Statues, Logos, & the Like

Whew…looks like I jumped right over June. That’s not truly the case. There was just so much going on in the world, and in my life, that I struggled with (1) whether or not I wanted to vocalize what I was seeing, hearing, thinking, feeling, (2) if I decided to vocalize on this platform, what I wanted to share, and (3) how I wanted to approach the things I chose to vocalize.

I don’t have to go into detail about the tragedies that have come to light, and continue to unfold, or how tumultous the times are presently. With the frustration of racial disparities coming to a boiling point AGAIN in our nation, we find ourselves demanding change.

Subcutaneous change is all we’ve ever gotten so I, personally, am not going to hold my breath waiting for the changes that will make the most impact to come to past. That leads me into the topic I have chosen to discuss which centers around the call to change statues, logos, and such as a way to oppose racism and/or white supremacy. Now, in some of the cases, I completely understand the sentiment. We are surrounded by the names, images, and other likenesses of people in the nation’s history who did not treat all equally, who performed or condoned despicable acts, and who vehemently opposed progress that would benefit all people living on this land. And, yes, there is something to be said about living in a nation that embraces such symbolism where you, as a branch on the tree of those who had to live through the worst of these otrocities, are reminded daily of the vileness and inequities ingrained in the very fabric of the society you live in. So, as I said, I completely understand the sentiment in some cases. However, in the grand scheme of things, those changes are near the very bottom of the list of changes that need to take place. To me, they are not impactful enough to devote more than a glancing attention to at this time. It would be more meaningful to me if, instead of taking down statues, everyone committed to providing a blatantly truthful narrative about these people and events these symbolic images represent. Tell George Washington’s full story to include owning slaves, questions revolving possibly fathering a child with a slave, and his true view on equality for all. Tell Abraham Lincoln’s full story to include how his move to abolish slavery was less about a diehard objection to it and more about showing the other team who was boss.

Then, there’s the changing of images on food products (i.e. Aunt Jemima syrup & Uncle Ben’s rice), taking descriptive words out of names (i.e. master bedroom), removing episodes from shows (i.e. Golden Girls mud mask episode). None of these things are relevant and at least one of them doesn’t belong anyway. But these are examples of addressing everything except what is relevant, necessary, and most impactful.

The focus should be on holding people equally accountable for their actions. The focus should be on providing education, training, and reform to public servants. The focus should be on revamping the judicial system. The focus should be on ensuring all people have the same access to all resources. The focus should be on changing the narrative in this nation, and around the world, so that it doesn’t revolve around skin tone. The focus should be on doing better.

Ramblings in May

This past week has been less uneventful than usual. One of my supervisors, from the job that brought me to Colorado, died; I finally had my second therapy session with the therapist I found late last year; and I spoke to a Human Resources rep, from the company that hired me in late February, about my start date and what that will look like.

Somber first…In late 2008, I moved from Georgia to Colorado after accepting a corporate position with the company I had been with for a year at that point. My direct supervisor, in the new position, was GG and her supervisor was MK. I don’t know if it was covid-19 related but she was in a coma and was suffering from pneumonia and liver failure per the text received from an old colleague on May 14th. The colleague relayed that MK was being released from the hospital and only had a few days. MK died on May 15th. Though, I spent seven years in the position under MK, I can count on one hand how many times there was a conversation between us. I don’t think I really knew her or connected with her and, since she wasn’t my direct supervisor, we had little interaction. My heart goes out to her loved ones but I don’t count myself among them. However, with all of that said, I do find myself dealing with “something” because of the news. I think it’s just a bit triggering for me since I’m still working my way through the deaths I have endured, over the last three years, that have directly affected me.

