03Oct

Women Have to be Meaner  

Do Power Differently

Do Power Differently

How else can I say it?  Not in a male way, but in a female way.  We must tap into our own way of being and bring our power to bear to win this fight.  In order to do this, we must put away our all-forgiving nature and call a crime, a crime.  We must stop giving in and allowing our own discomfort to be put aside.

We don’t need weapons to win this war, we are smarter than that.  We don’t need male configurations for an argument, we are smarter than that also.  Women have powerful tools at their disposal, tools that only need to be used to be effective.

Number one, women, we need each other.  Going in to testify against a boss in a sexual harassment case, or a stranger in a rape case, is hard work.  We need each other to gain the support to get this kind of work done.

Let’s face it!  Our cultural training is a lie!  No one is going to help us with this.  Men are not going to allow the loss of their own advantage without a fight.  This is where we women will have to be mean.  I don’t say women need to be strong or tough, and I’ll tell you why: Women are the strongest and toughest humans I’ve met, they don’t need more of that.  Women need to stop forgiving and stop changing perceptions to fit the white male power structure.

We can do this.  We can do this by refusing to sign off on the lies that men in power try to perpetrate.  Think about the Catholic church, is it over?  Is it all okay now because the priests say so?  Of course not!  There is still hell to pay, and I mean that literally.  The church must pay for the sins of their leaders, and they must pay well!  At least as well as they themselves take for their own use.

Think about the half million rape kits that were never processed here in America.  While a male TV producer reassures all of America’s women that rapists are caught by the SVU (Special Victims Unit).  The facts don’t bear any of that TV story out.  Not only are rapists not caught, in a half million cases, rapists are not even pursued.  How did this happen?  Women, are we asleep at the wheel, are we buying this rapist culture and (pardon the  pun) lying down and taking it?

What is keeping us from stopping this pervasive abuse that lives in the American culture?  We have not done enough to stop this from going on.

We can stop this power hungry, elitist, white male, rapist culture by seeing ourselves clearly and consciously.  We must do this.  We must stop this culture that disempowers us and tries to keep us down.

The first thing that we must do is to ban together.  Any woman who is being attacked or hurt by men or by male institutions deserves the support of other women.  We must do everything in our power to put women into power.  We must count on each other to make predominately male institutions better and kinder for both men and women.  We should be supporting each other in the here and now.  We all (each and every one of us) knows what it is like to be pushed around by male power.  So let’s defend each other, right here and right now.

We aren’t out to “get men”.  That is not what this is about.  We are out to take our own power back.  We don’t have to punish our own family members to demonstrate our own power, we just have to tell the truth about what is happening at any point in time.

The last thing on the list is this: think long and hard about your decisions as it relates to your own power and to the power of other women.  Don’t try to hurt other women who are smarter, prettier, luckier, kinder than you.  Stand back and let them have their power.  Think about your own power, do you give it away?  Do you hand your power over on a silver platter?  If you aren’t wired to be powerful, there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t take from others to justify yourself.

We have the power.  Let’s do what needs to be done and turn this world into a kinder, gentler place.  Let’s make sure that this new world is not threatened by destruction from our male counterparts. We can do this, we do have the power.

14Sep

Why Do We Blame Our Mothers for Everything?

I didn’t realize this myself until I was around 19 years old in one of those personal growth trainings where you discuss your true feelings for your parents.  I was angry with my mother and I couldn’t fathom why.  My father was this lazy genius who just would not get a paying job.  My mother worked two jobs constantly.  My parents had seven children and they needed every dime possible.  It was my dad’s lack of valuable employment that kept us poor.  If you have ever been poor in America, you know that it can be brutal, and it was.  People / Americans treat humans who are poor differently than the middle class or the wealthy.

I’ve noticed this with everybody and everything; we love our mothers, but our mothers are at fault for everything that is wrong with us.  I see people saying this and I know why.  We spend the majority of our young lives in our mother’s company.  When we run afoul because our personality is not quite right, it is our mother’s fault.  She is the one who teaches us about everything so of course, our lacks are due to our mother’s inadequacy.

I saw my father as somewhat fun, sometimes not.  But I never saw him as responsible, because he was irresponsible, he wasn’t to be held accountable.  While this makes sense to my childish brain, it doesn’t make sense in the adult world.  Those irresponsible like him, should be held accountable for the suffering he put his children through. 

