with clarity

Voting today for me was not hard. With clarity and confidence of my heart, my mind and my soul, I entered my polling place and voted.

No second thoughts, voting my conscious or for God, no choosing of the lesser of two evils, no protest or throw-away vote for me. This election I knew what my choices would be; and I made those choices with my son standing beside me.

CRAZY to consider that four years from now HE will be voting!

Yes, for me the choice was an easy one. I understand that it was not so for others. Still, I hope that if you can, that you voted. It’s our right, our privilege and also our duty. IT’s around 4 PM as I write this here in California so I know it’s not too late.

Go!

Vote!

One of my own struggled even this morning still with the decision she must make. I’m still confused, her text said. We discussed this in the days leading up to this morning. But it still was not for me to decide for her. She knew my choice…my choice. I didn’t tell her who to vote for. Instead I told her about the first time her namesake voted.

Before my opportunity to vote in a Presidential election, I shared with bright-eyed enthusiasm my excitement to vote with my Great Grandmother Austa Valentine. She chuckled and told me about her own first time; which was THE FIRST TIME  for American women. History tells me choices and opportunities for women like her were very few. She was a wife, she was a mother. But, thanks to the 19th Amendment, she was a woman who could vote. Her recollection to me was going to the polling place accompanied by her husband. She feared at any moment her husband, the precinct worker or someone else would tell her that this all was a mistake; that there was no ballot for her to mark because there was no right to vote for women, for her. But it never happened. She marked her ballot and placed it in the box and done! She voted! Who did she vote for, I wondered. Ah, your ballot is always a secret, she said to me with a wink. She leaned closer and confided that she voted for Harding, like her husband did…but in years to come, she didn’t always vote for the same candidate as he did.

Austa Valentine will likely always be my favorite.

Vote for her, I told my daughter. Vote for your namesake and her legacy…me, you and your girls.

Yes, I voted with clarity and with confidence today but I also voted with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat thinking of Austa Valentine, my daughters, my grand daughters and the history that we might be making

There never will be equality until women help to make laws and elect lawmakers ~ Susan B. Anthony

their canvas

Hollie: What do you think of me doing this for Mima’s hair today?

Fallon: I think this is better for Mima’s hair!

She also declared that she is a better braider than her mama..because she is!

Well my darling Fallon, someday, I will gladly sit in your chair and my hair shall be your canvas…someday when day-glo, rainbow, unicorn hair is not a flagrant work place dress code violation.

Not today.

Today I will revel in a few hours of mommy-daughter time while I sit in my daughter’s chair watching her create with amazing colors and textures…and I will feel pretty…and thankful. Thankful for this time. Our time. Our time together…mother and daughter…artist and canvas.

just another bitch with an opinion, basically

When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.
― Bette Davis

Since the first debate last Monday, I have wanted to say so much…as has pretty much everyone else…and I thank every one who has flooded social media with all that you have wanted to say. Not that anything any one of us has to say is going to change any one voter’s mind as to who they are going to vote for. Of course I am assuming that there is really no undecided voter out there. If you are with her; you are with her. If you are all about a principled candidate to lead one of the global leading nations, yet has no clue as to what is going on globally; you are going to stand on those principles…even if his own running mate concedes Hillary Clinton is the most qualified. You might be supporting Jill Stein…sorry, I’m trying to understand that choice but I just can not. But you do you. Perhaps you are for Trump…and I swear I try really, really, really hard not to make assumptions…really I do, even if there are so many reasons why one might question the reasoning of a Trump supporter. We all are standing by our man or woman and I know there is nothing any of us can say that will change the resolve of the other.

So be it but god help us all too.

The biggest thing on my mind after the debate was the reality of what it is like to be a woman or a girl in this world right now in two thousand sixteen..

:::sigh:::

I remember one of my first parent-teacher conferences as a young mother. Hollie’s teacher began with enthusiasm explaining to me that it was easy to tell that my child was the first born because she always took charge making sure classmates knew what they should be doing at any given time.

Yeah. she can be pretty bossy sometimes.

No. No she is not bossy. She is a natural leader.

as first born children often are like 28 of the 44 US Presidents, and Gary Johnson and Hillary Clinton. And that, boys and girls was the first of many moments where I realized that I might imagine me a feminist raising my daughters to be feminists except I really had much to learn and understand…and I have thanks to raising up four amazing, smart, capable women who just so happen to be my daughters.

