Interesting People

Live honestly.  Speak the truth.  Respect self and others.  I can almost guarantee that if you do these things, you will be one of the most interesting, courageous, lovable, brilliant people you will ever know.

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Telling Sories: If Wishes Were Hunting Knives

Trigger warning.
Dear Reader(s): I have been to some very dark and distressing places in my life experiences, and in my mind.  And I do feel the need to share this story.  However, it is ghastly, and gross, in my opinion.
This fictional story contains strong and clear allusions to child abuse, sexual abuse, and extreme violence.

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If Wishes Were Hunting Knives

Sometimes I wish I had done things differently.  And then I could remember a different true story.

I woke in the darkness.  In the night.  I don’t know for sure what woke me.  Upon waking, though, I had the sense that hopelessness, fear, and powerlessness had loomed so loudly that they had dragged me from sleep.

Darius was missing.  And not in her bed.  I knew, because we shared one.  The blue acrylic globe-shaded swag lamp hung quietly from the ceiling, and still, and I watched it do so as I gathered my bearings.

Mother, that horrifying, terrorizing, angry wraith which wove and plunged itself chaotically into and at and through my life, was away.  Hospitalized.  Very very sick, and deeply absent.  Although the two-week old half-brother, whom she’d named the name I’d hoped for him, slept in his crib in the room down the short hall from me.  Older brother… I had no idea where he was.  I had no clear sense of him, that I can recall in the least.

But where was Darius?  The powerlessness closed in, the fear, suffocating my little chest, crowding out the blessed, exhausted absence that sleep always laid upon me, like a blanket, which might be also a secret doorway, to other, less harrowing terrain.  And if no less harrowing, then at least new…

But where was Darius?  I knew.  Somewhere.  Inside of me, I knew exactly where she was.  Because he was here.  I remember being shocked at his boldness.  His sick and greedy audacity.  The sheer fetid reek of the presumptuousness of it.

I nursed that anger.  It was something.  It was my abused kid’s crack.  I fostered, without knowing it, a dream of the day I’d be big and angry enough to effect my own safety, and the safety of mine.  But it was impotent.  I was eight.  I was alone in the house with other children, and a monster of a man.

He wasn’t the sort of monster you’d know right off as a monster, unless you happened to be a child.  And then, if you were lucky, you had some sense of how disgusting and gross and wrong he was.  If you were not lucky, your mother made him her live-in boyfriend, or your babysitter.  And then you were fucked.  Not all of us, not literally – but twisted, damaged, violated, sickened, certainly… each of us.

But I couldn’t care about that much in that moment.  The fear kept breaking through.  And along with it, the powerlessness, and the hopelessness, as an all-encompassing vision of a decade more of this life stretched out before me in my battered and beleaguered mind.

I thought about going in there.  Into Mother’s bedroom, into the gold and brown and earthy darkness, and out of the deep and watery blue of my own.  I thought about pushing the monster off of the bed, and lifting him, with all my rage, to throw him out the window.  Naked and clammy and grey-white pale, as he surely was.  As he so often, or too often, seemed to be.  I thought about rescuing Darius.  I thought about taking her to a place and to grown ups we did not know.  Ones who would fight for us.  Kill for us.  Lock a man up for us.  Love us.  Enough, anyway.

Then I thought of the newborn child.  The monster’s offspring.  I wondered if I knew well enough to bring everything it would need, on what was sure to be a long journey to salvation.  I wondered if I should leave it.  If whatever big people I found would come back for it in time.  In time.  The anger roiled again.  But more, the fear.  The fear that a monster willing to violate a child in the room directly across the hall from its child would have no clear, discernible depth to which it would sink.

The bed swirled away from beneath me.  I was airborne, but I could not fly.  All about unfolded scenarios of life to come, and in every direction lay sickness – so deep and so vile – that it clamped a deep and abiding nausea around my every hope for love, and safety and joy.  The bile at the back of my stomach sloshed warningly up into my asophagaus, as my mind reeled and head pounded.

