This is for the guy/person who commented: So, you wished him dead? That’s not very nice of you. People like you are hipocritical. (Yes, he/they misspelled)
Let us not forget that Rush Limbaugh ignited hate. He inspired violence with his rhetoric. The names he called women – demeaning their looks and their character – the way he spoke about gun violence and the thousands and thousands of times he perpetrated lies. He was indeed a racist.
I try not to wish people dead, but I do wish more than anything that folks who carry intolerance and hate and racism in their hearts and a meanness and a nastiness that stains others – I wish them to understand another heart that beats differently. Seventy is not old. Not at all. It is long enough to know better, to do better, to be kinder, to be more compassionate and more tolerant. It is long enough to change your heart. It is long enough to stop and think about the rest of the life you wanna lead and leave behind.
And he certainly did not deserve the medal he received, but I do believe he received the ending to his life that was appropriate.
Late last night, really late last night, I received a private message from a woman, Terry, who follows me on FB to let me know that I saved a young girl’s life because I write about my depression and my suicide attempt and I use the word fuck, which she loves, and she wanted me to know that I make a difference in the world and helped a young woman navigate through her pain.
- Holy fuck.
- Holy fuck twice.
And I stayed up, and I thought about why I write about what I write about and why I do it, and I turned to my gorgeous sleeping man who was snoring and content as can be and I thought about how messy love is, and how hard it is, and how some days I wanna hit the road, Jack and how some days are so fucking gorgeous, and some are so excruciating, and some days – like yesterday with Marta & all the Story Summit humans – are magnificent and filled to the brim with beauty and joy and hope. My god, some days take my breath away.
Inspire. Encourage. Lift. Share your story. Tell your truth. Be your own best advocate. Share the goodie bag. Give away words of love. Offer up paragraphs of confidence and courage and bravery.
If I had a chance to tell my younger self something of great value I would tell her, do her/our life the exact way I did ours/mine. Make mistakes, they become your mission. Sleep with mistakes, they bring you closer to loving your own life. Wear your mistakes so others know they are not alone in this world. Double down on your mistakes so that you really fucking learn the fucking lesson. And treasure those mistakes, they make us human and vulnerable and keep us humble and if worn as an accessory they’re right up there with pearls – yes, wisdom.
I wish you all love, kindness, self-love; I also wish you could see yourself through my eyes – you would fall madly in-love with your life and your own messy cracked edgy broken sexy as all get out heart. I wish you tenderness and comfort on hard days.
Please, be good to yourself.
Good morning humans! Last night I posted about asking for what you want. What I want. I gotta say, that was a hard motherfucker post to write because it is excruciating for me to ask for what I want/need. Holy fuck massive hard. So, this: let’s ask for what we want, need this weekend, this coming week. Let’s ask for help, ask to be lifted. Let’s step outta our comfort – or better yet, discomfort zone – and put our very lives front & center and say: hey, I can use… hey, I need some help… hey, I want… hey, could you do me a favor? Hey, I need a hand, a shoulder, an ear…
If I have learned anything during these god-awful COVID months, going back to ‘what was’ isn’t gonna work. Normal was never fucking normal and we get to create & make our own magic. We get to choose who we wanna be. We get to do this thing called life better, we get to set boundaries and get to say no to the folks who don’t reciprocate our love & generosity and kindness and we get to say yes to folks who stand by us, who love us, who hold our hearts in the palm of their hands, whose shoulders we lean on. I keep telling folks to stop taking crumbs, so let’s stop doing that. Let’s stop selling ourselves short, let’s stop accepting less out of fear we won’t get what we want, let’s stop diminishing & demeaning our own lives, let’s stop standing on fucking ceremony and start standing up with power and brilliance and beauty – let’s stop making others more important than us and start seeing how invaluable our lives are, let’s stop giving shit away to folks who will NEVER love us. Hold tight to those trinkets, they probably look mighty gorgeous on you. Let’s stop devaluing our own lives and let’s open our very own eyes in seeing how immensely worthy & magnificent we are.
And please, remember this: if you ask and someone says no, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it or do it or be it, it just means you gotta work that ask muscle. Pump it up.
I send you all my love, I am so grateful I get to share my shit on here knowing that others are nodding and saying, yeah… me too, me too, sister… me too.
I refuse to go to bed angry and bitter and filled with bile. I fucking refuse. It’ll just eat away at me and cause me bad nasty dreams and who the fuck needs bad nasty dreams?
I just wanna reach out here, on FaceBook, and let you all know that you’re not alone in the pain, and the trauma, and the fear and the rage; you’re not alone in being triggered by the events that took place on January 6th. Most everyone I know who watched – or caught the Impeachment hearing at some point today – were mortified and horrified and sickened. To watch & witness the violence and the unbearable hate and the near-death and the death – to hear the screams, the gunshots, the beatings.
