Celebration of Life: Mom & Dad

Sherron Forshee     &      Kenneth Forshee
June 2nd 2019                  June 18th 2019

As a family, we have lived very full lives. Traveling with the Army calling the shots was all we knew and thought everyone else lived this way as well. Though the places we lived and the people we met over the years were incredible, it is the everyday things that are sustaining for us. We were not a perfect family but the events that occurred shaped us. Mom & Dad helped us grow into resilient, generous & loving people.

Barbara, Kenton, and I grew up in a household where Mom took care of the home, while Dad did as the Army commanded. It was known to us from a young age that Dad would not always be there. He traveled or worked in a different state than where we lived several times over the years. Mom made sure the money deposited into our account stretched as far as she could make it. Somehow, for nearly 59 years, they made it work.

We lived in California when I was born. My early memories include Daddy holding me above his head when we lived in Hawaii. I was the only child at that time and had all the attention. He smiled a lot back then. He lost that ready ability after Vietnam but regained it when dementia set in. Dad was a Career Counselor in the Army and was forevermore encouraging us to try our hand at this job or that school. In the month before he died, as sick as he was, he was still at it. There was a poster at the Veterans Home where he lived that said, “Only You Can Prevent Falls!” In his halting speech, several times, he tried to talk me into applying for what he thought was a “job.”

Not everything was rosy with Dad. His frequent absences made it hard for him to know our routine at home. He wanted things done a certain way when he was there while Mom had her own rules for us. The PTSD he suffered transferred to us having symptoms of that trauma as well. Quiet was the rule at dinner when he was home while talking about our day was welcomed when he was not.

Barbara was the middle-child and born in Hawaii. She recalls Daddy taking us to the circus in Ft. Worth, Texas. She also had her first Halloween when we lived near there. Daddy had her by the hand, taking her from house to house with her little bucket for candy. The summer we moved to Atlanta, Dad had a part-time job delivering AutoTrader magazines to convenience stores. Barbara went with him to help and would often get a treat of doughnuts and a drink. After her son, Brandon was born, Dad went with them both to the beach in Ft Myers, Florida. Walking with them both on the sand was heaven. In those moments, she was the only child.

Other memories were not so enjoyable. Dad did not approve of Barbara’s first marriage choice. He threatened to not come to the wedding, causing her much heartache. It was only at the last minute did he decide to go. Barbara has mentioned often over the years of Dad’s leaving us. Even though work was the reason, she still hated that feeling of seeing him walk out of the door.

Kenton was the youngest and born in Texas after Dad came back from Vietnam. His best memory was their trip to Italy just before Dad was unable to travel due to his failing health. Dad loved being in new places, seeing new countries, and learning new things. Everything was beautiful for him if it was somewhere else. Kenton loved showing Dad the places he had been when he was in the Air Force, and Dad drank it all in. Dad also loved seeing people he knew when he traveled. Visiting our family friend, Ed in London was a great treat. Kenton and Dad saw the movie Titanic when it opened in theaters. That was an enjoyable event as well.

As with his sisters, not all memories of Dad were amazing. When Barbara and I were small, Dad would take us fishing when we lived in New Orleans. Kenton was a baby then but grew up hearing about our fishing expeditions. When he was older, Kenton begged Dad to take him fishing. Dad relented but sat in the car while Kenton drowned worms in a small pond nearby. Disappointing, to say the least, but there were many other disheartening moments as the only boy child of his soldier father.

Mom teaching Barbara and me our numbers and colors by playing cards with us was an early recollection. She taught us Rummy and Old Maid before I was six years old. She walked me the few blocks to school when I started first grade. I remember her sewing some of our clothes on her portable Singer Sewing machine. She was there for me when my first husband left and when I brought Jon and Robert to meet my parents two years later. We went on many adventures in the mountains and especially to Bald River Falls. We laughed and cried freely with each other.

Mom also had her authoritarian side. Her home was spotlessly clean. Her rigid training of us in housekeeping skills made sure of that. When she said no, that meant no. When she said maybe, that also meant no. I was fearful of asking for things as a child. Mom’s word was law.

