Before I self destruct
Take me under your wing
Lift me up to higher places
Yet, keep me firmly grounded
Before I self destruct
I pray for healing
The pain that is within
Mend what is broken
Before I self destruct
I take time to meditate
To allow the forces of the universe
Provide me with clarity and guidance
Before I self destruct
Examining my life
The good and the bad
The gifts and lessons of the Creator
Before I self destruct
Let go of the past and future
Live in the moment
Not looking back
Before I self destruct
Help me to remember who I am
What my purpose is
And follow my destiny
Before I self destruct
I forgive myself, and rebalance
You with the brown skin and brown hair. I see you walking this journey, working on trying to be a better man. Anishinaabe Kwewag are counting on you, for your Respect, Love, Honesty, Wisdom, Bravery, Truth and Humility.
These days it seems you have forgotten us. Leaving us to do the work of protecting the sacred. We need your Strength to carry on. We walk in balance but get push off every once in a while by your harsh words and non-compassion. The world has hardened you and we feel it. Our ancestors feel it. You come and go like the winds of seasons change.
When are you going to heal? Your kin, partners and friends are counting on each and every one of you. 1000s ancestors before you have made the same mistakes, it is up to you to heal for your descendants. One day you to will be an ancestor to your relations. If you don’t do the work in this life you will have to do in spirit.
We already have been born with the world against us, just by being NDN. You are worth more than you could ever imagine. We are the First Peoples! Stand proud! Don’t let the temptations of life destroy you. You don’t have to be perfect or live up to anyone’s expectations, and when you fall get back up and go harder. It’s okay to have fun and enjoy life. But seek that balance to be a niishin Anishinaabe Nini.
If you are in a relationship, treat her with the 7 grandfathers and she will push to do better herself. We need each other, whether it be family, friend or partner. Of all the sacred bundles we carry there is none more sacred than Love. The relationship between 2 people is euphoric when it is in its purest form. Love doesn’t mean attachment or co dependance. It means to uplift each other and help each other grow mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Dear NDN man you are enough, respected and cherished. Don’t let the world make you bitter! Find your strength, it’s in you DNA. You matter!
No matter how much of a warrior you are or how many battles you have won, there will be some that you lose. You don’t have to be a soldier to have to go to war. Sometimes that war is within.
It’s easy to fight for something you want, its not so easy to keep it. There are outside influences that can disrupt your whole being. These are losing battles. No matter how much you try to win, the loss or sacrifice is always greater.
Some people or things are not worth fighting for, you have to recognise this otherwise you will be constantly at war with them and with yourself.
When you truly live in a state of self love it is difficult to allow people to bring negativity into your being. Self love requires discipline. Discipline to not accept anyone or anything that doesn’t bring joy to your life. This can leave you with the feeling that this is a losing battle, because you may really want to be a good person to everyone, but sometimes its just not worth the effort.
In order to be great you have to do great things. Leave the rest that jeopardizes your greatness. When you are in your greatness people will gravitate towards you, simply because that is what they want for themselves. Its a beautiful place to be when you surround yourself with greatness and great people. This space is so inspiring and you should be grateful to have such comfort in you life.
I am not saying to cut everyone out of your life that doesn’t bring you peace, just know how to pick and choose your battles. Sometimes it is necessary for you to battle for people who are not strong yet, and need your strength to get them to the next level. Although, helping others may feel like a loosing battle, these are the wars worth fighting for. Stepping back and pushing someone from behind to move forward is not a losing battle, its a win! You are wining and they are winning…. We are both wining; everyone gains!
Life will always be challenging and will always bring you discomfort, but, know that in these spaces that you grow emotionally and spiritually. Every time you lose a battle you are becoming more stronger and wiser! You are wining the losing battle…
Grief doesn’t get easier… We just learn to accept the memories are more significant than the loss
The morning sun breaks through the darkness of night. She wakens, opens her eyes to a beautiful view of the city line. She walks over to the window and thinks to herself its going to be a beautiful day and thanks the Creator for allowing her to live another day.
The morning goes great she has her coffee and smoke; thinks to herself all the things that she is going to do to change the world. She has big goals and she is chasing her dreams.
She wants to write, many books she says. But there is not enough time in the day. She starts the day with a smudge to clear her mind.
