Monday, July 6, 2009

The Sojourner's Path: Active Instead of Passive Living

Let's talk some more about personal transformation, and practical steps toward living out our Wildest Dreams. I've been reading a fascinating book titled How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World by a Libertarian ideologue named Harry Browne. The book can be found at http://www.trendsaction.com/

I generally don't care for Libertarian politics or ideology, but after reading several references to the book I decided to check it out for myself. I'm happy I did. The author talks about a lot of things that are easy to forget under the unquestioned routines of everyday life. And that's not even factoring in the learned helplessness that has become a large part of mass African-American, "new-school" culture.

It occurs to me that so many Black women have been indoctrinated into being what has been termed self-sacrificing "gravediggers," that it might be helpful to repeat and discuss some of these ideas here (my comments are in blue). Mr. Browne said:

"I've been told so many times that freedom is just a fantasy, that you can't live that way in the real world, that there are too many daily commitments that have to be met, that in real life things are much too complicated to be able to do what you want and to enjoy yourself.

But who made your life complicated?

You did, of course. It wasn't society, the economic system, the people you consider to be nuisances, your parents, or anyone else.

Every complication in your life today is the result of something you've allowed to happen. You initiated it, or you consented to it, or you've allowed it to continue. You are where you are today because you've chosen to be there. And you can choose not to be there. [Khadija speaking: This idea is often a bitter pill to swallow. It's emotionally so much more comfortable to totally blame others. The problem with blaming others is that it means ceding control over your life's possibilities to these other people!]

You'll have to pay for past mistakes, but no mistake warrants a life sentence. You can telescope those payments into the short term and get rid of them quickly. [There's no need to accept any sort of life sentence. Even those prisoners with life sentences don't accept them. They're busy writing to volunteer groups trying to get their convictions overturned! Why should we be any less resourceful?]

You can get rid of bad relationships, meaningless obligations, negative commitments. You can do anything you want. You're free ---- if only you'll realize it. Only you can choose to make things better for yourself. You can decide to stop 'going along' with things that are handed to you. You can decide to live your life as the free person you are.

Don't tell me that it can't be done. There are too many people who've already done it.

No matter where you are now, you can unravel all the knots that you've woven into your life. [This doesn't mean that it'll be easy; but it can be done.] You can decide to be free. No one else has to be convinced ---- it requires only your decision and action." [Hear, hear!] Amazon Kindle locations 3831-41 through 3841-50 (emphasis added).

Mr. Browne talks about the various measures one can use to assess how you're spending the bulk of your time. One measure is whether your activities are active or passive:

"3. Active-Passive Labels. This approach is similar to the last one. It will help you to see if you're making things happen in your life ---- or if you're just going along with what others want. Label each activity active or passive. The active label applies to anything you have initiated, the things you do because you have decided they should be done. The passive label should be attached to those activities you do because someone else wants you to do them. [Which is the "gravedigger's" self-selected lot in life.]

. . . As you apply these labels to your weekly activities, designate passive those things you do only to preserve a relationship (even if it's a relationship you value) --- such things as conversations that bore you, favors, etc. As you look at the labels, you can see how much of your time is necessary to preserve the relationship ---- and that should tell you if the situation is as compatible as you'd thought it was. [Yes, when looked at this way, it's possible to discover that many situations we involve ourselves in are actually not compatible with our interests, values or aspirations.]

Look for relationships that don't require that you tolerate unpleasant things in order to maintain them. With the right people, you should be spending most (if not all) of your time doing things that please you, that make sense to you ---- the things you want to do. Compromises seem necessary only because of inappropriate situations. If you're involved with the right people, the word 'sacrifice' shouldn't even be in your vocabulary."

[This is somewhat extreme for my tastes. I'm willing to make non-catastrophic (and usually small) sacrifices for those I value. Although, once I consciously thought about it, I realized that I'm willing to do this about 15-17% of the time. To me, having to do stuff that you find unpleasant (but the other person actually likes) 20% or more of the time means that you're not like-minded enough to have a mutually enjoyable friendship, etc. with the person.] Amazon Kindle locations 3761-72 through 3772-81 (emphasis added).

Another thing I've noticed is that so many African-American women are literally afraid to explore activities that genuinely interest them, unless these activities are also popular with the masses of African-Americans. This is a crazy way to live. You miss out on a lot of things like that. You also miss out on meeting other Black folks who happen to share your interests.

[My ex, who is also interested in martial arts, talked about how I was the only Black woman he knew who took martial arts classes. (He's African-American.) I've heard similar comments from others. Which is strange on a practical level---considering how much physical danger African-American women are subjected to on a daily basis in Black residential areas.

Since I brought this up, let me stress the following: One of the first things you notice in martial arts classes with guy partners is just how physically strong guys are. Even the smaller men. So, be advised that Buffy The Vampire Slayer is pure fantasy. Not to mention that many predators work out every day while they are in prison. No normal person who takes time to work for a living can match that prison-level of physical conditioning. Normal people also generally can't match the "I've got nothing to lose" mindset of many ex-cons. Normal people have things that they care about, including their own lives. However, it's still possible for even small women to learn practical skills like how to get out of, and away from, various types of grabs and holds.]

This active-passive test is a good one for taking stock of one's daily life and the people in one's life. It's a good way to see if you're in a state of true fellowship with the people around you. This matters.

In fact, during the emerging Endless Night of Permanent Underclass Status For African-Americans, this will be a matter of life and death for Black women.

WHY THIS WILL SOON BE A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

It's all connected. The extreme isolation of so many Black women's lives is a recurring theme and underlying factor in so many of the problems we collectively face. It's one of the reasons I've been so agitated about Black folks' prospects in the current economic crisis. During the First Great Depression we at least had strong family and community ties for mutual support. With a majority out of wedlock rate, there aren't many strong families. These women and children have NO male protectors and providers. Black residential areas have long since stopped functioning as communities. During this current crisis, many Black women literally have nobody to watch their backs.

