September 24, 2006

I know, you’re like, “Why is she writing about some random date?  Is there some holiday I don’t know?”

Well, no.  On September 24, 2006, I lost two men who were very dear to me.  I’ve never publicly told the story of that day (and the day after – you’ll understand soon) because I wasn’t sure what relevance my simple story might have.

But in the world we are in today, remembering the hard stuff, and knowing that I made it to the other side, is something that gives me hope.

September 24, 2006 was a Sunday.  As I used to do every year,  I was working the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Flea Market.  (It’s Sunday, September 24, again this year .  Go.  Buy stuff.  It goes to a great organization.)

It wasn’t open quite yet, when those of us there saw two friends coming toward our booth, and even as we shouted greetings, we knew something was wrong.  Among the first words from ML’s mouth were “Patrick died.”  The reactions were indescribable.

See, Patrick Quinn was not only a giant of the industry (and the labor movement), but an extraordinary man, dear to more people that he probably ever knew.   The rest of that day is almost a blur, but what I remember most is sitting in our office, calling the people who needed to know, so they wouldn’t hear rumors or see it in the paper – listening to them cry and rage, or worse, fall silent and not speak before hanging up.   And then, that night, we raised a glass in Pat’s memory for the first time, but not the last.

I didn’t sleep that night – I think most people didn’t – and the next day in the office, I, at least, was wandering aimlessly… until a friend came to find me, and forcibly dragged me into ML’s office, demanding I sit down.  I just couldn’t.  I kept saying “just tell me” until she told me that there was a rumor going around that my dear friend Eric Muratalla had died Sunday in his hotel room in Chicago.   I sat then.  And I begged her to reach out to verify it, as she was sadly able to do.

I left them.  I had to get away.  And then I started calling people.  I had to hear it myself, and I did.

For the remainder of the week, I distracted myself planning.  Buses to Patrick’s funeral.  Travel and hotel to California for Eric’s funeral.  And I worked.  It was my work that brought both these men into my life, and neither one tolerated slackers.

I know, it’s not much of a story.  But as the eleventh anniversary of that day approaches, I needed to tell it.  Even more importantly, I needed to remind myself that even the darkest days will be followed by the sun if we believe.  And I do.

 

 

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I’m So Tired, Part Two – Another Rant

I’m #reclaimingmytime because #neverlessshepersisted and I am part of #theresistance.

But, DAMN, I’m tired. I’m even more tired than I was a year ago.

We’ve had 45 in office now since January, and many of the same people are STILL attacking Hillary Clinton. Those same people (and others) are attacking our future as well (see “Kamala Harris”). These BernieBots and third-party voters and stay-at-homers, who through their actions gave us this toxic administration, are still trying to blame the woman who is no longer in public office.

What scares them so? Well, for one, no-one likes to admit they were wrong. Look at how many people said 45 and HRC were basically the same, and even with the truth staring them in the face, they cannot acknowledge they were wrong  (see “more people than I can name”).

For two, I think they are afraid of the truth in Hillary’s book.

We’ve already heard some of it, and they are losing what’s left of their collective minds. But I think it is about.damn.time.

When we will be ready for a woman to be a full human being? To be right and wrong and honest and unkind and kind and forceful and lose her temper and NOT APOLOGIZE? I want to support that woman. I want that woman in office.  Goddamn it, I want to BE that woman.

But that won’t happen in the current environment, and no, it is not because the women out there are not qualified, or not ready, or not whatever aspersion you try to cast because really, you just don’t want to vote for a woman. It won’t happen because we still think of women as “less than” and we try to prove that through the purity testing in which we engage. And no-one, not even Saint Sanders, can pass that test.

So, try something. Take, for example, Kristin Gillibrand, one of my Senators and a personal favorite. And change the name to Kevin. I bet, even if you don’t want to admit, that for a hot second you liked that person better.  Try this any time you want to say about a woman “I would choose her if she only…”, and be honest with yourself if you would test a man the same way.

Really, in the world we should be building, quality is genderless.

But we need to try harder.

 

 

Civility

I first moved to Washington Heights (AKA “Upstate Manhattan”) in 1996. I have been using the same subway entrance/exit since then.  Why do I care about your subway stop, you ask?  Well, because it’s changed.

We have three elevators, as this is one of the deepest stations, and when I moved north, at least two would be manned daily. The operators took pride in their elevators, it seemed to me,  as they were clean and smelled good, and one operator in particular went all-out on seasonal decorations and music.  When using the elevators, almost everyone greeted the operators on boarding and thanked them on leaving.   People smiled at them and at each other.

Then the MTA (or so we were told) got complaints about the decorations and the music, and they disappeared. We went to one manned elevator, with no back-up if the operator needed to step away.  The elevators got dirtier and smellier and people didn’t smile at the operator or each other.  I’m often the lone voice saying “hello” on entering and “thank you” on exiting.  And I’m not really very nice.

More recently, a post showed up on Facebook about someone asking for help. The details aren’t actually important, as those who thought asking for help/expecting it was inappropriate were not swayed by any information or real-life examples offered.

As I said, I’m not basically a pleasant person. My natural expression is the epitome of resting bitch face, especially since the corners of my mouth turn down unless I am actively smiling.  Add to that that I can be pretty adamant about right and wrong, at least in public behavior, and the current loss of civility I see around me is setting me up for disaster.

