Women’s March

An incredible post by high school classmate and fellow blogger. I love her blog. Go check her out…

“I’m a Nasty Woman. Not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust. Not as nasty a man who is a diss track to America. From back to broken back he’s stomped …

Source: Women’s March

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You Need to Know Her Name

Hey folks!

It’s the last day of March and Women’s History month. LOL! I will still celebrate because I’m bringing some interesting interviews from women I admire over the next few months. I have been slow to do the interviews and get the questions because of all that I have going on. Please know that you will find them as intriguing and interesting as I do.

With that being said, you need to know this woman’s name. Her name is Lisa and she is phenomenal. She blogs at ZenandPi. I stumbled on her blog from another blogger’s website. Her writing is beautiful. She brings you into her world with her writing and once you are in there, trust me that you will never want to leave. Check out her interview below:

I want to know what you find to be the hardest challenges facing women today? Our gender, our color, our sexual orientation, the economy, our own internal struggles? Any, none or all of the above. 

I think the hardest challenge we have yet to overcome is one of inclusion. We are struggling with differences between cultures, varying levels of economic class, and privilege. It is a problem of acceptance and a too narrow view of femininity. Transgendered and non-binary women are being excluded, women of color (WOC) are being pushed aside, poor women are being blamed, and women who suffer in other countries are being forgotten altogether.

Women in the west need to look past themselves and work on bringing all women up before we take further steps. Failure to do this is fracturing the feminist movement and causing a loss of credibility and trust.

I myself have heard many women who are not white, straight, or cisgender wonder aloud if feminism has done anything to help them at all. And if feminists don’t care about them, why should they join the movement?

How do you see this struggle being played out in our daily lives? 

It plays out in all of our lives in both big and small ways, mainly through microaggression and misinformation. I think the most affected group would be transgendered, women. I mean, they are still fighting for bathroom privileges for God sakes, and all because other women refuse to fight alongside them in greater numbers. I saw a woman on Twitter just this morning arguing that Trans women should be forced to use a Men’s room. The kicker? She was arguing with a man! He got it and she didn’t. There are other examples and other groups being forced out, but the problem is the same, fear and privilege.

I know you said in your about page that you came from a broken home (me too) do you think this has impacted you in a positive way? I mean, you can’t change the circumstances of your past, but were you able to take that negative and turn it into a positive? 

Oh, I definitely think so! My parents were not mature enough for marriage and I think they did us kids a favor by at least being able to admit that to themselves. My parents got along better in their divorce than they ever did in marriage and that taught us that family doesn’t have to look or be a certain way in order for everyone to be happy. A lot of people think traditional family values and roles are what is best for everyone. I know that if my parents had stayed together things would have turned out a lot worse. I think adults who come from broken homes have a special set of problems but they also have a special set of strengths. We are often better at seeing the world in a variety of viewpoints and we are better at acceptance and understanding. Not to mention we know the true value of family and forgiveness.

Do you believe in God or a higher God? Do you have any thoughts on religion and sexuality in the black church? 

I was raised a Christian and went to church most Sundays during my childhood with my grandmother. I can’t say that I ever really believed in God, although there were times in my teenage years that I hoped he was real and prayed regularly, but I don’t think I was ever really religious. When I was 17 years old I started going to bible study again at the request of an Aunt. There were a lot of lesbian and gay teenagers in there and one day one of them asked if all gay people went to hell. The teacher said yes, with no hesitation or sympathy, and that was the last day I attended.

I didn’t believe in God much before that, but that answer is what drove me from the church. I have a feeling a lot of people might have gone through something similar and turned away the same as I did.

What are some of the things that you are doing or want to do to give back to the community? 

I honestly don’t do as much as I want to for the community at all. I fear what little talent and passion I have lies in writing and art so for the foreseeable future those are the mediums I will use to help my community.

For now, besides sharing my own stories, I try to dedicate at least one post a week on my blog to raising awareness of women’s issues and LGBT rights. I’ll try to share and signal boost posts that give people a glimpse into the lives of people who do not fit into what has been considered “normal” or ideal once a week as well. I look for other queer voices, people suffering from mental health issues and addiction, and stories of poverty, or chronic illness and disability.