This means that when something goes wrong, these women and their children are likely to end up in the condition that Min. Farrakhan has described as "naked, hungry, and out of doors."

Part of the reason for this is because many African-American women are investing the bulk of their energy into non-reciprocal relationships with people who must be appeased with these women's service. If these people only come around or interact with you when they want something, what happens when you have nothing to give? Answer: Silence and apathy while you transition into being "naked, hungry, and out of doors."

This is why it's important to build true, reciprocal fellowships with as many people as possible. The odds of having that sort of relationship are increased if the relationship is built around genuinely shared interests and values. You're more likely to meet people who share your interests and values when you actively pursue your genuine interests. Instead of only participating in activities that are "approved of" by mass, popular Black culture.

For further reading, see True Fellowship, Part 2: Breaking Bread. http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2008/10/true-fellowship-part-2-breaking-bread.html

31 comments:

Evia said...

Khadija, this is a GREAT reading selection for many of your readers because many AA women do not understand what it's going to take to have the life they ***say*** they want.

I've been an "active liver"-- LOL!--throughout MOST of my adulthood because I cut loose the debris of family and friends many years ago. As I've pointed out, I can turn on a dime--or instantly-- if I discover that a new path is better for me than my old path. Some of the more conscious AA women go through tons of angst and handwringing about that and that angst can go on for years or forever, as we know. The fact is that many AA women LOVE these folks who are strangling them and absolutely won't leave them due to co-dependency. Co-dependency is a major culprit in these dysfunctional relationships. I'd like for your readers to honestly assess how co-dependent they are on their dysfunctional relatives. For ex., many AA women derive a LOT of satisfaction from worrying about and propping up dysfunctional others around them. That's a major part of who they've become. If they had my life--where there's no one to prop up, many of these women would feel useless and go into depression. They are co-dependent on dysfunction because that's all they've known. This is a critical factor. Many AA women would not be able to exist without something broken to fix. And little black girls are being schooled in this because this is all they're being presented with in MANY black residential areas--dysfunction.

This is why I mainly focus on those women who are READY and able to walk away and those most capable of evolving. We may as well declare the other ones--gone. This is truly a social triage situation.

So as difficult as it is to actualize these intentional families I keep talking about, I know that this is one of the more viable solutions. I'd rather for those who are most likeminded and do want an alternative and/or those who are most salvageable to have an intentional family/network (IFN) of some sort because human beings are social animals and benefit tremendously from strong support/networking systems. This is a major asset in a person's life. One can never belong to too many progressive networks. THE major reason why these ITNs are not springing up now is due to lack of trust between AA women. We need to key in on WHY and work to increasing trust between AA women. What we're experiencing has been faced by other groups and they've worked out the kinks. For ex., we're proposing an insurrection here. LOTS of other groups in history have successfully mounted insurrections--complete with traitors, backbiters, etc.

Do I long for the days of Big Mama's house? Yes, I do, but those days are over forever, as you've pointed out.

Lest we romanticize Big Mama's house too much, there was dysfunction going on in Big Mama's house. LOL! Many times, Big Mama didn't have a Big Papa or not one who functioned at top speed, so she had to carry a lot of weight in more ways than one. When I look back on the Big Mamas I knew, many suffered from "sugar" (diabetes) and high blood pressure. So yeah, it was great for us grandkids, but I wonder sometimes about the actual quality of Big Mama's interior life as a woman. Was she emotionally fulfilled as a woman? Was she sexually satisfied or was she ridden like a mule in that intimate area also? I suspect that Big Mama was a major self-sacrificer. So we benefitted from our Big Mamas in much of the same way that many AA men hope to benefit from us. I want a system where there's a varying but roughly equal amount of self-sacrificing. That's the type of reciprocity I want in any relationship.

Lorraine said...

Wonderful post Khadija (as usual). I don't have much time these days (kids are out for the Summer) but I will have to make time for this book. The concept of the Life and Death sentence is woven into many aspects of bw lives and we don't even recognize it.

Khadija said...

Evia,

You said, "Khadija, this is a GREAT reading selection for many of your readers because many AA women do not understand what it's going to take to have the life they ***say*** they want."-

Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. Yes, it's troubling to see how many of us don't even understand what fulfillment looks, sounds, or feels like. It's troubling to see how many AAW never considered the idea that whatever they're involved in is supposed to be adding something to their life. This concept shouldn't be a radical idea; but I see that it is for a lot of us who've been indoctrinated into the gravedigger/mule lifestyle. Or rather, deathstyle.

You said, "As I've pointed out, I can turn on a dime--or instantly-- if I discover that a new path is better for me than my old path. Some of the more conscious AA women go through tons of angst and handwringing about that and that angst can go on for years or forever, as we know."-

I can turn on a dime with most things. With others, I do a bit (but just a bit!) of handwringing. I realize that this is yet another gift from my parents (especially my Dad who always stressed the importance of cutting one's losses QUICKLY).

You said, "I'd like for your readers to honestly assess how co-dependent they are on their dysfunctional relatives.

...For ex., many AA women derive a LOT of satisfaction from worrying about and propping up dysfunctional others around them. That's a major part of who they've become. If they had my life--where there's no one to prop up, many of these women would feel useless and go into depression. They are co-dependent on dysfunction because that's all they've known. This is a critical factor. Many AA women would not be able to exist without something broken to fix."
-

Well, we're in the last moments before The Endless Night of Permanent Underclass Status. The bottom is falling out of a lot of things. In many ways. Folks will either reach for life-sustaining lifestyles; or they will perish. It's their choice.