When you compare the two people, the dynamic energetic woman who was my mother and the lounging and laid-back beer drinking man who was my father, you could see that you wouldn’t get any results with my father, so why try?  It was my mother who had to run things, she had to manage it all.  She took care of 7 children, went to work, came home and fixed food.  On her day off, we cleaned the entire house.

The part of this equation that is really frustrating is that we are so used to blaming our mothers, that even adults will blame their moms.  Popular society devalues the mother’s job and yet, as a country, we need mothers more than ever.  It is precisely because we have devalued this role for so long in this country that we are currently facing a dearth of human values. 

Mothers (and fathers) fall helplessly in love with their offspring, they will sacrifice and give away anything for the benefit of their children.  They spend hours teaching and talking to their child.  Over a lifetime it costs as much as half a million dollars to raise one child.  It is a total life investment, one that is incomparable to any other life project.

Our culture should be celebrating this kind of love, commitment and self sacrifice.  It is the derision of these values that has us disintegrating as a society.  Any society that worships selfishness and promulgates wealth for the few at the cost of the many is a society that will soon break.

So why do we blame our mothers for everything?  It’s not just my unusual parenting mix, it’s an entire society.  As far back as the sixties, a diagnosis of schizophrenia was thought to be caused by a certain type of mother who behaved in a certain type of way.

I think there are two causes: the win/lose belief system of our culture and our white male patriarchy.  The white male patriarchy simply wants supremacy and using the win/lose model, matriarchy must lose.  This singular way of thinking has gotten us into every war that humankind has suffered through.  This belief structure insidiously infiltrates everything we do in America.  Female professions are undervalued and underpaid.  Childcare is a ten dollar an hour job. It is no wonder we are at the point that we are in America.

What do we do?  We have all of the answers and we need to apply them.  We need an inclusive culture that values the matriarchy as well as the patriarchy.  We need a culture that reflects the value that we benefit our next generation.  We need a culture that will not sacrifice the many for the one, even if that one is Jeff Bezos.

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

18Jun

This Post is Amazing!

https://warningcurvesahead.com/2016/06/04/24-things-women-over-30-should-wear/

24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear

29May

Anita Goes First, May 17th, 2018

I knew that Anita was not doing well, but I had no idea how close she was to dying.  I asked my son Travis to check in on her.  He said he was passing her apartment and would call me.  We had done this before, he stopped in to her apartment and I would facetime with Anita.  The last time Anita looked okay, but she asked Travis who I was? Ugh.

Anyway, this time Anita wasn’t home and was in the hospital.  Travis went up to her room, but passed her by, but then heard “Nephew, get in here!”.  He was shocked to see her.  Within minutes he was on the phone to me, telling me that I must come down to see her.  He was desperate, made arrangements for an Uber driver to pick me up and made arrangements to bring me home.  So I did it, I went down to the hospital.

Anita looked awful.  End stage liver disease is a brutal killer that shuts down the body’s natural cleaning defenses.  From a healthy large woman with stunning blonde hair, she had shrunk to a hundred pounds and her hair had darkened to auburn.  The skin of her body had turned a rusty red color, blotchy and uneven and everywhere I touched felt rough, except her face.  I came to her bedside to show her love, to hold her and to rub her skin and legs and arms.  She was still lucid and recognized me.  Travis called while I was with her, and as we were hanging up, I said “I love you.”  Behind me I heard from Anita “I wish I had that.”  I turned around and looked at Anita and it was one of those moments that burn into your memory like a brand burns into cow hide.  I asked her “what?” and her face crumpled.  Then, we are thankfully distracted.  Anita is in vast amounts of pain, it is consuming her.  Later, her temperature gets warm, but the nurses do not worry.  Soon, she is sedated and asleep, and so I travel home.

The other side (literally) is Anita’s identical twin Anna Lee.  Anna Lee was with Anita, almost always when I visited.  She cleaned Anita up, fed her and caught me up on all that was happening.  I know that Anna Lee’s grief is overwhelming.  I can see it in the way she stands and the way she moves.  We don’t speak of it.  The two who were born together, will not die together, they must say good-bye in their own time.  I’m not sure how Anna Lee will walk through this.  I am scared for her.  I know what grief does to us (my sisters and I) and it is harsh.

So now is the end of possibility.  We must surrender to the doneness of it. 

