We are all in this together

This sign was in Times Square in NYC and not 10 feet away from it, I heard a woman say “I am NOT your baby and you need to STOP TOUCHING ME.”

 

Currently, I’m taking a month away from Social Media. If you found this story because of a tweet or a Facebook post, it’s through the magic of WordPress’s “Publicize” feature. I had been contemplating taking a break for a few reasons but the one that pushed it over for me was the “Me Too” campaign.

I grow weary of internet campaigns. I know that a lot of folks needed to say “me too” because they needed to feel heard. I respect that…. I do… and I hear you.

What I also heard was a lot of man-bashing… and I understand that for some people, this is where they are in their place of healing.  But I don’t like it.  In my mind, people are individuals and to blame someone for being part of a demographic, goes against everything I feel is right and true.  Men have their own social conditioning to deal with as well.   It doesn’t change anything to lash out at anyone

I am not going to add my voice to the campaign, and before you start thinking its because I don’t know what sexual assault is, I’m going to correct you on that point right now. I have a deep and personal experience with sexual assault and those are all the details you get because my personal experience and growth does not need to be on display.  Voicing my experience to the world does not change anything for me. It only labels me a victim… which I am not.

People hurt people all the damn time.   I’m not sure that a hashtag campaign does much of anything except be an online circle jerk so we can all feel either good about ourselves for “taking a stand” or feel miserable together and wallow in how unfair life is.

I do recognize that for a lot of people, it helped them to feel that they are not alone. And for that I’m glad. .. and maybe it started some conversations… but what it did for me was to bring fear back into the forefront of my mind.

I spend a lot of time working hard to look at people as individuals.  Being bombarding by the Me Too’s brought my mind to a place of “us vs them”.  Gosh, this post feels all hurty and angry and choppy but I’m not really sure how else to get my point across.   I don’t think I’m doing a very good job.

Let’s try this.

LB and I just spent a weekend in NYC, where we had some great food, saw a few wonderful exhibits and stayed in one of our favorite hotels.   The ice machine, however is in the basement, as is the fitness room (not that I was working out hahaha .. nope.  But I need to share that info to make a point in a moment).  You can get to the lobby and the basement without a room key.  Anything over the 2nd floor requires a room key in the elevator.

After a 3 hour train ride, I was ready for some ice water, so I hopped in the elevator on the 19th floor and rode it all the way down to basement.

I filled my bag full of ice and turned around and got back on the elevator.  I see two guys headed my way. One was slim and tall and in his 20’s and was wearing a long camouflage jacket and the other was probably 50- ish, broad shouldered in T-shirt and jeans and both of them were a little unsteady on their feet.

My first thought was “they did not come from the fitness center” followed by “oh crap they are going to get on this elevator” and I was immediately afraid and frozen.  Maybe the door will close before they get here… oh shit, he put his arm out and stopped the door from closing…  UGH..  I should have held it for them, that was so rude.. but I really don’t want them on there…  Should I get off?  No, that would be rude… should I be rude? It’s probably better to be rude than be unsafe..

UGH why was I feeling like this?  I haven’t been this afraid in years!  I did the best I could manage and  I put on my “New York Attitude” on my face, put my back into the corner so neither of them could get behind me and tensed up, ready for whatever crap they might try.

Fifty, whispering to Twenty says “Hit the button!”   Twenty reaches out with one long, unsteady finger and struggles to hit the button for the 26th floor.

Honest to Pete, my first thought was “where is his room key!?  does he have a room key?  is he just riding elevators until he can grab someone?! ”

Fifty, a little louder now “Put the key!  Come on, man”

Twenty starts reaching through his pockets trying to find the key.

At this point, my fear is subsiding a bit and I say, in my toughest, deepest, most serious voice.  “it will probably work because I just had my key in there”

Fifty looks at me and says “Thank you.  We ….  we had a few beers” and I replied with “I see that”

Fifty looks at me again lifts his hands up, palms to me, fingers spread and says “We don’t want any trouble we are just trying to have a good time.  Okay?”

And then I really looked at these guys. I really took a good look at two, slightly buzzed, open faced, guys who had nothing scary or alarming about them other than they were tourists, lost in their own hotel, because they got a little buzz on.

I scared them.   They thought I was going to lose my shit and freak out.  And that’s when I got an idea of what it must be like to be two Latinos in a big city, in a small elevator with an obviously terrified white lady.

