Chopping Down the Family Tree of Misery…

Just when I think that old gnawing discomfort caused by mentally reviewing the past has finally gone away…something else occurs to bring it back to the forefront. It may never be done because there is just too much misery to go around and too many players who failed to get the memo that we were planning to improve ourselves and our lives.

That something else, which recently occurred was tragic, saddening and completely preventable. It came out of the blue and if I had been asked whether I thought such a thing could happen I would say, no, even though anything awful is highly possible with my family. I’m still processing why it came about at all and remain puzzled as to how I even talk about it because no matter how I word it I will always, forever, be part of the problem with this one. To say I didn’t know things were so bad is a lie and to say there wasn’t anything I could have done different is just the same old lip service we apply to every negative cloud following us.

Misery does indeed love company

A little over a week ago one of my adult nephews died. The circumstances remain uncertain and they probably always will remain so because his father, my oldest brother, chose not to have an autopsy and the local coroner hastily called this senseless death “natural causes.” Case closed. We have no way of knowing one way or another what really happened but I do know for sure that it was, in part, a death caused by emotional and mental neglect with 100% certainty. The death of our father was expected and, if you’ve read any of my other work, that event was greeted with relief but this? This loss was shocking because of my nephew’s young age and also because it took so long for anyone to even notice he was dead.

I feel like I need to provide a bit of back-story here but honestly, I have very little additional information to provide. You see, I didn’t know this nephew very well and had only been around him maybe a handful of times over his sad, short life. None of this was his fault, it was entirely my fault for not trying harder to be present in his world. I fell into the “judging” trap that my family so despised from outsiders yet they gleefully heaped judgment high within family ranks without hesitation. Tearing each other down is a familial pastime after all and the sins of the parents get readily transferred to any offspring in this ragged clan. It’s not an excuse. It’s a huge part of one of our many problems.

Because of our less than warm relationship with our oldest brother the negative feelings felt for him impacted the way we interacted with his children, our nephews. It was one side of the family against the other even though we were all just as damaged inside. It made no sense but here we are now, standing amongst the rubble of yet another life destroyed by generational anger, abuse and neglect of soul. To an outsider we would appear cruel but to us it was just “normal” behavior. “Oh, you won’t talk to me? Well, I will just shun your whole family!” We reap what we sow…still.

We were not normal then and we aren’t normal now…

To the point on why it took so long for my nephew to be found: one has to understand that peculiar deficiency in humanity we all inherited from the Grand Patriarch, my recently deceased abusive father. Indifference. We all, at one point or another in our lives were indifferent to the suffering each one of us experienced. Granted, some hurt and got hurt more than others but the inability to express that pain in real-time or recognize it in each other is but one of the many side effects of abuse that went unnoticed for decades.

And so, because we were brought up in “every man for himself” mode we don’t always see how disturbing it may be to fathom someone’s son, nephew, cousin, and grandson going to bed one night, passing away and then not being discovered until 24 hours (even possibly 48 hours) later. To care so little as to simply not see the importance of checking in, paying attention or, giving a damn.

I see it now.

The horror is setting in.

To be so broken yet unable to see the multiple layers of cracks and sharp edges ready to cut and maim.

Sickeningly broken.

I don’t know the exact events that led up to my nephew’s passing and I won’t speculate on his life because I wasn’t part of it. Also, neither my brother nor my mother will speak to me about it because I am effectively dead to them as well. I DO know that this occurred as a continuation of the misery perpetuated by this particular DNA chain, a tragic chain that needs to be broken, reconstructed and fortified with kindness, patience and love. This didn’t have to happen and I know I don’t bare all of the blame but I still feel leveled by the extent of damage one man started and the unfortunate progeny who continue to carry on his harmful legacy. To say our experiences combined had nothing to do with this particular loss would be foolhardy because pain begets pain and until it’s healed it won’t stop.

Please, let it stop!

It must stop for my nephew’s sake and for every other potential casualty of this family tree strewn with hollow, disease ridden limbs. Let the suffering stop here and now because we can be better than this.