Anita was severely damaged in our childhoods.  We all were, some recover and some do not.  The positive thinkers want to say that those who create success after living through the hell of a childhood like that is proof that anyone can do it.  I will disagree, and wholeheartedly so.  A hellish, nightmarish childhood will follow you throughout your life.  No one ever recovers from that, it is just a matter of degree.  In my family all of the degrees are covered, from no recovery, to as much recovery as 35 years of therapy can give you.

The damage wrought by such a childhood is insidious and as already stated, lifelong.  The damage has no boundaries and seeks to cause additional damage.  The damage wreaks havoc on the next generation and from there, can extend beyond life~long.

For Anita, there was no recovery.  Addiction swallowed her whole by the time she was sixteen years old and it was that addiction that killed her.  She walked through life unhappy, hurt and angry.  Worse, she expressed her frustration over and over again to all of those around her and ended up pushing away those who loved her.  She was unhappy, and it ended that way.  

Dear Anita; I hold your loving spirit in my arms and with me always.  Your sisters loved you terribly, you could never change that, ever.

03May

My Sister is Dying

Playing, Sun N Fun

Playing, Sun N Fun

Keeping the sisterhood alive!

1999 Keeping the sisterhood alive!

1994, Before Momma died

1994, Before Momma died

Summer of 1982, Becky and I are both pregnant.

Summer of 1982, Becky and I are both pregnant.

Anita is always on the left, not sure why, but that is the way it is here.  She sits on the left in each photo.

Shannon's birthday, May of 1972, Location Sun N Fun

Shannon’s birthday, May of 1972, Location Sun N Fun

She is left handed, as am I.

I am filled with grief.  I cry on and off for several days now.

Because of the way she lived, I knew that she would go first and no more than second.  We have 7 siblings and in varying degrees, we all chose our deaths at very young ages.  For her it was alcoholism.  When she got hepatitis, I wasn’t surprised, her unwillingness to complete treatment did surprise me.  She was unrelenting in her addiction to alcohol.  For several years she added cocaine into the mix.

In her twenties she had violent relationships with violent men.  I often told my husband that she would cause me great sadness.

After mom died in 1996, I didn’t want to be around my sisters.  I felt betrayed by the insensitivity (of course, we were all that way).  Over the next fifteen years, after I left our hometown, I tried to stay away from them, particularly the twins, of which my dying sister is one.

I often thought that I could distance myself, that by being indifferent I could get away from being hurt by them.

I was oh so wrong.

I’ve never quite figured out love, or how it works.  I don’t understand why I instantly love someone and not so much with others.  I just don’t get it.  As much as I tried not to love this woman (my sister) I did not help myself.  I love her and I grieve for her now.

So I love these people, my sisters, whether I like it or not.  To add an extra layer of fear, she is my “little” sister.  How can that be so?  How can she precede me into the darkness, into the space of no more?

I will give her what I can in her dying days.  I will remind her that she is loved by others, whether she loves herself or not.  I will communicate my love and I will leave no doubt.  Oh my dying sister, you are leaving so soon, could we not have been different in that long ago time when we were all blondes?  I miss you now and I will miss you then.  Our love did not end, and now, I am happy that it did not.  I am glad that I love you and that you hurt me still.

08Apr

Believing in Karma and in Hell are Not Good Things

Concepts of Karma and Hell, Do Not Serve Us Humans Well

Humans believe that justice is attainable via Christianity and/or Karma.  They see justice as a function of the universe.  The popular conversation is as if injustices will be managed by the universe through Karma or through the use of an afterlife called hell.

So when the downtrodden and the poverty stricken are beaten down even more, they appease themselves by believing that the perpetrator will go to hell.  The perpetrator will receive all kinds of payback at the hands of God or at the hands of the unforgiving universe.  I propose that this is not true.  Perpetrators do not receive revenge by the hands of God or through Karma.  They live their lives with their ill-gotten gains and then die, happily grasping their ill-gotten gains.

By believing that the universe will dish out the evil-doers just desserts, we skip our own opportunities to deliver retribution or even (gasp) revenge.  We allow people to get away with some really awful stuff, all the while saying to ourselves “he will get his someday, and then he won’t be so happy about taking away from me.”

