Differences in the Experience with Slavery for Men and Women

*Facts based off of information in my personal notes from my HST 247 African American History class that I took at DePaul University in 2019.

Slavery in the United States was racist, there is simply no denying that fact; however, as if enslaving human beings based off the color of one’s skin was not inhumane and unjust enough, slave owners sought to invoke treacherous punishments on slaves based off their genders. Slavery was aimed to make the enslaved feel that blackness was a shameful quality, but the minds behind slavery were darker than just racism. The gendering of slavery intertwined with the blatant racism created an intersection filled with hate, pain, suffering, and pure ignorance of morality. Both women and men endured separate, yet also the same, hells in a world where their voices were silenced.

 Women faced certain challenges that men did not see as often because of the objectification that the women faced from the slave owners. The literature piece, Ar’n’t I a Woman?, addresses several problems that women faced, and most of these problems stemmed from socially constructed archetypes that were developed. One of these archetypes was that of “Jezebel” (White 29). This archetype was made so that black women would be viewed as promiscuous, intensely sexual beings. The origination of this image was produced when the whites first encountered black women in Africa (White 29). Not only did this stand as a negative label, the Jezebel archetype had direct influence on the African American women’s lives. Since society viewed black women as overly sexual beings, when women were raped by slave owners, the rape was excused (White 32). Black women were thought to have no purity, whereas white women were pure women who deserved complete respect. An escaped slave, Christopher Nichols, recalled that a master that he had would take women and throw them over a bench and rape that woman in front of everyone (White 33). The men would not show any mercy and overpower any woman that he wanted to. The men would whip the women and rape them in front of their mothers and fathers and if the women resisted, further punishment was had (White 35).

The sexual objectification of women was an experience that many women faced, and slave owners would use the sexuality of women in an advantageous way. Slave owners would rape women in order to increase the number of slaves on the plantation, because the children would take the status of the women. One instance in history was the case of Celia. Celia was a young girl who suffered from intense sexual abuse from her owner. Eventually Celia grew tired of the treatment she faced from her owner and killed him. This case was brought to court and the rape was recognized, but it was not found illegal because the court felt that Celia, as a black woman, had no purity to be taken away. Celia fit into the Jezebel archetype and the actions that were proceeded in court supported the archetype. Even though Jezebel was promiscuous and sexy, she was not worthy of the same life as a white woman. Jezebel may not have been whipped and put to field work, but she was living a horrid reality that was filled with rape, hate, oppression, and violence.

While some women were being shamed for sexuality, other women were having their sexuality taken away. It was the socially constructed archetype of the “Mammy” that did this (White 46). The Mammy archetype represented a loving and caring black woman that had no interest in any sexual activity. This woman cared heavily for the slave owners’ children but was still viewed as a slave. This Mammy was held to high expectations and was relied on to perform several tasks, in good time, regardless of any constraints. Mammy was the prized house-slave and was seen to be worthy and reliable (White 47). Susan Eppes, a slave owner, would converse with her Mammy every day and viewed her Mammy as a sort of children’s keeper (White 47). Mammy was thought to be very well respected, which in turn, made some believe that maybe slavery was not as bad as it seemed. No matter how much respect a slave owner could have for a slave, that person was still supporting the brutal system of slavery. Even though Mammy was this woman who could do it all, her value when compared to a white woman was nonexistent. Mammy was capable and did work efficiently, but Mammy was still not viewed to be as worthy as a white woman and was nonetheless property of the slave owners. The women who faced this label were made to think that the “respect” received from the owners was a good way to live and that they were lucky to be out of the field and away from the lashes of the whip.

