Category Archives: Perspectives

Congratulations, But We’re Not There Yet

(Republished from Sept 2015)

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of progressive changes here in America. While some show us just how far we’ve come, others let us know just how far we still need to go.  I was reading the latest piece here on The Kinfolk Kollective (brilliant writer btw, check her out) about Viola Davis and the nonsense (read bullshit) that ensued.

While I did not watch the awards, I saw the immediate spreading the joyous news of Viola Davis’ well deserved win on social media.  I think she’s an incredibly talented actor and I was very happy that she received her due in this well earned recognition.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for 'How to Get Away with Murder' onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Later I saw her speech, along with the very short and spread out list of other firsts and I was saddened to realize how little progress we’ve made in this area. To be honest, since I’m not a fan of the awards shows or their history I had no idea until this moment how far behind we were in this arena.

I remember seeing Halle Berry’s acceptance speech in my younger years thinking “cool, we’re there” and being completely oblivious to the fact that we are so far from it in this vein. Viola really hit the nail on the head when she pointed out you can’t win awards for parts not written. It’s a simple problem with a seemingly simple solution.  Right?

But of course no one can have their 15 seconds forget 15 minutes, in the sun before critics and assholes feel the need to tear people down with their own Ignorance.  This phenomenon was never more apparent than when a Tweet by an unnamed white actress (only because I refuse to offer any publicity with her name attached) who felt that Viola should have allowed someone else to write her speech for her. Are you kidding me?

So here we finally have the first African-American woman in this country to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama, and this person felt, either out of jealousy of the win or personal discomfort because it didn’t align with her life of privilege, that it should have been censored or desensitized for those who prefer to speak out of their asses because their heads are buried deeply in the sand.

If I can offer a brief but meaningful segue  – One of my favorite movies is A Time to Kill starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and the ever powerful Samuel L. Jackson. The 1996 movie is based on the book of the same name by John Grisham, and is a story told from the defence attorney’s perspective as he digs deep to defend his client (Samuel L. Jackson) accused of murder after killing the men who repeatedly and brutally assaulted his young daughter.  McConaughey’s closing speech as Southern defense attorney Jake Brigance is one that will stop your heart and give you the deepest understanding of racial divide that you never saw coming. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to watch it here.

After you regain your composure, feel free to join in the singing “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway musical Avenue Q and be sure to invite and include almost everyone you’ve ever known to join you in the chorus. There’s no shame in realizing that down deep you have some racially disparaging leanings at your core.  Of course you couldn’t.  You didn’t realized that you’ve been groomed this way from birth and while you may wash away some of it, there’s a couple of places you didn’t know were even there.

American society historically has been very racist and it didn’t stop with the end of the Civil War. In fact, slavery didn’t even end with the war. If you’re not familiar with Juneteenth look it up.  Don’t be surprised if you’re not familiar with it. It’s an event that is not taught in schools.  Why?  I don’t know.

I didn’t learn about the racially motivated Internment Camps to restrict the freedoms of Japanese-Americans during World War II either.  We learned a fraction of the relocation and atrocities committed against Native Americans by white settlers and Americans, too grievous a list to reference here.  Then again until the casinos opened, most folks thought that Native Americans were more historical figures than living peoples.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I guess that’s what that actress was hoping for with her tweets.

American History books would have us believe that this country was settled in harmony with only a few gunfights, a really cool railroad, the creation of the pony express and some really funny clothes and mustaches, then a few battles as part of the Civil War and once the war was over, we all continued living together happily until the 1950’s when we became a society divided again (for some unknown reason that nobody remembers I’m sure…) leading to Rosa Parks being the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement with the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Every generation does a little bit better, but we have to strive for it to keep progressing as parents, as industry, as a society, as a country.  Dr King said it best in his historic I Have A Dream speech “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.  While I have always been moved by, believed in and agreed with that sentiment, we need to remember it just as much now as on that historic day in August 1963 on the the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

I am constantly judged by those who see me as a caucasian woman, when the reality is that I am a genderfluid individual who only racially identifies as human, formerly married to an Afro-Cuban man for 10 years (which was illegal within my own lifetime btw) and is someone who has family and friends in every color of the rainbow and every position along the gender spectrum.   That’s not to say I’m not free of prejudice, not even close.  What it means that race and gender are not my identity nor is it my sole scope of experience for viewing the world around me; and as I recognize these flaws within myself, that awareness allows me to target it for removal like radiation directed toward cancer cells.. but only if I choose to do so.