Barbara remembers her taking us to buy school clothes. Mom tried to teach her to sew, but Barbara remembers crying more than sewing! Wedding shopping trips with Mom was also a fond recollection for Barbara. They both went to the store to buy the flowers in the arrangement on the alter displayed here today. They had fun putting it together. Barbara has fond memories of Mom playing paddy-cake with Brandon and Nikki when they were both pre-schoolers. Mom also always cut our hair and gave us home-perms.

The arguments our parents had left their mark on Barbara’s mind. There was some conflict over buying a house at one time. Dad wanted to, but Mom did not, preferring to stay in the mobile home we had. There was a big row over it when at some point during the dispute, Mom sailed one of those See & Say Farmer Says toys at Dad like a Frisbee hitting the bedroom door just as he got in and slammed it shut. We were all stunned by this behavior since we were always punished for throwing things at each other.

Remembering the times when Mom would take him to McDonald’s while his sisters were in school is a fond memory of Kenton’s. In later years, watching British TV shows was a favored pastime. Before moving to Maryville, there was a large wildflower patch in their yard purposely planted for Mom. Kenton would take pictures of these beautiful flowers and put them on Mom’s computer for her to enjoy year ’round. She loved it. He also taught her how to work her computer. This valuable skill allowed her to have a view of the world when Dad’s illness prevented them from going places like before.

Kenton also remembers feeling controlled by Mom. She wanted things done her way. He was fearful of disappointing her many times. Her recent decline included her berating him for things he hadn’t done. Knowing a person you love is ill doesn’t make their hurtful words wound you less. Being her primary caregiver during that time was draining.

As a family, we had laughter when Mom scolded Dad about complaining regarding a particular restaurant food. When asked how it was by the server, he glanced at Mom before replying, “We ate it, didn’t we?” We also laughed and sang in the car when we moved from state to state, never knowing what to expect in our surroundings. Tears poured aplenty when Mom was in the hospital for ten months trying to regain her sense of sanity and then again when we watched Dad accept a commendation medal as he retired from the Army. Their last years had many similar moments of laughter and tears.

Our parents were human. They were authentic, and they were as real as you or I. They had their good days and bad, strengths and flaws, shining moments, and glorious failings when it came to parenting. They were the product of their upbringing and what they added to that, just as we are of ours. They improved on their early family life just as we try to improve on the families we brought into the world.

We had days of making ice-cream and folding laundry, learning to drive and failing in relationships, enduring financial hardships, and celebrating career successes. Through all these things and even after death, our parents cared for us. Mom & Dad did what they could with the resources they had and the knowledge they possessed. They loved us… and I believe they still do.


In my memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health– Epigenetics is a concept we explore.  Beliefs and behaviors can be passed down from generation to generation but without the context of the first-hand experience to tell you why you act the way you do.  To learn more about how I saw my family, you can purchase this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo.

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The Letter

The evening light peeks through the window casting enticing shadows across the room and on the woman at the cherry escritoire. The setting sun embraces the day as she readies herself for a restful night. Perhaps that elusive state will come before the wee hours this time. Long has she waited for a word from his hand. Sleepless she has been for far too many evenings when desperate imaginings claimed her thoughts driving Morpheus from her arms.

A linen envelope hastily opened, lies on the desk franked with foreign stamps. The worn edges and a smeared address graced its expensive vellum from the many hands it passed through on its journey to her door. The tale it imparts if we would but observe its condition. The sender’s feelings of exhilarating hope or crushing despair as they gently folded the letter encased within. The dry-mouthed tongue tasting the adhesive, so the linen was sealed for its long-awaited travels. The messenger entrusted with a missive so dear. How would the letter be met? Would there be tears of unbounded joy or a cruel dismissal of words come too late?

She sits draping her languid form on the chair seeming to rise to meet her every curve. The diaphanous gown caresses her figure showing alluring shoulders and a graceful neck. The hair bound up about her head in artless disarray was still damp from her nightly ablutions. An unlined face was arranged in a state of replete repose as though still glowing from an exquisite orgasmic reflection. Lashes fanned her flushed cheeks as her lips remembered unforgotten kisses.

