Saturday, September 12, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 48 - Lending a Hand}

My eyes have been opened to many things throughout this whole process.  One of the huge surprises for me was that people don't know how to deal with conflict.

How is it that people don't know how to deal with conflict?  Even when it's not even their own conflict!!  LOL.  Even when they are outside looking in on the conflict.  They don't know how to act or what to do.

When I say that I've been completely overwhelmed by the lack of understanding surrounding this topic, that is a huge understatement.  I've found, to my great surprise, that most people don't know how to healthily interact with people in general.  At all.  But especially people who are in need of something...anything.  Even the people I thought would be really good at it and would come to my aid...nothing.

April was really bad, as you've read (link is Part 1 of 3).  That month, when things were so bad, I sent an email to someone who has been a father figure to me...an email begging him to help me.  I literally said, "I am begging you to help me."  I had never done that before.  With anyone.  It has to be bad before I send you a form of personal communication begging for help.  I don't beg.

I never heard back from him.

I never heard back from him.  Let that sink in.

We had been in contact before that.  Since I sent him that email, I haven't heard from him at all.

Something like that is just really, really soul-crushing.  Devastating.  How does this happen?  How does it happen that everyone in your life who is supposed to be there to help you (physically, practically) chooses not to show up?

I learned as a child that the people closest to me were people who swept things under the rug.  I never liked that practice, but I especially didn't like it when mistreatment started coming my way.  And instead of the people who saw it speaking up for me, they just let it happen.  Sometimes even laughing about it later, so they saw it...they just chose not to speak out.

That trend continues with that circle of people.  And in July, what was supposed to be finally a really happy 2 weeks of my life...that behavior quickly turned those 2 weeks into the most horrible of my life.  Rock. Freakin. Bottom...and not by my own doing.  All at the hands of others who don't know how to be good people in hard situations.  There was nothing I could do.  (not a pity party...just telling what happened)

So...here's what I am going to do today.  I am going to walk you through some examples of what good people, rare as they are, do in situations like this to help.

The people who are the closest to you...the people you call family and close friends...they should be the ones who step up to help you in need.  But, oftentimes they are not.  If you are considered family or a close friend, though...DO IT.  Step up!!  Do the right thing here.

If you are not considered family or a close friend, yet you see that those people in someone's life are not stepping up to help that person...you DO IT.  Step up!!  Do the right thing.  They need someone.

Here are just five key things that should be done in situations where someone is in need of help.  I'll also share what is so often done instead of the right thing.  Please do the right thing in these situations.  These are simple principles...yet so often the church/people who are supposed to care get it terribly wrong.  Let's really think about these things and really be aware...and do the right things:

1-

What you should do:  Care.  Just care.  And when you truly care, you want to know about that person.  You want to hear their story.  You want to know them.

What is done instead:  Because people don't want their perceptions of others to be swayed, they don't truly get to know people.  I had one lady, a family member I have always been very close to, tell me that she just didn't want to know.  She didn't want to know any bad stuff about us...she wanted to keep the 'good thoughts' about us that she had.  She didn't want to know.

Don't be that person.  Care enough to allow your perceptions of others to be shifted.  (Besides, if you have someone on a pedestal, that is just wrong anyway.  Seek honesty and authenticity...in yourself and others...otherwise you're just living in a made-up dream world.)  Care enough about someone else that you will allow yourself to give up your own desires to meet their needs.  That you will allow yourself to be 'uncomfortable' even, if that is what you feel when hearing their story, in order to meet someone's very real need.  Care!!

Also, just a little addendum here - If you are not going to care enough to go to that person and ask questions and know their story, then KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.  Because if you don't care enough to know, guess what?  You don't even know what you are talking about.  It's crazy, and completely egotistical, to think that you do.  I recently got lambasted on Facebook, by a family member whose been in my life since birth actually.  At the end he said this, "Don't come to me saying I don't know the whole story. I don't want to know the whole story."  LOL.  Um, hello...if you don't know the whole story, there is no way for you to speak into it.  Again, complete hubris for anyone to think differently.  What happens when you don't know the story, or don't believe the people who are living the story, is just a bunch of hugely distorted truth, complete UNtruths, and slander.  At least care enough to not distort truth, outright lie, and slander someone by opening your mouth in ignorance!  Keep your wrong and ignorant thoughts, since you don't want to know the story (the truth), to yourself.