We MUST be better than this!

© 2021-2022 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

After all the words that hurt where are the words that heal?

Words have power and intent matters. The things we say can illicit beautiful and positive emotional responses but, they can also incite violence, hatred and destruction. Words have the strength to motivate, to move hearts and they can, in some instances, change minds. Some say what they think others want to hear, some say nothing in order to avoid confrontation and then, there are those who say whatever the hell they feel like, consequences be damned.

It’s clear that very few minds are changing. Those who felt something is, and always has been, wrong with this country aren’t changing their minds and, those who want the balance of power to tilt firmly and homogeneously, back to the status quo certainly have no intention of changing either. What I see as utter disgusting lunacy comes across as perfectly logical to, in the wise words of REM’s Michael Stipe, “followers of chaos out of control.” Inciting a mob to violence while standing back to watch your handiwork on television is VILE. Not only is it just that but it’s also illegal. This is not normal, this is not okay. We are broken.

Why can’t everyone see the danger we are in?

Because, to some this is exactly what they were hoping for.

I am not afraid to use my words to call out injustice, bigotry, propaganda and blatant LIES. You. Are. Lying! Long ago, I stopped feeling shocked when I heard or read utterly outrageous falsehoods because I quickly grew to understand that those who lie do so for a distinct reason. It’s not without purpose. It’s not, “just because” they can get away with it. The main reason, in my mind, is to cause disorientation brought on by the intense initial outrage. If they can tire the honest, logical and empathetic just enough to create a momentary pause, a window for ill-intent to creep in then they can get away with anything. And, they are. It’s disgusting.

The death of trust is happening now…

Here is where I take a moment to pose a question to the chaos creators; what is it about helping others that you find so abhorrent? I know it isn’t the bullshit argument that, “my tax dollars shouldn’t go towards giving a handout to people too lazy to work,” or the worn out tome, “Socialism is evil”. You are a broken record. None of your dire predictions of doom have or ever will come true but, the part where you are literally willing to overthrow your own government in order to hang onto the limited power afforded simply because of the hue of your skin and your male identity has. Again, it’s disgusting yet, predictable. We knew you would cling tightly to the past, a past that only favored you and your ilk. A past that made good work of trampling anyone exhibiting the determination to create change because, after all, change is exactly what you fear the most.

Change is your kryptonite and, it’s also quite amusing that I’m using a completely fictional substance to describe your true weakness. You are growing weaker by the minute and more desperate, judging by the actions taken on January 6, 2021 so, how will your ultimate downfall occur? Will we all get to watch it on TV or will you just slink back into the shadows to plot the next coup attempt? With a diet comprised of hatred, envy and fear it’s only a matter of time before vital organs shut down and it appears that process has begun given the loose grasp on reality and increasing cognitive impairment. Your belief that you are somehow smarter, stronger and more resilient than those you rage against is an illusion you apparently find great difficulty reconciling with.

Fighting words don’t taste very good do they?

I have written about the absurd notion that those of a more “liberal” mindset are expected to, nay, are duty bound to forgive and forget and be tolerant towards even the most rabid followers of chaos out of control. That’s a big NOPE for me. I am not a fool. And then, the self-proclaimed opposition sneers, “I thought liberals were supposed to be so tolerant! You’re not being tolerant towards me!” To that I reply, who told you I was a liberal and, you really don’t understand the meaning of that word do you? Liberal? Do you mean the Latin word liber (meaning “free”),  or do you mean liberalis, which means “of or constituting liberal arts, of freedom, of a freedman,” which is it? Personally, I believe you mean this: “I can do whatever I want against you or say whatever I want about you and you just have to sit there and take it because I said so!” Again, big NOPE.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/liberal-meaning-origin-history

Getting back to the title of this piece, where are the words that heal? I suppose the best question to ask now is, who needs the most healing? Is it the perpetually marginalized groups in this country or is it the segment that harbors the most animus towards everyone not like them? Ironically enough, those the rage-filled continually strike out against learned long ago how to fortify themselves against unending oppression so, who’s figured out life better? Quick answer, not you! And by healing I mean self-reflection, personal growth, deprogramming and, ultimately re-humanization because I see this part of the population as the most damaged by their own hand, heart and mind. The ravages of life-long putrid hate makes these pitiful patriots almost unrecognizable as any type of former friend when FOE is most consistently written on their name tags. Today, knowing ones enemy has became exponentially easier while also simultaneously mind numbing.

