Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Little Help from My Friends

My head is full of thoughts and ideas. This is pretty much a normal state for a writer, except right now very little of it makes any sense: there are a lot of competing ideas, a lot of unfinished random thoughts, a fair number of WTF exclamations, some stuff that’s just plain wrong, and there are a few usable ideas, but most of it is scary–it’s kind of like Facebook in my head right now. And nobody needs that, least of all me. I do think there is a coherent thread forming about how I want to move forward, and I wish I meant, should I write more blogs about bad dating or funny work stories?  Oh, the good old days.

But no matter what state the world is in, I can count on my annual girls’ weekend. We all went to high school together, and two of us have been friends since 4th grade. We gathered in Boston this weekend and enjoyed the weather and walked in the city, talked, laughed, ate, drank, ate more, drank more, and laughed again. Luckily, we are all on the same side as far as being horrified by what’s going on–that is not the case with our larger circles. It also came in handy for when we started playing the card game setback. None of us could bear to say trump, which comes up a lot in that game. I’m pretty sure it’s in the rules that you have to frequently ask, “What’s trump?” during the game, and it’s definitely not because of wine consumption. So, we took a stand and refused to say it, and instead said obama. In addition to asking what was obama, every time someone laid down a you-know-what point card, one of us shouted, “obama!”

We agreed to not dwell on politics and try to stay positive, that is until the third glass of wine; then it’s open season for dragging out old, embarrassing stories. But that’s where the healing laughter comes in, and we are very fair in making sure everyone gets laughed at. We’re good that way. And I want to be clear that even though we are all of a similar political persuasion, we did not discriminate and were inclusive: we had wine, beer, cocktails, and we even had an educational, in-depth lively discussion about the origins and making of scotch, whiskey, and bourbon. So stick that in your obama.

I always feel lucky for knowing these women, but this year I feel it even more. Here’s to you Colleen, Gloria, and Sue. No one makes better fun of me than you guys or plays a better obama card game.

Intermission

In today’s episode of Where the Fuck Are We Now, I’ve decided to take a break and showcase the handiwork of other, very capable individuals. I’ve been talking with friends and plotting next steps. I should have an update next week. But for this week, I need a break from the ongoing shenanigans of Cheeto flea. And why can I take a break? Because the Boston scientists were out in force on Sunday, and for a word girl, I seriously love science nerds. Maybe I kinda wish I were one. Maybe I never got over that college major (biology) that got away from me. Maybe their clever use of words makes a word girl swoon. Whatever the reason is, I thought you might like it too. Don’t forget your self-care, your friends, how to laugh, and when in doubt, go straight for the kitten, puppy, and baby goat pics. Then get on with the panning and plotting of how we get through these next 4 years. We can totally do this.

Best signs from the Boston science rally    

altfact

 

It’s Black and White

So in between the pussy grabbing, alternate fact posturing, and Saturday Night Live nailing it (a show, BTW, that has been on the air for 42 years), I’ve been distracted by some other key facts I should be paying attention to. One is this business of the 53% of white women who voted for Trump. After the election, when the headlines popped up and the accompanying inevitable social media outcry appeared, I was pissed off. Women in general get blamed for a lot of shit, much of it involving working/not working and having children. The childless women don’t get a free pass either, so at least the women-blaming is equal. You really have to be grateful for the small things. But when one of my favorite female bloggers was talking about owning up to this complacency of white women, I had to put my hand up and say, NO.

I was having none of it (I said with my chest puffed out, and my voice rising up two octaves.) I have not been complacent–for the past 15 years, I’ve been fighting alongside my gay friends for marriage equality, signing petitions, marching with Black Lives Matter, joining anti-gun groups. Then I remembered my 4th grade teacher’s long diatribe about how disappointed he was in the class’s test grades. My grade was a 95.  The Catholic guilt kicks in immediately whenever a shortcoming is highlighted. Eventually my brain poked it and said, “Hey! He’s not talking to you! Everyone else is the problem.” That works for all of 10 seconds, then the guilt reasserts itself and the nerdy data gathering begins.

Ok, 53%  sounds impressive, but lots of people voted, so surely the white women totals were less impressive? If you look at the results in broader terms, yes, Donald Trump won; however, if only 50% of the eligible voters voted, and 50% voted for him, then only 25% of people want him. That made me feel better until then I then got pissed off at the non-voters. We always have to find someone to blame, right?

