Alias Grace

Imagine, if you will, that you are a woman and your position in life is already compromised. Your body indicated for servitude both for vocation and male sexual desire. Your voice is silent before you speak. If you dare speak you are hysterical, or worse a whore not worth given credence. Your mind is easily susceptible to bad spirits and incomprehensible thoughts simply because you are born of a sex religiously deemed devious.

alias

That is Grace Marks, a woman determined so by natural devices, at the age of 15 or 16 years old. An Irish immigrant already expected poverty. Already, so early she is to be told by society what her body is good and useful for and that is servitude.

Every order given to her is expected of utmost obedience. Every action by her own is acted as innocence.

If she ever denies any order she is suddenly ‘filthy’, a ‘whore’, or ‘untrustworthy’.

What stood out to me in this miniseries is the ‘doctor of the mind’. A psychiatrist named Simon, given permission to have sessions with Grace in order to stir her memory of the events again. Then again, what memories are there to stir if the events of murder were never seen or properly recollected? Regardless he was curious, always on the edge, sleepless even to know more about Grace and her story. Simon had supposed that Grace was either somewhere along the lines of insanity or a woman who had found a means to break away from the suppression of her body.

She had become clever, he thought even. To express what one may think is rage against what was done to her and any other woman; or to express her anger of suppression. Suppression- that is to clean and to care at so young of an age. Suppression- that also means to give her body to any man’s will with a command for her consent. She had then created an audience with her hysterics. An audience composed of wealthy gossipers and then potential romantic partners, including Simon. He then supposed that that was her intention, even one that cost nearly her life.

It’s definitely a curious subject here. If you were a woman of that time period-and had to witness what that meant exactly, would you become a fiend to speak on it?

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Allegations

Coming out from a decade ago to incidents that have occurred recently, both women and men are coming forward with stories of sexual assault, harassment and abuse. The fingers are pointed at our upper class-the celebrities and businessmen, as well as our politicians.

As I can only assume that most of our population in the U.S. understand and accept the  sincerity of the accusers of all ages and positions; however, there are still those skeptical. These aren’t simply men who fail to comprehend the truthfulness of the victims statements-despite their age, there are women too that make similar comments. As in,

Why now? (Why not when the incident of abuse or assault occurred did these women or then girls did not come forward to the authorities?)

Here we go again. (These women are simply buying attention from the media.)

Why does it matter now? (As in I believe these women, however fail to understand the purpose of their accusations now as they proved themselves successful or beneficiaries in their careers.)

These are simply allegations, no charges have been made and the media/social media is not a courtroom. (We do not know for sure if these situations are truthful or not. In any case we have a court and rule of law that should properly investigate, judge then rule on these incidences. A trial by media causing the lost of jobs is unjustified.)

With these common statements and questions by both, some, men and women is an admission to the overall question, really a statement: Why now?

Any ‘now’ or moment in time takes courage to speak of. As I have had women confess to me about their brother, their pastor, father, uncle, neighbor, friend or teacher. The time is irrelevant, what matter is the act and how it deeply silences the victim. As one woman confessed to me that her brother had molested her for years, but she did not want to alarm her dad. Her dad, a single father providing financial necessities as he worked all hours of the day and often leaving the children home alone. However, she said after some years when she finally confessed what had happened to her, her father believed her. Her brother then later confessed, confessed of other children he had silenced and sought help.

I witnessed poetry spoken by women who were raped by their fathers and how she still deals with the emotional aspect. Still she is haunted by memories. A few came forward right after the act, others had come forward years later. The point again not being about time it is about courage. And in stating ‘courage’ is not to belittle the people that have faced abuse of some kind, yet have not come forward. You know this isn’t about comparison of who has the guts to say something its simply that it takes courage to do so.

In asking that question, too, is a form of silencing. As I remember in my studies about accusations of rape and assault in high school, I remember a statement made by either a teacher or by the textbook. It was somewhere along the lines of how our society become especially protective of men as women began to come forward about their assault, abuse and the like. Yes some were proven to be false, as our media reporting on these claims have found a couple to be false. However it shouldn’t negate the truthfulness of all other women, but it does some times. So we, as in our society, automatically assume the innocence of the man before the woman because of the need to protect, the need to silence from harm of knowing. Why now? Well the victims are not only breaking the silence of the act, they have to break the silence placed by our society.