For those who were violated, sexually assaulted, raped, beaten, held at gunpoint… for those who lost loved ones to gun violence and hate, to those who lived their entire lives pushing aside and pushing down and silencing the memories of being battered… to witness the videos this week and especially today were more than traumatizing.
- You are NOT alone.
- We need so much hope.
- So much.
We need so much kindness and so much goodness. We need to hold each other the best we can while distancing to keep us healthy and safe. We need to keep reminding each other that love wins even though love is so fucking hard and messy and complicated and yes, brutal at times and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s winning at all. We need to encourage each other, inspire each other, light the way for each other. We need to show up for each other even if showing up means a text or message just to say: I got you, I do, but I gotta take care of myself today because I need to fill the emotional tank which holy fuck is running on empty; we need to be each others GPS when we get lost and can’t find our way, we need to know that right now, this very minute, we are the huddled masses… yearning… we are yearning to be free from hate and bigotry and racism and antisemitism and sexism and so many isms I can barely count them all.
Let us hold tight to each other, let us remind each other that mountains are meant to be climbed and yes, that is fucking hard, and the moon can, yes, be lassoed but it takes a few times or a hundred to get it right, and there is a light at the end of each tunnel and yeah, fuck yeah, sometimes it’s hard to find the tunnel… but hold tight we will, and let’s love each other a bit better and be a bit more generous, and share the goodie bag and wear kindness because kindness goes with everything and let’s never forget that on January 7th – at a little after 4 AM in the morning – both Democracy and the good guy & the good woman won.
Emails, Benghazi… you ripped her to shreds, you dragged her through the mud, you vilified her; you spread vicious rumors and screamed lock her up & wished her worse.
- These were not immigrants, these were not Mexicans or Muslims, these were not Black Lives,
- these were not the ‘Chinese flu’ spreaders, these were not the fake news journalists,
- these were not whacked out people trying to steal jobs. These were not his enemies.
- These were his people.
- These were his followers, his loyalists, his minions.
- These were homegrown motherfucker terrorists who wanted to desecrate and destroy and kill for him.
This is on him.
One man hell-bent on destroying democracy.
Unlimited self-esteem doesn’t mean you never have doubts or fears or don’t experience moments of self-loathing, or periods of what the actual fuck, or hours that seem like fucking days where you feel so overwhelmed and so intensely burdened that your back screams out because of the load you’re carrying; days where you feel you’ll never succeed or write that book or play or TV series or poem or compose that song or fall-in-love again or for the first time … unlimited self-esteem means all of that and still, YOU RISE,
- still, you stand the fuck up,
- still, you write with everything you got,
- still, you create beauty,
- still, you move forward,
- still, you push away the cobwebs,
- still, you move that mountain,
- still, you sit down and tap away at your computer,
and while the voices in your head say “no fucking way” your fingers & your heart and your soul say: “way” and still and still and still and STILL you make magic and show up in your own life for your own life so that others can show up in theirs… still.
A little Sunday SuperBowl SHErmon:
I am a big – massive – supporter and champion of collaborating and collaboration. A huge champion of completing each other NOT competing with each other. I believe, without a doubt, there is more than enough pie and cake and chips and dips to go around; I believe we can make more pie and more cake and dole out larger pieces to others. Not just slivers. I believe that jealousy & envy destroy not only relationships but fester inside our own bodies filling us with a bad taste that turns sour and makes us feel sick to our stomach.
To stand up for others who may feel a bit shaky standing up for their own lives, to hold up another human so they can speak their truth and share their story, to have another human’s back so they know they are not alone. This is the very best of who we are. To say to someone I got you and mean it. Fucking mean it. To say to someone I will hold your secret deep in & never spill it; to make others feel safe so they can share their down & dirty and cleanse their own soul just a bit, to shine a light so someone can glow up, to be able to offer up a word or two or three that will fill another heart with compassion and courage. To share the worst of you – your experiences – so others can be braver, stronger, less afraid.
And by the way, showing up doesn’t mean never fucking up, we all fuck up, we all say shit we don’t mean, we all lash out in a fit of untamed passion, we all break promises at times because life gets in the way and all we wanna do is crawl under the covers and hide. We are in fact oh so very human. But if we’re lucky the humans in our life will give us a few passes so that we can stand up a bit taller, be a bit braver ourselves, wear our scars like stardust and our worst scary awful days become the stories that yes, save other lives.
Please, don’t hoard your heart. Expose it. Let others see the cracks and broken pieces and the edges and the wounds. Open carry your life. Know that your mistakes and fuck ups are not who you are but actually make your life more glorious, more magnificent, and oh, so relatable; and please… for the sake of every fuck, share the goodie bag – how many lip glosses do you really need? Share, be generous, don’t hold a grudge, and recycle all that keeps you at arm’s length into an embrace of others who are trying their best to make the world kinder, better, more loving.
