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All the Closet Racists in da house, Yell “Injustice!”

Friends, I am FIRED UP today. The world is a screwed up place right now, perhaps more than ever. I’m going to warn you right now: this post may very well include some cursing and some extremely sensitive, triggering content.

Let’s cover the facts first.

First and foremost, a little boy was murdered. Incredibly tragic, pointe blank range, on his own front lawn. Literally, a family’s worst nightmare. May Cannon rest in peace, as his life was absolutely taken too soon. There is little more horrifying to think, than a child, murdered, on their doorstep, in front of their siblings. Absolutely unthinkable.

Next fact; a neighbor committed the crime. It is absolutely important to how this is being spun, notably that this is a young Black male. Select (read: small number) reports are noting that he was not mentally stable, which is extremely important, when considering how the story is presented. Consider the dramatic disparity between “Black man shoots white five year old” and “young man who shot up a church is treated to Burger King on the way to jail, and was ‘mentally unstable.’”

Third, this man was apprehended and charged in HOURS. Not days, weeks, or months (like Ahmaud Arbery’s killers, who were only apprehended months after video surfaced of their unspeakable acts). He’s held ~without bond~ meaning that without some wild twist of fate acquitting him, this man was apprehended, unharmed, almost immediately, and cannot be bailed out on the good graces of a relative, friend or any individual who has more money than brains.

Now, lets cover the “Facebook conspiracy spin.” This is a horrifyingly racist, white-centering, biased, meme-filled coverage of topics that are used to promote topics in a harmful, divisive way.

“A black man killed a white child, and the media is silent” (meanwhile 50% of their posts are about how they don’t trust the MSM… what did I miss, they’re suddenly the beacons of truth and light??)

“George Floyd got a televised funeral and a gold casket, what did this little innocent child get?”

Maybe you’ve noticed this recently – I know my wise friends and I have. Someone shares a post that is actual, factual gaslighting. Highlighting a story, twisted in a manner that fits how they want it to sound. Its a horrifying trend, manipulative as hell, and it means information is skewed and emotional responses are forefront. Emotional responses are precisely that: zero consciousness. Just emotion. No actual thought. No discernment of bias. Just a spin on a story that is juicy as hell, in the moment.

The little boy, Cannon Hinnant, is mentioned, by name, over and over again, while the aggressor is rarely identified by name, but merely referred to as “Black man.” For the record, his name is Darius Sessoms. Essentially every news outlet in the country has covered this story, despite what your chaotic facebook friend may want you to believe. One of the greatest “disparities” that these gaslighting posts chooses to misleadingly focus on, is that “there’s no outrage, no coverage, no protests and riots, just a black man shooting a white child,” and “George Floyd, a drug user who rapes women, got a gold coffin and four televised funerals, while a white child is murdered by a black man.”

I’m sorry… did I miss where Sessoms was immediately apprehended without the opportunity to bail out?? Did I miss the part where he was on the lam for days on end? Where it took civilian or security footage to be released to the public to finally convince law enforcement to move in on him?? It IS tragic. But there has been precisely ZERO delay in justice. This family is enjoying what white people generally refer to as “justice” but are so willing to overlook the lack of it in other ethnic communities. White people have the expectation of swift, fair justice and are practically always afforded such.

On March 13, 2020, 154 days ago, Breonna Taylor, an innocent woman, was murdered while sleeping in her bed, by officers executing a no-knock warrant on the wrong home. The officers still walk free as of August 14. George Floyd perished at the hands of an officer; guilty or not, he was apprehended and overly aggressively restrained, and killed. It took four days of protests and outrage for Derek Chauvin to be arrested for this disgusting street-justice. Hennepin county attorney Mike Freeman was quoted to say, “this is by far the fastest that we’ve ever charged a police officer.” Is that not absurd to you that an officer is allowed to liberally dispense their own justice, and is simultaneously above being brought down by actual justice? On February 23rd 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was jogging around 1pm – the middle of the afternoon – and was shot by vigilantes in the neighborhood because he was “suspicious” and they were not arrested for two and a half months (two on May 7th and one on May 21st) just days after viral video surfaced of the murder. These are just three, high profile examples.