I knew, exactly, why I cried.  It was a desperate bid, I knew, even then, but I tried.  I cried in hopes of appealing to his humanity.  To the sliver of this man which was compassionate, not infected, not overthrown by sick depravity.  I hoped.  Foolishly, of course, but I did hope, nonetheless.

And he dashed those hopes, of course, as I pitched my voice at him in my mind.  As I pleaded, with sobbing alone, for some protection we, the children of this home, had never known.

“What the hell are you crying for?  Stop your crying!”  The words shattered, together, the hope of pleading my case and having it heard.  And here’s where my lie begins.

I snapped.  I don’t know if I moved my body; if anyone watching would have known, but I did.  The hope, born at hearing his question, and shattered by the directive which followed, turned to hot and glassy shards.  And they cut.  More than deeply, they cut through intangible layer of self and divided me irreparably.  And who I had been was changed.

Somewhere within me, in some facet now fundamentally distinct from the rest, I recognized the truth of the thing: that I would do a very wrong and lasting thing, and that my whole, forever, would be marred by it.  That I would have to work very hard – in the world and within myself – to restore the balance of good from which I was about to detract.  And the pureness in me, which I’d forgotten until I’d shattered and broke into pieces, nodded once – softly, resolutely, and sad.

It would be done.

I crept as quietly from my bed as I could.  I knew the monster was like to be on alert, having just paid me mind.  The swish of the bedspread was a terrifying and thunderous shiny blue, filling the room with sound, drowning out the pounding in my small ears.  And still, the monster did not speak again.  Though I heard Darius, her soft crying like an echo of my own, and yet reaching for my own vocalization, and the wan hope within it, at the same time.

‘Coming.  Hang on,’ I thought to her fiercely, as I crept down the stairs, every creak sending bolts of terror through my heart as it beat wildly and erratically, trapped in my throat.  I wanted to vomit.  I couldn’t.  Surely even the tiniest of wretching sounds would garner the attention I desperately needed to keep from me.

‘I am sorry,’ I cried to Darius, silently, as I abandoned her, yet again, to the monster, ‘it will never happen again.  I swear.’  That oath kept me company, shrouded me, as I moved through the house along the main floor to the front closet, unsheathing with a leathery kiss, my saviour.  Our saviour.  Though some might argue with that now.  Even me.

The innocence of me moaned as I crept toward Mother’s bedroom, that I’d not even seen for myself if the monster was out, before I’d set in motion.  It was horrified, though, and reassured of its righteousness, as I approached the door, sliding along the floor on my tummy to avoid making noise.

While the blood in my veins roared, and the sweat and tears crashed noisily on my skin, my mind was clear, and focused.  The end shone, sick and harrying, certainly, but also dark, like a silhouette against the brilliance and light beyond it.  I salivated.  Whether out of desire to vomit, or abject hunger for the brightness of the beginning beyond the end, I don’t know.  I kept moving, though.  Steadily, one hip and elbow jutting out at a time, alternating, eating up floor and distance.  ‘I am like the snake,’ I thought, ‘in the sacred garden of the God of whom they speak in Sunday schools.’  I wondered what that God would think of me.  I wondered if it would approve.  I wondered why it had allowed this thing to become necessary.  I looked around me in my mind’s eye and knew for certain that the pantheon of gods and forces around me were my equals – and that I would take care of this thing for myself – and that in doing so, my relationship to them would never be the same.  I was satisfied with that eventuality, I told myself, and I squeezed more tightly, my tensed jaw forcing my teeth deeper into the only safe end of my only hope.

I suppose that response belied the complexity of the matter, and the future, but I could not conceive of that then.  Only later, looking back and recalling, did I put those two pieces together.

My fingers touched the slab of door, and my pounding heart soared with wild hope.  I would do it.  I would make safe.  I would confront the seething, sick, perpetual madness, and I would kill it.  As surely as I was a brown-haired child, this would be.

