Up-ending Patriachy

For most of this year I have blogged in secret or had pseudonym pages where I could gather my thoughts without condemnation.

I lived with the powerful ultimatum, that “my friends think and know you are crazy”.

So i gave them less fuel. I played nice lady and stopped saying out loud the things you do not say in polite company.

However. It is NOT 1974 and I am not nine years old. And in my very adult, property owning, mortgage paying world actually the rules have thankfully been upended.

In polite twenty first century society, men who rape small children are called pedophiles not miscreants.

In the 21st century, men who put down women, tell them they do not know what they are talking about are called very rude abusive men.

People get away with everything when the weapon is that you will be exiled if you speak out. It is a tactic of ownership, possession and control.

It works. Very well. It is never easy in polite society to say Good gods, how utterly ignorant.

But from now on. I am calling it.

India is a remarkable society. They love fiercely. Indian women friends have excelled in every field in the world so these stories of not treating women well are not true. They are all earning money and participating fully in life.

The people who pretend India is not fully educated, or not ready for change are the ignorant ones that are holding people, and themselves back. It is the men who refuse to live alongside the success of women. It is men who pretend women are going shopping or nagging. It is men who downplay their wives accomplishments.

I see Indian women chief ministers, doctors, scholars, curators, authors, celebrities, home makers, mothers, artists all thriving, laughing, living full and rich lives.

It is these men who dis-empower and long for the days when they could drink all night and watch girls by day.

Male entitlement in India is the problem. They are so damn busy beating their chests, they have not seen or refuse to see what women have achieved in the last forty years.

Little boys not wanting to face the greatness of women as their equal counterpart.

It is these men downplaying rape. It is the men refusing to be vocal. It is the men not protesting in the streets or changing laws. It is the men not upholding women feeling safe in public parks. It is these men who do not want life to change.

Really. Thank you great, astonishing India that exists. To the millions of parents and grand parents that stamped out inequality and educated your beautiful daughters. Your fight is still our fight and thank you for teaching us to be seen and heard.

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The life-throb of ages

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

Rabindranath Tagore
Gitanjali. Stanza 69

The only-I

 

I was always a little bit open to all things New Age. I was never one who dived in fully to reiki and light and shamanic visions, but, as they seemed to be so similar in sensibility to many other magical things that have transported me over the decades, like art, poetry, song, dance, and the ritual practices of so many other people’s folklore and culture, I felt, that the world of possibility deserved as much credence as the world of fact and science.

I kind of had a red-light warning when my brother died three years ago, and a very thpiritual (sorry, Mike, I stole that from you!) wrote me a very long essay as a private message. Her essay did express her well wishes, but more importantly she wanted me immediately to understand and explain to other grieving family members that what was happening was simply a trick of the mind, a powerful illusion and that in fact, my brother was simply perfectly alive in another form. The problem, she insisted was that we, were simply looking at the problem from the wrong dimension, and that it was an urgent call to shift to the 4th dimension and we would immediately resolve the issue of grief and loss, and that we could thank her for her guidance.

Actually, I laughed. And I remained reasonably open, that at some level there might be some truth to her words, and that who was I to know of the unseen, eternal. I found her timing to be terrible, but then of course, someone locked into this dimension would take timing as a serious matter. I did not remain friends with her, and thought she would evolve and refine her thinking, and hone her delivery over time and if she worked with patients or clients, this would all get slightly more nuanced with time. I still believe that to be true, and hold no bad feelings.

Over Christmas there was a lovely animated Gif that was doing the rounds. An outstretched hand was holding in it, a ball of sparkly light, and the animation passed the light to another hand. It was sent around, as good wishes, that we may pass the light to each other, and I shared it with the reminder, that we may or not even know it, but maybe we were the light!