Think of this concept from an historical perspective, when feudal lords in England and Europe were raping women and children and stealing from hardworking farmers, the Catholic church was busy telling the peasants, “you will receive your reward in heaven.”  The peasants were comforted by these words and thoughts, and so the habits of repression could continue as long as the peasants could believe in a hereafter that gave them power and punished the sinner.  It is these beliefs and habits that produced a careless princess who told the starving peasants to eat cake.

It is this way today in America.  We have left the confines of religious beliefs behind, and yet now, Karma has taken over as the new revenge machine.  Karma is ‘all the rage’ for the tormented women and other such victims of America.  The word is used all over Facebook, Twitter and on Meme captions.  We want to believe in Karma and in the revenge of a just God.  This helps us to get through the suffering of the trauma of a hardship caused by another.  It helps us to make sense of being victimized or of our loved ones being victimized.

I will never forget my girlfriend telling me that she needed to believe in karma, it was the only way she could live with the knowledge that her husband had beat her every day for ten years before she could get away from him.  She said that if karma did not exist that it would hurt her terribly to know that nothing would happen to the man who had inflicted such suffering on herself.

No, I thought, though I did not say, he died and he got away with it.  No one hit him back, he never went to jail, he never suffered the horrifying fear of knowing that another beating was coming at any moment.  He got away with beating his wife every day for ten years.

So, if you know that your perpetrator, that your bully, will get away with whatever that person is doing to you, would you be more likely to want to pursue justice yourself?  Would you be more willing to make sure that your perpetrator faced a judge and some justice?  Would you be less likely to hope that karma resolves your need for revenge?  Would you be less likely to wait for heaven or hell to get your justice?  I think so.

We cannot wait for “outside” to bring justice.  We must take justice into our own hands.  We must make sure that some future promise is not what we are hoping for.  We must make justice now.

This is never to say that vengeful violence is the option to pursue.  This is to say that we must speak up, we must pursue justice ourselves and not leave it to others, nor leave it to the universe.  We must seek it by telling others of the crime, by ensuring that potential victims are aware of the perpetrator’s history.  We must, ourselves, block further efforts of the perpetrator to commit more crimes.  This includes the idea that we must protect our own self from others.  We must never allow ourselves to be beaten and stolen from. Report the criminal behavior.  Even if no one believes you, the perpetrator is sure to continue the behavior and someone will eventually believe you.  Your story will help keep others from being hurt.

Remember the saying “My reward may be in Heaven, but rent is due here on Earth”.  Use this wisdom as your guide, don’t be a victim of anyone.

 

30Nov

She Thinks She Knows Everything

Cadence F5E4F86C-76B0-40BD-B991-E01F03088653 AD383B8A-E189-430B-A03E-D4517F497421 67B15615-7638-4D98-934D-F4FDA95C9B90 7CC16644-729A-4F82-A910-B71D640B2D67 A96AD6F8-8EF9-4783-AC44-5FCA02031301 5BE24DC8-DDFC-4471-B933-4EAB0C1E43E4 17E71E81-FFA3-4652-9045-4CE43A0B384D 3678D167-D957-497D-B35A-8BE22E640BD3And why not, she has certainly earned it?  She is not the simpering miss telling people what to do just to prove power.  Instead she is a strong and experienced woman, who does know.  She knows you.

Yes she understands you, and yes, you are even a bit scared of her.  You are scared of the depth of her understanding.  She reminds you of your mother, or perhaps your grandmother.

Maybe she is prettier than you, or smarter than you.  Maybe she is successful and has power.  Perhaps she has more money than you or a handsome husband.

So you hate her and you want to hurt her.  She has done nothing to you, except to be.  You will try very hard to destroy her .  You don’t need evidence that she has committed a crime, All you need is your own fear of her.  You are afraid that she knows you, you are afraid that she is “better”than you, so you will not forgive her.

You will do anything to destroy her and remove her, how dare she be better than you, how dare she be better than a man?

Her name is Hillary Clinton.

We can do better, as women, we will do better.

It’s time, we must take back our power and we will.  We will take back our power by working together, by supporting each other and by believing – in each other.

 

08Oct

Worrying Crowds my Brain and Pain makes Me Dumb

I have made a couple of poor decisions in the last couple of weeks, and, I cannot apologize.  Those decisions have come from a brain crippled with worry.  At my age, one gets very good at disciplining the emotive side of the brain.  My brain leans towards the analytical thinking side on most days anyway.  But, when I worry for my children, I turn into a full blown idiot.

