Anita is always on the left, not sure why, but that is the way it is here. She sits on the left in each photo.
She is left handed, as am I.
I am filled with grief. I cry on and off for several days now.
Because of the way she lived, I knew that she would go first and no more than second. We have 7 siblings and in varying degrees, we all chose our deaths at very young ages. For her it was alcoholism. When she got hepatitis, I wasn’t surprised, her unwillingness to complete treatment did surprise me. She was unrelenting in her addiction to alcohol. For several years she added cocaine into the mix.
In her twenties she had violent relationships with violent men. I often told my husband that she would cause me great sadness.
After mom died in 1996, I didn’t want to be around my sisters. I felt betrayed by the insensitivity (of course, we were all that way). Over the next fifteen years, after I left our hometown, I tried to stay away from them, particularly the twins, of which my dying sister is one.
I often thought that I could distance myself, that by being indifferent I could get away from being hurt by them.
I was oh so wrong.
I’ve never quite figured out love, or how it works. I don’t understand why I instantly love someone and not so much with others. I just don’t get it. As much as I tried not to love this woman (my sister) I did not help myself. I love her and I grieve for her now.
So I love these people, my sisters, whether I like it or not. To add an extra layer of fear, she is my “little” sister. How can that be so? How can she precede me into the darkness, into the space of no more?
I will give her what I can in her dying days. I will remind her that she is loved by others, whether she loves herself or not. I will communicate my love and I will leave no doubt. Oh my dying sister, you are leaving so soon, could we not have been different in that long ago time when we were all blondes? I miss you now and I will miss you then. Our love did not end, and now, I am happy that it did not. I am glad that I love you and that you hurt me still.
Humans believe that justice is attainable via Christianity and/or Karma. They see justice as a function of the universe. The popular conversation is as if injustices will be managed by the universe through Karma or through the use of an afterlife called hell.
So when the downtrodden and the poverty stricken are beaten down even more, they appease themselves by believing that the perpetrator will go to hell. The perpetrator will receive all kinds of payback at the hands of God or at the hands of the unforgiving universe. I propose that this is not true. Perpetrators do not receive revenge by the hands of God or through Karma. They live their lives with their ill-gotten gains and then die, happily grasping their ill-gotten gains.
By believing that the universe will dish out the evil-doers just desserts, we skip our own opportunities to deliver retribution or even (gasp) revenge. We allow people to get away with some really awful stuff, all the while saying to ourselves “he will get his someday, and then he won’t be so happy about taking away from me.”
Think of this concept from an historical perspective, when feudal lords in England and Europe were raping women and children and stealing from hardworking farmers, the Catholic church was busy telling the peasants, “you will receive your reward in heaven.” The peasants were comforted by these words and thoughts, and so the habits of repression could continue as long as the peasants could believe in a hereafter that gave them power and punished the sinner. It is these beliefs and habits that produced a careless princess who told the starving peasants to eat cake.
It is this way today in America. We have left the confines of religious beliefs behind, and yet now, Karma has taken over as the new revenge machine. Karma is ‘all the rage’ for the tormented women and other such victims of America. The word is used all over Facebook, Twitter and on Meme captions. We want to believe in Karma and in the revenge of a just God. This helps us to get through the suffering of the trauma of a hardship caused by another. It helps us to make sense of being victimized or of our loved ones being victimized.
I will never forget my girlfriend telling me that she needed to believe in karma, it was the only way she could live with the knowledge that her husband had beat her every day for ten years before she could get away from him. She said that if karma did not exist that it would hurt her terribly to know that nothing would happen to the man who had inflicted such suffering on herself.
No, I thought, though I did not say, he died and he got away with it. No one hit him back, he never went to jail, he never suffered the horrifying fear of knowing that another beating was coming at any moment. He got away with beating his wife every day for ten years.