A well-formed limb rested along the arm of the chair and in her dangling hand was the yearned-for letter. Fingers clung to the linen as her mind recited every word of the flowing script on the page. He had not forgotten nor was he gone from this life to the hereafter. Her salvation written in ink. Her anguish extinguished with the broad indigo strokes of love undimmed by time or distance. An illness of excessive duration, he said, prevented his reply but now health had returned. He dared hope it was not too late to pronounce his ardent devotion and hunger for her smiles. His regiment was heading north to take the boat from the port. She could be in his loving embrace in less than a fortnight if that were her passionate wish.

What would be her response? Was her affection strong enough to carry her? Would he find her wanting since they last cast eyes upon each other’s visage? Time and worry change people just as battle and bloodshed. Ah, sweet prolonged desire. Is it better to seek and hunger for that person kept from one than to have one’s ardor sated by their return?

My 116 Day Hiatus

It’s been over three months since my last post on this blog. Ironically the previous story- When Bad Things Happen- proved prescient for my life as the days turned into months. Here we are in 2019. This will be a year of change for many of us and some things we are not going to like as it happens. That’s a given for any situation. Settle in with a cup of tea and allow me to provide you with an overview of my life since we spoke all those months before.

A few days after my last post, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with bladder cancer. To be sure she has had other life-threatening issues over her 86 years but this illness was one she wasn’t sure she wanted to come back from. I’ve known her for the last 28 of those years now and have always been amazed at her health and diligence in keeping it. She lives alone in a rural mountain town working on her art and doing community service. My husband is her only child, and we live on the other side of that mountain 1 ½ hours away in good weather.

After two surgeries in three months, countless doctor appointments, and hundreds of miles driven between our two homes she is physically doing well with immunotherapy treatment. Mentally and spiritually she is regretting calling 911 when she nearly bled out at home the day she was rushed to the hospital. I love this woman who has been my mother for all these years, and I feel compassion for her plight. She only wants to talk about “when she is no longer here” and what needs to be done before the day that happens. She is not sad or angry. She seems to look forward to that time.

In the middle of this, I had to undergo lithotripsy for a 7mm stone in the left kidney. Earlier last year I had a 3mm one that became stuck in the right ureter. Allowing time for myself was necessary but difficult to feel right about. The old mantra of “others are worse off than me” tried to return with its litany of hit tunes. I managed to shush its fears and remind it that I am part of the “others” I care about.

Just as I was nearly recovered from that procedure, my cousin’s husband died suddenly after only being in the family for two years. Deb’s previous longtime mate passed away after an extended illness just three years before. I traveled down to Florida to be with her for several days as I had done when Clint died. The emotional toll of these various events was catching up with me. I was exhausted and in need of support but where do you turn when the people you count on are in the same boat with you?

As if this wasn’t enough, one of my grand-dogs contracted Lyme disease and went into kidney failure. My son’s family were heartbroken to lose Stella who was still a young dog and so much a part of their lives. My husband and I lost our little companion two years ago, and the wound feels fresh at times like these. My granddaughters cling to Stella’s adopted brother, Rusty and fret over his age and impending blindness. We may lose another dear friend in the coming months.

It was fortunate these events happened in a consecutive manner instead of all on the same day or even the same week! Scattered as they were made them a bit easier to deal with from a logistical perspective but the building up of emotional trauma blocked my ability to write until now. I am one who needs quiet time to process events. My life has been far from quiet these past months.

This incoming year will see more of this unquiet time. I have aging parents in ill health along with my mom-in-law. We may experience a move from our present residence, and my own health issues seem to be a continuing thing for 2019. We will handle these changes when they arrive as we have done in the past. Doubtless, you will endure the changes headed your way as well. May we bend without breaking in all our endeavors.

In my book- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health- I faced many challenges. Some of this was due to the medical system, some to family strife but much due to my own procrastination in taking responsibility for my own recovery. To read my story, purchase the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo. My hope is that you are inspired to take charge of your health and your life.

