Who or What Is iKen?
A couple of folks wanna know how & where “iKen” came about, why I call Ken “iKen”so, here you go: a true & very, very, very, very short story from a very long time ago, four laptops ago:
Ken: You know what I want? I wanna be your computer.
Amy: My computer?
Ken: Yeah, your laptop – your MacBook, your iBook, your eBook.
Amy: My eBook?
Ken: Your, you know… iBook.
Ken: You get into bed, you put it on your lap and it becomes attached to you – it stays there, on your belly.
And I leaned over & I kissed him and he kissed me back and you know, one thing led to another… and Ken became iKen & all the iAngels fucking wept.
Have a grand day, people: love good, do good, be kind, love yourself plenty and take no shit.
The definition of love ranges from an intense feeling of deep affection to a great interest and pleasure in something to feeling a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.
Some people often confuse – mistake – obsession with love, desperation with love, lust for love, and loneliness with love.
It is often said that love makes the world go round, and that love is all you need and that love is a many splendid thing; that love is a battlefield, and love will keep us together and love takes time; we are asked what’s love got to do with it, and told, reminded, that love means never having to say you’re sorry.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry?
Really? Oh, how I beg to differ.
Love is having to say you’re sorry often, and no, that certainly does not include groveling or begging, but saying I’m sorry often and with great humility and great sincerity and it is a much needed response when you hurt someone, say something cruel or cause someone unnecessary pain, treat someone unkindly or unjustly, because love – good love, strong love, lasting love, sexy love, deep love – is often messy and filled with ups and downs, unexpected turns and life’s upheavals.
It can be very complicated – and no, no, not Facebook complicated – but truly deeply fucking complicated, and it is filled with emotion and passion and urges and love is work.
Love is work.
Good, hard work that grows and grows and pays dividends. The title of another song can pretty much sum it up: It Don’t Come Easy. No, it doesn’t. But when loves comes and it’s the real thing, the real deal, our hearts pound and our hearts skip a beat and our hearts pump faster.
We can feel the rush of the blood in our veins and in our arteries, and butterflies appear out of nowhere, and fireworks – whether real or imagined – seem to go off and light up the night sky, and what was once ordinary and routine and day-to-day now feels a bit magical, a bit miraculous.
Special, the word is special. Real love feels special.
We laugh and we smile at the silliest things, we seem to breathe easier, exhale without having to be reminded, we wake up with a song in our heart and a groove, and a beat in our soul, and we can almost feel like we’ve grown a few inches.
That’s what real love can do.
It can make you feel taller; it can make you walk taller.
It can give you an extra bounce, an extra step in your walk.
Love, genuine love, powerful love, unconditional love, can also give you a self-love-boost, a better feeling about yourself, a sense of self-confidence and self-esteem, a sense of self-worth that maybe was lost or maybe misplaced for a while, or maybe, just maybe, it was hidden so deep, deep – down deep – that it felt as if it had completely disappeared, lost in the ether somewhere.
We all hunger, long, for someone to love us with all our imperfections and faults, with all our flaws and all our foibles, what we’ve come to believe are the very worst pieces of us, unattractive and broken pieces, frayed and edgy pieces, cracked pieces, the “all too human” pieces, all of our blemishes and scars and wounds – our impatience, complaining, judging, and self-loathing – can all of a sudden become our friend or our greatest ally, we can now see those imperfections in a different light, from a different angle, from a different lens, because someone came along and loved us just the way we are, to quote another lovely song lyric.
Love isn’t a sport.
It’s not competitive.
It’s not a game.
You don’t win at love.
Love is what and who we are – it is what we’re made of.
We are all made of love. The kind of love that is so desperately needed in the world – our world – right now.
A MESSAGE WORTHY of READING (recommended by Karen Hale website editor -Do Not Toss Amy Ferris under the bus!)
I’m ready to be tossed under a bus today. I am. I’m also ready to stand in my truth, which for some – many – is not their truth. A few weeks back, after being verbally attacked because of a comment I made, I decided that shrinking & cowering doesn’t look good on me. I much prefer standing tall. For myself and others. So, come & get me today, I’m not gonna shrink. A few weeks back, in response to a comment I wrote about survivors of domestic violence, I was taken to task that those who were beaten & battered did not know what it was like to live with the aftermath of being raped, I wrote that I was a victim of Domestic violence myself – to the point where my abuser’s hands were wrapped around my throat in hopes that he would choke me to the point of no more breath – the black and blue marks around my neck and clavicle were my reminders of how I abused the privilege of my own life by staying with a bad violent man, and how leaving him was profoundly difficult. The shame, the guilt, the “I can save him” scenario that plays over & over…I was reminded by many women that my situation was not nearly as bad as being raped. That rape victims live with that experience their whole life. I agreed and agree. They do. But so do victims of domestic violence, and so do victims of sex trafficking, so do victims of gun violence and so do victims of hate crimes and so do victims of racial profiling and so do victims of emotional battering, and so do victims of any god awful horrific experiences that finds a home in the body and rears it’s head when triggered. I find it absolutely horrifying that we compare pain & suffering as if it were a competition, one that’s held up on a scale to see which one weighs more inside someone’s body and heart. Years ago I was at a funeral for a friend who died much too young from an aneurysm, 32 years old, he left a wife and newborn baby. A young teenage girl was in the corner of the room, sitting on a chair, weeping. The wife of the deceased walked over to her and knelt. The young girl was a good friend’s daughter, and through a torrent of tears she, the teenager, apologized – she was not crying because of the death of the young father, she was weeping because her boyfriend, her first love had just broken up with her; the wife of the deceased man said these words: Pain is pain. Your pain right now is not less than my pain. Pain is pain. I know what you feel. Both our hearts are breaking.
To hear that, to witness that, was extraordinary.
That stayed with me, in me. It is where I go when someone is suffering.
No, I may not have been raped, but I do know what it is like to have someone take away my soul and my esteem and my life for a bit. I know what it’s like to shiver and shake.
To all victims of violence and hate filled crimes and unimaginable violations – may you rise and rise and rise and rise … and show the world what you’re made of: courage and beauty and an unstoppable brave.
This is sticking with me tonight, and I need to get it off my chest and out of my body where it will only fester and cause me deep physical harm. Please, do not compare Kobe Bryant to Harvey Weinstein. Harvey Weinstein was a sexual predator, a vile cruel hideous man who used his power to destroy women; their bodies and their souls. His victims, one of which is now my friend, were violated repeatedly. He broke them down and used his power to manipulate and to harm them. They were meat to him. And they paid the price in both their personal life and in their work life. Kobe Bryant’s story is much more complicated than that because he was not a repeat offender. And yes, he admitted in a letter of apology, that he hurt this woman, and he believed it was consensual, and in a civil suit – because she did not want to stand trial, and YES, THAT IS A FACT – he paid her handsomely. She received millions of dollars. His apology is both public and filled with remorse. Consensual sex is murky in situations like that. Very murky. Kobe Bryant did not assault or attack another woman after that event in 2003. It has been told, through numerous accounts, that he knew he had to become a better man, a better husband. A good father. He sought counseling and redemption. Seventeen years ago, Kobe Bryant made a hideous and life altering mistake; he hurt someone, a woman, and he vowed to never do that again. And he stood by his word. And his word was deeply engraved. And for the remainder of his life he took that event and transformed his life and subsequently the lives of many others around him.
If we cannot look at someone like Kobe, and praise his humanity, and see how one man can lift himself up, then please, for the sake of all that is good in the world, do not go around being holier than thou and saying you believe in redemption. Redemption is a day to day occurrence. It happens by doing small things that in turn become bigger things. It isn’t a TV movie. No nice bows tied up. This is real life, and real life is fraught with messiness, fraught with wrong turns, fraught with ugly dark secrets. And Real life is filled with magic. And magic, real magic, comes from standing in the darkness and declaring that you will use EVERY BIT of your life to make this world better. Harvey Weinstein used his position in life to intimidate and manipulate and destroy; men like Harvey believed and believe they are above the law and never apologize because they project themselves as victims. men like Kobe stand up, and declare that he would become the man he wanted his wife and children to be proud of.
Let us be the kind of humans who can embrace another human’s desire to be better, to do better, to show up and love better.
After all, the best of the human race is made up of misfits and deeply flawed and fucked-up messy complicated people who pulled themselves up from the depths and wiped the dirt off and decided to show the world how one can shine up even – even – when no one, not one soul, wanted to hold a light on them.
Because this post fills me with a ton of sexy & grand hope.
In 65 years I’ve had my heart ripped to shreds, broken into pieces and crazy-glued back together. I dropped out of high school, tried suicide and spent some time on a commune. I was thrown out for shaving my legs. True story. I got my GED at 17 and never went on to college. I filled my body with enough drugs to open a pharmacy and I slept with a gazillion wrong men whose first name was either Joe or David or I’ll call ya. I fell down, I got up, I fell down, I got up, I fell down. I got up. I spent all the money I made as a waitress & temp worker on fast food and rent and useless dreck, and then I started making a ton of dough as a writer. I wrote a couple of groovy movies that got made into groovy films and have had more than a few books published. I have loved bad men and cruel men and married the coolest guy on the fucking planet. I’ve been betrayed and hurt and cracked wide open by women friends and you’ll still get me to love you and champion you and toss you a line. I lost my mom to dementia and I lost my dad to a heart attack and my family unraveled into a million estranged threads. I don’t believe in God but I do I believe we are all capable of being God/Goddess-like: kind, good, loving and compassionate. And I do believe if there is a God it is a woman. I think Colin Kaepernick is a SUPER HERO and men who abuse their power are insecure and small little fucked up slimy creeps. I believe in redemption with my whole entire heart and soul and I believe it’s one of the most underrated & necessary issues that we don’t talk about enough. I wanna talk about it. I believe in second chances and I believe that the third time is in fact a charm. I believe there is nothing more glorious than a human who can stand in their own power and be comfortable in their own skin and own their beauty and their greatness. I can safely say that yes I have made it to that place. I believe getting loved is way, way better than getting laid but getting laid beats phone sex by a good mile. But nothing beats self-love – nothing. I know for a fact that kind is way better than nice and the Verizon friends and family plan is pretty bogus. I recommend we put a fast halt on being needed and pump the motherfucker gas on being wanted. I feel strongly about inequality and injustice and that poverty destroys and kills more lives than we care to admit. I know for a fact that depression comes in waves & tsunamis and dementia grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let you go. I know that money doesn’t buy happiness or friendship or love but having some cash sure the fuck makes you less worried. I learned a long time ago that marrying well can’t hold a candle to marrying good and if you can’t find a light at the end of a tunnel you’re in the wrong fucking tunnel. There is always a light somewhere. In ten days I’m gonna be 65. I love that my life is made up of broken edgy frayed magnificent glorious sexy gooey messy amazing life-pieces; I am so proud of who I have become because I gotta say for a while it was touch & fucking go. Thrilled to be here. Absolutely thrilled to be here.
