Let’s Talk.

A reason for some home town pride.

Courageous Conversations: Being Black in Colorado

I went to college in Alabama. I was asked before leaving Colorado if I was afraid to be going “down south”.  I wasn’t. Or at least I don’t remember being afraid. Looking back, I can tell you the experience showed me a lot about racism…as it existed in Colorado.  You see, in Alabama, it was clear cut that most white people weren’t going to pay attention to me other than to make sure I wasn’t behaving in any stereotypical ways. There were clear cut lines as to where I belonged as a young, Black woman in the areas I spent most of my time. Hence my general discomfort anywhere outside the metro areas of Montgomery (AL), Birmingham (AL), Atlanta (GA), Savannah (GA), and Tallahassee (FL).  The more rural areas, even today aren’t places I want to live or be after dark.

But in Colorado. The lines weren’t as clearly drawn as much as I remember. I never felt as if I wasn’t “allowed” certain places, but there’d be this undeniable, purposeful dismissal. Being blatantly ignored by whites, openly passed over…in certain places and situations, I would cease to exist. It was WEIRD.  Southern whites would look me in my face and deny me – that was clear.  In Colorado, they’d smile at everyone, give everyone eye contact, EXCEPT me.  “Good morning, may I help you” to the whites who’d walked in before me, and when I crossed the threshold, smiling and ready with my “Hello, how are you?”, suddenly everyone’s attention would be diverted and I’d receive no greeting. I can give you countless examples of this type of treatment in Colorado and not one during my time in the south because as I said, the lines were crystal clear and so I never spent time in places I knew I wasn’t going to be welcomed.  In Colorado, that subtle dismissal of my very existences would be at random times, at random places. One day I’d be met with a semblance of respect and a polite attitude, at others, in the same place, I’d be shunned or eyed with great suspicion. As I got older, I realized it was subtle enough to keep me distrustful and always on edge – a state of mind and body that can wreck havoc on sleep, stress levels, and such.

 

Anyway, be sure to click the link above (Courageous Conversations…) and catch a glimpse at how folks in Denver are gearing up to begin talking about such things and hopefully, create some positive dialog and change in how humans are treated in the MileHi (and maybe beyond).

Thank you.

Love,

Dana

 

 

It’s Not That I Don’t Care…

Or that I’m not interested. It’s that it’s all still too much to take in. The never ending hate; the underlying fear that his shenanigans will trigger a nuclear World War III that will surely be the end of us all.

I continue to BE the love, respect, acceptance, and common sense I seek in what laughingly passes as our nation’s leadership at this point.

I speak up, speak out, and stand firm in my belief that there is some amazing good that will come from all of this.

And from my mom…

Subject: Fwd: here’s a promising way to help the activist fight

Since Paul Ryan has blocked his office phones and fax numbers, and is turning away people who show up to deliver petitions, it’s time to change tactics.
Please mail post cards to his home address saying NO to defunding Planned Parenthood, NO to repealing the ACA, NO to privatizing Medicare

and NO to preventing Muslims from entering our country

! (I’m sending one card for each.)Please copy and paste this info and share. Let’s see what 67 million cards in the driveway looks like!

Paul Ryan
700 St. Lawrence Ave.
Janesville, WI  53545
So yeah, it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I care too much and am stuck in the suffering part which for me, has me withdrawing as a means of protecting my psyche. I’m working now to overcome that part so I can function and keep moving forward; so I can apply my creativity to solutions.

Why Empathy is a Bad Thing

I care. I care deeply for ALL of us who are affected by the bullshit decisions our so called leaders (and this is across the board – look at the number of governments that promote greed, subjugation, segregation, slavery, hate, fear, and war as a means of “governing”) make on a daily basis. Make no bones about it – they won’t be the ones going to war, dying for a (pardon the pun here) trumped up cause (I’m finding it funny that trump in this case means FAKE), or being blown-up by terrorist bombs at innocent sporting events.
So yeah, I fucking care. I’m just not one to cry in public so excuse me if I come across as naive, or as if I’m burying my head in the sand in hopes of avoiding the ugliness. Believe me, I am far from being oblivious.
Stand strong loves. We are in for one hell of a dark ride.
I. LOVE. YOU.
Dana

Did it Happen?