In the future I would like to have my own publication, maybe a zine, to showcase those voices. One day…

Has your life’s struggles influenced your writing? How so? 

Of all the bad things I have been through the most common feelings were ones of loneliness and helplessness. I was on my own very early in life and I had no idea how to do things like find a job, pay my bills, build my credit, or save money. I didn’t know how to deal with the stress of it all either. I had no idea where to go when I felt depressed or who to call when I had made a mistake. I was forced to be a human island when no man or woman was ever meant to be. On top of all that I got the feeling that if you were struggling in this world it was because something was wrong with you. Your failure is entirely your own fault. No wonder so many of us buckle under the pressure.

My life struggles have shown me that this world has the potential to be a safer, more nurturing, and caring place, if only people would snap out of this mentality that life is every man for himself. We could all be helping one another and that is what my writing is about, ultimately. I want people to work toward being more empathetic and really see the people around them. When you think about it, we all deserve a better life than the one we have been giving one another.

If you could speak with a young woman who feels that all hope is lost and the only way out is death, what would you tell her (as your testimony) to encourage her to not make that decision? 

I would tell her that I have been there. I have been hurting and alone and hopeless. I would tell her that life can be so unexpected and beautiful and that in moments like this that can be impossible to believe. I would tell her the light is there it is only that she cannot see it yet and that if she would only hold on a little longer something will change, it always does, and there can be love and happiness and security. We just have to keep walking toward it and it will find us. I am proof of it and I promise it can happen for everyone it just takes time, and hard work when you can, and rest when you can’t. Hold on girly.

 

Lisa Blair is a blogger and a bleeding heart who cares very much about this little planet and all the humans living on it. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her amazing wife, an old cat, a young dog, and two very shy snakes. She dreams of one day being able to quit her day job and live the fascinating and mysterious life of a full-time writer. She blogs at ZenandPi, but you can also find her posting notes and bits of inspiration on Twitter at ZenandPi and on Tumblr at ZenandPi

Who pays?

Great post from Violet that you should check out. Who should pay for dinner?

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Here you are, I say, reaching into my bag for my wallet. I’ll pay half.

No no Violet, it’s fine really, dinner is on me.

Are you sure, I don’t mind paying my share, I feel…

Nope, I’ve got this.

Thank you then, that was really lovely, delicious.

That is me, on a good first date. I always offer to pay my share.

I’m usually told no. And I’m usually relieved.

Not just because I don’t have a lot of money, which I don’t, but because – I donno – I grew up in that generation where men are supposed to pay.

They are meant to be strong, dominant, high earning, powerful and in charge.

I know that is all ridiculous.  That we are all strong, equal, etc.

But I still like the idea of it.

I’m old fashioned that way.

So when my son went on a…

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Audre Lorde

Today’s Black History Month spotlight goes to another poet I discovered in college. Happy Birthday Audre Lorde! Rest in Peace!

I love her work. Strong imagery. I can actually hear her speaking the words to me as I read them. Isn’t that what good poetry is supposed to do? Transport you into the situation so that you can see what is being said? Whew! Audre Lorde was born February 18, 1934 and died November 17, 1992.   She was an incredible poet, essayist and feminist. A champion of causes. She used her writing to speak to the times. Much of it could be felt now.