What happened to “excuse me” when you bump into someone? Do we not recall that stairs are made for both up and down, and sidewalks are for walking – in both directions – and that as in driving (at least in the United States), it is courteous to stay to the right?  If you see someone approaching a door you are entering or exiting, should you not hold it for them?  Why do we stare down at our laps to ensure we don’t see that pregnant/lame/overburdened person enter the subway, in case we might be tempted  to offer a seat?

I am not per71176_321645363993_49793_nfect on any of these, or many others, by any stretch. And it’s easy to say the negativity surrounding last year’s election has emboldened people’s worst natures.  But honestly, I started seeing this “decline” as far back as I can remember, and it makes me sad.

 

So, just to be sure I hit all the high points:

Hello.

Good morning/afternoon/evening.

Please.

Thank you.

You’re welcome.

Have a lovely day.

Peace.

Invisible Girl

Father’s Day approaching is bothering me so much more than usual this year. Faithful readers know I hate it.  I’ve said so here and here.  And probably other times I can’t remember.

Why is this year worse, you ask? Well, for one, last Christmas, we heard from a previously unknown (at least to me) first cousin, who kindly offered to send us some things of my father’s they had from sorting his belongings after his passing.

We said yes, and she sent the boxes. I think the items our cousin sent are important to my sisters, and I’m happy they have them.  But I’m angry and hurt and dreading that damn day.  Again.  Because when I began looking at the box’s contents, there was not one photo of me, not one mention, nothing.  I was erased.

invisible_woman_by_bishiegiraffe-da47lw5So invisible me is getting anxious already. The ads are multiplying, the celebrations are being planned, and I don’t even think that I existed for my father.  Or as I described him recently during a medical history “the sperm donor”.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

It’s My Time Now

My whole life, I’ve cared a lot about what people think of me.  I’ve wanted to be liked.  And I’ve tried and tried and tried to make that happen.

And you know what?  It can’t be done, despite my best efforts.  In the end, I’m still me, and people will like me (or not), respect me (or not), care for and about me (or not) based on both the person I am and the people they are.

Last November, a minority of Americans made a choice that could destroy us all.  Last December, I turned fifty.  And between those two events, it was like a switch flipped.  I have no fucks left to give.  That doesn’t mean I don’t care, just that I don’t care what the “they” think.

On our way to join the crowd.

In January, I marched in DC, despite my fears.  My friends were there and made it possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a rally (alone, yet!) on International Woman’s Day.

In February, I got the pink/purple streak in my hair that I hadn’t had since college.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Gnostic Tattoo. A proud snowflake who will always “get back up”.

In March, I got some new ink – both personally and politically relevant to where my head is now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so far in April, I invited myself to an event just because, and had a lovely time.  I experienced a public humiliation and got back up.  When people ask me what I think, I tell them.  Simply, directly, with no apologies and only a bit of fear.

Nothing’s really changed for the “they”, but everything has changed for me.  It’s hard.  It will stay hard.  There are days I backslide.  But I believe that in the end (and in the now) it is worth it.

And as I go forward, I will keep my fucks for myself.  Not give them to the “they”.

The Balance Between Making It Happen & Allowing It to Happen… in Yoga and in Life

Refer back to my post on “Pick A Choice”:
“Your inner guide, your gut feelings, are there for a reason and will help lead the way. When you start to truly tune into that, you will know the next step without having to analyze, debate, or look for alternative options.”

Views from the Podium

Make it happen people! Make it work! Don’t be so lazy, it’s up to you to make the life you want! Make time for yourself. Make time for others. You can make it!

Good Lord, does anyone else see a problem with this? Maybe you don’t and that’s okay because there are some things in life that you have to have a “make it happen” attitude to accomplish.  You make your career happen by showing up to work.  You make your personal life happen by showing up for others.  You make your spiritual life happen by showing up for yourself.  Once you have shown up though, that’s enough “making.” Once you’ve shown up, you do your best with what you have in any given situation and you allow what is supposed to happen, to happen.

Now, please notice how I used the word “allow” instead of “make.” I did it…

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I’m So Angry – A Rant

I have not written here much since the election. My disillusionment was too great.  So I thanked Secretary Clinton for her awesome service and inspiration, celebrated as much as possible for my birthday and over the holidays, and thought about next steps.  As so many of us are, I am writing and calling and showing up as often as possible to make it clear that this administration is just.not.okay.

thhdynv06tBut that’s not even what I am most angry about. What makes me so damn angry is the absolute denial of those who are still saying “but Hillary” and “Bernie would have”.  You know what?  The house is burning down here, and you are worried about a leaky faucet.  Every single damn non-Republican who voted third party, or stayed home, or worse, voted for 45, brought this on us.  And you need to own it.  No more “Bernie would have won”.  Or “the Primary was rigged”.  Or “I just couldn’t vote for Hillary”.  You screwed up.  And you screwed up for all of us, not just yourself.

No candidate has ever been perfect – even Saint Sanders – but anyone who looked at HRC vs DJT and still did not vote for her is wearing blinders. And yes, it makes me angry every.damn.day.  And no, I’m not going to stop saying so.  I can actually be angry about this and still fight the fire you brought upon us.

And I will hold close to my heart and mind what Hillary said, in that wonderful speech that she was forced to give after you stole the Presidency from the only qualified candidate in the race:

“Please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

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