A friend I had known for many years, was outraged. And felt the post to be almost in the realms of dangerous and evil. She went on to explain, that in her healing work, she deals with energy blocks and she ‘removes’ these energy tumors from people all day long, and she did not appreciate the post as it was what she dealt with in her work. My first line of reason, was that she was bringing her work issue to a subject that was outside of work, and so the context was different. She would not consider that her idea was simply a reflection of her own experience, and that bundles of light were without question, dangerous, harmful, toxic and that she felt no choice but to unfriend me as I was so unaware of the dangers of this Gif. My final attempt to discuss this, was something along the lines of the process of animation itself. That a geek at a computer had taken an image of light, from a data bank of images of light, and they had NOT gone to a healing clinic, and actually stolen some light from a patient’s neck.

My reasoning did not work.

Today, I read that George Michael was in fact abducted by the Elite in the United States, and they murdered him, because he was going to disclose facts about the wrong-doing of the Powers on Earth.

Orwellian double think was along the lines, of truth is lies, and lies is truth. I feel it is present in daily life. I have stopped reading the news, and am training myself to stop getting reactive and hysterical to USA media/politics and just take time for my writing and painting, and to breathe and try to relax and live my life without this constant bombardment. I am not entirely cured yet and still read one or two short articles if I can. So, today, I read a reasonably articulate, factually presented document comparing two known charitable trusts that were in the popular news all of last year. One of them paid taxes, and has provided specific evidence of the donations made over ten years to actual projects that have served human development. The other charity shows documentation of not paying taxes, not making many donations, and using the charity money to pay legal fees for non charity matters. And, yet, the times we live in, the choice has already been determined. The Charity that paid the taxes and operated in a transparent enough way to have even shown it’s wrong doing, is the evil one, and the Charity that has failed to¬† abide by basic regulations, is the MOST amazing decent humanitarian charity that ever existed. (Truth is a lie. Lies are Truth)

There was another small news item that caught my interest. Facebook published an alert that an incident had occurred in Bangkok and they set up a report Safe site. The account was then deleted as there had been a mistake. In the statements that followed, they said, the news had come from “a trusted third party”. And yet, all the rules of journalism used to require at least two verification’s.

It seems something like we are now moving towards the age of the only-I.

When we were young kids we dreamed of a star trek future with hand held gadgets that would provide shortcuts to life, and give us instant connectivity to work, and play. We are pretty close to having arrived at the far off imagined destination. The 20th Century was considered the Age of the I, as mass consumerism enabled us to become free to do as we wished with our labour, our money and how we lived. This new age of the only-I, seems to be something more like, I think it, it is my reality, it is my experience, it resonates with me, therefore it is truth.

It seems that we have a severe case of what was known as the Johari Window. That was the blind spot, that we could not even see was our blind spot, and it could be revealed in sincere work with others, who may be able to point to it. This new age, seems to be trained on the micro level of self. The other I, you, me, them, us, we, the planet, has been eclipsed from view. It is as if, the only-I can vaguely hear the words of another, vaguely say, Uh, Huh, yah, got it, but cannot actually accept the reality of another human manifestation. It is a ghost like memory, a hologram. I think that other shape is a human, they are speaking, and walking, but they are actually outside of my personal domain, so they can remain as an unaccountable; merely an external ghost possibility. Not to relied upon as verification, or as part of an entangled, collaborative shared reality.

The only-I needs only the cellphone for visual development. The only-I can now manage without intimacy or love, and instead can get quick fix oxytocin from likes from strangers. It is more than enough now. Like space food. Maximum nutrition in a micro delivery system.

Ah, Douglas Couplland, you have certainly said it, written it so much better than I, for several decades you were uncannily brilliant at poking our generation of all that we were missing. I believed you. I figured I was immune. And that the world would be made up of your readers and your non-readers. The reader community would be all be living together, working on amazing life giving projects, and sharing amazing home-cooked food together and celebrating our hard won connections in real time and real place with each other. It did become apparent to me that not so many were your avid readers, but I did not make the connection then that I too would be living in a pod like experience, where those in my sphere of worldly distance would have phobic reasons to remain disconnected.

I have to explore it for a while longer. I have to try to not take it all personally, and see it as relationship troubles. Or cultural differences living in a continent that is alien to me. I have to see that is something bigger, more barren than my only-I can understand. We have truly become Avatars only.

