This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My Manifesto

I’ve been struggling with my blog. It’s very personal but I had made it public with the intent to share my journey and maybe give hope or encouragement to others.

This could cause some issues with the professional world I am looking to enter so as I pondered this situation I changed my privacy settings to closed.

A little while ago I listened to a leader who I greatly respect and has a lot of knowledge in the area of mental health, who publicly said that he takes medication for depression and sees a counsellor every week. He also said he wishes that these things could be talked about openly. It was then that I knew what my decision had to be.

I want to make the world better. I want to be the change I want to see, and that means that even if it costs me a job then I have to be true to who I am and vulnerable about the difficult times on my journey. Recently a close friend said that I was set up to fail. In a lot of ways, I think he is right. I scrolled back and realized that I suffered significant trauma; multiple sexual abuses, rape, the loss of close friends by murder, testifying at the trial, dysfunctional family; all before I hit 17 years of age and it hasn’t been all roses and daisies since. Some people don’t recover from just one of those issues but I had all of them happen before my brain was even fully developed.

I had all the reasons to fail, but I didn’t, and I’m not done. The future is so bright for where I am going and the difference I know I am going to make because all those things that happened to me are drivers for me to make life better for others. I want people to know their value and worth regardless of their circumstances or choices. Every single person on this planet matters. So as I move forward I am publicly declaring my personal manifesto.

Manifesto of Amanda Carrasco

I will be true to who I am and who God has called me to be: embracing all of my strengths and recognizing that I am in process to work on my weaknesses.

I will never call myself “just” anything.

 I am not just a mom, just a teacher, just an entrepreneur,

just a student, or just ANYTHING!

I AM Amanda Carrasco

I will use my voice to amplify and support the voices of the hurting, the oppressed, and suffering so we can all engage the world from a place or worthiness. NAKUONA

I will ask the hard questions to myself and others

I will not back down from something because it is hard, I will take calculated risks.

I will lead from a place of humble gratitude.

I will own my story, ALL of it, but it will not define me because I am the author.

It is a story of struggle and strength, but it is my story.

 

She overcame and changed the world.

Advertisements

Emotional World Changer

I believe it is generally accepted that women are more emotional than men- albeit that they display their emotions more than men. That being said there is a movement to correct this misconception that showing emotion is a weakness. Brene Brown is a leader in this charge with her thorough research on vulnerability. If you look through a backwards lens in time, vulnerability and emotional being appear as a radical concept. We are in the process of a societal shift on this issue and as far as I am concerned, it can not come soon enough!

Women especially have been degraded for showing emotion. If we are angry then we are a B@&(h, if we are sad then we are weak, if we are both then we are hormonal.

Everyone has emotions, they are an asset. They can help guide us and especially encourage empathy. Evil is the absence of empathy. The more I learn about the evils we humans commit to other humans the more my heart is torn – as it should be! It should never be acceptable to hurt each other, especially to the levels that we have. But just as I am crushed by the pain in the world and the pain I have personally suffered, it becomes fuel to do everything within my power and capabilities to end injustice whenever possible.

Make no mistake, just because I have many emotions, just because I chose to live a vulnerable and open life, I am not unstable. These things, in fact, make me well rounded and balanced. They give me focus and direction unlike anything else. It has made me determined and driven. I move forward every day and process life through an emotional lens. This also makes me relatable to people in pain so they can reach out and find support. If I am misconceived then let it be so because I will not change who I am, which helps the hurting and fosters justice, just so people don’t think I am weak. If that is your perception of me then you don’t know me at all.

Please stand back and watch. I am changing the world and I am just getting started.

Survival Sex

My journey will not be an easy one, but most things that are easy are not worth it. In my research this week I came across the concept of “survival sex.” In the context of migration, you have women who flee their homes for a variety of negative reasons (if women are safe and supported they don’t leave their homes). Either in transit or once they arrive at a new residency, such as a refugee camp, they may not have a job or any sort of income, so they sell the only thing they have – their body. This is what they call survival sex because women are selling sex to pay for food or transit or shelter. It’s what they have to do to survive and often help their families survive.

