I don’t do tit for tat. I do tenfold. By that I mean I do not actively seek revenge for most things, but the cruelty that is bestowed upon me is directly repaid by my Maker. Now, I’m not certain who my Maker is exactly (as I’ve posted before) but I can feel that Creator with me. Especially now. On my spiritual journey I’ve done some reading and most of the world’s major religions have similar philosophies when it comes to revenge. Confucius said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Lao Tzu wrote in The Ethics of War, “The best soldier fights without vengeance, without anger, and without hate. He puts himself humbly below his comrades, thereby eliciting the highest loyalty from them. This is the power of non-belligerence and cooperation. It is the ancient path to the Great Integrity.” That wise man lived in the 6th century B.C. so this is no new concept. Ghandi famously said, “An eye for an eye will only leave the whole world blind.” The Dalai Lama (can’t leave him out) said, “We should not seek revenge on those who have committed crimes against us, or reply to their crimes with other crimes. We should reflect that by the laws of Karma, they are in danger of lowly and miserable lives to come, and that our duty to them, as to every being, is to help them rise toward Nirvana rather than sink to lower levels of rebirth.” The Torah speaks of revenge in Leviticus stating, “You shall not take revenge nor bear a grudge against the children of thy people.” Closely related are the words in Romans of the Christian Bible, “Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine: I will repay, sayeth the Lord.” Now, if you’re still with me, my current personal views on revenge seem to be a proven amalgamation of Karma and Christianity. There are some things happening for me recently that indicate that some sort of cosmic vengeance is in action. I can hear the whining and whispering that it has caused. I’m finally feeling that justice is on the way and I don’t have to do anything but the next right thing to receive the things I feel I’m owed. This fact has always been true. In fact, in my younger years, I’ve actively tried to protect my abusers from facing justice, only to find myself seated in the back of a courtroom crying as they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. My Higher Power has me covered, every time, always has. He knows what’s best. He knows what’s right. All I need to do is be decent, act with integrity, have pure intentions, and carry love and kindness in my heart. The ones who have harmed me have always paid what they owe, and then some, so long as I do those things. I’d be very frightened if I were on the wrong side of right because it is not me people need fear answering to. My protector is MUCH bigger than that.
I had my dad pawn my wedding ring today. Being the classy broad I am, I asked his family if they wanted it back. They didn’t. It wasn’t worth much, but a wonderful little boy I birthed needed some birthday presents, so it didn’t hurt too badly to let it go for so little. That’s a pretty clear representation of where I’m at in my intentions, head, and heart. It’s in the future with my babies. Not in the past with anyone else.
Last night was a rough one for me. When things are quiet and dark, with no distractions and no interruptions, my thoughts flow furiously through me. I was forced to face reality again. I cried last night like I haven’t in weeks. Waiting for justice is exhausting. Fearing an unfavorable outcome, grieving the loss of someone who is still alive, resisting the temptation to dwell on the “fairness factor” that seems to still be missing in it all, I was overtaken and the tears burst free. They came in ugly sobs and pitiful whimpers. I was like a damned lost puppy. I have my moments. I’m only human. I have searched for protection in every face, everywhere, for as long as I can remember. My parents tried. They tried hard. Life and circumstance and my own poor choices made their efforts inefficacious and all of the others I chose for the job ran into the same problems. My self hatred and tendency for self abuse and destruction caused me to accept situations and treatment undeserved because I intimately knew how much worse it could be. I settled for the lesser of the evils far too many times, running into the arms of the alpha, even if the alpha was cruel. I’d justify it and excuse it because, at least the alpha had some sense of control, telling myself it’s better to be abused by one than by many. I limited my potential by settling for these dogs and the small plot of territory they ruled over. I’m not a dog, though. The suspicion that I didn’t belong among them has been affirmed and legitimized. I don’t belong there. I don’t belong anywhere. I belong everywhere. I am the alpha in a place I created. Looking back, universal forces have prepared me to protect myself and to protect others as well. I have been proven capable, strengthened and fortified by experience, given the wisdom needed to navigate any part of the world I enter into by choice or by force. I had been following the rules of a dying generation and those rules no longer applied. My elders had tried to lead me out of the darkness, bright lights shining on my face. I couldn’t see past the glare and I got lost so I wandered and grasped at the walls. I had to find my own light, it burns inside me brightly now. I stumble and fall, frequently. I will always have moments like I did last night because I have been blessed with a wonderful burden. Too many emotions reside inside of me. Too strong to contain. While others can scarcely fill a drinking glass with theirs, I struggle to contain the ocean in a gallon jug. I read something like that in Wuthering Heights and when I read it and realized there were others like me, that there always had been, it felt like someone punched me in the heart. I cried last night. I let the pain fall from my eyes because it had been resting atop my spirit for far too long. I cried last night, looking for the hero inside of me but she was hiding. She does that from time to time to let the lost girl out. The vulnerable one. The hero hides so she can cry alone, without shame. I cried. I cried hard. I fell asleep. In my dreams I saw my friend Andrea and she asked me for help. I handed to her my abilities and assistance and was reminded of the toilsome task at hand, but, I was also reminded of the wonderful people that have been placed in my life to support, to guide, and to bring me joy, just when I had begun to feel the lonesomeness again. My best friend, the one from my dream, my soul sister, lives thousands of miles away. Most of my proven friends do. But, she found her way into my dreams to bring me comfort and to make me laugh. She reminded me of who I am just as I was beginning to forget. I woke with a smile and sense of peace only palpable to those who have experienced true triumph over trauma. I woke, after all. How dare I frown being given the gift of another breath? I woke with a smile, and I’ll use that smile, to disarm and dissolve my oppressors. I cried, but I smile, and over and over again, I am grateful for it all.
