Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Silver Lining

In every cloud there is a silver lining. Cliche. But this is what I thought tonight. Some of most bizarre things are happening and I'm finding out more every day. At the same time, I think someone knows...AND I've not kept my mouth shut about some things, and things are hitting fast and hard. I am, at least, very aware, as they say, "of my surroundings" and of the motivations. More on that, later. The best part, was that a whole lot of good is happening too. I have been able to locate some supporters and also, people who could offer protection and are giving an open and interested ear. I finally, finally, got to the right people. There is some potential, hope, and safety in that, and I of course, will guard this with my life, hand over heart. What a relief. Someone is looking out for me! Watching! Even if quiet for now. Thank you dear God. I have been praying for this for years.

It's dangerous to be alone. Isolated. Family first, but sometimes you need more than family even. I am wiser now, and keep my cards in close, but I've also learned the value of testing the waters by talking about things or asking questions which may or may not be suggestive of the direction I'm headed. I am safe to say, Yay! There are friends in high places. Just have to wait and wait and wait some more. Which is okay, now that I know the truth will come out and the more that attempts are made to cover, at this point, the worse it will be for the certain others who have done so much against me and strategized with others.

More than one good thing too! While today was strange and frusterating, I found, at the day's end, another silver lining and realized there are a few good things in place now. I never thought it would happen. By now, I figured it's all over and so complicated and pointless to hope anymore that someone would catch on. This is perfect timing, because the stress was wearing on me and my son.

When I began to understand some things, I realized knowledge put me back in the driver's seat. Simply knowing is powerful. Omniscient. How would it be like to be God?! To "know" like that?!!

I want my non-profit to specialize, in it's own way, in information.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wenatchee: Acceptance

Being an activist is tough. And claiming the title "activist" is like claiming the title "writer". Who says you are a writer? or an activist? and howso? Without a college degree these days, it is difficult to call oneself a "journalist" even if one does the same thing a degreed journalist does. Yet anyone can be an activist, even if it is not a full-time profession, and one who writes constantly can reasonably call themself "a writer" even if they are not riding the literary circuit.

I did not aspire to be an activist--it was never a dream of mine. I am not fulfilling some kind of wish, I am finally recognizing this is what I have been for some time, and that my activities have been an affirmation of certain beliefs. In a way, I've been more of a "reactivist" as I was thrust into situations that I did not choose for myself and was forced to respond. But instead of reacting, at some point, I began stepping out beyond reaction, with courage, to speak up about things that did not necessarily affect me.

Personal experiences have driven me. But I'm ready to take the wheel, and take full responsibility and control of my contributions, and to put some effort into planning and execution. I believe it's time to step it up--to seek out things to write about rather than simply responding. To write on behalf of others as well, even though I'm going through my own stuff. I don't have much time, and right now, most of that time must be devoted to my son and our personal circumstances. However, I am in the planning phase and thinking about organizing my non-profit.

What is a little strange, is that I've chosen my location. I have had a measure of disdain for Wenatchee since I arrived. People who know me seriously questioned how I would like such a place, find friends, a soulmate, or even fit in. I did as well. Then I had my son, and figured it would only be a matter of time until we moved closer to a city again. But then people tried to push us out, by force. Which, of course, made me want to stay. Then I stayed out of convenience and because of family. Always, in the back of my mind, was the knowledge that this place is perfect for an activist. It's not for me, for sure. It's not my style really, either. I don't click with most of the people who love it here. I don't click with the favored forms of recreation by locals. I feel a little bit like the woman in that novel: "Chocolate". Not that I've got a candy shop to tempt the locals and disturb the peace, but I think I have something important to add. I have said, to sooo many people, this TOWN could host a dozen sleeper agents and still be short-handed.