I pushed at the door with my fingertips, but the door would not give — and my heart plunged to the depths of my sickened stomach.  It had not crossed my mind that I might have to enter the room boldly, and on my own two feet.  The hallway lurched sickeningly in my peripheral view, and the door, the only solidity in my line of sight, seemed to glow at me, and beckon.  It called for my courage.  It called it from deep beneath the facets of me which were scared, and alone, and which knew that what I was about to do was somehow both fundamentally wrong, and justifiable, at once.  And my courage answered.  As did the shard of me laden with the ability to deceive.  To this day, that shard yet haunts me.  It seemed somehow, the worst of me that night.  Perhaps because I knew and know betrayal so intimately that perpetuating it was the most sickening thing I could do.  I don’t know, though.  I know for sure I felt it, and do.  And that it nauseates me still.

I pulled myself to my knees and planted a heel into the floor.  It seemed to give slightly, as though accommodating this thing.  Heartened, I reached for the door handle and pulled myself up to standing.  I held my only friend, glinting, in my right hand.  And with my left, turned the doorknob, and punched once and for all through the enforced quiet which had plagued my entire existence until that one fateful night.

I remember my wild crash into the dimness, the sick expanse of the clammy flesh I knew inappropriately well; I remember the sick expanse bolting upright.  I remember thinking of a fawn’s white chest, and dashing up onto the bed to swoop at it from abdomen to head as Darius lay still where she had been, face up beneath a monstrosity, at six years old.

And I remember Darius.  Like that, and so skinny.  No more than fifty pounds.  Sixty, tops.  Scared stiff at the explosion and then covered hair-ends to knees in blood.  Sick chunks and clots of the darkest, blackest red I think I will ever see, gushing forth and making her tiny form disappear as she screamed.

I remember the headline in a local paper read: 8 year old girl kills sexual assailant, rescues 6 year old sister.  I remember exactly where the knife landed when I let it go, how long it seemed to take to get Darius to rinsed clean in the shower, and then dressed.  And so much blood.  And I remember how long it took for Darius to look at me again, too, without one of the shards of her lurching away from one of the shards of me.  I remember the colour of the leaves and the play of the sun, shimmering on her pale and freckled, delicate skin.  The smell of the grass that day, in the yard of the foster home to which all four of us had been moved.  And I remember joy, and deep delight, and the feeling of forgiveness, the day it finally happened and our eyes met without recoiling.  And I remember thinking that this was part of the light I’d sliced open, and that it was okay that I’d done that.

I remember all of this.

But I lie.

And sometimes, truthfully – though the matter is far far far too far long gone now, and I am not so much the vigilante type — I wish.  I wish I remembered all of this.

If Wishes Were Hunting Knives by Blue Kim Anderson.  Copyright June 15th, 2013. 

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Wisdom

Wisdom

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Bad Dreams and Careless Consumerism

So, there was this dream about a week ago.  Scared the heck right out of me, too…!

Consumerism_ Anti_consumerism_by_Bulhakov

I am at Wal-Mart browsing/shopping… Not much there – store seems under-stocked, empty of merchandise. (meaningless?) Suddenly people start dropping, pierced, tiny blades/darts, in third eyes, attacked. (Vision, intuition, knowing – death of/at/in spirit vision – spirit vision murdered…?)

I hide behind a group of small display walls – they’re very empty also – grey.  Police officers….  Many, all around the store in S.W.O.T. uniforms.  One comes across from me, starts just chatting to me – about to ask me out – his partner is killed by a dart/pin/needle to the forehead.  The mass murders are very coordinated, there is the strong impression of a woman at the head of the organization.  I see Son.  He is young, maybe 4 years old – slightly uncoordinated.  I crouch back down, the man officer that was just about to ask me for a date is dead.  I dash out and grab Son and run for a storage/employee room, rushing Son along with me.

