Insanity

When a man is insane,

He does not even realize that

He

Has

Lost

Himself.

So he continues to give himself away,

Over, and over again.

Until he can muster the courage to gather the pieces and recover,

He will make a sure fool of himself

With distorted thinking and unacceptable actions.

As long as he refuses (and is perhaps afraid) to accept his many truths,

Not just the ones that boost his ego,

He may never really know what it means to be found,

And in his right mind.

© 2018 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

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Black Panther: And the Beauty of Sunsets (and People) We Never Could Have Imagined

There is always more than one way to win when you are in a fight, or when you are facing an enemy or oppressor. What I liked about the movie Black Panther was seeing that it is not always necessary or wise to let the hate or contempt that you feel for those who hurt you eat you and every one you come into contact with, alive.

I know far too many people, a few that I still love, deeply, to this day, who are consumed with anger and hate. In some cases, they destroy everything that they come into contact with: good, bad, and in-between; until eventually their hate and resentments lead them to destroy themselves.

I’m all for insisting upon accountability and justice from those that I would consider to be my enemies and generally as hateful and abusive individuals, but, I’ve also learned that it is not to my benefit or for my good to destroy my own chances at happiness and joy because of what someone else did or said that harmed me or others. I cannot live my life wallowing and drowning in the inadequacies and transgressions of others who seem to be oblivious to their own brokenness and failures.

Approaching the age of fifty, I have learned that living in this way – caught in the grip of my past and pain – will keep me from seeing the beauty in life, the sunsets, the people and the places that I never could have imagined.

I walked out of the movie, Black Panther, being keenly aware of how important it is to heal from the losses and tragedies of the past (and even those that I encounter here in the present).

If we are ever going to be useful to ourselves and a gift to others, including the next generation, these actions – which require the evolution of self and the letting go of hate – are what we must take the time to embrace before our time is up.

© 2018 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

What I Learned in 2017

In 2017, I learned that most of the time we have to reach for sanity and serenity

In the world in which we live, peacefulness does not come to us freely without cost

We have to consciously resist the insanity, the chaos, and the drama that this world tries to offer

We have to make the effort to stop listening to its noise

And make our own peace within life

Even though it is easier and more convenient to practice insanity that is proudly articulated by people who believe that it is better to hate than to love

From those who think that it is better to destroy than to work for peace and harmony

And on behalf of those who openly carry arsenals of fearful and distorted ideas that are intended to harm and to maim.  

This year, instead of enabling and recreating madness and dysfunctional patterns, I learned to know myself, and others, even my haters, in truth and with love. 

Doing this has made my life a lot less complicated,

And full with laughter and joy. 

© 2018 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

We Black Women: Seen, Heard, and Beautiful

This blog entry is partially written in response to someone who recently said to me, “See that’s what is wrong with you black women.” With a cowardly text, and out of nowhere, this man – a black man who repeatedly claimed to love me (allegedly “more” than I loved him) – spewed his contempt and hate toward me and toward black women by saying, “Something is wrong with you black women.” Needless to say, I was infuriated by his hateful rant, yet it was one that helped me to see him for who he really is: a misogynist – one who hates women; one who holds women in contempt. It was a painful realization that I did not want to face because he is a black man, born of a black woman and raised by his black sisters. His misogyny is something that I did not want to acknowledge or admit. After two years of knowing him, intimately, I wanted to believe that he was better than the man that he kept proving himself to be .

Well, finally, after getting that text, a fearful coward’s move from behind his telephone screen where he was hiding, apparently thinking that he was unseen, it jolted me out of my denial and caused me to recognize him for who he is, and for the awfully abusive man that he obviously wants to be, since he too knows and admits that he has “issues” with black women, yet he refuses to address those issues. And, in spite of his own “issues,” he keeps getting involved with black women and, tragically, the contempt and hate he feels for the black women who hurt him keeps oozing out, sabotaging his relationships with black women, including the ones he has with the women in his family. Consequently, he repeatedly hurts himself and others, going back and forth between fight-flight mode until, finally, he is exhausted, as he runs, hides, and blames it all on the “black b*tches” that he chooses to be with. Of course, later – after he has vomited his hateful feelings upon the black women in his life – he apologizes, he even claims to take “full responsibility” for the undoing of his relationships; but, because he is not getting help for his pain, he cycles right back into a painful cycle of abuse and disappointment with yet another black woman.

Yes, this is the very definition of insanity; it is also a description of a man who is emotionally incompetent and sick, and, eventually, he will make women (especially black women) sick of his bullsh*t if they, in turn, choose to be with him. In addition, he is a rageful man and he becomes even more angry (on top of the anger he already feels from childhood trauma) and dismissive with the women who rightfully walk and sometimes run out of his life. He resents them for leaving him, yet, unfortunately, he hasn’t figured it out: no woman wants (or needs) to be with a man – no matter what color he is – who is not in control of his emotions and who refuses to gain control of himself.

Unfortunately, the hatred and contempt that he feels towards black women is/will not be limited to black women – because as soon as he is triggered by the pain and fear that belong to his past by any woman, black or non-black, he reacts as he has always done – fighting, with abusive words and actions until he runs away, all the while claiming -falsely- that he has been wronged and abandoned. Yet, no woman, black, white, red, or yellow, has to, under any circumstances, put up with any abuse, and definitely not from such a troubled man who chooses to stay troubled. Of course, he doesn’t really get that. Indeed, with him it is as one of my friends so accurately said: he is a walking dead man. And he will stay that way until he does something to stop his pain, or until it stops him.