While women were being sexualized by the slave owners, men were facing unimaginable punishments. Men felt that they were powerless because the whites would take sexual advantage of their wives, daughters, and mothers, but the men could not do anything to stop the terror (Black 100). In the African culture, a man is expected to care for his family, but under slavery this notion was nonexistent. Henry Bibb wrote a slave narrative and spoke on the several brutalities that he suffered. He, and other enslaved men, felt that a man had a right to his wife and a right to his children, but the slave owners stripped black men of those rights (Black 111). This narrative was completely honest, and he was up front with everything that he felt and experienced. He said that, “I must be a slave for life—suffer under the lash or die.” (Black 103). This was the reality for several slaves, especially those following the first-generation slaves. When a slave was born into slavery, the only life that was known was one of oppression, hate, and pain—there seemed to be no way out, except for death. Bibb suffered intense violence during his time at the Whitfield Plantation, especially when he had a failed attempt to escape. He recalled in his narrative that, “My clothing was ripped off and I was compelled to lie on the ground…four stakes were driven in the ground, to which my hands and feet were tied (Black 105).” He was then lashed from head to foot repeatedly, almost to death. Bibbs was unable to work for several days and was separated from his family for the rest of his time on the plantation. Bibbs held back the rage to retaliate, because fighting back meant death and he refused to face death (Black 106). This is what made male slaves feel emasculated and powerless, they had to be brutally abused in front of their peers and family, but there was nothing that could be done to stop it. His pride was stripped off him and beaten away with each lash and flog that he faced.

Sometimes slaves would fight back, such as the actions of Solomon Northup. Unlike Bibbs, Northup was born a free man and was captured and brought into slavery. This ignited a different type of anger within that Bibbs did not have. Northup brought a lot of insight to the truth of how brutal slavery was. He recalled that, “Twenty-five [lashes] are deemed a mere brush, inflicted, for instance…when a branch is broken in the field… (Black 108).” This recollection goes to show that slaves—men for the most part—would face brutal punishments even for the slightest of mistakes, like a broken branch. Even no mistakes could lead to punishment if the slave owner felt like it. The day that Northup decided to fight back and stand up to his slave owner, is a day that he regrets. He pushed his slave owner down, seized his whip, and struck him repeatedly (Black 109). The reason that he regrets this is because he knew that severe punishment would come, in fact, his slave owner attempted to hang him, but decided to stop so that Northup could live a life of increased fear and more pain.

This is only a pebble in an entire mountain of history. I encourage everyone to read history from certified, credible sources and to deepen your knowledge on subjects that weren’t taught enough in secondary school, or high school. This concerns all histories and subjects, not just that of the United States and slavery. History is very important and much of the present can be explained by history. Education is a gift and knowledge is power.

Texts Used:

Dismantling Black Manhood: Daniel P. Black

Out of the House of Bondage-The Transformation of the Plantation Household: Thavolia Glymph

Ar’n’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South: Deborah Gray White

           

DRUGS. But not the ones you think.

When most people think about addicting drugs, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine come to mind. What people fail to recognize is that most of them pump highly addictive drugs into their systems every single day. These drugs are hidden behind the masks of trusted doctors and funded by the dirty hands of the government. In various […]

When most people think about addicting drugs, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine come to mind. What people fail to recognize is that most of them pump highly addictive drugs into their systems every single day. These drugs are hidden behind the masks of trusted doctors and funded by the dirty hands of the government. In various fields of the health industry, the fastest fix is usually sought out; but, faster does not always mean better.

Narcotics, or more commonly referred to as pain killers or opioids, are very deadly. New York Times reporter, Barry Meier, authored a book that focuses on the dangers of prescription pain medication titled, “A World of Hurt: Fixing Pain Medicine’s Biggest Mistake” (Parker-Pope 2013). Within this publication he visited the lives of people who have had both good and bad experiences with pain killers, most being bad. He found that pain killers helped patients a great deal with pain, and the patients were very satisfied; however, when the prescription came to an end, the patients experienced severe side effects (Parker-Pope 2013). Some of these being addiction, lowered hormone production, tiredness, and several other side effects—including death (Parker-Pope 2013). In fact, the number of deaths from painkillers is rising every year. Even the over-the-counter pain killers that many people take such as Tylenonl (Acetaminophen) at the slightest appearance of pain are not good for the body. These types of drugs do relieve pain in a safer manner than opioids, but that does not mean that they are any “better.” When used for a long period of time and when used frequently, these medications can and most likely will lead to kidney diseases/problems and liver diseases/problems. And also an increased risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack), cerebrovascular accident (stroke), or hypertension (high blood pressure).