What I realized tonight, is that you can't run from a calling. At this point, I can't stand this town. I never thought I'd be here THIS long to begin with. But I am unfettered, free of social coercion and persuasions, and I'm not on a certain "side" here. I have no social, financial, legal, moral, or employee obligation to anyone here really, and the more certain ties are cut, the more free I am. Free to speak up, speak out, and tell the truth.

This town has a lot of problems that are unique. And yet it's a manageable size. I think I can take "the town" on. By that, I mean, get into the psyche of the town, profile it, and write about the particular problems, including weaknesses and strengths. Wenatchee and East Wenatchee need to be "site-mapped". It would even be interesting to do the family tree (of sorts) for Wenatchee. I can write about specific and general problems and follow the news closely, whether it's reported by The Wenatchee World or not. And, I'm not competition to the W. World. I'd like to think I can make alternative contributions. If I focus on one spot, I could then branch out later.

What I find fascinating, are questions such as: "How could the Wenatchee Sex Ring scandals even happen to begin with?" "Why is Wenatchee the Prozac Nation and who brought attention to this?" "How easy is it to be blacklisted in Wenatchee (use nurse as example)", "Why did the ACLU win a lawsuit against Chelan County's justic system?" etc.

There is a certain philosophy and mentality of the town that contributes to these things. They are really not isolated instances.

I realized tonight, after spending a recent afternoon in a "....ahhhhhhh!" bigger City, that Wenatchee is where I am supposed to be. The weirdest thing is that I was born here. Of all places.

My goals are to analyze, profile, and create an informative sample of Wenatchee. I may decide to take it to another blog (create a new blog) that is Wenatchee-specific. For now, I'll keep it here. I've met some good people here. And I've always been a good neighbor. Hopefully through time, there will be a mutual appreciation and respect for what each has to offer. I plan to criticize at times, and perhaps satirize, but my goal is to keep an open mind. The goal is to expose certain undercurrents that run through the town which shape it and make it susceptible to problems, with the hope that things can change for the better. It gets worse before it gets better. Some people clean a little bit at a time, as they go along, and I'm not saying I'm "cleaning" but if I'm exposing things or uncovering things, I tend to do it by pulling everything out of the closet and from under the bed and putting into a big pile, to sort through and then organize. I like big projects better than small ones.

I had the strangest thought tonight, about being unfettered. I've been in a good mood all day, and opened up some mail and read a letter from Wenatchee Valley Medical Center. It was mailed on October 26, 2007, but I just opened it. I was surprised to find myself in a good mood still. Almost relieved. I had felt I couldn't say certain things because I was dependant upon them in a certain way. I had stepped out only privately and tenuously. Yet, having that removed, I realized this was a very good thing.

Everyone knows about the "disgruntled" employee, who just wants to wreck havoc, hurt by rejection. Many whistleblowers, are first disgruntled employees. They talk because they're mad and want to "get back." Some whistleblowers become ex-employees AFTER whistleblowing because of disgruntled employers. It's sometimes difficult to tell who is disgruntled by whom. And then even a disgruntled employee may have a significant story to tell or information to share. Ex-employees typically talk more because they are not afraid of losing their jobs or other forms of benefits. Whatever the relationship, sometimes ties must be severed before one or both sides is able to speak freely and directly. Retaliation is another element to severance, at times. Regardless, when one door closes, another opens.

I needed that letter and that door. I was begging for it almost...but couldn't vocalize my request. Stiffled, by the belief I had to keep the door open for benefits. It was what I needed to realize Wenatchee really is for me. The whole schmear. Someone is listening and someone needs the information that I can provide. I am willing and able to talk and I hope my contributions make Wenatchee a better place to live--more prosperous, yet fair, and easier for newcomers to navigate.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sounding Off (For A Living)

My mother found my blog. She said she didn't think it was so great and that I came across as "sounding off" on a variety of issues. What would she think if I told her it's what I want to do for a living? and that I am thinking of starting a non-profit in the future to faciliate this sounding off? I believe in free speech and in getting the truth out, whether it is unpleasant or not. In our society, many are punished for attempting to bring attention to matters that affect them or others. Sounding off is similar to whistleblowing. If there is no one willing to speak up on certain issues or situations, the behavior is encouraged and allowed to continue, and will continue to harm others. I noticed the title of a non-profit recently, which I really liked. It's called, "Silence is Violence". I absolutely agree. I am an activist and I've been one from the moment I pushed aside my personal fears of retribution and allowed my principles to direct my actions. It's not always easy.