We have a very dearly loved friend on FB that we think we know. We think we know their look, their cultural message, and their values, and actually, if we bumped into that person in real life, without make-up, without title, we would have to face our own stunning disappointment.

I do joke that if I wrote these pieces and attached a bondage girl with a whip and a corset, I could possibly achieve cult-like Indian men following! As just me, I write because I still feel that words, art, acts of real friendship mean something and my world is limited to the people here, that I consider real friends.

Interestingly there was recently published an article that showed art experts falling for the age-old trick of deceit. Works of unknown origin were given a MoMa stamp of approval, and the critics rated the works higher with the false stamp than without. We endorse the fake, and we reject real hard work that goes into the creative process. And we do not feel shocked at our own gullible, superficiality.

There was a critical moment in my life earlier this year, that whilst not critical, is still shaping my words, thoughts and actions, as well as pointing me to consider my own ambitions, hopes, and doubts and jealous fears.

A young writer was gifted the words, “I am dragged here by the power and beauty of your words”. It touched that chord in me, that needed to know that words could do that. That in this fantasy world, we could still affect people, and we could still maintain the spark of humanity that has propelled us this far through several thousands of years.

In a lucid, jealousy free moment, I doubt those words were ever really about the words. The image that went with those words was what called. The avatar that represented those words, spoke of a divine celestial power, the intoxication of love and lust, the music of the gods. That image spoke of a thousand ancient Indian miniature paintings, of history, of Sita and Ram, of the great gods, in their dance of abandoned wanting. The only-I can dream. The only-I can fulfill every dream at the touch of a button.

Human touch, smell, pulse has no longer the power to evoke what can now be experienced only in a section of the cortex. Other centers in the physical world no longer operate and respond in real time. Only-I screen time is the world of the entertained, and the entertainer.

And whilst, much of what I write may be poetic or a story-tellers’ distortion, I see that Do Not Disturb sign only too often.

If only it were only my imagination.

Gas-lighting

Gas-lighting is real.
It is so damn real.
It is so.

It extinguishes the right to feel your own feelings, honour your own perceptions, tell your own story, live your own being.

The whole point of gas-lighting is to say, “it is your imagination”, or to confirm that “it is NOT so”.

To eradicate, to minimalise, to deny that the other perspective exists. Smudge, blur, distort, erase, refute, reject the very who and what Another is trying to say, or be.

#fuckingfreaks

I think a lot of this stuff is “too psychological” for people to grasp! That in itself makes it easy to ignore, and even easier to gaslight!

I have this interesting non psychological analogy I am trying to grasp.

In say, Art, of the History of Art, of the practice of Art, (Design etc) the artist is really now required by Art School, galleries, the whole edifice of Art debate, aesthetics and even cultural practice, is about process. Where did the Artist begin, where are they going, how are they moving thru time, how is their art changing, developing in relation to the life lived.

That seems so obvious and not easily rejected. As a model, process is now very common in all sorts of workplaces, peer review, performance evaluations, etc. Not saying I favour all peer reviews, or performance evaluations, but they do exist.

Students now are seldom marked just on their work, end result. The teacher has to go wider, and see, how has the student developed all round. Can they join in the class, do they ask relevant questions, are they learning the subject, rather than just a mark based on a final essay, or artwork.

So, in these many circumstances, process is accepted as a perfectly natural resolution to the old rote learning, end result pass or fail.

Mostly we are quite okay with it, and do not dismiss it as a stupid, unnecessary, psychological, irrelevant, hysterical, emotional theory.

When we discuss things like gas-lighting, it is very likely exactly what will happen is a form of gas-lighting. Oh, that is stupid, irrelevant, psychological, blah blah and it is absolutely not heeded!

Ho Hum! The imperfect catch 22.

May we all grow strong. May we all shine a light on these aspects of ourselves where there is confusion. May we build others up if we can. May we walk tall, open our hearts to all that has arisen. May we soften when there has been perceived wrong doing. May we find grace to know ourselves and know what brings us peace. May we see confusion as a teacher, and may we dance with a little freedom and joy whilst we continue to learn our lessons!

Indian Christmas

When you commit to living in another country, you have to do a lot of things that are entirely out of your comfort zone, and you have to just get stuck in and find the heartbeat of it.