Is this the future you want for yourselves?

I ask because I’ve grown weary of your self-indulgent circle jerk, chock full of worn out excuses.

Shhh…it’s time to learn a new way of existing with purpose rather than just taking up space in the universe. It’s okay, we can help you but there is a caveat; if we help and still get stabbed in the back well, don’t take it too personally when the door is closed on you permanently. It’s the long-time in coming reward you will have justly deserved.

© 2020-2021 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Is change on the horizon or are we in for more of the same?

I’m tired. You are tired. We are ALL tired of the same nastiness, the worn out excuses for bad behavior and the smug arrogance that has punctuated the past 4 years. If you aren’t tired then you are part of the problem because the pressure cooker of abuse, bigotry, sexism, and every other “ism” used to corral and cage those demanding equality is about to blow! Eons worth of nasty condescension mixed with an appalling lack of accountability is the calling card of many a “privileged” lout. The alarm has been sounded, the battle cry of the oppressed is finally being heard and the days of complacency and willful ignorance are, hopefully, coming to an end.

It shouldn’t come as any big surprise that we, as a nation, have willingly sunk to such abysmal depths. We have, after all, been training for this since birth. Every generation is primed and prepped for all manner of “what if” scenarios based on current events (or conspiracy theories) and every non-minority generation fails miserably in the department of actual change. And, I’m talking about REAL change and not just the lip-service variety of change we, the white population, have grown accustom to. The t-shirt slogan kind. To speak of changing the world and actually moving forward, in full unity with those who have been marching on their own for centuries, are two entirely different things. Many of us, those who are melanin challenged, don’t see that though. Some violently refuse to see it. If it hasn’t happened to them personally then it must not exist right?

Wrong. It doesn’t work that way. You no longer make the rules.

And, rules set forth by those with suspicious motives and callus disregard for the well being of ALL should be challenged! None of that colonizing, conquering, or highly edited history deserves the crown of ultimate and infinite power. Those who have been walked on are now standing up. We either walk together or we flounder together. Which sounds better? Also, what is so wrong or scary about change? Don’t you change in looks, weight, health, wealth or attitude as you age? Yeah, many fight all of those things via diet, exercise, plastic surgery, stock options or therapy but, in the end we ALL end up in the same place once our light has been eternally extinguished. Dead.

We are ALL born. We ALL breath the same air. We ALL bleed the same blood. We ALL face adversity but some are better at this change thing than others. Why is that? Who told some of us that we don’t have to change. And, who told us that everyone else needs to become more like us or they can leave? Does any of that make sense? No, it doesn’t, especially when many beautifully melanated people succeed well beyond white expectation yet…it’s still not good enough for us. WE asked them to CHANGE while we are allowed to stay the same, uneducated about the many different and exciting cultures all around us and unwilling to consider how our “rules” have trampled the rights of the oppressed since the dawning of time.

Now before anyone gets all self-righteous and agitated ask yourself this question: If I don’t have to do what I am demanding others to then how is that right, just, or fair? And, how exactly can true change even happen when it’s so one-sided? Short answer; it can’t but if your answer was, “Who cares?” then you will be the one to eventually stagnate and fall. Flowers can’t survive without water, warmth and the kind kiss of the sun and so, when the seasons CHANGE, the flowers fade and fall from their once lofty perch. So will be the fate of those who refuse to change personally. So will be the fate of those who refuse to allow anyone they erroneously consider “inferior” to stand beside them as equals. It’s only a matter of time and the people who were forcefully made meek are here to accept their inheritance.

