Who are the terrorists, and why? Shocking 

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USA, did you know 2 British men beheaded a British soldier.. A French lady was one of the suicide bombers in Paris, a Belgian affiliate helped orchestrate it. It’s not the refugees you need to be worried about…

Last night Brussels, Belgium was shut down completely.  Two days ago, a Radisson hotel was attacked, leaving 27 dead after 170 hostages were held captive.  One of the suicide bombers was a woman raised in France.  A Belgian citizen was arrested for having connection to the terrorists base.  In May 2011 British men, hit, with a car, an off duty British solider, and proceeded to behead him with a meat cleaver and knife in a street on the outskirts of London. This list could go on and on… The more I see in today’s news, here in the UK, the more research I find myself doing.  The questions I have, the more I want to know, to get to the root of why? Why are these horrendous attacks happening?

I’ve now been in Europe for ten days.  On one hand, it has been an amazing trip so far, and I am enjoying seeing new sights, and sharing them thru photography and stories with those following me on Facebook.  On the other hand, I have been opened up to the reality of world events going on outside of the United States, and honestly, I am in shock.  I consider myself to be pretty knowledgable about life, but this trip is proving to provide insight about just how ignorant I am.  
The article about the death of Lee Rigby in Woolwich England hit home because it’s the barracks that we lived in when I was 4 years old.  My dad was with the British Army and my mum was with the Royal Air Force, and we lived there as a result.  As I googled “Lee Rigby” I saw pictures of him in uniform that were familiar.  I’d seen them on my newsfeed.  I’m not sure if it was American friends or British friends.. But it was one of those stories that I had meant to go back and read, but didn’t find the time.  In a nutshell he was ran over by a car, and then they attempted to behead him with a knife and meat cleaver.  They waited with the body for authorities to arrive, and as they waited, a civilian recorded the answer to “why?”

  

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Refugees are already in America – stop being brainwashed! 

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Be the change you want to see in the world – Ghandi

