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!!!

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!

 

 

What Makes A Great Class?

I really didn’t want to go to my Bikram Yoga class today.  I came up with every lame excuse possible, and when I was done, I hauled my fat ass out of bed and went to class.

imgresSee, I’m on sort-of restriction.  Due to injuries, I’m only supposed to practice every other day at most, and even then, I have to be careful.  So all my excuses came to naught, as today was one of my days.  I had to adult, like it or not.  And I did NOT like it.

Until the class started.  All of a sudden, it just felt right.  Perhaps my postures looked like crap, but my muscles felt loose and long, and I balanced better than, well, pretty much ever.  When the teacher said “smile” and I did and she noticed, I smiled even more.

It was a freaking great class.  But even during a great class, my mind does wander on occasion (yes, that was me forgetting floor bow and trying to move ahead to fixed firm), and I could not help but wonder why I was loving this class, today, on the day I didn’t want to go, during a week in which I’ve been sad and angry.

And I think that’s why it was a great class.  Once I was there, there was nothing else to do but practice my yoga.  Just staying in the room at first took so much discipline, that by the time the class started, I could not help but let go and let my practice happen.

I’m not sure this can translate to any other part of my life (and it was not a great day, though I like to think it was better than it would have been), but for ninety minutes today, I kind of had my own version of “let go and let God”.

So, let go and let yoga.  Let walking.  Let Pilates.  Let whatever.

But haul your ass out of bed and make it happen.

It just might be great.

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