Last year, my Xmas was flying to Sri Lanka and wending my way by public bus through mountainous countryside, and arriving late at night at a hostel run by a Muslim family in a Buddhist country and smiling at the Christmas tree and decorations.

This year, for some strange reason, I really had a pull to visit a church and be part of something familiar but not necessarily religious. i guess a nostalgia, or a touch of home-sickness and a sweet longing to hear Christmas carols, and be with other foreigners and slightly, for a moment pull myself back from the Indian Hindu and Indian Muslim and Indian Jain dominant faiths of Jaipur. It is an old city, and there are landmarks of old British era churches, stone built, with walled gardens, evocative of all I know really.

I could feel the Xmas spirit vanish, and we are stuck in a horrible financial quagmire with literally no funds. Kind strangers have helped put some cash in the pot that will enable me to get to a neighbouring country to do my visa, and we are absolutely having to manage the tensions, dance with despair and count the days till our circumstances begin to improve. it is definitely a time to keep the faith. we wandered into a local shopping mall, and actually we loved the no money, no shopping experience; it was hugely fun, and we got to try on silly hats, and make believe shopping baskets filled with all the things we would buy if we were credit card enabled people.

Tiny handmade clay panels were painted in garish glittery colours, and at the last minute instead of being used as hanging Christmas decorations, they became teeny Hanukkah candle pedestals; each candle resting on it’s miniature menorah, and we even made an upstanding shamesh to light the candles. A teeny tiny eight inch Christmas tree arrived, with ready made-in-china decorations, Dairy milk chocolate, bundles of bhakti-blessed temple rose petals and a slightly wild, disheveled gypsy bunch of flowers graced our studio work table. not so shabby really.

The plan was roast chicken and roast potatoes, but that, along with the old picturesque chapel did not actually happen.

I got restless, and frustrated, and a sense of urgency overtook me. I really needed to keep the faith and knew how easily these best laid plans can drift in and out of reality, so I threw on my British Barbour jacket, and hailed the first auto-rickshaw I could find, saying, Christian Church, Christian Church, Christmas, C-Scheme.

A little too long in C-scheme and it started to become obvious that Christian Church was not something the driver really knew about. We stopped and asked some passerby’s who gave us good clear, straight ahead, turn left kind of assistance. Several straight aheads and left, rights, and U turns later, I felt that wave of urgency again. I pulled my jacket close to my body, and jumped out the auto and started walking, in search of anything merry! Saint Xaviours School is the most prestigious Christian school in Jaipur with extraordinary standards and the graduates all excelling in every single subject. It is a huge, pristine campus, and I followed my nose until I found the school, and at the gates, bought a prayer candle, and asked, Is there a church here? It was a post-modern 1970’s designed church, sparse, and modern, and whilst not what I had in mind, it was just going to become exactly what I wanted. The families crowded around the garish lights in the garden, and took selfies with the cardboard nativity mural that included several sheep! Jesus and Mary were not really present in the Nativity scene, but there, low and behold, they were hanging together in a heart shaped garland of plastic bows on the alter wall. It was a solemn affair, no carols, no music, and some earnest folk, sitting on benches with clasped prayful hands. I kind of liked it. And I took some sparkly pictures in the spirit of all things sparkly 2016.

I walked the cold evening streets and found myself back near the part of bustling town I know quite well, and cheekily ordered a piping hot espresso coffee in the stunning well of the beaten track French cafe that I like. I was actually not at all sure I had enough cash to pay for it, and was relieved that for once all the delicious french pastries were sold out. My little phone photos get edited into something hazy and vague, but depicting some gentleness that I was desperate to mark this holiday with. Where I have been fierce, may there be more gentleness. Where I have been stark and blunt in my dislike, may there be some softness, some blurred edges. May I also see the sweetness, and dispel the harsh edges that seemed too real all year.