Pain killers are very addictive and are a serious problem, but what is the solution? Natural medicine. There have been various studies done on those experiencing chronic pain that investigate different forms of natural medicine to relieve that pain rather than using drugs. Such examples of pain relief include heat and cold therapy (Rodriguez 2014), meditation (Brody 2017), and chiropractic care. Heat therapy is widely accepted throughout the medical community to work on its own, but it is typically paired with drug-use which is not a necessary step (Rodriguez 2014). Heat therapy works because the heat helps relax the muscles and makes the body less tense, which in turn eases pain. Cold therapy is also used to lower inflammation and swelling in an injury, which will lead to less pain being felt (Rodriguez 2014). As for meditation, a scientific study took place that worked with participants experiencing chronic pain. Each subject worked on mindful meditation for two and a half years, and the results were spectacular. At the end of the study, each subject reported feeling less pain, feelings less anxiety in general, and having more acceptance of the pain that remained without the use of pain killers (la Cour, Petersen 2015).

Finally, chiropractic care can ease pain in patients through spinal manipulation. When the spine is misaligned, or subluxated, the entire body is thrown off-course and several symptoms can arise such as: stomach aches, acne, sore joints, lethargy and a tight neck. Realigning the spine allows for those symptoms to ease or even dissipate entirely because when the spine is in line, the body functions more regularly than when it is not. This is a pain management and better quality of life method that I can support, as myself and my family have been under chiropractic care since birth. Instead of pairing natural methods with drug-use, natural methods need to be paired with natural methods.

Since there are these issues that are flooding the United States, the question has not been answered as to why. Why would something so deadly be given out so carelessly? The answer is easy—efficiency. Narcotics are a quick fix that can relieve symptoms almost instantaneously. Money may appear to be the drive behind medicine for some, but in reality, the foundation of the problem is trying to find the fastest solution for a problem. The human body is a fragile, spectacular biological masterpiece, yet daily we treat it like it is worth nothing. Humans need to put in the time to assure that the body that is inhabited is healthy and functioning to its highest potential, and this all begins with natural medicine. Natural medicine is scary for some because natural medicine is different than what people are used to. Change is very scary for people, but sometimes change is what is needed. Narcotics are not the only element to exist in the world that can lead to pain relief, there are proven natural remedies that may take time and focus but living a longer and healthier life is worth the time. Do something good for the body, do something good for the soul—do natural medicine, and remember, nothing good comes fast.

Choose Love.

Love. The most powerful energy to exist in the world. Romantic love between a husband and wife, platonic love between two best friends, or the unconditional love from a pet—love surrounds all. Love can fix all the wrongs in the world. Real love is never selfish, if it draws negativity into the world it is not love, perhaps it is lust or desire. Everyone and everything is deserving of love, no matter the wrongdoings that an individual does. It must be remembered that if a person was shown complete love for the entire life lived, then the wrongdoing may not have occurred. Love is accepting the faults in a person, no matter how burdening those faults may seem. Love is physical as in respecting the gift of the body and the gift of the world with absolute caution and admiration. Love is mental as in love the self and regarding the self as a work of art, because the self is spectacular, and the occurrence of each person is almost impossible. Love is vocal as in acknowledging to others the love you have, whether that other be a human being, an animal, an insect or a favorite book. Recognizing love and declaring love is ever so powerful. Love should consume the soul for eternity because what other than love should be felt? Love can be felt even during the bad times. The loss of a loved one is heartbreaking, yet the chance that was had to love that person must be appreciated. Love is universal and the boundaries of love do not exist. There is no wrong love or unacceptable love.

