On being better

I wrote a couple days ago about how spirituality and privilege makes us all trash, and that my hopes are that we will try to become recyclable. If you read my post from before, and are triggered, offended, or otherwise upset by what I wrote but you are back today reading this, I am glad! Thanks for sticking around. I want to start off by saying that I don’t think that I am free of any of the behavior that I wrote about before. I have black friends and brown friends that I still accidentally micro-aggress , put emotional toll on them to explain things to me, and often whitesplain terms and concepts I have no business explaining to them.  And for all my aggressive writing in the name of community and life, I haven’t organized any kind of gathering to address these issues, haven’t done nearly enough protesting, am super hypocritical with my views in that I eat animal products, don’t compost, and sometimes fall victim to confirmation bias.

The point here is not to harshly judge myself or get upset and mad at myself for not doing enough (though try telling that to my anxiety and depression who love a good reason to go into self-loathing.) Rather, it is to understand that there is always somewhere where we can be practicing more compassion, and should not shut down when these concepts are brought to our attention.

A lot of people do exactly that when certain terms are brought up to them, and then close off to critical thinking. It is the lack of critical thinking that is personally upsetting to me, and why the tone of my writing is so often militant. Because I find myself pushing back against people that might deem me as erratic, emotional, sensitive, angry, or militant then will get upset themselves (so who’s sensitive now?) as a way to avoid having to do critical thinking. People want to believe that they are good enough, and anything that pushes against that is scary. I get it. Like I said earlier, my depression and anxiety will take any excuse to hate on myself and run with it, and boy have I carried a good amount of white guilt in my life. My point is not to make you uncomfortable just to be right, but to help you expand your emotional intelligence so that we can all thrive.

I also have been guilty of believing, like many a spiritual fellow will tell you, that the more we pay attention to this social divide, the more that we give energy to the idea of duality and separation. It is in pushing back against this idea that I realized ignorance is bliss, and while you might feel like you are not giving energy to the separation, you are in fact contributing to a bigger gap of division. Allow me to use the very relevant example of a virus. If a person believes they have no symptoms, and continues to go out, they continue to infect other people. In this same way, if we see ourselves as the “good white person”, then we continue to work for and with the system of white patriarchy that is causing harm because we are not seeing the harm that we are causing. We do not see our mere existence as contagious of white supremacy, sexism, and ableism. Indeed, it is not enough to not be racist, one must be anti-racist. It is not enough to call one’s self an ally but rather do the work. (And don’t tell people about it for cookies.)

If we are too busy defending our stance, pushing back against terms that offend us, try to prove how we are a good enough white person or how “not all men” are the same, then we are actively keeping up with racist and sexist forms of thinking, and therefore contributing to this harmful duality.

My spiritual practice is community, and my purpose in life is Life itself. I want all bodies regardless of race, gender identity, ability, or class to have the same opportunities to a thriving life. I want redistribution of wealth, homes for everyone, a system that does not deplete our natural resources, and for us to re-examine our relationships to plants, animals, and the Earth in a way that allows for everyone to flourish. I believe that this seems like a Utopia because people are comfortable in the system, do not have answers on how this is possible, and are scared to dream bigger. I myself try to lovingly challenge myself, my views, my perspective and everything around it so that it better supports my community. It isn’t about me. I would give up my body and life for this cause. It is my profound love for my community, the people on the planet, and life itself, that I write all of these blogs. I don’t know how to make people care, so I keep writing in the hopes that you will keep reading and perhaps learn something that might push you into critical thinking and open you up so that you can better use your resources for others.

Here are ways you can help:

