Are You Living or Just Passing Through

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This is a question I ask myself a lot. Am I living to my full potential right now or am I passing thorough life just waiting to punch out that last breath, that last thought, that last moment before I slip away. In reality, isn’t that what we are all doing when we spend hours swiping on social media or watching tv instead of playing with our children, working on personal goals, or engaging in a deep and meaningful way with our partner. Are we living or are we just passing through? More living can be done on a street corner shooting the shit with your best friends than will ever be accomplished in a cubicle. More living is accomplished in a kids play park than in a day care where someone else is watching your kid grow, and they do grow up, and they do go away.

I have spent most of my life watching life without really interacting with it. Life has always seemed frightening to me. My bat was never the biggest, my car was never the fastest, and I have always sure that there’s a tidal wave of danger around every corner. I preach a lot about not living in fear because I fight fear and surrender it to God every day of my life. I know that living in fear is not living at all. I know that living in fear keeps us captive, impoverished, and disconnected.

So what is it to live? I live when I walk my dogs or talk to my son. I live when I have coffee with my friends and laugh or cry with them. I’m not proud of my lack of living but I am proud of my attempts at healing, at trying to get into the game, of trying to be social and real and fully alive, fully human. Gone are the days when I would look at my therapist and ask, “Am I real? Am I really sitting here?” Those were my dissociative days, my ghost days, the days when I felt so outside of life that I couldn’t engage with the magic of the world because it was a thing on a screen painted in black and white with the sound turned so far down that it faded to nothing.

If you know how to live, do it. Get out of your rut and be real. Many of us need an example that’s not from a movie or a show. If you don’t need booze to mingle at a party you are the magic some of us are searching for. To be truly and fully alive is a gift that should not be squandered. Relish it when you find it, don’t take a picture, just feel it light up your soul and whisper, “Yes, this is what it feels like to live. Right now, in this moment, I am totally alive.”

People Who Need People

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Yep, I’m one of those. I need constant interaction, open and free communication, lots of non sexual touch like hugs and cuddles and squashing up on the couch. I’m communal by nature and I’m a person who needs people. I have however, lived alone my entire life. Not true, I had my son who was like a cool little buddy but he’s flown the nest and so I am alone. I can tell which days a friend has called by what time I climb into bed with TickTock. Yesterday I had a long chat with a friend, felt amazing. Studied algebra, wrote a blog, worked out like a pro-wrestler, bought groceries, did laundry, cleaned my apartment and felt like a genuine supper star. I didn’t go to bed until nine and I slept all night. 

Today I have texted friends but heard nothing back. I worked out, walked in the rain, had a hot lunch, learned more about algebra and I’m here with you now writing this blog feeling somehow empty and sad because as empty as a phone call sometimes feels it is a whole lot better then brain devouring silence. 

People are by nature communal. We need to be in constant contact with one another, working together, raising our kids together, eating together, sleeping together. We’re not meant to be isolated and alone. That’s why I’m so agains the Ferber Method of disciplining babies into silence by ignoring their cries to be touched and held and instead leaving them to ‘cry it out’ until they finally learn that their voices mean nothing, that they mean nothing, that mother isn’t to be trusted, and that life is about loneliness and fear. The Ferber Method is the first trauma many of us experience. It creates neurotics and sociopaths. It is bad for humans and it needs to be stopped.

The second thing I’m really against is the nuclear family. The isolation of one couple locked in a three bedroom home with 2.5 kids leads to isolation, disconnection from the community, depression especially in neighborhoods that continually compete from house to house and general household dysfunction. We need to live in community not in isolation. And guess what? Your coworkers are not your friends. They are just other people hired at the same place who are trying to make a living. So who is your community? Who is the grandmother figure your  kids can walk to when they have stuff they need to discuss that they don’t want to bother you with. It’s a proven fact that kids grow up better adjusted if they have trusted elders in their lives to talk and share with. 