From Amy Ferris
Let’s be sure to thank these Republicans…
Here are the names (and States) of the 11 Republicans who voted YES with Democrats to removing Marjorie Taylor Greene from two committee assignments:
I have sent each one a thank-you email for standing up to hate & violent horrific dangerous rhetoric.
This is for anyone & everyone feeling the weight & sorrow & pain of estrangement on this day, week, month… year: many of my friends – and yes, MyKen, iKen – are estranged from their families; parents, children, siblings, and I’m right there with you, I know this feeling, this pain, this sorrow too well. I live it.
Estrangement, or as I like to call it now: e-strange.
And what I can tell you, what I know – most of the guilt & shame & regret I carry around – schlep around – is not my own. It’s a collection – a greatest hits album – an entire history of family stuff. Disownment & discard and all the anger and all the shame and all the guilt – years & years & years of he said, she said, they said, I said, you said – that goes along with it. All the: fuck you, no, no, no fuck you, fuck you more.
Years of nasty ass crazy-ass crap. Years of garbage piled on top of more garbage. Years of mistakes & wrong turns and misunderstandings and miscommunication and no communication that are treated like felonies instead of misdemeanors. And god knows there is nothing worse than having the past thrown up in your face over & over & over again, Rubbing, smashing up against your skin. To be reminded of all the crazy-ass crap you did when you didn’t know any better; when all you wanted was to be seen, to be heard, to be held, to be loved. And the truth is – the rub is – everyone has their own shit. Everyone. Everyone has their own guilt. Everyone has their own crap that they have dealt out, that they spewed, that they tossed into the heap.
Everyone has stuff that they need and want to hide, keep secret. Everyone has stuff they want hidden deep – way deep – kept in the darkness.
We are all broken. We are all filled with shards and jagged edges and sharp pointy pieces that can hurt like a motherfucker. We are all imperfect creatures. Deeply scarred.
Each & every one of us – and my heart breaks, cracks, for all my friends and my husband – all the folks I know, who long for forgiveness from folks who are incapable of forgiving, incapable of loving unconditionally, incapable of owning their piece of the wedge, the tear, the broken-ness; incapable of owning their piece of the destruction.
We treat our own so unkindly and we wonder why the world is so deeply chaotic, so deeply troubled, so deeply wounded, so deeply steeped in pain & suffering; so unforgiving, so horribly mean-spirited.
So for all my friends out there who are deeply pained, who feel the unbearable weight of sorrow because they have been discarded, dismissed, forgotten, left out – please know this – please – we get to choose who we wanna share our lives with. We get to choose who we want in our lives.
We get to choose the folks who lift us, inspire us, make us feel like we swallowed the sun.
We get to choose who we walk side by side with, and stand with.
We get to choose who we love.
Hate speech is not really – not really – freedom of speech, and yes you can argue with me on this, but I am sitting here watching videos from January 6th and the days that followed and I can tell you right now that hate speech COSTS lives, nothing free about it.
When you promote destruction, when you encourage killing, when you support massacres and rampages …those are not words of goodness, kindness, humanity.
Praise for Another
I wanna talk about love. The kinda love that wraps around you and holds you tight and makes you glow and shine. No, not romantic love. I am so fortunate to have friends… humans … women & yes, men… who take such amazing care of my heart.
Folks who want me to shine, who want me to stand tall, who want me to breathe clean air and exhale all my nasty fears & doubts & worries and inhale all the goodness coming my way… good fucking god, I am surrounded by goodness. All you need is one human to make you believe that your life is glorious, that your words matter, that your heart is so sexy because it’s cracked and broken and chipped, one human who holds you up and puts your face toward the sun.
Today I want to honor someone, who has loved me up for over 12 years now.
Brooke Warner – she took what was on the page – my messy heart spilled words – and she made sure that they were read and seen and heard and yes, published. She took a chance on me at Seal Press, she and a few other amazing women who believed that what I had to say was of great value. We are lucky if we get our words published, yes… but we are so much luckier, so much more fortunate, if we are able to call our champions our friends. I have had the amazing fortune of having Brooke in my life all these years. She is a woman of her word (no pun intended), she is a warrior – for both herself and the folks she loves, she is a champion of humankind, she is also a fighter – and if she loves you, she will fight for you like nobody’s business – willing to walk through all the bullshit and all the nasty – she will have your back and then she will be there to stand right next to you or in front of you to lead the way. She will never abandon you or your dreams. I am fortunate beyond words that Brooke is not the only women – or human – in my life who does that for me, but today… this day… after walking up from a class that she led last night – a class that dug deep into my heart I wanna honor her, a woman who is my friend, dare I even say, one of my secret keepers – my life is so very safe with her. How extraordinary to even be able to write that.
