Cataloging Abuses and Moving Forward

Here we are, at the one-year mark on the biggest disaster in my lifetime to hit this nation; the election that brought about The Trumpocalypse.

Everyone I know is experiencing a level of triggering regarding trauma that is profound. Some of us seem very awake to that triggering. We are aware of the behavioral data that confirms our patterns of response to ongoing abusive behaviors. We know that this republican administration and its actions are triggering us just as a batterer does. Others continue to wander about, dazed and confused. Recent polls indicate that those who voted for Trump continue to be content with the chaotic world he has plunged us into.

So be it.

But I feel called to the powerful work of calling out behaviors that contribute to our current crisis in self-care, self-awareness, and civic responsibilities.

Sadly, my own personal trauma history does not easily allow for me to be a clear and coherent spokesperson.

I am not Uma Thurman. I DO speak, when angry.

https://www.accesshollywood.com/videos/uma-thurman-gets-emotional-about-women-speaking-out-on-sexual-harassment-in-hollywood/

Ever since a powerful spiritual crisis in 2005, I have consciously worked at articulating my needs, and at knowing and cataloging my various emotions. Yet I continue to look and sound simply angry to the world around me for most of my Big Feelings. 

Here is a list of some of the big feelings I have been having for the past year:

feelings inventory frightened/mistrustful/panicked /suspicious/terrified/ baffled /
bewildered/lost/mystified/perplexed/ DISCONNECTED/ anguished/bereaved/devastated/heartbroken/ hurt/lonely/miserable/regretful/remorseful/appalled/contemptuous /disgusted/horrified…

I am a complicated human being with many more feelings in me than anger. The fact that so much of what I try to express gets distilled down to that emotion alone blows me away. I see that my race and my gender are deeply affecting how others see me. This morning I had an epiphany. This is a racial/sexual stereotype.

It is called the Sapphire stereotype of African-American women:

“As a stereotype, Sapphire is a domineering female who consumes men and usurps their role. They were characterized as strong, masculine workhorses who labored with black men in the fields or as aggressive women who drove their children and partners away with their overbearing natures. Her assertive demeanor identifies her with the Mammy, but unlike the Mammy she is devoid of maternal compassion and understanding.”

Things that make you go hmmmm.

The more authentic I am in relaying my story to others, the more vulnerable I become. If a projection of “anger” is still imposed on me by others, for all those other emotions that I am trying to convey, then I can move forward, or I can stop relaying my story. I choose to move forward. With caution.

Today’s blog I choose to catalog areas of abuse in my life.

FAMILY OF ORIGIN:

familySince September 2016 I have officially been an orphan. That leaves two humans in my life  (my brothers who are two and four years younger than me) who share the same/similar life stories. So I asked one brother for monthly space to reminisce about memories from our childhood.

He responded:

“l was thinking on things in the past that we remember, and l remember waking up on the ocean liner with the cabin steward that molested you. l remember him leaving after a few moments after l woke up, and you ran into the bathroom.”

And I texted back,

” Wow, what a trip! That was the same adventure where Daddy smacked you down a hallway after you pointed at and made a comment about a man with a disfigured face. Daddy did not hear our baby brother make the same comment first… only your echo.”

I was seven. The brother I am reminiscing with was five years old. The baby– who had spoken the inflammatory words first– was three.

I am 60 and my brother is 58. This is the first time we have spoken directly to each other about abuse in our family of origin.

Certainly looks and feels as if our sessions are going to be powerful and cleansing.

GENDER

I was a smart little black girl. Correction I was a brilliant little black girl and that just really was not okay. I will be forever thankful for the buffer zone my parents created with the rest of the world regarding this issue. I-Am-TrulyBut the traumas I have experienced in my life– as a female with a brain who uses it– have been profound. From kindergarten, through medical school. Enough said on that for now. That is a very very painful topic for me.

PATRIOTISM

Having been raised in a upper-middle-class black family, I believed in meritocracy and the power of the American dream. I believed that doing the right thing would be rewarded. I believed I could make my personal political, and as an integrationist I believed that we could all live together across all of these lines of difference.  I kept my eyes closed to how fast I was running, inside that particular hamster cage of beliefs. Since busting out in 2005, I have become less and less employable every few years and more and more marginal to the Dominator culture.ART from Afiay stay 1 That is my intention; to “decolonize my mind” and to scramble and claw my way out from under the astonishingly big pile of BS I was given…

But the saddest part of all of this work to me is how challenging it is to get underneath all of my anger and sort through all those other feelings I listed above.

When I am having a particularly challenging day, I am learning to hermit myself somewhat. After the Trumpocalypse, I had a plan to be far far away from the day today of my country’s moral collapse. Instead of witnessing this not simply from Canada, not just from British Columbia, but from all the way out on Vancouver Island in a little tiny community far far away, I find myself Back East. 

Here there are many triggers everyday. Here I encounter frequent microaggressions. Here, my anger and hurt and disbelief at the state of my country gets stoked on a regular basis.

Okay, I am a believer in “everything is unfolding EXACTLY the way that it should.” So   how do I make meaning of it all?

20171104_132847I know that “being Back East” is good for my soul.

My “season of the WITCH” of an autumn is two thirds done…still having fun…much work yet to be done…   20171101_202339

I imagine that I can settle in for the winter, soon, to write.

From the anthem of the Women’s Marches, I Can’t Keep Quiet” to here, in a year.

What a world.

And yet, we rise. This, I believe.