The last thing I want to be clear about is that I’m also against solitary confinement. When I was a kid it was a thing to lock a kid in a closet until they went quiet. As an adult I’ve seen rooms in neighbors homes labeled, ‘the crying room.’ You can guess what goes on in there and it ain’t snuggles. Solitary confinement on all levels and at every age leads to mental illness. It takes basically normal minds and breaks them down until the individual neither trusts others, the world, or themselves. 

Loneliness isn’t a joke. People need people. Babies need to know that their voices matter and that if they cry, you will come and pick them up. Your neighbors can be your friends, not your competition and the nuclear family is a really sick alternative to living in a thriving village style community with cousins and grandparents nearby. We are all meant to run free and we’re meant to run free together and not be isolated, locked up, and made to feel invisible.

I see you and I hear you. Covid has had an eerie affect on our socialization and some of us are not ok. Reach out to as many friends and loved ones as you can in a day. It’s so important that everyone knows they are remembered and loved.  

Gratitude, the Opposite of Resentment, is a Nicer Way to Live

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Happy Thanksgiving. It’s polite to say that even if you don’t mean it. I don’t like Thanksgiving but that’s my problem and just a small part of why I’m not the easiest person in the world to live with. I have opinions and ideas and grudges and resentment and I suck at playing happy, especially on holidays that have lost the spirit of what made them holidays to begin with.

I’m not going to harp on the realities of the first Thanksgiving or how it could have been beautiful and memorable in and of itself, if the colonist had only NOT turned around and killed the Native Americans, who had shared their food stores, in the months that followed. Colonization is a nasty business and much talked about these days, thankfully.

What I am going to talk about is resentment and gratitude and how they can’t exist in the same mind. The be gratefully resentful would be to experience cognitive dissonance. Two competing realities existing in one mind is crazy making in the extreme. I loved my family and I resented the domestic dis-ease that came with the holidays. My mother hated the holidays and made certain that they were miserable for all of us. In the end my sibling and I started doing the cooking and buying mom booze well before we were of age just to get her through the day. Drunk mom was fun mom and we’d take her when we could get her.

I resented the work and the memories that went into making my own family feast because my mind was locked in the past. I missed my grandmother and my grandfather and the grief of the loss of people I loved broke me. After many years my husband took over the cooking and I am grateful to him for that. I have been in cognitive dissonance about most of my life, feeling both grateful and resentful to be alive. I once spent an entire winter flipping the sky off just to let God know how much I resented him for dragging me here.

Now that I’m single and alone I still hate Thanksgiving for the thing it has become but sitting here now over my gyro dinner with baklava and Dr. Pepper I feel less alone. Beside me sits a lit candle, behind that stands red roses for my Gypsy ancestors surrounded by dancing bracelets, and a medallion of the Madonna of Chartres. The moment I prayed and offered this day to my ancestors in gratitude and thanks was the moment I felt God’s peace settle over me like a warm blanket. I have been resentful but I am now grateful. I have been difficult but, in this moment, right now I’m peaceful. I can’t tell you how long these better aspects of me will last, all I do know is that in feeling them I feel God and find rest.

Enjoy your day. Value your family. If your family sucks start a Friendsgiving for all your lonely people. Notice your resentments and study their cause. It’s nice to fix things before they become a habit. Practice everyday gratitude. Past your resentments there are things you are grateful for.

I love you. You are the reason your ancestors worked so hard to survive. We are all family. Bless the hands that prepared your meal. Cook love into your food and if you can’t, order Pizza.  

The Masks We Share

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In therapy yesterday, I told my therapist that I was no longer afraid of my future, that I was riding the wave of what it is to be a single woman in this world. That it’s true that I don’t know where life will take me, but that I do know that wherever I land I will make my home. Over the last few months, I have rediscovered a resilience I had forgotten I had. In living a life that was not mine I had forgotten the cloth my soul was cut from and the girl I was went somewhere I could not follow. She’s with me now. She is me and I am her and we are riding this wave together.

