Category: Pagan Life


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I have gotten into composting! The occurrence came from the fact I now have more space to garden and I had a lot of food waste. Thus composting! I have propagated African violets from space (no, really), succulents, lavender, moonflowers, green onions, viburnum and morning glories. I’m eventually getting black dahlias, strawberries, cherry tomatoes and climbing roses. Given these plants are from different parts of the world (and galaxy), they have different needs. But when propagating them, nutrient rich soils are pretty useful. That and it’s nice to have healthy soil laying about for future use.

My composting system is pretty small because I did not want to deal with a huge compost pile, I don’t have a farm. I wanted to keep everything super simple…because it should be super simple. All compost is, is organic rot. It can be manure, spent food, dirt, whatever. If it’s biodegradable, it can be compost. Couldn’t be more simpler than that. Also, composting should not break the bank. I was not interested in buying a bunch of things for something that happens naturally in nature. All you need is a container that can be opened and closed (and seal scent in because it will smell a little bad). I use a small cat food bag I had recently emptied. I noticed that the bag had a seal to keep the food fresh and scent contained so that was good for me. I also got a kitchen trash bag to line it with so I can put in new refuse and not have to touch the pile. That and it double seals in the bad smell. It concerned me that when summer would come about, the stench would be at the worst because of the heat. The bag is in a shady spot but rot is odoriferous, nonetheless.

Once I got the kitchen bag – which is bigger than the kitty food bag so there’s a long neck outside the bag when in use – inside the cat food bag, I lined the bottom of the bag with planting soil a couple inches. Afterwards, I just cleaned out my fridge of any overdue food waste (soups, sandwich, etc) and dumped them in the bag. And that was it. I closed up the neck of the kitchen bag, squeezed out some of the air, piled it into the cat food bag and closed it up. That was the start of the compost bag.

As time went on, I would add general food waste, like egg shells, tea leaves and green onion waste. I usually would gather everything in a paper towel napkin, gather the napkin corners and put it in the bag like a secondary trashcan. When I would have spare soil from working with my propagated plants, I would throw the dirt into the compost bag. This makes the compost soil really rich. That and it helps make things not smell so bad when you first open the bag. After one particular rainy day, I noticed there were a ton of worms flooded out from the ground onto the concrete. I picked several up and put them in the bag. This is a good idea because worms help break down rot and enrich soil, especially when they have plenty to eat. I don’t plan on turning the compost so I think worms suit for a satisfactory alternative. Plus, they live in soil and in darkness they won’t be harmed being in the bag. Not to mention, if a couple worms are in the bit of compost used for my plants, it’s harmless to the plant. It’s not like having slugs or ants, which can harm the foliage. Like I said, I want to keep things as easy as possible.

It’s important to note that I’m only doing food waste and soil. I’m not putting manure or anything else in the bag because it’s not needed. There are plenty of nutrients in food and soil and I wanted to keep everything as clean and neat as possible. I know that some folks go as far as have compost toilets buuuuut that’s a bit much for me. I just didn’t want to throw away perfectly good soil and chuck out food when I can combine the two and save money on buying more planting soil. So far, I am not throwing away anything with bones in them and definitely nothing plastic or aluminum. Bones take a while to break down and my bag is pretty small so it’s going to be a while before I think about chucking out the leftover turkey carcass after Thanksgiving. Aluminum can break down because it does contain a natural element. However, it isn’t anything that really benefits plants like paper and food does. Think about it like a human: while it is useful to use aluminum, it wouldn’t be very useful or good to eat it. Ditto with plants. Plastic is a no-brainer, remove all plastic from the food item before putting it in the compost bag.

There really isn’t much to composting like this, the bag should stay in a spot it won’t be disturbed for a long period of time because once you’re done putting things in the bag, you just leave it alone. Check on it six months later. If you want to mix it around then, use a shovel to shift things about. If the bag feels like it is procuring heat, then definitely turn the pile. The decomposition is just causing a lot of heat from breaking down so much. To prevent melting the bag, turn the pile to make it cooler.

And that’s the basics of composting for newbs! It’s pretty simple and easy to do. Doesn’t take a lot of space (my bag hardly takes up a corner), nor does it take a lot of effort.

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There’s a lot of concepts and ideas floating about that, frankly, don’t add up. Thanks to the New Age movement, which started in the ’60s of pretty much acts of hyper Orientalism and Whitewashing by White yuppies who confused being active and incessant drug addicts for “transcendentalism” – basically the average concert goer at Coachella or White liberal kid living in gentrified areas now. Frankly, there’s a lot of bunk out there. And it usually floats its way to my shores because, hey, I’m Pagan, people must think that, therefore, I’m pro-bullsh*t.

Not really.

There are so many things out there that are either problematic, dead wrong or just plain Whitewashing and cultural jacking. For example:

Not too long ago, I got a comment on my BW Fan Page on Facebook and it was from someone talking about angels and masters, which confused me. For several reasons: I’m not a Christian Witch (used to buuuuut switched over to Paganism a long time ago) and it sounded a bit “hokey” for my tastes (humans controlling Angels? Especially archangels ones? Doesn’t sound right). It was a collision course of archangels and mermaids, which was interesting but outrageous all the same given these two entities have separate backgrounds and histories. I was then suggested to look up Doreen Virtue, which lead me to a site that just seemed like a Sylvia Browne mimic, but with more dodgy ideas for sale!

Throughout the site, it was absolutely absurd. It pretty much was a general mashup of all sorts of metaphysical concepts washed through the American Christian gaze, very little facts and all tied up neatly with a hefty price tag. For a small sum, you too, dear random person, can learn what angel or mermaid you are.

The problem here is not angelology or treating the existence of metaphysical entities as real. This is a Pagan blog, after all, it’s pretty well within the scope. The problem is not helping people finding balance and purpose in their life, even for a small fee. The issue pops up when someone takes cultural concepts and ideas that have centuries of history behind them, ignore all of it, slap it together and pitch it to susceptible others. This isn’t the only site like this, there are several.

There are so many ways this is dodgy – and a good way to understand when something is a bit off:

Very Westernized, even when East meets West
Skimming through the site, I could not imagine how someone on the other side of the planet could relate to any of this. Everything is very US Midwestern White and heavily Christian leaning. Obviously being Christian leaning and talking about angels is fine and goes hand in hand but mermaids? And White angels from a religion that started in the Middle East? That’s just plain ahistorical. Unicorns? This eventually sounds like Christianity through the lens of Lisa Frank. Everything is very White washed and hyper simplified because the point of the site is not actually helping people learn who helps them out when the going gets tough but to lull susceptible people into doling out tons of money just for some guidance. I would guess that the average person buying the products of this site is White, female, middle class, between the ages of 34-55 and believes all lives matter (except Black ones).

This site co-opts anything not Christian (such as mermaids, unicorns, leprechauns and deities from other religions). This site even brings up the concept of “Ascended Masters” – enlightened people in history. Thing is, this title paints with a brush broader than a paint roller. It is almost like people such as Aristotle and Buddha were of the same train of thought. Which was very much not true. It’s kind of no different when a yuppie would swear up and down they’re worldly and totally open minded …but have a severed Buddha head statue in their bathroom and butchers Dr. King quotes to support their racial micro-aggression to anyone that corrects them.

One site, Light Ascension, has an extensive list called “The Spiritual Hierarchy” that really sounds like it was thrown together to sound otherworldly. Notice that no matter who is mentioned, it all comes back to Christian line of thought, even when entities and people such as Qwan Yin and His Holiness the Dali Lama is mentioned. Honestly, in a way, it kind of affirms the “One True Way” concept that Christians commonly tout. Like the whole universe works toward helping Jesus, even if they’re deities in their own religions, predate Christianity, or doesn’t care about the existence of Christian belief. Which makes no sense.

When the going gets tough, make sh*t up
This is a good saying when folks are trying to sell you the moon and have nothing to offer. This is that moment. The sites are not about learning facts and deep info (even if they pay for it), it mainly plays on the average layperson’s knowledge of angels (hence why no talks about the different choirs of angels, the fact they blindly serve the Abrahamic god* and only that god, never humans, annnnnnnd they’re only depicted as “people with wings”) and pretty much how they, the average layperson, can somehow benefit from this. You could replace the angels on the site with pretty, knitted octopus and it would probably still stick. Just get a concept, make it seem more magical than magical, pitch that you can make that magic happen for others for a price and wait for the money to roll in.

If you think that no one would totally fall for this, I’d agree with you …then look at my email inbox continually filled with random people constantly asking me for spells, even offering money, despite the fact that I say pretty regularly on this site that A) I don’t do paid spellwork for others and B ) I don’t do paid spellwork for others (it’s a pretty important point so I thought it was worth mentioning twice).

Too complex? Just add water
The study of angels in culture and history is really cool and interesting. It also gets pretty scary at some points because angels are a lot more than sweet cherubs out to keep people from bring crappy to each other. However, that doesn’t really help people feel like they’re getting a grip on life. This means everything gets watered down to the point that nothing is really related but everything is centered on somehow improving the reader’s lot. That’s why you can find things about mermaids (which does not show up exclusively in any of the Abrahamic texts (Bible, Torah, Qu’ran)) and random stone associations with Archangels that can some how be roped into being your spiritual bff.

There’s a lot of product but no substance. The archangel profiles have absolutely no mental heavy lifting. No theory, no actual history, nothing. However, the joining thread between all the information is that it’s all here to help you…for a fee, of course.

One prime example of the mish-mash nature of this site and concept is best shown through the post “How a Protective Mother Goddess Helped Me to Overcome Anxiety“. It’s not troublesome to use spirituality to quell anxiety. It’s even healthy, as a matter of fact. Faith can really pull people through hard times. It’s the fact that in the tags on this heavily Christian site is “Xochiquetzal, Sweat Lodge, Native-American Ceremonies, Anxiety, Past-Life Regression”.