I relaxed. I took a look at Twenty, with his sweet, silly face.  He say’s “We’re from California” and I said “Really, where abouts?”

And we spent the next 10 floors talking about San Francisco.

My point, gentle readers, is that we all have things to fear.   That elevator ride reminded me to see people as individuals. I am convinced that before reading “me too, me too, me too” over and over, I would have seen these two guys for who they were.

Sure, suffering can divide us into the perpetrator and the victim, the powerful and the powerless, but it can awaken and unite us, too. In fact, it must. ~ Karen Maezen Miller from “You Too”

Does that mean we shouldn’t be aware, be vigilant and be smart? Of course it doesn’t.  But we don’t need feel like we are victims. We don’t need to wallow in the “unfairness” of it.   We should be concerned that rape culture exists. That women are treated like less than. That people of color are still not seen as equals.

We need to find ways to change it. I’m not convinced that a hashtag will do that.

 

 

Sometimes I’m really dumb about plants

Recently, LB and I were in Lowes looking for a houseplant and stumbled upon this really cool looking cactus.  It was purple and at first, I was like “is this fake”? and then I thought about the cactus I had at home with a purple flower on top and I thought, well… maybe they hybridized it until it was all purple!

So we brought it home and potted it.

 

The Kosmic Kactus

I thought it was cool.. and then I looked at the side of the original pot and it said something along the lines of “this cactus was sprayed with a non-toxic color coating”.

What?

I looked closer.

OMG they sprayed this poor thing with paint.

I was mortified for two reasons. One… this poor, poor plant…. and two… that I had put money in the hands of a company that did this to plants.

Ugh.
And then I thought about my cactus with the purple flower on the top.

You guys. It was glued on.

HOT GLUED ON.

Hot glued on!

These are everlasting dried flowers glued on. For fucks sake.
So I cut them off.

Free at Last!

This cactus is doing much better now.

And so is the purple cactus… because I’ve been misting it with water and taking an orange stick (those are those wooden sticks they sell to push your cuticles back) and gentle removing the paint.

Can you believe this shit? Aesthetics over the health of the plant.

But isn’t that kind of the way our culture looks at everything? As long as it looks good, who cares how healthy it is? Sheesh.. now I’m into a rant and I don’t feel like ranting today.

Anyway, I still feel a little stupid about buying that plant. But I’m glad I did because it’s turning into a lovely creature.

Standing in the Middle

The internet is a hotbed right now.

Everyone is angry.  I was angry last week.  The week before I was in denial.. and before that.. grieving for what I thought America was

Now I know what America is.

Hurting.

We are hurting. All of us.  Honestly, we’ve not been One Nation, Indivisible for a long time.  I was just talking to LB about this earlier today.  We both love Big O.  But looking back, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of bipartisanship in his Presidency.  Not blaming him, for sure.  I’m not blaming anyone.

I just trying to wrap my head around what is going on.   I’ve said it before. I’m not a fan of … 45 (that’s as close as I can get right now) and I certainly don’t agree with his policies.   I’d actually be quite surprised if he had any that someone didn’t hand to him.  He is a narcissist and does whatever will get him cheers.  He’s also, in my opinion, being manipulated by people who want to retaliate and rejoice in their new found “freedom” to push through some crazy legislation.

I’m pretty tired of “US VS THEM”.  I’m not so thrilled to hear people still talking about sides.  Our side, their side, stay on your side, get on my side, don’t go to their side, that’s the dark side, angry rant blah blah we are right you are wrong.

This solves nothing.

I’ve been listening to a YouTube series by a dude calling himself Frater Xavier.   Pretty interesting stuff if you are into Astrology, Ceremonial Magick, Hermetic principles and the Kabbalah.  I’m sort of on the outskirts of this but one of the things that Frater says a lot is that to be “de-polarized” is to be in a place of power and understanding. (Video Link here if you are interested – Star Wars references are included)

Frater also goes on to talk about reactionary behavior and honestly, it’s brought a lot of perspective to my social media use.

I’m done shouting into the crowd.  I’m done responding to inflammatory posts and articles that are designed to send me off center. To get me angry, or enraged, or furious.

That’s no way to live, man.