  1. Find out whose land you’re on: The land belongs to those who have cared for it. Acknowledge that we are settlers in a colonized world, google “whose land am I on” then find out what indigenous group is taking care of the land and water you live on. Visit the website of that indigenous group, if you have money, see how you can support them by looking up fundraisers for that specific tribe. If you’re in a position of power, hire indigenous people.
  2. If you love the arts and have money, go on Patreon and support indigenous, black, latinx, trans, queer creators and sex workers. If you google any of those labels along with “patreon” that will bring you to a plethora of margianlized creators that need patrons. Be a patron of the arts!
  3. If you’re the parent of a baby: Do your part in learning about gender expression, and stop imposing your gender choice on to your child. Learn about the gender stereotypes we keep upholding and how hurtful they are. Stop upholding them.
  4. If you’re a parent in general: Challenge the toxic gender traits that your children may have adopted that you continued to teach them. Look at your beliefs in regards to womanhood and manhood, and challenge them all. Teach your sons to be exceptional instead of mediocre, and have conversations around anti-racism with your children even if they are adults.
  5. If you are white, and get upset with terms such as white fragility, white privilege, white guilt, or anything like that, please realize that this is but a tiny glimpse into what a person of color has to deal with on a daily basis. Once you’re over the initial knee-jerk reaction, I implore you to read an article (or 20) about how we are in fact infected with the white supremacy bug. You can start here. Robin DiAngelo also has a great video that you might want to watch if you want to be a safer more reliable person for people of color to be around, and consider getting the work book Me and White Supremacy workbook by Laylaa Saad, to help you through those uncomfortable conversations with yourself. She also has an excellent podcast called Good Ancestor that raises the voices of many black activists and creators doing amazing work.
  6. If you are a meat-eater, explore ways that fit your budget and health limits that you can start minimizing animal products.
  7. If you have a garden, consider composting. Check out the different links I’m posting here for ways that might work for you, and if none of these work, google “ways to compost” that might work for the type of land access that you have.
  8. If you’re a man: Have conversations with other men where you challenge the stereotypes that you uphold. Look into toxic masculinity and how you have been taught this and continue to uphold it. Call out men that you see being dangerous, and stop supporting creators and artists that have been accused of sexual misconduct. If you have sisters, trust that it has more likely been hard for her to exist than you, believe her, support her, tell her you care. If you have brothers, call out toxic masculinity and how you have might have been favored or had it easier in the family.

There’s so many resources out there by people that are much more intelligent than me and write better. It isn’t about exhausting ourselves but about expanding our compassion so that we can all fit on this planet harmoniously. If I don’t have a lot of black and brown friends then maybe that means I’m not in the right circles, and I need to do better about being a safer person for people of color to feel more comfortable around. If I’m ignorant about ableism, then I need to investigate how I’ve continued to uphold ableist mentality and how I may have been unfair with myself and others in my terminology and thinking. If I think that a few people dying is better for the planet, maybe I need to read up on eco-fascism and how that’s too close to Nazi and school-shooter mentality for anyone in their right mind to be comfortable with.

There’s a lot to learn and it is all so constantly over-whelming, which is why I understand people’s initial reaction to look away or get overwhelmed. We all have enough on our plates with our health, families, and jobs. I get it. This is why I insist on community thinking and why I wish us to battle the concept of capitalism. To see what we can do to help this utopia of a world where we can all help each other out, instead of such individualistic mentality. If we shared, if we had a society where we could more easily sustain each other, grow our own food, feed each other, watch our children, counsel our neighbors and care for our elders, it would be less scary. The more we care for each other, the more we can care for each other.

Thanks for being here, I really appreciate you.

If you like my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon, where I am much more loving and less militant, but support an indigenous, black, or brown creator first. I am starting a “do better” tier today, where I will be writing more loving articles on a monthly basis (at least!) on how we can DO BETTER. 🙂

Spiritual apathy, and the different ways we don’t give a fuck.

I got my Master’s in Spiritual Psychology in 2013.

To me, back then, I thought that learning spirituality also meant learning social justice, since to me spirituality meant empathy meant learning about the injustices so that we could do better. I was at a school in Santa Monica, California, with mostly white privileged people, and genuinely thought that’s where I would learn about social justice as well.

It wasn’t, obviously. It took me feeling unsatisfied with my degree and continuously cast off to the margins to realize there was definitely a social division that was  present in my spiritual practices as well. Absolutely everything that I held dear to me in my education ignored very important aspects of society. For a moment, in me trying to “do better”, I genuinely thought that ignoring things like racism and the patriarchy was helpful because then I wasn’t adding to the “bad vibes”. The Law of Attraction had taught me that which we give our attention to, we give energy to. So if I ignored it, I was doing a service to those suffering from racism. Everyone who believed in Law of attraction would then (and continue to now) tell you that.