Love is everywhere and there is no instance in which love is unable to appear, because if hate and anger are possible, then so is love. Manifest love internally and express love externally. The more love you allow to surround you, the more love you’ll notice in your life. Love the birds, the bees, the sky, the trees, and even love the materialistic things that you own. That is one beautiful thing about humans, we give things meaning. Your favorite baseball cap? Favorite pair of pants? Favorite coffee shop? Or even that necklace you wear everyday that your late grandmother gave you? Love it all. It is always said that material items mean nothing, but while they do not mean as much as connections between people, they do mean something. There is no shame in giving something meaning and simply loving it, that is what being human is all about. Everyday we buy cars, houses, go to school, eat at our favorite restaurant, even when we know that this life is not forever. Everyone knows that sooner or later, life will end and many think that everything we have done in our life means nothing–but that is not true. Make it your goal to love as much as you can. Touch others hearts. When you die, everything that you have touched lives on. Even love you show one person can impact another indirectly. Love is powerful and love is everlasting. Not feeling and showing love is a choice, but then that means that feeling and showing love is a choice. Choose love.

I love you.

Religion Shouldn’t Hurt

Jesus is the son of God–who is the creator of everything we know. When we die we rise to heaven or descend to hell. When one dies they continue the familiar route of samsara until they escape and reach nirvana. Truth is one, Brahman is truth and reality, the Vedas are the ultimate authority and one should strive to achieve dharma. What do all of these things have in common? They are all neither completely false nor absolutely true.

It is no secret that there are constant battles between people concerning many things, one of those being religion. In regions such as the United States, Sweden, and Denmark where religious freedom exists (YES THE UNITED STATES IS NOT THE ONLY COUNTRY WITH RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!!!), there is a daily power-struggle of “who is right and who is wrong.” Now, for those regions where following a religion is strictly required under the law, then it is expected to see less disagreement, as there are usually dire and deadly consequences for disobeying such a law. When tackling the issue of religious disagreements between citizens and governments within regions with religious freedom, it has to be known that religion is purely a belief–meaning that there is no wrongness to any religious belief. Even in countries without religious freedom this is so; however, it is a much more difficult situation to work through. The reason for a large number of disputes and constant quarreling over “whose religion is correct” is due to the fact that we tend to misconceive truth when we think of several commodities, one of those being religion. To the one that conceives, the belief holds great truth; however, for others, this may not be the case. This disagreement does not have to turn into a battle of wills, it is simply just a disagreement and one should have enough pride and respect to agree to disagree.

The comical part of the “battle of religions” is the widespread religious belief that one should respect others. Whether it be the Bible, the Torah, the Vedas or any sacred text there is one common theme that arises throughout them all: be altruistic. Another point in this argument is that, unless another person’s belief directly or indirectly harms someone, there is no fault or trouble with their actions. Yes, some religions use the slaughter of animals in ritualistic purpose and I am not saying that I am a animal hater or that I promote violence against animals, but unless every person fighting those religions has never eaten meat or an animal product a day in their life, they cannot really argue on such a topic. Religion and violence against animals are two different topics. Besides, if someone is so against animal violence then stop getting the vaccinations with aborted animal and human fetus cells. Don’t believe me? There are two links at the end, I ask that you check them out. If violence is such an issue, then why are the very religions that want to stop violence against animals promoting violence on our own species because they follow a different religion? Some people use religion to protect members of their own religion, but basically dehumanize someone if they are of a different religion. The desire to control is such an issue when it comes to religion and people are willing to do almost anything to brainwash people into following a singular set of religious principles. I don’t want to get politics involved into this, but that’d be like creating a law based off of what is said to be wrong or right in a sacred text that applies to a religion that everyone does not follow and forcing everyone to abide by that law (but a government wouldn’t do that…right?).