It’s not a tidal wave, or a hurricane, or a tsunami I am surfing. It’s a life wave that most of us ride at some point in our lives. I’m not sad anymore. My heart has mended and I know that I was put on this earth to love and to love well. I know my own grace, my own inner goodness, and I know that I loved fully and absolutely even when all hope was gone. I love still.

Today I met a homeless woman my age. Her eyes were my eyes only lost and sad and wandering. How easy it would be to become her. She started to wander into traffic so I called her and she came to me on my island of a street corner. “A mask,” she said, panicked. “I need a mask.” I rummaged in my bag, pulled out a clean one and gave it to her. “Take care of yourself babe,” I said and then blew her a kiss. She blew me a kiss and I walked to the gym. Our kiss broke my heart because in that short interaction where I saw myself where I could have been if not for the grace of God, I also saw my own pain and fear reflected back at me. “Take care of yourself,” I was talking to me. “Babe,” I was talking to me, the blown kiss, I was sending love to me while loving her for being the me that somehow fell into the insanity that I have fought for so long.

Inside the gym I went straight to the bathroom, locked the door and got down on my knees and prayed out loud. I prayed for all the hungry, and the cold, the lost and the forgotten, the insane and the sane because there is only a hair’s width of distance between one and the other. I prayed for my husband and I prayed for my son and lastly, I prayed for me. When I was done my eyes were swollen with crying and I stared at my wrinkled puffy face and saw the girl I was grown into a strong sane woman who loves…loves…loves…without condition.

I am riding this wave and I don’t know where it will take me and I am doing it with compassion and kindness, forgiveness, and love. I invite you all to join me. Let go of your expectations, your preconceptions, your biases and your pain and remember that somewhere in the depths of a city you are cold and raged and begging for a new mask to wear because you are frightened and alone with no mask at all.

Be humbled. Know the I AM. Find comfort on your knees. Love without condition. Be peace to know peace. I love you and I mean it from the bottom of my soul. I honest to God love you.

The Human Butterfly Effect: Chaos or Cohesion?

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Humans hate change. We live for certainty and stability in our lives. From the time we are small we look for constancy from our home and community. Instability becomes a thing to fear and often causes the most trauma we experience as children. We grow up spoon-fed on fairy tales that teach us that if we go to the right schools, marry the right person, buy the right house, have the right number of kids, and work really hard we will have the stability we crave. Truth is change is a constant we cannot avoid. Change comes in three ways: chance, choice and, crisis. The important thing is that even in the worst chance or crisis moment where change is inevitable, you still have a choice. The choice is how you choose to react to the change. No matter how much pain the change comes with you still have a choice in how you handle the new situation. Do you panic, do you give up, or do you find a new way to live?

The universal law of cause-and-effect states that every cause has an effect and every effect becomes the cause of something else. So In reality every disturbance in our personal ecosystem creates a disturbance in the lives or personal ecosystems of the people in the community we live in. And as their lives are disturbed, no matter how minutely, there is a butterfly effect that ripples out touching every person who comes into contact with every person who came into contact with you and your change. The butterfly effect is a metaphor for the principal of chaos theory describing the sensitivity of a given system and its dependency on given conditions. Our personal environments, the social systems we live in, are incredibly delicate and are affected by every change that occurs no matter how distant or minute.

When we are faced with a change that affects us on a massive scale and damages our physical, mental and emotional stability, the emotional and mental stability of our ecosystems and those around us are also affected. In these times of dramatic change, it is necessary to try to center and ground yourself, to reach for help and reassurance, and remember that you have three choices. You can fix the problems the change brought, reframe your thinking about the change, or sit in the center of your new normal and become lost in grief for how things used to be.