Chasing atms’ at 9pm was a perfectly normal Demonetization activity, and not even especially stressful. The big, giant Standard Chartard Banks, all displayed the now normal, photo-copied signs saying No Cash available. I smiled. I actually had one trump card up my sleeve which was the lesser known State Bank of Kerala that has a small hidden ATM that is really own known to Keralites. A sweet auto-driver took me there, and there was no queue. The limit now for withdrawals is 2500 rupees, but, that can not be dispensed as the machines only have 2000 rupee notes. So, the limit suggests one thing, the reality, that the lesser amount is what you will be granted, no matter the 58 different declarations by central government.

Whilst some imperative made me do this Christmas eve thing alone, I still felt ready and able to come home a gift bearing, satisfied to have mission accomplished girlfriend. I came home with cash, rum, Hanukkah candles, and a smile that said, See I can manage!

At the last minute, on Saturday evening we were invited to join a Kerala family for lunch. The tree was huge, and lunch was….. biryiani!

I am not sure what I was imagining. Roast potatoes, and smoked salmon, and turkey. Ya. I was. Biryiani and sliced cucumber and a small bowl of curd was Christmas feast in this christian family tradition. And, it was delicious. To be among laughing, friends, sharing a tipple of home-made wine, and eating Plum Cake filled, packed with dried fruits, soaked for months in sun-drenched rum.

like all Xmas traditions, we clamoured to the sofa to watch a movie. Slapstick Malayalam movie hour had the whole house in belly aching laughter. Whilst I knew it was to my norms, surreal, it was also absolutely filled with family and friends doing what we all do during this holiday; enjoying some wind-down time, not thinking about work, and problems, and just feeling thanks for food, warmth and shelter.

It was not the roast potato and roast chicken day I had planned, sharing a little Brit tradition with my other half. I actually doubt that will ever happen. It seems too far a leap, to celebrate Western traditions with people that despise and resent what my people did to their great nation. I cannot fix that pain and loss. Not in a thousand days, can I hold a candle to the Westernization of the world. I can not say, Yes, I robbed you of your childhood memories, of young girls bathing in rivers, and young lads jumping off bridges into rippling clear waters. I personally did not steal from your memory gentleman on bicycles and fine elegant ladies polishing rice and singing together as they braided their hair. I did not make time rush forwards. I did not fracture village life, and build shopping malls, and American cinema complexes. I did not ask for Coke over a lime sherbet or Limca. I came because I love this place. I came because it stands on the brink of modernity and yet holds the past in it’s big bosom. I came because religions merge, and worship is noisy. I came because thousands of gods hold up the sky, and I walk the streets and am repeatedly greeted with the humbling of a folded hand Namaskar.

I did not come to impose my British ways. But, after two thousand nights away from my home, I too wanted to share some fond memories, some bygone moments. I too wanted to fill the space, between the differences, and say, Ah, me too. Us too.

Searching for the moments that made us, broke us, remake us, the fragments of family life, of traditions past, are the delicate construction of this now. The narrative can be a big lie, or it can be a portal to a sort-of truth. The sort-of I wish to remember. The sort-of I wish it were so with all my heart. I come in peace. I come with love. I am not the enemy and I have no sword.

Entitlement

entitlement. the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

wanting special privileges is something that I can understand. even joni mitchell said, “won’t you buy me a mercedes benz?”. and to a degree, i understand hard fought for hope that we have exchanged enough days of our life to ‘deserve’ something in return, be it love, respect or peace and quiet. the issue i am pointing at, is the notion that just being born, to a certain family, class, sex, makes one inherently free to expect special treatment, and that they are outside of the rules of life.

i realize libertarians, and freedom seekers will say there are no such things as rules, and the anarchists, will say, give me a rule, so I may break it. But society has constructed common norms. they do very much exist. it is not that common for a three year old child to go to the bank on their own on their bicycle or be found wandering around the city mall buying their own shoes or winter clothes. there is often a structure in place, that a three year old will take guidance from an elder person on some subjects, and with great hope, they will be free to explore the real milestones of their age related ability and potential.

there are so many rules to life, that it can be a dizzying never ending list and at times, we have all wanted to sit in a quiet room and say Stop the world, I want to get off. We feel the mighty boom of school teachers, parents, extended family telling us right from wrong and often, we actually have to disregard it all, and find our own way.