Having indifferent beliefs does not mean that you can’t enlighten others on your own personal beliefs. However, one must be careful when doing so, as it is quite easy to make something that is purely innocent sound inflicting and forceful; especially when it comes to beliefs. Many people enjoy telling others to follow their religion and oftentimes they try and make the person believe that that is the only belief they should hold. Instead of doing this, people need to just provide knowledge and a general understanding of the basic beliefs of the religion they follow and then if the listener feels as if those beliefs suit them, then they will ask for more information. This is why religions and their history need to get taught in school. The education is not to convert, the education is to enlighten. The more educated we are, the more we can understand others. And the more we understand others, the more we can grow to respect others and appreciate our differences. In fact, maybe we would grow to learn that all of these religions aren’t so different after all.

So how does this issue get fixed? Well, I am no societal mastermind that knows how to restore eternal peace in the world, but basically there are two options: open your mind to other beliefs, or just stop caring what other people do so much. Starting with the former way, if one just opens their mind and gains empathy and sees things from other points of view, the world would be a much better place. At first, other religious beliefs may sound absolutely crazy and obscene, but talk to people, do research and try and understand why people think that way–because there is going to be a reason. This doesn’t mean you have to convert, it just means that you understand. Now for the latter, it may sound wrongful to say that being ignorant can lead to a more peaceful world. The definition of ignorance has been destroyed much like religion itself. It is thought that ignorance breeds characteristics of pessimism and negativity, but that is false. Yes, ignorance can lead to the cultivation of such feelings and actions, but that is not always what occurs. Ignorance is bliss. By this, I mean that not having an outstanding concern for others’ beliefs and focusing on your own self is bliss. You are aware that other people follow other religions that may not align with yours, but that does not bother you. You simply do not know about other religions, so the presence of others that follow them does not bother you. The thing about this, though, is that people in places of power such as the government can’t really follow this mindset because it is their job to understand “their” people. If the ruler of a country based a law off of their own personal religion, not even considering the views of the people that reside in their country, then that doesn’t make them that good of a ruler does it?

At the end of the day, religion is merely a belief, and beliefs are not absolute truths; therefore one cannot simply hold disputes towards someone with different beliefs unless subsequent evidence provides facts that prove their personal beliefs to be an absolute truth. In a sense, all religions are true beliefs, as a belief cannot simply be false because there is no truth attached to it. I guess one could say that religious beliefs are both true and untrue. They are all neither completely false nor absolutely true.

Just respect everyone and accept that everyone is different. Try and get yourself some knowledge on others because you will soon realize that although we are all different, we will never be as different as we are similar.

Links:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6027112/

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/b/excipient-table-2.pdf (FYI “MRC-5 human diploid cells” are cells from the lung tissue of an aborted male fetus and “bovine serum” is harvested from bovine fetuses taken from pregnant cows during slaughter.)

The Only Thing Fated is Life and Death

The question of free-will and a future that is set in stone is something I ponder every so often. Part of me wants to say that as humans, we never truly make any decisions and that everything is predetermined–but, then another part of me begs to differ. There are only two things that are most certainly fated for our lives: when we are born and when we die. Although this seems to be obvious, it is something I never really thought of until early September 2019 when I was reading a book titled, Gilgamesh. There was an excerpt from the book that read, “When the gods assemble, they decide your fate, they establish both life and death for you, but the time of death they do not reveal.” As a whole, this line touches on a lot of common philosophical themes. It says how life and death are fated and both are inevitable, but we can never know when death will arrive; which begins to beg the question of whether we live to die or we live to live. I have to say that I find myself following the latter.

For as far as most of us know, right now, we are only living one life. There may have been lives before the present and lives to be lived in the future, but right here and right now we are living this life. The philosophical question of whether we are actually here right now or in some other time/realm can be asked, but it is up to the individual to decide that they are here now and that now is real. I choose to decide that I am here and that I am real and I live my life accordingly. With that being said, what are we supposed to do with this so-called life that we are all living? My answer for that is anything.

