Archive | October, 2016

On Nasty Women, Leaking Vaginas, and Child Rapists Getting 43 Days in Jail

21 Oct

My absentee voter ballot sits on my kitchen table. I need to read up on some of the propositions. I’ve known my presidential choice all along.

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Unlike my Twitter feed, I have not posted much about the election on my FB page. The hostility I see embedded in various threads on FB makes my stomach churn. I have preferred to keep my thoughts to myself because I don’t have the energy to sift through venom. Life is hard enough.

I remember early tirades against Clinton supporters. “It’s stupid to vote for someone just because she’s a woman.”

I would never vote for someone JUST because she’s a woman. I certainly didn’t vote for Sarah Palin when she ran for Vice President.

I will, however, vote for a female candidate that I believe is well qualified.

The fact that she is a woman IS a big deal.

When I wake up in the morning and read yet another article about yet another male judge giving a joke of a sentence to a rapist, I think having a female voice in politics is a good thing. (According to NPR, “a state district judge in Montana is facing a call for his impeachment after sentencing a man who admitted to raping his 12-year-old daughter to 60 days in jail, of which he will serve 43.”). When I hear about a 19 year old male claiming on the Internet that women should control their menstrual blood flow and stop whining about the necessity of tampons, I think having a female voice in politics is a good thing. And when women are continually called “nasty” or “difficult” or “unapproachable” or “unlikeable” or “unkind” or “hysterical” or “emotional” because they express their opinions, I think having a female voice in politics is a good thing.

LA Times contributing writer, Melissa Batchelor Warnke eloquently describes why many women currently resonate with Clinton. About the debates she writes: In three acts, Clinton demonstrated the unlearning process that guides many American women’s experiences: performing for men, leading for others, living true-to-self. We’ve never witnessed such a compressed, gendered metamorphosis in American political life. For many women, Clinton’s movement toward her own power is a historical moment. We’ll remember where we were when fire took our shape.”

When we’ve been the “second sex”for most of our life experience, it’s a historic day to see a woman having a seat at the table.

You can be a feminist and dearly love men. In fact, you can be a man and a feminist! Being a feminist means you believe in both genders having a voice.

Using my voice doesn’t make me nasty, and no, I can’t stop my own menstrual blood flow through sheer will power. That would be a great super power though.

 

The Spirit of a Place

14 Oct

Certain places imprint. When I was sixteen I swam under an inky sky off the coast of Sicily at midnight. The water was warm, the moon was full, and as I floated on my back looking up at the stars, I was filled with a sense of endless possibility that comes with youth and the wonders of travel. In that moment I was free.

I rarely think of that experience now and yet when I feel traces of it, I’m suddenly suspended in time. That moment created a sense of expansion. The universe offered me a gift and I embraced it greedily, appreciatively, and without shame.

The longer we’re on the planet, the more we can lose touch with moments like this that allow us to transcend the ordinary realm of experience. While it’s true we can find the extraordinary in the ordinary, we sometimes need to step out of the ordinary to find the extraordinary.

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I have no idea what creates this sense of adventure. I only know what happens when I’m suddenly in the drama of it, playing the leading heroine. I get a chance to reclaim myself and life.

Often, these experiences come randomly and with luck. Other times, we consciously create them.

I recently taught a class in Hawaii. It was the second time I’ve been here for work and work is work. It wasn’t all play and fun. But Hawaii is international enough that it can leave you suspended in another world. Being welcomed with a wreath of orchids never fails to make me tear up. The spirit of ohana is alive and well. We are all interconnected. There is no denying it.

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The world can be ugly, harsh, and dull. Suffering and hardships are more than real. Life can bring us to our knees in anguish and cripple us with worry. Yet the spirit of a place can make us see, even if temporarily, that there is so much more happening beneath the surface of the physical realm.

All we have are moments in time but it is the moments that most matter. They are only moments, yet they can alter our perspectives forever, leaving us changed and more receptive to the life around us.

As I floated in the ocean, I thought of that night in Sicily when the sky held wonder to my younger self. I had forgotten that experience. The warm water also brought to mind greeting the day in the Sea of Galilee while watching the sky turn pink and feeling deeply connected to God. I had forgotten that experience too. Yet when we catalogue the most important moments of our lives, what will they be? Who or what changes us? What takes us from the ordinary to the extraordinary and how does the extraordinary serve as a spiritual reserve to keep us going through the dull and mundane?

On our death beds, we will not be thinking of the mortgage or the losses. We’ll be thinking of the miraculous. Canals in Venice, a child’s hug, a lover’s embrace in the cold Alaskan night and a fantastic wave. We’ll think of profound conversations, beautiful music, a grandmother’s hug, delicious food, beloved pets and rainbows. We’ll reflect on the many wonders of life and the spirit of a place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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