Xochiquetzal is, according to Mythology Dictionary, an Aztec fertility goddess that stems from Central America. She resembles childbirth, crafting and flowers. She also has her own origin stories that are no way related to Christian belief. She is an Aztec goddess, thus holds her own. But on Virtue’s site, here she is knocked down to “Goddess Angel”, which is nearly an oxymoron because deity control angels, not are part of the ranks of angels. And as an Aztec goddess, she’s going to be lumped in with the general label of “Native American”, which generally covers Indigenous people who lived in America en masse, folks like Blackfoot, Lumbee, Lakota and Sioux. This does not cover Indigenous folks who lived in other areas such as Central America. Which means Xochiquetzal is getting misappropriated because in the White gaze, all native indians are the same.

This experience that is being recounted is at a sweat lodge, which is explained as a “Native American-based ceremonies held within the confines of a small building or tent”. Talk about hyper generalization. It’s almost like all Indigenous tribes are exactly the same. The group (I’m going to bet this group probably had the diversity of a Klan meeting) started chanting “So-she-ket-zel” as additional water is poured on the rocks, which makes no sense because I doubt Aztecs sat in sweat houses in effort to reach their goddess. There’s just no relation for this particular deity.

The kicker was when Virtue described the Aztec goddess who was the queen of paradise for warriors killed in battle: “She was clearly Native American, with long silky black hair, a youthful 30-something-looking face, and a white animal-skin dress with fringe and red beads. She was beautiful, loving and compassionate….[I]t was her angelic energy that calmed me with its enveloping love.” Eventually, Virtue finds how who it was she “saw” and wrote “‘She is like an angel,’ I said. ‘Who is she?’ I learned that Xochiquetzal is an Aztec and Toltec goddess also known as “flower feather.” She’s an earth- and fire-element fertility goddess who inspires love and passion. She’s also a protective Mother goddess, which she certainly had been for me during the sweat-lodge ceremony.”

The reason this is the kicker for me is because it’s such a blatant disregard for the history of the Aztecs and their beliefs. I did some research and happened upon Mexicolore, an informative site about Central American Indigenous tribes such as Aztecs, Mayans and Tocuaro. Here, Xochiquetzal has her own info page, which described her much better than Virtue did:

Xochiquetzal, the goddess who seduced a priest and then turned him into a scorpion as a mark of her power, was no soft touch She incarnated youth, love and beauty and was amorously pursued by several Aztec gods. Emblemised [characterised] by flowers and colourful feathers, Xochiquetzal was patroness of lovers and prostitutes. Unlike other fertility goddesses, she encouraged love-making as a means of pleasure, not reproduction, yet she had the power to absolve humans of sins that weren’t necessarily of a sexual nature. Wife of the water god, Tlaloc, and consort to the creator deity, Tezcatlipoca, Xochiquetzal lived in the Aztec paradise of Tamoanchan. She was widely worshipped and many great rituals were made in her honour; from incredible acts of sacrifice to sombre confessions.

Hey, waitaminute. Xochiquetzal encouraged sex as a way to have fun? And she was the matron of lovers and sex workers. Ohhhhh, that doesn’t sound very Christian. Christian rhetoric believes that one is only to have sex just to procreate, that sex for fun is disgusting and sin-laden act. And that sex workers are lowly people because, ugh, women capitalizing off of sex, what is the world coming to? They’re untouchables, amirite? And she’s used to be widely worshipped, too. Like a god. Because she is one.

Funny Virtue left alllllllll this out. And got the image of the goddess way off. Such as how the goddess has a noseplug ornament in the shape of a half moon, usually dons many gold ornaments and wears a quechquémitl (a short woven poncho-like garment) and cuéiti of various colors. That she has a headdress that either is a Quetzal bird or a crown of flowers.

All this just sounds so radically different from what what described originally, the white animal-skin dress with fringe and red beads. If anything, it just sounds like what the White gaze would imagine a friendly, non-specific indian. Then again,Virtue thinks Jesus looks like a White guy with gently wavy brunette hair so there’s that. Mexicolore, on the other hand, has this interesting picture describing how Xochiquetzal looks, according to cultural depictions:

It’s also noteworthy that in the story, no one bothered to tell Virtue that the Xochiquetzal is not an angel but a goddess from her own religion. And a widely revered one, at that.

Now, this isn’t the only place on the world wide web that uses the allurement of new age ideas for personal betterment to make money.

In my inbox, I received an email asking about paid advertisement on Black Witch. I tend to keep Black Witch ad-free because I hate ads, especially since most aren’t worth watching or looking at. Plus, with the subject of my website, you’re going to see more “have your fortune told” and “spells to make you powerful” ads everywhere. That’s awful. However, I don’t mind promoting what I think is nifty or something that helps Black Witch (such as Ko-Fi!) Actually, those promotions are done for free, as in, I took it upon myself to post it and make reference to it. No fiscal plying required.

The paid advertisement request I got was for the Transmutation Club, which wanted to pay me to promote their business. Their business was, judging by their site, suckering people out of money in hopes they’ll learn how to use their sexual powers to do better in life and business. The huge red flag of the whole site? This:

Doesn’t it sound incredibly infomerical-y? “We have this great big secret that we’re dying to tell you but we can’t! Not for free, anyways.” And it’s a bit odd that women are reaching out to me but men are writing all the content. Which is concerning, especially since it’s the same exact method that sex traffickers use to get more girls because of the idea that seeing a woman will set off less alarm bells. I’d rather continue promoting Bedsider instead. Way less skeevy, much more informative.

Also, the Transmutation Club site has articles titled “Happiness Hack”…because the human brain is a computer that can be tricked and modified like a rooted android phone. Anything with “hack” in the name and is not talking about computer is automatically iffy at worst, lame at best.

I brought all of this up to the woman writing to me and she responded that one of the faculty members is the founder of WITCH magazine and her readership loves the course. She also tried to sweeten the load by saying that I would get a 30% commissions on any sales made from the their live webinar. Unfortunately, I don’t like commission jobs and I’d rather be an affiliate with those who aren’t shifty in what they’re pitching. If it were a Black-owned metaphysical shop having interesting and sensible workshops that offered me an affiliate commission, I would seriously think of taking that up because it really resonates with what I want to have on Black Witch and to show my readers. The key point is how useful it is for the participant, not how lucrative it is for the business.

As for WITCH magazine, I looked it up. I don’t read any Pagan magazines but I am familiar with a couple. Such as Witches & Pagans and Modern Witch. Truthfully, I think the only magazines I read consistently are Black Belt Magazine and GosuRori because I’m also a martial artist and part of lolita fashion.

WITCH magazine seems to be mainly about hype, not information. I mean, the web address is “badwitch.es”, kinda makes me think the site is loaded with snowblindingly White feminism. And it sort of is: there is some diversity but it appears tokenized, and the same guy who wrote nearly all the posts on Transmutation Club is also writing here. The columns read more like they borrow from Cosmopolitan and Seventeen and less like something with substance. I nearly half expected a column to say, “What wine goes best with moon in Gemini – Getting your groove back for the full moon.”

It’s super American centralist, too. One post about the new moon in Cancer says “The New Moon in Cancer will be born Monday morning on the 4th of July. As an expression of the sign of Cancer, this day will be sensitive, emotional and revelatory. To heighten the sense of significance, take note that this is the day that America’s Independence from Great Britain is celebrated, a moment in history for the whole world to reflect on.”

The whole world. As if America becoming a country was such a cataclysmic event that just took the world by storm. Like we’re the center of the world, center of the Universe, even.

Look, 4th of July is only important to Americans. Literally no one else cares. They have their own national holidays to pay attention to.

Both WITCH and Transmutation Club share a lot of the same trends that I don’t really care for but certainly find pretty problematic, especially if they’re going to ask me to promote their works and products. It’s not very diverse, it’s incredibly cis-het, it does not decentralize gender stereotypes and it glosses over actual information. This, I don’t see being useful for womanists, sex trauma survivors, or trans people trying to be comfortable in their bodies. It doesn’t even have the basics, such as safe sex methods (something Bedsider does). It’s just pretty images and baseless words, with a non-minuscule price tag.

The thing about these sites is that they clog up actual information streams. Y’see, the average person seeing these sites is not going to think “Hey, these sites are probably false and just out to get my money”. They’re going to see the scant, repeated info and think that this is accurate. Especially since these sites play on common held beliefs, insecurities and illusion of access. If you target the emotions, you generally don’t have to provide a bevy of facts, just keep poking at the person’s emotions. That’s where the problems begin, not to mention, reduces the legitimacy of those who actually practice metaphysics and occult and doesn’t shell out cheap gimmicks.

*Christianity, Judaism and Islam are all Abrahamic faiths that basically share the same god.

This post is part of the Same Situations, Different Faces series. Normal posting resumes in April.

Alright, this is the last post of the Same Situations, Different Faces series. I thought of what would be a good or useful thing to talk about and it seems I’ve glossed over a topic that is pretty important: hospitalization. Your therapist can diagnose you with DID (or just being on the Dissociative spectrum (Dissociative Disorder, Dissocative Amnesia, Dissocative Identity Disorder, Dissociative Fugue)) but being at an actual trauma/dissocative disorders program is where you can really start to get properly diagnosed and treated with a specialized treatment plan. However, hospitals that are top in treating this are few. In the US, there is Sheppard Pratt’s Trauma Disorders program (Which is why it’s very weird Korean drama Heal Me, Kill Me very much did not mention it, but Hopkins instead, which is more for physical ailments.) If you want better than Sheppard Pratt, you’re going to have to go to the United Kingdom to the Clinc for Dissociative Studies. The US has good trauma disorders programs but dissociative spectrum disorders need a lot more attention than chucking pills at the problem. Medication is useful but treatment has to be therapy-heavy for these disorders, especially since there is no medication that can directly manage dissociative spectrum disorders, just the symptoms such as depression and anxiety. The UK tends to use therapy as the primary stop of mental care before going to meds, the US does the exact opposite.

Going to a hospital actually isn’t that scary. Some parts will definitely make you feel like you’ve very much have lost your mind – I think just the realization of being in an actual mental institution kinda does that all on its own – but really, most of your stay will be unbelieveably quiet and boring. It is nothing like Arkham Asylum, there are no strait jackets and most hospitals have phased out their padded rooms (there’s getting the spike and the safety burrito, now. I’ll cover those two later). Mental hospitals and psych wards (the psychological conditions ward of a regular hospital) tend to resemble incredibly quiet hospital waiting rooms with halls that are lined with doors to bedrooms. The windows are stronger than police riot shields and very soundproof, you can barely hear a thunderstorm.