Boy, was that just a bunch of privileged bullshit. It breeds lack of empathy, and is a harmful way of thinking for many people if it continues to be sold in the light-hearted fashion that has continued to be sold by “New Age” spiritualists that blame victims for their misfortune.

First of all, The Law of Attraction has too many holes in it, most of which are nicely written out here. My main problem with it is that it promotes lack of empathy. (Just google “law of attraction and lack of empathy”). Second of all, many of the psychological heroes we follow are deeply problematic one way or another. Jung was racist, Maslow stole and butchered the hierarchy of needs from the Blackfoot Nation, Gestalting (a fantastic form of therapy) was popularized by white men who had many problems themselves. Also, why was everything I learned written by white men? Where are the writings by women and people of color? This kind of problematic doesn’t stop in psychology, of course, but goes deeply into spirituality as well. A few examples are: Gandhi is said to have been racist, had unhealthy ideas of sex, and probably learned non-violence from his wife. Eckhart Tolle ignores social issues and trauma which essentially victim-blames, the Yoga movement in the USA is white-washed and mostly insults the spirituality and history behind it. Even my beloved political movements had deep problems. The different waves of feminism have been racist, ableist, and classist, and incredibly transphobic.

As I questioned everything I had ever known and loved, and saw the brainwashing and programming, I realized I had been knee-deep in it my whole life, and there was no way to get out of it because it was everywhere. Absolutely every single one of us that has been educated in post-colonial education have internalized duality and some (if not all) form of bigotry and rejection towards gender, race, class, and disabled or fat bodies. Regardless of whether we consider ourselves spiritual or not.

Every authority in my life who I had loved and respected has, (and continues to) teach me the duality of genders, favoring whiteness and thinness, rejection of disability and fatness, and encourages ignoring “bad vibes” in the form of “negative thoughts” and “feelings”. My attempts at pushing back have been seen as radical, quirky, dramatic, or over-emotional, rather than a deep awareness and ability to understand how capitalism has completely fucked us over, that White Supremacy is very much alive, that internalized toxic patriarchy has been taught to every person  and Colonialism is the source of a very sick society.

I had to lose some of my privileges and be cast off before I could practice true empathy the way I sought to with Spiritual Psychology. To this day, the only person in my nucleus family that supports my radical views is my little sister. Everyone else shies away from the “aggressiveness” of my beliefs (tone-policing, yet another tool to condemn marginalized voices), sees me as exaggerated or is apathetic to my views, as if they were some personal perspective I made up.

Among my friends I am seen mostly as radical though supported, but aside from my partners, most people in my sphere of friends do not feel quite the same and with my lack of knowledge and resources, I am constantly feeling like I am not doing enough.

I suspect that most people are too busy trying to stay alive in a capitalist world depleting them of their every resource, or simply too privileged and comfortable to want to bother themselves with radical empathy. Or rather people want to be liked so much, they rather ignore what sounds like made-up concepts than face the spiritual truth of this duality. I have been guilty of all three things.

As I become more aware and my comrades and I become restless for change, Martin Luther King Jr’s famous quote rings constantly in my ears, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice.” It is not just black people and the KKK, but any marginalized voice cast aside by the “nice neighbor”. By polite relatives. By friends just trying to keep “positive vibes only”, by people playing “devil’s advocate”, by the “nice guy” who does bare minimum, by the people who think peace is in doing nothing.

It took me seeking real help to realize it was not out there, for years, to realize the government and capitalism did not care about me, or my life. And that this system had taught me to lack empathy. That it had seeped into my spirituality. And now, finally removing as many binds from my eyes as I can, I see the blindness and the complacency of most people around me. The complacency kills me. You are complacent, and therefore complicit.

I do not think I am better than anyone, as I will never be completely free of the programming. I have done and continue to do problematic things, because all of us, under a trash system, are essentially trash. A concept that Gem (@urdoingreat on instagram) helped me stomach, as I realize that the sooner we can understand this, the sooner we can become recyclable trash. Essentially never perfect, but always serving a higher purpose.