I've decided to do some blog posts about these BASIC ideas because so many of us have only seen dysfunction and can't even envision what another way of life looks, sounds, and feels like.

And yes, looking back at my Big Mamas, I do see that there were certain problems in their interior lives. [Especially with my paternal grandmother who was married to my dirtbag grandfather. I suspect that this is why she passed away so relatively young---my Dad is certain of this---which is why he's still furious with his father decades after his death.]
______________________

Lorraine,

Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it. You said, "The concept of the Life and Death sentence is woven into many aspects of bw lives and we don't even recognize it."-

Yes, we accept so many false life sentences. And the users around BW work to pressure BW into accepting false life sentences (many of which revolve around serving the users' needs).

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Felicia said...

Great book recommendation Khadija.

Basically, all of these self-help books and motivational speakers are saying the same thing.

YOU are ultimately in charge of what happens to YOU.

What happens to you in this life is the accumulation of choices (good or bad) made.

We can't control or change the behavior of those outside of ourselves.

The ONLY ones we CAN control are ourselves. OUR reactions - and most importantly RESPONSES - to situations.

BW DO have power BUT only a minority of BW are going to be willing to exercise that power to their benefit.

Due to this co-dependecy issue that Evia mentioned. That and a whole host of other pathologies.

SO... In essence we're all "preaching" only to those ALREADY on the brink of being "choir members".

These minority of BW are going to be the ones able to take this life-saving information we're sharing and put it into PRACTICE.

And only in the DAILY PRACTICE (BW ACTIVELY going out there and attracting positive life affirming people - men and women - into their lives regardless of "race") of this common sense we're sharing, will any positive real change occur.

Unfortunately for them, the majority of BW simply will not be able to live well, due to their emotional attachments to well known outdated concepts (like black unity for instance) that are simply dead.

For that reason, the focus has to STAY on the minority of "fence sitters". Those BW who CAN be swayed to save their lives.

Khadija' said...

"Well, we're in the last moments before The Endless Night of Permanent Underclass Status. The bottom is falling out of a lot of things. In many ways. Folks will either reach for life-sustaining lifestyles; or they will perish. It's their choice."

That's the Straight Dope.

There are going to be a LOT more BW perishing in the coming years. Unless they heed the sound advice we're giving...

To ONLY associate with, date, marry, and procreate with family oriented, masculine, successful, decent, responsible, non color-struck men from the global community who can provide them with love, security, and a SAFE environment to help raise their children in.

But like Khadija said, in the end it's their choice.

Shortened prison sentences, fewer parolees proposed

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/
2009/04/state-corrections-officials-are-proposing-to-make-massive-budget-cuts-ordered-by-gov-arnold-schwarzenegger-by-reducing-the-n.html

The plan would reduce the number of parolees monitored by the state by more than 30,000 from the current 114,000. As a result, fewer would also be sent back to prison for parole violations. Together with the additional time off their sentences that inmates could earn by completing programs, state lockups would see an estimated reduction of about 8,000 prisoners, on average, from the initiative.



Cash crisis forces California to free 55,000 prisoners

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/
americas/cash-crisis-forces-california-to-
free-55000-prisoners-1622487.html

Federal judges ruled last week that California's 33 adult jails have become so overcrowded that they violate the constitutional rights of inmates, subjecting them to "cruel and unusual" punishment that is causing at least one death a month. Just over a third of the state's 158,000 prisoners must be set free by 2012 to ensure that basic healthcare is provided to those who remain behind, the judges said. The majority will go through early release and parole schemes.

Critics claim the ruling amounts to throwing open the doors of the biggest prison system in America, and will endanger the public. California's Attorney General, Jerry Brown, announced an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court, saying: "This order is a blunt instrument that does not recognize the imperatives of public safety, nor the challenges of incarcerating criminals, many of whom are deeply disturbed."


And this is just in California.

"The writing is on the wall" as they say...

Enigma said...

I admit that I was once a part of the holding on tight to misery folks. It was the only life I knew. Once I realized the energy and craziness that comes with living that life, I began to want and search for something else. Something better. Something peaceful. I have cut a lot of toxic folks - and yes that includes a lot of family members OUT over the last 2 years. One of my close friends and I had a very co-dependent relationship and I have cut that relationship off too. I am watching my thoughts now and correcting them. I am looking at other cities and states and plotting how to unload my home. I am re-examining how I got into relationships with folks and realizing that I do NOT want to fall into another relationship with people. In other words, things have become better for me - though strange and I am still admittedly adjusting - since I decided to focus on MY well being & happiness.

I am noting more and more that decisions - whether conciously or unconciously made - this is how you get from point to point. It is not about what happens to you, it is about what decision did YOU make about yourself, your life & its WORTH. It IS about your attitude about yourself. IT is about what you accept for yourself and your life. It is about honest introspection that you must do daily in order to make the life that you TRULY want. It is about being willing to change.

@ Evia-
Right now, I too am examining how to create an intentional family. I now realize that is what I tried to do with my friends, but I did not actively choose them - they kind of fell into my lap. Not at all intentional. My immediate family has its issues, my sister being a serious one for YEARS. Let's just say that accountability is NOT her thing. LOL. This has caused my sister and I to NOT have a relationship at ALL. Really, she does not have a relationship with anyone in her immediate family due to her actions.

After years of having relationships with the same folks I am reaching out, and trying new things. I visited a friend this 4th of July weekend and let's just say that I saw the life I wanted - and it was beautiful. From the relationship they have, to the neighbors, to the home setting, to the group of wonderful people he invited- it was great. I felt like a fish out of water because I seldom go out alone, and I usually am around those that I know, but I am sure that I will adjust with time and patience. Seeing that way of living made me more sure that EVER of my decision to move forward with my plans at full throttle as I decide where and how I will go.

