Sunday, September 27, 2009

When the Fat Lady Sang

June 27
Dear Sis,
This morning after you left, the house seemed empty, and Mama and I were I didn't know what to do and it was plain to me that neither did Mama. I realized that she was suffering horribly from your departure and needed some reassurance upon the outset; therefore, I went to her, putting my arms out and she came into them and wept. I stood there and rocked her for awhile, til she was comforted.
But see it wasn't enough--she wanted comfort of a different kind; she commenced treating me with suspicion and snurliness so mindless and wounding, that a big thick rope of long-held grievances uncoiled within my gut and with velocity such, that it sprang at my own throat.
At that instant I felt my whole self a gaping maw, capable of swallowing that woman, belongings and all, and vomiting the whole baggage out into the street, far from me.

July 11
It's taken me two weeks to get back to this letter--I've been busy keeping ahead of all the games Mama pulls out of her bag. For instance, she harbored the notion that I would become the household cook. To thwart that I took refuge in a diet that consisted of only fruit and salads.
She whined and complained but I stayed cheerful as all hell while eating my salad and watching her cook. Today is the first day I've cooked my food. Mama is established in self-cook mode, so I'm safe.
Another game, harder to deal with, is the rent. I've told Mama that I'm living on unemployment for now and it's hard to meet the bills.
She hemmed and hawed and said that she couldn't help me--been helping people all her life.
I told her that when I can't pay the rent neither of us will have a home.
She just stood there blinking her eyes the way she does. Then I asked her how much she thought she could pay (just to stop her from rambling on about years past AGAIN).
She said that she'd have to think about it 'cause she don't know...
I go on about my business.
Then, for two hours, nonstop, I heard Mama in her room praying and chanting and stomping around, beseeching God to find a way to help me with my rent. He'd already found one--she just don't agree with it.
Mama is driving me mad, Sis. She screeches psalms and prayers at the top of her voice. She preaches, praises, chants and talks to God while stomping her feet the whole time. We're talking HOURS. I'm losing sleep. Maybe it's good I'm not working right now.
Your sister,

July 25
Dear Sis,
Things are not good. I feel like I can't make it to November. God help me to bear Mama that long.
The day before yesterday Mama had given me $50. She had a peculiar look on her face...kept standing there, and then, almost dreamily, began talking to Someone?... "I've been good to people all my life--"
Oh no! Not that "good" mess again!
"--gave 'em all the good I had--"
"You've not given me any of that 'good,' Mama."
She blinked. "I was good to all my children."
"Not me, not to me were you good. Whenever I was sick I had to pay you to keep my kids, even when we were dog-poor. From the time I was little all I got from you was verbal abuse: 'You're just like your damn daddy' and shit like that--all the time. You were always throwing me away, over the phone. Talking to your sisters, you'd say, you'd say 'Evelyn ain't a daughter of mine.' I heard you, Mama, you did that a lot--I never heard you throwing Clara away!"
Mama's mouth gaped, eyes blinking rapidly. "YOU were bad--Clara Jean was a good little girl."
Mama's eyes blazed. "Why, when you were two years old I smacked your hand, saying 'No' and you, you stomped your little foot and said, 'I don't YIKE you, Mama!'"
"Mama," I said, "I was a child."
"Yes, a bad child--you never would MIND me."
Finally, I told her about paying me that piddling $50 and that the times I'd lived in her house since being grown I'd paid her what she charged. And now, the roles are reversed; she's in MY house.
I was furious, and to keep from seeing her snurled up face I went upstairs.
Later, Mama came upstairs, looking forlorn and mistreated, bringing me another $50. Then she just stood. I ignored her. After while, she started. Same old stuff. She's been good to me--
"Were you being good to me, Mama, when you had me hauled to the insane asylum and tried to take my children from me?"
Looking downward, she said, "I was good to my Mama even though she didn't raise me--gave me away to my grown sister, tryin' to get a better life for me. I don't understand you, Evelyn, you're so hard."
"Not as hard as you, Mama."
"I would never have talked to my mama the way you talk to me."
"I've never done to my daughter what you tried to do to me, Mama."
She hauled ass out of my face.
I know this is hard for you to read, Sis. But you wanted me to "report" on how Mama fared here with me and I said I'd tell you. So I'm telling.
Your sister,

August 8
Dear Sis,
I thought of a way to help Mama comfort herself. You know how she's forever telling about her awful childhood over and over til we have to distract her? I thought maybe if it was on tape, then she could just play it when she feels her story needs telling.
At first she was eager to do it--like a little kid, but then her childlike jubilance turned to childlike fear: what if she hurt somebody's feelings...if somebody got mad at her...they might say she was lying, they hadn't done it to her...what if they--
"Mama," I said, "they are long dead. Besides, you have a right to do something to help yourself in this matter regardless of who might get offended."
So we began, and I tell you that I was stunned at the change that came over Mama. As she talked, she wilted down into the very physicality of a five year old child.
The Child told of beatings, starvings, and work work work. Of being kicked down the stairs in the mornings to hurry her up. She learned to wait hand and foot upon each family member, from the youngest to the oldest. Uncle William enjoyed calling her to him just so he could see how far across the room he could kick that little bitty body with one blow from his foot. He never wore shoes to play that game...
I was weeping.
The Child wept as she told of special humiliations...her naked body exposed to everybody's eyes at bathtime in the big tin tub in the kitchen... later, there was the "beauty" treatment of washing your face in pee--she was not allowed to wash in her own, was made to wash her face in someone else's piss...
I can't go on, Sis. But I realize something. Mama gave her soul in slavish obedience, hoping to obtain better treatment. It didn't work. Still, she survived.
I think I've got the answer now to a question I've asked myself for fifty years: why was it me out of all Mama's five children, that she chose to make pay her for her wretched childhood?
She found my independent spirit unforgivable.
Your sister,

