Dear little trump and follower. I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn’t born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialog.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I paid attention.
Now, I’m being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To “Get over it.”
To accept this…
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to them.
Them. The people who voted for him.
The ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
I will do this so that they never forget.
And they will hear me.
They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
They will know that I know who they are.
They will know that I know what they are.
Do not call for my tolerance. I’ve tolerated all I can.
Now it’s their turn to tolerate ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day
forward is now Trump’s fault just as much as they thought it was Obama’s.
I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give.
— Author Unknown
The wonderful photograph was taken by Noah Grezlak and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi
The wonderful photograph was taken by Maria Victoria Heredia Reyes and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!
About the author:
I am a survivor of incest, teen pregnancy, emotional abuse and multiple family estrangements. It sent me to the edge of suicide but I stepped back and have been finding my way ever since. I have begun the healing process and now try to share with others in hopes of making sure no one feels alone in their pain. In “Scars” I address emotional scars, self-doubt and internal struggles.
What to make of scars,
so pitiful and weak.
Oh, physical scars,
how I envy you,
those of skin and bone.
You can be seen.
You scab over, heal,
pain ultimately subsides.
But oh, the scars of the heart,
they’re jagged, deep –
I’m amazed my heart still beats.
You’re hidden, unseen,
with pain that never quite
oh how you lie,
pretending to be healed
while cruelly laughing,
waiting to rip open,
to make me doubt the progress
I have made.
You shout, “Look at me!
Yes, I remember you well.
You remind me where I’ve been.
You helped make me who I am.
But you don’t own me anymore –
your time is past.
You are only a scar, not
my innermost being.
This beautiful piece of writing is by Demetra Szatkowski. This is a coming-of-age story about politics, belief systems, and being female. Everything except for the title above and the photograph is credited to her. She posted this on Facebook and said we could share it. I am happy she is allowing us to share it because that is what I wanted to do as I read it, share it far and wide with every woman I know. I hope you will enjoy it.
☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀
I am 12. My family is on vacation in South Carolina.
“I don’t think a woman should be president,” I say contentedly, walking alongside my parents.
They both disagree.
“No, women are too emotional,” I say. “And I can say that, because I am one.”
I am 14.
I have decided that I’m not a feminist. “Feminism is stupid,” I say to anyone who brings it up.
It’s not even a real thing. I get things out of this system too. I know how to work the system. If I can manipulate men to get what I want, then that means I win. Men are not smarter than me. I have already discovered that I can flirt to get out of things, and that if I wear a low-cut shirt and bend over, it is distracting. I like having these advantages.
I am 16. I have just started driving, and I have a NOBAMA sticker on my car.
I know nothing about politics, but I was raised with Republican grandparents and parents who followed suit. I know that my grandfather is smart and so he must be right. I know that Republicans are for the people who work, and Democrats make the way for lazy people who want the government to hand things to them.
I argue with the people in my class who make fun of me. “Obama shouldn’t get to be president just because he’s black,” I say. Black people aren’t a big deal to me. I don’t even see color.
I am 18.
I like being cat-called. I smile and wave back at the men who do it. I laugh at other women who say they don’t feel safe. I feel safe, because I know how to handle myself. Anyway, it’s just boys being boys. That’s just how men are. It just means I’m attractive. Other women should face reality and deal with life.
I am 19. I am teaching yoga. I think politics are stupid. I don’t see why everybody can’t see that we’re all one. I think that if we could all just live in the woods everything would be fine. Politics have nothing to do with who I am as a person.
I read an article about yoga and cultural appropriation. I decide it isn’t real, because I’m doing a good job and helping people by teaching.
I am 19. It is fall, and I have started school in Vermont. My roommate is from New Jersey. The election is happening in November, and this is the first time I’ll get to vote. I still think politics are stupid, but being able to vote is exciting, plus my teachers always said I should. I am going to vote Republican, because I know my family is smart.
