Notes from the Woman's March... ish

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I almost didn't write this. It feels silly to write about something that happened almost a month ago... like I should be looking forward instead of backwards. But my mother wrote her post. And Fable did, too. And I had this whole plan where we would write these posts about our different experiences and put them all in one place and remember what it was like to join hands and represent different points of time moving in the same direction. But that was yesterday when I was stronger -- high on the adrenaline of middle fingers and girl power and #RESIST. 

Today, I am struggling. The road ahead feels arduous. My muscles are sore. My heart is broken. 

Tomorrow will come and there will be new fights to begin even though the old fights were never resolved, like cleaning out one closet only to seek another one in which to store the same shit -- packed tightly in boxes to make room for more.

I am packing. And I am throwing things away. And I am putting things in closets to deal with later.

Does this get thrown away?

Kept?

One more in the maybe pile... I'll save this for later. Oh, wait. This post is about The Women's March. Did I march? Yes. Am I still marching? Of course. And yet...


***

I can't get this song out of my head. The kids are playing music in the other room and I rock and sway like a person who doesn't know where she is. Fable started taking piano lessons and Archer is playing Bowie's Changes and Revi is dancing with a Brio train track as a microphone and Bo balances on the back of the couch with a drum in her hands. 

If that's all there is, my friend, then let's keep dancing... 



***


I am two women since November 8th.

Woman A is ready to fight. Willing and able to do whatever it takes to say NO and RESIST.  Hopeful and excited to raise children during a time when complacency is not an option. LOOK ALIVE, KIDS. WE MUST ACT. STAND UP. STAY STRONG. BELIEVE THAT HUMANS ARE INHERENTLY GOOD! SOLIDARITY!

Woman B is paralyzed.

I keep nudging her. "Wake up!" I say.

"Remember how we marched?" I ask her.

"Remember how we surrounded a city with our voices and our signs and our power? We're still doing that! Look at us go! We are fire!"

We are fire. 

She throws pillows at me in the night. Tells me I'm pathetic -- a cheerleader for the losing team.

"But there are so many more of us than them," I tell her.


"But I'm so tired," she says, reaching for a cigarette. "And it feels so hopeless sometimes, you know?"

***

I am shaking and silent, unable to respond when a Tr*mp supporter talks about killing protestors -- his body touching mine as we're squished together on the same shuttle leaving LAX.

"I wish I could run them all over with my car," he says kicking my sign.

"I'd flatten the faces of libtards if given the chance," he explains loudly to his son. "Target practice...You and me. Shooting them all down in a line. Melt them with my blowtorch... "

His son laughs. He's not much older than mine.  The sound of his laughter scares the shit out of me. Even the me that claims to be fearless.

"...Snowflakes melt fast," his son chimes in.

They both laugh as I hold my hands together to keep them from shaking.


***

I can't listen to the press conferences. I know I should because THIS IS HAPPENING AND WE ALL NEED TO BEAR WITNESS but he makes me fucking puke. Literally, he makes me throw up. I haven't had sex in months because I feel like America just got into bed with an abusive sociopath and his abusive sociopathic friends and my entire body has sealed itself shut.

I want to fight with all that is in me and curl up into a ball all at once.

So I do both.


"We are at war," she whispers to me as we're sleeping. She is myself and I tell her that everything is going to be okay.

"We will fight this. There are more of us than them. Resist. Persist. Insist. EXIST.

"But we're at war..."


***

Large groups of women used to scare me. Now they are the place I feel most safe. I hadn't expected to feel SAFE in D.C... Not like THAT. I assumed I would be claustrophobic and overwhelmed. Instead, I wanted to live in that crowd. I wanted to swim in a sea of pink -- surrounded by both female and male voices... and the safety of being amongst people who believe in autonomy -- who refuse a white-male patriarchal standard. Who believe in FREE CHOICES and FEMALE VOICES.
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I remember first learning about the Washington Monument as a child. I thought it was beautiful.  I was impressed that it was the tallest building in D.C. -- that by law, nothing could extend higher than the tower pointing to the sky. But as I marched in its shadow, it became something else...
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I imagined it coming down. Not physically... but metaphorically. I imagined all of these women lifting one another up so high, the monument disappeared. The phallus. The patriarchal symbol of white male power in this country.