Getting into a trauma program is pretty tough because of the history of sane people being sent to mental hospitals for terrible reasons with relative ease. You can’t pick up a phone, say “I’m like the dude from Split, please come get me,” and there you go. That would skip the mountains of paperwork that needs to be collected!

Before you go, it’s paperwork city. The first day is also paperwork city. In addition, you’re explained your rights, sort of tested to make sure you can understand that you have rights (or are simply cognizant that you’re in a hospital) and more paperwork. Depending on hospital or state, you will also be told the gun laws in your state…because awareness. Your vitals are taken (blood pressure, temperature, etc). If you don’t like needles, you are gonna hate having your blood taken. And the nursing staff will try to take it every day, which will make you think you’re surrounded by vampires. Oh, and the taking of your vitals daily, this is to ensure you’re actually taking your meds if you have any. You will also have to fill out a bunch of tests as well to see if you just have PTSD, if you’re on the dissociative spectrum or simply misdiagnosed. Here is a sample of what a Dissociative test looks like and no, you can not fake the answers to look less dissocative. I’ve tried. Besides, even if you successfully fooled the test, you’re under 24/7 observation. Someone will notice something.

Speaking of dealing with the staff during intake, your stuff is examined with more thoroughness than TSA. This is to make sure you’re not sneaking anything in that could be dangerous, counterproductive to treatment or harmful. If you bring body wash, it must be transparent, both gel and bottle. Otherwise, it’s getting seized because you can sneak stuff in it. If you have cleanser for your face, it’s getting seized because there is alcohol content in the ingredients. If you have a loofah, not a regular sponge, it will be taken because you can unravel it and attempt to hang yourself with it. Unfortunately, people have come up with some super creative ways to hurt themselves or try to kill themselves and that’s what implements changes in the rules. If you have wireless headphones, you can bring in music, as long as you have a super short cord (3″ or less) to charge them with, in view of staff. If your electrical devices can access internet and/or have a camera on them, it’s getting seized. This obviously means no cell phones. The reason is to protect everyone’s privacy. That and there’s a metric crap ton of triggering content on the internet…as well as distractions that could impede your focus on treatment, which is why you’re there. Should you bring books, they can not be of the horror or murder variety. If you bring comics, anything worse than Archie comics will most likely get taken. The nurses do look through the content to see what is in it, unless the title is a dead giveaway, like “Deadpool”. E-readers can not be brought in either unless they are the 1st gen “no access to internet whatsoever” kind. You will be living mainly as a Luddite, basically. A bored one at that. Your clothes will be checked and if there are any drawstrings, they’re gone. Shoelaces, gone. Heavy shoes or thick soled shoes (such as platforms), also gone. If you have any shirts or pants with religious, violent or disturbing art, it’s a no-go. For example, you can bring a Linkin Park shirt and, as long as the checking nurse doesn’t know LP’s songs that well (I love ’em but the song “Given Up” is distinctly about wanting to kill yourself) you can bring their albums but you can’t bring in P.O.D. anything because A) Religious iconography B) P.O.D. stands for “Payable on Death”, which is a banking term but the staff only cares about the “Death” part. I’m sure bringing any The Prodigy is fine (They are responsible for the title of this piece, after all. P.O.D. for the series’ name). Everything taken is securely bagged up and kept in Security until it’s time to leave for home. If you don’t have any sufficient clothes to wear, you’re given either hospital clothes (which is like a cross between paper and cloth) or “safety sweats”, which is just sweatpants and sweatshirt that have no drawstrings. And grippy socks that may or may not have do not have heels.

If you have natural hair, it would be best to get your hair into yarn twists or any other low/no maintenance hair styles if you have any forewarning because, frankly, nearly every black hair care product will not pass the list. Most of them aren’t clear liquids or in clear bottles. Hair picks are automatic no-go, even plastic ones. Satin bonnets and night caps are not likely either. You can probably talk your way into having a satin pillowcase but that probably will be it.

After getting through paperwork city, having your stuff checked and taking your test to see how dissocative you are, that’s when an individualized treatment plan is really hammered out. The meds, the group therapy sessions, triggers (potential and known), things like that. And this is where the boredom begins. The trauma disorder ward is immensely boring. Between groups, there are wide blankets of time where there is nothing to do. You can’t always have the tv in the general living area on, that’s strictly regulated. There are few board games and card games to pick because “safety is important”. If you can possibly choke on it, throw it or attempt to kill yourself with it, it can’t be in the ward. This means you’re stuck with puzzles and coloring books. Tons of them. If you want something of more intellectual stimulation, you’re going to be out of luck. There are books in the trauma disorders ward, but just like every psych ward, the books are completely snowstormed – White writers, White-led story and content. No diversity, nada. If you have a 1950’s housewife’s taste in books, you’ll be well suited. If you’re basically everyone else, you’ll be screwed. Few people donate books and games to mental hospitals so you get little selection. Perhaps you could bring a word search book or a crossword puzzle book. At least two of them.

When you’re in a trauma disorders program, it’s voluntary. That means you can go after a 72 hour hold. This is given that you’re not kicking up a major fuss or showing that you’re very, very unstable. (Sometimes, kicking up a major fuss can get you to go home faster but don’t count on it as the rule, just the exception). Two doctors have to sign your paperwork that says you’re mentally fit enough to leave and not have to be returned via police escort that very night, based on your past 72 hours. The only common exception is when your insurance finally craps out and you have to leave practically on that very day, regardless if you’re well or not. In voluntary, you can refuse meds you don’t want to take (given you’re relatively self-stabilized) and treatments you may not want (like electro-convulsive therapy). Basically, you’re fairly involved in your treatment experience. If you’re in a psych ward involuntarily, it means that you can’t refuse meds or treatments you don’t want to take and you’re more at the mercy of the psych staff. You stay as long as they think you need to stay and you hardly have a say. Basically, you don’t want involuntary because it is the “we’re bringing you in kicking and screaming”. It’s not common to be in the Trauma disorders program as an involuntary, however.

The various groups are therapy groups to teach you and the other patients about your recently diagnosed (or confirmed) disorder, the meds you might be using and methods to help manage it such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Here is a game created by Nicky Case that shows an example about this particular method, titled “Neurotic Neurons“. If you’re not a fan of group therapy, you’re not going to enjoy this. They’re usually quiet, few people want to talk (understandably) and you will sometimes get the sense that the interns, doctors or nurses are taking stabs in the dark about some parts of the disorders. It’s not that they don’t know what they’re talking about but they do sometimes give you a “learned about swimming from reading aplenty but never been in a pool” feel. And by “sometimes”, it will be “almost regularly”. Bringing a journal is strongly suggested because in group, you’ll have activities to do.

Speaking of dealing with doctors and nurses who may not have first hand experience with dissocative spectrum disorders, you’re going to have to advocate for yourself or they will get something wrong. Mistakes happen and constantly. Misunderstandings are regular, especially if you are not with a lot of social privileges and the staff is not very diverse. Since I’m Pagan, I’ve had to explain a host of times that don’t have schizophrenic or psychosis disorders simply because I believe in occultism, magick and spirits. It’s part of my religion. I’ve had to do the same about being Black and creative as well. Chances are your program was subconsciously designed for middle class White people who are usually hailing from Christian-leaning backgrounds. For example, the ward will have a priest and maybe a rabbi but no imam.The less known or more stigmatized your religion is to the Western world, the more likely it will be read as a psychosis disorder by the average mental health professional handling your chart. Hooray.

Now, I previously said that mental institutions have done away with strait jackets and padded rooms for the most part. If anything, you have complete freedom to be visited, use the phone (they have one for open use during the ward when groups are not happening) and even get care packages. It’s not a prison, frankly. However, if you start acting out, such as pulling the fire alarm, acting over belligerently, cause harm to yourself or another person, there are repercussions. The nurses will try to talk you down as much as possible, offer you meds, etc. If you’re not calming down, the nurses will eventually call for security, which is “code green” (think “hulk”) – actually, there are several color codes – and things are going to be a lot more complicated. There will be several security guards and they will also try to talk you down. If you’re not cooperating still, more doctors will also be called because they have to administer what is kind of known as “the spike” as the security restrains you. “The spike” is usually three needles but you only feel the first one. This cocktail is to calm you down and make you super sleepy, thus easier to be placed in “solitary”. Solitary is either an empty room with a mattress and pillow or a bed with four point restraints (to restrain your wrists and ankles), depending on hospital. Most folks don’t remember being placed on the four point bed after getting the spike, they just wake up there and staring at a host of doctors, nurses and security crowded around their bed asking them if they’re going to be more cooperative. If you’re not incredibly aggressive enough to warrant the spike, there’s the safety burrito! The safety burrito is two thick blankets laid out for you to be placed upon and swaddled firmly into a burrito. You’re usually in either the Solitary room or in your room. It can be comforting or depressing, depending on how much you think about all the things you have accomplished in life and how now you’re holed up in a mental institution laying on the floor or on a bed wrapped up in heavy blankets like a infant. It’s definitely better than getting the spike buuuuut it’s not a million times better.

I mentioned that there are color codes these hospitals. The color codes are:

Code Green – Aggressive patient, need security
Code Green, All Male – Aggressive patient that is too violent for regular orderlies, need stronger people (yes, this is a pretty sexist name for a code that basically means “Please come if you’re really strong”)
Code Silver – Patient has a weapon (regardless of the weapon. The patient could be wielding blue, bamboo knitting needles, it’s still “code silver”)
Code Blue – Physcian needed, patient is going through severe physical ailment episode
Code Red – Fire

Now, hearing all this, again, I want to reiterate that mental hospitals are not like Arkham Asylum. It’s not very common for people to get to the point of getting the spike or get into a safety burrito. It definitely does happen, it certainly is not rare but it’s not a wild house where everything and anything happens. If it is like that, try to find the patient advocate and get out.

