Me, MomSelf and I

Life's journey is full of twists and turns and sometimes we get lost. This is my journey to rediscover myself.


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Women Marching for Women

Until recently, I never considered myself an activist. I was always a rebel. But I was pretty complacent when it came to social justice issues, despite my job as a fair housing advocate. Three years into my 40’s and I’m ready, willing and able to put myself out there for causes I believe in, particularly after the election of a U.S. President who has been recorded saying he could grab women by the p**** because he was a rich man. So one day after his inauguration, I joined my sisterhood to march in downtown Cleveland for Women’s RightsCleveland for Women’s Rights, which this President and his cohorts seem determined to abolish.  It was only my second march and third protest action, but it certainly will not be my last.  Why did I do it? And why now?

Admittedly, I am a last-minute person. I take ‘live in the present’ a bit too literally. While I’d heard talk about the Women’s March on D.C., I thought it was totally unrealistic for me to participate. Then I heard there would be one in Cleveland. The week leading up to the marches, I began to see friends prepping for the events. One friend asked me if I was going, as she was on the fence about it. I was stuck in between a perpetual state of disbelief that our country was really going to continue disrespecting women the way it has, and a paralyzed state of not really knowing what I could do to make a difference.  We gave each other until Thursday to decide. The more I thought about things, I reflected on the Civil Rights Movement and how disheartened I was to learn that my parents had not participated in that historic event. I didn’t want my kids to look back and say, “Mom, what did you do when Trump got elected?” And my reply be, oh, I took you guys to basketball and did your laundry.  Everything I do at this point in my life is to make myself a better person, and someone my children can be proud to call their mom. Once I looked at it in that context, the answer was clear. I would march.

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My friend Danielle offered to drive and my friend Becky made us signs, and we joined an estimated 15,000 other women, men and children who marched for equal pay, reproductive rights, violence against women protections, religious freedom, gender equity and a myriad of other causes. When an election of this magnitude leaves you feeling powerless, you can find power in joining a movement. Regardless of whether you were black, white, Asian, Latina, Native American, Western European, lesbian, trans, bisexual, rich, poor, middle class, heavy, thin, short, tall, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, a woman with a disability, a mom, married, single, childless, and everything in between, under the bright sunshine of hope and solidarity, we all marched together and had each other’s backs.  Now the challenge is to keep going, keep marching. If that means calling your representatives weekly to make your voice heard-keep marching. If that means mentoring another women to lift up those coming behind you as you climb the ladder-keep marching. If that means driving someone in need to Planned Parenthood or Preterm to get necessary medical care-keep marching. In Girl Scouts we say be a sister to every girl scout. In life I say to the best of your ability, be a sister to every woman. None of us got anywhere without help. Be a help to women in your community. When women are stronger, the world is stronger! Everyone knows women are the backbone of society, yet in 2017 some still insist on trying to break that backbone and then wonder why they can’t walk. We must strengthen our core with daily exercises of finding a way to support another women every day. While I will still drive my kids to basketball and do their laundry (while drinking wine!) I will no longer sit on the sidelines waiting for someone else to pick up the baton. None of us can afford to be complacent any longer. We have some real work to do, and if you have been like me, and watched and waited for someone else, I urge you to look at the beauty of this day and these marches, and be inspired by the sea of pink out there ready for you join the fight. Let’s go!

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Creative Blue Balls

blue-ballsHow do I know when it’s time for a blog post? I get restless and irritable. I feel pain on my insides. Like my soul hurts. It’s been 4 months since my last post and that is unacceptable. After being ignored for too long, my creative mind throws a temper tantrum and gives me the silent treatment. I torture myself further by reading everything I can about making time for your passion, choosing creativity over fear, living your best life, bla, bla, bla. Anything to avoid writing, which is in fact my passion. I have yet to understand how I can love something and hate it at the same time. When I don’t write, I experience creative blue balls. I feel tightly wound and the pressure of my creativity builds and builds, desperate to get out, to give birth to my thoughts, opinions and stories. I realize the process of writing requires foreplay. I must nurture myself, and feel loved. I have to feel safe and protected and cherished. I have to woo the words out of myself. And once I get myself to the place of a completed piece, I feel a release, a high, a sense of contentment, a creative orgasm.  Ahhhhh!

I’m such a cliché. When I went back to work, I told myself, “you have to keep writing! You have to make time!” And some small part of me believed I could. But what happened, is what always happens. I got caught up in my every day routines, monotony, minutia, leaving no time for myself or my passion. It’s almost as if subconsciously I created busy work in order to avoid that which scares me, which is, what would happen if I gave my writing the attention and devotion it requires and deserves? What if I actually found happiness there?

I recently discovered (with the help of my therapist and a really good friend) that I thrive in chaos. So I invent it, then manage it in order to feel successful. This is why I constantly struggle, between doing what I need to do and doing what I want to do. But perhaps I have to stop experiencing my writing as a want and instead as a need. Writing is not a luxury, something to do in my spare time, when the stars are aligned and the kids are safely asleep and there are no dishes in the sink. Writing is a necessity for me, as evidenced by this dull ache I have when I don’t honor my creative spirit. Just expressing it now, I feel better already.