I’ve recently come to Twitter for my primary social media fix. I can follow who I want; read what I want; listen and learn, and don’t have to deal with the bs on my fb feed. This change came last September, on top of the heated election climate, I had one of those naive moments when, after reading about the first kneeling during the national anthem, I felt a strong and genuine, “Hell Yeah! You GO sports dude!” and I posted about it. But to my ridiculous surprise, this post generated blow-back from my social media realm. (I haven’t unfriended everyone who disagrees with me). The worst were the ones who came at me (and this was just about 3 months after my dad died) with, “How could you disrespect your dad’s service to our country by supporting this disregard for American sacrifice?” Yeah. Bless Their Hearts. This should go without saying, but I AM respecting my dad. My dad served so that I have the right to support political expression of my choosing, especially the kind that shines light on systematic oppression, including the oppression of people who continue to serve.
Fast Forward a year later, this topic generated my first twitter “blow up” yesterday over the following tweet:
I sat, admittedly obsessed, watching this epic #TakeAKnee protest unfold throughout the day. On my own twitter page (and I have less than 100 followers) my tweet received over 1100 likes and was retweeted a couple hundred times. I touched a nerve. I wanted to, because it is something I have followed closely for the last year. But in touching a nerve, once again, I wasn’t fully prepared for crazy talk. So, for those offended by #TakeAKnee, I just want to address a few things.
- DISRESPECT: A lot of tweeters (and fb people) want to talk about ‘disrespect’, expressing their opinion that I am and others are disrespecting veterans and troops by supporting #TakeAKnee; #TaketheKnee; disrespecting the flag; disrespecting the national anthem. No. Sorry (not sorry) but you are wrong. So wrong. What is being intentionally disrespected is unchecked systematic violence, especially police violence, against people of color in his country. This is anti-system; a system that has gone unchecked for too long. The flag and the anthem are only symbols. And towards the comments about the flag, particularly, “I fought for the flag.” Did you fight for the flag or for people the flag represents? #TakeAKnee does not disrespect our military. It has nothing to do with military troops at all, unless you consider the number of ex-military, suffering from PTSD who are currently employed as police officers.
- “The Covfefe Queens”: To the women ranting about our troops, specifically “Covefe Queen”, I am guessing you live in a predominantly white community, in your 50’s, attend a predominantly white church every Sunday, and are an unfortunate victim of opiod addiction and/or alcohol addiction (red wine or box blush- maybe box white), as evidenced in your garbled, unchecked ranting. I’m sorry for that- sorry this society encourages it. But I’m not sorry you are offended. I encourage you to read more about BLM. Reach out to someone different from you. Take a deep breath or ten.
- The Condescending middle-aged white dudes: Most questions came in the form of, What do you know about service!? Well, I am a daughter of a serviceman who gave 20 years of his life so that I could express, and support others’ expressions, of a brand of Patriotism that targets righting the wrongs of our history. The patriotic act of saying Hey! This shit isn’t what this country purports to be about. Things must change in the way we police our society. Participating in a Peaceful Protest is a courageous act of love for one’s country and the people for whom you stand.
- Lazy assholes: These liked to say, “Tell us, oh smart one. What does it mean?” followed by a lot of name calling that was comical. Well, read my twitter wall. If an answer to that question is really being sought after, dive on in and read my retweets of articles and previous comments about said subject. What I think it means is pretty evident from there, all the answers right under your noses. But that question is just some condescending bull honky right there.
Kneeling during the national anthem this IS a form of Peaceful Protest whether it is offensive to some or not. Whether someone respects it or not. AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO SUPPORT #TAKEAKNEE ARE JUST AS PATRIOTIC AS THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE SO OFFENDED. This is not a contest. I think the entire country should take a knee every time they hear the anthem play until every officer who committed murder is brought to justice, and until Trump is out, BECAUSE I love my country.
Peaceful Protests are patriotic. It is an elegant expression of resistance. Forced “patriotism” is called oppression and makes assumptions about servitude. To Take a Knee during the national anthem is to refuse and resist, especially in a sport worth billions whose corporate entity takes millions in taxpayer dollars to advertise patriotism to a national audience(though they’d like you to think it’s a public service). It is irrational to say “Keep your political views out of the workplace” when said workplace is forcing you to accept generic ideas of patriotism. Who cares how much the players are paid? It is their right to kneel during the anthem.
Many Vets support #TakeAKnee. Many Community organizers support #TakeAKnee. There are police officers and fire fighters who support #TakeAKnee. Taking a knee during the national anthem has come to symbolize protest against police violence; against the systematic oppression of people of color; and yet another call to dismantle inherit bias built-in to the structure of this Nation. If one prefers to stand, that’s on them. But acts of patriotic courage come in many forms. Just because one is offended by a wealthy (black) sports figure kneeling during the national anthem, this does not place them in a position to judge what is, or is not, an act of patriotism.