There is something primal about love for children.  Specifically, it is a love that has no cause, it is simply consuming; part of the universal law of survival.  To concern ourselves with our offspring is to ensure that life goes on.  Perhaps this is why parental love is so enduring and encompassing.  It must be, or humans would perish from the earth.  (I digress.)

My daughter, my youngest, coincidentally, also the smallest.  She is the fiercest mother I know.  She has had to be, the challenges are astronomical.  I have heard that her situation is more and more common in today’s world.  My daughter is held hostage 800 miles from her home and family because of the fact that she had a child with a resident of a state that she visited.  This hostage situation has turned into the worst nightmare for her and (of course) by extension to her family.

The most common activities that I can take for granted with my other grandchildren are an impossibility.  My daughter has two sons, both handsome, smart and kind.  I cannot see them unless I buy a plane ticket and they are an impossible driving distance away.  (But enough about me.)

Imagine my daughter’s life, no familial support, an ugly and mean man as the father of one of her sons.  Every time she works she needs a paid babysitter, must do all of the driving, and all details of life sit squarely on her shoulders.  Getting the boys to school Monday morning can be a huge ordeal because her work schedule may keep her into the wee hours of the day.  Most difficult, most painful, is the fact that she is alone – and for the time being – nothing can change that.  So when a trauma occurs; can you imagine the length of the long distance calls?  When that trauma cannot be remedied; can you imagine the tears cried into a pillow, no strong shoulder to cry on here?  When the worry for her children cannot be abated, the suffering begins to show in her body, her eyes, her life.  Because this suffering has gone on so long, it becomes a pervasive part of this life.

I know for sure that this suffering will end.  It has been going for so long, I know that it must stop.  In the meantime what damage has been done?  What hurts have been internalized?

I also know for sure that the best path for me is not to be her mother and tell her what and how to do.  This fierce woman is in survival mode.  My best path is to be the quiet and kind friend.  Please, please God, deliver us from this evil and give me back my daughter and grandsons.

17Sep

Why Do We Have to be Strong A.L.L. the Time?

It is as if, there is shame in weakness.  Worse yet, illness is a condemnable offense.  I don’t understand this, because as mothers, we realize that there are good days and bad days.  As mothers, we don’t hesitate to provide love and care to our family members no matter who and what they are, or how they behave.

My challenge is this: why aren’t we women defining society?  We understand, we acknowledge the different faces of the human condition.  As women, we should be defining the societal structures of being human in America.  It’s ok to be weak, it’s ok to be sick, it’s ok to be ignorant, why add insult to injury and shame those less capable than the strong?

This strength thing has become its own illness, in the sense that lots of people say and think, “I don’t need anyone and I don’t need anything.”  This can go past the point of wisdom and could even cause self harm.  Look at those who die after refusing medical help, or women who are murdered by a husband or boyfriend because they refuse to go to the police?

This norm of strength is fostered by our society.  Perhaps it is the pushback from the way people are treated when they are in economic need.  Our society is not very nice to the poverty stricken, but again that is because we all believe in this notion that strength is enough to overcome anything.

Needy people are normally put down, made fun of, ostracized and of course, they are deprived of very real and very normal opportunities.  This can become a hamster wheel of frustration along with denial that keeps those in need – in need.

How do we balance all of this out?  Strength and weakness, need and satisfaction?  How do we ensure equality in spite of the fact that not all humans are strong?  Those that are strong, what price do they pay to exhibit that strength?

Mother and Son, modern life

15Sep

To Women Everywhere

PinterestMM by WarholI hope you are beautiful for as long as you want to be.  And I hope that when you lose your beauty that you love yourself enough that you don’t care what happened to your beauty.

I hope you admire the beauty in others.  I hope you know that you are as important as any other human being and as important, that you treat other women as if they are important also.

We deserve to be loved for our being.  We don’t deserve to be thrown away at age 40.  We have the power and with each other, we are ridiculously strong.  It is up to us to redefine the social structure.  It’s up to us to make women important, to make beauty unimportant.  It is up to us to give meaning to just being.

We can’t possibly create equality if women will not support each other.  It is just too difficult to navigate through society and to deal with another woman’s hatred, jealousy or condescension.  How can we show the world women’s strength and power, if what we do to each other is brutal?

So please be beautiful inside and out, proud and happy with your looks, with your brain and with other women.  It’s our only route to equality and ultimately to equanimity.