For example, a male is victim of sexual harassment by women. The first question by the immature is, well is he gay, a homosexual? Why would a man reject attention from a woman? I mean that is desired in a heterosexual male, regardless of age. However it is not. And to deny the unwanted advances of a woman is no indication of his sexuality, only his ownership of his body. However, the immature understands this point only if the male victim is sexually harassed by men. Therefore, he is free to speak without scrutiny, but the first question asked again is did the male victim evoke violence towards him? If not, again well is he gay? A way to shun men based on homophobia, a repulsion of feminism, is another form of silencing a victim. A silence placed by our society of how men are ‘suppose’ to act and react to such situations.

By this question, ‘Why now?’, the skeptics are admitting to the fault of the accused and as well admitting to their own encouragement of silencing the victims. Though without this desire to self reflect on their comments made is also admitting the need to silence harm from knowing.

 

 

‘Where Is Everybody?’

The first episode of the 1950’s series The Twilight Zone answered my own fears and anticipation about loneliness.

Human beings, as animals, are social creatures that thrive in a group and just as well as a pair. We see this fact played out in most films and television shows about the ‘last man standing’ or some devastation that left a few or two alone in the world. The common expectation of quarreling; selfish behavior and aggression matched to detain the selfish individual played out. The individual cannot undermine the whole and the group requires all like minded individuals to survive. It’s a survival instinct.

 

Last Man
No one else to escape with in talking about nothing in particular.

 

And as well, if he is found to be alone, his sanity is lost as he finds no purpose for his voice. With most films, if he is alone and now silent, he’ll find some way to seek civilization.

Isolation. A sudden removal from all others and all subjects familiar. This is what defines loneliness. At times I dream of my own experience of it.

A plane trip gone wrong but I’ve lost my memory of what had happened. A small boat slightly moved by the waters. It’s abandoned and I do not remember my trip to this muddy, wooded lake side. But I take it, push it along, to jump in and to forget where I last left my life. I play these two scenarios over again in my mind when I find myself wrecked by emotions so overwhelmed. I do not imagine the trip to where I find the definition of loneliness. I think in that instance it’ll become a fear of death that’ll force me to survive. A sudden sense of grief as I leave those that do care for me wondering, abandoned. Other than that I never play out what is to be expected.

Somewhere I land on a beach side. I’m too frightened still to venture into the woods behind me, so I have just landed or its been a few months. About the only thing I know how to do is to fish, but to build a fire proves to be more difficult than what it seems. I suppose this is why fire, greatest success our human ancestors made left them too tired to venture into other technical success. Seriously thousands of years past by before the next latest invention.

Of course I’m suffering through the will of nature, finding discomfort. I’m uncomfortable in my surroundings, though I convince myself I could build something in the future. I’m inspired as that is all it takes for me to feel motivated in conquering my surroundings. I must convince myself that I could do something. Somehow take pride in my accomplishments as I learn through several trial and error scenarios to simply build means of conveniences (shelter, tools,  warmth). Still I find my discomfort met with frustration.

At some point, a replay of this sense of longing and wanting remains with me. This is where I end my dream. I was longing for the memories of places built by people. I wanted to witness again people going about their daily life. The news, the disagreements, the bitterness of people unable to properly vent their frustrations accordingly-I day dreamed about it all. A certain smell from home town. It’s the smell of factory farming, so not at all pleasant but nostalgia will have you missing the worst part of something.

The quiet of country living, something I miss that is reality not a dream. As a child and then a teenager I thought that I was alone there. Trapped in four walls I sent myself off to bed as I laid down to provide my own source of entertainment-that being my imagination. I would dream of someone like myself going off on a day dream that I am dreaming of now. A young girl outcaste, so she runs away. Though she finds herself moving back home again for what is familiar, really to seek a familiar face. She learns that she wants someone, a companion. I would lay for hours dreaming of another person’s anxiety about their society. The story dreams would keep me with comfort, but still depressing as I thought this was worse. Trapped in my own mind in the quiet of the country.

What is worse then, to fear loneliness. To fear being apart from all others, or to live so far and remote that you have no one to even share this dream with. That is the worst fear of mine. Perhaps the worst fear of everyone else, as it seems.