We get into the room, another murderer in there, male, possibly twenties.  He has kitchen knives, I see one on the counter, pick it up.  Room is empty save an L-shaped counter along the wall, stainless steel.  There is another set AutaAutistik_Consumerismof double doors ahead and to the right, in the corner of the room.  Another young male comes through those doors, armed as well, and they begin to banter with one another.  The newest comes toward Son, on my left.  I push son back and a bit behind me, and put myself between he and the men.  I advance so that they are focused on me, and they start stabbing me – I am slashing at them, also, thinking how ineffective a weapon is a knife, and understand the appeal of guns.  They come closer, are still bantering, but Son is safe for now.  I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this alive, and how I will protect Son.

So… I am not anti-economy, and I do not hate consumerism blindly. But I do realize, a week after this dream occurred, that I have no fracking idea where the vast majority of my dollars go, ultimately.  For all I know, the company who sells the delicious organic baby carrots I just discovered at my local supermarket donates money to Super-White-Uber-White-Superiority-Inc. or some such thing!  I really don’t know.  Maybe they’re a subsidiary of a company with sweatshops all over China.  Maybe their ecological footprint is vast, and horrible. I don’t know!  And it has occurred to me that this is unacceptable.

I realize that the world is a big, big place.  And I understand that so many things are so interconnected.  It will not be easy information to come by, I don’t think. And I don’t expect it to be easy to shift to ethical consumerism. Further, I absolutely do not intend, ever again, to stop holding the governments accountable for what they do and allow. For example, if Canada is supposed to have been leading nation in human rights, then why are products created in sweatshops even allowed for sale in Canada?

If I continue to put convenience and willful ignorance ahead of my responsibility to my human family, it is fair to expect businesses to continue to put earning a dollar ahead of the well-being of all of us.  And this too, I find unacceptable.

There is great value to organizing, mobilizing, and allying with larger, more powerful activism groups to effect political change, and those too, I will learn more about in the coming weeks, months, years.  For now, I will start with some reading on the Environmental Working Group site, this Wikipedia article on “Ethical Consumerism”, and this article on ethical consumerism on knowmore.org.

Posted in #IdleNoMore, 7 Generations, Consumerism, Human Rights, Indigenous, Protests and Demonstrations | Leave a comment

Absolutely Not the News – National Post Feb.08.2013

The National Post ran an interesting bit of conjecture as news on Friday, with Liberals under Justin Trudeau could clinch a majority, new poll shows by Allison Cross.

Personally, I find this type of article irritating.  Especially when it’s jammed into the News section of the paper, where it definitely doesn’t belong.  So, I’m going to break this down a bit.

If a federal election were held in Canada today and Justin Trudeau were at the helm of the Liberal Party, they’d win a strong majority in the House of Commons, says a Forum Poll for the National Post.

Although this opening paragraph is tempting to believe for many, and presented as a fact, the truth is that the poll consists of the hypothetical votes of 1,091 randomly selected people aged 18+ in a what-if election that never happened.

The problem with articles like these is that it takes a teeny tiny smattering of fact (The National Post commissioned Forum Research to do an interactive voice-response poll of 1,091 people), and drowns it in extensive storytelling and predictions.

The responses of those 1,091 do not necessarily represent the voices of Canadians who will vote in the 2015 federal election. In fact, the responses don’t even necessarily represent how those 1,091 people would actually vote.  It is not because those people who were polled necessarily would lie – far from it. It is simply because those people were imagining what they would do, and how they would vote, IF there had been an election on February 6th, 2013.

The article paints a picture of a Canada which does not exist.  And that’s fine – just about everyone indulges in a little fortune-telling from time to time – but the article does not belong in the news section.  It sways public opinion by creating an imaginary picture of how the other 95% of eligible voters would vote.  And that’s just not a paper’s job.

In short, it’s not news. It’s a prediction. And while I love creative extrapolation and storytelling as much as the next person, I don’t want it intertwined with my news stories.  Simply because it is absolutely not the news.

