Community building requires community healing. And what does that look like?

"Staying ‘home’ and not venturing out from our own group comes from woundedness, and stagnates our growth. To bridge means loosening our borders, not closing off to others….To bridge is to attempt community, and for that we must risk being open to personal, political, and spiritual intimacy, to risk being wounded."- Gloria Anzaldua

"Quedarse en la casa'' y no aventurarse fuera de nuestro propio grupo viene donde estamos heridos y proviene nuestro crecimiento. Para hacer puentes signifa que abriemos mas de nuestras fronteras y que no cierremos a otros… Para hacer puentes es intentar comunidad, y para eso tenemos que corre el riesgo de ser abierto a personal, político y espiritual intimidad, a correr el riesgo de ser heridos. "
Gloria Anzaldua

Everybody is waiting for the movement to happen ! And we dont realize we are the movement. Its me and you coming together and having some honest and maybe painful truthtelling between us. But there is probably some beautiful thing we will create together as a result. I want to speak to each person in my community.Let's get the party going.

Todo el mundo está esperando a que el movimiento a ocurrir! Y nosotros no darse cuenta de que somos el movimiento. Comienza la communidad cuando usted y yo tienemos algunos conversaciones doloroso pero verdarosos . Pero es probable que algunos bellos cosas que es probablemente vamos a crear juntos . Quiero hablar con cada person en mi communidad.Vamos a comienzar esta fiesta !