Yes, I will vote #BlueNoMatterWho, and yes, as someone delightfully pointed out on the thread last night I am married to an older white man, yes, and he’s pretty fucking groovy. But he’s not running for President and if by some weird strange mental impairment he wanted to run, I would make sure there were enough edibles within reach for him to keep that fueled fantasy internalized.
But I digress… my Sunday thoughts:
I think, just as folks were reamed and reminded about Hero Worship a few weeks back (referring to celebrities & Sports legends), I think we need to stop putting Politicians on Pedestals – which is not, as far as I know – and should not be – a new reality show. It sounds a little like Tots in Tiara’s. Both very bad concepts. Politicians are not Guru’s, they’re not magicians, and they’re not God. They’re human, and some of those humans have no business running for Office – some have no business running for a bus – but back to the idea of human Politicians: which means that they will make mistakes, make promises that can’t be kept, plans that can’t be brought to fruition.
And more than that, they work for us.
We’re their bosses.
We are all mortified & sickened that Mr. trump’s followers appear very cult like. And that’s dangerous. Cults are dangerous. There is bullying and brainwashing and bloated egos at work; folks making sure that their followers stay in line, toe the line and worse: never veer from that line. Maybe for many folks it’s easier to be told what to do and how to react and where to stand and cheer/chant/repeat ad nauseam slogans and sayings that are fear filled and ugly and cruel. And none of that, not one bit of that is what makes a country great, or a job great, or a marriage great, or a friendship great. It makes it bland, boring, horrifying and keeps humans small and invisible.
I think I speak for many when I say that a Bernie Sanders nomination, which yes, could very well happen, seems to be filled with the same angry fury as a trump re-election. There have been many ‘Bernie or Bust’ posts and comments and that’s very shitty. I read a thread the other day that if Bernie is not the nominee many of his followers will sit the election out. “Not gonna vote,” someone wrote. My fucking god, that should send shivers up and down our spines. That’s absolutely devastating; tossing us straight into hell, four more years of trump, and that should be criminal – THAT right there, that is intimidation, manipulation… abuse of power.
If Bernie is smart and he happens to be fortunate enough to be the nominee, I hope he chooses a running mate that softens him – yes, softens him, and I don’t mean in a cashmere wrapped kinda way, I mean someone who can bring him down to earth, less ego more humane. We’re being trampled on, flattened, by ego & arrogance & righteousness from the right – the Republicans.
Our world is hurting, our country is bleeding, we are at each other’s throats every single day. Maybe if we all treat each other a bit kinder – more considerate – the folks who are running – in hopes of getting the nomination – will also feel less heat and cool down a bit. Let us remind them that anger is not power, blaming others is not power, pointing and wagging fingers is not power, dragging others through the mud or coals is not only not powerful is no longer feasible, tossing – throwing – others under a bus only causes accidents and pile-ups and… a madman is loose in The White House.
Let’s place our Politicians down to Earth, in the soil; let’s stop making them God’s & Guru’s – another concept that should never be green lit @ Bravo Television – and let’s rally behind each other, have each others back, hold each other up – and let’s make sure who every gets the nomination takes down this fascist evil regime.
Today would have been my Mom & Dad’s anniversary – they were married on February 22nd, 1942.
On their 20th anniversary, they were victims of gun violence and yes, they survived, and yes, yes, it’s a love story.
I’ve shared this story before, so I hope you don’t mind indulging me. Here goes:
It had been imbedded in the palm of his hand. They had to pry his hand open, and remove it.
It was their 20th anniversary, and life had not been overly kind to my mom and dad. A set of circumstances spiraled and set them back, and back then, and back some more, and in the 1960’s, you kept secrets along with some memories – some trinkets, a diary – hidden deep in the back of the drawer next to a pack of Kent’s, or Marlboro’s that you didn’t want anyone to know you were smoking.
It was a little after six.
The doorbell rang, and my father opened the door. Two men stood with a huge cake box from the local bakery, wishing my father a happy anniversary, and asking where the lady of the house was. My father turned from the front door for maybe, maybe a split second – calling for my mom: a cake from Bambi’s, he yelled up to their room – when the two men pushed their way into our home, and pulled out two fully loaded guns from the cake box; with two more pistols remaining inside the box. Pointing one gun directly at my dad’s face, demanding everything. Every. Thing. My mother was upstairs, getting ready for a dinner party – an anniversary party at a very favorite restaurant with twenty-five friends and relatives – because, well, twenty-years was a milestone, a big deal. It was to be celebrated until the wee hours. My mother stepped out from the bedroom, wearing a favorite housecoat and full make-up, and hurried downstairs where she was expecting a celebratory cake and congratulations, not a loaded gun pointed directly at her. The second man demanding everything. Give us everything. Off came the jewelry, and the watch, and her wedding band that she couldn’t get off her finger and he, the man, demanded the ring or he would cut her finger off. Now, right now. She licked and licked her ring finger – soaking it with her own spit and saliva – until it felt like the skin was coming off along with her diamond wedding band. A simple eternity band.
They led my father and mother upstairs, to their bedroom.
That’s where they wreaked havoc. All drawers were pulled out, and everything was thrown, scattered on the floor. Everything. Where? Where? There, my father gestured, there – the sock drawer. Socks were unrolled, and cash flew out. Antique piggy banks were smashed to bits, and coins spilled everywhere. Jewelry boxes were flipped over and all and everything scooped up and tossed into the pillow cases that were ripped from the pillows – one extra soft, one extra hard – from the king size bed – that was really truly two single beds pushed together. Wedded together. Perfectly and beautifully made, bedspread and all. One mattress shredded to pieces with a box cutter. Everything ripped a part. My father stood and watched helpless – mortified and horrified – as my mother’s wrists and ankles were being tied and bound; her mouth silenced with duck tape. Or maybe it was masking tape. His heart racing and pounding to the point of breaking and cracking – as he tip-toed – tip-toed a few inches backwards – maybe three, four inches – to the bedroom door, where his sports coat hung over the door knob, and as he held his breath, and silently prayed – he prayed for their lives, he prayed to be given more years, he prayed for them to not hurt her sully her dirty her rape her; he prayed like we all pray when we don’t believe in God but we have no where else to turn – and he reached deep into the pocket of his sports coat and grabbed it and clinched his fist with every ounce of strength. Every single ounce he had in him, and kept his fist clinched for what must have felt like forever. And then they turned to him, the two men, and it was his turn – his arms and ankles bound, spinning and rotating the tape around his ankles and feet until his toes bled – but he was not gagged, they did not gag him – and from what was told to the police officers later that night – they smacked him with the butt of the gun at the side of his head – his temple. Not pistol whipped, No. No. Smacked.
The bruise lasted months and months and months; the fear forever.
And then he stumbled to the floor, and they rummaged through everything.
Everything. Every single drawer, closets, medicine cabinets, book shelves; my room, my brother’s room, the hallway linen closet, the bathrooms. removing paintings from the walls, and throwing them on to the wall-to-wall carpet. the noise, my mother later said, was unbearable. They rummaged and stole and grabbed and tossed everything into a pillow case and piled the cash in their pockets, and my mother, curled in the corner, kept her eyes closed because she couldn’t bear the sight and sound and loss. My father was trembling on the ground. His hands clinched. Frozen. His knuckles white. Pure white. And then the two men left. The front door slamming shut, and they could hear the car revving up. They could hear the car drive away. And then did nothing for what felt like months and months, my mother later told the police. And then, when all seemed quiet and safe, my father crawled to my mother, on his elbows and knees, and he ripped, yanked, the tape off her mouth with his teeth and he kissed her – long and hard and caught her tears – and she crawled to the phone, and managed to dial O on the rotary phone with the tip of her nose because her determination outweighed her fear, and she could hear the operator, and my mother screamed – howled – into the receiver: Help us. Help us. Help us. Help us.
And the police came and barged into the house and they removed the tape from my mom’s ankles and wrists; and my dad’s ankles and calves and arms and he screamed – an angry bitter fuck you fuck you fuck you guttural scream – as the hair from his legs was ripped from his skin, and then they pried his hands open, and there it was.
In the left palm. Embedded.
The diamond brooch.
Each diamond – round and perfect – that he had saved every single penny for. That he borrowed money for. The diamond brooch he had begged the jeweler, his friend on west 47th street, to give him the best deal imaginable for the girl of his dreams. The diamond brooch that he designed for her, wanted her to have, to own, because he loved her with every fiber in his being and was willing to die for her. The diamond brooch that she never wore. Never. Not once. She could never bring herself to wear it. She kept it hidden in the back of the drawer, deep in, next to the pack of marlboros, the too small french lingerie, the love notes and love poems he wrote to her while he was in the army, the cachet that smelled like lilac, the samples of perfume like Chanel #5, the little bottles of liquor from Pan Am and TWA, and the one charm – a favorite charm – that had fallen off the charm bracelet that she had planned on wearing that night, along with the diamond brooch that my father had planned on giving her with a handwritten note that read:
“Hey monkey, Whatdya say, 100 more? I love you, Sammy”
She gave me that brooch when I got engaged to Ken, placing it in the palm of my hand, “This is all you need to know about love.”
“We wobble between faith and fear every single day.” Henriette Ivanans-McIntyre.
Cannot wait to share our 2nd PODCAST episode with you (yes, soon!): REDEMPTION: Not All Mistakes Are Equal.
Teresa Stack & I are so very thrilled to be putting this out in the world, this conversation/dialogue about redemption is so very important. So necessary.
Thank you once again, Karen Moss Hale for loving us.
Please buy & read Henriette Ivanans-McIntyre‘s memoir:
In Pillness and In Health
It is so raw & real and so very exquisite.
I like her grit and her guts and I think she’d make a mighty good President. I like her style and her heart and the way she’s not afraid to call someone out on their shit and look them in the eye when she does it. That makes her human and brave. I like her brave. She wears it well. I like her soul. I like her compassion. I like that she’s imperfect, and she can own that with grace. Imperfection is sexy and bold. I like her mind, it’s sharp and witty and from what I can see, she’s kind. I’m married to an older white guy, who – whom – I happen to adore, so I’m not gonna disparage old white men, but I think we oughta stand up and stand behind and applaud women and support women and champion women especially women who stand out and stand up and stand tall for us – who want all of us to live a better life, live up to our true potential; reclaim our dignity and our decency.