Hate is a cancer of the human soul and prejudice is only one of its symptoms.  As we’ve seen in the past year racially motivated crime at an all-time visibility.  Understand that because of our changes in technology, these injustices are more visible than ever before, and with it comes the demand for accountability and change.

Please recognize that these are far from the only injustices that are occurring.  Young vets coming back are dealing with having to fight not only for their earned benefits but the continuing the fight they’d thought they’d left being as it haunts them constantly, creating an unprecedented veteran suicide reaching record numbers that this country has never seen before.

Transgender individuals, both adult and youths are assaulted and murdered daily, make up a majority of the homeless population as backs are turned on them at every turn and maintain a suicide rate of over 40%.  These two things in particular you don’t see on mainstream news because they don’t feed the fires of racial tensions and controversy, instead they breed empathy and compassion.  That doesn’t sell advertising.

The honest truth of the matter is that it’s going to take many more generations of Americans to water down and weed out experiences known as daily reality for many, many people in this nation both past and present, but it takes work, and a lot of it.  There is no room for complacency, the old adage is true “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.

We as a nation and a society need to be proactive in repairing the current wounds and old scars of injustice for ALL of our citizens, not just the majority and the underserved need to be sought out.  Trust needs to be built, that’s the hardest part, and the nightly news makes sure to work against that because that’s how they get viewers and sell advertising.

So please look to the disparity around you and know that you can be the catalyst for change.  Compassion and empathy can make the difference in whether someone continues living or chooses dying.  Never forget that Rosa Parks wasn’t some visionary radical, she was a woman tired from a long day at work whose feet hurt.  Even the smallest pebbles can create the biggest ripples, you can be a superhero, all you have to do is use your powers for good.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

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Mountains or Clouds – Who Are You?

85

This blog is dedicated to simple living and for me it’s more than just non-toxic cleaners, but non-toxic people as well.

I read a fabulous article today about The 4 Excuses We Use to Hold on to Frenemies”.  A great read, true in every sense.  We all have toxic people in our lives at some point.  Some are easier to eliminate than others.  I think we all get to a certain crossroads with people in our lives where we have to remove them or ourselves for self preservation.

I started a few years back in my own “people diet”, trimming those from my life who generate negativity.  My suffering has been minimized and my joys have increased.  I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to allowing people to treat me badly, so everyone now and again, I have to stop and assess my relationships.

  • Do I need to give more time and energy to make this relationship work?
  • Does it cause me or the other person more anguish than joy?
  • Is this relationship one sided? Am I the only one putting in effort?

This may sound odd, but sometimes you need to evaluate.

I see people every week on Facebook ranting about how they’re tired of “the drama” but won’t take the steps to remove it from their lives or to remove themselves from the situation.  Why?  Because we’re taught that quantity rules over quality.

I, like most people, have only a handful of people I’m close to, yet according to Facebook I have a couple of hundred friends.  In the grand scheme of things, I really don’t care for that word when it comes to online socializing.  These folks are not friends, they are my acquaintances; they’re people I’m friendly with but really are not friends with in the truest sense of the word.

My handful of friends are there, through thick or thin, through hell or high water, no matter what and I know it.

I was reminded of that again just last week at my going away party.  Of the 80 or so that were invited from my “friends list”, only the handful came.  At first it bothered me a bit, until I realized that I was being greedy for quantity over quality.  Something we all tend to defer to from time to time even though we know it’s quality that matters.

