Monday, July 27, 2020

The Bravest Woman



To the Bravest Woman I Have Ever Met,

I met you today as you entered the ER at CMC. I sat horrified as staff simply wrapped a sheet around you and left you in the lobby and so I came over to you.
You may not remember me, but I will NEVER forget you. 

I am so grateful that you allowed me to sit with you. I stood amazed at your bravery and strength as with broken bones you helped nurses and myself remove the rest of your clothes and get you into bed.

I didn't know what to say but having laid in my own hospital bed with broken bones from swinging arms, I know there is nothing that can be said in those moments, except I am here. 

I am here and you are loved. You are beautiful and so very strong. Despite the brutality you endured, you survived. Through broken bones and blood you defied his very existence by breathing! 
I am in awe of you tonight. 

Please know you do not deserve what has happened to you. There is nothing that you could ever do to that would deserve the brutality you experienced today. Humans don't break other humans, monsters do. The magnificent thing is sweet friend that today you were bigger than the boogie man. 

The healing ahead will not be easy, but you have already done the most difficult, you survived. Wow what an amazingly strong woman you are. 

In that healing, please know I am here. I want to honor your strength by standing beside you and willing to help you overcome this. 

Jessica

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Why Not the Beaver Flag?

I’m genuinely curious here, why are people who keep talking about history and heritage and how important it is not sharing the actual confederate flag that was used in that time? I genuinely don’t get it. 
The one everyone seems to feel such passion about is a battle flag. 
I mean, all the bad associations aside, we fly the current flag to honor America, not the Beaver Flag of 1775 or even the Liberty flags from the few years before the American Revolution or throughout the war. 
If it genuinely matters, if history is what is important, why not at least be accurate? 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

You are Not My People

I stopped listening to the local christian radio station in East TN after the murder of thousands on September 11,2001. Why? Because they chose to fundraise for themselves when the need was absolutely and clearly elsewhere. Over and over again I remember hearing something to the effect of, we know Sept 11 just happened but this is our normal annual fundraiser time so....

So no. 

I would rather they had said nothing. I honestly do appreciate those of you who have chosen to be silent rather than invalidating or hurtful. 

I’ve stopped listening to many of you, and walked away from many others for the very same reason. 

I understand everyone has their passion and beliefs, I get that for you the largest impact may be getting called out and held accountable for social media posts, or a delay in traffic due to protests, but this is bigger than you, it is bigger than right now. When you blatantly ignore the trauma being experienced by those around you, you are not my people.

Friday, June 12, 2020

What do you think when you hear the KKK and other bullshit questions

So, I recently commented on a post by someone raising hell about the confederate statues being removed.

Kevin Walker, who I don’t know, replied with the following (I’ve left his spelling and grammar errors).

Jessica Freeman let me ask you one question when they say KKK what do you automatically think it's just a question because it's not intended in any way but I just want to know what is your outlook on the KKK and as far as our Southern generals they were forced and told to do just like all of our American soldiers also there's in general it's not that it's just for the Confederacy it's for all history that you slowly getting taken out of the history books in schools but yet it could have been worse. Never guardless of good or bad in history The Relic shouldn't be taken down we don't take down the Egyptian pyramids we don't take them anything we honor it and cherish it and take care of it that's what we used to do as a nation here lately no Soldier is treated fairly in my opinion and I feel as if they have been fighting for the wrong reasons because this world is not free like everyone says yeah we're free but are we really

This was my response:

Kevin Walker when they say KKK, I think many things...

I think of being beaten for hours by my daddy because I talked to a black boy on the bus.

I think of being in high school and the KKK spreading flyers all over our school and the fear and sadness I saw in my friends eyes. 

I think of my Stephen and how when he was little the KKK got mad because they moved into the neighborhood and came into his yard to threaten them.

I think of not being allowed to get a perm as a teen because my grandmother thought I wanted “black people hair.”

I think of the many messages I, my family, and friends, have gotten in our inbox by people who say things like “oh you said that because you suck n”@&$ dick” or worse.

I think about my niece who was called so many names and bullied so much for being black as a child that she tried to peel off her skin. 

I think of a simple police encounter turning into many police cars and AK47S pointed at someone I love. The I’m sorrys later didn’t matter.

