Your policies suck, that’s why we have a problem

Your policies suck, that's why we have this problem | Sedruola Maruska

We moved a lot when we were young. My immigrant father was focused on getting an education, and providing for his family. So, wherever the opportunities were, that’s where we went.

Which is why in the summer of 1977 we moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. My dad was accepted into the University of Utah’s doctorate program so we moved into family student housing. I was 9 years old.

When my brother and I started school we were the only two Black children in a school of over 200 students. We stood out at a time when I didn’t want to stand out.

Salt Lake City

During our time in Salt Lake City I remember wondering a lot about the way I looked. I asked my mom why I couldn’t wear my hair down instead of in braids. I’d stand in front of the bathroom mirror and pull up my nose to be more “pointy” like my friends. At nine years old we’re formulating our perceptions of ourselves. We’re figuring out where we fit in the world and I didn’t fit.

One day (and this is relayed to me by a friend I found on Facebook years later) while in class a boy was teasing me about my color. He started talking about how I looked like poop, laughing and carrying on. As I’m enduring this abuse, I begin to cry and complain. Instead of the boy being disciplined, the teacher told me “If you can’t stop disrupting class, you’ll need to go out in the hall.” I’m nine years old and I have to control my reaction to the abuse being inflicted on me by a white child.

I was sent to the hall.

Personally, I don’t remember that moment. I remember others with the same theme. I’m the problem so I need to suck it up. Endure what’s happening. Be strong. Be the bigger person, the better person. While those who are inflicting the pain, go unpunished. Because they’re white and so therefore they must be right.

Your policies suck, that's why we have this problem | Sedruola Maruska

Ignoring The Signs

As I look around the country right now, I’m reminded of that ignorance. We watched as armed white people storm the capital building with no repercussion. We watched as police officers looked the other way to allow these terrorists to cross barricades, take selfies with the perpetrators and claim overwhelm, while the lawmakers inside had to cower for their lives.

All over social media parallels are being drawn on the different responses to acts of terrorism when the perpetrators are white vs. when people of color and Black people are protesting policies that threaten their lives.

Just like in my fourth grade classroom where I became the problem and I was disciplined, Black and Brown people are always dealt with harsher than white people. Here’s the kicker, it happens all across the country in every discipline and industry.

It starts with students and goes through the workforce. It’s easier to punish the victims than it is to confront a system that benefits you and demand that system change.

White terrorism

What’s the consequence? The consequence is white terrorists running around the country killing with impunity and being treated as human. While those they are terrorizing are treated like the problem.

White people are allowed to do as they please when they have a “bad day” while the rest of us must swallow our pain.

White people are allowed to have mental health issues while the rest of us are “too sensitive” or “genetically prone to violence.”

White people are allowed to be angry, protest, lash out maim and kill while their vegan, vacation and huger needs are taken care of. The rest of us better be happy we didn’t die at the scene.

The consequence, as I wrote in this article is a country where everything and everyone suffers because of tolerance rather than justice. We, all of us, are left reeling and wondering what’s the next logical step to take? What part can we play in creating change?

Proof in Policy

Companies are creating products to placate when we know it’s changes in their policies that create real change. Yes, we appreciate removing “Aunt Jemima” from your products, but what does your C-Suite look like? Thanks for putting out that statement, but are your employees of color comfortable in your culture?

Corporations have the power to push governments to make real policy changes needed to move the needle. Yet, in Georgia, and across the country, where these giants with power are headquartered, voter suppression laws are running rampant. The wording is more nuanced and vague, but we know, we ALL know they’re intentionally directed at people of color, especially Black people.

It’s time to stop pretending we don’t know what do to, and do what we do know. Do the hard things. Corporations are made up of people. Those people need to stop hiding and do better. Say NO. Look to the future and make the hard decisions in the present. Invest in your people, your policies and revamping your cultures.

We the people appreciate the surface stuff, but we’d all, including yourselves, be better served with real policy changes and more bravery.


Appendicitis in the age of COVID-19

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

My friend David* is deathly afraid of spiders. It doesn’t matter how small they are, he’ll run to the ends of the earth to avoid them.