I learned of one story that was of a family of 6: dad, mom, and four kids. They paid someone to help them leave their home and find safety in a new location. Along the way, their “guide” demanded more money, of which they had none. So the husband offered his wife as payment and she was forced to have sex with this man every day for 30 days.

What I can not accept about this term is the word sex. Sex is consensual, however when you are selling your body as payment to survive how can that in any way be actual consent? These women would not choose to engage physically with these men if there was another alternative so, therefore, even though it is not physically forced by the man per se, it is circumstantially forced, and thus is it rape. This is survival rape and these are crimes against humanity.

Whenever I hear or see people complain about immigration or not want to take in refugees, I remember these stories. Their refusal to help is facilitating survival rape. I wish more people took the time to understand the realities people are facing. One of the most impactful memes I have seen had an image of refugees in a boat, that face death at sea rather than stay in their own country, and it said: “They wouldn’t put their children in the boat if the land was safe.” You don’t risk your life and the lives of your children unless staying is a greater risk.

If people knew the stories would it make a difference? Would they be moved with compassion so much that it would overcome their fear? I believe for some it would, I know for others it would not. So I appeal to the some. Learn the stories of refugees, why they left, what they risked and what they had to face on the way. What they left is often horrific and unfortunately the path out is often the same.

I hope you never have to face the decision of the risk of violence or death in staying in your home or fleeing, and if you don’t, I hope you think of those who do and are moved with compassion. Until our global leaders can provide stability and safety for all countries, we need to remember these people and offer them the safety they can not currently find at home and not contribute to environments that breed survival rape.

My 6 Word Memoir

This past friday I attended a training sesson and one option was to give students an assignment to write a 6 word memoir. At first I didn’t really understand this but if you google six word memior you will see some fantastic things.

It made me think about mine. Of all the words in existance what how could I sum up my entire life in 6 words? Well… I got it, or what I aspire it to be.

She overcame and changed the world.

For me this encompasses the garbage life has brought me that I have had to deal with, and deal with it I am. But it also captures that I am more than just that, that I am going to make a difference. I try right now with every oportunity that avails itself to me – big or small. I have bigger dreams than what I have achieved so far and I know that I can accomplish them. I still don’t have exactly defined parameters on it or a precise road map, but I don’t need those.  Those details will come in time, for now I just keep moving forward every day.

I have felt injustice and with everything in me I will seek to end it in any form that is shows its ugly face. It has impacted me but it does not define me. It motivates me to make the world better.

It’s coming. I don’t even know what “it” is but I am excited for what the future is bringing because I am up for whatever challenges it holds. I’m going to change the world.

My journey for human value

I finished it.

Shake Hands With the Devil was a library book and I am going to pay a lot of fines because it took me so long to get through it. Part of that was busyness but even more was just processing the emotional weight you carry to know in greater detail the horrors humans have done to each other, but we need to know. Especially since these horrors continue.

I think that’s one of the worst parts of reading it, is knowing that conflict is not over. The killing has moved to different parts of the world, but it hasn’t stopped. Wait, I was wrong; the worst is that the international community still doesn’t care that much more than we did before when we ignored the calls to prevent the slaughter, when the killing was happening, and the support needed afterward. Dallaire quotes Michael Ignatieff and writes “risk-free warfare presumes that our lives matter more than those we are intervening to save.” Maybe that’s why we still don’t care the way we should – maybe we really do think our lives matter more than those in developing countries. We were sure upset when a cathedral burnt down, and rally when there is a loss of life in Europe, but we change the channel when the stories are about Africans or Syrians or Rohingyas.

Dallaire himself continues, “we have fallen back on the yardstick of national self-interest to measure which portions of the planet we allow ourselves to be concerned about.” Why do we do this? How entitled do we deeply believe ourselves to be to hold our lives in higher value? Humanity is so selfish in so many ways.

I bought a bracelet from Epimonia. It is made with the jackets of refugees fleeing conflict. I am going to wear it every day to remind myself that people around the world are not safe and I will not accept a safe and unchallenging life until they have one too. ONE has a saying “no one is equal until we are all equal.”