Lastly, being at a trauma ward will be expensive so if you weren’t a fan of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA, Obamacare) then, you will be when you find the bill for a three week stay is over $27,000. And the suggested stay time is six weeks. The ACA is how I actually have never seen the bill. Speaking of insurance, you should read the fine print of your insurance to see if it accepts milieu care/milieu therapy (basically, you’re housed in a supervised, dorm-like atmosphere) because that is what your experience will be. If you have medicare, it’s automatically covered. Otherwise, your healthcare provider will try to weasel out of paying that hefty bill or cut your stay really short. Or both. Because American healthcare.

In short, being hospitalized is definitely no vacation. It’s strictly for treatment and that’s what your experience will be geared towards. It isn’t a halloween terror ride, either. Trauma wards take great pains to make sure you don’t have additional trauma. It isn’t perfect but it’s certainly not 100% like the movies. It’s much more boring.

This finishes the Same Situtation, Different Faces series. This last piece was surprisingly tough to write and make sense of so if there is any need of clarification or just plain questions, please feel free to say something.

This post is written by The Aether System as part of the Same Situation, Different Faces series. Normal Black Witch posting resumes in April.

Although having Dissociative Identity Disorder is not nearly as scary as the media and recent movies make it look, it is still a very difficult disorder to live with. Facing troubles with a cynical view can make things much harder on yourself, so having a way to laugh despite the troubles you face can make a huge difference. Therefore, starting a meme page for those who have D.I.D., or want to learn about it seemed like it would be helpful to the mental health community. “DID I meme that?” is on most forms of social media, so it is accessible to almost everyone.

Ever since the movie Split came out, the amount of people interested in D.I.D. has spiked considerably. However, this can actually be a good thing, since it provides more opportunities to educate the public on what this disorder is and is not. This is another situation where the memes come in handy. Rather than seeing a bunch of people with mirrored selfies and fun filters in the tags associated with D.I.D. and Split, it seemed better for the viewers to see accurate, yet comedic representations of this disorder, created by people who actually have it . Not everyone as the time and willpower to read an article, but almost everyone has the time to scroll through a few memes.

Words can only go so far when it comes to describing feelings and experiences, so sometimes a picture is a more effective description than words. Pictures can also be easier for people to process, rather than paragraphs, particularly to those who have difficulty when it comes to reading.

A lot of the terms included in these memes use the vocabulary of the D.I.D. community, such as “Littles” (young alters), “Protectors” (alters whose job it is to protect the host), and much more. The creators of these memes use this vocabulary so the memes feel more genuine and personalized to the audience they are aimed towards. Another part of the meme creation process is deciding what captions to use. When it comes to D.I.D., it can be difficult to know what type of alters will be viewing the memes at any given time. That is why we aim to keep the language closer towards PG-13, in case there are any younger ones browsing the memes.

Although “DID I meme that?” is only a couple of months old, it has received a lot of response on many social media platforms, particularly Tumblr and Facebook. There have been questions of what living with this disorder is like, suggestions for memes, and many other people with D.I.D. who share the memes while tagging them as “relatable”. It can be very hard to find relatable mental health memes, particularly when it comes to the more rare disorders, so finding a page full of memes from real people with these disorders can be very refreshing. One of the comments received on the Instagram page expressed surprise when the user found out that the page was run by someone who actually had D.I.D., and they were glad to finally find memes that really expressed the experience of D.I.D. with accuracy.

This post was written by guest writer, Cypress, for the month long series about Dissociative Identity Disorder called “Same Situation, Different Faces”. Normal Black Witch posting resumes in April.

Contrary to what games like hide and seek show, hiding is not fun.

We really hate it. We wish things didn’t have to be this way, but it’s basically impossible. We have DID, but coming out has never gone well, and we’re still a minor, so then the parents would be notified again, and that would not be good. We planned to never tell them again after things went badly several years ago.

Our days are still fairly normal, though we’re multiple. We wake up and get ready for school. We try not to get too off task in class. We keep to ourselves during lunch. We do our schoolwork and chat a bit with our friends and acquaintances.

School itself and the subjects in it are fairly easy for us. We struggle with workload sometimes cPTSD (Complex-PTSD)1 symptoms, system drama, and bad thoughts aren’t conductive to school, but overall we get good grades. School isn’t the problem. It’s how people interact with us.

The most awkward part of our day has to be interacting with any other person in any way. The way we look at things and think about ourselves is different from the way people who aren’t multiple (singletons/singlets2) think about themselves. Which means there are certain things we can’t bring up or mention.

For starters: we can’t introduce ourselves as ourselves. We can’t say “Hey, the name’s Cypress, we’re a DID system and there’s 30 of us. We have a few child alters, teens, and adults, but Storm hosts the most. He’s our protector but he’s nice unless you mess with xem. We like Steven Universe and writing. What’s your name?”

We can’t bring up certain problems we have, especially with system or inner world3 troubles: “Dear gosh, Ann’s being a total butt to us. We had a bad weekend and Lilac had a panic attack. Hopefully your weekend went better than ours.”

To singletons, we might as well not exist, because we can’t come out to anyone. It’s hard having people mess up with our group—really moreso Storm’s— pronouns4, but it’s somehow a whole different ballgame when all the people you interact with and see every day don’t know you exist as multiple. We never get acknowledged as individuals and we hate the erasure.

We often get lost in the facade we put on. We tend to get very dissociated and in those moments, some days we look in the mirror, or think about ourselves, and all we can think about is this facade we put on of mimicking the old host5, which never stops and is very draining to us.

After school is difficult. Being with the parents is really frustrating and we have to self monitor our own internet activity a lot so we don’t get caught. It’s almost happened several times in the past. We have a bad memory (mostly about bad things, but also about mundane things), so keeping up with even good things or schoolwork is a struggle.

Our dysphoria is difficult. We look in the mirror and almost all of us look drastically different from the body. It’s odd looking in the mirror and seeing the body. It’s a struggle to disconnect that from your sense of self so you don’t get lost and see the body as yourself, which is just a vessel that contains us, a set of people.

Denial is a roller coaster too. We can get into a rut of thinking “we’re not real, no one thinks we’re real, we should make ourselves (mentally) go away” and be stuck in it until the feeling fades. At times we feel bad or like a freak and we can’t shake it off.

There are some fun moments as well, though. We joke around with each other sometimes and laugh about funny things some alter did or said. Storm jokes about how he can’t make dark jokes without someone possibly getting worried. We say maybe people will get worried if they see us talking to ourselves (a common way we communicate, since we are co-conscious all the time), and we look at memes online about dissociative disorders.

Sometimes, I wish we wouldn’t have DID, even though there are pros and cons as with anything. I don’t know what we’d do without us, but often knowing we have DID is agonizing enough. But this disorder is literally us. We don’t wish to integrate in the future, as we know it can be undone with stress. Maybe we should go to therapy, but we may not be able to for a few years, and we don’t wish to deal with unaccepting therapists. We have our good days and our bad. So we take things in stride, and we deal with it. We will still have to hide for a long time, so we might as well get used to it.

1) Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD/cPTSD) – Amplified version of PTSD for those who are still engaged in the traumatic environs that caused the disorder. Return

2) Singlet/Singleton – A person who does not have Dissociative Identity Disorder, they are a single person. Multiple – Person who has DID, because they consist of multiple people in a single body. Also the reason why those with DID instinctively refer to themselves in first person singular (“we”, “us”), especially in private life. Return

3) System/Innerspace – a group of individuals in a DID person is called a “system”. The “innerspace” is the mental thought-space/head-space created for open communications between alternate personalities (“alters”) inside the body. Alternatively, the “outerspace” is the world outside the physical body. Return

4)Different alters can have different genders from the host (original person), or no gender at all. Return

5) Different alters can be different genders, body types, etc – this can cause body dysphoria Return

Every year, I do a month long feature on any subject that I like. Any random subject. Last year, I couldn’t do it but now I can this year. Huzzah. It’s to break the monotony that can be discussing Pagan topics end over end and because I have a variety of subjects I like to talk about.

This year, I want to talk about a disorder I have touched on a little bit in the past: Dissociative Identity Disorder. What prompts this is the response I’ve seen in regards to the movie Split. Yes, it’s not a blockbuster (which is a good thing) but it still created a lot of chatter and jokes and, of course, plenty of misconceptions that are remarkably harmful, as usual.

Let’s talk about Multplicity (having DID) and the media.

I’m going to compare two recent films about DID that have appeared in media in recent years. Obviously and unfortunately, this includes Split (I viewed on backwater sites because lolz, I’m not fencing a dime to that movie, even for critical deconstructive reasons). The other movie, actually based on a real person and had actual research done, is Frankie and Alice, which stars Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry.

posters

The reason these two films exist, one fictional and the other reality-based, is because there’s misconceptions of DID aplenty. And with most media being negative, non-factual demonstrations of the disorder, there is plenty to parse through. That and hopefully a regular person reading can understand the problematic nature of Split in its demonizing of the disorder. Both films are not documentaries about Dissociative Identity Disorder but one actually researches the disorder and the other pretty much goes the lazy route.

I’m certain some folks are going to mention “’Split’ was based in the ‘Unbreakable’ world. It isn’t a thing about DID at all.” That would be nice if everyone was a hardcore M. Night Shyamalan fan…buuuuuut in the real world, that’s not what happened. The media campaign was strictly based on establishing that the main character, Kevin, had 24 different personalities, was a vicious person and needed to be stopped at all costs because of those different personalities. No reference to Unbreakable, no “this is not DID”, none of that. It’s the same as saying “Birth of a Nation/The Clansman is not about the negativity of Black people, the town is fictional and it’s just romanticist thinking of the South.” That fictional movie still got real Black people lynched in droves. It’s interesting what movies, even deeply fictional ones, can inspire people to do. Almost like movies can be influential and even accidental teaching tools, especially if the viewer is not an expert already in the subject. Even Sybil gets referenced many times in mainstream culture as short hand for “crazy and frightening”.

