Identity

Before beginning, I’ll mention that this is not JUST ‘feminist’. It’s humanist. It’s personal. I read this article and I had to join the conversation: https://medium.com/@jen.margulies/white-supremacy-is-bad-for-the-jews-lets-be-bad-for-white-supremacy-f8abf374353d

 

I am a cis-woman. My heritage is Norwegian, French, German, Scots-Irish, and some other nationalities in smaller amounts. I am an immigrant. I am married and childless. I have a chronic illness that has made life difficult in many ways over the years, including depriving me of consistent employment. I consider myself a proud American, from a beautiful land where there are many amazingly-cool people and a wealth of cultural experiences. This is a land that I want to protect. I advocate for the environment, eat organic when I can, and reduce consumption of goods in my own corner of it all.

I grew up surrounded by Jews whom I love, as well as wonderful people of many other backgrounds. Many of my friends over the years have been gay, trans, adopted, or had a mental or emotional illness. I am a freedom fighter in that I stand up for the marginalized, for goodness, for what is right. I was also the target of bullying for many years, not by my Jewish friends nor Thai nor Jamaican, but by the kids who attended a mostly-“white” “Catholic” school. I put Catholic in quotes there for a reason, because their behavior was anything-but Christian, and actually many of them did not even identify as Catholic nor attend church. I don’t demonize “white” people either, because I’ve known so many good ones, especially my grandparents and my parents. My grandfathers were both loving, progressive-minded men who fought for the Allies in World War 2, one of whom lived with PTSD for the rest of his life. My grandmothers were both strong, loving women who lived with chronic physical illness while raising children and doing other amazing things.

Accepting people as they are is the essence of Love, and Love, as I was taught, is the essence of God. That brings me to another important identity; I’m a Christian. But there’s no faith that is based on Love that I reject. In other words, all faiths that are based on Love, I consider myself part of. In that sense, I am also Jewish, Buddhist, Wiccan, Taoist, Yogic, Muslim, and more. If you ask me what I know about each of these, the answer would vary. But I have faith that they are good. Yet as with any faith, there are those who misuse it to ill-purpose and unfortunately prejudice some people in the process. Sadly, some people choose to set a bad example of what it means to be Christian, or otherwise.

Hate is the primary evil in the world. I was taught growing up that our mission as Christians is to rout out hate and spread love, sewing the Kingdom of God (which is to treat others with love and goodness) in the hearts of everyone we meet.

I’m not trying to lead a movement. I’m sharing who I am, what I believe, and Love as I understand it. I hope that Love takes root in your heart.

Awesome gifts for young girls !

I started shopping for my good friend’s four-year-old’s birthday gift. Not because gift-giving is obligatory societally, but because I’ve known this little kid since she was 4 weeks old and she’s very special to me.

I was blessed as a child with generous relatives and family friends who gave a wide array of the most amazing inspiring beautiful gifts!! So to continue the legacy, here is my first attempt to move past my first thought (Oooooh, sparkly pink tutu!!!!!) and share with you some gifts with greater perceived depth. I say ‘perceived’ because as an artist and costumer, I very much so value beautiful fabric and visual aesthetics and see them as facilitating perception of the beauty of the world.

The age range for the below list is wider than just the 4-year-old crowd, and the price range is on the low side. A lot of these are from ‘amightygirl.com’, which you should definitely check out.

Tool box I had and LOVED as a kid

Book about Rachel Carson, female environmentalist

Book about Female Inventors

Raise Butterflies with this kit!!!!!

Play Camping Set! So cool

Miss Rumphius; A book based on a real woman who made the world more beautiful

And I think that will about exhaust most folks’ willingness to click links, so I’ll save some others for a future post. Keep on raising amazing, intelligent, sparkly-eyed, alive, compassionate girls. We all start little, and then get inspired.

How to block numbers from calling your phone….

So this post is not exactly what it advertises, because in order to block the numbers, you have to have done this First. So read carefully.