Felicia said...

I'd like to take this moment to give a BIG shout out to ACTS OF FAITH IN LOVE AND LIFE.

Two thumbs up. Way up.

Everyone should mosey on over to read her latest blog on the dysfunctional, disrespectful, and now deceased Steve McNair.

And what this sordid tale should teach black women.

Weak-Willed Men & What the Death of Steve McNair Teaches Us

http://actsoffaithinloveandlife.blogspot.com
/2009/07/weak-willed-men-what-death-of-steve.html


An excerpt...

"It's best to not be solely looking at the phenotype of a man or insisting he has to be a black and no one else will do. We do not belong to black men and we can't "save" the black community. We do not belong to anyone but ourselves!!!

We all deserve to be with someone who values us and our relationship. This isn't to say that people don't make mistakes, but you'd think after all McNair supposedly achieved in life this was who he was interested in, not another woman of equal stature or achievement. He was that weak and insecure. That woman may have ended up being the last woman he'd cheated with but she probably wasn't the first. Now she's lost her life as well - all for a fantasy.

I'm not here to pass judgment but to make an observation of the things that go on with regards to blacks. That means covering our sorrows as well as triumphs. That means speaking directly to the ones bearing the brunt of the grunt work with none of the glory: black women. Some asked if this would be an incentive for men to curtail their infidelity - of course not! Someone's always thinking they're the "exception".

What was the last profile piece of achievement you've heard of: Serena Williams winning Wimbledon. Again I submit not one personal scandal from either tennis champ, just a lot of jealousy and animosity from competitors to commentators. Black women had better take heed to the real deal: the black men and black community has (collectively) long been gone and trying to hold onto the concept is like grabbing onto sand. The harder you grab and try to hold on the faster it slips through your fingers. Stop wandering the desert and step onto fertile land. Let it go and live your best life possible. A life that is determined by you being fully functioning, independent and free."


And just another reminder again to those BW with blinders on who can't face reality. THIS is what awaits you (and your innocent children) if you refuse to leave these all black residential areas.

THESE are your "prospects" if you refuse to de-indoctrinate yourself. If you refuse to act like normal non indoctrinated women in the global community who look at a mans character, maturity level, income potential, etc... before allowing them into their lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTc7b5FbJpg&NR=1

Nothing from nothing leaves NOTHING ladies.

A man should have SOMETHING for you to even communicate with him in the first place.

Let alone be intimate with him.

The choice of a mate is THE most important decision a woman - especially a BW - will EVER make.

CHOOSE WISELY LADIES. Only the BEST, non color-struck, family oriented, well employed, decent, and respectful man you can find in the Global village.

REGARDLESS OF "RACE".

And remember, it only takes ONE good man.

Anonymous said...

These last few posts are so poignant. I really wish every woman could get this through their heads, especially AA women.

I think I wrote you are Evia before but that quote about mistakes not being a life sentence. Right now I feel like mine are and I think girls should be told that their mistakes can completely change the direction of their lives.

I was such an idiot, married a man who is a felon and its all coming down to affect my life, my finances and my children. I feel so bad for what i did to my kids by not marrying better and being a responsible person before they were born. Then again I would have them had I made different decisions.

Its hard to try to see the light when you are in such a pit, but I just keep trying to do the best for my kids.

Khadija said...

Anonymous Commenter from 12:24 p.m., 7-6-09:

If you sign in with a credible commenter ID (meaning not one created for this purpose), and resubmit your question, then I'll consider responding to your comment/question about "nouveau culture."

A handful of Internet Ike Turners/blog stalkers are somewhat subtle in their attempts at mischief and disrupting the conversations here.

Peace.

Beverly said...

Hey Khadija!

You said:

[My ex, who is also interested in martial arts, talked about how I was the only Black woman he knew who took martial arts classes. (He's African-American.) I've heard similar comments from others. Which is strange on a practical level---considering how much physical danger African-American women are subjected to on a daily basis in Black residential areas.

My response:

I took Tai Kwon Do for years and there were tons of black folks in my class. Also, one of my close friends has taken martial arts for years. So you're definitely not alone in enjoying martial arts. :-0

Also, I must completely agree that engaging in reciprocal relationships is a requirement for black women to stay alive. All human beings need others to lean on. No one can stand alone.

Khadija said...

Felicia,

Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

And, oh yes, Faith broke it down! I strongly urge folks to stop by and read her latest post.

You said, "BW DO have power BUT only a minority of BW are going to be willing to exercise that power to their benefit. Due to this co-dependecy issue that Evia mentioned. That and a whole host of other pathologies.

SO... In essence we're all "preaching" only to those ALREADY on the brink of being "choir members". These minority of BW are going to be the ones able to take this life-saving information we're sharing and put it into PRACTICE."
-

I agree. I'm hoping to encourage the last few fencesitters and stragglers to make it out before The Endless Night of Permanent Underclass Status falls.

Although, I've been pondering something that I would appreciate your and other folks' input (via email---NOT with blog comments) about.

I'm considering doing a separate, closed blog or discussion board (by invitation only) for those of us who are serious about moving forward in our various aspirations.

What prompted this thought is that I've noticed that many of us have a lot of helpful, ACTIONABLE information and feedback to share. I'm uncomfortable with so much of this "worth its weight in gold" information/feedback going out over "open channels." [For a variety of reasons that I prefer to discuss in private.]
________________________

Enigma,

I'm so happy for you! Coming to a point of clarity is always an important turning point in one's life. {raised fist salute} Onward and forward!
__________________________

Anonymous,

Where there is life, there is hope and the possibility of moving forward. I think I remember you from months ago. As I told you then, there's always something that a person can do to improve their situation. An overnight change might not be possible, but steady progress IS possible. Even if that progress is slow. Ultimately, it's up to you.
________________________

Beverly,

Tae Kwon Do, you say? {deep bow} I took Hapkido. I plan to get back to it after I transition into self-employment, and become the master of my own schedule!