But my roommate is also very smart, and her family has a lot of money. And yet she is a Democrat. And when I ask her questions, she has an answer for all of them. And when she explains different policies, I realize that my actual values align more with hers than with the Republicans. I feel a bit ripped off. We watch the debates. And I love Obama. And I vote for Obama.
And he wins, and it’s like a fun game, and I happily move along with my life.
I am 20. I read stories about girls who have been raped. I have friends who have been sexually assaulted. I remember boys grabbing my butt without asking in high school. I start to wonder if it’s all connected. I learn what “rape culture” is.
I am 20. I stop wearing makeup. I stop caring so much about what my appearance looks like. This process is extremely difficult for me, and takes me months of anxiety and tears to get used to. I am angry that it is so difficult. I am angry for the 12-year-old girl that felt she needed to start wearing makeup in the first place. I am angry for the 12-year-old girl who wrote lists about how she could make herself more attractive. I realize that people are still nice to me even when I don’t look “pretty.” I realize that it is society who has been telling me I need to look put-together, I need to wear bras, I need to shave all parts of myself.
I am really fucking angry when I realize how much the ideas of powerful men have controlled my life. I am really fucking angry when I realize how much my teenage thoughts were taken from me by society.
I am 21.
I am in San Francisco. I am walking alone, and I get cat-called the most I ever have in my life. At least once per block. It is unbearable, the comments are disgusting, and it is irritating. I am mad. Sometimes I tell them to stop. Most of the time I feel too unsafe to say anything back, so I have to ignore it.
I feel angry that I live in a world where I feel too unsafe to even be able to defend myself.
I am 22.
I own a yoga studio. It has been 10 months of owning a yoga studio.
I become disillusioned with the drama-filled community. I google, “I don’t want to teach yoga anymore.” Up pops an article about cultural appropriation.
This time, I understand it. This time, I research for hours and days upon end. I read everything. I am uncomfortable about everything. I do not like it. But I understand it. I recognize the truth in it.
Research leads to topics about social justice in general. Dreadlocks are appropriation too? I watch videos and read articles written by people who are not white.
I am upset. I don’t know what to do with this knowledge, because no one around me wants to hear it.
I am 22. While my internal world is crashing down, my outer world is opening up.
I read about the refugee crisis in Greece. I decide to go.
I am scared. I am met with resistance and fear from people around me. But I have found a group of volunteers online who are actually there, who are able to calm my fears. I trust them, the people who are actually there.
When I tell my parents I’m leaving, my mom says, “Well, that’s noble.”
My dad says, “Watch out for the Muslim men, because they will want to hurt you.”
I turn 23 while I am in Greece, in a camp full of single Muslim men. A camp I had been terrified to go to because my entire life I have been taught by the world that Middle Eastern men want to rape blonde girls like me.
But bigger than my fear is my conviction that I do not want to live in a world where that is true. I feel that I would rather die than have to live in a world where I am always afraid. A world where I hope that stereotypes aren’t true, but am too scared to go find out and know for sure.
I think that the comments about Muslim men are based in racism, but part of me is afraid that I am wrong. I think, those beliefs had to come from somewhere, right? I am afraid that society is right and that I am wrong.
And I am not wrong. I am so fucking not wrong that I want to scream it from the rooftops and yell at every single person who had the nerve to say that I was. BECAUSE I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE WORLD.
I meet the people that negative articles have been written about. I hear first-hand the stories of tragedy and war. I hear the other side of the story. I begin to understand, truly, how the media shapes our views.
The newspaper writes an article about me where I say that America is partially to blame and people from home attack me in the comments in ways I didn’t even know were possible. And I do not care, because they are not there. They do not see what I see.
And I come home and I am upset because how do you convey that experience to people?
I am 23 and I am laying on the couch at my best friend’s apartment while he tells me the history of the Middle East, that he majored in in college but I had never learned about before.
I start crying as I begin to understand the layers upon layers of the history of the world, and how different events have impacted each other, the mistakes people have made. I can relate the history to the stories of people I have met in real life.
