Why Leadership and Responsibility Is Important In Understanding Mass Shootings

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As someone who was bullied by many, I have always sought out loners as friends, as friendship and support is what I wanted for myself when I was bullied. However, not all loners are fortunate enough to have good friends, and some even experience friendship bullying. As a result, sometimes (often) the victim becomes the perpetrator in an attempt to take back power and get revenge.

Ever since the first shooting, I’ve firmly believed that the shootings are a result of apathy and angst (from a feeling that things are stacked against us), a sense of hopelessness to affect change, the fruitless search for any real meaning to our lives, and a lack of true leadership. When I say that, I mean leadership in all segments of society, from political, religious, and corporate institutions, and particularly the family of origin itself. Just as all humans, these shooters sought belonging, validation, and a cause to rally behind. Some people would rather fight for the wrong cause than no cause at all, and that’s one of our problems. Some believe that all people do the best they can given their understanding of the world. If all they see is a world that glorifies and rewards hatred and violence, then that is something we need to change.

There are no more or very few noble heroes nowadays, because the news does not find them to be newsworthy. Therefore, people are choosing competitive winners who take advantage of each other and the systems that made them winners. Alternatively, we have incapable leaders ignorant to secondary effects, such as self-help gurus and life coaches, “solopreneurs” (individual entrepreneurs) motivated mostly by paying bills to support their family alone, and investment frauds who made money by telling people how to make money. Worst of all, we also have cult leaders and gang leaders who expand emotional abuse past a one-to-one relationship and damage one’s ability to trust.

Another one of the problems is the fact that humans tie their self-worth to money and status that they believe that those with less money are not worth as much as they are. And yet another problem is the fact that people do not question what they are taught.

People, including my husband, don’t have role models not just because there is not enough representation, but because leadership is not a quality that motivates enough people. Back in the days when apprenticeships proliferated, being perceived as someone with good character was enough to incentivize and reward people to be good people even if it was mostly under the guise of one religion. When Baby Boomers talk about the good ole days, it’s not because they’re white nationalists, but because they remember when people were hospitable to each other and equated charity with love.

Our leader might be good at following through with action, but even if he acts on what he thinks his constituency wants, he is doing it the wrong way. Even if he continues to react out of defensiveness from media portrayal, we need a leader who knows the effective use of emotion. Pete Buttigieg is an example of such a leader, and he has a service plan to give young adults purpose and meaning. However, I’m not just endorsing one candidate; everyone has good ideas that no one else is talking about, such as Marianne Williamson’s idea that if we make this country the best place to raise a child that we will solve a great deal of our social ills or Andrew Yang’s idea that automation is a threat to our nation. As for automation, we’re losing jobs to automation because critical thinking is so underused that we don’t even value each other’s intuition and judgment over a robot’s emotion-free logic.

Please let’s stop making it an issue of who’s the villain in this political charade. The Ohio shooter was a Democrat, so that argument does not hold. As with prison reform, this is a bipartisan issue, and it takes more than just surface-level magic bullet gun control to solve it.

What the nation needs is education in the following:

  • Bullying prevention;
  • Depression and the different types (in plain language without too much psychobabble);
  • Healthy relationships;
  • Quantum physics so people understand the value of how spirituality connects to the physical world; and
  • Personal finance and geography, as most people don’t realize that many of our current issues could be better understood with those two.

The nation also needs the following policies, whether public or private:

  • All health insurance to pay fully or in part for mental health counseling;
  • Providing awareness of art therapy, gym memberships, and/or other therapies that are proven to work for mental health;
  • Enforcing anti-monopoly laws;
  • Extended family leave for both new mothers and fathers;
  • Free online, phone, and face-to-face support groups for everyone, not just addicts, with and/or without professional involvement;
  • Free or affordable marriage counseling, per Andrew Yang’s proposal
  • Implementation of bipartisan background checks AND red flag laws (as background checks were not enough to bar the most recent shooters who acquired guns legally);
  • Implementation of the triple bottom line in businesses, which values both people and the environment;
  • Service to the community, per Pete Buttigieg’s proposal, to get out of our own heads;
  • Social media reform, including time limits to avoid spending time on comparison and eradication of anonymity; and
  • Video game reform.