You said, "Also, I must completely agree that engaging in reciprocal relationships is a requirement for black women to stay alive. All human beings need others to lean on. No one can stand alone."-

Yes, even so-called "primitive" peoples understood that Isolation = Death.-

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DeStouet said...

I've always been active when it came down to getting and keeping what I want.

In the past, my fear was making one wrong move and ending back up in an unhealthy community of folks --so everything I do, and continue to do, is to keep as much distance between the evils I was forced to witnessed as a child, and the immense peace and joy in my life now.

"I've decided to do some blog posts about these BASIC ideas because so many of us have only seen dysfunction and can't even envision what another way of life looks, sounds, and feels like."

About 5/6 years ago, I kept having these eerie feelings about death.(Even though at that time, I had not cut off some of my damaged family members, I had already begun taking the necessary steps to be freed from that prison. By choosing to live in suburban areas, observing and watching the inner workings of healthier relationships, and I had stopped allowing my family members to come "stay" with me in my home)

But these feelings of death would never go away. We would be driving to the grocery store, or going out with some friends of the family and I would have these feelings like something was going to go wrong --but it never did.

Then it had gotten so bad that when my husband was running late or one of the children were not where I asked them to be, my mind would automatically assume the worse.

It took me some time to figure it out, but eventually I realized that I was use to things going bad. As a child, all I had ever witnessed was dysfunction, and many times pure evil. And while I did my very best to stay away from these types of behavior, they were still what I was use to.

So when it came time for me to live the life I had always prayed about, the life I had always sought, it took some getting use to.

I remember (after I figured out the cause of these feelings) crying myself to sleep because I was basically other people "burdened" free.

So you're right, there are many of us who do NOT know anything besides dysfunction and may never know it unless someone spells it out for them (which I know is NOT what you are doing, but the basics are always well worth the jot down.

Aphrodite said...

Hello Khadija,


This is another great post. :)


@Enigma


"I admit that I was once a part of the holding on tight to misery folks."


I can relate to that.

With friends I think it was more of wanting it to work out no matter what. Especially with the suffering doctrine bandied about in the BC it made me think that some of the bad things are just ineveitable that happen par the course of the friendship and that there was something I can do to make it right/better.


Most of my "friends" were people I grew up with and a few co-workers. So I never chose them or actively vetted them either. I just made a bunch of assumptions.


And as I got older and made different friends {mostly older women} - never really vetted them either- , but they would say "and this is your friend?" with raised eyebrows about my other friends whenever I would tell them something that happened that I was upset/hurt about.

And that got me to thinking and it was painful bc I started seeing and realizing things about people - it was as if I had constructed a whole fantasy world around some of these people - and in reality I was giving far more than I was getting in return.


Then with family I was always often told that "blood is thicker than water" "you guys are family"- you can't turn your back on family. You have to be there for family no matter what.


There seems to be this huge taboo about severing ties with family.


I have always wanted to have a family of my own creation bc even with the misunderstandings or whatever I think the mutual support and emotional nourishment I got is so worth it and I have manage to have that a few times - even if briefly and it was amazing.

Khadija said...

Anonymous Commenter from 7:36 p.m., 7-6-09:

You still have not signed in with a credible commenter ID (meaning not one created for this purpose). There are certain types of theoretical lines of thought that I'm not willing to discuss unless there's some accountability from the other participant. What you're talking about is one such theoretical line of thought.

I'm unwilling to invest time in that sort of thing with anyone who hides behind anonymity. There are too many Internet Ike Turners and trolls who are attempting to waste my time while I'm focused on the practical aspects of encouraging AAW to save their own lives.

I want as many AAW (and children) to escape the emerging Rwanda-zones within Black residential areas. I want AAW and children to find ways to survive and thrive in the current interlocking crises of a failed economy, peak oil, and the increasingly catastrophic weather patterns caused by global warming.

These emerging crises are heaped upon a preexisting African-American context of the near-total absence of stable, married families, sub-Saharan African levels of HIV/AIDS, escalating numbers of diet and lifestyle related health conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), and ever-escalating violence against BW and girls. All of this is happening in a mass AA cultural context of various "Radio Rwandas" that are normalizing anarchy---such as BET and various "urban" hip-hop radio stations.

Our (mis)leaders have no answers to ANY of this. Neither do the vast majority of our self-proclaimed community activists. Neither do the Internet Ike Turners, their supporting Ikettes, or the assorted other trolls.

So, I don't have much time for theoretical discussions. Especially with folks hiding behind anonymity.

I would urge you to use that same amount of mental energy to decipher the sociological dynamics of the AA community's TOTAL apathy in response to crimes against humanity such as The Dunbar Village Atrocity and Aftermath and The Hovey Street Murders, etc.

Peace.

Khadija said...

DeStouet,

You said, "So you're right, there are many of us who do NOT know anything besides dysfunction and may never know it unless someone spells it out for them (which I know is NOT what you are doing, but the basics are always well worth the jot down."-

Yes, I plan to have several posts about some of the points that Mr. Browne explained so well in his book.
_____________________

Aphrodite,

Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Anonymous Commenter,

It's good that you understand why I have to be cautious about the use of the comments section.

Peace and blessings.

tasha212 said...

Khadija,

Great post, as usuual. I haven't been commenting much lately but I have definitely been reading and taking everything in.