Finding time to actively be in the moment is important for good mental health. Coloring can help put you there. By setting up a routine to create a focused experience, we allow our mind to shift gears out of out of the negative thought patterns in which we often get stuck. When we are deliberately focused, we experience a different state of mind. In this mindset, we are less likely to ruminate over things that happened in the past, or worry about the future. Life is richer and more rewarding when we choose to live in the moment. Coloring is a simple, low cost way to engage for a period in practiced mindfulness and possibly experience a brief second of bliss.
- Coloring helps fight stress and elevates mood. If you are feeling run down and spread too thin, think about spending a few minutes engaging in an activity that forces you into a state of mindfulness, a non-judgmental state of focus in the moment. After a few minutes coloring, you will find yourself engrossed, in the flow to the finish.
- Coloring can help us to experience clarity of the mind. If you are trying to remember something, like where you put your phone (memory issues are often a side effect of depression), the answer will come to you later when you’re doing something else entirely. Something mindful, like coloring.
- The experience of coloring can take you back to the (sometimes not so) gentler days of childhood. It provides a bit of escapism from an overactive brain. When you’re coloring, you’re not really thinking about anything else. In that moment, you almost go back to being a kid again.
Below is a linked coloring page for your enjoyment and a book review from 6 years ago. If you haven’t colored in awhile, print this Birth of Venus coloring page from http://www.thecolor.com and run get yourself a medium of choice- crayons, markers, colored pencils- whichever you prefer. I loved, and still love coloring. The smell of fresh crayons, the fine tips of colored pencils, or that saturated tip of a fresh, fine-point marker, right out of the box, these put me on the path to relaxation. I love the first mark on a page, that bright shot of color, and a quite moment of focused flow.
After coloring, maybe you feel really relaxed. Maybe you want to read a good book. Maybe that Birth of Venus page you just printed and colored got you thinking about Botticelli and Florentine Renaissance art. Art History fiction is cool in that it sets a scene of possibility in an actual time and place. The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato is The Da Vinci Code meets The Birth of Venus. An Italian girl escapes with her life after she accidentally discovers a secret while modeling for Botticelli. I even wrote a review on Shelfari about this book, that is how much I enjoyed it. Then GoodReads took over and Shelfari is no more, but that is a complaint for another time.
On May 28th, 2010, after finishing this book, I wrote: “I love this book- It had action; adventure; mystery; romance- I was skeptical for the first 50 pages, or so. But if you love Tracy Chevalier, or Fortune’s Daughter by Isabelle Allende AND also love a good Dan Brown book on the beach, (i.e. you love to read and aren’t a literary snob) then you, too, will probably love this book. It really draws you in with good pacing. The end is great, as well, and when I put the book down, my first inclination was to write Marina Fiorato and tell her that I think she is fantastic!”
Finding the coloring page for The Birth of Venus brought up a memory of that book and how much I enjoyed it. So color away and take some time to think about art and where it comes from. Like coloring, a good book can really transform your mood.
The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato– check it out here!
*Next time you are subjected to a family dinner at Olive Garden or Applebees, ask for a box of crayons and pull out some home-printed Coloring Pages and go to town.
*A quick gift- a few coloring pages printed on quality paper, wrapped in a bow with a few fancy felt tipped markers.
Nearly all people who are religious believe in afterlife, reincarnation, heaven and hell, or the soul. These are the Top 3 most popular viewpoints regarding what is happening with my dad right now, who has been dead for 28 days exactly.
- Christianity: So my dad, along with 2.4 billion other people, was a Christian. Obviously what he would have wanted is Heaven. According to his beliefs, he is hanging out golfing in the best style, beyond any perfect golf experience imaginable, with other Righteous Christians who loved golf. On this course, every game is a new perfect game as one waits for the Resurrection of the Dead and Life Everlasting and the return to the New Earth, a Pangaea of golf course perfection.
- Definitely not a Muslim, and in fact, fearful of Muslim terrorists infiltrating our borders- yes, I am embarrassed by this fact and I blame it on his being a middle-aged, over-medicated veteran and a viewer of FOX-yet if 1.7 billion people who practice Islam are correct, then my dad is very restless in his grave right now, awaiting a golf tourney in Jahannam, where it is hotter than Death Valley at Noon on Tuesday. In August. No worries. My dad loved the heat. What he didn’t like was double-bogeying every hole. Here he would be condemned to suffer a bad game of golf for all eternity. Which is why I know my dad isn’t there because he lived a good life and deserves a good next whatever…
- One billion people believe the Lord Krishna who said that just as a man discards his old clothes and wears new ones; similarly the soul discards the old body and takes on a new one. This would explain the progression of animals that tried to get into my parents house in the 4 days following his violent, sudden death. I have no doubt that my dad will have more good karma than bad karma in his next lives to come.
