History Lessons

I have a lot of things to say and ground to cover with you guys….the plan is to do so over the next three posts. We shall see if that actually materializes….you readers have been with me long enough to know that in my world, things change on a dime and priorities are shifted constantly. The first thing I want to do in this post is to let you know my guest blogger Adam has started his own blog!! YAY!!! I am so excited for him and proud of him. I totally suggest checking out his random and very interesting musings on life as he sees it. You can find it here.

Second thing…I revealed some really personal stuff to both myself and you guys in an earlier post, which I have been told was the hardest part of my emotional exorcism….admitting wrongs to yourself and others is the hurdle…forgiveness should naturally follow. Except I am an emotional hoarder and a petty bitch who will more than likely carry a grudge to the grave, but I don’t want to be that person. I want to be free….emotionally and mentally. So I spent some sleepless nights and decided to pass the time watching television…and between two programs and the funeral of a family member, I got what I like to call my tools for an exorcism.

Let’s start with the programs…I saw An Interview with Eartha Kitt and at first, I did not want to watch it. I mean…who WAS Eartha Kitt? I just knew her as the woman who sang Santa Baby and as Catwoman in the old Batman series. What I saw on that stage was a beautiful, poised, articulate woman at peace with herself and her choices. She was bi-racial child who was conceived in rape (her black mother was raped by a white man) whose mother did not want her…in fact, Eartha did not know who her biological mother was until she was 8 years old. She came up in a time when  being bi-racial was neither exotic or envied…she was hated by two races and did not fit in anywhere. She had to make her own niche and was fluent in four languages and sang in seven. Orson Welles called Eartha Kitt “the most exciting woman in the world.” I was fascinated and wondered how she did it…she had so many obstacles to overcome, so many decks stacked against her…but she said that one had to like oneself first and foremost; liking yourself meant accepting yourself, flaws and all. One had to remember that people will hurt you and you will hurt yourself but to remember that resentment over a difficult situation actually makes that situation worse, so give your focus to the good things that truly matter. Another thing Miss Kitt said was to remember that you will not always get what you want in life and love…she was wildly in love with two white men who lacked the courage to be open with their relationship with her before she met the man who loved her enough to marry her and give her the child she always wanted. She said she learned that the ones who would rather conform to society and its rule than be truly happy and pursue what they wanted ultimately would have turned out to be not good for her. In life, one cannot be afraid to stand out and speak out…for themselves and for others.

The second program was a special on Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd President and author of the Declaration of Independence. I learned some interesting tidbits that will make great date trivia someday: even though he owned slaves, Jefferson made sure his slaves could read, write and each had a viable skill  and did you know in 1815 Thomas Jefferson owned the largest, most extensive private library in the country? He sold his collection to the government because of financial difficulties and his collection is the foundation/basis for the Library of Congress. He died in debt to the amount of $107,000 ($2 million in today’s dollars) and John Adams, who died the same day he did was a lifelong friend. But the fact that stood out to me was during the Revolutionary War, Jefferson was the Governor of Virginia and upon his state being invaded by the British, Jefferson left. Seriously, he packed some provisions, jumped on a horse and abandoned Virginia…leaving it vulnerable and without leadership in the middle of war. How many people know that fact? And for those who do know it, would that be something you mentioned about him? I know  wouldn’t because he overcame that mistake and went on to become one of the greatest politician of his time and an all around Renaissance man….that faux pas had only as much power over Jefferson and his destiny and legacy as he allowed it to have.

Now we arrive at the final lesson history taught me this week…my aunt passed away and I attended her funeral. In fact, it was her passing that has put this process into high gear. My aunt was beautiful, vivacious and loved to laugh. She was affectionate and had love and empathy for everyone, including ex-boyfriends. If you were a part of her world…she cared… long after whatever she shared with you was gone. Even when she divorced her husband…she never remarried (she did date) but the two of them loved each other until the day he died, four years ago. Even in her illness, he visited and they communicated every day. She struggled financially but her children never went without, no one she knew ever went hungry and when she was able to go out and be social, she never wanted the night to end. Her health was poor….she suffered 6 strokes and 2 heart attacks which left her a prisoner in her own body for the last 30 years of her life and for the last 3 years she could do absolutely NOTHING…not even taste food or water. To me…her ordeal speaks of a strength, courage and a faith I can only hope to imagine. To at one time be so vibrant and vivacious…to always have the quick and ready smile, to be so ALIVE…and then to be unable to even turn your head, roll over in bed or even press the buttons on a remote control to change channels…to be dependent on another to brush your hair, to brush your teeth, to feed you…to change your damned diaper. To not be able to hug, kiss or say I love you. To be so mentally alert and aware and unable to express anything….I would want to die. But my aunt…every day, she woke up with a positive attitude and from somewhere she found the strength to want to go on and see what that new day held….and HER genes run through my bloodstream. Hell, until I got to the illness part, I could have been talking about myself. If she can find the something in what appears to many to be nothing…if she can accept that her life was to be lived out as a silent example of strength…I can surely pick up the pieces of what is my life and put them together.

And these lessons are my tools: you must be healthy…in mind, body and spirit. Yes, being careful what you put into your body is important but so is what you feed yourself mentally and emotionally.  Positive thoughts and positive people go a long way. Yes, you will make mistakes but you are not your mistakes. And even though life can be unfair and mean and cold; even though you may not get what you want or things did not play out the way you planned them or wanted them…there is still something to get up and face the world for and you have to face it with hope, optimism and to just do the best you can each and every day. We all like to think that good and bad, right and wrong are such polar opposites and it is one extreme or the other…but they aren’t. The black and the white are all tangled together to make shades of gray, and all any of us can do is t make sense of the gray area.

I will be back soon with a post on how I am applying these lessons and dealing with the changes coming about in my life. Seriously, it will be soon, I promise. Thanks for reading and as always…enjoy your day!




2 thoughts on “History Lessons

  1. Thanks for the shoutout!

    The more I learn about Jefferson, the less impressed I am of him. Newt Gingrich sort of reminds me of Jefferson–very bright guy, very well-rounded intellectual who did some very good things, but so focused on himself and what he is doing that a lot of people around him ended up being hurt. And I think leaving my family owing more than $2 million when I died, and running away from my job as a leader of my state when its invaded are a little bigger problem than just a “faux pas”. Even so, you do make a good point about letting situations have too much control over us.

    • You are more than welcome!!
      Jefferson…I am not sure what to say about him other than his highly irresponsible act of cowardice was reduced to youthful inexperience.
      Definitely, he would not have had my vote, but he is not known for his military expertise or lack of…he is remembered for being the author of the Declaration of Independence, President and the founder//architect/builder of the University of Virginia.
      I wonder who his PR person was?? 🙂

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