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THE NATIONAL ANTHEM OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

I have been a part of more tragedies than I care to count—some small, some large—and the days on which they occurred all started out the same way:  normal and somewhat benign.

Eighteen years ago, I went to the dentist to get x-rays, a couple of fillings, and my teeth cleaned.  I hate all dentists and they don’t like me.  They hurt. I scream.  They tell me to open wide and not act like such a baby, and I frantically look for a sharp dental instrument to stab them in the face.  Which is why I always go to the dentist the first thing in the morning.  I try to make the visit as routine as possible in an effort to experience the situation as less of a personal tragedy and more of an ordinary event.

Ordinary may have birthed the sunrise of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, but a tragedy would eclipse it almost immediately.  By the time the dentist took x-rays and cleaned my teeth, the radio in the office, which usually played Smooth Jazz, would interrupt its programming to let us know that an airplane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center killing all 92 people on board and countless others in the building.  The North Tower would stand another 102 minutes and then collapse in on itself killing scores of other precious souls.  At first, we all thought it was an accident. No one in the dentist office could fathom that a national tragedy was unfolding on an ordinary day of fillings and teeth cleanings.

Cartoon used by permission: 229523_600 9 11 Milt Priggee, Oak Harbor, WA

I left the dentist office and arrived home in time enough to turn on CNN and see the second plane (United Flight #175) crash into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  Within another thirty minutes American Airlines Flight #77 would crash into the western facade of the Pentagon in the region where I lived and in the city where my husband worked.

On ordinary days, landlines and cell phones usually work just fine.  But not on September 11, 2001 when you live near Washington, DC—neither cell nor landlines worked.  I don’t know if they were purposely jammed by the Feds (by that time, we all suspected these were terrorist attacks) or if the circuits were simply overloaded as loved ones tried to find each other.  I couldn’t locate my husband who worked in the city, and I could only locate one of my children.  By the time the hijackers purposely crashed United Flight #93 into a field in Stoneycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, nobody I knew would ever think of September 11th as just an ordinary day.  I, along with the rest of the world, would later learn of the heroic men who tried to take out the terrorists on Flight 93 right before Vice President Dick Cheney planned to order our Air Force to shoot down the civilian plane since it was estimated that the plane was headed toward the White House or the Capital building.  Four coordinated terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda would kill more than 3,000 people, injure over 6,000 and additionally cause cancer and respiratory diseases to the survivors and first responders for years to come.

Cartoon used by permission: 168695_600 Bob Englehart, PoliticalCartoons.com

I would finally find my husband, locate my kids, and help executives and co-workers in my company return to their families from various far-flung places in the country via coveted rental cars charging premium prices as people drove nonstop to get home just to hug their loved ones.  When the phones finally worked, I called everyone I knew in DC and in NYC to see if they knew of anyone who had perished on that horrendous day.  One of my children would carry the shared grief of a child in her class whose father was killed in the Pentagon.  Years later a mother I met would tearfully express the heavy relief of finally locating two of her grown daughters who worked in the Towers and commuted together.  They were late to work that infamous day because the “ordinary” had happened:  one of the sisters was late which delayed their arrival to their jobs.  They never entered the Towers, and a mother was spared an unimaginable loss.

Cartoon used by permission: 215459_600 Dave Granlund. PoliticalCartoons.com

But so many things are starting to fade—especially in the age of Donald Trump and the hatred and chaos he has stirred up.  One of the things I remember most after 9/11 happened is how one couldn’t find a United States flag to purchase—especially in NYC.  As soon as any store got a shipment of flags, they would be gobbled up by Americans who wanted to feel connected to each other under a common umbrella of unity—the American flag.  We had suffered a horrendous national tragedy, and we all began to sing a national anthem of loss, unity, courage, and brotherly love.

Cartoon used by permission: 92501_600 Taylor Jones, Hoover Digest

The leaders of New York City begged Americans to visit its post 9/11 ghost-town of a city to prove to the terrorists that they had not broken NYC.  We were encouraged to come back to Broadway and fill the vacant playhouses, eat in their restaurants, and pay our respect at Ground Zero. 

And that is what my husband and I did.  I didn’t have the courage to visit Ground Zero—not just yet, but I did take in a couple of Broadway shows, stayed in a fancy hotel in Manhattan, went shopping, and ate in several restaurants.  To a person, NYC had dropped its hard facade and everyone greeted us with exuberant hugs and thankful handshakes for coming back to the city they loved—everyone from bellboys to waiters to actors to cab drivers.  (I lived in NYC thirty years before 9/11, and I don’t think one person ever spoke to me unsolicited during the entire year I resided there, and I certainly never got any hugs.)  But during that time period in NYC after 9/11, every man, woman, and child seemed to count each other as kin because the blood of thousands of lost lives formed the tune of a shared mourning.  In fact, I’ll never forget walking back to our hotel in my bare feet from a Broadway show because my new shoes were killing me, and a stretch limo driver pulled over to the curb and asked if he could take us to where we needed to go—for free!

However, it’s been 18 years now, and I’ve lost that tangible brotherly love feeling that I had post 9/11.

Cartoon used by permission: 55203_600 Parker, Florida Today

Recently, when I first noticed that the song of unity learned from 9/11 was beginning to fade from my soul, I went back to NYC to visit—this time to pay my respects at Ground Zero. (No one hugged me this time, no free limo rides, and New York City had returned to its dismissive, pushy, irascible self as was expressed by the rudeness of the cab driver who got lost and didn’t give a shit.)  By the time I pushed and plodded my way through the crowds to Ground Zero, I didn’t have a shred of brotherly love left in me.  But as I visited the 9/11 museum and the two waterfalls that are the exact dimensions of the towers taking up the same footprint of the original towers, my heart began to break.  I barely survived the waterfalls with the names of the dead etched into the marble siding.  I did not survive the museum.  It’s a good thing they have tissues in most of the exhibit rooms because I needed every single one of them.  Hearing the voices of those who left phone messages to their loved ones right before they died, meditating on the exhibit of a mangled fire truck (Big Red, Ladder 3) from a station who lost their captain and ten of their team, listening to the voices of my fellow Americans speak about where they were when we were attacked, walking down seven stories of stairs next to the actual stairs where hundreds fled to safety, seeing the photos of my fellow citizens who jumped from the top floors rather than be burned alive…I remembered our national anthem of unity given to us by 9/11 because not once did I ask about their politics, their race, their ethnicity, their gender—I just held them to my heart as Americans—as humans worthy to be mourned and honored.