So, if you know that your perpetrator, that your bully, will get away with whatever that person is doing to you, would you be more likely to want to pursue justice yourself? Would you be more willing to make sure that your perpetrator faced a judge and some justice? Would you be less likely to hope that karma resolves your need for revenge? Would you be less likely to wait for heaven or hell to get your justice? I think so.
We cannot wait for “outside” to bring justice. We must take justice into our own hands. We must make sure that some future promise is not what we are hoping for. We must make justice now.
This is never to say that vengeful violence is the option to pursue. This is to say that we must speak up, we must pursue justice ourselves and not leave it to others, nor leave it to the universe. We must seek it by telling others of the crime, by ensuring that potential victims are aware of the perpetrator’s history. We must, ourselves, block further efforts of the perpetrator to commit more crimes. This includes the idea that we must protect our own self from others. We must never allow ourselves to be beaten and stolen from. Report the criminal behavior. Even if no one believes you, the perpetrator is sure to continue the behavior and someone will eventually believe you. Your story will help keep others from being hurt.
Remember the saying “My reward may be in Heaven, but rent is due here on Earth”. Use this wisdom as your guide, don’t be a victim of anyone.
And why not, she has certainly earned it? She is not the simpering miss telling people what to do just to prove power. Instead she is a strong and experienced woman, who does know. She knows you.
Yes she understands you, and yes, you are even a bit scared of her. You are scared of the depth of her understanding. She reminds you of your mother, or perhaps your grandmother.
Maybe she is prettier than you, or smarter than you. Maybe she is successful and has power. Perhaps she has more money than you or a handsome husband.
So you hate her and you want to hurt her. She has done nothing to you, except to be. You will try very hard to destroy her . You don’t need evidence that she has committed a crime, All you need is your own fear of her. You are afraid that she knows you, you are afraid that she is “better”than you, so you will not forgive her.
You will do anything to destroy her and remove her, how dare she be better than you, how dare she be better than a man?
Her name is Hillary Clinton.
We can do better, as women, we will do better.
It’s time, we must take back our power and we will. We will take back our power by working together, by supporting each other and by believing – in each other.
There is something primal about love for children. Specifically, it is a love that has no cause, it is simply consuming; part of the universal law of survival. To concern ourselves with our offspring is to ensure that life goes on. Perhaps this is why parental love is so enduring and encompassing. It must be, or humans would perish from the earth. (I digress.)
My daughter, my youngest, coincidentally, also the smallest. She is the fiercest mother I know. She has had to be, the challenges are astronomical. I have heard that her situation is more and more common in today’s world. My daughter is held hostage 800 miles from her home and family because of the fact that she had a child with a resident of a state that she visited. This hostage situation has turned into the worst nightmare for her and (of course) by extension to her family.
The most common activities that I can take for granted with my other grandchildren are an impossibility. My daughter has two sons, both handsome, smart and kind. I cannot see them unless I buy a plane ticket and they are an impossible driving distance away. (But enough about me.)
Imagine my daughter’s life, no familial support, an ugly and mean man as the father of one of her sons. Every time she works she needs a paid babysitter, must do all of the driving, and all details of life sit squarely on her shoulders. Getting the boys to school Monday morning can be a huge ordeal because her work schedule may keep her into the wee hours of the day. Most difficult, most painful, is the fact that she is alone – and for the time being – nothing can change that. So when a trauma occurs; can you imagine the length of the long distance calls? When that trauma cannot be remedied; can you imagine the tears cried into a pillow, no strong shoulder to cry on here? When the worry for her children cannot be abated, the suffering begins to show in her body, her eyes, her life. Because this suffering has gone on so long, it becomes a pervasive part of this life.
I know for sure that this suffering will end. It has been going for so long, I know that it must stop. In the meantime what damage has been done? What hurts have been internalized?
I also know for sure that the best path for me is not to be her mother and tell her what and how to do. This fierce woman is in survival mode. My best path is to be the quiet and kind friend. Please, please God, deliver us from this evil and give me back my daughter and grandsons.
