Krystal L. Green

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May 8, 2018

Abusive Relationships

Yesterday, a prominent national figure resigned his office after credible charges of abuse from four women. As a victim of spousal abuse, I felt compelled to share a blog post on the subject of abusive relationships that I published several years ago. Unfortunately, the subject matter doesn't change. but the struggle continues. I'd also like to leave you with this encouraging thought:

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction
ends up being the biggest step of your life.
Tip toe if you must , but take the step.

Abusive Relationships

Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.

Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally, although sometimes even physically as well. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

This Healthy Relationship Quiz was developed by the Santa Clara University Wellness Center to help women (and also men) decide if they are in an unhealthy and abusive relationship.
1.          Do you feel afraid to speak your mind, express how you feel or ask for something you need?
2.          Does your partner tell you are "stupid", "crazy", or "inadequate" when you disagree?
3.          Does your partner make fun of your ideas or opinions?
4.          Is your partner bossy and/or try to control every detail in your relationship?
5.          Is your partner extremely demanding and jealous?
6.          Do you often feel guilty and second-guess your choices in friends, social activities, jobs, etc. because of your partner's negative comments about these choices?
7.          Are you afraid of your partner's temper, feel like you walk on eggshells, and/or are constantly monitoring what you say and do as an attempt to avoid making him/her angry?
8.          Do you find yourself making excuses for your partner and justifying his/her actions to others?
9.          Do you feel more "free" to be yourself when he/she isn't around?
10.          Does your partner throw or break things when angry?
11.          Does your partner try to control where you go and what you do?
12.          Does your partner pressure you to engage in sexual activities that you are uncomfortable with and put you down if you refuse?
13.          Does your partner threaten to kill or hurt him/herself if you have a differing opinion, try to end the relationship, or do something they disapprove of?
14.          Does your partner try to make you feel guilty for having a "life" (i.e. friends, interests) apart from the relationship?
15.          Does your partner criticize your family and friends and ask you to stop seeing them?
16.          Do you feel that you have changed, lost touch with who you are, or become someone else in order to be with your partner?
17.          Have your friends or family expressed concern about your relationship and/or your well-being?
18.          Does your partner know how to make you feel bad (i.e., what buttons to push) and use it often to hurt you?
19.          Have you lost touch with your friends, and only hang out with your partner's friends?
20.          Does your partner try to control you with anger and guilt, or lash out when you don't do exactly what he or she wants?
21.          Has your partner ever hit, slapped, punched, shoved, grabbed or shook you?
22.          Has your partner ever threatened to hurt you, take important things away, or leave you?
23.          Has your partner ever called you names, put you down, insulted you, and/or embarrassed you in front of others?
24.          Do you feel like you never get anywhere when you try to communicate?
25.          Do you spend large amounts of time preoccupied with what you've said or how it's interpreted?
If you answered "yes" to 3 or more questions in this Healthy Relationship Quiz, you are experiencing signs of relationship abuse.
Helplines for women:
In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
Helplines for men:
U.S. and Canada: The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men & Women at1-888-7HELPLINE

Slow is Faster than Never

Slow is Faster than Never

Anyone could tell she was annoyed with the result. Although she lost weight from the previous week's Weight Watcher meeting, her irritation was obvious.

“One quarter of a pound? Four lousy ounces!” She continued to stare at the scale. “I exercised. I wrote everything down. I even stayed away from the hors d’oeuvres at the party. This is too slow. I won’t hit my desired weight until I’m 80!”

Standing down from the platform, I heard her grumble as she snatched her purse. “Who needs this frustration?” With those final words, she stormed from the meeting. The next time she came to a meeting, she weighed 43 pounds more than when she left- and was years closer to the “dreaded” age of eighty.

At times it is difficult to remember that “slower is faster than never.

Few events are more exasperating than diligently following a plan, faithfully monitoring your efforts, expecting breathtaking rewards, and ending up feeling punished for the effort. Hope vanishes, motivation evaporates, and the seductive siren song of harmful habits slyly lures us off track. After all, rarely does one give up when all is doing well.