Photo by Cadiomals – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20045071

ALWAYS REMEMBER—NEVER FORGET!

Cartoon used by permission: 97899_600 John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune, PA

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WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S LIFE AMONG WHITE CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES FOR 45+ YEARS AND THE INSIGHTS GAINED:  Check out “Fleeing Oz”—on sale now at Amazon!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at http://www.eleanortomczyk.com

***

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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HOW AMERICA CAN SURVIVE THE DON WHO WOULD BE KING

Well, this happened:  Trump declared himself to be Godthe Chosen One—“the King of Israel,” and one of his first sovereign acts was an attempt to buy Greenland.  Well shit, I didn’t know one could simply declare oneself “the Chosen One” and subsequently try and annex a country for grins and giggles.  If I had known that I would have tried it a long time ago: “I, Eleanor Tomczyk, hereby declare myself the Chosen One—the Queen of all people groups—and I want to purchase Bora Bora. Why, you ask?  Because I would like to turn it into my own private vacation spot, thank you very much.  Oh, and I would also like to annex a couple of Trump’s planes because now that I’m Queen, I don’t fly commercial!”)

Cartoon used by permission: 228900_600 Bill Day, Tallahassee, Fl

In the meantime, the Messiah impersonator has done nothing with his new found “power” to squelch the hatred on the meteoric rise in our country.  In fact, he seems to have encouraged it.  Americans are getting meaner and more racist by the day, and I think it’s mainly due to Trump giving them permission to hate.  Last week Mad-King Trump was hating on the Jews, the week before it was the Blacks, and weeks before that it was the Mexicans.

Cartoon used by permission: 228481_600 Nate Beeler Counterpoint

Maybe I’m naïve, but I am convinced that most Americans are not like this.  I just think many Americans are either clueless or don’t know how to combat this tidal wave of hatred and evil because so much of our theology is based on bumper stickers.  I don’t remember who said this (it is not original to me), but I think it was the theologian Richard Rohr who said the bumper sticker “Commit random acts of kindness” is a bunch of crap (my word).  He says kindness by its very nature is a deliberate act—a purposeful choice.  That is what pushes back against the madness and hatred around us.

Cartoon used by permission: 228335_600 Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

As I was meditating on this thought recently, I read an article in the Washington Post entitled: ‘I have $1500 that I’m giving away’: Man becomes legend for extreme acts of kindness toward strangers,* by Allison Klein who is the anchor of the Inspired Life blog.  The story was about a man named Jon Potter who four years ago started helping strangers for free and it snowballed.  He did everything from helping a stranded teenager get home to recently giving a stranger one of his kidneys.  He said the more kindness he deliberately and extremely dispensed, the better his own mental health became (he suffers from depression). 

EUREKA!  This is the answer I thought after reading the article.  If all good-hearted Americans went forth into the land seeking to do deliberate acts of kindness, we could defeat Trump and his minions by a landslide next fall because we would have defeated or shamed the spirit of hatred in our midst.

Cartoon used by permission: 228949_600 David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

That’s what I decided to start doing.  I promised myself that I’d be on the lookout for deliberate acts of kindness that I could perform—just like Jon Potter.  How hard could that be?  Right?  Well, first of all, one needs to pay attention to details when one engages in this strategy or one will end up in a Costco fiasco as I did the other day.  Herein lies that tale…

Recently, I set off to Costco with my husband “WW” (White and Wonderful) in the land of Trump.  As is usual, WW took off for the wine section while I lingered in the flower and book section.  What happened next could be chalked up to over-eagerness on my part, or old age, or the racist concept that all old White people look alike.  But when a White couple in their late eighties turned the corner and almost ran me down with their cart, rather than give them a dirty look, I decided to employ my deliberate act of kindness motto on them. 

As I took another look at the couple, I suddenly realized they were my neighbors (we’ll call them Gladys and Bob) whom I hadn’t seen in a while. (This will be easy, I thought.  They are my neighbors and I like them.  Good neutral ground upon which to practice my new way of life.)  The old man had on the same type of glasses as my neighbor, was slightly bald, and had slightly mangled legs like my neighbor.  He leaned on the cart to steady his balance while his wife (chubby, talkative, and slightly bossy tried to steer her husband around the corner to the pasta section). In my defense, I hadn’t seen my neighbors in months since an ambulance had taken the Mister away due to a fall in his garden.  Although I had heard he was doing okay, I felt bad that I hadn’t followed up with him as a good neighbor should.  Now was the chance to right the wrong I had committed and make America a better place with my kind and gracious response to a couple who had almost run me over with a grocery cart due to their inattentiveness.

“Gladys, Bob!  What a pleasant surprise,” I said, as I grabbed Gladys and forcefully enveloped her into my ample DDD bosom.  “Girl, I haven’t seen you in ages—how have you been?” I asked, as Bob glared at me with that look of,  “I’m a Trumper, and I don’t do Black people encounters—let alone, unsolicited hugs—get your ghetto hands off my wife before I call the police.” 

For an instant, I did wonder why the couple seemed very standoffish (very unlike my neighbors who are usually delightful).  Did that stop me in my newfound exuberant deliberate act of kindness?  Hell no!!!  I planted Gladys face more aggressively into my bosom while I called over my husband to say hello to our neighbors:  “Honey, look who’s here—it’s Gladys and Bob!”  The look on WW’s face was my first clue that I might be out-to-lunch, but it was Gladys’ slightly frightened statement mumbled into my chest that made me turn a lighter shade of brown:  “Lady, I think someone’s got their wires crossed.  We don’t live in your neighborhood.  We’d know it if we did.” [Translation: there are no Black people in our neighborhood—that’s one of the reasons we moved there.]