August 22
Dear Sis,
Mama is for real a little kid, and a brat at that. I'm still being deprived of sleep.
Getting evicted has not cured Mama of the notion that "creatures" are after her. I shudder when I think of how she devastated her apartment by fighting them. She's been trying to claim them here but I block her and she is furious.
The other morning I'm standing in her bedroom doorway and I happen to look up at the ceiling, and WHAT is this? She has chugged sheets of newspaper into the bowl of the light fixture. I recognize this as a statement that the creatures are afoot again--NOT IN MY HOUSE THEY AREN'T!
So I go at her from the issue of safety. And because I don't mention creatures, only safety, Mama has to respond to my concern with good sense. I tell her about these old houses needing their electricity updated--we must BE CAREFUL if we don't want to burn up in our beds one night.
Her eyes get big and scared, like a child's. She hops up on her bed like a nimble eight year old and, jumping high, snatches all the paper out of the three jumps! She's cute...well, almost.
The moment I'd first said anything about the paper her head jerked around and those red brat eyes lighted in her snurled up face. She'd been ready to go to war claiming her creatures. It all died the moment I said "fire."
Mama still treats Junior like a six year old, but since he has been living with my son, he's blooming. Can you believe this is the first time in 42 years they've been separated? Edward is teaching him to do things for himself. Junior loves it.
Your sister,

September 1
Dear Sister,
It's ugly. I went off on Mama. So now it's like we got two little kids in the house, each screaming at the other.
Yesterday, at the market, Mama pulled that non-thinking DUMB shit I've been trying to get her out of, and the result was that I got hurt. She caused other shoppers to ram into my bad leg with their carts.
I was in such pain and so mad I started yelling at her and she went directly to mouthing her famous excuses--you know the drill, Clara--she ain't got no memory and her eyes close up on her and--
"We're not talking about your damn memory or your damn eyes," I screamed at her. "We're talking about you USING your fucking head. You got one of those, don'cha, dammit!"
So we get home. I'm limping and fed up. One thing leads to another and I jump her for the rent til she hollers, "YES YES YES I'll pay can shut the hell up!"
I holler back, "Thank you! And the next time you start haranguing God with a three hour list of my faults, take your own advice--you shut the hell up!"
And then, somehow it goes to where Mama is able to say to me, not to other people over the phone, that, I-am-no-daughter-of-hers.
I walk over to where she sits, and, leaning into her face, say, "But you know, Mama, our lives are similar--you weren't raised by your mother...nor was I."
I leave her sitting there.
Your sister,

September 12
Dear Sister,
I'm so tired. Will November ever come?
The issue of asylum/child-taking came up again. Different times I've brought it up and she's said that she doesn't remember. But this time, I ran her around and around til she was finally trapped in admission. I wish you could have seen the face that stared up at me from out of the trap. The mouth embedded in the face spoke: You deserved it.
God help me. My fist shot out into that ugly little face and cracked that frail little skull open against the wall behind. Blood.
God helped me. As my fist crashed down upon the table, two inches from Mama's face, I understood that what had gone before was my feeling drawing pictures in my mind. I had only felt murderous.
Still choking with fury, I moved lips heavier than iron and said, "You did a thing to me that you know had anyone tried to do to you there--would--have--been--a--KILLING."
She couldn't even deny it.
Your sister,
P.S. It ain't over; I feel it in my bones. Besides, the fat lady ain't sung a note yet.

October 3
Dear Clara,
Good news--I've got a job!
Bad news--Mama still keeps me awake.
Last night I kept hearing all this noise in my sleep til I woke up. I was dreaming that ten men were knocking me in my head with mallets.
It was Mama, downstairs in her room stomping and shrieking praises at God. I rushed down at her, screaming for my SLEEEEEE-EP! Then, sagging against the door, I begged her to let me sleep. I was almost crying--afraid that lack of sleep would cause me to fall apart in my boss's face next day at work.
Mama just stood there looking at me, self-satisfied as all hell, all smug, shaking her head and going, "Umpf umpf umpf, poor thing can't get her sleep, umpf umpf--"
She knew she'd gotten to me and she was happy. Right then, right then I could have choked that woman til she shit!
Since you can't bring yourself to talk to me in this, Clara, I get information from Mama. She tells me that you're saying that your house will be finished and ready for her and Junior by the fourth of November. Oh happy day.
October 24
For the past two weeks Mama has been running away. She leaves each morning, returning each evening with a little bag of food, stashing it in her room. I don't ask where she's been or what she's doing, 'cause I know. My landlady, who lives up the street is telling me.
I can't feel sorry about Mama's running away since I understand that if she weren't, I would be.

