Wednesday, November 09, 2016

It's Mourning In America

This morning I woke up with the same feeling in my body and my soul that was present on February 2, 2014.

How can this be reality?

But it is. And I despise that there is a trap door here. I was truly not expecting this one. I thought it would be close. I know how much people hate Hillary. It's clearly beyond reason. But I was not expecting this trap door.

And when I got home from an appointment this morning, I found this rebellious bloom in Connor's garden. A November blossom.

Keep the faith, friends. Connor came back to visit me today and helped dispel that feeling I woke up with.  I'm giving myself today to recoup my strength. As you know, I have practice at that, so now that I've done it, it will be faster this time. It will bolster my desire to do good. To be good. To practice compassion. To remove complacency. To remember what this country is about, what I am about, and what power lies in me.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Being the Best I Can Be

I am so lucky.

I was raised in a family where the gender dynamic was not even close to even. We weren't just female-heavy in our ratio. Females are dominant in our family. Not only in my nuclear family, but in my extended family of cousins too. It was a matter of fact that we are strong women. We were raised by strong women.

I was also raised by a strong man who believes to be very depth of his being that each of us can be anything we want to be. ANYTHING. I cannot think of a single time in my life when my father treated me differently than my brother. Want to play sports? Great, let's get your geared up so you can play your best. Need to practice? Let's hit the driveway. Tough spot in school? Let's sort it out. You have rehearsal? Let's get you there and home again safely. It wasn't only him, but when I think back, as far back as I possibly can remember, I never had my father say "you can't..." to me except in two instances:

1. When I wanted to wear my Emory University shorts inside out to the state finals in my senior year for basketball. My reason - the shorts were the only red shorts I owned but I was there supporting my team, not Emory. His reason - just no. Turn em back out. I glowered, I muttered under my breath (hm, wonder where THAT trait comes from) but I did it because I tested him completely throughout my adolescence and that was the first NO he gave me.

2. In my third year of college, when I became enamored of clowning (yes, clowning) and decided that once I completed my degree I would join the circus as a clown for a year. That got a big fat nope from him too.

I am so lucky.

I was so outspoken, sassy, strong, pick-your-synonym if you don't like mine when I was in high school that it inspired fear in boys. I attended an all girls high school, but the first day I had to go to the boys high school, 4 times the size of my own, I walked down the center of the hall there, between rows upon rows of lockers and hundreds of boys, with my head up, my eyes open and ready for a challenge. Many, many times I was challenged there. Every time, I refused to back down. Even to the point of being escorted to their office for a conversation with their Dean of Students whose responsibilities included handling the problems students. I wasn't even one of his students.

Because of how I was raised, it never occurred to me that I needed to be quiet, or unassuming, or demure. Naw, screw that? I was female, I was human, and I would not be denied my rights as a human.  Before anyone ever made the astonishingly simple relation that human rights apply to all humans, I believed that and tried to live it. And I was never punished for living that way, not even by the Dean of Students of the boys' school.

I am so lucky.

I went to college without a single concern about being safe. I have always been safe, even when I made stupid choices of epic proportions. I'm certain I made them. I probably have friends who can verify them! But I stomped out of college unscathed, and I know so many women who did not. I wish I had done more for them.

I am so lucky.

I worked at a wonderful place for a decade. While there, I was promoted to an executive position in my office, and a male partner asked me after the announcement if it made sense that I was an executive since I wasn't even 30. My response, carefully stated since I'd learned to be wiser with words as I matured, was to say, "Why not? No one else was clamoring for this."

It never came up again, and he was one of my greatest champions while I worked there.

I am so lucky. And it's time for me to start pushing that luck out of me and into those who will come. My sons, who have privileges so deep they cannot even begin to fathom them, and whose interest in social justice inspires me. My community, which has much of what it needs but can always make room for improvement. My country, which has suffered terribly in the last 15 months in an ugly electoral cycle that is certainly not the first of it's kind, but without question the most televised one. I may write Ryan Murphy and tell him that next year he needs to do American Horror Story: Election.

But I am so lucky. And tomorrow, I vote.