Still Not Asking For It

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Oh how quickly we are trained to pass judgment. With a caption and cover photo like this, how could you not? Well isn’t that the very question? Why is it that we as a society are so quick to judge? To place thought and opinion most often times on matters that seemingly play no relevance or sustenance in our lives?

Judgment, as defined by the dictionary is the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought. Careful thought, now, that’s not something I would initially think of when considering judgments that have been passed on me or most others for that matter. Judgment is passed every second, every minute, every hour of each waking day; its almost inadvertently instilled in our mindset. Collectively, we understand that it’s typically a negative action, and yet we continue to do it. We continue to do it without ownership of the effects our actions cause.

Though judgment can be internalized to where opinions formed are not verbally spoken, it doesn’t dignify them any more or less. For its not just our words, its our body language, its our demeanor, its the very mechanics of how we see the world through our eyes. And often times we fail to see that the judgements passed has little to do with the person we are judging and almost everything to do with the person passing judgment.

Most often, judgements are derived from insecurities, fears, loneliness or even the desire to seek change. And yet, we continue to impose and redirect our thoughts on others to further deter from the root cause; our own self. For the act of judgment is an act of pride, of monumental-enormous pride, stupendous pride, galling pride and this should be explicitly understood. When we render judgment, we have taken it upon ourselves to render thought without being aware of the consequences to following, without taking care of the responsible entities.

Morality is within us all; one of the very first things we are taught in society is right versus wrong. As children, we recognize decency and purity but somewhere along the lines of entering adulthood we have systematically changed the root definition of how we should treat others and we justify such behavior with self serving pride and ignorance.

Now, thats not to say that all judgements are derived from self gain and negativity, but the fact remains that judgments are meant to separate people, they are meant to alienate and scrutinize, which often times are derivatives of negativity. We must not only understand the potency of such hasty actions but take ownership in our own actions that lead us to such judgment. Though ownership alone is not enough, for in order to grow, we must first address and correct the core issues that derive judgment.

We must exemplify the change we seek. That is, we must show the very love that we desire from others. And a good step toward loving others is to develop an honest love of ourselves. We mustn’t risk squandering our own purposeful existence; we mustn’t continue to walk in lockstep with the crowd. Inheriting and owning bigotries, prejudices and hatred is a most irreverent betrayal of our right as free thinkers. We’ve seen where this divisive judgement has taken us. When we lose our judgmental tendencies, we will enhance our human experience.

Henry David Thoreau once said:

“It’s not what you look at that matters.
It’s what you see.”

 

Transmute

Growth; we talk about healing like its some mystical thing, with scented candles and flowers, but healing is dirty business; its arguably the most arduous obstacle you will be faced with. It is the very thing that can push you to your knees, bloodied and bruised by the fall; growth is that painful reminder for you to get back up, for you to transmute.

Often times in the midst of a life altering change, we are tested far more than we allow ourselves to see, to play privy to. We see the series of events that transpire in our lives causing havoc, displacing us from our norms and safety nets of comfortability. Yet it isn’t until we are out of the situation that we can reflect and see the experience for all the riches it does hold.

Growth is often seen as anything but growth during the midst of the calamity. 

Sometimes growth can abruptly stop you in your tracks. The fear of the unknown can be paralyzing; the lack of trust of whats to come can cripple you with anxiety, should you choose to allow it. But it is in these moments that we must fight to remember that we have the capability to change anything we want to change in our lives, should we choose to want it enough; including fear.

Sometimes we fall victim to the circumstances and the emotions that engulf our mindsets in such instances. Sometimes, quite possibly, we become our own obstacle in allowing the process of growth to come full circle. For interpretation is everything, but we are humans and humans are emotional beings which often times allows our feelings to take over. Leaving us with the fight for truth between the emotion and the mind which can sometimes leave one at odds.

Growth isn’t something that happens over night, it happens in between the moments of living. It is in our happiness, our bliss, our woes, our heartaches, our fears, our ignorance, our knowledge; it is the underlining story to our lives. But it isn’t a one size fits all, it is unique to each person, each lesson, for isn’t that what life is really all about when we strip away the falsehoods? It’s about better understanding our own self and the members around us, and it is a radical part of our lives regardless of the acceptance.