Success requires enduring many such indignities; it involves making a lifestyle- not temporary- change. Logically, we know that “lifestyle change” must last..well, er, um..a lifetime (hence the term). Emotionally however, we want to experience all the payback, without making the required investment. As a further analogy, we crave the benefits of wisdom without enduring the exposure to life.

It does not work that way. The process will not be rushed; it must be fully experienced.
Success is more likely when we understand the benefits begin immediately; we do not have to wait to enjoy them until we get “there”. To the contrary, that magical land where temptation is non-existent and motivation is ever present is fantasy; there is no better prescription for failure than betting the farm on such unrealistic expectations.

Those who obtain their goals are still faced with the same temptations and frustrations as those of us still striving for our objective. What differs is they persevere through rough periods by changing focus, not by ignoring the delay.

Setbacks cannot be avoided. Although it might not feel so in the moment, each one presents an opportunity to understand the process, ourselves, and make the adjustments necessary for long-term, SUSTAINED change.

At those crossroads, look back, not ahead. The future is always unknown, yet the road already traveled-no matter how short the journey- is lined with accomplishments: some small, others more significant.

Motivation returns when the focus changes. Remember, slow is faster than never.

Apr 16, 2018

Paul Ryan Rides Off Into The Sunset

Paul Ryan, 54th Speaker of the House Of Representatives, is throwing in the towel at the end of this Congressional term. He cites spending more time with his family as his reason for leaving. His departure is accompanied by similar announcements from more than 30 other Republicans in both the House and Senate.  Ryan told reporters that he was "proud of what this Congress has achieved".

Trump twitted that Ryan was "a truly good man" who "would leave a legacy of achievement that nobody could question". Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told us that Ryan was "a good man who is always true to his word" and said he'd "always found him to be smart, thoughtful and straightforward". Others praised Ryan the man and most didn't speculate on why Ryan might be leaving at what E. J. Dionne, Washington Post opinion writer calls "a low, dishonest political moment".

Since the Washington establishment has worked together for many years and I've never been inside that well known group, they probably see Ryan's departure far differently from many outsiders, including myself. I tend to believe that the toxic environment in Washington created by the Trump Administration is part of the reason so many politicians are leaving at this particular time. Ryan's belief in Ayn Rand's philosophy makes him identify with society's winners and regard ordinary citizens as moochers and burdens on the creative and the entrepreneurial class. Thus, he lead the effort to slash taxes for the rich as a conservative Congress and Administration left the nation with a trillion dollar annual budget.

Ryan leaves mourning the Senate's failure to approve his plans to cut "entitlements", i.e. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and food stamps. He bemoans these elements of our nation's safety net which he claims "might become a hammock that lulls able-bodied citizens into lives of complacency and dependency". Oddly enough, after the death of his father, the Speaker received Social Security Survivors benefits from the age of 16 to 18. These benefits funded his college education. No doubt treatment of his grandmother's Alzheimer's condition relied on "entitlements".

While he bitterly fought to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly know as Obamacare. Ryan uses the passage of the new budget revisions as his most significant contribution to his country. He believes that current policy changes enacted by the Trump Administration is "the path to reducing government's impositions on the managers and owners of capital to the good of society".

Paul Ryan went to Congress in 1999 representing Wisconsin's First Congressional District. He served as Chairman of the House Budget Committee from 2011 to 2015 and Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee before assuming the duties of Speaker of the House. He was running mate to MA Governor Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign.

We'll see if Ryan, leaving politics at the age of 48, has presidential ambitions as he looks forward to the future. Think about it, in 2024, he'll just be 54 years old.

May 17, 2017

The World of Fan Fiction: Harry Potter Lives Again

The World of Fan Fiction: Harry Potter Lives Again

When I finally realized that J. K. Rowling probably wouldn’t be writing any more Harry Potter books, it took me awhile to learn that Harry Potter would live again. An introduction to the ever growing opened up new worlds, among them 526,085 entries in the Harry Potter section alone with many of them full-length novels. Fan fiction predates the Internet, but the Web makes it easier to generate hundreds of millions of words based on books, movies, TV shows, video games, plays, musicals, rock bands and board games.

