in the end

I remember the first time I heard Chester Bennington. A voice modulating so much pure, raw pain that touched me to the very core that I try so hard to keep inside. I know I am not the only one who felt it because yesterday so many reacted to the news of his ending his own pain.

Chester’s voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one. For me, Linking Park was a part of my go-to running playlist that pushed me through all the hubris and pain – mental, emotional and physicalthat I would encounter for miles and miles and miles.

In the end, for Chester, everything become too heavy, much too much heavy and the rest of us, his family, his friends, his band-mates and his fans now must just try to hold on.

My friends, it’s okay. It’s really okay, I promise, for us to say to one another sometimes, “You know what? No, I’m not fine. Let me tell you what’s going on in my life.” It is. It really is.

Going through this album, everything from battling with addiction, battling with relationships, battling with family members dying, dealing with suicide attempts. Dealing with kids that are growing up. Every day seemed to bring some new stack of bullshit that I had to deal with. Bringing this stuff up Mike would be like, “God, dude, this is what’s going on in my life or my friend’s life or my family is dealing with this,” or “I know people going through that,” and then it was like, “Bro! Like dude, this is what I’m dealing with.” And in this case, that was the type of conversation that started most of these sessions.

On this particular day, we got into this conversation, and I believe it was Mike that got up as we were kind of talking. As I started talking about some stuff, Mike gets up and starts playing the chord progression and is just kind of going through it. If I recall correctly, right away Julia went, “I don’t like my mind right now. Stacking up problems that are so necessary.” And we were like, “That’s it!” And it was just like “Boom!

~ Chester Bennington, Genius.com commentary – Heavy

 

when in the course of human events the truth hurts

Yesterday, as I have already shared, was the anniversary of my late brother’s birthday. Of course it was also the 241st birthday of these United States and their Declaration of Independence from England and King George III – which of course all Americans know is why we have parades everywhere and why we wear all the red, white and blue stars and stripes, watch that Will Smith movie and why we enjoy anything and everything under the hot July sun, as well as the blowing up of all the rockets red glare, legal and illegal.

We all do know this?

Right?

Of course we all do because we are Americans it’s ‘murica that we are celebrating as we celebrate our Independence Day.

Right?

Naturally, it would be safe to assume that all of us Americans would recognize the Declaration of Independence because, after all, that is what we are celebrating on Independence Day – these United States declaring their independence from Great Britain and the British Crown.

Of course we all would.

Except we all don’t. Some Americans don’t recognize it at all. And some might even take it as a personal attack on their politics and their Leader and…well, it’s sad to imagine that some of us who wrap ourselves up so tightly in the Stars and Stripes imagining that they are more American than anyone who does not ascribe to their beliefs can not recognize the words of the sacred document that was the catalyst of the birth of our Nation.

Sad.

And laughable too.

Sad!

No, it was not an attack against the man who is sometimes in the White House, nor is it not a call to arms to overthrow him and the Party who, for now, is in charge of all branches of the Federal government; even if some passages might remind us of the weird that is history repeating itself sometimes.

Some Americans might not recognize the actual words of the Declaration of Independence when they hear it or read it, but I am certain that 15,000 new American citizens do – as they must pass a citizenship test which SURPRISE includes questions about the Declaration of Independence.

on the deck of the USS Hornet, Alameda, CA photo credit – Sharon Rummery

Congratulations, my new fellow Americans!

For what it’s worth, I tested myself too and I am really embarrassed to admit that I missed one of the 20 sample test questions.

Whenever you feel that future is threatened, whenever those values of liberty and justice for all that drew us here seem under assault, you need to speak up and speak out. That’s the whole point of the freedoms we cherish.

Senator Kamala Harris

wanted: role model in chief

I don’t know about you all but here we are halfway through 2017 and I am exhausted…like feeling older than the hills exhausted.

I am old enough to remember when Michelle Obama said, Let’s be very clear: Strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. 

It really does feel like a lifetime ago – yet it wasn’t. It was EIGHT MONTHS AGO!!!

Fuck!

When I was a little girl I looked to people like John F. Kennedy as an inspirational hero. Sure he was assassinated when I was just a toddler, but his influence and inspiration lived on; along with his brother, Bobby, and Martin Luther King Jr. Children look to the leaders, the men and women we see in media as role models to inspire us to aspire to our own greatness – the stuff that childhood fantasies and dreams are made of. Of course they are not perfect people, as no one is. But these role models show us strength, power, character in lifting up the weakest and bringing people together to do great things. It’s no surprise that for many children it is the Presidents that they look to for this. For my older children it was Bill Clinton. For my younger ones it was Barack Obama – and Michelle too. Yeah, like I said, not wholly perfect but, in a child’s view, larger than life, lifting others up and bringing others together.

And then there is the current President of the United States and…

Honestly, anyone with a child has to be asking themselves, how do I explain this President’s actions especially since he faces no consequences. Well, anyone except perhaps Sarah Huckabee Sanders. To defend a schoolyard bully saying he punches back harder when punched and that this is a good thing was beyond the pale – and laughable when suggested that the previous Administration was never attacked as much as this President and THIS President does show the dignity of the office every day in his actions.

All of America collectively smirks asking, you DO know Donald Trump?!

Pundits shake their heads and laugh at the expectation that our President of the United States should be a person above reproach in their character, dignified, a role model and a strong leader who inspires. This is Donald J. Trump, they tell us. And somehow, that is supposed to excuse him…excuse the tweets, the personal attacks, the misogyny, the bigotry…all of it with no apology.

NO!

We should expect better.

We deserve better.

Our children deserve someone living in the White House who inspires them to work harder,  to do better, to do good things, to do great things.

Currently there is no such person residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sad!

 

after all this time, always

Twenty years ago, it became so much more magical under The Big Top thanks to a story about a boy who lived and went on to have some of the most amazing adventures with a motley crew of wizards, witches and muggles. Through the pages, Harry and friends taught us about life, love, acceptance, friendship, death, and bravery. As my circus act grew, they came to see themselves in some of the most beloved characters – including our own boy who lived. J. K. Rowling’s perfectly penned adventures have been with us through the years challenging each of us to be courageous in the face of adversity and to always remember that love and friendship are the most precious and the most magical things in the world.

The books that chronicle Harry’s adventures through the years now sit on a shelf showing all the wear and tear of the most loved and well-read of books that my children have grown up with; and for that I am thankful. Twenty years can pass in quite nearly a blink of an eye. Thank you J. K. Rowling for being there with me bringing up my own muggles and wizards –

and now the grands.

I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.

~ J. K. Rowling

through all the noise and fury, we are one

An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us…
There are many memories from this day we will want to forget, and many images we will not want to see again. But there is one image in particular that this House should keep. And that is a photo I saw of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news…

photo credit: Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen, NV

We feel so deeply about the things we fight for and believe in. At times, our emotions can get the best of us…
For all the noise and fury, we are a family. These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire…
So before this House returns to its business, I want us to slow down and reflect, to think about how we are being tested right now…
I ask each of you to join me in resolving to come together…to lift each other up…and to show the country—show the world—that we are one House

I am not a fan of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. I am not supportive of his vision nor most of his rhetoric. But today, in the aftermath of the the attack on the GOP Congress baseball team, I found myself comforted, encouraged and inspired by Mr. Ryan’s speech before Congress. Not an easy task to accomplish in times of National troubles, nevertheless, it is something we look to our national leaders to do. Mr. Ryan did just that.

There was a lot of awfulness in Washington today. But, out of awfulness (almost) always comes some good. Mr. Ryan’s remarks today honoring the victims and the heroes; and urging unity very much qualifies .It’s easy to lose sight of our common humanity — whether you are a member of Congress or not. The tendency, particularly in our current national political environment, is to focus on what divides us, how different we are. Step back from that narrow focus, however, and you see we have much more in common than we differ on. Family, friends, food to eat, a place to live. Dreams and hopes. We tend, in circumstances like these, to remember the bad stuff. But, Ryan’s right. We need to push all that out and put some good images there instead.

Slow down.

Take a breath.

Realize that the goal of attacks like this is to highlight our differences. Allowing that to happen makes what the shooter did have real power. Coming together after such an attack neuters it of meaning.

It is that humanity which will win the day. It always will.

Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, members of the House and Senate, America, we must move forward and work together for better because enough is enough. No one should ever fear being gunned down while in the workplace or at the mall or in a clinic or at church or temple or in a movie theater or a fast food restaurant or at school or on a baseball field.

No one.

Ever.

Enough.