Though I think its fair to say that recognition takes the longest to reside, for seeing the value in the calamities of life often requires deeper insight, self awareness and forethought. Thats where healing becomes privy, for growth and healing go hand in hand. We may not have a choice in the adversities in our lives, but we can choose how to allow such instances to direct our course. When we learn how to recognize the lessons in growth we can choose how to react, how to feel, how to understand, how to transmute. The next time you recognize growth in your world, I hope you dismantle it down to the origin of the lesson, I hope you find healing in the growth.

 

The Lesson

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If you believe like I believe, there is a lesson in all that we do. The question is if you are bold enough to see it.

Someone once told me that people don’t come in to your life by happenstance, they come because of a reason, a purpose, regardless of how miniscule or profound, how deep the relationship or how foreign. Even utter strangers can be put in your life for a reason. The reason, is the lesson. Sometimes you find yourself the teacher, other times you find yourself the pupil. And when that purpose is served, that lesson is filled, relations often dissipate. Or maybe not, maybe the lesson continues to repeat itself until you learn to master it, maybe that’s the reason for commonalities.

Now what you do with that consideration is yours and yours alone. But can you consider the possibility of it?

Isn’t that what life is all about? One great big lesson? We think we understand what problems we have in the world, but so often we fail to actually see the truth to our problems. Instead we fixate on annoyances or imperfections in our life and disguise them as problems, further denying the lesson below the surface. Maybe we become so fixated in our problems that we dilute the lessons at hand.

What if for one moment you considered that everyone and everything that touches your life is being drawn to you for some reason or another? Maybe that reason isn’t always for you to receive, but for you to give. Can you imagine, that you as a stranger have the ability to touch another person’s life. To consider that maybe a simple compliment or spark of conversation to an utter stranger, could be a factor in changing someone’s course of their entire day? What if that person lost hope in humanity and just needed a little reaffirmation that kindness can prevail. Now, can you consider that one compliment to an utter stranger could leave you in the position of being a teacher? Could be the action that changed the very course of someone’s day?

Or maybe a lesson continues to recur throughout your life, maybe you continue to see the same actions and courses over and over again. Have you ever noticed the same form of circumstances continuing to unfold throughout your life? Not verbatim, but similar situations, similar occurrences, similar woes? What if, that is a form of a lesson, a lesson life continues to throw at you, until you find the wherewithal to master the lesson? Does that change your perspective any?

Now, maybe that belief, that thought pattern is not one you’ve pondered on. Not one you ever considered. For, I certainly had not ever looked at the world through those sights.

But isn’t it possible? Isn’t it logical? If we take away the doubt for just one moment to truly assess and ponder. Isn’t it true, that we all believe that there are variations of life lessons? And isn’t it typically those life lessons that impact us the most? Maybe we only recognize the most impactful life lessons due and fail to acknoledge the minor life lessons we learn and teach. Isn’t that a plausible way of looking at our lives as one stream of ongong lessons?

For isn’t it true that we actively learn and grow day in and day out? What of that? Do those lessons not account for profound meaning even if they didn’t come at a higher cost? Maybe we need to stop looking at our troubles at a surface level, and start to dig deeper into the foundation of what the lesson at hand could be. For I believe, that life is a series of nonstop lessons, and some days we are the pupil and some days we are the teacher. Maybe, just maybe, this is your lesson.

Enough

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To be a woman in a world where sexual assault is at its highest peak of terror in correlation to what society will turn a blind eye to is difficult to absorb. To explain to someone who has never had to worry about walking alone in a darken street, to someone who has never had their sobriety hazed to further break down their guards of protection, to someone who has never felt the terrors, the fears, the violations of physical and emotional sexual assault. So let me try, let me try to explain to you in such a way, you consider the utter importance of a woman’s choice, of a woman’s body, mind and state. And what you do with that, depicts how each and every one of us has a choice to stand up or stand down.

We see the news, we hear the stories, but yet, we turn away from talking about it, from doing something about it. We turn a blind eye to the courageous women that surely composed all of their strength, integrity and dignity just to find a voice to speak out about the trauma that was violently smeared upon them. And yet most of us do not do one single thing to aid in these victims horrors, we barely even speak of it. For what does that silence signify? That their problem is not our problem? That though it’s terrible and tragic that they must move on? Or maybe that the authorities will do whatever is deemed necessary to help them, so our actions do not matter? Can you honestly say you believe that? Can you honestly say that there is nothing that you or I can do to help aid in their cause? To help bring justice to their assailant? Because I assure you, that is exactly what silence feels like to the victims.

