Category Archives: relationships

Me, to the Second Power.

 

Tarana Burke is coming to Penn State Behrend during Holy Week.

She travels the country, speaking up as the founder of the me, too. movement.

I have a church gig that night, but it should work out for me to finish my offering on cello, pack up, and head across town to catch the back half with the other girls.

The thing about being sexually harassed, violated, or assaulted is that there are no witnesses. If you reveal yourself as the victim, you have to rely exclusively on your prior reputation, so established, and the trust of those who have known you forever.

When you tell your truth, publicly, it can feel like you’ve stepped onto the surface of another planet. Many don’t want to hear stories like yours. It reminds them of things they don’t want to think about, like how one isolated event can ruin an entire life.

But, this meeting, while open to the public, will probably only be attended by those who’ve been there. Girls, like me, who seek their own kind. Fools, all, gullible and vulnerable, feeling alternately stupid, humiliated, and many still as pained when they are reminded. How did we know one encounter would alter the course of everything?

We will meet each other. Strength, in numbers, and in emotional support. If you live where I do, and you know this open wound, come to the meeting. 7:30 pm, April 17, McGarvey Commons, Behrend Campus, Penn State University.

Thank you, Tarana Burke. You started it. Let’s find a way to finish it.

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© 3/11/19  Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

 

The Worst Kind.

 

“It takes all kinds.”

So we are told.

Being reminded of our diversity can bring a certain comfort, but I’m not talking about what makes each of us unique. I mean to reference what makes us desirable.

Oh, and, again, let me be clear: not holding forth on what is pretty, or sexy, or fine. No; I want to address what makes us good.

Goodness. Old days, this used to mean “without sin.” Well, in that context, we’re all cooked, but really. To be a good person is still a worthy goal, however you cloak it.

I’ve grappled, in recent months, with personality traits of my own which have caused both moments of reflection and hours of contemplation. Being known as “blunt”, or “harsh”; recognizing that those who still ascribe to the “politically correct” wait to pounce on any spontaneous act of authenticity.

But, beyond all this, I’ve reached a certain crossroads with respect to what constitutes a good person. All human frailty, weakness, affliction aside, that which makes somebody truly above reproach. Kindness? Compassion?

By the process of elimination, here are my conclusions.

The worst kind of person is not vulgar. Not harsh, or negative, or even – provided assault is ruled out – mean. The worst one is the person who exploits another’s trust.

Why?

Because being untrustworthy with, and toward, the trusting is fraud.

It declares, by its act, that reality is not an experiential right but a tool to be manipulated. Yes. I’m talking about reality.

What we perceive as real is heavily influenced by how we perceive the words and actions of others. Over time, as relationships form, reality takes shape around such words, actions, and interactions.

When those, who seek to, control others’ perceptions of their own actions, these warp the reality they bring to the scene according to their own intentions.

Creating a false image, or character, or scenario forces the perceptions of others. It makes a lie into an entire, cinematic expression which is then accepted by the other as truth.

“Living a lie” doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It sucks any number of other living things into its vortex.

The mentally ill suffer within such alternate realities, daily. But, how close to a schizoid frame of reference are we when we become unwitting victims of fraudulent people?

Trust isn’t a noun. It’s a verb. Submit to a life of verifiable truth. Be worthy of another’s faith. Prove trust.

This is about far more than kindness.

Take reverence for life itself.

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© 2/18/19     Ruth Ann Scanzillo.    Thank you for respecting the right of the author of original material.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

That Impeccable Word.

 

You know, those Four Agreements….

What a tough call.

At first glance, keeping our word impeccable seems easy enough. We imagine ourselves quite separate from those who would wish ill on others, or who would do anything deliberately which could damage another living thing.

And, then, a bug crawls across the sofa, and we smash it without a second thought.

Being emotionally available, and able to express oneself, is a two edged sword. On the one hand, those of us inclined can be counted on to be, at the very least, genuine; in short, we always mean what we say because our words come – albeit readily – from the latest, authentic impulse to pass through our cortex.

The fact that others may not wish to be subject to our earnest thoughts never occurs to us until, out of nowhere, we find ourselves avoided or dismissed.

Those who keep their emotional selves locked and loaded fare far better. Nobody ever knows what they are truly thinking or feeling, so being in the presence of such a person is no immediate threat to a stable social atmosphere. And, rooms fill with people who put forth little by way of authenticity, all of them interacting and exchanging with one another without rancor or incident. The play, within the play.

Keeping one’s word impeccable, according to the author of the book cited, is really about being sure never to allow a single disparaging comment to escape our lips or our pen. This rules out any expression of frustration, agitation, offense, or other negative feeling; in short, while we may feel it, we are not to speak it.

I wonder where the author puts his feelings about others’ behavior? Does he just ruminate, in silence? Perhaps he encases them in some fictitious character, so as to flesh out his reactions to them…

Does the scale of justice tip of some inherent volition?

I seriously wonder whose role it is to expose wrongdoing. Who protects others from exploitation, from malignment, from abuse? Who, or what, calls out the offender –  a lightning bolt, from God Almighty?

My grandfather was a street preacher. He roared his judgments across North Park Row to the center of State Street. He declared his beliefs, publicly. He held forth inside, as well, from the pulpit of the Gospel Assembly Hall on East Avenue. And, when the parents of a married woman were ex-communicated from the assembly because of their daughter’s behavior, he stood and loudly defended them. This action pronounced a reaction upon him by the one man permitted to do so; accused of “railing”, my grandfather was also ex-communicated from his beloved fellowship.

Whence the role of the impeccable word, here?

On this day which celebrates love in all its forms, perhaps we could spend a moment contemplating how we go about living in peace. Is it by turning a blind eye to corruption, to manipulation, to crimes against humanity?

Love, always. Bearing all.

Impeccably.

The ultimate call.

You tell me.

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© 2/14/19   Ruth Ann Scanzillo.    Thank you for respecting original material.

littlebarefeetblog.com