2014

Luctor et Emergo: A Commentary on the Ferguson Riots

Saint Louis is a very racially segregated area. It always has been and despite the fact that people try to hide it, the events in Ferguson have ripped that wound open and it goes deeper than many people realized. While I try to keep my mind free of the hate, anger, and fear I readily admit to falling into the old stereotypes that Saint Louis worked hard to breed into my mind.

That being said, I don’t know what happened on August 9th. I don’t know if Michael Brown was trying to surrender like witnesses said. I don’t know if he was charging Darren Wilson like the police said. I don’t know if his wounds were defensive like the prosecution said. I don’t know if they were offensive like the defense said.  What I do know is that a family lost a child. A community lost itself in violence. A long forgotten past has been thrown into the media circus and a city is trying to come to terms with an unstable present and an unstable future.

Rioting and looting and burning down buildings doesn’t show solidarity for the black community. It doesn’t help bring about peace. It won’t change what has happened in the past. Rather, it reinforces old stereotypes that run deep in the white Saint Louis community. The city is destroying itself when really it needs to destroy it’s people. The people need to change: both white and black.

Yes, in Saint Louis many of the white people have a very negative view of blacks. But many blacks present themselves as thugs. Charles Barkley recently said something that needs to be taken to heart, not just in Saint Louis, but around the country and around the world:

“We as black people, we are never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. It’s a dirty dark secret, you know when there are young black kids doing well in school the loser kids tell ’em, ‘Oh, you’re acting white.’

“For some reason we are brainwashed to think if you’re not a thug or an idiot you are not black enough.”

This is important because that quote IS Saint Louis. Where the black kids who do well in school are just “white kids with a year-round tan.” Where black kids who want to succeed are pressured by the thugs because they are too white. It’s the thug culture that is the issue, not the black community.

I can’t pretend to understand what it is like to discriminated against because of skin color. I can’t pretend to understand what it is like to be afraid to send a child into the world and not know if they will be killed because of the wrong skin color. But I do know that if it is going to change we need to first change ourselves and then we can change the world.

This is a polarizing issue. I feel strongly about it because my family is in the middle of it. Others feel strongly about it for a different reason. The bottom line is that neither side is right. The police royally fucked up when they killed that boy and left his dead body in the street for over four hours. But the community, black and white, fucked up by rioting and looting. Nobody has the high ground anymore. All we can do is join together and dig ourselves out of the hole we all took part in creating.

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Autism Night Before Christmas

Autism Night Before Christmas
by Cindy Waeltermann

Twas the Night Before Christmas
And all through the house
The creatures were stirring
Yes, even the mouse

We tried melatonin
And gave a hot bath
But the holiday jitters
They always distract

The children were finally
All nestled in bed
When nightmares of terror
Ran through my OWN head

Did I get the right gift
The right color
And style
Would there be a tantrum
Or even, maybe, a smile?

Our relatives come
But they don’t understand
The pleasure he gets
Just from flapping his hands.

“He needs discipline,” they say
“Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent…”
And on goes the attack

We smile and nod
Because we know deep inside
The argument is moot
Let them all take a side

We know what it’s like
To live with the spectrum
The struggles and triumphs
Achievements, regressions…

But what they don’t know
And what they don’t see
Is the joy that we feel
Over simplicity

He said “hello”
He ate something green!
He told his first lie!
He did not cause a scene!

He peed on the potty
Who cares if he’s ten,
He stopped saying the same thing
Again and again!

Others don’t realize
Just how we can cope
How we bravely hang on
At the end of our rope

But what they don’t see
Is the joy we can’t hide
When our children with autism
Make the tiniest stride

We may look at others
Without the problems we face
With jealousy, hatred
Or even distaste,

But what they don’t know
Nor sometimes do we
Is that children with autism
Bring simplicity.

We don’t get excited
Over expensive things
We jump for joy
With the progress work brings

Children with autism
Try hard every day
That they make us proud
More than words can say.