I live in a concealed carry weapon state, and for a brief moment, I saw my life pass before my eyes as I wondered if the bulge in the old man’s fanny pack was a Glock 26.  (It seems that this deliberate act of kindness lifestyle can have its hiccups if you’re not paying attention.)  However, in the midst of my groveling, my profuse apologies, and my silent pleading that the old White couple not call the police (I was convinced I’d be arrested for “acts of kindness while being Black in Costco”), that little White old lady said something so profound that it broke my heart:  “No, need to apologize, Honey. You just made my day! We moved to this town months ago and not one of our real neighbors have waved to us, said hello, or dropped by with a pie—absolutely nothing!  Thank you for your act of kindness, even if it was meant for someone else—it’s the best thing that has happened to me in months.”

As the couple rounded the corner into the pasta aisle, WW said to me with great chagrin: “You know that couple didn’t look a thing like our neighbors Gladys and Bob. What have you been smoking?” “WHATEVER!” I replied.  “My heart was in the right place.  Albeit, it was a very tiny act of kindness that made a small corner of Trump world a much better place—at least I started my quest to turn back the tide of anger and hatred with grace and bosomy exuberance.  It took courage to do that small act.  Eventually, I’ll get to the kidney donation—just give me time.”

Cartoon used by permission: 228903_600 Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

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WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S LIFE AMONG WHITE CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES FOR 45+ YEARS AND THE INSIGHTS GAINED:  Check out “Fleeing Oz”—on sale now at Amazon!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at http://www.eleanortomczyk.com

REFERENCES *https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/08/22/this-man-became-legend-committing-extreme-acts-kindness-then-he-gave-stranger-kidney/

Cartoon used by permission: 229007_600 Adam Zyglis The Buffalo News NY

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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PUTTING MY BODY WHERE MY MOUTH IS

“STOP THE RAIDS AND DEPORTATION.

IMMIGRANT LABOR BUILT THIS NATION!”

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“NO TRUMP.

NO KKK.

NO FASCIST USA!”

“DO YOU SING IN A CHOIR—CAUSE IF YOU DO, YOU’RE OUT OF TUNE!” shouted the cane-leaning old White man in a MAGA hat at the protesting Democrats, of which I was one.

“OH REALLY! IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT, OLD MAN”—THERE’S THREE OF YOU, AND HUNDREDS OF US!” I screamed back across the political and moral abyss that divided us. (I don’t know why I answered with that particular quip, but the phrase popped out of my mouth before I knew what I was saying—two septuagenarians shouting smack against each other—one White, one Black.  If the stakes weren’t so high—the soul of our country—I would have keeled over in laughter at the absurdity of two old farts verbally going at each other and bought the old man a drink after all was said and done.)

Author at Democrats’ Protest of Trump/Jamestown Beach 2019||Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

“GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM YOU FUCKIN’ ASSHOLES,” yelled a Trump supporter from a pick-up truck as he whizzed past us.  All I could think to yell back at the ass of the truck of the foul-mouthed Trumpster was “YOU…YOU…YOU KISS YOUR MOTHER WITH THAT MOUTH?”

Looks like I’m going to have to up my game in the retort department if I’m going to continue in this public protest battle against stupidity, lies, racism, and craziness.  Just sayin’.

This week was a start though.  I’ve been protesting and resisting Trump via my blog since the first moment he came down the escalator in Trump Tower, but this week I got to join with others and tell this President to go back to the sewer in New York from which he sprung.

It felt good.  Encouraging.  The First Amendment at work—the first of many steps to bring this aberration down in 2020.  It was Democracy in action.

Democrats Protest Trump/Jamestown Beach 2019||Photo Credit: Elizabeth Wiley

I almost didn’t attend this protest.  I mean, for Pete’s sake, I’m an old woman.  I got no business putting myself in those types of volatile situations. (What if I had a stroke?) Besides, the temperature was supposed to be in the high 90’s, no bathrooms would be provided AT ALL within the protest area (which meant I couldn’t drink any water), and due to the high level of security for #45, we would be confined to a specific area until the buses returned to pick us up.  (What if I peed on myself and three other protesters? OMG!)  But I went anyway. (When I got home, I tried to write a blog about the experience, but I promptly fell asleep on top of my open laptop and slept that way the rest of the day until my husband came home from work. Looks like I need to go into training before the next protest.)

Democrats Protest Trump/Jamestown Beach 2019||Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

It was a conversation I had with an octogenarian Trump supporter in my Canasta group that really pushed me into action.  I had been toying with the idea of going but probably could have been easily talked out of it (due to my age and unpredictability of potential violence) when a cute little eighty year old learned that a couple of us were interested in attending the protest against #45 when he came to town.  I’ve always thought of this woman as adorable and kindhearted.  She is an ardent church goer, a tireless volunteer for the down-trodden, says “gee-williker-wiz” (instead of “oh, shit!” when she’s frustrated) and “gosh-darn-tootin’” (instead of “hot damn” when she’s won the lottery), and I’d be willing to bet butter doesn’t melt in her mouth—and her shit doesn’t stink.  But then she said the magic words that drop kicked me into the protest: “Oh no!  I just knew something like this would happen when the President came to speak! Why can’t you just support our President? He’s doing a great job.  The economy is fabulous, my taxes have gone down—I just need to understand why you dislike him so! I mean, I wish he’d stop tweeting, but other than that, look at all the good he’s done!”   

That is when I knew my sweet little octogenarian and others like her would be our country’s downfall because she was not horrified by the words and antics of Satan himselfone Donald J. Trump.

Democrats Protest Trump/Jamestown Beach 2019||Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

Our local newspaper reported some of Trump’s speech to the Jamestown General Assembly that caught my attention:

“In August 1619, the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies arrived in Virginia. It was the beginning of a barbaric trade in human lives. Today, we honor, we remember every sacred soul who suffered the horrors of slavery and the anguish of bondage. More than 150 years later, at America’s founding, our Declaration of Independence recognized the immortal truth that all men are created equal.

