standing by the ocean on an overlooking cliff
high above the crashing waves, look down, but do not slip.
loneliness goes spotting by like rising, cresting ships
a chill-breeze blowing through the skin, the ever-present whip.
traverse the path, descend the hill, a choice not made today
attraction to the shallow words is not a game she’ll play.
negotiating banter far below her sea and sky
drains anticipation in such ways could make one cry.
an apathy of gossip dreams burns brightly under skin
the smiles she loves, but fearful she, now of such mark’ed din.
standing on the cliffside looking down, but not to judge
to breathe the quiet and to lush the breezes of the flood.
the calming piece, serenity, oft hiding in its grave
such thoughts of she come waking,
wake the one that would be saved.
what if the stones laid
in the foundation of life
begin to crumble
under the strife?
the mortar dissolving
into dry sand
through fingered hands.
what if the base rock
withered as fallen leaves
by slightest breeze?
would the tower fall
into oceans deep?
could all that is above
survive such a sweep?
crack and creak,
where would feet fall,
if toes touch first?
how then to rebuild
on ground so cursed?
as water swirls,
to wash away
all that’s unfurled.
but to stand,
one new stone
soon to be lain,
at a time
through and despite
but to not rebuild,
that such option
"get it out", she said,
"get it out and off your chest."
"let it go", she said,
"let it go so you can finally rest."
"feel the breeze", she smiled,
"feel the breeze so wings can flex."
"breathe the trees, my child,
breathe the trees to catch your breath."
with open eyes, she loved,
with open eyes she loved to dance.
"just get it out", she said,
"get it out,
and you have a chance."
I'm confused why people are upset by women supporting each other and taking one lone day to remind the world how essential we are to its functionality and beauty, and that we all deserve the full respect that many of our fellow females do not receive.
This especially goes out to the women who feel like a day of acknowledging and supporting other women is somehow an attack on them or some political statement they could never agree with.
Why is that so threatening?
Why does it make you angry?
Why do you feel attacked by empowerment and unity?
This is not about politics. It is not about disrespecting the men that we love by reminding them how much we are and do. It is not about whether or not you personally choose to wear red, or take today off work, or not spend money to make your dollars heard. It is about some of us choosing to take one single day to say loudly and clearly, We Are Women And We Have Value.
How is that harmful to you or your way of life?
I’ve seen women posting that they would never take today off work because women fought for years to work and not just stay home as housewives. Yes, yes they did, and I’m so glad that you recognize that. But their dreams for equality in this world have not yet been fully accomplished; even if some of us have earned or been given the comfort of such balance, not all of us have, but they should too.
Too many women doing the same job as a man still earn only 78.6% of his pay (as of 2014), and this gap is getting better only at a snail’s pace. In ten years, it has only gone from 76.6% to 78.6%! For women of color, the gap is far worse, earning 62.3%, and Hispanic women earn even less than that, just 54% of what a white man earns. For doing the same job!
If you earn great money, awesome! Keep on keeping on! But please don’t assume that your experience is everyone’s experience. Please don’t think that pretending these statistics are just myths that it will make the numbers just go away or change by the denial of them.
Statistics and math have no opinion, no bias, no political affiliation, and no gender. Truth does not care if you dislike it or if you want to disavow its existence. Things simply are what they are - acknowledge it, even if you do not wish to help us change it.
To let ourselves believe that today is just about political resistance to a new administration, or about staying home just to have a day off work, or about disrespecting the women who fought for the rights we have so far is a cop-out. You do not have to justify to anyone else whether you chose to participate or not participate today. If you choose not to wear red in support of other women around you because your own personal life feels perfectly equal and blessed, that is absolutely ok, and the rest of us are happy for you.
What is not ok is to condemn another woman as if they’re attacking you or judging you simply by making a choice that is different from yours. What is not ok is to speak or behave as if the women who do chose to participate, in solidarity with the women who do not have so blessed a life as you or I might have, are somehow wrong or worthy of scorn, that they are to be looked down upon or are doing something “wrong” to you, to our society or our way of life in 2017.
We who wear red today, who may not be at work or may not be spending money to make our presence felt and voices heard, we are doing it out of respect for all women. We are not criticizing anyone for their beliefs, whatever they may be, so please don’t act like we’re somehow being self-righteous over others by desiring that for one day out of 365 a “woman’s place” should be fully recognized as equally important to a man's.
Please don’t turn this into women versus women, today of all days. Please don’t promote division when today is about the exact opposite. Women are so judgmental toward each other, we all are. For one day, just ONE DAY, can we try to not be?
