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Fellow White People: Let's Learn and Follow the True Leaders

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Seven days of ever-increasing protests. Hundreds of years of hurt and far-too-slow change. 
I would like to think this isn't my problem, that I didn't cause this. However, I have certainly benefited from white supremacy and definitely been too inactive in working for progress.
The fact is I still don't know what to do. I have spent my whole life listening to voices of different colors and those of varying abilities (not disabilities). I've occasionally noticed when things aren't setup to be user-friendly for those in wheelchairs. I used very basic sign language to assist a customer in a store I worked in during high school. I served as notetaker for several of my fellow university students for whom notetaking was challenging.
And yet, I spent a big chunk of my life moving through this world assuming my friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors have had similar experiences and opportunities as me, regardless of their skin color -- an oversight that I began to …

An 8-year-old's Take on Patriot Day

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This morning I said to my son Jonas that it was Patriot Day. He asked if that meant he was off from school, and I said no but suggested he wear his flag shirt to school.

He asked what the 4th of July was, so we discussed Independence Day and the split from England. He asked if we were celebrating our independence today, and I explained that no, we were instead remembering when our country was attacked and the people who died that day.

He asked if I was alive when it happened, and I said yes. He asked what happened, so we talked a little about the planes and the buildings and the passengers who worked together to make sure the fourth plane didn’t hit another building.

Then he said, “You know what it reminds me of? When the whites hated the blacks. I read a book about it. It was about a man named Luther Martin King Junior, or something like that.”

I said, “Martin Luther King, Junior. Yes. He was an important man who did a lot of good work. We still have more work to do.”

Jonas said he …

Making Home Feel More Like My Home

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My home is my haven. My safe space. A warm place. The place where I can always return no matter what is going on around me.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this home when we first met. But we’ve been through a lot together now, and we have become comfortable with each other.

Something is still missing, though. I think I figured out what it is. It is missing the next evolution of me. It has the function that I love, and the decor does what it needs to -- no more, no less. And yet, this space is generic enough that it could belong to almost anyone.

But it doesn’t belong to anyone. It belongs to me. So, one of my goals for this year will be to make it more me.

When I first moved in, the room colors left by the previous tenants were not right for me. I had the walls covered over in a perfectly blank-canvas shade of off-white. My life was starting over, and I decided this house should start over with me.

We survived the restarting, this house and I. We’re off and running. We’ve built good f…

What It’s Really Like to Have Anxiety

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“People who need help sometimes look a lot like people who don’t need help.” -Glennon Doyle
I can’t say with any certainty that I am viewed as having it all together. I have, however, been complimented for my ability to remain calm or to calm others. In my days as a project manager, it was a strength often highlighted in my performance reviews. One supervisor actually used to mistake my calm attitude for a lack of understanding the urgency of the issue, until he learned I very much understand the urgency, but can’t address it if I get frantic.

During my application process to become a Hospice volunteer, the coordinator told me after speaking to my three references that she had never seen a single word used so consistently to describe someone. What word is that, I asked. “Calm. Every single person commented on how calm you are.”

Calm. That is a marvelous state.

Imagine how it must feel to be known for being calm and to hold a diagnosis of anxiety. It sometimes feels that my entire sel…

When You Can’t Unsee

Some things once seen, can’t be unseen.
Some things once known, can’t be unknown.
It is wise, then, to be cautious
of what one comes to see and know.
Once the eyes are open,
and the heart is broken,
all that remains is to act.

Don't Wait

We spend our lives
waiting.Waiting in line,
at traffic lights,
for the bus or train to come,
for our big break.
We wait to be loved,
to be accepted,
to be allowed.
We wait for help,
for guidance,
for the right time.
We wait for our turn.
When will it be my turn?

Don’t.
Don’t wait for the right time.
The right time is now.
Right now.
Don’t wait for guidance.
Seek guidance,
and when you find it,
share it with others.
Don’t wait for help.
Offer help.
Don’t wait to be allowed.
Allow yourself
to be where you are
and to do what you need to do.
Don’t wait to be accepted.
Accept yourself.
Accept others.
Accept God and His goodness,
or the universe and its magic,
or whatever it is you believe that brings you to your knees.
Don’t wait to be loved.
Show love.

Right now, show love.

Discovering the Enduring You in the Wake of Separation and Divorce

Something strange happens when you uncouple. You worry about providing for yourself and your child. You wonder if it’s something you can handle on your own. You figure out how to co-parent separately, how to be the only parent with your child on nights when he is with you, and how to be alone on nights when he is with his other parent.

None of that is the strange part, though. That is the stuff you anticipate. No, the strange part is that you realize that you must now be complete on your own. That you are now free to be only you—fully, mindfully you. That it is an opportunity but also a requirement.

My first few months of uncoupling were spent setting up my new life—finding a new home, making it ours (my son’s and mine), finding a steady job (so I didn't have to stress out over freelancing), and otherwise settling into this new phase. In the midst of this wake, I had to stop myself from considering what he—my other half—would think. Because I am no longer half of a partnership. I am…