Fan fiction teems with prequels and sequels, missing storylines and questionable plot lines. Imagine a full length story of the evolving and emotionally charged friendship between Harry and Draco Malfoy during their seventh year at Hogwarts, including a new perspective on life as a Slytherin. Read it in “Underwater Light” by Maya. What about a novel from the point of view of Lilly Potter in a story set when she and James were in school?  Emmyjean’s “Crossroads” follows their romance and gives a detailed account of their courtship. Delicate” is an appealing adult-themed story about Ron and Hermione’s daughter Rose Weasley, who hooks up with Scorpius Malfoy and has to grow up quickly to deal with the consequences. All of these stories are from the world of Fan Fiction.

Fan Fiction is a world unto itself, with its own rules, genres and conventions. It’s huge and ever evolving and constantly the subject of heated internal debate. Cutting, pasting, sampling, remixing and mashing up have become mainstream modes of cultural expression and fan fiction is a part of that. It challenges everything we thought we knew about art and creativity. Nobody makes money from fan fiction, but everyone has their own opinion about whether loses money from it. Authors are deeply divided on other’s “borrowing” from their work. J. K Rowling and Stephenie Meyer have given Harry Potter and Twilight fan fiction their blessings.  Other writers for example Oscar Scott Card author of the classic Ender’s Game books consider it a violation of their copyrights, and feel that their characters have been kidnapped by strangers. “I will sue, because if I don’t protect my copyright, I will lose that copyright...So fan fiction, while flattering, it is also an attack on my means of livelihood. Do the characters belong to the person who created them? Is art about making up new things or about transforming what’s out there? You can see both sides of the issue and the legal arguments abound.

The fan fiction scene is hyper-diverse. You’ll find every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, age and sexual orientation represented there, both as writers and characters. There is, of course, a ton of sex in fan fiction. There are stories that take every character you can name and pair them up romantically, erotically, or pornographically. The market carries dark alleys to pursue, i.e. a genre called Mpreg, which is about male characters getting pregnant or "dubcon” (stories about “dubious consent”). Archive of Our Own website for example offers warnings such as “graphic depiction of violence”, “major character death”, “rape/nonconsent”, or “underage”.

What if instead of trying to kill baby Harry, Voldemort adopted him, raised him as Harry Marvolo and conquered the entire British Isle? What if on his first day at Hogwarts Harry had been sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor? What if Harry were black or a vampire or a werewolf?  What might have happened if someone turned right instead of left? Welcome to the Alternate Universe in fan fiction.

Note: Consider this post as an item of interest to our readers. It's origins are lost in my notes, but I thought it might interest our followers and should not be discarded. Thank you for your continued support.

Nov 17, 2016

Black Lives Matter Founders Honored By Glamour

Every year, Glamour awards a diverse group of innovators across business, politics, entertainment and fashion and more for their Women of the Year list. This year, the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement — Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors — will be honored for their tireless activism, highlighting the issue of police brutality in America.

After George Zimmeran was found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2013, Garza shared a status on Facebook to express her feelings about the verdict, writing: “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.” After Patrisse Cullors shared Garza’s post, adding the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, Tometi reached out to them to create a digital platform to keep the conversation and the movement going.

Today, “Black Lives Matter” has become a rallying cry against police brutality and other realities of systemic racism in America. Beyond a hashtag, the movement has sparked demonstrations and other activist events all over the country.

“We gave tongue to something that we all knew was happening,” Tometi told Glamour of the three activists’ work.

“We were courageous enough to call it what it was. But more than that, to offer an alternative. An aspirational message: Black lives matter.”

Other black women honored on the list are Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and actress Zendaya.

The entire group of honorees, which also includes Miuccia Prada and model Ashley Graham, were honored at a special awards ceremony in Los Angeles on November 14.

Sources: The Grio and the Huffington Post


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