Monday, August 25, 2014

Ferguson

I want to help keep this conversation alive. This is the literal least I can do - I am not able to go to Ferguson and march and protest. I can, at least, remind myself and the people who read this that this is still happening. I can NOT forget.

I talk to the girl and my husband, and I talk to other people. I tend to be mindful that I sit in a position of privilege and generally should just keep my fucking mouth shut, despite the fact that I was raised Muslim and that brings a whole host of Other with it in America. But I don't fool myself. My lived experience is not the same as that of people of color. I am viewed by authority as white. WHITE. And I am wrapped in that privilege like a shield. I have been pulled over and ticketed, and never once was I concerned about my life.

Michael Brown was murdered - there is no other word for this - while I was packing for our college visit trip. I was heartsick at the disparity of spending several days in New England, driving up and down winding mountain roads and through picturesque towns, staying at a very nice bed and breakfast, looking at some very prestigious schools for my kid, while a family was planning a funeral for a boy slightly older than my child.

I frantically refreshed my Tumblr and Twitter feeds to keep up to date on what was happening. My frustration at being in an area of No Service [seriously, Vermont/Massachusetts? NO SERVICE AT ALL???] was not only for the lack of information my phone was giving on our route ["This can't be the way. We're at a fucking stoplight."], but also because I didn't know what was happening right that minute in Ferguson. And I needed to know. I kept a constant stream of updates with the girl and the husband, discussing teargas and rubber bullets and the arrest of protestors and journalists. And what could possibly have been going through the mind of a police officer who would shoot an unarmed man with his hands up six times and then leave his body in the street for four hours.

What can I do? I am a white woman, a middle class white woman, who has been fostered in privilege. But I do what I can. I reblog things on Tumblr. I retweet things on Twitter. I block people who are awful. We can disagree about many things, but if you think any human being - spare me your rejoinders of poor Michael Brown being a $6 shoplifter and belligerent toward an officer and even hitting him, none of which has been determined - deserves to be shot when they are putting their hands up and surrendering, then we have nothing to say to each other and you are a terrible person.

It is important to not let our propensity for bite-sized stories to take over. It is important that I keep reminding myself and others that this is going on. It is important that I talk to reasonable, rational, white people about why this matters to everyone. This doesn't just matter to the people of Ferguson and people of color, who the issue of police brutality and institutionalized racism directly affects.

It matters to white people precisely because being shot dead in the street by a police officer will never be an issue for us or our white children. And if you don't think that is the saddest thing in the world that your white privilege buys you, then I don't want to know you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Too Tired to Lift a Hand

I had all sorts of funny things to tell you, and then I forgot them all, because I wasn't writing them down. "You'll remember this in the morning," I'd tell myself, because I didn't want to move my arm and reach for the pen and notebook next to my bed. Of course I never remembered; I can barely remember what I needed to get at Costco, meaning we have a surfeit of paper towels but no walnuts, and just how am I supposed to eat oatmeal without walnuts? It's like a minimum security prison up in here.

[ASIDE: I finally figured out what my deal is with Orange is the New Black. I do like the show, even though some stupid online Buzzfeed-type quiz told me that I was Pennsitucky, which FUCK YOU, BUZZFEED, MY TEETH ARE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION. Anyway, I like the show. I like the characters - especially the fact that it's solid women's characters not relegated to the background.

What put me off, I realized, was that it was so relentlessly depressing. Nothing good happens. I mean, small good things, but in general? It's all terrible. So I have to ration it out and only watch an episode every several days, until I'm psychically able to deal with the misery.

PS. HOW AWESOME IS THE VEE & TAYSTEE STORYLINE? I'm only like 4 or 5 episodes into the 2nd season, so don't spoil this for me.]

Back to my point, which is that I am lazy and have a poor memory. This means I've not been posting, but I HAVE been writing like a crazy person, which has been fun. And exhausting. But mostly wonderful. I love writing.

I'm also working on my memory, by doing crossword puzzles. That People magazine one is a killer. HAHAHA. Evidently my humor is lacking, too.

Whatever. You wish we were hanging out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You Say It's My Birthday? Yup. It Is.

It's my birthday. You can still give me presents. I'll accept late gifts and cards. I'm generous that way.

I'm 46.

It's pretty awesome to be 46, and not just because I'm closer to getting my AARP card. But also for these 45 other reasons:

1. I truly don't give a shit about pretty much anything.  Well, besides the insane stuff I get panic and anxiety over. But I think that has less to do with age and rational thought and more to do with crazy.

2. I can, after weighing the fact of my lactose intolerance and its attendant painful stomach upset, send my kid WHO CAN DRIVE out to pick me up an ice cream cone and eat it with joy in my heart.

3. I'm ok with seeing matinee movies.

4. I'm also ok with singing my ass off in the car and not giving a fuck who sees me.

5. Actually, I'm actively hoping someone will see me, and then we can have a duet.

6. I unironically consider fruit to be Nature's candy.

7. I assert my need for air conditioning.

8.  I'm unashamed about reading trashy books.

9. I will actually recommend trashy books to people.

10. I will gladly pay a lot of money for the right hair care product.

11.  I like going to the pool, even if it's by myself.

12. I smell AMAZING.

13. I'm ok with not buying or wearing tons of makeup.

14. My old lady hippie shoes are awesome.

15. I buy only the kind of pens I want [fine gel pens] and sometimes let other people use them. Actually, I only let the girl use them.