Those that came are the people I will be coming back to visit and who will coming to see me.  We will stay in touch and check on each other because we care that much about each other and their spouses, children, etc. These are the people who can bring a smile to my face sitting in a room next to me not saying a word or who can make me laugh while I’m crying my eyes out and I can do the same for them.  These are my friends.  These are who matter.

My true friends are the permanent mountains on the landscape of my life.  The rest are just clouds… they drift in, drift out, sometimes they make the day pretty and let the sun in, sometimes they block the sun and just bring storms.  Funny thing about mountains, they’re always there, always strong.  Sometimes the clouds obscure your view of them, but you can have faith they’re right there.

My mountains are the people who never stir drama just to watch others suffer, who only build me up and encourage me.  They provide shade and shelter from the storms of my life and strength when I am at my weakest.

Friendship, marriage, relationship… all the same thing really.

They take time and they take work but they are so worth it.  Don’t try to appeal to the masses, spend your energy bringing quality to those who bring it to you.  Remember that the only person you can force to be a good friend.. is you.

Look at the landscape of your life.  Find your mountains and just let the clouds drift by.  Enjoy the scenery of your mountain chain and the joy of simple living will be yours.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

#YouKnowMe

I was going to share the graphic, along with a few words on Facebook. Those few words trickled out until they hemorrhaged through my keyboard. Sorry for the TMI, but it’s my truth.

So now instead of a few sweet words and a graphic, you get a very real, not sweet moments of my life in a blog Op/Ed. I hope that you can share your truth so that we all stand up for what is being done to us and against us in this moment of history.

– M​​aggie ॐ

 

 

Image may contain: 1 person, text

For the woman who has a miscarriage, where the body expels non-viable embryo or fetus, it is called a spontaneous abortion. I wonder how many of these bible banging hypocrites know their wives have had an abortion… against their will at that.

In 2006 I found out I was pregnant, only to miscarry shortly thereafter. It was an ectopic pregnancy which is when the fertilized egg nests in the fallopian tube rather than in the lining of the uterus. Normally an ectopic pregnancy doesn’t miscarry, but rather creates a life-threatening situation where the size of the embryo exceeds the interior width of the tube causing it to rupture and leaving no other choice but emergency surgery and in most cases, having the damaged fallopian tube to be removed.

Mine was unique in that I miscarried before it gained enough size to create the aforementioned situation. Generally, after a uterine miscarriage or abortion, a procedure known as a D&C (short for dilation and curettage) is performed to ensure that the uterus is completely cleared out. In my case, this was not an option because you can’t do a D&C on a fallopian tube, and while my tube had not ruptured, the threat was still there because any “residual cells” could continue to grow and rupture the tube anyway.

 

My husband and I went home that night from the ER, devastated and grieving for the child we had lost. A child who never got named anything other than “spontaneous abortion”. The following day, we were set to return for their improvisational treatment to address my unique situation, a course of chemotherapy that would retard and eliminate the growth of any “residual cells”.

 

In one of the cruelest situations of my life, I was to go – not to the cancer ward to have the chemotherapy administered – instead, they sent me to the OB/GYN department, where I got to sit at eye level with every pregnant belly, every inverted turkey-timer looking navel. And just when I thought that fate couldn’t get much crueler, the nurse came over with a clipboard with paperwork for me to complete, one of which was an authorization for an abortion.

 

The only word that applied then, and now, is “mindfuck”.   And the fun was just beginning… I started with the “I’m pregnant” pukies, only to be followed by the “I’m not pregnant anymore” pukies and the “chemotherapy” pukies. And just when you want to crawl inside a hole and die or find some way to hide from the people who knew you were pregnant and now ask how you’re doing… it got worse. I had to go for weekly blood draws to monitor my HCG levels.