Go to:  https://www.google.com/voice

If you have a gmail account and are signed in, this will be much easier. Follow the prompts to sign up for Google Voice and ask for a New number. When it asks for “area, zip code, or city…” type in a real area-code. It took me a while to understand what it was asking. For example: “920”

If you have any reason to be giving out your phone number to strangers (for example, you own a business and receive calls from clients) this is a great way to be able to block numbers if necessary, but also have texts and calls forwarded to your phone.

BE SAFE, women! Just because we’re awesome doesn’t mean we’re invincible!!

Unify

I believe there is a dangerous trend going on right now. “Us vs. Them” is all about fear. Twitter is rife with hostility and antagonism, pitting men and women against one another…. and telling people to “STFU” if they hold different views than you do… it’s not helpful to anyone’s agenda.

I’m not going to tell you not to feel angry. Anyone who feels angry has a right to; it doesn’t depend on whether it’s justified, because feelings just ARE. And then they pass.

What I’m saying here is let’s not get carried away on this current of negativity. WHO WANTS TO JOIN A MOVEMENT THAT’S MIRED IN GLOOM???

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No one, I’m sure. I’m having fun with standing up for myself. You can make it your own; you can laugh, you can cry, you can make really good points as long as you say them out loud, and you can even stay angry if you want to. I’m sure there are a lot of women who have anger they’ve held onto a long time that’s waiting to be transformed. I know I have, and am having a successful transformation. I’m also sure that talking about negativity and all the stuff we dislike about how people are treated is NOT talking about solutions and peace and the joy we’d like to welcome into our lives.

I want 100 comments- ok let me clarify that- ONE HUNDRED RESPECTFUL SINCERE COMMENTS about something GOOD you would like to welcome into your life.

Retweet this post like wildfire until I have 100 comments. Please. Thank you. #IncreasetheGood

Caught Sleeping?

From the perspective of relaxed and interested audience, I liked While You Were Sleeping. However, from the perspective of ‘Woman who cares what I think about myself and what other women think about themselves’, there were a few things about it that bothered me.

Do you realize how good your life is? Just take a moment and think about it. You have a place to live? Clothes? Food? Job? Luxury of owning a pet?

Me and my adorable luxury pet

Me and my adorable luxury pet

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of those, you are at least as blessed as the main character (Sandra Bullock’s character, to be exact) and really, you can probably relax! Nothing’s that bad! 🙂 Good news, eh?

So the lead in ‘Sleeping’ is unhappy because she’s un-partnered and she develops this fantasy that she’s going to marry one of the patrons of the subway system where she works. The whole film has to do with marriage and the search for the right marriage, because ‘that’s what she’s missing; a family’. I completely understand. I, too, pine and yearn for partnership. I also recognize that if I’m not happy on my own, partnership won’t fix that. I can be happy on my own without a husband, and not be any ‘less’ of a woman.

She also allows people to believe a lie about her, which is based on a misunderstanding, but would be easily corrected all the same. Her explanation of this is that she didn’t want to hurt them, but also that she so desperately wanted a family. So here we have a heroine who bravely saved a man’s life but doesn’t have the courage to continue to live as a single woman when she’s given the opportunity to have a deceptive relationship instead. Not exactly role-model material, though I will admit it’s a change from the deceptive role in films always being played by men. It’s sort of like the male lead in Penelope; he has some decent motives for his not-great behavior. Despite the faulty archetype being the same (liar gets to win in the end) I almost like that Sandra gets to play a character whose behavior is more traditionally masculine, at least from a filmmaker’s perspective.

Another conundrum the film does not satisfactorily resolve is that she accepts a marriage proposal from a guy who is not necessarily nice to her… he kind of harasses her repeatedly. I wish I could say I didn’t buy it, but the problem here is that I’ve seen it repeatedly, and not just in movie-land. When a person is starved for attention, it can be a real challenge to deny negative attention any berth in your life. It can be hard to say ‘no’ to an offer that you know isn’t quite good enough. There is even a scene where his character points out that he hasn’t treated her that well, and she proceeds to ignore this acknowledgment. There’s forgiveness and then there’s denial; I see her stance in this film as more of the latter, which reflects a certain desperation that plays off the ‘lack of husband’ issue.