Folks, it’s not that complicated. Actually, it’s pretty cut and dried. There’s not a lot of grey area when it comes to abuse but, for some (usually the abuser and the ones who insist on protecting them) there still seems to be some confusion on the subject. I’d love to say that I don’t understand how anyone could misconstrue something so incredibly straightforward but, unfortunately, I get it. I get it completely and all too well. The ego, the pride, the self preservation. It’s all too familiar but, reality and the clarity of hindsight have entered into my perception and I have to say, there’s just no excuse or place for it in my life anymore. I’ll simplify the simple for those who may not understand this subject as intimately as I have come to know it, so, here it is guys and gals. If, at any time or for any reason, your intention was to harm someone, you my friend, are being abusive. Abuse becomes even more clear if, at any time or for any reason, you put your hands on someone in anger or in order to gain control of their movement or the situation. Shall we take this a step further? If, at any time or for any reason, your touch has been aggressive enough to leave a physical marking on the person’s body in any form (a cut, a bruise, a red mark, an indentation, a scrape, whatever it may be) you have been abusive. Every time. Every situation. Every reason. That is abuse. And I’ve only described the physical kind. Lord knows there are so many more types. It makes me a little sick to my stomach to think of it all. So why do so many deny that they’ve been abusive when the signs are oh so obvious? I have a few insights on that matter as well. It’s because they can’t face reality. They can’t take responsibility. Their ego and pride won’t allow them to see that they are at fault and have done anything wrong. Perhaps they feel justified in their anger and actions. Maybe at some point their victim has been their abuser. Guess what. It doesn’t matter. Unless you are acting in defense of yourself or someone else, if you do any of the aforementioned, you are being abusive. I know a little bit too much about this subject, but I can’t really divulge those details yet. I have to say the following, though. Even though I’ve been victimized far too many times in my life, I’m no victim. I shed that mentality long ago. I’ve been knocked down, literally, repeatedly. No one has ever kept me down. You’d have to kill me to accomplish that. You would literally have to kill me, because the fight in this skinny scrapper is far too strong. I always get back up and I always will. Forevermore, I will rise. All that good poetry lives in my head and inspires me but the most powerful word, the one that gives me all of the fortitude and comfort I could ever need is one I applied to my soul a million years before I was born. Indomitable. I hear it whispered in my ear, in my Mother’s sweet voice. She repeats it to me, her baby girl, until I say it out loud and believe it. I am indomitable, dammit. I was born that way and will always be. The only one who can change that is me. Do you know the truly beautiful thing about that word? Anyone can become it. You need only decide to rise after you fall. Rise. Fight as they hold you down. Fight. Get back up when it’s all said and done. Please get up. Anyone can do that if they choose to do so. Anyone. It’s my choice to carry an indomitable spirit inside of this battered body of mine and I implore those who struggle to do the same. You can.
Some may wonder about all of my “God talk” knowing that I don’t go to church. But, with a faith like this, I don’t need religion. Spirituality is my mentality, a lifestyle, a way of perceiving the world and a way of behaving that I have practiced for a long while now and it’s given me much more peace than any religion I’ve ever experienced. I have no problem with religion or religious people so long as they’re decent folk. My problem with religion comes when people wear it like a uniform of authority and behave like the “Godless heathens” they condemn the moment the church doors close behind them. Live and let live, I guess. I won’t judge you even if you judge me. I’ll be decent to you even if you’re callous. I’ll be kind when you’re cruel. Etcetera. That’s what spirituality is to me and it’s all I need. Eat your wafers anf wine if you want to. If that is what fullfills you, have at it. My needs for spiritual satisfaction don’t fit inside four walls. My Higher Power doesn’t have a face or a list of duties for me or even a name to call out to, though I often call It God. That’s easiest for me and “Great creator of the Universe and all it contains” is a mouthful. I don’t believe my puny human brain could comprehend His face. I feel it would be arrogant of me to assume I could even fathom what God wants or needs from me. I just follow my intuition. Wrong has always felt wrong. Right has always felt right. Black and white have often eluded me so the gray area is my zone of comfort. Knowing I don’t know gives me solace and that’s hard for some to understand. I’m not one to follow an outline or a path laid out by a bunch of dudes hundreds or thousands of years ago either. Sorry if that offends you. I’m just trying to convey that it would be nice, for once, to be judged on my character and behavior. I don’t put much stock in the other stuff.
