‘BREAK THE CHAINS’
“If you’re not going to be part of the solution, you’re going to continue to be a slave to the problem.”
I come to everyone/everywhere with the nth amount of due respect & love for life. I wish to discuss a few issues within this article which are often acknowledged, but redirected through social ‘conformity’ & ‘mental conditioning’. Issues within life which have existed in some dimensions since the beginning of time, creating ‘chains’ & ‘yokes’ which enslave & deter the advancement of man.
My name is Rosemarie & I am known as Lady Gray. I was born in the late 50’s in the Mid-west & presently reside in the State of South Carolina in a region known as ‘The Low Country’. A coastal area steeped deeply in history, roots, traditions, southern charm & environmental beauty. As an outsider visiting or relocating for the first time, you could easily conceive that the populaces who reside here live a very peaceful, euphoric existence. Just like the cover of a book can be deceiving of its content, so can the scenery of The Low Country which could be found in a portrait of the Garden of Eden. South Carolina ranks 5th in the Nation for crime & No.1 in the Nation for domestic violence & heinous crimes against women.
I live in Charleston, SC which has become infamous within the timeline of America for its contributions to slavery & the start of our own Civil War. Its picturesque & ‘genteel’ lifestyle was often coveted by ‘trail blazers’ & opportunists. Depending on your resources for information, the city ports were responsible for anywhere from 40%-60% of the slaves in America who were auctioned off in their markets. Due to its climate & environment an agriculture hub was carved out of the wilderness for rice, cotton, tobacco & produce. From those cash crops came the construction of large plantations & a new elite aristocrat society often envied by other capitalists to the North for the portraits of ‘Southern Charm’ & ‘Easy Living’.
Today when the majority of the citizenry in America fear the Nation is slipping into a two tiered economical society, the South has embraced the portrait of ‘the haves & have not’s for centuries. Some residents rooted for generations have implemented the ‘Old South Plantation Mentality’ as a family tradition, a prisoner of their own ‘mental conditioning’. Sometimes I refer to them as ‘Antebellum Rednecks’ a class in society which can no longer maintain an image or lifestyle without riding upon the shoulders of the impoverished. This portrait has once again become envied by opportunists & corporations for economic advancement in an industrial age which has been struggling. Due to South Carolina’s economy, taxes, avenues of transportation, a lack of union members, wages & it’s a Right to Work State we are seeing the State experience growth as large corporations relocate to capitalize on economic opportunities rarely seen elsewhere. One of the contributing factors to this portrait is the sub-standard education often seen in our Elementary & High Schools in the State…although head way is being made to amend the problem, traditions are hard to break & change is not always easily embraced.
The portraits of a two tiered economic caste contribute to the present statistics owned by South Carolina. “Pressure kills, stress kills & time kills everyone, for time has found no man worthy of its wait.” The division in the State between the Haves & Have Not’s is quite apparent to an observant eye. The State overall has an unemployment rate higher than the National avg. with some inland counties experiencing rates of 20%+, thus decreasing the quality of life leading to one of the contributing factors for the increase in domestic violence. Social programs which have burdened many State & Federal budgets are the ‘hangnails’ which fuel the survival of many. The chaos, rhetoric & indecisions by our DC politicians have only compounded & added fuel to the issues which keep those struggling to survive hanging on by a thread. Individuals can only store so much stress & pressure before they explode, causing harm & damage to those closest to them. I have a great deal of sympathy & empathy for those with children who struggle for housing, food, clothing & essentials from day to day, paycheck to paycheck & waiting lists for the implementation of social programs & projects.
I know for a fact that domestic violence often goes un-reported, I shudder at the thought of real ‘hard’ statistics. I see the abuse when I go out on the faces & arms of girls & women. I fear for the teenage girls who experience their first date abuse the most, domestic abuses which become ‘family traditions’. I experienced the ‘family tradition’ mentality recently first hand on public transportation. A mother & daughter…the daughter had a bruise on her jaw & they were going shopping. I overheard the mother tell her daughter, “That happens sometimes; you have to live for the good times.” The region has acknowledged the problem by using mobile digital signs like the ones used in road construction flashing the message, ‘There is no excuse for abuse’ along with a phone number. All one needs to do is turn on the news to realize that domestic violence can lead to murder & disabling physical conditions & is no longer just targeted with a wife or significant other, but can include children & other family members.