I’m all in for Elizabeth Warren.
To the men who refuse to share their tax returns & their medical records here is my answer: you can’t have mine either. Stay the fuck outta my business.
People – who are running for office, in office, have aspirations for office – who refuse to show their records, whatever those records may be, have something to hide. Period. “None of your business” is not an appropriate answer when you’re asking humans to put their faith in you at the polls. We all know trump is a conman & a thief & an evil human who now wants to have a dictatorship instead of a democracy, and his refusal to show his tax returns over the years is just one of numerous & hideous stains on his being, but when someone like Bernie Sanders, who is hoping to occupy the White House, flat out refuses to show his medical records, and says flat out NO when asked, well, that’s a shitty thing. It’s shitty and it’s arrogant and the American people deserve to know how healthy or… unhealthy he may or may not be. If any of the women running did that, refused to show her medical records or tax returns, there would be hell to pay. And you know that’s the fucking truth. How Sanders is dealing with his medical records is no fucking different than how trump dealt with – and deals with – his tax returns.
If Bernie Sanders ends up being the nominee come November – and yes, I will cast my vote for him – he better fucking show us his medical records. Period.
And let me just end with this: women’s rights – reproductive rights – are once again on the line, on the chopping block; men wanna have a say when it comes to women’s bodies, women’s choices, overturning Roe V. Wade – well, it seems only fair that women have a say about men’s bodies and men’s health, so pony up your fucking medical records guys. Pony them the fuck up.
End of Wednesday’s rant.
Although written in the past, on this Monday morning it is worth every F-ing letter Amy wrote. (K Hale, editor) 2/17/20
so iKen & i had a wicked fight today – wicked – culminating in his telling me to my face, ‘hey, babe, didn’t realize menopause was gonna be a fucking life-sentence …for ME.’
HELLO. really, BABE? a life-sentence for you? try being the only one in a crowded restaurant sweating like a human BBQ and you’re asking the waitress in a hush voice – a whisper – if she can open a window because you are on fucking fire. try going through so many mood swings in a two hour period you need a GPS just to get through the morning. try being the one who asks the grocery store manager/clerk if they carry lactaid milk – 2% – and she looks you up and down, and asks you with a straight face if you’re breast feeding? don’t even get me started on that crazy-ass wacky question. breast feeding?
Suffice it to say, i just wanted to smash his face against the windshield. Nancy Isola is my witness to my rage-filled crazy-ass moment.
But, BUT… instead of spewing more shit his way, i decided: who can i love better? who can i love more today? who can i be generous with? and my gorgeous goddess friend-sister-SHEro came to mind. and i decided to take my own post coffee advice, and do something kind, an act of kindness, and the minute i offered up a special gift for her – honest to goddess – i just wanted to love iKen better. it filled me with goodness. or as she texted me: turning the wicked to kind.
okay, let’s make this world better.
A repost today 2/16/20
This piece – which I wrote last year – was dedicated to the launch of THE OVARY OFFICE – a series, which I enthusiastically created, in collaboration with Women’s eNews & the glorious Lori Sokol.
Ovary Office will be up & running (no pun intended) very soon with new interviews.
I’m reposting this piece because it’s well worth the few minutes to read:
THIS IS NO TIME FOR POLITE
Women have been told to sit down and keep quiet, to stand off to the side and stay out of view.
In other words: Be Polite.
We have witnessed and watched, with absolute disgust and horror, how women who have run for office have been dragged through the mud, hung out to dry, vilified, verbally and emotionally assaulted and put in their “place”—that “place” being a corner—or shushed, told to stand in the background, or ordered to stand behind because we all know that old saying: Behind every great man…is a woman, being told to be polite.
To say that women are judged unfairly is an understatement. We are judged from every single angle: from the way we talk, to the way we dress, to the way we wear our hair, to the shoes on our feet, to the clothes on our back. We are judged for being strong, being determined, being smart, being gutsy, and being persistent.
Nevertheless, We Run!
Women candidates are put under a different microscope than their male counterparts are; women candidates are pulled apart at the seams and admonished for emotional outbreaks, instead of being hailed for their passion and compassion and empathy, which are qualities women have in abundance. Our anger is equated with hormonal imbalance, not inequality, and our frustration, we are told ad nauseam, comes from either menstruation or menopause—period. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, is one of the six Democratic women who have stepped into the Democratic presidential ring, all knowing beforehand that they will get pummeled many times, got into a bit of verbal tussle with Chris Wallace at a FOX News town hall meeting where he reminded her that she had been invited and she needed to be a bit more polite.
When is the last time you heard someone tell a male candidate to be more polite? Let me tell you what being polite does. It shrinks our soul, diminishes our shine, and it keeps us wedged—tucked—into a corner. We can’t ride a wave because being polite would prevent us from making waves. It keeps us fresh and tidy, discouraged from speaking our truth or declaring our truth, because if we speak our truth or declare our truth and someone gets offended…and we all know someone is bound to get offended when a woman speaks her mind.
“Mind Your Business“ is what we’re told.
Being polite is agreeing and acquiescing when every fiber in our being is shouting and screaming, “Do not agree and do not acquiesce.” It keeps us quiet and in the background, preventing us from being seen, being heard, and being loud.
It is waiting until everyone else gets served, waiting until everyone else is seated even if it means sitting on the floor. It is letting so much crap eat away at us—at our soul, at our heart, at our spirit, at our life force—allowing others to make claims on what is ours, allowing others to cut ahead in line, allowing others to steal our thunder. Polite is risk free, no sharp edges, no noticeable scars; blemish free.
It is trying to be perfect.
It is tasteless and bland.
Polite is a first cousin to being nice; both are rooted in fear and worry, preventing us from standing tall, standing up and standing for who and what we believe in, allowing others to get ahead at our expense. Polite may give us the shirt off its back, but it will never allow us to stand on it, and it most certainly won’t have ours. Polite will never have our back.
Now is not the time for women to be POLITE.
Now is the time for women to be POLITICAL.
I have read close to forty different FaceBook pages this evening out of curiosity, Ken is fast asleep and I’m not in the mood to play Solitaire…so, yeah, scrolling pages: folks I don’t know, folks who are on my friend list, some followers, some real life friends, and just by reading the comments, the demeaning snarky answers, scrolling the threads … the deep anger and righteousness seeping onto the pages…I can tell you this: Donald trump will get re-elected.
The amount of vitriol and nastiness and name-calling and spewing within our own party, our own party, and the darts being thrown at Democratic contenders is absolutely horrifying.
- People being trashed because they don’t like someone’s choice.
- People being bashed to bits because they have a different opinion.
- People being ridiculed because they’re making a strong case for the person, candidate, they like.
While everyone’s screaming about fascism and the end of democracy, seems a whole lot of folks are wiling to put a fucking bullet in it – it being democracy – and meanwhile…meanwhile… trump is running fucking amok, a serial violent creature.
If you really don’t want trump getting re-elected in 2020, if you really want the motherfucker out of the White House, then please, stop being so fucking cavalier, stop pushing folks away, stop with the arrogance and the entitlement and the bullshit – stop with the bullying, aren’t we being bullied enough by the creature from the trump lagoon?
- Let’s get him the fuck out.
- Let’s get them all the fuck out.
- What’s at stake?
- Every fucking thing is at stake.
I feel compelled to write this post, and then I am going to the Dr. to pick up some meds for this crappy cold, and yes, I am okay & I am good – just a bit under the weather, and most everyone I know is feeling shitty one way or another, and so, I send you all my love… big huge massive messy love, and now for my little rant:
In 1963 President John F. Kennedy established the Presidential Medal of Freedom – an award, a distinction, given by the President of the United States acknowledging & recognizing folks who have made, “An especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Let’s read that again, all together now: “An especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture or other significant public or private endeavors.”
This week, Rush Limbaugh ripped Pete Buttigieg to shreds, saying America will be disgusted and repulsed seeing two men kissing, and then he went on to demean gay life, spewing all sorts of homophobic crap. Ugly mean crap.
See, this shit gets my blood boiling, and I can’t afford my blood to boil, not while I am on antibiotics.
At the State of the Union, The Presidential Medal of Freedom was draped around Mr. Limbaugh’s neck as if it were a piece jewelry by another occupant of the White House, Mrs. Trump, who more than likely will be wearing a replica of the Medal of Freedom in the not too far future – made of diamonds and rubies and emeralds and a thick gold chain, and no doubt she will accessorize that big bauble with a coat embroidered with the words: I don’t care.
But I care.
I care that an honor like this was bestowed on a man who does not represent the true and extraordinary intent of the award; that he is crude and nasty and vulgar and homophobic and spews gross comments about girls and women and Muslims and Immigrants and Others and now is a recipient of an honor that was given to humans who fought for Freedom, who stood up to hate and evil, who created masterpieces out of their own blood and sweat, who survived the worst of humanity only to inspire us to be the best of humanity.
Someone recently commented on another post, and no, it was not directed to me, it was in a thread: I bet you wish Rush dead now that he has cancer.
I didn’t respond on that post but I will here:
No, I don’t wish him dead – cancer is painful and hideous, and that is what he has to live with right now – the pain, the suffering, the unbearable fear and the ravaging of his body and the days he has left which are less and less – what I wish for is this: that men like Rush Limbaugh are never awarded or honored with a medal that is meant for folks who run into the fire, not for folks who ignite it, folks who stand up for the less fortunate, who use their voice so others can speak, folks who are courageous and brave and mighty and fierce in the fight called Freedom and justice for all, men like Rush Limbaugh do not deserve medals with the word Freedom on it because he does not believe all humans have a right to that.
America is most certainly ready for men like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, men kissing and holding hands and showing affection and being out and about – dancing and strutting and being bold and audacious and fierce as all-mighty fuck – because love has no expiration date, it does not go out of style, it can be accessorized with anything, love is every color every shape every size every faith, love is shiny and sexy and messy, love is soft and tiny, love is grand and gutsy, love is men and women, women and men, men and men, women and women.
Love is, and it is what keeps us all believing, hoping, holding on on the days when holding on seems so scary.
Beginning of story.
Here’s a piece of beauty in the middle of all this God awful crazy ugly, Happy Birthday Mom:
Assisted Loving|We find her on the floor. She is sleeping. I am scared. She is snoring. I bend down, “Ma. Ma. Wake up.”
“You’re so tall,” she says as she looks up at me.
“Ma, you’re on the floor, “ I say.
“Oh, really? The floor?”
“How’d I get here?” She asks.
