#metoo

metooI was reflecting last night on the #metoo movement. The number of women I know who have experienced sexual violence, unwanted advances, and nonconsensual sex outnumber the women who have not experienced it. That is NOT ok.

How is it that men feel so entitled to a woman’s body without her agreement?

How do I raise my daughter to stand in her power and my boys to never ever pressure someone for sex?

It started in Kindergarten for me I think. A little boy named Bobby flashed me his privates and tried to kiss me. I ran and told the teacher. Bobby got in trouble.

In Elementary school it was boys looking under the table at my legs, or truth or dare kisses that I didn’t want but I had no voice to say it.

I won’t go into all of the details but let’s just say that consent was not something I learned about until later in life.

Let me break it down for anyone who might not know.

No one has a right to a woman’s body. Take your advances, glares, comments, suggestions and desires and knock that shit off. No one wants to feel like an object, a piece of meat that someone else is entitled to devour. We are not your prize, a notch on your bedpost, a number in your little black book.

We are radiant women of God who will be respected, cared for, revered and IF we decide to share our bodies with you, you will treat us with respect, love, and kindness.

Oh, and we can change our mind anytime. It doesn’t matter if you bought dinner, or you are in a relationship, or it’s prom night. It is a consensual agreement. Everytime.

There is so much hurt walking around these days. So many women who have been mistreated. This stops today. It stops by speaking about it out loud, but educating our children, and just saying no to the media’s crazy portrayal of sex.

Love is supposed to be just that – loving, caring, kind, empowering, and supportive,.

I am teaching my kids this kind of love.

Because no young woman every should have to say #metoo again.

 

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Stand free 

Stand free they say from their Ivory Tower. 

Speak louder, 

but not too loud. 

We will tell you what volume is acceptable. 

Do you speak Mexican? 

Your skirt is so short, you must want some attention? 

Words spoken from a plantation mansion, 

still echo in the current White House it seems. 

Ignorance and privilege wrapped in a navy blue business suit. 

Knowing what is best for people who are different from their bland white bread. 

And yet never tasting the flavors of chipotle, 

saffron 

and cumin. 

Just salt and pepper please, 

but really, 

just salt. 

Why are you raising your voice? 

Does my intelligence upset you? 

Will you educate, placate, dominate and subjucate until I’m too weary to stand? 

No. 

You won’t. 

Why? 

Because I am a woman, 

a mother, 

an ally 

and a friend. 

While you are golfing, I am reading. 

While your wine chills, we are organizing. 

While you are playing the stock market, 

we are  lifting up difference – 

because it is beautiful. 

So, no thank you for your patriarchal oppression, 

your judgement and your hate. 

Your cages no longer apply to me, 

because I am a woman. 

A loud, 

educated, 

cooking with all of the spices, 

mama, 

and I am standing free. 

The Warrior’s Walk

I’ve been reflecting on the word warrior lately. It seems I know quite a few. 

One might think that a warrior looks like a big strong man with armor and a mission to save the kingdom, and that may be true, but they also appear in different forms. 

Here are a few- 

Warrior of Light- I am honored to know a women who stands for love and light.  She stands at the alter every morning praying for her loved ones and the world. She has challenges just like the rest of us, but she slices anything not of the light with her Excalibur sword. 

Recently she has been faced with the loss of her partner and the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. She has handled both of these with more grace than I have ever imagined possible. Her motto is “love’s victory” and she marches streadfastly towards healing with the strength of a thousand angels. Darkness does not have a chance around this warrior. She is my mother. 

Warrior of Truth- Another warrior appeared in our lives this week. Her knowledge and kindness unparalleled. She is the heroine stories are written about. She road into a situation when all looked dark and brought hope. She’s traversed obstacles like medications, pallatative care, and transportation to doctors appointments swiftly and with ease. She is weaving together a comfort quilt for a loved one with so much care and honor. She is unstoppable. She is my aunt. 

Warrior of Love- I know a warrior who has been fighting against injustice for decades. When he speaks, people listen. When he writes, people buy books to hear how to be more engaged in their lives and with the youth of today. He has returned home from this travels of late and walked back into my life with determination. “Whatever you need” he keeps saying, and proves it with pizza deliveries, neck rubs, light saber battles with teenagers, listening ears and open arms. He is a man of honor and deep love. He is my hero. 

Warrior of the Earth- This friend has been committed to being the earth’s protector for many years. She has studied ecology, planted roots, taught children to care for our planet and volunteered to serve at risk youth through growing good food. Most recently she set up a meal train for a family going through a tough time. She is an inspiration to me. She is my friend.

These warriors all carry missions of hope. They are strong and look obstacles directly in the face and say “I am here to fight for what is right”. They are a constant inspiration to me and I am honored to be walking with them, onward. 