But, most importantly, what the nations needs is taking personal responsibility via the following ways:

  • Changing our thinking on an individual level about synergy vs. separation;
  • Constituting ourselves as community (shoutout to Landmark Education(TM)), which means, in a sense, to not just to love one another as ourselves, but also to take responsibility for the world we created at both a spiritual and physical level;
  • Focusing on what we want instead of what we don’t want;
  • Focusing on what we’re thankful for instead of what we bemoan;
  • Giving youth a community where they can affect change;
  • Opting for transparency and sharing among different segments; and
  • Taking actions to affect positive change rather than placing blame on our political parties, our leaders, our schools, our corporations, our government, our banks, etc.

It takes more than a nation to raise a child; all inhabitants of this world have a responsibility to every single person. We are all one. Consider the ways that you can affect positive change by writing your own list.

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#WontBeErased

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Right after National Coming Out Day, we heard the news regarding the proposed rule affecting trans rights across all government agencies.

As a speaker on behalf of the Goth community, I understand that the implications of our rights are intricately tied to those of the trans community, and for some it overlaps. We are dominoes; if one falls to erasure, then another one will follow, but if one is raised up, then the other can be raised up too. I urge you all to focus on positive action steps, not negative thoughts. This will be short and brief. I don’t have much else to say except to take positive actions toward supporting a trans-friendly organization, such as GLAAD, HRC, or Lambda Legal in terms of money and/or time. By all means, if you haven’t already voted, make it a point to vote. And, as always, be yourself, and stand for yourself.

Your Identity Doubles as Community Service

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Are you ready to do community service? Many times people associate that word with punishment. But is it really? Don’t we all seek a job that would fulfill us? What best fulfills us? Giving and serving with a cause we believe in.

When you claim your Gothness, you have a moral and ethical obligation to be a representative of all Goths and to serve all Goths. The way to best serve other Goths is to be your absolute best, authentic self. When you are yourself, you give license and permission for other to be themselves. In that way you make them “licensed” Goths; you are paying it forward, making it easier for another Goth to feel safe, loved, and appreciated in this world. Since ours is an underserved community, we must take particular care to keep the community healthy (and alive!) Think of your unique talents and abilities and consider ways that you can give to the community. (I don’t like to say “give back” since you didn’t take anything). When you have come up with your list, narrow it down. What will best serve the Goth economy? What will best serve all dimensions of a Goth or similar person person in a similar culture?  I don’t like saying “subculture” because we do not subordinate ourselves nor should we.

One way that I serve the Goth economy is through Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a safe environment for socializing and  professional growth. Adding Goths to Toastmasters is a twist on the tried and true.

If you live in the Denver area, consider joining next week. For more information, see Freaks Who Speak Toastmasters Club.

Freaks Who Speak Toastmasters Club

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What: Freaks Who Speak Toastmasters Club
When: September 18th from 7-8:30PM
Where: Scum of the Earth Church @ 935 W 11th Ave, Denver, CO 80204
Who: This will be an open club. There is an 18+ age requirement to be an official member, but all ages are allowed to participate in meetings to some extent. Normie allies of the Goth community are also welcome.
Why: There are many introverts with stories to share in the Goth community, but also few job skill trainings and resume-enhancing trainings targeted specifically to the Goth community
How: District 25 will provide a demonstration meeting to see if there is interest in the Goth community. Something like this has never been done before now!

