Tuesday, August 21, 2018

on Mollie

Tonight I went on my first run in a while.  

It was dusk, my kids were in bed and my mind was on Mollie Tibbetts.  I said her name as I laced up my shoes and stepped off the front porch.  I looked left and right, wondering which way was best lit- which way was safer.   

I’m not sure if I went tonight because of Mollie, or despite what happened to her.  Perhaps most accurately, it was my silent rebellion- a way of honoring her and all women who occupy space.  

I put my headphones on, out of habit- but didn’t turn on the music.  I said her name, under my breath at first and then audibly, later, when my lungs felt tight and my legs wobbled.  I thought of her when I wanted to quit and turned up my pace instead.  

Running alone, outside, day or night, dusk or dawn- it is not a privilege. 

Mollie Tibbetts was found today, murdered because she while running alone, she asked a man to leave her like that- alone, in peace, unharassed. 

Since she disappeared, I’ve read about how women shouldn’t run alone at night.  I’ve read that our immigration policies are to blame, as her alleged murdered is undocumented.  I’ve read some say that it is not safe for women to be outside alone after dark.  

None of this sits well with me. 

I will teach my daughter diligence.  I will teach my son about consent.  (I will teach my son about diligence.  I will teach my daughter about consent).  I will teach my children to not live in fear.  I will teach my children that evil is colorblind, but so is kindness. 

Tonight I am taking a moment to grieve a stranger, a victim, a woman who did nothing wrong.  Rest In Peace, Mollie Tibbetts. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

on a century of Phyllis

My grandma Phyllis would have been 100 years old today.

She was born before women had the right to vote, and died in 1994 at the age of 77. She modeled strength and tenacity- but also and weakness and human-ness. She had, of course, deeply unconditional love for her son, my biological father, despite his demons.

Phyllis was ahead of her time. She was a strong single mother in a time where that was unacceptable, and her influence is alive 23 years after her death. I am proud to be part of her lineage.

I like to think she would have been amused and adored by my babies. Her legacy and generosity has touched their lives, even though they are too young to realize it. I also like to think she had a heavenly role in sending my "step" dad to our family and influencing the next phase of our lives.

My life intersected with hers for less than ten years - but her memory is alive. May we all be remembered with love, by happy and grateful grandchildren, more than two decades after we are gone.

Happy 100, PDM. You are missed.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

on Immigration

As far as I know, the entirety of my family tree came from elsewhere.  England, Ireland.  Eastern Europe.   To my knowledge, I have no indigenous blood running through my veins.  My ancestors came here, to America, seeking refuge, hoping for a better life.   And America was that for them - for so many million of us - a place where we are all invited, where we are all free.  The Statue of Liberty shining in a harbor, emblematic of that welcoming spirit. 

Give me your tired, your poor... your huddled masses yearning to break free.

Today the world was shocked by President Trump's inhumane executive order, which, among other things, banned all people from 7 countries, including Syria, whose citizens were banned indefinitely (and who need our help, desperately).  

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me.

President Trump - you do not speak for me when you say "we do not want them there". I have no hate in my heart, no fear in my head.  We are all immigrants.  I am ashamed that you represent me.   

How can this man (and his supporters) claim to be "pro life" and yet anti-refugee?  Do they see what will happen to these people?  These people are just like our ancestors were, one or two hundred years later.  The hypocrisy is both heartbreaking and enraging.  

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Friday, January 20, 2017

on our President 2017

Today Donald Trump becomes president.  I have yet to fully wrap my head about it, but I'm not a denier- as a proud American, he IS now my president, like it or not.  (And to be clear, I do not.  I do not very much).   It's a very strange day.  A very strange time.  

I hope that 4 years from now, that people's lives have gotten better, not worse- in that way I wish him well; I hope his policy changes fail decidedly- in that way I wish him failure. 

I will not be watching the inauguration today.  I do not have to embrace something to accept it.  I will be powering off the TV, closing the browser on CNN and letting my donations do most of the talking today: to Planned Parenthood, to the ACLU, to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  To the NAACP.  To NARAL Pro-Choice America.  To RAINN.  

President Trump, I am angry.  I’m angry and I’m frustrated and I’m disappointed in you already.  If I have any hope in you at all, then it’s just that you begin giving the sacred office the respect and honor that it deserves.