Saturday, September 26, 2009

Breaking the Silence of the Glass House

I rarely watch the "morning show(s)" on ABC, NBC or CBS--but today, I somehow got caught up in NBC's Saturday Morning Show. Lester Holt, who has never really impressed me, continued in that vein when he interviewed Mackenzie Phillips. Now, perhaps he was doing and asking what so many would ask, if they had not understood, or experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse and/or emotional abuse at the hands of a family member or a stranger.

We all know Mackenzie Phillips as the drug addict, and actor. In fact, she will always be labelled "addict" be it, recovering or otherwise. However, her addiction does not negate her experience as an incest survivor.

Holt asked her whether the drugs clouded her mind; and, further, whether this "cloud" some how brought about the fiction of the "memory" of sexual abuse done to her by her father. WOW, Lester--bring it down a notch. And, for anyone else who does not want to believe her, or her experience--please take note. This is "hers" and "her" experience, alone. Respect the pain a person has from their perspective. She was already "victimized;" and, now, the judgment of her "coming out" causes society to place her in the position of being a "victim" again?

Now someone may say this next statement is a "stretch," but, well, then, let me flex.

This summer, and now fall of 2009, has introduced us as humans to quite an exhaustive wave of emotion, as we, "the public," have endured several celebrity deaths which have resulted in our having to take a look at their lives and the labels we gave then while living--as either being the "victim "or "perpetrator" or both....

Let's examine this statement by looking at Michael Jackson.

Society labeled him a predator, pervert, pedophile, and, well just weird--and when he died--no was killed--excuse me, we were all given a lens as we looked back onto, and into his life. And, just like Jesus--we "wept." Our collective tears realized this "weird guy" label had perverted the collective, us, making "us" the predators and pedophiles because our very myopic lens which defined "worthiness" twisted our judgmental of him and who he was--ourselves.

He wasn't a pedophile. He wasn't a pervert. He was the biological father of his children. He wasn't irresponsible. He was human. And, a man who suffered as a child at the hands of a parent/abuser who physically taught him how to hate himself so very much that he changed his appearance as a result. And when he died, not only did we not know him--but we knew him not--even unto his utter appearance. Our lens needed "clearing." The tears of his daughter, Paris, provided the psychological cleaning fluid for our myopic selves allowing us to, see our own rejection within the vision of this, our, Man in The Mirror.

Sexual abuse at the hands of family is devastating. I give Mackenzie Phillips and those in her family who have supported her in this nightmare, applause.

My research has shown that women who suffer sexual abuse usually come to an understanding of it somewhere in their 30s or 40s accepting its reality and dealing with its devastation. Often the very memory of "it" is something they have repressed. Usually their family is very happy with them as long as this memory remains just that..somewhere in the recesses of their mind--almost as though the very thought of it cannot be real--so the apology for its inference calls for repentance.

The repression of such memories often is costly for the victim. Usually it causes one relationship after the next to fail because the pain of the sexual abuse is something the victim is taught she somehow caused. Moreover, she is taught not to trust in anyone or anything that is real because the reality of the abuse is something she has been taught to ignore, or poo poo as not "real." Therefore, she is taught how to survive as a being who is not "worthy." In fact, one such victim I encountered told me her parent would refer to her as, "worthless." The parent would tell her she, "made [him] sick;" and, "[he] could not stand her." Even, well after this victim had become a lawyer and judge, the parent would lament in this way causing this victim to act out on herself , seeking some way to fail in order to prove her parent right and receive love and acceptance by her family. That particular victim was sexually abused by a family friend from the age of 0 to 4. In fact her mother taught the victim to refer to the family friend as her, "boyfriend;" and the mother would say to this particular victim that she and the predator would, "marry" when the victim grew older. The perpetrator was 18 years older than the victim. The father of this same victim during those same years would take the victim with him when he cheated on her mother as he went to visit his "women." As a child this, victim, now lawyer/judge, would observe her father having "sex" with women other than her mother. When this particular victim woke up in her 40s and confronted both the perpetrator and the parents, everyone stopped speaking to the victim. I told her, she was no longer the victim, but the Victor because the mere act of being able to confront her abusers made them flee.

