Today, I’m Angry

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite The Right rally in CharlottesvilleThis morning I watched an online news report from CBS News reporting about the “White Nationalists” in Virginia protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. Now, we all know our history (some of us), and we are aware of Robert E. Lee. Yes, he is a part of a very important part of our American history, but that part of our history is a painful reminder of what had occurred – the Civil War. The painful reminder is the reason behind the war and it all boils down to the slavery movement.

I’m not going to try to teach a history lesson about this…my goal is to ask why are we still fighting this fight? Why do we have “white nationalists”? On Facebook, there were some comments that incensed me. One comment: “Why is it that when white people protest it’s violent, but when black people protest it’s a movement?” Ummm…. And, another comment “This is what happens when society tries to make you feel ashamed to be white and labels you as a racist because of your political views…” Ummm…Another comment came from a person overseas: “America is a dangerous place. Thank god I don’t live there.”

I am speechless.

My daddy was born in 1917 and he would have been 100 years old this year if he would have lived. 100 years old! It’s 2017 and we are still fighting racism! We are still nowhere near where we need to be!

My dad told me a story once about when he was walking down the street in downtown Tucson in 1949 (around that time). He saw a white woman and her little girl walking towards him, so it was a necessity to step off of the sidewalk to allow the white females to use the sidewalk. As my father did this and they passed by each other, the little girl pointed and said, “Look, mommy, a nigger!” The mother tried to hush the little girl, but my dad smirked and said, “She wouldn’t have said the word unless she was taught the word.” The mother was embarrassed and rushed away.

My father was right. Racism is taught. We want to believe that it is not as bad as it was a century ago, but it is folks. When something is hidden for so long, and it suddenly emerges from the depths of hell, we are shocked and alarmed. Most of us are shocked. I’m not shocked. I am not going to pretend that racism does not exist. Hate exists in this world…on various levels in various place in the world, but there is hate. Blacks and whites are on top of the scale; here in Arizona, people don’t like Mexicans who cross the border (oh…it’s true. People may say it’s because they are crossing illegally, but bottom line it’s because of who they are); religion vs. religion; religion vs. anti-religion; gender vs. gender; sexuality vs. sexuality. All of it has an underlining of hate!

The human race has forgotten how to love! Love has become an obscure term nowadays. To love someone means to have this deep emotion and a big responsibility to keep loving that person. We are too lazy to love and care for people. So, instead we hate, we breed hate, and we keep trying to align Bible scriptures to keep the hate going.

I say ‘we’ because the ones who do this, the rest of us stand by and allow it to continue! I am a spiritual person, and I pray daily for myself, my family, and friends because we do live in dangerous times – just like the commenter said. We don’t know who hates us! I ask God for protection for me, my family, and friends.

I am afraid. Don’t tell me that I shouldn’t be. I’m just reacting, right now. But, my skin is brown…dark brown…and there are some idiotic people out there who don’t know me at all, but hate me because of my skin color. One friend told me that a white man told her, “I’ll never know how it feels to be hated because of my skin color. I don’t know how that feels.”

Exactly. White people don’t know how it feels to be automatically hated and judged because of the color of skin. Most white people are disliked because of their beliefs, their sexuality, their political views…or they are just not likable! But, as a black person, we are not given a chance for people to get to know us. There is an automatic assumption. How do I know this? I don’t. But, when the world is full of racism, and you’re on the other end of it…you have to defend your skin color before you can defend your beliefs!

If you are my reader, and you are white, please don’t take offense. I have to get this out because of what happened today in Charlottesville Virginia. White Nationalists. What does that mean, exactly?

I am not looking for an apology from my friends and family members who are white. Another quote: “Confederates are only answering to the genocidal attack on our culture…”

“Well at least they aren’t burning down buildings and smashing windows and stealing stuff…” (What is that in reference to?)

The CBS News reported that there were protestors who were wearing Nazi Swastikas. They were protesting on the University of Virgina campus – Emancipation Plaza. The students and others counter-attacked the protestors.

“America! America! God shed his grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”

I’m torn.

I’m sad.

I’m emotional.

I’m angry.

