MARCHING TO THE BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUM


Part One

Journal Entry, November 22, 2011

Since that bold day of reckoning as a thirteen year old, galumphing up the short stairway onto the bus in silver platform boots, I was declaring that I was not like all the other straight-haired, alabaster-skinned and bell-bottomed pretty girls attending Monmouth regional high school.  Though many saw me as a nondescript mixed girl with long curly hair, cafe-au-lait skin and a downward, shy gaze. I possessed a powerful imagination where I often retreated to find shelter from the alienation of being unnoticed. The pretty white girls always were laughing and surrounded by the cool, cute guys. I longed to be like one of them.

And so, I designed trendy, colorful fashions, composed my poetry and daydreamed that one day I’d be surrounded by a bevy of admiring, important VIPs and was sought after for my skills.

My mother’s lady friend bought over a bag of used clothing filled treasures that I  claimed as my own, two pairs of size 7 bell-bottoms,  stretcher  tops and the brand new silver  platform boots. I was going to wear them and prove I was brave and unique.  My heart beat as the bus stopped for my sister and I and I prayed I wouldn’t trip as I made my way up the stairs to my seat near the front.

I was never the same after that day. All the pretty, long-haired popular girls who sat at the  rear of the bus giggled and stared at my feet. Though I was shaking in my boots, I made my point. I was going to be different and never again be ashamed of who I was.

Now the other kids would see that I wasn’t a shy, bi-racial geek. Thus began my life-long struggle to be accepted and cherished

My journey to wholeness took over three decades and opened my heart and mind to the many injustices and inequalities that plagued society, but especially creative and “different” girls and women. I’m still trying to figure out why we women are still not taken as seriously as men, but I do know that I’ve  had my share of men who were not enamored by my free-spiriedness and passion to create non-conventional art and music.

Perhaps because of being of mixed ancestry, I loved merging opposing and unique  components and this creative tendency brought out some very interesting creations.

I was also famished for any  non mainstream knowledge and information to better the world around me and change perceptions of people who generally  thought the same way.  I kept looking upward, listening to that still, small voice and understanding some very highly advance ways of doing things.

I wanted to gather all things healing empowering and beautiful and force people to taste and see how good they were, but realized that receiving, applying and understanding them was a difficult endeavor. I lived in a fast-paced and materialistic society and people were not excited about waiting for results.

Continuing my quest to understand the societal chaos that has resulted from this micro-wave  mentality, I trudge seeking to be emotionally and spiritually transformed in my thinking and perception in the hopes that some I connect with in my travels will listen and heed.

People who march to the beat of a different drum seem to always be greatly misunderstood and maligned.  They have to suffer great loneliness and criticism from others who, rather than barnstorm and share ideas,  ignore, mock or attack.  Some are inwardly jealous to see the freedom and joy of those who aspire to living creative, exceptional and fulfilling lives. Some are fearful that they don’t have the courage to step out in faith and freedom and others are hateful and attack viciously.

I see our materialistic society, addicted to cold technology  as fast losing  its soul, divine potential and beauty.  I belong to a dying breed, but I vow to live a transparent and unfettered  life which offers life, healing and inward transformation.  My calling has brought me to some unimaginable places of the heart and soul, but often it’s like pushing against a massive boulder. I’ve worn myself out in the process, but this passion to attain the spiritually expansive has led me to venturing to steep cliffs. there, I free-fall into the cavernous expanse of an unfathomable God who has revealed to me hidden treasures of the heart and soul.

That  is why I write the songs I write, sing the songs I sing and believe in a God who most do not, (or refuse to) see. It has been a very lonely existence, but that inner voice within me would have it no other way.  I must write about suffering and sorrow, loss and hope, dying and being resurrected. I f I have not hope, I have nothing.

My journey encompasses all the groanings and celebrations of one not ashamed to reveal the ugliness and shame of the unredeemed, but  also the glories of one willing to submit to the soul surgery by the Creator of the universe. In only this I can relish my existence. It is this hope that I continue to forge forward in transparency as I express the devastation of those caught in bondage and suffering. You will not find your destiny in your Blackberry, I-pod or Facebook games.  Modern technology has beguiled you and trapped you in her vise. Can you ever escape? I doubt it, unless you delve into your humanity deeply, daily and seriously. Death is not the ending of physical life, but the squelching constricting of a mind devoid of empathy, natural beauty and hope.