I witness middle aged women filling a void in their life by living superficial. Women addicted to materialism all to fill in the gaps of being alone, really. People forming relationships so quickly out of habit and out of fear. Then with the age of the internet and social media we have trolls that turn out to be just as much as a loser as they are bullying while seemingly anonymous. There is a void, a lack of happiness, a sense of loneliness. We fill it the best way we can, as I had done with the story dreams while living quietly. However, still, the worst feeling is to have no one and no sense that others where here with us.

Public Bigotry and The Outraged

Concerning recent news of crime of another country or city, or the crimes committed by an individual of another culture or demographic- why must the public assume ‘all’ are at fault? Whether the media is to discuss India and its rape victims, Chicago and its murder rates; or Muslim men found guilty of sex trafficking, white person found to be racially insensitive in a debate, etc.. The presumption is always ‘all’, not a few and those individuals that have committed the crimes as individuals. No it is always, almost always, public bigotry and outrage attributing the cause to a collective rather than to the individual(s) or the perpetrators.

If a white person exhibits racial insensitivity then it is confirmation that all white people are racist. Or that this individual is a representation of their group-that being white America (a monolithic phrase attributed).

If a Muslim extremist decides a path to a rewarding heaven is by destruction of the livelihoods of others it is then Muslims as a whole that are barbaric in nature. Never the individual easily impressionable, and easily forgetful in the worth of self and humanity.

If there is a man obsessed with power, or one that expresses his insecurities and sickness aggressively on the innocent not consenting, the public assumes that it is men generally. Men are not to be trusted as they are all potential rapist, abusers or a danger waiting to happen.

These few examples are of major complaints that are read and heard throughout the news today, yesterday and tomorrow. To assume that ‘all’ are the case for danger, a reason for distrust rather than to aim at those that commit their crimes.

The underlying thought here is the obsession with assuming a collective understanding of how humans function in society. With the presumption that we all exist in our respective monolith, rather than as individuals first. The sudden urge to accuse the singular characteristic as the definition of all others similar-without consideration of the diversity that exist in what is thought to be sameness.

I am referring to terms such as ‘white America’. A collective, a monolith-that actually exist with distinctive identities and cultures. Though I’m referring to that white kid in class being assessed by the bitter, yet equally ignorant classmate. This kids heritage is assumed to be that of slave owners, though he may not have had any. This kid’s background of poverty is not related to the oppression or subjugation of others. A finger is pointed at him by the equally bitter and ignorant as the reason for the greater crimes committed by individuals, again, not related to him. However, since this white kid uttered something racially insensitive in class the argument then is about the racism, like his own, persisting in white America. An issue that harms the rest.

I’m referring to that comment made by Margaret and the other following made further down by John. A news story about men who appear not quite white and not quite black, yet they appear nothing like a Christian either. “A group of Muslim men”, they both snort and sneer. The news headlining that all men in the photo provided were charged with raping and kidnapping several young girls and women. It’s a common story of sex trafficking gaining interest among the media reporting something ‘new’ and forgotten. No one else may convince Margaret or John that all Muslim men are not deviant barbarians. No one may convince them-whether calmly in a thoughtful retort; or a call to shame through either mocking or carrying on back and forth in anger. Their thoughts are indeed ignorant and problematic, yet the comment thread has not gained a single light of awakening. “It is my opinion and I have a right to it”, as each reply or will eventually state. What do they say, then, when the Christian rapes and destroys the livelihood of others? Their thought is one of deflection. That  is an act of someone in-Christ like and that person exist as an individual; therefore not Christian. As to assume so would include both as having probability of committing a similar crime.

Lastly, I’m referring to those that believe a culture exist where men are free to rape without consequences. And that rape is a monopoly, held primarily among men-all men with the potential and intention to rape. “Not all men” is a phrase to specify the issue as an individual crime, whether grouped or not. The rebuttal then is that this phrase is offensive as it allows men thinking of self, to not consider the greater cause by the commonality of the victims perpetrators. Include ‘race’ and ‘religion’ to see how this topic becomes complicated. Talk about rape culture and black men and see raised concerns over the constant acquisition of young black men historically and presently accused of such a crime. It is then individual if one is black, to avoid racial insensitivities.

Why is it ‘all’ rather than a few or those individuals that have committed the crime in particular? Not much has changed with these continuing discussions of the same news, though with different details. Those that point a finger are set within their opinions, a wall built of continued anger and distrust. Nothing has been accomplished in argument assuming crime is associated to the groups most distrusted. No common understanding has been formed as such people wish to point and categorize.