Because they were Jewish, they perished. Because they were Jewish they were massacred. Because they were Jewish they were thrown into ovens: incinerated, burned, howling while the flames engulfed their bodies and the bodies of their family members and their newfound friends. Because they were Jewish they were gathered up like cattle – their possessions taken from them, their memories and their trinkets and their life removed, forever removed. Because they were Jewish. Jewish men and Jewish women and Jewish boys and Jewish girls; gay men and gay women and artists and shopkeepers and scholars and writers and athletes because yes, yes, they were Jewish. They were not Aryan master race perfect. Because they were Jewish they deserved to die. And not just die, but to become skin and bones; their shoes and their clothing and their wedding bands thrown into a heap, their bodies tossed – one on top of another – until the mounds were filled with broken bones and broken teeth and bodies tangled and ash. The numbers that were burned into their skin, forearm. Because they were Jewish they had numbers, not names.Today is a day we remember the Holocaust; the horror, the unbearable, the unspeakable for millions of humans.
And for those of us who had relatives who perished in Buchenwald and Auschwitz-Birkenau – for those of us who had relatives who survived the horrors – we light candles and say prayers and offer up these words: Never Again.
Human life is so very precious.
Strip us down to our hearts – take away our skin – and pile our hearts in a mound: one heart on top of another heart, on top of another heart, on top of another heart; would we continue being so very cruel, so very brutal, so very intolerant, so very violent, so willing to take human life and toss it in a heap if all we ever saw were hearts beating and pounding and longing?
This is Wednesday’s #WhoaIsMe tip:
I witnessed something today & I wanna share it with you because it sorta kinda rattled me in both a bad way and then in a good way.
I went food shopping this morning – our big weekly shop – and while I was waiting online at the ‘Fresh Seafood’ department, an older gentleman – and by older I mean mid-to-late 80’s (shhh, don’t tell Ken) and by a gentleman you’ll soon realize why I say that – was not wearing a mask. Just as I was about to say something to him, the woman in front of me reamed him a new asshole – literally, tore into him – both mortifying him and probably a few folks standing around – he immediately covered his mouth and he got emotional, “Oh my god, I forgot… it so easy to forget these days…” he was wearing a small LGBTQ flag pin on his Perry Como sweater and his eyes welled up. I asked the woman behind the counter if they had an extra blue paper mask, she shook her head. I turned to him and said, I’ll go get you one – stay right here, I’ll be right back… and asked him to please watch my cart – which was semi-full – and he stepped up and nodded while his hand stayed planted firmly over his mouth… and I ran to the pharmacy kiosk – or whatever the fuck it’s called – and asked if they had a paper mask, they didn’t, they told me to go to the courtesy desk – I ran – and there behind the counter was a woman – a cranky woman – who told me that the man himself needed to come and ask for it; oh, come on, I said, gimme a mask, the guy is by the seafood counter and before I could get in another word – you know, like fuck – she handed me a paper mask and I ran – yes, ran – back to the seafood department where he was manning my cart; I handed him the mask, he put it on and I turned to the woman who reamed him and said: maybe not everyone deserves a verbal lashing. I winked at the man, he returned the favor, and off I went with my cart. The gentleman came after me: Excuse me, miss – (as an aside: I like being called Miss and not Ma’am) thank you so much for being – he pointed to my mask, which says BE KIND on it. And then he told me how he was so exhausted, so exhausted, he had just picked up his dog from the Vet and he was in the back of the car, and how he needed to rush in and pick up some food and oh, God, how easy it is to forget to put on a mask and while he caught his breath – I said it sounds like you’re a really good human, and he said, sounds like we both are. We probably would have hugged, two strangers, but maybe the next time when we run into each other and yes, I’m hopeful we will … I’m so fucking hopeful.
Please, remember this:
Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.
And yes, I ran today, not miles but a few aisles, and even Ken was mighty impressed.
And sorry for rambling on & fragmented sentences and any and all fucking typos.
- Be brave – it wears well & never goes out of style.
- Be courageous – it’s a good contagious.
Be bold – it never gets sloppy.
Be audacious – it’s a sexy accessory.
Be kind – it goes with everything.
Be goodness- it multiplies.
Be generous- it doesn’t have an expiration date.
Be a hand up – it will return as a hug.
Be a hug – it will keep another heart beating.
Be truth – it’ll set you free.
Be freedom – it’ll set you on your way.
Be someone’s best day.
Really, shine the fuck up.
Polish your life.
Be shiny & glow.
