Hello everyone and happy Friday. I know for many, this has been a difficult week. K. Aten’s guest post is a timely and thought-provoking piece.
Before I hand over the reins, I want to thank Kelly for sharing her thoughts.
And now for the guest post.
MOST OF THE time when I sit down to write, it’s because I have a story that is hammering away at the inside of my head. A story that will lull me to sleep at night and wake me again in early morning. But there are occasions when something so powerful and so deep occurs that I need to simply write it out in order to process my feelings. Such events strike chords in me that are so deep and disturbing they resonate throughout my entire life. I wrote about the Pulse nightclub shooting, I wrote about taking part in the Women’s March in Washington D.C., and today I’m writing about the tears I shed for the people in Charlottesville, Virginia. Sometimes I need words to help myself through the hard stuff. And more than anything I hope the time never comes when I cannot find those words because the hard stuff is just too damaging to process.
I GREW UP poor in the 80’s, before the wiz bang electronics age that blossomed a decade later. Just me and my mom on welfare, living in trailers, living on the kindness of our family. And what people may not realize is that when you grow up poor it’s that much harder to fight your way out of it as an adult. I know what it’s like to struggle to pay your bills or put food on the table, to donate plasma on the side just so I’d have money to buy gas to get back and forth to work. I worked my ass off to get out of that place but even so, there is a fear that somehow I’ll slide back into poverty. A fear that everything I’ve built will be lost again.
I’M A WOMAN who has grown up as a woman, though not always comfortably. I’ve been told by different people and family members my entire life that a woman’s sole purpose was to get married and have a child. But I’ve never been that kind of woman, even in my decade of assumed ‘straightness’. I walk alone on streets at night and I pretend I have just a right to be there as anyone else. I don’t think I’ve ever carried the fear that smaller, prettier, more timid women have. But I have certainly been at the receiving end of the personal and societal sexism that runs rampant in my country. The thought that the United States, a beacon of freedom in a world of less than free nations, would somehow end up like a chapter in The Handmaid’s Tale, truly terrifies me.
AS FOR MY sexuality, I was lucky enough to come out later in life when my skin was as thick as it was going to get. I’m not femme and I’ve never been one of those pretty girls. I’ve also accepted the fact that I don’t blend in like some. But I live in a conservative community, I get the stares and I’ve gotten more than my fair share of comments over the years. While I’m fairly comfortable in my own skin now, there are definitely places I don’t feel at ease and I find myself craving those safe places that the LGBTQ community provides.
But no matter where I live, or where I hang out, there will always be that fear of persecution. I’m not so worried about myself at this stage of my life, I’m worried about my girlfriend and her kids. What impact will my obvious gayness have on our family living in such conservative community? It’s the kind of neighborhood that had Trump signs on the lawn, a few trucks with confederate flags, and people moving out because of the ‘queers and the blacks’. What do I do, what do WE do, when the bully kids down the street figure it out and target our kids? Or tell their parents and they target us? And I loathe the day the people in our neighborhood ever find out we’re both atheists! You shouldn’t have to fear because you love differently or because you worship differently.
LAST AND PERHAPS least, I am Caucasian. I’m aware this means I seem to have lucked out on the skin color spectrum in this country. This last topic though is definitely the hardest. While I’ve been denied many things, and persecuted for many things throughout my life, I am not a person of color. I have no idea what it is like to be immediately judged by the shade of my skin, or by an ethnic sounding name on my resume. I have black friends, though less now that I’ve moved to conservative ‘whitesville’ on the other side of the state. I just have less friends, altogether. I miss the diversity I used to have in my life, but I still fight against intolerance when I see it. I fight for all my friend’s rights and equality, even if I don’t fall into their box.
I watch the news like so many others right now. I sickly follow the reports each day, and I don’t know what has brought us here, or how to stop it. It seems incomprehensible that we are still dealing with this twisted ideology in the 21st century. I try to find stuff I can do to help. I see all this hate and anger, and I can take steps to fight it with the rest of the people who stand on the right side of history. I can march, I can be verbal and vocal by calling out the racists and the haters. I can love and comfort my friends who are being attacked simply for the color of their skin or their religion. But there is one thing I cannot do, and that is to feel their pain.
How can I understand what they are going through on a daily basis, what they’ve lived through every day since they were born? Race isn’t something you were born into and can work your way out of like poverty. It isn’t a prejudice that only kicks in if you don’t follow the prescribed gender rules as an adult, and it certainly isn’t limited to those times when you “come out”, or are suddenly “outed” as gay. Racism is disadvantage, loathing, and judgement perpetrated on people of color from the moment they come out of the womb. I can’t know what that is like. But what I can do is make a promise. I will fight for you, I will defend you, and I will not judge you. I do understand the anger. A person that is abused once, will probably forget about it. A person that is abused many times, will remember and be leery. But a person that is abused their entire life? They live in fear and sometimes even hatred. They’re going to be angry, they’re going to be fed up, and eventually they’re going to snap. And I don’t blame them.
THE WORLD IS becoming a scary place, and the country that I once thought of as a safe haven no longer feels so safe. I know there are injustices out there, perpetrated each day in the name of prejudice. Those injustices seem to happen more and more frequently. All this pressure in the world is building into something terrifying and while I say I want a revolution, I hope it never comes. What I really want is a peaceable change, not one forced by war and violence. I want to feel safe again. But more than that, because I am less than an entire nation, I want everyone else to feel safe again.
Born and raised in Michigan, Kelly is a latecomer to the writing scene. As an introvert with self-taught extroversion, she has traveled to nearly every state in the US and draws from her experience with everything she writes. Over the years she has loved playing a variety of sports including volleyball, bowling, softball, and most recently, roller derby. But then bad knees became worse and Kelly returned to the comfort of fan fiction to fill the void. Reading the amazing tales she found prompted her to try her hand at writing again. The ability to turn out an engaging tale was discovered and a bittersweet new love affair began.
Kelly works in the automotive industry coding in Visual basic and Excel. Her avid reading and writing provide a nice balance to the daily order of data, allowing her to juggle passion and responsibility. Her writing style is as varied as her reading taste and it shows as she tackles each new genre with glee. But beneath it all, no matter the subject or setting, Kelly carries a core belief that good should triumph. She’s not afraid of pain or adversity, but loves a happy ending. She’s been pouring words into novels since 2015 and probably won’t run out of things to say any time soon.
Kelly hasn’t published yet, but she’s planning on changing that soon. Check out her tentative release dates with Regal Crest Enterprises:
The Fletcher (Arrow of Artemis: book 1) – January 2018 [Historical Fiction]
Rules of the Road – April 2018 [Rom Com]
The Archer (Arrow of Artemis: book 2) – June 2018 [Historical Fiction]
Waking the Dreamer – September 2018 [Dystopian Sci-Fi]
The Sagittarius (Arrow of Artemis: book 3) – December 2018 [Historical Fiction]
Running from Forever (Blood Resonance: book 1) – March 2019 [Urban Fantasy]
The Sovereign of Psiere – TBD 2019 [Steampunkesque Sci-Fi]
Embracing Forever (Blood Resonance: book 2) – TBD 2019 [Urban Fantasy]
Thanks again, Kelly.