I’m So Tired – A Rant

Enough already.  #ImWithHer, and your nasty attacks, your unwillingness to look at the truth and consequences of the lies you are spreading, your lack of interest in facts will NOT change my mind.

#ImWithHer not because she’s the “lesser of two evils”.  And not even because I’m afraid of Trump, though any thinking person should be.

#ImWithHer and I am voting FOR her.  For an incredibly smart, qualified, honorable, human being.  With flaws and strengths, like every human being.  Who has shown us in every way possible that she cares – not about her own ego, but about this country and its people.  All of us.

And yes, whose gender is the same as mine.

Do NOT talk to me about Benghazi.  There has been more loss with less interest under the last several Presidents.  While I could write paragraphs about it, I won’t.  So just don’t.

Do NOT talk to me about the Clinton Foundation, or the Clinton Family Foundation.  You do not have to like where they get their funding, but until and unless there is illegal action, get over it.

Do NOT talk to me about her email.  I do not care what you think.  The only authority that matters – the one, you know, that actually did the investigation and has all the information, concluded there was no case.  Done.  You can disagree, but in fact, I do not care.

Do NOT quote Michael Moore at me.  I mean, really, WTF, Michael?

Do NOT try to tell me how I must discuss her, how I must read your crappy right-wing website or watch Fox News.  Assume I have done my research, as I assume you have done yours.  I’m still stunned at your conclusions, but I imagine you feel the same way.

And especially, DO NOT TALK TO ME ABOUT HER DEMEANOR.  OR HER PRESENTATION. OR HER “LOOK”.  Just fucking DO NOT.

I’m so tired.

Because the battle every woman fights every day has been magnified and thrown on the screen for our review, and so many are ignoring it, and ignoring the inherent sexism in pillorying this woman for things we never discuss when a man does them.  And then claiming there is no problem.

Because it is 2016, and there are still “firsts” for people of color, and women, and all the groups we dismissively call “minorities”.

Because we are never quite good enough.  Just not the “right” woman.  But hey, you know, thanks for playing.

So give it a rest.  Give me a rest.  No, I will not “know my place”.  No, I will not wait until you are satisfied.  Just no.

The time is now, and #ImWithHer.

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(And just because it’s a great compilation of important information, read this.)

It’s Okay That It’s Not Me

When I was in elementary school, I had my first encounters with politics. I remember Nixon’s resignation (I was seven), and I remember Shirley Chisholm’s campaign for President (though I was five).  By the time I was nine, I thought I wanted a career in politics.  I was going to be the first female President.  I was going to finish what Shirley started.  I kept a notebook full of ideas – I wish I could find it – and this morning, I even texted my cousin, who still teases me about that notebook, to remind her of my early ambitions.

Clearly my life went in a different direction. At about the same time I was keeping that notebook, I saw my first “grown-up” theater – a production of Othello at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, starring the incomparable Samuel E. Wright.  By the end of the play, I had moved to the front row of the almost empty theater, and was weeping non-stop.  (Note:  I finally met Sam in 1997, and yes, I told him my being in the business was all.his.fault.)

However, it was always still in the back of my mind – and often the front – that there are glass ceilings to be shattered, and I got so frustrated anytime a woman was the “first” anything. Shouldn’t these firsts be done by now?  Shouldn’t we working toward being the “best”, not the “first”, instead?

Full disclosure: I did not support Hillary Clinton in 2008, and in fact, I was not a registered Democrat until last year, when I switched from being a life-long Independent.  To vote, I thought at the time, for Bernie Sanders (see, it was possible to change your registration and vote in a closed primary.  Even in New York State!). But over the course of this primary, it became clear to me that supporting Hillary was not only right for me (and my vagina), but the best thing for the country that I love.

As I said here, revolutions are hard fucking work. And Hillary can and will do that work. She is the revolution. She is “change we can believe in”. She is everything I once wanted to be, but so.much.better.

 

You Say You Want A Revolution?*

(*Before you read this, know that it might make you angry.  Or you might agree.  I moderate the comments on this blog, and any courteous discourse is welcome.  Any other type will be addressed.  And know that whatever you may take away from what you read, I will #votebluenomatterwho because #neverTrump.