When “Bad Things” Happen

Let’s face it. Bad things happen to us. Sometimes we can see the cause of the misfortune and other times we are left with no person or no circumstance to blame. What do we do with this “bad thing” that has suddenly turned up in our lives? We can have a variety of reactions so let’s explore some of these and possibly why the darn thing happened in the first place.

We moved into our present home eighteen years ago. It has a full unfinished basement where we promptly filled it up with our unused and seasonal stuff. It is true that nature abhors a vacuum. We did not have the room in our old house for all the things that we have now. A nice clean or at least tidy space was not to be. As a result of this wall to wall chaos, we failed to notice some creeping mold in the back corner. My husband, who is down there every day at his work desk and very near the offending fungus, did not notice it until it had traveled from behind some boxes stacked nearby.

When it was discovered, we began moving things. Then we thought, “Why just move them? Why not get rid of some stuff?” Thus began a journey that is still ongoing. After moving and purging that small corner, we found the mold encompassed that entire lower wall plus behind the peg-board on the adjacent wall at the height of about two feet! We had been living with this stuff for quite some time. It could explain some of the various medical concerns we have experienced. It was a real mess.

The mold was the “bad thing” that showed up, but we could trace it back to the basement getting wet a few times over the years. The damp area could be accounted for by the way our yard slopes and the shape of our home. The extent of the damage could be attributed to our carelessness and hoarding habits. The various circumstances all contributed to the mess we found and the subsequent cleaning that ensued. These situations were going on for years but until it found its way into our awareness- near the desk- we happily ignored the stacked items we no longer needed, the puddling area in the inner corner of our front yard along with the mysterious aches and pains we both experienced.

People do not change willingly. There must be a catalyst. For us, in this instance, we saw this “dirty patch” on the wall. For others, it might be a spouse suddenly coming in and demanding a divorce. Another instance could be getting a failing grade on a test. The catalyst must be sufficient enough to propel the offended person into action but not enough to throw them into hopelessness. Ignoring the signs and symptoms of an impending disaster is what humans do best. The trick seems to be to learn from these less than comfortable engagements.

I personally believe that everything that happens either to us or around us is here to teach us something. There is value in the “bad things” that come into our lives. It is true that instances like our moldy basement could have been mitigated if we had done things differently in the beginning and going forward. The telling part of this story is our reaction to the “bad thing.” We didn’t yell or get huffy by blaming each other for the situation. We just set to work and did the best we could given what was to be done.

How do you react to “bad things” showing up? Our circumstance was mild, but your troubles could be worse. Does blaming and being overly angry solve the problem? Emotions are not inherently wrong, you need to feel them when they come up. When emotions get in the way of taking care of the business at hand, then it may be time for intervention or at least a time-out to be able to see the real issue.

To take it from the personal to the collective, are there issues in the news such as the environment, healthcare, finance, politics or wars that you deal with and consider them a “bad thing?” Much of these collective woes can be traced to earlier decisions that may have seemed reasonable at the time they were made. Again, the trick is how do we, as a collective, react to these situations and events? What is the lesson to be learned? How can this “bad thing” that has come into our world’s awareness be something that can be used for good? Can we find the value that is there and instead of placing blame or calling one group or the other names, use our stirred-up emotions to propel humanity forward together for a better future?

We are all here to learn from each other and from the events that happen to us. This is how we grow as individuals and as nations on this earth. To look at the “bad things” as merely a catalyst for us to change what is no longer working is to become free of suffering needlessly. Whatever the “bad thing” is, it can be made worse by our negative reaction. We can change our perspective when we hear or see things that hurt or anger us. We can look for the value so we can transform our lives and that of the world.

In my memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health- there were several “bad things” that showed up in my life. At first, I reacted negatively to these events. After a time and after a lot of inner work, I began to see the value of what was happening to me. To learn more about how I did this, you can purchase this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo.