16. I have friends who treat me kindly.

17. I have family who love me.

18. I'm less apt to talk shit about people on the reg than I used to.

19. I use phrases like "on the reg."

20. I'm a really good flute player.

21. I'm hella talented at cross stitching.

22. I make excellent pasta.

23. I also make the stupidest-delicious chocolate cake, which I only share with people I really like.

24. I will buy myself a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and eat half and not give a shit about the resulting stomach ache.

25. I'm ok with re-watching tv shows and movies that I love.

26. I can be the person I want to be, even if only for a few minutes.

27. I will go to bed at 9:30pm if I am tired.

28. I have gorgeous hair. [See #10.]

29. I finally found mascara that makes my eyelashes look like they exist [Almay - who knew?].

30. I have grown enough as a person to kill a bug [when no one else is around to do it for me].

31. I enjoy quiet times at home.

32. I really enjoy having fun with people - even new people.

33. I own prescription sunglasses.

34. I can calculate a 20% tip in my head.

35. I'm really, really good at giving people mean nicknames.

36.  I can twerk it.

37. I know how to fold a fitted sheet.

38. I'm super calm when the girl is driving.

39. I floss every night.

40. My husband is one lucky bastard.

41. I sometimes let the cats sit on the ottomans, even though they are not allowed to sit on the ottomans [and even though it is my rule].

42. I do an excellent job polishing my nails. Mostly.

43. I can spell really well.

44. I do the New York Times crosswords in ink. Even the Friday ones, which are way harder than the Sunday ones.

45. I have met awesome internet people and they are SPECTACULAR.

46. The whole closer to getting my AARP card thing - they get discounts for EVERYTHING.

Love all you bitches. XOXOXOXO

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sleepytime.

I don't sleep well.

I haven't, for many, many years. Some nights I can fall asleep quickly, but wake up between 4-7 times - generally on the hour - until I finally get up for the day. Some nights I can't fall asleep at all until 3-4-5 am, or I fall asleep and wake up for good at about 3am and then spend then next day LAUGHING AND LAUGHING. [I am a slaphappy tired person.] Every once in a great, great while, I'll sleep like 5 hours in a row and wake up feeling "weird," which I slowly realize is "refreshed."

I finally went for a sleep study. It was . . . eh. You get wired up and are monitored via mic and camera [which is . . . I mean, I'm glad I wore pretty jammies, I guess], and you're there for about 9 hours until you can go home and wash the electrode paste from your head and hair and face and body. The techs were very nice, and I actually slept for a couple of hours at a stretch, which was good, because if I didn't sleep long enough I'd have to go back AGAIN and I'd have to take a sleeping pill, just the thought of which was making me panic, so I had to do deep breathing to calm down, which I think helped me fall asleep.

The best part of the whole things was that for some reason, the toilet paper in my bathroom would not unroll. Seriously. At one point, there were three of us, grown women, who have all used toilet paper before, and have changed rolls before, trying to unlock the roll of toilet paper so I could use more than one square. We finally gave up and one of the nice techs brought me my own roll. I'm still trying to figure out the physics that wedged that roll in there. It will haunt me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-changes.

I've been down lately. There was a bit of time when I was so down I literally could not think of even one small thing that could take away that cloud of self-loathing. It was exhausting and, honestly, a little scary. I thought things that I hadn't thought in a long time - terrible, horrible things about myself and my life.

I'm doing a bit better. I'm letting some things go and really focusing on things I enjoy. I'm swimming and fucking around in the pool a few days a week. I'm working, which is a huge thing for me - when I'm not working, I feel completely fucking useless. I'm also letting up a tiny bit on the rigidity of my scheduled life.

Still, it's taking a while to get to where I want to be, and there are still moments - days, sometimes - where I think, "This is completely fucking useless. Nothing is going to change. My life is terrible, people are terrible, the world is terrible - it's all terrible. Nothing will ever change."

And then, today, while I was fucking around on Tumblr, I ran across this:

From Humans of New York

In case you can't read it, it says:
"Bank robbery was my crime of choice. You know, I hadn’t committed a single crime until the age of 54. But then I robbed my first bank, and after that I went on quite a tear."
I read that, and it made me happy. It gave me hope. It showed me that just because I'm 45, doesn't mean that nothing will ever change. There is the possibility that the new and unexpected will happen.

Sure, that guy's change was robbing banks, but my point is this: I no longer feel like I'm never going to do anything different, that I'll never accomplish anything. This guy's life didn't change until he was 54. It may have changed in a not-so-good direction, but IT CHANGED. That's all I'm looking for - the knowledge that this isn't all there is.

So thanks, Bank Robber, and thanks, Humans of New York, for making me see that there's a world of possibilities waiting for me.