 

HCG is the hormone that is detected in a pregnancy test. You see, my “residual cells” were still causing me to have those. And those weekly blood draws were to make sure that my HCG levels were staying the same or declining because there was still the chance that they could increase. If they did it would mean that my “residual cells” would be increasing in volume and surgery to remove them. 14 weeks. 14 weeks before my HCG levels finally started tapering off and maintained a steady decline.

 

I was pregnant, had a spontaneous abortion, had to give consent for them to perform an abortion, all while spending 14 weeks waiting to find out when I would finally stop being pregnant. I am pro-choice, but this was not my choice, far from it. The 11-year-old who was raped and is now pregnant, that wasn’t her choice either.

 

And now she gets to spend every day reliving the horror as her body continues to remind her of the worst day of her life while people force her to endure this day after day. Only for her to finally deliver (c-section would be my guess, 11-year-old bodies aren’t really ready to carry and naturally deliver a full-term child). So even if she is able to deal with the additional anguish of giving the child up for adoption, she’ll have that scar to give her warm memories of happier times, huh?

 

Silly me, I almost forgot If she does wind up keeping the child, she gets to co-parent with her rapist. Won’t that be fun?

 

Thanks to all the men who keep making laws about shit you don’t fucking have a clue about and the torture you inflict on others with your overblown sense of morality.

 

Fuck you.

 

Now that you’ve read my story, ask yourself where I would be in a state like Alabama if you were the doctor and what would you be allowed to do to treat me.

I mean that truly to be devoid of personal beliefs and judgment, just what you need to do, as a physician, to treat your patient under the mandate that if you perform, aid or assist in an abortion, then you are subject to personal liability and criminal prosecution. Tell me how you would have treated me or better yet if I would have lived.

Also, in the back of your head hold on to the thought that in Mississippi several years back they tried criminalizing abortion to the point that if a woman had a miscarriage that she would be charged with manslaughter.

It’s a very tangled issue, and blanket statements and legalities that don’t accommodate for cases of rape, incest, the viability of the fetus, the overall health and survivability of the woman just confuse and muddy the situation even further.

Abortion is not just some person who was too lazy to take birth control but doesn’t want kids.   And for the record, men are largely responsible for unplanned pregnancies.

Tell me about yourself

We’ve all seen the posts that go around Facebook asking if you’ve been in an airplane, have tattoos, etc… I like getting to know my online friends better, but they always seem to have the same questions so I decided to write my own! Feel free to share this post or copy & paste into a post ~ Maggie


SO… A LITTLE ABOUT ME

Do you collect anything now or as a kid?

Music: Singing or just listening?

Can you now or did you used to play an instrument?

What music genres do you like?

Date anyone who made you say “oh hell no”, and run like your ass was on fire?

Your current favorite TV show?

Have you ever cyberstalked anyone?

What movie do you want to see?

Hobbies, Arts & Crafts, what’s your groove?

Where did you go on your last vacation?

Who was the President when you were born?

What did you participate in as a kid?

(Scouting, little league, gymnastics, etc.)

Are you waiting for something to happen?

What is it? Do you have a favorite sports team or athlete?

Will you go to a restaurant alone?

If I handed you $500 to go shopping, what would you buy?

How many cars have you owned?

Can you drive a stick?

What’s the furthest away from home that you’ve been to?

What types of ethnic foods do you like?

What was your worst subject in school?

What kinds “non-supermarket” meat have you eaten?

Have you had any jobs that wasn’t in an office, store, hotel/restaurant/medical/first responder/military?

Do you have any causes that you’re passionate about?

Would you prefer to ride a motorcycle or a horse?

How many US states and/or countries have you been to?

Do you revere any celebrities as mentors?

Are you ticklish? Do you laugh, get angry or cry?

Tea, coffee or both?

Can you eat with chopsticks?