Change is the only constant and surrendering to its inevitability is the healthiest way to handle it. Surrendering to your new reality will feel difficult at first but it will help your mind shift into flexible thinking patterns that will further aid you when the next change occurs. Ground yourself in the now, surrender your life to your higher power, and pray for guidance as you navigate your new normal with grace. Change is coming, prepare yourself now to be the best version of you so that when it comes you can greet it with the calm and presence of mind that will not disrupt your community through ripples of chaos and fear but with the peace and tranquility of a divinely centered being capable of adaptation and serenity even in the face of upheaval. Your community needs this of you. The ripple effect of one negative, unbalanced person can set of a tidal wave of instability and chaos that is far reaching and traumatic to the small and sensitive individuals that live within our communal sphere so be mindful of how you go. You are important, your life is important, and how you react to the world around you is your greatest gift or your greatest curse to your community at large.

I love you-Keep going-You got this

The Caretakers

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The Killien Mansion during the Lauzon family ownership, circa 1935.

“The council agreed to send a letter of condolence to Mr. F. Killien, though no one knows what he was to be consoled for. Someone in his family must have died,” Gail of the historic society said, reading from the Lowell city council meeting dating from the 1930’s. “They don’t send out letters like that unless there was a death.” That would make a third, I thought, looking around the old home which had been built by Mr. F. Killien for his family in 1924. I hadn’t anticipated a death in his family.

I knew the Smiths (the home’s third owners) had lost a daughter, the Bevers (the fourth owners) had lost a grandmother but now a Killien had died, quiet probably in my old home. I felt the secret twisting under my rib cage as I said goodbye to Gail, the crowned queen of Lowell, the local town historian who has dedicated her life to preserving the memory of the old logging town and its people, three of which had been mourned in the very rooms I now occupy. Funny old house. I pat it like a friendly dog I hope won’t turn and bite. I haven’t told my son about the grandmother who died in the sun room or the young miss who died in the southwest bedroom and I won’t tell him about this unknown Killien either, this condolence that has yet to have a face or a name.

When we first bought the house, it was a tear-down. The roof was caving in, ferns grew from rotten soffits, and the gutters hung from falling fascia boards, no longer catching or moving water. Water is a constant in Western Washington, the rains fall for months without stopping. It undermines foundations, peels away paint, rots wood, and erodes mortar from brick. But the house was beautiful, it was stately. Even in its disrepair it was instantly our home. Set over three lots on a shy half acre it was priced at only a little over its land’s value. We’d have been fools not to buy it, fools not to invest in a growing urban area, fools not to restore the massive home known as the Killien Mansion. But the deaths hung on the home like a cold blanket that would never feel warmth. The home was unhappy and it need to be cleansed.

I lit a candle for the grandmother and a second for the young Miss. I stirred charcoal into the wax and left them to burn out. I said prayers for the dead and salted the windows and doors. I set holy water in a crystal bowl and prayed over it in the sunshine before blessing every window and door in the names of all who are holy. I lit sage and walked through every room, every closet, every hallway, letting the smoke and my prayers cleanse away the past. People have died under my roof and people have been born under it. Infants have grown into children, and children have grown up and grown old, having laughed, loved, and been mourned in their passing. I too plan to spend my life in this home. To live in it until I live no more and this new condolence, this new passing will require a new candle. Who was she or he? What happened?

I know the grandmother made stew. I used to smell it when she came into a room. Sitting all alone the room would fill with the scent of beef stew and I would know that Mrs. (as we came to call her) was paying me a visit. Mrs. also liked the thermostat kept at 64 degrees. I like the house warmed to 68, yet every morning the thermostat was turned down to 64. My husband swears he never touched it.

Now that the house is cleansed it is lighter, happier, free in a way it didn’t feel before. The beef stew scent is gone and the cold blanket feeling has lifted.  I’ve done everything I can for the ones who passed here. I’ve cared for their home and I’ve cared for them, even if from the other side of where they now rest. And even without knowing who Mr. F. Killien received condolence for, I will light a candle for him or for her and pray they have found peace.