On the website Trauma and Dissociation, there is a criteria that the movies are compared to. In this same article, there is a section titled “Common Mistakes in Portraying Dissociative Identity Disorder”. I expect Split to cover every bit in this section.

To keep things orderly, we’ll do things bit by bit, category by category, of where Frankie and Alice got everything right and Split got everything wrong.

Let’s start with the Synopsis of both movies:, as described by IMDB:

Frankie & Alice: A drama centered on a go-go dancer with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and begins working with a psychotherapist to uncover the mystery of the inner ghosts that haunt her.

This was pretty accurate. It wasn’t trying to scare the viewer, the synopsis is a pretty safe description of the movie without giving away important details. It uses the old name of DID and call the alters “inner ghosts” (I practice Paganism and metaphysics and even I think that is way off the mark). For the most part, it’s pretty accurate.

Split: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

This sounds to me: “Man, I hope no police officers watch this movie, they would think that people with DID are instinctively nefarious.” Like that one officer that literally thought the same about me and proceeded to threaten to send me to prison via fabricated evidence because he simply wanted to impress others, not get to the bottom of a case. And got in trouble with Internal Affairs over that. (Note to law enforcement: fictional movies are not training videos. Maybe you should watch Selma or something else that is fact based. Seriously.)

This description pretty much connects the concept of DID making people commit atrocities because …somehow that’s just what the disorder makes people do. This is utter bullsh*t, obviously. It’s meant to spook and frighten the viewer. I have DID and I don’t go around trying to kidnap a gaggle of Beckies.. Sure, I get fairly annoyed when they hijack and co-opt Inauguration Day protest marches but I’m not going to do any work to kidnap them.

Signs of Alters/Acknowledging Alters

A person with DID has difficulties with memories due to amnesias. Things aren’t where they were last seen, new items are gained with no recollection of buying them, differences of writing or talking habits, etc.

Frankie and Alice: Frankie says that she feels like she is watching herself from a distance (a sign of dissociation). When confronted about her rent check bouncing, she glances through her checkbook afterwards and discovers a big purchase she doesn’t remember making, a dress bought by one of her other alters, Alice. Despite having clear signs of DID, Frankie herself does not believe the diagnosis when she was hospitalized, which is common for those with DID to do due to the social stigma related to the disorder.

Split: There is honestly no realistic interaction between Kevin’s alters. No complaining of loss of time, it seems almost everyone is on the same page, nearly no dissociative states. As if he and every alter he has is evil and they all work together to connive and deceive so they can better harm others (ie, the gaggle of Beckies he acquired). While it is true that people with DID usually have to be told about the things they said or did, it’s not usually to such the extreme extent of a person outside the DID system to tell an alter all the conversations they overheard two other alters say in conversation. There is still some inner communication.

Memory gaps

People with DID have substantial issues with memories due to dissociative amnesia: a condition in dissociative disorders where the affected does not remember important details or events due to dissociating from the experience. This is not normal forgetting, such as misplacing your keys or trying to remember an account’s password. Amnesiac forgetting includes forgetting big events such as weddings, people you have worked with or been around for a long period of time.

Frankie and Alice: There are several times reflected during the movie where Frankie had no idea of her own actions, such as taking her mother’s necklace and going to a ritzy hotel for a wedding she had no idea she crashed.

Split: There appears to be no real memory gaps. While there are displays of dissociative amnesia (the alters don’t always know what the others are doing), it is inconsistent and plays out as more of a movie mechanic, only showing up to move the plot along. It seems the film creators did some cursory research in DID on Wikipedia, clapped their hands in determination and said, “We’re ready to make a movie!”

Experience/Remembrance of Trauma

DID is a trauma disorder, just like PTSD. You can’t get DID unless you experience extreme, continual trauma and no emotional support in the extreme early years (by age 6). Usually through experiencing war-like conditions (that’s my situation), severe abuse, neglect, child sexual abuse, things like that. The disassociative identities are moreso defense mechanisms to defend the affected and survive trauma as the mind literally splits itself up to protect itself. It’s why those with DID can not remember vast parts of their lives and have various identities.

Frankie and Alice: Frankie remembers different things than her alter Alice. However, when under therapy and with the therapist’s guided questions to a child alter, Genius, more of Frankie’s life experiences come to light. Without therapy, Frankie would have not remembered whole life events because her DID locks select memories and pains away.

Split: There is no obvious experience of trauma. When people have DID, the alters that come from it are usually centered around the trauma that borne it. For example, if a person was severely abused through religion, their alters would have a religion focus. If the person was severely abused or experienced war-like conditions, the alters would have a defensive, war-like focus. Kevin’s alters are all over the place.

Abuse is referred to in passing. Not as a substantial way to understand how DID works or affects people, but just to create a threadbare backstory for Kevin, who is supposed to be the antagonist in this story. Casey, the main girl Kevin kidnaps is, gets even more of a sympathetic backstory than Kevin does. This is so the viewer will sympathize with Casey more than they will with Kevin.

There are many ways the two movies are radically different, despite having the same subject matter. Frankie and Alice did not try to frighten the view about the existence of DID. The disorder was seen as a subject that could be understood by the viewer not as something monstrous but as something a person goes through when severely impacted by trauma. Did it make DID look like a pleasant, easy-to-live with disorder? Not at all. But it doesn’t depict a person with DID as a monster. Split does.

DID in Split is used as a fear mechanic. Its unpredictability, its “mystery”, everything to make Kevin’s alters appear frightening. There’s little understanding towards him, just terror. He’s just a psycho out to eat ;young girls and kill people. This is such a wild distortion of how the disorder makes people function. Every part of the movie plays this up extensively.

Unfortunately, there is a wide variety of movies that use the “DID = Scary” mechanic. And games. And stories. On website Trauma and Dissociation, I mentioned that there’s are common mistakes that Split gets wrong. I’m not going to go down the whole list but a few select ones, including a couple I’m sure the film makers thought they had correct.

Randomly violent alters that seem to have no purpose for the person are often portrayed in fictional accounts. They aren’t acting to defend or protect the person with Dissociative Identity Disorder, they are one-dimensional and can’t reasoned with

This is alllllllllllllllllllllllllll of Split. There is literally no reason whatsoever why the Beast exist, why the other alters, Patricia or Dennis were just going along with making room for Beast and giving him “impure” (I can unpack this at a later date, holy crap, the misogyny) girls to eat. This does not protect Kevin at all. This isn’t even inter-system squabbling. This is just alters being total lemmings for other alters, which doesn’t make much sense.

Beast can’t be reasoned with, he just shows up and becomes a monster. The child Hedwig seems pretty calm and chill about everything, children alters that are aware of more dangerous alters are usually, well, like kids who are around dangerous adults. They don’t happily go along with things, they’re usually confused and scared, just like any child would.

Kevin is the “host” of the system, the original person. The system generally revolves around the host, regardless if it is negative or positive. Beast doesn’t really care. Patricia doesn’t really care. Dennis doesn’t really care. Hedwig is fairly unaffected. The Beast is supposed to be so the world can be more accepting of the fact Kevin is a Multiple (a person with DID) buuuuuut DID is about hiding itself, not showing itself to the world. It’s literally a disorder of secrecy. Alters don’t go wild and try to make a grand show, even alters that believe themselves to be actors or performers. They try to blend. The disorder, if I wanted to compare to a living thing, is like being a chameleon or an octopus. You blend into the surrounding to make the abuse and trauma less severe. If you don’t blend, you don’t live.

octo-camo

In Frankie and Alice, the alters that mainly front (gain control of the body) are a Southern belle and the main host. They exist because of clearly established trauma and to navigate the world and go fairly undetected. To blend.

Alter personalities are created for a specific purpose, for example self-defense or trauma memories, or work, if the one in the plot has no clear essential purpose re-write the plot

There’s supposed to be 23 alters buuuuuuuut this movie explicitly showed only …four at best? Either the budget was crappy (possibly), the writers sucked (very likely), no one knew anything about DID but hackneyed ideas (extremely likely) or all of the above (most definitely). Where are the other 20 alters? No one is talking? No one cares? Everyone can’t possibly be on board, that’s simply not how DID works. Alters are like separate, different people. If you think it’s easy to get 24 different individuals to agree on something, try ordering a single pizza. This is really lazy writing on the creators of Split.

In Frankie and Alice, there was no promise of a bunch of alters during the promotion of the film but as the movie progresses, the viewer learns along with Frankie that there are more alters than she originally thought, all because of the traumas she endured throughout her life. Granted, the story doesn’t go into why Genius, the child alter, exists but it does a far stretch better than Split. Then again, Halle Berry did sincere study into her character: she talked with the person the character was based off of, Francine Murdoch. James McAvoy couldn’t find a single person with DID that wanted to sit with him. I guess the idea of being demonized on the big screen wasn’t a very savory pull.

A person talks about having lots of “blackouts” but shows none – has no memory loss or forgetfulness in the movie, they never forget who anyone is, where they live or anything important

There was that one rushed scene at the end of the movie where the audience meets, Kevin, who still thinks that it’s September 2014 and he last remembered being on a bus. There are DID systems where the “host” disappears into the system, they do not front or have any control in the body buuuuuut the therapist would try strongly to contact the host, through the alters. The therapist in this movie simply did not care. There are no real “blackouts” or severe memory lapses (every alter shown in the movie seemed pretty much on the same page of why the girls were there, no one was baffled or bothered that three random girls were now locked away in their home). Besides the rush job at the end of the movie to show rapid switching, everyone is pretty lucid and together. Very little amnesia, which is odd. Until the end of the movie, which is sucky.

In Frankie and Alice, all throughout the film, Frankie has constant memory problems. She had no idea why she was at a ritzy hotel. She had no idea what her other alters wanted or did. Her own memories were a mystery. This is more accurate of DID.

If you have seen Split, I would strongly recommend watching Frankie and Alice. If there are any questions, put them in the comments. Also, be sure to watch this amazing short film that truly shows what it is like inside the mind of a person with DID, “Inside”, directed by Trevor Sands. I really like the dead-on accuracy of having various types of alters (there’s about 30 types) in this short film.