Turning the corner. For those of you who might be wondering, writing is cathartic to me. I write, first and foremost, for myself. It helps me to process my feelings, and it is my way of being heard; my way of standing up for myself and for my feelings. My relationship to writing began when I was a child/adolescent when my mother would send me to my room on punishment. In response to that punishment, I would tape notes to my bedroom door (which would be closed); with those notes I expressed my feelings, and most of all, it was my reaction to being silenced and unseen. Who knew that the practice of posting notes to my bedroom door would turn into a passion and an ability to write?

That said, I do not write to “get paid,” although getting paid for my writing is not something that I turn away. I write because I can; it is something that I am good at; and, the act of writing for me is what I do to heal myself from pain and from the hatefulness, dismissal, or the harm that I feel. Writing helps me to express and free myself in a world that is compromised by pain, past and present. And, since I have been writing on public platforms, such as Facebook and WordPress, I have been contacted and told by many that I have helped them to do the same. You cannot imagine how it feels to me to know that my writing (and thus my thinking) has helped others to find their voices, to face their challenges. That is what freedom is all about: liberation for self and for others.

If you would like to republish my work in a larger platform or in a book, please contact me. I would be more than happy to discuss how that could be done and what it would cost. And now, today’s blog, inspired by the pain from a very abusive and disappointing, but eye-opening relationship:

WE BLACK WOMEN

We black women are

Mamas, sisters, friends, lovers, teachers, warriors, and sometimes enemies of those who hate us and who want to exploit and use us, mostly for sex and company,

We black women have stood strong and proud in the face of hate and rejection by those who do not see us, who do not love us,

Because of their own pain and their own fears.

But we black women

We are like Maya Angelou

And Fannie Lou Hamer

And Nina Simone

And Angela Davis

And Elaine Brown

And Billie Holiday

And Alice Walker

And Abbey Lincoln

And Shirley Horn

And Bessie Smith

And June Jordan

And Marimba Ani

And Toni Morrison

And Anita Hill

And bell hooks

And we be like many more black women – like my own mother and sister.

We are black, and we are women

We have changed our worlds and this world for the better and the world sees us and knows what we have done.

The world knows who we are.

Not all black women do good, not all black women are good

There are some black women have done irreparable harm to their children and to their families,

But most of all they have abandoned themselves.

There are black women who have given up on living their own lives

Maybe they did and do not know how to live for themselves

Maybe the fear of life and others has overcome and overpowered them

Maybe they have believed what others said about them, so therefore they lived the lies of others.

But there are many of us, black women, who have turned other peoples’ lies upside down

We black women have told and written our own stories

We black women are remembered as the authors and finishers of our own fates

And, we black women have survived the unthinkable, the unimaginable when we could have been dead and gone.

We black women.

We black.

We black.

We black.

And, we women.

We women.

We women.

We women.

We black women are proudly black and we will be seen, heard, for indeed, we are very, very beautiful.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

Making it Hard for Ourselves: the Politics of Resistance

Recently, a man that I know – a  black man who alleges that he loves me – had this to say to me from out of the blue (and over text):

You make it hard on yourself because you choose to be [publicly] an atheist and a womanist…it just seems like “you black women” want to struggle.

What he did not know, or realize, was that the most powerful people on planet Earth are the ones who dare to resist the abuse and terror of white-dominated institutions and any misogynistic behavior, when to do so would go against the grain, or the norm; and when  to do so might make life “hard” for them.

I am so very grateful for the people and the institutions who struggled against injustice and risked their lives and what they had to make the world that we know a better place for all. Indeed, there is no better sacrifice, than to lay down one’s life for a friend, and for others…when you don’t have to. Deep down, I think the greatest people in the world knew that their struggles (the ones they did not have to take on) would enrich and sustain the lives of others.

A person or institution who only uses his power when it is acceptable or popular or safe is not powerful. He is a conformist, and he is afraid. This is a man who does very little, if anything, for anyone besides himself or his immediate family members; and, unfortunately, there are many like him. I’m sure you know some; the ones who sit back (from behind their masks) and criticize those who are willing to stand up and take the risks that they feel are necessary. That criticism is a projection of their feelings of inadequacy and fear, and it has no power to stop anyone from being who they want to be in life, even though it is meant to intimidate to bully, and to shame others, which is a reflection of the shame that they feel about themselves and their actions and inactions.

I am very proud to identify myself, in public, as an atheist and as a womanist; and this even more so every day, because in the the name of so-called gods, men and religion have torn this world apart, as well as the beings who live on it. Men and religion have predominantly been the ones to bring violence and destruction to the Earth and its inhabitants.

As for the man who said those words to me – you make it hard on yourself – he never really got me, and he probably never will, and that is okay. Because if standing up for myself, and for others, is seen as “making it hard on myself,” then so be it, for it is something that I hope I have the wherewithal to do until the day that I die.

Because the struggle is life and the struggle will continue.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

On Working With the Littlest Ones

I get to work with children a lot,  although being a K – 12 school teacher is not my primary profession. However, what I like about working with children and adolescents is that they all have good days and bad days, and I get to see it all; the range of their emotions and capabilities is mind-blowing. One minute they are up and all over me with hugs and kisses, and the next they are down with tears, sobs and a few stomps and kicks (and every now and then there’s a little bit of snot). In the end, it is children, especially the littlest ones, who are, I think, some of the most expressive and beautiful creatures on the planet.

Every day I remember and cherish them as I walk out the door and go back home, quietly, to my life without children. And, I know that one day I will be dead and gone, but the memory of me will live quietly in a few of their hearts, all grown up. 

For those memories I am grateful, because without a doubt the faces and sounds of those children live so vividly in my mind, and they give me so much hope for my life and for theirs. And sometimes, maybe most times, in this troubled, violent, so-called adult world that we are living in, hope is really all that we’ve actually got.

 

©2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.