Words with no relative importance to me fall through the ears of my tilted head while those I relate to have a chance to grab hold.
Experience burrows into my logic while lessons learned burn themselves through to my soul and become an actual part of me.
It’s just like me to realize this and continually let things of benefit pass on through until it’s too late and I have to gather the dirty pieces that have fallen on the floor, clean them off and fix them before I can use them.
It’s just like me to have to learn the hard way.
I wish I could grab onto it all. I want every piece of knowledge, every face I see, every new part of the Universe that I haven’t seen.
I want to hold it before I besmudge it with my carelessness and neglect and thick skulled stubbornness that refuses it at the door when it sees it.
It’s just like me to know that I need something and yet I walk on by waving, saying, “I’ll see you later, if you’re still here when I need you. Boy, I hope you stay put.”
It’s just like me to be mad at myself when it doesn’t, always kicking myself and cussing the mirror with past tense attitude and present tense regrets.
It’s just like me to get better, though. To move forward and improve.
It’s just like me to apply a lesson learned.
I’ll arrive in that state of acceptance and wisdom if I choose to put forth the effort.
It’s just like me to be certain.
Just like me to have faith. To know myself enough to be aware that it’s just like me to get there someday.
Skinny shamers, take note! Chubby shamers too. Body shamers of all sorts, heed this warning. Your time to be judged is coming. Tisk tisk tisk, you judgemental buggers. I’ve been catching some heat for my weight recently and I thought I’d make mention of it today as weight and body image have become a newly conquered trouble in my life. I probably won’t say anything here you haven’t heard before, but it seems there is a need to repeat this information as there are still people in every corner of the world trying to eat themselves sick and squat themselves silly to have a nice fat bum, or starve themselves nearly to death in order to fit into a pair of skinny jeans. It’s unnecessary. Unimportant. A waste of your precious time, Beauties. I started out at 8 pounds and worked my way up to 200 at one point. I’ve been a size 3 and a size 15 and all of those inconsequential numbers in between. The ineffectual importance of my external image became obvious to me when I entered high school. My sister decided to start dressing me and doing my hair. I’m assuming she did this so I wouldn’t embarrass her with my daily attire of windpants and printed sweaters. That sh*t was colorful and comfy and I was happy in it with my unbrushed hair. But the minute I became what some folks call “attractive” I found myself to be the unwilling center of attention and uncomfortable object of desire. I noticed the eyes on me and the attentive nature in which people listened. When I was a skinny geek with a white girl afro I was invisible, for the most part, and I liked it that way. People didn’t come to me for the answers once they started calling me pretty. Suddenly it was assumed I was an idiot or a slut. I took great pride in my humor and intelligence and now my value seemed to be based on sh*t that didn’t really matter. It didn’t matter to me, anyway. Now I had to find a new identity and, as I grew, my appearance changed drastically from year to year. Sometimes I did it on purpose and sometimes God did it for me. The “freedom moment” came to me just one short year ago. I weighed nearly 200 pounds but my spirit had never been so light, carbonated and tingling with confidence and security. Because, I realized something. Something very powerful. The outside parts were never meant to be permanent. I’d get older and this meat sack I carried my soul around in would eventually die and rot. Morbid, I know, but it’s true. It seems trite to say that the insides matter most and finding value in myself was most important but, messages like that only become trite because they’re repeated so often. And they’re repeated so often because they’re true. As soon as I realized who I was on the inside and developed and strengthened those skills solely because I had become so incredibly displeased with the outside, the weight fell off and I was back to normal. It was another “God thing”. It helped that I had stopped taking a dangerous cocktail of anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications but that, my friends, is a different story. I weigh 120. I’m 5 foot 8. I have hyperthyroidism so, unless I’m chewing, I’m hungry. I have to eat nearly twice as many calories as the average chick my size and 60 grams of protein every day or I lose weight. This disease affects every system in my body, every single cell. Trust me, it isn’t a disease you want to have. I get accused of being anorexic and doing drugs all of the time because, apparently, it isn’t normal to have a body like this. But, isn’t this what ” they” wanted me to be? The magazines and the people who ridiculed me when I weighed much more had called for me to be this way so, why aren’t they happy? It use to bother me that I’m cut like a G. D. beast but people try to make me feel bad for it. Seriously? Truth is, the type of people who judged me for my appearance will never be happy with it, no matter what form I take. And do you know why? They’re a**h**es. Plain and simple. Unless someone is legitimately concerned with my health, their opinion on my appearance means nothing compared to the opinion I have of myself. People can be jerks. But jerks are usually idiots so why would I give a s**t what they think? Really? If you have a heart of gold, good intentions, integrity, and a sense of humor, there’s not a damn thing they can say to upset you because you’ll know what you’re worth, you’ll react to the world in a way that won’t send shame bouncing back at you, and when the morons with torches come knocking at your door, you will disarm them with a laugh that screams, “I dont give a SH** what you think!” Try it sometime. Laughing at yourself and at their remarks seems to shut them up much better than a punch to the face. Less jail time too. Give it a shot, Gorgeous.