 

Power

BY AUDRE LORDE

The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
yourself
instead of your children.
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.
A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens
stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood
and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and
there are tapes to prove it. At his trial
this policeman said in his own defense
“I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else
only the color”. And
there are tapes to prove that, too.
Today that 37 year old white man
with 13 years of police forcing
was set free
by eleven white men who said they were satisfied
justice had been done
and one Black Woman who said
“They convinced me” meaning
they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame
over the hot coals
of four centuries of white male approval
until she let go
the first real power she ever had
and lined her own womb with cement
to make a graveyard for our children.
I have not been able to touch the destruction
within me.
But unless I learn to use
the difference between poetry and rhetoric
my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold
or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire
and one day I will take my teenaged plug
and connect it to the nearest socket
raping an 85 year old white woman
who is somebody’s mother
and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed
a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time
“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”

Random: 3 Things About Me

As a woman who wears many hats, titles and plays many roles I wanted to educate you on some of the things that I stand for. This is not an inclusive list of everything, but I wanted to share a piece of me with you. Here are 3 things you should know about me:

  1. I am a mother. This is by far the most important role I will ever play. I received an Academy Award when I became a mother. It is the most difficult role I will ever play and I have to develop the character of my son who plays the supporting actor of our family each and every day. Motherhood is not always going to be roses, but I promise to be the best person I can mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. This doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes, forget to do somethings or suffer guilt over the decisions I make. Parents aren’t perfect.
  2. I am an avid reader. I love to read. I actually try to read a book every couple of weeks. It gets hard sometimes because life gets in the way with writing and raising a son, but reading is the key to who I am. I love to learn about new cultures and ideologies. Reading is something I’m passing on to munch. I inherited my love of books and reading from my mom so I hope that my gift to my son is the same.
  3. I am a black feminist. This seems to frighten some folks. Why do I say that I am a black feminist? Because I’m black and I’m a feminist. They are not separate. This is my reality. I don’t hate white people or any people for that fact. I don’t hate men. I’m raising a boy who will become a man. I am against the injustices that threaten all people. Whether from race, gender or class. I will fight for the rights of all.

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There are many more things that make up the whole of me, but I wanted to share 3 today.

Happy Friday!

One and Done

“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.”

Jessica Lange

 

The pressure that society puts on you to have children can sometimes be stifling. I felt the pressure my first year of marriage. I was 27. Some of the things that I heard:

  • You should think about starting a family.
  • You know each day you age, your eggs die.
  • How long are you going to wait?
  • Are you trying?
  • You do want kids right?

So many questions about my reproductive rights. Dang, I had just gotten married. I would cringe when elderly women would ask me “So, why don’t you pop a couple of children out for your husband?” (Yes, this actually happened.) Really, like a chicken? I thought. Well meaning I’m sure, but to a career woman, this was not what I wanted to hear. My husband in fact wanted children the minute we got married. I made it a condition of our marriage….Not before I’m 30. He accepted.

As time moved forward and three years after my 30th birthday at the beautiful age of 33, I gave birth to Brennan. Perfect. I was elated. I felt complete. Whole even. But, a difficult pregnancy combined with a difficult birth, I thought…maybe we could do it one more time as I gazed into Brennan’s beautiful eyes. Three months later I was sitting in a hospital watching my husband hooked up to machines with words like auto immune diseases and strokes being passed around.

Scared. Overwhelmed. Alone. Those were the emotions that I went through when my life changed. That moment, changed me and my decision. No more children. I was “one and done”. It wasn’t a mutual decision. It was a personal one. Choice. Personal choice. I was supposed to take care of him and I couldn’t add another child on top of all that I had going on. Selfish, possibly, but I decided at that moment…our family was complete. We were a family of three.

Well, what do they say about the best laid plans? Yep. My marriage unraveled and we still only had one child. Now, that Brennan is 6, he constantly asks for a sibling. He has replaced the constant nagging I experienced from well-meaning folks and strangers. He wants a baby brother or sister bad. I smile and tell him, “You have 3 best friends who are all only children”. He replies, “But, mommy they are not my brothers and sisters.” I respond, “You have two god-brothers and a god-sister.” He says, “But, mommy they belong to God not me.” Dead face. I couldn’t think of anything to say. (He’s extremely smart on his toes.)

But, what do you say? Me: “Not going to happen man. You’re it. Deal with it!” However, as I’m approaching my 40th birthday I realized that my fertility is dying more each day. I’m like the elderly women except it is my own fertility that I’m wondering about. Motherhood was the defining moment in my life and I’m overwhelmingly blessed that I was able to conceive one happy and healthy child, but I wonder had I missed an opportunity to have more?