November 1
Dear Clara,
Last night, the fat lady sang. It was the most beautiful sound I ever heard.
Edward and Junior had come over. Earlier, Junior had discovered enough tongue in his mouth to tell me how unhappy his life with Mama has been. He'd like for her to stop bossing so much and to be allowed to do some things for his own self. I told him he could tell Mama that. He agreed to.
Still, by the time he and Edward got here, fear of Mama was sittin' on Junior's face, so I helped him get the ball rolling.
When they leave Mama is LIVID. "You gone too far this time, Evelyn, you are a devil, I won't stand for this! As good as I've always been to you--God don't like this, you are a damnation..."
I walk right on past Mama, like I don't see or hear her.
Her voice rises to a screech as she begins her sermon. I turn on the exhaust fan in the kitchen to drown out her sound. Then I go into the den, shut the door, and turn on the t.v. to further drown her out. Yet I can still hear the muffled thuds of her feet as she stomps, emitting piercing screams in her angry praise ritual.
After an hour she's still going strong and has not run out of bad things to tell God about me and good things to tell God about herself. But like I said, she's a child.
Later, I go to the bathroom, passing by Mama's room where she now is. She looks totally crazy. I have not said ONE word since she began her tirade over two hours ago. She's frantic. She follows me, still demanding God to punish me.
In single file, we troop through the darkened living room into the dim kitchen. My scalp tingles--I half expect her to leap upon my back and knock me in the head, but I don't turn around.
I stop at the refrigerator to get some water. She is so close on my heels that she bumps into my body--
Surprise! --it shuts her up for a minute, and she stands there looking goofy. Before she can recover I go on into the den, shutting the door.
Silence. Waiting. I'm aware she hasn't left the door. I hear her starting to chant again, to get up nerve enough to open that door and blatantly IMPOSE herself on me. If she does, she is MINE.
The door opens..."God don't like ugly, Evelyn."
"I'm watching t.v., Mama."
She stands at the door. "I don't know how you can even call yourself a woman, trying to come between me and my son and keep him from me the way you doin'--why I would NEVER do something like that, that low-down."
Red. I see red. "WHAT was that?...You would never--"
I'm walking towards Mama, real slow, but inside I feel as if I am rushing toward her--like a tornado.
"--but you already HAVE done it, Mama, to me. YOU did it to me, FIRST. I learned it from you, Mama!
"The pain and outrage you feel is MY pain and outrage when you tried to take my children and commit me to the insane asylum for the rest of my life!"
Nowhere to go--she's against the wall. "Uh uh uh, well uh, not for the rest of your life, just--"
"Mama! You told me to my face it would be for life as just punishment for not obeying you about my divorce. When the judge freed me after my three day entombment in that pit, pronouncing me SANE, why Mama, YOU went insane, before everybody in that courtroom. You started jumping up and down and ordering the judge to lock me back up--you were looking and sounding so crazy that the people were gawking. They kept on gawking as the judge told you to sit down sit down SIT DOWN! or be held in contempt. As I walked past you, free, you glowered at me with such naked hatred that you looked like a beast from hell."
Mama is looking, now, like a wizened little elf--all drawed up. "You-- you-- you deserved it."
So. She's set in it, then. That's the second time she's said it.
"I'm sure you think I did, Mama."
She's all self-righteous again. "I'm a child of God, I just don't understand how you can be so mean, talk so ugly to your own mother--"
"Well, I don't have to listen to this--"
"True. You don't. Goodbye."
"But, but, but--"
November 2
The plane tickets you sent arrived in the mail today, Clara. Aunt Dora called; she wants to see her sister before she leaves.
November 3
As soon as Aunt Dora arrives, She drags her off into that cave of a bedroom with stuff piled everywhere.
After a short while, Dora comes out, looking hunted, and tells me she wants to "see the house." So I take her on a little tour, with Her tipping right behind us.
Aunt Dora's eyes are full of questions as she prepares to leave. She's been here all of twenty minutes.
She has her coat on, and precedes Aunt Dora outside. Dora asks me where does she think she's going. I tell Dora that I don't know, but to myself I think that an emotionally hungry little girl is ripe to attach herself to an unwilling Dora for the rest of the day, if Dora can't scrape her off.
Aunt Dora goes out to the car where She is waiting like a little kid expecting to be taken for a ride. That's what happens. Dora takes her for a ten minute spin--brings her back home--and gets her OUT of her car.
Shortly, Aunt Dora phones me. She is upset.
She had planned to spend more time with her sister, but was appalled at her behavior.
Did I know that she stashes groceries at my neighbor's houses, telling them that her daughter is poisoning her food?
That she is telling these same people that I am the devil and have been since I was two?
That I am stealing her money?
Aunt Dora is incensed that her sister is going round to strangers, talking this shit.
November 4
She and Junior got off on time this morning. Edward drove them to the airport.
By your continuing silence towards me, Clara, I figure that you probably have a high degree of disapproval of my handling of matters concerning your mother. It's okay. That's life. Don't let her move her creatures in on you, you'll be sorry. Do what you can to alleviate that stranglehold on Junior's well-being.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Life

Juanita’s Story

Part 1

I was born in a minute town in the mid-western state of Ohio, during the depression. By age 1 my mother was divorcing my father and she took me and my older sister down to live in the capitol. My father was a brown-eyed handsome man, and in the Navy. My mother was young, inexperienced, and had missed a good bit of her education—schoolwise—but she knew how to clean house and cook. So that is what she did for many years to earn our living. She earned in white folks’ houses.

From Kindergarten on I read every book I could get my hands on. Words to me were like a kind of food, so I ate them. This eating frenzy of mine caused some disruption at school since I read so voraciously that I left the class and the teacher behind me. I loved school, the reading part of it anyway.

In the 40’s the city of Columbus held various “pockets” of community locations for Colored people, the busiest being Mt. Vernon Avenue and its surrounding area. Many and varied Colored businesses produced and sold all manner of good things familiar to Colored people. Some White businesses were there too, but their owners did not live in the community, and they employed Coloreds.

I don’t remember much of anything impressive during my first three years of schooling, besides my discovery of the endlessness of the written word, the teasing (cruel) of the other children about the odd shoes I had to wear to correct my feet, and the advent of World War II bursting upon us. My mother was doing day work while my sister and I attended school. When we came home the neighborhood “watched” us and other kids whose parents weren’t home. (Throughout my childhood there were always old ladies living with somebody, who were all eyes and therefore saw everything and would both correct you AND tell on you at the drop of a hat.)

From the earliest, we were taught to mind our elders and not “talk back.” If we didn’t like something a grown person did or said, we were to speak of it to our parents. ALL grown people were Mr. So & So and Miss So & So. You did NOT call grown-ups by their first names—it was utter disrespect! These rules and other rearing practices followed us into school. Teachers knew your parents and could confer with them easily. And when a grown person said something to you, you BETTER answer with a “ma’am?” or “sir?” You better.

And so I grew up with a distinct awareness of what authority was. It was something that I, as a child, did NOT have; it was something that commanded obedience; it was something to be respected, it was something that parents and teachers and older people had; it was something that let you decide things for yourself and nobody could make you do different—like—WHEN to go to bed, and WHAT clothes to wear, and the WHO, WHERE, and HOW concerning your ownself.

By third grade the war was in full swing. We moved to an outer edge of our particular pocket, and this meant changing schools for my sister and me, while a change of jobs happened for Mama. She went to work in a factory production line supplying the war effort. The place was called “Curtis Wright,” and has since been renamed two or three times. Most of our daily goods were rationed, including food staples and such. School children were given little booklets that held coins for saving towards buying War Bonds. Our neighborhood was full of Victory Gardens too, worked a lot by us kids. At school we were subjected to many Air Raid Drills. The bigger kids scared the smaller ones with warnings about bombs falling on us while we slept. I was really scared for awhile. I’m sure that the rationing of gasoline was quite hard on the White people, but there was not an abundance of cars amongst us Coloreds, hence, less privation for us in this area.