The Story of My Name

ATWT Lisa GrimaldiFor those of you who don’t know, my name is Lisa. Lisa is a very common name here in the United States. I remember in high school while walking down the halls, someone would yell out, “Lisa!” and about five girls would turn around to seek out who wanted us. It was aggravating but we figured out a system to not turn around until someone actually addressed us to our face. I also had a pen pal named Lisa Chiavaroli (the spelling of the last name is probably not correct) who lived in Brooklyn New York. We exchanged about three letters, but it was cool that we had the same first name.

However, the significance of my name is something my mother told me years ago! It’s quite interesting too. My mother was 45 years old, she already had six other children, and she was about to give birth to her seventh and last child during the summer months. My dad was 47 and he was elated that he was having a baby girl to spoil! Therefore, my mother, who was probably very tired, relaxed in her home and absorbed what most women did in the mid-1960s – watch soap operas. My mother’s favorite soap opera was “As The World Turns” (I can hear the bass voice of the announcer say those words in my head as I typed them. Did you hear it too?). My mother sat down on the couch during the afternoon hours and watched “As The World Turns” to get away from the reality that she was heavily pregnant, it was hot in the desert southwest, and probably in a few minutes, she had to deal with the rest of her children.

“As The World Turns” drew her into their drama so deeply, that she was engaged with one character; a character that took her heart. The character was Lisa. Yes…you guessed correctly. I was named after a soap opera character. Lisa was played by actress Eileen Fulton, who is now 83 years old and lives in North Carolina. The character, Lisa Grimaldi, was a blond socialite on ATWT and was Oakdale’s busybody (in everybody’s business). Fulton played Lisa for 50 years, and was so successful that she was the first soap opera star to have her own publicist! The character Lisa couldn’t stay married, or single for that matter. I don’t know how many husbands she had, but she had them! On National Public Radio (NPR), Fulton was interviewed in 2010. She retold a story of being physically hit in Lord & Taylor because a soap fan hated her! The character was hated, but my mother was intrigued with her. Although, I begin to wonder if my mother secretly hated me because she was pregnant and connected her hate for Lisa with me. I’m being overly dramatic, aren’t I?

Anyway, in the interview, Fulton gave a wonderful response to a statement in the NPR interview that I’d like to relay in this blog:

Well, the world was a different place when Lisa came into it. You were a working professional, although the character you were creating was struggling with her place in the world as a woman.”  Fulton’s response: “I think that’s why think so many people named their children Lisa. I was very surprised when I went on the road years ago to find this out. It was the beginning of feminism—women taking up for themselves and going out into the world. Lisa became a businesswoman. She stuck up for herself. She was not somebody to be trampled on.”

Wow! What a statement! Do I dare believe that my mother named me for that reason? Did she believe that one day, her little Lisa would be a strong woman, who would stick up for herself, not allow herself to be trampled on, and become a businesswoman? Did my mother admire the character Lisa so much that she decided to name her baby in hopes that I would become a strong, independent woman? Did my mother looked past the character’s faults and saw that she had some redeeming qualities? All that I know is that my mother named me after her favorite character in a soap opera, and she never did say why she was her favorite, or at least I don’t remember. But, I’m hoping that I was named Lisa because of Fulton’s response.

I am no drama queen, but at 52, I’m hoping to become the woman my mother had always dreamed about.

Thanks Momma for naming me, Lisa.

 

The Old Man in Italy

11713710_10207106830779360_2469201045381589557_oDo you see this little old man? I took this photo in Rome, Italy about two years ago, at the Three Rivers Fountain. It was a beautiful, warm summer day in June and the people were out and about looking at paintings as the artists sat near their creations, in hopes to have someone buy a piece. The outdoor cafe was filled with people, drinking the sweet nectar of wine, or eating the delicious Italian cuisine. They were people-watching, resting from the bustle of tourists at the Forum, the Colosseum, or the extensive and spiritual journey to the Vatican. It was a quaint plaza.

There was a painter, actually a spray painter, who dazzled the audience with a fast painting of the beautiful night skies of Italy. As I looked up, I saw a lot of nuns and priests walking together and chatting; they stopped to look at the spray painter too, and I stared at them.  They looked happy – the older nuns and the young priests – they had smiles on their faces and I could feel their peace. I took pictures of them, without them knowing, and I finally relented and asked them if I could take a photo of them. They obliged and continued to smile, wondering how could they become a part of the Italian photo opportunity.