Have you ever…

been to a farm?

gone to a circus?

seen a glacier?

seen a double rainbow?

seen a stage play?

ice or roller skated?

been to an ocean?

been to a historical site?

been to a national park?

found (or been found by) any distant relative?

gone to a casino?

been on a cruise ship or riverboat?

been in a canoe or kayak?

worn formal wear?

volunteered somewhere?

raised money for an organization?

gone camping?

been to a national monument?

seen or walked in a parade?

seen a meteor shower?

accidentally crazy glued your fingers together?

seen an eclipse?

camped in your car?

seen the northern lights?

been in love?

had any unique pets?

seen or been in a natural disaster while it was happening?

called anyone you’re not related to mom or dad?

made your own pizza?


So, now, tell me about yourself!

Copy/paste and just change the answers

or get a clean copy here > https://wp.me/p3Fcxu-BQ

And don’t forget to tag the person you got this from!

Focus please

I love Robert Reich. He reminds me of the America I lived in and was taught to believe in as a kid. Uncle Sam hasn’t been seen or mentioned for a long time. He’s probably in a corner, medicated for severe depression and anxiety.

 

Talk to you soon,
Maggie ॐ
“Art and Giving are Food for the Soul”

Simple Fixes Can Make All The Difference

I’ve got to say, I was damn near having PTSD flashbacks watching this man walk. That’s exactly what shape I was in twenty years ago.  You don’t feel the pain as part of the memory,  but you just hunch your shoulders, tighten your muscles and hold your breath due to a combination muscle memory and fear… you fear that pain.  Once you know it, there’s no joking about it, and the thought of going back there can be absolutely paralyzing.

 

The pain was so excruciating, it felt like lightning strikes from even the slightest move in the wrong direction.  If you put your right hand on your hip, that little dip where your thumb is resting was the point of origin for the pain and it went straight down my leg.

 

My primary care doctor just kept handing me pills… 40 mg Oxycontin three times a day, which I kept telling them that they weren’t working, but that was the new miracle drug on the scene then so in their opinion it was about finding the right dosage, no matter how high the dosage or how often it was taken because it couldn’t NOT work; it was a miracle after all, right?
I was given Percocet for breakthrough pain (which was incredibly necessary since it was ALL breakthrough pain!) but still mixed with the Oxycontin I was taking.  Parkinson’s meds for the restless leg caused by a herniated disc,  Klonopin because the pain caused me to be really anxious (go figure) and a host of more pharmaceutical granola, including the 150 mg of Zoloft I was taking twice a day mainly due to the pain meds and my Depo-Provera shots.  I didn’t find out about Depo causing extreme depression until 7 years later.

 

No one thought to look at my neck even though they all knew what had happened to me in an earlier accident and the damage that was done.  It’s been twenty years and I’m still dealing with the nerve and muscle damage in my neck and left trapezius muscle.  At least now I know if this ever starts up again that the ice pack needs to go on my neck, not on my the back of my hip.

This really reinforces my dislike for allopathic practices, they treat the symptoms, they don’t work towards finding definitive answers regarding causative issues and never work towards curing or helping the body learn to help itself.  Holistic approaches, treating the patient instead of the symptom, homeopathic remedies that take so little to do so much with no side effects, addictions, OD’s, etc.  Considering the opioid problem we’re having in this country you’d think they’d shy away from things that are addictive or that you can OD from.

 

My gallbladder went rogue a couple of years ago and became my enemy.  It took me a week of pain so severe that I was ready to die. The pain was so severe that it grossly exceeded my natural childbirth.  I had a high fever joined with pain meds which caused me to hallucinate or pass out with horrific nightmares – that included feeling the pain from within the events of the nightmare.  If it was a choice of staying in the bed to die or going down the mile long gravel road that rattled your teeth loose that would cause even more pain, I was ready to die in that bed.

I finally had a brief window where the pain had subsided so I asked my roommate at the time to take me to the ER where they admitted me immediately.  Once the antibiotics started doing their job, the pain subsided as it should have (thank God!) and I didn’t need a whole lot of pain meds.  I asked for a couple Tylenol and was instead given a shot of morphine!  Why?  Because it was easier for the staff.  And again, it was over-medicating instead of dealing with the patient (in this case me) to see what’s going on instead of assuming.  I finally told them then to mark my chart to say that I am allergic to morphine to keep them from doing it again.