Though, I have probably needed therapy all of my life, I started a search for a therapist around 2013-2014. I did attempt to search a few times prior to that (i.e. 2011) but 2013 is when the search became more steady. Most searches were unsuccessful. When I did manage to attend a session with a therapist, we were incompatibility in vital ways. You see, I have many components to my life and perspective that make a traditional, every body’s therapist a bad fit for me. I don’t need a therapist that aligns with me on everything but I do need one that is more flexible than average in their experience and viewpoints. I am multicultural but identify as a minority. I’m non-traditional when it comes to religion, sexuality, identity, and relationships. When I list it out this way, it doesn’t seem like much but when your therapy pool consists of mainly non-minority, traditional-minded professionals, finding a local match seems to be an exhausting, hopeless task. I would follow every lead I received searching for a therapist who could potentially work with me. I even tried virtual therapy which was a bust, mainly, because the therapist seemed more like AI than a real person providing an educated service. Finally, I was put onto a therapy directory while listening to a podcast. I pulled up the directory, searched my state, and was excited to find a few therapies offering services in my vicinity. There were two within my metro area and one about an hour away in Boulder. The therapist in Boulder had the potential to be the best fit so I reached out, scheduled an introductory call, and then a session. I attended the first session in October 2019 and everything went well. Then, life decided it wanted to liven up a bit for me which, ultimately, interfered with my ability to meet with the therapist from October 2019 through May 2020. If I’m honest with myself, there were times during that period where I could have chosen therapy but I continued to put everything and everyone else before myself. I continued to do that until I decided to make permanent changes in my life so that I could start putting myself first. The major permanent change I made involved resigning from the job that had been sucking the life out of me and that I had allowed to supersede every other aspect of my life. However, since I did that one month prior to the covid-19 crackdown, I was unable to jump into therapy in the way that was originally planned so…still more time went by before I could regain the resources to pay for sessions. Once that was established, I decided some therapy was better than no therapy and reached out to the therapist to arrange a regular, but less frequent, schedule to get me back in track. Little did I know that my therapist was about to show me that accountability is paramount and she was done with my crap. Since I had rescheduled and then cancelled every session scheduled between October 2019 and February 2020 (at least four), when I was forced to reschedule my May 2020 session due to a financial mix-up, my therapist called it out, extended one more opportunity, and let me know it would be the last. I had to have a conversation with myself about my dedication to this process and the inconsideration I had expressed for the therapist’s schedule and efforts to accommodate me in the past. So…when I ran into another financial hiccup (not of my doing) the week of the scheduled session, I was a little anxious about losing this therapist as I emailed to update the therapist on what was going on. Luckily, everything worked out, I was able to cover the fee, and have the session.

When I resigned from my job of a little over four years, I did so with a built-in eight week wellness leave in order to (1) catch up on all the sleep I missed over the last two years while working an average of at least 16 hours a day, (2) take time to reset and strengthen my physical, emotional, and mental health, and (3) just relax and enjoy not being busy for a little while. Between the time I put in my notice on January 6th and my last day on February 6th, I still pondered my future income sources once my hiatus was done since I didn’t have a nest egg or anything lined up. I decided to register a business name so I could work on establishing a consulting company in the meantime. It just so happened that I also ran across a hiring ad from a company that’s a pillar in the industry I work in. I said to myself, “I’d love to work for this company. It couldn’t hurt to forward my resume”. I had my first interview with the company on February 7th. I had a total of three interviews with the company in February and was hired on with the company the last week of February to start the last week of March. As we all know, covid blew up our world officially in mid-March. This change delayed my start date with the new company and extended my eight-week wellness retreat to 16 weeks, which has been an upside for me. Fast forward to this past week. I received a call from the company’s HR rep, informing me that my June 1 start date was still a-go, as long as I was still onboard, but my tasks would be determined at a later date since the original project is still on hold due to the restrictions that have been implemented. It did cross my mind that they may decide to lay me off depending on what happens next with the virus. Overall, it was a relief to get the call. Of course, I have my reservations about having to get out in the world with both the virus and stupid people still wrecking havoc, especially, since I’m at risk but, daily, everything is leaning towards pushing us all forward regardless of how we feel about it. Plus, I am amongst the majority who have to work to maintain and provide so I’m not going to drag my feet about it. I’ve bought protective items and I’ll just have to make sure I’m being hyper diligent about cleanliness all around.

Until next time, I hope you stay well and…

Be Copa,

Shana

5th Month 2020

This morning, I’m lost in my thoughts as I listen to a couple of episodes of the Girl Be Free podcast*.  Siobhan, the creator & speaker, provides motivation, inspiration, and coaching to empower women. In doing so, she uses many of her own experiences as a way to share her journey with her audience. In the particular episodes mentioned, she shared how her mother forced her to make a decision that would greatly change her life at the age of 15. She shared how, many interactions between her and her mother, contributed to the trauma and insecurities she has carried the majority of her life; issues she had to grow through to become unstuck in her life. She also expressed how she doesn’t have to be perfect to live in her purpose. How the reality of being flawed doesn’t devalue what she offers to others in inspiration, accountability, and motivation.