You can read the original article here: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/08/liberals-under-justin-trudeau-could-clinch-a-majority-new-poll-shows/

Posted in #IdleNoMore, Decolonizing Media, Mainstream Media | Leave a comment

the white paper and The Idle No More movement

the white paper and The Idle No More movement.

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On Media and Critical Thinking

I have, at times, a rather sick sense of humour.

I have been up to my digital eyeballs in newscasts, online articles, and paper articles for the past month.   And while it does stress me, I sometimes find myself bellylaughing helplessly at the immense and dark absurdity of it all.

As a physically vocal being, with a life-long and passionate love for understanding communication, words and people fascinate me.  I am obsessed with how we use words, which words when, how and if and to which degree and which direction they reflect, distort, and belie meaning and intent.  I watch and listen hungrily to everything.  And I gather and hold and examine and cherish it all, because it’s raw data.  It’s information on two things I love dearly: information, and human communication.

These passions have led me to pore over issues and instances of human communication consistently, my entire life.  Almost unfailingly, I note everything I possibly can in a communication of any sort.  It’s not that the message is meaningless to me.  Far from it.  It is that I understand well that the medium is also the message.

Take sarcasm, for an extreme example: voicing the “opposite” of what one means.  Ironically, in order to convey what one does means.  Or, to deliberately convey nothing of pertinence, as a means of sidestepping expression of anything actual or factual.  There are other uses for sarcasm, of course, but that’s just the illustration of the point, not the point itself.

The point is, considering medium itself, as well as the message, gives rise to an understanding of the entire and actual message.  Hopefully.  Ideally and more specifically, considering the medium as well as the message gives rise to the questions, which, answered, will give rise to an understanding of the entire and actual message.

Body language, anyone?  How about tone of voice?  What about timing?  What about the lilt and the lull of the speech or text?

I guess because I am a singer, I consider the tone of media automatically.  No matter whose speech, writing, body language, I immediately note the tone(s) of communication.  Is it authoritative?  Hyperbolic?  Guarded?  Cold?  Cruel?  Critical?  Dismissive?  Sarcastic?  Argumentative?  Dictatorial?  Celebratory?  Gleeful?  Gravely concerned?  Calm?  Pleased?  Belittling?  Something else?  I could go on for so long, but I won’t.  You get the point.

The tone is the “charge”, if you will, to every act of communication.  Even in private journal writing, and self-talk.  Even when that charge is deliberately muted, as many who have ever been painfully shy will know.  (Will know because the inherent charge of the communication gets “stuck inside”, in my experience, and it is almost impossible NOT to be hyper-aware of the full range of tone and meaning intended in a simple act of withheld communication.)

The point is, what’s the tone?  What purpose might that tone serve?  Is it:

  • “tugging at my heartstrings”?
  • “appealing to my better judgement”?
  • “sobering”?
  • “a startling look” at something?

And here’s the most fun critical thinking part (for me): How does the tone prime me?  What specific state does it predispose me to, as the message is delivered?  How does it effect message’s impact on me?

As I’m considering tone, I’m noting what is being conveyed as fact.  Am I being told about a place?  A person?  A percentage?  A group?  A discovery?  A question?  An event?  What specific things am I being told, and about what?  And, because I am still sobered by realizing the implications of the Santa Clause fiasco, I ask myself: Is this true?  Is this thing, actually, a fact?

Here’s an interesting example from the past week.  I’ve noticed a shift, in mainstream media, from referring to demonstrators as “Idle No More demonstrators” to referring to Idle No More demonstrators as Natives.  Let that sink in for a second, please.  And understand the scope and impact of that shift.

Imagine, please:

“Striking teachers lined the streets today to protest Bill 145…”

being replaced with:

“White people lined the streets today to protest Bill 145…”

Isn’t it fascinating how replacing a single, qualified noun, with a racial description throws off the whole message?

Know what else is fascinating?  It completely absents the fact that not all of the participants are white.  In fact, it states the exact opposite of the fact!  Isn’t that absurd?!  Isn’t it amazing how it can happen, right there under our noses and eyes, and we, for the most part, don’t even blink at that?