I tell her I have no idea. I ask if she knows. “I don’t remember,” she says, “I. Don’t. Remember.”
Her eyes are empty. Blank. They have been empty, blank for some time now.
My mother had been diagnosed with moderate stage dementia months earlier. For those of you who know nothing about dementia let me tell you this: it strips you completely bare. It is a destroyer of hope and faith and goodness. If you don’t believe much in God, dementia will certainly push you further away.
I tuck her in and lay down next to her. She is old. Frail. She smells old and frail. I stay with her until she falls asleep. This is not the mom I remember who wore Pleasures by Estee Lauder, whose hair was perfectly coiffed, whose eyebrows were arched and tweezed. This mom has replaced her beloved perfume with three or four days of not bathing, her soft brown eyebrow pencil with a purple sharpie pen, and most of her starched white garments with the forever stain of L’Oreal beige #3 makeup on the collar.
- There were many incidents that began piling up, one after another.
- Driving straight into a fire hydrant.
- Driving into the closed garage doors. Burning the bagels and toast.
- Not remembering lunch dates and dinner dates with friends.
- Panic phone calls at three, four in the morning.
- Once-fresh flowers left in a vase for so long the water had evaporated, replacing the scent of freesia with the smell of mildew.
- She too had once been a fresh flower.
It was a hot day in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she was now living in an assisted-living facility. She had a view of the mountains. She didn’t care much for mountains, but it was a much better view than a stucco wall. Both were choices. I went to visit her for a week. She had turned up the thermometer to well over 90 degrees in her apartment. I was irritated and impatient and lacked any generosity what-so-ever in that particular moment. I was in the throws of menopause, and if I tell you that 90 degrees felt like a thousand degrees, I would not be exaggerating.
I told her that it was so hot in her apartment that I was having a heat stroke just watching television. She yelled at me that she wasn’t hot. “I have a chill, I’m Goddamn freezing,” she screamed, and I proceeded to yell back at her, asking her how could she possibly have a Goddamn chill when it was almost 100 degrees in her apartment.
“I don’t feel hot. If you make it colder, I’ll hate you. I’ll hate you. I will never talk to you again,” her voice shrieking. “Fine, Ma, hate me,” I replied calmly.
This was not unchartered or new territory: the yelling and the screaming and the chorus of “I’ll never talk to you again and I hate you.” This was not new, or unexpected.
Those incidents I can toss aside – fan away – as if an annoying fly buzzing my head.
But not this one, this one I can’t toss aside.
My mother stood in the hallway between her bedroom and the living room, the pee dripping down her leg soaking into the wall-to-wall carpeting. She covered her mouth. Mortified. And then she said through a wave of unstoppable tears, “I have no control.”
Had she been much younger and in therapy this would be a moment of enlightenment. A revelation. But this was not that kind of moment. It was terrifying; and all and everything became crystal clear to me. My mother, my feisty, angry, emotional, strong-willed, gorgeous, sexy mother was no longer.
She stood, drenched in her own urine, her fragile hands (hands that once sported perfectly manicured nails) covering her mouth, tears falling from her eyes (eyes that were once filled with passion), her body small and slight (a body that was once strong and stunning and oh so, sexy), and that all she had been, was completely gone.
I closed my eyes, and I silently prayed to any and all the Gods throughout the universe, any and all, that I could remember by first name. Please don’t let her remember what happened, please don’t let her, because it will fill her with such great humiliation and embarrassment and disgrace, and oh God, such deep shame.
I prayed, asked, pleaded, bartered.
I didn’t want my mother to feel shame or embarrassment.
I didn’t want her to remember that moment.
I cleaned up the pee, and I washed her housecoat, and I dressed her, and I kept the heat where she was comfortable: 94 degrees. I sat with her on the couch, and was sweating profusely as we held hands and watched TV, cartoons.
She held my hand and I looked down – stared down – at her chipped nails.
I was reminded of a previous visit, months earlier when she still lived in Florida. She wanted to desperately get her hair and nails done. She had a bit more spunk, enough spunk to tell me that having her hair and nails done would make her feel beautiful. I drove her to the local salon where we were greeted with so much enthusiasm you would have thought we owned the joint. My mom and I both got manicures, and my mom got her hair curled. The manicurist freshened my mom’s make-up; adding just a hint of blush, plus perfectly lined (and colored in) lips.
My mom stared at herself in the mirror.
She touched, and smoothed her hair with the palm of her hand, so not to smudge her perfectly manicured pink sparkly nails. And then she said for everyone to hear, “I feel brand new.” She turned to me, and said, “Thank you. I will never forget the sparkly nail color. I feel so beautiful. ”
I stared at her chipped nails. Her eyes are glued to the TV. I ask her if she’d like to go out, go to a salon … you know, ma, like old times. She squeezed my hand as if she never wanted to let go, “I wanna feel brand new.”|
I could barely swallow when she said those words, I wanna feel brand new.
She sat across from the manicurist: a young, sassy, vibrant woman whose extra poundage only made her more beautiful.
My mom leaned in, and in a whisper only meant for long held secrets, she said to the manicurist, “I don’t remember very much anymore.” And then the manicurist leaned in, and said to my mom with complete and utter authority: “Honey, not forgetting is so much better than not remembering.”
And just like that – my mom laid her hands on the table and said, “Sparkly, pink sparkly, please, I want to feel beautiful.”
A small, gorgeous, perfect miracle.
Imagine she’s your friend: she’s being lied to, disgraced, demeaned, mistreated; imagine she’s your sister: she’s being sullied, soiled, laughed at, mocked; imagine she’s your daughter: she’s being abused, mistreated, assaulted; imagine she’s your mother: she’s being battered, beaten, brought to her knees; imagine she’s your co-worker: she’s being demoted, dismissed, ignored, silenced; imagine she’s your neighbor: she’s being harassed, taunted, bullied, spit on, shamed.
- You wouldn’t stay silent or sit back or allow anyone you love or care about or treasure being mistreated, hurt, devalued, destroyed, gutted – right?
- You would speak up, fight up, show up, stand up – right?
- Now imagine that SHE is America: she’s being disgraced, demeaned, battered, bloodied, mocked, abused, assaulted, silenced, bullied, brought to her knees.
- Let’s stop fighting over Bernie over Mike over Liz over Amy over Mayor
- Pete over Biden and fight for her life.
Fight for HER life.
Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. She was feisty & complicated, messy and beautiful – sexy as all get out. She loved art & painting & ceramics & knitting, she loved books and reading and doing crossword puzzles in blue ink but more than anything she loved my dad – theirs was a mad love affair; ours wasn’t an easy mother/daughter relationship. At the end of her life, after visiting her in the assisted living facility, I came to the profound realization that I had become the woman she always wanted to be and that realization filled me with compassion and so much love for her. My mom suppressed & repressed much of her creative life, her creative desires and lived a life expected of her, and that filled with her sorrow and rage and closeted untapped possibility.
But she was mine and I’m gonna start celebrating this gorgeous badass today.
2/9/20 This is a bit of a rant and I would like very much if you could/would bear with me.
I was having a conversation with a girlfriend and yes, she is a real life girlfriend of 20 plus years, and for whatever reason I brought up abortion and pro-choice and the absolute need for women to fight for their lives and to not have Roe V Wade overturned – and her response shocked the fuck out of me.
Basically she said that she didn’t care one iota about Roe v. Wade because she was beyond the years of ever having a child. “Not my problem, I don’t really give shit,” she said.
You can imagine where my mouth went and the size of the truck that would have been able to drive through it. “Seriously?” I asked. “You don’t care because you’re beyond the age of being able to have kids?”
“That’s not my issue, not my problem… I don’t care.”
I’m gonna save you all the back & forth from that point, but let me just say this without sounding like a woman with a bone, or a dead horse that I’m beating:
YOU HAVE TO CARE.
You. Have. To. Care.
You have to care.
You may be sitting in your cushy big house with everything you ever dreamed of having – fancy cars, fancy kitchens, all the best appliances, a big motherfucker OLED TV – but there are millions & millions & millions of humans on this earth who can’t fucking rub two nickels together and you better care about their lives. Yes, you better care. You may be making a high six figure income and traveling first class and asking the flight attendant to pour you another glass of champagne but most of the folks in the cabin behind you – a good 80% of those folks – had to scrimp and save to take a vacation and you need to care about their lives and their struggles because all of this can go in a flash. All of it. Cushy jobs are disappearing. Folks are getting fired.
Humility needs to come back into fashion because arrogance wears real fucking thin.
Care about the issues that may not touch you personally. Care deeply. If you don’t care about them then you don’t care about your friends or your neighbors or the humans who are eking & squeaking by and in deep pain. Care about women, care about men, care about children, care about the LGBTQ community, care about immigrants, care about health costs, care about gun laws, care about Muslims, care about Black lives and brown lives and care about what you don’t know about because knowing about it will make you a better human.
The next time you find yourself screaming and hollering about a 50 year old women pole dancing you might wanna stop and think about getting yourself to the polls and voting for women’s rights and women’s choices because that affects us all, the next time you find yourself pointing fingers at and judging folks who are using their lives to make the world better because they made some choices that set them back think about getting yourself to the polls and voting for human rights and human dignity and the decriminalization of stigmas that no doubt someone near and dear to you struggles with. The next time you shame a person for their battle with depression get yourself to the polls and vote for mental health initiates that might just save a life or two or three.
Unless we start caring about humankind – all of humankind – we will not be the kind of humans this world needs to become kinder.
Thank you for letting me rant & spew.
The President of the United Staes has decided to be revengeful and mean and nasty and ugly and hideously vile after his impeachment trial. Not so shocking. People show us who they are, we oughta believe ’em. Firing two men & many more to come. The President of the United States is a pitiful man, a small man, a man whose ego matches his penis, tiny & insignificant but in need of constant stroking so it can expand and grow. He wasn’t exonerated. He, like others impeached before him, will always carry that word: impeachment. And his vulgar nasty ugly followers will have to live with their cult mentality and their complicit-ness. Ah, but they don’t care.
Donald trump is a liar and a cheat and scoundrel and a mob boss at best & a dictator at worst and fascism is where we’re heading. Look after the ones you love, they may not be here next week. Yes, he’s that revengeful. He doesn’t give a shit about humanity or your jobs or your health or your struggles; he draped the highest honor one can receive around the neck of a racist and a bigot and an abuser – a disgraceful man whose lung cancer nabbed him an award, he spoke at a prayer breakfast & demeaned the men and women who serve this country – he called bullshit and no one blinked an eye – see, that’s what happens when you’re in a cult – you follow the person not that the law or the party and the hate is palpable. It sneaks and creeps and seeps into everything.
