Thursday, August 16, 2018

Being Alone Doesn't Equal Loneliness

Being Alone Doesn't Equal Loneliness

Life is an amazing roller coaster ride of ups and downs that will ultimately influence your perspective and perception of the world. Shy and seemingly awkward youth can blossom into outgoing, confident individuals if the family unit is nurturing and supportive. A gregarious, outgoing child, whose trust in the family unit has collapsed because they have been forced to raise themselves, may turn into a cynical, angry individual.

When people decide to remain alone, they do so for the alternative has been too difficult for them to sustain an emotionally secure and joyful existence. Although it is a natural instinct to desire family, companionship, love, and all that comes with it, for some their mold has been set in a less conventional way. Through no fault of their own, they psychologically and emotionally repel from Hallmark Card limericks and the traditional comforts most individuals aspire to for traditional norms are not a part of their story. 

Starting life on the bench, so to speak, can change a perfect game plan into an endless slideshow of mishaps and barriers they are forever maneuvering around, over, and under in pursuit of the unconditional love and acceptance they have only heard of. A fatigue of the soul and weariness of heart is inevitable and can even manifest early in life.

When a child is excluded from some of life's most precious treasures, both LOVING others and being LOVED by others, they learn to live without it. It seems as if there is a limiter on the heart keeping them from speeding out of control, from accepting and giving more love than they are willing to lose.

We must be vigilant with children concerning the love and attention we share with them; for without it, they are lost. Children left to their own devices will eventually be compelled to make decisions they are unequipped to make. If an animal is left without a parent, it will die. A child will find a way to survive, but it will not know how to live--to enjoy life.

You might think that sad and even pitiful, but, in fact, many do well when left to their own survival instincts and personal skills.  These abilities are more conducive to self-nurturing for they have never experienced parental guidance and rearing so they have no reference for caring for others in a healthy, nurturing way. They have developed a hard fought and honest respect for what one can expect from others when life shows up!

Self-restraint based on their reality, associated with the dangers one will encounter caring and depending on others, allows them the ability to detach before becoming too emotionally vulnerable. It is near impossible to reverse the course for someone who experienced having their life and family snatched away only to be replaced with others in the exact situation they find themselves--the discarded, abandoned, and lonely due to a cornucopia of unpleasant scenarios.

Like a lifesaver to a drowning man, involvement in team sports on a significant level can be an epiphany. This endeavor will hopefully lead to an emotional commitment including love and respect of their peers who they will trust and give their all to without reservation. This experience will open their heart and ability to be vulnerable and, in fact, might be their first experience of unconditional love and family. 

Although this uplifting time in their lives can never be negated, sadly, in other team endeavors in the world of commerce, group enterprises can be so competitive there is little room for camaraderie, nor a soulful connection beyond respect and admiration for their associates abilities, even when extreme mutual success is achieved.

Everything Changes, Yet Remains the Same

With all the love one is fortunate enough to receive throughout their lives, the emptiness of an abandoned child might always question it and, ultimately, push love away. This sickness of the soul contracted as a child has dictated their perception of human beings, specifically the ones they love the most, for they fear being cast aside. They cheat all concerned by giving and accepting only that which they can tolerate losing.

A life infected and affected by an unthinkable act that deprived them of becoming who they could have been, but instead made them who they are, challenges their ability to trust their own feelings. Instead, they need to monitor and retrain those feelings that most would welcome. The older they become, the clearer it is how emotionally compromised they are in matters of the heart. Yet, they still remain eager to share all they have with their family.

Living alone requires a fast learning curve. Relying on oneself for all that is necessary to sustain a healthy physical, mental, and spiritual life is relentless if you desire to live a good quality of life. The inner strength one develops having to care and rely on themselves accords them great comfort in times of solitude and the ability to be happy living alone.

To be clear, children and family are the link to a fulfilling life, for they reinforce the understanding that we all desire and need deep emotional bonds with the people that will always love and cherish us. Living alone does not equal loneliness in part because the family is a welcome reprise from the chaos accompanying working and living in society.