Like poverty, domestic violence does not discriminate by race, creed or economic status. Recently a white banker was arrested along with several white cohorts for plotting the murder of his ex-wife. Some women only take abuse so long before their own pressure & stress explodes, a black woman who had a newborn infant & 5 other children at home stabbed her boyfriend to death. Abductions & whole families being obliterated are scenarios now in the depth & level of domestic violence being experienced. I also acknowledge the fact that domestic violence against men is also on the increase. The ‘chains & yokes’ of domestic violence can burden generations & are clear indicators of crumbling morals, human rights & a troubled society. There are many contributing factors which lead to domestic violence & enslave individuals from the realms of poverty, board rooms, to the elite. The links of the chain must be removed by addressing the issue, whittling down all of the factors until it can be resolved & squashed just as the chains of slavery were removed so long ago. As a society we cannot break the chains alone, abusers must also have the will & desire to embrace change & weaken the links.
Street crimes & violence is also on the rise. Over the last 6 mos rarely a week passes where another teen or individual has not met his fate. When I moved here 3 yrs ago, I had hopes for South Carolina, I noticed the streets here were not as organized as in many states or cities, that analysis is dimming. Jobs & opportunities which can sustain an individual’s existence who is struggling to begin with are akin to a ‘crap shoot’ or ‘lottery drawing’. I know individuals who work 2-3 part-time jobs, usually in fast food just to pay the rent. Those who exist with dreams of living will do what they have to, to survive. I often wonder how many of them know that they are ‘pawns’ & fuel the ‘Plantation Mentality’, masters of their own enslavement?
The ‘street games’ & ‘paper chase’ are becoming more dangerous every month, stacking ‘slaves’ & claiming victims for prisons & graveyards. The problem is inmates who have been released from prison with drug/related charges. While they’re down in prison they become more ‘educated’ to the ‘way of the life’ & ‘organization’. When they come home & find their opportunities for survival even fewer than before, they take the loose reins to share their knowledge with corner puppies, rebels, renegades & neutrals. I must admit they seem to co-operate with one another better than our politicians in congress on the big hill.
I have two requests for small groups, crews, sets & individuals who choose this darker ‘paper chase’ in life. This lifestyle does not only lead to monetary gains & addictions, but prisons & graveyards, so I want to prepare you for the future. Before you continue on your journey in ‘the life’, let’s address the fate of ‘death’ first. I would like you to write your own eulogy, a short bio of your life & how you want to be remembered & leave it in a place where your family & loved ones you leave behind can easily find it when your journey ends. I also want to address your fate of ‘incarceration’ by having you create a ‘timeline’. That’s what inmates in State & Federal Prisons do who are entrenched in steel & concrete with heavy tags, branding irons & time. They create a ‘timeline’ of loved ones & associates who will die while they’re down & those who should still be alive when they get out. Then they put down all of the holidays, family reunions, children’s birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings & the births of grandchildren they will miss. Let’s not forget the funerals of parents, loved ones & associates that you will not be able to say good-bye to.
I want you to look at your ‘eulogy’ & ask yourself if that is the legacy you want to leave behind. I’ve been told by inmates the hardest pill to swallow is the individuals on your ‘timeline’ who should be there when time releases you and their life is cut short also. The ‘games’ will not disappear because you have, ‘the games don’t change, just the pawns & the cover of the playbook’!
Every individual has ‘chains & yokes’, it’s our choice how heavy we want them to be, what we want them to represent & how long our strength will allow us to carry them. It’s up to each one of US to ‘break the chains’, to unharness the yoke which deters our growth & advancement in life, the quality of life we wish to live & that which we desire to leave standing when we come to the end of our journey.
I thank you for your time & patience…for allowing me to share some of my thoughts & existence. I leave you as I came with the nth amount of due respect & love for life.