When you are on either extreme, you can’t see what other people are thinking and feeling.  Maybe I’m naive, but I firmly believe that people are motivated by two things, love and fear.  Although they are polar opposites, they carry the same energy and the same force.   I’m choosing to stand in the middle.  To stand and watch what is unimportant float by, to ignore the angry fearful words that seek to incite my rage, the information that is twisted or skewed to get to me REACT.

I’m choosing to observe, pause and respond with intention from a state of being centered and grounded.  That way no “side” wins because there are no actual sides at all.

 

Shouting into the Crowd

Things have been a bit … different here in the United States and they’ve been kinda tense for a while.

I’m not going to get into politics.

I’m going to get into headlines.

We have become a Nation of snippets.

I got a real eye opener the other day. I don’t talk about it much but I work in the mortgage industry and there were some mortgagee letters that made the news. Specifically Mortgagee Letter 2017-7.

I know what this letter says because I read it because it’s my job.

But the headlines that I saw and the subsequent Tweets and Facebook shares were jaw droppingly wrong.

One person called it a tax increase because they read the headline and didn’t know what it meant. Newsflash: it’s not.

Someone else thought it meant that the President increased the mortgage insurance premium. Newsflash: he didn’t.

Market watch says “Trump already suspends Obama-era FHA mortgage insurance cut

Are you fucking kidding me? It’s in the “Obama Era” by like.. two weeks. Not even.
The announcement of the cut came out on January 9, 2017.  

I love Big O.   Like seriously… but the annual rate went UP during his Presidency.  By the way?  I don’t remember anyone yelling when the annual rate was 1.25 or 1.15 when HUD was trying to recoup it’s money from the housing crisis. (it doesn’t mean they weren’t but that was under the Big O, so probably no one in my bubble was yelling). The annual rate hasn’t been below .85 since 2010.

The Washington Post seems to have it pretty close but buried way down in the bottom is the truth.

The move seems to be more symbolic than significant.

This is not a big deal.  It’s really not.  .85 vs .60 is not huge and it had not yet gone into effect and doesn’t apply to existing mortgages.  Whatever you closed on.. that’s what you’ve got.  The end. It does not change. You signed paperwork, remember?

Here is the thing. This didn’t actually affect anyone other than create a re-disclosure nightmare for lenders across the country.  My point here is that I was overwhelmed by the number of people.. people I know and that I know are smart people who lost their shit over this.

I’m not a fan of … that guy (I can’t say it yet. Sorry.. I can’t) but this is not something to lose your shit over.  Save your energy for the real stuff.  The policies that Pence has in his pocket are the scary shit (there is a protest song in there somewhere)

But no one listened to me.  No one.  People actually told me that I “didn’t understand how that works”. BITCH, I’ve been working on HUD loans for 20 years. I KNOW THIS SHIT and I know the math.  Inside and out.   I’ve read more mortgagee letters and handbooks than I care to admit.

It was like shouting into a crowd.  Not only did no one listen, no one wanted to listen. Everyone wants to be angry… every one wants to find a reason to hate.

CUT THAT SHIT OUT. IT’S EXHAUSTING.

People, I beg you.  Look away from the Headlines.  Read the content.  Look at how your local representatives vote and hold them accountable.

Ugh.. I feel better now.

The rest of me….

Two years ago, I vowed to write more about the whole of me

and then I dished up more food.

I guess I like food.

I mean, I did give you some other stuff, like music and sewing, but not a lot of the other stuff.

The spooky stuff.

I’m not sure why.

What I do know is that for a long while I didn’t feel like writing anything at all, and now I’ve found a daily practice that has got me excited about writing again.

In the next few weeks, I’m planning on launching a blog that will run congruently with this one (yes, I know, my intention was to put everything here, but… well, I changed my mind). The new blog will have stuff on herbalism, and magick and reiki and energywork and Spirit Communciation and mostly Tarot. And if you are down with that, I hope you’ll read along… And I’ll be plugging along on filling in the blanks on this blog with the things I’ve been doing that are not just recipes. I’ve spent a day at Susun Weed’s Wise Woman Center in May and I have… some thoughts that I refrained from posting until I could sort them out. I spent a week at Omega in June at what I’m calling Hippie Ukulele Camp which was AH-MAH-ZING and I came back so chill that I’m pretty sure my coworkers thought I was stoned… but do you see, how those two topics sort of mush together the mundane and the Spiritual? Yeah, I’m not going to worry about that anymore.. I do what I want.

And I’ve been rambling.

And now I’m going to get groceries because, food.