Posts

Deep breaths. This is only part of your life. Part 3

Image
Over the past four months, there has been an outpouring of high profile sexual harassment cases that have captured the headlines, beginning with Ronan Farrow's investigation of weathy and influential talent agent Harvey Weinstein's perversities and sexual abuse/harassment of well known actresses. This seems to have had various results: men from the entertainment and media industries have lost their affluent positions and/or they have faced intense scrutiny. As a result of these headline generating news stories that I've been reading, several memories from my past have bubbled up from that submerged and extremely crowded area of my brain that is reserved for denial. So again, it is time to take another series of deep breaths, dive in, bring those memories to the surface, and into the unflinchingly harsh light of self examination.

I've been describing my experiences dealing with unsettling memories in the same disordered manner they have returned to the forefront of my …

Deep breaths. This is only part of your life. Pt. 2

Image
Apparently, I liked this Facebook meme on this day...last year? Two years ago? Three? I don’t remember now. But I still feel the same way. Especially about the partner in crime part. Not LITERALLY in crime, but someone who has a little mischievous streak in him, and great love for finding a bit of humor in everyday life. And I have to add something else: an enormous amount of PATIENCE, and an equal amount of EMPATHY.



Here's why: this nearly 60 year old woman is recovering from an extreme amount of physical, mental, emotional and yes, sexual abuse from my ex-husband. (#MeToo)  I divorced him 1987, and since I firmly believed I was one of those "strong Black women" who had inherited the strength of her ancestors to endure and overcome all pain and suffering, I  "soldiered up", raised my three kids with the help of my parents (thank you so much, Mom and Dad) worked at various jobs that were mostly mentally stressful and physically draining, and finished my Bachel…

Deep breaths. This is only part of your life. (Introduction)

Over three decades ago, I made a mistake that nearly cost me my life, not just once, but on several occasions. Looking, back, there were reasons why I made this particular mistake. It was the usual suspects: insecurity (Even though author and star of the HBO's show Insecure, Ms. Issa Rae, is young enough to be one of my daughters, I identify with the basic issues she discusses in her book, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl), low self esteem that was based on my issues with food addiction (I LOVE the combination of flour and fat, such as homemade macaroni and cheese, deep fried chicken, and...the list is endless); and my food addiction's ever present partner, obesity, which has fluctuated between being slightly obese to super morbid obesity. Seriously. At one point, I couldn't buy clothes at Lane Bryant because they don't carry size 5x and 6x in their stores. I had to either order my clothes or go about my daily business naked. The second option was not morally o…

"Sometimes, y'all make my BEHIND hurt!"

The title of this particular blog has a source, and that is my beloved mother, Mary Ellen Graham Shortt. Mom was born and raised in Leesburg, Florida, although technically she lived even farther out into the central Florida wilderness in a place called Wildwood. (Which is so difficult for a "burb" baby like me to understand; Leesburg wasn't exactly a huge city like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, or even Sacramento). Just reading that fact should be justifiable cause for raised eyebrows. I used to think that she had a natural talent for malpropisms, but that wasn't it, either. She spoke Wildwood, which, in my opinion, is a very unique Florida accent that was peppered with all kinds of confusing terms like "Y'all make my behind hurt!" Go ahead. Try to make sense of it. I grew up hearing stuff like that, and I remain unconvinced that there is a logical way to explain what it means.

And this brings me to the point of this particular entry. I'm on …

"War. Huh. What is it GOOD for?"

Image
The title of this blog comes from one of many protest songs that were popular during the Vietnam War. The song is "War", which was sung by Motown artist Edwin Starr. As you can see in the video, there are scenes from the Vietnam War accompanying the song. I remember those scenes. They were broadcast nearly every night on every network channel. Even though my father was a load master in the Air Force on the C-131s and C-141s during the Vietnam War (dropping troops, supplies, guns and ammunition in country, taking the dead and wounded out), I rarely dwelled on the possibility that he might not come home one day. That was simply too much for me to handle at that time.

At the height of the Vietnam War, my family, which consisted of my parents, Richard and Mary Shortt, their oldest child (me), my sister Tamara and my little brother Ricky, were transferred to Clark Air Force on Luzon Island, the Philippines. I was eight years old when we arrived, and ten years old when we left. H…

A warrior with no other weapon except faith

I will remember this day for the rest of my life: November 8, 2016, which will be etched in my memory just as much as January 20th, 2009, the day Barack Obama became the first Black American to be elected President. On that January day, my father and I sat next to each other in the gym, multi-purpose room of Shiloh Baptist Church, watching the Inauguration ceremony while tears copiously streamed down our faces. Dad passed away on August 29, 2016. Even though I'm still very much in grief, I'm also grateful that he isn't here right now to witness the absolute madness that has taken place in this country since Donald J. Trump acquired the necessary electoral votes to be elected President of the United States, in spite of the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. God help us all. And I won't be watching the inauguration.

As some readers of this highly erratically posted blog may know, I am a member of the Baha'i Faith, there are thoughts, behaviors and actio…

American Baha'is have yet to deal with and erase "The Most Vital and Challenging Issue"

The long excerpt that I have included at the bottom of this post is from a book called "The Advent of Divine Justice" which was meticulously written for American Baha'is by Shoghi Effendi (known to Baha'is as The Guardian of the Faith), and published in 1938. The book was intended to invigorate the American Baha'i community to teach the Faith to others in the United States and around the world. Yet, for the most part, American Baha'is remain "largely introverted", as former National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Universal House of Justice member Glenford E. Mitchell states in his 1967 paper, "The Most Challenging Issue: Teaching Negroes" (which I suggest that every Baha'i in the United States read: 
...If it has any standards at all, they are to be found in a convenientcross-fertilization of existential philosophy and socialist aspirations. Withsuch a shapeless movement, it is difficult to separate black from white, tocond…