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

I have to say that I was inspired to write on such a topic after watching various movies and TV series that surround both fictional and non-fictional stories that follow a sort of “rags-to-riches” story line. Some of these movies consist of: 42, Naruto, Lee Daniels: The Butler, Stand By Me, and Lean on Me. In each of these movies there is an individual or several individuals who did what many would believe was impossible. The thing that I have noticed in life is that many people get stuck into some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy mindset. Whether it be the child whose parents tell him he’s no good or the child who dreams to be an artist, but his parents make him feel like he needs to become a doctor, it is something I see too often. What many do not realize is that if there is something that you have a deep desire to accomplish in this world, then you can most certainly do it. Looking at the movies I mentioned that were based off of true-stories, what if Jackie Robinson in 42 would have given up because the majority of society thought he wasn’t worth anything? Life for African Americans would most likely be drastically different because his strength would not have broken down the barriers at a time when they needed broken down most. Or in Lee Daniels: The Butler, Cecil Gaines (inspired by the real person Eugene Allen) could have had no will to get off of the plantation and seek work. Instead he worked the best he could and earned a job as a butler in the White House and lived to see the day where an African American took office. That brings in Barack Obama, too, not many would have ever thought that an African American would be the president of a country that tortured, murdered, enslaved, and completely abused African Americans for over 200-years. Eugene Allen even said that, “There were so many things in America you just couldn’t do. You wouldn’t even dream that you could dream of a moment like this.” Even consider Sandeep Singh, the Indian field hockey player who was shot and was in a wheelchair for a year, only to come back a stronger player and tackle various records within the professional field hockey league (watch the movie Soorma). Anyone you can think of that had all the odds stacked against them–Helen Keller, Wilma Rudolph, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, and many that may not be recorded in history but have defied the odds and accomplished their goals–they are neither more nor less capable than you or I.

All of the aforementioned people are just ordinary people like you and I. Those are neither super-humans nor are they superior in any way. They were people with a goal and determination to reach the goal. My point of all of this is that the only person that can stop you from reaching your goal is you. Sometimes our goals don’t go as planned, but trust the process and TRUST that the universe did not give you this because you are due for something better. Sometimes what we want is not what we need. If there is something that you want with your entire self, then fight for it. Yes, manifesting growth brings growth, but you have to fight for it too. The Universe and the self work hand-in-hand. If you manifest the good energy, the Universe will attempt to align energies in a way that you can utilize and make good with; but, the key point is you have to utilize it because most things do not get handed to us. Of course there will be people who tell you that you can’t do it, but do you know what I have always said about such comments? “Fuck that.” Everyone that tries to bring you down, thank them, because they are only assisting in your growth. Nothing in the universe happens by mistake; yes, people make mistakes, but mistakes are a natural part of life and are all part of the overall process. Mistakes should never be used to define a person because one mistake in an entire lifetime of living is infinitesimal.

If there is one thing that I want you to get from this it is to go after all of your dreams and desires, as long as you go forth with regard for the greater good. Yes, what is wrong and right is a moral dilemma, but if you move forward with intentions to do right by many and not hurt others on your path to greatness, then I believe that can be considered good. I have seen so many people surround me that doubt themselves, myself included at times, and it breaks my heart. I have been around children who are labeled as “bad kids,” by adults and society and the kids believe it and live a life with no one telling them any different, and that breaks my soul. Do you know how they say there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad owner? The same goes for children. Yes, parents are not entirely to blame and there comes a point in time when we reach adulthood and have to make decisions on who we are by ourselves, but there is not an abundance of humans for no reason. We are here to help others and remind them that they are worth more than they think when they forget that. Humans are stronger together and they always will be. Love everyone. And help everyone grow and thrive.

Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash

I ask you to remember that you are worth more than any harsh words said to you. This may sound cliche, but anything you put your mind to you can accomplish. Be good to those around you. Support others dreams and if they reach them before you reach yours, celebrate. You are stronger than all the battles that you have survived. You are worthy of all that is good. You are worthy of peace. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of joy. You are worthy of happiness. You are worthy of life.

