The future is female and our boys are watching, too


My son, Archer is next to me -- my eleven-year-old son, who months ago wrote his own presidential speech and has been Hillary's biggest fan from the start. My daughters scamper in and out of the room as we sit transfixed -- every now and then they gather on my lap and we explain to them who we're watching and what they're talking about. 

Every time I explain, I get choked up.

"Mom. Why are you crying?"

"I'm just... really moved, I guess. All of this is just... "

"Long time coming, right?" Archer says.


He nods and goes back to watching the DNC. He sits with me as we watch one woman after another take the podium -- powerful women -- strong, well-spoken, game-changing women, women who unite to celebrate the power and accomplishments of another WOMAN. Together we watch mothers. Sisters. Movers and shakers. We also watch fathers. Brothers. Strong well-spoken, game-changing men also celebrating the power of women. Of WOMAN.
This is a celebration of Hillary and her life of service and accomplishments, but the more we watch, the more it starts to feel like something else. Replace her name with SO MANY women of yesterday, even today and tomorrow... women who have worked ten times as hard as their male colleagues only to be discredited, discouraged, brushed aside. Women who for centuries stood in the shadows, pulling strings, changing the world without credit.

Watching, I feel the spirits of our foremothers and their brilliant potential -- a history of muted voices suddenly LOUD. I try to make out what they're saying. The ghosts. The wives. The mothers. So many names we'll never know, and I desperately want to hear them all.

"Think of all the women... through time. The women all over the world who are screaming without stages. Who are orating without microphones. Our history is dark with oppression. But this -- THIS -- your life -- you get to witness what feels like REAL CHANGE."

THE FUTURE LOOKS so different than the past, Archer. The PRESENT looks so different from the past...

I was recently out with my kids when a stranger approached my son. His sister was wearing her FUTURE IS FEMALE shirt and he cocked his head to the side and squinted with disgust.

"Is that your sister?" he said. "What do you have to say for your sister's shirt?"

"What do you mean?"

"I hope you have a shirt at home that says 'the future is male.'"

"I actually have the same shirt she's wearing," he said. "Mine is just in a bigger size."

I smiled.

"This isn't a pissing contest, sir. A more female future means a more equal future. Equality benefits the brothers of the sisters wearing the shirts AS MUCH as it benefits the sisters wearing the shirts. There is plenty of room for men AND women at the table. And yet, for thousands of years men have taken up most of the seats. Have you done anything to change that? My assumption, after listening to how threatened you are by four words on a little girl's t-shirt, is no..."

I wish I said all of those things. What I said was far less eloquent. I stammered, got defensive, tried to cover his voice with my voice. I did say something about the table though. And I did storm off in a very stomp-footy-stormy-offy-way.

The thing is, that man was not alone in his thinking. There are plenty of men (and women) who have commented on my posts throughout the years who feel that PRO-FEMALE means ANTI-MALE. And I get it. I used to be one of them.
I wonder, though, how many of them -- of you, if you're reading -- have been excluded from your own conversations? I'm not just talking about women whose rights have been dictated by men since the beginning of time, but people of color whose rights have been dictated by white people...  LGBTQ people whose love has been questioned by heterosexual leaders who cannot possibly know the struggles they have taken it upon themselves to define.

This is why we need ALL voices -- diverse voices -- leaders, spokespeople, teachers, writers, artists, actors, presidents of the United States of America.

For centuries, white men have called the shots in this country. Trump represents what feels like the patriarchy going out with a wet fart. And if it wasn't so terrifying, it would almost be poetic -- biblical even -- Here we have a more inclusive, more female future battling closed-minded white men who live for the past  -- men who represent the very worst the patriarchy has to offer.

And the whole world is watching....
You can read my post in its entirety, here. Go, Hill! 


IMG_2406 fire in the sky 7/23/16
0005107496_10 Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief (image via)

Do yourself a favor and save these songs for later. (That almost rhymed.)

1. For the next time you're alone in your car with the window down.

2. For the next time you're alone in your living room, face down on the floor:

3. For the next time you see Paul(a)...

4. ...And (s)he sees you back.

