Ending the Cycle of Violence

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The recent mass shooting Pulse in Orlando FL, affected me more than the other mass shootings that have occurred within the past few years. (The fact that I can even refer to there being more than on mass shooting within the past few years disturbs me deeply) This mass shooting hit close to home for me and every other person who considers themselves a part of the LGBT community at large.

A lot of information has surfaced about Omar Mateen of late.

  • Over the past few weeks evidence has surfaced that Omar Mateen was acting out of revenge and not as part of Isis as he stated in his phones calls with law enforcement.
  • A former lover of Omar’s who referred to himself as Miguel, told Univision in an exclusive interview that Mateen had had sex with him as well as two men from Pulse. One of the men may have been HIV+.
  • In an interview with the New York Times,Sitora Yusufiy, Mateen’s first wife, described Mateen as incredibly abusive and says she was only able to escape with the help of her family.
  • There is some evidence that Mateen mentioned researching ant-psychotic medications the day of his attack on Pulse.

I have no idea why anyone would commit such a heinous act against innocent people.

But I have a theory about hate and violence.

My theory is that there is a cycle of hate that leads to horrendous behavior.

I believe the cycle goes something like this:

  • A person feels bad about themselves. They are deeply insecure.
  • They begin seeking ways to lash out at other people to feel better about themselves and release anger.
  • They begin to feed on the anger of lashing out. It becomes like a high. It gives them the feeling of being superior and inflates their ego.
  • Being angry feels good and powerful. It gives them the sense that they have power thus it allows them to ignore their feelings of insecurity. This feeling of power becomes addictive.
  • The more they participate in the cycle of hate, the more their behavior has to escalate because it takes more to “feed” their addiction. Thus leading to increasingly violent acts.

Make no mistake; violent acts come in many forms.

For example, Donald Trump’s self-centered response to the Pulse massacre on Twitter was a violent act.

Every church group who has used and will use this heinous tragedy to justify protesting at the funerals of the victims is committing an act of violence.

I know the question on everybody’s minds is: What do we do about this?

I think we need to practice greater love and tolerance.

I believe that how we show up in life affects the our world as a whole. I believe this more that I believe anything else. One act of kindness by one person ripples out into the world.

The brilliant Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew this truth and spent his all to short life working to make the world understand it.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said:

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.

Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

Through violence you may murder the liar,

but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

Through violence you may murder the hater,

but you do not murder hate.

In fact, violence merely increases hate.

So it goes.

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,

adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness:

only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that “

What we can do is show up in life with kindness and love even when it is the most difficult thing to be done. The time for justifiable anger has passed. It isn’t making our world any better.

I know we can’t change any one. I certainly can’t make people stop hating people like me and saying we will all “burn in hell” or that the Orlando attack was the “will of God”.

But what I do know is this: If I hate I am a part of the problem. If I allow myself to put other people down for any reason I am getting into the cycle of hate. I believe that would be the ultimate mistake.

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Patterns

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The patterns that I keep repeating in romantic relationships can no longer be ignored. They surface in waves of unwanted revelation. Theses waves of truth wash over me and are forcing me to get completely honest with myself.

Although I am aware of the patterns, I have absolutely no idea WHY I keep repeating them.

I’m going to start online therapy to address these issues. It has a very high success rate as your therapist is accessible twice a day as opposed to once a week. I’ll keep you posted.

The Patterns:

  1. Someone shows an interest in me and I start to pursue them. I have always begun my relationships with people that gave me their attention. I chose to be with them based on their attention to me not my interests in them. In some cases, I wasn’t even attracted to them.
  2. I have never “dated”. I have always started a physical relationship quickly. I always make these encounters into love relationships. Even when I have only wanted a “hook up” I will try to make it more meaningful than it is or should be.
  3. I will stay after multiple “red flags”. I will ignore the warnings. EVERY SINGLE TIME they will turn out to be abusive but I will bend, mold, and compromise myself to make the relationship work. In my late teens and early 20’s I had two relationships that were physically abusive. All of the rest of my relationships have been mentally and emotionally abusive.
  4. EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT I HAVE EVER BEEN ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED WITH HAS UNADDRESSED MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. Cutting, depression, what may have been untreated bi-polar disorder, anger issues, etc.

 

Perhaps the greatest truth that I am facing is how incredibly ashamed and scared I am of what my family, some of my friends, and society will think of me. I am struggling with the fact that one of reasons that I have gotten into relationships with men so quickly is because I am deeply attracted to women. And being in a committed relationship with a man protected me from having to face the possible rejection of my family, friends, or society.

This is only a very small piece of the puzzle. My past relationships or encounters with women have included all of the above patterns minus the physical abuse.

I feel like a coward. I DO NOT LIKE CARING ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME OR MY CHOICES.  In all other aspects of my life I don’t care.  Hiding this aspect of myself from the world due to shame feels like a betrayal not only to myself but to the people in my life who are members of the LGBT community that I love deeply, support completely, and celebrate always.

Please know that my intention here is to help others on their journey by sharing my own. PLEASE GIVE PITY TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN NEED NOT TO ME. And no matter what: NEVER HIDE YOUR TRUTH FROM ME. I will never judge you. 

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We Are Sacred

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A couple of years ago, I decided to make the day before Mother’s Day my own personal day. I’ve decided to call it My Other’s Day instead of Not a Mother Day. My Other’s Day has a more positive ring to it don’t ya think? 🙂 I realized quite some time ago that as a childless woman there is no celebration for me or those who are like me.

