Journeying into Understandings

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Understanding is gained in the process of journeying and reflection. By                                   grand design understanding must be sufficient but never complete.

After giving the above response to someone’s tweet I began wondering about the nature of understanding and of the process of journeying into understanding. I think that in the initial phase of our journey we have certain understandings of the world and of phenomena which are premised on some fairly generic principles. These principles inform our assumptions, joys, sadnesses and our acceptance of certain people or ideas as opposed to others. Nonetheless understandings are never fixed but mutate in the course of journeying

Image result for confused When put to the test in the wake of the churnings and breakings life inflicts on us, our generic principles sometimes prove inadequate. That is when they must either mutate or atrophy into irrelevance and ineffectiveness. The uncertainty and confusion that results from contextually inadequate principles propels us to grope for an understanding that fits.  It is in this process that lucidity awakens and with it the joy of understanding. But the cycle begins again.

It seems then that it is the grand design that understanding should be sufficient but never complete to allow for continuous journeying and arrivals on increasingly elevated platforms of understanding.

Find parallel thoughts in the poem No Entiendo from my book Splendor from Ashes

 No Entiendo (2012)


gazing toward the horizon

with youthful investments of confidence that

in time we will understand.

Get a handle on the puzzle.

Be better at strategizing

for living and loving and being.

Surely like fine wine

wisdom will increase in the school of aging.

Surely early stumblings will decline

in the midst of the unfolding surge.


poised mid-staircase, we’ve still not arrived

’cause we’re still locked on the platform of reaching,

locked in the embrace of youthful yearning

for life’s beautiful things: understanding, clarity—

which we no more possess now than when we first began.

At the finish as at the start,

we’re condemned soldiers of the dark,

questing for that ever receding light.

Gate keepers and identity challenges

Image result for african american women in college

By the time one arrives at college supposedly identity issues are settled. Typically, identity explorations occur on adolescent platforms. Adolescence is the season when one negotiates one’s way into an identity with which one is comfortable.  Identity can be tied to feelings of belonging to a given group’s social space. It follows therefore that if one belongs to a dominant group one becomes secure in the imputed group identity. However, an event may occur when someone outside of the group challenges, or questions that accepted identity valuation with a view to devaluing it. In the face of this kind of identity threat whether one is an adolescent or an adult the task then is to renegotiate oneself into identity security. Options are that one can choose to concede to the devaluation or negotiate one’s way out of the mis-identification. A viable option is to redefine or re-assert one’s sense of identity by comparing oneself to the threat in such a manner that the misaligned evaluation is transformed into a positive.

This excursion into identity provides context for the greater appreciation of the poem that follows entitled “What”, found in my book Splendor from Ashes. The poem illustrates how in-group challenges aimed at negatively compromising default accepted social valuing can be confusing. It is confusing as it amounts to gatekeeper betrayal.

What? (2004)

Why do you tell me I’m black?

I know I’m black,

and I wear this color, like the air I breathe.;

without affectations, or pretensions

I never really thought of it before,

but why do you say it to me

all the time,


every time you compliment me?

Is there something you wish to tell

of which I’m unschooled

of which I’m oblivious, or clueless?

You’re a smooth, black beauty.

You’re an attractive black woman.

Is this unusual in one of darker hue?

Are you questioning my rights

to beauty, sisterhood, acclaim?

This shade of black is rare, you say—

rare to whom?

And this from one who mouths black pride?

Now as God, I see in your eyes.

I see the truth you wish to hide.

I see the hollowness inside.

I see the camouflage of fear—

your fear of being black.


Splendor from Ashes  by Ingrid Rizzolo


Gender and Differences in Self-Perception

There seems to be a gendered difference between how men and women perceive of the self. When I was growing up the relationship between husbands and their wives was not quite unlike a relationship between a parent and a child. Men then like my father, were like the little god of their homes upon whom, for the most part, wife and children attended.

