Olive Branch

I have taken quite a long break from sharing here. It would seem, the world is not what it once was, or perhaps, more specifically what I had always believed it to be.

Although I could feel the shift, often I would ignore it, attempt to reason it away because to accept what I was seeing in front of my very own eyes, would mean accepting much of what I had been taught in my 43 years would need to be questioned.

I don’t know why we are gifted intuition but I do know that more often than not, we ignore this gift. Whether by intentional design, or accidental unacceptance, too often we deafen its warnings and cover the eyes of the insight it provides. Although the more I have chosen to trust my intuition, the more I have learned to trust its ability to guide me in the proper direction. The way we learn to trust our legs to walk, without thought or hesitation.

Clarity can be a blessing and a curse and it doesn’t come easy. It can be a lonely journey, especially when the thoughts born are portrayed as not being held by a majority or are silenced and eliminated as a suitable topic for conversation. We have always been taught that there is safety in numbers and for many people this has served as the foundation to formulate opinions – all opinions, even those found to be harmful or hurtful. However, if you truly want to know the depth of your belief in something, just ponder if you would be willing to unwaver in those convictions if the numbers weren’t on your side. If the safety net of the group were removed, would you still be willing to fight for what you know and believe to be good and right. Would you be able to hold your head a little higher each day as stones were cast, even if the stone casters never realize you were fighting for them also. After all, a true test of a person’s determination, will and spirit can be measured by their ability to withstand isolation. It is why solitary confinement is used as a punishment and an interrogation technique. Only the mentally resilient can withstand the type of pressure bestowed upon many of us these past two years.

Fight fire with fire, is what I continued to tell myself as I riddled off facts to fight against smoke and mirrors and tried my best to offer Grace when confronted with those who attempted to demoralize me with terms chosen specifically for their ability to degrade and belittle my views, my intellect or my voice.

I have been accused of being greedy and putting money above lives for wanting our business to reopen early in the pandemic. I have been accused of wanting my children to die because I fought for their return to school. I have been labeled a “science denier” because I wanted them to walk through those same doors fearless and armed with a smile, not hidden behind the false promises of a mask. I have sat in a doctor’s office, across from judgmental eyes and condescension, because I chose to ask questions about natural immunity vs vaccine induced immunity and voiced concerns about the latest, convenient definitions used to define health. I have been called a “conspiracy theorist” for not immediately accepting what is being offered to me, even as obvious answers to ignored questions continued to pile up.

Time reveals all and I noticed something else… as the answers to all of those premature questions began to trickle out, the silence that followed has been deafening. The voices willing to jump out and attack me without warning or regard for feelings or logic, were suddenly absent. The friendships severed hastily and without consultation, have yet to be requested again. The collective confidence held from the comfort in believing one resides in the majority began to disappear, along side the notion that membership had entitled positioning on a higher ground.

We are at a point in this country where some of us must begin to accept responsibility for how we have treated the rest of us. Accountability that many were not only fooled into believing lies but manipulated into turning on friends and family who asked questions when what was believed to be the majority opinion did not add up.

Those of us that were turned on, we are not looking for an apology nor do we even request or need an acknowledgement that perhaps we may have been right about a few things. We are way passed that now. We simply look for you to join us in relentlessly asking questions and demanding accountability for what has been done to ALL of us. Eliminate all the labels and boxes we painfully shrunk to fit ourselves into and dig in to harmoniously and simultaneously create an environment where our children do not just have to endure life but will have the freedom to live it.

Hasn’t that always been the goal? Create a world where our children are better off than we were?

Our freedom comes with a responsibility to preserve it for those behind us and consequence is quickly approaching if we continue in the belief we do not hold the power to its preservation.

Perhaps the path leading to this vision varies but the intended outcome has always been the same. Freedom does not discriminate, it is for everyone, even those we may not see eye to eye. Its most important function designed for those with whom we may disagree, specifically when they are the minority.

We all yearn for a place, a country, a world, where our children have the opportunity and freedom to reach their full potential. We have been fooled into believing our paths do not intersect. They do. They always have. We were tricked into thinking that if we believed in the journey of one path, then travel was prohibited on any other path, and all ramps were closed. A “you made your bed, now lie in it” type of thinking. Lucky for me, I have never been one for making my bed anyway. However, more and more it would seem this was always the plan, to have us split up and run in different directions. Fracture us down into the tiniest of slivered pieces so we would never again believe in the power of functioning as a whole. For the task to put ourselves back together to seem so daunting and overwhelming, we would never try or give up easily if we did.

If you thought a racist was someone who didn’t have a black square as their profile picture two years ago but realize now a bigger problem may be that black children are reading at a level much lower than their white counterparts, then welcome. If you are starting to wonder why there are no protests as black communities in urban cities are experiencing the highest rates of death and violence in years, then welcome. If you thought schools should have opened but didn’t yet have the strength to voice your concern, and now your child is below level in reading and math, then welcome. If you thought your kids were being taught math, reading and history at school, only to find out that political agendas were also being pushed, then welcome. If you thought taking a vaccine meant you were no longer susceptible to a disease but you came down with that disease anyway, then welcome. If you chose to receive the vaccine but didn’t agree with mandating people out of jobs or society, then welcome. If you thought inflation was “transitory” and government spending could not increase it, yet you can barely afford groceries, then welcome. If you never really cared how someone chose to dress or identify themselves but see the glaring problem with allowing biological male athletes to participate with female athletes, then welcome. If you thought all of your elected officials worked for the people whom they have been tasked to serve only to find out many, from all sides, have been working for themselves, then welcome. If you can’t shake the small, tiny feeling living inside that something just doesn’t seem right, then welcome.

Membership is free, although it cost many before us. However, it will not cost you an apology, nor shame in the understanding you may have been fooled. We have all been there at one time or another, judgment is best suited to be served by those who are perfect and have never made mistakes. Shame doesn’t live here. Shame is a tactic used to quiet the determined. The only requirement is a willingness to stand beside one another. To fight for a world where our children will always have a voice and an ability to stand up for what they believe in without the threat of being labeled, placed into a group or ostracized. A world where all of our children will not only have the literacy level to read about freedom but be fully versed in its importance and willing to teach it for years to come.

Whether you took the scenic route or a short cut, it doesn’t matter the path. The only thing that matters is you arrive.

Unfortunately, there is no red carpet here, no cameras to capture your appearance. No fireworks on display nor a clever hashtag, as it would more than likely be removed anyway. Like most things in life, it’s a journey whose appreciation can be felt only after having traveled. A humbling destination where battle includes fighting for those who do not yet realize they need fighting for.

We won’t announce your arrival and our only weapons are the memory of a country that once was and hope in the possibility of what can be. When you land after your journey, you may feel weary and a little confused but no matter the speed with which it took you to travel, we promise to help glue your piece into place, grab your hand and kindly whisper “Welcome to the Revolution”.

If there is anything I have learned, it is if we allow it, intuition will always leads us to the right path but should you get lost, just head in the direction of the overgrown path with the name that was meant to connect us all…

it’s called Freedom.

Published by shannonarmenis

Full-time mom, part-time writer. Serving up thoughts on parenting, life and love in between forgetting to fold laundry in the dryer, threatening to take away Ipads and looking for my patience.

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