One day while driving, he noticed a spider in his car. I’m not sure where in the car the spider was, but it was in his line of sight, and that was enough. With panic on the brain, and I’m sure a prayer in his heart he managed to pull his car over and jump out. Being alone, he had to manage on his own. Which he did by destroying the menacing creature and apprehensively getting back in the car to get home.

When he told me this story we laughed so hard we could barely speak for minutes. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

It feels a little like we’re all hiding from a spider in the age of COVID-19. The difference being, our spider is deadly to our most vulnerable and we’re not yet sure how to destroy the menace.

Social Distancing

On March 12, 2020 our school district asked that the kids not return to school the following day, Friday, March 13. Then on Friday we learned that school would be closed for two weeks for “social distancing” due to the COVID-19 virus spreading across the globe. My daughter is home-schooled so no big change there. But having my son home all day. . . I love my kids.

“Mommy, can I change my color?”

Social distancing is testing us in ways we’ve never been tested before. We’re pushed to spend time with ourselves, our kids and our stuff in a way we’ve never experienced or imagined. In our case, knowing it would only be two weeks gave a light at the end of the tunnel. Then the Governor pushed it to May 6. . . I love my kids.

Calling The Doctor

Two weeks in, on Sunday, March 29, my daughter comes into our room in the morning with a bellyache. Kids get bellyaches especially when diets are on hiatus and schedules are non-existent.

So we send her to use the bathroom, have some tea and take it easy. By the afternoon there’s no change so we give her some children’s Tylenol, and cross our fingers. No one wants to go to a hospital right now, let alone an emergency room. So we decide to call her doctor in the morning to go to their office instead, if the pain persists.

In the morning, I call the doctor’s office. They ask me a list of questions then the nurse says “I think you need to go to the emergency room because it sounds like appendicitis. Don’t worry, they have separate entrances for COVID-19 patients and regular patients.”

She read my mind.

The Hospital

I throw on some clothes, get my daughter in the car and drive to the hospital. When we get to the hospital, the scenario is eerie. There’s almost no activity, a huge sign out front flashes “NO VISITORS”, the drive in front of the emergency room is blocked off, and there’s no one in sight. I hang out for a moment and a valet happens to walk by so I ask if I can park in front of the emergency room so he clears a space for me. He’s wearing a mask.

We go through the emergency room doors and we’re instantly greeted by a nurse in full protective gear. “Hello, how may we help you?”

“Our doctor told us to come because my daughter is having abdominal pain and believes it may be appendicitis.”

“What’s your daughter’s name?”

Reinventing Yourself – Self Directed Coaching

I tell her and she sees it in the computer so she promptly hands us masks and guides us through. Everyone in the hospital is wearing a mask from the valet to the barista at the internal Starbucks. No one is walking around without a mask.

We get to a room and I notice that no one is shaking hands. I didn’t reach out, nor did they. They’re only touching my daughter as needed to get her IV in and examine her belly. Later, when I need to make a phone call I step out of the room and am quickly directed back into the room, no one can walk the halls, everyone must stay put. Okay, no problem.

Appendicitis in the age of COVID-19

Appendicitis

As we’re waiting the doctor comes in and informs us that they’re going to need to do an ultrasound to see what’s really going on. They give my daughter Tylenol, Motrin and Morphine so in a short time she’s feeling “happy.”

After the ultrasound confirms our suspicions of appendicitis an appendectomy surgery plan is rolled out.

Now, in my day, developing appendicitis and having an appendectomy was something that would put you down for a few days.

The doctor begins to explain to me how they’re going to go through my daughter’s belly button with an instrument that has a camera on the end. They’ll find the appendix and pull it out to examine it, tie and snip it off. Basically, a laparoscopic procedure that comes with very low risk.

We got to the hospital at 10:15 am and we were home by 6:30 pm post op.

Gratitude

Life doesn’t always cooperate with our plans. What’s that quote “Man makes plans and God laughs.” There are things we just can’t anticipate because they’re not how we think things need to go. But flowing with life feels a lot better than pushing against it.