2-

What you should do:  Believe them.  It's their life you are talking about.  Believe them until it is proven that they are not telling the truth (which likely will not happen, as is the case with me).  At the very least, acknowledge that what they are saying *could* very well be the truth!  Follow through on what they are telling you.

What is done instead:  People don't believe.  Sadly, I'd say (and statistics show) that this most often happens with women.  That was definitely how it happened in my case.  Absolutely no reason not to believe me...but, when given the choice to believe the man (my husband) over the woman (me, his wife)...the man was chosen every time.


3-

What you should do:  Don't downplay.  Don't minimize the person's experience.  Don't go on with life and pretend like it's not even happening (you people who sweep things under the rug, I'm talking to you!!)!!  Believe the person in everything...including what is said to have happened as a result of the experience...the repercussions, the damage.  Are there people who exaggerate?  Yes.  But, most people who have been the victims of something are just telling the truth.  Yet their experience is constantly trivialized.  And that just makes things worse.

What is done instead:  People don't think that it could be that bad.  Or they think that you should just 'move on' or 'get over it' or 'not make such a big deal out of it.'  Believe me, almost nobody chooses to stay in hard spots.  Almost nobody chooses to not move on.  If someone is not moving on, it is most likely because they have not been helped.  They are all alone...and don't have any support...and are still being victimized.  Don't tell them to 'get over it.'  Don't tell them to 'stop making such a big deal out of it.'  Listen to them.  Put yourself in their shoes.  And never trivialize their pain.


4-

What you should do:  Don't think that you have to agree with them about everything in order to support them.  Recently someone did something specific to hurt me.  Nobody came.  The people closest to me...nobody came.  When I asked one of them later "why?" they said, "Well, I didn't agree with what you did in response and how you were handling it."

Let me just tell you all...that has nothing to do with it!!  This person knew that I had been hurt...very badly.  Just FYI, this person didn't agree with what the person who hurt me did either.  But, he was conflicted because he knew that I had been hurt, yet he didn't fully agree with my response.  He in some way felt that coming to me to support me in any way would be supporting my actions that he didn't agree with.

When you see someone who is hurting, you go to them.  Especially if it is someone you supposedly care about.  I don't agree with the things a prostitute does, but if I'm around one in need or one who has been hurt, I don't ignore them in fear of 'supporting their behavior.'  Even if their wrong choices are what caused them to be put in a situation to be hurt in the first place (and that wasn't even the case with my situation).

You help.  You help the people you love that are in need.  When something traumatic happens, you run to their side to hold them up.  When they hurt, you are there to ease their pain and help to bear their burdens.  Doesn't matter if you agree with every single thing they do or not.

What is done instead:  People are ignored.  People are left to fight their battles and try to stop the bleeding all alone.


5-

What you should do:  Put yourself out there.  This is related to caring, but so often people don't go after helping someone and being a caring person because they don't want to 'interfere.'  Let me tell you something...if someone is asking for help, that means that they are wanting someone who can help to 'interfere.'  If you don't think you are someone who can help, you can...because you can at least be with that person and support them and provide empathy for them...sit with them and acknowledge that they are not alone.  *Everyone* can help.

What is done instead:  People don't want to get involved.  They feel like they would be interfering or getting in people's business (although they usually aren't bothered by talking about people's business to others...they just usually don't want to be a part of the solution or help).  They don't want to be bothered.

Or...sometimes they truly do wish they could help, but they don't think they are capable.  This is rare, sadly...I think it is mostly that people don't want to help and don't want to be bothered with others' problems.  But, sometimes it does happen that people want to help but don't feel equipped.

Honestly, one way of looking at that is...that can be summed up as just more selfishness.  That is just more self-absorption.  Oh, I I I.  I don't know how to help.  I don't know what to do.  I don't want to be a bother.  I have so many problems of my own, I can't possibly invest in someone else right now.  If you see someone in need, esp. if someone is asking for your help, if you are still thinking about and considering yourself after seeing and hearing that need, then you are being selfish.  Straight up.