Forever Grateful

Neither searching nor longing for an opportunity in which to feel safe and willing to embrace and love others unconditionally, it happened. While going about business as usual with several other cohorts and peers, a spiritually, cohesive family was born!

Being the most physically compromised, and needing assistance provided by his life partner, it was obvious how many of the group consistently took the time to assist in making it possible for life to go on. This physically challenged, but willing man, continues doing what he loved! 

At times, it takes a village to pull it off, but the help is there night in and night out! They understand that this is not a broken man, but a man who had been broke many times, always getting up and moving forward with an excitement for life and gratitude to be in the game once again.

It is my feeling each child born into this world is a God-given opportunity for the world to be changed in a positive and profound way. What that child must encounter to achieve this goal only God knows.
--Chuck Negron

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Women's Rights for All Women

Women's Rights for All Women

If it weren't for my youngest daughter and her friends, I would not have been made aware of the sophisticated and prudent efforts school administrators are making to assist transgender students and their classmates. Together, they must maneuver through these complicated times and issues with understanding and positive reinforcement for all concerned. Growing up in a more socially-evolved world than I did, our children see their classmate's and friend's challenges as part of the natural order of things. That's exactly how it should be!

I'm about 20- to 30-years older than most other parents. The information my generation was privy to involving the LGBTQ community was vague, skewed, or non-existent. My beautiful daughter, through her love of all people, opened my heart and mind to the reality that we all need to approach diversity with respect as we are all different in as many ways as we are the same. It is my hope to contribute something positive to the conversation concerning the LGBTQ population moving forward.

I wish to address primarily straight, transgender, and lesbian organizations
 joining forces with mainstream feminist and women's rights groups
 in addressing all women's rights under the same umbrella.

Some might be uncomfortable embracing those who are women residing in a male body, a biological woman who is in fact a man, or women and men attracted to the same sex, for it is human nature to resist that which is unfamiliar, especially when interpretations from the Bible to the Quran are used to argue that being LGBTQ is a sin. Many religious beliefs inhibit far too many from having an open mind on the ever-evolving information on human beings who were forced to live in the shadows far too long because they were born into an unsophisticated, uninformed, and judgmental world.

Women's rights groups, for the most part, work independently of each other despite the fact their goals are similar--total equality for all women, including straight, lesbian, and transgender ladies!

A Few of the Many Women's Organizations

UltraViolet--Women of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ founded to "fight sexism and create a more inclusive world that accurately represents all women, from politics and government to media and pop culture."

National Organization for Women (NOW)--The largest women's grassroots activist organization was founded in 1966. It is "dedicated to multi-issue and multi-strategy approach to women's rights...take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals."

American Association of University Women (AAUW)--AAUW has been empowering women since 1881 "through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research."

There have been different waves of feminist groups with different goals and ideologies. The following is an incomplete synopsis of some of them.
  1. WAVE 1--Began in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The primary focus was on legal issues such as obtaining the right to vote and the right for women to own property.
  2. WAVE 2--Primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, this wave focused on more women's rights including sexuality. The debate was broadened to include the workplace, reproductive rights, and the inequality of women in society overall. Of paramount importance was the equality fought for women of color who had been marginalized for too long.
  3. WAVE 3--These women didn't feel comfortable defining themselves as a group, or even as feminists, but continued the process for equality for women. They proposed that women's rights had already come a long way--although disagreed with by those in Waves 2 and 4.
  4. WAVE 4--These women have broadened their goals to include racism, classism, homophobia, and many other political and social issues formerly outside their purview such as environmental concerns. They believe that women's rights are affected if any of the aforementioned groups are marginalized.
As stated before, this is an incomplete summary of the extensive work completed for there are many feminist groups with varying ideologies, but is it possible that instead of bringing women together, they might be bringing on division which, of course, is counterproductive?