Red Pill Journey: How War Changed My Family

I do not trust our U.S. Intelligence agencies and here’s why. Much has been said regarding President Trump’s remarks about US Intelligence, especially in the alleged Russian Collusion affair. Right or wrong, I do not see his comments as treasonous. My family’s life has been directly and adversely affected by US Intelligence and the way it was used more than fifty years ago. Is the sentiment I feel a treasonous act? Am I a Russian bot? You be the judge.

On November 22nd, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas. I was not quite a year and a half old when this event put in motion a portion of the story that changed my family. The Warren Commission Report indicated that Lee Harvey Oswald, a former marine, and communist sympathizer, was the shooter. As the police were transferring Oswald to a car that was to take him to the Dallas County jail, Jack Ruby shot Oswald in the abdomen and killed him. Ruby was subsequently tried and sentenced to death.

https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/chapter-1

In the recently released JFK Assassination Records, it was revealed that there were two shooters according to the FBI, witnesses and the apparent trajectory of the bullets as told by the Surgeon General’s Report. J. Edgar Hoover spoke with LBJ, (Pres. Johnson’s) aide, Walter Jenkins, the evening of the assassination, to “have something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” An FBI informant, Orest Pena, alleged that Oswald was also an FBI informant due to seeing him with other government agents including the FBI agent Pena reported to for many years.

https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32144493.pdf https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32263509.pdf https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32246608.pdf

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was saddened by Kennedy’s death. President Kennedy had been in the process of diplomatic talks with the Soviets, and they were making headway. The Soviets worried regarding the unknown policies of LBJ toward the USSR. According to a CIA source, the KGB allegedly had data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination. The Soviets seemed convinced that this was a carefully planned campaign in which several people played a part.

https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32204484.pdf

It appears that Kennedy had decided to begin troop withdrawal of US Forces in Vietnam in October 1963. This information was revealed by Kennedy’s then Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect. In spite of numerous Vietnam historian’s assertions to the contrary, a handful of knowledgeable writers, historians and a retired intelligence officer whose “specialty is deciphering declassified records,” have found evidence that Kennedy planned to withdraw troops and indeed ordered it to begin.

https://bostonreview.net/us/galbraith-exit-strategy-vietnam

On August 5th, 1964, the American people were informed that the North Vietnamese attacked the US Maddox in open seas while it was on a routine patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin. President Johnson ordered “retaliatory action” against North Vietnam thereby placing the US in a war where more than a quarter of a million people from all sides died during the conflict. For people contaminated with the military’s use of the defoliant Agent Orange, those deaths are still coming in.

At the time there was doubt regarding the incident with the Maddox. Since then more testimony has been uncovered that the US involvement with the war in Vietnam was based on falsehoods and deceit. There was no 2nd attack on the Maddox. A conversation between President Johnson and Defense Secretary McNamara indicates that they favored withholding specific information from Congress. This non-disclosure led to Congress not having all the information they needed to make an informed decision regarding the entrance into this deadly conflict. Lives were needlessly lost or forever harmed.

https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/tapes.htm
https://www.usni.org/magazines/navalhistory/2008-02/truth-about-tonkin
https://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/world/asia/15vietnam.html?_r=3&emc=eta1

It appears that President Kennedy’s untimely death could have been subverted since Oswald was known by the FBI unless that was the goal of “some people” for him to be involved with the assassination. Why was it not widely known that Kennedy wanted to withdraw troops? Who was controlling that information? Why was certain intelligence withheld from Congress concerning the attack on the US Maddox? Would that knowledge have implicated “some people” in more distressing deeds or was our US Intelligence at fault? It seems to me that with the amount of money spent to gather information for our government, we are not getting much bang for our buck. Intelligence data is only productive if it is used.

My father joined the Army in 1960. He and my mother married later that same year. By the time the US became involved with the Vietnam War, they had two daughters- my younger sister and me. In the spring of 1967, my dad was deployed to Vietnam while his wife and children were left to wonder if he would make it home. The year dragged by as we waited for news of his safety or his demise. At last in the spring of 1968, he returned to his family, but both parties had been changed by the time apart.

