Generation X and the Silent Revolution

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There is a lot unsaid and overlooked about my Generation X. As an “Xer” born in 1974,  I was heavily influenced by a variety of teachers. My parents who faced oppression within Communist Cuba, teachers who suffered losses during the Holocaust, or were subjected to racism during the Civil Rights Era. Others who served during World War II, Korea and Vietnam; as well as various women who I looked up to, who worked hard either as activists or in their own private lives, to obtain equal rights for women. I do not intend to speak for the whole of my generation as we are each individuals and can speak for ourselves. With this noted, What does it mean to be a part of “Generation X”?

According to David Barnet (2017), “we didn’t even get a name until Douglas Coupland wrote a novel about us in 1991”, another point of origin,  is that our “X” was inspired by Malcolm “X” and represents “an unknown variable or a desire not to be defined”. I prefer the insistence of not being “definable”. Generation “Xers” think for themselves. We listen to the Baby Boomers and admire their militant as well as their loving characteristics and we also look at the Millennial’s and admire their savy within the technological era and their quest for “justice”. I have one predominant complaint about my generation and that is that we have perhaps been mostly quiet and or unfortunately -often obedient. However, we also make quiet efforts on a variety of noble causes.

What influenced Generation Xers? We were bombarded with “the moral of the story” … Our after school specials taught us not to do drugs or bully others. We watched “The Facts of Life” which taught us… well, the “facts of life”. We learned ethics from “All In The Family”, “Different Strokes”, “The Jefferson’s” and “Family Ties”. We appreciated the value of Capitalism and money making during the time of “Alex Keaton” and “Wall Street”. We also, cheered for Rocky against the brutal Russian in Rocky IV. Still, we fell in love with Robin William’s Russian character in “Moscow on the Hudson”. We lived knowing there could be nuclear war and complete global annihilation and we hoped for the better traits of humanity to prevail.

We cried when we saw the space shuttle, “Challenger” explode and still respected the science behind “NASA”. We really believed “We Are The World” and wanted to help USA Africa and end starvation in Ethiopia. We stood with Michael Jackson then and we also stood with Willie Nelson in support of Farm Aid. Many of us actually said “no to drugs” because Nancy Reagan told us to. We were made to be afraid of AIDS, and respect the life and death decision which unprotected sex or intravenous drug use could be. We mourned with every family and loved one weeping over the AIDS memorial quilt too. We supported our troops during Operation Desert Storm and were encouraged to do so by our Boomer mentors -many of whom had felt some guilt and had wished they had treated Vietnam Veterans differently.

Our subculture included grunge and a definite increase in cynicism of all things establishment. Our music told the honest and raw stories of our open wounds and grievances with regard to our work, our personal relationships and our relationship with ourselves. We saw the big picture at a macro level, the realities and struggles of every day life at the micro level and also the willingness to purposefully not think of anything at all. We embraced activism and escapism.

We love our “Boomers” and we also love our “Millennial’s” many of whom are actually our own children. I have been critical of my generation for not yelling as loud as the “Boomers” and Millennial’s” but in retrospect, we have been leading a “Quiet Revolution”, so subtle, both our Boomers and Millennial’s have overlooked us among the noise. Maybe we have even underestimated ourselves too.  I have included some clips showing the “Undefinable” Generation Xers in action and a few of our influences.  I personally prefer to be “undefinable” and I prefer to believe that Generation X is conducting some sort of quiet revolution -ever so softly. When we finally appreciate how in spite of our differences we each remain “human”- there is no need to define ourselves any further. Then, we are all Generation X.

Check out this film from the minds of visionary Generation Xers, UK musicians/visual artists Jamie Catto (Faithless) and Duncan Bridgeman. 1 Giant Leap is a title, a philosophy, a leap of faith.

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Throw What You Wish 2017!

 

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I started the year 2016 working through the struggles of an impending divorce after twenty-one years of marriage. I was optimistic in the new life I was creating for myself (which was not perfect), but still,  I was hoping that with the passing of time I could build a life for me and my two children. For instance, I had aspirations of finding a new place to live with three bedrooms; one for me, one for my twenty-two year old son and one for my fourteen year old daughter.  I was annoyed, like most everyone else, by the Presidential election. On Facebook some of my family members even “unfriended” one another over the controversy. I had strong opinions about the misuse of the media and by the media. I was upset over the failings of the education system in my State…environmental issues and immigration issues.  I also had personal “ex-husband issues” where we argued and bickered like we were still married. And average every day parenting concerns such as my teen aged daughter wanting more “freedom” and an adult son who wanted so much to make me proud and didn’t know how very proud I already was of him.