275. Masterpiece + Real Love + Paul + Randy by: Big Thief

(all available on the new album. BUY IT, HERE. It's so good.)


pubic service announcement

I recently finished Peggy Orenstein's new book, Girls and Sex, which I highly recommend to every single human out there over the age of 13, ESPECIALLY men and fathers. Men and women, boys and girls ought to be more communicative when it comes to sex, and I think it does FAR more harm than good when we separate our girls and boys during sex education. Boys should hear what it's like for girls FROM GIRLS and girls should hear what it's like for boys FROM BOYS. How can we possibly grow and change and empathize with one another if we're whispering in different locker rooms?

(ED: My biggest issue with the book is the fact that it’s hot pink and is called GIRLS AND SEX. I don't know many men who would feel comfortable reading a hot pink book called GIRLS AND SEX on, say, the subway or in a doctor's office waiting room, and I find the pink cover problematic and annoying, but that's a diss on the publishing house, not the book. I think Orenstein is wonderful and I respect her voice and her non-judgmental attitude towards young people. This book is a MUST READ, you guys. Real talk.)

Anyway, we can talk more about the book later, if you want. Also sex education and teenage sexuality, which I think we SHOULD be talking about more openly. Because the only thing we should feel shame about is shame itself, and I am ALL FOR shame-free dialogue when it comes to sex and sexuality and pleasure and masturbation and periods, puberty, sex, OMG YOU GUYS THERE IS NO REASON WHYTHIS STUFF SHOULD BE EMBARRASSING! WHY ARE WE SO AFRAID TO TALK OPENLY ABOUT THIS STUFF? DON'T WE REALIZE THAT WE ARE DOING FAR MORE DAMAGE BY KEEPING QUIET AND YES I AM YELLING IN CAPS RIGHT NOW BUT, DUDE... SEX IS WHAT PEOPLE DO WITH EACH OTHER AND HUMAN BEINGS ARE BASICALLY JUST WALKING ORGASMS. SERIOUSLY, THOUGH, YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE SOMEONE CAME. SO IS YOUR CHILD. LET'S TALK ABOUT IT, PLEASE. PLEASE? LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX WITH OUR DAUGHTERS SO THEY KNOW IT ISOKAY TO ENJOY IT!

Hell, if it was up to me, I would bomb the world with vibrators. VIBRATORS FOR ALL!

... About pubes. TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT PUBIC HAIR and how for the last twenty-something years I have resisted having any—until now.

Like many (all) of the girls questioned in Peggy Orenstein's book, I also started shaving off my pubes the moment they started growing in. Because, ew, being am adult woman is GROSS. Not that I said those words, but in my head I was like, what am I supposed to do with this hair stuff? From a very young age (13) I shaved my pubes every few days in the same way I shaved my pits and my legs... I was disgusted with hair and I hated the way it felt when it was growing in.

Also? (And here's the rub...) Everyone else was doing it. I assumed it was a rite of passage -- that girls like me who shaved themselves pube-less were EMPOWERED. Somehow, that was the message we instilled in one another. THIS IS US STANDING UP TO ADULTHOOD AND REBELLING! Oh and also? This is what boys are into, so like... that's cool, too. 

In recent years, I toyed with various hairless styles (no relation to Harry Styles) including various landing strip-esque situations which felt like a good compromise between NOT WANTING ANYTHING TO DO WITH HAIR and feeling like I needed to model some kind of hair acceptance for my children -- because pubes happen, kids. And there is absolutely no reason for anyone to feel shame... And yet…there I was, FEELING it. I found myself regularly saying one thing and doing another -- preaching "pube-love and acceptance!" while being pube-free. 

It wasn't until I read Orenstein's chapter on porn and pubes that I started to rethink my teenage "empowerment." All those years, I had remembered feeling TOTALLY in control of my body.  I assumed that shaving my pubes off was BECAUSE I WAS MAKING A STATEMENT, THAT I COULD CONTROL MY BODY, DAMMIT. 