Mr. F. Killien standing outside the sun room of the Killien Mansion, Circa 1930.

frank killien by sun room2

You’re Crazy

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“You’re crazy…you’re really crazy…you are aren’t you…” the woman stared at me, her eyes studying my face. “You really are aren’t you.” I looked back at her, confused. Christ, I was sitting in my new Audi wearing a grey turtle neck and holding my toy spaniel, yet there it was. Somehow, in some way, she had identified me as not OK. “Yep, totally certifiable,” I joked back, wishing to god this awkward moment would pass.

She’d come to the car to see my dog who is, I must admit, irresistible. A quick exchange of niceties had followed and then this glazed over moment when she searched my face and proclaimed me insane. I didn’t do anything to start this. I was just being me; just being a mom dropping off her son while holding a lapdog in a silver Audi, yet like puff the magic dragon my crazy had managed to make itself known. Or had it?

This is not the first time this has happened to me. In reality, crazy has been a lifelong companion. It was how my certifiably unstable mother undermined me from a very young age. I remember standing on my neighbor’s porch imagining a story I was telling myself only to be pulled out of it by my mother, appearing like a black cloud from nowhere, saying, “Don’t move your lips when you think, you look like a crazy person.” Later, while splashing in the bathtub I announced my wish to be president of these United States. “Don’t be crazy,” Mother answered, “You’re a poor white girl without an ivy league family. You will never be president.” I was maybe five? Yet the worst was the thousands of different times she and dad said, it’s fun to dream but if you think you’ll ever be anything, you’re crazy, in a thousand different ways over several decades.

Crazy morphed into, Emotional. Emotional became you’re too Sensitive, followed by Fractious, Unreasonable, Weak Minded, Fickle, Touchy, Confused, Flustered, Unbalanced, Irrational, Difficult, Hysterical, Crazy. You’re a crazy girl. Just crazy, girl. Too crazy to be anything!

All of these words have followed me like ribbons knotted in my hair and it’s taken decades to comb them out. And now I’m rich and loved and happy and successful and sitting in my Audi hearing, you’re crazy all over again.

It’s true what they say about your past. If you run from it, it will find you. Even on a good day, a best day, even when your hair is perfect and you’re dressed well, it’ll get you . It’ll sink its teeth into you and it will try to make you bleed. Today it used a closed minded, utterly vapid little rule follower, and it took her wholly and completely.  Like a faithful little puppet, vacant eyed and hungry for the answer as to how I’d got away for so long, crazy unleashed itself in words that flew like dull arrows and missed their mark. Even repeated again and again I felt nothing. No pain, no embarrassment touched me. I stared back in confusion until even the possessed felt the strangeness of the moment and snapped out of it. She said a few more niceties before walking away leaving me stunned. “Well that was fucked up,” my son said and he was right. It is fucked up to tell someone that they are crazy. What made the bite painless this time is the reality that I know I’m sane because I know who I am.

Crazy has been used for centuries to undermine women, homosexuals, rule breakers, and artists all over the world. To call someone crazy is to label them as rebellious, broken, shattered, irreparably insane. Lunatic is another word used to undermine individuality. The word itself is derived from Luna or Moon meaning that a woman on her moon cycle or menstruating was a lunatic when the P.M.S. kicked in.

Women were locked up in asylums for being hysterical. Hysteria is a nineteenth century feminine affliction involving anxiety, depression, overt sexuality, and mood swings. Hysteria was oftentimes remedied with a hysterectomy. (Hystera is the Greek word for uterus if you’re wondering.) So, to recap, we passionate types have been labeled as broken, been “negatively” afflicted by the moon cycles, and driven mad by our own uterus’s to the point where doctors removed them.

So why were woman and the marginalized so afflicted? Because their energies and purpose where stifled. They were allowed no personal exploration, could find no personal fulfillment, and were allowed no personal expression. They were wholly confined to the social norms they were born into.  Thankfully, things are so much better now. We are moving towards personal equality and it’s a beautiful time to be alive.