My door is open. Is yours?

*I had intended to publish this prior to the White Sedition Parade of January 6, 2021 but got understandably delayed. Watching that disgusting display of privilege overload topped with a big paranoid, ignorance filled cherry turned my stomach. I will address it in another post as I need time to process that shit show.

© 2020-2021 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Believability in unbelievable times…

Why didn’t she report it?

WHY?

WHY?

WHY?

In this day and age, after all that has been revealed by many, many women and men to ask WHY their pain and embarrassment and shame wasn’t paraded about for all to judge, criticize and tsk tsk is tantamount to siding with the abuser.

After all, when our own president vacillates between acting like a wronged man-victim and a cruel bully all within the course of a day it’s not hard to see where the inspiration for all the other abusers and powertrip seekers to assert their new found dominance came from.

But, it’s the supposedly conflicted fence riders that get me the most. If you can’t muster the strength of mind to speak up when you see blatant harassment and abuse occurring in real-time, right before your eyes, then what goddamned hope do we really have?

This is how I see this topic playing out in my mind:

Fence Sitter: But, I NEED to hear all the sides here! 

Empathy: Are you the judge and jury?

Fence Sitter: Well, no but I can’t make up my mind who to believe until I know all the dirt about the accuser.

Empathy: Hasn’t she been hurt enough by this? You do realize that by bullying her into revealing things that aren’t your business just to satisfy your gory car crash mentality is a form of revictimization right?

Fence Sitter: Hey, she asked for this by going public.

Empathy: Wow, can you hear yourself?

Fence Sitter: Hear what? I need to know more so I can make up my mind. She is making some pretty damaging allegations that could ruin a man’s life. You have to admit, she probably just wanted to be with him and he rejected her or something. Scorned woman syndrome.

Empathy: So, you actually have already made up your mind that she’s lying but you just want to tear her apart further by laying her personal life out on the table for the world to mock? 

Fence Sitter: Oh, I bet you weren’t perfect in high school or college either…

Empathy: Great job deflecting and playing the worn out tune of whataboutery. Bravo! Time to get off the fence dude, we all know where you stand now.

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Hey judgemental people, why do YOU do THAT? This is the question I pose to everyone out there that immediately casts doubt upon any woman (and men too but for this piece, I will speak to that which I know) that dares to talk about being sexually harassed, assaulted, molested or raped. Does the subject hit so close to home that in order to hide your own shame its easier to lash out at the person already knocked to the ground by years of keeping their trauma to themselves? Whatever happened to reserving judgment until all the facts are weighed while also remaining neutral AND respectful of both parties?

Wouldn’t that be nice? It would but it doesn’t happen that way. Not that I have ever personally experienced anyway. To mock sexual assault victims with jokes about their appearance, intelligence and morality is plainly a dick move. A big, bullying, shaming dickish move committed by both men and women, which is a huge head-scratcher in itself.

Women have the unenviable position of being shit on mentally and emotionally by both sexes while also juggling the fear of potentially being assaulted, raped or murdered should they dare venture out by themselves after dark to get a fucking chai latte or walk alone to their car doing any number of banal things men just DO without any thought to potential personal risk. Want to talk about something not being fair? THAT right there is hugely fucking unfair and it shouldn’t have to be this way.

So, what can women do to be believed when shit goes down? Start acting like men? Hmmm.. so if some dude tries to pussy grab me at a concert I should just do a sack clutch, squeeze and twist for fair measure? Okay, sounds cool to me! Of course, this is said in jest as I have no desire to touch strange sack but the point is this: WHAT GIVES YOU THE FUCKING RIGHT TO TOUCH ME IN THE FIRST PLACE? Who taught you that it was even remotely an acceptable thing?

Or…were you just taught that if you were going to do it then make sure you don’t get caught? Boys will be boys…until they assault and rape and then they are just criminals. Pretty simple to understand right?