A Heart That Is Gold

After writing Hashtag ‘Talk To Someone’ the thought occurred to me that I should share this fact to two people. I told my mom and I told my only associate. I told my mom that I have a strong desire to just simply walk away. I told my associate that I rather not waste time on another person again, expecting them to be honest and truthful about their nature or character. My mom called me to tell me that, of course, I’m not alone. It’s a mental illness that runs throughout our family, from a grand mother that suffered from a more severe mental illness. Depression is a common illness in my family, something I know my mom to have. She told me that she too becomes depressed, to cry at night. I know the source of her problems, one that refuses to just leave on his own accord. A selfish and self-centered human being, just as the individuals I have encountered throughout my life so far. She told me that she too will cry, only to roll over and to fall asleep. To wake up and to pray that everything will be better. She told me of her distractions too, one that I have been aware of and concerned about as I age. The two parts of the conversation that…when my mom told me that she will cry sometimes, I found it difficult to imagine. You see, in my mind and through my observations growing up, I have never once seen my mom, or my dad cry. Though every time the topic of depression surfaces my mom will tell me that yes, they are human too and that they too express a common human physical response to emotions. I still find it difficult to imagine that my mom is just as vulnerable as I am. Even if I have witnessed her sad, I have never witnessed her to cry.

She told me that yes, as I grow older the more my nature will become challenged. She has always known and accepted that her two children are different from other children. She has had to explain and to defend to her own family members why and how her children are different. Per society standards, as young black people, my younger brother and I fail to be loud, eccentric, or to ‘live in the moment’. We are so different because we both value intellectualism, idealism, concept knowledge, abstract thinking, an inclination to reason and to challenge established norms. All that is considered odd because we are black; all that is considered disrespectful in some cases. An important point to make as this a cause for our experience in being bullied and harassed, as well for others to misinterpret who we are. The greater point here is that we are both quiet introverts, something strange to a group of people that only understand ‘voices are to be raised and heard’. This is my nature, to live in a world that is so loud and demanding for myself to speak up and state your position clearly for us all to hear. What else did my mom tell me? She told me that I am sensitive because I care. And she’s right. I have always been sensitive. I have always been the one to care a great deal about how  others are in their nature.

When I care, I care to understand the purpose and point of it all. I am also inclined to apply logic to what is emotional. As I described within my article of confession, the source of my depressed state has always been other people. Not only the fact that people generally make me anxious and uncomfortable, as I am hyper-aware that they have the ability to judge. People, as individuals who are all typically self-centered, unkind, judgmental and rude. I grew up within an environment where the strongest individuals were those that are rude, seemingly uncaring of other’s emotions and careless with emotions. Though they reveal how truly vulnerable they are whenever they feel the need to take revenge on those that may mistake them as weak. That is to return hatred with hate. Or to not concern themselves with the disadvantages of others by forming an attitude whenever asked for a favor, because the thought of being ‘used’ matters more than a person truly in need.  It is along the lines of this fact and those type of behaviors that caused me to be sensitive and to care a great deal into understanding them. To understand why such forms of behavior are expected to be justified.


Love

I am to apply logic to what is emotional. If you do not love a person, yet you tell them so as an obligated response within a relationship, why do you do it? What compels you, a person with emotions, to lie to someone else with emotions as well? This may apply to your current partner, spouse, friend, or even child and parent. Why is it deemed an obligation to face another human being and to lie about how you may feel about that person? In this society, or as I’m referring to the United States poor cultural habits, we are to lie to a person in order to spare their feelings. We are to believe that initial honesty within relationships are to be forgotten and regarded as sensitive matter not worth the trouble to share and to tell. Though we are creatures with the urge to tell. Instead of initial honesty, some people may tell a person their true feelings in a more passive sense. Instead of telling the person ‘I do not love you’, the unloving individual will purposefully purchase an item different from what you asked for exactly. Instead of confessing one’s true feelings, the person may lash out in anger over something petty or insignificant. As there are many ways to tell a person that you love them without those exact words, there are many ways to do the opposite. For whatever reason the exact purpose or point of this behavior is not understood.

The question remains ‘why do you do it?’