Here is the dramatic disparity: the murderers have been (or not been, in Breonna’s case) arrested only after significant pressure from the public. Cannon Hinnant’s murderer was apprehended the same day as the violence occurred. Held without bond. Not murdered by “street justice.”

This white family will enjoy swift justice against this man. They don’t have to wait months or years for him to be located, nor apprehended. They didn’t have to plead to the media. They didn’t need protests for their voices to be heard. There was no delay. There was no judge, lawyer, prosecutor, etc standing in the way of holding Sessoms accountable.

This is the difference. Breonna’s family is waiting for justice nearly four months later. Ahmaud’s family waited over 3 months. George’s family waited several days.

The last topic I want to address is community. The stark difference I’ve noticed between these situations is how the community has reacted. This is where the closet racists come out in blazing color. In the black community, people rallied. They surrounded the families, lifted them up, and sprang into action. Petitions were started. Crowd-funds were started. Emails, phone numbers, social media contacts were gathered. The media was notified. The family was taken care of in every way possible. The black community is used to a lack of justice. If that is not the most shattering thing I’ve mentioned, then you are not paying attention, and I’m frankly, not doing my job. This community not only takes care of its own, but knows it has to, because no one else will. George Floyd’s family didn’t single-handedly pay for a gold casket and tremendous media coverage. Breonna’s family hasn’t received the support and attention they’ve received because people sat around and waited for it to happen. In the white community, we abhor so-called “hand-outs” and simultaneously become irate when they aren’t immediately offered to us in crisis.

I’ll draw a comparison to my own life experience: my husband committed suicide in 2017. It was an incredibly trying and surreal series of events. A handful of friends snapped into action. By handful, I mean, I had between 5 and 10 friends show up at my house within hours – I don’t even know the full total. I’m incredibly grateful. You all know who you are. Then, I came to find some months later, that one of those friends was actually mad that another friend was starting a GoFundMe for my son and I. A little background – my husband left us with nothing. I came to discover that not only were we not legally married (I do have a certificate from the county, so in that sense it was legal, but to claim my survivor benefits, I’ll have to retain a lawyer), we were several months behind on the rent and the landlord was attempting a 10 Day Quit when he realized Matt had passed (you read that right, they were trying to evict me and my 3 year old autistic son, notifying us about 4 days after my husband died); I was left with literally the money I had earned that month in my MLM business to find a new place to live – first, last and security, keep food on the table, make sure the essentials were covered (electric, phone bill, etc), oh, and my credit was trashed still.

I am still insanely grateful to everyone who kept us from drowning. I will never not say that, and I do not mean to turn a nose to any one of you angels in our life – please don’t interpret it that way! Of the $10,000 “goal” of the GoFundMe and the money raised during a Cut-a-Thon at a local salon, less than $3,000 through all sources, was raised for us. I thank god every single day for that, because it got us through till the next month, when I could earn more through my business and my son’s survivor benefits were paid out. At the end of the day, I was left to fend for myself. No one put me on the news. We weren’t provided with HUD (still haven’t heard back from them, 3.5 years later). Even my parents said “it wasn’t a good idea” that we live with them until I figure out how to “adult” on my own. It was enough to get us by. Friends helped us move. The money raised helped pay first, last and security on our apartment. We got connected with different local resources. We didn’t technically need more, but would our lives have been dramatically easier if we had been blessed with more? There’s no question. And would I still have busted my ass to earn my trip to Cancun less than 2 months after this all transpired? Not a doubt in my mind. Caring doesn’t make people weak. It doesn’t ruin people to make sure they have what they need to survive. Sometimes there are no bootstraps to tug.