20171020_113659

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KNOW YOUR PLACE

Remember the words?

“put on your face…/KNOW YOUR PLACE…/shut up, and smile…/don’t spread your legs…”

We all embraced it, as an anthem for the Women’s Marches that happened all over the world, way back on January 20th as the Trumpocalypse became REAL. So real, one friend represented the entirety of it, with “the scream heard round the world”:

Last weekend, I put my pink pussy hat back on, and stood as a busker and sang the anthem. Not one person passing by met my eyes. No one smiled. Several hurried past. And the saddest part of this story to me, is that I was at “Women’s Week” at Provincetown. Point of clarification: I didn’t “just” sing that anthem, nor did I expect to make money as a busker singing… I simply wanted the connection with other women. A sort of “where ARE we?” check in. As people actually averted their eyes, I knew that I had my answer.

We are nine months into this nightmare, and the troops are sagging.

This averting of eyes thing happened to me once before in the last nine months. I had walked into an ecstatic dance event, in Ashland, Oregon (I was passing through, on my way to Sacremento, from Washington state); and I was flustered by that lack of eye contact. But as the dance went on, I filled in the blanks and had quite an epiphany. This community had just experienced a major jolt. There was an altar at the dance, honoring a mother in that community who had lost her son.

This was the event that led to his death:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/27/530351468/2-dead-1-injured-after-stabbing-in-portland-ore

A heart-shaped wreath covered with positive messages hangs on a traffic light pole Saturday at a memorial for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday on a light-rail train in Portland, Ore.

A heart-shaped wreath covered with positive messages hangs on a traffic light pole Saturday at a memorial for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday on a light-rail train in Portland, Ore.

And, this is what his mother said, in response:

“Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, My dear baby boy passed on yesterday while protecting two young Muslim girls from a racist man on the train in Portland. He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever.”

And I– being the only person in that room in Ashland of any color other than white– was a reminder of the tragedy. That is why no one looked at me. That is why people averted their eyes. Too painful, to make the connection. To risk that I might “look back, with ANGER”. Too scary, to be reminded, and to have to THINK about/ feel into that incident, and to wonder, “what would I have done, if I had been on that bus?”

I thought a lot about what I could have done.

Being Black and female myself, I start with the fact that I might have been the target. But if I wasn’t, and was simply a witness, going to sit next to the women and immediately begin a conversation (what I decided I would do, when the “safety pin pledge” happened) would just be pouring gasoline on that critical moment.

artwork by Pam Wagner

artwork by Pam Wagner

So, I would have screamed.

No, not actually scream… but used my voice in a big, BIG way. My favorite way to scream as a distraction, is to shout “BACK OFF!” and I learned it from watching my daughter as she took a model mugging workshop as a 14 year old: http://modelmugging.org/

Padded-Assailant-makes-a-rear-approach

Another effective use of my loud voice has been to sing. Except, something is happening to the morale of my sisters that is keeping us quiet.

Out West” (as I will refer to my time in the pacific Northwest, as I “blog” from “Back East” here in New England), I was a part of a Wyld Women’s Choir.

We conspired/inspired/respired (that would be breathing)/and aspired together, weekly. I learned to deepen my listening, to listen for harmonies, to make space for Spirit to “come by” and help me move from striving to thriving.

As I have been “back East” for just over a month, I have had my concerns (reasons that I left, in the first place) confirmed. The culture that I embrace in New England has a few standards that don’t work well for me. One is that it is better to be polite, than to be authentic. True dat. An acquaintance described the difference between The East and The South as “Easterners are open minded and closed hearted/ while Southerners are closed minded and open hearted” (stereotypes yes, but so much truth in there!)

I know my place. As AmeriKKKa removes the veils from our collective eyes and sees not only the white supremacy BUILT INTO our “democracy”:

And “me too” goes viral around social media sites…I recognize that my very presence is making white people uncomfortable. My work therefore becomes being a symbol and a reminder of how bad it actually IS…day to day…as a person with many identities under attack (black/female/integrationist with biracial offspring/bi-sexual/solo polyamorist/former genital mutilator turned intactivist/abortionist/pagan) to try to move as an authentic person and to make connections with others. So okay… I am NOT in the best environment for matching my temperament; but I have found ways to be resilient, to keep on moving forward, and to STAY LOUD. stay loud

I’ll continue to hone my skills at “leaning towards the lyrical” even though those around me experience that energetic loudness as migraine inducing.

How are YOU doing, these days?

taken from tWAT FB page (...the Women's Action Team in Vermont)

taken from tWAT FB page (…the Women’s Action Team in Vermont)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Healing Artist, and Artist, HEALING

gloria-steinemGloria Steinem, in “My Life on the Road” described herself as “an itinerant community organizer”. I thinking that is a great phrase that describes so much of what I have done since I left medical practice. But you might want to know more…

What do I DO, as a healing artist?

Some examples from the last six months are:

I attend protest marches as a sacred clown– loud and brash and creative– awake and aware of how to calm down crying children (always bring a bubble wand). I can respond with street medic tools, and calm down escalating situations with the power of my voice as a distraction.

I create circles of song, sharing stories of freedom and hope. I regularly take this tool to “Black Lives Matter” vigils and encourage the vigilantes (talk about RECLAIMING a word!) to deepen their presence with the task at hand by singing, and risking more connection with passers by.

