Transparent: Part II

Attending college was rooted in trauma. I wanted to prepare myself to
work to heal and restore my community, family and myself to health.
What did I find? I found course studies needed for graduation and to
work within specific institutions and attempts at intimidation. Students
walking carefully trying not to upset the apple cart. Colleges are filled
with professors and a system Hell bent on perpetuating a failing non-
system of education. What did I not find? There was no authentic
creative spaces for  thinking, nor a psychology that spoke to the total
person. One rooted in real healing. There was no curriculum to with
which to connect socially, politically, spiritually, and culturally. All
concepts of Western healing were divorced from a holistic framework,
mind, body and spirit. I did leave with student loans I’m still paying off.

Professors were learning from our discussions and carving materials
to use in their curriculums directly from the contributions of their
Black students and students of color. We recommended books, that
were never embraced. Books thought to threaten the status quo,
instead of expanding the education of all parties. Focus remained on
prevailing ideologies supporting a system of suppression, oppression
and control. Classmates with no ties to communities of color nor
friends of color wanting on graduation counsel communities of color.
Individuals who did not engage fellow classmates of color in. Yet,
they found themselves wanting to save Blacks and people of color.

I received my degrees and went on to educate myself via books
written by leading Black authorities in psychology. Learning new
constructs that truly addressed, connected and worked to dismantle
paradigms of oppression.

©Lorraine Currelley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Transparent: Part I

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I witnessed and experienced trauma and pain in my family, friends and
members of my community. As a child and teenager. I couldn’t name it.
All I knew was that something was not right.  I wanted and needed real
answers and solutions to the questions I asked. I needed more than
being told to take it to the Lord in prayer.  Make no mistake prayer
sustained me. It held me together. Prayer remains a part of my spiritual
practice. Raised with a prevailing philosophy in so many Black homes,
taught not to air our dirty laundry or put our business in the street.
Discussing family business was an act of betrayal, so you kept your
mouth shut, losing yourself deeper and deeper to your pain. Besides,
airing your business was seen as a sign of weakness, the inability to
handle your business.  Black people had and have every right to be
cautious when it comes to our health care. We have a history and
herstory of America experimenting on our black bodies.

It took years before I understood the roots of the pain around me and
in my home. There are so many stories of the wounded and
traumatized. I hear their voices and see their tears still. I spent a
large part of my life  with my heart and soul drowning in pain. Pain
so raw and deep, at times I felt I would not survive it. Today the legacy
of shame has been replaced with openly embraced community and
individual healing. We’re sharing our trauma, in order to survive and
thrive. The old paradigm has been replaced with one of wellness and
transparency, all leading to healing, self and collective empowerment.

©Lorraine Currelley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Liane Kupferberg Carter Got it Wrong!

Today, when there are so many disrespectful, insensitive and uncaring individuals it is a pleasure to be treated with respect and offers of kindnesses. I take no offense with being called ma’am. Nor am I offended when someone offers me a seat on a crowded bus or subway. I’ve experienced the opposite. It’s not a great feeling being shoved and nearly falling, by someone racing for a seat or standing when your body is practically ready to collapse. You will not get any votes from me in support of a truly disappointing article.

The appropriate response to all kindnesses is always a polite thank you, a kind smile or a polite refusal. If preferring to stand, just say so. Good manners in this day and time when it’s rare goes a long way with me. I was raised from a child to respect my elders, this includes offering a seat to an elder, a pregnant woman or someone obviously in need of a seat. I have no problem offering my seat or
opening a door for others. We help each other, is this not what caring humans do? When kindnesses are extended to me my response is always one of gratitude.
People feel wonderful when a kindness they offered is appreciated. Sometimes, they appear to stand taller. I’m a proud elder who embraces her age with joy, style, energy, vibrancy and grace. It shows in how I walk in the world.

The kindnesses this author speaks of have absolutely nothing to do with ageism and everything to do with respect, being raised with manners and caring for your fellow humanity. I’m grateful I qualify for reduce fare at the movies. Have you seen the price for tickets?I appreciate a restaurant special, reduced transportation fare and all benefits afforded me. There are many us who’ve worked all of our lives, now living on one third of our former incomes. Individuals who welcome this assistance, an assistance which supplements our income. Frankly, I’m disappointed by this lack of gratitude, author vanity and immaturity. Perhaps, this attitude is rooted in an ideology grounded in societal ageism, mythology of aging, obsession with youth and an indoctrinated accepted shame and fear of aging.

You can read the article Don’t Call Me Ma’am in Next Avenue.
http://www.nextavenue.org/how-it-feels-to-be-maamed-ageism/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email

©Lorraine Currelley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Arts Activism, Creativity and Social Responsibility

As creatives do we have a responsibility to address social justice? If so, what does it mean to be both artist and activist? What does this work look like and how does it impact our work, lives and communities? How does it impact our cultural and educational institutions? These are just some of the questions being asked, pondered and answered by artists. Clearly with our institutions under threat by the new administration we have much to ponder as we move forward.

Creating art under the new administration will  surely test our resolve and demand commitment to addressing social justice. It will demand artists have the courage to address these attacks on our art and lives. Attacks threatening to silence our messages. Social justice art demands we not cower in the face of

these attacks and stand firmly in our support for the who are marginalized and disenfranchised. Understanding that we are in this together. There is the real possibility of being targeted, bullied, ostracized and boycotted. This is not a new concept , artists have encountered these since the beginning of time.

I’ll tell you what this movement does not need, that is stage activists. Activists on
stage, yet silent when off stage.  Needed are artists activists on the ground in our communities doing the work, when the cameras are not flashing.  Artists must
continue to be the light burning bright, encouraging and inspiring.  Author and human rights activists James Baldwin said it best. “Artists are here to disturb the peace.”  An illusionary peace rooted in injustice and privilege for the few.

 

© Copyright Lorraine Currelley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Self Care Is Not An Option!

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Are you taking the needed time to self care? Do you feel as though you’re on an unending escalator unable to get off? Are you experiencing  burnout, exhaustion, trauma or depression? Articles and discussions center on burnout, exhaustion, depression and stress. Depression and anxiety resulting from  the state of this country’s affairs has become a norm.  Many speak of skipping or forgetting to eat.  Still others speak of having difficulty sleeping. It’s never okay to skip meals and not to sleep! Individuals traumatized by assaults on our humanity  and well being by this administration. While, being vigilant we must take care to not allow these unrelenting poisonous assaults to inhabit our spirit and affect our well being. Whether  living our daily lives or addressing social justice issues, we must  take care to protect ourselves. Self care is not a sign of weakness. Healthy bodies cannot survive without care. We must do everything possible to protect our health. Self care demands that we step away from our activities to rest, re-energize, relax and return renewed. We cannot be of service to anyone, if we are not well ourselves. Self care is not an option!

Ways to Keep Healthy:

Get sleep.

Do not isolate yourself.
Remember, there is still beauty and love in the world. Embrace it!
Do those things that bring you joy.
Surround yourself with those you love, like and respect.
Laugh.
Dance.
Listen to music and sing along.
Pray and meditate. Keep your spirit and heart fed.
Take a break from social media and online debates.
Check in on each other.
Share a meal. Organize a potluck.
If physically able, take a walk and enjoy nature. Sit by the water.
Be still. Clear your mind. Repeat a mantra of your choosing.
In a crisis? Speak with a professional and/or someone you trust.
Are you an artist? Create.
Take a well deserved break. Have a me day.
Eat properly. Your body deserves good nutrition.

©Lorraine Currelley  01/30 /2017. All Rights Reserved.