All women want to be treated equally, be respected, and treated fairly. My meaning when referencing division is that many of these organizations do not work in concert and are not inclusive enough leading to confusion with those who wonder why some women's groups are silent on lesbian, transgender, and other controversial and so-called "politically incorrect" subjects.

Consistency in Mission

Those in Rap and Hip Hop are the perfect example of a group with vulgar depictions of women! Addressing these vulgarities and exploitation of women is a matter the feminist groups should all take on together. If they did, I believe they could change the current situation for the better by challenging, instead of inhibiting, the artistic process.

There has been a consistent, abusive assault, both verbally and visually, on women from the world of Rap and Hip Hop for decades with virtually no consistent response from feminists, musicians, entertainers, and celebrities of any race or color. Instead, these celebrities honor one another at every turn identifying themselves as supporters of women's rights on issues they feel will further their standing in the community.

Why aren't sensitive Black matters approached vigorously as in the aforementioned exploitation of women, vis-a-vis Rap and Hip Hop, which affects how young black children will perceive women? This depiction is so disrespectful! How can you fight for equality and respect, but deny these God-given rights to women? The truth be told, most efforts to acknowledge volatile matters involving people of color are only brought up when the messenger can further a political or personal agenda.

Preaching only to the choir at gatherings of self-puffery is the only forum they consistently have the courage to air their narrow point of view on the rights of some women--celebrity women or the "flavor of the month" casualty they are currently using to appear engaged in this horrific problem. These frauds, dressed in anything from Sarah Burton to Joseph Altuzarra, have limited ability and attention spans. When not thinking of themselves, they articulate the words abused women need to consistently hear for these fly-by-night crusaders are content with simply being in the spotlight.

Their silence, when their voices are needed most, is pathetic, but consistent with individuals truly concerned with themselves and how they appear to the Peanut Gallery. These less than courageous warriors pick and choose their battles by only addressing politically correct or soft targets regarding the many wrongs done to women.

There are women in powerful positions who could have, and should have, come to the aid of vulnerable victims of predatory behavior, but instead, chose not to do so.

The shameless mindset of these silent co-conspirators appears akin to college hazing in the sense that everyone knows it's going on, but it's allowed to continue. Like a rite of passage, the new pledges must endure as the alumnus had done before them. Why? Because "it's always been that way" from the Casting Couch of old to the current blatant rape of young women.

Yet, the spiritually bankrupt have no qualms jumping on the "Me Too" express clearly indicating their shallowness and insane need for glorification and acceptance! Their thirst for awards and success are never quenched so they will seldom exhibit bouts of character. Acts of courage might be costly to their standing with the animals and criminals they blindly support, the predators they protect with their silence, the rapists of human dignity who exploit, blackmail, bully, and destroy promising young lives.

Most of us have turned a blind eye at one point in our lives when we should have gotten involved so I can't in good conscience condemn someone for being in fear of jeopardizing themselves by getting involved. What I do find offensive are those who cower from doing the right thing, but will have no qualms throwing a colleague under the bus when it serves them.

In a 2018 New York Times interview, when addressing alleged acts of rape and sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein, Meryl Streep said the following, "I really didn't know...but when I heard rumors about actresses, I thought that was a way of denigrating the actress and her ability to get the job." This is coming from a feminist or human being concerned about the treatment of others? It's gone quiet on the "Feminist front" concerning the abusers in the theatrical world; however, there are some awards shows on the horizon and I'm certain we will hear something then.

Clearly, the Feminist and Women's Rights issues have become more complex since the transgender community has come to the forefront of the world's consciousness. So many people don't understand, accept, and fear difference when it comes to sophisticated concepts like transgender. We need to be educated so we might have a better understanding of these individuals.

There are 74 countries in which same-sex relationships are illegal. With that tragic statistic in mind, we all need to embrace those who are perceived as different, or sinners, and end the persecution they have endured since the beginning of time. Why aren't all of God's children permitted to live the lives they were born to live without fear of legal reprisal or social condemnation?