Then in July 2016 – a nightmare! My son passed away in a tragic car accident and my whole universe and global perspective changed. Who cares about the divorce anymore? …So silly to argue about Hillary or Trump! Of course the education system and environment matter, but my boy was gone. What issue could be more important than that??!!  I found myself moving through a world where “things” didn’t bother me or get under my skin like they had before.  I moved in to a two bedroom apartment, and I was done with the year 2016.

In the last stretch of this horrible year, the young son of a friend and former colleague of mine was murdered at the age of twenty-one, just a few days short of his twenty-second birthday.  Our boys had been friends and had gone to the same schools together. It was heartbreaking to see yet another mother lose her boy.  Over the past few months I’ve taken myself to different parent support groups and I have now met at least a dozen parents whom have lost their children under differing circumstances. Some of these parents have become part of my intimate inner circle of friends -which is a big deal for me, as I am usually quite the introvert. We wish none of us had met under these circumstances and if we could prevent anyone from knowing this suffering -we would.

Just when I thought 2016 was finally done, a very dear friend of mine passed away after losing his battle with lung cancer. A man who even recovering in a wheelchair hosted events at his home to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He spent most of his life selflessly helping others. And even during his most difficult times and during the depths of his illness, he made time to check in on me after I lost my son.

After all of this heartache and hard lessons learned I believe I can take pretty much anything that life can dish-out. It’s not that I am numb and unfeeling now, because I am not. In fact, I feel things a great deal. The reality is that I am now diverting my energy to where my “feeling” is worth my energy. Can Trump or Hillary ruin my day? No. Does an annoying person at work or situation ruffle my feathers? No.

How will my 2017 be a different journey from every other year?  There is nothing and no one that can ever truly bother me again. There is not a single possession,   not a job or even a financial situation that I could possibly worry about. Even my ex-husband and I have become better friends and better people.  No one on this Earth can ever aggravate me again. I am like water. Even if you threw stones at me, I’d take them in and keep existing until one day ..I too evaporate. Throw what you wish 2017, I am steady no matter what will come my way.

Holy Atheist Batman!

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My Mom has always told me NEVER to argue about religion or politics and so naturally, I got the idea to discuss religion. While even she would admit I have a rebellious spirit I intend not to argue a single thing here and merely to empty my mind and toss around some ideas. Presently I have observed what seems like a global infestation of divisiveness. Many individuals are compartmentalizing and labeling themselves and others prolifically. Perhaps this is a result of our heritage of modernism, post-modernism and/or our history as similarly defined structuralists and post-structuralists etc. I believe the Industrial Revolution remains very much at the core of this entire philosophical debate. The Technological Revolution may have spread communication on a global scale but we are still all communicating using Industrial Revolution language. This is where spirituality conflicts. The unseen cannot be measured or universally defined. The truly divine is infinite and definitions are inadequate and finite.

I recently experienced the loss of my twenty-two-year-old son in an auto-accident. Such an experience shakes a person to question divinity. In my state of severe grief, I know I have had a choice to either curse the divine, be drawn to the divine or reject the very existence of any divine spiritual forces at all. In my life I have held various professional roles including, but not limited to, having been both a secular teacher and a Catholic Sunday school teacher. I no longer consider myself Catholic and throughout the years I have appreciated my exposure to various religions and spiritual beliefs originating in both Eastern and Western views.  In my present state of being, I still believe in the existence of souls and spirits and spiritual guidance but even with these personal views I refuse to define my human existence in these terms or impose my beliefs upon anyone else. If I truly believe that the divine is infinite, then I cannot victimize other humans by labeling them in any limiting form whatsoever. Have you ever applied for a job and when they asked you to self-identify -you couldn’t quite figure yourself out?

slide_24We are always looking for the one right answer, but it’s not there. The only correct answer is “HUMAN” but somehow they always forget to add that option.

Back to Batman and Atheists. As someone who believes in spirits and souls which are infinite, I have found myself finding many atheists to be quite “holy” (however they may protest), and many others with religious affiliations to be likewise quite “unholy”. The same scenario could of course exist in reverse as well. Neither state of identification can necessarily be a guarantee for one thing or another. For me, love is infinite and it cannot be tripped up by the structured processes and definitions as required by the language of the Industrial Revolution. Modernism and post-modernism have no idea what to do about “Love”. It cannot be placed on a production line, there is no way to measure productivity or efficiency.  Structuralists and Post-structuralists would love to analyze “why” we feel a lack of love or where in our lives we had been programmed to “love”, or how “unproductive” except with regard to sexual reproduction perhaps, “love” may be. The Technological Revolution as evident by all of the “hate” memes is also met by “love” and “self-awareness” memes which may from time to time also be subject to Industrial Revolution definitions, classifications and limiting labels as well.