And here’s a truth – Donald trump doesn’t give a shit that folks can’t make ends meet, he doesn’t give a shit about pre-existing conditions, he doesn’t give a shit that you served this country. While you’re wondering if you’re gonna get that job back working in the coal mine, he’s making millions supporting his lies and abuse. Those jobs are not coming back. A pack of lies. He’s not gonna fund the Arts. A man who built much of his wealth being on a TV show isn’t gonna fund the arts.
He’s removing Global entry so folks can’t get into NY.
Your guns aren’t gonna be taken away from you, don’t worry about that… but your child may very well die execution style in his or her school because he doesn’t give a fuck about gun safety – he’s got the NRA in his pocket; no one is gonna take away your bible but they may very well take your life while you’re praying in Church or in a Synagogue, you’re so fucking angry that Colin Kaepernick knelt during a football game but kneeling on Sundays and hating your neighbors on Monday is okay with you. Yeah, you read the Bible…do unto…
Yeah yeah yeah… keep on keeping on.
The man is a fraud, but fraud’s & conmen and bullshit artists have always – always – sold us cars and insurance and shit we don’t need – we call 800 numbers; being sold a bill of goods – and we buy a bunch of crap we don’t need and have no room for.
Donald trump is a two bit scam artist.
Fight for your life.
Seriously, fight for your life and then… fight for those you love.
I’m taking a break from writing to address something that is very important to me: on my page, my posts, I take a lot of shit. I expect it. I expect to be dragged through the mud, vilified, and tossed on a junk heap – I write my truth and my truth doesn’t always jive with others; I try very hard to keep to my truth and not sway with the wind; I am not one of those people who tries to be PC for the fuck of it. I don’t wanna be that kind of person. And yes, I defend myself if I’m being tormented or pummeled, or I block the asshole who won’t let the conversation go or… I try to engage best I can. Life is too short, and none of us should apologize for our truth, our feelings, our hard-earned lives. But on my page, on my posts, I would prefer if people who come on to my page to express themselves aren’t shamed, or dragged through the mud or vilified. I have read & re-read numerous comments – both about Kobe Bryant and now about the half-time show – and I will say this: everyone is entitled to an opinion – and no, we don’t have to agree, but we do need to stop from humiliating folks, or belittling them for having a reaction that isn’t the same as ours. if it’s civil it becomes a dialogue, a conversation – something, a word or two or three that can open a closed heart or enlighten another human – and that’s a good thing. A really good thing. Conversations, dialogues. A give and take. But we seem to think shaming others is a groovy thing to do nowadays. I abhor bullying. I despise it. We have a bully in the White House and every day he says or does something that is cringe-worthy. You bet we’re better than that, than him, than his nasty fucking bullshit. So, I expect to be dragged through the mud because of what I put out in the world – if everyone liked me or thought I was some word guru it would be boring and it would be a lie. We learn from folks who are different, who don’t share our opinions, we can crack open our own hearts and souls if we’re smart. I have been called every name under the sun, and I could go alphabetical, but one word I absolutely know I am – through and through – is kind. So, here on my page, go ahead disagree, share your opinions, but offer up a heaping side of kindness in the midst of your outrage; the world is in pain, it is bleeding and it is hurting and we’re feeling it deep – let’s make it better, after all, we are all we have. Let’s find those common threads in the heat of a moment- let’s pull at them – and let’s do what we do best: shake and rattle the universe – and if it happens to be with our asses – let’s applaud those who can still do it, and let me just say being a badass is just as fucking sexy.
Here’s a partial list – a partial list – of what offends me, in no particular order:
Abuse of power
Concentration Camps, here in America, in 2020
Abusing & using & misusing God
Faking benevolence & altruism
White sheets used as a fashion hate statement
The Confederate flag
A Commentary on:
Oh my fucking God, 22 men are tackling each over a fucking ball and folks are arguing back & forth over too much crotch & tits during the halftime show and no one – NO ONE – is talking about the fact that they actually had performers in cages on the stage to make a statement about the children in cages at the border.
Can we please, for one moment, give it up for these amazing women who had the fucking courage to do that?
My god, what they were showing us on that stage is what we should be talking about.
You wanna know what almost got me thrown in FB jail yet again – this here:
Hey, Lisa Murkowski, it’s “COUNTRY tis of thee” not “CUNTRY tis of thee” – women like you shouldn’t be making decisions for women like me; you’re siding with a conman predator who doesn’t give a shit about Alaska, stop kissing his ass, you don’t have enough chapstick. Never again say you care about America when you have the fucking audacity to kick her down and bring her to her knees; destroying our Democracy.
I’m pretty sure it was the CUNTRY that did me in not the kissing ass that tossed me in a cell for a few hours.
Keep on writing & speaking & living your truth people, YOUR TRUTH, it’s our only hope – ass kissing is so unattractive.
Pleasant dreams & dream fucking big.
The United States of America is going to be sold out by a bunch of cruel & vicious entitled men & women – individuals – who are in the Republican Party. Afraid to dig deep into their hearts and souls because a bully predator sits in the White House, threatening people, tweeting nasty vile disgusting shit out into the world and Mitch McConnell has a tight grip of cruelty. I don’t know how any of these folks can sleep at night, or look themselves in a mirror when they shave or put on make-up. But sleep and shave and apply cover-up they do. Men and women who have put trump before truth, who have put their party before humanity, who have sworn on bibles to uphold the constitution and have decided to trash all it stands for. Donald Trump should have never been elected President, he has no business sitting in the Oval Office; he’s a creep of a guy and he doesn’t give one fuck about America, he gives many fucks about his own wealth and ego. A two-bit reality star who brought in two-bit lawyers to defend him, men who have a history of supporting pedophilia and murder and making a living off of other men who are murderers and rapists, men like Jeffrey Epstein and Claus Von Bulow and OJ Fucking Simpson. America is not a reality show, and yes, she is getting raped every single day by the men and women who are sitting in their cushy political positions because they don’t care about our lives or our rights. They demand women carry an unwanted child to term and then put those children in cages, where they are sleeping on concrete floors and covered in aluminum foil screaming for their mommy’s and daddy’s and being groomed to become hateful vicious humans because that is all they will know while they are caged liked animals. Oh, pro-life my ass.
And here is a real hard motherfucker truth: we – we, the people – have become meaner and nastier toward each other. We throw darts at folks who have a different opinion, we slander and belittle each other for liking a certain candidate, we rip each other to shreds over not being politically correct enough, we destroy and annihilate each other, we shame each other, we destroy someone’s self-esteem over words spoken and written and shared, nowadays we stab each other in the heart not just talk behind each other’s back, and no you don’t need to come out and shame me for writing the truth. I’ve been shamed quite enough the past week over my feelings about Kobe, for my exposing my own shame-filled filthy past, for words I’ve written and friends I’ve supported and humans I deeply love and champion. Put through the wringer because that’s what we do now to each other, and it saddens me and disheartens me and it hurts me that we lash out and beat each other up and react before we think.
What I know on this last Friday in January at around noon-ish, if we don’t start holding each other tight, loving each other better, allowing each other feelings and thoughts, seeing that we’re not all that fucking different when we strip away some of the privileges we were born into and with and by privilege, yes, I mean the skin we wear; if we were all lying in a pool of blood, no one would be able to tell whose blood we were soaking in and drowning in. America is being bludgeoned to death right now and if we don’t come together for the stake of humanity, we will be in that pool of blood.
Hold someone tight today, forgive someone their flaws today, understand another heart today, hear someone’s pain today, reflect on your own mistakes today, be kind to a stranger today, look into your child’s heart today, see yourself through someone else’s eyes today, put yourself in someone else’s shoes today, and start thinking of taking back your country today – put yourself in her soul, in the very soul and heart of our democracy – America is being attacked by predatory men, and grit-less women, abusing their power, grabbing at her, destroying her, wanting her to stay silent – you would demand justice done, demand it for her.
#aMEricaTOO people, #aMEricaTOO
We do not have to live the words we inherit.
I had just moved into my new apartment on the Upper Westside. It was my first grown-up apartment.
It was January 1990.
I walked into my building, got into the elevator, and before the doors closed, two huge black men got into the elevator with me. And, all I thought was: “Holy shit, oh my God, I’m gonna be raped.”
Let me fill you in, and please… bear with me:
I grew up in a family where the word ‘schvartza’ was sprinkled in sentences as frequently, and as often, as salt & pepper were sprinkled on steak. If there was an abandoned car on the side of the L.I.E – with all the tires stripped – my mother would declare, “schvartzas.” If there was a robbery, or a break-in, in our all-white neighborhood, “schvartzas,” and anything – anything at all – that had the stench of bad or rotten – no doubt, a schvartza did it, or at the very least, was involved.
Schvartza, not an uncommon word used in my house. Passed down generation to generation to generation to generation; just like an inheritance. Rumor has it, and this is not a good rumor when a black person got up from their seat on a bus, my grandmother would take her perfectly ironed cotton handkerchief and wipe the seat down.
My parents socialized often; they had gay friends, non-Jewish friends, Christian friends; dinner parties, nights on the town, cocktail parties, soirees. But, the truth, the painful deep ugly truth, there was always a blatant, underlying unease, feelings of superiority coupled with an unconscious (or probably not) fear that seeped out without any thought what-so-ever toward their colored friends, and yes, back then in the ’60s, they were colored. Both my brother and I, on more than one occasion, were mortified at what came out of our mother’s and father’s mouth. An off-color joke here, a nasty remark there, a little dig here, a bigger dig there. My mother often said that if I dated a black man she would disown me, and I would often respond with, “Well, what about sleeping with one?” She would laugh. Or maybe, maybe, it was an uneasy chuckle. I had, and have, many friends who are black.
But, I grew up with that awful, ugly, derogatory word embedded, like a chip – and I would wager I’m not sharing anything new, and I would wager that many of you – okay, some of you – reading this grew up in a home not unlike mine.
And no, this is not something I feel good admitting, not one fucking bit.
Back to the elevator.
There I was standing in the back of the elevator, convinced that these two men – both at least 6’7” – were going to hurt me. Rape me. Kill me. I heard the word schvartza playing over and over and over in my head. I heard my mother saying it, I heard my grandmother saying it. I heard all my relatives saying it.
I knew I was afraid.
I knew I was petrified.
My heart, pounding out of my chest, was the give-a-way.
I also knew it was the night of the Cooney/Forman fight, a big night in boxing. One of the guys asked me, “You like boxing?” I said, “Yeah, oh, yeah.” “Really?” he asked, “Who you betting on to win?” Without blinking, I said, “I’m betting on the Black guy.”