You said:

Part of the reason for this is because many African-American women are investing the bulk of their energy into non-reciprocal relationships with people who must be appeased with these women's service. If these people only come around or interact with you when they want something, what happens when you have nothing to give? Answer: Silence and apathy while you transition into being "naked, hungry, and out of doors."

This is why it's important to build true, reciprocal fellowships with as many people as possible. The odds of having that sort of relationship are increased if the relationship is built around genuinely shared interests and values. You're more likely to meet people who share your interests and values when you actively pursue your genuine interests. Instead of only participating in activities that are "approved of" by mass, popular Black culture.

RESPONSE: I definitely believe that non-reciprical relationships/friendships are at the root of AA women's problems. It is literally sucking the life from us. And we seem hell-bent on hanging on to the blood-suckers for dear life. To our detriment. I discussed this issue in a post that I wrote for my blog A Primer for Real Women 2: Reciprocity Defined. I have been guilty of this in my life as well. I used to have a friend who almost sucked the life out of me. That friendship took so much effort on my part and took so much precious time and energy that could have been better used in moving me toward my life goals. When I see her today, she always says "Call me." But I just can't bring myself to call her because the effort that it would take to make the call and have a conversation is too precious to spend on her. And the tell-tale sign is that she has my number but never calls me. I have lived and I have learned. I try not to continue making the same mistakes.

Peace and solidarity,

Tasha

Khadija said...

Tasha,

Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. And I look forward to reading your post, "A Primer for Real Women 2: Reciprocity Defined"!

Yes, I firmly believe that, as you said, "non-reciprical relationships/friendships are at the root of AA women's problems."-

This is why there must be a CLEAN & TOTAL BREAK from anybody and everybody who refuses to offer reciprocity. A CLEAN & TOTAL BREAK from anybody and everybody whose actions show that they want to use BW. A CLEAN & TOTAL BREAK from anybody and everybody whose actions show that they want to break BW's spirits.

AAW need a CLEAN BREAK and a FRESH START from the assumed, contrived, and actually non-existent, "connections" that we like to believe that we have with others. We need to start only claiming connections with those who are demonstrating RECIPROCITY in their interactions with us.

The first step to achieving a reciprocal and abundant lifestyle is to totally DISCONNECT from ALL users, abusers, and parasites. Across the board.

A person can't have it both ways. One can't have blood-sucking leeches attached to one's neck AND an abundant life at the same time. It's one OR the other. Folks have to choose.

And the leeches are often furious and outraged when you disconnect them from your jugular vein. They actually feel ENTITLED to suck your blood. A person can't "people please" the leeches AND have abundant life. Folks have to choose. One OR the other.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Tee said...

Khadija,

Thank you for the post, and the reccomended reading.

I am 41 years old and my marriage to an African-American man is coming to an end.

There are issues in his life that he has chosen to embrace rather than seek therapy. He comes from a family that from the outside, seems ideal (i.e. the Huxtables)but underneath is extremely dysfunctional.

For many years I allowed him to make me feel that I was the source of his depression. He was never satisfied with his career, friends, or family.

The final straw for me was when he said I was a "trigger" for his drug use.

I do not do drugs nor do I spend time in the company of people who use drugs.

I did not introduce him to drugs.

Ironically my teenaged son volunteers for an organization that works to prevent illegal drug use in teens.

I had the privilage of attending a drug summit in D.C. with him last year. One of the doctors who spoke said-

"When a person starts using illegal drugs, the first thing to leave them is the truth."

That was the moment I knew my life had to go in another direction or I would die a very bitter person.

Naturally my son (understandably), and other family members don't want my marriage to end.

They all (my son doesn't know everything, he's not included) know what hell I have been through, but human nature is very selfish and loves to pretend.

But these are the same people who would be at my funeral saying- "She shoulda left him."

Hagar's Daughter said...

Hi Khadija,

There is so much power here that I've only read as far as your first comment-in-blue. I will keep reading and meditating.

I am actively retooling and redefining my life in order to live it on my terms. Although my goal is to reach that point, I never want to stop learning or improving because there's always room for growth.

Khadija said...

Tee,

Please know that I will keep you and your son in my prayers.-

You said, "I am 41 years old and my marriage to an African-American man is coming to an end.

There are issues in his life that he has chosen to embrace rather than seek therapy. He comes from a family that from the outside, seems ideal (i.e. the Huxtables)but underneath is extremely dysfunctional."
-

As you know, there is often a LOT of rot underneath the brittle surface of many seemingly Huxtable-type AA families. To use one of my older relative' phrases, "life ain't no crystal stair" underneath some of these gleaming surfaces.

Let me mention a disappointing local Chicago example of this.

We've all heard of Valerie Jarrett who is one of Pres. Obama's advisors. A member of the true Black elite. Our version of semi-royalty. Well, she was married to and divorced from Dr. William Jarrett, who was the son of a famous (and well-respected), African-American local newspaper reporter named Vernon Jarrett.

After their divorce, Dr. Jarrett died of what was described as a heart attack. All of my Black doctor and nurse acquaintances that knew him described him as a nice guy. However, the whispers were that Dr. Jarrett was apparently on drugs. And that this drug use led to his "sudden, unexpected" death. {sigh}

You are not alone is being confronted with this sort of situation.

You said, "For many years I allowed him to make me feel that I was the source of his depression. He was never satisfied with his career, friends, or family. The final straw for me was when he said I was a "trigger" for his drug use.

I do not do drugs nor do I spend time in the company of people who use drugs. I did not introduce him to drugs."
-

The doctor who said that "When a person starts using illegal drugs, the first thing to leave them is the truth" told the straight-up REALITY about dope fiends.