All of a sudden politics feel extremely important.
I am 23.
It is before the primaries.
“I just don’t like Hillary Clinton,” I say. “We should have a woman president, but not her. I don’t trust her.”
Someone I respect a lot shares an article about how sexism has shaped our views about Hillary.
I read it and am not sure. The whole country says Hillary is a criminal. At least some of that must be based in fact, right?
I talk to people who confirm my views. Then I talk to other people, and they say, you’re wrong.
I am 23.
I have decided to travel, by myself. I am in Vietnam. I adore Vietnam. I buy a book on the history of Vietnam and start to read it while I am in the country and it is like magic, to be able to see things in front of me as I read about them.
I take a tour of areas of war by a war veteran.
I go to the Vietnam War museum and I have to stop over and over again to sit quietly with tears running down my face as I try to absorb everything my country did to that country. History I have never learned, not in this way.
I realize that politics not only are important – they are a matter of life and death.
I am 23. I start reading books from perspectives of people who are not like me. I read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which makes me inconsolable for hours. I read the autobiography of Malcolm X. I understand what he means, about knowledge being the most powerful thing. I read article after article after article on racism, on sexism. Articles written by people of color, and articles written by other white people who say “I have been there too, and this is what you need to work through.”
I am 23. I am with people from other countries. “We quite like Hillary,” they say. “Our leaders like dealing with her, she is really intelligent. We don’t get why people from your country hate her.”
I am 23. I watch as an unqualified man gets to run for president because he has a ton of money. I watch as he is excused from his racism. I watch as he gets to say anything he wants because people are tired of political correctness. I watch as he brags about sexual assault.
I watch as men excuse his actions away. I watch as women excuse them away, and I see my 14-year-old self explaining why I’m not a feminist. I feel incapable of describing how this is the same. How oppression can be so deeply rooted that we do not even know it’s there.
I am 23.
At least a quarter of my country thought this man would be a good president. Around half of the country didn’t think he was bad enough to get out and vote against him.
I am 23 and am told that I’ll grow out of being so upset about this one day. I am told that when I’m older, I’ll understand that this is just democracy. I am told that because I am 23, I’m not able to see that everything will really be okay.
I am 23. I am told to be more positive, that I should not be so angry, that I should really be getting over myself so that we can move forward as one.
I am told that I am too vocal. I am told that I am not being vocal enough.
Next week I turn 24.
I am not putting up with this any longer.
I Image Googled “smart” and this sort of thing came up:
I was expecting this. Because that first one? Looks like some kid’s toy car. I’d feel silly as hell riding around in one, provided I’d even fit in there. Maybe they’re as roomy as the Fiat or the the Mini though. I drove a Fiat once and had a helluva good time doing it too.
That 6 wheel atrocity? (F-UGLY…and stupid looking IMHO…go buy yourself a freakin’ truck and have done).
Zoom zoom. And it got GREAT gas mileage. If the price tag weren’t so steep, I’d even own one now. Would drive it around when Baby (my PT Cruiser) needs a rest…
But this post isn’t about CARS…it’s about INTELLIGENCE.
I had a relative tell me recently something that absolutely astounded me. I probably stood there, looking stupid, with my mouth open and such. Because I had no damn idea.
They said that they grew up thinking secretly that they were retarded (okay it’s not a politically correct word, but for the generation of folks involved and since it was a PRIVATE conversation…I’m going to tell the P.C. police to bug off ). They didn’t do near as well in school as other family members and, although they were NOT stupid or retarded; and are in fact, as an adult, very well read and hold a complicated technical job – they always thought they were somehow dumb because they didn’t hold up the academic shining light.
Now I know this relative very very well. It’s a sibling actually. I’m one of the ‘shining lights’ of academia that this person felt diminished by. I am also a social moron (again with the incorrect P.C. ness…oh phooey to P.C. I’m declaring my blog a NON-P.C. zone today) and have been since middle school. I am awkward and ‘shy’ (hahahahah) and I don’t like people and I’m not good at pretending I do. I say the wrong thing and I do the wrong thing socially more often than I get it right and sometimes that bugs me, but not very often. Mostly I just don’t care.