Where I found this really cool short film is from this informal talk on Dissociative Identity Disorder by vlogger Jessica, who runs vlog Multiplicity and Me below:

Next week, there will be guest writer, Cypress, who will write about her personal experiences with living with DID. Given the subject of this topic, please feel free to use the comment section because this can be one very confusing disorder.

Gimme Gimme

First and foremost, check the web address! thisblackwitch.wordpress.com became thisblackwitch.com! Hooray!

I get a lot of messages from my Black Witch FB Fan Page. A close second would be my email. This isn’t bothersome. I appreciate reading from readers. However, when I first started Black Witch back in 2011, I thought I would get some derpy letters but most would be pretty substantial.

Wow, was I wrong.

wpid-faceq1432469228838.png

Whyyyyyyy? How did this happen?

I get some but most are usually from someone who wants paid spellwork, want to switch bodies, want spells done for them…basically, folks who are very “Gimme gimme”.

Firstly, whenever I’m asked these inquiries, I tend to snark “you should have read my site on paid spellwork instead of writing to me”. This is because I always mention that I do not do paid spell work, that I do not do pay-for-pray, that I am very clear about it and will ream anyone who asks. Regardless if you show up at a blog or fan page for said blog, please read about for a little bit. It isn’t going to hurt to do research.

Secondly, inquiries like these are usually from the most dense of people who can not see past their own wants, even when thoroughly explained to them. Even when going over the ethical ramifications (after explaining that I’m not doing spellwork for others, either), they still generally go, “but can you do this for me?” Which is annoying because it shows how dedicated these folks are to not listening…and possibly where their problems started.

I don’t mind giving life advice, it is nice to do. But I think the simple fact that folks are writing to a Witch, they think I’m all spells and potions and get disappointed that I’m not doing exactly that. Here’s the thing, not everything needs a spell. That and if the person does not practice anything in the metaphysics, I’m not going to talk to them about it anyways. Why? Because they’re not practicing, it’s pointless. Oh and I’m not the Wal-Mart of spells and magick.

When practitioners write to me, I try to be as helpful as possible. Mainly because, for once, a real question was asked. It’s not a “gimme gimme” question, it’s a “hey, I was working on something but I got stumped” question. Bouncing ideas off of someone is not a bad thing. They know what they’re talking about, they’ve done some research, great to help! It’s better than, “I don’t like that my ex is happy with his new girlfriend, how do I hex him?” or “I didn’t get into med school, I want to reverse time” or “I want to switch bodies, how do I do it?” Those are “gimme, gimme” questions.

Here’s what makes them “gimme, gimme” questions: even when some claim to be interested in magick, it’s pretty obvious they only want to get what they want and then off they go. No concern for anyone or anything. Frankly, no one – me included- wants to take time out their day to go through the time, effort and energy to handle someone else’s problem. It could blossom up worse, they keep coming back instead of learning life lessons (it always does with these sort of people, they never stop needing something “fixed”), etc etc. No practitioner would – with exception to those who actually do paid spellwork, of course. And even they themselves won’t do any spell simply because money gets mentioned. Speaking of which…

Folks who ask “gimme gimme” questions always act that money moves the world around them. That if they bring up money, that I’m magically going to do whatever they ask. Even if I explicitly say continually that I don’t do paid spellwork. It’s a pretty selfish perspective, actually. I don’t accept money for spellwork because of my personal ethics. However, it’s pretty hyper evident that these folks seriously don’t care about my ethics or anything, I’m just a candy machine that dispenses spells, the solutions to their problems. It doesn’t matter how much money they’re offering, it’s not happening.

I’m certain there’s probably a couple readers out there thinking, “Sheesh, if an idiot offers me a blank check to fix their dilemma, I’d tell them to brush their hair with a fish for ten nights and accept the money. Who cares if it does or doesn’t work? It’s money!” Yeah but it certainly isn’t worth it. For one, my reputation would sink like a rock. Two, regardless of whether the spells work or not, these folks will keep coming back. Three, these people are usually asking for spells because they’re myopic megalomaniacs that can’t think of anyone but themselves. I can’t stress that part enough.

Sometimes, a person writes to me about wanting a spell but because they’re feeling cornered about an actual problem. They’re in an abusive household, they’re trans and we live in a transphobic world, etc etc. I usually try to offer some real world solutions. Again, they’re not practitioners so I’m still not offering spells. Instead, they need resources to contact. If they were a practitioner in the same boat and they were asking for spells, I would still provide resources and perhaps a teeny small spell so they don’t put more focus on the spellwork than they should on the resources offered to them.

Frankly, I really rather get letters and messages from people who actually practice metaphysics or simply have good questions rather than “gimme gimme” questions. When I find a new blog, instead of bugging the writer, I just read through the blog end over end. Usually what questions I have are probably answered in some article written over three or four years ago. I wouldn’t mind the same for here. I wouldn’t mind if someone read a column and asked questions derived from the writing. I just mind when it’s pretty glaringly obvious that the person didn’t decide to read anything at all or did read a bit, they just thought that they could ask for the same thing.

History: Stuck on Repeat

We’re about six weeks away from the inauguration, which is strongly concerning. Hate crimes are spiking, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and will only be expected to rise even with the inauguration and well into the new administration. The one thing I’m most concerned about is the possible likelihood of forced retention of mass groups of people based on religious, cultural, racial or disability status. Basically, camps…and not the fun, marshmallow-at-a-bonfire-with-sing-a-long kind of camps. More like the human-rights-violations-everywhere-everyone-is-gonna-look-back-on-this-and-puke-or-make-hella-excuses kind.

Granted, given I have a mostly American audience, meaning a good chunk of my readership probably slept their way well through Government & Civics and their political science courses…or simply got a crappy education. This spells out that some folks probably are gonna say, “Camps totally can’t happen here! We have checks and balances! Germany had a different system! We have the freedom of due process and our amendments.”

Firstly, if you said the last sentence, it’s an 85% chance you’re probably intensely delusional. Both recent and not-so-recent history has held these truths to be quite not evident.

Secondly, during World War II, America had Internment Camps, also known as American Concentration Camps (as recommended and expressed by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in their Power of Words Handbook). This was while America was at war with the Axis of Evil (Germany, Italy, Japan). Note, only Japanese Americans were detained only, no German Americans or Italian Americans.

If you never heard of the Internment Camps/American Concentration Camps, don’t feel too bad, let Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda bring you up to speed with his song Kenji on his solo album Fort Minor: The Rising Tied

Imaginative, no? Here is another that breaks everything down on the historical, government-y side, because you do need all sides (or as many as possible) of an argument enable to make an argument:

Here’s the thing: all in all, all of this was government sanctioned. Thought up by the president, passed by the Congress, defended by the Supreme Court a couple years later (Korematsu v. United States). Not only was this greenlit, it was even portrayed as if the Japanese Americans were totally cool with it (because they’re so obedient! Those loyal model minorities! If only all minorities could be so accommodating, like those nig– uh…no minority group in particular, just a general wish upon a star, heh heh.) And that the US Government were simply doing the right thing: it was wartime, everyone has got to understand. Better safe than sorry, that’s why there were camps for Japanese Americans, German Americans and Italian Americans…oh, wait. The two latter never happened, only Japanese Americans got cuffed.

Here is a war propaganda video read out by General Milton S. Eisenhower, the first director* of the War Relocation Authority (WRA, and “Relocation” can be reworded to “Incarceration”, according to the JACL handbook), and brother of later president Dwight E. Eisenhower (you’ve seen him, he’s on the dime). Played by Periscope Films, you can view this and more on Denshō’s Youtube channel.

How charming! It’s like a mini society! Watch them “J*ps” work so hard and diligently, building houses, having schools, letting their rights be taken away. It’s practically a Norman Rockwell painting of the American spirit of perseverance…and he did indeed cover WWII:

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Feel the Americana! Feel the togetherness!

How delightful. And heartwarming. Almost like Mike Shinoda just painted a dreary picture on a very picturesque situation simply because he wasn’t there, just his dad.

Oh, wait, George Takei was there, too. And it sounds like from his personal, lived experience, Shinoda’s take is a lot more accurate than Gen. Eisenhower. It didn’t sound like a fun trip to the desert, it sounded a lot like being suspected, rounded up and detained because of a crime never committed. Kinda like what the TSA does now to anyone dark enough to be “suspicious” in airports. Or what police does to civilians dark enough to be “suspicious”. Or what FBI agents does and did to countless Muslim Americans (and with a chance for a one-way ticket to Cuba for an indefinite stay at the Gitmo resort), because “suspicious”. Man, I wonder why White guys didn’t get rounded up by the payload when Timothy McVeigh did the Oklahoma City Bombings. You can check out more first-hand accounts here at Densho.org or on their Youtube. I strongly recommend it.  Actually, let’s see George Takei talk about his experience in the camps:

The reason why this happened is because of the rising anti-Japanese sentiment many Americans had before and during WWII: that the Japanese were evil, sneaky, rat faced and intensely vicious in their sleeper attacks. You couldn’t predict them so might as well bound all of them up to make sure. That without the Japanese, Americans could live safer…by detaining Americans with reckless abandon. Kinda like now with talks of a “Muslim registry”. There was plenty of media about that depicted Japanese people as inherently “other” and someone to vanquish, mock and despise.

“Commander Duck”

“Tokio Jokio”

Oh yeah, such open mindedness will breed from these films and many like them. Just like all the movies and first person shooter games that are set in the Middle East create such warm and happy feelings about those who practice Islamic faith. And in “Commando Duck”, a hidden Japanese stereotype militaryman said “Oh no, no wait please – Japanese custom say ‘always shooting a man in the back’, please.” Funny that, it’s what American soldiers did to Japanese Americans when they were in the camps because, well, Americans don’t gel well with being detained in mass prisons for bullsh*t reasons. Watch the retelling of the “Manzanar Riot”, witnessed by Richard Yamashiro.

This official propaganda, which was constantly everywhere, is similar to how Germany had films about “the evilness of the Jew”, by showing Jewish people in normal marketplace environment and playing it up as how they are just such a cancer to the German way of life.