Yet, it would ultimately take a civil war, 85 years after that document was signed, to abolish the evil of slavery. It would take more than another century for our nation in the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to live out the true meaning of its creed and extend the blessings of freedom to all Americans.

In the face of grave oppression and grave injustice, African-Americans have built, strengthened, inspired, uplifted, protected, defended, and sustained our nation from its very earliest days…”

Two hours after returning from Jamestown where he gave his scripted speech on the history and virtues of African-Americans, Trump admitted that he’d pulled the previous racist attacks against the Congresswomen of Color, Cummings, and Baltimore out of his buttjust because! (Trump to reporters about racist statements: “I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy. It’s very simple.”)  In other words, it is even worse than I thoughthis racism is cynical, calculated, and cold, and he was just reading a script at Jamestown.

Democrats Protest Trump/Jamestown Beach 2019||Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

It’s too bad Trump’s tweets, actions, and rallies speak of a different reality than his staged teleprompter speech at the Ceremony Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown Colony.  If his words in front of the Assembly were matched by his actions, I would not have felt compelled to gather with 349 other people on a hot July day to protest his sorry-ass and would have stayed home to binge watch the final season of “Orange is the New Black” while sipping mimosas.  Since I know that speech was not written by Trump nor does it reflect his true feelings (“by their fruits you shall know them,” the Bible says), looks like I’m going to have to stock up on Geritol (which was extinct but somehow made a miraculous comeback) to help sustain me for the long protest marches ahead to 2020.

Until then I’ll keep fighting this battle for the Left side—the humane side—because right now, they are the only political group that seems to have a clear understanding of the evil in our midst cultivating darkness in our countrymen’s hearts and minds.  And that includes sweet, little old ladies who would rather go to their graves saying “Gosh darnit, gheez, son-of-a-gun” with blinders on their eyes rather than open their eyes and call a racist, lying, abusive, cheater of a President the son-of-a-bitch that he is and vote him out of office in 2020.  It’s up to those who can see the truth to keep protesting, to keep trying to wake up our sweet friends, neighbors, and relatives to the truth before it is too late.

Democrats Protest Trump/Jamestown Beach 2019||Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S LIFE AMONG WHITE CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES FOR 45+ YEARS AND THE INSIGHTS GAINED:  Check out “Fleeing Oz”—on sale now at Amazon!

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WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at http://www.eleanortomczyk.com

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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YES, CHRISTIAN TRUMP SUPPORTERS, YOU ARE RACISTS BY DEFAULT

Last night in bed my husband and I were discussing which country we should move to, given the racist screed emanating from the President of the United States’ mouth, the muted response of the GOP who surround him, and the Christian voters who adore him.  We fell asleep to the news of Trump’s latest racist rally chant—“Send her back”—and both of us wondered whether Trump’s most recent tweets warranted a move to Canada or Antigua and Barbuda. Neither one of those countries are our country of origin—we just love vacationing there.

Cartoon used by Permission: 227750_600 Dave Whamond, Canada, PoliticalCartoons.com

When I woke up there was a Facebook feed from a Born-again Christian from my distant pass who was frothing over “Dear Leader’s” godliness, Melania’s golden beauty (“most beautiful First Lady EVER!”), Obama’s “heathen otherness,” and “The Squad’s” (US Reps: Omar, Tlaib, Pressley, and Ocasio-Cortez) dark underbelly evilness.  This woman was virtually lifting Trump in “worship” as she racially disparaged these four congresswomen of color.  No mention of Trump’s thousands of lies, no mention of his womanizing, no mention of the Access Hollywood tape confession of molestation and copious accusations of rape, and no mention of his blatant racism. This was a woman who constantly told me for years how much she loved Jesus and how much she loved me.  At first, it hurt me to the core, and then it pissed me off.  When I last I saw her, she was not stupid and she was college-educated, but it seemed since Trump entered the scene, she had chosen stupidity, lies, and hatred over God’s love in order to be a cheerleader for the Racist in Chief.

That’s when I knew:  This chick had lost her fucking mind—along with a whole lot of other Christians I used to know!  They’ve sold their souls to Donald Trump.  And I knew what I had to do—pray!  Or else, a whole lot of people “talkin’ about Heaven wouldn’t be goin’ there.”

Cartoon used by permission: 227613_600 Dave Whamond, Canada PoliticalCartoons.com

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OPEN LETTER TO GOD

DEAR GOD:

It’s me, Eleanor.  Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. I have a special request today. I’m here to intercede on behalf of the many Christians in America who are going to Hell if you don’t do something to set them free from Donald Trump’s choke-hold on their hearts and minds.

Once again, I just woke up to a cacophony of silence from a sizable portion of your Church in response to something heinous that Trump has said and done.  I’d like to remind you that the immovable core of Trump’s base are mostly White, Right-Wing Conservatives, and they claim to have your best interest at heart.

I am gobsmacked at how many conservative Evangelical Christians have sold their souls to Trump and support him no matter what he does!  I am horrified how many of these Christians I thought once possessed your love and grace and were going to spend their lives making the world a better place, now worship at the altar of Trump.  Because of this, I think they may foment the next civil war and get a ton of innocent people killed.

Cartoon used by Permission: 227664_600 Dave Granlund, PoliticalCartoons.com

Oh my God, there is no reasoning with these “good Christians” of yours—I’ve tried! They think they are on a “mission from God” like the “Blues Brothers,” and they are convinced you are answering all their petitions for Trump, seeing that none of his loathsome, vile, lying, racist actions seem to cause him any negative, lasting consequences.  They think all of the truthful accusations against Trump are “fake news.” By the time these Christians find out that what they thought was your support of Trump was just an illusion, they will be slip-sliding into Hell along with him. At the end of their lives, they’ll be all like, “Lord, Lord, didn’t I support Trump in your name, and you’ll be showing them the back of your hand while saying, “I never knew you!” Yikes!

