Mirror, Mirror

Yes, the next chapter in #TroubleTexasStyle is posted for your pleasure.

This one takes us back to Torreon, Mexico where we get a bit deeper into history of Mercy’s ‘other family.’

It is especially hard for Will as he must face his own ‘prejudices’ or beliefs.

Honestly, I feel behind at this point. I wish there were some magic that could transpose the rest of this story from my brain straight to you. Because, right now, I feel that it is Reconciliation that we need.

But there isn’t. So, I am stuck doing my best to finish this series as quickly as possible…while still giving it the passion that it so justly deserves. My goal remains to finish these stories for the New Year. And begin that next series.

That is incredibly challenging on days like this one. Where I sit at the computer at ten a.m. and have not written a single word because my beloved @PanKwake woke me at 3:59. As Maya Angelou said:

Nonetheless, Will’s situation highlights something I think we all need to be mindful of…and reflect upon…

We all have cultural beliefs and ‘prejudices.’

Yes, that read ALL. I don’t care who you are. And if you think you don’t have any, well, isn’t that type of moral superiority a prejudice itself?

Some of our beliefs seem absolutely ‘right’ and justified. I mean (***spoiler alert***), it ain’t right for a twenty-something year old man to be ‘messing’ with a teenage girl. Right?

But until the past hundred and fifty years that was very much the norm. Look at your bible, or most other holy books. They are filled with older men and younger women. Heck, in over half the cultures on this planet today, it is if not common, then certainly not seen as perverted.

And what about our own double standards there? What about our attitudes when it is an older woman and teenage boy? And where is the line? I mean we don’t have trouble with twenty-something young men dating thirty-ish men.

Have I lost the plot? Gone off my rocker? Need to hand in my feminist card? How would I feel if a twenty-year old messed with my fourteen year old daughter?

About the same as Will does, honestly. This from the woman whose first two dating experiences were with a teacher and police man. And to be fair, I remained a virgin after both those experiences. And I have had ‘relations’ with my fair share of younger men. My personal line was…no one younger than my eldest son.

The point I am trying to make is…

Sometimes ‘right’ thinking just seems so clear.

Until you begin to put it is context.

Does that mean it is not ‘right’ still? No, not necessarily. Sometimes we change. We grow. We evolve. As individual beings and as societies.

But what we don’t want to do or be is so certain of our ‘rightness’ and their ‘wrongness’ that we fail to understand their ways of thinking, their cultural differences, their reasoning. Because without that, it is impossible to build bridges, and ultimately to change those beliefs.

I have cried this past week over just this thing. The number of Tweets that I have seen which have self-righteously asked, “How can it be this close?” “It disgusts me to know I live in a country with 70,000,000 of THOSE people.”

The truth is…statements like that, makes you THOSE people.

I don’t believe for a moment that there are seventy million racists, homophobes, and misogynists in America. I believe that the issues are far deeper than that.

People are afraid. Afraid that their children’s and grandchildren’s lives won’t be as good as their own. Afraid that they will lose their jobs and homes.

And when people are afraid, it is easiest to blame the OTHERS.

People are tired. They are bone tired of working all their lives for mega corporations. Only to retire…and discover they have to keep working just to eat. They are tired of spending 75% or more of their waking hours drudging for ‘the man’ and not having anything to show for it.

And they are especially tired of the same old politicians making the same old promises every four years. And never delivering on them. They are tired of things getting worse, not better.

And here’s some news for you…

They will keep voting for whoever they perceive as the outsider.

Yes, there might be a temporary reprieve. At least for America. But there are plenty other places around the world still in the thick of that fight. And I do mean temporary. Not even four years. In two, that pendulum could swing the other way.

And what then?

What happens to all those ‘victors’ bemoaning the tragedy of THOSE people? They become the outsiders. Again.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

That road to reconciliation begins on the personal level. With admitting that we ain’t perfect. Our farts stink. (Mine even worse now that I am mostly vegetarian.) And we don’t have all the answers.

It starts with self-reflection. With examining your own beliefs. And your actions. With as the Christian bible says:

And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?

Matthew 7:3, New Living Translation

Though I am no longer Christian, I still think that Jesus guy had some pretty cool ingots of wisdom to share with humanity. And that is one of my favorites.

Yes, we all have our prejudices. But do we recognize them? Because that is the only way that we begin to address them. That we can start to change…begin with me.

I know mine (or I am arrogant enough to think I do). My prejudices include:

  • Religion – I hate them all. I think that they are more negatives than positives to them. And yes, I have studied the world’s major religions. I have not found a single one worthy of bowing my knee or submitting my spirit.
  • Politics – Henry David Thoreau pegged it better than I ever could…

“All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or back gammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obli­gation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.”

