Thursday, August 31, 2017

Realizations in the Wake of the Ashes

Community drama is a given.  If you get enough people together in a small space, the differing opinions and strong personalities are inevitably going to butt heads.  It's just a fact of life.  Drama is bringing your personal issues to the place.  It's pulling someone else's personal issues to the same plate.  It's a differing of opinion.

Racism and homophobia - hatred - is not a differing of opinion.  It is not drama.

These past two months have raked me through the coals.  I was praised for standing up to racism and hatred, yet the same people who praised me immediately turned their backs on me when I, one of many, expressed safety concerns at events in the community in the aftermath of the forest fire that was August.  I could have handled things better admittedly but so could have everyone.  I saw the dark underbelly of the community and sank into my depression.  It wasn't a pleasant time, let me tell you.

I title this "The Moment Amy Realized I was NOT Fucking Around."
What's done is done, apologies have been made - both to me and by me - and things are settled.  But in the wake of the ashes, I have realized a few things:

No matter whether it's socially acceptable, I will always stand up for what's right.  I was nominated for a community service award of which I didn't feel qualified for in the first place and am most certainly not winning after the past few months.  If I gave a rat's ass about my status as a "leader" or that flimsy piece of paper, I wouldn't have voiced my concerns to the same organization who presides over said award.  The safety and inclusivity of community members was my chief concern and I don't apologize for that.

Safety and inclusivity should always be a priority.  If it's not, you need to do some serious self-evaluation.

My husband and I celebrating his 30th birthday at a baseball game.
If you are in a leadership position, you should be open to criticism.  This goes just as much for myself as it does for anyone.  As a leader, you are not infallible; you're human.  Stop acting like your way is the only way and, if you can't get your way, then no one should.  Listen to the people who follow you.  If they express concerns, don't shoot them down.

We could all benefit from opening our ears anyway.

"No more social media. That's enough."
And on that note, leaders are human.  Stop putting community leaders on some sort of moral pedestal that you swipe out from underneath them at the slightest sign of a mistake.  I've seen this happen time and time again, not just within our community but within every community I've been a part of.  Yes, leaders should be responsible for their words and actions, more so because impressionable members are watching them.  I'm certainly not saying they shouldn't be.  But that doesn't mean that the first sign of a mistake topples them to the ground.  If you were put on that pedestal and held to those standards, would you survive?

To be frank: Calm the fuck down.

You can't spell community without unity.

Friends don't tear friends down.  Be mindful of what you say to another human being.  Be mindful of their past.  Be mindful of yours.

We could also benefit from some serious mindfulness right now.


I'm proud of circle; they are some of the most supportive and caring beings I have ever met.  I stand by them moving forward.  We shut down our application and novice programs to do some serious introspection and organization before reopening those doors at the end of 2018.  We had planned on this long before everything had happened but it seems more pertinent now than ever.  If we're going to teach, we need to teach with the lessons we have learned this year in mind.

I want to thank Pagan Pride Project and Kansas City Pagan Pride Day for hearing my concerns on safety.  We may not have seen eye to eye initially and I certainly became heated about it, which is entirely on me, but I'm glad something good came of that mess.

It is through conflict and resolution that we realize who we truly are and how we shine the light on others.  I have made my peace with the situation.  Do the same.

If nothing else, do it for him.  I mean, look at those eyes.  How could you not?

6 comments:

  1. Thank you Marietta, for standing up for our community! It has been hard in the KC area these last few months...I know that we can heal as a community, and your voice has been a beacon of reason for those of us afraid to come out of the broom closet.

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    1. Thank you so much, Brooke. I truly appreciate it.

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  2. Those pedastools are a high place to fall from...even and especially when you didn't ask to be on it to begin with. Keep standing up for what you believe in...the only person you HAVE to face tomorrow is YOU. :) I wouldn't worry about that community service award. Your coven already thinks you earned it. Signed Gwenhwyfar Wyrrd/Jennifer Ditty

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    1. Absolutely agreed J. Thank you so much!

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  3. You have the best posts. I'm looking forward to when you reopen your application program. After much introspection and healing, I may be ready to apply and get serious about my practice. I miss my old circle in Texas and the wonderful women (and one man) that fed my soul.
    Kim

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    1. Thank you so much, Kim! I believe our applications for CF will officially open November 2018. There should be plenty of notice leading up to it. :)

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