Shunning is Abusive! End of Conversation!

If you are a parent, most surely you have used the “Time Out” method to discipline your child for unacceptable behavior. A moment for the child to “reflect”, if that’s even possible for a child to do on what he or she did wrong. The child is set aside, as the world around them either at home or school continues on. After about 5 minutes, a parent will lovingly kneel down next to their child, look at them straight in the face and ask them if they “learned” their lesson, give them a hug and kiss as the child promises to never commit their “horrific” transaction again. All is good in their world. But research has proven that neglecting, ignoring or rejecting a child leaves them without the proper resources to cope with difficult times. If they receive little to no affection or attention from their inner circle, they become open to anyone outside ready to cause them harm. They also develop depression, stress, social anxieties and personality issues.

Have you ever asked why a prisoner experiences solitary confinement? He most likely acted against prison rules/standards/laws and the idea is to punish them by depriving him/her from normal human interaction for a few days, in hopes to rehabilitate the prisoners behavior.  Here’s where it’s very different from a loving time out though. Regardless of where in the world, prison officials have been guilty of isolating prisoners for months or even years at a time. After countless research, professionals have found that this type of segregation has contributed to increased mental health problems, including anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, aggression, hallucinations and depression.

Interestingly, some religions similarly practice shunning as a “loving” method to discipline congregational members for either committing a biblical sin, not meeting an organizational standard, or even just questioning certain religious ideas. This practice of shunning is in essence solitary confinement for the sinner or wrong-doer from all family and friends, by persistently ignoring, avoiding or rejecting the one targeted. And as with the two examples prior, depriving a person from NORMAL human interaction, in this case from their loved ones, will in fact have a negative effect. In religion though, just as long as the one being shunned turns BACK to the organization, then all has been validated, without assessing the psychological and emotional damage already done.

Take a closer look to what you truly consider as loving disciplinary methods and research the facts. I hope my experience gives you the strength to say “no more”.

— The Pretty Platform

I was a Jehovah’s Witness – No Blood Transfusion My Ass

What would you do to save your child’s life? Anything? Everything? As parents, it is not only our job to protect our young, but love moves us to do so innately. Would you sacrifice your child like the biblical Abraham was willing to do? Would you sacrifice your son for strangers like the Christian god did for the masses? Are you willing to do that right now if asked to do so? Where do you draw the line in the name of religion?

Please listen to my testimony and let me know what you would have done.

“I Had Strings, But Now I’m Free” – Ultron

When was the last time you felt trapped? Were you feeling seized due to a situation beyond your control or was it self-inflicted? I invite you to pause here for just a moment to think about this thoroughly and honestly.

I’m trusting you recalled the moment and you clearly remember what it felt like.

Let me begin by stating that I’m deeply pained and sad for those of you still feeling cornered and I truly wish for you to gain back your control.  I celebrate those of you that have found freedom. May both parties be able to relate with what I have to share next.

For the better part of my years alive, my life wasn’t truly my life. My choices weren’t my choices. My accomplishments, my smiles, my happiness were all superficial. They were all the result of the choreographed strings attached to my person as a whole. I was a marionette. My outward actions delighted the spectators that made up my inner circle, but inside I was wooden. And like Pinocchio I longed to feel the essence of ME. But I was trapped because everyone else around me, essentially the people I loved, all found contentment and peace in what had been carved out as my ideal life. The life of a jehovah’s witness.

Sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it?

But it’s the truth. It’s my truth. It’s how I felt and I kept if from everyone else. They got to know the me that was expected. The me that was considered exemplary. The me that allowed my circle to remain my circle. These people were my family, my friends, my world. If I was ever honest about what I truly believed in or didn’t believe I’d lose everything and everyone. No one is ever ready for that. No one is ever ready for pure isolation. So I became the best version of what THEY needed to stay in my life.

With that comes some serious repercussions. There will naturally be adverse effects due to even the unintentional hypocrisy of this behavior. Whether the actions came from me or from those around me, the foundation of it was never laid upon honesty. No one can truly remain in that type of “relationship” and succeed long-term.

I recently gained control of my own life, my own choices and faced the fear of losing the one thing they will always keep hostage. So all those that claimed to be my friends and family that have remained within that organization are no longer allowed to speak to me and are no longer allowed to perceive me worthy of life or even consider me capable of human decency. Those that claimed to be my friends and my family agree to those conditions.

And with one giant leap, what I once thought to be scary is now a huge relief. I desperately cut the strings that pulled me along and finally found safety, honesty and peace in the life that I choose for myself. It’s not wooden or choreographed or anyone else’s. I finally found freedom.

(This is an intro to a series of “declaration” posts that will appear regularly on this topic as well as a book revealing the life of a child trapped in an organization chosen for them).  