The world needs us to shine & stand out. Stand out and stand up and be seen and yes, for fuck sake, be heard. Raise that voice of yours. Words change lives – spoken words, written words, words hidden deep in journals and diaries – words matter. Use your words to change hearts and lives and remember that the pen is mightier than the sword so use your #PenSword to cut through the nasty and the cruel and the foul that may come your way. Listen to your own heart, your own beating heart, it doesn’t lie to you. I mean really fucking listen to it. It could become your very best friend if you pay enough attention to the rhythm of it, the beats of it. A heart lets you know if you’re in trouble, if your fear is real or imagined, it lets you know if the person standing in front of you is true or spewing some bullshit; if the person lying next to you is loving your heart the way to should be loved. Your heart tells you when it hurts when it’s time to leave when it’s time to shut the fucking door on bad and awful and abusive. Listen to your heart. Take this life of yours and make it what you want – repeat that: what YOU want. Take your flaws and your foibles and the ragged edges and spin all of that into beauty; recycle the frayed edges into gorgeous braids, take your mistakes and turn them into your mission – use your worst days, your saddest days, your ‘can’t get outta bed stop fucking calling me days’ and make those days someone else’s saving grace. Your worst can become the very best medicine for someone else’s heart and soul. We are here to be huge, to be mighty, to be almighty powerful.
Release your untamed power out into the world. Don’t look for permission, don’t seek validation – the only place we need to be validated is a parking garage – take that heart of yours and do your life. Your life. Do it up, do it big. Feel the fucking fear but don’t let it move in with you. Greet your trepidation but don’t let it sit down for too long. Welcome your worry but don’t let it consume you.
Today is a great fucking day to decide who you wanna be in this crazy-ass fucked-up but on it’s way to, yes, a better world and grab hold of it, and don’t let any human, not one, ever tell you that you don’t have what it takes. Trust me, you have what it takes.
The world needs us to step the fuck up, speak the fuck up and shine the fuck up.
Go on, strut it… the runway is waiting for you.
A Facebook memory.
My grandfather – the beautiful man wearing all black – sitting right next to Trotsky and you all wonder where I get my fierce as fuck from…
Here’s a little story – to accompany the photo of my grandfather with Trotsky – it’s the kind of story that can turn you into a believer.
She fell in love with him on the streets of Russia.
He traveled in a horse-drawn carriage; she had a window.
He sat in the carriage, she sat on the windowsill.
She would watch him; it’s easy to fall-in-love with someone from afar. You can daydream all you want. Imagine all you want. Close your eyes and drift off – drift away – all you want.
He was a Socialist, a Trotsky-ike; through & through & deep through. Politicized & activated. He left Russia & his horse-drawn carriage (right after Trotsky left). She stayed. She gave up the windowsill & the hope of ever seeing him again.
Years later, in Connecticut, her sister, Dora, brought home a man to meet the family; a Russian man. Dora was in-love; he, not so much, and Dora knew that. The door swung open to the apartment and there he stood; tall and lean and sexy and he was the man who Bessie watched every day in Russia from that windowsill. He took one look at her and said: You, I saw you every day. She took one look at him and said: You, I watched you every day.
My grandfather once said it took a moment – just one moment – for his heart to never be the same, to never recover.
Dora never married. As you can imagine, her heart cracked & crumbled; pieces.
On the day of Bessie & Samuel’s wedding, Bessie and Dora’s mother – my great grandmother – died in an accident shortly after the vows were exchanged.
As you can imagine, more heartache, more tears; more crumbled pieces. Bessie and Samuel never celebrated their actual wedding anniversary date; they celebrated the day they met at that apartment in Connecticut. They had five children, my mother the youngest, and they stayed married until Samuel died on 7/17/71.
He died as he lived – a man of profound passion and unwavering truth – and yes, a Socialist.
Bessie took care of Dora until Dora died; undoubtedly guilt played a big part, but so did love.
My grandmother told me to always do three things:
- Moist skin. Always, always use a moisturizer, gobs of it, and make sure at night that the moisturizer is a bit cold – keep one jar – moisturizer – refrigerated; that will keep the skin from wrinkling. Check.
- Love a little more; even if you think you’ve loved as much as you can, there’s some extra. Use it up. Love should be used up. Check.
- And never overcook the chicken. Rubber chickens don’t taste good no matter how much salt you add. Check.
I spent almost every weekend with my grandparents, they raised me good, they loved me plenty, they taught me to not be stingy with my heart.
So, my advice today: Do not hoard your heart; a heart – no matter how messy or cracked or frayed – is meant to be shared.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- It’s not just a holiday.
It’s about someone grand, fierce – yes, all mighty.
- It’s about making a ruckus.
- It’s about 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, fuck 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 Black Man & Black 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. Freedom.
- 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.
Look at Colin Kaepernick.
Look at August Wilson.
Look at Aretha Franklin.
Look at James Baldwin.
Look at Carol Jenkins.
Look at Jamia Wilson.
Look at all the men & all the women whose music & songs & voices get us up on
Wear kindness today,
it goes with everything.
And the world is filled with so much goodness.
Even on the days when we are blindsided and crushed, flattened… even on the days when all we wanna do is curl up in bed and even on the days when loss seems to creep up and creep in and stay longer.
So much goodness.