She sits and stares into nothing you would think she is thinking of something but she is not. She is standing still in time, not knowing that the time is passing by.
Silent she sits.
She no longer thinks of the past or at least tries not to, but, something is holding her back. A force that is stronger than any goal or dream she has ever had.
If you ask anyone she is the type of person who makes things happen. She has a fire inside her that is fierce. A heart that shows compassion and when both are at one she moves mountains.
Silent she sits
She moves from not thinking to thinking about a million things at once. Doubt starts to sink in and this is wear all the trouble begins.
All her strength becomes saturated with fear. She has nothing to fear but herself. She knows this but she is to caught up in her mind to let her heart tell her different.
She becomes withdrawn, spends time alone and never talks about the things that matter. She doesn’t want you to see the pain she feels inside, and it would be highly unlikely she would ever let you close enough to her to know the difference.
There are many sides to her, even herself has not figured them all out quite yet. She has come so far and knows this to be the truth. That fear is not real; it’s just her imagination
Silent she sits.
While all this is going on, the world is passing her by. Her dreams are slipping though her fingers and falling to the floor. Her thoughts have become puddles of tears.
She dries her eyes and pushes on the day. Thinks to herself what has just happened. She just spent the whole morning crying over spilt milk. She screams in silence because silent she sits…
Hoping all this will one day go away.
I hope that after reading this article you will remember her name. After watching the CBC Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women public forum on the National Inquiry thoughts and feelings arise as I travel through the confines of my mind. I have an aunt that died on March 19, 2011. They say of natural causes, but, I believe something else happened to her, there were too many odd things that had surfaced that were quite strange.
Margie was by no means a perfect women, she had her flaws and addictions; she also wasn’t in the best of health at 60 years old. she had cirrhosis of the liver drank a lot and indulged into some hard core drugs to escape the pain of her childhood. But she was by no means close to death.
She was and is still my favourite aunt, she will always be special to me. She watches over me, comforts me when I feel down, although she has left this physical plane she is very much a part of my life. She compels me to speak about her because she knows that I was once in a similar position as her, not health wise, but, more so the lifestyles we lived were more common than I like to admit.
We spent a lot of time together and when she became sick we became even closer. Something gave me the feeling that she knew something we didn’t. She would ask me to do certain things for her if she was to pass away. At the time, I didn’t pay much attention to her requests because I thought she was over exaggerating her health condition. We spoke every day and she would make time to spend with my son and always kept her promises to him. Needless to say she was his favourite aunt too.
One day Margie had planned to spend the afternoon with my son during March break that she would pick my son up and go on “their adventure”. That day came and went with no call or text message from her. This was odd to me because she always answers my calls no matter how messed up she would get. She would at least let me know that she couldn’t make it. This was a Friday. Saturday I called and left several messages for her to return my call and no response. Finally on the Sunday I kept calling repeatedly and finally her boyfriend answered.
I had asked, “what had happened to her she had made plans with Daniel but we never heard from her?’.
He responded, “she is not here”.
“Where is she?” I asked.
“At the hospital” he responded.
I quickly responded “What hospital I will go see her!”
He told me not to bother because she is DEAD. There was a long silence and I said thank you for letting me know, I will let the rest of the family know and we will be in touch again soon.
I was in shock that she was gone. Just like that. No phone call that she was in the hospital and no phone call that she had died in the hospital. This seemed odd to me but we carried on to prepare her for her journey through the Western door. The Ceremony was a closed casket, the funeral director told us that she was unrecognisable and it may startle some folks, that only the close family members who were preparing her body could open the casket.
He was right she had swelled up like a balloon and she had no shoes on her feet. Anishnawbe people always send spirits home with the proper necessities to make the four day journey. As myself, my 2 aunts, my mother, and traditional helper prepared the body it was truly an honour to be a part of that ceremony. But I noticed that she had a dress on that she never wore before and would not be caught in something like that alive. It was an old black laced dress, the ones that look like doilies that you cover your coffee table with. My aunt had noticed that I had an odd look on my face, she knew what I was thinking – why is she in this dress? – My aunt said, “I know, I went to her house yesterday and Ronnie had gotten rid of all of her stuff, he threw it away. The Funeral Director donated the dress for her because she came to the funeral home with nothing. we completed preparing the body and began to gather in the room for the ceremony.