But in this case of the damn white women who voted for Trump and smeared my good name, the actual numbers of women voters haven’t yet been released. That’s annoying because the percentages come from somewhere, right? Someone has the damn numbers, but I can’t get to them.  53% of white women is headline grabbing, but what if it’s only a small number,  like, say 100,000 white women voted, then only 53,000 white women voted for the Cheeto Flea. Then I can sleep at night knowing it wasn’t my fault. I know, I’m delusional, but that’s how math works. But since I’m a word girl and numbers make me tired, I moved on to the next phase of my soul-searching: Forget about the white women who voted for Trump. If the pussy-grabbing thing doesn’t make them throw up in their mouths, then their souls are already lost, and there is nothing I can do to help them. Cut and run, I think is the correct tactic.

So I went to the women’s march to join the women who didn’t vote for Trump. I got a much-needed rest respite and recharge, and  it was totally awesome for about 4 days. Then my friend Sonia posted a New York Times article about how white the marches were. The subtitle was: “Who didn’t go to the women’s march matters more than who did.”

Damn. Here we go again with the effin’ white women thing. The article acknowledged that many speakers in the most visible marches featured women of color on stage to speak. In the actual crowds? Not so much. And then there was this hard truth: “While black women show up for white women to advance causes that benefit the entire movement, the reciprocity is rarely shown.” My friend Sonia, who is my only black friend, commented on my Facebook post about the march, “You know I support you #butitscomplicated.”

It is complicated. And it starts with me and those damn white women who voted for Trump, and those who didn’t vote for him and who, until now, have never protested a damn thing. I’m being lumped in with them, and I don’t like it, but guess what, Buttercup? The black folks are saying. “Welcome to my world of being held responsible for your race.” So, this Buttercup is sucking it up.

I can’t do anything about the women who voted for Trump. They just think I’m an Obama-loving, Hillary-supporting a-hole. But I can start with myself. I have one black friend, someone I’m met 34 years ago and who changed my life, and that’s great. But that’s not good enough.

I need to do more, and I’m still figuring out what that looks like. It’s taking some time, because in addition to my usual stress-reduction routine of gym, yoga, and meditation, I’ve had to add 15-20 minutes of random sobbing 2 to 3 times a week to deal with the constant flood of humanity-hating presidential directives. I’m a highly sensitive person. Seriously, it’s a thing–go Google Elaine Aron. I’ll blog about it sometime soon. Suffice it to say, when I’m happy, I cry. When I’m mad, I cry. When I’m sad, I cry. It’ s time-consuming. I feel other people’s emotions in addition to my own, and you all are being wicked emotional right now. It’s a wonder I can get through the day.

Anyway, the last thing Black women need is a weepy white woman at their door step in the guise of “helping.” Step 1: Get shit together. Step 2: Cry on your own time. Step 3: Nevertheless, persist.

 

Week Two

It was kind of a rough week. I don’t recall the last time a president’s executive order increased my work load in hospital communications. So you can blame the Cheeto for this short post. His nonsense took up most of my energy this week having to write something to calm employees and patients about the immigration ban. Meanwhile, inside I felt like an old school journalist, sweating under deadline, in a cloud of cigarette smoke, and wishing for a Mad Men-like flask in my drawer. The week did end well, though, with a family gathering for my son’s birthday, and a Planned Parenthood meeting at a friend’s house. Some quality family time and political action does a girl good. I learned a number of things at the meeting:

  • Planned Parenthood provides Pap tests, breast exams, birth control, HIV testing, health care for men and women, and more.
  • In many communities, especially rural ones, Planned Parenthood is the only safety net provider of family planning.
  • I need a group, a glass of wine, and tasty snacks to help me write political letters. A while ago I had put in a reminder to myself to write to my US representative Katherine Clark about something. So, I thought I’d finally do that as well. When I pulled it up on my phone, it said “Thank Katherine Clark for not going to the inauguration.” Um, yeah, so clearly I can’t be trusted by myself to get the job done. In addition to asking her to keep funding Planned Parenthood, I was sure to thank her for all she was doing. Better late than never, I suppose.

So, that’s all I got this week. That and the photo from a long ago, far away vacation (back in September) with my sis and bro-in-law on Hilton Head island. That is my current happy place.

If you’d like to help keep Planned Parenthood funded, go to www.istandwithpp.org/call .