This made me think of scenarios in my own life, less about the trauma of it and more about where I feel stuck, why I feel stuck, and what to focus on to get unstuck. There are several things I need to work on for my health, others I need to work on for my overall satisfaction, and, still, others that I may need to work on in order to accomplish goals that involve outside resources & networking (i.e. dodging interacting via phone & in-person). In pondering these things, some of the pathways led back to my biological family but, particularly, my biogical mother and all the ways she ensured I felt less loved, less worthy, less motivated, and more shameful in all that I tried to accomplish, to share, and to take/get credit for. A person couldn’t even compliment me without her chiming in to downplay it/me. Those experiences still stain my life today.

However, I realize that I’ve never shied away from the stains. Unlike most, I believe we can’t be full in our spirit without balance and, being balanced, requires acceptance of all illumination and stains versus only acknowledging/working in the light. I have worked to minimize the affects over the years and continue to do so. I’m grateful for even possessing enough wherewithall to understand there are things that need to be addressed. So many people either don’t have it or don’t care to explore the possibility.

Anywho…as we near the middle of May, I dread what comes next. The stay-at-home order has expired and the state is starting to reopen. With that, many people will head back to their physical location of employment. That date may be approaching para moi, tambien. My work requires lots of travel so I’m unsure if I will be expected to resume in June, which was the original plan, or if I will be pushed back again. I’m concerned because I don’t have a pristine system so I would rather bypass the exposure for as long as I can. As for where we are headed, I fear there will be a spike in cases and deaths by this same time next month. I’m truly surprised our numbers aren’t higher in Colorado since there are many who barely heeded the restrictions anyway.

While I’m on the subject of the virus… I was not affected much by the virus or the restrictions. I had resigned, as of February, from my position of five years and was in the process of establishing a consulting company so was already at home. With the exception of not being able to schedule a grocery pick-up order for 7am the next day, obtain all requested supplies in said grocery order, and go to the library, my life has pretty much been unchanged througout this ordeal. However, one topic that has peaked my interest, and reconsiderations is the influenza shot. Yes, I am one of those people who have consistently opted out of this routine, every year of my life, except one. Of course, I swear that, in the one year I decided to get a flu shot, I came down with the virus. Because I have gone years and years, before and after the shot, in decent health and without contracting the virus, I never fed into the push for it. I’m not batshit level skeptic or conspiracy theorist BUT I don’t trust lots of things and the influenza shot floated in that bubble for me. Though, I’ve realized, if the government, and/or it’s powerful entities, wanted to do something to me, it’s already been done, through the many means I have provided through the years, but I digress. I was either watching something or reading an article and the speaker made the point that many people were missing the point when it came to the restrictions and the virus. The speaker indicated that, like the influenza shot, the restrictions we are currently under and the future antidote for Covid-19 are not only for our personal wellbeing but the wellbeing of those around us. At that moment, the damn lightbulb came on over my head and I saw the influenza shot in an entirely new light. It never crossed my mind that getting the flu shot would help me do my part to protect others. If that is truly the case, I will do it. However, I haven’t joined the bandwagon yet. I have to do more research about how this actually happens since we know the flu shot only protects you from strains of the virus that have been encountered, and whatever concoction of viruses the scientist have managed to put together, in an attempt to cover new mutations of existing strains. If I end up getting the flu, after getting the shot, will I still be contagious? If the answer is yes, am I really protecting anyone by getting the shot to begin with? There’s still mud to sift through but my mind is always open to change so I will figure it out.

Until next time, I hope you stay well and, most of all…

be Copa,

Shana

*Girl Be Free Podcast episodes – I Am Allowed To Inspire Women And Have Flaws At The Same Time; March 13, 2019 & Minisode: Own Your Story; March 20, 2019

To Believe or Not To Believe “Me Too”

Once again, we are here, pondering allegations of unfavorable sexual conduct and the value of a woman’s* accusation. We still live in environments riddled with people who believe sexual violation is caused by the behavior and/or attire of women.