Often, women who have suffered in this way emerge on the "other" side once they have learned to let go of the shame associated with the past they inherited; which is often very different from the future that they learn to build. This emancipation, however, or "letting go" is often seen as a threat to the functioning of the "family." It is as though the victim is told to somehow keep the family feeling autonomous at the expense of the victim who somehow pays for her abuse through ridicule, abandonment and hate. In fact in many instances the "family" chooses to ignore the reality of the victim's pain choosing instead the unconditional pleasure of using the power of the ignoring of the victim's pain in hopes of the continuation of the victim's demise. And, if the victim is not careful and doesn't know how to transition, she will suffer failure and prove the "family" somehow right. After all, she is--worthless.

Another "victim," who later became a Victor, told me of her mother making her "clean her brother's ass," at dinner when he, up until he was 9 years old, would leave the dinner table to bowel. Upon the completion of his "business," he would scream, "I'm finished." The mother would make the daughter, who was the sexually abused for years leave the dinner table to "clean the ass of her brother." This same mother would refuse to buy this victim underwear and she would give her the underwear she, the mother, discarded instead of buying the daughter her own underwear. The daughter/sexually abused child./victim, was never taught to think anything was wrong with any of these actions, conditions or family "rules." In fact, they would laugh as though it was, "normal." However one day she woke up and transformed from victim to Victor. Her family does not speak to her either--including her brother.

Thus, we see the glass is shattered when the victim breaks the silence in the house causing the perpetrators reality to shatter as she shows him his "Man in The Mirror." Mackenzie Phillips did this. Maybe Lester Holt was uncomfortable because it was too real. In fact, the realness of her story has allowed others to also be transformed, to speak up, to leave victim and become Victor after all, so many of these victims are fueled by the fear of abandonment; however, as the victims fear of reality is transformed into the love of self permitting the lens of truth to let the light in through the cracked reality of dysfunction--they are set free.

Mazel to the McKenzie's of this world who bravely stand up to speak truth.......

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marriage: Is it Bliss, Obsolete--or merely the Agony of Deceit

MSNBC had the most interesting discussion this morning about the 21st Century meaning and purpose of marriage. Is it bliss, obsolete, or just deceit? In science we talk about something called the null hypothesis-which defined is "neither..." So what is its meaning and/or purpose?

On my Facebook page, this morning I said the following: "You have to give it to MSNBC! Where else on cable news could you get coverage on Obama meeting with the Pope while a discussion is going on about 'Gay Lifestyle vs. Gay Life', the "uselessness" of marriage in the 21st Century--with a great picture of Obama checking out "de young boom boom" of one of the Italian beauty "queens"....FABULOUS imitation of life, love and the pursuit of happiness with a hint of "sacrament"..."

The 21st Century marriage statistics are these: 40% to 50% of marriages end in divorce and 6.4 million Americans as of 2007 prefer to, and do, live together as opposed to being bound and married. It is reported that most marriages these days do not last more than 20 years. Moreover, the incidence of those choosing "not" to be married is on the rise. Are we looking at a new definition of "marriage" in the 21st Century? Or is it just the same old thing.

The Ozzie and Harriet example of marriage that dictated the American road map to marital bliss is what many of us 35 to 55 somethings grew up observing. Two parents, who "stayed" together, because somehow the paper they signed in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s had invisible "glue," which could not, or more likely, should not, be broken because, well Ozzie and Harriet, along with the Pope and Jesus somehow said, "God Forbid." But, did God really forbid?

Let's look at this.

We all know Solomon was a great man in the Bible, and he had concubines. David was even greater, and he wanted Bathsheba so, he had Bathsheba's husband killed in battle. Let's look at Lot who slept with his two daughters and bore his next generation. BUT What about Abraham? THE Mac Daddy. Sarah, his wife, who got the "Word," from God told Abraham to sleep with her maid servant, Hagar, because--although she got the Word from God--she did not believe Him or that her 90 year old body could conceive. So, Abraham gladly obeyed, enjoyed some bliss with his wife's maid servant, Hagar, and produced Ishmael--the father of Islam. And, then, Sarah conceived and together they produced, Isiah--the father of Israel. But God really did forbid.....the dissolution of marriage. Or, did He? And, if we are supposed to be married with one partner, what do we say to Paul in the new testament who wrote all those lovely "tales" telling women to be their husbands, "servants"--even though he, himself had a "thorn in his own side and n e v e r married. Or, God forbid, Mary, who was pregnant before she got married to Joseph with a child from the "Divine baby Daddy,"--God.