Their constant, NON-STOP lying, excuse-making, blame-projecting, self-pitying AND 12-step/therapy talk are some of the reasons why dope fiends. Make. My. Skin. Crawl. Anybody who has worked around them has seen that dope fiends will do ANYTHING. ANYTHING AT ALL. And then cry crocodile tears about it later.

I strongly support your decision to get AWAY from ANY dope fiend. As you alluded to in your comment, your life (and your son's life) depends on it.

May God be with you and your son. Ameen. ["Amen."]
___________________

Hagar's Daughter,

Yes, I'm really happy that I decided to check out Mr. Browne's book. I kept running across little references to it from all sorts of entrepreneurs in all sorts of fields. After a while, I got curious enough to look for it.

I'm still learning too; and I've been redesigning my life as well. I'm pretty excited about the transitions that I'm making!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Felicia said...

Khadija,

You said...

This active-passive test is a good one for taking stock of one's daily life and the people in one's life. It's a good way to see if you're in a state of true fellowship with the people around you. This matters.

In fact, during the emerging Endless Night of Permanent Underclass Status For African-Americans, this will be a matter of life and death for Black women.


Well, I have a POSITIVE story to share this morning.

SOME folks ARE fighting back successfully.

The HERO in this news report from a few months back - who saved his friends (and self) from unimaginable horror - certainly had an intact and strong sense of fellowship.

He was certainly active at JUST the right moment thank God.

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/
19366872/index.html


There is LIFE SAVING information being shared at these BW empowerment blogs. I sincerely hope those reading will not only start acting on their own behalf (to save themselves), but ALSO encouraging others they care about to do the same.

Enigma said...

@ Aphrodite,
It is so good to "meet" someone who has a similar story and to know that they too are moving on, moving forward and going for their dreams. That family/friend/community dysfunction can leave you SOOO numb and blind to how YOUR life is going bc on some level, the lesson being taught is that everyone else is more important that YOU are so sacrificing yourself to death is your duty.

My eyes are open now to how damaging that dysfunction can be, and though sometimes the truth is glaringly clear and painful to see I NOW get to make a choice about how I will respond to it and that changes everything for me. It IS changing everything for me.

Khadijah-
I so agree with this statement:

* The first step to achieving a reciprocal and abundant lifestyle is to totally DISCONNECT from ALL users, abusers, and parasites. Across the board. *

For some, it may mean a LOT of folks that they have become accustomed to will have to go. It did for me. Some folks will have to really re-examine how they determine friends, or create relationships (I am doing this too!), but it is worth all of the work. I KNOW that I will gain the life that I want if I keep believing in God, me and my right to a wonderful life. Moving onward and upward. Thank you.

Thanks so much ladies. You have no idea how much these blogs - the comments too - keep me motivated and encouraged to keep making the changes and taking the chances that I need to for my life. It is not always easy, but it is soo worth it.

Felicia said...

"I swear I’m not trying to pick fights but there’s something in the water or these are the “Last Days” for sure. Here is where the intra-Black ethnic/cultural distinctions may be more favorable to some. I don’t think I realized how damaged the “black collective” of African-Americans really is."

( http://actsoffaithinloveandlife.blogspot.com/ )


ACTS OF FAITH IN LOVE AND LIFE didn't truly realize how seriously deranged, and damaged beyond repair scores of BM were, are, and will continue to be.

Especially with the rise in BW dating, mating, and procreating OUT.

The rise of a certain percentage of BW LEAVING the Titanic.

Although painful I'm sure, it's actually GOOD that more and more BW are experiencing this epiphany.

This aha moment.

But once BW DO realize "what time it is", they must be willing to make a CLEAN BREAK (with dysfunctional suicidal folks) and NOT look back.

The truth of the matter is, these deranged, and damaged beyond repair black males (the title man is something that's earned) are the MOST powerless males on the planet.

This can't be stated enough.

As quiet as it's kept, we're really the ones in the driver's seat ladies.

The ONLY power they have as a group, is that which is GIVEN to them by BW.

What BW have mistakingly given to DBRBM can be TAKEN AWAY.

JUST LIKE THAT if BW choose to in mass.

And THIS is why everything is coming to a head these days in the "bc".

THIS is what this black gender war - and it IS a gender war - is all about.

Most DBRBM KNOW they can't survive on their own.

They KNOW they can't exist without the BW. They know that when the going gets rough in the "outer world", historically it has ONLY been the BW who's been there for them.

We're - all of us BW empowerment bloggers & commenters - are ENCOURAGING BW to RID themselves from the blood sucking leaches (DBRBM) for GOOD.

And move on and up to greener pastures.

In the DBRBM's twisted "mind", this call for BW to choose life instead of death is a call to kill HIM.SMH

When a man is SUPPOSED to sustain his OWN life and not depend on a woman to.

A man is SUPPOSED to not only be able to sustain his own life, but ALSO provide well for the woman who bares his young.

By all reputable accounts, a growing number of BM are failing on ALL counts.

And the DBRBM has NO one to blame for his current predicament but himself.

Not the white man, not the black woman, and no one else.

Ladies, as individuals you have the power to RID yourself of the leeches. Whoever they are. Male, or female. "Black"," white", or other. You just have to be willing to do it.

Don't associate with them, acknowledge them, or discuss anything with them.

By continuing to have anything to do with them, you are giving the impression that you still consider them "family". A member of your "tribe".

It shows you're not serious.

BW HAVE to be SERIOUS about living well.

This is SERIOUS business we're talking about here.

Anyway... I just had to get that out of my system.

Peace to everyone.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Yes I can announce here that I'm working on e-book. I want to have it completed by the end of July so it can be ready by August. I need to choose 10-15 blog posts with intros. It's about moving forward. I can speak for myself in saying that I often feel stuck. There are so many options I worry about making informed decisions, leaving the past behind and being forward thinking. So this is a start and all of these conversations have culminated with this.

