Posted in Activism, advocate

Black Lives Matter

Let me preface all this with – I’m white. Grew up in an all white community in an all white church. I do not pretend to know what it’s like to be judged just because our skin tones are different and I won’t pretend to.

It’s so difficult to peel away a lifetime of white privilege. You have to be deliberate about it to find your way to a new perspective, to try and see a life from a different point of view.

People who haven’t peeled back their white privilege say things like, “but all lives matter,” or “but I’m not racist.” Like I said, it’s a difficult process.

Responding with “All Lives Matter,” when someone (especially if they are black) says “Black Lives Matter,” tells them you don’t think black people are hurting or persecuted. It invalidates them and their pain and struggle.

I know most people mean it out of love for all lives. But all lives aren’t being persecuted right now. All lives aren’t equal in the eyes of America, and unfortunately, the law.

Honor the struggle of our black brothers and sisters and say it out loud, “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” When you say that, you say to a black person that you care about them and their struggle. You would be shocked at how far that goes. When you are hurting and angry, don’t you wish someone would tell you that you matter?

Of course some say “All Lives Matter” defensively, as if Black Lives Matter means white ones don’t. I don’t have time for you right now.

When a person says, “Black Lives Matter,” they are saying that a black life matters JUST AS MUCH as anyone else’s. In this case, save the “All Lives” when all lives really do matter equally.

Posted in Activism, challenge, commentary, community

Blackkklansman

I’ve watched Blackkklansman several times now. Parts of it make me sick, particularly the parts where “Christians” believe white is right and the only color. Harry Belafonte’s part where he recounts several atrocities is particularly strong. One hopes we’ve made progress. Right?

Then a church going white man drives into a crowd to kill people for their assumed religion based on how they look. In Sunnyvale, California. In 2019.

We can do better, America. We need to stand up for each other. Own the past. Change the future.

I still have hope change can happen. May I do my part.

Posted in Activism, advocate, fearless, safe

THE TRAUMA OF ME TOO

Regardless of your political affiliation or personal feelings about sexual assault victims or trauma, please consider all the people whose abuse or trauma still hides in the shadows, in their traumatized hearts and minds.

You may not know you are standing next to a sexual assault victim, that you’ve known this person for decades and they’ve never summoned the courage to tell you their truth.

Sexual assault is more common than you might think. People are afraid to come forward for a myriad of reasons. It’s complicated.

You don’t know.

You may not know that you know their abuser and to you, he may appear to be the most faithful family man you’ve ever think you’ve known. You’d never believe it because that hasn’t been your experience with that person. But he, too, has a secret he won’t tell.

You don’t know.

You may not know that when you roll over at night and put your arm around the person you love, that they’ve pushed their pain down so far they can’t even put to words what happened to them, so it remains buried, at least until the triggering event comes along to where everything explodes like a messy science fair volcano.

You don’t know.

All I ask is that you consider your words when speaking of this kind of trauma. You never know who is listening and what they’ve had to, or still are dealing with. I know one too many sexual assault survivors and the last couple of years have been traumatic for them, and this past week has been especially tough.

You don’t know.

To any sexual assault survivors out there still hiding in the shadows, if you need a safe place, let me know, because…I know.

Posted in Activism, commentary, community, holidays, Human Rights, Humanity, politics

MLK Day

Until 1988, I didn’t know much about Martin Luther King, Jr. Nothing was taught about him in history class (of course, no history class I was in got much further than WW2), and so it passed under my radar.

In college, I had a friend named Dee Dee who suggested, since we were near Atlanta on Spring Break, that we go see the MLK Center opened by Dr. King’s widow.

We went on our journey that day and I didn’t know what to expect from our visit, but I left the MLK Center very reflective and sad that someone who fought so hard for equality was persecuted for it. He was not perfect, but he was important. For all of us.

My life is richer because of the diversity in it. May we all work together so we are all on equal footing to reach our dreams.

Happy birthday to the King of all Dreamers.

Posted in advocate, badassery, fearless, Push, Uncategorized

A CALL TO BADASSERY

The flood of New Year’s Resolution posts has begun. Every year, people pledge to lose weight, get a better job, etc. Resolutions are usually made to strive toward a better quality of life.

