“If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.” – Rumi
I read recently that the generation largely known as the children of Millennials is called “Generation Alpha”.
This is the first cohort of children born entirely in the 21st century, constituting those born in the early 2010s to the mid-2020s.
The painting in this featured photo actually started out as something for precious Lena, my 6-year-old niece. I didn’t finish it in time for my travels to Texas for Thanksgiving vacation, (which I have not had in many years), but now might make something else for her… it started out with a sloppy stencil of a crescent moon design in the center, and I may have the color combinations wrong again…
I woke up with a burning chest this morning, as I expected after returning “home” to the nation’s capital, after Thanksgiving. I couldn’t really begin to do anything, not even unpack until a few hours ago. Perhaps it is a natural feeling, when the life you have chosen is a life that only allows small doses of interactions with those within your bloodline, sometimes aka “loved ones” lol, due to time and spatial proximity. It happens every time I visit and leave my family…. you miss so much, and sometimes the hardest things to miss are those angelic embraces that make you feel like you are floating on big white fluffy clouds…surrounded by puppies or baby goats…and mint chocolate chip ice cream…
I woke up late and could not leave my apartment or do anything for hours. Just ruminate, and allow the OCD to swallow me, as I kept telling it to stop, and it kept taking me on the merry-go-round, as seconds, minutes, and hours passed by. That is what it does. It is a really debilitating condition, in which I have struggled with for over 20 years. It is recognized by law through the guidance of scientists and doctors as a “disability,” but it still has not been “destigmatized” so to speak, or socialized as such. That’s okay. I never liked the term “disability.” While I wouldn’t wish any form of mental illness on my worst enemy, I argue that it can be a blessing, even if it is more a curse.
So all you can think to do is write and to paint to silence the vicious cycle of ruminations… hoping to break it with “a finished product” that will not allow the struggle, the “momentary”, yet ongoing and chronic suffering to go in vain…
And I always seem to have to pick myself up again after every encounter, perhaps more so these recent years. I am not sure if it’s the pain from the knowledge that it will be long before we meet again, or the pain I feel with respect to my “invisibility” and “lack of belonging’ within their grace, presence and company, or the pain associated with the long-standing inference that “I am nothing” “with them,” nor am I anybody of value “without them,” at least to many who know I exist. It doesn’t get easier no matter how much you do it, and with time, especially if your destination is an empty apartment, and one hoarded with so many things that need to be disposed of, one in which the messiness on the surface, reminds you that you really need to figure out your shit, before you hit Rock bottom over and over again. Either way, it is not a pleasant place to be stuck.
“Momento Mori.” – Remember you will Die.
Perhaps I have shared this before, that I have always been defiant of my reality, my level of centrality, the lacking significance of my existence, and the level of empowerment. We have no other recourse, but to be “defiant” if our goals entirely align with breaking stigmas and barriers that confine or define us as something we are not, that do not comply with our evolution. “Defiant” of the socially constructed boundaries, of the boxes that society places you in, without truly knowing you, or embracing your truth, everything that you are. Or the boxes you inadvertently place yourself in, with the fear of not having the courage to defy expectations, or the acceptance that you can be nothing else. One comes to question if this “defiance” will never end, and will only lead to greater sadness without any resolution, or meaningful, positive change. Shall we end the resistance? Shall we end the need to rebel, to revolt? Because no matter how much I change or grow on the things that need change or growth, there will always be a world around us that chooses to disregard our changes, and perceive and treat us with that disregard, and try to make us lose our identity, who we are, what we have achieved, how much we have grown, and thus trigger or lead us to relapse.
These are deeply embedded sentiments, accompanied by multiple stigmas endured, some that I am enlightened and keenly aware to be perceived realities and some that I in fact know wholeheartedly or with enough certainty, to be true. I am reminded that my “individual value” as an independent woman of color with a PhD, with multiple talents, with a voice that occasionally stutters or trembles, is simply and intentionally invisible or non-existent to many that know I exist. And there is indeed a world that will always see me as a “damsel in distress” that needs a man by her side, sometimes well-intentioned, sometimes with bad intentions, a man as a “fashion statement,” if not to “take care of her,” a commonplace stigma worsened by the color of my skin or the color of my hair or shape of my nose or eyes, in other words, what is on the surface of my being. A statement like this for those who have an inkling of negative sentiments against women whose paths have been far from conventional is understandably something that invites disdain, resentment, jealously, all constituting the evil eye, the buree nazar. But as Epictetus stated, we must “Persist and Resist.”