How can you know what that looks like if you haven’t seen the world? 
I came to Europe to put another ✔️ on my bucketlist next to backpack Europe, or at least that’s what I told myself and all of my friends. As the plan came together to actually make it happen, I felt the universe guiding me, and repeatedly saw the signs. The following blog will possibly sound borderline mentally unstable, possibly delusional, and will definitely keep me within the labels of “crazy” and “mentally ill”… But I am okay with that. I’ve learned to embrace and trust my intuitions, and have found that the more I own them, and talk about them, the better I feel and cope. I’m not alone.  
  When I allow myself to be quiet, still, and listen, it’s amazing what I hear. When I visited NY the first time this year, I posted the amazing tourist photos, and how to do everything for free. I visited the 9/11 memorial, and I sat for hours with visions of that day, flashes of hysteria. I felt the grief, and the sadness. I watched tourists take selfies, and pose as part of the NYFD sculptures, pretending to be a firefighter. The anger welled up inside of me at the lack of respect. I’m sure they have no idea what it was like for each and every person impacted directly by the events that took place on 9/11. As an empath, I absorb others emotions, and being in such an intense place, it was an experience I can’t quite put into words. I was in NY for 9/11 and had to move afterwards, because the energy was just too thick.  
  I moved to New Orleans, where 3 years later, Hurricane Katrina hit and caused complete devastation. Another war zone, this time with its own refugees. Again the energy was thick and almost unbearable, but an amazing transition happened as the New Orleans Saints won the division playoffs for the first time in their history. Returning from a year of exile due to the Superdome housing Katrina’s refugees, the Saints brought a light to the end of each weeks very hard exhausting week of rebuilding both workplaces and homes. New Orleans became united by the Bless You Boys and soon became the Who Dat nation. The energy became filling as opposed to depleting, and I stayed.  
  Recently, I took a trip to initially see Memphis. I’d repeatedly heard the word Memphis in conversations with friends, articles I’d read online, and tho it was the opposite side of where I wanted to see in Tennessee, I felt the universe was telling me to go to Memphis… For what? I had no idea. On that trip, I ended up seeing 13 states in 3 weeks. There wasn’t any particular plan. I learned a lot about camping, traveling at minimal costs, meeting new people with different cultures, and about Airbnb.. Something that would later prove to be vital in funding my future excursions. The Universe had provided me with tools for the next part of the plan.  
  In October I visited DC to attain a new British passport as I had lost my original. For years this had been the reason I didn’t visit home (England) and if I wanted to backpack Europe the following summer, I was going to need it. While in DC I visited a couple of museums. The first exhibit was “portraits” where I saw amazing paintings. One of them was Nelson Mandela, another was Maya Angelou. These are name that stick out to me as famous in the way I’d like to be famous one day. I also visited the holocaust museum, where I learned about genocide, I toured the story of Daniel, a name that repeatedly appears in my life, and speaks to me. By the end of the tour I was emotionally moved, and committed to NEVER letting that happen again. The next day, as fate would have it, I saw the German president on the steps to the Lincoln memorial. I was contacted on POF by a girl who was born in Germany, and when I asked in my photography group for suggestions on places to shoot pictures, the first response was Auschwitz. “I hear you universe” I remember thinking, and just like Memphis, I felt pulled towards going to Germany for a purpose. My higher powers will for me would most likely be revealed.  
  The next day was the embassy and tho I was unable to get the passport that day, across the street from the British embassy was a statue of Nelson Mandela. One man that made a significant difference in the world. As I continued to walk, I passed a statue of Ghandi, another man who made a significant difference. A feeling came over me, a certainty that I had the ability to make a difference.. That I wasn’t “just one person”.  
  A couple of days later I returned to New Orleans. I spent the night at my friends house, and before heading back to Mississippi I decided to have curry for lunch across the street. On the TV there was a celebration of Ghandi. They were dancing around his statue. I couldn’t understand the Indian language, but I knew it was Ghandi. I remember googling his birthday to see if that was it but it wasn’t. It was being broadcast from New York.  
  I now had a date of when I’d be able to get an emergency travel document to get into Europe. I had found an unheard of cheap flight into Paris, where Airbnb was hosting a worldwide convention that I wanted to attend. I’d found lodging for $80 for the week, and I was ready to push forward my summer goal of backpacking Europe.  
  As the time came closer to leaving, an article about migrants dying while trying to storm the channel tunnel from France to England came across my newsfeed. By this time I had booked my flight into London due to the price increase in the flight to Paris. I’d leave on 11/11, a number that always sticks out to me and now serves as the time of day that I reflect. I read the article and began researching about the immigrants and refugees fleeing Syria. While I was in Atlanta, getting my travel document, a close friend of mine asked me to be careful, sharing with me the latest news that riots were taking place in Germany in protest of allowing refugees in. It was at that moment I felt convinced that backpacking Europe wasn’t going to look like I had imagined it to look. Yes, I would sightsee, take pictures, see family, but there was a greater purpose going on.  
  Now that I am seeing the world, I have a clearer picture of the change I want to be. I see how closed off America keeps its people. I see the ignorance, tho no fault of their own. I see the sheep following the media wherever the money tells the media to lead them and it is sad. It is so sad for me to see.  
  Today’s news is about which states are refusing to allow refugees into their borders because the media chose to interrupt shows like Ellen, and let them know that Paris was attacked. No one stops to question why that particular story was shared. Why wasn’t the first attack on France this year shared? Why wasn’t the attack on Lebanon that killed over 200 people just two days earlier shared? An attack that killed many Syrian refugees, the same people America is being conditioned to fear. Why is it that David Cameron, the British prime minister felt safe enough to visit Syrian refugees in their tents, 2 days prior to the attacks on France, to find out what their needs are, but in America we are afraid if there is even one refugee behind state lines? I keep reading posts about taking care of our own first, and I agree!! Veterans should absolutely be taken care of.. But let’s be honest.. If we don’t allow refugees into the country, do we really believe the money will go to the veterans?  Fuck no.  