I publish weekly a 15 minute wellness podcast, using principles from Mary Ellen Copeland’s WRAP program, and emphasizing my personal motto: “the best revenge is to LIVE WELL” (live-streamed at www.kavzradio.org at 9 p.m. Mondays and 1 p.m. Fridays EDT each week). Topics of recent podcasts include the red tent temple movement, breastfeeding, racism, tools for addressing fear and anxiety, and urinary incontinence (that’s right; something to really get “P.O”-ed about)!

In my “Tea with an M.D” role, I meet with individuals and, within a confidential container, support them through specific physical and mental health crises. Not needing to pause and negotiate payment options for the last category is critical to the evolution of my role as a new/ old style of healer. Everyone who needs help at this level of connecting is reduced to about the psychological age of 6. We wouldn’t ask a 6 year old what insurance they have, and whether they can set up a payment plan. But neither do we have a system where healers move from village to village, with a welcome, a place to stay, and a meal offered in a gift economy model.

And, what do I do, as an Artist, healing?   chakra_healing_print_cropped

I sing, I dance, I create visual art,  I write poetry and prose: reclaiming the fact that we are all born with these talents, but seem to lose connection to them, here in AmeriKKKa.

I model living without clear knowledge of what my finances are like each month. I participate in Underearner’s Anonymous

http://underearnersanonymous.org/

(because the stereotype of “starving artist” sits deep in my AmeriKKKan-born psyche). I cultivate my skill as a storyteller (5 public presentations while I was exploring a new life in the Pacific Northwest, one set for “back East” this coming Friday night –10/6 see https://www.facebook.com/events/175263423048520/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22dashboard%22%2C%22mechanism%22%3A%22calendar_tab_event%22%2C%22extra_data%22%3A%22%7B%5C%22dashboard_filter%5C%22%3A%5C%22upcoming%5C%22%7D%22%7D]%2C%22ref%22%3A2%2C%22source%22%3A2%7D). I commit to buskering, at Brattleboro’s monthly gallery walk, at Provincetown for two weekends this Fall, and wherever opportunities arise.

And most relevant to the present moment, I am writing my memoirs: “How I Stayed ALIVE, While My Country Was Trying To Kill Me” with an intention of having edited and publication-ready copy by spring. I am currently on schedule, as I complete Chapter Three.

I seek 120 units, at $20 a unit, of support for my work in the world. The timeline? Now, through December 2017 so a three month commitment.

And, then we will see what the New Year brings!

www.patreon.com/DoctorO

Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, feral M.D. blogs, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Temple of the Healthy Spirit | Leave a comment

“I don’t think black folks like to camp as much as white folks”.

Every once and a while, there’s a perfect moment to dig down deep and expose a splinter. My language uses medical metaphors, because I am a MAD doctor…

And a “little bit crazy” due to my ongoing dance with a schizophrenogenic culture (go look it up).

splinter... fireworks... you all get the image?

splinter… fireworks… you all get the image?

 

 

The founder of Burning Man  is the man quoted on that title line of this piece.

A new level of "Don't know Nuthin' 'bout No Black people"

A new level of “Don’t know Nuthin’ ’bout No Black people”

This is what wikopedia has to say, about Burning man:

Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary city erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The event is described as an experiment in community and art, influenced by 10 main principles: “radical” inclusion, self-reliance, and self-expression, as well as community cooperation, civic responsibility, gifting, decommodification, participation, immediacy, and leaving no trace.”   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Man

I have been, once. my brother goes every year. We are both Black. Burning man

The Guardian article (from which I took the quote from Harvey) goes on this way:

“According to the most recent Black Rock city census, compiled yearly by a team of academic demographers and anthropologists to determine the makeup of the festival:

87% of burners identified as white; 6% identified as Hispanic, 6% as Asian, and 2% as Native Americans (figures rounded)

– on the latter of whose ancestral lands the event occurs. The smallest demographic of burners – 1.3% – identified as black.

 

Why might so few Black folks make it out to Black Rock? Well, Mr. Harvey, let me speak for myself.

I love camping. But Burning Man isn’t about “camping”.

I attended my one and only Burning Man when it was about 10,000 people in a desert environment. I followed all the directions on how to attend and have a good time. I portaged in enough water. I had a great tent, and good camping support, in the partner I had traveled with. I brought no money; I was excited about the idea of barter, and brought an “alternative to cash option’ that was perfect for the desert.

Tootsie rolls.tootsie_roll_small

They didn’t melt, but they were chocolate. And, I figured ahead of time that I had a good idea, because already traveled in communities of Wyld and Edgy Bohemian-Sourcing Alternative Minded Cultural Edge-walkers, and chocolate is always a treasure!

My partner got dehydrated and overheated within the first few hours of our arrival. Being the very selfish human that I was back then, i chose to wander the festival alone, rather than nurse him in our tent and lose out on the first night of our (only registered for the weekend) 3 days of fun. never had I seen such free and varied expression of ART. “Capital “A” kind, and small “a” kind. I have always had a great interest in cultural anthropology, and this was a fascinating community.

But, Who were The Burners?

1. Essentially, they were young. They were wanderers into a desert environment, and were playing at the edges of something…spiritual? art? “More Would Be Revealed…”

2. They loved fire, and were using the element as a huge metaphor for personal empowerment, and transformation.

3. Their form of “free expression” (back in the 10,000 people attending days) included a HUGE amount of cussing/cursing/”fuck you!” speak. On the local radio stations. In face to face communication.

4. Their form of free expression in their bodies was all about BDSM piercings/cuttings/ and pain.

5. And, they were overwhelmingly WHITE. And from privilege. I’ll define privilege with a world perspective, meaning, “had a roof over their heads/went home to a refrigerator to put their food in/and a closet for their clothes”**

I SAW them.