There was so many people there I did not know she had so many friends. There were drummers and singers, prayer and a chance to say some last words. Daniel only 6 years old at the time was a brave little soul, he got up there by himself and shared his heart with the room. How much he loved her and how sad he was that he would never be able to go on adventures with his Auntie Margie. The whole room filled with tears as he poured his little heart out. The service was beautiful and she left in a good way. At the end of the service, Ronnie finally showed up to pay his condolences. He gave my son an Elephant that was Margie’s and told him he should keep this and left. He never went to the casket, spoke with the family, or said any last words; and after this day we never saw or heard from him again.
As the days and weeks passed I would replay what had happened from the time I found out she was dead until the end of the funeral. There were so many gaps and unanswered questions. Sure she was sick, yes she drank, and yes she didn’t take good care of herself, but the way Ronnie had acted after being with her for over 20 years got me thinking, what did she really die from? Why had there been so little details of her death and most importantly why wasn’t our family or at least me notified that she was that sick and that she died. When Ronnie answered the phone that day, his responses were limited and that I felt as though I had to pry it out of him where she was. And the most peculiar thing to me was why did he throw away everything she had before we even had time to go though what we would like to keep . Margie was sick but Margie also lived in an abusive relationship. I ask myself often and I am quite convinced that something happened between her and him that lead her to her death.
Being Native didn’t help because the police didn’t even bother to question her death or ask the family any questions. And the hospital had no information for us either. We were left with many questions and no answer. What would you think? What can you do? We live in Country where Indigenous women are targets of abuse, rape, being murdered or missing. The Inquiry public forum had opened up old wounds that I have tried to put behind me. It is never easy sharing our stories of our Indigenous women who still to this day have no protection against predators. This is just one story of many, there is not one Indigenous person’s life that MMIW hasn’t affected them in some way. So please I ask you to say her name Mary Margret Mckenna. She is loved and missed everyday…. NO MORE SILENCE!
I don’t think there is a single man on this Earth that I have loved more than you. You loved me unconditionally. You were the only one who has been there ever since I born.You filled the void that I had while growing up as a child. You are my friend, a role model and a father figure to me. You made growing up without my dad around bearable.
I love to hear stories about you, how you named me at birth, were there for my first steps and treated me as if I was your own daughter. For this Papa there is nothing in this world that I care about more than you.
I remember you teaching me right from wrong, always gave me sound advice, stood up for me and provided truth to some of the harsh realities of choices I had made in life for myself. You never once judged me or put me down. I couldn’t have been more blessed than to have a grandfather more caring than you.
For the past several years you have slowly began to forget little things where you put your glasses, miss placing things, forgetting the date or which day of the week it was. This has gotten worse over the years, to the point that you were unable to care for yourself.
But it got even more worse, by no fault of your own, you began to forget my name, how old I was and that I couldn’t be me because I was too old; you thought I was still a child, your mind wouldn’t let you believe that I had grown into a woman. I let it go knowing it was the disease that was taking control of your thoughts and stealing your memories. Alzheimer’s Disease was slow taking its toll and there was nothing I could do.
About 6 months ago you no longer recognized me at all, had no idea who I was or my name. This absolutely broke my heart. But still nothing I could do to change it. I try to convince myself that this doesn’t bother me, but I am lost without you. I push through the days, keeping busy with life, and cut back on coming to see you just because it was easier to deal with if I didn’t think about you. I know this was wrong but I did it to save my memories of you.
Last week I thought I was going to lose you for good. I prayed and begged for you not to leave me yet. I danced for you, asking Creator to let me have just one more time with you here, that I wasn’t ready to let you go. You gave us all a scare. This made me realize how much I depend on you for my strength even though you don’t have much yourself any more. He answered my prayer. I was able to have another special moment with you.
I came to visit you yesterday and the day before. Not much had changed during the first visit, but the visit I had with you in the morning is one that I will never forget. You knew who I was, if only for a brief moment in time, it meant the world to me. Still, there was something more special about this encounter. You had asked me if I had saw that big light we had here the other day? You also told me that you saw dude [a nickname you had called grandma]. You went on to tell me that you tried to talk to her. You began to have a loss of words. The only thing that you could think of to further explain the event was that “kinda like a boss” was there and wouldn’t let you speak to her. This to me sounded as if you were so close to the other side, the after life, and she was waiting for you, but you decided to come back.
