Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Coming Out: It Happened to ME

So yeah. I was listening to this tape that was released on Friday and it occurred to me that twice, when I was singing with a couple of different bands in my younger years, I was grabbed like that and forcibly kissed, even told that I might get more songs added to the sets if I could make sure the lead singer's inexperienced nephew got a little experience. Over hours of listening to the Trump tape over and over, it dawned on me that I had had this happen to me. repeatedly, and that I'd dismissed it as "just what guys do." Shamed myself for putting myself in that place. Dressed a certain way. Whatever.

Since that, dozens of memories have flooded my mind. And in all cases, I didn't mention it, and I still dealt with that man on a regular basis. I might have been uncomfortable and managed not to be alone with him, but I wasn't really afraid except about losing whatever position I had. He, and I, were both from the culture that "that's what guys do." Note: These were all married men. I was between 16 and 25. 

Jump forward 18 years. I have a daughter who is visited in our home by a boy she'd known from school. When he left she walked him out onto the porch and he grabbed her bottom. I was angry but didn't confront him, and didn't encourage her to. The next time he visited my husband hovered over him until he left. But STILL.... it's "what guys do." I thought it, and I let her think it. And for sure that boy had thought so.

Well FUCK THAT. If it's what guys think guys do, and it's what girls think guys do, it's time for somebody to say NO. YOU MAY NOT. I pick us girls. And the only way to do it is to say out loud A GUY THOUGHT HE COULD HAVE HIS WAY WITH ME BECAUSE HE HAD SOMETHING I WANTED, AND IT IS NOT OKAY.

Because I don't want my daughters or granddaughters to think it's just a "part of being a girl" to be.... well, man-handled. If some guy puts a move like that on my granddaughter I want her to punch him in the face, not feel unsure if she caused it, or brought it on herself, or maybe it was okay and nobody would care if she tells. In fact, I might make a dummy and TEACH her to punch him in the face. I'm that kinda Nana.

So, Mr. Trump et al., 

They are NOT just words. They were words narrating what YOU DO AND HAVE DONE, and it's NOT OKAY. 


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Coming Out: Overexposed

Yesterday I "came out" on Facebook and said that I have decided to vote for Hillary Clinton. My reasons are there and anyone can look at it who is that interested. I got a lot of positive and negative feedback, and only a couple of actual flames. It was, in my mind, a successful post because almost everyone behaved civilly, uncommon for (a) a huge chunk the people I know, and (b) Facebook in general. But today I feel like I do when I get drunk and wonder how much of a fool I made of myself to everyone. This is one of my real problems: Social anxiety. It has plagued me since I was a very, very young girl. Like, morning-after regrets after SLUMBER PARTIES or church camp or even just recess.... I beat myself up, rehash every moment that could construe me in a bad light and just make all the lights point at me in just that way. I see the pattern of it now when I look back, but also in the present time. I have not been able to escape it, so I live with it.

I stay out of the spotlight mostly, but I also do seek out safe ways to step outside my safe little world and be myself with other people, even though I know I might feel loads of shame afterward. I joined the Order of the Eastern Star and put myself in the group that's responsible for meal preparation and serving. Yesterday I agreed to teach classes at Joann's on my mom's side of town. I went to the first night of my class reunion, if not the bigger get-together the following day. I still felt the pangs after just the first night and was glad I chose not to commit to the next night. I can push my boundaries and respect my own limitations at the same time.

That's what all these "coming out" posts are about. They're about being real, dropping the mask of having it all together. They're about participating in the world even though I feel SO .... overexposed, potentially judged. And saying to myself that that's okay and proving to myself that I can live with it. Things big and little....the things that make me ME. I read something the other day about how we develop habits to keep other people far enough from us that we are not vulnerable. And it's true! I have a quick response to most things that would offer me connection to another person. So I am examining myself in one specific area to identify and sort of reprogram myself to listen longer, not planning a response in my head when the other other person is talking, giving their words time to soak in, and really considering the occasion or event that's being suggested so that I may connect even if it makes me vulnerable yet again. That way I can have some real-ness in more of my relationships, and even come into contact with opportunities that I wouldn't if I just shut the other person down with some cool but dismissive response. Oh, hell, real life is such hard work!!!!!

The reason I do these things is to continue to be an example. Primarily to my kids, and my grandkids. I look at them and hope that they see me flawed yet pressing on determinedly, and are encouraged that they can do the same. I've presented myself as being a badass pretty much my whole life, while inside feeling very much like a wounded bird. I've done SO many more things I'm proud of than not, though I feel SO much more shame than confidence. To quote my son, I am "deeply conflicted."

All of this to say, I feel bad today because I was courageous yesterday. It's just part of the cycle. Like that prophet that slew all the prophets of Baal and then the next day went and sat under a tree and begged God to just let him die. It's the human condition and I am SOOOOO frailly human. It's okay to feel like shit as long as I know that I am NOT shit. And it's okay if you do, too.

Friday, September 16, 2016

COMING OUT: The parking edition

I just want to come out and say that I SUCK AT PARKING MY TRUCK.

Now, to be fair, I can parallel park like a *MF* and I could back my truck through a corn maze and touch absolutely nothing. But when it comes to actually parking, I find myself trying and retrying, moving back and forth, getting out and looking critically at it, getting back in and moving back and forth some more, before finally just slamming the PRNDL in park and letting it just sit there all crooked. Like it parked itself that way and I'm tired of trying to reason with it.

Once I've given up, I try to remind myself (while walking through a parking lot and in front of giant store or restaurant windows) that I'm not actually interesting enough for anyone to stop their lives to watch me park, and I chide myself for my self-consciousness.  