But, I don’t believe that THEY saw me back then. I have always been a Black person hanging out with a lot of crazy (like me) white folks. No biggie. Just means that I have learned to pay attention and to notice things.

Like the fact that– before the “Big Burn” there were white guys driving around drinking cans of beers and getting pretty reckless in their cars. And that– as The Big Ritual– got closer– an entire community of religious/ spiritual people were holding SPACE for the ceremony. Really. kind of clumped up together, hari krishnas, and rabbis and monks.

The Big Burn Was very peaceful that year.

THAT year. Unlike this year

May he rest in self-immolated peace

May he rest in self-immolated peace

But when I wandered The Playa– expanded into an open heart by MY particular magic medicines (NOT alcohol), I moved as far away from the center of action as possible, when the band playing around the collapsed fire after The Big Burn broke into “Dixie”:

Something that makes a Black woman like me– who LOVES camping– go “Hmmmm…

For Your Information (since we are all about the “teaching moments, right?), here’s what a neutral source (wikopedia) has to say about “Dixie”

“The song presented the point of view, common to minstrelsy at the time, that slavery was overall a positive institution…”Dixie” made the case, more strongly than any previous minstrel tune had, that slaves belonged in bondage. This was accomplished through the song’s protagonist, who, in comic black dialect, implies that despite his freedom, he is homesick for the plantation of his birth” (bolding mine)

Don’t know what “minstrelsy” is? Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit

Look. It. Up.

So my one and only experience of Burning Man was wonder-filled. And “artsy”. And full of free expression.

And, also a place where I needed to maintain vigilance regarding my welcome. Vigilance, as a Black woman in the space.

Vigilance, regarding who was around me and what they might do next (that year, one of the workshop was on “How to Make a Molotov Cocktail).

So, Larry, just for the record… I didn’t ever come back, primarily because your fucking festival got bigger and bigger, and more and more expensive, and more and more elitist (based on those 10 principles you SAID you believe in) AND has an “element of unexamined ‘freedom of expression’ ” that could tip– at any moment– into white mob/lynching/blood lust/dangerous to women and any minorities behavior, especially on Sunday after the Ceremony.

Burning Man– as a vision of “Utopian Society” at it’s essence– hasn’t got a CLUE how to actually build that vision across any lines…

And Burning Man is just an extreme example of a phenomenon that leaves me getting a little more crazy with each passing day of Life in AmeriKKKa.

Just like the Occupy Movement. Which seems to have ended with a whimper, just as it got the “aha” about this class/race thing.

And, my Rainbow Tribe. That found it’s way to LGBT tolerance/celebration ahead of establishing the BBC Camp (originated at the Green Mountain Vermont National– anyone know how it went in Oregon, this year?)

And,  like my pagan communities. Who seem to be getting the hang of it, finally.

The Earth Spirit community supports SANE free speech

The Earth Spirit community supports SANE free speech

And, like my ecstatic dance communities, who sit in the present moment at an apocalyptic opportunity. Where veils can be lifted from eyes that have chosen not to peer into the Dark Too Much.

All are counter-culture communities  originally “fueled” (translate funded) by wealthy whites of privilege. Mainly male. When women ARE involved, we are often putting in the labor, because we DON’T have the money, honey.

So Larry, some Blacks don’t like camping, I am sure. Your over $300,00/year attendees don’t like camping– they bring all the amenities of The Urban Silicon Valley Life with them. But they aren’t risking a Bad Scene due to “free expression” clashing with racial awareness; FUCK TOLERANCE– we are just talking common sense, and self awareness.

Speaking my truth to power, as someone who will never again go to Burning Man. And, on behalf of a brother I want to be safe AND WELCOMED at future events.

Me and my bro, at the New York fairy Festival

Me and my bro, at the New York fairy Festival

 

** that simple question, asked in the Awaken the Dreamer social consciousness raising program, makes the AmeriKKKan who answers aware that they are beating out 87% of the world’s population, with that answer.

Posted in Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Race Relations Commitment, Thirteeth Fairy Stories | 2 Comments

Taking it to The Next Level?

I call you all “Opeyemi’s Avengers” because they say that the best revenge is to live well…I am cultivating a community of 120 “units” that I can safely midwife through current and future crises as the global heart awakens, and We All Fall Down (Through?)

6 min intro, below.

http://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-z9ewb-7175f1
6 signed on,  of 120. That’s 5%…

And, sometimes I wonder if this whole idea is just sort of an fathomable..

But another way of looking at all of this is to review my various supports, already present:

–420 “likes” at my Facebook “Temple of the Healthy Spirit” page:

https://www.facebook.com/Temple-of-the-Healthy-Spirit-254916400027/
–44 subscribers to my “The Doctor Speaks” you tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8VPUZFLSArsXTfzLG52XAg
And, 40 donors to my “Go Fund Me” campaigns, since the Trumpocalypse.

https://www.gofundme.com/support-me-writing-down-the-bones
I also travel in communities of kindred souls: Dance New England, Earthspirit, Quakers, U-U’s, the  Haydenville Congregational Church all back East, with bridges West through the Alternative Library, Echoes, Southfork Valley, and the KAVZ radio station in Whatcom County.

I hope I am gaining more clarity on how to communicate what I hope I am offering my communities:

Reciprocal beneficiary support.

 Exposure to each other’s lights and shadows, with greater authenticity.