It wasn’t enough to have their bodies taken from them, to have their sense of security shattered, to have their emotional psyche perished. No, that’s not enough, because for these victims to step up and speak their truth, means they have to relive that terror over and over again in stories, in statements, in memory, in audiences. Furthermore, they often have their integrity devoured in the process of proving the sexual assault, which only leads to deeper violations of the overall assault.

Stop for a second and consider what it might be like to have to prove yourself of such an unwanted violation. Common questions such as: What were you wearing? Did you provoke him? Did you scream? Were you drinking? Why did you wait so long to report this? Could you be exaggerating? Did you actually say no? Do you have proof? Now imagine you are at the end of your rope, you feel drained emotionally, physically and intellectually and you gave every ounce of courage it took to put to words the actions of sexual assault and now you are asked to prove yourself? And we wonder why so many violations go unreported.

In a world where you are innocent until proven guilty, sexual violations are an open range and abusers actively use the damage of the assault to their advantage to further devoid them of any real consequence for their deadly actions. Sexual assault comes in many forms that isn’t bias to gender, race or age. It is more than just forcible touch, its emotional coercion, its unwanted advances, its physical, verbal and emotional on varying degrees of the spectrum. The darkest part of this truth? The assailant isn’t always the stranger, sometimes it’s the ones you trust most.

Understand that sexual assault is not something to joke about, it’s not something to dehumanize in words nor a lack of actions. It shouldn’t be so commonplace or as widespread as it is in present day society. And it certainly shouldn’t be ignored to the degree in which it has been. When is enough, enough?

Maya Angelou once said, “ Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” To all the survivors out there, if you haven’t already, I hope you find your voice, I hope you learn to let go of the shame and guilt that was never yours to hold. I hope you know that the truth can set you free. I hope you know you are not alone.

To be a survivor is something that will forever change the course of ones life, and the number of survivors that are out there are roughly 1 in every 20, so if you are survivor please know your story matters, please know that you matter. Understand that you did absolutely nothing to deserve such a violation, and even though I might not know you, understand that I will help you in any way that I can. I will not silence you. I will not stand down.

The Road Less Traveled

I am sure you’ve read the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost at some point in your life, or if you haven’t I strongly suggest you do. As the poem bellows to an end, Frost puts into words, a pivotal point that touches most of our lives. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

The road less traveled, what does that mean exactly? Well it can mean a variations of things, but what I most resonate it with, is going against the main stream of life. The road less traveled indeed. Can you picture that, what the main stream of life means to you and the expectations that holds? Whose expectations are you living up to?

Sometimes I like to defy expectations simply because it is my choice to do so. And sometimes it is in my actions, or my self expression that I go against the main stream simply because I was told I couldn’t, or I shouldn’t. Albeit there are consequences that are carried with such definitive actions, but I do it anyways. For the judgements to come, the slander to escape from those said actions, only show other’s character in their truest forms. And sometimes, we don’t see the masks of those around us, until we are caught in the crosshairs of beating to your own drum.

Though I appreciate a structure of some sort, a foundation per say that society has built for our modern day living, its not enough. For it is our freedoms in this life that allows us to thrive; our freedom of thought, of choice, of speech that I seek the most.

I believe we all wear a mask to some degree when confronted with the world we live in. When going into the world whether it be virtual or realistic, we choose to play a part, and the part we play depends wholly on the person we decide to be. For we decide to act in a certain manner, dress in a certain manner, and speak in a certain manner; a choice that is definitive on the road we choose to travel. We choose to play part of a role, and regardless to if we stop and question it, it has become deeply engrained in us, so much so, that its become second nature.

Questioning the authenticity of that statement, maybe even considering if it rings any truth to you? Consider this the next time you’re in public, assess how you demonstrate social etiquette, how you display a persona from the clothes you wear to the words you speak dependent upon the audience and environment.

It is natural to want to fit in, it is natural to fear being outcasted by our decisions, by our actions, by our choices.  But at some point we have to decide what is more important, that fear or that freedom? This isn’t the one size fits all life that social expectations push us to conform towards. But to go against the grain requires courage and resilience; the very reason why this road is less traveled. Not all of us are capable of putting down our masks and showing the world ourselves in our rawest form. Not everyone is built to defy expectations that do not conform to our deepest desires. For if it were easy, wouldn’t everyone do it?

