Touching One Another- Great or Small

“People you meet and places you go” are traditional old topics for consideration in conversations about travelling, cultures and societal structures. I am always surprised by the coincidences that create unusual situations for most anyone attending a public venue that may or may not result in interesting outcomes. The intermingling of the indeterminate human factor on planet Earth leaves us opportunities formed from touching one another- great or small. Elimination of the capabilities for transportation, marketplace exchanges of most types and autonomous societal mobility could cause a wide dearth of possibility for human enrichment in our own lives.

As an author, I do not have delusions about my name fame spreading unusually and inappropriately for my works. On the other hand, I like to meet people and talk to people that I get to know a bit better about my books and on-line work a bit. I have passed out copies of my books (when I had copies available to give) most places I stopped and travelled. This gives me a chance to spread the word about work I have for sale at amazon.com or available elsewhere to read, but this type of groundwork in public also provides me with exposure to different people that all give me some pause for thought.

When communities are local and most people in an area are familiar with one another, it can be extremely difficult for someone coming from an external environment to walk around and interact comfortably with the established public and social arenas. I have spent quite a bit of my life, off and on, in parts of the Southern U.S. In the South around here, most people are more inclusive of others in allowing friendliness in their responses to interactions after someone has established a life in a community area or arena and after that person has been around long enough to become familiar in some ways to others. I like having a home of my own that lasts as a comfortable home for that reason.

There is usually something special about the reasons we chose that we like our homes and the surrounding communities; some people have more comfort in those choices once they have made them than others and some people will continue to chose further homes and situations until they are happier. Autonomous societal mobility opportunities allow citizens of this nation to try to determine the best choices possible for themselves to reside in regions and communities where personal happiness flourishes best individually.

Some of us always hope that we will meet more people, either in our own surroundings or as we travel. I am a writer, not a people person- but I get along with people and I like meeting people that I can get to know better than just “heys” and “goodbyes”. Due to the indeterminate human factor of synergies and coincidences connected through our realized opportunities to touch one another, life continues to be a place where the great and small “people” moments count.

-Kimberly A. McKenzie

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“Social Justice and Legal Action”

In the United States society has a set of complicated laws. Sometimes, legal action according to law has a social decision element that impedes the human honesty about a more humane and just decision in legal action. It is my belief that social justice should not use law as a vehicle to attain its ends. The idea of a fair trial by jury is based on giving a hearing to every case that will not bow down to the social justice decisions inherent in individual opinion. In our culture, media plays hard on outcomes for others that mean something to a larger population. This is actually a myth in most cases. Truly, legal outcomes in law are for plaintiffs and defendants and do not realistically associate a benefit beyond the decisions in the outcome that affect both. This does not mean that social justice advocates in their own arenas for their own points of view do not use these personal outcomes to leverage benefit for their causes.

As long as this phenomena in our society does not impede the fair outcomes for personal results and does not affect more humane treatment of parties, guilty or innocent, involved, I do not have issue with social results from the law. This does not mean that one case or several cannot be used to decide broader legal guidelines and decisions that affect society. In higher court levels of law, this means a representative sample of real answers that can be examined for realistic input against law only.

We need, as a people, to understand that there is a difference between effecting social change by laws and using personal situations and legal outcomes to point to social justice victories and losses. Also, prosecuting on a personal level for social justice reasons is not a viable legal action decision in any arena that maintains humane viability for the citizens residing under the trust of our laws.

Social justice can cause change. Change by social justice is not predicated on legal claims with any standing except that higher-level laws incorporated a social need.

The Human Condition of Living on Your Own (or something like that)

My co-worker went to the hospital yesterday. She is an independent working- woman living on her own. So am I. Her health failed, she called her own ambulance and we are all hoping she comes back healthy soon. This is what it means to many of us that we live on our own. We can find support in our churches and in social circles, and in friends we make as adults…but these are not the same people and family we knew in high school. Our world has changed and we are responsible for the emergencies and the headaches. I know it is not a good, solid, established world if we do not have other people in our lives…but we are no longer children and we have to face our hardships alone at times.