the wilderness years bring many freedoms to experiment. teenagers all over the world have gone seeking relief from the bane of perceived or real control. getting high, feeling free, transcending the boundaries imposed on us, is an epoch defining time of our life, and it looks and tastes like true freedom, that at fifteen or nineteen we feel we deserve. We put the hours in going to school, and being home on time, and abiding by “their’ rules, and we take our new found freedoms as our entitlement.

yes, life will show us that this intoxicating freedom is but a brief pause, gifted in return for school grades. We may get scooters and cars, and suddenly we learn that we have to give up our right to drinking all night and driving, or we get our first jobs, and we learn we have to navigate our time off with our time in the system, and we learn drinking, or getting high or wearing micro bondage leather skirts and pink mohekan hairstyles is ours to do but often not on workplace time.

we learn, we adapt, and the rule book in many ways, no longer resembles a written magna carta of musts and must nots, but actually something we sense, and find to be quite an instinctual and fluid transition. Most make it. Great, grand drunken poets remain great and grand and drunken and nobody gets hurt. in the UK there were a number of research papers that investigated the use of heroin in professional staff and the figures were stunning. More common than anyone had ever imagined were top level professionals, lawyers, doctors and surgeons, turned out to be far more high than the supposed low-lifes bummed out at the street corner late at night. The rules to their game, were nobody will get hurt and to a degree that may be true.

The belief that I am god, I am great, brings with it this entitlement to break a lot of rules in life, and unfortunately a lot, far too many, do get hurt along the way. We have seen how many high profile film, radio and TV personalities in the UK have systematically abused their position and sexually abused young people who fell prey. It has happened in politics, children’s homes, religious institutions, and within the sports world. It is a subject of great distress, and whilst I appreciate the many faceted complications that these stories have at the heart of them, we are really looking at an entitlement belief. That a person may do as they wish, with special dispensation, for no other reason than they believe it to be so.

i keep coming back to my bete noir subject of men/women, housework, relationships, equality, chauvanism, gender differences, and rather than fail to write an original or groundbreaking discourse on these topics, I can only come back to this simple and personal awareness, of what works, and what does not work for me.

does a husband deserve special treatment in his homelife? does a wife deserve special treatment in her homelife? it gets to be this simple for me, the examination is not about a witch hunt to be proven right or wrong, and I have had my head bitten off more times than I can count this year. May I speak? May I ask that the balance of running a home is done with some some regard for the home and the people living here? Actually, I may not, so I am in no position currently to speak of such skillful negotiation!

boys are treated as prince buddhas from birth. truly the god-given gift to a family, that will pass on the ancestral dna through marriage and children, and will sustain a genetic blueprint on the earth that will keep grandparents bustling with a pride, that may be deserved. To see that what they have worked for will become a far reaching legacy is not to be scoffed at, and is a valid, and noble dream. but boys will not learn to take a glass of water from the fridge – they will shout at their sisters to get it for them, even if they are actually standing by the fridge. boys will not sweep a floor, the sisters will do this. the mothers, housekeepers will pick the clothes up from the floor, the shirts will be beaten until clean, and collars and cuffs scrubbed clean. the shirts will be ironed and hung in neat rows, and the boy will go out into the world, feeling like the village crown prince.

why are we indulging boys in this way? and when is it too late to intervene and say, No that is not your entitlement, that is an agreement. a lot of times we hear that it is all the mothers’ fault! That she mollycoddled her boy, and stroked his hair, and turned a blind eye too many times when she needed to give better, different advice. She is blamed for cooking and caring for him because that is what her heart calls her to do. Should she have thrown him out sooner, made more fierce rules and god forbid used reprimand?
Maybe. She probably assumed some good wife will do the rest of the kicking into socially fit for purpose task.

but the wife cannot. the wife, can not implore another adult to change or adapt in any truthful or meaningful way. there can be manipulations, threats, bargains, and tear filled dramas, but actually she will be laughed at, scorned, ridiculed, and in many unfortunate scenarios throughout the world, she will risk being beaten to a pulp. She will be no longer be the sweet, flirtatious sexual commodity that she first appeared to be, and will now be regarded as some Frankenstein monster, that scolds, cries, and implores for some damn respect. She will be told she is crazy, unreasonable, a bitch, and the old school teacher hag, nagging mother, all replace a woman’s former joyous persona.