Equality isn’t women lording it over men, grabbing them by the penis and elephant walking them into a submissive and powerless future. Equality is simply the return of an ancient symmetry; the symmetry of the sacred female and the sacred male. These two, when brought together make a perfect unit. Stable like a triangle, they lean on one another in equality.

Gay or straight, a balanced couple is a couple where both individuals have a balance of the sacred male and sacred female energies within each one of them. Sacred female is the energy of intuition, compassion, sensuality, and unconditional love. It’s an energy that when embraced balances the male energy away from toxic masculinity into a more open and peaceful masculinity that is beautifully powerful. Sacred masculinity is the energy of compassion, relational integrity, emotional intelligence, fatherly guidance, and leadership from the heart.  And the sacred feminine doesn’t demand that woman set aside their femininity but encourages them to embrace it, love it, honor it.

As we move away from gender identification, and socially enforced gender rolls, we will move instead toward a more classical, creative, and open style of living where we will again create the golden age spoken of in Egyptian hieroglyphs, and by Plato and Socrates. And in this new renaissance we will be able to let go of labels like lunatic, hysterical, and crazy, because radical individuality will have simply become the norm.

I don’t know why that woman called me crazy. I did nothing to call her attention towards me. But maybe my own individuality stood out to her as too different, too free.  Maybe some deeply awkward part of her was trying to use the crazy label to push me back into my place. Thankfully, I live in a time when it’s OK to stand out and be different.

To read more about gender discrimination through labeling others as crazy, read, A Brief Yet Fascinating History of the Word Crazy by Amanda Montell 

Tanya

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We were six. You were a Navajo, and a black girl, my soul sister-more sister to me then my own flesh. I loved you. I love you. You were dark brown and your hair hung in glossy black ringlets. We read books on archeology in the library, we giggled over mummies and sphinxes, talking about the ruins we’d wander, the deserts we’d ride across on camel back. I’d hold your hand. You’d hold mine and say, “Shall we?” I’d answer, “we shall.”

Home was hard. My mama screamed, punched, kicked. Your mama drank, smoked, fucked your nameless fathers. Thank god for grandmas. Mine was an immigrant, dancer, nurse, a jitterbugging good time girl grown gray. Yours was a white haired squah, mother to many, once a reservation maiden sent to Indian school and beaten for speaking in her people’s tongue. We both lost our families to violence.

My mama brimmed with poison, spilling her lies into my ear for spite. “You need to know Eleanor,” she said, “Tanya is not black, and she is not Navajo, and there are no people  who will claim her. She has no people. Her mother is a bad woman and her life will be hard.”  I looked at my mother, the red-haired L.A. calendar girl, ex-go-go dancer, and nodded, my heart sinking in my chest because I loved you.

That week we stood in the sun watching your little brothers play, one Mexican, one almost white. “I got something to tell you,” I said, and I poured mama’s poison into your ear in a hushed voice, a loving voice laced with concern. “I need you to be brave,” I ended, “because mama say’s your life will be hard.” I remember how your big eyes held mine, how you nodded at me and said, “OK.”

I cursed you that day, my mama’s words working you over through me. Christ, how her lies laid thorns in your path. No one knew what you could be but mama’s words took everything. You and I…we were everything…until that day. I remember saying goodbye. Mama didn’t want me playing in your apartment because she’d asked your uncle where he was from and when he kept saying, “here, I’m from here,” she’d got angry. But honestly, where else could a Navajo be from but here?

Years later, when we were 13, I heard you got pregnant. You partied drunken like your mama, while I rode fancy ponies in pretty show rings in a tweed jacket and hunt cap. I was told you left school to earn money while I went to college to pursue my dreams. I became an angry person when the dreams fell through, ready to fight the man and the system. Did you fall into the system? I grew up, grew old. Did you get to be old too? I remember everything about you, the way you danced, how the sun lit up your hair. I remember that I loved you…never seeing your pretty color as anything but beautiful.