Where do you want to go? 

It’s a regular Tuesday morning, time to get up and bustle kids to school. 

Facebook says the United States is still in a mess of arrogant power and injustice, with a side of hope by a growing group of truth speakers. People are protesting, marching and speaking up for truth. 

All of this can be discouraging today the least.

The question in my mind today is, “where do you want to go?” In this day, in life, on a walk. 

It can be so easy to feel stuck or just stop moving forward when outside concerns feel out of our control. 

And yet, we have the power to choose our own reaction to whatever life brings us. We can put one foot in front of the other and keep walking in the direction of our dreams.

Today, I choose to walk in the direction of love. I choose to bring peace with me into this day and pick up some joy and an extra helping of laughter along the way. 

I choose kindness and empowerment of my fellow walkers. I choose health for me, my family and the world. 

As I walk into this day, I am clear and focused on where I want to go. I will not be detoured or distracted by stress or injustice. I will stand in my power as a woman, daughter, and mother. I will walk with love. That is where I want to go today. 

Where do you want to go? 

You will not break me 

Today was a day full of challenges.

Rude privilege,

Entitlement, 

Disengagement.

Clouds,

Mishaps,

And traffic jams.

On top of all of it, 

After hours of work,  

And piles of paper, 

And messages from loves of  the past, 

I came home,

Made dinner for my three kids, 

And said gratitudes. 

I walked into the bathroom 

To put on my well earned pajamas,

Flushed the gift someone left in the toilet, 

And it overflowed, 

Everywhere. 

I have dealt with this before, 

But today, 

It 

Will. Not. Unclog.

Not after 15 minutes 

Or 30 minutes. 

In my half work and half pajamas, 

I fall on my bed,

In exhaustion and despair.

Where is someone, 

A partner,

When you need them? 

And then, I remembered, 

I have been through harder things. 

This sucks, 

And… 

It will not break me. 

I am made of tougher stuff than this. 

I am made of stardust, rose petals and laughter.

I come from generations of fierce warrior women.  

I will never allow, 

Anything, 

To break me. 

Flying solo 

It’s funny really, I’ve been doing this parenting thing so long by myself that I really don’t realize that I’m flying solo. 10 years, 3 kids, and 1 mama. 

It’s the birthdays and holidays when I remember there was another parent that started this whole journey with me. This weekend was my daughter’s 14th birthday. 7 kids going on a scavenger hunt downtown.  I don’t know where my ex is and I’ve come to terms with that but sure it would be helpful to have a hand sometimes.

Like today for example, it’s a Monday. I woke up tired from an event Thursday and Friday nights, a sleepover, and running the kids around to choir retreats and football games. I decided to wear a power color and picked red. In my cute red dress I made my green smoothie because I care about me, in goes the spinach, apple, cucumber, celery and then… out goes the smoothie, all over my dress.

I ate fried eggs, with my hands, while driving because my fork fell on the floor. The house was a disaster when I left, but hey, at least I remembered to lock the door!

I went to work for 8 hours and left with a bad attitude, which is pretty unusual for me. Then  I went to happy hour with some women leaders and blew off some steam. I came home and the babysitter had cleaned the house. Hallelujah! I sat under my kid’s long legs while we watched a show. Another kid flushed the toilet and water poured out, all over the floor. 10 towels and 1/4 a bottle of cleaning solution later and we were good. 

I put the kids to bed, 1 kid slept in his day clothes, the other had no blanket so we fixed that and the third gave me an extra hug because I “looked sad”. “I’m alright I said, tougher things have happened and tomorrow’s a new day”.

And that’s just it, tomorrow’s a new day. Tonight I’m observing this moment and saying out loud to myself, you’re doing a great job mama!! 

And now this supermama is off for a goodnight’s sleep. Thanks for listening and sweet dreams!

Fire in my Belly

Do you ever feel like there is just something you were born to do? Some issue, or problem to solve and that you are the one who was meant work on it?

Well I do. I am fired up about making the world a better place, for everyone. About creating a world with equity for all that builds our communities up and brings people together.

I wake up in the morning with this fire in my belly and it burns all day long. I am passionate and committed. I am creating a revolution, a caring movement that will bring people together in solidarity and kindness as we navigate this world called life.

I get that some people can be electricians, bankers and doctors and that is their calling. My mission is that of revolutionary kindness, of hope, and strength.

This sense is so powerful and strong that it is hard to slow down and relax sometimes. I feel like there is a lot to do and no time to waste. How do people go see movies, or drink beer when there are 1.2 billion people without water, countless domestic violence acts each day, and families living out of their cars. How can we rest when our neighbors, our brothers and sisters are aching?

I have work to do, to make this world a better place. We all do, some feel more strongly about it than others. Me? I’m fired up. 