Cartoon used by Permission: 202857_600 Milt Priggee, Oak Harbor, WA

Jesus, as you recall, I was born in Ohio and WW (“White and Wonderful”) was born in Connecticut.  WW is a direct descendant of Governor Bradford of the Mayflower with the historical papers to prove it.  My relatives were kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery to the Wimbishes of Hayfield, VA (thanks Ancestory.com) before they hooked up with a Cherokee Indian or two, and my ancestors were riddled with the curse of mental illness caused by the immoral stain of slavery to prove it.  (Jesus, I really need to talk to you about this someday.  Was this horror really necessary in the scheme of things?)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Cherokees were a nation that occupied Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Alabama before they were so rudely encroached upon and rounded up by gunpoint to be imprisoned on a reservation in Oklahoma.  After being cheated out of their homeland, three thousand Cherokees died on the Trail of Tears in the forced march to Oklahoma. If anything, I have more right to complain about the brutality and inequities while still claiming America as my home than Trump and his relatives because my relatives were here first.  If any person should heed the chant of “Go back to where you came from,” it is any White person in America.  Just sayin’.

Dear Lord, do you remember the first time I heard a racist chant against me and mine?  It was during the Civil Rights movement in the 60s when I was told to “Go back to Africa!” just because I marched and complained that a country my enslaved ancestors were forced to build was not allowing Black folks the ability to live where we wanted, be educated where we needed to learn, and be paid as we deserved.

Cartoon used by permission: 227680_600 Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News, NY

Oh God, I can barely sleep at the tormenting thought that Trump may get reelected in 2020.  It’s the misguided prayers of Christians who are fasting night and day to make it so, against the sane Christians’ prayers who do not, cannot, and will not support Trump that are freaking me out!  Christian Trump supporters think people like me are evil, and I think they are going to take us all to Hell with them if their idol is allowed to rule much longer. 

So I am praying for two things for my misguided sisters and brothers:  give them balls to stand up and tell the truth to Donald Trump and keep them from going to Hell (or causing anymore hell on Earth—maybe they are one in the same?) before they finally wake up and discover it is too late to repent.

Cartoon used by permission: 227731_600 John Darkow, Columbia, Missourian

Well, I am almost finished with my prayers.  Jesus, did you see the quote by Karel Coppock, written in an article by Peter Wehner in the Atlantic (“The Deepening Crisis in Evangelical Christianity: Support for Trump comes at a high cost for Christian witness”)?

Karel Coppock “lamented about the affect this moral freak show [under-girded by Christian Trump supporters—insertion and emphasis, mine] is having on the younger generation.”  He said:

“We’re losing an entire generation. They’re just gone. It’s one of the worst things to happen to the Church.”

Dear God, I am mortified that the blind, deaf, and dumb Christian Trump supporters are going to Hell (I wouldn’t wish Hell on the Devil), and I beseech you to save them before it is too late—for their sake, for mine, for the Earth, and for the world.  (After all, some of my best friends used to be White Evangelical Christians.)

Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.

Cartoon used by Permission: 206607_600 Bob Englehart, Middletown, CT

***

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE: HOW CHRISTIANS ARE SUPPOSED TO ACT

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

Cartoon used by permission: 227613_600 Dave Whamond, Canada PoliticalCartoons.com

***

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S LIFE AMONG WHITE CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES FOR 45+ YEARS AND THE INSIGHTS GAINED:  Check out “Fleeing Oz”—on sale now at Amazon!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at http://www.eleanortomczyk.com

***

REFERENCES

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/evangelical-christians-face-deepening-crisis/593353/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/christian-right-ditches-values-hooks-up-with-trump

https://time.com/5615617/why-evangelicals-support-trump/

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/16/politics/white-supremacists-cheer-trump-racist-tweets-soh/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-supporters-newest-rallying-cry–send-her-back-reverberates-across-a-nation-fraught-with-racial-tension/2019/07/18/6ee96ede-a99d-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html?utm_term=.a722f889eb2f

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

I recently had a dream that I received a double-sided invitation to a birthday party of great significance for a very important entity who was dying (apparently, all Americans were invited).  The invitation was sent by “America’s Moral Fiber” and addressed to me as “One of America’s Citizens since Birth.”  The front side of the invitation announced that the lady would turn 243 years old on July 4th this year.  The invite stated that when she was born, she had been birthed in a magnificent family of fine ideas, but unfortunately, had failed to live up to those ideas, which were causing her very life to be in danger.  The invitation went on to instruct that the birthday party would take place anywhere, anytime on the day of July 4th, and that the menu would consist of picnic food and fireworks.  Attire: comfortable summer wear.

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 212595_600 Bob Englehart, Middletown, CT

 When I flipped the invite over, I noticed the following statement:

PLEASE BRING PRESENTS!  Even though the Lady has everything under the sun (mountains, valleys, rivers, great plains, magnificent cities, bucolic countrysides, tropical islands, a beautiful bouquet of people from every color and gender spectrum, just to name a few), she has lost her way and is in need of specific presents from her guests if she is to recover from the diseases that are consuming her.

Below is the list of presents from which to choose and their definitions in case there is any confusion:

GIFT OF COMPASSION

In my view, the best of humanity is in our exercise of empathy and compassion. It’s when we challenge ourselves to walk in the shoes of someone whose pain or plight might seem so different than yours that it’s almost incomprehensible.—Sarah McBride

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 226955_600 Christopher Weyant, The Boston Globe, MA

GIFT OF BROTHERLY LOVE

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.—Martin Luther King, Jr.