P.S.  Apologies in advance to the Beatles for what they (or their fans) might see as a heinous misuse of their words…)

True confession:  I’ve never cared that much about politics.  It’s not that I haven’t paid attention, but I’ve never before invested the emotional energy that the current Presidential primaries have drawn from me.  And I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process.

Given my commitment to the labor movement, you may be surprised to know that I am not really a “joiner”.  And in 2008, I did not bother to register as a Democrat to vote in the New York primary, because really, they were all kind of fine with me.  In 2015, though, I did register as a Democrat.  Now, I don’t really give two shits about any political party, but I also know that you can only change the system if you know (and participate in) the system, and I honestly though Bernie Sanders was the answer.

The clown car of Republican candidates that resulted in Donald Trump (DONALD TRUMP!) as their presumptive nominee was both amusing and terrifying to watch, but I read with great care every scrap of information about the Democratic candidates; I watched every debate, every town hall, and every interview (okay, I’m sure I missed some, but I really, really, really tried).  As of the second debate, I became uneasy.  Remember the timing?  We had just seen a great tragedy in Paris – a terrorist attack leading to much death and destruction – and the candidates agreed that they would each get one minute added to their time at the top to talk about that.  And Senator Sanders did not.  He gave the tragedy what seemed like ten seconds, and pivoted to his stump speech.  I was stunned and dismayed.

I’m all for revolution.  I’m in favor of much of what is in that stump speech.  But what had been mild concern during the first debate about ability became full-fledged fear as time went on.  I lost friends and was often attacked as I voiced my opinions on line, but hey, I’m nothing if not stubborn.

Revolutions are hard fucking work.  They take leadership and time and planning and direct action and on the ground operations and flexibility and – well, you get the idea.  I’m not much of a historian (actually, my friends who are historians would probably say I’m not one at all), but you know all those stories we all learned in our history classes about those who took direct action and made change?  Did you miss the part where many of those actions were part of a larger plan, and even if sometimes the timing was driven by the moment, they were ready for that moment?  My favorite example on this is Rosa Parks.  She was part of a movement.  The movement had a plan.  She took her moment.

Failed revolutions start with grand ideas – and often, direct actions – with no plans.  Occupy Wall Street is a great example of a failed revolution.  I know there are those that disagree with me on this, but hey, it’s my blog, and what I saw was a great moment wasted because not only was there no plan, they refused to try to create one.  A plan was too “establishment”, I guess.  All that momentum and energy left us with…a hashtag.

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out?…

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan

Did you know that the New Left and the counterculture denounced this song?  They felt it displayed fear.  Well, I think it’s damn smart, and I think history shows that incremental change brings lasting revolution.  The kind of revolution we can believe in.

To go back to the beginning…I did say this primary had led to me to learn a lot about myself, and you may ask what.  Well – I knew that I believe in change.  I revel in change.  And I knew that change requires a long, hard slog (and a plan).  I knew that most people don’t actually agree with me to the point that they will fight change with every tool at their disposal, while at the same time, disavowing that that is what is happening.  They claim they are being “cautious” and “responsible” and “thoughtful” and “analytic”.  And I am sure all of that is true.  But regular readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of the gut decision – and interestingly enough, that the gut decision, in hindsight, always involved all of those traits.

So, what’s new?  I’m getting there, I promise.  And when I can express it in a way that makes sense to anyone but me, I’ll get back to you.  But for now, I can say for sure that I learned #ImWithHer.

 

(And just for fun…http://)

 

 

 

Why Amherst?

Wow, I got asked to blog elsewhere! (Well, I volunteered.) But still!!!

Well Mixed

Written by Flora Stamatiades ’88

I arrived at Amherst College in the fall of 1984, with no clear idea of why I was there. I knew I wanted to get out of the South, and I knew I wanted to go to a prestigious school, but I wasn’t sure why I had chosen this one.

In high school, for reasons I’ve never really understood, given the high concentration of really smart, talented, outgoing people who surrounded me, I was heavily recruited by any number of colleges and universities. Scarily enough, this started the spring of my sophomore year – I was barely sixteen, for God’s sake!