I think of the panic I feel when my step kids are late.

I think of the awfulness that overcomes me when I see another black man murdered who looks and is just like so many in my world.

But mostly Kevin, mostly, above all, I think about you, or people like you, who let any of this be ok. 

Your cries for history leave those I love at risk.

Your anger over flags and heritage instead of another senseless murder make my soul hurt.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

I Can’t Breathe

I sincerely wish I hadn’t watched the video. It was in many ways, as a domestic violence survivor, familiar to me. I am absolutely disgusted by those of you criticizing the response.
You have no idea the panic, fuck, honestly, I can’t even put it into words what you feel when you can’t breathe, when another human being is on top of you and you can’t breathe, when you screamed for help that didn’t come. Thankfully I passed out in the worst incident. He thought I was dead. That was enough for him.
10 yrs later and I can’t wear anything around my neck. 10 years later and any hint of breathing issues sends me into a panic. 10 yrs later and I still have nightmares.
You don’t get to tell people how to respond to this. You just don’t. Not now. Not ever.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

White Privilege

My name is Jessica Freeman
I am a white woman.
I can do, say, and be all of the following things without fear.

I will not be killed:

I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery).
I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson).
I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).
I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark).
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis).
I can sell CD's (#AltonSterling).
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).
I can go to church (#Charleston9).
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
I can be questioned by police (#GeorgeFloyd)
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
 I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford) .
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott).
I can be a 10yr old walking with my grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
I can and do have mental illness (#AnthonyHill), (#DeborahDanner), and (#OsazeOsagie).
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
I can run (#WalterScott).
I can breathe (#EricGarner).
I can live (#FreddieGray).

I recognize my white privilege. Do you?

This is THE reality.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

#BlackLivesMatter
#whitesilenceisviolence

Credit to my friend Austin Hicks for this. I just added my own name.

Your Silence is Violence

No posts regarding the murder of George Floyd + posts sharing videos of people’s response = PART OF THE PROBLEM.

A Riot is the language of the unheard. - MLK Jr.

I love and respect many of you dearly so I’m going to explain a little. What you say, and when, matters. I’ve watched you advocate for causes that matter to you so I know you understand.

When we as white persons don’t raise our voices, especially publicly, for those in the black community who continue to be murdered, it is putting a stamp of approval on it, whether we intend to or not. Silence is absolutely violence.

When we then don’t have time, don’t want to, or whatever the reason post about another black person being murdered by police, when we are silent about a man having his neck kneeled on for over 9 minutes while one officer watched and 3 others held the rest of his body, but do find the time to post about people’s response to it, it is violence. I know it’s not the intent, but it is. Just asking you to please think about that.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Saying No

Right now is a time of self sacrifice, a time of stepping up and beyond your normal.
I’m here right now to tell you, ITS OK NOT TO.
Anyone who knows me would tell you, and rightly so, that I am, and have been, an incredibly sacrificial person. I have lost more than words due to what I thought was “doing the right thing,” “listening to God,” or “loving others more than myself.”
The thing I was too selfish, and too proud to realize is that I AM NOT GOD.
I am NOT responsible for the actions of others.
I am actually tasked with keeping myself safe.
In almost 20 yrs of being a foster parent I have endured abuse, kids assaulted, property destruction, a loss of family and friends, hopes, dreams...and on and on. For what?
To say that I sacrificed for my adopted kids?
The reality is. I sacrificed FAR more than me. I sacrificed sleeping through the night, family pets, and my daughter learning how to ride a bike. I sacrificed time, attention, peace, and normal for people who NEVER chose it.
I can nail my self to a cross better than any of you. I’m good at it, not out of manipulation, but out of ignorance. I thought I was doing the right thing.
So, now I say no.
I say, “I’m really sorry to hear that.”
I ask what I can do, but do not put myself, or my family at risk anymore. And, you don’t have to either. Interestingly enough, guess who also did this? Jesus.
Jesus didn’t lay down His life for the woman who was going to be stoned, He applied reason and conviction to those who needed it. Advocacy.
Jesus didn’t starve in protest when the 5000 didn’t have enough food, He collected resources and shared them. Community.
Jesus didn’t argue when He knew the truth, even if it seemed to cost everything. Wisdom.
Bottom line is, You don’t have to die. You don’t have to sacrifice everything. Boundaries are ok, especially when breaking them harms other people who love and care about you.
Don’t fall for the what if everyone blah blah blah, maybe they will. Maybe it will be the end of things. But that isn’t your burden.
It’s just not.
You are human and at the mercy of things far bigger than you. Be kind. Be decent. But don’t lose you in the process. You matter too.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Han Solo