If we lived in the colonial days, most of us would be more self-sufficient. We would grow and hunt our own food, make our own candles to light and spin and sew our own cloth for clothes. In today’s world, we make the money to pay for others to provide what we need. I could not sew a button on a shirt without knowing that I would never place it properly for the hole and attach it securely. While I know that I fail at complete self-sufficiency, the episode of my co-worker yesterday brings home to me that there are times, on our own, that we cannot afford to fail, for ourselves or for others.

Teammates have sent their prayers, their wishes, flowers, and phone calls…but my co-worker has no one to help her with the decisions but her doctors. I cannot begin to say how much the human connection matters. In an adult world, we expect our lives to be our own. When we are on our own, those who care and show us kindnesses become important as validity that we are not disconnected in a self-sufficient mode that will fail in crucial moments.

I have never known how to live in fear. Some who have known me would call me, at times, too brave for my own good. It takes courage and strength to live on your own. Wisdom needs others as well. My co-worker, at this point in time- as far as we know, is going to successfully recover. I often wonder if these sorts of situations are different for women and men, perhaps not.

We can hope; we can care; and we can reach for others…but there will always be those adult moments when it is our own decisions with our own responsibilities that critically determine the answers. There are just more of those moments when we live alone. I hope my co-worker recovers soon. I know she has more strength to have found what she needed in crisis than most. This is not a reason to be afraid. It is a reason to consider that we all need others, in some way, and those of us on our own value that need.

 

 

 

Single White Female (SWF) in the South

I have lived half of my life in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. I have lived the other half of my life in the Midwest, Northern, and Western parts of this United States. My experiences in the South trouble me as an older, single, white female because they indicate a segment of the population that is losing choices, impact, and respect in economic, political, and educational arenas in this geographical region.

When I was a teenager at the University of Alabama, my “boyfriend” thought I should skip my classes and not worry about my grades because now I had a beau. (We did not wind up together.) As a divorced woman, I returned to Georgia and South Carolina from Arizona and finished my degree in a class that held two white women. (I was one of those women.) SWFs in this part of the country are not encouraged greatly for higher education unless their families and money support it.  The traditional roles are still encouraged even if you have letters to put to your name.

There is nothing wrong with traditional roles, but as a married woman I was encouraged to become a kindergarten teacher because it was “appropriate” for women to concern themselves mainly with children. This did not just come from my husband, but also from his employer in South Carolina. (My husband was a high school coach and literature teacher.) We did not have children of our own, and the principle of the school was looking for an “appropriate” career for me. Before I was married, I worked in a Learning Disabilities center in Georgia for children with problems in school, and not more than one male ever worked there in three and a half years while I was employed as a receptionist/secretary. In fact, most of the employed staff were SWFs (except for one or two married women).

I have been in South Carolina for several years now, working first for Boeing and then as an independent Freelance Technical Writer. The website I was visiting for dating purposes posted a false profile of me (using my picture) as a lesbian. My job in South Carolina at Boeing was high profile, low position respectively within the corporate structure. Paid a decent commensurate wage, I faced several instances of personal animosity that I can contribute directly to being a SWF holding a career-oriented position.  

Women’s suffrage culminated in 1920. I am wondering when I time-warped back before women could achieve respected, viable answers in society and became someone that can understand what women must have felt like. African American women have a large voice in the Southern Hemisphere. They are gaining ground in education, hitting harder over political impetus and standing proud of their achievements. SWFs are not finding themselves so well off.  Women in the South do own businesses. They do have education and they do find good lives. On the other hand, they are still fighting the war against female stereotypes and demands of the pre-suffrage movement.