If not, read up on it here

I am tired. Tired of always being on guard. Tired of having to check my facial expressions, emotions, and attire against the preconceived notions of how male society thinks a woman should behave. I’m fucking tired and no longer care if I hurt your feelings by speaking up when you say shitty things to me. I will no longer sit idly by while certain men tell me what a “lady” should be.

YOU’RE NOT A FUCKING WOMAN SO HOW THE HELL DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT WOMEN!!! I would never proclaim to be an expert on men but, yet…women aren’t even allowed to be experts on their own minds, attitudes, likes, dislikes, jobs, education, pay scale or their own vaginas. Fuck that!

Lady? Why should any of us be a LADY when abusers, molesters, and rapists hide behind the mask of GENTLEMAN all the time. Women have very legitimate reasons to not believe or trust men yet we are vilified as bitches, she-devils, banshees, sluts, whores and on and on just because we might have wounded a man’s pride somewhere down the line 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years ago?

Your pride? I would take a bruised ego and dented pride any day over being choked unconscious, slapped, hair ripped out of my head, drug across a room, thrown down stairs, beaten, stabbed, shot, raped and murdered any day. Pride! Get out of here with that!

Seriously, get out of here with that nonsense and start doing better. We are better than this and I’m ashamed at how little we have progressed. Boys can be tenderhearted, kind, loving and considerate just like girls can. It’s how they are taught to interact with others that makes the difference.

The issue of abuse of women will never end until men are taught to value themselves enough to invest in their hearts and stop being so fearful of women taking over. Aren’t you tired of this shit yet? I know I am.

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lying Tree…

I do not have a conventional family tree. I have a lying tree.

For as long as I can remember the “facts” behind who my blood relatives really are have been blurred and carefully edited to fit a narrow narrative of acceptability. What will the neighbors think? What will random strangers on the street think? And, finally, what will the people at our church think? That last one always created pause for me since church implies certain moral values and the very act of lying to cover personal embarrassment from fellow churchgoers is ironic and laughably hypocritical.

But, don’t say this to the patriarch and matriarch of this fabricated fable!

In modern times there is this little thing called the internet. On this construct exists a massive online newspaper archive called Newspapers.com ( and I am sure there are many more) where anyone willing to pony up a few bucks a month can search the names of relatives, friends, ex-friends, and ex-lovers to see if they ever “made the news” from the 1700’s to the 2000’s.

On this website, I found out that my paternal grandfather was charged with and eventually found guilty of misappropriation of funds while a Justice of the Peace for Cook County, Illinois in the 1960’s.  He was sentenced to 6 months in county jail and not once, in all the years I have known my mother or father have either said one word about this.  Not surprising really since my mother said once, in church, that my older brother was “away at college” when he was actually in jail.  Being a scofflaw runs in the family you see but, Que sera sera, there is not one thing that can be done about it now. The fibbing branches just keep falling…

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Several years ago, after a few glasses of wine around my younger sister’s kitchen table, my older sister mentioned a conversation she had with our mother that included the words, “That was the time when your grandfather was away in jail.” Wait! What?  “Oh, didn’t I tell you that?” was my mother’s response to my sister’s shocked surprise. No, you sure as hell did not!  Much like the various health conditions relatives had that were not shared with us or the fact that she had been borrowing on life insurance policies our maternal grandmother purchased for us for years without our knowledge. I’m sure there is more but will stop at the tip of the ice burg for now. What they don’t know won’t hurt them right?

THIS is the kind of thing I am talking about here. This is also the kind of thing that the truth-impaired bemoan as  “ancient history” and “what’s in the past is the past” but my argument is that this very shit stabs right at the heart of what is wrong with my family and many others. Lying just for the sake of lying, lying for personal financial gain and finally, lying to save face. Once you have protected your image to the point of alienating and potentially physically harming family it becomes clear what is more important to some people:

Not us. Not me. Not my daughter. Not my partner. Everyone is fair game for an attack apparently. I have the letters, emails, Facebook posts and text messages to prove it.