Can I tell you that during the past 3 ½ years, I never didn't help someone else just because I was going through my own personal hell.  Was it hard sometimes?  Yes.  And sometimes I didn't help them much.  Sometimes all I could offer them was "Oh my gosh...I am so sorry you are going through this.  I can't offer you much right now, but I am here.  I see you.  I see what you are going through.  I am so so sorry.  And if you need me at all, please let me know.  If there is anything that I can do...bring you a meal, just come over and visit, be a sounding board, pray with you...whatever you need, please let me know."  And usually if I can't personally help them practically to get them out of their situation, I know someone who can and will network.  I say all of that not to toot a horn or anything, but to tell you that I get it.  When you're going through your own crap and aren't being helped, the last thing you want to do sometimes is put yourself out there.  But, you who are going through your own crap are the ones who should know best...we need each other!  So, the bottom line is that that is no excuse either.

Sorry...you are without excuse!!  Across the board.  Especially you who call yourselves 'little Christs'...you are without excuse!  Be aware of people around you, look and listen for their needs, and do all you can to meet them.  It might not be your own personal conflict or problem...but it becomes yours when it belongs to someone around you.

It all just kind of reminds me of a story.  You may have heard it.  A little something called "The Good Samaritan."  Familiar?  :)

I love this commentary that I read:
The parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is well-known.  Jesus told the story to show up the stupidity and hypocrisy of the religious leaders in Jerusalem.
The parable illustrates how gaunt was compassion in the religious system of the time.  The Bible said plainly, "Love thy neighbor."  The hypocrites curled the lip at that, and sought to muddy the matter with a clever question, "And who is my neighbor?"  Jesus answers with a simple story that makes the clever question look dumb indeed.
Ha.  Tryna get one over on Jesus.  Ain't ever gonna happen.  Lol.


Just the text there doesn't give any real indication of the culture.  But, the lawyer (expert in religious law) asking the questions would have known off the bat the contextual significance of the specific story Jesus tells and the characters He uses.

I love this commentary:
A good Samaritan, in the mind of the Jews, was a contradiction in terms. "The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans" (John 4:9). Samaritans are scum. There's no such thing as a good Samaritan.
This was a centuries-old prejudice. Its roots went as far back as the split of the nation of Israel into two kingdoms, whose capitals and religious centers were Jerusalem versus Samaria. Yet of the three who could have shown mercy, two Jews and one Samaritan, it was the latter who did so. That was pretty pointed.
It is almost as though Jesus were saying, "Put that in your phylacteries you hypocrites!"
Hahaha.  I love Jesus!

To sum it up:
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Damned are the unmerciful no matter how religious they may be. God looks on the heart, and he does not much care whether the exterior is Samaritan or Levite or any other outward distinction. God discriminates only on the basis of whether the inner person is humble and just, merciful and kind. 
Let's be like the Good Samaritan.  OK?

And now my favorite rendition of the Good Samaritan (starts at 2:15)...

~Love your neighbor.  Loving means lending a hand.~


VeggieTales - Are you my Neighbor by papagiannakis_iosif

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 47 - We Mourn, We Rest}

Thanks to our counselor and his counseling done right, we've entered a new phase.

For the first time in 3 ½ years, I no longer have to fight for myself.  I no longer have to defend myself constantly, every single minute of every single day.  I am no longer on trial.  I have been found not guilty and can finally confidently claim what I have been insisting on all along...my innocence.  The scales that were blinding Joel have started being removed and others who have been against me are now out of our lives.

But...after 3 ½ years of that, I. am. exhausted.

We came home and I was still on a high from being with our counselor and being listened to and respected and him sticking up for me (I think I told you that I asked if I could just stay and live with him and his family, at least for a little while...what a safe place for me when I haven't had a safe place in years).  But, as happens every time you come back to reality after a big exciting experience...there is a coming back down time.

So, that's what happened.  The first week was great.  And then at the end of the first week, reality struck.  It struck through something that happened that just spelled it out really clearly and in our faces that there are some major consequences for all that has happened over the course of the past 3 ½ years.  Major, major consequences.  Consequences that we didn't even really foresee.

Our lives have been forever altered.  And we have lost most everything we had.

So now I mourn.

I mourn the family life we once had.