The following is a textbook definition of “holy”, to be “dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.” If we take the limited term of “God” and replace it with the word “good” and we also take the word “religious” and replace it with the word “good” then both human definitions of “God” and “good” are synonyms. If there is a “good” human, then their purpose is sacred. If one’s actions are therefore “good”, then the labels on the job application are irrelevant. This person, in my opinion, is an extremely qualified HUMAN in the most sacred sense.

 

The End of the World Already Happen. Now What?

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I thought I would begin my very first blog entry by sharing the bare bones of my vulnerability in its present state. On July 30, 2016, my beautiful son Ivan Roberto died in an automobile accident. My lovely boy was funny, handsome, an athlete and oh so clever. He had been my most trusted companion, someone who I could always count on,  since the moment I gave birth to him at the young age of eighteen. I have always been a “problem solver”. Once I am presented with a challenge I immediately go into “I can handle this” mode and move forward. The loss of my son has shown me, that I am not as resourceful as I once thought myself to be. Some things cannot be “fixed”. There is no “handling” here, there isn’t even any “healing” –there is only “dealing”.

As I realize that I am in the very early stages of this immense grief I thought it would help myself and others, to share this journey with you as it presently exists. Everything changes and I expect that this (and I) will continue to change as well. In the United States there is this current rush to line up and “get back to work”. Punch in, punch out, eat dinner, go to soccer practice, plan mini-family vacation, jump back “in line” and repeat. I have presently been de-railed. My train car has jumped off the line and I am observing the other trains moving forward and backwards and my train is too heavy to place back on the train line. I am an observer now.

When my son was born I was conscious and I watched as they pulled him out of my womb and he took his first breath of life and I looked at him and said adoringly “Hey, remember me?” referring to the nine months we had shared together while he grew within my belly.  Then I had to face the ultimate nightmare. I watched as they lowered my son’s body in his white rose covered casket six feet into the ground, deep into the Earth where they would burry my baby and where the person I once was had died with him, and would be buried as well.

Here I am. Suddenly dead and an observer of a strange new place. I can see where I have wasted time. Where I gave too much attention to the trivial things such as “relationship issues”, “work issues”, “financial” etc.. I can review my previous life and suffer over all of my regrets. If only I could have a “do-over”, alas, do-overs” are not possible. I have no choice, I cannot “heal” from this,  I can only learn to deal with living in this new world without my son. A world which is foreign to me and to which I find it difficult to belong in the same manner I had belonged before. Those of us grieving for our loved ones know this all too well. It’s difficult to watch everyone engage in life as we had known it when the world as “we” knew it -has come to an end.

I have enrolled myself in a self-help group for parents whom have lost their children along with my ex-husband and I have  also enrolled our fourteen year-old daughter in a self help group for kids her age. I feel we are all shattered pieces now and every single offering of support which helps us to adapt in our new world and new state of existence -must be embraced.

Not even a week after my son passed away I reflected upon our death. I observed it in the following manner on August 4, 2016:

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“This message is for all those suffering and mourning for the loss of my young son Ivan Roberto  -and for all those who never knew my baby but because you love me, you are mourning for my loss. Lift your hearts up! The Japanese have a custom called Kintsukuroi. Within this custom, when beautiful fragile objects are broken instead of discarding the object as useless, they are repaired with gold increasing the objects value. “Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated, a kind of physical expression of the spirit.” My incredible friend Ron Hudson reminded me of this and added that at this moment when I am completely shattered that I have actually been bathed entirely in gold. This is so true. Although it must be said that right now.. Underneath this gold …I am deeply feeling the fresh edges of my new shattered and broken reality and I definitely do not yet feel “golden”. What I feel is like I was buried with my son yesterday. But know this truth, I also feel like a NEWBORN today. My heart is filling me with strength so I can prepare to learn to live all over again, even shattered underneath. One of my son’s wishes for himself was to be a better version of himself. I will fulfill his wish and be a better version of myself. I want all of you dear hearts with cracks in your lives to fill them with gold, to be stronger and more beautiful than ever …To be reborn with me -to be golden.”

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Ivan Roberto 10/10/93-7/30/16

The end of the world happen for me on July 30, 2016,  when my loving and sweet twenty-two year old son, Ivan Roberto suddenly died. I have now found myself navigating within a foreign planet. I am gathering my strength with each day that passes and learning how to breathe again;  to walk, talk and live in this new reality without him. Wherever my boy is now, I know he would want me to do my best. What now? Do my best.

 

***Getting Help when one needs it is one of the Highest forms of Bravery. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one: a child, a parent or sibling.. ANYONE you are not alone. Below are some resources which may bring you comfort***

http://www.compassionatefriends.org/home.aspx

http://childbereavement.org/

https://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/family-life/bereavement-support/supporting-bereaved-people/further-help