My family is a sad stomach churning potluck of avoidance, delusion, resentment, and selfishness. And, I too have experienced and participated in all of these things over the years and will make that clear. In order to write this I have to be honest and in order to write this, I also have to shore myself up for any pending attacks on my recollection and character. I have been attacked on both fronts by both my mother and my younger sister so any further vitriol is easy to shrug off. They will do what they do and have always done and I will do the opposite because to do anything else is a sure recipe for self-harm and I’m too old for this shit!

As you, dear reader, peruse this little essay I am sure that there are other eyes scanning as well. Eyes that are looking for any mention of them, any mention of blame, any mention at all. Hello! Despite our falling out, I am glad you are here and I am even gladder that you might be reading my words. Take them in. Mull them over for a bit before responding and, might I add, before firing off in a flash of keyboard courage consider picking up the phone to address any grievances with me personally. I will take your call and I will listen to what you have to say. I may hang up without saying more than an initial “hello” but I will listen none the less.

So, for the foreseeable future, I will be HONEST. Everything I write about will involve confession, confrontation and, finally the search for redemption. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to be redeemed in my family’s eyes but in my own. I am looking for peace, nothing more and nothing less.

Stick with me on this journey okay? I might need a cheering section when the wolves arrive…

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The fluidity of change…

Everyone has the capacity to change. Everyone has the inherent will to do better. It’s the motivation factor that trips us all up.

Do I really want to change or am I just saying this because its what people want to hear?

I’m sorry.

I won’t do that again.

I learned my lesson.

Mere words. Without conviction, determination, and drive, these words, hammered into the human engine compartment are meaningless and just fill uncomfortable silences.

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Meaningless words fill our heads all the time. Okay, that was an awkward moment…what can I say to ease the tension? What trite quip can I toss out to bridge the gap? Sometimes, it’s better to suffer the silence, to feast on the uncertainty until our bellies ache and we are forced to seek relief.

And now, we get to the CHANGE chapter in life.

What I Have Learned From My Mistakes…

Am I going to invest all I have in changing my habitual patterns? Am I going to live up to my mantra of Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say?  Honestly, I am trying. It’s hard. I absolutely want to view change as a river that flows from my heart to my brain and out through my feet and hands with the kindest of intentions. I want that!

When I was a child I remember my father saying something to the effect of: “I don’t make mistakes. Everything I’ve done, I meant to do it so it wasn’t a mistake.” And, at the time, I thought it was just his way of getting around having to say he was sorry for being abusive but now I see that he truly thought he was right and everyone else was wrong. Changing anything about himself was never a consideration. To my father, “change” was for the weak, the godless, the ignorant.  Now, I realize I was none of those things and he feared the day when I would come to this conclusion and rise up. And, rise up I did.

Why People Have Such A Hard Time Changing

Whats so awful about change anyway? Why is it so maligned, so rejected, so ridiculed?

In thinking back, I can now see a clear picture of how I have always been seeking change.  I wanted to change my home life, my parents, my relationship with my siblings, my looks, my way of thinking…change it all! If I could just change then maybe those beating me down would finally love me. God, how pathetic right? Except, that version of “change” was not realistic because I was seeking to change into a person that I thought these other unchangeables wanted me to be. In hindsight, I suppose I was really just looking for approval and never needed to change for these people at all. Truth right there!

Today, I view true CHANGE as a breath of fresh air, a new way of looking at life and not negative at all. It IS fluid and it does move and bend and grow with time, just like me. I am working on moving the obstacles out of my path, releasing the barriers that have kept me stuck in the past. I am also working on a new mantra because saying what I mean and meaning what I say is no longer effective. Now…..

Everything will work out to my advantage…

Everything will work out to my advantage…

Everything will work out to my advantage…

It will because I deserve this, I earned it and I worked hard for the life of purpose that I am living now. No one can take it away from me.

Love, Light, and Peace

Reverie

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.