What would replace the symbol of WHITE MEN? Certainly it wouldn't look like a giant dick, erect and pointed like an arrow to the sky...
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"We are at war," I think. "This is a war."

We must draft one another to speak up, to lift and love and elevate one another--build new symbols while resisting the old.

I am a white woman and I am new to this fight. I look around and I see men and women who have been fighting this war since they were born. Who will fight this war until they die. How do I use my privilege to stand guard so that they can sleep, I ask myself.

They deserve rest. We need to STEP IN THE RING, white sisters, so that they can rest.

I am working on it and I am doing my best to raise my children to do the same.

I get out of bed -- pull myself by the hair if I must. 

"Look alive. YOU WANT CHANGE? DO SOMETHING... GET UP. There is so much work to do..."

Meanwhile, my inbox is full of pitches for "tips for staying cool this summer" and I wonder how it feels not to feel like the whole world is coming undone. I look at people on Facebook--with their business as usual posts about restaurants and baby gear--and wonder which one of us is crazy. I try to understand the other side.

"Tell me how you think what is happening is okay?"

I cannot understand. Not even in the slightest.

"...Snowflakes melt fast..."

I will never understand.
***

To march in D.C. with my family was an honor and a privilege. To march covered in the names of women unable to attend their local marches...  It took two weeks for everyone's names to wash off my arms and my hand and my shoulders.
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I purposefully avoided showers because I didn't want the names to go. Because we are at war and women feel like armor. I want to wrap my body with every name of every woman who has ever lived -- who has ever dared fight back, say no, stand up... RESIST.
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I want to be with women and listen to their words and hold their hands. I want to lift them and be lifted. I want to form an army of mothers and sisters and daughters. I want to sacrifice it all for them.

"Remember what it felt like in that crowd," I whisper back to the voice... It's late at night and neither of us can sleep.

"It felt like a war, then, too. But we were many. And we were fearless. And we were PEACE and LOVE and SOLIDARITY."

It felt like a war we could win.

"It still does."


It was my mother's first time marching. And you should see her now. She leads groups. Challenges strangers.  She's devoting her every free moment to resistance. She sends letters to her elected officials. Calls for town hall meetings. SHE IS FIGHTING like never before and I am so proud to be her daughter.
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It was my sister's first time marching, too. She lives in Texas where she now hosts gatherings in her house -- writes letters, makes calls, demands change. SHE IS FIGHTING like never before and I am so proud to be her sister.
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Fable has always been fighting. She is the future. In her I see who I want to become. I see in all three of my daughters the women I wish to become and I am so proud to be their mother. They are the tissue holding me together right now. They are my eye on the prize. 
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I want to end this post on a high note. I want to be the woman who pulls her sister out of bed and tells her to GET THE FUCK UP. WE HAVE WORK TO DO. WE ARE AT WAR, GODDAMNIT, but today I can't. Today I have a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. Today I haven't showered  and my hair is askew and I'm not even wearing pants and I'm dancing like someone who feels like she's losing her mind.  Today I am Peggy Lee's Is That All There Is.


And today I want to reach out to everyone who may be feeling the same.  For we can be warriors and worriers all at once. We can FIGHT LIKE HELL and FALL APART and still move forward. We can channel Peggy Lee today and MILCK tomorrow... 



We can march in silence. Talk in our sleep. Pack our yeses. Revisit our maybes. Do whatever it takes to move forward...  We are in this together. And it's okay to want to fucking scream and cry and DANCE LIKE THE WORLD IS ON FIRE.  Don't let anyone tell you that you can't be ANGRY and HAPPY and FEARLESS and AFRAID all at once. 
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So long as we keep showing up, we can carry each other.