Dad had been a loving father and an attentive husband before his war experience. When he came home, he was distant and reserved. When he did speak, it was to tell us to be quiet or not touch him. The dad I remembered did not come home, and another person took his place. My little brother was born in 1969. We all adjusted, but we suffered from the second-hand symptoms of his PTSD. We all eventually succumbed to the trauma and needed extended emotional support in our adult years.

Dad retired after 20 years from the military and began another career as an electrician. The contamination he endured from the Agent Orange started to take its toll. It is a testament to his military discipline in regards to his health that Dad has lasted as long as he has. My father had several issues that can be attributed to the poison that was sprayed in Vietnam. He is now bed-ridden in a Veterans nursing facility with 110% disability and in the care of hospice workers. He is 78 yrs old as we watch his body systems shut down one at a time. All because of a needless war.

After reading the documents above and doing your own research to further prove to yourself the allegation I have made, I ask if you believe our US Intelligence Agencies? Do you believe without question the information that our government puts forth as an official story on each news item they are called upon to investigate? For myself, I cannot accept anything I hear or read from them without questioning something. I have read enough history to see where the dots connect and where they don’t.

I am not angry anymore for what was perpetrated against my family and so many others. At this point, my anger would only harm me. I now use a healthy skepticism in regards to our government. So far, they have not earned my complete trust, and if they keep to their old ways, they are not likely to do so. I now look for an evolving truth and realize I may never get the complete picture. I will close with one of my favorite lines from the 1968 film Yours Mine and Ours as spoken by Henry Fonda’s character- “If this be treason, make the most of it.”

To find out more about my family check out my book- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Red Pill Journey: Introduction

Quite a number of folks on the internet have talked about “taking the red pill” which is a pop-culture reference from the movie The Matrix. This 1999 film written by the Wachowski Brothers (now sisters) is the story about “a computer hacker [who] learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers” as explained on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB). To be red-pilled is to learn a deeper nature of something beyond what conventional wisdom or group consensus promotes. It begins a journey for a person that, at times, can be fraught with an intense dichotomy. The question is how do you hold both views as valid depending on your perspective or is that even a viable option?

Thus begins a new series of posts- The Red Pill Journey. In today’s offering, we will look at a small sampling of the symbolism in the movie and how it pertains to our everyday aspects of life. Spoiler-Alert: I will be talking about the film. At some point, you may want to watch The Matrix or re-watch it, and see how much of the symbolism you catch. Our brain processes words and pictures differently with picture symbols having a more universal understanding and greater depth of meaning for us.

The unwitting hero of this film is Neo played by Keanu Reeves, a man of mixed heritage including Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese and English. Keanu was born in the Middle East in Lebanon. The name Neo is derived from the Greek word neos for new or recent. Neo wants to know what the Matrix is. The actor’s heritage implies he could be any of us, a kind of everyman, who becomes a savior of sorts. He is, therefore, the most recent incarnation of a seeker of truth. Are not we all seekers of some kind of revelation at pivotal points in our lives? Do we come to a place where the known is too safe and boring? Whether we act on our restless thoughts depends on how deeply and passionately we want to discover something more.

Morpheus is the mentor who helps to awaken the hero and believes Neo is The One that is prophesied to help free the people. In Greek mythology, Morpheus is the god of sleep and dreams. This role is played by Laurence Fishburne, an accomplished actor who is an attractive black man. Fishburne’s voice is hypnotic and eloquent when playing Morpheus. Though not preacher-like in his delivery, his way of captivating his audience is reminiscent of Martin Luther King when he speaks of having a dream. Who is the person or what is the device that awakens us from our slumber? Do we grasp at the opportunity to wake up and gain knowledge or do we hit the snooze button and remain unconscious?