The principal at the new school was a darling man, white, and interested in the well-being of the children. Whenever a couple of kids reached the point of hitting one another it was deemed a fight and the next thing was two parents, each with their kid by the scruff of the collar—with Principal B. behind them—getting to the bottom of who did what to whom and STRAIGHTEN IT OUT now! “I’m sorries” were next, and friends again—if they were before, yet sometimes it was the start of a friendship. I will never forget that man and his way with fights between kids.

Even though we were in a different neighborhood, we still remained in the same community, somewhat stretched. We associated closely, and everyone knew everyone else. I don’t think anyone’s parents were unknown to the school. And a church seemed always to be right in the vicinity of the school. Church was a staple of most every family, and between church and school as back-up for home training, we kids were pretty well structured in obedience to authority. I’ve had my hands tapped with a ruler, and my butt smacked with a paddle on various occasions at school. Plus, the added indignity of a switch applied by mother at home upon her hearing of my misdeeds from my teacher. Discipline and training of the neighborhood children was a shared affair, and these people did not play. No one begged you, bribed you, or really—ASKED you to do whatever. Your were told to do whatever, and you better move it! Don’t roll your eyes at that neighbor lady either, when she scolds you about something you did wrong, cause then you might hear the most dreaded words of ALL—“I’m gonna TELL YOUR MAMA on you.” At that time, it was unheard of for youngsters to go about, cursing at or calling ANY grown-up out of their name. And school was not a place you went to so you could misbehave. It just was not tolerated, by the parents or the teachers both.

Early on, I got into writing poetry. My sixth grade teacher encouraged me a lot, and I continued it throughout school as a hobby of sorts. Jr. High brought changes that veered sharply from my earlier school experience. But, I guess it was to be expected since Jr. Highs gathered in students from several pockets, some more tame than others. There were a few “known” rowdies, and the school lost no time in showing who was boss. It’s funny now to remember how a couple of male teachers were strong and hard-eyed. They could quell a rowdy boy by a look and a muscle flex. Still, the rowdies kept as much mischief going as they could, most of it out of sight and sound of Teacher.

High School brought change of a different kind. Along with the several pockets, there was also a mixed bag. Some WHITE along with the Coloreds. In my life, perhaps for most of my generation, change can be measured in the fact that I was not exposed to white teachers and students until I entered high school; while years later, my first born had that served up in kindergarten. Is that progress or what?

Between my schooling and my children’s, there was a gradual shift in the various factors that contribute to demographic and societal change of such significance. In the rearing of my children, however, I carried over some of the old ways—those within my jurisdiction. For the rest of the “good” of the “old days,” well, it remains mine, because I lived it.

Part 2

Since only around a year elapsed between my graduation and my first marriage, I had no chance at all towards independent living, as an adult person. However, having been born with an independent spirit, I made inroads with a different status I assigned to myself while yet in my mother’s house. A conglomerate of issues caused me to assert the difference between my former child status and my new grown-up status—a difference that somehow seemed to have escaped my mother and other adult members of my family. My one visible criteria for solid support of my stand was found in these 2 words: “I work!”

“Your Honor, the defense Rests.”

I was released from dinky jobs by my marriage and subsequent child-bearing; a different kind of work but just as poorly paid. But Motherhood is not without its rewards and its… lessons. I learned how to lose my mind—twice! This marriage lasted 12 years and 6 pregnancies during the first seven. I stirred up within me all of my mother’s wonderful money-managing skills and ways of making little do LOTS. I had always been a responsibly-minded person once I outgrew childishness. After awhile, though, no amount of penny-pinching or talking with creditors could stem the tide of debt inflicted upon me and my children by a Gambling Man. Married at 19, divorced at 31. This was my life.

Well. What to do now? Scared out of my wits I was. I could have dealt with being on my own had it just been me, but I had four stair-step arranged children (2 miscarriages) attached to me. Shortly, depleted in every area of strength, I fell prey to a second marriage in hopes of making life better, but if before was Bad, then now was Worse, and believe you me, that ain’t Good.

He was a batterer, my marriage was a farce, and I and my children were trapped. But his treatment of us started me thinking (and whining) about the way of things in life, and what made it so. Being the independent person that I am, it all got real old, real soon, and I was at the point of desperate measures to end it. But then I got religion. More than that I had a Spiritual awakening that brought me Divine Inspiration rooted in the very subject matter that had perplexed me ever since I first realized that some adults boss other adults around, and the manner and the rule of what, when, WHY, escaped me in all its complexity.

Well I’ll tell you—it got real PLAIN and plainer even, as I travelled that road of discovery. The Rules of Application began in the house with the batterer, and then proceeded outward. And as I grew in the wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding contained within the principles of this theory, it became an integral part of how I deal with life, period. Since that initial success, (treasured above all the rest because it saved my life AND my batterer’s) I have accumulated countless others, both minor and major, and have not ceased in my efforts to bring this gift of understanding to “whosoever will.”

To that end, I entered college at the age of 42. I was a better student then, than when I was a child. Four children to raise and two divorces under my belt by age 37 had made me serious in areas I had not been before. It was during my first two years at school that my understanding of authority and power was recognized as theory. During this time also, the problem of men beating their wives leapt from behind closed doors to the public eye—in the twink of an eye—and began pushing its way toward national recognition.

Under the auspices of my school, I interned at the shelter for battered women in my city. I was also helping battered women in my private life. For two decades I traipsed about, mostly in Ohio, but a number of other states as well, doing workshops and seminars aimed at empowering women through teaching the practical applications of the theory. By now I am into the writing of books, one done and others to follow.

In 1983 I crossed paths with Ms. Carolyn Cutler; she joined the staff at the shelter. From the time that I first introduced the theory in her hearing she had insight into the massive potential for across-the-board application of its central and basic tenets, and she fellowshipped with me in the pursuit of excellence in the study of such. My focus centers upon the sociological while Ms. Cutler directs her activity towards the field of education. Presumably, now would be the time to get into a detailed explanation of our theory of Authority and Power, but instead, since that happens elsewhere in this book, I will leave you with a few choice illuminating statements of overall dimensions and impact.

