stronger joined together

It’s been a week now, and I am certain it’s going to be a LOOONNNGGG four years…with that administration that will take office January 20 and those who are probably already prepping for the 2020 election season.

UGH!

Anyone else struggling to think positively?

Already there has been too much ugly, too much anger, too much bitterness that divides…and I am not even talking about Trump supporters versus Hillary supporters. No. Family, friends, like-minded folk literally cannibalizing one another all because one is more right than the other…always.

It’s going to be so much more difficult I imagine before it gets easier. There is no getting around that truth. But we can, we should and we will get through to the other side…together.

We look different. We think, feel, dream, pray, love in so many different ways; but we are all humans together. Lovers, fighters, friends, family, black, brown, white, gay, straight, we are all together and so much stronger joined together.

Or we can focus on that which makes us different and separates us and could very well destroy us; because obviously there is only one right which is why family, friends, like-minded folk are fighting so damn hard against each other. 

Deep thoughts that came to me in the waning, but chaotic moments of the end of a long night at work. After lively o’dark thirty discussions about the election last week, and not just who our President elect is, because plastic bags are banned, recreational pot is legal, low level criminals will be freed and how about that death penalty and everyone on death row right now along with those god-damned safety pins. Sharp lines drawn, opinions expressed…but without name-calling or bridge burning because, just imagine, grown ups; and because we can and do indeed work together and work together very well, especially when we do what we do in my NICU.

We also put on some pretty kick-ass potlucks.

Diversity, tied together and making kick-ass potlucks together. Hurray for that! 

Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.

~ Jacqueline Woodson

 

because the sun still comes up and the earth still spins

It’s the day after the day after now and it still feels like September 12, 2001…and September 13, 2001 today.

Around the corner from The Big Top is a beautiful park where every day, as long as it isn’t balls hot, people gather playing on the playground, running, walking, doing cross fit or tai chi, hanging out, playing with their kids or dogs, playing soccer, flying kites, having parties and even one wedding I witnessed one Sunday morning. It is a vibrant place. It’s a place where neighbors call out a friendly good morning each and every time we loop past each other while running or waking its perimeter. It’s an amazing park and I love this park. I love this neighborhood!

Yesterday, as I drove past it taking Daniel to school and later as went to pick him up, I was struck how empty it was. Running errands, picking up Abby’s birthday cake and Bill’s prescriptions, the atmosphere every where was subdued, dimmed even much like the remnants of early morning Valley fog filtered the sunshine yesterday.

It felt so much like September 12, 2001 literally everywhere. That day after I was so sad, so mad, so scared and so paralyzed, as was pretty much every one else I came in contact with. Now the logical part of my brain knows Presidential election and its results is nothing like the day terrorists murdered thousands of innocent Americans crashing jets into buildings. But the thinking part of my brain also knows that a little less than half of Americans who did choose to exercise their right and responsibility to vote voted for a man who some of his own supporters admit that they believe him to be crazy, and he may get us killed, but at least he is going to be truthful with us. Yes, there is that, Crystal. Thanks! Mr. Trump might have won the electoral votes but he did not win the popular votes of those who actually did turn out to vote. So I am mad. I am mad at Crystal and those who think like her. I’m mad at the antiquated Electoral College that only benefitted early American landed gentry and often does not speak for or represent the people.

The part of me that is feelings is feeling all the feelings right now.

Yes, the anger is directed at all the Crystals and the friends who protested voting for Johnson or Stein as well as ALL the media who gave this man a stage pretty much gratis for the ratings. My friends and family who shared for us all how they literally had to hold their noses in the polling booth and today are expressing all your shock, anger denial, bargaining and acceptance, I see you. I see you clearly right now. I’m frustrated with the Bernie Bros now smugly declaring that they told us so and that Bernie would have defeated Trump…NO!

I am overwhelmed with sadness for myself for feeling so happy and optimistic just two days ago imagining that I was a part of making history for women like me, like my daughters and for little girls like my beautiful grand girls. Sad as I tried to answer my son when he asked how could an ugly angry bully win.

Then there is the fear. Fear that almost suffocates. Fear for what will happen if this President-elect is able to make good on any of his campaign promises because so many of them will have a direct affect on my family, my children, my grandchildren and other people who I love. Fear that envelopes watching the world financial markets plummet because they are likely just a little bit worried over what we have wrought. Fear because so much hate feels empowered and emboldened right now to let their hate flag fly because their guy won. Fear over the truth that the checks and balances afforded by our Constitution are legitimately in jeopardy with executive, legislative and soon, judicial branches all representing one party.

And then I circle back to more anger.

Pundit cousin Joe Scarborough tweeted yesterday a quote from Lincoln admonishing us all to end the divisiveness and come around to support our new President-elect, With malice toward none, with charity for all, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, and I answered back to give us a moment because, after all, the far Right took YEARS to mourn their losses after 2008. 

Yes, Mrs. Clinton and President Obama both, with grace called for the same thing reminding us that is one of the things that makes America great; and they both are right. Too right. But this is painful, and it will be for a long time. Hope was beaten down, battered and bruised Tuesday and it HURTS! We will heal. We will get back up again. We will because that is who we are as Americans which makes our peaceful transfer of power every four or eight years all the more one of the hallmarks that makes us truly great.

Give me a moment. Give all of us a moment.

Let us work through the painful grief we feel right now.

You know, the path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back, and that’s OK…

That’s the way politics works sometimes. We try really hard to persuade people that we’re right and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena, we go at it. We try even harder the next time.

The point though is is that we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens, because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy. That’s how this country has moved forward for 240 years. It’s how we’ve pushed boundaries and promoted freedom around the world. That’s how we’ve expanded the rights of our founding to reach all of our citizens. It’s how we have come this far.

And that’s why I’m confident that this incredible journey that we’re on, as Americans, will go on.

~ President Barack Obama

an unraveling

Midlife is not a crisis. Midlife is an unraveling.

Midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close and whispers in your ear: it’s time. All of the pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armour could you secure all the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. The time has come to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.

~ Brene Brown

Not my words, yet these are literally thoughts that spin in my mind as I get up in the morning and try to stretch limbs that ache and protest just a little in a way that they have never before. They are words I hear within my inner dialogue as I wash my face and appraise lines that are named after years of stress, worry, smiles, laughter and so much living. This is midlife I tell myself…this is my midlife I say out loud as I see my reflection smiling back at me in the morning light.

No makeup, dirty hair, morning light filter and I am just fine. This is midlife.

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.

teach them well

You know when you have those conversations with your child about respect for authority, for those who are called to Protect and Serve their community…and those who protect and serve this community 70 or more miles from their own homes because the pay scale and benefits are better? Every opportunity you have, you teach them that they are our helpers and they are here to protect and help us when we are in trouble and all we really need to remember is to always follow their instructions doing exactly what they tell us to do and we have nothing ever to worry about (as long as we have done nothing wrong) because they are here to protect us and serve us. They deserve our honor, our respect, our trust as they bravely serve us and protect us and we talk about this with our kids, all the time…

I know, Mom. What about my friends J and A and my friend R?

What about them?

Well, J and A are Mexican and R is Black and…well, on the news…

:::sigh:::

On the news…

So…

What then do you say?

I mean, you remind your son not all Cops and not all Brown people and not all Black people…

And you see your White Privilege right there  glaring at you because you are not having the same conversation with your teenaged son as J’s mom, or A’s mom or R’s mom is having right now.

Of course you are not.

But right now what we really need to worry about are professional athletes expressing their First Amendment Rights as American citizens in a way that in our humble opinion is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Teach them.

Teach them well.

They will teach you too.

I’m not going to answer any questions today and it’s no offense to you guys. I think the state of things in the world today is very interesting. I think you have players that are trying to take a stand and trying to be aware of social issue and try to make a stand an increase people’s awareness and put a spotlight on it and they’re being ignored. Whether they’re taking a knee or whether they’re locking arms, they’re trying to bring people together and unite them for a cause. I think the last couple days a couple more guys have gotten shot and killed in the middle of the street. More videos have come out of guys getting killed, and I think people are still missing the point. The reason these guys are kneeling, the reason we’re locking arms is to bring people together to make people aware that this is not right. It’s not right for people to get killed in the street.

I do a lot of community service. I go out there and try to help kids and try to encourage them to be better and to aspire to more. And when you tell a kid, “When you’re dealing with police, just put your hands up and comply with everything,” and there’s still a chance of them getting shot and no repercussions for anyone, that’s an unfortunate time to be living. It’s an unfortunate place to be in. There’s not a lot you can tell a kid. There’s not a lot you can try to inspire… a person when you say, “We need black fathers to be in the community to stay their for your kids,” but they’re getting killed in the street for nothing, for putting their hands on their cars. And I think that’s the unfortunate part, that’s the unfortunate place that we’re living in. And something needs to be done. And so when a guy takes a knee, you can ignore it. You can say he’s not being patriotic, he’s not honoring the flag. I’m doing none of those things. I’m saying, straight up, this is wrong and we need to do something. So thank you guys, have a blessed day.

~ Richard Sherman, cornerback, Seattle Seahawks