Many of the women seemed to have internalized models of societal valuing of their gender. Women were normed into accepting and internalizing certain presorted roles as the unquestionable the default. In the norming process the self-esteem of these women may have become seriously compromised with a consequent devaluation of their worth.  Not only this but relations on both sides of the gender divide became suspect in respect to the ways they expected to be treated. The term objectification comes to mind which is accepting and subsequently reflecting views of the self, inflicted unto a person by society.

I think that  taken to extremes, inflicted differences in men’s perception of the self and of the woman as other, may account for the reason some men abuse women and some women accept it. But how can we crack the code when there seems to be cross cultural universally accepted ways of viewing gender


(by Ingrid Rizzolo Author of Splendor from Ashes)





Initially, I want to this blog to post content supportive of themes raised in my poetry anthology Splendor From Ashes in order to raise reader awareness and provide support for others who find themselves in similar circumstances of domestic violence/abuse . Hopefully in the process we will be forged into a community of readers and thinkers providing enriching conversations for the enhancement of each others lives.

(by Ingrid Rizzolo Author of Splendor from Ashes)


The Struggle

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Sometimes as a victim of domestic violence you live in a lonely space. At such times the struggle to hope is life itself. The absence of the struggle is the absence of life. Fight to keep hope alive.

Now I am in a better place but that was my struggle. I share a poem from my book Splendor from Ashes  that is reflective of the struggle

The Ambush (2003)

You touched her kids,
you wounded her soul,
wracking her womb with pain,
and shook her well-worn faith.
Then leaky faucets finding gutters
on her freshly pleated face
gushed forth in insurrection,
the last stance of the damned.
Ungovernable thoughts, one-liners
race across her brain,
repetitious, torturous rituals
of excruciating pain.
Her eyes grow wide in knowing—
the knowing of the lost.

Splendor for Ashes by Ingrid Rizzolo 


Social Commentary with a Focus on Violence on Women and Children

Image result for violence on women and children

Why the Focus?

According to the Office of Women’s Health US Department of State and Human Services (2015,) over 5 million women are abused every year. Other frightening statistics reveal that the number of women killed by domestic violence between 2001 and 2012 all but doubled the number of soldiers killed during the war in Afghanistan in the same period (The Huffington Post, 2015). Validating the prevalence of this despicable phenomenon is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (n.d.) which reports that in the United States 20 people are physically abused in domestic relationships every minute. This amounts to over 10 million women being killed every year according to the report.  Some may argue that men are also victims of this scourge, a and they are. The Coalition reports that one in seven men as opposed to one in four women become victims of domestic abuse in their lifetimes.

But What is Domestic Abuse/ Violence abuse?

Abuse occurs in a relationship when one partner is willfully hurt physically, emotionally or sexually by the domestic partner. Many times, abuse is first emotional in the form of threats for instance then soon it may turn physical where there may be shoving or hitting. to confuse the victim by trying to convince the victim that it was the his/her fault. But this is erroneous since a person will not invite another to hurt that person. Remember the person who is the victim cannot help the abuser. The abuser needs mental help from a professional.

Get help : Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TDD).


National Statistics, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, n.d.,  Accessed 02 Sept. 2017

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic.  The Huffington Post, 13 Feb., 2015, Accessed 02 Sept. 2017

Violence Against Women. Women’s health .gov Office of Women’s Health , Us Department of Health and Human Services, 30 Sept., 2015, . Accessed 02 Sept. 2017

To gloss over sexual violence on children is to allow for its perpetration

vector illustration drawing in...

NEW DELHI  — A 10-year-old Indian girl who was raped by an uncle, and then lost her legal battle to have an abortion, gave birth on Thursday to a girl. Read the full  article at

While I  am not perpetuating abortion, I grieve for the pain to both mind and body inflicted on one so young.  Rape is less a sexual act, than it is the infliction of a violent act upon the vulnerable. This traumatized child may resort to a  prison of self  isolation while the perpetrator of this heinous crime perhaps receives  a mere slap on the wrist.  I am sad to say that such a society should be classified as an enabler.

(by Ingrid Rizzolo Author of Splendor from Ashes)