We’re nine days in and I’m waiting for all these “new” people to show up.  The slogans were tossed about without any hesitation as they always are, “New Year, New You”…and the many variations.  Yet as I’ve gone about my days so far, I’m seeing a lot of the same, angry, afraid, zombies that I saw before the calendar page flipped and the fireworks (and AUTOMATIC GUN FIRE) went off. Oh sure, they may be running through the neighborhood with their flashy new running gear, or crowding up the gyms in their flashy new work out gear, but their faces…just look at their faces.  When they’re not aimed solely at their cell phones, that is.

I made no such promises this year. As I mentioned a post or so ago, I’m in a recovery of sorts. Recovering from 42 years of negative self-image, low self-esteem, and trying to figure out what I want to be when (IF) I grew up. First things first, realized I had spent most of those years trying to gain the love and acceptance of my dad; trying to be a person he would love and accept; a woman he thought was beautiful, and worthy of his time.  He’s been dead since 1999 (or 2001, I always get the date wrong…a Freudian based, deliberate forgetfulness perhaps?).

*Spoiler Alert* You can’t gain the approval of a dead person.  Who knew?

And about that growing up part. That was based on what I thought I was “supposed” to be like at this age. HA! I can remember when I was a pre-teen and I decided that adults were, to put it bluntly, f*@#$ in the head.  They had their moments of fun and frivolity, but for the most part, they were angry, tired, zoned out, disconnected, curmudgeons. They only seemed to have a good time if there was alcohol involved. They didn’t have dreams or goals they were working for, oh no.  They had JOBS and the only hope they had of finally getting to do the things they wanted to do was when and if they RETIRED WELL – as in retired and had enough money to do more than exist day to day until they died.  Yeah, well, at the ripe old age of about 9 or so, I decided that was not the life for me.

Forty years later and I noticed I’d accidently slipped into Adult. Oh, there were rebellions along the way. My mid 30’s to mid 40’s were the bomb! lol…I partied, I played, I was irresponsible to a certain extent. I was the fun parent who set relatively light boundaries on my kid (thank the Goddess she didn’t run amok).  Think Edina Monsoon from AB Fab and her daughter, Saffron.  Without the drugs.

I had a blast. An empty, joy deadening, blast.

Hmmm. Took a downward turn there, eh?  Where was I?  Oh yeah, so I look up and realize that I’d slipped into being THAT grown-up. So, I took myself to rehab and have been in recovery since November.

Between you and me…I think it’s working ;-).

Hope you’re “new year” is off to a good, strong, start.

Love,

Dana

 

The Christmas Card Campaign: Your Time to Spread Hope to Sevier County Residents

The Christmas Card Campaign: Your Time to Spread Hope to Sevier County Residents

Let’s do this :-).

Bloggin' Billy's

Dear Ones, it is time.

Time to share this blog post.

Time to blow up Social Media.

Time to spread a little love to Sevier County Tennessee residents who lost their homes in the Gatlinburg Chimney fires.

For those who have emailed me, asking how to help. I am inspired. It is time.

Let’s mail Christmas Cards to those who are in need: the displaced, the subleaser, the worker who had their hours cut back, the family with no Christmas tree.

Who is in?

Who wants to be a blessing?

Who wants to spread Peace, Love, Joy, Hope?ccard

You do, of course.

Here’s the deal: When you leave a comment I will respond with an email list of hard-working folk.

Once you obtain the names, please take it to prayer. Ask God to guide you. Should you send a Christmas Card? Money? A gift card?

As we say in the South…

View original post 131 more words

Dear Me,

(I’m on week five of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This is what came from yesterday’s Morning Pages.)

Epiphany – the sudden clarity of thought that exposes the deeper truth. I have epiphanies as I’m sure you do as well. You may have been wrestling with a problem, a decision that had to be made but each solution or choice didn’t FEEL like the truth until one moment, a light bulb came on and suddenly, your path was clearly lit.

Why did I stop publishing my work? Why did I stop working on my existing manuscripts? Why wasn’t I excited to look for opportunities to do readings, to schedule workshops? Why had my annual sojourn to the MileHi stopped inducing that giddy feeling of anticipation or excitement? Why was I feeling blocked, cut off from my passion? Why was I procrastinating on or avoiding altogether the few activities I knew would move me toward some long standing, positive, goals?