I fall into a combination of religious ideas. Intellectually, I know nothing about these ideas and I don’t practice religion, but I will lay out for you the sum of my honest beliefs. Death is not the opposite of life. Life IS everlasting. We are all trying to find our way home, we humans just have different ideas of what that home looks like. And maybe the end of everyone’s spiritual journey looks like they want it to, but a million times better and after all life lessons are learned. Taking that in to consideration, any current view held on the afterlife is very limited. Ask me again if you see me hanging out in Sheol or Hades awaiting my own day of reckoning.
The soul belongs to the spiritual realm which originates with God. A soul is born again and again, until it can merge back with God. According to the Sikh scriptures, and the 30 million people who believe them, the human being is the closet form to God and the best opportunity for a soul to merge back with God. “Nothing dies, nothing is born, everything is ever-present, it just shifted form”. The soul is never born and never dies because it is a part of God and hence not subject to life and death. We are just changing from one form into another, climbing the higher planes of existence until we reach that perfect state and become whole once again.
My dad has moved on; shifted forms; entered a new realm to continue to work through the karma that has troubled him. He will get home. Maybe we will even arrive together.
My dad died suddenly 1 month ago this week. That is what is obit read: Suddenly. He was 61. In fair health. His car swerved off the road and hit a tree. Probably due to a seizure. About 200 yards from the street that my parents live on. A short walk. According to the M.E., it was over instantaneously. Lights out, dad. Game over. I am grateful for the last 5 years most of all, and the time we had together. Mostly driving in the car, singing and laughing. A lot of our good times happened in a car. I wish I could hear him laugh just once more; that is my special grief these last few days.
Grief is a wild fire; some days it consumes everything in its path, and some days it’s contained. Firefighters of my mind circling the grief zone: a burned out shell of a crater in my being that was once filled by the lively spirit of my dad. These mental heroes hose down the borderlands, watching for the hot spots to flare up- coals simmering beneath a surface wet with tears.
If you are grieving, or know someone who is, give yourself or that person the space you need to express your sadness and loss. Journaling and meditations are helpful. Overeating and over-drinking, probably not so helpful. Speaking from experience, I am not only sad, but also feel like shit, physically.
Hang in there. We will get through it. I believe my Sweet Bird- poor two and a half year-old, suffering from a grieving mother- when she says, ‘You’ll be ok, mommy.’ Then she puts her arm around me and kisses my head. I allow her comfort to wash over me and quench another hot spot. We lay there together and watch a movie in bed, snuggled under a blanket in the cool air-conditioning and I know she is right and my dad would say the same thing. I will be OK. We will all be OK.
My sweet Bird is a winter baby, so I wasn’t surprised when it hit 100 degrees and she broke into a heat rash. The eczema-like rash crept down the back of her little neck, spreading over her shoulders. To help calm the itching, I placed a cloth soaked in cold lavender water on her neck throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, and then in the evening Friday night, Monday and Tuesday. Her neck looks so much better today! It could be that the rash ran its course as the weather has cooled a tad, but I think it was the added TLC of the cold compress. She laid so still while I held the compress on the affected spots, I know it brought her relief.
2 cups cold water
3-4 drops Lavender Oil
1 clean and soft wash cloth
Place the drops of lavender in to two cups of cold water. Put the wash cloth in the water to soak,
then ring the cloth out and place on affected areas. Repeat as desired.
I need to get back to the basics and structure my day around these 7 core “accomplishments” :
My goal is to go 90 days in a row where I accomplish all 7 of these daily ‘TODO’s’. I think too much about how to do things and then wind up not doing anything at all. When I get into a routine, that is when I accomplish the most. I’ve been in this routine before, and I rocked. But I get into slumps, and I’m in one again. I need to start- 1 day, Day One, checking off each item listed above- that is momentum. Day One = momentum. Moving forward. The Mable Nay Way. I’m just going to keep saying that because I like the way it sounds- The Mable Nay Way. Right now my way is the lazy way. There is no progress in being lazy. I have had 4 Day One’s in a row.
I have a plan, I just need to start. “Ok, go. Do it! You can do it!” This is the coach on my right shoulder. “Let’s sleep and eat and watch tv.” This is the high schools stoner on my left shoulder. I often find myself leaning left. I am much better at Pinterest than picking up. Much better at take out than a cook out. It’s just some nights, you know? Some nights you just want to put the baby to bed and lay down on the couch and have someone feed you and change your diaper, because you never want to get off that couch again. And other nights you want to put the baby down and have some friends over for cocktails on the back porch. Some days. Some day.
I will start tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. One of these days, oh world of the wide web, you will hear me cheering my 90 day accomplishment. Just you wait and see.