My challenge is this: why aren’t we women defining society? We understand, we acknowledge the different faces of the human condition. As women, we should be defining the societal structures of being human in America. It’s ok to be weak, it’s ok to be sick, it’s ok to be ignorant, why add insult to injury and shame those less capable than the strong?
This strength thing has become its own illness, in the sense that lots of people say and think, “I don’t need anyone and I don’t need anything.” This can go past the point of wisdom and could even cause self harm. Look at those who die after refusing medical help, or women who are murdered by a husband or boyfriend because they refuse to go to the police?
This norm of strength is fostered by our society. Perhaps it is the pushback from the way people are treated when they are in economic need. Our society is not very nice to the poverty stricken, but again that is because we all believe in this notion that strength is enough to overcome anything.
Needy people are normally put down, made fun of, ostracized and of course, they are deprived of very real and very normal opportunities. This can become a hamster wheel of frustration along with denial that keeps those in need – in need.
How do we balance all of this out? Strength and weakness, need and satisfaction? How do we ensure equality in spite of the fact that not all humans are strong? Those that are strong, what price do they pay to exhibit that strength?
I hope you admire the beauty in others. I hope you know that you are as important as any other human being and as important, that you treat other women as if they are important also.
We deserve to be loved for our being. We don’t deserve to be thrown away at age 40. We have the power and with each other, we are ridiculously strong. It is up to us to redefine the social structure. It’s up to us to make women important, to make beauty unimportant. It is up to us to give meaning to just being.
We can’t possibly create equality if women will not support each other. It is just too difficult to navigate through society and to deal with another woman’s hatred, jealousy or condescension. How can we show the world women’s strength and power, if what we do to each other is brutal?
So please be beautiful inside and out, proud and happy with your looks, with your brain and with other women. It’s our only route to equality and ultimately to equanimity.
Who are you to tell me that cauliflower is better for me than potato, you put butter on them and they become the same?
The fact of the matter is that women my age need 400 less calories per DAY, not week, not month, but day, every day. That’s right, because older women need less calories, we often gain weight. Do you know why women my age need less calories? Because for the last million years older women have sacrificed their own needs for others eventually responding to “survival of the fittest” we made our bodies work on less. We just don’t need as much as men or as the young. We get by, we thrive, we live on less.
Now, in this day and this age, women my age don’t need to eat less, because there is more food in this world. We just need more patience to put up with people who give advice without knowledge.
- Understand that there is billions of dollars in advertising aimed at you *to get you* to believe certain things that the marketing industry is selling: Here I state the opposite of those commercials.
- You do NOT need expensive shampoo to get clean hair.
- You do NOT need an expensive hair color to feel “worth it”.
- You do NOT need to buy $231.00 of make up to “feel pretty”.
- You do NOT need to wear size 2 in order to be sexy, or pretty.
- You are being virtually bombarded with untrue images of women on a minute-by-minute basis.
- Use this information to gain what you want, not to be what “they” want.
- Do not believe that your life is about sex and sexuality: it is not. Sex is an important part of life, yet it is only a part.
- What you look like and who you are is separate, it is not the same.
Listen, listen to your body. Again, the advertising industry wants you to believe that you need, or you must purchase something in order to have good health or perfect digestion. Your body will tell you what you need. Read research on appropriate self care, and then listen to your body. Your body will tell you what kind of vitamins you need and when. I did in-depth research about why I was craving chocolate before my menstrual cycle. I found out that I was missing a crucial dose of magnesium. I began taking magnesium for a week each month and I was able to get chocolate cravings under control.
Listen, listen to your intuition. Your own intuition will never steer you wrong. You know when you are making a mistake, when that voice in the back of your head starts screaming “Stop!”, listen to the voice, it is your own voice, it never steers you wrong.
Be proud of who you are. I was 13 years old when I became aware of ‘Jordache’ jeans. I remember thinking “I don’t want someone else’s name on my behind.” There is no designer who is as good about your looks as you are and you can be proud of that.
This is letter number one, there is more, so much more to being a woman.