Later on, we ate pizza at an Italian restaurant that was housed downstairs in a building. Of course, the pizza was nothing like Domino’s or Pizza Hut or even Papa Johns! No…it was thin, delectable with fresh tomato sauce and authentic cheese. Across from our table sat two young priests and a man dressed in civilian clothes. They noticed the huge amount of American teenagers and adults who were speaking English. The man in the suit jacket asked where we were from and we replied “Arizona. Tucson, Arizona.” He laughed and said that his parents live in Tucson and he began to give us the cross streets of his parents’ house. Wild! We all laughed to talk about Tucson with a complete stranger in Rome, Italy. The two priests (very handsome priests too), were from the United States too.

I took pictures of the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, and I even broke a rule and took a picture of the ceiling at the Sistine Chapel (and it’s not the Sixteenth Chapel), you know where the finger of God is touching the finger of Adam. It’s unfortunate that I don’t know where the photo is..ugh! But, the masterpiece is the photo of the old Italian man at the Three Rivers Fountain.

In the photo, he is contemplating. I’m not sure about what, but I took the photo in the moment of his thoughts. He might have been thinking “Why is this woman taking a photo of me?” or, he might have thought about the beauty of the plaza, and the laughter of the children and the conversations of the people. The conversations. He might have been listening to a conversation and tried to translate the words to understand what they were saying.

I guess it doesn’t matter what he was thinking about, but I’m glad that I captured the moment in his thoughts. My belief is that he is the epitome of an Italian man. The last time I was in Rome, I gave a rose to an old man, who looked lonely and sad at the Spanish Steps. When I gave him the rose, he beamed with a toothless smile, held on to the rose and walked away, still smiling.

I don’t know why I’m blogging about this. I was going to talk about the beginning of the school year, but I wanted to share this photo.

The old man of Italy

leans on the fountain

thinking about what life

could be, will be or what life

would have been.

He thinks deeply

as the voices carry

across the plaza

and the water bubbles behind him

He’s an old priest

He’s an old peddler,

a former artist

a Roman citizen

an old man

forever captured

in his thoughts.

Don’t Give Up!

There is something I want so badly. In fact, there are a lot of things I want that are out of my reach. In my bedroom, I have a picture of a scripture in the Bible: “Always pray and never give up.” It’s from the Gospel of Luke 18:1. A little history, Luke was a physician, and that meant during the Biblical times, he was a scholar. The words he wrote were from the mouth of Jesus Christ, and he (Luke) had to agree upon the accuracy of belief – since being a physician – half the battle of healing is to never give up!

My Christian brothers and sisters would agree that whatever it is that you need in your life should be something that will add to your life in a positive way. What we believe for should not harm ourselves or others. For example, you’re not going to pray and never give up wanting someone to get sick or die. Nor, would you pray for someone to lose their job. I know one person who comes across our minds about losing their job – the current president – but besides that, we believe for things to happen in our lives that will help us!

I want a lot of money because I believe that when I get a lot of money, I can pay off a lot of annoying bills that I’ve made in my past! When I get relief from these bills, I can relax and live a little easier and breathe and enjoy the fresh air, blue skies, family and friends. Right now, I’m enjoying those things, however, in the back of my mind there is a nagging thought about my bills! We are going to have to pay bills, yes, but the bills I want to pay are the utilities. (I’m laughing out loud right now). Anyway, I’m believing for that and I’m not giving up! I think about my dad, Mr. Plato Watson, who, in his later years, would have tons of mail about business opportunities and get-rich-quick ideas. He would always say “when my dream boat comes in…” I look in the mirror and see that I am my father’s daughter. No, I’m not falling for those schemes, but I have combed the Internet and came across ideas of downloading apps on your phone to get paid! What??? Oh..yeah…I tried it…and I used up my data quickly! I decided that I didn’t need to do that. On to the next venture! I am several hundred surveys to complete to win points, gift cards, etc. Surveys are good! My minor in college was sociology, so I’m game to give my thoughts and opinions about certain products and ideas. But…it takes a lot of time to take surveys and sometimes I don’t qualify!

Say what? Is it because I’m a woman? Is it because I’m black? Is it because I’m over 50 without children and have one dog? Hahahaha….