Felicia said...

The simple point I believe we're all making is, AA BW are NO different from anyone else in society or the world.

AA BW are not a different species or branch of humanity.

Therefore, we do not deserve less than anyone else in society or the world.

The desire to love, marry well, and have children born within wedlock who are equally cared for by their father, is NOT "asking for the world".

It's not "reaching for the stars".

Support, love, protection, respect, etc... are just BASICS.

Basic human needs.

And therefor, BW shouldn't be made to feel guilty/unworthy for desiring what EVERY other human being wants.

Their human needs fulfilled.

DECENT BM (and there are some decent BM who want who's best for the BW they care about regardless of "race")- and others - ALREADY understand this.

AA Black women are women and human beings TOO. Deserving of the SAME level of respect that others receive. NO less.

This is ONLY "controversial" if deep down you're anti-BW.

If one is not anti-BW they have NO reason to feel threatened by anything being said at these blogs/sites.

DECENT people of ALL "races"/ethnicities and BOTH genders should be able to understand we're merely speaking of equality.

Those who don't get it, don't want to for nefarious reasons.

Khadija said...

Felicia,

The word IS spreading. And often in ways that we're not aware of. I'm often reminded of how many other women I gave copies of some of pioneers' blog posts to. All of this was LONG before I started commenting on any blogs.

And yep, Faith is holding it down over at her blog!
_________________________

Enigma,

You said, "Thanks so much ladies. You have no idea how much these blogs - the comments too - keep me motivated and encouraged to keep making the changes and taking the chances that I need to for my life. It is not always easy, but it is soo worth it."-

You're welcome; and THANK YOU for your participation! I learn a lot from the comments. These conversations have been eye-opening and life-changing for me; and I am deeply thankful.
___________________

Faith,

You said, "Yes I can announce here that I'm working on e-book. I want to have it completed by the end of July so it can be ready by August."-

{wild cheering and happy dance}

YES! YES! YES! I look forward to being among the first customers to buy your book! {raised fist salute}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Faith,

I forgot to mention 2 books that I've found to be EXTREMELY helpful in terms of understanding the various options:

1-Aiming at Amazon: The NEW Business of Self-Publishing or A Successful Self-Publisher's System for Profiting from Nonfiction Books with Print on Demand and Book Marketing on Amazon.com, by Aaron Shepard. [There's an INGENIOUS marketing reason why he deliberately chose the seemingly tacky, extremely long subtitle!]

2-The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts & Services of 48 Self-Publishing Companies---Analyzed, Ranked & Exposed, by Mark Levine. This is an EXCELLENT resource about the pros and cons of various POD (print on demand) contracts and services.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DeStouet said...

Actsoffaithblog,

That is wonderful exciting news and I can't wait to purchase the book either.

Zindzhi said...

Hello there first time posting and love what you write in this blog. I live in Haiti and if you think poverty is bad for Black women in America then imagine what women here have to go through. I 'd love to discuss solutions with you about how one should go about to leave such toxic environments what steps could one take to make it happen. I'm young, smart ,but financially dependent on my parents ( I'm middle class here). I Have been aching to create a life that is my own and rid myself of the toxic people that pollute my life. It is so hard when you have to depend on someone. Jobs here are scarce and it is a dangerous country for women( we have to deal kidnappings. Also Leaving my house means that I get to experience sexual harassment all the freaking time. It is a highly Patriarchal society and women here seems to only exist to be Men 's sexual object. I wish I could escape But I believe lot's of women can't , because of lack of funds.

I guess what I'm saying is that when one only knows despair how are they to imagine anything else for themselves.

Many young women here prostitute themselves to older men as it is the only way to get out or have a life.

I feel for my fellow Haitian women and African Americans Women that have to lead such miserable lives

Khadija said...

Zindzhi,

Ki jan ou ye?

[And with that, I have exhausted my memory of the Haitian Creole phrases friends have patiently tried to teach me over the years! LOL!]

Thank you for your kind words about the blog; I truly appreciate it. You said, "It is a highly Patriarchal society and women here seems to only exist to be Men 's sexual object."-

Yes, some of the Haitian-American BF attorneys I've met over the years have told some extremely disturbing tales of the steps they had to take to get out of (escape) their parents' houses HERE in the US. One woman got married in order to have a viable means of escaping her father's command over her life.

Another one had a very hard time convincing her parents (= her father) to allow her to go to college and law school. She had to live at home while attending school; and basically lived what sounded like a prisoner's lifestyle.

Meanwhile, these women's brothers were allowed to do whatever they wanted. AA women and girls deal with similar parental double standards while growing up.

I wish I had some concrete suggestions for you; but I have no experience with the mechanics of planning international "escapes." I hope that readers who DO have some concrete suggestions will write in.

I will say this: It seems to me that ALL escapes out of toxic living environments revolve around saving money and/or finding college scholarships, etc. in order to relocate into other places. The only other types of escapes revolve around marrying a guy who will move the woman out of that environment.

Ladies, if any of you have had your own experiences with successful overseas escapes out of these sorts of patriarchal societies, please write in and share your experiences. You might help somebody else plan their path out of such places.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Zindzhi said...

your creole is good. lol

thank you for answering. As you have said these ways are in fact the only way i know to escape. I tell my friends in America that i feel like that guy snake from escape from New york. I wish i could take all my sisters with me. It is so sad to live in a country where child slavery is acceptable and where women are not allowed to have agency. I'm not shocked that I'm not the only Haitian woman to deal with this. I mean I can imagine that most women living in the global south are leaving like this. It breaks my heart.