They both laughed.
It turned out one of the guys lived in my building, in the penthouse. He was a professional basketball player; he played for the New Jersey Nets. He was throwing a party that night – a Cooney/Forman party – and right there in the elevator, invited me to come, as his guest.
I asked if there would be any food.
“Yeah,” he said, “we’re gonna roast the white guy.”
I lost every bit of color I had regained. He looked at me and saw how scared I was. “Hey,” he said, “I’m jokin’. Really. Cooney’s gonna lose, Forman’s gonna knock him out in the first round. Please, come on up… we’re ordering Chinese. You like Chinese?” “Yeah, I like Chinese,” I said.
I was the only white person in a sea of black people watching Forman punch the shit out of Cooney in the second round.
At the end of the evening, my new friend made sure I got home to my apartment safe and sound – just two floors below him – and thanked me for coming to his party. He was gracious and kind and funny as all get out, and he and I remained friends, good neighbor-friends. He would bring me soup when I was sick, and I would send him champagne on his winning days. He moved out of the building a couple of years later; traded to another team, and moved to another city.
We lost touch, but he touched me deeply.
As I think about all the shit that’s happening in this country, ugly hateful vile shit – irrefutable horror – and the tapes that play over and over and over again in someone’s head; words that are embedded, phrases that stick, stories repeated; the hatred and the violence circulating like bad air; the ugly and the nasty: the faggot, the homo, the goy, the kike, the Jew, the spic, the n*gger, the queer – the schvartza – the words that we hear in our heads that are spoken in other voices; parents grandparents siblings friends neighbors spouses lovers co-workers.
Words are spoken and tweeted daily by the man living in the White House, the president of the United States of America.
I think about that night, in that elevator, and that bet that I made, and I never thought that years later in 2008 and again in 2012, that I would say, “I’m betting on the black guy,” out of complete love and respect, out of appreciation and gratitude, out of joy and hope and not one ounce – not one ounce – of fear.
We do not have to be the words that we heard & inherited, we do not have to recycle hate & violence & fear.
We do not have to live those words.
*As website manager for Post Coffee-Pre Wine, I am committed to commenting on this election pulled from Amy’s Facebook Page. Whether you agree with her thoughts or not, please take a read, because we, the people, are the ones that must change the course we are on… (Karen Hale)
It’s is time to do the right thing for self and others
Last week, or maybe it was the week before, I decided to take a much-needed mini-break – a two-day break – from Facebook. I was, for lack of a better word, depleted.
Actually, you know what, I was fucking depleted. Empty. The tank was empty.
But truth be told, it wasn’t Facebook that was depleting me, it was life. The news, the crazy motherfucker in the White House, the bad shit circulating; the too many things I was squeezing into too few hours. Not taking care of my own precious life, and yes, dismissing Ken, and our life.
And I know some of you are gonna say, don’t listen to the news, don’t pay attention to the crazy motherfucker, squeeze in less, put time aside… but it’s not that easy. I smoked cigarettes for 32 years, quitting almost did me in. It’s not easy being addicted, whether it’s the news or crack cocaine or a bad hairdresser. We do bad shit because we wanna belong, we can’t say no, we don’t wanna hurt someone’s feelings, we wanna be numb and stay numb and not face the world, we don’t wanna miss out on anything, we keep folks at arms length, we keep ourselves small & tidy and insulated.
Addiction isn’t about always about getting high, or being included or wanting to belong – it’s about fear. And if we don’t look at what we’re afraid of, we hang on to the bad shit. And then well, it’s a vicious cycle.
I’m gonna tell you what I found out being away from FaceBook for a teeny bit of time.
FaceBook is not bad shit.
I found out this here, right here, is a community, and we all long for community. We’re all searching for folks who see us, hear us, miss us when we’re gone. We long for a place to share our beliefs and frustrations and pain and sorrow and yes, our joy. And it’s here, on this platform, that many of us are learning how to finally stand up for ourselves, speak our truth, offer up our beliefs. We get to fall in love with folks whose opinions and voices are triumphant and magnificent. Life-altering. We get to unfriend and block folks who treat us – and other friends – like shit, with disrespect and disdain; their meanness is too much to bear. We get to say – with just a click, a swipe – no more of this shit, no more of you. We get to shut off and shut down the bullies.
And what this community brings, really brings, is love. And who the fuck doesn’t need to be loved? I have seen more beauty and read more beauty and witnessed more camaraderie and selflessness and compassion and companionship; Activism and ARTism and Humanism; humans who came out of their shell and shared their works in progress. I’ve seen friends share the grief, their unbearable pain and the humans who gathered around them and held them virtually and wouldn’t let them go or fall. It was here on Facebook that I found out about old friends whose live’s were cut short by their own hand, and folks who I hadn’t seen in years who passed away from diseases that eat away at us, and how I wished – when I read of their deaths – how a door had not closed by one or both of us. I needed to see that not very attractive piece of me, the one that can easily walk away over something petty, a thread that becomes more frayed over time, and I needed to offer up the very same compassion to my very own life that I offer up to others.
Self-compassion is vital.
I needed to take care of myself.
Stop neglecting my own life.
I live in Pennsylvania, and here we have to fill our own gas tanks. For lack of a better example: I needed to fill my own tank. I needed to not depend on anyone to fill it for me. I was taught at a very young age to put other folks first. That’s how you get to be loved, and if you do that, they’ll take care of you. Until you do something they don’t like, then you gotta start all over from scratch to get their love. Conditional love sucks, it rips the life out of you. So, here’s what I absolutely fucking know: no one, not one soul, needs to be loved conditionally. Conditional love has too high a price. So, no more of that. We all need to step away from the folks who love us conditionally. That’s also an awful addiction. The crawling back, the begging for more, the promise that we won’t rock the boat or shake up shit. We spend an awful lot of time on folks who will never love us the way we need and want to be loved. We need to spend more time, give more time, to the folks who love us plenty, who love us good, who love us no matter what. Those folks are the ones who make our hearts beat. The next time I go through hoops it’ll be on a basketball court. Unconditional love, now that’s the cats fucking meow.
So, I am here to say, you are all my community.
This is where we get to champion each other, lift each other, share our deepest shit and our greatest joy.
This is where we get to come and visit and tap on someone’s page – a drive-by – and leave a Facebook ‘post-it’ saying I love you.
This is where we get to offer up ideas and opinions and toss butter patties on the proverbial ceiling and see what sticks, see what doesn’t.
This is where we get to decide, on a moments notice sometimes, to be brave, and fierce, and mighty and wear our courage out-loud.
I took the time to nurture my life, to fill my empty tank, to witness my own beauty and my own glorious girl power, and I missed you all – okay, okay, most of you, many of you, a ton of you – for the right reasons: you have become my chosen family and I am ever grateful.
life is short.
we don’t think it is, but it is.
on a dime, it changes.
live your LIFE, not someone else’s.
LIVE YOUR LIFE FULLY.
don’t take shit from anyone.
declare your worth.
know your value.
YOU ARE INVALUABLE.
say it out loud.
believe it in your soul.
YOU ARE INVALUABLE.
and please, if you wear your heart on your sleeve, accessorize accordingly.
This Facebook memory popped up from January 19, 2015 – and it’s making me weep, and I just love it, so I’m gonna share it. Here’s to wearing our scars like stardust, our lives out-loud, and being women they name hurricanes after, and men, who yes, have climbed – and continue to climb – to the mountaintop. I toast you.
This is what I know
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
It’s not just a holiday.
It’s something enormous.
It’s about making a ruckus.
Putting your life on the line so other folks can stand tall.
It’s about giving a voice to the voiceless.
It’s about dignity & respect & integrity & courage.
It’s about decency.
It’s about making waves and riding those fucking waves.
It’s about brotherhood & sisterhood & and no, no, not the blood kind.
And so today, while I’m honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., I’m also gonna honor every single extraordinary, stunning, courageous African American man & woman whose backs we stand on – and don’t kid yourself, we do stand on their strong, glorious magnificent backs. They didn’t just stand up from shackles & slavery for segregation & apartheid, for civil & human & women’s rights for their own good, they stood up so that we – each of us – could have those freedoms.
Freedom of choice, freedom of speech.
Look at Rosa Parks. Look at Frederick Douglas. Look at Medger Evans. Look at Nelson Mandela. Look at Harriet Tubman & Sojourner Truth & Jackie Robinson & Jesse Owens & Paul Robeson & Fanny Hamer & Shirley Chisholm & Angela Davis & Marion Wright Edelman. Look at John Lewis. Look at Elijah Cummings. Look at Barack Obama & Michelle Obama.
My god…the list is endless.
Look at all the men & women whose music & songs & voices get us up on the dance floor – songs we sway to, make love to; look at the men & women whose words – books & plays & poetry – have stirred our souls, our lives so deeply, so profoundly; look at the men & women whose art has created revolutions & cultural change; look at the men & women whose films & television & documentaries make us wanna be better humans. And look at the men & women who play sports and get us up off our feet cheering, rooting for the home team.
Today is a day I’m gonna honor the limitless power of the human spirit, and to say thank you for making me know that massive courage, epic courage, comes from standing in front of fear & hate, and saying out fucking loud: please, step aside, I have a dream that I need to share, so others can dream.
Wear kindness today.
This is a really great story, so please, bear with me.
Back in December 2018 Lisa Sharkey (HarperCollins Publisher) reached out to me & asked if I would be interested in co-authoring a book on Love.
Lisa, for those who don’t know her, is a very passionate and enthusiastic and gloriously wonderful human being and publishing maven. Her passion is absolutely contagious.
She had followed me on FaceBook and we got to know each other and she loved how I loved – she loved how I wrote about love and you can’t get a better compliment than that. Harper’s had a bought a book idea called Old School Love from Rev Run of Run DMC fame.
Now here’s where I get to be really truly holy shit honest: I had no fucking idea who they were, I mean, yes, I had heard of Run DMC and more than likely I probably heard their music and yes, fuck yes, I did know ‘Walk This Way’ with Aerosmith, but I’m not a big Aerosmith fan – I’m a Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Doobie Brothers, Garland Jeffries, Springsteen, Clapton, Ginger Baker, Commander Cody kinda rock n’ roll girl with a huge massive love for soul music and a huge massive love for Laura Nyro and Carole King and Joni and Carly and Pat Benatar… and Ricki Lee Jones – gimme girl groups & soul and Rock n’ Roll and I’m gonna dance and sway and make-believe that I’m one of the back-up singers.
I’ll give you Eminem.
I like him.