I know that I have gone on longer than my usual post here, but it felt incredibly important. This is micro-aggressive, closet racism, to be mad about the swift justice and the untrue assumption of lack of attention for a white child killed, and comparing it to the community response of a community used to a severe lack of justice and attention. The real bottom line here is this: if you are SO outraged by the treatment of Cannon’s family, then you have the moral obligation to do something. Why would you expect an organization focused on dismantling systemic racism against black persons to jump into action on a white family’s behalf? Its not their mission. It would be great for them to contribute; the real difference is that they literally do not have to. Justice is being carried out not even 24 hours after it happened. Get off your couch, get off Facebook, FFS, and make sure that little boy and his family have the future they deserve.

Much Love & Light ~Jess

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Is it Over Yet?

Depression and anxiety have spanked me this year.  I have always dealt with my anxiety.  What that really means for me is, its just manifested in “non-traditional” ways, like being short with people, having very narrow focus, retaining ridiculous amounts of stress, avoiding a wide variety of situations, and being extraordinarily moody for no apparent reason.  Basically, I’ve just lived with it and not acknowledged it.  You know, very positively!

Now my struggle with it is far more visceral. I can’t sit still.  I can’t move either.  Sometimes I can’t catch my breath.  Thoughts race – even the most ridiculous things seem true, imminent.  Thoughts feel thick, like wading through a tub of coconut oil.  There’s too many thoughts, but I can’t escape them.  I feel like I’m on the brink of complete collapse sometimes.  When I can gather enough clarity, I take a few pumps of oil and I can start feeling freer in 15 minutes or so.  Its as though I line everything up, like little toy soldiers on a wall and I can start flicking them off the wall, one by one, every wild, racing, over-the-top thought and fear.

Since I was in high school, depression has floated in and out of my life.  When I sought treatment the first time, someone close to me said “I just can’t understand what you could possibly have to be sad about.”  And that’s when I stopped constructively dealing with depression.  Sometimes I’ve anticipated the lows, and other times, I have been blindsided.  I’ve picked up, carried on, and dealt with it.  Its what we expect people to do!  Quietly, privately, and with as little emotion as possible.  No mess, no fussing, no drama.  That’s what I thought I was accomplishing after Matt abruptly passed.  I was dealing like a champ.  I was pushing forward, growing, kicking ass.  In reality, I was definitely surviving, if not even thriving, but I was completely failing to heal the hurt.Introvert inclusion

I have trust issues.  There.  I said it.  I find myself not trusting people about the DUMBEST stuff.  There are a million reasons running through my head why anyone isn’t doing what they claimed.  It isn’t even based in reality!  I was trained, systematically, over a long relationship, that I wasn’t worthy of the truth.  I wasn’t worthy of being included.  I wasn’t important enough to anyone. I wasn’t worthy of my own husband telling me what he’s actually doing.  Its a daily struggle of insecurity.  Who is excluding me from stuff?  Why didn’t I get invited to something?

The more I have been sorting out, the more I realize.   And the more I wonder.  I wonder why I gave so much trust to someone who repeatedly broke it.  I wonder why I believed someone who routinely fed me stories.  I wonder why I wasn’t valuable enough to get the truth.  But I also realize that this wasn’t my shortcoming.  I did what I was supposed to do.  I trusted the person who was supposed to take care of me and my son.

I’ve been talking with close friends lately about my purpose and what I want from life.  One of my greatest aspirations in life is to be a wife and mother – explains a lot about why I was so eager to please someone who would have pushed me off a cliff if it suited him.  I’ve felt this since I was young.  I feel for me personally (NOT everyone!), there is no greater calling than to have a fulfilling relationship and raise good humans.  That in turn gives me the framework to then achieve professionally and otherwise.  And don’t worry, I don’t think my value rests solely with a marriage.  Its just something I find extremely valuable personally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

What I want to bring to you, dear friend, is the awareness about yourself.  If you’re struggling similarly to myself, the first step is getting help.  Get perspective.  I don’t mean from your goofy friend with all the opinions. There are some easy things (from an implementation standpoint, anyway) that you can do that will help you get on the right path.

