My Blog Motto

"Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement"

~Rita Mae Brown

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The World is Going Nuts! (and it's about time)

People are going nuts!
I mean this in the most complimentary and respectful terms.

After weeks, months and years of writing letters to government officials, dutifully voting in every election, holding peaceful protests and signing petitions people have realized that the only good to come out of all their action was to gain the attention and combined efforts of like minded peers. The politicians continue to follow the directives of those who hold far more power than they do, the Big Money; and the Big Money or The Man, shall we say (sorry men) continues to feast like a glutton on the obscene wealth that is supplied to them by the politicians as they take it from the hands of people like you and me. This is trickle UP economics, folks. The few politicians who do seem to have a shred of decency rarely make it past the state or local level because, face it, you don't trickle up to Washington by flying on the colorful balloon of humanitarian ideals...and if you do your balloon is filled with hot air and false promises. Or it will be shot and deflated by the b.b. gun that belongs to the gang of bullies that smashed your pumpkin at Halloween and stole your candy. That gang of bullies known as "The Man" or the "Corporate Machine" or the IMF or World Bank or Bilderbergs or whoever it is you believe pulls the strings around here. We are so out of touch with who really controls things that we are reduced to inventing this sort of mythology to explain the incomprehensible. Like our ancient ancestors we deify or demonize the sources of the perplexing events that kill our crops, flood our towns and steal our babies in the night.
The development of and obsession with our collective mythology has kept us all well entertained for quite some time now. Conspiracy theories, hours spent reviewing the Zapruder film, tracing the genealogies of wealthiest families back as far as written history would take us and even involving extra terrestrials have all become some sort of religion with which we soothe ourselves as we search for answers. I think we have all became bored with our stories and tired of arguing over whose pantheon is calling the shots. I think we have finally decided that it really doesn't matter who the boogyman is, only that we are sick and tired of having our money, our rights, our homes and our basic safety stolen away by that thief in the night, that baby snatching goblin, that thirsty Vampire that keeps draining us and draining us until we feel like a bunch of empty shells. We've tried filling ourselves with entertainment, food, drugs, fashion and all the other crap they leave behind to distract us. We have discovered that lifestyle has left us empty, it never satisfies only pacifies. We have changed our diet and turned of American Idol and walked outside...and in that stark unfamiliar light as our eyes began to adjust we saw what was going on. We saw our streets are empty because, depending on where we live the kids aren't safe to play outside or they're off in daycare so both parents (if they're lucky enough to have two) are off working 60 hours a week just to keep the boogeyman at bay. We saw that there seem to be more and more people pushing shopping carts down our alleys collecting the leftover aluminum that contained last nights pacifier so they can walk to the recycling center and get a few bucks. And we probably noticed our car had been towed because we couldn't afford the gas to move it to the other side of the street or to pay the tickets that piled up on the windshield night after night as we were inside slamming down the beer creating income for the guy with the shopping cart. Well at least we made some contribution to society there, right?
Truth is we have made contributions to society our entire lives and society has basically taken the money and run without even an "I'll call you sometime".
We've known for some time that we can't believe in our government, now we realize we can't even believe in the "bad guys" anymore and we have come to realize that neither exists in the way we once dreamed they did. I have come to realize that it really doesn't matter weather the wealth is controlled by aliens or the Illuminati or some ancient family of inbred assholes, what matters is we have to stop wondering and whining and take the bull by the horns. Maybe it's time to take the advice of the unsympathetic, entitlement hating Republicans and "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps", only not quite in the way we've been doing for the past  50 years or so. Those boots were cheap junk, the kind you buy at Walmart and have to replace every 6 months because the straps break off leaving us to fall on our faces. We kept on getting up, wiping our tears and going out for more cheap-ass boots, but if you look around people are choosing different footwear these days. They're choosing something with a bit more substance and durability and they are taking them to the street in great numbers.
I'm encouraging anyone who is reading this to please find a news source that is not controlled by the mythical "Man" and watch what's going on in the UK, Greece, Orlando Florida  U.S. and in all the other places that people are finally putting down the petitions, refusing to go to work and standing up for their rights. And when you do I hope you will consider creating some new boots for yourself.
Here are a few links to get you started (if you haven't already) RT has lots of coverage of the Protests in Greece on Youtube
© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Don't Have to Have a Topic

I haven't posted a blog in well over a week. I have several first paragraphs sitting in my word documents, but I can't quite seem to get beyond that point on any topic. I don't now how many  of you are familiar with the book "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart enough and Doggone it People Like Me" or subsequent movie "Stuart Saves his Family". Both are written by the now Senator Al Franken as his alter ego Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley. You may remember his daily affirmations sketch, if not you can follow the link below and see it for yourself. Stuart is described as a "caring nurturer and a member of several 12 step groups but not a professional therapist". The book is essentially Stuart's attempt to write a self-help book of daily affirmations (pre-blogging days) and follows his battle with perfectionism, among other character traits, as he struggles to maintain his commitment to his job, friends, 12 step groups, family and his book.  Because Stuart is a "caring nurturer" and a perfectionist the reader experiences a tour of the rapidly cycling highs and lows of someone who is just a little bit neurotic and co-dependent. And although it is essentially comedic, it has a bittersweet tenderness that reflects the personalities of anyone whose childhood been affected by alcoholism, neglect, abuse etc.
This is why Stuart is one of my favorite characters to have arisen out of pop culture in America. I believe we all have a little Stuart in us, some of us more than others.  Today as I sat down with my laptop, determined to get out of this writer's block I've been up against, I suddenly remembered Stuarts commitment to write every day...the next entry was dated a month later.
The truth is, I find great comfort in Stuart's struggles with his self worth and I can laugh at them because they are my struggles as well. You can call it what you want, ADD (attention deficit disorder) post trauma, depression/anxiety or the result of a chaotic childhood but it is the stuff of daily life for many of us. And although we may have trouble with follow through and commitment and frequently lose focus jumping from one task or idea to the next, we are also some of the most interesting, caring and creative people I know. We don't fit the profile of what an adult is supposed to do or be but instead we explore our options internally and with the help of other like minded individuals as we create for ourselves the roles we want to embrace, the path we choose to walk on life's journey. We may struggle along the way, we get lost, we find an alternate path, we  fall down, we get back up but we do it on our terms, outside the box of externally imposed expectation...and we are good enough, smart enough and doggone it people like us.