I got nothing I “planned” to do on that Monday done. What was most important was I get my daughter taken care of. The timing of this emergency may not have been ideal but I’m so grateful for:

  • Health insurance so we didn’t have to worry about how to pay
  • Health professionals who are working everyday despite the threat to their health
  • Modern medicine and it’s efficiency in our case
  • Being able to take my daughter to the hospital in the morning and she being relieved of her pain by the evening
  • Hospital protocol to keep everyone safe
  • The timing could have come during the anticipated ‘surge’ of COVID-19, it didn’t

Life also, keeps moving. As our health professionals continue to fight the good fight, it’s up to us to follow the protocols in place to help keep them safe. They’re not only dealing with COVID-19 patients, they’re also dealing with regular cases, like my daughter’s appendicitis, that won’t stop because of this pandemic.

I wish you health and peace as we stay home and do our part against this deadly spider.


*Names changed to protect the innocent 🙂


5 Ways to indulge your affluence

Sedruola Maruskaj Blog

Affluence, my dear, is not a bad word as we’ve been led to believe. As a matter of fact, it’s been so mis-represented that there’s now a condition called “affluenza”. Imagine that!

There’s even a full dictionary definition of “affluenza”:
‘…psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation’

The misunderstanding runs deep. But it doesn’t have to.

Affluence comes from the Latin verb affluere, “to flow abundantly”. Thus, someone or something blessed with affluence has received an incoming flood of riches.

Merriam-Webster.com

From what I can tell, the idea of affluence or being affluent makes some people, many people, uncomfortable.

Here’s my theory. There are tons of reasons we shy away from saying “I want to be rich”. We think it sounds bad because, how dare we want to be rich, right? Wrong! Being rich isn’t the problem, how you think of being rich, is.

5 ways to indulge affluence

The problem is when we think of riches as only having lots of money (not that that’s a real problem, just perceived). It makes us uncomfortable so we shy away from wanting that type of affluence and therefore don’t understand the full meaning of the word.

I’d like to invite you to indulge your affluence for just a moment. I’m not taking money off the table because we all want more, whether we’re willing to admit it or not. But there are other ways, along with money, to have, be and create affluence.

Health affluence

If you enjoy great health, please indulge in that! Don’t take it for granted. People are fighting everyday to be healthy, get healthy or just stay alive. Then here you come with all your health affluence as if nothing can get you sick. Who do you think you are? You’re healthy, that’s who and you can indulge and enjoy that, so please do.

Family affluence

Do you have family that you can count on? Blood relatives that you can’t wait to see and love to spend time with? Family that you know will be there for you no matter what? Great! Indulge in it. Some people don’t have that special bond with their families. Some people would do anything to enjoy the family connections you do. Count your blessings.

Mastering Affluence: 6 Lessons to Create a Life You Love

Friend affluence

Now, not only do you have a great family, but you’ve got friends to die for. Literally! You have people who’d do anything for you, and for whom you’d do anything. They are family you’ve chosen and they’re amazing. If you don’t believe they’re to be indulged in, you’re missing the point of “…an incoming flood of riches.” For who has even one friend to count on is rich….

Monetary affluence

I know, you don’t want to talk about money. But, if you can’t talk about money how can you ever expect to enjoy the money you have. . . or, aspire to have more? Look, having money, or wanting more doesn’t make you a bad person. What makes you a bad person is, well, being a bad person. If you’ve got enough money to pay your bills, enjoy extras beyond paying your bills and even enough to give charitably, you’re affluent. . . .

Spiritual affluence

Didn’t think this was a thing did you? Well, it is. You’ve found it within yourself to be grounded, happy and calm in the face of difficult situations, you’re spiritually affluent. Having found a way to enjoy life with all it’s ups, downs and tribulations is not something we can all do. Enjoy your spiritual journey.

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The next time you start feeling resentful of someone because of their perceived affluence, take a look at your life. Someone may be looking at you and feeling that same resentment because of what you enjoy and take for granted.