This last picture was in the parking lot at an OES chapter meeting (go Adah #49!). I finally gave up and just headed inside. After a few minutes, an older man came up to me and said, "Honey, we don't judge here. You just park any old way you like."

Just because I'm paranoid DOESN'T mean they're not watching me!!!!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Has it occurred to anyone that

it's not just about "surviving until the election is over"? It doesn't begin or end with the campaigns. With social media, there is an ongoing tirade every day. Each election, about half the population's vision for what our county desperately needs just doesn't pan out. The very idea that someone has to win means someone has to lose. In the more recent years, especially with the advent and exponential growth of social media, the latter have begun to express their unhappiness by filling every space possible with their rants and raves, their commentary on every event, newsworthy or not, from the lens of their political bent, and blame the half that got their way. It doesn't matter which half is which.... the behavior is the same. And our anger doesn't come and go after a few months each 4th year..... it's an ever-present ugly atmosphere that is just easier to keep track of in 4-year increments.

All this discord and hatred sewn are taking root and producing a foul fruit: US-ISM. And with it, the idea that hatred is acceptable. That it's useful. That enough of it will change our world into something better. That we can say just any old thing during this season and it won't have any impact when the election is over. It's "not personal, it's politics."

The ONLY thing that comes out of destructive behavior is destruction.

We talk about leaving less debt to our children, less pollution, a safe and clean world they can live in..... why not a NICER world? Just by.... you know, being NICER? We can go green AND be kind. That way we don't leave a nice healthy planet full of GREED, ANGER, HATRED, RACISM, SELFISHNESS. Because our attitude and actions toward our fellow man need as much consciousness as our treatment of the planet. In a word: BALANCE.

I recently had an argument with my youngest brother on Facebook over politics. A few years ago my sister had a fight with that same brother and it took them about 2 years to reconnect. This year it's driven them apart again. Now, the argument I had with him came because I wanted to point out to anyone listening that (in reaction to Hillary Clinton's fall/stumble/whatever she had at the 9/11 service she was attending) it is just WRONG WRONG WRONG for any side to become so gleefully hopeful for another human to have some crippling disease because it will further their ambitions or hopes for their respective group. On one hand, I was trying to say LOOK IN THE MIRROR AT WHAT WE'VE BECOME and on the other hand LOOK AWAY FROM THE MIRROR AND START SEEING OTHERS AS HUMAN AND WORTHY OF COMPASSION simply by merit of the fact that they are humans. And, if you are a person who believes in a Creator, a FELLOW CREATED BEING with a common creator. And it doesn't matter what the other person believes, because if you believe you were created, you believe everyone was created.

So far, these are the things that my journey has impressed upon me. And I think they're worth sharing. If we can overcome our own whatever to feel compassion for others, we can begin to actually heal down to the roots of our problems, rather than lopping off branches and being surprised when the same thing grows back.

Social media can be fun, and a nice way to keep in touch, share a laugh or a concern or even voice an opinion. It has such potential to be used to spread good....and unfortunately, evil. We dehumanize the audience. We even believe they are "our" audience rather than our co-created human family. They "deserve" what they read.

So what, right? I'm even doing that just typing this up. The only positive is that I'm AWARE of it and am making a point of being MINDFUL of the words I use and the story I tell. And to show compassion to my brother, even though he thinks right now that we are enemies.

One thing I will ALWAYS say is that Americans are forgetting the why we have freedom of speech, and discounting the fact that with any freedom comes responsibility.... we really need to exercise judiciously our freedom of speech by speaking responsibly.

Speak responsibly.
Remember love.
Protect love.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Has everyone done loss they damn mind?

Yeah, that's what I said and that's how I said it. Every four years it's worse, the name-calling, the threats, the bullshit campaigning for this or against that. Even positive statements are back-handed insults to the other side. Enough!

Democracy is the newest failed example of social experimentation since the Israelites demanded a king. Another, or an update of it, will take its place until it fails, and so forth. We fail as a group because we fail as individuals to see and respect other individuals. Until you can make the immediate world around you right, you haven't a clue how to make it work on a larger scale. Practice, practice, practice.

That's all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Coming out -- the Swimsuit Edition

So here it is: I'm coming out, in all sorts of ways.

I'm NOT going to stay out of the neighborhood pool because my thighs bulge out of the leg holes of my swimsuit. I'm not going to go buy or make ANOTHER little skirt that will disguise this a bit. If I stay home from the pool because I'm worried about looks or comments I might or might not be aware of, I give up swimming, which is ridiculous. I truly enjoy the water, and I haven't been to the pool in over 5 years.

Yup. I'm coming out.

Also I'm coming out about having Resting Bitch Face. If you're susceptible to this disease, you might wanna keep your distance!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Season of Loss

It wasn't long after my Nicky went to heaven that I got the call that my Pawpaw was headed that way as well.

For both it was the same....old age had trapped them inside immobile bodies that longed to run and explore, and I was and am happy to know Pawpaw has his mobility back. I have attended a visitation, the burial, and a memorial, and in all cases already know deeply that my Pawpaw is not hanging around to see how WE take it. He has eternity to explore everything he's every been interested in, or curious about. He's reunited with fellow musicians and his fingers have veritably flown over that banjo.

But now it's time to let our Trudy go. She has deteriorated, lost muscle tone and serious amounts of weight. She is on medication for incontinence and has to be cajoled to eat and take her meds. She still loves to go out front and eat grass like a cow or deer. But she can barely make it upstairs and onto her bed. I haven't given up yet, though we are talking about a matter of days.

I managed through Nicky, and Pawpaw, but I think Trudy will be the final straw, and I want to hide. Paul has dug the hole in Floresville, and made the casket like he made for Nicky. Yet I can't say goodbye just yet. How many more goodbyes before we turn from this season of loss to a season of newness and growth? I don't know.

Still contemplating....