So, a meeting was set up. Me and Rev Run and Justine Simmons to see if we get along if this is a good match. And just to be on the safe side, I watched a YouTube of Walk This Way, and Run DMC getting inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of fame.
I go to Jersey to meet them at their house and I get lost, driving around a town I have never been to and all the time I’m thinking: don’t bullshit, don’t pretend, don’t say you love Rap music… just be you, Amy.
Just be you.
I finally get to his gorgeous home a few minutes late and he greets me at the door.
Rev Run takes one look at me and tells me I’m an angel.
Those were his exact words: “You are an angel. God sent you to me. You are an angel from God. I know it. I know it. God sent you and you are an angel, and you look like an angel.”
And I said: I’m an angel who doesn’t know a whole lot about Rap but I know a whole lot about love.
He was beaming.
And that was the beginning of our working together, co-authoring this book called Old School Love.
I brought Ken with me a few times and they all fell crazy nuts for each other – instant love. Rev even named him Rev Ken and on one occasion when Ken wasn’t feeling well at their house, they took amazing care of him. Amazing care.
I learned a lot about Rap Music, I learned about faith from Rev and Justine’s amazing passion and commitment to their God, and I learned that while I knew a whole lot about love, there was room in my life to learn much more.
My heart grew – expanded – working on this book with them.
Rev and Justine are going out on tour with the book in two weeks – they’re gonna be on talk shows and radio shows and signing books all over the country, and I’m as proud as can be to have shared many many days and many many meals and many many stories with them.
I know you all love me and appreciate me and you come by here on my page and you root me on every single day without fail.
Please, root them on, would ya, and cheer them on and go to their book signings if they’re in your town and catch them on TV and know – just know – that they’re out in the world spreading their old school love and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
There is always one crazy-ass broad who decides to take me into the ring & tries to pummel me in three rounds – this one was about my post, she PM’d me and wrote: I’m just letting you know if Bernie isn’t the nominee I’m not voting for anyone. It’s Bernie or bust. I wrote back and asked her why she didn’t post that comment on the thread, she came back with: you think I wanna get my head handed to me? To which I wrote: If it’s Bernie or bust for you then you deserve to get your head handed to you. One more exchange and then Fuck You was my last response, and I unfriended her and blocked her. I have no idea who she was or is but what I do know is she despises trump and rants on & on about him.
You can’t rant on & on about trump and then say it’s Bernie or no one, or Biden or no one, or Amy or no one, or Warren or no one because then all your fucking ranting is for nothing – for no one.
This is not a fucking reality show. This is not season three of The Trumpano’s, this is not Survivor or The Housewives of DC. This is real fucking life and there is a real bad man sitting in the Oval Office, a man who once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still get elected – this is a man who is shooting lies at us every single day, shooting his mouth off every single day, shooting fear into the crowds at his rallies, shooting hatred and cruelty into the streets and in his tweets; he’s a bully and his cult base spray Swastikas on subway cars in NYC, defacing synagogues and churches and carrying tiki torches and AR-15’s because they are willing to march into hell for him.
Hold your nose if you have to, wear fucking gloves if you don’t wanna touch that lever at the voting booth, but pull that lever you must come November because someone you may not be crazy nuts in-love with might just get the nomination and four more years of Trump Mobsters is un-fucking-acceptable.
Here’s the thing: when you say you’d never vote for Pete, or never vote for Warren or never vote for… Biden or Bernie or Amy… how about putting this in perspective: you’re not marrying any of these folks, you don’t even have to have a meal with any of them, all you have to do is remind yourself that what is at stake is humanity and decency and our democracy; this isn’t a dating site or a dating app – we’re already getting fucked every single day by a man millions & millions & millions of us wouldn’t let into our home unless he was wearing an ankle monitor AND accompanied by a Police chaperone; so, it’s simple: if we don’t unite & rally around saving our Country from thugs and conmen and white supremacists and white nationalists and anti-semites and the ugly blatant evil & hatred that is seeping into the very fabric of our daily lives we will die, maybe not all at once, but our hearts and our hope will start to atrophy and give way and I for one refuse to let that happen.
We just picked up Bella’s body from the Vet. They took her paw print & gave us a few gifts to remind us of her good love. We are sad & heartbroken but so very grateful that the humans who work at the hospital are filled with kindness & generosity & massive goodness. Bella died in her sleep; the Vet said she was sassy to the very end.
Twelve years ago we brought her home in a carrier case, today we bring her home in a box with her name & a heart engraved in magic marker; she was filled with magic & always brought us love.
I promised I wouldn’t share her name. Pinky swear. But I received this email this morning & she wanted me to share this letter on Facebook and so I will, and yes, it can be shared.
I sat in a corner and you brought me coffee and asked me if I wanted sugar or sweetener to go with it. Milk, you asked? I shook my head, no. You touched, not grabbed, you touched my hand and gently squeezed it and you said these words: you are safe here, I promise. I sat and I listened as the group of women, thirteen women I believe, shared stories that seemed far worse than my story. I told you that my story was stuck in my throat, you whispered in my ear: I think it’s stuck in many parts of your body. Again, you were so kind, so compassionate, so loving. Where do you get that compassion? Someday you’ll tell me. You asked me if I wanted to read. I shook my head, no. We broke for a few minutes and while everyone wandered about, I stayed in the corner. Trying. Crying. Sobbing. You stayed with me. You came over to me. I asked you if you would read what I had written aloud because I knew I would choke and cry and not be able to. You skimmed the piece and your eyes welled up and you gave me the greatest hug I ever got from anyone in my entire life. I felt like your hug put all the loose and broken pieces of me back together and then your eyes, your gorgeous penetrating eyes, you looked right into me and at me and said, yes, I will read this for you. You asked me to sit next to you so you could hold my hand, a gesture that felt like a life jacket and the women came back into the room and I sat down next to you and you read the words that were on the lined paper that I had written, that I was so afraid to write and as you read the words I could feel my life coming back to me. I don’t think I can ever thank you enough for that day and the days that followed that you kept in touch and then completely unexpectedly you sent me back the money from the workshop with a handwritten note saying please buy yourself something wonderful or take yourself for a grand epic dinner (I love how you use the word epic even for a meal) or get a spa treatment. You changed my life. No, really, you changed my entire life. Your heart and your compassion and your truth and I can go on. I am able to reclaim my life now because you told me I was brave and beautiful and ‘sexy as all get out’ and I wasn’t feeling any of those things for so long. I stood behind a wall of women at the courthouse this week and I could feel you holding my back up.
Thank you for being that woman, that woman you put out into the world every single day, so real and so true.
Sending you sisterhood love,
I’m gonna leave you with this.
Sick as a fucking dog, no seriously, I can barely lift my head, this flu & the coughing & laryngitis – I sound like Brenda Vaccaro – has left me somewhat debilitated, not fully, just a bit. And truth be told, a few folks down here are suffering from the same flu/cold. Must be traveling around the country.
And while I still have you where did ‘sick as a dog’ come from? Why sick as a dog?
As always, I digress.
So, here I am in Paradise. Seriously: paradise.
A small sexy hotel: houses & cottages and a very groovy tiki bar and a great farm-to-table restaurant and a swell spa all stretched out on the luscious beach. Ken’s forever birthday get-a-way.
The ocean this evening – pounding, whipping waves, high tide.
The most ferocious the ocean had been, they said, the owners said.
I sat on the end of the dock – dangling my feet – and watched and witnessed as the waves pounded and twirled and climbed and soaked me and retreated and pounded and twirled and soaked me and climbed and swept in and holy shit the ferocity and the power and the relentlessness and the unabashed and the undeterred and the sheer beauty the shear glory the sheer audacity, the fierceness and the connection and the magnificence, the boldness and the perfect rhythm – nothing could stop the magnificence of the waves. rolling together.
We are those waves, you know.
We are that fucking fierce and that powerful and that relentless and that audacious and that stunning and that ferocious and that determined and that glorious and that bold… and yes, fuck yes let’s remove the vile ugly mean vicious conman liar bullyman squatter from the White House, OUR house.
Let’s make sure the likes of him – his ilk – leaves & never returns.
We can do this.
Lounging here in gorgeous Jamaica at a real groovy joint hotel – Jakes – where we are now considered family because, well, six years in a row – and between Bella dying and waking up with a horrific cold/flu, I’m just letting all of this crap sickness go through me. Water is healing.
Folks here are taking good care of me; bringing me all kinds of concoctions – herbs – to ease the coughing & phlegm.
Folks here are taking good care of me; bringing me all kinds of concoctions – herbs – to ease the coughing & phlegm.
Being so loved helps the healing.
Life is fragile, don’t kid yourself. It’s fragile and messy and complicated and magnificent and all of the shit and pain and suffering we go through is to understand another heart, other hearts. To have empathy. To have compassion. All the struggles, the climbing up massive fucking hills and mountains and digging our way out of tunnels is what makes us so fucking extraordinary and brave and courageous. All the no’s that got us to that one yes and that one yes always seems so fucking perfect. All the rejection that brings us the right human who brushes the hair out of our eyes, who holds us up, who has our back – who loves us the way we hoped & prayed & wished to be loved … all the times we wanted to give up because some fool said we weren’t good enough or worthy and then we decide to ditch that advice & all that bullshit and prove just how fucking enough we are; all the times we wept by a phone waiting for it to ring only to find out the human we were waiting for wasn’t good enough for us anyway. All the times we were this close, this close to tossing our work into a pile and the phone rang or a letter came or a text came filled with praise that lifted our spirits and made us believe in magic.
Even in my heightened flu-ish state, I believe we are powerful beyond belief, we are more glorious & more extraordinary than we even imagine; we are magnificent creatures capable of anything & everything we set our minds to.
Set your minds to epic and bold and audacious.
Ignore the naysayers, ignore the haters, ignore the bad press, ignore the folks who want you to be unhappy because they’re unhappy; ignore the folks who keep you small, ignore the folks who don’t include you or acknowledge you. Ignore the folks who make you feel like shit. They’re not worth your time or the privilege of you.
Life is messy, fucking messy, and where I’m sitting right now, messy is mighty stunning.
Trust me, when the sun hits – shines down on all the pieces that are you – the broken, edgy, flawed, cracked, ripped, frayed, sharp pieces that are you, there is nothing more breathtaking.
This is so worth re-posting because
A) we’re down in Jamaica, and
B) it’s one of my all-time favorite posts ever.
