rid of. And anyway, if you want to improve your life or make a lifestyle change, don’t wait for some arbitrary date picked by people centuries ago — if you want to start exercising and thought about doing it on August 17, DO IT on August 17!

But I do believe that words have meaning, and as a Witch we use words to place our intentions upon them. Words have magic when used with intention. Our spells, after all, are words, filled with intention, imbued with our energy and focus. All the incense and candles and oils and herbs and dancing around fires are nothing without the words. Even if you don’t say them aloud — our thoughts are words in our heads and we fill them with intentions and energy and focus upon them to make them come true.

“Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the Will.”

Aleister Crowley

So it was with this intention, this Will that I went about pondering and meditating about the word I would select for 2021, one to focus myself upon (especially important considering the dumpster fire that has been 2020). That word, I’ve decided upon is:

Balance.

person and shadow balancing on line
Shadow AND light, the balancing act we strive to achieve

This past year, and the year before — I was out of balance. Teetering in one direction or the other. I have always walked a path of balance, trying to maintain it, keeping to the Middle Path, the Middle Pillar, neither walking in shadow or in light but in both and in neither. And somehow I’ve found myself wobbling into one or the other and am completely cockeyed. Every time I go out of balance, I course-correct. But I’ve come to realize as I’ve pondered — I haven’t. I’m way off course…I’m practically Columbus.

Mister Jay Em on Twitter: "Never Forget… "
Um, thanks for “finding” the land that was already here, dude. Leading to the extermination of millions of indigenous peoples and…nvm. F*ck off.

I’m currently writing this as I fight off the virus of the century. I haven’t received my test results back yet, but all symptoms point to COVID-19. I’m “lucky” in that I only seem to have a rather mild case of it so far, and I’m taking all precautions to keep it that way. My elderly aunt is in a nursing home, also with Covid. Friend’s parents have passed from it, friends of friends are passing. So many dead. My daughter was positive and thankfully it was so mild she barely noticed and was better in a couple of weeks – but she works in the service industry where no one really cares whether these servers live or die, as long as they get their drinks and food. My country is barely hanging on by a thread, with threats coming from all angles even as a new President waits to be installed to try and drag it out from the disastrous trumpster fire it’s been thrown into.

These years have taken it’s toll on me. I’ve tried, and failed to keep my balance. I am one of those people that go out and try to do good in the world, even while it burns around her. I can’t change the entire world, but I can change my little corner of it for the better. Mr. Rogers had a profound effect on me as a child, I suppose. I loved him and took his words to heart.

Mister Rogers: "Look for the Helpers" - FaithGateway
I’m a helper. Always have been. My mother used to give me guff about it, sometimes.

But even as I’ve tried to help, to find ways to be a source of compassion and peace, I’ve had trouble finding that source for myself. I’ve gone too far over to one side or the other, allowing myself to be used for one thing or another, for one agenda or another. Believing in something or someone, only to find that they’re not what or who I thought they were. Ah…people, the great pretenders. “I’m a politician!” If I never hear that “excuse” again for why something can’t be done or said, I’ll be a happy woman. I’ve allowed myself to be riddled with insecurities, get mired into negative patterns that have gotten me into places I don’t want to be – stuck in areas of my own shadow that I once that I’d healed, those wounds opening again to spit out the same old sour bile that burns my soul like acid. My therapist is helping me with some of it – we are exploring areas that MUST be reopened to be healed properly – but I’ve also allowed myself to dwell in areas that should really just be closed off when I’m done with them. I’m better than that. Begone foul stench. Close that door for good. Or imposter syndrome rearing it’s ugly head. Abandonment syndrome, C-PTSD, all my infinite and myriad trauma-related syndromes from my remarkable life, a life that I’ve somehow managed to survive with both a sense of humor and a sense of empathy still intact.

I need to turn that empathy back inward to myself — because I’ve forgotten who I AM in the midst of all this turmoil and helping and wanting to be part of the solution, or part of a tribe I’ve never really belonged to. I’ve allowed myself to get lost, and forgotten that while what I do for others is important, and yes, I already have one lasting legacy on this planet (two, if you include my child), I’ve fallen way short of finding a true balance in life. Finding MY Way.

The Middle Path. With an awakened Heart. Bold and free of suffering. Full of Love; walking the line between Shadow AND Light, With magic. And Compassion. And with much gratitude.

Not my altar. Not my statues. I don’t actually mix my paths like this. But you get the gist. Namaste, Witches.

And the rain comes tumbling down …

Worlds Okayest Expert

I think one of the hardest things about chronic illness is the downswing. Those days or weeks right after you’ve just had a really good spell. You spend the entire upswing waking up and reminding yourself to enjoy it. Don’t forget it’s just a spell. Remember the downswing is normal. These things are cyclical. Those thoughts are often racing in my brain in the times when my body decides it can do all the things!