Childless women nurture the world by giving of their time and energy. We are the ones who pick up the slack, drive sick friends to appointments, rescue those in need, volunteer at various charities and organizations, answer the phone calls in the middle of the night, take the nieces and nephews to give the parents a much needed break. We are the confidants, the ones who can be trusted to show up when no one else is able. We stand in when a “Mom” is needed and the biological one is unable to be present (these are the moments we treasure). We are the friends you can always count on. And we still show up to help the Mother’s in our lives celebrate the children they were blessed with. We like the countless Facebook photos of cute babies and kids that Mom’s proudly post. We, celebrate birthdays, births, and milestones. We spend hundreds of dollars a year on gifts for the precious children that are not our own. And we love each and every one of those children with our whole hearts. We really get how special and important they are!

Women who are childless not by choice are sacred beings. We give of the time we have that is not filled with caring for children without asking for acknowledgement, gifts, or praise.

 

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To all of my sisters who did not get to be mothers: take today and acknowledge yourself. Do something nice for yourself. The world could not function without the contributions you make.

And please know how very special and important you are to me!

From the loss, the Blessings

Recently, I have been giving in to the flow of life and living in the present moment to the best of my ability.

I have struggled in the recent past. Approaching my 50’s while living in my mother’s house, childless, changing careers and single was not the direction I expected my life to take.

To help the Mothers understand a little better

However, the things that did not work out have given me the greatest blessings.

From the loss, the BLESSINGS:

Childlessness – If I had children I would not have been available to help my friends. I was recently able to help a couple I care deeply about relocate after here after some difficulties they faced. One of them is the daughter I didn’t have. Her partner is one of my favorite people. There is no one else I would want her to be with.  Sharing their progress and watching them thrive is a great blessing in my life.

I have been able to help one of my dearest friends move into our home temporarily and find the proper care she needs for some health challenges. Participating in her progress and watching her become heathier and happier is one of the single most joyful experiences of my life.

Broken relationship – My last relationship taught me that I need to be on my own for now. I need the freedom to simply figure out how to live as an individual. For the moment, I am building a life that I am enjoying very much on my own.

Changing careers – I am learning what trusting a power greater than myself really means! The greatest blessing in my quest for a new job is learning to let go of my expectations.

The blessings have always been here. I just couldn’t see them until I gave into the flow of life and accepted the gifts it was so patiently trying to give me.

Peace is a Commitment.

quote-nonviolence-means-avoiding-not-only-external-physical-violence-but-also-internal-violence-martin-luther-king-15-90-33 Over the past few weeks I have come to realize that peace is a commitment. I made a decision to give my will and my life to the care of a power greater than myself more than a decade ago. And I am a Buddhist. Therefore, non-violence and peace are the principles that I want to practice.

It has been easy to keep my commitment to peace when life is normal and all is well. However, I have given up my commitment at the drop of a hat on many occasions when people “don’t act right” or “everything goes wrong”.

In other words: when it’s convenient I keep my commitment to my principals.

However, I have realized that I must keep my commitment even when it is difficult. 

Not doing so is like saying “Oh I’m not going to drink anymore but I’m still going to the bar every night.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said that Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit.

It’s an inside job.

And if I am truly going to remain open I cannot fight against anything or anyone. I have to accept what comes and feel what I feel about it without trying to make it be something that it isn’t. If something or someone is not good for me I simply need to walk away instead of attempting to bend it or them to my will.

This doesn’t mean that I’m achieving saint hood or that I think I’m better than anyone else.

Honestly, I’m just tired of fighting. My inner peace means too much.

 

Remain Open

Epiphanies come upon me of late like waves crashing on the shore. Within the past few weeks I have come to understand that I have been standing in my own way.

I mostly have done this through my impossible expectations. I will have a picture in my mind of how things are supposed to be.

I will fall off of the edge and into the pit of dark despair when the picture never comes to fruition. I set expectations for myself that are not humanly possible to meet.

With people I will not trust what I see and know within myself about them because I want to believe the picture I create of them more than I want to know the truth they show me. When I can no longer push the truth down and it doesn’t match the picture I have created, I feel betrayed. I feel like I have failed.

Iyanla Vanzant sums up the reason my relationships failed

My only goal right now is to remain open. As a result, I am very sensitive and emotional lately. I find myself getting choked up and/or crying easily.

I am profoundly afraid. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen or what I am doing. I never really did. I don’t think anyone does. However, up until very recently, I had those pictures that I had created. And I thought I was headed toward them.

My heart has been cracked wide open. I will allow it to remain so. Sprit has been guiding me to simply BE OPEN. So, I will simply be afraid. I will be confused. I will cry or become teary. I won’t apologize for it. I believe I am being guided to truly embrace all that happens instead of resisting it.

Epiphanies while driving last week

 

David Bowie: The loss of something deep and profound

bowieSIDE-WKP-091914_1I cried this morning when I heard that David Bowie had died. And, I must confess, I cried though out the day while I listened to his music. Bowie’s music has been a part of the sound track of my life since I was a child. When I was a much younger person he influenced everything from the way I dressed to the odd poems and journal scribbling’s that I wrote often in an altered state.

I always felt like he was singing Rebel Rebel to me as a young new-wave/punk girl who had very short hair and too much make up.

Rebel Rebel is my favorite David Bowie song. What’s yours?

He meant something deep and profound to me.

I know for certain that many of my friends feel exactly the same way.

David Bowie’s last album Black Star was released on Friday. It is absolutely beautiful. In fact, it’s one of the best albums he’s recorded. It’s atmospheric, melancholy, melodic, and strange in the best way. Bowie made this record while he was dying of cancer. It was released on his 69th birthday. The fact that he could make a record this good under such circumstances proves that he was a one of a kind talent that the world is likely to never see again.