High profile people(athletes) taking a knee with hand over heart for the pledge and speaking truth to bullshit in peace and with love is breathtaking courage and faith. The message of “I love my country and all of its people. I believe in equality for all and that means taking a stand(knee) for those without a voice.” That is the wholesome badassery that I live and strive for. Of course this is uncomfortable for those who insist that loyalty is politically correct and willing to pretend everything is ok or ignore and remain silent to the fact that everything is not ok. This is neither loyalty nor patriotism. That is systemic fear and shame cloaked in righteousness.
In recovery, I am learning how to live responsibly, to stand up for myself and others with civility and without standing against others. I am finding a voice to express my truth without screaming, (too much)profanity, or diminishing those with whom I disagree, no matter how offensive I find their behaviors. I no longer have to resort to the legacy of those old ways. Nor do I have to remain silent or enter into active denial about behavior which is dehumanizing, belittling, shaming. My recovery teaches me to change the things I can– and to accept and share about the process, including acceptance(meaning do not fight against or with) for the things I can neither change nor accept. With program principles, everybody’s voice is invited, needed. Nobody’s voice is more or less valued. We enter from a position of “We will work on this until…We will keep having hard conversations, and listening to understand and seeking transformation if not resolution.” The zero-sum game, my way or the highway, “You are with me or against me”–To that I consistently respond with “When you are ready to have a longer conversation, I am here, and willing.” The dynamic in which the oppressor throws down the gauntlet is intended to squelch dissent, open discussion, and problem solving through considering opposing views.
In that arrangement, even the truth does not matter. The focus is on what one person thinks, claims, demands, not the facts or even a shared value. Brené Brown discusses the use of FALSE DICHOTOMY for those seeking power and rightness: Either you do and think this or you are _____________________. This is meant to be intimidating, to even those who are not being targeted by playing on the fear of banishment, disconnection, and belonging and possibly becoming a target for the shaming and belittling.
Take a knee. Take a stand. But just remember, what you settle for is what you end up with. So many Sunday church goers and pledge standers whose value for appearance is greater than their respect for character. Political Correctness does not equal moral goodness. My sister has been dishonest and dishonorable in her dealings with me since I was quite small. I honestly believe that she feels her greatest achievements are NOT BEING ME or like me and marrying UP. I think she has become confused into thinking that by marrying a wholesome and upright man, a judge, that she is vested by proxy. It does not work that way.
She wears all white, stands for the pledge and throws a nice dinner. Those things are true. What she has done to divide our family is also true. I will not stand for that. I cannot change that but I can share and heal through it and use it all as a cautionary tale for my sons. I share the sentiments of WBA Viola Davis: “I will not put what you say about me– on my load.” I also will not pretend you did not say it. “I will not be a mystery to my children. They will know me.” What you do to me and to them is a part of my story, mine to tell. If you want a different ending, I am here to co-create WITH you. Always.
I feel strongly about the facts of what has been expressed in no uncertain terms spoken and written(otherwise easily denied), and continues to happen at the expense of my boys. And yet, I would listen to understand and find that third way. The old me would just say Fuck you. You are a bully. Your white 365 apparel is as awkward as your interest in my ex. My children do not like you and had to be forced to write the greetings and salutations of Dear and Love on recent thank you notes to you instead of the TO and From which they originally wrote. They do not find this arrangement to be dear or loving. Check yourself.
But I am in recovery now, so I will not say those things because they are shallow, petty, and reactive. I am striving toward wholesome badassery. a work in progress. I am not unaware of how the last paragraph may be lacking in wholesomeness. I own my anger and my healing. Healing is messy!
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