So while this film was easy to watch, I could also see where it would be so easy to be ‘caught sleeping,’ and fail to notice the dangerous messages provided in the subtext of the film. In balance, I’d like to encourage women to keep your standards high and accept only treatment that is worthy of you. If other people can’t seem to treat you well, that is THEIR problem and NOT yours. Leave them in your dust. Love yourself. You are worthy.

Wherever you run, there you are: Runaway Bride

So I’ve decided maybe a Julia Roberts marathon is in order. Tonight might be …. Pretty Woman? Mystic Pizza? Erin Brokovich? I really resonate with Julia’s works of art/film.

The take home message for me from ‘Runaway Bride‘ (I will do my best to minimize ‘spoilers’) is that you HAVE TO LOVE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU LOVE SOMEONE ELSE, AND BEFORE THEY CAN KNOW AND LOVE YOU.

This is something I’ve been learning in my own life for a while now. It’s difficult initially. I think many of us feel this void and we want to fill it… so we think ‘what do I need? a relationship!’ It may feel like the magical answer, but what about your relationship with yourself? How about working on that for a while?

Personally I’m reaping great benefits from nurturing my relationship with myself. With increasing frequency I’ll see something kind I did for myself (my bed is made and the sheets look smooth and comfortable and pretty…. or I concocted a really delicious smoothie…. or a note I wrote for myself complete with ‘Love, Me’ as the signature) and when I see these things, I feel this powerful and beautiful sense of ‘aww, someone loves me! Oh, I love me!’ It’s a great feeling. It’s really worth it.

I used to identify with the scene with the eggs. Watch the movie. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

Any fear we experience is internal; it’s about Self. The only remedy for that is to fully accept and love yourself Exactly the way you are now, dark and light and all. Face the dark, rejoice in the light, and you’ll eventually be just who you imagine and wish that you could be.

I need a summer- but the summer’s come and gone

What is up with the title??

Glad you asked, my friend. So I was listening to this song by VAST (awesome awesome band) and one thought led to another. Go ahead! Listen to it. See what comes up for you:

Winter in My Heart

So he says ‘I can’t find all the pieces of my broken life‘ and I wondered what that could mean to me. After a couple thoughts, suddenly I remembered these beautiful sunny yellow pants I had between 2005-2009 (yes… I kept track like they were a pet or a child). I had just sewn a green patch on to fix a hole in them before they got lost. I’ve been looking for them for years now, more years spent looking for them than was spent with them, in fact. I’ve messaged people, posted an APB on facebook, talked to folks over campfires, mentioned them to anyone who might have seen me wearing them and could pinpoint that last time I had them…. so I could know where I might look.

Why do I care so much? I don’t think I even have a picture, or if I do it will be tough to find.* So why do I care?

These pants were a symbol for me…. I recalled a particularly unpleasant vacation that I survived while wearing them and even found my own ways to enjoy parts of, and another rough experience that I’m just grateful to have survived… and I remember looking down at those pants and being so grateful to be in them… grateful they had so many functional pockets, grateful they were bright yellow (they even forged a friendship between me and a co-worker who had bright orange pants and his former roommate who he’d ‘borrowed’ them from – they both appreciated my sense of style), grateful they were 100% cotton and thus I could wear them during welding class and not worry about them melting and sit close to the campfire and not catch, and mostly just grateful to have something that I knew I liked.

*strangely enough this photo was difficult to find... I lived in these pants.

*As I mentioned above, despite the fact that I lived in these pants, this photo was difficult to locate

The woman who gave them to me (yes, they were a treasured hand-me-down) was named Jessie and she was someone I greatly admired. She gave me several pairs of her old pants and I felt cared-about and connected-with because she had noticed my style and said I reminded her a little of herself as a college freshman.

These pants were with me during hard times and fun times, and I don’t know where I lost them. They might have gotten ‘cleaned out’ of a locker in the welding classroom, or left in the car of a road-trip, or ‘borrowed’ by a friend…. who knows?

I know I miss them. But I still have the resilience they represented, and I always have that. I am the strong one; the pants were merely a good symbol of it. So maybe I don’t need all those old pieces of my broken life that I can’t find. Maybe it’s kind of like this:

4f2077d5cf751581c4e45da07b946781Where all the broken pieces that remain add up to something greater than what they originally were.