It is precisely for this reason that I have had to expand the notion of “family,” and perhaps even “friendship.” But something in the neural pathways or quantum mechanics has been disconnected or not converging. We must embrace forgiveness and mercy for ourselves with the understanding that this too can be an evolution or “work in progress.”
There are moments when I take a second to reflect while I stare at “generation alpha,” and my prayer for them is to grow up in a world free of such stigmas that have made women (and men) like me feel lost, feel never enough, feel like a constant burden, feel invisible, feel the lack of belonging, feel guilt and shame for any joy or freedom we embrace in our unique paths in our “pursuits of happyness,” feel any need to mask our authenticity and silence our truths in every domain in society, from family, to the classroom, to the surrounding social world, to our professional domains. Unfortunately, I recognize it is myopic, or wishful thinking.
I will write these stories. I will write these books. I will continue fighting through my writing. Because these stories matter. For “generation alpha” especially. They will engage. They will listen. They will read. They will be better to one another. They need to know the marginalized truths that the generation before them endured just as much as we do about so many stories that remain hidden and lost from the generations before us, which we must continue to seek, to respect and to appreciate. They will see the value in the voices that have been and continue to be silenced, either by powerful algorithms or powerful stigmas, or powerful evil eyes. My pain will not go in vain.
The fact that the voices of condemnation and ostracization scream in the brain louder than the voices of acceptance, of tolerance, of peace, of solidarity, that I know must exist, is not on me. I cannot believe that school of thought. Funnily, I am reminded of the scene in my favorite movie, “Good Will Hunting”, where Robin Williams embraces Matt Damon as he keeps saying he knows that the abuse he endured as a child was not his fault. No matter what, we may protest sometimes, but deep inside we always believe that our traumas are “our fault.”
I recognize the need to take responsibility for my own happiness though, of moving forward despite the past traumas that keep holding me hostage. It is hard to absorb some messages and virtues of the respected Prophets, scholars or even the great Stoic philosophers, but I do try. We try our best to apply, and must cut ourselves some slack from not achieving perfection, for relapsing, for falling short.
My mother’s duah (prayer) for me at the airport yesterday and really throughout the week that I have been with her, is to focus on my own happiness, and take greater responsibility for ME and my own happiness and not allow those that have harmed me to dictate my happiness. I have…I have taken accountability to some extent, or at least tried, but recognize it can be more. In our “pursuit of Happyness” it is hard not to blur the lines about what it means to “live for others” and “service” and “caring” about others with the knowledge that in the more personal circumstances, it will most likely not be returned.
“Persist and resist.”
I may have noted in past posts, I have a choice, either to allow the pain to consume me or to find the strength in my pain and trauma and serve a larger purpose than the self. That is why I always take the “window seat.” That is what has always made having to turn my back on ‘the loved ones who wouldn’t let me take a Uber to the airport,’ a tiny bit easier.
For those who made it to the very end of this post, with an open mind, I appreciate you, and commend you. Thank you for taking the time to read this and giving my voice a chance. Perhaps one may ponder that I need to think of the audience, or I need to learn to filter myself on what I share in these open forums these days… If that is indeed the case, than you may need to read my diaries and journals and morning and evening pages, I am writing constantly, before I write a facebook or Instagram or blog posts. . These days, what I share is relatively filtered, but enough to remain authentic, just, and true to myself and my voice.
Additionally, I know based on what people have told me, that most do not make it past the first few sentences of my 1400-3000 word posts. I tried to stop writing long posts, as few may recall, even recently, and was able to moderate it or write some things, not post others, post things elsewhere, etc… I can’t stop being me because no one sees me… but if you are there and afraid to engage me for any reason, I hope you know that I may be a little “weird” and “different” and “non-conformant,” but I am approachable and you are always welcome in my space, especially here to comment or share your thoughts and engage if anything resonates with you.
And I’ll be ready for Gen. Alpha. When you are holding onto a thread of hope in your process of “survival”, thinking of future generations is what keeps the string intact.
I suppose I may have to learn their language.
“You only are free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” – Dr. Maya Angelou.
Thank you once again for reading and giving my voice a chance.
Peace, warmth, and blessings,
The Warrior KQueen
“She wasn’t looking for a Knight. She was looking for a Sword.”- Atticus
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