When the “me too” movement began, it came to public light the way societies downplay the sexual violations experienced by women and blatantly voice the minimal level of credibility they give women, especially, when it comes to sexual violation.

Unfortunately, sexual misconduct has been ingrained in the very fabric of many societies due to the minimal value placed on people considered to be more property and less equal human in comparison to one particular group that has assigned themselves superiority  (i.e. male of all shades but mainly fair-skinned). Many still believe the sole purpose of women is to serve their male counterpart and, if you were betrothed or more to one, your body/sex belonged to him whether you were willing or not. If you were not attached but desired, you could still be taken with little to no consequence to the one who forced himself on you. And don’t be a woman who was unattached but willing. In any case, if you raised alarm, you were at risk of being blamed and becoming known as a pariah in the community.

With that said, though, women are not innocent bystanders in this narrative that portrays us as untrustworthy when it comes to sexual accusations. This entire issue, in large part, stems back to a time where certain women lied regularly on men to maintain their own false sense of virtue. Those scenarios have never gone away. Women of all cultural backgrounds have had to endure this stigma for generations. I have had to deal with this very situation several times in my own life, unfortunately.

Fast forward to current events- I make my rounds in forums specifically created for women and I regularly encounter women who express this immovable stance about “believing women no matter what”. The current hot topic revolves around Biden allegations and the presumed “hypocrisy” of his female Democratic counterparts (i.e Stacey Abrams, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton) due to what has been deemed as a lack of response and/or action from them regarding the matter.

Now, while I agree there is a great disparity in how the world approaches such allegations, I also don’t agree with the blanket notion of “believing women” when they accuse people. I’m not saying don’t believe but I am acknowledging that, in no other situation where someone has been accused of something, do we advocate for such an approach.

In any situation where allegations have been made, we should apply the same philosophy as we do or (should) apply to any other. A person is innocent until proven guilty. And those who are critical thinking, mature, and rational, avoid jumping to conclusions or making judgments about their relationship with and/or support of the accused until all the facts are known. Every person involved should receive the benefit of the doubt.

Lastly, we live in a society where this narrative has been pushed that everyone has to (1) voice an opinion and (2) immediately take a stance on situations that don’t directly involve them and that’s just not the case. We live in a society where it is clear we all can benefit from self-awareness and improvement. We should spend more time doing just that versus waiting to spew our unwarranted viewpoints on the masses.

* the term woman/man in this post refers to cisgender, though, the topic can truly be applied to all persons

The Myth of Emotions

As I sit outside during my morning ritual, I reflect on a conversation I had with my daughter about a group conversation she participated in at University before they had to vacate due to Covid-19.

If I recall correctly, it was a Business Law class and the conversation was about politics, the U.S. presidency, and gender. The conversation centered around a woman’s emotional status not being beneficial to her ability to run the country. The question was posed to the students as to whether or not a woman would be a good president.

A male student stated he didn’t think so because women are emotional. My daughter, disagreeing with this viewpoint, did not state her case because…she doesn’t like the possibility of conflict, especially, with men. I told her that her reaction was a directly linked to the topic at hand or the lack thereof.

Disclaimer- I’m using group terms but understand ‘not all’ applies.

This stereotype about women and their emotions has existed for generations. The villainization of “emotions” has existed for just as long and it’s partially due to women. Because feeling and expressing emotion has been an acceptable and encouraged action for women, many have embraced it for the good and bad. Since the expression of all emotion has been discouraged for men, unless it involves aggression and anger, any showing is seen as weakness. Add in the history of how women would use their emotions to manipulate situations and you can understand why men label us as emotional.

I believe men are emotionally incompetent because their emotional development has been stunted througout their lives and they don’t desire to reach a level of self-awareness that would allow them to explore and change that deficiency as adults. Women are more well-rounded because they have been able to explore and develop their emotional health. I believe women are more honest, in general, because they haven’t been forced to bottle up their emotional processes.