 

 

 

 

Running Away

Complete freedom is completely irresponsible. The dream of complete freedom is an illusion. I value my freedoms: the choices still available, responsible or not, that I am free to make without hindrance. Some would argue that if my choices are “wrong” or more irresponsible than responsible, I should not be allowed these freedoms as they must be supported by some sort of answer that allows the irresponsibility. I disagree. In an adult world, some would argue that we pay our own prices for our own decisions and that when we do not pay prices others must pay for us. I disagree again. There is not always a “price tag” on every freedom.  I may walk on the left hand side of the street or the right hand side of the street with no repercussions whatsoever. This does not mean I cannot be called out by a policeman for jaywalking in a heavily trafficked area and be asked to pay a fine. However, I might jaywalk in such an area and come across unscathed with no traffic problems resulting and no policeman writing me a ticket because I was not seen. There are good reasons for laws. We need to live together- space is not unlimited. Laws create the best possible environment, taking the environment into account, for all those in the environment to co-exist with the greatest amount of freedoms left to them on both personal and societal levels.  There are vast differences between societal, personal, and basic humanitarian rights. To live more free is to achieve levels of choice in all three areas.

Unfortunately, the idea that we should enjoy more freedom usually leads to some form of running away.  I know, from my own experiences in life, that running away does not result in freedom. In fact, it usually worsens an already restricted situation and causes a need for too much of a price tag to regain freedoms. When we find ourselves needing other choices, different responsibilities, and new environments it is necessary to affect changes instead of abandoning all we have in the present situation to chase a dream of illusion where freedom is found. This is not easy and at times can seem impossible when faced with limited resources.  Human kindness, social recourse and economic viability are all necessary elements in achieving and maintaining our precious freedoms on all levels. Complete freedom demands no ties, no commitments, no necessities to take care of, and no loyalties. However, choices come with a capability and a willingness to establish ties, make commitments, attend to necessities, and form our loyalties. We cannot obtain freedom by running away. We can run away from losing our freedoms.

The “Star Spangled Banner” declares the United States the “land of the free” and the “home of the brave”. The two ideas must go hand in hand. I believe in keeping our freedoms. I have tried running away. Our dream in this nation is alive because we have choices- whatever we decide to choose.

 

Today, Tomorrow, and the Future

The present day was once the future of the past, and the future of today is our present tomorrow. When considering our present tomorrow, or our futures, there are sociological, economical, ecological, and theological elements to consider. Human questions we ask: How will we interact? ; What will be the quality of life? ; Where will we dwell? ; Why will we believe in our beliefs?   However the question, “When will the future arrive?” is hardly ever a spoken question.  The future never arrives.  We exchange one present day for the next until we die. The future is always for our children when we are no longer around, for then it is not the replacement of day after day but a day we do not see.  Rapid changes in society, technology, and environmental surroundings have occurred just within the last thirty to forty years of our life spans. We are so eager for our futures that we have forgotten the future was never ours. Tomorrow becomes today; the future always is ahead.

Visions of how we may become or where we wish to be move us into our tomorrows with answers and more questions. To truly decide on a future is to influence a world we will never see.  We wish to leave some part of ourselves behind, to protect our children when we are no longer there, and to leave better answers in place than we were given to begin with.  There are those who would argue that we have not prioritized correctly, or that we have used and wasted our resources. Others would reply that we probably should not care so much about a future in the face of our needs today.  Viability of the human race depends on perpetuation.  There is a catch in perpetuity in that it does not last eternally.

Planning for tomorrow is not accepting or reaching toward a future. It is the reason our todays are not always the same.  This is how we improve and it is how we deteriorate, we plan for tomorrow. There are two reasons the future is not recognized as a worthy endeavor: 1) Complacency and cognizance that today does not need to change and 2) anger at today’s answers that desire a different tomorrow.  Both of these reasons require tomorrow, not the future. To become more than ourselves, when we are no longer a concern, is beyond both of these points of view.

To truly strive for the future is selfless.  There also can be no tomorrows without today.  When our tomorrows end the future begins. We must not forget our today and we will always plan for our tomorrows, but the future is not ours. In the hope of eternity, we dream for the future.  However, our eternity is not now, it is not in the present of today, and far removed from our achievements and our struggles is the forever of the days we leave behind us.  We remember and we will be remembered.