  • A therapist is a great neutral sounding board.  It might take a few tries to find someone that you’re comfortable with. That friend with all the opinions might be eager to listen, but they might not always have time to carefully consider your concerns – after all, they aren’t paid to listen to you.  They might also have ulterior motives.  God forbid they do not have your best interests at heart or don’t care who they share your personal business with.  It will only compound the problem to know that someone is speaking about your issues with others.  Find someone who is truly neutral.
  • If consistently visiting a therapist is out of your budget (I know it can get expensive!) look into some self help books and/or workbooks.  You don’t even need to pick something deeply self-exploratory.  Start with something that doesn’t feel too inflammatory and work your way up (just don’t let yourself off the hook before you get there).
  • Start journaling. Good old fashioned pen and paper, not on your phone or computer.   Take 10 minutes each day.  If you’re really committed, spend 10 minutes when you first wake up, writing about things you’re grateful for, and 10 minutes before you go to bed, brain dumping, so you can go to sleep with a blank slate.  Ten minutes is just a guideline – it gives you a set window of time to commit to the process.
  • Really want to go all in?  Start doing guided meditation.  Use YouTube videos like this one to help you.
  • Figure out if you would like or if you feel you need medication.  I weighed the options medications to help with anxiety and depression and I couldn’t balance the weight of not being lucid against the potential benefits.  Of course, I’m a huge advocate for hemp oil because of its lack of negative side effects and overall health benefits.  The hemp and cannabis plants are extraordinary in their benefits to humans and even pets; get good stuff in your body, however you choose to consume it.  There are tons of things to look at when you’re looking for a brand of oil (I’ll explore it in another post), but you can get the best here.

Accepting that you’re going to have good days, you’re going to have bad days,  and its all just part of life, is the first huge step to working through things.  Explore your reactions to things and situations.  Analyze why you’re reacting to things a certain way.

~The only thing we control in this world is how we react to things~

Read that until you understand it.  You can’t control what anyone else does; you can only control your reaction to the situation.  Stop letting other people’s stupidity send you over the edge.  Stop letting someone else’s inconsistency, arrogance, ignorance, selfishness, lies, jealously, etc etc control how you feel!

This is all just the tip of the iceberg, but its a great start.  Much love & light to you today!

Want more on the topic?  Drop your comments and questions below!

~ Jess

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The First Year

It will soon be a year since everything changed.  One year since the person I thought was my husband left this world.  One year since my life ended up in a blender, and came out a beautiful smoothie.

I don’t regret things in my life.  Its not how I live.  I make choices based on calculated, conscious decisions, and then accept the consequence.  A year ago, a choice was made that altered mine and Nicholas’s life dramatically, and like I always say, it was a blessing in disguise.

In the early afternoon of April 26, 2017, the state police came to my home to inform me that they found my husband in his vehicle up in Warren County.  The room spun; I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t think.  I couldn’t speak.

I will eternally be grateful to the people who rushed to my side.  Alicia, who probably broke more than a few laws racing to me.  Sandi, who sat with me while I took wild phone calls that brought more mind-blowing information each time it rang.  Renee, who set up a GoFundMe that allowed Nicholas and I to find a place to live and stay on our feet while we were reeling.  Kelsey and Kyleen, who connected us with more help than I could have imagined.  Tina, for reaching out and being a voice of reason, even when I didn’t want to hear it.  My parents, for forgiving the grudges and being there for us.  Every single person who sent food, clothes and supplies for Nicholas, even stuff for me.  Even the people I don’t talk to anymore, for one reason for another.  I am grateful.

I’m sure each passing year will get easier and less confusing.  I didn’t expect to be “alone” this year though, and its making it a little more challenging for me to navigate.  My emotions have already bubbled up a few times, and we are still a bit away from the anniversary.  Keeping busy and focused are my only options right now.

Screenshot_20180411-162142Nicholas has come further than I could have ever imagined.  We have a secure, stable home; stable income; I don’t feel threatened that life is off-kilter and unpredictable this year.  Last year, I didn’t know if we’d have a place to live or food to eat each month.  Last year, I was stressed that health insurance was a question.  I’m stable.  That’s what matters.  I have a blossoming business.  I have a greater desire to be creative and continue growing personally.

 

There’s a knot in my throat, but I know it means we’re alive and making it.

-Jess