 

Watching that video, all I could think was how much pain I would have been spared, how much time that Kid wouldn’t have been so neglected as a result, and that still throws shadows on our relationship to this day.  How many people could be treated differently, not only with dignity but in partnership with their doctor to actively work together to solve or treat things to achieve the best outcomes for the patients?  I have fibromyalgia and talk to anyone who has it and they can tell you about the disrespect and mistreatment and/or lack of treatment that they have had because of it.

This country needs to stop being grabbed by the  ______  from the pharmaceutical companies that want us on multiple pills so they make multiple sales, and push for treatment because a cure doesn’t help their bottom line in perpetuity.

We need to be seen as patients, not as symptoms.  We’re not a pile of disconnected body parts, we’re all connected, and it means that we shouldn’t be treated as a series of separate body parts.  Maybe then we can return quality of live and work on being a healthier country overall.

 

We’ll talk again soon, 
Maggie  

 
 

Water, Water Everywhere and Not A Drop to Drink

“It’s easier to get free wi-fi than it is to get free water and people act like there’s nothing wrong with the world”. – Fidel Littlelight

Homeless - bottle of wather
Rick Wood gives food and water to a homeless man near his tent under an overpass near downtown Birmingham, Saturday, March 29, 2014. (abc3340.com)

Water has turned into a huge commodity. As a former retailer I can tell you that water is one of the most profit bearing items in a store.  I used to be able to get cases of water for less than $2 each (making the cost of each bottle roughly 9¢ a piece) and the suggested retail price was 99¢.  That’s a heck of a margin huh?  

In fact, have you seen a water fountain recently? Probably not.  Usually only in schools and hospitals anymore, with an occasional sighting at an office building (leftovers from days gone by).  They’re getting harder to find, aren’t they? Now imagine you’re homeless.  Where do you get a drink of water?

I understand that even if it’s within your means, many people are not comfortable handing cash to the person with the sign at the intersection and I don’t disagree.  Sadly there are scammers out there and there is no way to determine who is legit and who just figure it’s a great way to make a buck.

Shortly after I stopped living in a shelter I was back living with my parents.  My mom needed to go for a therapy appointment due to an injury, so I dropped her off and used her truck to go grocery shopping.  When I got back, there was a man in the parking lot begging for money from everyone he could find talking about how he, his wife and child were now living on the streets and hungry.  When he approached me, I let him know that I had no money but that I had just gotten done grocery shopping and walked him to the back of the truck asking if he had the means to cook and started pulling out groceries for him.  He thanked me and turned down my offering of food, then proceeded to go skittering off to the fast food drive thru next door to return to his quest for cash.

Please do not take what I’ve said as a reason to never help someone with a sign.  There are many, many needy people who need our help and cities and municipalities are really aiming to put the homeless population out of sight and out of mind.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to read my piece on the homelessness – Insights into the Dark  – I would ask you to check it out when you have a chance.

16-oz-water

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to challenge everyone who reads this to buy a case of bottled water. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just whatever you can find at the best price, and keep it in a cooler with a little ice. As you’re driving around town doing errands and you see someone with a sign, sleeping on a piece of cardboard or a park bench or under an overpass – offer them a bottle of water.  It’s a small kindness that goes an incredibly long way.

I think a case of water at Wal-Mart is around $3.50 and at CVS you can catch it on sale for $2.  While you may not be willing to hand someone cash, offering them a bottle of water that cost you 9¢-15¢, that would cost them a dollar or more at the nearest shop is a huge help.  Can you think of any other way to help that many people for under four dollars? 

It’s a frugal way to help and it’s a great way to help your fellow-man.  Thanks for listening.  

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie