mourning, but with all the hope

I know that I am not the only one crying and screaming on the inside what the actual fuck right now.

Baton Rouge…Alton Sterling…”he should have just complied”…Falcon Heights…Philando Castile…”but he complied; he followed the officer’s orders”…Black Lives Matter…Dallas…Dallas PD…Ballwin…Ballwin PD…Blue Lives Matter…“All Lives Matter”…

I can’t. I just can’t.

Moments that words don’t reach; suffering too terrible to name. And in these moments this week I just want to hold the ones I love the most as tight as I can and push away the unimaginable. All of it. But I can’t. I just can’t.

I am at work and I distract myself with work. I walk into the break room and one of the news channels is on. It’s not Fox News…THANK YOU…but I just can’t. I distract myself with work, with my patients’ conditions and parents’ bedside vigils because I just can’t imagine.

Coffee is delivered by my current favorite child, and I give thanks for the happy distraction it brings.

It’s the little things. Acts of kindness. Warm hugs. Parents holding their precious new babies as close as they can taking in all the promises of future hope that they represent. Moments that words don’t reach; grace too powerful to understand. My heart hurts right now. The hearts of most everyone else I know hurt right now. Sad, mad, all the outrage, all the helplessness, all the tears and fears are happening right now and I know that I am not alone. But through the night at work last night there was for me a promise of hope that no matter how small is potentially powerful enough to rise above the unimaginable. I’m keeping that hope close to my heart and last night, all night, and today, right now I am happy for the tiny warmth it radiates deep within my broken heart.

A baby is god’s opinion that the world should go on.

Carl Sandburg

outside the formation

So just as there apparently was a big football game this past Sunday, there was a halftime show. A halftime show that like other halftime shows during some big, kind of important to some, football game had fans, lovers and haters galore. But the day before the big football game, with the halftime show one either loved or hated, there was a video that was dropped.

And as predicted, so much conversation caused because so much is here, so many layers of so many things that we can talk about.

Doncha love it when music, words, performance, art makes you think and then speak because you have just been provoked to think and speak.

I sure do! Formation does just that and I love it all…all the layers of provocation happening here.

But before we really could have a decent conversation about the music, the lyrics, the visuals, and all the layers that is Beyoncé’s Formation, it was the big football game and the halftime show.

Provoked again we were because one thing Super Bowl halftime shows always promise is controversy. Whether it is old, why-is-this-artist-still-relevant performances or deluges or power outages or breasts bared or left sharks, we are provoked and compelled to share that which we loved and hated about the Super Bowl halftime show.

This one?

This one, I loved in its rich homage to not only past Super Bowl halftime shows, but also to the rich, layered tapestry that is the Bay Area and some of it’s history in the last 50 years. Like the Super Bowls over the past 50 years, so much to try to cover…impossible to cover. Still honored all the same…San Francisco’s Summer of Love, a little bit of M.C. Hammer and Tower of Power uptown funk…oh and a little bit of the Black Panther Party because it’s not just the Super Bowl’s 50th birthday party.

And, yeah, we were provoked!

I don’t know about you but my social media timeline is literally flooded with so much discussion and proclamations about Beyoncé, Formation, the Black Panther Party, black women, black women’s hair…color, Right Wing pundits’ wish for more wholesome entertainment for a Super Bowl Halftime show …like I imagine The Rolling Stones, Prince or Justin Timberlake accidentally exposing Janet Jackson’s breast were…oh, and the truth that unless you are a woman of color, you have no right to any opinion on any of this.

Um…okay.

I get it because, yeah, I don’t get it.

Still all that this social media shit storm has stirred up and provoked, I can’t help but have a thought or two or more…not that you care but now you know. I also appreciate the fact that while sitting down with my 14 year old and helping him work on research for his Black History Month biography, we both dug deeper trying at the very least to learn more about Jim Crow laws, Brown v. The Board of Education, Selma, voting rights, The Black Panther Party, post Katrina New Orleans because although none of this is our personal history, our personal legacy, our personal reality it is a part of our country’s history, legacy and citizens like us reality, and why shouldn’t we be provoked and compelled to try to learn more, try to understand and begin to have a conversation about?