Monday, April 6, 2009

I had to tell her how much it hurt me when she was shooting up soda

I thanked her and told her how I fell in love with her because she was honest the first time she disappeared for a weekend. She cried as she told me she was no good for me. She had a problem. She showed me her tracks and said she had shot soda (cocaine) all weekend. She was being real. She told me the ugly truth. She gave me at least, that. That was more than my father ever could say to me about his drinking. It was always some other reason why he didn’t come thru for his children.
I told her I had never given up on her and how much I cried and how much I prayed for her. I even went to see El Nino de Atocha two times when things were at the worst and so painful. On each pilgrimage, I always left a written petition on the walls and I prayed everyday for her to get her soul back. I just didn’t want her to die from an overdose. I cried a lot for that woman. I didn’t tell her this in an ugly way. I wasn’t even angry about it, but I needed her to know the hell it was for me, for her, for both us. I needed her to acknowledge that she knew what happened to me and that she understood how much it hurt me. It had been almost ten years and she didn’t want to hear it. But we couldn’t go on any further with me being the scapegoat and her feeling shame and guilt. After all these years, can we just go on and hurry up and heal this ?
She was angry ,at first, that I had thrown her “shit” back at her along with a “why couldn’t I let it go?” I knew she wanted to really scream at me , “Why did you have to bring this up!!!!”
I just wanted to her to know how much I value honesty now more than I ever. There is no peace until there is some honesty. I was ready to say adios. But she kept calling me and calling. And I kept ignoring it until I finally was ready to see what the hell she wanted. After all she had the courage or coraje at least to call me back and talk about it. Maybe she was now done with running and had nothing to lose? But she broke thru the hopelessness enough to revisit it again with me. I was surprised.
I am at a point in my life that I don’t care to give my attention to anyone who avoids or ignores healing. I accept people want to live their lives and whatever they want to exist on their way. Let them, but I refuse to pretend and live lies with them. I never wanted to change anybody. Never could. Never will. But changing someone is healing. And if they want a healing, I try to help. I am a healer. And we all are in need of healing and capable of healing others too. But first, I had to let her give me her rage.
I kept saying to her in between her venting that I didn’t say this to hurt her. I said , “All I was doing or trying to do was thank you for being honest. Without it, we have nothing. We can’t even be friends. It’s almost ten years now”
I am so sick of game, lies, and above all pretense. You know? Fake it as a way of making it? I got enough people that use me all while the whole time they say they love and care about me. Being loved and being used are two different things. And I’m done with that.
I told her I wanted more from people. It’s so common for people that they don’t even know they are faking it. It’s automatic. And then they wonder why they are depressed? Try on, it’s because you’re not dealing with your shit? And that not dealing with feelings is what’s making you depressed. Your past is still gonna come up in other ways anyway. And you are just faking it or pretending it away somehow someway. Some of us know you are suffering, living a double life, put on your happy face and plastic smile. But you have lived all your life this way that don’t even know it.
My friend, Luna was watching the movie later that evening, “Sicko” and as I was telling her my story, she said, “Yeah, in this country, we don’t protest, we don’t march, we just go numb. We check out.” Some of us say, we got God or our spirituality. But daily, people are depressed and in pain. They suffer. They are lonely. They go silent. They keep it to themselves all by themselves.
Now I am not being judgmental and think I am better than everybody else. All I am doing is naming it. I get told I am judgmental because bringing up where it still hurts is painful. I wasn’t trying to force her to deal with anything. All I was doing was thanking her and I wanted more depth to our relationship. If we can’t lay down our burden and joy to our beloved than what kind of relationship do we have anyway? It’s not home.
I was thinking about how when we left daddy. Mama decided she was done with daddy’s drinking and cruelty. Mama was gonna drop us off to school that morning. The five of us were between 7-15 years old. We had our schoolbooks in our laps and the clothes on our back, that is all and we left.. Boom! Gone. We had to.
There was no protest from us just shock and a relief at the same time.Things had gotten bad at home and were getting worse. We never went back to the house and we never saw our things again. But I did watch my mama make it on her own. She took a stand to never put up with cruelty. I learned there are limits. Sorry to say, me, my sisters and brothers still had issues with thinking cruelty with love in relationships and with issues with trust. It took a long time to heal this in my family. But again, it took some truthtelling and courage to heal. It started with two of us dealing with our anger and addictions honestly. Can one grow up in the barrio and escape addiction? Yes, we can recover.
I asked my brothers and sisters what happened to our things. What did Daddy do with our things? My sister said an aunt of ours had them and what was left was unknown because her house had flooded. She asked me what did I want or what was I looking for? I said, “Everything.” My brother and I talked about it. And he said what were you hoping to find. I said , I dunno…maybe some memory of who I was that is lost? A piece of me that I need to be healed from or a strength I had forgotten about me ? Some part of me that needs to get healed because it still hurts? Maybe its just a place that I just need to visit again because I don’t want to go there?” Bro basically said, “Damn.”
I am not a possessive person. Nor am I bitter and want to seek justice, revenge or whatever. I am not even sure getting our things back is even necessary for my healing. It’s just that it wasn’t right that we never saw our things again. We were poor and what we owned wasn’t worth much. But what we had was ours. And it wasn’t right. It was a violation of some sort. You know like people looking at your things and touching them, and doing what they want with them without your consent. I am sure it was difficult for daddy’s side of the family to deal with us and left the responsibility to my father. And I’m sure it may have hurt him a lot to tell us nothing was left or this is all that is left.
Why wasn’t there an attempt to have our things returned? Maybe they just didn’t know how to deal with it? Was it the pain we all would have had to have felt? What are we trying to protect ourselves now as adults? Does it still hurt? Daddy eventually did get sober and now is no longer with us. But it still hurts.
It didn’t have to be that way.
None of it had to be that way.
The whole thing was shocking before, during, and after.
But we have done a lot of healing in my family. I learned freedom and peace comes from truthtelling.
Look, I don’t want to tell you my ugly story either.
Do you think this is easy for me to tell you?
But I have to… because I want to connect my journey with your journey.
See, we are connected. Maybe then we can all join paths and I will have more companions on the good red road. But so will you.
A coworker had come to my office and was talking about how she was trying to teach her daughter about money. And that her daughter loves to get quarters to get a prize in what I call THE CLAW.
It’s a machine that when you pay your quarter, you place your claw above the prize you want and a mechanical claw drops down fast to grab your prize. Most of the time, THE CLAW touches the prize and it comes up with nothing Its supposed to be about skill but it really isn’t. It’s an illusion and rigged to make money. They call it recreation. They lie. It’s about making money. But it’s whatever ounce of our hopefulness that gets us to try the game in the first place. And when you are young, you have a lot more hopefulness and don’t understand fully about dishonesty. Then you get disappointed by THE CLAW and other forms of lying.
I remembered how my godchild, Niko used to have a meltdown when he didn’t get a prize in THE CLAW. It was major meltdown. Talk about disappointment! He is a Leo and hates to lose anyway. He was addicted to the game. Luna used to say that it would never fail that he would have a major cry and tantrum after playing the game,
She had several options on what to do for him afterwards. 1. Make fun of him and tell to just get over it and that is just what life is-you win and you lose, 2. Whip him and tell him to shut up, 3. Ignore him, he will figure it later in life, 4.Let him talk, cry, kick, and scream his frustration and disappointment. Luna, of course, would have never done the first three options.
So, after about four quarters and not winning a prize, and her telling him she didn’t have any more quarters, all the crying and hurt came out of him. Disappointment.
With as much patience as she could (she gets tired), she gave him attention and told him the game was a setup. She said it in words he could understand, but he was beyond listening. He was deep into his emotions at that point. So she picked him up as he was crying and begging her to go get change for some more quarters, and how he did not want to leave THE CLAW. He would cry for about an hour, sniffle a little, and finally get to talking about how much he wanted a prize. Then and only then was he able to listen to Luna explain the set up. And more talk and cry until sometimes he was exhausted then sleep. And then he was a happy child again.
I tell you this story because its about how dishonesty hurts us. Disappointment. We get lied to in many ways and we never got to be listened to or been given some consideration. Like as children our feelings were treated as trivial. As adults, we still treat our emotional selves and each other’s emotions as nonsense. Get over it, we tell each other things like crying over the bitch isn’t worth the salt in your tears. Hurt happens but it’s the response that matters. It’s not about fixing it.
There are some things we should never get over like my sister in law who lost her 3 grandchildren when she couldn’t hold on them to keep them from drowning. There are some broken relationships and friendships that will never stop hurting. But some of us know that with courage, all things can heal. It’s the response that matters. It’s the attention we give to our most hurt selves. It’s having the bravery to hold space for another person’s hurt to unfold and transform everything and everybody. Its about intention. And for that it requires our attention.
See, my baby, Niko was hurt and the game was disguised as fun. He was lied to and hurt by it. How do we respond when we hurt or see one of us hurt? And what about our children ?

Don’t avoid. Don’t run. Don’t betray someone you love and yourself AGAIN.
It took ten years for me to tell her how much it hurt. It didn’t have to be that way. Nothing has to be that way. But how you gonna be alright, if you aren’t all right inside?

I had to tell her how much it hurt me when she was shooting up soda for me, for her, for us, for you. I had to ask what happened to my things. I had to hold space for Niko to heal disappointment and betrayal. I had to tell you my ugly story.
Now, tell yours, for you, for me, for us.
We are all in the need of medicine. But no one can make you take it
We can’t heal alone. Take a risk. And if there is a faster way let me know.

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