Words

Secret Santa/New Year's Elf -- starts tomorrow. Get ready to send me your desire to participate. The world (especially those of us in the USA) needs connection so let's do it. In illustration of the crazed juxtaposition that is Life right now, read on...

One of the things Life with Dogs offers is the chance to find common ground with people we otherwise would not engage. This is especially important right now among those of us who live in the United States where divisiveness seems to be the word of the day. I have whiplash following the controversies, the outings, the investigations, the insults - and buried under all that shit: actual policies that impact real people. It is an unreal period of history.

Revealed to me is the failure of the educational system and families and ??? to teach critical thinking skills and discernment. That so many people actually believe some of the stuff that is out there blows my mind. Seriously. I am not taking about differences of opinion. Rather, I am talking about believing strange stuff that has no basis in anything real and/or disbelieving what is right in front of us -- and not understanding why any of that is so odd and concerning.

One positive thing that still has me shaking my head is all the sexual harassment/abuse outings. It is positive because I believe we are shifting cultural norms -- maybe little girls and boys growing up now won't be so victimized. But my head shaking is because some powerful and influential men are losing everything for what they have done while others are getting a #$%^ing pass. What the heck?!

Unless you have been victimized, you cannot understand the significance and impact of all this recent attention on the issue -- you just can't. (Lucky you).

You cannot know what is taken from you when a man in a car pulls up next to ten-year-old-you and exposes himself while issuing an invitation that is only understood years later. 

And it is not just things that are taken -- some things are given as well. Unwanted gifts -- like anxiety. Fear. Mistrust. Helplessness. Confusion.

You cannot know how challenging it is to reconcile hypocrisy and disillusionment when your cognitive abilities are not as developed as the rest of you. I was 13 and on a youth group ski trip to Squaw Valley when I became aware that our parish priest was taking boys into his hotel room and giving them wine -- turns out he molested many, many boys over his "career" as a priest pedophile.

The Catholic church is not the only faith group that betrayed members -- I am looking at you, LDS Church Leaders in Salt Lake City, who protected known pedophiles and robbed young men of their innocence and their faith in much more than God.

Where do you go when it is a powerful adult who is doing the molesting? Too many boys (and girls) believed they could go no where.

Unless you have been in the situation, you cannot know what is like to choose between a job you need or putting up with unwanted sexual advances. Like when my boss announced to seventeen-year-old-me that he wanted me to have his baby -- while I was peeling potatoes. Or another supervisor -- in mid-conversation at a bus stop on Treasure Island -- said: "Sontag, I want you." It is more than just awkward and they did not teach me how to handle such things in Catholic School.

I could go on - most people I know can. And not just women. The fact that details are seared on our brains, imposed and unwanted consequences of an adult's selfish, sick, horrible actions, speak to the trauma associated with the events. 

All the outings and resignations of powerful perpretrators is both rewarding -- and traumatizing. I find myself reliving past experiences and worrying for other victims who are also having those painful bruises pushed. I am both optimistically hopeful that we will have a cultural shift benefitting innocence, and I am terrified because power is *still* protecting some men, helped along by ignorance and gullibility.

The mixed up world is a hard place to be these days, and the jumbled mess that is US politics can create some wacky ideas. For example, imagine a place where the aunties and grannies who know well what it means to be victimized toss aside their liberal leanings and have an armed rebellion (since anyone can get a gun in the USA) against the assholes who think they can steal more innocence. Just a fantasy - maybe. In the meantime, let's make our rebellion one of words and votes. 

Don't ever underestimate the fury and passion of a grandparent.

#metoo

 

3 comments

by Jill on Sun, 12/03/2017 - 07:47

This post brought me to tears for many reasons.
Thank you for your thoughtful words.

by Deb on Sun, 12/03/2017 - 09:24

Too many incidents to recount them all, and I’m good with numbers.

Looking forward to secret Santa. I need the happy reprieve.

by Bobbie Moller on Sun, 12/03/2017 - 11:03

There are so many problems in this world. I just wish people would pray more. Prayer is incredibly powerful.

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