I was bored in high school. Really, really, really bored. I enjoyed many of my classes, but overall, I was BORED. So all those letters got me seriously considering starting college at the end of my junior year. Given my awkward December birthday, I…

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So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions – I’ve written about that before – but it is a reflective time of year, and lately I’ve been thinking.  A lot.  Some would say overthinking.  The end result of all this thinking?

A want list.  A very personal, very selfish want list.

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.

1.  Health, or the semblance thereof.  Many of my Bikram Yoga teachers will say, as we are in savasana, to “visualize yourself in perfect health”.  I want that.

2.  Staying with a theme…I have noticed that almost all my Bikram teachers compliment the same things about my practice every time I see them (and I basically see the same teachers every week).   And for whatever reason, those things are the ones that come a bit more easily to me.  In the meantime, I’m over here all like “hey, did you notice I didn’t fall over even ONCE in the balancing series?”  Or “I stayed in Rabbit despite being so far into it that my cleavage inhibited my breathing”!  Crazy, I know.  I want them to notice the things that are so hard for me that I am surprised.

3.  I’ve been thinking a lot about love.  I would like to know that there is someone – maybe more than one – that loves me (whatever love means, anyway) without it being an assumed condition of our relationship.  (For example, I love my family, even when I don’t like them.  Would I love them if they weren’t my family?  Well, some of them, sure.  Would they love me if I weren’t family?  Well, some of them, I think.)  Love, offered with no conditions, is something I want and want to give.  And I think everyone deserves it.  (And before you say it, no, I am not talking about a romance.  Sigh.)

4.  One thing I want I completely control.  2016 will be the year I get the weight back off.  I won’t say “get back to my goal weight” as I’m not sure what that is anymore, but I will be at the right weight for me in the new year.

5.  I also completely control my reactions to the bad behavior of others, and I want to stop letting others’ bad behavior get to me.  Both friends and strangers, in fact.  I may want to talk about it, but it is not going to upset me any more.

6.  I want to remember to be nicer to my cats.  And myself.

And, oh, World Peace.

May your 2016 be the year of getting just what you want.

Not (necessarily) what you deserve. 

 

Down Is Up Is Down

Life is hard and often lonely. This keeps bubbling up in my thoughts today. So I guess maybe today is a good day for reflection.

People around me are going through some very tough times…and I’m not, comparatively. But what’s a comparison worth anyway? Should I feel better because they have it worse? Not so much. Still, perspective can be useful. I guess.

Though perspective does not really help when someone you think of as a friend basically stabs you in the back.thCAITZ423

All of these words to say I’m down today. I may be up later. Or I may not. Because, you know, life is hard, and often lonely.

Change Is Good

12049463_1057710290928526_4212117911408893238_nThis post is about my hair.  No, really.  My hair.  Yesterday, I walked into my salon and told Maria, the best stylist ever (david ryan salon in Manhattan – just sayin’), that I wanted change.  So we did.

Now, my hair has changed pretty dramatically many times over the years, but for whatever reason, this one feels different.  First off, I’ve always thought I should be a redhead.  It works for my personality, but not necessarily my skin tone.  So we’ve eased into change over years…a lighter brown.  Reddish highlights.  Blonde highlights on a reddish brown.  And yesterday – bright.  Really bright.

My hair has been curly, straight, short, long, symmetrical and non-, and many different colors (including some purple once courtesy of Vidal Sassoon London in the 80s).

And I feel empowered.  The reaction so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and tomorrow, I’ll go to the office and see if that’s true there as well.  But in a very real way, it doesn’t matter.  Sure, it would have been disappointing had I posted my process photos (I made a whole album!) and gotten poor reactions.  Still, it’s my hair.  Mine.  For many years, I felt like it was one of the few things I could control.  We wore (truly bad) uniforms at school, and I was always fat.  But hey, much of the time I had great hair.

It’s almost a feminist moment.  Please, don’t tell me that caring about my looks is not something a feminist should do, because I’m a feminist and I care.  So what makes this moment a feminist one?  Because while I care how I look, for one of the first (if not the only) times in my life, it’s all about me and how it makes me feel, not what anyone might think when they see me.

I could go into a long analysis of how taking risks, even with hair, can help prepare you for risks in life, and that practicing change makes it easier, and blah, blah, blah.  But I think you already know that.

And wow, do I have great hair!

 

 

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