Monday, November 28, 2016

We Were Made For This

Peeking my head out from the depths of grief to write this post, I sit in sorrow knowing that we, as women already knew how this would go. Yes, I'm talking about the U.S. elections, but the bigger picture also - the decline of our species. I promise to give you some hope by the end of this. I am sorry to sound apocalyptic, and I fear these words will make you want you to look away from the dark reality that YOU feel in your bones, and oh so much deeper.  As women, we have given birth to every human who has ever lived. We have carefully carried the cells of life from before conception to birth. Every bit of potential of our civilization, has been nurtured by women for at least 60,000 years. Men, be humbled when you think of the power that has been stripped from the ones who made it all possible, and keep reading.
I have been trying to figure out for years why women, myself included, are so unsettled, and unhappy. In a world of convenience, and escape it would seem that we have it all. But we know better. We suffer mightily from depression, anxiety, chronic insomnia, drug, food and alcohol abuse. We numb our minds with a myriad of vapid distractions from the truth. We are running out of time to save us. We have not accepted or admitted our mourning. So how can we possibly heal from it?  We don't feel safe, because we're not. We make excuses for why we don't feel safe, and participate in, or allow the oppression of those we blame. The truth is, we as biologically creative wonders, do not want to admit that when we leave this earth, we will not have left a better place for our children. The challenges seem insurmountable. It is a sickening feeling, a tightness in our stomachs, a shortness of breath, a wave of panic that can be put to rest for a time, with the challenge of Candy Crush, a cat video, a shopping spree, or a bottle of wine. As women we know, when we do wake up, we will have even less time to change this.
So now that we are waking, what do we do? I will begin a series of posts to help us sort out what the problems are, and what we can all do. I will share in this post what I feel everyone, but especially women, should be doing right now.

1) Feel all the feels. I know, I know this sounds like a sign of weakness, but we have been suppressing our feelings and our true natures as protectors, for our entire lives. We can no longer afford to suppress our wild feminine selves. We are our ancestresses daughters in a long line of humans of the earth. We feel the burden and the power of our existence. This power has been oppressed for so long that it feels abnormal to talk about it. We are being raped, and killed, there is endless war, and our planet is being destroyed. It sounds awful, and feels horrid to say it. But we know this to be true, no matter how hard it is to accept. Go ahead, feel the gravity of it all. Cry, and scream, if you want to. Refuse to hold inside what the world really needs to hear.  We must devote ourselves to the protection of all of us, and the only home we have.

2)  While you're feeling your feels, discover or engage with your super power.  We all have at least one. The world needs your passion, and your powers, everyday. If you don't know what yours is, ask someone who loves you, for illumination. Fake it till you make it. Try it out, and see how good it feels to be more of who you really are. This might be uncomfortable at first, as you learn to wield  your super power for yourself, and then for others. Learn to have confidence in it, with practice. When we use our powers for intentional purpose, we are doing what we are meant to do. The possibilities our infinite, when we use our talents for the highest and greatest good of all beings.

3) Pay attention to your body, your surroundings, and one another. Put down your phone, and connect with the present. Seriously consider limiting screen time. Connect with people in your community, and beyond. Get out of your comfort zone. Seek to know people that are different than you. Listen! Look out for those who may be more afraid than you are. Go outside and look around.  Get to know the creatures that you share your environment with. Use technology as a tool for empowerment, and intelligent inquiry, not just as an escape hatch. The truth matters, and we are seeing less of it, as fake news spreads around on social media. Seek independent media sources for your news. Read longer, more deeply investigated stories and share what you learn.  Question everything!

4) Honor all people. Honor yourself. Attempt to let go of old stereotypes, and self-imposed limitations. Stop judging yourself, and each other, now! Women saying things like, " I don't really like women," must stop. This is internalized sexism. We may have been raised to put down our own gender, but we must teach our daughters another way. Give to organizations that reflect your values, and have been defending all our rights for many years. Call out hate speech and violent rhetoric of any kind. Seek to know your prejudices. We all have them. Use any privilege you are blessed with to fight for human rights everyday - without exception.

5) Be prepared for prolonged difficult times. Work towards a strong mind, body and spirit. Support your body and mind with real food. Know where your food comes from, and consider eating lower on the food chain. Grow something, even just herbs on a windowsill. Support your spirit. Consider Restorative Yoga, meditation, practice gratitude, journal, pray, walk and think, sing and dance, hug a tree, try Qi Gong, Tai Chi, or martial arts, laugh and BREATHE! Be patient, and gentle with yourself as you practice. Do not take yourself too seriously! Practice at least one of these things, everyday with no exceptions.

6) Resist! Defend the vulnerable! Dissent! Be a bitch! Be a wild woman activist! Be a Feminist! There is no time to just see what happens, or give a chance to leaders who deny science, stoke fears and hatred, and do not respect our common interests.  The current trajectory of our planet will end in the decimation of our civilization. It's time for women to take a turn at running this show! Support women in government and leadership positions. The earth is warming quicker than expected because of human activity, and it will soon be heating itself as a repercussion of the damage.  More than half of the world's pollinators, responsible for every third bite of food we eat, are going extinct. Indigenous People are defending our precious water. Help them! The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization recently has said that we only have 60 more harvests left in our soil! That is 60 years, till mass starvation. Women are wicked creative problem solvers, and excel in multi-tasking.  We must act now to save us.