If I could take my white mama’s curse back, I would replace it with courage, with kindness, with the vision of us riding camels in the desert together seeking lost civilizations and buried treasure. If I could change the past I’d hold my hand out to you and say, “Shall we?” and taking my hand you’d answer, “We shall.”

Shunning: Psychological Torture

Unmarried mothers were shunned and left to fend for themselves
Recently I read an article reporting that between 1925 and 1961, 796 children were placed in a mass grave in one of Ireland’s Catholic run, Mothers and Babies Homes. The article stated that the mothers received little care and some women even gave birth unattended. Why were they so mistreated? Because they were seen as “a threat to Ireland’s moral fiber.” These children were the victims of an outdated morality that would rather shun its unwed mothers than support and love them as valued members of their community. The Mother and Baby home closed its doors and sealed its mass grave (a sewage tank buried on the grounds) in 1961.

In 1991, a Catholic girl at my high school had an abortion so her parents would never know she’d had sex. The 90’s were a sophisticated modern decade. We had free choice, free will and the right to make all the mistakes we wanted. Casual sex was the norm and most everyone I knew was going at it like rabbits. And yet, this girl chose to have an abortion because if her parents knew she’d had sex and conceived she would have been shunned, outcast and disowned. Her abortion was not a choice made in free will, it was a decision born of fear, the fear of being outcast, shunned and forsaken by the people who should have loved and supported her no matter what.

Everyone passed the hat to help raise the abortion money. Everyone contributed to the death of this “embryo.” Everyone participated in this act so that a girl could keep her family. No one asked if she wanted the baby? No one asked if she even thought of it as a child growing inside her? I remember how sick the whole event made me. I stood back, watched and wondered what kind of parents raised a child in such fear that she’d rather commit murder then admit to having a sex life, disorganized as it was.
mother and child

Over the millennia, billions of woman have been cast off, incarcerated and killed for moral reasons while their children have been aborted, cast out, hidden away, called basters and abused because no man stepped forward to claim them. Shunning is an atrocity. It’s a manyfold evil that leads to heartbreak, legalized acts of murder and a shame that taints our history and threatens our future.

If all life is sacred and we are the children of an all loving God than why do situations like this ever even occur? I try to forget this memory, this time in my life. I would like to put it on the shelf with all the other outrages and deaths that ran like a red thread through my early existence yet this death refused to stay buried. It welled up inside of me, rattling its cage because of the unconscionable cruelty that created it. Conditional love was the killer and this girl and her unborn child were its victims. Be good or you’ll end up on the streets, be clean or we’ll disown you, remain pure or everything you know and love will be taken from you.

Injustice should never be forgotten and like the mass graves that hold 796 Irish children, this memory will not be buried because conditional love is an evil that has no place in this world. When we practice unconditional love, acts like these don’t exist! Unconditional love does not reject, instead it accepts. It does not shun but gathers its loved ones together because unconditional love creates a community so strong, so entwined in love and acceptance that when the unplanned, or unexpected occurs it reacts with compassion, acceptance and a coming together that reflects what community was meant to be. In a loving and open community there’s room for the unexpected surprises life hands us.

Stories like the mass Irish grave and the girl in my high school remind us why shunning is such a devastating and horrific act. When you practice shame and exile, you abandon both the mother and child to the mercy of the streets or institutional care. We must, as forward thinking people, support the women and children of our community so tragedies like this never happen again. We must gather around new life and love it for coming instead of condemning its existence. After all, if we are all part of a divine plan than surly every life is divinely created, divinely loved and must therefore be unconditionally loved and protected. My prayers go out to all the souls who suffered and died in shame and isolation. Each loss is a failure to teach the beauty of unconditional love and unconditional support in community.
pregnant belly

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