When I was a long-distance runner, there were times my legs would almost fail me. All the pain signals told me to stop. At that point, I told myself (in my thoughts), "One foot in front of the other", and went into auto-pilot. At that moment, my mind or will absolutely took over, and was in control of my body. My feet would continue to move in a rhythm, and when I needed to kick it up a notch at the end, no matter how far I'd run, I was able to get the signal from my brain to my body to move faster. It's almost an out-of-body experience and runners know what I mean. At some point, my will separated from my body and controlled the actions.

It has sometimes been the same with courage and integrity, in my life. There have been times of temptation when I wanted to quit or take the easier path, but I relied on that internal compass to override doubt and weakness. When I wrote back to my mother, who knows about most of the things that have happened to me and what the consequences have been, I told her: "I don't have my reputation anymore. All I have left is the truth. And I am going to be faithful to the truth. I'm not going to hide it, disguise it, exaggerate it, distort it..."

It's a paradox. When I knew the truth about many horrible things and kept it all to myself, out of fear people would retaliate against me, or use their power, money, and resources against me to bury me, I was very popular. I am an extrovert and I had a thriving social life. I could hardly keep up with all of the invitations to parties, lunch, coffee, dates, showers, and the like. I said nothing bad about others or certain situations even though I knew my silence meant it probably continued and was affecting the lives of others. Shunning or the fear of being shunned, and having ones name dragged through the mud, is a very powerful motivation for keeping people quiet. "If you know what's good for you, you'll keep your mouth shut." Most people know getting on the "wrong side" can cost someone their fortune, future, reputation, and sometimes even their life. In some ways, we keep a healthy check in place through this natural form of peer pressure. If most of society believes shooting up drugs is bad, and frowns upon it, isolating those who do it and refusing jobs to users, this creates an incentive for change, even if it's a negative incentive. In other ways, society encourages and supports an immoral status quo, by silence, out of fear speaking out about an issue or person will result in make them a target.

Gaining confidence and courage, for me, has been a process. Everyone is on their own journey and I have to remember most people don't become a whistleblower or activist overnight. Some never will and don't want to. I'm sympathetic and empathetic because I remember what my concerns were before I first ventured out. I believe everyone has the calling though, and I believe it's a social responsibility. The parable of The Good Seed comes to mind. Some people hear the word and it gets choked out by the weeds, other seed falls by the wayside, some seed hits hard ground, and other seed is carried away by the birds. Only a small part of the seed falls to ground that is ready to receive it, and carry it to maturation and harvest. I think we all have opportunities to stand up for what's right and make a difference, or speak out about abuses and hope someone else will get the message and make a difference. But it probably depends upon the person and where they are in their journey. I wasn't ready to speak out when I was younger. I was too afraid.

If I ever became interested in someone at this point in my life, or would consider even marriage, it would only be to an activist. This is who I am. I couldn't spend my life with, or even relate to, someone who was not at a similiar point. I respect and enjoy the company of many different kinds of people, but I would never give up any part of my independence to or for someone who was not on the same page and going in the same direction. I never have, and never will, "settle".

This is how important my philosophies are to me. Last night I began brainstorming. Maybe I would call my organization "Sounding Off"...And the mission would be to get the truth out on a variety of issues, and allow and encourage other people to speak up about things, and share information, esp. about organizations that may act under color of law to deprive others of their rights. I could file complaints for a living.

Ahhhh...That would be the life!