"I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough and Doggone It People Like Me"
copyright 1992 by Al Franken.
Video retrieved from You Tube

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Friday, June 17, 2011

We are the Messengers

By now most of us have become aware that conditions in our world are rapidly changing. Not only in politics and economics but in the Earth herself. We have seen an increase in severe weather patterns, earthquakes, and other phenomenon. The events are most likely due to our ongoing abuse and manipulation of the planet and her resources. Politically  there are uprisings around the globe, in response to the abuse and manipulation of human beings as resources. Here in the US there have been rallies, demonstrations, recall efforts and occupations of  government buildings by citizens who demand fair and proper representation.The nation is now more than ever at the mercy of the abusers and manipulators, many who appear to be blind to the needs of the rest of us. Even in the face of public outcry, many of those who wield the power and control appear unfazed by objections to their myopic policies.
Sometimes it feels like it’s all too much to take in. While I follow events closely on a daily basis mostly via non commercial sources like blogs, twitter, independent news sources and the WisEye* legislative coverage I find myself needing, and deserving, an information holiday from time to time. As much as I advocate for an informed community I also realize that keeping track of events is hard work and I encourage others to take occasional breaks as well. As with any other job our productivity is increased when we are given the opportunity to rest, play and manage self care. And like any vacation, sometimes it can be difficult to return to the real world of work. But we do because we know our work is essential, meaningful and necessary.
We do not check in. punch a time clock or report to a supervisor. We do not accrue benefits or bring home a paycheck or gain promotions; we work for a greater goal than money or security we work for the survival of humanity, for Justice and for Freedom. There are two kinds  of freedom, freedom to and freedom from, this is an important distinction. Many are content to say that we here in America are granted certain freedoms based on our constitution and cultural precedent. We must remain aware of the freedom from. Freedom from censorship, freedom from an oppressive government, freedom from invasions of our privacy and civil rights. The Patriot act, heralded by its creators as policy that would provide freedom from the evil forces of other nations is in reality an open door allowing our own government to restrict our own freedoms, both to and from. Now as the hearings addressing whistle blowing, namely Bradley Manning, are beginning we are at a dangerous juncture where all our freedoms of expression are at risk. If it is decided that speaking the truth about wrongdoings and immoral behavior is a form of treason, what is the next step? I know there is a difference between military information and other forms of public information, but I also know that we are headed down a slippery slope on the path to censorship.
If you need more relevant here and now examples I can tell you that two reporters were arrested at the capitol in Madison during the budget hearings this week (see link for story). This is only one of hundreds of similar cases where attempts to document the reality of the injustices that are taking place have been repressed. These people, the documenters, the messengers, are essential to public awareness of the wrongs that are being committed by our government. As writers and bloggers we also take on the role of messengers, keepers of the history, educators and mobilizers. We have an unprecedented access to collect, document and disseminate information and we need to ensure that we maintain the right to do so.
I don’t care what it is that people chose to blog about, any real life story is an important strand in the fabric of humanity; and it is by maintaining a shared consciousness of humanity that we will remain strong, educated and compassionate as we stand together against oppression and tyranny.

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Resurrection and Equilibrium

I don’t know where you live but here in Milwaukee it's HOT! I’m already struggling with a writer’s block, as you may have noticed, and the atmospheric conditions aren't helping much.  In truth the weather is not to blame at all, if anything it’s keeping me inside and sitting still long enough to type out some thoughts. The “problem” quite frankly, is that life is really good right now. My strength and health are returning, my year long treatment related depression is lifting, which is allowing my prior year long unemployment depression to dissipate as well. Summer is here, my youngest child just turned 18 and I’m in a new relationship. Things are really quite fabulous in fact. This led me to question for a moment whether I need to be miserable in order to create. Part of me wanted so desperately to crawl into that old costume of the “tormented artist”, the Gothic Gloom in which we tear out our hearts and slap them bloody and beating on to the paper (or keyboard).But now I’m giving myself way too many melodrama points. My writing isn't typically all that theatrical and neither am I (although sometimes I like to pretend to be).
I've thought on this for a few days since first starting this post and have come to the realization that I have been feeling a bit guilty about not writing as often as I may have/could have. There are other things I have been paying less attention to as well, but as I have been backed into the wall and forced to defend myself to one of my children I have concluded that reclaiming my life after a couple of really crappy years is clearly going to shake things up in all areas of my life.
For nearly two years writing was basically my only outlet for expression and although I have no intention of abandoning my writing, my world has expanded. I’m sampling all the delicious treats of life that I had been denied for so long. Soon I will regain equilibrium and return to a more consistent pattern of writing and other creative pursuits, but for now I am basking in the sunshine and fresh air with the wonder and delight of someone who has spent the last 2 years in solitary confinement. I’m certain that my resurrection will stimulate new dimensions to my Creative Self, and I look forward to sharing them with you…in the meantime, off to the park!