I stopped making resolutions (that I would usually not keep) and have instead resolved to make a better life for myself, period.

My resolve boils down to this single truth – life is what I make of it. I choose, every day, to make my life the best life I can, no matter what that entails.

Some days my best life requires more exercise or better eating, or down time or creative time. Other days, my best life requires me to rise above myself and my self-imposed limitations.

Every day, my best life requires me to be a Badass, regardless if I feel like I am or not.

Instead of making resolutions or goals that will fall by the wayside before the last Valentine’s Day chocolate has been eaten, why not choose to heed your call to badassery and live your best life every day?

Following a call to badassery is both as easy and as difficult as you may think.  A call to badassery can be as free as a pursuit as any and it can cost you everything.  Stressful? Sometimes. Worth it? You bet.

My bestie, during our Badassery Advocate planning session when I was on vacation in California, looked me square in the eye and said, “First you have to find your ‘why’.”

My ‘why’ at least as it pertains to Badassery Advocate, is every person out there who feels stuck, complacent, unchallenged, weak, hopeless, on the brink, or lost.  I see so many potential Badasses, people who are Badasses deep inside, are about to realize their badassery, and I want to help anyone who wants to find, expose and live as the badass they are.

You are my ‘why.’

Badassery Advocate is still taking shape and will continue to do so.  There is no separation of who I am personally vs. who I am on Badassery Advocate. This fact has made it difficult for me to keep up with the separate Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for BA, but I will do better – because I am a Badass!

I look forward to journeying with you as you heed your call to badassery!

Find me on Facebook at Badassery Advocate, Twitter at @badasseryadvo and Instagram at BadasseryAdvocate.

Posted in advocate, badassery, commentary, community, fearless, politics, Uncategorized

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT, OR RATHER, THAT YOU THINK

Politics, tragedy, religion, guns, nationality and so many more subjects are polarizing, especially in America. I’ve seen families, friends, and communities torn apart because of deeply held beliefs.  Rarely, but thankfully, I have found a few people in my life who can hold deeply held beliefs and still have conversations about the aforementioned subjects and still remain civil and friendly afterward.

I know I’ve been unfollowed, unfriended, branded, and abandoned because of my deeply held beliefs, and I know I’ve unfollowed, unfriended, branded and abandoned others for the same reasons.

Lately, I’ve even been branded as dangerous.  Dangerous? For having different beliefs?  For challenging long-held, deeply-entrenched beliefs and opinions?  Yes.

If I am being labeled dangerous for challenging the status quo of beliefs and thoughts and a lifetime of opinion, know that I relish it. I’d rather be known as someone who examines, inspects, interrogates, and thinks her way through life rather than accepting everything I’m told, skimming over issues to promote an opinion that’s only mine because I carry it forward for someone else.  I’ve lived a lifetime of promoting other agendas because of a sense of duty to what I’ve been told and indoctrinated to believe. I’m finished with that part of my life.

The extraordinary state of thinking for myself was a hard-fought battle. I’d go so far as calling the battle for my own beliefs and opinions a war.  Not only did I have to figure out what I truly believed, I had to fight for my right to express that belief and opinion freely. That’s a war I’m still fighting, because I’m dangerous, you see.

Throughout history, the people in the masses who think for themselves have been labeled as dangerous, especially women.  The awakening of owning a thought or idea that is truly mine is intoxicating, I’ll admit.  The further I pursue my own thoughts and beliefs, the further away from blind obedience to an idea I get, the freer I feel.

I don’t care, really, what a person thinks or believes if I know that they truly have thought, examined, challenged and formed their own thoughts and opinions. All I really care to challenge in a person is that they think for themselves and not follow the masses just because it’s easier and more comfortable to follow the crowd.

A staggering number of people will follow a man in a pulpit, a person on a political soapbox, a person with a certain philosophy – anyone with a message or agenda – without challenging, investigating, examining what the person in charge is saying. If, after study and query, a person agrees with a different ideology than mine, I can respect that.