The ultimate nemesis is the Matrix. It is what keeps the people imprisoned and controlled. It holds them back from their full potential. The interesting thing about this particular villain is that it is not real. It is a construct that is kept together by consensus. In the movie, it is shown as a machine that harvests the energy from the unconscious people in its grasp who are cradled in womb-like comfort. Where in our lives are we lulled into a state of somnambulance- sleep-walking through our various activities? It is no wonder we have the saying “I can do this with my eyes closed.” Is our energy being used by others that drains us of our creativity and motivation? Are we addicted to comfort and safety at the expense of our passion and soul-calling? To become cognizant of this potential choice is a frightening moment. Many shake themselves trying to convince their mind it was all a dream. Just go back to sleep, and all will be fine.

It is at this point when Neo is presented with an opportunity to gain knowledge of what he desires- the meaning of The Matrix. Morpheus delivers the ultimatum. In each hand, he shows Neo two translucent capsules- a red one and a blue one. If he takes the blue pill, Neo stays as he is and believes anything he wants to believe about his meeting with Morpheus and their conversation. It is well known in home décor circles that the favorite color to paint a bedroom is blue. In one of it varied shades, you will find a soothing coolness that inhibits wakefulness while inducing sleep. We describe depression or sadness as being blue. Music that invokes a raw emotional though resigned feeling is called the blues. Morpheus is offering Neo one last chance to hit the snooze button.

The red pill promises answers. It doesn’t guarantee the questioner will like what he finds but how many of us read the fine print? The intonation of Wonderland and Rabbit Hole indicates a circuitous route with counter-intuitive choices to make and potential plot-twists. This red-pill journey requires work on our part and a take-no-prisoners attitude. If we want to discover truth, we can’t be squeamish about how it shows up. We must also come to grips with the realization that we may never know the complete truth and be satisfied with a bit of mystery that is yet to be solved. History is written by the winners. The losers in any altercation must find other ways to communicate their side of the story.

Now that you have some background on this red-pill concept, we will tackle various topics that impact our lives that are not all they seem at surface level. With each subject, we will also look at how we can respond to this more in-depth knowledge. What good is knowing something if it leaves your emotions in a tangle? Finding meaning and purpose will be our aim. Using that which was meant to harm us and turning it into a beneficial action can bring healing to all. Stay tuned for the next installment of The Red Pill Journey where we wake-up to the truth about our family and local environment.

In my recently published memoir, Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health, I was “red-pilled” with the fact a person could totally recover from a diagnosed mental illness. My family history and the medical establishment I contracted with did not seem to include this possibility as part of their reality. In the beginning I used traditional western medical treatments but went on to use eastern remedies and holistic therapies to become a healthy person.

You can find this book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in paperback and e-book.

The Matrix movie
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Manipulation in the Media: Part Three-The Blame Game

As we continue our series on media manipulation, I hope you are using the techniques given in the previous posts. These tools become more valuable and can be applied to a wide variety of settings beyond the ones illustrated here. Today we will look at another manipulation device- blame. Let’s see how we can avoid being trapped in this cycle of wrong turns.

I outgrew the monster under the bed a long time ago. Can we all let go of it’s all Russia’s fault or Donald Trump’s fault or Barack Obama’s fault, or Hillary Clinton’s fault, or the Democrats, the Republicans, the left, the right, my boss, my parents, my circumstances, my race, my age… It feels like an adult version of “My dog ate my homework.” When blame is cast, it has the effect of giving the real perpetrator a break while simultaneously placing them in the victim role. For the most part, people feel a kinship with victims. This is where the previous manipulation tactics- partial disclosure & distraction- can come in handy. The more helpless, cute or admirable others perceive you to be, the less likely they will believe you did anything wrong.

Another aspect of blaming another for a perceived wrong-doing is it gives the media a chance to demonize the one currently being accused. The demonization of someone by an authority figure such as the media or our leaders provides permission for the masses to do the same. It becomes a mob mentality which is very contagious. People get caught up in the name-calling and fault-finding because to go against the crowd is detrimental. You become the enemy, and the group turns on you. It takes an emotionally strong person to go against the tide of public opinion. Many get trapped in the undertow. This blanket demonization of the blamed person(s) often spills over onto those who support them. An example is how the Republicans vilified Hillary Clinton which spilled over onto the Democratic voters who helped her. She was presented as prison fodder while the voters were willing dupes. This tactic shuffles back and forth covering both sides of the spectrum. Now it becomes a tactic against the Republicans- President Trump, and his supporters are reviled and denigrated. Cue the violence.