Pop star that she is, Queen Bey, diagnosed the current moment and caused an amazing, still divisive, but necessary conversation and a need to know and try to understand more…as artists often do.

Well done, Bey!

press pause

Practically a week into 2016 and when am I going to take the time to post something, some picture, some thought, some moment of navel gazing…because people are waiting.

Heh.

Sorry.

Life distracts.

Taking time to consider my #oneword for 2016 as I have last year, the year before, and the year before that, I found myself anxious to sit down and share with you the right word for my 2016…again, because you all are waiting (in my imagination) it struck me that I had the right word for this year because whether you have been waiting and wondering, Big Top life has distracted…or perhaps readjusted the focus. So let me share with you…as soon as I pause this video.

What can I say, I love me a good riff-off.

PAUSE.

Pause is my #oneword2016.

2015 ended up being what I would call a fortuitous year. Actually I did refer to it that way when a friend asked to describe 2015 in one word. There were so many other potential words describing good, bad, anxiety, tears, fears, grief, happiness, joy…and on and on. 2015 wasn’t a stellar year but it certainly did not suck…mostly.Perhaps because (most of the time) I tried to deal as I said I would around this time last year.

Dealing, as I tried to do, I learned sometimes to just pause…take a deep breath…perhaps close my eyes…open my eyes…take another breath if needed…and in that way I would try to deal. There wasn’t always a fix or a solution or an ability to change but there was a moment, a break to realize the positive and where my strength lies.

So 2016, this year I will press pause…as needed…when needed.

Like today while running errands in the rain.

 

wait, let me take a selfie

With all that is currently going on in and around the world right now we have so much to be worried about because it is truly the end of the world as we know it…and according to Arizona Diamondbacks announcers Bob Brenly and Steve Berthiaume it starts here.

Right here, right now.

Of course the irony of it all was as they continued on with their nearly three minute tirade about parenting failure (with college aged people likely not living at home with their parents) and mocking these college coeds taking a break from their classes, studies, work and other projects to take in a practically pointless end of season game between the Diamondbacks and the Rockies, on the screen was the invite for fans to take and post their selfies while enjoying the game.

Nice! Way to be in touch with your fan base guys!

True, selfies are not necessarily your father’s thing…or my darling husband’s thing…likely not my father’s thing but it is a millennial kind of thing and, apparently, millennials like Major League Baseball and, more often than not, will take selfies and share them…everywhere. The fact of the matter is that no one leaves home without their smart phones these days, and those phones are used to create memories with their camera at sporting events, concerts, and around the every day life that we live.

Get over it! 

Really.

Some cluck their tongues and shake their heads as they think this somehow detracts from the natural enjoyment of life and they literally take every opportunity to criticize this practice in a get off my lawn kind of fashion…because they never did anything perceived to be a waste of time or stupid by the generations before them. It’s a generational divide that comes off as bitter and superior. Add to that the usual stereotyping of young ladies who are obviously at the game to be seen on Instagram and Snapchat, or because their boyfriends obviously dragged them against their will and are clearly not hanging on to every single pitch like a good fan and you have the perfect setup for what became a mean-spirited rant against fans in the stands…people the announcers and everyone else watching the video (that is so easily Googled) don’t even know….people just passing the time in-between the fourth inning of a game taking selfies.

Hey, some people dance, some take a bathroom break, some grab another beer or hot dog and some take a selfie. What’s the problem, really? They bought a ticket. They apparently planned for a fun evening together, all decked out in their Diamondbacks merch. Seriously, what is wrong with this?

Meanwhile, to their credit, the young women of the Alph Chi Omega Sorority at ASU took all of this in stride showing much kindness and grace through it all after the Diamondbacks and broadcasting partner reached out to them.

Well done, ladies!

Welcome to 2015, every one else! People take selfies sometimes. There is nothing inherently wrong with the world today because of it.It just makes us human beings in the 21st century.

We sometimes take a selfie; especially when we get new eye glasses just because.

standing down the bullies

I stand with Planned Parenthood.

There, I said it.

Do I care what anyone really thinks about me making that statement?

No.

No I do not.

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away, I was a young married twenty-something. And I had no health insurance. I could not afford it. My husband and I could not afford it, nor could we qualify for Medi-Cal because we were employed and made too much money.

Ah, the good old pre-Obamacare days! Good times those were! Here’s where I remind my young adult children how fortunate they are to continue to enjoy your parents’ healthcare coverage. Don’t believe me? Ask your sister Hollie about that.

But I digress…

As a young woman, in the land of San Jose, I enjoyed some of the services that my local Planned Parenthood clinic provided…annual Pap smears and pelvic exams, access to birth control (for when I absolutely did not want to get pregnant), a prescription for antibiotics for an infected ingrown toenail and prenatal care…yes. prenatal care. So that I could be pregnant and stay pregnant for approximately 9 months and deliver a healthy, wonderful, perfect baby.

Thank you, Planned Parenthood. Because of you I had access to affordable, excellent prenatal care, education and support that was provided to me twenty nine years ago when I needed it the most. I looked forward to my regular prenatal visits. I loved listening to my baby’s heartbeat…such a magical sound that was! I appreciated the clinicians’ patience with what I believed to be stupid questions about my changing body and what was going on with the baby growing inside of me. The numbers on the scale and the lectures about my love for Oreos? Not so much. I also did not care much for the Pro-Life protesters calling out to me…no, yelling and screaming at me. I would cover my growing belly protectively as they would call me a murderer when I entered your clinic every month for my regular prenatal visits. I would recognize the same familiar, angry faces. Did they not recognize me…the young lady who obviously was KEEPING her baby?! Did they honestly believe that calling me a murderer as they shook their graphic, bloody posters at me from the moment I got out of my car and walked across the parking lot to the office and back again was going to compell me to join their side and stand with them?

Did they?

Did they really?

Yeah, no.

Then there are those videos…those videos that have been thoroughly discredited and continue to be.

Honestly, I would sooner believe that bogus Facebook privacy policy ready to steal ALL of my posts and pictures and that there is really such a thing as a law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute) that will punish Facebook and protect me.

Seriously!

Congressional Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) flashed a chart on the screens showing that since 2010, the number of abortions at Planned Parenthood has surpassed the number of its “cancer screenings and prevention services.” But no such shift occurred. The fine print on the chart showed that the number of abortions (327,000 in 2013) never came close to reaching the number of cancer screenings (935,573 in 2013) at any point. Yes, but the bogus graph didn’t seem to matter to Chaffetz, who drew Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards attention to the crossing lines showing abortions overtaking screenings.

Richards said the chart “absolutely does not reflect what’s happening.”

“I pulled those numbers directly out of your corporate reports,” the chairman said.

In fact, the chart said the source was the antiabortion group Americans United for Life — which Richards pointed out to Chaffetz.

:::mic drop:::

“Then we will get to the bottom of the truth of that,” the chairman said.

You do that, sir.

The truth? Planned Parenthood gets money for women’s birth control, STD screenings and the like, not abortions — which Richards calmly reminded her inquisitors. As today’s hearing continued it was clear that the committee’s contention wasn’t against Planned Parenthood and how they spent their money but rather about allowing women in this country . . . to make other decisions about their pregnancies.

To Mr. Chaffetz, and the rest of your ilk, I would ask if those more than 300,000 abortions were stopped and resulted in 300,000 new babies born would you then be willing to support and fund those babies and their mothers, you know, through Medicaid and welfare?

Would you?

Could you?

I stand with Planned Parenthood because I believe that ALL women deserve access to quality women’s healthcare and most certainly without shame, without fear, without intimidation…regardless of what health care they seek.