I mourn the friendship and the lightness and the ease Joel and I shared for the first decade of our marriage.

I mourn the relationship I once had with my husband...the person I could trust with my life and all of me.

I mourn that trust.  It is gone.

I mourn the person he once was...the person he no longer is.

I mourn the example he was for my children...because his example for the past few years has damaged our children.  Evidence of that has sprung forth in very real ways...children mimic what is put before them.

I mourn time lost with my children during all of these years of literally fighting for my life.  Being in a constant battle is time-consuming...and life-consuming.

I mourn so many activities and events that we missed out on because of all of this.

I mourn our lives as missionaries in Brazil and our home in Brazil.

I mourn our friends there and the things we felt called to do there.

I mourn the loss of those babies at the orphanage and getting to spend time with them twice a week.

I mourn adoption in our own lives and adding on to our family.

I mourn our routine, our schedule, our everyday mundane life.  I mourn the security of that mundaneness (when we weren't traveling and moving that is).

I mourn a trust I had in everyone...not just Joel.  A trust that is no longer there since most of the people in my life have completely let me down the past few years...abandonment, slander, not believing me, not wanting to know about my life or get involved, etc.

I mourn many, many friendships...the loss of people who I thought were my friends anyway.

I mourn the loss of what I thought God's people, The Church, was.  It is not what I thought it was.  And it most certainly is not what God had in mind.

Our lives will never, ever be the same.  So...we mourn that.

Joel mourns too.  Since much of his blindness has been removed, and more and more is being removed as time marches on, he is coming to grips with the fact that it was his blindness that was the cause of all of this destruction.  That's a devastating thing to see for the first time after all these years. But, it's a necessary thing to see.  Praying it causes everlasting change...everlasting change.  I pray that understanding keeps happening.

There are family members and friends who will never be a part of our lives again.  Ever.  And that's a good thing.  But, it's still a loss and a shift to a 'new normal,' as they say, for us.

For the few of these family members and friends who contributed to this destruction who do make it back into our lives, it will never be the same...because it shouldn't.  That would be unhealthy.  Again...it's a loss.  A loss that needs to happen, but nonetheless a loss.

Please do not think of this as a 'hopeless' post.  This is not a hopeless post.  This is a reality post.

You don't say to the mother who just lost a child..."Oh, God can restore that child to you here on earth.  Don't be so hopeless.  That child can come back...and it can be even better."  No...you sit with that mother and you mourn with that mother and you share in her sorrows.

Maybe another child will be born...and there will be joy again.  And the family will be stronger together because of what they went through...sure.  But, they still lost a child.  A child who is irreplaceable.  A child who will always be mourned and missed.  They had great hopes for that child...hopes that will never be realized.

People are too afraid of hopelessness sometimes.  So they cross over into 'false hope' territory...because that makes them more comfortable.  They say things that are not true...because it makes them feel better.

"He will gain your trust back."  Hmmm...we don't know that, do we?  "God will restore your marriage."  Well...it's not all up to God, is it?  See?  False hope is just stupid.  Let's just be real.

No hopelessness allowed here.  But also...no false hope talk allowed here either.  Because what is said in false hope is damaging...possibly even more damaging than hopelessness in the long run.  And nobody really believes the stuff spewed in false hope anyway...so, it's just annoying.  Neither is allowed here.

So...we mourn what once was.  We grieve.  We even wallow in it for a little while if we want to...because the process of our lives being destroyed was a process that took years.  I fought against it every step of the way and I am beyond exhausted.  It took years to get to this place of destruction...'getting over it' will take even more years and exhausting work.  Therefore, we will not be rushed.

As we grieve, being careful not to rush out of that too soon, we eventually also start to rebuild.  Slowly.  We rebuild our marriage, we rebuild our family, we rebuild our lives.  We start from scratch really...because so many things have changed through this...even core beliefs.  And Joel has to basically develop many of his own core beliefs for the first time...He's always just people-pleased.  What are his beliefs?  What are the beliefs that he is willing to die for?  What beliefs is he no longer willing to sacrifice for anyone in order to please them?  This is new territory for him in many ways.

Will we even still each believe the same things when it is all said and done?