No, was my fervent reply. I’m good. Me and Brennan. Always. The gift that I was given, so let’s make it permanent right? So, I went to my OB/GYN visit for my yearly exam and announced to my doctor that I was thinking of getting my tubes tied as a birthday gift to myself. I said, “I think I’m done”. He responded, “There are a lot less invasive procedures. You’re still young and fertile. Think about something else.” Are you serious? Really? I had decided. I wanted to stomp my feet and yell “Why are you not listening to me?”

Why was this man suggesting or rather deterring me from my “one and done” motto? According to everyone and their mama, I was approaching “no man zone”. You know that zone where you’re absolutely too old to think about conceiving. I don’t think anyone in my family has ever given birth over the age of 40. What brand of crack is he smoking? Why would he even suggest an alternative to permanent sterilization?

Because he cared. Point blank and the end. My doctor wanted me to have all the options and not rush to make a rash decision just because my marriage ended and with it so did my hopes of someday giving Brennan a sibling. I have options. I have choices. My fertility is in my hands. I can be “one and done” forever or I can expand my family one day, but I’m in no rush. I have time to decide what I want to do with my own womb. Whatever my choice, I’m happy that I was able to carry this one six years ago.

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I’m tired of screaming…I am a woman

Earlier last year, I sat with a woman at dinner who inquired whether or not having children was something she was missing out on. She indicated that she had no viable prospects of a relationship that would produce children and she wondered if she truly were missing out on motherhood. I pondered her question seriously and replied that “Children are a personal choice and not a requirement.” I began to tell her my story and how I didn’t want children until that wasn’t an option for me. I told her that since I had my son, I can’t imagine my life without him because I’m a better human being with him. But, motherhood is a personal choice and doesn’t define you.

Lately though, her comment has been replaying in my mind even with my girlfriends who have never been married or have children. Some want to wait until marriage to have children and others are willing to take matters in their own hands and wombs because the choices are slim pickings. But, I sit here thinking are we rushing to make choices as women because we truly want children or we think that children somehow define us as women? The notion of…I gave birth therefore I am a mom? Well, last week, I read how Jennifer Anniston sat down with Carson Daly to discuss her life for a Today show episode. This quote that she said immediately caught my attention:

“I don’t have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done, and…if they’re not checked, then I’ve failed some part of my feminism or my being a woman or my worth and my value as a woman because I haven’t birthed a child”. “I’ve birthed a lot of things, and I feel like I’ve mothered many things”. “And I don’t feel like it’s fair to put that pressure on people.”

Why does society think that having children defines whether a woman is truly a woman or even a feminist? They’re completely separate issues. I’m both a woman and a feminist and it didn’t take me birthing munch to figure this out. So, what is wrong with the rest of the world? Your value as a woman is not tied to your uterus. No more than a man’s value is tied to what is between his legs. We all have choices and believe it or not, there are a lot of women who chose not to have children and it’s none of our business. I remember the Sex in the City 2 movie where that woman couldn’t believe that Carrie and Big didn’t want to have children. Carrie explained how they loved children, but that they didn’t want to have any and the woman was speechless. She didn’t know what else to say and turned around and stopped talking to Carrie who she had idolized for years.

She couldn’t believe that any woman would not want children. Are we really that simple as a society? I never wanted children, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t want to fight for the causes that were close to my heart and spirit. Motherhood is a personal choice and I think if more people thought about it there would be fewer abandoned or abused children. But, consider this for a moment…Everyday that I wake up and write a post or give my perspective on current issues affecting women aren’t I still birthing something? Creativity? Kindness? Am I now worthy to be valued?

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I am a woman. I am a mother. There are many different parts that make up me. I am bigger than the sum, but my value is NOT determined by society’s expectations of me. I will do things on my own terms and in my own way and you will have to accept it or not. But, don’t link my fight for women’s rights as a sign that I am better than other women because I chose to have children. Feminism means I value equality. I will fight. The fight lives within me. Always.

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