But wait... was that it? Was that why my friends and I shaved our hair completely off? Because we felt like we were in control? Or was it something else? Did we do it for ourselves or for the boys who thought it was hot? I would like to think it wasn't the latter but also, I'm an adult now and I realize that there were a lot of things I thought I was doing for me... when I wasn't. 

Fast forward to now. I am a thirty-five-year-old mother of four and I have never in my life had a bush to call my own. I don't even know what it looks like to look down and see hair. And I think that might be a problem. Hell, I KNOW it's a problem. It's a problem because, once again, I feel shame for something my body NATURALLY does. I feel shame for something men my age do not feel shame over. (Unless you're a man who is reading this and DOES feel shame about pubic hair. Do you? If you do, please come forward. I don't want to discount your experience. Please feel free to prove me wrong.)

Here's the thing ... I want to expose my children to a natural looking body -- shame-free. I want my kids to be like, oh, pubes aren't so bad. My mom's got some of those and she seems pretty chill about it...
IMG_2186 Girlfriends or Two Women Friends by: Gustav Klimt, 1916

So, yes. Maybe all those years ago, I bic'd my pubes for the boys... But now, for the first time, I'm growing these bad boys out for the girls...not just my daughters, but for myself and all of the teenage girls out there who are like, EW PUBES ARE GROSS PUBERTY IS GROSS HAIR IS GROSS I AM GROSS. Because in simple terms, I want to be the change. I want to show my past self and my present self and also my future self that all of the things we have been told as females to be GROSS and UNSIGHTLY and SORRY YOUR CONTENT HAS BEEN FLAGGED FOR BEING HAIRY AND NIPPLE-Y AND REAL, aren't even at all. Nipples, pubes, hairy legs... all of the things boys and men show all day long with nary a word...

You can read my post in its entirety, here.

a meditation


“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, 

we have come to our real work 

and when we no longer know which way to go, 

we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed. 

The impeded stream is the one that sings.” 

Eat Well: Summer Soups & Salads
... And speaking of summer not being over, the following post is a Greatest Hits collection of Summer Soups + Salads from yesteryear. Shout-out to WWW for being the mastermind behind most of these bad boys. Click hyperlinks for full recipes. 

WWW’s Cold Zucchini Soup (6 servings)

6 medium-large zucchini, cut into chunks
1 large onion (or two small ones)
1 teaspoon curry powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups buttermilk, yoghurt, or kefir (from humanely raised cows, of course!)
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

(Click here for more.)


Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup (Modified from Moosewood)
4 cups peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber
2 cups yogurt
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons fresh mint leaves
1-2 Tbs. honey
1-2 teaspoons fresh dill

(click here for more.)


Carrot and Orange Soup (modified from The Silver Palate)
4 T butter or olive oil
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
grated fresh orange zest to taste.

(click here for more deets.)


Wendy’s Gazpacho
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 large sweet cucumber (Japanese or hot house cucumber)
1 small red onion
2 stalks celery, strings removed
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 seeded and finely chopped jalapeno pepper (if you like it spicy)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups R. W. Knudsen Very Veggie juice (or tomato juice)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

(for more details go, here.)


Russian Cabbage Borscht (two ways)
2 T butter or olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 ½ cups thinly sliced potato
3 large beets, thinly sliced
1 large sliced carrot
1 stalk chopped celery
½ cabbage, chopped
6 cups vegetable stock (more if needed)
salt to taste
black pepper
½ tsp dill weed or 1 T fresh dill
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. honey
1 cup tomato puree
Toppings: sour cream and dill

(more details, here.

Wendy & Bec


Is it too late for a summer anthem? Because I think this is a pretty solid choice...

Speaking of summer, I went to Target yesterday looking for beach umbrellas and was told "It's too late, sorry, we don't carry beach stuff this late in the season. You're going to have to order your umbrella online." And I was like "IT'S MID-JULY! THERE ARE SIX WEEKS LEFT OF SUMMER WHAT IS THIS MADNESS."

Seriously. Am I the only one who doesn't SHOP FOR THINGS MONTHS IN ADVANCE!? Who shops for umbrellas NOT in mid-July?