Theoretically, it would seem if the ultimate goal for women is equality in all areas of human interaction, aka LIFE, then building alliances and unifying different factions under the umbrella of Women's Rights for All might be more effective.

1950s--New York City

In 1954, when I was a teen in The Bronx, I noticed a very petite, stylishly-dressed, Black woman walking to the subway station heading to work. In the early evening, I would often see her returning for her journey always took her past the schoolyard I played in. I couldn't help but notice her extreme 5 o' clock shadow leading me to the conclusion that she had chosen to live as a woman, but biologically, was most likely a male.

I never heard a word about her when she passed, but I'm sure she received her share of abuse. I believe there were few, if any, avenues available to her for comfort or answer to the many questions she must have had. Her basic needs for support, information, and understanding were probably not available. She was true to herself and a brave lady!

Every now and then, I think of her when I need to be brave. I wonder how many times a day she yearned for acceptance and the peaceful anonymity that comes with it? I feel she desired to be treated like a lady, a human being, not a different or a specific type of human being. I believe she wanted to be one of many women, not an oddity!

I don't believe that desire or need is different today; therefore, it should be supported by all women's organizations and human beings as a whole.

No Room for Ego & Self-Promotion

In today's world of competition, so many want to be in control of their vision so they establish their game plan and goals in an attempt to reinvent the wheel. Control and prestige are the new mission statements for those who desire notoriety above all else. Diluting, excluding, and manipulating basic common sense measures that would establish unity and ultimately success are avoided in lieu of one's own agenda which might be inclusive enough to attract the number of supporters necessary to achieve their goals. A balance in articulating the unique issues and differences of certain women while also cloaking them under the same umbrella as all women seeking equality is paramount.

The more we concentrate on differences and uniqueness, the more we run the risk
of not reaching the desired outcome and watering down what should be
our common goal...Equal Rights for all Women!

Of course, within the umbrella of Feminist and Women's Rights groups, there should exist support groups addressing more specific needs with information and education by uniquely identified individuals in the ever-evolving world of gender, sexuality, and needs of all women!

Rock and Roll transgender pioneer and icon, Wayne/Jayne County, was removed from Facebook for using the term "Tranny." Most likely, some techie at Facebook sitting in their safe space decided "TRANNY" was an unacceptable term even when used by a transgender person.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, when asked about her identification, Jayne spoke of her frustration of the ever-changing acceptable terms for women of her proclivity.

"I'm a little pissed off at the "PC college" crowd at the moment. I don't want to go on a rant about it...but I think this stupid PC crud about the word "tranny" is a pile of possum crap."
--Jayne County, The Huffington Post, 8/10/14

Jayne prefers identifying as a transgender or gender variant, but is a believer in self-identifiable terms. Jayne identified as a transsexual in the 70s and 80s, but has used the terms tranny, drag queen, queer, and she male over the years. To use some of these terms today, you do so at your own peril, at least in the PC world of our ever-so-sensitive youth--many of whom are making these decisions from their crying closets, but have no real vested interest in anything but controlling the narrative.

I can't imagine feeling I had to hide who I was born to be, living with shame, fear, and confusion because I am different in one way or another, judged and misunderstood. For those of us who have a God in our lives, remember Jesus Christ loves us all and would not want us to turn our backs on those who need support and love! Anyone who professes their love and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but turns around to judge and condemn some of his flock are hypocrites! There is only one criteria God uses to judge who is saved and who is not--their faith in Jesus Christ.
  • "None is righteous, no, not one." (Romans 11)
  • "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
The simple minds and dark hearts of those who cause unthinkable hardships for others they do not understand or perceive as sinners are, in fact, sinners themselves. They will not be forgiven until they truly accept the teachings of Jesus Christ and ask of this forgiveness for their thoughts and actions towards the children of God!