Simply smile at the women around you both in red and not in red, and let that be the end of it, because we are all women, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, lovers, friends... Because this world needs a little more love and kindness, and women can be the best at those things, when we want to be.
Today is a day we come TOGETHER. We support all the other women around us, those who have everything and those who have nothing, every color, every faith, every age and location, in every job and every home, even if we have nothing else in common with them other than the fact that we are all women.
No matter what color you are, nor what color your clothes are today, we are women.
We create life, we teach love, we bring balance. It is what we do, it is who we are.
Be that. At least for today.
For more statistics about women, click HERE.
#DayWithoutAWoman #InternationalWomensDay #BeTheChange #IAmHope #WeAreHope #HopeVali #EndTheAnger #NotMeUs #LoveTrumpsAll #LoveOneAnother #WhatsoeverYouDo #FaithInHumanityRestored #FIHR #HumansOfAmerica #respectbreedsrespect #hope #vali #StillIRise #InThisTogether #thefutureiswatching #thefutureisfemale #leadbyexample #forthefuture #itcangetbetter #braidedtangents #rise #startmoving #itonlytakesone #NeverthelessShePersisted
Last night a friend and I got together for something new... Originally we had plans to be a whole group of women, all inspired to action in light of the political turmoil of our present moment, but due to illnesses, unexpected work demands, and other life hurdles, it ended up just we two women, and our meager mission - how to make the work a little bit better, in whatever small ways that we can.
We two choose to write letters to our state representatives expressing our opinions about a current political issue. But more importantly, we two then brainstormed ideas of ways we could help people - any people who might need help, local or far away.
We aren't wealthy by any definition of the term, but we have time, we have friends who are generous with what small things they might have, and we have motivation. Perhaps those three things alone could make a difference, even to just a small few?
We two decided that our next goal is gather items needed by a local battered women's shelter. We discussed future ideas of food pantry donations, knitting warm winter gear for the homeless, and other things we might take on, including ways to help those not local to us.
All are small, simple things, but although we do not have the resources to save everyone, we are regardless trying to find ways to help even just one person here, one family there...
Do you have other suggestions for us to bring to our group when it meets again next month, even if it's again only two?
What small things can you do too? Help us Be The Change our world needs, one community at a time.
#BeTheChange #IAmHope #WeAreHope #EndTheAnger #NotMeUs #TheStand #LoveTrumpsAll #LoveOneAnother #WhatsoeverYouDo #FaithInHumanityRestored #FIHR #HumansOfAmerica #respectbreedsrespect #hope #vali #HopeVali #activism #RandomActsofKindness #whatcanwedotohelp #StillIRise #WeThePeople #InThisTogether #thefutureiswatching #thefutureisfemale #leadbyexample #forthefuture #itcangetbetter #braidedtangents #rise #startmoving #itonlytakesone #twowomen #WeTwo #motivated
A good friend and I marched in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017.
I offer some thoughts on why we marched, and on the march itself...
I myself did not march against Trump, nor against the negativity of many for which his election has sadly insinuated approval. Nor did I march against any of you - you who are reading this and supported Trump for your varying reasons, which I know very likely had nothing at all to do with bigotry, racism, sexism, bullying or hatred that has gone on both before and after this election season.
I myself marched for the self-evident truths promised to all Americans - Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Not for some, nor even for a majority, but for every single member of our melting-pot of a nation. I marched in support of the ideal that the first explorers who sailed to this American shore risked their lives in search of over 400 years ago - for freedom, in all its many forms.
Please do not tell me to “get over it”, as if I do not understand how our political systems works, or do not comprehend that yes, the election is over and that one protest cannot effect those results, because I get that, and that is not why I marched. I feel it would be unwise to allow ourselves to believe that hundreds of thousands of people would march only for that goal... Most, like I, did not.
Of course there were some in attendance who marched in anger, or in a futile attempt to change the electoral outcome, or who disrespect the ideals of a peaceful protest as exemplified by people like Martin Luther King, Jr. However, just as you, me, and most others do not wish to be judged by the worst of those with whom we share a commonality, neither should all marchers be judged in kind.
Respect breeds respect, none shall find it elsewhere.