This is a dying world, but there are still some dinosaurs who are still resilient and willing to stand amidst the machine gun fire.

I hope some will listen as I share this precious gift with the few willing to humble themselves of themselves. Truths’ obscure whisper  can still be heard despite all the clamor going on. I will continue to write my  poems, lyrics and essays in the hopes that darkened, jealous, greedy and bitter minds be illuminated.

Please listen. Truth is calling.

NO BETTER THAN VERMIN


Genocide, a word few want to envision at least not in their own country.

Each time I hear about another nation in the throes of genocide, I grieve that leaders of the developed nations have still not yet found a solution to this barbaric slaughter. Many still act as if it doesn’t exist.

“The”Attack of Darfur,”  like “Hotel Rwanda” and Schindlers List stirred me to do more than just grieve and complain.  The three movie were well made,  powerful and devastatingly provocative.   I realize I must do something about genocide.

These types of movies draw me into the terror,  hopelessness and cruelty the victims of genocide  suffer.  Most of us rarely do anything about an injustice until it happens to us personally.  I could only imagine the shell-shock of the victims as they saw their nemisis coming their way.  One by one, day by day  the people of the towns and villages were ambushed and overpowered by the machete-wielding marauders..

I wonder what God thinks as this happens. Does His holy angels and His people care? I wonder why the UN and the United States and all the developed Nations hesitated to unite and stop all of the atrocities.  Did any nations care to protest or intervene?

I never sleep after seeing any movies of such devastating consequences and especially the cruel slaughter of human beings as if they were no better than vermin.  Why was Genocide still happening and when would people start paying attention and doing something to end it once and for all?

My husband Mark and I went to hear  Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, speak at Congregation Torat El, 301 Monmouth Road, Oakhurst on Sunday, September 18 at 7 p.m. The soft-spoken man addressed us with humility, but with such emotional persuasion regarding the most  devastating experience he could endure as a young boy in a concentration camp.  He lost his mother, father and three sisters at the hands of the Nazis. As he addressed the audience, in almost a whisper at times  I thought all his  humiliation and pain he suffered being all in vain. Antisemitism was growing again against Jews all over the world. I dreaded that such a thing could happen to elderly holocaust survivors. Hadn’t they suffered enough already?

So many feeling and questions and wondering where are the impassioned to stop the continuing massacres? Would justice ever established? Why weren’t the perpetrators punished for their crimes and when?

Raphael Lempkin was one such man who could not stay silent about the rampaging evil. He was a Polish lawyer who held a  European Law doctorate.  Raphael had a humble background, his father being a farmer, but his mother was a highly intellectual woman who a linguist, painter and philosophy student.  As a youngster, he mastered ten languages, including French, Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian.

As a young man, Raphael was responsible for coining the term in 1943 genocide from two words, the Greek, Genos (family, tribe or race and the Latin cide, (killing). His impassioned advocacy for Genocide came from learning about the Armenians being massacred in Iraq in 1933. He later became very involved with his work regarding international law relating to group exterminations.

Thank God for passionate journalists and human rights advocates who refuse to be apathetic and stay silent about the atrocity of ethnic cleansing. Genocide will not end by itself. It will take a massive  and coordinated effort of many.

Surely we will not be alarmed enough to take action unless it occurs close to home. One powerful scene in “Attack on Darfur” was when one of the male journalists could not  just leave the people of the village they had just visited.  He knew he would not be able to live with himself if he didn’t make some effort to stop the impending slaughter. As the other journalists tried to stop him, he asked,

“What if it were your wife and children back there? What would you do?”

That is the question. What if it were our spouses, children or parents? We Americans live in safety, with police protection at our beck and call.

Another compassionate and brave women opposing Genocide is Natasa Kandic. The sociologist, turned Human Rights Advocate presented a devastating video both to  tribunal prosecutors and the world. She gave them a brazen glimpse into the barbaric world of the ethnic cleansing. I believe all of us should get a good dose of these types of footage so we are not numbed by our own comfort. I pray that compassionate folks around the world take a good look at Genocide and realize…it could happen to us. We must not allow our TV and computers to lull us into a false world of apathy and  nonchalance about suffering people across the globe.

God has created each and every unique person to enjoy dignity and the right to life.

Why don’t we think about it. Rise up as an enlightened people and begin stopping Genocide today.