Here’s another example from yesterday, #J11: While major news outlets reported hundreds having gathered in Ottawa, many smaller sources cited police as indicating that thousands were actually present.  Like THREE thousand.

Is that not a remarkable discrepancy?

But how are you to know, right?  It’s the news.  They’re paid to tell you what is what, to keep you informed, to be trustworthy, reliable, dependable.  Why on Earth would you suspect they’d misinform you?  (Hint: Odds are, any entity droning at you to trust it, is doing so specifically because you would be wise to question its trustworthiness.)

So how do you know if what’s being presented is actually fact?  The answer is, you don’t.  You don’t know if the media outlet is giving you accurate facts.  Unless you check them out yourself.  (Is there such a thing as an audit of a media outlet?  Not a financial one, but like a practical one, or an integrity audit, if those exist…  Wouldn’t those be interesting audits to read?)

And that, to me, is one example of mainstream media massively failing us all.  If an outlet cannot be trusted to relay a simple fact like attendance, or composition of a group accurately and clearly…..  Well, geez….  Which part of informing our personal perceptions of the world around us can mainstream media be trusted with?  [Hint: the answer is only the part where it informs us that there is, indeed, something to look into.]

And of course, when ingesting media, I consider the actual words used to convey messages.  One of the things I love about words is that they each generally have a sphere of meaning, rather than just a single meaning.  There are cultural and historical implications to each word; there are synonyms and homonyms, there are distinct ties to whichever matter is being expressed.  It’s a rabbit hole, really.  A deep and fascinating rabbit hole that opens up a myriad of glorious questions about the entire truth, and so the accurate bottom line, of the message.

For example: Harper, yesterday, reportedly (note how a single word (reportedly) informs you that I don’t know it for a fact, that it’s been reported) reportedly said that he would like all Canadians to reflect on the legacy of John. A. MacDonald.  Now, I want to focus on that name.  Know him?  This John A. MacDonald?  I know OF him.  What I know of him is that as Prime Minister, he and his government created residential schools.  He also introduced the bill which made the potlatch illegal.  He publicly promised he would get rid of “the Indian problem”.  Also, I was told that he ordered the flood of an entire valley of Indian territory somewhere in/around Quebec during his rein.  Without informing the people living there.  (I have never verified this.  Would be interesting to know if it’s true.)

So, what could Harper possibly mean, making reference to this past Prime Minister?  Is a good question, eh…?  Probably a very very important question for all of us to be asking.

Another example of the use of specific words, from yesterday again.  Duncan has expressed that there will be no repeal of C-38 and C-45, the omnibus bills rammed through from conception to legislation to law, this past 2012 (bizarrely, deceptively named budget bills).  Duncan also expressed that “they” feel they have fulfilled “their” constitutional responsibilities in passing them.  Isn’t that amazing?  Note the fact, please, that the bills are literally unconstitutional.  For the swift and easy proof, see Section 2 of the Canadian Constitution, see almost any treaty, ever, and then see amendments to Environmental Protection Act, Navigable Waters Act.  Wham, done.  You can skip every single amendment and reference to the [commentary redacted] Indian Act, and even having to read the Indian Act yourself, and STILL see, plainly with your own eyes, that both Bill C-38 and Bill C-45 are literally unconstitutional.

However, Duncan and whoever his “we” is, in this case, FEEL that they upheld the Canadian Constitution.  Therefore, regardless of fact and actuality, the bills will not be repealed.

Also, most people will not know that the bills are unconstitutional.  Cause the mainstream media doesn’t tell you that.

If you are lucky, the mainstream media might have told you that some legal experts say or claim the bills are unconstitutional.  Which is fascinating.  Because, as journalists, I would think it their job to read the bills, the constitution, a few treaties, and journal the facts of the matter at hand, the matter being reported.

So, yes.  On media, and critical thinking.  That.

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