As mother to these women, watching them and their friends grow up through the years, I have come to see that they are not bossy. They are indeed so much more than how they might be dressed, how they wear their hair or whether or not they smile.

Whether we intended or not, like their mother (and perhaps generations of ancestors before them) they have mastered the art of looking interested when a dumb man is talking. Every single woman at some point in her life..and probably at a lot of points, and most probably on a daily basis has been forced to quietly sit and just accept that a man is yelling at her, or being wrong toward her or any other nonsensical thing that we as a society of women just accept is our lot in life in order to advance in school, in work and sometimes just to survive.

As women we learn that our appearance is a big factor in how the world sees us. From the time we are just girls, we learn that how we are dressed has an effect on pretty much everyone. Our dress distracts. Our dress labels us. Whether good or bad the question often ends being but what was she wearing even when one is running for President.

We are told to smile because when we smile we are prettier and the implication that appearing attractive to men is one of our responsibilities. Then there’s the humbling of being told the correct way to feel because we should always be happy! Except when we shouldn’t smile because we are being condescending and smug; which is absolutely not attractive…not. at. all.

And our voices…raise our voice we are shrill, bitchy and not feminine at all.

Don’t forget, we also can be too fat or too skinny.

In my lifetime we have indeed come a long way, baby, but this election season smacks us in the face every day that its a long, long road still.

I believe…

Last week I literally wanted to start digging deep for The Big Top End of Days Bunker and stock up on all the canned food, beef jerky and bottled water. I was not alone. But one week later, tonight was so much different.

When Hillary took the stage facing a sea of American flags waving before her and the stars and stripes behind her I was struck by the contrast from last week. This image alone made it clear that this was about US as opposed to last week with the golden stage with giant letters spelling out TRUMP.

And as Hillary Clinton began to speak, my grand girls called to FaceTime with me.

Girls do you realize just how special this moment is right now? Hillary Clinton is the first women to run for President of the United States as a major party candidate EVER. 

Hazel’s eyes widened. Fallon smiled and then declared that she would be next. Hazel corrected her, after I’M president. Oh sisters!

Tonight this moment made that possibility all the more possible. There are so many more possibilities that can be imagined right now too. Mrs. Clinton shared many of the things that she believed for America, for our daughters and our sons, for us.

I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives
I believe that our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should…
I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return…
I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.
I believe in science.
I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good paying clean energy jobs.
I believe that we have millions of hard working immigrants contributing to our economy.

So many statements of what she believes and with each I believe was offered so much more promise and hope for future days come as opposed to the pronouncement of The End of Times that was Mr. Trump’s speech last week. Last week I went to bed nauseated and terrified. Tonight I shall fall asleep happy, hopeful and empowered for my daughters,for my son, for my grand daughters…your future Presidents of the United States…and for all the seeds we plant in this garden that we never get to see…our legacy.

 

finishing the unfinished business

Early in 2000, a young girl living under The Big Top wrote letters to Mr. Gore, Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton. In the letters she basically announced her intention to run for President of the United States and sincerely asked for advice because in 2000, Gore, Bush and Clinton all were in a position to offer advice. Only one replied. He talked about having a heart to serve the community, doing well in school, keeping up with current national and global events, volunteering in her community and, most of all, Mr. Clinton advised to don’t give up on those dreams.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore must be busy running for President., my darling daughter observed.

We still have that letter and while my daughter’s life aspirations have changed, I can’t help but imagine the spark of imagining the impossible becoming possible being ignited then.

Yesterday, in the days and weeks to come, come November and then January 2017, history has it’s eyes on us all. Yesterday was HUGE. You see it, right? Yesterday was a day I never imagined as a little girl simultaneously bored and excited watching 1972 party conventions that there might be a Madame president in my lifetime…until the 2000 election. In 2008, while I wasn’t ready to be with her, I did enjoy watching the glass ceiling getting 18 million cracks in it with the light shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.

It hasn’t been easy, no how, no way. It most certainly didn’t get any easier. You all DID  watch that Armageddon-esque shit show in Cleveland last week, and the narcissistic press conferences that have since followed complete with Mike Pence’s WTF did I sign on for look in his eyes. Regardless, I’m with her… for me, for the memory of my great grandmother who once described to me the emotional day when she cast her very first ballot, for my children – my four daughters, for the one who dreamed to be Madame President someday and for my grand girls.

Here we all are and women are finally, truly included in the sequel.

I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century.

Hillary Clinton – “wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker”…2016 Democrat candidate for President of the United States