Everything about the recent election and aftereffects has me pondering, questioning and thinking. And I promise this won’t turn into a political statement for one side or the other. This is just a contemplation of how it has affected me – all the ways that it is causing me to grow, evolve and dig deeper into myself and who I want to be.
To explain how the thoughts came about, I must start from the moment of the election where Bernie didn’t win the Democratic nomination. A decision had to be made by myself, where to cast my vote next.
I’ve spent most of my life either being influenced by others I thought to be smarter and wiser than me, their opinions influencing me to believe my thoughts were not valuable. This coming about by being shut down when expressing my own opinions and thoughts. And so, you tend to become quiet, afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled dumb or insignificant. I’ve also had moments of wanting to fit in and be accepting, therefore, sinking into the beliefs of others. Hiding my own beliefs and feelings.
However, I’ve spent the past nine years reclaiming my voice, starting with speaking up about what is right for me, my beliefs and helping others find their voice. Being true to my thoughts, emotions and feelings. It’s empowering and right. And I wasn’t about to back down now.
For me, it became an easy decision. Voting for him or her would go against everything that I have worked so hard to reclaim and stand up for, not to mention everything I want to represent. So, I made the choice to cast my vote elsewhere. And though that person didn’t win, I sleep well because I did what was right for me.
As everything unfolded, I watched fear and anxiety take over some of my family members (even those living in other countries), friends, co-workers, clients, part of the country and people all over the world. I made a stand to not put my energy into the fear, but helping those into a vibration of love and peacefulness. For we cannot fight fear with more fear.
“You cannot move from a divided space when you are in a vibration of hate, judgment, and conflict. You will remain in the same cycle because you are vibrating out the same energy. To move to a space of togetherness, you must change the energy you are sending out. Understanding, compassion, willingness to come together and find true compromise – ways that work for everyone. But most of all, you must come from love.”
~ MayLynne 2/2017
When the travel ban issue came up a tinge of pain creeped up within me. A deep seeded shadow became loose ready for me to look at within myself and heal. There were two parts of this issue – immigration as a whole, and the shadow parts of me that are judgmental.
I began to think about the moments of where I began to judge people because of the conditioning of societal domestication. Stereo-typing people because of the way they dress, their religion, or the country they were born in. I was not always this way. I can remember a time when I loved others unconditionally for who they were as a person, not what they looked like, dressed like, prayed to or where they were born.
It changed for me in my twenty’s. A life experience, my environment and taking on the perceptions of others because I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be liked by them. At first, it was hard to change my inner feelings because hating isn’t part of my nature, but I let the fear take over.
My mother and her family came to America on 5/5/1955 on a boat from the Netherlands. They had the hope of a more promising future. My parents met in 1969 while my Dad was on leave from the Army. They fell in love and she followed him back to West Germany where a short nine months later I was born.
When the relationship ended, my Mom brought me back to the states on her passport. I was nine months old. At the time, she was not yet a citizen and that was the process with children. It wasn’t until I was twenty-three and about to get married that it came up that my “Report of Child Born Abroad” was not a certified form of citizenship with the INS because it had not been filed with the US Consulate. A miscommunication error with my parents. It took me two years to get it resolved, just short of having to get a DNA test.
At the time, I was furious at the system because it was so hard for me to become a citizen when I was born on an US Army base. I was a good citizen, had a high school diploma, worked and paid my taxes – to which the US Government had no issue receiving. I was jealous of those that citizenship was given so easily.
I wondered what the government would do with me if they denied my citizenship. I was not a citizenship of West Germany – not that I would have, but declaration had to be made when I had turned eighteen. Something I didn’t even know was possible to do at the time. The Netherlands would not take me because though my Mom was still a citizen of that country (she is now a US citizen), I was not born there. I began to make a joke that I would be cast out on a dinghy in the middle of international waters. Internally, a part of me feared this might actually happen.
Gratefully though, after submitting every fathomable documentation regarding my Dad: birth certificate, school records, Army records, notarized papers that he was my father, I was finally granted Naturalization of Citizenship.
I was upset at this process for years, and began to see how I was blaming those that were granted easy citizenship but had nothing to do with my process. It had nothing to do with them at all. It was the miscommunication of my parents and a flawed system.
In elementary school, one of my best friends was an immigrant from Iran. At that time, the country wasn’t afraid of Iran. We were afraid of Russia.
Today, one of my best friends is a refugee from Russia. She came here with her family when she was about eleven. I think about if I held my judgments of Russia, it’s past leaders as an inclination that it represented what each of its people were about, I would not have her in my life and those that I’ve met through her. I can’t imagine my life without her.
My ex-husband’s family is from Czechoslovakia as recent as his Great-Grandparents. I’ve dated men who have immediate family members that have immigrated from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Valenzuela. And that’s just the countries I am aware of.
Maybe it’s easier to blame the collective, but it’s not the way. In my own life, other than a couple of American strangers, it has been those that were supposed to love me the most, those from my own family that have violated me the most. But I don’t believe that means my whole family is going to hurt me. It was the individuals who did. Those in our own country who have done acts of violence on our own people, do not reflect who each of us is. And it goes for the same of those of other countries.
This election has caused me to peel off the layers of judgment – that deep dark shadow within myself. To allow myself to see the triggers of fear that I have allowed to consume me and frighten me. I’m embarrassed to admit that it is there. That there can be a tinge of fear that creeps up because I have allowed the stereo-typing to influence what I feel and believe. But I must acknowledge and accept it to move beyond it.
However, it is not who I want to be. These fears and beliefs are not who I am in my soul and not who I want to reflect out in my being.
I am not stating that it is right for people to come into our country or any other country illegally. There should be laws that are to be abided by. We certainly don’t go to bed without locking the front door. What I am saying is that or those seeking refuge from a country that is in distraught and those wanting a brighter future, be given the same opportunity that all of us have.
For every single one of us, somewhere in our lineage we came from another country. We are a country that is a melting pot. And if we all took a moment to stop and think, it wouldn’t take us long to acknowledge that one of our friends, co-workers, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or immediate or distant family member is from another country.
We are not better than the others. We are not above them. We are the same. We are all connected within this planet and the universe. And I’m going to start embracing that knowledge fully and completely with all of my heart and soul. We are all wanting a brighter tomorrow. Who are we to deny that of someone else wanting the same for their life?
“I’m starting with the man (woman) in the mirror
I’m asking her to change her ways
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change.”
~ Michael Jackson “Man in the Mirror”