Illuminating statements 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7

Authority and Power are two perfect spiritual forces of God. With these He created heaven and earth.
When these forces were translated to human usage, perfection did not accompany. We are not God.
The Theory of Authority and Power is a God-given precept upon which ALL human relationships are based. Our relationships subscribe (whether we know it and agree with it or not) to both Spiritual and Natural Law set in place to govern. When these laws are broken our relationships break, and in comes trouble—abuse; oppression; manipulation; enslavement—all of that and more. But the theory embodies the knowledge, the wisdom, and the understanding that enables one to blamelessly defeat oppression (my basic area) and/or really learn how to help others make positive headway (Carolyn’s basic area) in teaching and learning.
Right. Something as heavy as this requires a platform strong enough to support its weight, which brings us to something called The Primary Natural Law (PNL). This Law states that there are two categories (classes) of people—and goes on to delineate the valid discriminating differences between them. That is the sole purpose of the existence of the PNL. Now. One might categorize the two classes as that of male and female. Wrong. Rather, it is the classification of Adult and Child.
Spiritual Law notes a finer and of course, intangible difference between Adult and Child, but I do not discuss it here. Still, it is upon the spiritual understanding of Adult/Child issue that The Theory of Authority and Power demystifies the strategies of oppression—especially that of batterers—and offers loving strategies to end it.
Hear me. It is due to man’s incredibly arrogant insistence upon discrimination—NONE of it valid because it is AGAINST and not between—whole groups of people as a means to deny them their Adult rights (reduce them to Child status) by adding other categories such as:
economic status…
that misery and violence run amok across the whole of the human race.
The PNL smacks us all with its basic tenet at birth—the requirement that we go on to attain maturity. In short: grow up. And yet, we are not doing it—worldwide.

When I am asked, as people are fond of asking these days, “which do you consider to be the greatest problem facing American society today—drugs? Crime? Education? Child porn and abuse? The economy? What? Well, all of them and more. Not as problems in and of themselves, but as collective, highly recognizable symptoms of The Problem: failure to grow up!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Juanita wrote on many notebooks, and this is one such example. This is another draft of RISE. Note: check back often if you like this post--I intend to type out a little at a time and add to it--this is about 50 pages of handwritten text to transcribe.


I am well aware even as I began to write this book that the things I am about to say as a beginning are things I must show you all through the book. The first thing I am saying to you is a BIG thing, an overall thing, a thing that pause before it sinks in because it is a very loving and compassionate thing--even tho to the abuser it SOUNDS mean, it FEELS mean, and it TASTES defeat.

This loving thing is called Understanding, and it defeats the batterer by making him small.

There. It is said; I have shared it with you. But just a wee bit more about it to show how it works. For a great many people, the Dark is scary. See, but Understanding is like LIGHT. Batterers hide in the Dark, and do damage, so we need Understanding to allow us to see them. Suppose you are in a dark room. Complete dark. You can see nothing. Yet if you can have the tiniest of lights you will be able to see something. And the more light that gets turned on the more and more you will see. In dim light you can see outlines and the shapes of things. In brighter light you can see things behind other things, and so on. But in that dark room you can trip and fall and get hurt because you cannot SEE that which is right in front of you and so it becomes a trap to you.

Also in that Darkness the fearful things seem large, much larger than ourselves and so we blow them up inside our heads til they are just about big enough to swallow us. Well, I'm here to tell it that Understanding does away with all of that. And now I'm done with the first thing I wanted to tell you.

The second thing that needs saying is this: the man who beats his wife has little or no respect for her! Is this surprising? Think about it. Remember your schooldays and the differences that there were between teachers? Some teachers had very few classroom problems with the kids, which others had daily nightmares in their classrooms. Kids ragged them half to death! Well. It was a matter of Respect. People tend to be on their best behavior when around someone they respect. But look out--if they don't respect you they don't much care HOW they behave. This is especially true of kids. Folks will watch their p's and q's out of fear, too, and Respect carries within it an element of fear. If given a choice between being liked and being respected, choose respect. Know why? Because self-respect allows others to TRULY like you, for yourself, not just tolerate you because you lower yourself in vain effort to get "friends." Friends are EQUALS. Respect is mutual. Way to go.

The next thing that must be mentioned in these opening pages is something that is very special, close to my heart, and up jumps the boogie--mindblowing! It is a way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that surrounds you with protection from the abuser. Included here is self-discipline (you taking on the responsibility to see that you do the right thing). Then--a vital and immediate part of this self-control stuff is taking care of the LOOSE LIPS problem. Don't look at me crazy--you know what I mean. "Mouth" is one of the main routes that lead to a beating. Ole Boy loves pulling you into an argument--short road from words to blows. More on Mouth later of course. But that mindblowing thing that self-discipline is a part of is called BLAMELESSNESS. Woof! I can't hardly stand knowing it cause it is SO fine and lovely.

Alrighty. I've handed you Understanding, Self-respect, and Blamelessness--all words that are key to stopping a little boy pretending to be both a man and generally a husband--from jumping on you. Let's look into HIS backpack now and pull out some of the tools he uses to intimidate and mistreat. Now, I've already mentioned the fact that the batterer HIDES. And where did I say? IN THE DARK. We'd best get clear on what is meant by Dark. We can do this by naming some of these areas of Dark that are so plentiful in everyday life. This area: he hides behind the woefully misapplied title of "Man." Man he is not. I've told you already what he is.

This area: he hides behind the battering ram of religious laws and traditions, built on, til the husband gets counted as a god over the wife.

This area: he hides, so to speak, inside his wife--filling her up with first his fear, then his inadequacies. In trade, he pulls from her all her good feelings about herself. Before there is a battered wife there is a battered male. The world he lives in batters him, makes him feel lesser. But now he can despise himself from a distance--by despising his wife. ALL of these areas contain pockets of DARKNESS. (Darkness is present wherever Understanding is absent.) Look out! Look out! --here the batterer commmmmmmmmmmes....

But. He has way more in his backpack than hidingplaces, and don't think that we've talked about all of them cause we haven't, we're just going on to something else now. NEXT!

Okay, it's this: excuse and and and BLAME. You will not find one without the other. They are both necessary in the scheming of the batterer. Excuse and Blame are hallmarks of the Child. He is at his boyish best when excusing his cruel behavior by blaming his wife or his wife or his wife for it. Course, sometimes he blames other [things] for things he does, but he particularly chooses her as the scapegoat. She's ready-made. One size fits all.