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 211084_600 David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

GIFT OF MERCY

Teach me to feel another’s woe, to hide the fault I see, that mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.—Alexander Pope

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 225381_600 David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

GIFT OF EMPATHY

It’s hunger. It’s homelessness, often. It’s underfunded, under-resourced schools. It’s abuse beyond the chilling. It’s having overwhelmed parents and caregivers. Those are the things that young people are struggling with beyond our view.—Susan L. Taylor

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 186592_600 Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune UT

GIFT OF GODLY CHARACTER

I don’t believe a champion is the biggest, baddest, meanest dude in the world. I think the champion is like a warrior; it’s like the head knight or lead samurai: humble men of integrity, respect, and honor that treat people kindly.—Jon Jones

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 226873_600 David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

GIFT OF TRUTH

The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.Hannah Arendt

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 225742_600 Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch, OH

GIFT OF INTELLIGENCE

We should all feel confident in our intelligence. By the way, intelligence to me isn’t just being book-smart or having a college degree; it’s trusting your gut instincts, being intuitive, thinking outside the box, and sometimes just realizing that things need to change and being smart enough to change it.—Tabatha Coffey

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 224424_600 Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN

***

When I awoke from my dream, I was reminded of the high ideals that had once graced the hearts of America’s founding fathers that seduced all the immigrants who had ever come to America in search of a better life.  That wondrous dream and promise that even quickened the hearts of the Africans (my ancestors) who had been stolen from their own countries to build this nation by the sweat of their brows and the brokenness of their blood-whipped backs, who eventually came to believe in the dream—that their children, too, could live in the majestic promise that all men are created equal. I decided that I would attend our nation’s birthday party this July 4th and that I’d bring the “Gift of Hope” wrapped in the birthday paper of the preamble of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

CARTOON USED BY PERMISSION: 197362_600 Dave Granlund, Minnesota

***

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com

THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKS:  Monsters’ Throwdown, Fleeing Oz, The Fetus Chronicles on sale now at Amazon!

All quotes are courtesy of www.brainyquote.com

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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YOU’VE BEEN EXPEDITED!

Well, I’m back!  Back from a cruise on a big ol’ fancy ship to Northern Spain, Portugal, the Island of Majorca, Gibraltar, and Rome.  Went to celebrate 40 years of marriage with my man, “WW” (White and Wonderful) and my birthday of 71 years.  I had a blast ‘cause my man knows how to treat his woman—Oh yes, Jesus, he does!  He had been organizing this trip for two years, and it was outstanding—first class all the way!

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk/Bilboa, Spain

Talk about acting like a “balla”—for two weeks I was a committed hedonist.  (For the uninitiated, a “balla” [baller] is someone like a successful basketball or football player who lives like she is queen of everything—a Serena Williams or Beyoncé with so much money to burn that one’s lavish and outlandish lifestyle is de rigueur.) The way I acted over the course of those two weeks onboard the cruise, you would have never guessed that I was born a poor-Black-child in the inner-city of Cleveland because I took to being pampered like a pig to slop or a Trump. 

Everything was just perfect, and I can see why people prefer being rich rather than poor.  For me, this lifestyle was temporary, but if I could have stayed on an eternal cruise on this particular ship, you bet your sweet tuckus, I would have. That’s because humans—especially Americans—are prone to the seductive life of getting our own way when everything is how you want it, when you want it, and where you want it—a.k.a. easy.  In other words, my “idealized persona” (what Carl Jung calls our mask, and what the author Mateo Sol of Loner Wolf describes as “…what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world”) was livin’ the dream on this floating luxury resort.  That is…until I boarded the plane in Rome to return home, and I got into a rip-roaring fight with my “shadow self” which is still whimpering today as I try to wean myself from all that rich food and pampering.

What is a “shadow self,” you might ask?  First of all, we all have one.  Mateo Sol* describes the “shadow self” as “an archetype that forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions and embarrassing fears.”  Carl Jung furthers Sol’s definition from his book: On the Psychology of the Unconscious:

It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses—and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster.

Spoiled Brat meme/Sylvester me.me

***

BELOW IS THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE FIGHT WITH MY SHADOW SELF WHO HAD STOWED AWAY UNDERNEATH MY SOUL AND STAYED HIDDEN AND SILENT UNTIL MID-WAY DURING THE TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT HOME AFTER THE CRUISE.

SHADOW SELF:  Psst!  Wake up!  Wake up, Fool!! Why the fuck are we in coach?  This is not what I signed up for.

MY PERSONA:  Oh, my God—where did you come from?  I thought I left you locked in the closet at home.

SHADOW SELF:  As if!  Where you go, I go.  Do you hear that nasty-ass old man hacking up loogies sitting just three seats from you?  He’s been doing it all night. We’re going to catch “p-new-moania” from this dude and be bedridden for weeks.  We’re almost 71 years old.  We can’t be putting ourselves in this kind of danger.  Now, on the other hand, do you hear anyone coughing and sneezing in First Class?  Did you notice their lovely hot meals (three choices—each with hot soup options) served on linen table clothes along with champagne and copious wine and hot fudge sundaes on trays in front of their lay-down beds and massive TV screens that tilt for maximum viewing? It’s a different world up there — a world where we definitely belong.  A world where people have been “expedited.”

What did we have for dinner?  A freezer-burned gluten-free cardboard chicken piece in a tin (half cooked) with unseasoned veggies (also freezer burned).  We are in a seat with a TV screen on the back of the seat in front of us which is the size of a postage stamp.  I tried to pee an hour or so ago and there were at least 250 people lined up to use the toilet.

MY PERSONA:  Listen, SS, we discussed this before I left.  We used all our Benjamins for the cruise and all our frequent flyer points for the flight to London.  You’ll survive this return flight from Rome. I know it’s like being in a can of sardines flying in coach, but unless you are Trump or a televangelist with a fleet of private planes, you’ll just have to suck it up.  Besides, this is why I thought I left you home.  I don’t want to hear any whining after such a fabulous vacation.

Used by permission: 212692_600 Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald, NE

SHADOW SELF:  There is always room for improvement, Chickadee.  The cruise line showed you the blueprint.  I keep dreaming of that ship and how this is the first time you’ve really treated me as I truly deserve.  The cruise ship had me at “hello!”  Remember the entry-way to the ship when one of the stewards looked at your ticket and said, “Oh, you don’t belong in THIS LINE, Mr. and Mrs. Tomczyk.  Come with me to the VIP line because “you’ve been expedited!”  God, I love the sound of those words:  “YOU’VE BEEN EXPEDITED!”  We were swiftly escorted onto the ship with not another person ahead of us which meant no lines and no waiting.  (Bitch, you know how I hate waiting in lines!)  Then, before I could say, “Let’s locate the martini bar,” a waitress gave us our choice between straight champagne or mimosas as we toured the ship — champagne in hand.  Didn’t even have to pick up the keys to our suite…just told to go to our lodging at our leisure where we’d find the keys in our mail slot. 