Toastmasters Flyer

Features Benefits and Value Chart

What Lavoce Does and How You Can Support It

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What Lavoce Does

Lavoce aims to improve Goths’ financial futures and banish shame. Lavoce says that you are more than a novelty and more than a niche vendor, or whatever it is you do to make a living. You are who you believe yourself to be, and you are whatever you were born to be. Being Goth is like breathing. One does not just stop breathing because someone is told to. Eventually one has to choose whether to live or die.As Thomas Paine said, “Give me freedom or give me death.” Unfortunately, some chose to die, and that is a reality that Lavoce will change.

Lavoce says that you don’t need to develop a drinking habit to be among like-minded dark romantics. I do not see why Goths need to put themselves into a potentially triggering situation just to be themselves. It’s almost as if the powers that be want to condition us like Pavlovian dogs to feel bad about our nature and to make us want to be something other than ourselves. It is almost like having to pay for food in order to perform a bodily function, or paying a toll to drive from point A to B, or purchasing air rights. Goths have the right to be with like-minded people without spending money on potentially debilitating habits.

I have recently met someone with whom I hope to collaborate in terms of providing the Goth scene with options that do not involve drinking and would be of special interest to oldbies. Stay tuned.

How You Can Support Lavoce’s Cause

You remember “Drain the Swamp”? How could you not? That is a result of how DC was insulated from what was going on with the rest of the country, and the entire world, during The Great Recession and beyond. Denver is the same way with their Goth scene. Even though I love its thriving community, which stands in sharp contrast to DC’s, one just cannot ignore the ignorance regarding the rest of America, and again, the world. Some Goths there, especially those native to Colorado make taking the Goth scene for granted an art. They believe that every state has a Goth scene. Smh (shaking my head).

Goth nights at bars and clubs are great for fostering a sense of not being alone, and there is certainly a place for that, but they are not so great with changing the mindset people have toward Goths. Some Denver Goths complain about normies accidentally walking into a Goth night at a bar out of curiosity, but just as the GLBT community needs allies (which could be why Denver has the largest pride fest), so do Goths. (And plus, some perceived normies are really just corporate Goths, just as some allies are curious or questioning.)

So, I took action and introduced my normie friend to the Goth scene and a few people in the scene to reduce ignorance and increase awareness. (I tend to dislike the word “tolerance” as it breeds a continued level of close-mindedness.) You remember “Bring Your Child to Work Day”? We should really consider “Bring a Friend to Goth Scene Day”. The way to change the world is not to shelter oneself with people and news that only reaffirms our own confirmation bias (sorry, got back into politics), but to reach out to the world around us to increase awareness. It is only through increased awareness that we can also increase safety (or perceived safety, which can sometimes be just as important for preventing suicide). Even though Denver has more numbers to effect change, everyone has the ability to do what they can to make the world a better place for Goths. Remember that people’s lives are at stake.

The Equality Act

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On March 13, Nancy Pelosi introduced The Equality Act to the House of Representatives.

As someone who has often stated that the Civil Rights Act, Title VII, should also include language about fashion orientation, this is something I am following because the fashion revolution will need to follow and learn from the GLBTCQ revolution to be successful.

Honestly, I thought something like the Equality Act had already passed because employers I knew had already clarified that they are against discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, it is important to clarify that the Equality Act also includes sex and gender identity. But it is more for the transgendered community than for the female community.

This is a controversial act depending on which side of the aisle one is on. Putting names and politics aside for the sake of critical thinking, there is much to consider without glossing over whoever is villianized or made the hero.

Those who argue that men will use public restrooms to molest wimmin are the same people who argue that people most likely to perpetrate sexual abuse are strangers or that most accidents occur far from home. The opposite is statistically true in all instances. The intention here are not always said to be “mean,” and feel free to ignore the amygdala here that whispers hate-fueled nothings in your ear.

On one hand, some argue, this is a giant leap forward for transgendered people, many of whom are close friends. On the other hand, others argue, this is a giant leap backward for feminism, and I am a womyn. (I am closer to third wave feminism for those who are wondering.) I think it’s a real shame that transgender rights and wimmin’s rights so often clash. And I fully anticipate, hope, and expect for a leader of the trans community to have a sound discussion with a leader of the female community to hash these issues out, perhaps in a political arena where laws are passed.