It would be bad manners to not include mention of the one item in his bag that weighs MORE than all the others put together. And that my dear is his gross CHILDISH dependency upon his wife. It is the very childishness of this dependency that shames him so that he denies that it is there. And he uses all the other items in his backpack to help him PROVE it. How we like that?

Well, I see that these few lines have served as some sorta introduction, so that's what we'll call it. You see it called by that name at the beginning of this section of writing, but it was not seen as that til just now. So in closing this section let us be reminded that the whole cause for communication between the covers of this book is LIGHT.

P.S. And when we get 'light' enough, we .....RISE.

Chapter 1

Now this is a record of the learning and growing I did during my six months of training in Understanding while I lived in the house with S.O.B. ["Saved Open-hearted Brother"--how she referred to her abusive husband in Womansearch]. The first thing I had to do was face the truth about myself and the situation I had gotten into. It is not easy to stand toe to toe with truth that pulls your clothes off you (S.O.B. NEVER got the hang of it). After I managed to face up anyhow I saw that my reward was a kind of strength. A strength that S.O.B. did not have. A strength that was STRONGER than S.O.B.'s awesome physical strength! WOW! This difference between the two strengths meant that in actuality S.O.B. was truly weak--he only appeared strong. I began to Understand the true definition for strength, and also, for the first time I deeply Understood a thing the old folks used to say: "Appearances LIE." Sure you' right.

I began to lose my fear of S.O.B., and of course, with THAT gone, he began to panic. A lot of the things he did that used to terrify me began to be funny. HE became comical to me, but all that's getting ahead of my story.

A riddle: the needier you are, the less you will settle for. Does that sound crazy? --Well, it is--backwards. I mean, the way a child reasons; it makes sense to a child, which is what I was reduced to at the time I first met S.O.B. (It occurs to me now that if you are reading this and you have NOT read the first WOMANSEARCH book, then you need to have read both the Foreword and the Introduction to this book before starting to read chapters.) One would think that the needier a person is, the MORE to settle for, but the very essence of the problem makes good sense impossible to enact.

In my case, coming out of divorce, with four stairsteps strapped to my leg, and with responsibilities weighing upon my lone shoulders for the first time in my life--

Girl, I mean to tell ya, I was NEEDY. So needy I was desperate. Driven by that desperation, I took the first thing that appeared to offer a solution: enter S.O.B. Well, he entered and refused to exit, becoming like a fifth child strapped to my leg. It was the FEELING of this more than any real perception of this essential intangible truth.

But the Joker that brought down the house was in my later Understanding that S.O.B. and I were both nothing more than needy children. My Needy was out in the open (financial); we both knew of it. His Needy was indirect (emotional); he HID his behind mine. See, you just gotta Understand this for the truth that it is: batterers are HIDERS--they hide every which way. What are they hiding from? TRUTH! The truth about themselves terrifies them.

S.O.B. was no exception to the rule. His inability to face the truth about himself made him a coward of the worst kind-a coward whose other side was BULLY. Whew--that smarts!

He could not admit his needs--even to himself--in fear of being less than a man. So, of course, his fear made him less than a man. That's what fear does you see, when it is allowed to rule your life, the decisions you make. Fear is a robber, and a close companion of Neediness. I mean, get a grip.

You know how needy little kids are; it is their RIGHT to burden others with their time- and energy-consuming care. But imagine this same void existing in what appears to be an adult, especially a male, who is further burdened with--God help us--male EGO, and boy, he becomes a bottomless PIT! A dangerous person.

The real child is situated to be supplied with a protective covering (parents) to keep him/her well-hidden in their acute needy stage. Well, the big overgrown kid wants this same set-up, especially the hideout part, so he latches onto some hapless female to tend to his Baby Needs: enter, Mommy! The real Mommy/Baby protection has its set time and is natural and positive. the Overgrown Mommy/Baby protection is forced and negative--for both parties.

It was when I gained the Understanding that S.O.B. was needier than I that my good sense began coming back to visit. I saw the difference also, between our Needy--he was full of BABY needs that overwhelmed me and imprisoned me--I had adult needs concerning support for my children. S.O.B. needed "mommy" protection for himself from himself. I got really exhausted playing that role, before I Understood that my playing the role upon demand (his baby behavior) was the thing that EXCUSED his role of "Baby."

Well, I guess I just said a mouthful there, didn't I? But, I'm telling you, since catching onto that I see women doing that all over the place. You should know, that the Mommy role is a primary choice in the batterer's scheme to support himself through the inner "goods" of his woman, since he lacks them himself. In this, he follows the natural pattern of the real child, that is, should the needs of the child not be met, then the child will seek to get them fulfilled himself, and being a child, the ways open to him are negative. Yeah, right. But what does he know or care? He's a CHILD. Got it?

The grave thing about neediness is that it makes females woefully vulnerable. There is no balance. Take me for instance; when my fear-driven neediness shoved all my good sense over the cliff I had no defense against bad judgment. The truth to be told is that somewhere inside me I knew S.O.B. was not a good choice even though he had the solution to my predicament.

My predicament at the time counted above all else. And S.O.B. zeroed in on me as if I were prey. Which in some way, I was.

There's something about neediness that seems to give out signals to predators. Ever notice that? It's like a silent telegraph. I speak of it was "insides talkin' to insides." And with other situations too. One person picks up on where another person's insides are, even before anything is said. There's more to this--we'll save it for later. But we are done with the neediness thing now. We'll probably bring it up again somewhere else.

The Mommy and the Girl

There's a lot to be said for the many many roles people play, just getting along from day to day. The less adult we are, the easier it is for us to slide right down into a role assigned us by whatever master button-pusher. Batterers become master button-pushers cause their "success" in their intimate relationship requires it. How else can they get their invalid needs met? Now, if their needs were VALID they wouldn't have to resort to trickery and worse. But, it's their game and boy, do they know how to play it. See, the important word here is play. And if the other player (the victim) don't want to be that, then she gotta learn how to NOT play and be NOT guilty of NOT playing. Whew! Another mouthful. See, if it seems kinda like I'm talking in circles here believe you me that is NOT so, and you know it because down inside your gut you've somehow known about this underbelly wicked, behind-the-scenes AGENDA that makes up the world of the batterer and his Kingdom. YES! He has a kingdom, and is set to protect it against all comers; is set to not allow ANY interference from ANY source--be it vegetable, mineral, or animal--which in some cases he becomes very much LIKE. Have you seen it?