Okay, so, here I am in Jamaica for a week. It’s one of those: take me away Calgon experiences. Down to a little bird that chirps whenever I do something a bit out of the box. By out of the box I mean drinking frou-frou drinks (I’m a white wine girl), getting wet sand stuck between my toes (contrary to all & any rumors, I’m not a beach girl, although I am a sunset/sunrise over the beach girl) & putting on a bathing suit, and by bathing suit, I mean a black one-piece with white piping.
Before you go all WTF on me – hear me out.
Years & years ago I was thin & lean & slinky and I would wear mini skirts & thigh high boots & high heels & little white V-neck t’s with great pizzazz (and no, had nothing to do with my (one) topless dancing experience) and I would strut with the best of them. I was filled with an energy sorta kinda like an ever-ready-battery. I also smoked a pack a day. That & coffee kept me going & thin. And then I gave up smoking and menopause hit like a ton of fucking bricks and depression set in. I traded in sexy black Levi jeans for long, black comfy sweaters & Eileen Fisher. Thigh-high boots & heels for my old reliable Frye boots, sexy white Barneys NY V-neck’s for Hanes v-neck’s, and truth be told, I sorta kinda – okay, most definitely – cocooned. And by cocoon I mean I drank tons of coffee, wishing I had one or two packs of Newports stashed away, stayed home & mostly sat at my desk or on the couch or in bed writing. Day in and day out.
Or more honestly, making believe I was writing.
The sitting part I can’t make up.
And my lean, slinky, thin body grew. Expanded. And then one day I went to Woodbury Commons to buy a bathing suit for yes, vacations/holidays/celebrations like these, and I had a complete & utter meltdown in the dressing room. Holy shit, where the fuck did my body go I asked out-loud – or maybe I was wailing – as if the salesgirl would be able to find it and bring it back to me.
And now. Here. Jamaica. The bird.
I’m watching as a woman struts down to the pool. She’s a large woman, and by large, I mean large. And she is filled with pure absolute joy. Not fake joy. Not bullshit joy. Not, ‘I just smoked a joint and i don’t feel any pain’ joy. A pure absolute joy. And I’m watching some of the men looking over at her, and a few of the women looking over at her, and one or two kids looking over at her, and some of the staff looking over at her, and she takes off her beach cover-up and BOOM: she is a full-bodied, magnificent, big, gorgeous woman. She’s wearing a turquoise one piece. Not a color I would choose, but, hey, we all have our fashion causalities. She eases herself into the pool and disappears under the water and then comes back up & shakes her short hair, and it’s just like a commercial, except this woman is fucking real. And by real I mean no airbrushing, no slimming down, no faux-removal of cellulite, and all I keep thinking as i watch her: I wanna be her. She’s confident & sexy & gorgeous and she owns her body. Owns her beauty and maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t like the color of her bathing suit, but no one would know that. And I went into my room, and slipped on the black with white piping one piece and went down to the pool and eased myself into the water. And I understood with every fiber in my being that sexy has nothing to do with weight.
I’m finding – reclaiming – my sexy in Jamaica.
Thanks to a woman whose name I may never know, and a little bird who thinks I’m the cats fucking meow.
Many of you know about iken, myKen through me, my eyes, my words. What you may not see or feel or witness is his gorgeous pounding luscious delicious sexy heart. It is such a grand heart, filled to the brim with goodness & generosity & a deep love for what is right. He has witnessed so much in his 79 years beginning with the sadness & pain & humiliation of his mother at the hands of her husband, his father. He – Ken – wanted so badly to help her, save her often; to be the hero, the superman, the guy who came in and swept his mom away from all the bad nasty, cruel moments. But very often he would just hide, or cower, he was, after all, a little tiny boy. But as he told me one day, “I was glad that I wanted to save her, help her when he was mean, I was glad I even thought like that.” He did once get in the middle and the push he got and the fall he took is what he mostly remembers. He swore & promised himself that he would never be like his dad, and I can tell you straight up, balls-out, that he has kept that promise tenfold. He sure did. He learned who he didn’t want to be through his dad’s example. He chose to be the opposite of that. He cultivated a deep & glorious admiration for women & girls. He is a champion for all & everything women-centric. He even helped create a ballet company in NYC – New York Theatre Ballet – (many, many years ago) with his delightful & brilliant ex-wife (she was a ballerina) for underprivileged boys & girls so they could learn the beauty & power of dance. He is a true blue friend and mentor. He raised many folks up in the film business & he did it without even realizing it. He just, you know, showed up with a desire to make the best films and wanted all the folks he worked with to be oh so proud of the work they were doing. Mentoring came as an accident. Truthfully, it’s not really his thing, but he’s just so fucking good at it, you hardly even know he’s given you an opportunity that will change your life forever. He’s a grand cheerleader. He’s subtle and loves watching folks rise up. Boy, does he love watching folks rise up – it brings him immense joy. He hasn’t always been the very best guy or the best human or the best husband (I am number 3 after all) and he can be as imperfect as they next imperfectly perfect creature. he’s not always good with money, but what he lacks in funds he makes up for in kindness & goodness. He despises injustice, any and all kinds of injustice. He’s a silent activist, but an activist all the same. He is a gardener, a nester, a home builder, a fire maker and yes, a retired cameraman. He has made some gorgeous films in his lifetime and I know he has tremendous pride for being able to have done that.
He has lived and worn his life well.
So today is his day, his 79th year on this planet, his birthday.
I will make sure that it is filled with beauty, kindness, love, good food, many hugs, massive kisses, much appreciation, a massage, and my personal favorite: a wish for 79 more.
It’s on days like this when I know – I just fucking know – that forever isn’t long enough, but hey a girl can dream, and I am convinced – thoroughly convinced – that I possess some very sexy & powerful magic.
Thank you all from the b bottom of my heart for loving & appreciating myKen iKen.
It means the world to me.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
– written by the Ocean, the Ocean which no doubt – no doubt – is filled with many human tears:
My greatest fear was that her biological mother would come looking for her, come back for her.
She was a sexy tough feisty sassy smart little pussy.
She would sit & look up at us – staring – with those gorgeous eyes of hers and she would purr as if to say: hold me love me feed me pet me. Gimme me. And don’t be stingy. Don’t be fucking stingy, fill the bowl. She stayed with Ken through his surgeries, two knees, and one ankle – she literally velcroed herself to him for six weeks. She was his girl on those days, taking care of him. She weathered some bad bad storms – literally & figuratively – a few major snowstorms and Quinn, a storm that rocked the East Coast, taking down most of the trees in our area and decimating our parks; and then two days later her best friend & partner Lotus died suddenly; she grieved & mourned Lotus, and we took Bella to the Hotel Fauchere for 4 nights because we had no power and it was there, in a gorgeous room filled with sunlight and two brand new kitty bowls, that she started to heal herself, and yes, she even wrote a review for the hotel. When we brought Molly into our lives, into the house, she treated her as an intruder for a bit and then she slowly & gradually grew to trust her and love her – letting Molly take care of her. No doubt, Molly is now mourning the death of her friend & confidante.
Bella was brave & beautiful and never settled for anything. Not food or humans. She was not a hunter. I like to think of her as a humane feline. She would play with mice, push ’em around and toss ’em a bit, but she never killed them. Never. Unusual, I know. I know. But that was Bella. She was named after Bella Abzug because, well, she was one fierce as all fuck kitty chick.
And she loved us mightily.
And we loved her mightily.
She was our baby girl.
Friday, January 3, 2020
Please share your abortion story here.
Let’s make sure Roe V Wade does not get overturned, and please please… let’s make sure that Planned Parenthood is not called a SLAUGHTERHOUSE.
My bad choice – my god awful choice – was the boy I slept with when I was 15 who left me high & dry. Yes, 15, and pregnant, and he wanted nothing to do with me. An abortion saved my life.
Thursday, January 2, 2020
We can never run out of courage.
It’s unlimited and for many of us, most of us, courage requires a rooting section – a cheering section – plus a ton of fucking practice because it is always, undoubtedly, accompanied by fear, and sometimes – not always – crippling fear and horrific guilt and yes, unbearable shame.
Courage comes from pushing, with both hands and both feet and sometimes a shove so hard the earth shakes – pushing all that shit – all that fear & guilt & shame – aside; and courage comes from folks championing us, supporting us, loving us.
So, let’s root for each other.
Champion each other.
Lift each other.
Encourage and inspire and hold each other fucking tight; love each other good.
Courage and goodness and empathy, these are all life accessories that we own, they are ours for the taking. We get to try them on and wear them when times are tough, hard, brutal, unbearable – holy motherfucker unkind.
So, you and you and you over there in the corner and you and you and you…and yes you hiding behind the computer screen, and you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you… and you gorgeous creature you… you are all filled with mighty courage; gorgeous boundless unlimited sexy-as-all-get-out courage.
Wear your scars like stardust.
WE are the people, and WE are extraordinary, and WE will not be quiet.
(Thank you Diana Hartman for posting the original and giving me the opportunity to tweak this just a bit. Thank you so much, my friend!)
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Five years ago I held a two-day writing workshop in NYC, there were 18 women in the room; many were not writers, most had a story they needed to share, spill. Stories we kept tucked away. Deep in. In the back of a drawer next to stale cigarettes. Out of shame and guilt and fear. We all became friends, sisters. Secrets were spilled. We made sure we would protect each other. Pinky swear. Some of the stories were harrowing and god fucking awful, some were sweet and lovely – so very heartwarming and some were devastating to the core and bone and so fucking chilling.
Some stories were going into memoirs, some were going into anthologies, some were being tucked away.
One was a story about a sexual predator.
A famous man.
A name was not mentioned, but the story was familiar. She wept & wept & wept while reading it aloud, and we cheered her on; we cheered her on.
She gave us courage.
We gave her courage.
That story, her story, is one of the stories that brought down Harvey Weinstein.
His trial begins on the 6th.
I will be forever grateful that she felt safe enough to share her words with us, in that room, in my workshop.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Here’s my New Years’ resolution, and I never make a New Years’ resolution but this year… this year:
We women need to stop being full of shit when it comes to other women who we love & admire – who we claim are our friends. And by not being full of shit, I mean: we need to protect and stand up for the women we love, who love us.
If you hear a woman talking bad about a friend of yours: STOP HER IN HER TRACKS.
If you hear someone say something awful about a woman you love & admire: STOP HER or HIM.
If you witness a woman denigrating a woman who has supported you, loved you, championed you: STOP THE DENIGRATION.
The only way we will ever be trusted is if we stop the bullshit said and perpetuated about women we like and love; stand up for those women, defend those women, hold those women in the highest esteem.
Be the woman who stops another woman from saying awful shit about a woman you like & love; a woman who has been a friend to you; who has supported you, loved you, stood up for you.
Be THAT woman.