And that is what our lives will look like for the next few months and years.  Unless something happens that makes it all blow up again, like this.  Our marriage will be over if something blows up again.  And we will move on from there in very different ways.

But, barring more blow-ups, we will continue down this path, working this all out together.

We settle into our mourning now.  And then we will prepare to try to rebuild.

Thank you for your prayers during this time.

I'm basically all caught up here on the blog now.  I will still blog as something comes up that I feel I need to write about.  There are many topics still that I want to write about...things we've learned through all of this.  

We will be meeting with our counselor every 3 weeks starting at the end of October.  So maybe I will also update after those visits too.

Otherwise, we focus inward...mourning, resting (LOTS of rest needed), reconnecting as a family.

Thank you for your continued prayers and messages of encouragement.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 46 - Trust and Eventual Rising}

I'm not much of a meme-er.  But, I was looking for something specific the other day and ran across a wall of some really great ones.  

Goodness...these are just so where I am right now after all that has happened.  

FYI:  I'm not looking for your encouragement or false hope statements here.  Because...there is one thing and one thing only that we can depend on in this life and that is...we never know what is going to happen.  I've already written the next blog post...it speaks to where I stand on that.  I will post this one first...just know that I don't want your "oh, it's not that bad" or "it sounds like you are wallowing in self-pity" comments.  I don't even want your "it will get better" or "you're being too pessimistic" comments.  

This is just reality right now.  Don't be so scared of reality, folks.  Just sit there in it for a while...admit the reality, accept it...and then maybe eventually you can move forward.  Faith doesn't mean that we don't acknowledge reality.  Faith doesn't only sound like name it and claim it statements or "It'll all be alright."  

Faith involves knowing just where you are, trusting God in that, and leaning on Him no matter what happens...because so often in our lives, it is not up to us what happens.  But He's there...always.

Read each of these.  Before you read my caption, let the image and words of the meme really sink in.  I know that so many of you, also, can relate.  Don't be afraid to acknowledge it...and then sit in it for a while.  Nothing does more damage in the long run than pretending to be OK when you're not.  Be honest.  And don't let others make you feel like you are 'less than' or wrong when you don't 'get over it' within their time table.  You will be able to move on.  And you can still be an optimistic person, even when you are walking through this. But...you have to be honest too...first and foremost.

So...this is where I am.

When our counselor was going through and praying for our souls, he saw a huge bulldozer in the back of my soul...he said it represented major assault, betrayal, harassment, and being stabbed in the back.  Oh boy, has that ever happened the past few years!  Not only does this whole blog series speak to that and the betrayal in my marriage, there were a couple of posts that had those very words in the titles.  I think about these two posts when thinking of these specific words, here and here,  and when I think of this image.  And, this meme really captured how I feel after the past few years.  That picture...so spot on.  The words are just reality.  I don't feel like I have 'trust issues' in general, with everyone.  But I do just now feel like my eyes have been opened wide to exactly how people are...exactly what people are capable of...and exactly how untrustworthy they are and how they can turn on you on a dime.  I had never experienced that to this extent before...guess I'm lucky.  But, I've definitely experienced it and been made aware of this reality now.  That reality is very sad and disappointing.
I had never been hurt before.  Heartbroken, yes...but as a result of a very honest person who truly loved me and always showed it.  Not as a result of foul play or betrayal.  Disappointed by people, yes...but never to this extent.  So many people have shown their true colors and beliefs throughout this ordeal the past few years...it is shocking and eye-opening and heart-breaking that what you thought was really is not at all.  The good things you believed about certain people, the church, certain beliefs and people of faith, etc....it's not what you thought at all.  Joel and I, for the first 10 years, had an incredibly open, never-any-secrets, major teamwork marriage.  I never even imagined him to be capable of something like this.  People often say that about their betraying spouse...and others looking on are like, 'Yeah...we could see he was capable.'  But, nobody thought Joel would be capable of something like this.  Which is partly why I wasn't believed.  It's life-altering to now be put in a situation where everything about him and our relationship is doubted.  And no...not because I'm not forgiving or hold grudges...not because I don't know how to move on; but because his actions, present actions still, even again last night, prove that trust is far, far away...for now, everything is doubted.  Which brings us to this truth...
This is the meme I was actually looking for when I stumbled upon all these others.  This is soooo very true!!  People...do whatever it takes with your loved ones to not ever, ever, ever damage the trust they have in you.  I can honestly tell you that I can count on one hand the people I truly fully trust in my life now.  What do they call them now?  Your 'Ride or Die' people?  Yeah...those are rare.  I didn't used to think they were rare...I thought I could trust basically all the people in my life.  And now I know.  That just isn't true.  I trust very few people now like I did before.  Why?  Because they weren't here for me, even when I asked them to be.  And many were even against me.