MY PERSONA:  I must say that was nice.  So easy. So expedient. Kind of makes you wish all of life was like that, especially the DMV.

SHADOW SELF:  Exactly.  See…now you’re thinkin’ like me.  That cabin was just to die for, wasn’t it?  A bathroom that was big enough to throw a party in with a bathtub the size of a six-person Jacuzzi.  And remember what was waiting for you when you opened the door?  MORE CHAMPAGNE! And not the cheap-ass stuff either.  Slap me some Moët, Baby…Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to me, Sister-Friend! 

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

MY PERSONA:  Ummm…and the delicious chocolate-covered strawberries—so sweet, they made my toes curl.  And the flowers…weren’t they precious?

SHADOW SELF:  Yep, if only everyday could be like that, right?  Now my favorite was when we heard the knock on the door and in walks our own private butler.  Lawd, have mercy, I almost fainted!  I thought to myself: This po-black-chil’ done hit the lottery!  Remember what he said to you:  “Welcome Madam.  Do you find everything to your liking? I’m sorry that I didn’t have a chance to sprinkle the rose petals on the bed, but I can bring them later, if you’d like.  I’m on-call to serve you 24/7.  Also, would you like to be addressed as Mrs. Tomczyk, Eleanor, or Madam?” Sweet Jesus, I just knew we had died and gone to Heaven.  I was hoping you’d choose to be called “Madam” so I could pretend we were in an episode of Downton Abbey.  This would be the only time in my life that my Black-ass would be called “Madam” by a White butler.  BUT NOOOO…you went all egalitarian and shit on me, and said he could address you as “Eleanor.”  But I forgive you, because the butler was so hot.  Him with his silver-fox hair and Ukrainian accent—looking like a bleached Denzel Washington.  I knew right there, he would be just perfect for all my needs.

Stock Photo: Butler similar to one on cruise

MY PERSONA:  Would you cut that shit out, SS.  Did you forget I’m married?  I did not perceive the butler like that.  He was nice and attentive.  That’s all I noticed.  That and the fact he offered to do my laundry anytime I needed it done—for free.  I would have taken him home just for that.  Anyway, enough of this.  You know that the downside of any wonderful experience or gift is the sin of ingratitude. The worst part of the cruise were all the habitual cruisers (people who cruise every three months or so) who brought along their shadow selves and bitched and complained about everything under the sun (“it’s too hot, it’s too cold, this isn’t as nice as the other cruise, I don’t like the entertainment, why did they change the private bar area, why is the elevator so slow, where in hell did my butler go…”).  Get yourself together because if you think today is bad, wait until I get us back home and put us on a diet to take off all the pounds we gained over the past two weeks with a butler who would bring us any food and drink anytime we wanted it.

SHADOW SELF:  I loved that the first activity you did on the ship was get an 80 minute massage. I liked that almost as much as sampling the six different specialty restaurants with chocolate desserts that would make a grown man weep, and the premium drink package that could stock a neighborhood bar.  I figured if we started drinking at breakfast and kept going straight on to dawn, maybe we’d be able to use up all that drink package, but you wouldn’t even give it a try.  I kept nudging you to “go for it,” but after a while you kept choosing hot tea instead of pina coladas.  Where’s the fun in that, Girlfriend?

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk

MY PERSONA:  Because after the third day, my body was saturated.  I can only take so much rich food and alcoholic drinks.  Pretty soon the mojitos and creamed lobster artfully placed on a Sriracha aioli and partitioned by figs and fried marigold flowers have to be replaced by a juice cleanse and salad or I would have rolled back into town weighing 300 pounds. Besides, I wasn’t touring Spain, Portugal, and the like to just eat and drink.  I loved seeing the history of the towns (especially Sintra, Portugal).  I loved discovering their Jewish quarter and learning about Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches, a Portuguese man who issued thousands of visas for Jews to escape Nazi Germany against the wishes of his own king.  It was fascinating to learn how a large group of Jews appeared to assimilate into the Portuguese culture, pretending to be Christians (hidden in plain sight), and even inventing a sausage as proof of their conversion.  What the authorities didn’t know was that the sausage was made of cooked chicken, bread, spices, and tomatoes to give it a “bloody” look, but it was strictly kosher.  The sausage is still one of Portugal’s most sumptuous delicacies. 

And to top it all off, when I turned a corner after leaving the Old Jewish Quarter, I thought I saw Barack Obama waving to me from an apartment window as he stood with Chinese President Xi Jinping.  I almost fainted at the shock!  For a minute he looked eerily real, and another American tourist, an Australian and I teared up and waved back.  The White American from New Jersey said out loud to the other nationalities longingly gazing at the picture in the window: “We’re sorry we couldn’t give you another Barack Obama.  It’s not personally my fault, but we’re working on fixing it.  Please, please don’t give up on America. Ignore the clown masquerading as our President in the White House.”  That’s when I knew, this cruise was only a momentary fun event and brief respite; once I got back home, it was back to the grind of reality and into the resistance movement I had signed up for to help undo the national nightmare that had engulfed our country.

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk in Sintra, Portugal

SHADOW SELF:  Fine.  You went for the culture, history, and inspiration, I stowed away for the pampering and the spoiling.  I want you to figure out how the phrase “You’ve been expedited!” gets me rollin’ like a balla when we get home.  If you don’t, I’m gonna raise bloody hell!  I will be unable to be lived with—do you hear me, Bitch! ‘Cause once you go coddled and pampered, you never go back!  You tell WW, your trip to Africa next year has to at least be business class or I’m gonna throw a stage 4 temper tantrum in the terminal! 

MY PERSONNA:  Shut the fuck up and go to sleep!  You are officially on lock-down, Shadow self. I don’t want to hear another word from you!  Get yourself prepared to eat nothing but lettuce wraps, exercise incessantly, and attempt to write the next great American novel because my “idealized persona,” that I am a disciplined writer and in control of my flesh, is my modus operandi when I’m state side.