I will walk in strength, surround myself with powerful advocates and live true to my values. So that someday when long gray hair waves down my back and my grandkids ask me if I lived a good life and made a difference in the world I can say, “Absolutely. And you can too.”

What are you passionate about?

You are amazing 

 Here’s the thing, you are amazing.

No amout of friends, money, love life or status, is going to change that. 

I was talking to a friend yesterday who is beautiful inside and out. She was having a hard day because she is dating someone new and she was feeling unsure about herself. She was all a twitter with questions about if she was good enough and found herself waiting by the phone for him.

I said this…

Beautiful friend,

You light up any space you inhabit, your caring for the world is love in action and your worth is not measured by some guy texting you back. You pour love out all the time and it will come back to you in just the right season. Put away the phone and get on with living this life you love.

She took what I said to heart and I think it helped a bit. Sometimes I wish I could carry around a giant mirror that shows people how amazing they are. Not all the junk that has attached itself to them along their journey or the self criticism and fear that can creep in. Just the truth, right there in the mirror for them to see. 

As you go through your life today, let the voices of those who love you speak loudly. May you feel uniquely you, special and dearly loved, because you are, and you are amazing. 

A day in the life of the single mom

 It’s remarkable how many things can happen in 12 hours, isn’t it? 

6am got up and dressed, check emails, made breakfast and lunch 

7:30am drove my daughter to school, signed son up for a middle school tour and test date, drive home.

8am drove boys to school, told the teacher one would need to get picked up early, reminded about, lunches, coats, backpacks and having a great day as they got out of the car.

8:30am drive to work. Call my mom, drive through for coffee, call my assistant and work through the schedule.

9am work. Check emails. Meetings at 10 and 11am.

Noon eat an apple while walking to statistics class and talking to my assistant.

1pm warm up lunch, eat while walking to the car, call school and tell them I am on my way to get my kiddo.

1:30pm pick up kiddo and drive to doctor’s appointment 45 min away.

2:20 doc appt, fill out specialist paperwork, appt, doc says kid is normal – thankful. Take a deep breath, possibly the first one today.

3pm drive to local health food store, frittata and smoothie for the kiddo, coffee for mom. 

4pm drive home. Talk to 2 coworkers on the way. 

5pm home, make dinner, do dishes, pack lunches, do statistics homework, check mail.

6pm eat dinner and talk about days, fill out baseball papwrwork, research piano lessons, check emails. 

7pm talk to my mom and dad.

7:30 melt and eat dark chocolate. Then practice lines for the school play with a kiddo.

8pm fix the printer

8:30pm tuck in kids

9pm bath and then sleep

A day in the life. 

It’s not bad, but certainly a challenge some days. The great thing is that everyday is a new gift. 

I am truly so grateful to be able to witness the lives of these three amazing kids. They brighten my life in so many immeasurable ways. While it’s not always easy, I am certainly and always so grateful to be their mom. Single parents: we’ve got this. 

  

My Grandmother’s pearls 

 

Tonight we visited my mom’s house for Christmas. We had a beautiful dinner, delightful conversation and shared our love and prayers with the world. 

We opened gifts, some homemade and others carefully purchased with love. 

My mom is the most amazing person I have ever met. I have mentioned her before and truly, she is my best friend and I feel blessed to be her daughter. 

Tonight, as I opened the wrapping paper on my last gift, I uncovered a small beautiful green alabaster jar. Opening the lid, I could not believe the contents. My mother had given me my Grandmother’s pearls. I don’t think I have ever been more touched by a gift in my life.

My grandmother Edie was a beautiful, elegant, gracious woman with a beautiful singing voice. She was kind and giving and tended the most beautiful flowers in her back yard. She was married to an Air Force lieutenant colonel. She raised three kids and traveled the world with her family, all the while being a vision of loveliness in her cream colored pearls. 

Tonight her pearls were given to me. I was so overwhelmed as I opened this gift. Am I old enough to take care of these? The pearls looked so beautiful on my mom, why is she giving them to me? I asked my mom, with us both crying, “mom are you sure you want to give these to me”. My mom said, “it’s your time”. 

I don’t know what that means exactly but I know I started standing taller. I hugged my mom as we cried together, so grateful for this precious gift. 

Tonight I feel more connected to the strong legacy of women in my family. If my grandma can raise three kids with a husband at war, then I can raise three kids as a single parent. Maybe “it’s your time” means I’m actually a grown up and I’m doing a pretty good job. 

Grateful and honored don’t even begin to describe the emotions I feel as I run my fingers across the silky strands of pearls. I will do my very best to honor my grandmother and my mother by living fully, and lovingly. I will stand tall as a women of strength, faith and love, just like the women in my family have taught me. 

Thank you to my mom for believing in me and my grandmother Edie for watching over me from above. Merry Christmas.