The vast majority of Saturday’s participants marched in order to send one or all of the following messages of support to those we know, and to those we have not had the honor of yet meeting:
- If your God is known by a different name than ours - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If your skin is a different shade or color than ours - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If your true nature has become clear within your heart that you are associated with the letters
L, G, T, or B - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you are a woman who has faced inequality or has felt demeaned simply because of your gender - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you are a young woman who has made (or might one day make) an 18-minute (or less!) mistake in a moment of passionate weakness with a man, WE SUPPORT that you should not be punished, nor forced to sacrifice 18 years of your life to atone for that one moment, simply because you are the half of that mistake who happens to have the uterus.
- If you have been bullied or threatened or attacked by others for any difference within you or about you - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you believe in the sacredness of this home that we all share, called our Earth - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you feel frustration as the denial of respect for science and knowledge grow more popularly accepted - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you have struggled against poverty and were never offered the opportunities others so easily take for granted, or deny having at all - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you have worked hard, but no longer feel that the dream of a better life is within your reach - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you are disheartened that the health and well-being of humans has become a profitable business of greed - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you believe that the lives of human beings are of far greater worth than money - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you believe the world can be (and can do) better, WE SUPPORT YOU.
Comments on the march itself:
They'd planned a march down one big street, but the march ended up wall to wall people, 3-4 blocks wide, streets upon streets of people, all marching in one direction. The entire city had been taken over. We walked like 30 blocks from the masses to get food, and there were still protesters walking and smiling everywhere we looked. No violence, no riots, crowds of strangers singing and chanting as one voice, every age from practically-newborn to 80-yrs+, every faith, every color. It was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.
It reminded me of an Ani Difranco lyric - "There's a river of people that runs past my eyes, it's beautiful enough just to watch it go by."
I personally witnessed singing in the subways, singing in the streets.
I watched as 70+ year old women looked at the younger women and men and the youth participating with such tear-inspiring pride that their mission for the rights and equality for all peoples would continue, that their torch, lit decades ago, will be carried forward.
I watched a group of light-skinned teenage boys chanting "Black Lives Matter" in unison with the dark-skinned marchers for whom this chant is far more personal.
I thanked a man offering free water to anyone who needed it.
I smiled at the Hispanic man walking up and down the green playing "We Are the Champions" on a speaker simply to inspire the other marchers.
I talked to mothers with their daughters, as they taught their girls to stand up for their rights as equals to all others.
I took photos of grandmothers marching for their grandchildren, of brothers marching for their little sisters, for mothers marching for their gay child to ensure that they, too, are free to love and be loved in their own way. (For my photos of the march, please click HERE.)
To all my fellow marchers across planet earth (and all those marching with us in spirit) - on that cloudy Saturday, we witnessed and embodied HOPE. We made LOVE a tangible thing, even if only for a few hours.
Please, let none of the negativity you've seen or received regarding the protests ever let you forget the feeling of those crowds, the unity, the joy, the togetherness.
To quote my favorite sign seen all over the DC march - "When they go low, we go high."
Do not stoop to social media banter and arguments. Do not allow yourself to be baited into anger. Live the love and the hope we created yesterday, every day forward.
Lead by example.
We cannot change closed minds. Let those go, and focus on the rest. People who cannot accept dissent want you to lower yourself, so they can then point and say "See? Look at their toxicity!" Instead, rise above.
Rise with me. And let the love and the hope of yesterday grow and blossom, for it will become the change we marched for, and will continue to fight for.
We are the future. We are hope. Start now.
If you disagree with my or anyone else's participation in this march (as is my democratic freedom), or any future march, or if you disagree with any of the above reasons for feeling the need to march, then perhaps you are the one who needs to “get over it” and simply move on past this blog…
For again I say, respect breeds respect, none shall find it elsewhere.
We are your sisters,
and your neighbors.
Together, we marched, and will continue to march. Not against, but FOR - for all those in our human family, for our planet, for our future, for freedom, for LOVE. March with us.
#NoH8 #EndTheAnger #NotMeUs #TheStand #WomensMarchOnWashington #LoveTrumpsAll #MakeHumanityGreatAgain #FaithInHumanityRestored #HumansOfAmerica #PeacefulProtest #YourSilenceWillNotProtectYou #ThoseWhoDoNotRememberThePastAreDoomedToRepeatIt #sorrynotsorry #respectbreedsrespect #whyimarch #iamhope #wearehope #hope #vali #hopevali #thefutureiswatching #thefutureisfemale #RebuildCongress #pussyhat #StillIRise #WeThePeople #NotMeUs #InThisTogether #AniDifranco #riverofpeople #blacklivesmatter #wearethechampions #bethechange #leadbyexample #photographer #sideofhistory #forthefuture #itcangetbetter #braidedtangents #rise #resist