  Stop letting the government brainwash you with selective media broadcasting!!!  Get educated!!  If you wanna protect yourself, your loved ones, and your country, get to KNOW what the problem is!  This is genocide people! This time we are fucking Hitler and his army.  How do you think the citizens of Germany were trained to support Hitlers cause? The same way we are.  Selective information.  Our government gets our backs up, and we become ready to fight to protect ourselves, and we support them bombing the fuck out of Syria.  Why now? This war has been going on for your years.. Why did they wait so long? Yesterday France bombed “ISIS” and America joined them too and also bombed Syria.  The more the western countries bomb Syria, the more innocent civilians flee the country, and the more refugees are created.  The refugees flee to neighboring lands that have run out of resources, and are turning to the United Nations for help.  Countries like England are sending money to support the refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, and other surrounding countries, so that they can provide resources and prevent them needing to move further into western European countries.  Germany has an alterior motive for allowing 800,000 refugees into its borders.  They have a decrease in population, and todays’ children will be tomorrow’s workforce andraxable income, not to mention the funding that is sent to help aid the refugees.  

From one New Orleans refugee to another: I LOVE YOU

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November 8th I wrote about the high terrorist alerts in countries you wouldn’t expect. We are all aware of the events that took place in Paris a few days later. Since then MASS hysteria circulates about refugees in NOLA so the media writes an article stating there are only 14. If you believe that you’re a fool.  Here is the breakdown of alleged refugees by state.  

Syrians have been fleeing for their lives since civil war broke out in 2011. Here are the facts as of September 4th 2015.

  •  7.6 million people are currently displaced internally in the country of Syria. 
  • 2 million refugees have fled to Turkey
  • 250,000 refugees have fled to Iraq.. This one blows my mind.  How many people do you know would prefer to be in Iraq than at home?
  • 1.2 million refugees are displaced in Lebanon 
  • 800,000 refugees have fled to Jordan, and onto Iraq. 
  • More than half of the refugees are under the age of 18… That’s almost 7 million children… What would you do if this was your child?   
  • The lucky ones live inside camps. Tent camps with no electricity, no clean water 
  • The lucky ones make it to places with medical assistance   
  • Over a 1/4 million have already died.
  • Fleeing the country is as dangerous as staying, the only difference is that fleeing has a ray of hope.  That ray of hope is that somewhere out there, there is a world with a heart. 
  • 436,000 refugees have applied for assylum within Europe, according to the United Nations. 

The neighboring countries cannot meet the needs of the masses.  Meeting the basic survival needs of the refugees does not support corporate western countries.  It’s simple mathematics.  Some claim the ISIS beheadings were photoshopped. As a photographer who uses photoshop and Lightroom, I can believe that, and after looking closer at some of the footage, id have to say it was poorly done, but it was convincing enough to stir panic, and if there’s one thing that will cause an American or any person to back its military it’s panic, followed by revenge.  This was clearly demonstrated following the September 11th attacks.  Before the attacks, there was heavy pressure to bring our troops home after years of war in the Middle East.  Immediately following the attacks there was a record number of people enlisting to fight for our country.  Back to the refugees…

It was only ten years ago that New Orleans had 300,000 refugees of its own.  Hurricane Katrina came thru, and survival of the fittest kicked in. Looting occurred.  Food became scarce.  People lined up for hours for a bag of ice, a box of MRE’s, military rations, that gave you the worst stomach aches.  Water was unusable due to the flood and failure of water stations. Electricity was non existent for weeks and months in some cases.  Military moved in and out home looked like a war zone of its own.  People that stayed behind did whatever thy had to do to survive and protect themselves and their families.  Assistance was limited if at all. Help didn’t come for days.  Imagine if 4 years after Katrina, refugees were still walking and riding on top of whatever could float to get to a place of safety.  Imagine if we were turned away because of the select few ignorant people that were looting TVs and non surivaval items.  Imagine if those who made it Houston and acted an ass caused Houston to start bombing us on  top of trying to survive.  

The way I see it, if ISIS was responsible for the recent attacks and we turn on all refugees for it:

  • 8 people continue to terrorize these people on our own soil as well as the countries that are housing them. 
  • They prove that we are heartless western greedy people, as their beliefs teach.. The very reason they believe we should be exterminated
  • We enable their goal or fear and terror by spreading the fear via social media 
  • We ignorantly continue spreading more hate than ISIS ever could
  • there will be an additional 436,000 people willing to fight against us pretty soon.