We can make each other strong.

We can get each other out of bed.

We can stammer around the house in our bathrobe like wtf is happening.

We can fight like hell.

And cry like hell.

And win.

We can keep going. Rain or shine. And we will. 

"We will." 
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Parenting in the time of Resistance

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I literally don't know what day it is. Is it Tuesday? I think it's Tuesday. These last three weeks have felt like seventeen years and I know I'm not alone in feeling that way. I have stared at many a blank page feeling overwhelmed -- log-jammed with things I want to write about, paralyzed by an inability to know where to even start. The last two weeks have felt like... longer than two weeks. I am currently behind on absolutely everything, losing focus on work, trying my best to be present with my children, to maintain a sense of normalcy in their day-today lives while refusing political (if you can even call what's happening politics) normalcy and doing everything I can to fight the good fight.

You, too? I know. I FEEL it. I see you. Shit is REAL real right now. Fighting the good fight is hard enough when you don't have kids to take care of and a life to maintain... It is very hard to be all of the things right now. Before November we were ALREADY tapped out. Now we must make room in an already INSANE schedule to stand up to a tyrannical autocracy while simultaneously holding ourselves back from running off to join the resistance.

We can RESIST and PARENT and LIFE all at once.  Because, well, we have to.

Here are a few tips for Parenting in the time of Resistance. (And, yes. I am writing this as much for myself as for anyone else because I am a fucking MESS right now. On the outside I'm like FIST TO THE SKY/EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY! ONWARD! But on the inside? Disasterville.)

1. Make time. Start small. Join a group. We need you. 

What is happening in our country right now DIRECTLY AFFECTS our children as well as ALL children so consider it another parenting duty to involve yourself (and your family) in whatever daily (or weekly!) action that calls to you. Phone calls to reps? Postcards? Setting up monthly donations? Participating in peaceful protest? Organizing local resistance groups and/or joining them? Hosting fundraising events? Bake sales? There are so many ways to get involved in action right now.

ED: If you don't think your children will be impacted by what this admin has planned, PLEASE think again. If parenting is about showing up for our kids, than resistance to an administration that caters to white supremacy, fear-mongering, Islamophobia, denounces scientific fact, environmental laws and FIRES those who are disagreeable (amongst like 797897 other things) is imperative and it's our responsibility to PROTECT and DEFEND each other. If five minutes a day is all you have? Great! You can make two calls in five minutes. Here is a list of ALL senators and their phone numbers. Tell them how you feel!

Everyone can commit to one at-home/in-office action a day (phone calls typically take 1-2 minutes) and one out-of-the-home action a month. (Community meeting/protest/volunteer work.)

The following is a list of groups to join and services that make it easy to take daily action.

IndivisibleGuide.com - a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda
- Dailyaction.org - sign up for mobile alerts that will direct you to daily action.
- actiongroups.net - connects you with likeminded activists in your area. 
- 5Calls.org - spend 5 minutes, make 5 calls. 
- Swingleft.org: find your closest swing district and join the team to learn about actionable opportunities as they become available. 

You can also download the Call Your Reps app, here.

2. Divide and Conquer -- for our children's future 

If you haven't already, sit down with your spouse/partner/co-parent and create a calendar of events you can attend separately AS WELL AS as a family. Hal and I are not participating in any of the same groups/action items (save for making phone calls) but we are covering for each other when, say, Hal has to attend a local meeting or I want to attend a protest, etc. Our goal is to work the system from both sides. His -- participating in local politics. Mine -- getting as loud as I can where I feel it necessary and important.

3. Include children in your activism. Invite them to come up with their own ways to actively engage in any/all GOOD fights. Bring them to marches. Invite them to make posters, give them the option to donate their money to charity. Include them in conversations about racism and Islamaphobia in age-appropriate ways. Model the importance of STANDING UP and SPEAKING OUT.  