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

Don’t Oppress the Oppressed

I don’t know what I don’t know” and “there are things that I know that I don’t know” take much humility to admit. Don’t worry, my claim of humility is not a self-righteous declaration but a true personal daily effort. It’s not easy to admit you don’t know something for fear of looking uneducated on a particular subject. But admitting it opens the door to true insight. True insight to the facts, to other perspectives, to cause and effect. Opening yourself up to knowledge though comes with first, admitting ignorance, and then displaying interest via inquiry. And in my book, that means asking a boatload of questions. So when I heard that France had banned the burkini…well, that set the Wheel of Questions in motion.

What was the burkini? Where did it come from? Who and why was it created? Why did an entire country ban an article of clothing? Was there a greater purpose for this ban? Who was being affected? Would the ban bring on positive change, and if so, for whom? Or would it bring on negative change?  Did top officials take the time to ask these questions and if they did, who exactly did they ask? Were experts consulted to determine all possible outcomes? Did they ask the party that would feel the ban the most? Did they care to? Do society’s personal fears create blinders to the reality of the oppressed one’s daily life? Do the majority’s fears carry more weight than the minority’s freedom? Have you already picked a side? Do you personally know what’s best for these women? Is this truly providing a platform to empower women or just another way to victimize the “victim”?  Most people reading this have probably already developed an opinion on the burkini, burka, hijab, naqib, al-amira, shayla, khimar, and chador without truly having the inner knowledge of each or the experience of walking in the users shoes.

Honestly and humbly, prior to this ban, I had never ventured to know more about the women in question. I never judged harshly, but what I did do was sympathize in silent ignorance, which in itself can create a biased understanding and give forth a discrimination toward the very same people you’re wishing better upon. Unfortunately, my daily routine between work and home has not equipped me with the opportunity to meet a woman who possesses this cultural or religious lifestyle as to receive personal one on one information.  So, in an attempt to now gain some insight, I read articles written by women from both sides of the argument. Not the politicians side. The woman! The women!

I surmised that after “listening” to countless different perspectives, I’d find myself ready to make an absolute decision on where my loyalties would lie. Instead, I was now understanding bits and pieces of each argument and trying to apply them to what I knew was the bigger picture.

Here’s where I take issue with France’s edict… politicians are dictating what Muslim women shouldn’t wear on the grounds of teaching them that no one should dictate what they should wear.  Ban the burkini, fine the few women donning the modified wet-suit, embarrass them publicly and perhaps this will compel the women to stand against the Muslim law and choose for themselves what to wear.

burkini-vs-wetsuit

Oppress the oppressed! Religious freedom by ways of governmental constriction! A perfect example of constriction is the old-fashioned waist-cinching tool, the corset. Used by women since the 1500’s to acquire a desired appearance without understanding the extent of underlying damage to the user. Ironically, the corset was introduced to France by the wife of Kink Henry II himself. Even more ironically, Queen Catherine Medici, who held some influence in the political life in France, enforced a BAN of thick waists at court attendance during the 1550’s, making the corset a required necessity of law. Similarly today, French politicians seem to have shot from the hip, missing the target entirely. They enforce a secular appearance, losing sight of the damage they are causing the women they claim to protect. Just as the corset in the 1500’s compressed women’s lungs, crushed organs and fractured ribs, this century’s ban piles on an additional pressure that can leave women with less breathing room, possibly crushing their spirit and risk fracturing any possible progress they may have made to date.

Absurdity at it’s finest. Ethically wrong and morally questionable.

corset

There is in fact another side of the coin though…and I readily admit that I can understand the need to pass a law to protect the people from attire that allows citizens to conceal their identity. How comfortable would you feel at a bank when suddenly a gentleman or two strolled in with their faces completely covered? You would instantly think bank heist and most likely make your way out the front door. If a person cannot be identified (see Niqab/Burka below), it increases the risk of the wrong people taking advantage of that freedom to commit acts they would normally think twice about if people could clearly see their face. And this should not change just because the person behind the concealed garment is believed to be a woman. Yes, women commit crimes as well.

hijab-niqab-burka

But the burkini clearly does not fall under this category of safety issues based on concealment of identity, just as a wet-suit for a surfer or diver does not risk the safety of others. Don’t argue this… a wet suit IS just a tight burkini. Many divers and beach surfers use a head covering to keep their hair out of their faces…hence leaving only their faces, hands and feet exposed. Using the burkini as an excuse to deal with religious oppression and terrorist issues is on par with Trump’s idea that a wall between Mexico and the U.S. will solve our illegal immigration issues. Stupid ideas with no real solution to the bigger problems. Politicians dealing with a small can of worms because they are too afraid to open up Pandora’s box.

Someone once told me that opinions don’t mean anything if facts are involved. Although I can concede to that for most any argument, We The People better start opening the forum for suggestions, because the politicians seem to need our help. Let’s then start from the beginning. Politicians don’t know what they don’t know. But they need to start admitting that there are things they don’t know. And just like the rest of us, it may have behooved them for the sake of us all to have researched the issues, ask the right questions, get to know the people from all sides, and brainstorm a little longer for true solutions.

Go ahead and make it your priority to end terrorism, religious oppression as well as gender inequality, but go to the top, to the originator, to those in power. Pick on someone your own size and stop oppressing the already oppressed.

— The Pretty Platform