I am so fucking blessed to have this grand amazing gig where I get to lift folks and champion folks and invite friends/folks to teach and write and share their stories. I am so amazingly fortunate to work side by side with the magnificent David Paul Kirkpatrick and the Goddess known as Debra Engle and the bad-ass angels known as Mariah and Vanessa and Rodrigo and Christian and all the folks – all – who make Story Summit Writer’s School magical.
On days that feel so scary and fear-filled and crazy-ass, there is beauty.
I have said it once and I will say it a million times: we are not here on this Earth to master suffering, we are here to master love.
Thank you all for being in my life.
You are all a gracious plenty.
Today’s Sunday SHErmom:
Marriage is hard and messy.
Two humans – a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman – come together to this thing called love & matrimony with baggage. Plenty of baggage. For me, I schlepped many valises into my marriage house. I was 38 years old, had many many one night stands – many nameless one night stands – and a few long term relationships. I met Ken and my heart burst wide open and seven months later I was walking down an aisle – well, a ‘restaurant’ aisle – in a Carmen Marc Valvo sexy as all get out backless wedding dress popping Xanax because I was pure fuck-show petrified. I had no idea what I was doing. None. I loved the dress & the shoes & the ring we picked out and… I loved adored swooned over the guy standing at the end of the aisle, the restaurant aisle, waiting for me, but marriage… whoa whoa whoa Nelly.
Two humans under one roof forever.
Back then, all I knew: we were sharing a closet & a couple of dressers and a one-bedroom on the Upper West Side and he was a vegetarian & into recycling and I loved meat & couldn’t separate plastic from paper. He liked beer and I loved wine; he liked smoking joints and I loved smoking cigarettes. He was one joint a day guy. I was a two-pack a day girl. He loved hiking & the outdoors & oohing & aahing nature and I loved Barneys NY and Bergdorf’s and Henri Bendel’s and MoMA and being on a couch curled up with a good book. Thankfully, we both loved sex but truthfully – the two of us – complete opposites.
I inherited my mother’s opera length pearls along with her stubbornness and I walked out on Ken at least six times over 28 years. A couple of times were due to menopause & emotional and hormonal breakdowns. I spent a couple of nights at a Hampton Inn off the side of a road and one or two nights at a swanky hotel – watching reruns and old movies and hanging at the groovy bar & chit-chatting on the phone with my girlfriends who were convincing me to stay and make it work. But, that’s a whole book and I won’t bore you with that now.
But love won.
And it won big.
My feisty sexy man wasn’t gonna let me go so fast.
Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard. It takes courage & brave & guts & grit and passion and yes, a fire to keep it burning. You gotta add a lot of logs when the heat is dying down and keep stoking it. My guy is the best guy human creature I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and sleeping with and sharing my life with. He calls me out of my bullshit and holds me tight when I’m shaking from fear. He inspires me and encourages me and roots me on and believes in me like crazy-ass wild. Marriage is hard. Love is hard. Working at this shit day in & day out is hard. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. In 28 years, I learned to fight like a motherfucker for the folks I love & cherish and have their back no matter what. In 28 years I’ve learned to let go of the riff-raff. In 28 years I learned to stand up & speak up & stand tall for the folks who mean the world to me. In 28 years I learned to love better and be kinder and be more generous and hold someone tight when they’re scared to death and mostly I learned that imperfection is all out crazy-ass sexy.
And here’s the very best lesson I learned: sometimes when you’re in someone’s arms and the only sound you hear – the only sound – is the sound of your heart’s beating & you start swaying just a little bit – that’s just like dancing.
Thank you for indulging me.
You all make me swoon; thank you for teaching me something groovy & necessary every single day.
For four years you screamed & chanted LOCK HER UP, for four years you turned your back on children and friends and family being massacred by gun violence in schools, in places of worship, at nightclubs, in shopping malls; for four years you did nothing – nothing – when Black men and Black women were murdered right before your eyes in cold blood by men who believed their badge made them supreme. You demanded Colin Kaepernick be strung by his balls for kneeling for justice all while you knelt on Sundays pretending to love thy neighbor. You threatened and bullied, disgraced, and demeaned. For four fucking years you stood by and supported anti-semitic homophobic racist misogynist men and yes, women carrying flags of hate. “Jews will not replace us.” Fine people on both sides. Fuck you. You stood on the sidelines when lives were threatened. “We’re coming for you.” You said nothing when one of your own had her life threatened by thugs. You did nothing when something was necessary. “Let’s have trial by combat.” Your passion for stripping long-held rights – fought for and earned – only matches your passion for indecency and destruction. And now you want unity, you want us to put all this vile shit behind us, you want us to turn the other cheek and let bygones be… you want calm and peace and gee it’s only what, nine more days… you wanna break bread and shake hands and forget that we’re in the middle of a horrific pandemic where touching is deadly. “MyBodyMyChoice” Fuck you. You refuse to wear masks but white hoods are still very much in fashion. Unity? You want unity? You instilled fear and hate and incited violence and you did nothing; you stood with a man who will not give one shit about you in 10 days. He will do to you what you did to the people murdered on January 6th – he will turn away from you.
