¡La puerta esta abierto! Who left the door open?

I had a busy and productive day.  I’m touching a computer for the first time today, which is astonishing.  My Mom would have been proud.  It got up to 66° F.  In February.  In South Dakota.  It should be well below freezing for weeks yet, but climate change.  Since I’m doing my best to deflect my personal repercussions on the environment, I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather.  I almost blew it straight away by going to an automated car wash.  I remembered in time, and went to a self-serve and used as little water as I could.

I’m too high strung to drive a dirty car.  The snow melted so it should last a while.  I got a few more clients on my Meals on Wheels route.  They live in an apartment complex where an existing client resides, so I’m not worried about finding it.  It’s a weird building, though.  There are two sides separated by the entrance.  The problem entails units numbered the same on both sides, (so there’s a 210 on side A and 210 on side B.)  It took me a while to figure this out.  I made up a few new curse words during the process.

While researching the demographic of 45 supporters, I discovered they’re mostly Caucasian men in their 50’s.   I’m pleased with the leadership of the resistance group I joined.  I spent lots of time learning about leadership in the Army, so I know when I’m following a good one.  The demographic reminded me of my Dad.  He was a conservative, but I know he wouldn’t have supported 45.

My Dad was a Shriner.  He wore glasses and had a white beard and mustache.  He wasn’t obese, but he did look a lot like Santa Claus.   At least I thought so until I was five and discovered he was just my Dad.  I have only good memories of him.  I remember sitting on his lap while he smoked his pipe.  It made my eyes burn, but I liked the smell.  I used to try to think of a question I didn’t think he’d know, then I’d ask.  I remember thinking he was the smartest person in the world.

I didn’t spend as much time with my Dad when I became a teen.  My parents divorced when I was eleven.  I didn’t notice at first.  To me, the difference that stood out was Saturdays.  He would pick us up and take us out to lunch and the zoo or circus.  I remember a Sunday with Dad where he took us to a restaurant and allowed us to choose what we wanted to eat.  I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich.  Then I hurled it onto the back seat of his car.

In hindsight, I suspect I was carsick.  I’m highly susceptible to motion sickness.  I think it’s because I don’t look at the right things while moving.  I try to see everything when I should only be looking where I’m going.  The memory of that hurl fest is so powerful I still refuse to eat at Cracker Barrel.  If not for that I would still boycott them for their homophobic hiring practices.  So I guess fuck Cracker Barrel either way.

My Dad was always there for me when I needed him.  Every single time.  I didn’t even realize this was remarkable in real time.  There weren’t very many kids with divorced parents when I was growing up, but the few I knew lived with their Moms too.  My Dad started dating, and eventually married the woman.  She was always kind to us, but we called her by her first name, not step-mother.  She was easy to love.  She stayed with my Dad until she died.  She was his third wife.  I never met his first as she died before I was born.  My Mom’s first husband had died before I existed, too.  We were a lot like the colorful Brady Bunch.  Only a lot more kids, many of which were disabled.  The DeBolt family was well known when I was growing up for adopting lots of kids of various races and abilities.

Heather and I were disturbed by the DeBolts.  We didn’t know how to express why at the time, but I know now it was resentment for their attention seeking.  At that point, following a family with cameras was considered a documentary, not reality TV.  We were offended by it.  Strangers often came up to my Mom while we were together running errands.  They would go on and on about how she was such a saint for adopting us.  The utter shock they displayed right in front of us used to infuriate me.  We weren’t fucking monsters.  Granted, we did live in what was virtually an all-white community.  I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, before Madonna, Angelina, Sandra, and Mariska adopted infants of color, (IOC hahaha).

For most of my childhood, I was the first black person the people of my community ever met.  (I’m of mixed race, but I check African American on forms.)  I’m not as light-skinned as Rashida Jones, who can pass as Caucasian, but chooses not to.  I have an African nose.  If my skin were white as rice, I’d still be of obvious (relatively recent) African descent.  My nose is old school.  I just cracked myself up.  I’m glad I’m not the type of person who is upset about having a nose that in profile reminds me of a chewed wad of bubblegum.  I’m the type who thinks it’s hilarious.  I just wish it held up my glasses better.

My parents would have been livid had they lived to see 45’s regime.  Knowing this is a comfort to me.  My Dad had no tolerance for the mistreatment of people.  He taught us it was important to do what was right at all times.  He explained to me what I did when I thought nobody was watching revealed my character.  (When I was a kid, Character Counts was bandied about like a motto during Saturday morning cartoons.)  I’m often literal, and as a child, I believed I was being watched by Jesus at all times, assuming that’s who my Dad meant.  No wonder I’m so high strung.