If we are going to make change, we have to start at home. Racism is something white parents need to be talking to their white children about. Islamophobia is something non-Muslim families need to talk to their children about.

I've read a lot from parents saying, "I want my kids to stay innocent for as long as possible! I'm not ready to talk to them about this stuff... It's too scary/hard/upsetting..."  Copy that. I totally understand. But PLEASE also recognize that white people "not wanting to talk to their kids about what's going on" is part of the problem. Because here's the thing --  parents of black and brown children HAVE to talk to their children about "what's going on" because "what's going on" directly effects THEM.

"Protecting our kids and keeping them innocent," is what white privilege looks like. Let's not put white children's "innocence" before black and brown children's lives. 

4. That said, do not fear monger.

It is important to be hyper-aware of what you're listening to (and watching) in front of your kids. Save NPR for times when you do not have small children in the car. Ask MANY questions about what THEY think is happening and what THEY can do to contribute positively... There are so many ways for children to participate whether its making posters to put in the windows, raising money a la lemonade stands/jewelry making/participating in marches/etc.
IMG_7472 You can read my post in its entirety on Mom.me, here. xoxo to all. 

The Art of Partnering


The following post was sponsored by Plum Organics' Do Your Part(ner) Campaign. Bomp chicka wow wow. 
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Years ago, when Hal and I were at our lowest marital moment, I read a Modern Love essay that has since become a returning entry-point for us during tumultuous times in our marriage.

The essay was about a couple who were planning to divorce when a new neighbor moved in next door. This neighbor was ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. She was a NIGHTMARE. She drove the almost-divorced couple CRAZY by doing unspeakable things that caused irrefutable anguish and overwhelming strife. And in doing so, brought them totally back together.

In short -- the awful neighbor saved the couple's marriage by giving them a reason to unite. Similarly, Hal and I have found that our marriage is always at its strongest when we find good fights to replace our bad ones. Because linking arms for the good of the kids can only take you so far in a marriage. Becoming passionate about things TOGETHER is what inevitably unites us.
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case in point, our mutual love of the show, Broad City!
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The last few years have been really tough on our marriage. We have been emotionally tapped out, financially strapped and completely out of sync as partners. We have always been great co-parents but for the last year or so, we kind of... let everything else go. I take full responsibility for that -- feeling like there isn't enough of me to be all of the things to all the people. I have been perpetually tired since Bo and Revi were born, overwhelmed and very EVERYTHING IS FINE externally while my insides are like help help no no help what is happening how did I get here no. 

I have always prioritized my children/being a mother before my marriage/being a wife. I think that's incredibly common and I don't think it's a a bad thing. However, in order to make a marriage work, a conscious decision to remove the kids from the equation from time to time is imperative. Intimacy does not always go hand-in-hand with child-rearing, ahem.

But in recent months as we have become more determined to fight something other than each other, there has been an undeniable shift in our bond.

***

When Plum and I first discussed partnering on this campaign I warned them that I was basically a case study for the cliched married person in unsexy-survival mode. Couple time? What is that? Sex? Lol! The whole point of Plum's Do Your Part(ner) campaign is to encourage couples to make love... a priority (zing!) because for many of us, prioritizing "married time" over "family time" is... not happening. And it totally should be.

Hal and I were never married without ALSO having children, so "alone time" has always seemed like a mythical thing. It doesn't help that we have always majorly sucked at making time for each other because UGH, LET'S JUST STAY IN, WANT TO?

ED: We are notorious for planning date nights and then canceling with our babysitter last minute because it's just too much work to GET DRESSED UP and SIT IN CHAIRS somewhere else.

Very often I underestimate the importance of getting up off my ass and maintaining a healthy, happy marriage. I tend to think, "well! If my kids are doing well, that's what matters!" But the truth is, THAT IS NOT ALL THAT MATTERS AT ALL.