To me, there is no deeper spirituality than that of serving our planet and its every life. Any movement that does not include people of color, that does not acknowledge the land and those who care for it, that does not care for fat, trans, and disabled bodies, that does not incorporate the spectrum of our gender identity and therefore does not centralize radical empathy for human kind is only furthering our divide. In there lies what I believe to be a good human. In there lies what I believe to be good enough. There is no neutral position in a system of oppression, no matter how much we want to believe it. Especially those who benefit the most from this system. I have benefited from this system because I am cis-gendered (ie I agree with the gender that I was assigned at birth). I have benefited from this system because I am white. I have benefited from this system because I am able-bodied, and mostly seen within the compounds of acceptable “curviness”. But being a woman, and a sensitive one with mental illness has made it so that people have pushed my thoughts and ideas aside, so that I am left screaming in righteous anger from the margins wishing I could do more for the other marginalized voices.

I will question every belief system I have, criticize my heroes, and abandon those who do not stand with me; one way or another. I will share knowledge with those wanting to learn, and practice compassion with those who I see trying. But I will not stop screaming, for my anger is valid. I am screaming to all the cis-gendered men and women in my life. I am screaming to everyone with money. I am screaming to all the white people in my life. I am screaming to all the healthy people. I am screaming to the older women in my life who run away from aggression. To all the white parents. To the white men with money. What will it take for you to care enough to look at yourself and practice radical empathy towards other humans? What will it take? What do I need to do to make it worth your while? How many more people need to die? What will it take to actively give a fuck, and make your life worth something real? Something that truly impacted a planet and a humanity that needed you to care? What will it take?

You’re not doing enough, we are at the margins and we are hurting, and all you are doing is looking away. Our anger and pain is valid, a cry out in pain, a cry so that you will hear us and see us. What will it take for you to see that true bliss is not in ignorance, but in community? What will it take for you to understand equality among humans means disrupting the status quo? Means being political? Means being angry? What will it take for you to educate yourself so you can unlearn all the harmful idiotic rhetoric you keep repeating? What will it take for you to stop getting offended when you are held accountable? What will it take for you to make radical changes in your lifestyle and how you speak? What will it take for you to genuinely, truly care, and not just say you do?

Whose pain? Whose death?

Your words mean nothing. In a bleeding world, your actions are the only acceptable currency. What do you have to give? What can you change? Who can you support that is actively seeking a whole different system? What will it take for you to do this?

He’s not a nice guy, you’re just sick

Content Warning: Sexual abuse, pedophilia, self-harm, suicide

You said happy womxn’s day but did you read my story? This is to anyone who considers themselves a friend of mine, or to any womxn:

It’s the year 2020, and I am not the first nor last to write about this. It will largely be ignored by those who should read it, but I share it in the hopes that those who believe themselves innocent will wake up. Cowards won’t read this and will use the tone of the letter to invalidate the seriousness of the issue. This is to you, who is not a coward, and is willing to see the mistakes they have made, and want to do better. Because if you’re not raging fucking mad, then you’re not paying attention.

I could tell you about the first time I was abused in three acts. How the first time I revealed what happened to me, it was treated like not a big enough deal. The second time, now brainwashed, I too believed it was not a big deal. And the third time, finally, when the act was recognized, it was too late. The damage had been done, and I had grown up perpetuating rape culture* and normalizing pedophilia. I had grown up traumatized, had self-harmed, been suicidal, and grown up as a seemingly healthy adult that was actually living in constant crisis and was not able to sustain themselves.  It was not my fault. What I do with my life now is my responsibility. But so many of my decisions were made as a sick person. As I try to heal myself, I see that you are sick too. I want to point it out, as your friend, in the hopes that you will choose to heal. Give you insight, and information. In my hurt, I hope you will listen to me, and change your behavior.

My abuse was the fault of those in my past.

It was the fault of my abuser, who did not see that he was ill and needed help.
It was the fault of my mother, who did not begin to unlearn rape culture soon enough.
It was the fault of the school, who did not insist I get help.
It was the fault of the society, who perpetuated rape culture and normalized pedophilia.

By the time we finally understood the gravity of the situation, I was a full adult, and had to unlearn all the garbage I had been taught, which, in turn, would make me lose the man I had known to be my dad for 28 years. It is quite a loss, to chose to tear away from the man who raised you –so lovingly, you thought—and replace him with the sick abuser he is. I would have much rather believed that what he had done was not that bad, except it was. It shaped my mind into a contorted self-loathing illness.