Forget the Bible, the Torah, the Koran...lets look at reality.

One commentator said on MSNBC this morning, "maybe marriage should be like a work contract, after 5 years it can be terminated." Legally, marriage IS a contract. If we are to look at it strictly through the laws of contract then we would understand that with each contract there is something called mutual assent. In lay terms, " a mutual meeting of the minds." In fact, a "mirror" image of the minds. But how realistic is that? Today is a beautiful day, to me...and to someone else the clouds in the sky could signal quite the opposite. One thing we could mutually agree upon regarding this 80 degree, sun with cloud day would be that it isn't raining. However, while we may agree it is not raining, do we really agree that it is a nice day? Isn't marriage something like this too? And, if it is, is there truly mutuality of assent once that paper is signed? Have we really worked out all of the kinks?

Two people fall, "in love." They have that giddy feeling. They enjoy each other's company, and then say--hey let's do this for the rest of our lives. Do what? Have a giddy feeling? What happens when the rubber hits the road and you both walk outside on a sunny day with some clouds in the sky and you look at each other and the husband says, "honey, there are clouds in the sky," while the wife says, "what a beautiful day!" Is there still mutuality of assent, a meeting of the minds, a giddy feeling....albeit, love?

Oh, let me be more 21st century about this. Do you really think that waking up to the same person for 50 years doesn't get a little tedious? Today, the camera's caught President Obama "checking out" the butt of a beauty queen in Italy. We all know Michelle has got "back," but, President OB was taking a look. Is there anything wrong with that? Or, what about Governor Sanford, who said his paramour in Argentina was his 'soul" mate, but he would remain faithful to his wife and try to "work things out." Isn't this just par for the course? Or do we take exception and use the posit by Ozzie and Harriet and say "no, no no no..."

What many of us now realize is this--marriage is considered a contract because it is work. Its easy to be single. My single friends generally do not have gray hair and wrinkles. Many still have their physiques and figures and they come and go as they please. Waking up to the same face, other than your own, every day, is an option--kind of like getting leather seats or cloth in your new Volvo. Many of my single friends grew up in homes where their parents lived, hopelessly, under the fiction of the "marital bliss" rule theorized by the writers of Ozzie and Harriet --which somehow meant--"grin and bare it." Many of us who were born during the turbulent, free wielding times of the mid 20th century where women burned their bras, and marijuana flowed freely, looked at our parent's marriage example and said...."me too?"--with a very pained grimace.

The 21st Century presents us with the question: "whether marriage should somehow be reshaped and reinterpreted to "fit" within the prescripts of the new day and age." However, are we really doing anything any differently than we have ever done from ancient or Biblical times to the present. In the Bible you had adultery, single parents, single people--throughout history for those who do not look to the Bible for anything--we have had adultery, single parents, single people...What is there to define? It is what it is.

Marriage is whatever you want to or don't want to make it. Faithful, fine. Adulterous, fine. Single, fine. Straight, fine. Gay, with a "thorn" in your side, fine. Living together, fine. Marriage should be whatever you make it in your head and heart. The minute it is defined, is the minute you need to question your original motivation in order to determine whether there was any mutual assent at the time of the contract. If not, then it may not be a breach because the two of you were NEVER on the same page.

So, in answer to the question...I choose the null hypothesis...Marriage is neither.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Morality vs. Reality and WWJD?

He who is without sin, please, for me, cast the first stone....

I think we have come so very far only to see we have travelled absolutely no where. Mark Sanford is merely a person, who happens to be a politician--who won enough political "games" to have been elected Governor. That is ALL he is.

I have always been worried about those who take themselves too seriously. This includes those who ask WWJD--What Would Jesus Do? Is the religious right wrong in its ability to recognize the difference between morality and reality? In fact, have they been derelict in THEIR duty to read the Bible, and understand that we merely "see through a glass darkly," never really knowing God's purpose or Divine plan. Moreover, in the Bible, doesn't it say, in the Old Testament that God identified Himself as, "I Am." Doesn't this mean that He is the one who maps morality and as mere "men" we live in the reality that mistakes happen. Doesn't the Bible say we are "constantly" striving toward perfection? Has the religious right, who wants to inculpate itself within and without the definition of "Republican," "Conservative," and, " Social Conservative" forget the lessons of the Bible?