I think part of the problem lies in the issue that we sometimes dilute the very course of our actions. We fail to recognize that every action, every decision leads to a greater one in some form or another. And if we don’t find it in us to stop and assess the picture at large, we won’t recognize how far down the road we’ve gone until we realize the choice we’ve led is no longer ours. So I challenge you to do just that.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

This So Called Life

Life; such a funny thing really when you think of it. One word holds millions of variations of meanings. We all think we know what it means until we start to disassemble it and really look at it holistically. And isn’t it in those moments that we are tearing it apart, searching for some definitive answer or inclinations as to what is supposed to be, that we truly understand everything it’s not to be?

They say time changes us, but isn’t it truly experience that changes us? Isn’t it the experience that leads to perspective that truly makes the difference when examining this so-called life?

Then there are the varying hues of shades in which you see life through, each slightly different based on your position in the moment. Truths and mistruths, illusions and allusions are present in every corner of our modern day society.  Learning to read between the variations then too becomes prevalent to the degree in which you observe collectively.

Distorted and distracted from the passion of what life in its most basic form is now drown out by unrealistic societal expectations or norms; further diluting the imagery of life itself. Wrapping our lives up into mechanical feats that often distract us from our truest form.

Our truest form, what is that? Can you even stop to consider that? Some may find it considerably harder than others. Truth be told, modern day living has changed the very course of our livelihoods. Our compassions, our time, our energies, they have in many ways been afflicted by things that further derail us from our truest self.

We live in a world where more than half the people are unhappy with their careers, their relationships, their futures to come; but do we ever stop to think why we do it? Why do we continue to sacrifice our happiness for lives that no longer serve us?

What a strange world we live in where we sacrifice our days for things? Our time is not something we can ever get back and yet we sacrifice it as though it holds no barrier to the course of our happiness.

Is it so commonplace that we as a society have forgotten how to be real with ourselves, how to cater to the needs of our wants, our desires, the passions that lead you back to your truest form? Instead society settles for temporary happiness, one that comes at a cost. Do you understand the value of that cost? Some people pay with their entire lives. Stop to consider what your life is worth to you; consider the prices you are paying. Now understand that you have a choice.

Life is not what society tells us it should be. It is not about social hierarchy, it’s not about wealth, it certainly isn’t about parallel lives on social media platforms. Life is the happiness you grant yourself in the moments between the demands and pressures of modern day living. Now how you depict that, is entirely to your discretion; the purpose here is that you stop to consider what this life means to you.

Free Fall

Vulnerability. Such a dirty little nasty word. For how dare we be real, raw or soft in such a world as today.

I spent the better half of my life putting up walls, walls in which were meant to protect me from a life without morals, without truths, without integrity. Somewhere through the course of my peak, it changed. I no longer wanted to fear anything, I wanted to take every fear I’ve ever had and conquer it with might. I just never understood the depths to which that degree would take me.

Without vanity, I am a very strong individual. I have surpassed burdens and tragedies that would have halted most. But what is brut strength without the ability to be soft? This, even writing this piece, is part of my most vulnerable point. It’s raw and its real in a way most people don’t fathom. And it is my gift to give, for its the horrors in my heart that can spark the flames in others.

I broke down, I cried in a way I hadn’t cried in oh so long. I felt the tears start at my eyes, only to engulf my body as I trembled from uncontrollable sobs. I felt it in the pit of my stomach, where it too shook. Though there was something freeing in falling to my bloodied knees; I no longer felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I just felt numb to it all as my body betrayed me with involuntary sobs.

The bittersweet free-fall, thats where my vulnerability led to. For we live in a terribly false world, where false words are spread, and falsehoods are embraced and false relationships are absorbed. We live in a world where people are used and things are loved. Why is that? Why do we see only what we want to see and not what truly is? So to knowingly see this and continue to try to be soft with the world seems like blasphemy. But I urge you to do it anyways. Fall a hundred times over if you have to; free fall from the thick of it all.

Being terribly real in a terribly false world where people presume to know you, presume to see you, presume to hear you is often at the center of what is sought out. So when it feels like the world is against you, when you are pushed to the ledge with no where to go, I hope you take that fall with might. I hope you learn to embrace the dignity it takes to fall away.