Here is German propaganda pretending the camps and the ghettos** are totally nice places, that the Jews are totally being respected while despised.

And what actually happened, as shown by Youtuber Miles Jai. Press play to start at the marker:

Frankly, it’s concerning because all this shows how little protected people are in times of need. And how hatefulness can be super pervasive to the point it’s greenlit as “helping the country/world”. And the worst part? Most get away with doing these atrocities, hiding behind legalities, technicalities, multi-layered and scalpel-like wording – being very careful to mind the red tape so they can dance expertly around it as if this all just was one, big misunderstanding. To be legally perceived as no different than bumping into a stranger on the street and making them drop their baggage.

For example, only about 50 or less Nazi personnel were actually convicted with war crimes, but thousands got off the hook. Most are old and frail now, so the lot of them spent their lives free from any wrongdoing they did. And when they do land in court, all they have to say is “I never physically, personally killed anyone. I was just doing my job.” And off they go, to spend the rest of their golden years in the sunset:

Immense amounts of people suffer, perish and die, just to be pictures and tales of history – as if that’s all these people were born to do, just be cautionary tales – and those who commit such wrongdoings get to have fantastic cop-out arguments while everyone else “ooh” and “aah” about the whole occurrence, which will eventually become a boring and intensely neutered museum exhibit or textbook entry. Sometimes, it seems like very little is done to actually prevent such occurrences, just a bunch of “If only there was another way or we could have seen this coming. Our thoughts and prayers are with the fallen.”

Like now. Just like it happened right after 9/11 when the Muslim population was under intense scrutiny over the attacks, simply because they were Muslim. When FBI started busting down doors of innocent Muslim Americans of various stripes and backgrounds simply because they opted for a Koran and not a Bible to pray to. Apparently being Muslim was enough to justify “suspicion” of terrorism and trash their house.

Sounds familiar? It happened to the Japanese Americans during the 1940s as well:

Geez, this “suspicion” sounds a lot like “intense, racially-induced paranoia”. Because this is the same FBI that can’t seem to spot or stop people like Dylan Roof or prevent Sandy Hook or douse the long standing terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan, who have performed bombings, attacks on Americans and more. Huh. Interesting.

And now, it’s about to happen again with Trump getting into office. Because all he basically said during his campaign was “noun-verb-geyser of bigotry”. And if anyone thinks that this dude won’t throw us into a war, that person poorly understands how an arrogant, myopic bigot thinks, especially when nuclear launch codes get added to the mix. And it’s usually around wartime and war-leaning times does things like camps get rolling. And do they roll, but gradually, you bet.

First, it always starts small and simple: registries and curfews. Nothing vicious, no one being harmed, just a set bedtime declared by the government. The only folks really hurting are those who love watching late night movies at the theatres. Just abide by the rules and you’re good. In 2002, we didn’t have curfews for Muslims, but we did have a Muslim registry, the “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System” list (NSEERS, also called “Special Registration”), which was stopped in 2011 because its unconstitutional nature. Oh, and the TSA as well since 9/11 was done using planes. No curfew but traveling is well hampered, all thanks to security theatre.

Second, it moves into sectioning groups of people into particular neighborhoods – “ghettos” or strongly zoned areas – so everyone knows where you are. The US already have tons of housing and zoning issues like these already, plenty of areas are greatly segregated.

Third, “relocation efforts” are introduced.

As referenced prior, mainstream media starts to push propaganda of “the enemy” and can back the government as well. They’re currently doing it now to make the Alt-Right/Neo-Nazis appear palatable. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be traditional media, even on Youtube there’s the “bomb prank” where someone dresses up in stereotypical “Arabic”  wear and plops a black bag around someone and runs off:

Yeah, not paid for by Fox News or CNN, this is some individual’s “clever” thinking. They didn’t have to do the super racist costume. Here is an example when someone does the prank without the Islamophobic stuff:

However, a quick search on Youtube shows more Islamophobic versions of the prank than not, with different people conducting the prank.This continually associates Islam with terrorism and very much stokes fears that the American people are under threat of the “evil Muslim”. These pranks are not much different from films like “Tokio Jokio” because they have the same effect, it’s just one was paid for as official propaganda and the other was merely a result of being extensively exposed to anti-Muslim propaganda for over a decade and using such ingrained rhetoric for personal creative works that delivers to a wide audience.

Does all this promise that Trump is totally, totally going to have camps of some sort? It’s a relatively likely possibility, given history itself, his demeanor, his actions and his personal take on everything. Oh, and the fact that one person in his crew already suggested that we bring back Internment Camps. Trump is not at all reasonable and he does not appoint anyone who is. He’s not even in the oval office yet and already making bad choices. This is alarming because it’s just history all over again.

What can people do about this? Well, safety pins are a cute non-solution but I think trying to understand and learn what is happening is best here. On the Black Witch Tumblr, I actually have the “Race and Racism” tag. Try starting there.  That and don’t be like Gen. Eisenhower, actually stand up for your beliefs, not just say, “Oh, I feel queasy about this, let me distance myself to feel better.” If acts of prejudice pop up, do something. Except for “sign up for the Muslim registry to cloud the numbers” because the US Govt used the Census to round up Japanese Americans and to know who gets put on the registry. Then revamped the registry system during Bush Jr. You can sign up but the system already knows it’s a false positive. There’s already a tried-and-tested system waiting. General resistance, like attending protests, openly talking about these issues and more would do better. This doesn’t mean that it will turn Trump’s presidency into a well muted one, but it’s better than just slipping out the back because all this causes bad feelz. I also recommend getting a copy of the ABA book of Human Rights. It’s nifty.

Before I hear, “Both the Jews and the Japanese got reparations! How is this bad?! Free money!” I can tell you from personal experience, going through an immensely prejudiced experience is not worth any amount of money received. If you asked anyone who got fiscal reparations “choose between getting all this money or not ever going through the experience at all”, all of them would say, “never go through it at all.” It doesn’t wipe away the terrible memories that will live forever. It doesn’t wake up the dead that suffered. It changes nothing, just adds a little extra cheddar in their pocket while the government revs up to do it again. This isn’t “free money”, this isn’t like scratching off a winning lotto ticket. The camps weren’t a game show and this isn’t a prize. This is an official “My bad, we’ll be more cunning about it next time.” Sure, the German government, very unlike the American government, actually did make strides to help future German generations understand that Nazism was a terrible thing they did: mandatory field trips to the camps, banning hate speech and symbolism, backing those bans up with severe laws, etc etc. Y’know, taking responsibility. The American government just gets into an emo tizzy and rather sweep things under the rugs. I mean, how many of you actually knew of the American concentration camps

Also, before I hear: “Trump isn’t that bad, he’s just using the ‘build a wall’ nonsense because it got him votes. His real plan is way more nuanced that than. Just too magnificent for the average American to understand.” The New York Times said the same about Hitler:

nytimes.jpg

The article reads:

But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch messes of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.

A sophisticated politician credited Hitler  with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: “You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”

The Hitler movement is not of mere local or picturesque interest. It is bound to bring Bavaria into a renewed clash with the Berlin Government as long as the German Republic goes even through the notions of trying to live up the Versailles Treaty. For it is certain the Allies will take umbrage at the Hitler organization as a violation of the military clauses of the treaty and demand disbandment, even as in the case of its predecessor, the Orgesch.

This would be a funny Hurrr Durrrr moment if it weren’t so terrifying, and verified by Snopes. It’s also such a glowing reason to get your passport straightened out, if possible. And see Takei’s play “Allegiance” if it is in your city, it’s going to be in select movie theatres!

*Granted, Gen. Eisenhower did leave three months later because the camps were bothering him but it doesn’t change what he did. Especially since all he did was dip, not try to close the camps. The least he could have done was boost Korematsu’s stance further. Neither happened. Just left to save his mind, literally no one else. That doesn’t make him a hero, just a coward with temporary moral depression and a cardboard spine.

** By the way, that’s where the American term “ghetto” comes from, because of the same conditions. So if a kid says they’re from the ghetto and live in America, it’s pretty similar when a Jewish kid said the same back in the 30s and 40s. Hooray for White kids who call everything “ghetto” for the lolz. Because why be anti-Black or anti-Semitic when you can be both?

Tech Witch

One day, I was on my way to Sally’s Beauty Supply store and discovered next door, the Radio Shack was closing, thus had a 60-90% off sale on everything in the store. So, instead of buying blue hair dye like I was going to, I beelined for the tech stuff I could get for uber cheap. Like, buying a pack of capacitors for .45 cents. Though I should have totally gone for the 555 Timers. I like to fiddle with electronics and build/construct things – I’m currently working on an automatic cat feeder because my cat is fat and I have mini-amnesias due to having trauma disorders. My cat will wharf down her food and pretend she’s hungry in hopes that I forgot I fed her ten minutes ago and give her another dish.

My cat, who is fat

My cat, who is fat

I also repair electrical problems in drones and mechanical problems in 3D printers. Basically, I’m very techy.

Given that we live in a world of tech and technology, I do wonder how it can be applied to magick. Granted, I don’t think it is very seamless (I doubt you can do a smoke cleansing with your phone and I still side-eye “rebloggable spells” a bit) but am definitely sure parts can be integrated.

Alright, I’m not much a tech witch, I don’t include tech much into my practice, if at all. I write down things and use natural stuff like sticks, stones and incense. If anything, I would probably be concerned of energy waves from the phone messing with the energy trying to be created in the circle so I just curve around all that and keep it analog. This doesn’t mean that folks who put protection sigils on their phones or cast an anti-theft spell on their computer is silly, I just don’t do the same. That and the idea of using magick on your stuff – including your tech stuff – is normal to me. Using your tech in magick, that feels a bit different to me, if not foreign.

I guess part of it is because technology is comprised of so many different parts and things, it would drive me into a finicky mode. There are so many things that make our tech that has various individual properties that makes up our tech. This is kind of why I’m not much of a tech witch. Simply isn’t my kit. That and I’m still trying to wrap my head around things like tumblr spells that are mostly emoticons/emojis and basically are suppose to work with every reblog. I understand the “gathering energy” part (the many people passing the post around), the “intention” part and how it’s kinda supposed to work but I would imagine the energy is a bit mottled through the tech. That’s just my perception, though.

