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.


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You Call Me Out of My Name

You call me out of my name every time you ignore me or my calls

Every time you walk out and act as if I never even existed

Every time you accuse me of owing you for what you allegedly gave to me out of love

Every time you pretend that what you said and did were not intended to hurt

Every time you threaten to strike me with your hands or your words

Every time you dismiss me and my feelings like they mean nothing to you

Every time you refuse to acknowledge your part in destroying what we built together

Every time you put what we had in unnecessary danger or jeopardy by neglecting to take care of yourself

Every time you let your anger and self-righteousness demolish the trust we came to cherish

Every time you negate the love that some black women have given to you, including me,  because of the actions of those who did not

Every time you despise and hate me for what others did to you

Every time you blame me for your fears, shortcomings and failures

Every time you fail to understand the difference between the past and the present

Every time you assume that you know more than me or are better than me because you are male

Every time you forsake your own integrity and happiness

For a drink.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

On Gods and Higher Powers: Why I Don’t Believe

I often meet people who say that they believe in gods and higher powers

But rarely do they follow the teachings of those gods or higher powers

Instead, they do what they want when they want

And they use their gods to support their own longings, desires and shortcomings,

While their actions (or inactions) reveal what they really believe and what they really value in life

Which is usually contrary to the gods they say that they believe in

That’s one reason why I don’t believe in gods or higher powers

Because those gods only seem to exist in the mirrors of those who say that they believe.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

 

Every Black Woman

I know a black man who was betrayed and abused by black women who once said they loved him, and who once should have loved him.

And so, subconsciously, when he is afraid of losing her, he abuses and abandons nearly every black woman who desires to love him.

This makes him feel worse, and even more abandoned and afraid. 

And, as most self-fulfilling prophecies work, he uses his own actions to falsely blame black women for the recurring pain that he inflicts upon himself. 

I used to think that he did not know how to love.

But now I realize that he is afraid, perhaps even terrified, of love, and the memory of being betrayed and abandoned.

And that’s why he will abuse nearly every black woman who desires to love him.

Until he decides to break the cycle of abuse.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

The Seriousness of Stress

Today, I was in a meeting, and an 88 year old man was talking about the stressors in his life and how he has managed to handle them. In the process of sharing he said something like, “Stress will get you pain; stress will get you cancer; and stress will get you dead.” On a day like today, when I was feeling a considerable amount of stress about some of the changes that are in the very near future, I was reminded of the seriousness of stress. Being a black woman, who is threatened everyday with harmful expressions (particularly of maleness and whiteness), I know that notwithstanding those threats, stress can be just as deadly, if not more.

Of course, I have carried my share of of stress in my lifetime. However, I have suffered the worst when I have taken on the stress of others, specifically when I took on other peoples’ pain. On the one hand, it is good to have compassion for others, and it is good to be there in times of need. On the other hand, I also know people who are going through stress because of self-destructive thinking and behaviors. Indeed, my upbringing has taught me to be there for others and to show empathy. But, when I show more care and compassion for those who are not willing or able to take care of themselves (and with a little honesty and effort on their part they could or should be able to take care of themselves), then I suffer from their stress, while  meanwhile they seem to go along as if nothing is wrong. It is hard to see others’ struggle, but it is even harder to watch someone who is under considerable stress and in denial.

I was grateful to be reminded today that “stress will get you dead” by someone who has lived through more than eight decades of stress. I appreciated his honesty and his vulnerability, and his ability to tell those of us who are younger that it shouldn’t take eighty plus years to learn how to handle stress. Stress is an everyday part of life, and I am willing to take on my stress, the stress that belongs to me. But, what I have to remember is that I do not have to take on any body else’s stress, and especially not when they are not able or conscious enough to admit that they are in trouble and suffering with their own stressors. Taking on their stress when for one reason or another they are inept or unable to even name their stress is, in fact, something that will get me dead; and it is a stress that I simply cannot afford.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

 

 

 

August 21, 2017: A Day for Fun

Typically, I don’t get into the way that Americans tend to commercialize every damn thing, like the August 21, 2017, #solareclipse. However, I spent most of the day with children who witnessed the solar eclipse for the very first time. The excitement in their eyes and voices was naturally playful.

The fact that they could witness the solar eclipse freely, as a random, natural, and perhaps we could say a #scientific event, yet as something that we too (as human beings) can claim to be a part of – universally – minus any talk of any gods or visions or end times, was very meaningful to me.

It was just plain, old, simple, childish, fun!

And today, fun, is something that we all can use for our own personal good.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D. 

There is No Such Thing as Emotional Abuse, Right?

Once, I knew a man who threw me out of his house when I said to him that there is such a thing known as emotional abuse.

In response to my assertion he turned and yelled at me, “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EMOTIONAL ABUSE.” And then, from out of what seemed like nowhere, in a fit of rage, in an effort to reject the truth of what I had said, he told me to pack my things and leave.

The next day, he texted me and told me that he was sorry and that he loved me.

And it was in that experience that I learned, first-hand, that emotional abuse really does exist. And so did he.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.