Tuesday, June 19, 2018

This IS Our Country

Just two short days after celebrating our dads and the great jobs that they do, I was surfing the inter webs, getting bombarded with images and audio of the family separation monstrosity that is taking place in border cities. I have come across several SHOUTS of: 
"WTF, this is NOT our country." 
"How can ANYONE think that this is ok?" 
"OMG, these babies."
"What kind of monsters would do something like this?"

Uh, the United States would. Duh. Last month I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN. Anderson Cooper- yum AND he is super QUICK to call out the outright lies the citizens are being told. And I am thankful. Anyway- I was watching Anderson Cooper and the New York Times columnist Charles Blow was on a panel. What he said that night has stayed with me. When asked about whatever stupid scandal was going on, Mr. Blow simply said "Stop being astonished." Man, if that ain't a message. 

I have wanted to post about the family separation policy of the current administration for a week or so, but I waited until TODAY to post this. Why, you ask? Today is Juneteenth. On this date in 1865, a full 30 months after the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation, the abolition of slavery was announced in the state of Texas. Two and a half years late. Stop being astonished. 

Since the inception of this country people have been brought to this land against their will. The founders of this country came here with NOTHING and stole land and resources from the indigenous people. Stop being astonished. 

Slave owners routinely raped their slaves, spawning offspring that were light enough to work in the house, but not white enough to be allowed to play with their half siblings. Stop being astonished. 

Families were ROUTINELY obliterated at slave auctions, with babies being ripped from the caring arms of their mothers; husbands being taken away from their wives; siblings left crying while they head to plantations in opposite directions. Stop being astonished. 

Slavery. The Trail of Tears. The Internment Camps for Japanese American citizens. The Muslim Ban. The poor response for Hurricane Katrina. The absolutely useless response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Stop.Being.Astonished.

What we are seeing right now has happened before. This administration is participating in tried and true tactics. This approach has been proven effective. The scheme is: once the family dynamic is broken, taking what you want is easy. We all know the ploy. So now, what are you going to do? The time of being astonished is over. The highest levels of our government are committing human rights atrocities... while we sit back in our air conditioned homes talking about "OMG, I cannot believe that they are putting babies in cages." But they are. This IS who we are-- this is who we have been from the very start of our country. Now we have to decide if this is who we will remain.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Graduation Advice

So, while I was in the midst of my Own Private Idaho (see previous post) the world continued to turn, right. Y'all, shit was happening! I know that I don't really spotlight my family-- but I have one. LOL Contrary to popular belief I was not found under a rock somewhere. Not only do I come from a pretty stellar family, it is also a LARGE family. Like, there are a LOT of us running around. A lot of kiddos means there is ALWAYS something going on and a month ago was a super huge day for the fam. 

Our family started to expand when I was in college. It is a long story, which I may get into at a later date or maybe over on the mommy blog. In 1997 I met a super cute, rolly poly oly kid when I was home from college on the weekend. He was just really starting to get around on his own, so I picked him up and was in the midst of introducing myself and he puked some red juice cocktail ALL over my white shirt. Quite a first day was had. I did not want to hold any more kids after that because... eww. I can laugh about it now-- kinda! 

The little kid that ruined my shirt has grown into a fantastic man, y'all. One month ago today, that young man graduated from college. Now, I am not a really emotional person, not that there is anything wrong with being emotional... it just isn't me. When something bad happens, my mind goes directly to "what can I do to fix this," not tears. When people pass away I am more overcome with a silent grief than with tears. On May 13th I was overcome with pride. There were no tears (shocker) but the feelings I had are almost indescribable. I was not really around when he was super little (college, grad school, law school... that long stint in Chicago) but I was around for holidays and high school. And college. And the person that he has grown into is amazing! He is kind, generous with his time, uses manners on a regular basis AND he loves his family. 

Maybe it is because I am actually old enough to be his mother. Maybe it is because we are a very close knit family. More than likely it is the fact that we have very similar personalities (because the world needs more Hot and Black bitterness)... whatever the reason when he walked across that stage I felt like WE made it. I felt the pride that I felt 18 years ago when I got my college degree. In a time where kids seem lost I am proud to have a brother who has direction. The world is his oyster and he is inspiring us all by chasing his dreams. 

Ah, to be 21 and at the top of the world again. Dear brother: take this advice from your middle aged, married sister-- go after whatever it is that you want. What YOU want. Don't be held back by friendships, societal norms or even our family. If you are in the middle of what everyone thinks you should do, and you hate it, do not be afraid to change directions. Ultimately, nobody can live this life for you. So do whatever makes you happy, so at the end of your time, you can look back with no regrets. Remind yourself on a regular basis that it is ok to go against the grain. Buddy, folks will ALWAYS try to make you go where they think you belong. Fuck those assholes. Blaze your own path. Love the folks who feed your dreams. Dismiss the folks that try to rain on your parade. This is your time. You represent the culmination of our wildest dreams. Make this shit count, Superman. Love you. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

My Own Private Idaho

I am sure that the majority of people who still read my blog remember the movie "My Own Private Idaho." It was one of the last movies that dreamy looking River Phoenix starred in before his untimely death. The title of the movie has often been used to describe ongoing craziness/self discovery in one's life. For example, you meet up with a girlfriend for brunch, she tells you all about corporate life, her rise and grind, the fantastically expensive vacation she finally went on. Then she asks you how things are going with you and your response? "Girl, I am having my Own Private Idaho over here." For me, that description does not mean that life is good or bad. It means that I am surviving, rolling with the punches... shit, it means I am making it (even if I am BARELY making it). 

So, that is what has been going on over here-- I have been having my Own Private Idaho. I have been surviving. We are (kinda) making it through toddlerhood-- I will be posting more about that slice of crazy on my mommy blog. We got a new puppy, because I clearly am a glutton for punishment. I (mentally) celebrated the anniversary of my sixth year back in Ohio. Most of life has been good. And then some of it, has been awful. Just today I found out that one of my girlfriends in Chicago passed away. Just today. And while I am making it through my tasks for the day, I am utterly heartbroken. She was a good chick-- in a world where folks generally don't care about one another. She was quick with a smile, a good word, a night of dancing invite. And now cancer has taken her away from this world. From diagnosis to death was quick and trust me, we all got cheated. I will miss her, our conversations and our laughs. 

Life is... hard. At times, it is so happy-- like when my kid sings You Are My Sunshine back to me. And dammit, at times, it is devastatingly sad-- like when cancer steals people that you love, like a thief in the night. In the last three years I have lost a friend in her 30s, a friend in her 40s and a friend in her 50s. After each loss, my heart is a little less full. In between these two extremes- these polar opposites- there is the every day. The nap time battles, the potty training (baby and puppy), the making a dinner everyone will eat, the personal growth... the setbacks. Will you make it to the gym or will you be chunky forever? Will you ever have a normal social life again? Will you get that new job? That raise? A date with that hottie you saw at the grocery store? Shit, will you ever have ten minutes to update your blog-- to document this crazy thing called life? Life. The good, the bad, the in between. Our Own Private Idaho.  
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