By putting "family first" we so often put our relationships... well, last. By saying, "Ugh! I'm too tired to do sex things," we are too often depriving ourselves AND our relationship, which leads to... not actually putting our families first at all. Because "family" isn't JUST about parenting, it's also about partnering...  about nurturing the foundation of our partnerships, openly communicating, prioritizing, fornicating....

Which brings me to sex, an awesome thing people do with each other when they can find make time to actually do it. Because, spoiler alert, when you have kids and jobs and life and feel very unstable in the world, LIFE IS VERY TIRING and VERY STRESSFUL and, well... it can be quite the challenge to get in the sex-mas spirit. I am currently feeling about as sexual as a fart. (No offense to those who find farts sexual.)

I don't think there has ever been a more stressful time for Hal and me as a couple. We are in the process of putting our house on the market (I know it's sad --  It's also happy, though and I'll write more about it later) and that's just like 15% of life's current (work/life/family/children/money/politics) stresses. In short, this is not a sexy time for us. This is a motivated to make change time. A trying-to-find-a-new-place-to-live time. A please-unplug-before-you-have-another-panic-attack time, but not so much a "let me sext you a photo of my boobs" time.

Womp womp wommmmmp.


Regardless of what might be keeping you and your partner from going at it like newlyweds, open and honest conversation about WHO NEEDS WHAT and WHY is imperative. Intimacy is HARD to maintain for a host of different reasons, ESPECIALLY when babies (children of all ages, too, really) are involved. Couple parenthood with the whole been-married-for-many-years situation and, well... sex drives have a tendency to wane. (ED: There are only SO MANY ways you can spice up your sex life when you have literally DONE IT ALL sexually with the same person.) 

The point of Plum's Do your Part(ner) campaign isn't to become overnight sex freaks, but to reclaim the part of your relationship that, for whatever reason, has been... MIA.

For me, this campaign is about acknowledging my marriage as a living, breathing thing BEYOND my children, and nurturing it in new ways so that we can GROW together and be our best possible selves for each other AND our family.
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Plum has ALWAYS made it their mission to initiate unfiltered dialogue when it comes to the realities of parenting and it has been my honor to partner with them and their #parentingunfiltered campaign several times over the years. YOU ARE NOT ALONE, PARENTS. WE ARE IN THIS THING TOGETHER. LET'S KEEP SHARING THIS STUFF AND SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER WHEN WE DO.

And so, for the next two weeks, I will be pledging to prioritize intimacy and to do the necessary work to be a better partner.

That will include:

- Prioritizing alone time, specifically NAKED alone time.
- Planning TWO date nights in two weeks. (The last time we had a date night just the two of us was literally last summer I'm not even kidding. WE ARE THE WORST.)
- Challenging myself to unplug at 8pm every night in order to french kiss underneath the proverbial bleachers.
- Resistance as foreplay because LITERALLY nothing makes me hotter for my man than political action. LET'S CALL OUR REPS TONIGHT, WANT TO? YEAH. OHHHHH, YEAH. 

I don't know that taking a pledge will turn me into a master of intimacy but I do intend to give it my all (and hope you will, too) because, let's be honest, WE CAN ALL USE MORE LOVE IN OUR LIVES RIGHT NOW.
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Here's to fighting the good fight, friends. READY BREAK. 


***

Plum is hooking me up with FOUR "Do Your Part(ner)" kits ($175 value) for those who want to join me in taking the pledge to spark some fires a la bomp chicka wow-wow.

To enter to win, take the #doyourpartner pledge, here and write about how you take time for your relationship below. I'll be giving away 2 boxes of goodies this week and 2 boxes of goodies when I write my follow-up post two weeks from now. (All gift boxes include: truffles, a $50 gift card, massage oil, lube, wine glasses, Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity, snacks, snacks and more snacks because #makelovenotsnacks.)
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Good luck and happy pledging! sexosexosexo