Next! I wanted to drive for Uber. They checked my car and I have chips in my windshield! I have to get a new windshield! In my GEICO policy I had to pay a deductible to replace my windshield (money I don’t have!). I back-pedaled and changed my policy to zero deductible. Uh…that didn’t work because I had those chips in my windshield prior to the change in my policy! HAHAHAHAHA!!! How about Lyft? I can drive for Lyft! I told them about my windshield – no problem. Great! I keep messing up my appointments with my “mentor.” I’m almost there, but I have an issue which I rather not disclose right now.

Lyft is a possibility. But, I start work in two weeks, so I will be limited to work with Lyft on weekends – it’s my choice.

Sorry. I’m digressing from my point.

Money to pay bills.

I grew up in a Christian household and prayer was very significant in our lives. When my mother was gravely ill, my father had us all link up together in a circle in the living room and we prayed collectively for God’s Will to be done. Atheists at my college confronted me that it was my mother’s will and not God’s – and I told them that the doctors – neurologists…scientists…gave up on my mother because they said her brain was “mush” (she had a brain aneurysm, by the way). I told my dad about their argument and he said, “Baby, it is the prayers that your mother prayed for herself.” I am referring to the fact that my mother woke up from a 3-month coma after her aneurysm and lived about 17 years proving doctors wrong. Prayer.

The first part of the scripture is “always pray.” Now, for those of you who have a problem praying – I’ve learned that prayer can be from one to 1000 words. In other scriptures, God prefers you to be honest in your prayers and speak from the heart. You do not have to include the “thous” “thus” “mayest” etc. The prayer can consist of “Help me.”  I have grown in my prayers to tell God how much I appreciate the life He has given me – although sometimes I think it’s awful – I look around me and to some people I may be living the rich life (I hope you’re understanding what I’m talking about). There are some spiritual steps I need to take though in order to get my financial life healthy.

Now, I’m going to turn down another avenue. Money for bills is only one part of my “never giving up.” I want to be a writer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve written three poetry books so far, one more is developing. I’ve written a full novel and it is in production right now. My passion is to share my creative mind with the masses who would love to get lost in fiction and poetry! I want to write a children’s book about the adventures of my dog, Chuy!

I want to be a best-selling author! I won’t give up!

God has given me a creative gift that I have not been using – a gift that fulfills two things: satisfaction and an extra income! When the light bulb flickered and came on – I realized that I need to not give up on my writing – on me!

I just read a quote on Instagram that fits well into this article: “You may fail 100 times but it only takes one success to completely change your life.” (Markus Almond)

As a teacher, I can’t give up on my students, so why should I give up on myself? I will repeat this mantra: “I will never give up on you!”

Should We Talk About HPV?

People are asking “What are the symptoms of HPV in females?” “What is HPV in females?” “How do you test HPV in women?” “Can you get HPV if you’re not sexually active?” These are legitimate questions, but the real question is “Where did this epidemic come from?” All of a sudden I’m witnessing these commercials on television about HPV! These children are looking into the camera and asking their parents did they know about HPV. I didn’t know about HPV! How long has it been in existence? Is it something we need to worry about?

The commercial includes males…and one young male says he didn’t know that HPV led to his cancer! What’s happening? In the 80’s we had AIDS and HIV. The careless sexual behaviors and using dirty needles led to the most deadliest disease in history. While the battle was long, emotional and tedious, researchers and scientists have somehow put a lid on the issue and developed sustainable drugs to help victims prolong their lives! I think it’s excellent!

However, my concern is turned toward this HPV. Human Papillomavirus, according the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the most common STD in the United States and can be prevented with vaccines! Great news, right? But, get this: the CDC recommends that 11 to 12 year olds get the vaccine. At 11 and 12, I was not worried about a STD.

I’m going to break it down to you as I researched and read up on HPV. I hope this helps.

HPV is common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI – no more STD…it’s an infection). Anyone who is sexually active can contract HPV. There are different strains of the infection that can lead to genital warts and cancers; however, as I stated earlier, there is a vaccine to prevent all of this. It spreads through sexual contact (we’ll use our vivid imagination here, but realize that whatever sexual act you prefer, you can get HPV).