...Anyway, there are six weeks left of summer so I'm going to go ahead and answer my own question:

Summer Anthem:
272. You and I by: Margaret Glaspy


And while we're all waiting in the van for our umbrellas to ship...

In the audience of poets


Last week, after several people asked how I, as a white parent, talk to my white children about white privilege, I reposted something I wrote two years ago. Something I still feel is accurate and potentially helpful, especially when talking to small children. (And by small, I mean grade-school aged. For me, personally, I think preschool is too young. Bo and Revi don't understand what privilege means because they are four. They do know that people judge others based on their appearances and we talk a lot about what makes different bodies different... and what makes different minds different... different hearts different...)

We don't REALLY know.

And that's a problem. That's THE problem. That's OUR problem.

And I started to think, after reposting my Frozen piece that THERE IS SO MUCH more we can do with our children -- that we NEED to be doing with our children -- our communities and ourselves.


All we need to do is listen. 

I grew up in a predominantly white town Or, at least that's what I thought...

Looking back, I realize that I grew up in a predominantly Latino town but because we were so segregated, we never got to know one another. The Latino kids, most of whom were Mexican, took different classes on different parts of campus than we did. They were ESL (English as a Second Language) and their teachers taught them mainly in Spanish.

Or at least that's what we were told.

The only time we were ever together was during PE class and even then, you could have drawn a line between us...

We didn't speak to one another. We didn't acknowledge one another. We didn't even know each other's names.

I had NEVER EVEN THOUGHT about that until recently. Until now, really. I accepted it as status quo... that from 7th-12th grade, I never had a conversation with a single ESL student. Not one. We didn't mix. We were separated on the campus and nobody asked why. 

I never asked why. 

I grew up without knowing the stories of these students -- my peers. Teenage girls just like me. Teenage girls nothing like me. And I wonder what life would have looked like FOR ALL OF US had we been put together in the same English classes... standing in front of classrooms reading our poetry to one another.

What would have changed? Would we have become friends?

I grew up in a liberal hippie beach town in the 90s and had no idea I was also experiencing a very real form of segregation.

It wasn't until I came to LA and became active in a community of artists, most notably slam poets, that I started to listen -- and ultimately HEAR the words and stories of people of color... 

Because one can read a book -- one can read many books -- on what it's like to be black, brown, gay, trans.... But LISTENING to a person speak… that's the game changer. (It was for me.)


Da Poetry Lounge on Fairfax was my first slam experience. My neighbors took me with them. They were poets and rappers and honed their rhymes at open mic nights. I assumed, with my own poetry in hand, that I would want to share as well... But I didn't. And in several years of attending slams, I never did. There was too must to hear -- too much to listen to -- too much to learn.

It was there in that room that I first learned what it meant to be a feminist. It was there in that room where I first heard a woman speak openly about a rape, hear a black man cry—and a brown man cry—and the crowd fall silent. It was there that I learned for the first time what it was like—what it was REALLY like—to be black in this country. To be brown in this country. To be ANYTHING but white in this country. That is where I saw the light. That is where I recognized the power of truth and how effective it was. I woke up in that audience. I woke up again and again and again in more audiences like it...  (I still do.)

...Because reposting words on Facebook does not wield the same power as teenagers and young adults and old adults standing on a stage with their hearts in their hands PLEADING, SINGING, SOARING...

Because SHOWING UP somewhere with your body and your heart and your open eyes and ears is EVERYTHING. Sitting in the audience of the vulnerable, wise and willing is WHAT WE ALL SHOULD be doing right now.

Fellow white parents, we don't have to talk to our children about white privilege...  We just have to take them somewhere where people of color are willing to share their stories. For those who live in primarily white suburbs... take a road trip... drive to the nearest city or town that isn't primarily white... pull up a chair at an open mic night -- at a coffee shop, or a theatre, or the street... where black hands put black microphones in black hands. Where brown voices are singing their truths... (You can also encourage your children to subscribe to Youth SpeaksGet Lit and/or Button Poetry on YouTube. Talk to your school about showcasing local poets at assemblies… Elevate voices in the community who, for whatever reason, you might not typically hear from. There are so many ways to put our bodies in the audience and listen…)

You can read my entire post, here.