The definition: being joined as a whole.
A condition of harmony.
Do not ask for unity when you stood with a domestic terrorist who pretended to be a president as we watched our house ransacked and desecrated, human feces spread on the walls of the chamber, urine sprayed on the floors.
Terrorism – homegrown terrorism – took hold on the floor of the United States Capitol incited and encouraged and inflamed by one man who urged folks on to create a horror show for Americans.
Mind your own hate.
Facebook wants to know what’s on my mind: love is on my mind. Good love kind love unconditional love sexy love generous love reciprocal love straight up no bullshit love; kindness is on my mind – kindness that multiplies, kindness that gets worn and accessorized, and kindness that is yes, flaunted because kindness is so fucking sexy. Wear it. Flaunt it. Goodness is on my mind. Goodness with a hefty side of generosity. Because goodness is like kindness, it is way better than nice. Nice is rooted in pleasing others, a bit of fear happening in nice. So, if you could move the dial to kind. But what’s really on my mind today, this day, this late afternoon… is empathy, compassion, lifting others, and when I say lifting others I mean to shine a light on the folks who spend their days championing & lifting – as a dear #BuddhaFull friend said to me the other day: we ALL – ALL – need to be seen. Those who lift get tired, those who carry the weight of the world need to rest, those who are always giving need to be on the receiving end, those who give the shirt off their back might very well be shivering right this minute… empathy, compassion, generosity… thoughtfulness…on these days when darkness comes early when hate makes room at the table, when cruelty struts the runway, when fear takes up residency, let us be the folks who offer up hearts filled with glitter to those who desperately need a spike of beauty, to those whose ‘fierce as fuck & mighty’ chip need re-charging, to those who need a shoulder and a hand. Let us be those humans who offer up goodie bags to friends and co-workers and neighbors and lovers who feel the weight of fear and worry – the relentless drumbeat of racism and sexism and homophobia and anti-semitism – right now.
Today, I offer you up love, so much fucking love, and I am grateful – wholly grateful – that it comes back a million fold.
Let us make sure that none of us deflate or deplete our lives. Let us breathe life into each other.
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 80 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/guy/kid, the kid 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 that way.” 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 that he has kept that promise ten-fold. 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 – and homeless kids – so they could learn the beauty & power of dance. That’s who he is. 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 the 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 80th year on this planet, I will make sure that it is filled with beauty, kindness, love, good food, massive kisses, much appreciation, and my personal favorite: a wish for 80 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 bottom of my heart for loving & appreciating myKen iKen.
It means the world to me.
What I know:
Do not underestimate the sheer magnificent power of Black Women.
In 1968 Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress; we stand on her shoulders. Here is a list of other Black women – leaders – whose magnificent & audacious shoulders we stand up on –
- Vel Phillips
- Pamela Carter
- Vikki Buckley
- Denise Nappier
- Karen Freeman-Wilson
- Jennette Bradley
- Velda Jones Potter
- Sandra Kennedy
- Jennifer Carroll
- Kamala Harris
- Jenean Hampton
- Sheila Oliver
- Barbara Jordan
- Fannie Mae Hamer
We will soon be standing on Kamala Harris’ shoulders.
We are now standing on Stacey Abrams glorious strong fierce as all-mighty fuck shoulders.
These women have shown us time and time again the power of determination, the beauty of standing up and standing for; they have shown us decency in the face of defamation and indecency, they have demonstrated courage in the face of racial abuse and horrific injustice, they have shown us grace in the face of gratuitous vulgarity, and they have shown us dignity through their actions and words and courage and brave and impeccable strength.
This week is iKen Week.
MyKen, iKen – OurKen – is turning 80 on Thursday and I wanna spend this week celebrating him the best way I know how: loving him through words. So, please, bear with me while I share some good love about a good man who stole my heart and has kept it warm & beating for 28 years.
MyKen had a slew of women – amazing sexy gorgeous dynamic women – before he met me. I, fortunately, am his last girl – third time’s a charm – and yes, I say that with absolute conviction. 100%.
But, truth be told, he had some very groovy and wonderful women
along the way.
I’m a firm believer that each one of us is made from the pieces of others; the humans in our lives who stop in. Share some meals. A bottle or two or three of wine or whiskey. Share a bed or two; a night or longer. Some stay, some hightail it out of here, some hang around and leave and come back and hang out and leave and come back. Some love us good but not enough. Some love us the only way they know-how and it doesn’t fill the glass. Some can’t love at all. Some folks teach us, through not loving us, to love ourselves better, more, mightier. Some folks leave stains that take years & years to remove, bleach, fade, disappear into the fabric.
MyKen has made some good choices in his life; some of the women he chose made him a kinder man. A more thoughtful man, a more generous man in all ways. The ones who were good women taught him something; left him something; added to the beauty of him.