some men will run and have affairs, men will chase their boredom with online sex cyber bots. men will soothe their troubled souls. men will laugh and thump each other on the back, and drink their fill of mead as they medicate themselves far, far from the elephant in the room. therapists will write mighty tomes and speculate that the man simply was not getting his needs met at home, and it is the wife who must take the blame. we are good at that.

they can not say in all honesty, “it is my right, as a man to do as I wish. It is my right to do exactly as I please”. And actually they do know it.

Courts always give a much tougher sentences to the ones who cannot express remorse. Mostly, the human can seldom stand the discomfort of glimpsing their own unreasonable entitlement.

The young boys that rape, or harm, are often not really well enough, strong enough, or well formed enough to grasp that the heinous crimes stem from the false belief that they thought they were entitled to use might and desire to overcome an another. They maybe truly do not get it, and they may spend a lifetime in prison and still not get it. Politicians may never get it. That erode or diminish rights of sectors of the community, that make policy that truly hurts and destabilizes a person or a community. They also unfortunately, may never get it until they are de-selected as our representatives.

Do I have an entitlement to write these stories? Do I have a belief that I am special and can do and say as I please? I certainly was not born thinking this. I did not feel it was at all my right to speak out, to challenge the status quo, or even to say No. Five decades later and maybe with a huge amount of social change in the world, I glimpse that it may be okay, to experiment and explore, and I do so with a lot of doubt, a little courage and an unhealthy amount of fear that I will lose everything I love in this act of defiance.

Often when asked to consider doing life by the rules, they will say, Why should I? Well, consider this? Because it helps to function in this world, respectful of the cultures, and norms of others. Because it is what fellow humans recognize as the rights and functions of adulthood. Because, it may lead to greater ease and peace in one’s daily life. Because, culture is a mixture of mannerisms and manners.

Because we often have to try something that we do not fully understand. Because we learn as we go along. Because we are here to be helpful, and humans have to live in a hive, and get along with others. Because if we dismantle all these systems, we have anarchy. And whilst anarchy, sounds like a big fat Rasta joint on the porch, and some time to live One Love, it is also an ugly place.

Where great violence may arise. Where there are no rules that matter. Where love ceases to be about co-operation and where respect and admiration are erased and an extreme nihilism results in survival, of the most fierce, and all others cease to exist. It results in political systems that are above the law. It results in disorder. It is the refusal to accept all systems of control and authority. It may be an ‘absolute freedom’ on an individual level, a personal mutiny, a triumphant rebellion, but it may also be a perfect opportunity to look long and hard at whether or not the outcome is exactly as hoped for.

The rebellion of childhood, is an assertion, an entitlement to be free of perceived authority, and to find autonomy. The creation of a life free of external control or influence is the journey we take to become equipped to find our Independence. But after Independence, comes life. Busy, confusing, world of systems, people, demands, customs, confusions, traditions, hectic, claustrophobic, panic inducing, noisy, unfair, Life.

To conclude, I can only add the words of Mary Oliver, “the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the Wild geese, harsh and exciting, over and over announcing your place in the family of things”.

 

 

Carol Rudd A footnote: “Mercedes Benz” is an a cappella song written by singer Janis Joplin with the poets Michael McClure and Bob Neuwirth, and originally recorded by Joplin.[1] In the song, the singer asks the Lord to buy her a Mercedes-Benz, a color TV, and a “night on the town.”

don’t cry

Be logical.

Go from one upset to another.

Don’t keep score.

Do not try to recall past upsets.

Just feel each present upset.

The damage has already worked its’ magic.

The heart no longer seeks a tender response. It knows.

That is not within the remit.

Nor does it hold any authentic sway.

Grand apologies lead only to worse.

Don’t cry. Those tears, that softness, that vulnerability is what got you into this mess.

A shovel may be a better tool to get out of this alive.