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Burning and the literary journal

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by KristyHall, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. KristyHall

    KristyHall Overrun With Chickens

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    I had mentioned a couple of times that I learned a true story I had written about one of my experiences growing up in a small southern town ended up in my former college's literary journal.

    A couple people asked me to post it so I will then i'll give a small explanation.
    Now mind you I have a moderate disability when it regards to sentence structure, and the professor was very patient in helping me. I am sure the structure of the story could be better.



    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>\\



    Burning



    I was six years old that late spring night when my parents spoke tensely in the living room. I heard the thump of my step dad’s boots as he hastily pulled them on. Soon after my mother’s foot steps made their way to my door. I did not yet know what was wrong as my mother came into my room and told me to get dressed. “Wear something dark,” she told me.

    I quickly pulled on my clothes and followed my mother into the living room. She had unbraided her long dark hair and coiled it up into a bun. Her copper skin looked washed out against the black shirt she wore. Her body seemed bare without any beaded jewelry. She looked like another woman all together. Wearing dark clothes, we were all dressed liked we were attending a funeral, rather than some spontaneous outing.

    “Where are we going?” I wanted to know. I did not like the grim expression on my parents’ faces. My mother took me by my hand without answering as she and my step dad led me out the door. In the distance, I could see a red glow in a neighbor’s yard. It was a good walk away. “Mama?” I insisted and began to tug at her hand.

    “When we get there, I do not want you to say a word or do anything to attract attention to us. Do you understand?” My mother’s words were firm but had a nervous edge to them that quieted any more questions from me for the time being. We trekked towards the distant fire in silence. I only began to ask more questions once it came into view.
    “What’s going on ma-”

    “Shhh!” My mother interrupted. My step dad took my other hand, and we hung back from the crowd that had formed. People had gathered to watch the giant burning cross lit by figures dressed in white robes and masks. My mother’s hand tightened in mine, and her anxiety reverberated through me. Some people watched silently while others grinned at the sight with empty non-reflective eyes. One man spoke of things that I did not understand. I gazed up at my step dad, who had a blank expression on his face but the same hardening of his jaw that he would get when he was angry. I then turned to gaze at my mother, who kept the same blank expression over her chiseled Cherokee features. I could see the fire light glittering in her black eyes.

    We stayed and watched the fire burn for what seemed like eternity before we finally walked home. My parents stayed quiet for a long time. I somehow knew I should wait for them to speak first. Something grave had just happened. Finally, my step dad broke the silence as we picked our way through the hay field. “Do you know what you just saw?” I shook my head in response. My mother sighed,

    “You saw an act of hate,” she said.

    “What do you mean?” I asked.

    “Those people in white were burning that cross to show their hate for other people. Especially people like us. People of other colors and religions,” she replied

    “I don’t understand,” I said.

    “I don’t either,” my mother replied, “but it is something you will have to face growing up.” We stopped at our door step, and both of my parents turned to smile at me with love, the opposite of hate. I looked down at my pale hand enfolded in my mother’s darker one. The rest of my life I would have to balance between being able to pass as white or celebrate my mother’s heritage. I made my choice then. I would not always take the easier path. It was a choice that later would affect how such people treated me in a small southern town. It was a huge lesson to learn at 6 years, old but it was an important one. That late spring night, I learned about hate.


    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I already had behavioral problems due to abuse which I will not go into, but coupled with being so radically different followed by being openly compassionate towards those who were weaker, or different, I became a target and was bullied so badly I have physical scars.

    I suffered the most by those of conservative churches around here and as a teenager I despised Christians ( do not jump on me, I am explaining the process I went through to arrive to myself today.) but as I aged I learned not all Christians were like that and while I do not agree with Christianity and the bible I hold no ill will towards Christians and will even attend a church that promotes tolerance. Any way to worship the creator as long as it promotes kindness to others is fine to me.


    Over time I have grown to accept and look at the views of others even if I find them reprehensible. I understand how those people in white have arrived to their hateful conclusions. I do not agree with it, but I understand why they think that way.

    We all are not immune from being hated or from hating.

    We are all struggling, imperfect human beings.


    Remember that next time we meet someone with whom we strongly disagree.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] With you all the way!, but you already knew that. [​IMG]
     
  3. KristyHall

    KristyHall Overrun With Chickens

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    thanks sourland. it isn't always easy to talk about my past but I have no shame in it. Some things I won't mention on here because of the explicit nature of it and there are children here, but I have spoken about such things in schools and support groups and to other victims.

    I am not the " wilting victim" type that so many groups seem to focus on. I won't be silent or not talk about things from my life. I Think by each of us speaking out about our struggles, exposing our extremely flawed and human sides, we help one another.

    this also means seeking justice, and been crying and letting the pain out, talking openly about our experiences, and growing and adjusting to our lives.
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Those of us who share pain have learned to share empathy. [​IMG]
     
  5. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:[​IMG]

    Thank you so much for sharing this.
     
  6. Spookwriter

    Spookwriter Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Certainly this story was not what I was expecting to see
    when I opened this thread. Now I've read it several times.

    And hated reading it every time. Because I too, remember.

    Like no doubt many of us here, I grew up in the time of segeration
    and prejudices. It was wrong then, and it's wrong now.

    You don't forget those men in their white hoods.

    Not ever.

    When I was a teen, I lost three good friends. Three brothers. We
    went to school together, worked in the hayfields together. Sweated
    together.

    And one summer night, they were hanged.

    Their only crime was the color of their skin.


    You don't ever forget.


    Don't hate.
     
  7. KristyHall

    KristyHall Overrun With Chickens

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    no you don't ever forget.

    I have memory trouble because of head injuries, but that is one thing I still starkly remember.

    It was surreal, it was in late summer but the air was still a bit chilly and heavy with moisture, the dew on the hay field made my pants stick to my ankles, and those robes were blindingly white.



    it wasn't that cool but i remember shaking with a chill i couldn't get rid of. I even remember the smells, the wood burning, the grass not yet ready to be cut into hay, the pollen from the blooming trees.

    and how all of the normally muted colors from the darkness was so much more vibrant.
     
  8. AlexMalix

    AlexMalix Out Of The Brooder

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    Hatred of anyone because they look different is just stupid. Given the choice, I would have followed the same path. Bushido teaches that when given two choices, one should take the more difficult choice, because it is often the right one. You are a strong person and if anyone has a problem with you, I'll book a flight and show them the error of their ways, which is what I call my bat....wait...violence...darn.... well I'll still beat them up even if it's wrong
     
  9. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for sharing, I'm with you. I don't understand human nature either.
     
  10. KristyHall

    KristyHall Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:[​IMG]

    admittedly it was a bit difficult to share, but I am glad I did.
     

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