Aging, Art, Me Too, Politics, Uncategorized

Me Too

Fall takes on new meaning as we age – the thought of the approaching cold, final winter of our being.  Not a depressing thought, just part of the journey.

We have seen many changes over the decades, especially the relationships between men and women.  As a liberal woman championing the women’s movement over the decades, I am pleased with the changes.  My husband Ken, a conservative libertarian, defends a man’s liberties and finds himself in conflict with a woman’s rightful discernment/definition in a relationship.

This morning over a hotel breakfast, Ken and I listened to the news.  The “Me Too” movement is celebrating their first anniversary today.

I said, “The problem with men is that they see everything as ‘all about me’ rather than listening.”

Ken looked at me with that you-have-two-talking-heads-and-neither-one-makes-much-sense side glance.

“For example,” I said as I added syrup to my waffle, “My hip hurt last night, so I rolled over about 3:30 a.m. to sleep on the other hip.  You decided to cuddle.  By 4:00 a.m.  I am unable to sleep and lose an hour playing Sudoku while you continue your blissful rest.”

“You nudged my back twice.  You wanted to be held.”  Ken looked hurt.

“At 3:30 a.m. I am not thinking about you or being held.  If I were thinking at all, it would be about sleep.  Which proves my point.  You thought when I rolled over in bed it was about YOU!  Really?”

“What does this have to do with the Me Too movement?” Ken asked.

“Everything.  I remember working when I was young and attractive.  I was busy with office work all morning – filing, typing a report, preparing for a meeting.  About noon a man in the office said, ‘I love the way you flirted with me all morning.  What a turn-on!’  I barely knew he was present because I was focused on my work.  It was all about him.  Idiot!!!”

“Maybe you were not aware of the vibes you were giving off,” Ken insinuated.

I snapped back, “I win.  I have the blog.”

Ken said, “Yeah, SHE who writes the history wins.”

Ken reached over and stroked my chin.  We both started laughing.

Fall is in the air.  Change seems to be slower to reach fruition than the winter of my days.  Understanding may never be fully achieved, but surely we can continue to love good men and good women throughout the journey.

For younger women, seek justice as I once did through organizations, politics and personal conviction; but do not lose patience with kind men who only want to hold you on a cold night in October.

 

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Abuse, Country, Grief, Politics, Uncategorized, Women

I Weep by Ann Hendrix

I weep for….
…battered women cowering in shells.
…abused women with the courage to speak truth.
…PTSD women who go to work with the feeling they may die.
…all women vulnerable to powerful men who pay no price for brutish behavior.

I weep for…
…good men who stand for their mothers, sisters, daughters and wives.
…bellowing men wielding power in our congressional halls.
…abusers who are soulless.
…boys who will never know the love a strong woman
   because they take with privilege.

I weep for…
…churches that once stood for morality.
…the churched who once spoke love.
…pulpits that once displayed the cross rather than a FOX News banner.
…worshipers, who once shared the communion of truth and kindness,
   now raging in hate.

I weep for…
…my country disrespected throughout the world—literally a laughing stock.
…democracy preyed upon by Russia with the help of American leaders.
…children who will never know American pride as natural
   and bright as fireflies in a jar.
…peace, respect, compromise, common purpose, hope, American goodness.

I weep…

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Aging, Personhood, Poetry, Politics, Uncategorized

bylines ᾽round my eyes

who I am and all I’ve known,

engraved experience on a fleshy pallet,

those bylines ᾽round my eyes

 

Ownership of and living happily with our aging process is existential.  Either we have done our character homework over the years or we struggle to find joy and maintain relationships.

I have given this a great deal of thought with the political campaigns.  Hillary Clinton was born 10-26-47 and Donald Trump on 6-14-46.  They are not going to evolve into anything more than who they are.  Character set.  Game on.  The best they have to offer us are their flamboyant examples of what happens to people who choose certain paths early in life and become exactly what they wanted to be.  Goals accomplished.  In the petri dish of life, we are viewing specimens who prove how set character is by this age.

I worked for a gerontologist years ago.  He said the elderly are extremes—the happiest or saddest, angriest or kindest, most generous or stingiest, most judgmental or forgiving, absolutely honest or dishonest, loudest or softest, etc.  When our beauty fades, intellect dulls a little, and the power afforded us by work or community involvement is lessened, all that is left is our personhood—the real us.

I have worried since my 20’s about who I was going to be as a grown-up at age 75 or 80.  Some of my work has been successful and some of my character flaws were baked into my DNA.  I’ve arrived at this senior status with gray hair and extra pounds—far from the 20-something in a bikini and shag haircut.  I like this older me better.

My friends are present with wisdom, creativity and an interest in leaving the best world possible for the next generation.  They understand we have two responsibilities: mentoring and expression.

The past cannot be rewritten.  The future is short compared to where we were a couple decades ago.

Be joyful.  It is good for who you are becoming.

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Country, Peace, Poetry, Politics, Uncategorized

FUGU

                    FUGU

Celebrate freedom of speech,

ideas spewed against the tide.

Frightening, strong, in defense of right,

or hateful and wrong—

schools of thought swimming

toward the light and

prejudices bottom-feeding

‘till persistence creates law.

If we follow a bully pufferfish,

democracy dies on poison spikes.

Feed the blue planet fugu—

love swallowed and hate discarded.

                  

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Politics

Jack-In-The-Box Logic

Over sixty years ago on my sixth birthday, I had a private room in a small, Kansas hospital.  Ladies in crisp uniforms and nursing caps served ice cream to soothe my sore, tonsillectomy throat.

I received one new toy for my special day—a Jack-In-The-Box!  I turned the handle on the metal, brightly painted box repeatedly, hour after hour after hour.  Although my throat was too sore to warble with the plunking melody, I joyously sang along in my head…All Around The Mulberry Bush… 

I was impatient as I waited for the pop of the lid.  At last, the final phrase began to play, Pop Goes The Weasel.  I caught my breath every single time.  Magic!  The clown was released by the latch and bounced on its spring to my delight.

This political season has reminded me of my brief hospital stay—the time before I looked beyond the repetition of familiar patterns, before I knew to live fuller than what could be programmed into music boxes and clowns, before I learned the demands of the heart trump the expectations of others, before I recognized the world did not revolve around selfish, immature me.

Should We Be Six Forever?

Some of my fellow citizens employ reality TV show mentality.  Bullying, boorish behavior, extreme views, and selfish outcomes create drama in the political arena.  Citizenry who engage only with politicians who repeatedly bounce like clowns on springs shouting hate and bigotry are denying themselves and democracy the opportunity to mature.

Compromise, compassion, equality, educational opportunities, laws to protect innocent children in schools, environmental threats, and justice are ideas swelling from humanity.  These values are not “cranked out” of a political box.  Inclusion and positive reforms reflect character and intellect.  No one person or party can achieve this greatness for our world, our country, alone.

Because there were people in the hospital who were actually ill, a nurse took my Jack-In-The-Box to the nurse’s station for a couple hours so other patients could rest.  A six-year-old could not dictate the common sense health requirements of others.  A grown-up found compromise and negotiated what was best for everyone, even for obsessive, little me who needed a nap.

I wish I could be the nurse in a sick field of candidates.  I want to take the repeated messages playing in their heads, the messages poisoning our environment, and still the day.  Now is the time for grown-ups to deliberate and heal a nation.

All Around the Mulberry Bush….

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