HPV and the link to cancer: It depends upon the health of the person, but again, you never know, HPV can lead to cancer in the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, and anus. It can also occur in the throat. The CDC recommends the vaccination beginning at 11 and 12 (for males and females); and women ages 21 to 65 get screened cervical cancer. The vaccine is also recommended for gay and bisexual men too.

The CDC also states that using a condom lowers the risk, but there is chance that you can still get HPV and being in a monogamous relationship helps to decrease the chance of contracting HPV.

OK. So my public service announcement is over. There are some things I’d like to say right now, and since it is my blog, I’m going to say it!

People, stop being so nasty! Now, before you get crazy and start commenting that I’m not being fair…stop and listen to me! When it comes down to sex, humans have lost their minds! We are driven by lust of the body…the satisfaction of having the embrace of another body in our arms! It’s a part of life…yes it is…but somehow this HPV and other sexual infections come from people who are not willing to give their bodies a break from sex!

Making love is a beautiful act! The responsibility behind it is unknown to a lot of people, especially teens! Now we are treated pre-teens for a sexually transmitted disease – oh excuse me – infection! Along with the childhood vaccinations, the HPV vaccination is on the list! This is what angers me!

I hope you’re hearing what I’m saying.

We have lawmakers in Washington D.C. who are trying to reshape healthcare in America and we have these issues of HPV affecting children! Children!  Here are some facts for those of you who need facts:

  • 79 million of Americans are infected with HPV
  • 14 million people become infected with HPV every year
  • 17, 600 women and 9,300 men have cancer as an effect from HPV
    • CDC, 2017

These are the numbers reported to health care facilities, but think about those people who do not go to the doctor to get medical care. There are probably more infected people than we know about.

My worry (and I said this freely, granted I’m not a parent) is that parents are allowing their young daughters to take birth control, giving them permission to sleep around and young men are so ill-informed about birth control that they believe “Oh, I don’t have to wear a condom.” The first thing we worry about is the fact that the girl, who has a promised future, will get pregnant. OK. That’s a problem. But, a worse problem is the girl getting pregnant and having HPV.

With sex comes great responsibility.

Perhaps I’m naive in my 50s, but, I have little nephews and a niece growing up in this society. They are all under 11. I watch them play and have fun. I watch them laugh and run around. I look into their innocent faces and see the wonder in their eyes – and now I can see their pediatricians tell their parents during vaccination season, “OK. Now they need a vaccination for HPV…you know that sexually transmitted infection.”

So, that’s why I say “Stop being nasty!” Let’s be real…having sex with everybody does not make you look more desirable. It makes you look desperate and stupid.

I don’t know what else to say about this. I just want to spread the word about HPV.

And, thanks to the CDC for helping me with this blog. If you need to read it for yourself go to: http://www.cdc.gov.

 

Why Would You Care About This Blog?

This is the post excerpt.

During the past few weeks, I’ve been restless about my writing. I’ve written a novel-length manuscript and I’m apprehensive to get it published because of personal reasons; I’ve toyed with several different writing assignments only to find myself bored with what I was writing. I was trying to make the world “a better place” with a positive blog, but again, I became bored with myself.

So, I began to wonder and question why am I not satisfied with my writing? After some deep soul-searching, I found that I was not writing for me! I’ve been writing for others, but not for me! I am so inspired by my fellow colleague, friend, and blogger Theoden Humphrey. His work is so free and understandable and I envied his words that flowed across the screen in his blogs. Sometimes I don’t comment, but I do read what he writes. I can see freedom in his words.

Freedom.

That’s what I need because I am an artist. I am a writer. I’ve dreamed about being a writer since I was in grade school. My parents were worried about me when they saw my written pages in the first grade – the primary paper with two bold lines and a dotted line in the middle (remember that paper?) was filled with large letters – words were crowded together in a lump. The teacher assured them that I had written the assignment correctly, it was that I had so much to say that I was trying to fit in all in one page!

Fast forward to right now…this minute as I write this blog. I have so much to say. I think a lot about what’s going on around me. I know I cannot be alone in trying to understand the world. I’m not satisfied with the answers I get. I am curious and I don’t care that I’m over 50; I’m still curious about the world.

To answer the question “Why should you care about this blog?” It’s because I have so much to say and I am hoping that what I have to say or, better yet, the questions I have to ask, are the questions and answers you have as well.post