At a memorial a few years ago for a fallen cameraman, a co-conspirator in the film business; a fabulous human who died way too young and unexpectedly, Ken was chatting with an old girlfriend, someone he loved very much years & years ago, someone I knew about and heard about and liked plenty because of the way he talked about her; a relationship that went sour and left them both sad; she’s a real sassy human, fierce & mighty and still beautiful.
I walked over to them, while they were catching up, and while I had the chance, the opportunity to butt in, I said to her: Thank you so much for contributing to the goodness of Ken.
We hugged. I was so very grateful, hugely grateful, to meet one of the women who made him a better man.
And his second wife, the one before me – his last wife, Diana, is such an amazing human – she founded the New York Theater Ballet Company – and get this: she was named one of the 10 Humanitarian Heroines: Women-over 50 in 2018, the very same year I was named one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s eNews.
The worst thing you can tell a human who is suffering from depression and fear is ‘to get over it.’ We don’t get over depression or fear, we go through it. And most likely we will go through it the rest of our lives and hey, while I have you, depression is very much a disease and not a yearly seasonal cold. Please, understand that folks who suffer from depression, get down in the dirt with fear, they wrestle that dirt, and this shit is painful. This shit can have you in a head lock, this shit keeps humans from living their life full-on some days. This shit can keep you bed. So, please, right now folks are scared and worried and fear is a constant companion. Be kind, pay attention, reach out. Fill a bucket with LOVE and leave it on their porch. Make them know they’re loved as best you can.I love you all.
I think this is mighty extraordinary. Our refrigerator died on December 29th – up and died. Suffice it to say that there was crap in that refrigerator from 1998. I was thin in 1998, I had bushy eyebrows and wore heels. I shopped at BarneysNY and travelled first class to LA.And as we – iKen & I – cleaned out the refrigerator because, no, Lowes would not haul it away with all that shit in it, it really truly deeply dawned on me that I DON’T NEED MUCH. I do not need much now, in 2021. And truth be told: I never needed much. I wanted much. I craved much. Much meant that I was important. But that’s a whole other thing: need vs. want. It dawned on me that back in those days, the thin heeled sexy hail a cab days, I believed that life was mighty easy. But life really wasn’t easy. It was faux easy. And it dawned on me as I was asking Ken what the actual fuck was in a jar that coulda been pickles or maybe pickled salsa or maybe even some kinda jam….that life – a good life, a lived life, a life worth sharing – is all about cleaning up messes. The ones we make, the ones left to us, the ones that get in our way, the ones that others toss in our path, the ones that are self inflicted and the ones that we create for attention.We cleaned out the entire refrigerator and freezer except for two jars that seemed to be crazy-fucking-glued to the shelves. Seriously stuck. At 2:30, on the dot, today – New Years Day – Lowes pick up & delivery came – two big strong men who were going to haul away the old and bring in the new and hook up the new one and Ken and the two guys fidgeted with the water line and pulled out the old one. And oh my fucking god, what a fucking mess under the fridge, years worth of messy hiding in corners and underneath and one of the guys, all masked up & gloved up – taking full COVID precaution – pulled the two jars off the shelf as if they were crumbs. BAM. Whoa, I said. Whoa, he said, and then he said: we are wasteful people. Whoa, I thought, while the lump in my throat gathered steam. So many have so little, he said. And with that BOOM. On New Years Day, 2021, as if an Angel, albeit a big sturdy angel, came to my house to remind me that I have all that I need and less is so much more and generosity is what makes a life great and kindness is contagious and love makes the world go round and… don’t be fucking wasteful.Do not waste a moment – not one – on folks who break your heart, on situations that cause you unnecessary pain, on humans who make you go through fucking hoops, on crap you don’t need, on people who don’t love you.Don’t waste a moment waiting for that text, that call, that email to validate you.I’m here to tell you – on New Years Day – that we are all fucking stunning awesome creatures, magnificent. Messy and gooey and fucked-up and magnificent.Don’t waste one moment believing that you’re not extraordinary.I love you all.
2020 was a year that kicked our asses so let’s make 2021 the year we kick ass – kick ass not kiss ass; let’s stand tall & stand up brave, let’s fulfill the dreams that we tucked away out of fear and self-doubt and shake them out and bring them to fruition – they need to be born; let’s bring others joy and buckets of courage – two wonderful accessories to wear every day; let’s not take shit from anyone. No shit from anyone. Let’s speak our truth and wear our scars like stardust. Let’s hold tight to each other – making sure that when darkness comes we are holding each other’s hand and have each other’s back. Let’s love better, be kinder, be more generous. Let’s share the goodie bag. Let us champion and support and nurture each other’s dreams and adventures and hearts.
Let’s shine the fuck up & illuminate as many humans as we can so that they too can be seen and heard and shine.
Let us be the light.
I love you all.
I wish you all a gracious plenty.