I want to write about the Women’s March, and the reactions to it, and the general wtf-ness of American politics, but this piece by George Lakoff is so good, and clear, and helpful, that I’m simply going to link to it and hope you guys read it.
I have many heroes, and reading their writings, or speaking with them, or seeing them interviewed has been very important to me, especially since the election.
It occurred to me recently that it is important to tell people that their good work means something to me, specifically. Some of my heroes have gained recognition for their work, some have not. Either way, I want to let them know that they inspire me and lift me up.
So, I am starting a project to write a letter every day or so to a hero who has inspired me to do better, to give more, and to keeping fighting for a better world.
My first letter went to Jimmy Carter. He has been a hero of mine for a long time. I cast my first vote for President for him in 1976, in an old fashioned lever-pull voting machine in a country store in Red Hill, Alabama.
I am not going to publish my letters, but I will keep a list on this blog of who I write.
Apparently, the allotted time for shock, sadness, mourning, anger and fear has expired and my Facebook timeline is starting to fill with “likes” and “shares” of assorted Trump-supporting asshats who are eager to explain to all us elitists why Hillary lost and why we should get over it.
Well, the strangest thing happened while I was debating whether to unfriend or just block the gloaters. I got Over It.
I don’t mean I’m not still deeply pissed off, worried, and aghast at what America has done. But I’m not wasting another single minute of my time reading about what percentage of what demographic in what state went for Hillary or Trump and why. The freaking Ku Klux Klan spread fliers around neighborhoods near me on election night. The KKK. In Birmingham, Alabama. In 2016. The most evil hate groups feel emboldened by the election of this unqualified, narcissistic, sexually deviant braggart. This is not the way I thought my country would be at this point in my life. I thought the battle for basic human rights for all people would be over. I thought constitutional rights won at the Supreme Court level would stay won. When I was twelve years old, I saw a man walk on the moon, sent there and brought home again by brilliant men and women using slide rules. I thought by the time my children were grown, we would, at the very least, have figured out how to get clean drinking water to children all over the world, but we can’t even do it for America.
I just read a headline on Twitter, and it grabbed my attention. I haven’t even read the article, because the headline alone was inspiration enough. It said, “Welcome to the Fight.”
If I offend you with what I am about to say, and you feel you can’t talk to me, that would make me sad. But this needs to be said: please do not quote Franklin Graham or Mike Huckabee or James Dobson or other privileged, politically connected and influential white Christian men to me. They are hypocrites. Yes, exactly the kind Jesus cautioned us not to be. They are “seen by men.” They hold influence and power, and they have their reward. I don’t want to hear from them about Jesus’ plan for this country. They excused horrible speech and actions so that their tribe could win the election. Now they want to tell us that this was God’s will? Nope. I’m not listening to that rubbish.
What I am doing is joining the fight. I will stand with all whose freedoms are threatened by Donald Trump and the GOP. I will stand with women, the disabled, people of color, people of ALL religions, athiests, agnostics, LGBTQIA people, indigenous people, undocumented people, children, artists, prisoners, the homeless, care-givers, teachers and all who are marginalized and treated as “lesser than” by the patriarchy.
To those of you who were just elected to office here in Hoover, Alabama, your actions in the first council meeting made me wary, but I will stand with you. I will have your back while you do the right thing. I will go through fire with you to recognize and serve those who are most in need in our city. I will push you toward transparency, because I understand transparency is hard.
I will call out bs and anything that smells like bs. And I will shout the word of your successes from the hilltops.
I am joining the fight that I expect to last the rest of my life. It is the fight to do whatever I can to bring peace, create greater equality, ease suffering, and leave a livable world for the next generations.
Bigotry, authoritarianism, oppression, patriarchy, you’re on notice. I. Am. Over. It. I am putting on the full armor of a pissed off woman warrior. There may be more tears in the future, in fact, it is very likely. But not today.
I am all the regular things.
I am the checkboxes of life: daughter, sister, college graduate, wife, mother, friend. I am a Honda and a modest surburban house. I am PTO, Band Boosters, college dorm rooms and first apartments. I am the empty nest.
I am high cholesterol, and ten or so extra pounds. I am Sertraline for depression, and Clonopin for anxiety.
I am the sixties and seventies. I am a farm in north Alabama. I am a tiny rock schoolhouse and an old yellow bus. I am tomatoes and okra. I am a long line of schoolteachers and others who treasured books and poetry. I am ghost stories and family tales. I am the Johnsons of north Alabama, decended from England and genetically eccentric.
I am Bible school and Sunday School. I am Jesus Loves the Little Children and Just As I Am. I am white patent leather Mary Janes, Easter dresses and baked ham. I am baptism by immersion and I am disillusionment.
Because my mother often quoted, “There, but for the grace of God, go I,” I am compassion. Because I always had enough, but saw children every day who didn’t, I am gratitude.
Because bad things sometimes happen to children, I am childhood sexual abuse. I am years of guilt and repression. I am therapy and healing.
I am words, but not math; perfectionism, but mad disorganization; good food, but bad cooking. I am cats, not dogs; chocolate, never coconut, and always, always libraries and book stores.
I am 59 years of houses, apartments, neighborhoods, friends, events, weddings, wars, babies, car repairs, tornadoes, Presidents. I am a young mind.
I am sometimes fear, but more often optimism. I am Liz.
Writing creates a certain connection with the world that I often can’t attain in person. Even with my closest friends and family, there are still some walls that remain. Maybe this is a personal failing of mine, but I keep certain beliefs and desires and dreams behind the wall because they are too tender to hand over to others – especially the others who I love and respect the most.
When I write, and publish my writing on my blog, I tear down the wall and become my most honest, authentic self. I often have a moment of anxiety before I click that “Publish” button, because I am putting my heart out there, defenseless, to those who know me well, family members, those who know me only by reputation, and also strangers.
I blog because there is a certain exhilaration in writing and publishing on honest, heartfelt topics. Love me, hate me, be indifferent – this is who I am. When I write, I have the freedom to be real. This is why I want to “Blog Like Crazy.”
I often feel so frozen, as if I can see all the things I want to do, but I spin my wheels and never really get anything completed. I am an expert level procrastinator. All my energy is inside my head. I compare myself, unwisely, to people who are doing great things in the world. Not a smart way to live. But I had an idea that if I had a big white board, I could write down the things I have accomplished that made me feel good and proud, and then I could look at them and know that I am not frozen, and not just sitting here watching time pass. Continue reading “Write it Down; Move Forward”
Zoey, September 10, 2016