Awakenings, with grace.

A growing tool box of Wellness practices.

I welcome feedback on how I can manage putting all of these  into one box other than my patreon site. I’m using it now (and my  PayPal account) to allow me to keep track of people easily; to be able to press one button for group messages that go to “my entire crew”

So here are the websites for donations and signing up (can be done with a contribution as little as $1) below:

www.patreoncom/DoctorO
www.ceremonyheals.com/services

Opeyemi’s Avengers arise!

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As Houston Drowns

houston 2
Going Rogue…
But not at all certain that I actually got SOUND with this video…
Fear not; the action is enough…
And the poem under the description comes from my SpiritFire tribe on the East Coast: http://spiritfirefestival.org/
“to ALIGN my design
With the rhythm divine…
I dive into the Cosmic Serpent Mind
Where I rise from its depths,
From my roots,
Spread my wings,
And I open up my HEART…
And this FIREBIRD sings…”

REMEMBER TO BREATHE.

Things are getting pretty FREAKY out there. Second major U.S. city drowning… houston 2
Remember the good news: New York made it. Twice, now. 9/11 and Sandy.
Did that have ANYTHING to do with it being a predominately WHITE city still (unlike New Orleans and Houston)? I hope not.
I will remember that the “Occupy” movement had just had a Great Adventure with Organizing; and what they learned, they used: http://theweek.com/articles/470714/occupy-sandy-how-hurricane-sandy-resurrected-occupy-movement
What are the prayers for Houston, now?
Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, feral M.D. blogs | Leave a comment

About CHARLOTTESVILLE and Sororities

My daughter of the heart just posted the comment below from on Uju Anya on Facebook this a.m:

“Dear white people: COME GET YOUR COUSINS (emphasis mine). Seriously. Speak up and take a stand. This is not the time to claim individual responsibility, #notallwhitepeople, colorblindness, or whatever other lie that keeps you from feeling involved in this mess. Nazis, Klansmen, and other white supremacists are marching on a college campus and through the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. They’re not wearing hoods. They’re assaulting the few counter protesters that get close. Police is not stopping them. Armed militia are surrounding and protecting them. These white supremacists want to be seen and known, because their allies and sympathizers now hold the US presidency and major party leadership. If you are not actively and explicitly speaking, arguing, snatching wigs, and challenging your relatives, friends, social media followers on the topic of racism, inequality, white supremacy, hatred, and xenophobia, you are contributing to a culture that literally KILLS people. Stop hiding behind “respecting political differences and freedom of speech.” This is not just politics. You benefit every day from this shitty system. Now cash in some of that bonus and do some house cleaning.”12dyson-articleLarge

This issue of speaking up or staying silent hit me up close and personally three months ago in ways that are still reverberating through my life. I succumbed to terrorism, identifying eight facts about my life that make me a target for murder and mayhem here in AmeriKKKa under Trump.

My worldview with respect to race and white fragility, in a post Trump AmeriKKKa, led me to fish or cut bait…And, I let go  of membership in a women’s circle that had fed and nourished me for over 20 years. I divorced that most enduring support group this spring, just as I left to emigrate to Canada.

I was not the first woman to leave this group, over its  20-year history, nor was my leaving the most dramatic. But it was extremely painful. And, as I make meaning of it now, it had everything to do with my worldview clashing up against that of my sisters.

All of whom are white.

All of the language I use from this point on has to do with sororities. That is deliberate.

that would be ME, the BROWN one...

that would be ME, the BROWN one…

Urban dictionary definitions of “sorority” numbers 1 through 3:

1. “A group of girls who have come together because they look similar, and are now kind of friends.”

2. “A group of girls who pay to have friends.”

3. “A group of women who band together under a greek letter title. Often based in traditions, many sororities have rich histories. The girls call themselves sisters, and tend to have close friendships. Upon entering the sorority, each new member is assigned a “big sister” who will be her mentor and friend, ideally forever. As in any group of women, sometimes the sisters are catty, bitchy, slutty, partiers, nerds, prudes, or just average hard-workers.

By definition number one, I “never fit in”, with my women’s circle. I have always been the only black member of this group despite the ebb and flow of several other women joining and leaving. Since the Trumpocalypse of last Fall, I had come to realize that I could not tolerate the white women sharing from their hearts about the challenges of being in families where they were hearing racist comments from relatives. Just hearing their shares (understanding they did nothing and had no strategies for doing anything) left me traumatized. Yet for most of the winter, I had no words for my discomfort.

By definition number two, I was paying to have friends. Paying emotionally, that is. Biting my tongue and attempting to swallow indigestible pieces of the other women’s lives that gave me severe heartburn.

By definition number 3, I allowed myself to participate in a culture of emotional bullying.

GF 2

I shared here on my blog (in a fairly anonymous way) my response to words said in that sorority circle that challenged me deeply. The response to my use of those words was a furor of accusations of deep betrayal that shocked me at the time. But not any more. Under definition number three of a sorority, I had simply not understood the rules of the game:

“As in any group of women, sometimes the sisters are catty, bitchy, slutty…”

shhh... don't tell anyone.

shhh… don’t tell anyone.

For three months, I have wondered whether I was cutting off a vital source of solace and connection for a petty reason.

With this weekend ‘s events in Charlottesville, I know deep in my heart that I Did The Right Thing. The Right Thing for me, a black woman with many white friends, and biracial children, in a country  where the fires of white supremacy are threatening to burn us out.