 If you think your random share of ignorant posts and comments don’t make a difference, they DO!  Think about the ice bucket challenge, and how fast that spread world wide. Fear spreads like wild fire. Fear of the unknown is the worst.  

Smart move ISIS.

Today I change my profile picture to one of the 7 million faces that could’ve been mine.  One of the 7 million faces that is living in worse conditions than any hurricane Katrina victim ever faced, because I remember, and I wanted the world to care about us, the people of New Orleans.  Not just the black people, not just the white people, the PEOPLE, the humans, the beautiful individual lives of each and every one of us because we are one.  I’ve never felt shitty after a random act of kindness, and it’s always come back ten fold. 

How can you help?  Post a comment of an accurate fact about the humans of Syria. Change your profile picture to one of the 7 million faces.  Open your heart and mind.  Pause before mindlessly passing on ignorant social media content.  What would you want if it were your child? Your mom? Or grandma?

What a journey!

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So I left Hattan Hostel at 7am on November 11th and arrived in London at 10am on November 12th..

 I then had a two hour bus ride to Bournemouth and a final 10 minute train ride to Christchurch where my cousin was waiting for me! I finally arrived at 5pm, just in time for tea! 🙂

  
The next day I spent the morning hanging out wit my Aunt and looking theu some old pictures of us as kids.. My parents wedding, which I have only ever seen one picture of, so that was pretty awesome.  My aunt seems really happy to have me, and wishes our family was better connected.  Andre is a sweetheart, and Alex.. Well I’ll pray For him, he seems a little lost.  

 
In the afternoon, Andre and Alex took me for a walk around town.  We saw the prior and the old town tower where the Normans were once stationed.  

  They showed me the stocks, and then we shopped for food so that we could bring our own lunch to London the next day.  A frugal family, that’s what I like to see 😊

As I was getting ready for bed, news broke out about Paris being under attack.  I am so thankful that the plane ticket went up or I would’ve been in Paris.  Thank you God. 

  
 

Thank God I didn’t go to Paris for the Airbnb convention tonight!

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I wrote the article below 5 days ago. I was supposed to fly into Paris and attend an airbnb convention but the flight price increased $100 and my frugal self flew into London instead. I’m guessing a lot of people are shocked by the breaking news story tonight.  I am not. I am just thankful the Universe interacted on that plane ticket, and I pray all those 5,000 plus Airbnb hosts from around the world are safe.. As well as all those in Paris.  Prayers to them.   

When facing fear of the unknown, it’s always smart to do some research. Yes, I have faith in my higher power, but that doesn’t mean I can live life in dangerous situations, completely unprepared. There is always research to do when walking into the unknown.  
As someone with PTSD, panic attacks are common. Anxiety spikes for no reason when it’s not needed.. Leaking out from the times it didn’t spike and danger was present. PTSD occurs when fight if flight sensors are reconditioned.. Most commonly linked to military. The first time a person witnesses something shocking, or they are in a life or death situation, there is a reaction. The animal brain kicks in.. Survival… and we instinctively become ready to fight or run. I often visualize a bear versus an emu. A bear is built to fight. It is genetically predispositioned to be big, to protect itself and its cubs with brute force, loud growls, and ability to grow in size when threatened. An emu runs. I think of the road runner. 🙂 it can protect itself by outrunning its predator. (This also contributes a LOT to the weight problem in humans.. But I’ll get back to that)  In people with PTSD, they have experienced repeated expansions on what their ability to process trauma is. Military folk may have felt traumatized at seeing a man shot for the first time, whereas three months later, seeing men shot is familiar, it’s been repeated, and military personnel have become reconditioned. The image of that first man shot will stay forever burned in their minds. A reference point the psych uses to never allow them to return to that moment of paralyzing trauma.  