No one is in this life alone. True love will always conquer all.

A Little on Love

When many people think of love, they think of romantic relationships, hearts, flowers and romance. While I am a sucker for romance, I also have a deep appreciation for the energy of love in its entirety. Love is the one thing in this world that is able to survive through anything. It is the energy that binds the trees in the dirt and pumps blood through the heart. Everything that we do, we do out of love and everything we are is because of love.

A few months ago I read an interesting poem by John Keats titled, On Seeing the Elgin Marbles. Through writing this poem, Keats explained what he felt when he saw the famous sculpture “The Elgin Marbles,” but to many of his readers dismay, he could not fully articulate what he felt. He was simply at a loss for words. In a critic review that I read of Keats poem by Matthew Gumpert the conclusion was reached that, “To be able to say what one feels, following this trope, is proof that one does not feel enough.” This is something that really stuck with me.

I began to think about people that I love the most in this world. I thought about my parents, my siblings, my closest friends, my immediate family, my pets…everything that I hold dear to my heart. I tried to verbalize just how much I loved those things and I felt myself at a loss for words as well. I also went through a similar experience during early August 2019 when I visited home. I was sitting on the ground with my Great Dane Pluto and as we were sitting and I was rubbing his head just the way he likes it, he closes his eyes, nuzzles his head on my lap, and lets out a sigh of relief. I felt that familiar feeling of fullness in my chest and smiled to myself. Then it hit me. Love is when you don’t need to say it.

I said to my dog, “Pluto, I know you love me and you don’t even have to say it.” I know that he knows I love him, even if I don’t say it one-hundred times a day. Just as I know my parents love me even if they don’t say it everyday and so on and so forth. I am all for saying, “I love you,” but lets be honest, that is a very overused phrase that often gets said with little truth behind it. I have had people say that they love me because they get excited and caught up in the moment, but when that moment fades, their actions do not match their words. While I was aware that said people did not love me, the deception of words still messes with the mind sometimes. When someone loves you, you will know it. When you love someone, you will know it.

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

A distinction that must be made is the difference between being in love and loving someone. I love everyone that has come into my life and everyone that has left it. One thing that I have never felt was being in love with someone and I can say that confidently. I have a feeling that many people jump the gun and tell someone that they love them because they do love them, but usually when someone says “I love you,” and it is a romantic relationship the in love notion is assumed. Love, although heavily normalized, is something that seems to be taboo and scary. Saying “I love you” to someone is seen as a daunting step in a relationship because it holds this imaginary amount of pressure with it. I think that that is all bullshit. Tell everyone you love that you love them, just make sure that you are sure of your words though. To tell someone you love them and then to treat them otherwise is an ill deed that should never be done.

Whether you choose to say “I love you,” or choose to simply show someone you love them by your actions, I believe that it is all equal. Love is neither a contest nor a scale in which things should be judged–love is love. I do believe some love can run deeper for some, because we all have different levels of connection with certain people, but no love is better than the next. I try and live my life by showing everyone love and feeling love for everyone. It is a philosophy that can get very hard to stick to sometimes, especially when people really do a number on my heart, but it is a philosophy that I refuse to separate from. I do feel frustration and anger towards others, don’t get me wrong, but I try to transform that negative energy into positive as swiftly as possible. Sometimes it takes me hours, and other times it has taken me months; but, it is not the time that it takes that is important, it is the intention that is had that matters.

Don’t be afraid to tell someone you love them. Who cares if they don’t say it back? Don’t feel humiliated. Never feel humiliated to express your feelings, especially feelings of love. If you are in love with someone, make that distinction for them. Express your love through your actions, your thoughts, your choices…everything. This life we are given is only so long and what a wonderful life it would be to live it full of love.