Well NOW. But in middle and high school? My ‘retarded’ sibling was a social shining light. Popular and got on well with EVERYBODY. Had loads of friends and was always being asked to go do things with the popular kids and I really kind of hated my sibling sometimes for their success in the social arena.
It was startling therefore to realize they sort of hated me because I was ‘smart.’ Um.
Well you just never know, do you?
One man’s junk is another’s treasure and deep and profound stuff like that…
Odd what comes up in conversations at a funeral, ain’t it?
And this whole conversation and subsequent stewing about it a little bit (read obsessing over) led to reinforcement of my closely held belief that nothing fits in a pigeon hole but a pigeon, and sometimes the fat ones have to sleep in the rain.
The peacefulness of nature calls out.
Its voice is soft, gentle.
Your ears can sense the wind.
As it calls to you from the past.
Where it comes from matters.
Where it goes not as much.
Wrapped in its embrace.
Changes in weather.
Smells of blooms,
Sounds of activity.
The restlessness is a human trait.
Nature knows not a rush.
The call of a bird echoes.
The response is graciously slow.
The swaying of branches dance.
Light bends and twists before the land.
The landscape is a time machine.
It stops time in place!
It holds all plans hostage.
It reminds us where we stand.
If we take the time to listen.
Today, I will take the time.
My soul will relax from stress.
Nature knows not what that is.
Its quiet song calls out to us.
Open your window to the soul.
Nature is calling, put down the phone.
Hello all. A special post to guest post here. I’m Mark from Coloring Outside the Lines. I try to keep things short whether flash fiction, poetry, challenges, or photography. The flash fiction may include horror and crime. I’m very grateful for the chance to guest post!
I have had often the habit, Of digging too deep, Into the private lives and minds Of those friends that I keep. You see, I never found it wrong Or intrusive if I strikingly asked Those questions that are to answer Difficult; leave them masked. If I waited until we were alone I might ensnare you with emotion And then deliver that unwanted gift Of a beckoning favor, of commotion. Then my friends would, somber, Try to evade my words, my voice. I simply would return with a stone Expression; I leave little to choice. So in this way I could draw out The answer that I craved so badly; Be they underwhelming or shocking, I desired them, I obsess madly.
Now you probably would look at me And wonder how inhuman I act, But I detest this view of my practice. I am an indulger of mental fact. What makes the mind tick? What causes these humans to take A form that creates their personality, And in time, a tortured soul to make? These are the burning questions That I desperately wish to address; Therefore, my actions are an act Of science that evidently impress. Only a mad scientist would delve So deep that they risk losing it all; Then I am mad! madly observant, And I keep down the rabbit hole, I fall.
Each mind is so unique, With all its experience and abilities. They all open up worlds unknown, And create endless possibilities. For I myself am but one man But in the equation I add a universe; Now multiply that exponentially And boundaries become reversed. Now all of the planes of existence Have opened themselves to humanity And I am taking one small step; Maybe for the sake of my sanity. But I could endlessly keep falling, Simply chasing, never ceasing; However, I could never stop and see All the beauty I would be releasing.
I’d rather explore the universes That cross paths with mine, For they shift my orbit and gravity Much more than a distant shine. For if I understand the connections Between myself and a friend, Then I also share in that link A bigger world made by our blend. This is why I ponder over their minds And why I ask a burning question; After all, it’s how I keep alive My somewhat unhealthy obsession. And in my craziness maybe you too Have become excited to explore; I say friends are meant to be known, It’s what we keep them around for.
by Carlos Lewis
You can get to know Carlos and his writings over at his blog, Thoughts of a Trainwrecked Pineapple. He is absolutely one of my very favorite people whom I’ve met during this blogging journey. Please be sure and let him know how much you enjoyed his poem by visiting him and leaving comments.