 In the same respect, childhood abuse conditions a childs’ responses. A childs psyche is forced to disconnect in order to handle the abuse without breaking. What once may have been a traumatizing ass beating, now becomes another day at home, or wherever the abuse is being done. The brain physically shuts down those receptors, and brings the mind “inside” to a safe place, while the shell takes the brunt of the attack. This, much needed to survive, disconnection is what causes dissociation. It can happen with one traumatic event.. Being raped for example. At some point in the attack a victim may “check out” and retreat mentally into a safe place.. Depending how fragile he/she is, they may never come back out. It is more likely, the longer and more extensive the abuse, or traumatic experiences.  

 My experience, in attempting to heal myself without medication, has brought me to traveling. When I am out of my comfort zone, I stay grounded. I am on alert, hyper vigilant and ready to protect myself. Big cities are challenging for me.. So much sensory input, threats, unknowns. I go home one week a month to check in with my therapist, decompress, and attempt to relax. At home I have repeated panic attacks, anxiety for no known reason, and stay in my house for the most part. In between attacks I research and plan for my next trip, aching to get back on the road because I typically feel better. The last trip home was the worst that it has been in about a year, when I was last hospitalized. Decompressing has been helpful. My home is a safe place for me to let go of control, and relax. The moments when I should’ve panicked or been anxious, and I wasn’t .. I can now. It’s stored, and still has to be expressed just like any other feeling. Sometimes it is triggered by a smell, or object.. A word.. A familiar feeling or face.. A firework or news story.. Maybe a religious symbol, or a particular cartoon.. Triggers can be anything.. And sometimes it may be for no known reason.. Sometimes I have flashbacks, although thankfully, those are rare now.  

 Well, this was supposed to be a blog about preparing for the unknown when traveling, but I guess I felt y’all needed that background in order to understand the magnitude of fear and its role in my life as I travel. For those of you who are in a bubble, the world is not a safe place at the moment. The map that pops up indicates the possibility of a terrorist threat. Dark red is high risk, orange is moderate risk, and yellow is low risk. As you can see..England, france, Spain, Belgium, Germany… They’re all red.. At high risk for terrorist attacks. Just as high as Syria, Libya, and Iraq. As the refugees are entering these countries thru asylum agreements with the respective governments, there are only an assigned number of people permitted to enter, and only from designated camps.. This leaves many other desperate groups of people left behind. They’re desperate enough to storm the castle so to speak, and do whatever they have to do to get into the countries whose borders are temporarily open. As of October, 82 people had died in 2015, trying to get into England from France thru the channel tunnel.  In Hungary, police are using tear gas on migrants attempting to penetrate their borders.   In Germany there are riots on the streets. Germans protesting their governments decision to allow so many people into their country. In Sweden the percentage of people reporting rape has increased over 1400% .. One thousand four hundred percent.. There is real world shit going on out there. More than worrying about what to eat that night.. Or buying already spoiled kids the latest PlayStation 4 for Christmas. There’s people literally dying to have a better life. I don’t have much to give, but I have me.. And I believe in my heart that all of our higher powers, whether it’s Muslims, Christians, or people like me that just believe in something greater than myself, thanks to the third step of Alcoholics Anonymous.. I believe I am going to Europe for a reason, and that a greater purpose will be served than I have any idea about. It’s not my plan… But I can prepare myself to take care of myself, wherever it may lead.  

Today I am grateful for luxurious life I was born into. I forgive myself for not knowing any different. Now that I do, I am ready to be the change I want to see in the world. While traveling I will explore all that I can and share it with the world.. The beauty.. And the beast.  

In order to take care of myself, I will need to decompress while traveling, without coming home. That core requirement, and not having a plan for it is my biggest cause of anxiety at the moment. While I am safe couchsurfing, and staying in hostels, it isn’t the ideal place to “melt”.  

Blogging helps.. That’s how this started.. Just a journal of releasing anxiety by typing away. I had it when I started this one.. But in writing, I circled back around to my faith in my higher power, and all the evidence in my life that supports I am a warrior.. A survivor.. And I can do this.. One day at a time. 

 (I am currently transferring my blog from Google to WordPress.. For older entries please visit Cre8ivFlame.com)

Lunch in the Heights

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