Columbus Day typically brings out the white guilt. Unfortunately, white guilt serves no one other than white people trying to assuage their white guilt. Now here are some other thoughts on Columbus Day and stuff.
I ramble a little bit about accountability, especially as it relates to some stories from the recent (and not-too-recent) past. I even take some accountability myself. The better we learn to do it, the better we make our world.
Also, be my guest. Drop a line to email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a trauma survivor and want to become a thriver, check out my coaching website.
I am hoping to get this podcast going again and for real this time. My plan is to record something every Monday whether I have something to say or not. Wish me luck.
And be my guest. I want to hear about people’s lives. If you’re reading this, you are definitely one of those people, and I know you have something to say.
In an April 13 ESPN story it was reported that Kaylee Lorincz, a Larry Nassar survivor who is suing Michigan State University, met recently with interim president John Engler. Also present at the meeting was Carol Viventi, university vice president and special counsel to Engler.
To my knowledge, Mr. Engler has never practiced law himself, but he is a law school graduate. Furthermore, someone in his position should know better than to meet with a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the University. Doing so demonstrates an incredible lack of competence on his part. It also demonstrates an utter lack of competence on the part of Ms. Viventi. Both of them should be terminated immediately for their gross incompetence at the very least.
Even setting aside that incompetence, it is clear that Mr. Engler completely bungled the matter and continues to do so. He has issued a statement saying in part, “Our memories and interpretations of the March 28 meeting are different than hers.” That sounds to me like an attempt at a denial without actually making a denial. I see it often with people who are lying about things they’ve done wrong. That doesn’t even mention the fact that he attempted to cut Kaylee Lorincz off before she finished her statement at the board meeting.
Engler closes his statement with “We’ll be working for an equitable settlement to allow all the survivors to move forward in their process of healing.” Again, a lack of understanding about what these survivors really want which is to see MSU get it right with handling sexual assault, not just paying off survivors. Had John Engler actually listened to Kaylee Lorincz during that meeting, he probably wouldn’t have had to issue the apology he read earlier in the day.
John Engler was a curious selection at best for interim president and is clearly not the person to lead this university through this troubling time. The board of trustees has clearly shown again and again that they are not capable of making proper decisions. Michigan State University is in desperate need of new leadership probably not limited to the president and the board of trustees, but that would be a start. If these people are unwilling to resign, the Michigan legislature should step in immediately to remove them.
So to sum it all up very briefly (and admittedly bluntly):
You are royally fucking things up. I hope some real leaders get to work on cleaning up your mess soon.
I saw an old friend on TV the other day, and all I could do was cry.
I wish I could say they were tears of joy and nostalgia, but all I felt was pain and sadness. She was speaking some horribly painful truth about my alma mater, Michigan State University. I’d long known about the culture of silencing survivors of sexual assault there. After all, it’s pervasive in the culture at large, but it still hurt to hear about how people I’ve long admired contributed to it.
I keep hesitating to write out these names because it all hurts so much. My friend’s name is Lauren Allswede, and I’ve been struggling to tell her how proud I am of her.
Recently I reread the Henrik Ibsen play, “Enemy of the People”. The play ends with the protagonist learning a great truth “… that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone”. Dr. Thomas Stockmann had spoken uncomfortable truth and was made a pariah.
Some people in my hometown are mad at Lauren for the comments she’s made. I understand their pain, but I wish they could redirect their anger at the the truth behind it all. We can’t get better until we all take ownership of what we’ve created and fostered. We must all hold ourselves accountable for our failings, and that is especially important for the people who have held the greatest power.
Lauren Allswede is an enemy but not of the people. She is an enemy to silencing and enabling. I’m proud to call her my friend. I hope the next time I get to see her face it’s for a happier reason.
I’ve been wanting to record a podcast, but the furballs are making it impossible for me to do anything except sit quietly on the couch. Have I mentioned that I can’t wait for my fiance to come home (now just days away)? Anyway, on to the important stuff including a couple of podcast recommendations.
I received an advance copy of “The 10-Step Depression Workbook” by Dr. Simon Rego and Sarah Fader, and I have to say I love it. I’ve done some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the past, and I recently started working in a CBT-based program. So I came into this experience as a believer, but this will make believers out of many more people. This book is fun and interesting. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to feel better about their lives, whether they have a depressive disorder or not.
The book will be published on January 9. If you pre-order before then with coupon code 2RELIEF, you save $2.50. As an added bonus, if you pre-order a paper copy, you can buy the Kindle edition for $.99 and start reading it that way right away.
Sarah Fader has a podcast that never ceases to entertain me. I strongly encourage you to check that out as well.
Speaking of podcasts, Rebecca Lemke had an especially interesting episode of her Scarlet Virgins podcast, “Interview With A Sexual Assault Prevention Educator”. Even though I’m not a Christian myself, I find Rebecca endlessly fascinating. This particular episode is especially informative for anybody and everybody regardless of their own religious values.
Back to my own life for a bit. As I mentioned, I am working in a CBT-based program. Perhaps I’ll write more about the details of this job in the future. The important thing right now is that I love what I’m doing and being actively involved in CBT techniques has had many positive effects on my mental health. I’ve also been experiencing some positive changes with my physical health, some of which is certainly attributable to my massage therapist, but I believe my mental health gains have contributed.