I am a bohemian, bisexual,  pagan,  polyamorous, integrationist abortionst (those labels plus my black womanhood add up to my eight lethal identities).

Total Truth. With that much “oddness”, I am never going to fit into any formal group terribly well. At age 60 I am finding some peace in truly “grokking” that  fact.

I intend to continue to find resilience and meaning at the margins. And I embrace the ongoing work of decolonizing my mind. Alone. In small groups. And wherever humanly possible.

 


 

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About BREASTFEEDING

Black mom in Africa nursing

It’s World Breastfeeing Week, August 1 through 7.

http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/

As I said on my facebook page, you may want to start here, with this 6 minutes from NPR:

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/06/26/534021439/secrets-of-breast-feeding-from-global-moms-in-the-know

This issue– when I first heard about it, made me so sad that I created a spontaneous 3 minute video that was very emotional:

The video below has more balance, and shares a very personal story:

The NPR reporter ends her story with these words:

“I also got help from a lactation consultant, and made it through”

What leaves me sad and confused, is this– how in HELL did we get to the place where the “lactation consultants” (yes, I am using sneer quotes, due to the business end of this phenomenon) are prescribing equipment, pads, and accessories enough to fuel an entire AISLE at the local Target or K-Mart? That’s right, an entire AISLE next to the one for babies who get formula/bottle fed.hqdefault

New families, please BE AWARE that not all lactation specialists are the same. And even those covered by your medical insurance may be suspect for ulterior motives.

Tried and True…

Still coming at you…

Is this community: http://www.lllusa.org/

La Leche League:

Don't be fooled!

Don’t be fooled!

La Leche League International (LLLI) (La Leche is Spanish for “the milk”) is an international nonprofit advocacy group that distributes information on and promotes breastfeeding. It was founded in 1956 in Franklin Park, Illinois as “La Leche League” and has a presence in more than 85 countries.”

(from wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Leche_League)

When YOU need help, go for the GOLD!


Over-100-women-started-breastfeeding-in-public-at-a-Romanian-Museum

 

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Consolidating Power, Pride, Privilege and Purpose

My image– of who I have been since late April and how I am living is straight out of the film, Gravity:

I have been spinning and spinning since I left New England this past spring and breathing into the full catastrophe of an unexpected series of unfortunate (and “DEEPLY-fortunate-but-how-did-I-know-THEN!”) life events. My life is “gelling”  here in the Pacific Northwest. Things are not only unfolding EXACTLY the way that they should, but I am moving forwards with optimism, enthusiasm, and direction.

I have had most amazing and heart felt community support from many places. Thank you all.

This essay/blog will go out to as many of those places as I can remember. I am moving into Fall consolidating my efforts, and quantifying my skill set.

For my patreon.com/doctor0 supporters (www.patreon.com/DoctorO), my “Go Fund Me” Campaign donors (https://www.gofundme.com/support-me-writing-down-the-bones), and the other folks who have floated me financially and supported me emotionally through the summer, THANK YOU!!!

With your support, I now:

  1. regularly record and air a WEEKLY 15 minute radio show and podcast, designed for listening in one setting or as three, 5 minute episodes

https://opeyemi57.podbean.com/e/jul-5-2017-kavz-wrap-show/2.

2. Fabulously  flaunt the Madwoman persona that I so feared 15 years ago:  by dancing in front of a samba band in the procession for all species this May/mariposa

supporting the naked bike riders by blowing bubbles for the kids/

naked bike riders

blowing bubbles and spouting my (genuine) love for Jesus,

freedom-art-son-of-god

freedom-art-son-of-god

 

 

in front of the nasty guy with the bullhorn calling me a fornicator, at the Bellingham Gay Pride March/joining the Echoes Congregation in their LGBT pride focused worship service:

song of solomon quote

(and having the honor of reading that  “Song of Solomon” psalm–“you’d sound great, reading the phone book” a 30-something man gushed afterwards) /dancing, as the singer at the Mount Vernon Unity Church sang of community connection, when Spirit moved me…/committing to my MEMOIRS for real …

Public Service Announcement:

I just saw “Girl Trip”** and something about the message of the movie that rose above the stereotypes has to do with that yearning for deep sensual/ sexy/ spiritual connection with other good women. And that white ameriKKKa sees something in “us” that is always too loud, too brash, too forward. Yet deeply craves it as well. 

**The trailer is HORRIBLE. Just see the movie. And Black women get to play Black women, NOT TYLER PERRY.

Writing memoirs, I  attend a weekly group and get feedback from 3 white elders in their late 70’s through early 90’s. If THEY “grokk” what I write, then I am meeting my goal of becoming ACCESSIBLE, as I remain mystical.

Because now I know what I am. I am a Seer: a person who is supposed to be able, through supernatural insight, to see what the future holds…an expert who provides forecasts of the economic or political future…”our seers have grown gloomier about prospects for growth”…archaic a person who sees something specified….”a seer of the future”

 Zhinni (Black Lilith) - 2nd House

I can look back over my life and SEE that I have always been 5 to 15 years “out of synch” with whatever the ideas are of the larger community: socialized medicine. Home births and abortions. Alternative medicine complimenting the conventional. Inter-racial loving. Community living. Ecstatic enjoyment of life! Not so much seeing the future as seeing with CLARITY. And being good at seeing unusual situations and seeing from impossible angles.

I hope at 60 I can relax into that 15 year gap. It has been a life torture. I can now see it’s just me– choleric as ever and impatient dancing into a world that likes to take it’s transformations slowly.  Culture-change

 

 

 

 

Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Phoenix Rising, Temple of the Healthy Spirit, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing My Memoir, Everyone!