And then the downswing. It honestly doesn’t matter how much I tell myself the downswing is going to happen, it’s always devastating. So, I thought today maybe I would just talk a little about one thing that’s special because of the downswing to help with my feelings of frustration and loss:

Pain usually wakes me up before dawn. 5:03am today. In these early hours of the morning Brian is sleeping quietly beside me, his 10-12hr…

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When the Helper Forgets to Help Themself

I am a Terrible Journaler/Blogger.

I am absolutely AWFUL and doing anything good for myself.

WHy is that?

Seriously. I’d love to answer this. Give me a deadline, ask me to do something, and I’ll promise it to you and have it to you within that deadline, likely before it. But for myself? Nope.

If I had to write a blog entry for someone else’s blog — I’d write it. But for my own? OBVIOUSLY, it doesn’t happen. I fail every time. I have no internal motivation, no resolve.

The sticky notes around my house offer no real encouragement. I look at them and shrug them off.

they do not work

WHY? why is that? What’s wrong with me?

I take GREAT care of other people. Of other beings. Of THINGS.

Why do I care so poorly about myself? It’s not just the blog/journal. It’s everything. I don’t do yoga on a daily, almost daily or weekly basis. I do it…meh, when I feel like it. (Or sign into the Zoom class.) I don’t exercise like I MUST to stay healthy. I don’t meditate like I should. The dress pattern (AND FABRIC) I bought to make FOR MYSELF has sat there for TWO YEARS.

yeah, yeah — just give yourself a deadline, you’ll say.
it won’t work. I’ve tried.

I’ve been on disability for so many years, with no structure, no “boss”, no motivation, no outside pressure or need to “accomplish” anything or DO anything for so long now, I’ve become SLOTH.

Totally cuter than I am, too.
Photo by Roxanne Minnish on Pexels.com

I have a small business making dog collars on Etsy. Not much. Not enough to live on, or even potentially take away my small Disability payments. Could I maybe make it profitable? Maybe, if I worked REALLY HARD AT IT. But (there’s that BUT), I also know that my body and it’s finicky way of breaking down when I need it to work most will likely dash any dreams of that, so I don’t even bother trying. THAT, I know is a wise decision.

But for fuck’s sake, Jax. WHAT THE HELL.

WHY am I giving in to sloth? I have never been a lazy, layabout type of person.

Why am I allowing myself to wallow. And for so long.

And how do I fix this?

An Open Letter to My White Friends

Let me start this off by saying that I cherish each and every one of you, whether I’ve just met you recently or have known you for a long time (some since childhood). You wouldn’t be my friend if we didn’t have one thing in common: a respect for life in all its myriad shapes, sizes, and colors. Not just human life, but life in all aspects.

Let me also preface this by saying that while this is addressed to all my white friends, you are all going to read it differently. Some of you are going to take it personally. If you do think I am talking directly to or about you, that is of course your choice, but I ask that you take a moment to think about why your defense mechanisms immediately went up.

Some of you (those that at least pay attention on social media) may have noticed a slight shift in me lately. I’m still the same old me – loving, kind and compassionate. Goofy. Possibly too involved with my dogs. But I’m also not the same. I’m angry, and no longer willing to stand aside when I see injustice done to others, especially to people of color. I’m speaking out, yelling out in fact and I know it’s uncomfortable. I’m facing my own racist tendencies (and all white people have them – don’t deny it – if you’re white, you have benefitted from a racist system and that’s just how it is in this world) and doing what I can do be ANTI-racist. I’m not doing it perfectly, as I’m not a perfect person. I’ve probably pissed a lot of you off in some way or another. But I will not apologize for being on this journey of self-reflection and growth into a better person for ALL people, especially the BIPOC in my life and my community.

Some of you have shown support to me during this journey and I thank you for it. Others, it is obvious you have no clue that it’s even happening. I realize not everyone uses social media the same way – some prefer theirs to be carefully curated to show only the good stuff. I use mine to communicate honestly to my many friends around the world, in full honesty, what’s going on in my life. That again is your choice. It’s also your choice to retreat from it all – to turn off social media or the TV news and pretend like none of the unrest in our country is happening; that black people aren’t being gunned down by police for ridiculous reasons. But BIPOC cannot turn off the color of their skin when they walk out their doors like they can turn off the TV.  You have a privilege that they do not have. You are not literally faced with the choice of going out into the world and possibly not going home that day because of the color of your skin.

My liberal progressive, or liberal moderate friends, so often I wonder – where are you? I know in your hearts you support the movement I’m a part of. I think, “Well…they must! I mean, I’ve seen the ‘Black Lives Matter’ stuff they posted”. I’ve seen you at the safe protests. Where are they? Where’s the outrage at what’s happening in the city they live in? At the police brutalizing young people and teenagers (and their disabled friend – me) during a peaceful protest and protecting white supremacist counter protesters that came from out of town to torment us?  