As the tears are falling down my face as I share this story, I am ready to let you go. People may not believe what I writing about today, but I don’t care. I know your spirit was reaching out to me and somehow it has given me closure. I will cherish every moment from now on that I get to spend with you… Although, deep down, I know you will always be with me; watching over me and guiding me though this life. I thank you so much for helping to understand that this disease is not who you really are.
People have been profoundly affected by great works of art. Maybe it was a book, movie, photograph, drawing or painting, a song or musical composition. A movie has had a powerful impact on me. The movie is called A Beautiful Mind. This movie has affected me because even though he suffered from mental illness he was able to triumph in his career. Also how he was able to find peace and love in his life.
A Beautiful mind is based on a true story of John Forbes Nash Jr. John. He was a mathematical genius of the 1950’s, who throughout his life made ground breaking theories that amazed the greatest scholar’s of his time. This movie also tells the story of John’s life long battle with schizophrenia. It tells the tale of his struggle with his mental illness and how he miraculously was able to conquer his disability and win the Noble peace prize in 1994. It also shows the effects his mental illness had on his loved ones. It was clearly challenging and somewhat confusing to John’s wife. Instead of walking away she supported him, helped him overcome his illness by showing him that love is real, not his delusions, they were only imagined. With many years of psychiatric therapy, and loving support from his wife. John was able to return to work at Princeton University and become a well respected professor. This movie has been an inspiration to me.
This movie had a powerful impact on me in more ways than one. I too have suffered from mental illness for many years. Struggled with symptoms, treatments, as well as the isolation that a person with a mental illness experiences. I have also witnessed the effects it has on loved ones. Most importantly, like John I have had to go through therapy to have an understanding of my illness to face the stigma that is associated with being labeled. I have been able to not let my illness define me, and not let it hold me back from being a productive member of society. My illness is different than John’s, its Borderline Personality Disorder. I have had to put my aspirations on hold and take a break to heal. Learn how to cope with symptoms in a healthy way, and to regain the confidence to continue on with my life and family.
John’s wife did not give up on him in spite of all the traumatic experiences she has seen John go through. “I need to know that something extraordinary is possible”. This statement was made by John’s wife when she was just about ready to give up. The love they had for each other had to be stronger in order to conquer his illness. This showed how unconditional love triumphs over any obstacle.
Watching this movie again, after seeing it many years ago I could relate more so to John’s life. How, I too, struggled for quite some time until I was diagnosed in my late 30’s. How the last few years have been hard as well as rewarding, and to see the positive effects therapy has allowed me to progress. The fears I overcame, and how much my loved ones have been there for me. I think the movie was a great work of art not only because of the actors/actresses but because how remarkable John Forbes Nash Jr. was in his life.
Since I have been concentrating on bettering myself life hasn’t gotten any easier, but, it has become more significant. There is meaning in a day. Not that time has become more valuable, more so that it has become a means to make the most of my life.
I have forgotten what it was like to watch the days just pass on by without doing something productive. Now that I have put my efforts into inspiring others to heal; live their life and follow their dreams.
There is great healing for me when I place my head down towards a blank sheet of paper and begin to allow my thoughts to unfold. This is where I feel at most peace. There is a strong connection between my spirit and the creator in this space.
I find many answers to life’s great mysteries; the questions I have about life. My prayers are answered here. When I write I don’t even think about the words, I just let them scatter onto the page, sometimes it doesn’t make sense at the time. But, when I go back later it comes to me like an epiphany.
Creator hears us through our art. Writing is my art. Our prayers are word in the air, but, writing is talking on paper.
What is it that speaks to you? How do you interpret the world? Is there something that you have found that gives you purpose?
Some people have become accustom to living a life without doing the things that bring them joy. Days, weeks, months, years pass by and the only thing they can focus on is how shitty their life has become.
I went through ha bit of writer’s block. I felt as though I had nothing to write. The mundane task of academic writing took away my passion for reading and writing.
Facilitating creative writing has brought me back to me. Who knew that by sharing my gift with others would also help me too.
I also have to accept the writing process. I did not lose my touch, more so, I was in the gestation period of the writing cycle. No guilt or shame has become of this, I continue to share my thoughts and stories.