My Mom would have adored the Obama’s.  She also would have pointed him out to me before he ran for President.  She went out of her way to make sure I was aware of successful POC my entire life.  I’m glad she did because it was a gift I didn’t know I needed.  She gave me books by Maya Angelou and Alice Walker.  We spent a lot of time in libraries and museums.  I mostly remember my Mom complaining that Steve and I had touchy-itis; a horrible disease where the sufferer is compelled to touch everything, especially if fragile.

There was an authentic Sioux teepee on display in a local museum.  It had a soft but rigid hide and thicker than I expected.  I also discovered the improper securing of said teepee when it tipped over.  Fortunately, my Mom decided my horror at tipping it over was punishment enough.  I still agree.  I’m grateful I had parents who valued good character.  Their influences still guide me daily.  I miss them, but I’m also glad they’re free from 45’s tyranny.

I know, I haven’t thrown up since June 29th, 1980.

I remember thinking to myself while walking the grounds of the Dachau Holocaust Memorial site; If I were alive when this happened, I would have fought to the death.  I would not have obeyed any order that involved inflicting harm on civilian human beings.  It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to recognize right from wrong.  It takes honesty.  In nature, if there is a stampede, any animal that witnesses the stampede joins it out of self-preservation.  It’s a survival instinct.  It’s present in all animals, except humans.  Some people will run against the flow of the rush from danger, even if it kills them, to save face.

What the hell is saving face, anyway?  It’s manipulating a situation to make yourself look good (in your perception).  It denies reality to avoid shame and embarrassment.  Think about that.  In my observations, it seems to be a means of maintaining a false self-image.  It’s rooted in fear.  The fear of shame and embarrassment can be so powerful and can motivate a human being to steal the life of another.  When the foundation is fear or hate (which is often a mask for fear), anything built upon it will fail because the foundation is weak and pathetic.

Saving face is a practice by those with weak or no character.  These individuals don’t know how to learn from their mistakes because they can’t admit to making them in the first place.  It’s like the child caught with their hand in the cookie jar.  The kid tries to deny reality and insists they are not guilty.  They try to manipulate the parent to avoid consequences.  Most people recognize the futility and wrongness of such behaviors and abandon them long before reaching adulthood.  Those that don’t are doomed to a life of self-inflicted pain.  It’s as if they are stuck in a mental rut, and don’t realize they hold the key to their freedom.  It’s sad and a waste of potential.

It’s far easier, to be honest.  Good character is simple to develop.  I believe it’s a natural side effect of living honestly.  When you can laugh at yourself and let go of a need for others to approve of everything about you, you free yourself from the shackles of a bullshit life.  Human lifespans are too short.  Why waste your precious little time maintaining lies and bullshit, when instead you could be growing and becoming the best you possible?

Being humiliated is uncomfortable and painful.  However, I don’t believe anyone has ever died from it.  It’s okay to admit you fucked up.  Nobody has ever made it through life without fucking up.  Nobody.  We’re simply imperfect beings.  When you fuck up, you step back and focus on fixing what’s fixable. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do.  Then you forgive yourself and make every effort to avoid repeating the error.

Embarrassment doesn’t last very long.  Shame takes longer to overcome, but the process is the same.

  • Admit your mistake.
  • Try to fix it.
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Don’t do it again.

Those are simple steps to being a better human being.  When you do this every time, it gets easier.  The fear of being humiliated shrinks.  Soon you realize you had the power to control your feelings all along but didn’t know you could do it.  Humiliation relies on the person being humiliated playing along by feeling ashamed.  If you made a mistake unintentionally, there’s no sense in feeling ashamed.  Use your energy to follow the four steps above instead.

If your mistake hurts other people, a sincere apology and reassurances that you won’t be fucking up in that way again can go a long way in healing a relationship.  It becomes emotional scar tissue and is soon harder to injure.  Additionally, your character becomes stronger, and you grow as a person.  Living honestly doesn’t eliminate all pain from your life, but it does help prevent self-inflicted pain.  It also helps you recognize others who are also living honorably and avoid those who are not.

When you surround yourself with people of good character, you lift your potential by building your future on a solid foundation of truth.  There is no shame in honest living.  There are healthy relationships, deep connections, and reliable information.  There is trust, understanding, and personal growth.  The decision is easy, and it’s a decision indeed.  It’s never too late to stop living a fake life.  The emptiness that comes from a false life is self-curable.

 

Fierceness

I’ve thought about my previous post, and made a decision.  I’ve decided that if I end up getting murdered for having black skin, then so be it.  I will go down fighting.  I refuse to surrender my joy to the hatred that permeates this planet like a cancer.  I reject the twisted mindset that believes superiority exists within the race of Homo sapiens.  Everything within me acknowledges the absolute wrongness of harboring hatred toward another based on anything other than the content of their character.  I will not cower.  I will not submit.  I will fight it with the ferocious spirit of a woman, and I will not back down.  I am fierceness.