There’s also mention of the fact that transgender rights could potentially step on the toes of religious rights, with everyone focusing on who has more of the right rather than how we can make this win-win.

For those who wish to read it, you can find the full text (primary source) here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5/text

There are no easy answers, as the road to heaven has not always been paved with good intentions. All I can say is, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same […] you’ll be a [Wo]Man, my son!

Perception Follows Judgment

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Do you know who thinks about money the most? People who are focused on the lack of it. Same goes for sex, love, etc. In the same vein, those who think about fashion the most are those who feel repressed. The ultimate goal then is not fashion, but fashion freedom so that we can be free to see the intention behind our expressions of being and love each other unconditionally.

“Perception follows judgment.”—A Course in Miracles, Lesson 312

Even if you do not value the importance of perception, employers and hiring managers will make the judgment on whether or not they will help you pay your rent.

There is no reality besides that which is perceived. Meaning is the soul. The soul is meaning. Always finding the meaning. So you want them to get the correct meaning. The best way for them to get the correct meaning is if you go into an interview clean cut.

“What do you mean by clean cut? I went to the hair stylist and clipped my nails,” you might be thinking.

Unfortunately, in most cases, going to an interview means wearing a suit. (If you are curious about where this tradition came from, here is the history of suits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_suits.)

Sometimes we have to make uncomfortable decisions as a means for an end. If you look at Steve Jobs and other mega-successful millionaires and billionaires, they had to make sacrifices in appearance until they were successful enough that people could see past first impressions. Only then could they wear whatever they wanted.

This means that, like Snapple, we may need to choose the second place to gain the first.

I have been where you have been. I no longer relate to the person I was because I used to live in fear, but I thought others might want to know that I know what it feels like, and there is a way out.

Ideally, we should all be able to express ourselves freely because we are expressions of one incarnation, one aspect of our larger soul. We should be able to show off our tattoos as free speech. We should be able to express ourselves fully, boldly, and bravely.

Freedom will make you come to life with obscene gusto. However, most people cannot handle obscene gusto from others at the outset, until they have gotten past first impressions and the relationship is more established.

We have to have an “in” before we can instill change. Reasons for most friction are change with the status quo. If we instill friction at the outset, we will not be hired, and we will not have that income to pay the bills. However, if we instill a gentle friction when the quality of our work is understood as solid, then we have a better chance to change organizations from the inside.

Most people think that they want to work in a place where they belong, a place that makes them happy. I have to tell you that it does not work like that. Successful people do not find their place in the world; they make it. You can make this change in any organization.

Cyber to Corporate

Cyber to Corporate

About Lavoce Foundation

For whom would Lavoce fit?

  • For those who are terrified of getting a job because you’ll have to cut your hair
  • For those who can’t express themselves with words
  • For those who want fashion without the drugs

When it’s gray outside, it’s Goth gray inside (see past blog posts). Take a load off and come to Lavoce!

©2018 Lavoce Foundation

Being an outcast of outcasts is a strength

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I attended a GLBT club on my college campus for years, and no one came up to introduce themselves. I’m still bi. I went to every Goth nightclub in Denver almost daily, and made no new real lasting friends in the Goth scene. I’m still Goth.

It may seem sad that so-called welcome societies are not so in reality, to the point where people end up with a take-care-of-#1 mentally, but the point here is that by seeing others being themselves, it gave me license and freedom to be myself without the need to be liked, by normies or by Goths. Just knowing that I’m not alone (and that I’m safe) is enough for me to stop feeling lonely (and in danger of losing myself).

My condensed immersion in the scene resulted in me being able to carry the Goth spirit wherever I went. No, you’re right, I had that before I got here. 

True Goths do not need to be surrounded by other Goths all the time. And, in fact, many Goths around the world are surrounded by other Goths rarely. People who are true to themselves never need to fit in to love themselves.