The person or entity that is bearing the blame for the perpetrator’s mistakes needs to be already in the consciousnesses of the culture. They had to have done something in the past that was perceived as despicable for this bit of manipulation to work. Nazis, Russia and President Trump, to name just a few, have all been maligned in the past over deeds deemed wrong in our culture whether they were guilty of that particular offense or not. The media continues to perpetuate this perception by linking these people at every opportunity to the perceived evil done in the past. They don’t let you forgive and forget. While it is correct in some cases there is ongoing wrong-doing, there is no chance to decipher a past transgression from a recent one. One of the rules of propaganda is to repeat phrases over and over until those you are trying to manipulate automatically associate the entity you are blaming with evil deeds all on their own. It can be challenging to un-link the two concepts so that you can discern truth. Not everyone is terrible at every moment of every day. Yet our media makes us think that by presenting a one-dimensional character.

What can we do when we become aware of The Blame Game? This particular manipulative action is entrenched in our society. As children, we learned that to feel safe and loved, it is better not to admit what we have done if we fear any repercussions. Guilty people are excoriated in the news, and it becomes a heavy burden that few recover from. To prolong the illusion of innocence, the real perpetrator digs in their heels against further allegations. Bill Cosby comes to mind as a respected person who most people had trouble believing he was guilty of anything but was convicted in a court of law of severe misdeeds. Deflecting blame onto someone else may get you off the hot-seat for a moment. As the saying goes though- be sure your sins will find you out. Nothing stays a secret forever.

When in our lives have we not felt loved or maybe were rejected? What was happening to us when we felt the need to blame someone or something instead of owning up to our part in the harmful event? Does this past deed still haunt us? Is there a way for us to make amends? These are the questions we can ask ourselves to lay open our wounding so that healing can begin. It won’t be easy. When we can see how blaming others for our rash actions have hurt us through our relationship with people, it will be easier for us to identify when the media is using this tactic on us. We can then see through the illusion they are creating by perpetuating the deflection. Investigate the alleged perpetrator/victim. Some of these people are guilty of wrong-doing. Some are not. Getting to some kind of truth is a process. In our fast-paced world, we would rather have easy once-and-done answers. Truth is almost never found through that type of non-action.

I hope that we can focus on solutions and leave the blame alone. It is easy to pass the buck and keep the criticism going. It is not easy to offer another view of the current narrative much less a different solution that may be less charged with emotion. By not allowing ourselves to be manipulated by our media and thoroughly question the players’ motives we can begin to strip back the masks that are used to get to some truth. We may never know the entire truth of anything. We hide the truth from ourselves so how can we expect others to divulge all they may be hiding? Our only solution is to take what is given but wait and see what the next day brings. Be open to an evolving truth and release any attachment to an outcome that makes you feel better for the moment. In our world right now, the time is ripe for some hard truths to come to light. Some people we respect will fall. Some people we dislike will be exonerated. By leaving off the public flaying of the guilty and instead encouraging them to do the right thing, we can create an environment where others will not dread owning up to misdeeds. Perhaps in the future, there will be no wrong-doing to lie about. We can hope.

In my memoir, Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health, I give an explanation for epigenetics. I tell how my parents and grandparents lived, what they believed and how their lives affected mine. I attempted to do this in a way so that they were not blamed for my illness. It was difficult to discover my own culpability in how I was feeling and perpetuating my own suffering. After I came to terms with my avoidance of taking responsibility for my choices and reactions to my environment, I began to heal.

If you have found this series helpful or informative, please leave a comment below. If you would like my take on other concepts that we face in our world today, let me know your thoughts below this post. Thank you all for your support!

Neil Sanders – Your Thoughts Are Not Your Own: Media Manipulation Of Perception https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbmgsIQwrzA&list=PLG4qaeBOYMUlq2c3E0sx5YqFcAPZWveCW