I recognize that everyone has a different way of managing anxiety. This entire year has been an exercise in learning how to manage your anxiety. I manage mine by funneling it into action. If I see something that causes me anxiety, or anger, I try to DO something to alleviate it, if I can. I turn that bad anxiety into good. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away because it’s still going to be there the next time I turn on the TV or social media. I can’t ignore what’s going on if I care about the people in my life and community. I realize that not everyone manages their stress and anxiety the same way but hiding from reality isn’t (IMO) helping anyone. I’m not even sure it’s helping you since the cause still exists when you come back to reality. Remember that I am the friend that says the hard things others won’t say to you, not the things you want to hear.

To those white acquaintances that tend to be more of a middle of the road/conservative bent (and I do have a few)…well, I don’t really know what to say to you. I see your posts and cannot for the life of me understand your logic. I can’t understand how you rescue animals, would give the shirt off your back for a dog and yet swallow the propaganda from the right-based media hook, line and sinker. You cry about some boy murdered (and his murderer caught) but kids in cages at the border are somehow ignored.  All lives matter but they won’t matter until Black Lives Matter and the black child in your home KNOWS THAT. They know that, they hear the things you say and they are ingesting the hurtful, hateful things and will be telling it all to their therapist when they grow up. I pray for them.

I was once respectful of police and the difficult job they have but after seeing up close and personal how they cherry pick which laws to enforce, or make them up as they go along, I’m pretty well done with respecting police until the whole system is reformed. Our military troops overseas have more rules of engagement with foreign terrorists and what they can do during a WAR than our police do with our own citizens. I’m finished with excuses. “Stop resisting”, or “just comply” will be met with more resistance. This country, may I remind you, was BUILT on resistance. Resistance of authoritarian regimes is the hallmark of freedom. And police forces engaging in unlawful arrests of peaceful protesters is an authoritarian regime, violation of the First Amendment and I wouldn’t be a good American Citizen if I didn’t RESIST. Change comes from within. There needs to be sweeping change, alleged criminals deserve their day in court, ALIVE.

And as of right now, I am a “criminal”. I have been charged with two misdemeanors.  Me. The honor-roll, Dean’s List, top of the class, never did anything wrong, creator of the longest-running pagan festival on Long Island, had a song written about her, been quoted I-don’t-know-how-many-times-by-how-many-people, helped run a well-respected rescue, goody-two-shoes.

I’ll end this here: Again – we wouldn’t be associating with each other if we didn’t share something in common. Some of you I’ve known my entire life and you’ve known me since I was a goofy kid in pigtails and braces. Some of you grew up with me, watched me grow from a shy Christian kid who loved animals and wanted to be a vet into a rather strange pagan woman who loves animals (some things never change) and is pretty outspoken. Some of you are associates only know through rescue activities or some other thing we’ve done together. If you see yourself in what I’ve written here, good or bad or in between…know that I write this with love in my heart. I am trying to understand myself and my new journey and where I fit in this new world that is building around me. And perhaps, where you fit in that journey with me.

IF YOU’RE TIRED OF WAKING UP AND HEARING NEWS OF PEOPLE BEING SHOT FOR BEING BLACK, IMAGINE HOW THEY FEEL…

…FOR ACTUALLY BEING SHOT. OR LIVING WHILE BLACK.

I’m trying to recognize my privilege while also realizing that I can care, can be an ally, and want to help but also deal with my own anxiety and depression and C-PTSD.

I get overwhelmed. I buckle under. I fall to pieces. And none of it has anything to do with being targeted simply because of the color of my skin.

My life could be one of those movies or novels that you see — matricide, drug abuse, domestic violence, natural disasters…young single motherhood, mental illness and rising above it, blah blah blah. Right? Sounds like a movie Oprah Winfrey would produce.

And yet still, I’ve had access to healthcare, mental health care, resources and assistance that are often denied to BIPOC.

None of this is fair. I suffer from C-PTSD because my life has been a series of hellish experiences foisted upon me by others, none of which I asked for or deserved; most of which were done by folks that were just seriously messed up members of my family that I loved.

But none of it had fuck-all to do with the color of my skin. My story isn’t even all that different than those of many black women, tell the truth. I bet you can find a few black women who have lived my same story … but I did while being a middle-class (ha), college-educated white woman. Therefore, when I tell it, I get applauded for overcoming it all. They still have to deal with their past hurts, and be a target while living their lives. 

I don’t know how to be supportive while wanting or needing to curl under the blankets and hide; when I need to take care of my own mental health needs. I feel so privileged to just say “I need a mental health break” knowing that the BIPOC that I am supporting on the front lines can’t do that. That the protests go on, the violence continues, and that the young men and women putting their bodies and lives on the line for Black Lives Matters cannot stop and go hide under the covers. That even those same people going on about their lives can’t hide because they are targets, and don’t have the same privilege that I do.

I’m not sure how to end this post, since it’s not a post looking for answers — as there really are no answers to this. It’s not looking for sympathy — I don’t need nor want any. None of this is even about me. It’s rambling about a problem I see far too often from white allies, and will sometimes feel myself and then feel guilty, “I’m tired of the bad, sad, distressing, etc., news, I’m taking a break”. Well, since our brothers and sisters of color can’t take a break…why do we white folks think we can get away with it?