Civil Disobedience
  • Wealth – My gran-gran used to say to me, ‘It’s just as easy to love a rich man as it is a poor, Terri Lynn.’ But I have struggled with money all my life. I don’t believe that our systems are fair or just. Nonetheless, for the past four and a half years, I have had to face this prejudice and live with it every day. Because the sad fact is in some ways it is much easier to love a rich man than a poor one. As unjust as it is, having money makes some things in life easier. And that is a hard pill to swallow.
  • Misogyny & Feminism – I ended up combining these two because basically they are the same. Both believe that one is better than the other. When in fact, it is unity of the feminine and masculine that we need within ourselves, our relationships, our cultures, and this world.
  • Racism, -phobias, and prejudice – Yes, I am prejudiced against prejudice.

But that looks like a pretty good list of things to dislike? Isn’t that a good thing?

No, because our prejudices blind us to seeing the good or the truth in the individual. I am the first to admit that the moment I meet a preacher, a politician, a rich man, a feminist, or a transphobe, I shut down. I don’t see beyond that label to anything else about that person.

Heck, I even look with skepticism at the Dali Lama. Despite all the good things he says, he’s still a religious leader. So there has to be a hook there somewhere. And politicians? You can’t be both a good person and a politician.

And this is where the rubber meets the road – if I had known Alan’s net worth I would have not gone on that first date with him. And I would have missed the love of my life.

All I am saying is…

We all need to get off our pedestals and extend the hand of reconciliation to others.

Because that is the only real way that we can break this cycle of them and us. Right and wrong. Good and evil.

Because no one ever sees themselves as evil. They believe that they are just doing what it takes to survive. And that is the best common place to begin. The only way we have of showing the path to a different way of seeing and doing things.

So, I stripped my soul bare and revealed my prejudices. What are yours? Don’t worry, you don’t have to list them in comments (unless you want to). But have you reflected upon them? Do you know (or think you know) what they are? If not then I challenge you to take that first step on the road to reconciliation. Look into your own heart and ask,

Mirror, mirror of my life, where is my ugliness?

When you do, I know that you open the gateways for the goddess to bless you with compassion and understanding, and to use you to bring the reconciliation and peace this world so desperately needs right now.

May the goddess bless with all that and more,
Tara

Oh, and if you are wondering, who the heck that photo is? That is Mercy’s baby brother Roberto. You’ll be seeing more of him.

3 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror

  1. I have no problem with religion. I have a problem with organized religion. The power structure. Somebody telling me how to believe, what to do. For me, that is wrong.

    I live in Los Angeles. In one of the local positions, one politician put out ads that said a vote for him was a vote for law and order. That phrase, “law and order” brought shivers. Have we forgotten?

    Am I prejudiced? Of course I am. And I try to understand what those prejudices are and where they come from.

    My father told me to look in the mirror. If I couldn’t laugh at what I saw, there was a problem. Well, I can and do laugh at myself, and I see a lot of other things.

    I deal with myself. I love beautiful women. My daughters are gorgeous, and were growing up. But the thought of sex was never on the table. When it came up.it was answered the same way, “You are gorgeous but I love your mother”

    1. You make some good points, as always, Arthurs.

      For me I make that distinction as spiritual vs. religious. My journey is highly spiritual thus I dance half-naked to Peruquois at 5 am every morning.

      LA is such a strange mixture. Growing up in the south, I always imagined it to be this utopia of tolerance. Yet, when I moved there following my first divorce, I discovered it was anything but. Just another of my long list of ideals that have become tarnished by reality.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. Hope you enjoy this chapter.

  2. Here are mine:

    1. People outside my political bubble — I have very little patience (especially these days) for anyone who says they’re still a Republican (the American variety). I almost immediately shut down and stop listening.
    2. Texans/Americans — I’m also generally uninterested in my compatriots (Texans/Americans); the idea that we have some sort of monopoly on all that is good and right in the world is infuriating.
    3. Bad cooks — this last one may seem trivial and more of a pet peeve, but seriously, folks. How do you make it into adulthood and not know how to boil water? I watch some of these “worst cooks” shows on the Food Network, etc and my head just explodes. I CANNOT with these folks. Lol.

    I’m sure there are others, but those are the ones that popped into my head most quickly.

    I’m also going to say this as gently as I can: I also get impatient with people who are so negative about politics. I think it may be a perception thing. I see “politics” as the interaction between our government and our society. It’s not a partisan thing. It’s not a transactional, votes-for-favors things. It’s the way we advocate for ourselves and our people. To a large extent (and for the record, I don’t think you fall in this category, Tara), I find that people who “aren’t into politics” are those who don’t HAVE to be into politics. In other words, those for whom society already works. At least in the U.S., it’s a luxury to not have to be interested or invested in politics.

    Anyhooooo, these are my thoughts for the day. Thanks for the blog post and the new chapter. As always, what you write is a bright spot in my week!

    –Megan

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