Everyone thought he was charming. Absolutely everyone who met him would tell you what a great dad he was, a great husband. So sweet, so soft. “I want to find a man like you” I would say. I wrote him a song about my undying love when he turned 60. Everyone thought he deserved it. Everyone. You would’ve thought so too. You would have thought he was a great man. That he was charming.

You would tell me people are complex, that it is not black and white. You would tell me that it is natural that when I put my full post-pubescent body in his arms, he would linger a little too long, caress a little too slowly. You would tell me, casually, that it is Man’s Nature to be predatory, not hearing yourself perpetuate the damage.

When this one girl tells you that your good friend beat her, you would tell her maybe she deserved it. Maybe it’s her fault. Because you do not want to be accountable.

When this other girl tells you that your boyfriend touched her you would tell her she’s exaggerating. Because you don’t want to have badly chosen your partner.

When her friend tells you she’s the victim of pedophilia you would ask her “what level of pedophilia?” Because you don’t want to confront the abuse in your family.

When the other girl says you “he kissed me while I was drunk” you’ll roll your eyes and say “who hasn’t” because that guy is your boss.

Because he’s charming. Because he’s such a nice guy. Because he’s your friend and let you stay at his house, he bought you drugs, he throws the best parties, he gets you drinks, he has tons of friends. Because he hired you, because he said sorry, because she’s such a nice guy, he didn’t mean it. Because he’s so attractive, because he makes you feel special, because he has money, because he’s soft, because he’s sweet, because he has power, because he makes you feel cool, because you love him, because he’s your family member.

Maybe you’re the victim of abuse too, and this is all you know. Maybe you don’t want to admit that you were abused. Maybe you, like my mother, can’t bare the thought that you chose an abuser. She unlearned her garbage out of love for her child. My mother who was taught by Latino culture, by our own family, by our friends and television. My mother continues to unlearn, and chooses to see, out of love for her children. Out of love for who are you defending your abusive friend or partner? Who are you protecting? The vulnerable? Or the abusers? Why?

I am healing and getting better. I am taking the steps that I need to feel complete, and not broken. I understand now how truly sick we all are. How our culture perpetuates abuse and pedophilia, and therefore we each perpetuate abuse and pedophilia. Whenever we force a child to touch an adult in greeting, we teach them they have no say or agency over their body, that politeness wins over their own physical comfort. Whenever we sexualize children by calling them sexy or insisting they have boyfriends and girlfriends. Whenever we tell a girl she’s exaggerating or don’t believe her. Whenever we defend someone who has been accused repeatedly.

I know all the Americas and Europe are rampant in this. I know in small towns we see it even more. You are guilty in this, because I have been as well. Unless you are actively educating children to have agency over their bodies and actively calling out abusers, not inviting them to your parties, changing your behavior and how you speak, I promise you, you are perpetuating rape culture. If you are latinx, like me, if you’re white or black, you absolutely need to be actively unlearning, because we have all been taught one way or another to defend the abuser.

You will tell me I’m over-exaggerating because I’m hurt. You will ignore this story, like you have so many countless others. You will continue to perpetuate damage. You will no longer be my friend, because my abuse will now also be in your hands. You have the power to believe someone. You have the power to change. You have the power to actively speak against the men in your town that have raped, beat, harassed, another human. You can protect and believe and provide a safe space for survivors of abuse. Your silence is violence. Your hypocrisy is abuse. Be brave, or be weak, like your friend the abuser. I’m sure you’re both charming.

-M

*If you’d like to be more educated and unlearn the bullshit, I am grateful for your courage, and I’ve got your back. Resources below.

If you are a survivor and need resources in your specific country, please write me and I will help you find them.

  1. https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2019/11/compilation-ways-you-can-stand-against-rape-culture
  2. https://www.bustle.com/articles/153805-5-little-ways-you-may-be-perpetuating-rape-culture-without-realizing-it
  3. https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/03/examples-of-rape-culture/
  4. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-21715/12-ways-we-all-contribute-to-rape-culture-without-realizing-it.html
  5. https://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/
  6. https://fightthenewdrug.org/exploitation-industry-has-to-do-with-normalizing-pedophilia/
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/well/family/how-to-help-your-child-not-be-a-metoo.html
  8. http://adrielbooker.com/teaching-kids-body-privacy-personal-agency-consent/