I have huge issues with people just accepting what another person says without thinking it all through for themselves.  That, to me, is a truly dangerous way to live. It’s why certain pastors and politicians have power – they tap into those minds who will follow without question.

People want to belong to something greater than themselves so much, they turn off their mind’s alarm systems: that doesn’t sound/feel right. I don’t think I agree with that, but if I challenge it, I won’t belong anymore. I believe that’s dangerous.

I wanted to belong to something so badly it turned me into a mindless sheep, and I became so judgmental and hurtful as I followed other people’s agenda.  I stopped thinking for myself at the cost of losing myself.  I put what I wanted/thought/believed over relationships and I believed it was what I should do and because I wanted to belong.

When I started sorting through what I believed and wanted for my life, I know I lost friends.  I lost certain membership in communities that don’t like dangerous thinkers in their midst.  I’ve actually been old-school shunned for challenging the status quo and asking questions.

Ironically, thinking for myself has opened up my mind enough to allow others to think for themselves. I gladly accept differences in opinions and sometimes challenge people with what they believe to be a differing opinion so I can see their resolve and commitment to their belief. Some would call that devil’s advocate, but I call it investigation.

Personally, I don’t care what a person believes, as long as it is truly a belief that is theirs, forged in thought and investigation and fire.  I care more that people think than what they think.  I wish that notion went both ways, but it often doesn’t.  It’s easier to label me a danger than a free-thinker.

I value the discussions I have with people. I enjoy hearing what other people think, and challenging them to own those beliefs and thoughts. If that labels me as dangerous, know that I don’t mind.

 

Posted in advocate, badassery

THE BIRTH OF BADASSERY ADVOCATE

I love humanity.  I love their responses and preconceived notions. When I refer to myself as a “badass,” I get mixed responses. Some are inspired by that word, others are offended by it. Badass insinuates, for some people, arrogance (which walks a fine line with confidence), being full of myself, irreverent, and some other words I won’t share.

I think their insinuations are supposed to offend me, when, in my reality, their insinuations inspire me to more badassery.

I used to believe my job in life was to shut up, take orders, and wait for a man to tell me what to do, think and be. I lived, steeped in this belief, for a few decades too long. My true awakening started when I was 39, when I was sitting in a Good Friday service and I felt the compulsion to leave the service and get my first tattoo – “Sassy,” on my back.

That next year I wrote poems like “Forgiveness” and this one:

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 11.27.35

Those are beginning glimpses of Sassy. I was nowhere near badassery then, but I knew I wanted to be stronger and have more courage.  I had no plan. I had no idea one day I’d be telling people I wanted to help them find their roar.

Recently, I’ve had some issues with Tamoxifen (you can read all about it) and other issues in my life. Instead of cowering, I set my mind and went about the task of advocating for myself.  Yesterday, after processing a post-advocate victory, I realized that I wanted to, somehow, focus my efforts into helping others feel the way I felt after the validation of having my efforts rewarded.

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 11.15.31

I received an immediate and numerous response on my Facebook page. People were truly asking how to make that happen for themselves. When i woke up this morning, I knew I had to do something, even if it was small.

I started a Facebook Page called, “Badassery Advocate” this morning, and have a Twitter handle (@BadasseryAdvo) and an Instagram (BadasseryAdvocate).

My plan is to create a space for universal encouragement. All are welcome – and by all I mean ALL. I do not want to just encourage one particular group of people.  I desire to encourage all regardless of religious affiliation, political ideology, race, gender, or sexuality.  Badassery is for all.

That being said, posts may have “language” or ideas or concepts a person might not agree with. That’s fine. My new space is a place for being uplifted, not torn down.  I will encourage someone to find their badassery even if, especially if, I do not agree with a person philosophically or ideologically. I am not here to judge, convert, or sway. I am here to help people be the best, bravest, badassiest they can be, period.

Not everyone who visits or posts at Badassery Advocate will share the same religion, notions, political ideology, gender, belief, upbringing or truth. That fits with my worldview. I hope to see this idea grow into something bigger than any idea I currently have.

Thank you for journeying with me. On to the new phase!