One of the biggest myths about emotion is that men are not emotional. They are. Unfortunately, it’s limited and, usually, toxic. You see, when men experience situations that require an emotional response, it either comes out as aggression or stays in and contributes to an aggressive outburst at a later date. Due to this stunted emotional growth, when men become emotional, it manifests as bullying, harassment, rape, assault, domestic violence, battery, shootings, bombs, and such. This narrow emotional response ties back into my daughter’s lack of response to the male student of which whom she disagreed. She didn’t want to be scolded, condescended, or approached aggressively by this male student so she chose not to share her stance.

It’s time to shed this narrative. Men should be allowed to develop as all humans should, without shame and ridicule, so they can become confident in their emotional health and well-rounded individuals. Until then, men cannot provide a valuable opinion about women’s emotional health or their own.

4th Month 2020

And…my sentiment from my first post of the year has revealed itself in no uncertain terms. It has definitely shaped up to be a doozy of a year so far. Not only did I resign from my job of approximately five years, my adult son and his girl moved out, and most of the nation has self-quarantined due to the migration and rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Due to this unexpected change, I was put on standby with the company I was supposed to start working for in late March. I haven’t been able to secure any temporary work as of yet either. After I left my last job, I did register a business and secured a domain name and website. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything with it since travel has been quashed and businesses are minimizing. I have applied for unemployment but, since I had to base the details off of the job I resigned from, I’m unsure if I will be eligible.

With the changes the virus has forced upon many, I have been able to embrace several positive adjustments in my life. I was already enjoying the solitude and relaxation of being at home since my goal, after resigning, included taking eight weeks off to facilitate my mental, emotional, and self care. This change extended that. Though, all aspects aren’t ideal, I am very blissful having this extended opportunity to just Be. In this time, I have began meditating, relearning Spanish, learning French, practicing piano, drawing, and taking free bookkeeping classes online. I’m still slacking on working out but I’m not giving up.

Though, many are experiencing a range of unnerving emotions due to the situation we find ourselves in, I’m minimally stressed and full of peace, relaxation, and happiness. I enjoy not having pressing obligations. I enjoy the stillness of the world around me.

I do wish I had the means to be helpful to others who are in need. I’m also immuno-compromised so that further hinders my ability to contribute through volunteerism and/or skill.

1st Month 2020

Welp…I’m still trying to decide if this is going to be a doozy of a year or the first year of the rest of my life.

I put in 30-day notice of resignation required by my job so my last day is officially February 5, 2020. I don’t want to delve deep into it at the moment, as I am still in the midst of all the rawness of the situation, but the long and short of it is the owner of my company came down on me about the process/procedures of one property within the portfolio, that happens to be directly under her purview, made it clear that she blames me for not only the predicament of the site but, also, the Dakotas/Integra fiasco. All of this came out after an inquiry about the current property.

Note, she didn’t give me a bonus either but at no point during the last two years did she decide to have any conversation with me about my performance, her thoughts about these properties, or any follow-up about the issues at hand. Hell, she is the Regional Manager for the current property so you would think she would be accountable for her lack of inquiry about certain aspects in 2018 and 2019 but of course not.

With that said, I put in my notice. I work myself into the ground for this company so the least I deserve is direct guidance and/or reprimand so that I can follow-up on the issues and/or correct what is amiss in real-time. A reminder would have worked wonders six months ago. Yet, here I am, carrying all the weight of the blame for a project I was not the lead on but, because I am the “Director”, I am fully responsible for.

I thought this was a team versus an individual sport. Anyway, so I’m doing my last good deed simply because of who I am. I am going to visit the property that is at the center of the blow up and work on curing the issues before my notice is up.

I don’t have a set plan after that but I figure I will just pick up odd jobs until I find my path. I’m going to work on registering a business name to offer notary and housing compliance services but I’m not trying to jump into anything that takes too much brainpower right now. I need a mental break. I can’t describe how my entire being feels right now but I feel…unstable…and on the brink of…not sure what.

Unfortunately, all of this stuff started and has spanned the entire length of my daughter’s visit. She decided she wanted to spend two weeks of her Winter Break here. Well, she flew in the same morning the shit hit the fan. It hasn’t been a satisfying visit due to me not being able to take off of work or concentrate on her when I’m not “working”. Plus, without the bonus, I have no extra funds to treat her or pay her for the work items she has helped with.