I plan to use my voice, my resources, my talents, and even my research to fight for the fundamental rights that belong to every living human – the right to value, which is encapsulated but the universal declaration of human rights. It astounds me that the world’s governing body could articulate these onto paper but fails to uphold them by keeping leaders accountable for their violations. We have to do better.

I planned to just get through that book to know more about the history of this magnificent country I had the honor of visiting one year ago, but it has turned into so much more. I downloaded research articles and bought four more books today that are going to broaden and deepen my knowledge in ways that I want to use in the future. The stories of people move me deeply. It is not the color of my skin that makes me want to have an impact, as though we in the west know better and can solve all problems, but it is the content of my heart that feels the pain and hears the cries of those who suffer. They are real to me.

I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I am honored to be on the journey.

Creating a New Language

Previous generations didn’t talk about things. Sex and feelings are the top two that I see that were taboo. That void has resulted in misunderstanding, missing out, hurt, an inability to navigate relationships, and mental heath issues. Since these conversations were never embarked upon, we don’t know how to have them or start them.

I’m proud of my generation for wanting something different, something more. We’re not sure how to do it so we screw it up all the time but at least we’re trying and have opened the way for younger generations to take it further and maybe get it right.

I have talked with my children about my passion for this next stage of my life to be encapsulated but the Swahili word – Nakuona. It means I see you. People need to feel seen. This morning my youngest son said “mom, yesterday the cat ran away from me and my sister didn’t want to play and I felt unseen” oh my heart lept for joy. He’s getting it and I have taught him that vocabulary for his feelings. Brene Brown uses the term “rumble” for engaging in a difficult conversation. She also uses “the story I am telling myself” and I am really trying to make those part of my vocabulary.

It’s like we now have our own language between us so we can communicate our feelings. We can work through things. I explained to him that the cat ran away because he was angry and stomping around so that scared the cat. We could then talk about how to be angry and not scare others – something that we can learn together because I suck at that.

We need to give each other words. There is power in words. There is a freedom when I can speak my truth. It’s hard. Telling someone that I had been abused was hard but I found the words and it freed me. I can’t heal if I am silent. I am excited that I have private languages with people in my life. My kids especially but even my best friend and I can text one letter to each other and it means a whole lot of things that we both understand. There are lots of languages I can’t speak, but if your willing to teach me I would love to learn yours and I will do my best to teach you mine. It is then that I see you. Nakuona

Eshet Chayil

It is amazing how someone you have never met can have such a profound impact on your life. Rachel Held Evans gets to party with Jesus now and I feel like I lost a friend. Her writing encapsulated many, especially women, who struggled with their faith, doubt, and the church. She helped us to find hope, to know that we were not alone in the struggle, and to not give up.

I remember reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood and it was like it connected to my soul, the very core of my being. She helped me see scripture in a new way that made me feel more confident in who I was, how I was created, and how I fit with the body of Christ. I learned from her that the “Proverbs 31 woman” wasn’t a list of expectations of who I am to be. Growing up,  Christian women were compared to that list and I always felt that I never measured up. Her research liberated me from those expectations and allowed me to celebrate all my victories – Eshet Chayil. I printed those words and they hang on my wall to remind me that I AM a woman of valor.

Several months ago I picked up her newest book Inspired and my children and I have been reading it slowly during our devotions. It has sparked amazing conversations about the Bible and its stories.  Her faith journey resonates with so many because it’s what so many of us have experienced. She talks about how unacceptable it has been to ask question or challenge theological beliefs but we ALL have them. She makes it ok to have questions and still hold your faith – something that was not permitted before. If you questioned then you were not a believer and if you were a believer then you didn’t question.

This is a huge loss to the world. I don’t understand God’s soverignty, what He allows and what He doesn’t. In this instance, like many others in my life, I will allow Him to be God and accept that I will not understand until I get to be with Him. I will also allow Him to be my comforter and pray comfort for Rachel’s family and friends in this very challenging time of loss.