Trust

The idea of trust is foreign.  Actually, Pew Research Center has found that U.S. Americans are unable to trust their neighbors more so now than before. This fact is associated to different environments where poverty and [apparent] crime are heavily concentrated and specific. This fact too remains as our society becomes increasingly more diverse and that our economy becomes increasingly dire. On the subject of relationships, we find it difficult to trust  another person. And whenever a person expresses a sense of distrust in others, not considering those that are in abusive situations, the attitude that surfaces proves to be damaging. The idea of a lack of trust in individuals initially is the fear that all others will prove to be damaging to the person. Then a vicious cycle has been created. One person refusing to trust may become agitated, rude and the like towards someone that may be honest with their emotions.  Then the one honest by their emotions may then become distrustful of others, because of their experience with people that are agitated and rude. So on and so forth until a large population of people warn their children, or to give advice to someone that is troubled-that this is simply how people are.

Then there are those whose fears are confirmed as they are left abandoned in their personal issue to trust. In their minds it is then confirmed that people are not only untrustworthy, but they are just as uncaring as expected. A misunderstanding is then formed as every relationship is either sabotaged or put to a test.


Judgement

The fear to be ‘used’ is a fear to be judged by others. It seems that within our culture we must display a hard surface that is not easily penetrated by others. This is to say, if we are ever to find ourselves in a situation that causes for the kindness of heart we are told to never let it bleed. If we are to allow the heart to bleed we may find ourselves stripped of our dignity; of our possessions, time, money and body. If we are to allow ourselves to be ‘used’ we may find ourselves weak and judged. The last association we should want to have to our name is that we are easy and vulnerable. And the last thought we wish to have is someone, either closely associated or a stranger, to judge us.

So in turn a person establish clear boundaries of what requests are okay. One may find a person reluctant to give another person in need a ride to work. The reason given that it is their responsibility to have their own transportation, so if I were to forget then oh well. They will know. Of course a favor that is offered is a favor given in kindness. However, this is deed is concerned by how others may interpret the action as being ‘too much’. And by ‘too much’ meaning too easy, too vulnerable, well then anyone can ask this person anything and they will give. The fear to be judged, as applies to this examples and others not mentioned here, trumps the act of kindness.

 

unsung hero
Unsung Hero Commercial

 


A Heart That is Gold

It is those subjects and others more personal that causes me to feel disheartened. It is those understandings I have formed that leaves me to be questionable and concerned about others. But my mom told me, too in this conversation-that I will certainly lose myself in them. She told me, encouraged me to find my happy.  As she told me about her distractions from reality, or what keeps her going and anticipating for more, I was thinking of my happy. I had written in my confession that walking and writing are my happy. If one ever writes something sad or discouraging it always best to end with something that is hopeful or that it is a remedy. I am truthful in what allows me to escape though. I find my happy in those activities and in exercise. Obesity in the U.S. is another anticipated writing, as it was my personal experience as well. I never knew that exercise, taking a risk to lift something heavy would excite me so.

As I partake in all activities that are my happy, the conclusion then is that I should focus on myself. As my close associate told me, it’s alright to focus on yourself now. Then when you are ready to open up and to allow a person into your life again it will be worth it. If someone cannot accept who you are then it is their loss- to forget someone worth knowing about.

I’m not in the belief that my heart is so pure that I am without flaws too. I understand how my nature can be off-putting; seeming to cause conflict with others. This is true that I am sensitive about the greater sense of human behavior, but as far as individual troubles I seem more bothered by the request to listen and to answer. Well, especially since I assume the person is wanting for an answer to their troubles that is based on logic, rather than to simply listen and to agree. I disregard social cues. I may even belittle a person for simply being human without understanding what all I am saying or doing to that person. I am always willing to add self-criticism in addition to what I understand to be flaws in human behavior. I am human too, of course. And I am guilty of assuming one of those subjects of behaviors listed above. My inability to trust as I deny any chance to have close association with others or to form a relationship of any kind. My attitude then becomes of rudeness and being overcritical of how this too may fail. All because of my depression, pessimism and the like.

My mom told me to find my happy, but to also form happy thoughts. The concept here is that if I accept the negative thoughts that only deepens my depression, then to assume positive thoughts will increase my level of contentment. In that time I may attract the same within my environment and with others to be happy, as my close associate told me. In that case, to find what will work is the ability to find a balance.