Sharing is Caring

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

For the most part we tend to be very private and personal beings. Yes, there are the select few who share the personal details of their lives on a daily basis with people on the intense database that is the internet, but that is only a small portion of society…and even those people have their real secrets that aren’t shared with many. While keeping things to ourselves is oftentimes viewed as the “right thing to do,” is it really all that important? Think back to a hard time in your life. It could be anything. Didn’t you feel better after sharing your experience with someone? Maybe the person you shared with even went through a similar experience and you felt a sense of comfort and unity. We are all living this crazy ass thing called life together, so why not fight the struggles and celebrate the victories as one, collective family?

Now, I am not saying that you need to go up to every stranger you see and nail them with a five-hour life-story; all I am saying is that every once in a while, when you feel that familiar weight on your shoulders…open up to someone. It can be a close friend, a new friend, or a family member. Find someone that you trust and let them in. It doesn’t even have to be a physical person. Find a forum online, find a chat group, or even start your own blog. Releasing all that lies inside you, whether it is bad or good, is healthy and helps promote growth in various ways in the self. Share your success story to inspire others and share the scary stories that you hide deep within your soul to let others know that they are not alone. Think of all of the people who have posted videos of themselves online sharing their experiences with trauma that only inspired others to share their stories too, creating an entire database of love, support, and connection. The more that we share, the more that we will realize that we are not as alone in this world as we think we are. Consider the #MeToo Movement that was born within the past several years and Brave Miss World. For decades people felt alone, trapped, and most likely victimized by their experience with sexual assault. But as people began to stand up and tell the world of their experience, it banded an entire community of people together and they started to realize that they are not victims, but survivors. Think of all of the public speakers and social media influencers that have shared their stories of survival through racism, sexism, abuse, bullying, and every life experience under the moon. Their sharing wasn’t done under the impression that no other person has experienced something similar to what they have; their sharing was done in order to create that oh-so-wonderful feeling of unity between those in society.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

A sense of community and a sense of unity is one thing that, as humans, we need to survive. Everyone wants to find “their people,” but how can we do that if we shelter ourselves? Yes, sharing parts of ourselves is scary because sometimes people come into our lives and we share the deepest parts of ourselves with them and then they just leave. But that is part of life, baby, and it is neither a failure nor a loss on your part–it is a victory and a lesson. Opening up takes immense courage and if you choose to do that and the person leaves, then look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I tried and that makes me fucking amazing.” The thing about life is that not everyone that enters it is meant to stay. Sometimes the ones that leave get to leave without getting a chance to know us; but, other times the ones that leave seem to walk away with a little too much of us. As unfortunate as it may feel, always remember that you are constantly growing and changing. That person may have gotten to know the person that you were while they were in your life, but that person will never know the person you have become without them–and let me tell you that that person will always be so much better than the first.

Opening up is a sign of great strength and a beautiful display of vulnerability, but one should most certainly be cautious with whom they share their souls with. If the situation arises where you do miss a red flag or the red flag is hidden by pseudo-green flags by an ultimate manipulator, then remind yourself that it is OKAY. People are capable of a great deal of love and kindness, but people also have deep capability of deception and abuse. Sometimes we trust the wrong people because we couldn’t see through their mask, but please remember that just because you were manipulated by a manipulator does not mean you are neither foolish nor weak…it means that you are human. Take what happened as a lesson, however you may shape that lesson, and use it for your growth. You are capable of so much more than you could ever imagine. Don’t forget to open up and share at your own pace too. There is no set time it should take you to “get over something” or be ready to move on. Everyone handles everything differently and handle your ‘baggage’ at a rate that is healthy for you.

The next time that you feel you shoulders hunching over with that familiar pain and you feel your chest ache in that way that can hardly be explained, find someone you trust or find any type of outlet and release that energy. Who knows, maybe that energy may be caught by someone else and transformed into something good for their soul. Every once in a while, share.

Always remember that you will be forever worthy of abundance, joy, bliss and love.