Epiphany – because my efforts to that point hadn’t resulted in what I deemed to be other’s show of acceptance, love, or admiration that ultimately was what I was seeking. I wanted my books to garner lots of fans to the point where they’d help me market my work, they’d talk about and share my books to the point where word of mouth would sell my books (allowing me to hide); I would be invited to speak to groups, asked to conduct workshops (allowing me to hide). I’d be featured here and there, gaining some level of notoriety which would then “prove” to my dad that he was wrong for not spending more time with me, for not telling me he loved me, or thought I was beautiful. I would prove to the bullies and ex-boyfriends that they were wrong for calling me ugly names, teasing me, excluding me, using me, molesting or hitting me. I would show them all that I am worthy!

I mean, look at all the people who buy my books, and listen to me when I do readings, or attend my workshops.  If all of that outside attention didn’t prove it then what would?

Well, that’s not how things work out. My workshops where hit and miss with attendance, so I lost my enthusiasm for them. My first book sold relatively well despite its issues, my next two books did okay, but I was losing my motivation to keep marketing the way I had been. I didn’t realize it at the time but hindsight, I wasn’t getting the response I wanted / craved, so I’d begun to retreat. The fourth book didn’t do as well as I’d hoped but by then, I’d stopped actively marketing my work. It felt too much like begging by then. My unrealistic expectation that  other’s reactions to my books / workshops / coaching  would “make” me worthy, wore me down. Each failure to sell, to raise the money, to save the money, to meet the deadline, to have people show up, highlighted (the lie) that I wasn’t worthy after all. I rushed into this or that scheme, plan, idea, in hopes that it would be The ONE.  Each time I fell short, not taking the time to realize the level of fantasy my expectation had reached was never going to be met by reality.

So, what did I do. I blocked. I stopped writing; stopped going out; stopped taking my walking breaks; I stopped doing anything that would allow the voice of my Muse and my Divinity to be heard. They told the truth, They exposed the fantasy.  They put the responsibility for my life back where it belonged (in my hands) and I didn’t want the responsibility. I wanted to blame my dad, the bullies, the folks who didn’t think my writing was the bomb. I filled up my time with activities that didn’t do squat to move me toward my desired feelings (that ultimately are my responsibility to generate). I spent hours watching YouTube videos, hours doing spreads in my BuJo that ultimately I ignored no sooner than they were done. I kept up the schemes and plans – throwing parties I knew wouldn’t be well attended; fitness challenges, the wedding, my Count Down to 50 and its accompanying group-site and list of activities NO ONE kept up with, including myself. I did any and everything to maintain that damn lie. To be unreliable, unworthy.

Epiphany – “Healing is as ugly as Healed is beautiful”, Danielle LaPorte.  I began the healing process four years ago now. I’m feeling just about as ugly as I can. Scattered. Untethered. Unsure of what to do next. Emotionally all over the place but where I “should” be.  But I am healing. So there’s that.

Please, bear with me a little longer. Please forgive me. Please breathe. We’re going to get through this and we will be better for it. Thank you, I love you.

Dana

This Morning’s Prayer

So the hate train has pulled into the station and its occupants are poised to be in power for a minute. Those of us being hated feel some modicum of fear. I get that. I also get that in order to become really good at something, “you have to get terrible out of the way.” In other words, you have to do something badly often enough that you get to a point where you’re not so bad. “Practice makes perfect” provided you’re paying attention and learning from your mistakes. Eventually, you’re going to get good.

Our country (well, let’s be honest, humanity as a whole), isn’t so good at inclusion, acceptance, managing fear, or governing its self. Each go round, as in each generation, we have our moments of suckage. Of truly terrible. But with each generation, we managed to learn a little something and suck a little less. The changes in the right direction aren’t obvious or very noticeable in the moment, but hindsight (history) shows the baby steps.

In light of that point of view, I’m choosing to believe this latest happening is the catalyst for the next forward step toward sucking just a little less. Another baby-step forward if you will that we’ll learn from and do better at next time.

I pray the suck doesn’t come with a massive loss of life but let’s face it, human nature.  There will be bloodshed.

I continue to BE the peace, tolerance, acceptance, love, courage, and faith I want to see in the world. Amen.

be-the-change

(from top to bottom, left to right:  Ghandi, Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Li Yinhe, Malcom X, Malala Yousafzai, MLK Jr., Gloria Steinem)

Love,

Dana