When Ignorance Perpetuates Oppression

I cannot stop thinking about the massacre in Orlando. I am so sad. My heart is so sad. I keep thinking about how it could have so easily been someone I love and cherish. Life is so precious. I want to hug and hold everyone I care about and protect them all from the evil in this world.

As I continue to cry and mourn the loss of people I have never met yet, I am watching ignorance and oppression unfold on social media and in the news. And I feel a responsibility to write something here in memory of those lost, in solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters, and in support of my LGBTQ loved ones.

It is not the responsibility of a marginalized group to educate the majority. It is also not my responsibility to engage with every or ANY bigot that reads or comments on this blog. I am not writing this to argue or fight. I am writing this to educate and promote peace and love. Read if you wish. Be nasty and hateful and I will delete and block you, it’s that simple.

I find it exhausting to have these discussions. Yet it is so damn important. It is easier for me to write than it is to have a conversation because often my emotions get in the way and I either curse or cry.

So if you are reading this, I pray you have an open mind and a desire for peace. I hope you choose to use your life as a way to love others.

This post is written in a stream-of-consciousness format and really just covers some main points I want to put out into the universe.

  • What happened in Orlando is a hate-crime. It is a horrific reflection of the homophobia that exists in our world. It is a cry for not only tolerance but peace and inclusion of differences.
  • What happened in Orlando is a CRY for stronger gun control. I don’t feel like sitting here and arguing with you about this. So I am letting someone else who has already articulated my exact feelings educate you here. ATTN CONGRESS: I don’t want your prayers. I want some fucking policy change.
  • There was no surprise when Trump came into the spotlight reinforcing his ban on Muslim migration. And it makes NO SENSE. The islamophobia and division this is creating is exactly what ISIS wants. First and foremost, the shooter in Orlando was an AMERICAN! He was not someone who had just come to the US. He was the son of immigrants. So are we going to go door to door demanding to know religious affiliation? And then boot people out that don’t fit our preferred demographic? What even is religious freedom?
  • It is frustrating to me that we all love to talk about Islam and how “violent” it is without knowing the implications of our speech and the ignorance it is based upon . I am not a Muslim. But AGAIN- I do not see it to be the responsibility of this group to educate US about how they are not evil. I am so so sick of feeling the urge to post shit that shows how Muslims are good people. I cannot imagine how shitty it must feel to constantly have this pressure on you to prove your morale and that you are not a terrorist. So what- we assume terrorists unless proven otherwise? For those of you that like to cherry-pick the Quran (and yet opt not to do so with the Bible): I encourage you to check this out: it is a thorough dissection of some of the most misinterpreted verses of the Quran that are used to perpetuate the misnomer that Islam promotes violence/terrorism.

 

In this moment you can choose to love. You can choose to open your mind. You do not have to agree with someone else’s beliefs; I would never ask that of anyone. But you should try to understand them. And you should respect them. Make friends with a Muslim or member of the LGBTQ community if you haven’t- or simply anyone who is DIFFERENT than you. Compare beliefs. Learn from one another. And promote peace and understanding.

At this moment in time it would be easy to pit Muslims against the LGBTQ community. Don’t do it. Please. Instead, let us learn to love one another and celebrate our differences.

That’s really all I have. I am so sad and exhausted from all of this. The world can be such a dark place. Hug your loved ones. Be thankful for life. And choose love, friends.

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Choose love.

xoxo,

 

Jessica

a note around father’s day

Off and on for years I have had an estranged relationship with my biological father. And I haven’t talked too much about it. It’s kind of ironic how I have this sense of loyalty and obligation to him after some of the things he has done to me and my family. Like- how dare I speak the truth about my father–people will see him for who he is! And I will seem like a heartless bitch, right?! I have been worried that talking about the truth would bring shame to my family. When in reality, it shows how strong we are and how much we have been up against.

So every year on father’s day I get a little awkward. People at work or acquaintances may ask me- what are you doing for your dad on Father’s Day? And with a select few people I share briefly about my relationship or lack thereof with my biological dad. And I get all sorts of responses, many frustrating and judgmental.

So I decided to process all of this the best way I know how- write about it.

Here is a big shout out and hug to all my friends that are fatherless- whether by choice or not. Keep your heads up.

And here are a few comments I would like to share with those that scorn me for not making more of an effort to reconcile with my father:

I have had people who no longer have a living father tell me- “wow, what a shame you don’t reach out; i would give anything for one more conversation with my father.” First of all, my heart hurts for you. I wish you could too, if that is what you want. But secondly- you have no business making these type of comments to anyone. The whole “blood is thicker than water” saying means nothing to me. Yes, family is forever. But I have learned the hard and painful way that some people are better left out of your life. When all someone causes me is pain, stress, grief, fear, or anger- I need to get out. And you have no right to judge.

I don’t feel overwhelmingly sad on father’s day. I have countless family members, men and women, that would drop anything on a dime to come for me, help me, hold me, hug me. I rest very comfortably at night knowing that I have blocked my dad out of my life. Some think that makes me a bitch. I think it makes me a survivor.

Still having a hard time understanding?

I wrote this poem a few years ago and I think it helps express the pain that my father has caused me in life.

what happens

when the one you are told to trust

to have confidence in

to feel safe with

to look up to

to respect

is the one that hurts you the most

the one that steals

the one that lies

the one that hits

the one that manipulates

the one that leaves

what happens

when the one you love the deepest

hurts you the hardest

Are you starting to understand?

Let me go back to talking to my brothers and sisters in similar situations for just a moment.

You are not selfish for denying someone a place in your life, even if it is a parent. 

You are not heartless. 

You must protect yourself. 

You must place yourself in a position to receive and give love healthily and happily. 

You are worthy of love. 

No matter what you think you did or did not do, you do not deserve this. 

Removing someone toxic from your life does not change some of the good things that have happened–this is what may make the separation the hardest. OF COURSE I have good memories with my dad. He taught my how to drive, catch my first fish, cleaned up my boo-boos. Only you can know what decision is best for you. And for me, my mental health, and my happiness the best decision has been removing my dad from my life.

I’ll never forget when my parents were getting a divorce and my mom was hustling to raise us in a tiny-ass apartment. We were visiting my grandparents in Garden City and my Grandpa Harley looked at my mom and said, “keep your head up. you are doing what is best for you and your family.” And for some reason those words were burned into my heart.

Keep your head up. Do what is best for you. Believe in yourself and your feelings. What you are feeling is real and true. And only YOU know what is best for you. YOU are the best judge of your circumstances.

Maybe someday something will change and you will want to reach back out to that person. Maybe he/she will change. Maybe not. You can’t know the future. You can only do what is best for you now.

Keep your head up and do what is best for you.

xoxo,

Jessica