7) Love fiercely! Love not just your own, but all. Practice compassion. We are in this together. We have the power to change course, everyday, with every decision we make. If we falter we can get up tomorrow and try again. There is power in solidarity. Separate is not an option. Our silence will not protect us. I believe in you! Women Rise Up! We were made for this! 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

How Women Are Going to Win An Election - Triumph Over Rape Culture

How Women Are Going To Win An Election - Triumph Over Rape Culture

          I woke again, pinched myself, testing reality. Donald J. Trump is running for President, and he could actually win. Yesterday the Washington Post broke a story, video and audio clips of Trump bragging to Billy Bush, of Access Hollywood. “I did try and f*ck her. I moved on her very heavily....I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there. And she was married....Then all of a sudden I see her. She's got big phony tits and everything. She totally changed her look.” Trump said for all the world to hear. The world is not surprised! He is a known adulterer. His wife, Melania was pregnant with their child when this Trump described “locker room banter” occurred. I wonder how many other business associates, and powerful men over the years, have listened to Trump spewing misogynistic, sexist and racist words over his lunch-time caviar. I wonder how many have told him to shut up! I wonder where they are now, and why they continue to be silent! As is often the case, the oppressed are the ones who must speak out first, insist on change, educate their allies, and fight the long fight.
So here's where the conversation went from disgusting, to criminal. Trump continued, “I've gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I am automatically attracted to beautiful – like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
He doesn't wait - for consent! He kisses women, and grabs between their legs, and women “LET” him! NO we don't LET him, or any other man who uses size, and power over us to get what they want, whenever they want it! This is not just misogynistic, sexist, locker room talk. Trump has admitted and bragged about sexually assaulting women. I am sure that most women are not surprised. We are just horrified to hear him say it! We are not surprised, because it has happened, so many times, to us.
          *trigger alert* I was a twenty year old college student at a dance. Early in the evening a man I had seen around campus, looking at me creepily, approached. I turned away, following my instincts, and my friends. The man grabbed me, grinding me from behind. I could feel his erect penis, pressing up against me. He said, “Let's get out of here.” I said, “No!” and slipped away into the crowd. A bit later, the dance floor got really dark - UB40's Red Red Wine, was a slow song back then. I was making my way through the crowd to get a drink, when I was caught. The hulking man I had said no to before, was back. He pulled me in, pressing himself full body against me, stuck his tongue in my mouth, and grabbed under my skirt, forcing a finger into my vagina. Pain ripped through my pelvis, and breathing became difficult. Somehow, I managed to stamp on his foot, punch him in the testicles, and escape. I ran through the crowd, and out of the student center to my truck, frantically locking the doors. He had not followed me. Thoughts of danger and doubt whirled around in my head, “What if I had gone somewhere alone with him? What did I do to encourage him? Was I safe at school? Who would believe me?” I got home, and took a long hot shower. No amount of steam or soap could clean his smell off my body. I told no one.
Unfortunately, I had a history by that point of being molested by a family friend as a child, being bullied physically and mentally by classmates, and being grabbed and forcibly kissed and roughed up as a teen, several times. Whenever I told what happened, it only made my life harder. I was the one who had to prove I had been abused, and none of my abusers were ever punished. I know I am not alone in my story. I know that many women reading this will have had similar experiences. I know that we are not often believed, even by other women. I know many women will remember and become nauseous when they hear a song that reminds them of the time a man “just kissed”, “grabbed their pussy” without consent, and got away with it.
Red red wine makes you feel so fine.....
         Here is where the story changes. Women will take our power back! We are going to celebrate the first woman president of the United States, even if she was not our first - second -or third choice!
The silence has ended! The “star” has shot his mouth off, and this time - he is the one caught! If you have thought the idea of Rape Culture was just for bra-burning lesbian feminists, this is the time to see the truth. Rape is so ingrained into our culture, we have difficulty believing - even ourselves.
Even if we are believed, our rapists spend little to no time in jail. Women and girls are harassed on the streets. Women are looked at as sex objects for the delight of men. We are criticized and shamed for breastfeeding, for not shaving - everything, for wearing clothes that tempt the uncontrollable maleness, for being too smart, for being too annoying, or nagging. We have all heard Hillary Clinton, easily the most experienced person to seek the presidency in history, be criticized for everything that irritates the traditional view of what a woman “should be.” Our voices, and faces, and bodies are constantly critiqued, even by other women - even if you are Hillary Clinton. Older women are largely ignored. This begins as early as our late forties, because our usefulness as sex objects is fading. Women and girls, are assaulted, and tormented routinely. Women are discriminated against in the workplace, and we have the salaries to prove it. Women and girls, even in this country, are sold, and abused. Women in the military are raped often. College campuses are rampant with sexual abuse. The statistics may be outrageous sounding, but just imagine, that this is the tip of the iceberg. We only know of the ones that are reported! We know we have kept the secrets of our own abuse! We know it is not our fault! We know it time to say NO to the very culture we have been raised in! We know it is time to speak up for all the women and girls who no one believes! We know it is time to insist that men of conscience speak up for us! We know that men who talk of their conquests of assault, also rape! We know it is time to make sure that Trump, or anyone who comes after him, does not get away with assaulting us! We know we are not men's play-things.! We know that every man who was ever born - came from a woman's body! We know what “Trump That Bitch!” actually means, and it's time to tell our neighbors to take down those signs that assault us, and our daughters! Women know we have allowed this criminal to go too far! We know that Rape Culture is the reason. We know, we are the majority, and we have the power - with our votes! We know it is finally time to forgive ourselves - for our silence!