However, this doesn’t mean that tech isn’t starting to really becoming useful for Pagans. For example: 3D printing, sky maps and moon phase apps

Many weather apps, like WeatherUnderground and AccuWeather will tell you the moon phases. I use WeatherUnderground, which shows me not only the moon phase and fullness of the moon, but also how much daylight I have.

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This is really great for determining fullness, when to perform rituals or whatever have you. I think most, if not all, weather apps show you the moon. Even on smart watches, such as the Apple Watch, you can track the moon phases and travels.

Then there are sky maps, which let you see constellations, planets and stars through your phone. You can even use it to help spot planets in the night sky, look for conjunctions and more. I use Google Sky Map but there are plenty about.

Then there’s 3D Printing. Granted, it still isn’t accessible to quite a lot of people – they’re mainly found in libraries and on college campuses, in regards to mass use – but can be very useful when it is. For example, the most common filament (“ink” for 3D printers) used is PLA, which stands for Polyactic acid (not actually acidic in nature) , which actually is completely biodegradable and comes from sugars and starch. Even smells a bit like caramel when printing. Yes, it is plastic, but it is nature-derived plastic, which can make it useful for personal practice or even group practice. PLA is one of the many materials a 3D printer can print in. There’s also wood, metal and ceramic.

This means that a Pagan person could print a chalice in the very color they need it in. Or create a specialized holder, tool or anything that is needed in whatever color, material or design. They could create beads or a stylus with their chosen sigils. They could create boxes, statues and more; if they can think it, they can print it. It really would be very nice for practice to implement hyper specialized materials and items into Pagan practices. A practitioner could either charge a whole spool of filament to print a variety of things or they could print something and charge that instead. Hyper customized holders, runes, candle plates, wands and more! Talk about endless bouts of ideas.

New forays into technology can be useful for old practices, which is really interesting as well as potentially ground breaking for Pagan practice. However, this has always been the case, if one would think about it. I mean, when glass, silver and steel could be used to create items, I wouldn’t be surprised if the question of “can this be implemented into ritualistic practice” came into play. With that thought in mind, it probably is redundant to ask, “hey, is this new tech good for Pagan practice?” because as long as the source of the practice is the same, why wouldn’t implementing new devices and tech be a problem?

Not My Flag, Not a Chance

There’s been so much chatter since the election, mainly about how terrible Trump is going to be (usually said by practically everyone who isn’t White, Straight, cis, etc) and how we should still give him and his folks a chance (usually said by anyone White and usually Liberal (conservatives just froth at the mouth over admiring swastikas now, imagining the next four years in glee, I’m guessing)).

Frankly, anyone who says we as a nation should give Trump a chance is quite historically challenged and a total ditz. Trump’s troupe blew whatever chance they could have potentially had when they were on the campaign trail talking about walls and mocking disabled reporters…oh and doing covert sieg heils* at the RNC gathering.

Yeah, this happened

Yeah, this happened

Those were big opportunities to show that they simply wanted to repair the country from it’s economic sluggishness, dismissive political attitudes to rural Americans, etc etc. I mean, Trump did offer several solutions…it’s just practically all of them came from a book probably titled How To: Second Coming of the Third Reich, Special 14th edition with a teeny cover sticker that says “Now with 88% more hate! Ruin your country beyond repair or your money back! See inside for details”. Meaning: none of these solutions actually work. The only thing the Final Solution did the last time was give Germany a huge luggage crate full of baggage to cart about, because the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind about Germanic history is mainly the terrible stuff they did in the ’30s and ’40s. More like a final solution for murdering a good reputation, if anything. Going Nazi wasn’t a great payoff to them, just like it won’t be for us.

I, nor anyone who have been historically affected by messages of hate and mass disparagement, should give anyone a chance if that’s pretty much all they’ve came out the gate with. I even tried to research Trump’s stances on actual issues during the election season, and about all I got that was pretty solid was “I don’t know…but we will just pour in a chunk of hate and see where that gets us.” That’s basically it: build a wall, get rid of non-Whites and more police. This is not a solution to anything. It’s just a recipe to make America not “Great” again but to make America White again. And Trump’s people have actually said that, word for word: That they believe America should be White only and White succeeding, that they hate anyone not Christian, not White and not Male. They’ve done openly displayed sieg heils at Alt-Right/Neo-Nazis gatherings.

Yeah, this happened, too

Yeah, this happened, too

Give this a chance? For what? It’s been shown countless times in even the past one hundred years that just giving hate a chance doesn’t magically transform into peace, it just becomes more virulent hatred that’s just been given a head start. Granted, no one not on the business end of that would definitely say, “Let’s give them a chance.” Since they have nothing to lose, the idea of fighting or being actively despondent or even cracking someone’s elbow in the middle of their Nazi salute seems “violent” and “not how peace works”. Because Americans always have politely asked for things like rights and country and politely discussed things over. Totes exactly what we did with the British and the Native Americans**. We’re such a peaceful nation, we don’t even have mass shootings.

Unfortunately, this is not reality. My family members don’t remember our ancestors being able to walk up to the Overseer or Master and say, “Hey, I’ve already put in my eight hours so I’m heading out. I’ve even kept track of it on this here scrap of paper – oh! and we’re running low on ink, I like the iron blue one from that guy down the street, it’s really nice and last for pages – See? That’s 40 hours, I took an hour off for lunch and everything. Also, it’s, like, super hot in the middle of the day and you made us work…that’s not cool, you always do that. Everyone around here thinks you better shape up or we’re leaving. Especially since you don’t pay us…which, I’m preeeeeeeeeeeetty sure is illegal. Like, super illegal. And I cut myself on a sickle, where’s my employee healthcare? One of my friends a few rows over heard over in Korea, they have a king named Sejong and he – a king, mind you – put in stuff like maternity leave. We should try some of that, or we’re leaving for good! You can find some new pickers and they’ll say the same. What say you?”

Yeaaaaaaaaaah, that’s not what would have happened. Would have been nice but very much didn’t happen. Instead, slave rebellions happened. Fighting happened. Dying happened (by the payload). Lynchings happened. Escapes happened. Suicides happened. Talking is great for some things but not when the person you’re talking to doesn’t even think you’re human. Even Schindler didn’t say to his fellow Nazis, “Hey, about this ‘kill all Jews’ thing. Ever wonder how this will help our country – like, actually help Germany? I mean, I’m just saying! Just saying. Y’know, for kicks and giggles, think about it. I mean, this is a lot of work to murder useful people like doctors and teachers. Just seems a bit dumb – I’m just saying, though! Just saying. I mean, we even killed a gay carpenter and we’ve had a crappy chair and tilting table for weeks. No carpenter, but we stick with the sh*tty table. Yes, Aust handles carpentry but, c’mon, everyone knows he’s bad at it, that’s how we got the table. We had a master carpenter and just killed him. Does that scream ‘smart’ to you? Think about it.” That would have been nice, imagining Schindler doing thoughtful roundtables with fellow Nazis at night, even with a rabbi present, because representation. But that’s not what happened. You can’t talk people out of hate so easily. That would be totally awesome but, as shown by history, totally not realistic.

Hoping that the current batch of fascist douchebags are going to be somehow different and totally open to conversation is intensely delusional. And increasingly so with each and every new pick Trump makes for cabinet. Even the minorities (the extreme, token few) he eyes are poster definitions of “internalized racism”. Everyone in Trump’s camp plans to roll back the clock like mad. And that makes Americans such as myself very, very concerned. Because I’m Pagan, I’m Black, I’m female, I was raised poor and in the inner city and, frankly, this is not my flag:

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

We are too diverse for this bullsh*t. But frankly, not everyone feels this way. Especially those who felt “othered” when mentions of diversity are said. Even those who swear up and down they’re allies but are actually in it for the saviorism. Even those who say they don’t see color but get offended when a Person of Color gets ahead in real life or even introduced in a comic book, sputtering, “We’re all one race, the human race. Why is Spiderman Black? Like, isn’t that racist? Why can’t he be White? He has to be White!” Even those who reblogs the #noDAPL Water Protectors on Tumblr and goes to the tribal land – not because clean water means anything to them but because they want to have a winter Coachella, complete with disruptive drum circles and asking Natives insanely dumb questions like “What’s my indian name?” instead of “Where do I put the crate of Milk of Magnesia and portable heaters?” Apparently, to those folks, we’re just too diverse a country that doesn’t benefit them, period. And now they want everyone to give Trump a chance since Hillary Clinton didn’t get in. (Is Clinton perfect? Heck no. Just isn’t that level of hateful) That maybe everything will be all right with the Alt Right, if given the opportunity. Just like it was all right during the ’40s when Japanese Americans had to go to Manzanar, USA. Or when anyone Jewish, Black, disabled, whatever, had to go to the death camps (the holocaust killed more than Jews, remember that. The first to go were political opponents, actually. Germany was a diverse nation, too. Just like now). What absolute insanity.

Even media that tilts intensely liberal like Mother Jones, CNN and MSNBC now falls over itself in trying to romanticize the Alt Right and distance them from the Neo-Nazi rhetoric they constantly spew, even the triple parentheses that they use to signify anyone who is Jewish or “Anti-White”. Simply because hatred got a makeover, it’s time to play nice with them. That’s ridiculous. And these are some of the same folks who won’t shy from saying “Feminazi” or “Grammar Nazi” (even joke about the Soup Nazi from Seinfield!) but have a hard time calling an actual Nazi a “Nazi”. Or “White Nationalist”. Even if the bigot does the salute and all! What is needed? The Hugo Boss uniform, heel clicking and goose stepping?

I don’t think anyone needs a chance to get to that point. That’s much too far.

 

* Sieg Heils: The hand/arm motion that Hitler is commonly associated with. The Nazi salute

** We told the British where to shove their tea and massacred Natives (even now, American police are trying to literally freeze out (water cannons and everything) the Sioux over the tribe wanting to defend clean water. By the way, Flint, MI is still happening)

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