We want to scope this out some here so what we're gonna do is take a brief look at both sides of ONE role. Just for fun, I call it "roleover." It fits, cause the moods of the batterer can have his victim jumpin' from one side of the coin to the other--the better to PACIFY him. See. We gettin' it already. It is babies who need the pacifier--see

On Bearing Our Burdens

This is an undated piece of writing, but probably from the early 1970's. It was published in a newsletter called "Agape" with a subtitle: "This is a publication of the Sisters' Club, Apostolic Churches." This article is from Volume II.

On Bearing Our Burdens
Juanita Price

It is too much to bear only so long as we are unwilling to bear it, because, you see, willingness is the key. Then, and only then, are we yielded up to Christ; and this is when it becomes bearable, because He then bears it and not we ourselves. We can only triumph through our Victor, CHRIST; in Him we have access to the victory. Why will we not avail ourselves of the thing offered (victory), seeing as how it is a goodly thing and much to be desired?

Again I say to all that WILLINGNESS (willing mind, II Cor. 8:12) is the key. And what is it then that prompts this willingness? It is LOVE. That which we love, that will we serve; and the thing that is feared has power over us, but perfect love casteth out fear (I John 4:18)

A quick examination of our inner feelings (motives) reveals to us this fact: The most common reason for unwillingness (I don't want to) to bear our brethren is due to our instinct to preserve "fairness." In "fairness" we occupy our minds with searches for the EXCHANGE being made. Now, realize this--in many cases there is none! So now we understand why DIVINE LOVE IS NOT BASED UPON RETURN; for if it were, then it would be limited. But we know that love of God is not limited love.

So now let us love our God with all our heart and so be found willing to service Him in all manner as He so wills, and the victory shall be given into our hand.

Little children, the LOVE of GOD precede you in all things. Amen.

Friday, May 30, 2008


This is a letter dated October 16, 1972. I have no idea to whom Juanita sent it, but it is a great example of her earliest writing about spiritual understandings.

Dear Dearly Beloved Sister,

Grace be unto you from The Lord Jesus Christ--and unto me also.

I write unto you to encourage you in this chosen thing--that there may be no limitations placed upon your all-important faith in God.

Now carnality is limitation of the Spirit. The carnal mind limits the effectiveness of our usage for Christ. We must learn to trust God. And in our daily living there is much opportunity for learning. Do you not realize that for the growth of spiritual things there is the requirement of the diminishment of the pleasing of the flesh? For we cannot please God and the flesh at the same time. So then we must decide--seeing that there is a choice to be made--which it is to be.

So now we choose God.

Now if we choose God--we also at the same time have turned away from self.

So now we are given over to learning the way of God which is the way of HOLINESS.

God has many ways of bringing us away from the way of flesh--if we so desire to be brought. In this we learn to see things as He sees them and to count things important as He counts important. And this is HARD sometimes. But it is a necessary process. So now we gain understanding.

Sister, here is an example in your own life that can be used to teach you about trusting and having faith in God that His will might be done in your life. Even when you don't understand.

Now I ask a question. What is the difference between $37.00--$3700--$37,000--or $37,000,000?

The CARNAL mind sees the difference in the amount of MONEY.

The SPIRITUAL mind sees the difference in the amount of FAITH.

And if God be GOD in your life then He is God over $37.00. He is God over $3700. He is God over $37,000, and He is still God over $37,000,000.

Now if we would please God, let us not trust in money--but entrust our money also to Him.

Now FAITH is the ability to believe God for our needs.

But TRUST is the ability to accept that which He gives--or does NOT give--without questioning.

TRUST speaks thusly: If thou oh Lord art pleased, then am I pleased also.

Little Sister, grow in God. Grow in the knowledge of His way. Spend that which must be spent--your flesh. And God Will Take Care Of You.


Sister Juanita Price

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Notes on the "Theory"

This is a set of notes--her responses to something I wrote. I'm not sure what the manuscript was--it must have been long because the numbers, I believe, refer to pages. I am guessing that the manuscript was something I wrote to follow up Womansearch, although it surprises me that I would have been doing this ten years before her book was published. I am reproducing her notes as they were--not leaving out the things that don't make sense without the original manuscript. She tells some stories and makes some important points in these notes. The notes are titled "THEORY" and dated August, 1992.

5. The issue here is HOW you refuse to hand over your personal authority in order to retain your personal power. It must be done from adult perspective, which makes you stand a positive rather than a negative equaling that of the illegitimate authority holder. The dynamics (intangible) inherent in such action presents you as an adult (not to be denied) rather than a child, on a level that penetrates through the protective defenses of the oppressor and touches his understanding. This knocks him off balance because it requires that he give you a measure of RESPECT.

Another issue here is WHEN you choose to initiate this adult action. Illegitimate authority-holders depend (of necessity) on generating and maintaining or increasing the "fear of loss" syndrome within the people whose authority they usurp. For many people, this fear is enough to keep them fastened in the seat of the Child Position, where they "earn" the disrespect alloted them as seen through the eyes of the oppressor. Children do not get respect. The best thing you can do is refuse at the beginning (adultly) to be pushed into the Child Position then like it or not you SHARE in the responsibility for the treatment you receive there. Respect is an earned thing--adult behavior is the key. Adults will take risks against the accepted standard (like blind or little kid obedience to crass authority) in order to keep self-respect while the "Child" might sooner choose to remain "safe" (NOT) in the bosom of the known terror than chance the unknown. Thus they allow fear to ROB them and bring them to the very end that they stayed Children to escape.

7. In discerning what one's needs truly are (as against one's desires and wants--MATURITY makes it possible. Remember that maturity is part of the Head that little kids don't have. The immature person is easily consumed with wants and desires that he identifies as needs. Maturity sets limits on oneself which a child is unable to do--therefore necessitating that someone else does it for him to save him from the consequences of overreach. You see, the alcoholic (and others) reside in the child mode, saying "I NEED 'nother drink" when actually it's that he wants another drink and does everything possible not to be denied what he WANTS--even to the point of destroying himself and others (drunk drivers).