I am settling for the summer at this farm:
http://www.ic.org/directory/river-farm/

the one day old calf takes TWO of these, twice a day...

the one day old calf takes TWO of these, twice a day…

Time to write, again.

I am coming out as a psychically sensitive woman from an oppressed minority in AmeriKKKa, who developed many amazing strategies and coping mechanisms to survive in a culture of crazy making conradictions and trauma. Those strategies served my African American slave descent smart girl, sexy, privileged self quite nicely.
smart girls
Until twelve years ago, when they did not.

I wrote about that experience, as an essay titled, “Waking From Despair” featured in the complication “Hope Beneath Our Feet”:
https://www.northatlanticbooks.com/shop/hope-beneath-our-feet/

As I said, time to write, again.

noon at farmNow 60, I coming out of my second serious “spiritual emerge and SEE/initiatory process” I intend to share  the truths that I have seen, and the ways that I was silenced/ mimimized/ shamed and blamed for seeing them.

The tools I have developed– strategies that served quite well to get me through long days in the belly of the conventional medical beast–generalize to many or us and to our experiences.

The money will allow me to PROCEED with my writing, while simply doing my part at the farm. I won’t have to aggressively look for ways to pay the basics for July and August: car payment/ car insurance/ car repairs for July = $865.00

And, you patrons and donors will get “preach and teach it” video and voice recording updates, so I can shape the stories with feedback, as I go!

we can do itHo Ho Ho and Tally Ho!

FROM CHAPTER ONE: Who am I?

(Oh yes one thing. My spelling of “AmeriKKKa” has everything to do with the title of my memoir. At 60, a deepening understanding of where my country has been, where it is, and where it may be going underscores it all)…

“I describe myself, in 6 words or less, as “a black bohemian refugee from ‘Negroland’ “.  I was born into a time and place where the politically correct names for my people have shifted: from “colored” to “negro” to “Black” to “African-American”. I choose to add the description “slave descent”, to distinguish my story from that of 1st 2nd and now 3rd generation immigrants to AmeriKKKa from sub-Saharan Africa in this century.

My now 91 year old aunt traced my mother’s family line back to an ancestor named Savannah Curry in Union Point, Georgia. I can recite with pride my place in that lineage: I am Opeyemi mother of A*** and grandmother to M***, myself the daughter of Alfredine, who was the daughter of Emmie, who was the daughter of Julie, who was the daughter of Savannah Curry born into slavery.

Seven known generations in AmeriKKKa. Probably more. Too painful to go back, right now.  census-of-1860My aunt traced my mother’s family line back through to the 1860 Georgia census, but she stopped, there. Enslaved Africans were not listed by name; the list was simply a list of plantation owners’ property. First, the rugs. Then, the furniture. Then, the enslaved Africans.

On that list, my ancestor was identifiable, only because of the family’s story that goes with her. That Savannah was the mixed-race child of the plantation owner. That a good black man had married her enslaved mother, and gone on to have several black children with her. My aunt identified Savannah in that census report as the first child on that list. The one listed as “mulatto” under “a negress” with “three pickaninnies” listed by age on the lines below.

All honor to my ancestors; these people who were not slaves, but whose condition was slavery.

cash rewards of $400 to $500 offered...

cash rewards of $400 to $500 offered…

None of my family has yet had the courage to attempt the genealogy on the white side of that family tree.
Too painful.

When my brother had his DNA sampled, he was troubled by the inconsistency that result placed into The Story We Told Ourselves about my father’s side of the family. 73% sub-Saharan African was expected. But 27% European descent? Grandma Pearl said there was a Cherokee woman in the family genealogy on my father’s side. Was that a lie? Did she prefer telling a story of Cherokee blood to the painful realities of “mixing white” and the implications and questions that issue raises regarding power and sexual consent?

Or, did the DNA lab just not have enough data to accurately identify the genes of First Nations folk, since AmeriKKKa has almost exterminated those lines?

Too, too painful to know. “

Well, I am settling in nicely in Whatcom County, here in the Pacific Northwest. Since where I intended to land in Canada is currently ON FIRE, this doesn’t seem like such a bad option. Gotta get serious, about staying balanced. WRITING works, for me.
Any support sent my way, is much appreciated!

https://www.gofundme.com/support-me-writing-down-the-bones

wildfires-of-note

Posted in Temple of the Healthy Spirit, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Reporting out, on WELLNESS

Last blog was angry and tense. I warned folks, ahead of the read…

This time, I am feeling very optimistic about my life and my world. I always promise to fulfill my intention to GO THROUGH my emotions, to the other side.

I am not a Buddhist. Mindfulness is wondrous, and I need to rant/scream/shake rattles/ make voodoo dolls and stick pins in them, WHATEVER.

ART from Afiay stay 1

Because I am claiming my identity as an African-AmeriKKKan, slave descent woman who is NOT supposed to be alive. Meaning, on reviewing my life, I understand that:

  1. I was never supposed to have succeeded as well as I have
  2. I was supposed to have “assimilated” more thoroughly, in order to succeed
  3. I have been infected with a level of internalized oppression designed to destroy me.

stay loudAnd yet I rise. And soon, I THRIVE.

Spirit and Synchronicity have gifted me with two months of over the top adventures. Those experiences leave me with new knowledge and understanding of who I am. And, of who I AM NOT.