Do not destroy people's trust in you.  Unless you are fine with destroying your relationship with that person as well.  Because that is what destroying trust does.

It will go nowhere.  Nowhere.  That is why, until trust is re-gained here within my marriage, there is no moving forward.  It's not possible.  That's why, as the counselor said, whatever it takes has to be done to win my trust back.

The next two just give a clear image of what it looks like to destroy trust.
You might forgive, you might be reconciled, you might gain back total trust.  And God can fully restore.  But, while we are here on this earth, the same temptations and same wrong belief systems that contributed to the broken trust in the first place remain.  Once trust is broken, esp. over and over...instead of a clean, crisp piece of paper, you have a crumpled one.  It's like when you're in a bad car accident, your body might be healed as much as possible on this earth and you may be able to get back to almost complete function...but there will be scars.  There will be damage.  Your body, in certain parts, will be more prone to injury in the future.  That's just reality.

Trust might be broken after even just a one-time offense...it might be completely shattered after just that one time, depending on what happened.  But, the longer trust-breaking behavior goes on and the more it happens (the number of times)...the more trust is eroded.  It literally is like the land that is eroded by the running river...or the coast gradually eroded by the crashing waves.  So, after 3 ½ years (and counting) of these behaviors, these 'mistakes' (read: CHOICES), my trust eraser is just a tiny nub and not even functional.  That's what destroying trust does.

Truth.  We put so much importance in the 'I love you' phrase.  There are other phrases and feelings and expressions of those feelings that actually mean even more...like this says.  There are so many times that someone will say to you 'I love you' and yet be treating you like crap.  Um, lol.  That's not love.
"But...I love you.  I want to do what's right.  I want to gain your trust back.  I want us to be ONE again.  I want to be a team with you."  All just words.  Your true feelings and beliefs and desires ("I want"s) are proven by actions.  Bottom line.

Growth is painful.  And change (I've lived through lots) is painful.  But, being stuck where you know you shouldn't be...there is just no other pain like that.  It's oppression.  And it's terribly painful.  You miss out on so much...because you're stuck.  I'll get into that in more detail with the next blog post.  But, this is so very true.  Your life is on hold...and there's nothing, barring escape, that you can do about it.

There will always be scars.  Scars from all the many behaviors and actions against me that broke trust.  I will be 'seared with' them...many.  I already have many...and I still have many wounds (and still receive many wounds often) that will one day turn into scars too.  But ultimately, this is what will happen...and in many ways already has.  I am a strong soul.  And massive in character and spirit.  Yes I am.
Many of you know how much I love Maya Angelou.  There is a lady who has been following this blog series from South Africa.  We have a mutual virtual friend and she just clicked on my blog randomly one day.  She has been through her own set of trials and has been a great encouragement.  But, I don't know her personally at all.  So, she had no idea of my love for Maya and this particular poem (since high school) when she posted it in a comment to this blog post, written weeks before we went to the counselor.  I was shocked to see it...and see how God used this lady I don't know personally to give me something familiar and already special to me to encourage me and just let me know and remind me in that moment He's here and He sees.  That reminder was so very needed at that time.

A couple of weeks ago I was watching some videos of Maya.  I just love her recitation of this great poem she wrote.

Just like that last image above is true of what is, and what is to come...this is also true.  Bit by bit.  I mentioned in a recent post that tenacity is not on my list of personal weaknesses.  All of the above is reality.  There's no denying it.  Trust is broken.  And it is presently a very challenging time because of that...and will be for quite some time.  I'm not rushing through that.  And it's not up to me to do the right things to regain trust here...it is up to others.  No matter the choices they make though...

...Ultimately, still I rise.


Still I Rise
Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
  I rise.