25. Language: examples
Suppose instead of "When is an apology not an apology" we say "when is a compliment not a compliment" OR "when is a saintly act not a saintly act?" I have examples for those two right from memory. While I was married to S.O.B. [in her book, she refers to her abuser as "Saved Open-hearted Brother," abbreviated S.O.B.] I remember being given a beau-ti-fulllll peignoir set--the thing was absolutely luscious! I was so pleased it made me feel like a movie star and I sorely needed at the time to feel like an attractive appreciated woman instead of some kind of household drudge invisible to the naked eye. The set was the exact right color and cut for me. It showed me off to advantage. I dressed me in it and twirled before my children, who were astonished at how gorgeous I looked in it. They jumped up and down and clapped their hands in delight.

I became a Queen instantly. Me and the kids couldn't wait for S.O.B. to get home and see me--"Oh he's going to just DIE over you Mama," gushed my daughter. "Yeah Mom" said the boys, "You don't even look like yourself in that--man--you look really GOOD!" I added a dab of perfume behind my ears. We waited. "Here he is! Shush-shush!"

He walked in. Immediately, as his eyes took in all our expectant faces and slid over me from top to bottom--he stepped up to me, got right in my face, and like a cat full of cream purred softly, subtly, killing me AND my kids instantly--I mean we died in the moment--the breath stolen from our nostrils--our dead bodies spiraling down down down into hell--sent there by the master stroke of the compliment that was NOT a compliment: "Ummm, you sure smell good."

Then he walked away from our graves.

The other example (saintliness) is detailed in the book in the story called the confession. [In the book Womansearch].

26. You asked "what is technical?" Whoa boy--how to explain--Okay--the technical realm is the realm in which the human corruptions of authority/power positions EXIST and lay hidden. Remember the 3 Marriage Ceremony transparencies? In the natural realm we see the standard portrait (western world) of the Bride & Groom. Next--in the technical realm we see what's really going on--that is, the bride is really being beheaded not married! Technically through "marriage" the adult woman is reduced to the status of a child (no head).

Also, remember the origins--Adam and Eve? Remember that the true division of the status of people is Adults and Children, and that the male (Adam) was the occupant of the adult status simply through the technicality of having arrived first! And therefore technically, the female (Eve) occupied the status of Child since she came last? Without understanding we can read that and see only the natural realm--man and woman. And do you remember that after the Fall the Turnaround happened so that that which was before was no more because it reversed itself. That technically MAN died--and that the female did not share in his death even tho she shared in the other two deaths? And so technically Man is dead even tho he appears to walk the earth today? And that the collective undisciplined male egos answer to all this was to switch places? And that this is done chiefly thorgh "marriage" by technically killing woman by reducing her to forever child status by his hand as was his disgrace by the hand of God? Talk about kids passing it on--Boy takes the cake!

51. Did you ever see the movie "Caine Mutiny"? It relates to this issue.

56. Can we understand then or surmise that the term "illegitimate" authority PERSONIFIES the act of the patriarchy in its confiscation of female authority and that it is, in fact, MAN who is illegitimate?

80. Wrong. If in an adult/adult APR the person holding the authority Position in it recognizes the personal authority of the person holding the power Position, then the relationship is legitimate--BUT--it takes an adult to do that and there are few of them. Look at the military--it thrives on illegitimacy--cutting off the heads of people (the soldiers) in the power Position by the millions! The same in marriage--CHOP--off with her head! It is not the structure of an APR that causes illegitimacy but the actions of the individuals participating in it.

81. This takes some thought. I will return to it later.
82. YES! YES! YES!

85. Yes--this makes incredible sense. It also embodies the essence of the Mother.

86. The "laundry" bit is not suited here--it is too small an issue. The Ownership Principle is vastly broad--it deals with the overall widely basic issue of freedom of conscience--knowing right from wrong and the ability to refuse coercion that subjugates one's personal power--THEN all the small things (laundry, etc.) fall into place so you are able to discern the intricacies of them. More later.

87. ("the car??") No. The power here is NOT the car. The power here is the BODY. The HEAD was able to obtain the license. This example assumes the presence of the car already. The authority (head) to drive the car is no good if the Power (body) is incapacitated.

88. Please note here that this bit needs more work. Power is NOT self-sustaining in the real sense. Got to clear this up.

108. Yeah, me too. Too too too PROFOUND--it swallows me--feel like I'm not equal to the task. In asnwer to your question though about "reason" in the realms I'll say this: Boy is all enamored of his god, Reason. But what the revelation of realms shows us is how lacking reason is as a determiner of greater good. Human reasoning is limited by human understanding, and most of all--EGO. The science of reason's greatest flaw is the fact that it is incredibly limited and ignorant of it! Reason, by the very meaning of the term, can not allow itself beyond the human confine--and the ANSWERS that reason seeks and cannot find--are in that "beyond." The physical, psychological, & emotional--are the boundaries of what I term the Human Confine--the name reveals itself--we are confined. Our confinement is ruled by human nature, its rules serve self (a very human thing). We now say that scientific (human) reason serves self, and in doing so is not trustworthy, although many trust in it. It is without integrity, and without it, falls into the category of illusion. It betrays its name--being emotional while yet denying emotions, being physical while yet claiming freedom from such. In the final analysis, scientific "reasoning" is no more than the usual fare served from patriarchy's table--yet another game of Boy. Reason, or any other human element, is not a culprit by its existence--it just does not venture. Higher Reason (spiritual) does not affirm nor embrace illegitimate authority. Rather, it reveals it and by that revelation, indicts it. Scientific reasoning (human) seeks to legitimize the trespass. The Spiritual is our path OUT of the Confine. Reason (within the Confine) is partner with the technical realm by being the space in which the crossover from legitimate to illegitimate authority is "hidden."

O. You asked about the Childworld Chart. It's old, and I stopped work on it long ago and almost forgot it. If you still want it I'll get it for you--and then can remember to work on it some more--it's not ready the way it was left.