Look at Solomon and his concubines; or, Lot, and his daughters; or, Abraham and his "mistake" of having listened to Sarah which lead him to copulate with Hagar producing the nation of Ishmael--which turned out not to be a mistake at all. If these great men, and leaders of the Bible were to be cast out, we would not only have a huge chunk of the Old Testament and Torah missing, but the lessons of forgiveness, salvation and restoration would never have been written so that we could understand our reality in the face of morality.

I think we should sit back and distinguish between the psychological affect of having been hurt by a loved one; and the political effect of a sworn government official being derelict in his duties by leaving a State unattended for 5 days when the country the state is located in is presently in two wars, economically strained, and politically in turmoil. Whether, "Maria," had a great figure--or moreover, whether people are angry about the "time-line" of Governor Sanford's tan line--is immaterial. He has to answer to a much higher authority regarding his "moral" choices. Politically, he has to answer to the State.

Tyler Perry in his movie, "The Diary of an Angry Black Woman," portrays the wife of a very successful lawyer as initially helpless and vindictive when he kicks her out of "his" house and into the street. Personally, I did not like, nor could I relate to this film because as a professional, well educated woman in the same age-group as the one portrayed in the film--I could not imagine how anyone would have to be so very dependent on another, a partner, for survival. Nonetheless, many women could relate to this aspect of the film. In fact, when listening to accounts of the Governor's wife, news commentators said, "she left a very successful Wall Street Career 15 years ago," to marry the now Governor Sanford. Okay, that is what she did--and successfully until things, "fell apart." Does this mean we are to sit in judgment for what happened between these two individuals in their marriage that they voluntarily entered into? Are we, as observers, supposed to 'opine' erring on the side of morality and dictate the dissolution of a marriage, family, career and life?

Governor Sanford in his, "confession," said, "I hurt, her, you all, my wife, my boys..."--his choice of priority regarding who he hurt was also his choice of morality regarding what he did. However, does his choice of words and morality supersede his dereliction of duty? What if the conference he attended a year ago in Argentina was funded by the State of South Carolina? And, moreover, what if it turned out to be a "two-fer" for the State and his personal, social-sexual prowess? Then we have a problem of misappropriation of funds--which could be prosecuted criminally. We already know his proclivity caused him to be negligent leaving the state in the various precarious position of being unmanned, unattended and without leadership or direction.

Just remember, religious right and others--What Would Jesus Do? After all, we as mere mortals are not....Divine....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fox News and the Obama controversey

People in Iran are being killed for having a voice. Interesting, this election is similar to what happened here in America in 2000--only difference is those who opposed the take over of the US Presidency by the right, were not allowed to have a voice. And, the idea that the election was stolen was poo pooed by the right. In fact, John McCain who probably would have been elected in 2000 and was railroaded by those on the right who were willing to place a legacy into the US Presidency instead of someone, like McCain who would have created a legacy for 21st Century America spoke out yesterday in opposition to what is going on in Iran summoning America to stand up and speak out. Perhaps for his own purposes, or was it but a flashback to the thunder which was stolen from him by a push into the abyss call a Bush.

What does this have to do with Fox?

Afghanistan is turning into our 21st Century Iran/Contra Affair. We have all the ingredients--heroin, poppy seeds, illegal gun trading, drug lords, radical jihad gun smugglers, illegal rebel gun is a veritable pot of Shepherd's Stew mixed with "soft money" from government regimes in their effort to hide the fact that things are escalating toward the point of no control.

What does this have to do with Fox and Obama?

In April, the G20 mandated that the US President create a Czar for the "money" in America, and that that appointed Czar would answer to an international Czar from the EU who would oversee monies in America and their distribution. This mandate was given by the G20 and it was to be established and implemented within 12 months of the April meeting. Interestingly, all of the US car companies are now joined by European and Asian car manufacturers--who inevitably will be producing US Military Tanks. There has been a tremendous reduction in military spending, yet non-existing money, resources and taxes are being thrown into a national health care system--which if not prescribed to will lead to the taxation of the health benefits of employees--most of whom can barely afford the co-pay.

Where are you Fox?

Fox network today and yesterday complained that the US President did not visit their studios, give them an interview and moreover, snubbed them for Dora the Explorer. Get over it Fox--each dog has its day. There are much more important issues to cover, which will eventually compel explanation of same.