They work even harder
Than you or I
To achieve something small
To reach a star in the sky

So to those who don’t get it
Or can’t get a clue
Take a walk in my shoes
And I’ll assure you

That even 10 minutes
Into the walk
You’ll look at me
With respect, even shock.

You will realize
What it is I go through
And the next time you judge
I can assure you

That you won’t say a thing
You’ll be quiet and learn,
Like the years that I did
When the tables were turned……

The Best Motherfucking Hashtag Returns (NSFW)

I love Shakespeare.  I also love cussing.

So naturally #AddMotherfuckerToShakespeare is pretty much the highlight of my life to date.  I was distraught as its death last December but it’s returned with an amazing vengeance.

Without further ado, I give you the best of the motherfucking best.  Enjoy, motherfuckers!

https://twitter.com/Kruspekreme/status/530555225153994752

https://twitter.com/notshawnspencer/status/530552287484473344

https://twitter.com/Nichuskey/status/530538512731619328

https://twitter.com/Nichuskey/status/530537795568549888

https://twitter.com/Brava_Guy/status/530498068651970561

Finding Myself Again Through Photography

6462862247_3bb67a6423_b_by_innatelykait-d7btqdfI’m tired of recycling old photographs. I’m also tired of never having enough “me time” due to work, school, and family. This can only mean one thing: It’s time to pick up my camera again.

I really do miss it. Photography centered me. Through it I found patience and endurance. I could sit in the heat or the cold and be so focused on my craft that I was unaffected by my surroundings. I would wait for the sun to hit the water in just the right way or the wind to blow a petal into
the perfect position.

I felt no need to rush through and be done with it. I felt peaceful in a wayrainbow_over_colorado_springs_by_innatelykait-d7khsdw that I haven’t been able to recapture since I pack up my gear for the last time. Now it feels like my life is moving at 100mph and I can’t see the road anymore. I’m missing things because I’m always in a hurry.

I’m done with that. It’s time to enjoy the wind blowing in my face. It’s time to see the sunlight hit the lake. It’s time to pick up my camera and remember why I got into photography in the first place.

It’s time to find myself again.

That Scary Moment When…

The Road Less Traveled

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.  –Nathaniel Branden

I’m a pretty honest person when it comes to interactions with other people. When it comes to me, however, I’m a pro at lying. I will lie to myself about nearly everything.

One more cookie surely won’t make me feel sick.

I don’t have too many books. That’s not even possible

Of course I want to be a professor. Grad school will be great!

Hm.

Eventually, I have to look myself in the mirror and say, “You’re wrong.”  This especially terrifying when carefully laid plans get destroyed.

Last night, I decided to put off graduate school. It’s been a long time coming but I was afraid to admit it to myself let alone others. I’ve come to realize I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was planning on attending grad school for every reason except the most important one: I want to do it.

The fact is, I don’t. At least not right now. The last two years have been a struggle of trying to churn out yet another research paper every 16 weeks. The thought of starting that process over for another three years is a miserable prospect. I’m burnt out. I’m done. And that’s a problem.

When everything finally tumbled out in a mess of tears and broken dreams I did feel better. The pressure that had been crushing me gone and I could breathe again. At the same time though I am absolutely scared shitless. I had plans. Regardless of whether they were what I really wanted or not they were there in front of me to guide the way. Now that map is gone and the road ahead is unclear.

I know where I want to go and it’s uncharted territory for me. I’ve been working in Religious Studies and through the department I’ve been involved with planning events, lectures, and conferences. I love it. More than that, I’m good at it. So, I will finish my BA in Art History next May and after that I plan to pursue just that: event planning, public relations, and community outreach. I still love art history so I do plan to target my passions by looking for museum or university positions.

Of course nobody ever really knows what the future holds. I am both thrilled and frightened when I look to what’s next. I don’t know what to expect but here’s to having the courage to try.