Breaking

To Whom It May Concern:

 

I am an ordinary person. My ego is average (or at least I like to think so). My intelligence is average as well. I am terribly creative, and I own that. Even though I operate this sporadic blog, I do not over-seek fame or recognition, which I also have to own, as that has often led to the stagnation of my career and ambitions. I share all of this so that it is understood where I’m coming from. I’m just a girl.

 

My country is breaking. It is being destroyed from without and from within, by ugly ignorance and by ugly individuals. All the perpetrators of injury to America are wrong, but our elected officials who choose to damage our country are the worst. There is no excuse for their continued behavior and they should absolutely be held accountable and in certain cases, prosecuted.

 

In 1968, president-elect Nixon committed treason, but his actions were hidden and he was never charged for that crime. (Look it up – dag.) Now, 50 years later, we find ourselves with another treasonous president at the helm. Too many of our elected officials have jettisoned morals, values and reason in exchange for god knows what from this president. Looking at the downward spiral of my country, it would seem we are incapable of learning from our past. I fear we are doomed to make the same if not worse mistakes. I am more than sad and I am also terrified.

 

I am inspired by the Womens March and its efforts. I am inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. I believe in peaceful protest and efforts toward decency. In short, I believe in decency. I actually believe there are more decent people in America than not. But if they’re anything like me, they don’t know what to do right now. They don’t have a clue how to help move the United States away from hate and ignorance, and toward love and kindness. Those words are incredibly simple, I know. But they’re good words. They matter. Or at least they should.

 

On inauguration day in January of 2017, I began wearing a black armband. I did this because I was in mourning for my country. With only a handful of exceptions, I wore it all year. During the last few weeks of 2017, I put the armband aside. I had begun to feel that the act of wearing it was casting a shadow over me. That my mourning was adding to the depression I had felt since the previous presidential election. Depression is hard to carry. It’s dark and it’s unhealthy. If taking off my armband might ease my depression, I was willing to take it off.

 

Now it’s February 2018. The depression hasn’t lifted and I’m quite certain the source is the horribly ugly person occupying the White House, along with the shameful people who choose to do his bidding. The willful ignorance expressed by the most vocal among us is incomprehensible. What’s more, it is un-American to my thinking. So-called party loyalty that outweighs all else deserves no respect. Having lost respect for many people has also added to my depression. Some of those individuals show no signs of willingness to reclaim their decency. That’s heartbreaking.

 

All of this leads me here, to writing you. I don’t know your name. I have likely never met you. But I am asking you to dig deep and lead us. Us – the good, decent people of America. We need guidance, we need a plan. We need someone to show us how to peacefully move our country out of ignorance. We need someone to provide us with practical ideas for action. A yearly march is wonderful. Kneeling during anthems that don’t represent all of us is brave and patriotic. I’m all for these things. But what about every day? How can I show my disdain for this administration while supporting my country’s potential for decency? How do I function in my day-to-day life while making it clear that my moral compass is functioning fully?

 

The armband counts, but I know exactly two people with those, and one of them is me. My mind goes back to the suffragists and their wearing white. I know I could make this choice, but I’d also have to spend money to update my wardrobe. That isn’t exactly practical. I’m asking you to come up with something – anything – that I and others can do to show who we are, to each other and to the world.

 

I know I’m not making a lot of sense here. I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never been an adult during a leadership crisis of this magnitude. I’ve never witnessed such heinous people tearing apart my country. I am at a loss. I can do my part, but I’m not the gal to lead us through and out of this, before it’s too late. I’m hoping, praying, for the right person (or persons) to step forward and guide us. Through love. Through peace. Through integrity.

 

For now, the black armband is coming back. It is still a representation of mourning. But now, for me, it is more. It is a show of my defiance of the chosen hatred of the few. It is a sign of love and respect for the good America can be, even if we’re wandering in the dark right now. I’m going to wear it, even if some don’t like it.

 

So – dear person – I’m waiting for you. I’m hoping for you. I need you. America needs you. The world needs you.

 

Thank you.

 

Mikki

Just a Girl

So. Alabama. (This is a Rant and a half, y’all.)

 

The South

 

When I think about all that’s going on in the world, there’s too much ugliness for focus. Sadly, I could rattle off about a jillion topics, but the standouts at the moment – in my mind – are these: the swirl of activity around hate is seemingly endless; sexual harassers and predators, who have existed for all time, are clueless regarding just about every little thing under the sun; and the racists of the world are too stupid to recognize their rightful place – beneath rocks.