First, I thank the Mary Ellen Copeland Center for giving me the opportunity to attend “Wrap Around the World” on a scholarship. I breathed through biting my nails two days before I was due to begin driving the 14 hours to the three day international conference when I only had $4 “accessible”. $4 doesn’t fill my tank, and even if I slept in my car, I couldn’t do it on that tight a budget. So when I had no money for gas, I decided that I simply would have to cancel the trip, if my assets didn’t “liquify” on time. We can skip details of the reasons I didn’t have access to more money (and I thank those of you who continue to help me tread water out here, through donations to www.ceremonyheals.com/services), but the essence is this;  AmeriKKKa is so class-driven that we constantly shame, blame, and SEGREGATE people who don’t have steady incomes, stable and documentable addresses, credit cards/”good” credit histories.

Access to my money came through one day before I began to drive. Hallelujah!

WRAP around The World taught me several things. First, I didn’t know that California has been the crucible for the Mad Pride movement over the last 40 years. Thank God (Goddess? God-US?) for those white kids who dropped out from their wealthy families, took too much or the wrong LSD, and ended up on psych wards! Because they had the privilege to get released. And the compassion (through their lived experience) to care about the Ones Left Behind.   WRAP types

When I looked around me, marveling at the amount of MONEY that was clearly being used for preventative mental health in California, I learned that this was due to “The Robin Hood Tax”. California has been taxing it’s millionaires at a rate similar to the REST of us for over 10 years. Much of that money has been channeled into preventive mental health. And it shows.

WRAP supplies

Third, WRAP Around the World got me excited, because of the DIVERSITY of faces and places represented in that room of several hundred folks. Black Christians. Brown Muslims. White social workers. European visitors. Go-Getters from Hong Kong.

WOW.

Inspired and encouraged, I drove that 14 hours again, three days later, and came back “home” to the Bellingham, Washington area to attend another mental health community event: Hope and Resiliency in a Complex World”

flyer for Hope and Resilience conference

flyer for Hope and Resilience conference

At one of the local high schools, parents, teens, young adults, and “other Carers” shared from the heart strategies on what works, how to live together with more authenticity, and how to get/ Stay well.

Wellness Recovery Action Planning, IN ACTION!

Look to this site, and to my “Temple of the Healthy Spirit” facebook page, for a more in-depth discussion on the practical tools from these two events.

For now, I am happily fatigued, and will do good self care by resting.

Be Well, everyone.

the cartoon

Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, feral M.D. blogs, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness | 2 Comments

Anger Management Strategies?

It has been just over one month since my life blew apart, and decided to re-integrate into Something I Never Imagined.

I am almost ready to call the horrible psychic rapists ( I do NOT exaggerate, here– thank GOD for good therapists!) I encountered at the Canadian boarder “hit man angels”.

Almost. Not quite.

Because, as Trump attempts to take the Paris Accord down, and AmeriKKKans begin to fight back, I landed in a state with good government:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/climate/american-cities-climate-standards.html?_r=0

I can feel less ashamed of my “fellow citizens” from here, then from Massachusetts or Vermont, where I used to live.

Since the timing of my personal catastrophe coincided with the end of a 6 month on line program with Dr. Stanislav Grof, I have been grateful to have progressive Spiritual community who is reverberating with these awful times on the same “wave length” as me. And I hope we will all continue to grow from our trauma dramas.

Now, about ANGER MANAGEMENT.

I am a very VERY angry woman. At 60, I am (finally?) understanding how much of that anger has been healthy coping strategies for the amount of CRAP I face, every day of my life as a Black woman on this planet, at this time. And, I am also understanding (finally!) how much of that anger has been something that I turn inward, spew at loved ones, and fire in any direction but the right one.

Yet, anger can be power.

I watch white women flinch, at mildy raised voices. Cry, as their “default” coping strategy. They beat traffic tickets. They manipulate groups. What an example of white privilege that continues to go unexamined. And oh yes…  when BLEEDING each month, how many can do nothing except lie in their beds anemic and untouchable?

The above is an example of an uncensored RANT. Even writing such words gets me labelled “cruel”. And sometimes cruelty is about using any tools available, to try to get an empathic response. Anywhere.

I listen to the Canadian Broadcast Network these days. Top of their news in British Columbia is a (white of course) nurse who murdered 8 seniors in her care, “because she was angry.”:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/01/531061749/in-canada-ex-nurse-pleads-guilty-to-murdering-8-nursing-home-patients

And then there’s another (white) woman that I know who got a year of mandated counseling, when she tried to run over a bunch of belligerent teens with her car.

So white girls, GO FOR YOUR ANGRY POWER! No one is gonna KILL you for it. As happens to Black folks.

To this day (meaning as recently as LAST WEEK), white people feel entitled to comment on my reactions, even on how I look at them. It is no wonder I default to the emotion that has the best armoring potential for me. Even knowing that is what a sick and twisted AmeirKKKa wants me to do, to maximize possible state approved punishments, it is still what is most comfortable. I intend to continue to move forward, outside of my comfort zone.

Tears never got me anywhere, except humiliated. I am working on that, too. Because I deserve the power of all my emotions, even my tears.

And I have said here before, I refuse to stay in the box of “strong and ANGRY Black woman”.

So I share here today a story that I wrote a few years ago. It is how I cope with my own rational brain, the part of me that sees NO WAY THROUGH with white supremacist assholes now actively collapsing the country I was born into. It is where I take my anger, and weave it into creative imagination, and MAGIC…

May it be so!

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