I had hoped to have a new name by now but my father, of whom I have been waiting to deliver my adoption papers to me, has failed to do so. He told me they were in the car and ready to go weeks ago but I have yet to receive anything.

The Confession Killer

I’ve just finished watching this series about Henry Lee Lucas and the clusterfuck that was the Texas Rangers Task Force during his life.

There’s nothing that I learned in the series that was unbelievable or, frankly, fresh off the press but…it reminded me of how warped our system is and, truly, has been since inception.

Henry Lee Lucas was a man with below average intelligence, confirmed head injuries, and conditions that skewed his credibility, who confessed to around 200 murders with helpful steering of the task force (Boutwell, mainly).

Henry was not an innocent man but that doesn’t justify law enforcement taking advantage of him by manipulating him into confessing to murders he did not commit in order to have their dicks publicly stroked. Some would say it was all on Henry and his desire to please, be recognized, and live a bit longer. To those I would say, any person of average intelligence with the most minimal problem-solving skills can see the inconsistencies and improbabilities in all of the confessions. For those who are supposed to be skilled in such things to spend hours and hours with Henry, writing off these confessions, and to not immediately see the holes in the stories they were preparing to pass off as true without checking timelines, paper trails, locations, and such is one of the greatness sadnesses. It says (1) they didn’t give a fuck about their oath, (2) they didn’t give a fuck about justice for the families, (3) they didn’t give a shit about the lives of so many others who were left to be terrorized by killers who walked free because of the task force’s crooked ways, (4) they thought everyone around them was just about as intelligent as Henry, and (5) they were okay with stepping on the necks of the less fortunate.

They framed this man who didn’t have enough sense to know better and had no one to watch out for him.

One of the most infuriating things about the entire situation is the ‘good ol’ boy’ antics that permeated throughout AND everyone’s inability to admit to incompetence or wrongdoing. In the process, they ruined so many lives.

Aaarrggghhhh***

Car Woes 2

I managed to spend one week on public transportation. I went to DriveTime, which is the dealership I financed my broken down car through, and was able to get into a 2014 Buick Encore.

My plan wasn’t to finance through them again, necessarily, but I got roped into it and really didn’t have time to shop around.

Something else that irks me is how the credit score the car dealership pulls is not the credit score you know you have from monitoring and I just don’t understand why that is or how that is legal and how Experian can build a score so differently than the other two bureaus. I know I don’t have the best score but I spent a year contributing through Self Lender to build it up to 670 and yet I still can’t seem to get approved for a credit card or get a good interest rate.

Anywho…it took all day but I got a car. It’s actually nice. An adorable compact SUV. I took it to Elder Auto for a used car evaluation and have a few things to address but, ultimately, it’s a good car.

Maybe, in three years, I can trade it in, at a first-rate dealership, and be able to finalize  get a car of my choosing instead of selecting from what I can qualify for.

Well wishes to all…

Car Woes

I have a 2013 Dodge Journey that has about 128,000 miles on it.

Yesterday, the transmission went out. I still owe $3,400 so it’s not something I can just sell and move on from.

It’s crazy to me how these mechanical issues can come about, all of a sudden, with no indication that a major setback is about to occur.

I’m weighing my options but, like most people, I don’t look forward to the auto trade-in and buying experience.

I spoke to the original dealer, who is a second-chance lender, and was told they could not add the balance to a new lease so that’s not beneficial.

I know Car Max takes cars with issues but I reached out to them to ensure they will take a vehicle with the car-that-can’t-be-driven-onto-the-lot issues so I’m awaiting feedback.

I could find something to lease, without a trade-in, and then continue to pay the balance on the inoperable car until it is paid off.

I am also considering utilizing a new program Hertz rental has called Hertz My Car. Its a commitment-free leasing program where you pay $999 monthly to use a car of your choosing (non-luxury). The fee covers the car rental, insurance, and any maintenance. Someone in my household thinks it’s pricey but, being that I currently pay almost $900 for auto and insurance (considering my son is also on the policy) for a 2013 vehicle, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to me, especially, when considering I think I would be paying close to $1,000 per month for a car and insurance if I were to lease a newer model vehicle.

Whatever I decide to do, I’ll have to have a plan by November. I want to avoid having to endure Winter on public transportation, if I can help it.

Shana out*