Check Out the Latest Collaboration Between Abby and The Wiz

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

Welcome to Holland

BY EMILY PERL KINGSLEY

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice Holland has windmills…and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.
But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…about Holland.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Making Room

You asked me for space, 
but I was squashed with yesterdays and tomorrows. 
You begged me for Honor 
but I was too focused on peace. 
You asked me for home 
I was crushed as you walked out the door to find it. 


Monday, September 02, 2019

Discombobulated


For those who don't know, when Andreana was little, her favorite word was discombobulated. I don't think I have ever heard Stephen say it until this morning so it made me smile.

As for the WADD, when my little sister, Andreana was little she stole a WWJD bracelet from a Christian book store. Oh the irony of that one.
Anyway, when speaking to someone last night I got off the phone upset and remembered that moment. And then I though, it isn't only what would Andreana do, but What Andreana Did Do that matters most now.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Snickers bars and Bullshit

Who the fuck is going to eat all the chocolate off my Snickers bars or fight over recipes or swap laundry photos? One minute she was sunshine, the next she was being an asshole, but always, always she loved me. When I was the most broken in my life, when I was so devestated I lost 50 lbs in a month, she was there. She took care of my kids. She went out every morning and got me a sweet tea and would give me 1 cheddar round. Just one, it was all I could eat and not get sick.
We would get drunk and do the Cupid shuffle with my parrot (he could dance his ass off). We would bar hop and come home and terrorize my kids by pretending to be monsters outside their windows. She accidentally made the best chicken and dumplings in the history of ever when she mistook a shaker of sugar for salt. She held my secrets and my hand. She made me madder than anyone but managed to make me laugh no matter how much I wanted to choke her. She loved me and hated me and loved me again and sometimes in the same day.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Grieving

It's 10:49 pm, August 27, 2018.
A year ago tonight my Andreana died.
I've spent the day in my room, mostly sleeping, my heart too heavy to even talk.
I've gone though a great many things, and experienced so much loss, but this, this has broken me.
For all my grasping and pulling, I can't fucking pull it together. It's too much.
I'm constantly exhausted. Everything feels loud and heavy and intrusive.
I go days or sometimes weeks where I'm busy enough or distracted enough to hold back what's coming, though I feel it always coming to swallow me. Always coming in the replay of laying in my floor screaming my sister is dead over and over. I need to scream it and never think it and let everyone and no one know it all at the same time. There is nothing good that has come of this, nothing. Nothing to make sense of. Nothing to rise up from. It's just a big fucking void continuously consuming me.

Birthdays and Brokenness

Birthdays are supposed to be full of joy, celebration, cake, balloons, gifts, family, excitement and pride.
Caring for someone with severe mental illness, with a history of trauma, those are very different birthdays.
Today is someone I love's birthday.
For the first time in 14 years, I am choosing to stay home. I can't do it. Not one moment more.
I've spent most of the last 14 years going to one lock down facility or another.
Security screenings
Small decrepit rooms that smell like a weird mix of urine and sanitizer.
Damaged walls from whoever was mad last that they won't bother to fix.
Strangers paid minimum wage sitting nearby.
Awkwardness
Pain
Gifts that meet hospital criteria, no strings, nothing sharp, nothing liquid or that could otherwise be cleverly used in the most awful of ways.
The birthday girl excited about things, never the people that come with them.
Aching goodbyes.
Long drives home full of tears.
Curling up in a ball and crying for hours because this is never what I imagined life would be like when I chose to be a mom.
So I'm choosing to stay home today.
She will still have all the birthday things, just not me, not that I would be missed. The things are what matter.
There will still be tears, but I get to skip all the in-between awfulness, all the pretending. I simply cannot do it anymore.


The Bravest Woman

To the Bravest Woman I Have Ever Met, I met you today as you entered the ER at CMC. I sat horrified as staff simply wrapped a sheet around y...