SELAH (MEDITATIVE THOUGHT FOR THE DAY)

***

WANT TO READ MORE?  CHECK OUT AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKS:  “Monsters’ Throwdown,” Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles:  Podcasts From my Miseducated Self”—on sale now at Amazon!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com

***

REFERENCES:

https://lonerwolf.com/shadow-self/*

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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LIVIN’ MY LIFE LIKE IT’S GOLDEN

ESSAY ON MINDFULNESS DURING THE REIGN OF TERROR BY TRUMP, EPISODE #2

Remember how I told you recently that The Donald had given me an Easter gift of mindfulness, and I will be eternally grateful to him for it?  How life was passing me by because I was so wrapped up in #45’s 10,000 lies that they were robbing my peace and joy? In fact, I was acting like God had died and bequeathed the United States to Donald J. Trump.  It was driving me INSANE!  Well, I got set free during the Easter season. No kidding! In order to not go crazy from his highness’ unrepentant evil, I’ve cut down the news to 2 hours a day (1 hour in the a.m. and 1 hour in late afternoon) to keep me abreast of whether Armageddon has started in case I have to move to my bomb shelter and start bartering the wine from my wine cabinet for food with my neighbors. The rest of my day is spent smelling the roses—being grateful for what I have at almost 71 years old (in June) and opening up my life to new experiences.  I am currently living in awakened, grateful mindfulness while engaging in the world around me.  It’s been absolutely awesome!  I’m so cool, calm, and collected these days.  I’m so happy and full of joy!

Cartoon used by permission: Bob Englehart, Middletown, CT

It isn’t just the antics of the toddler-king that cause me great anxiety, it is the entire 24/7 news of how badly we’re treating each other as human beings that is killing my spirit (from mass shootings in schools and houses of worship to individual meanness in our homes (some old fart in my town [75 years old] shot his wife of 54 years in front of his grown kid the other day and announced to the judge that he did it because “the bitch just wouldn’t shut up”. Oy!) 

The thing that really breaks my heart is every time I read or hear about Christians blatantly selling their souls to the altar of Donald Trump (yes, I’m talking to you Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Franklin Graham), I’m crushed in spirit, and the anguish of their deception overwhelms me.  (I’ve always wondered how those that fought evil in the past were able to keep their hearts and minds from exploding when they saw the majority of Germany’s Christians applauding Hitler and carrying out his instructions to annihilate the Jews, or South African Christians trampling on the rights of Black South Africans in the name of “divine” Apartheid, or Southerners preaching from the church pulpits that slavery of the Negro and the subsequent Jim Crow Laws were warranted and justified in Jesus’ name.  How did the minority who knew that the evil swirling around them in Jesus’ name had nothing to do with Jesus maintain their sanity?

It had to be mindfulness (dwelling in the moment on gratitude, hope, beauty, and love) that kept them holding on until the TRUTH showed up and out and set the enslaved free.


Cartoon used by permission: Bob Englehart, Middletown, CT

In my new state of mindfulness this week, I discovered that my home state of Virginia is celebrating 50 years of love.  Apparently, Virginia’s Tourism Board started the campaign that “Virginia is for Lovers” some 50 years ago, which is really ironic since Virginia is the state that was sued by the interracial couple, Mr. and Mrs. Loving (I know, talk about irony!) 52 years ago to allow them to live in Virginia as a married couple which broke the miscegenation laws at the time when they won the Supreme Court case.  Because of the Lovings, John and I can live in Virginia as an interracial married couple who have been married 40 years without the local sheriff dragging us out of our home in the middle of the night and throwing us into jail.  For 50 days, the Virginia Tourism Corporation has led an active campaign around the word “love”—“50 years of love—Virginia is for Lovers.”

I almost didn’t go for my six-mile walk the other day, because I had allowed some negative criticism of some MAGA hat Christians to seep into my thinking (why are they always so obstinate and mean-spirited?).  But I reminded myself that the “new Eleanor” was a slave to mindfulness now and needed to go about her day as an instrument of God’s peace.  So I prayed the prayer I’ve made up for myself and set off on my walk:

“I have no plans today for my life—only sketches.

Reveal to me your path—where I should go, who I should meet, what I should do.

May I be slow to anger, quick to listen, and slow to speak.

Grant me courage, wisdom, grace, mercy, and above all love for those I encounter along the way.”

Halfway through my walk as I meditated on what a fabulous man I’d ended up with to journey through this life (I call him “WW”—“White and Wonderful”), I came across a giant display of the word “love” in the central area of my community.  It was a manifestation of the Virginia Tourism’s “Love” campaign throughout the state.  And I knew exactly what my mindfulness action was supposed to be that day, and I hope the Lovings were looking down on us from heaven and grinning from ear to ear.

Photo credit: Marilyn Mason
Photo credit: Marilyn Mason

In keeping with the spirit of how mindful we should be for the love WW and I have been given (blessed with two children and one grandchild), we are not going to stop at the “love” sign.  We are going to go celebrate that love in Spain, Portugal, and England on a brand new cruise ship called the Celebrity Edge (I’ll also be celebrating my 71st birthday).  All of this is a month early (we were actually married in June on my birthday), but so what? I’m old—I can do just about anything I want.  For the entire time we’re traveling, we are going to ignore any and everything about Trump, his mayhem, and his minions’ chaos (no bad news will cross these eyeballs or infiltrate these ears).  Consequently, I will be taking a break from blogging and rolling from the spa to the dance floor, to the gourmet restaurants, and through the vineyards and cathedrals in each port on one of the loveliest ships I’ve ever seen.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of stories to tickle your funny bones and lighten your hearts about mindfulness when I return because I plan to take my journal with me.

In the meantime, wallow in mindfulness while I’m gone—it will make your day!

Celebrity Edge Poster Photo

(They say that one of the five restaurants on this ship is one where you can build your meal via hologram—hot diggedy-dog!)

***

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com

THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKS:  Monsters’ Throwdown, Fleeing Oz, The Fetus Chronicles on sale now at Amazon!

***

Photo credit: Marilyn Mason

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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