 

On the hate front, religious hate definitely pops up. It seems that a lot of hate stems from anything different from ourselves. For some reason, we are particularly unhappy when others don’t bow to our own deities. Honestly – I don’t know why we give a rat’s ass why someone aligns with religions different from our own. As long as folks are good and decent, why should their worship matter? I won’t lie – I do know a couple of judgey Christians and they’re no picnic. In a single breath, they will gladly tell you what they believe Jesus would do, then proceed to say something vile and decidedly un-Christian-like without so much as the batting of a holy eyelash. I occasionally have to deal with these folks, so deal I do. In direct contrast to them, when I’m around good decent Christians, it’s a friggin’ delight. Recently my sweet friend Gwendlyn said she was feeling overwhelmed by the way so-called Christians are perverting her faith. I suggested that if Jesus does ever decide to come back to this planet and chooses to land in the U-S-of-A, he’d best make his appearance in California, as it might be the only safe place for him. If Jesus popped up in some parts of the country, while wearing his half-dress/half-robe and sandals, I’m pretty sure some gun-totin’, Republican, self-proclaimed holier-than-thou Christian would bust a cap in Jesus’ ass. I’m also pretty sure the shooter would fire in the name of – you guessed it – Jesus. The dead guy in the street.

 

Hate isn’t limited to religious differences, though, so a plethora of others receive a ton of disdain on a regular basis, too. I find I’m at a loss on this front also. I mean, how is homosexuality a threat to my marriage? The answer is – it isn’t! Never has been, never will be. I see you, wide-stance politicians who protest the loudest in public, while getting a little too close to young same-sex colleagues in private. And please remember, most of us have eyes. We all see you.

 

When it comes to the subject of sexual harassment and assault, I am completely biased. Not only because of my own experience as a female, but also because of the experiences of every single female I know (and of course – the ugliness isn’t limited to female victims). I could write a book of #MeToo horrors, and that’s just one gal’s experiences. The ridiculousness of what we live through every single day is appalling. Truth is, I don’t know how some of my friends and acquaintances have managed to live through all of it. I really don’t. And I say that as a victim of assault. So yes – I’m outraged. But I’m also incredibly proud of all the women (and men) who are coming forward with their life stories. I admire them and I support them. And if I hear one more asshole say something about getting past all this, because he’s sick of hearing about it, I may have a conniption. Newsflash, motherfuckers – there is no getting past it. Predators are too stupid to evolve into decent people, and we seem to have a steady stream of idiots in our midst. Hell – we in America have installed a predator-in-chief! I can hardly believe it, but we did. And I will never understand how parents bring themselves to support a predator in office, or anywhere, and still have the audacity to consider themselves decent to their children. I don’t get it. (And please don’t try to defend yourself to me if you’re one of these lost souls. Just unsubscribe. Um-kay?)

 

No, I don’t worry about how long the calling-out of sexual harassers and predators will go on. I’m more concerned about it stopping too soon. It needs to continue, to keep going. Sadly, it will take more years than I have left to live, in order to see real change. That breaks my heart, and yet I still support every victim who finds her (or his) voice. One final thought on this. If you’re the type of male who believes females are the weaker sex, you may want to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Women put up with more shit in a single day than most of you could handle in a decade. Weaker sex, my ass.

 

I also have a few thoughts about racists and they’re not good thoughts. But before I share them, I want to remind some of you that my exposure to racism is vast. My Georgia childhood was a master class in how to be a dumb-fuck racist. Here’s another newsflash: I failed. Despite being raised in a house where I was regularly told my skin color made me better than others, the outside world told a different and wonderful story. I was ten years old when I fully realized, all by myself, that I wasn’t any better than people of color. I was an observant little kid – and a straight-A student – and I decided to share my newfound knowledge with my family. For I was a giver, don’t you know. That big moment found me at the table for supper, announcing, “I don’t think there’s any difference between white people and black people. My friend Leslie, who’s in my same grade, is just as smart as me and she’s nice and pretty, too.” I was immediately slapped across the face by my father. He told me I better not ever say things like that again, and that I was wrong and if I knew what was good for me, I’d shut up. Well I did have some idea what was good for me, so I did indeed shut up.

 

But I knew more. I don’t know how, but I did. I knew I had been right in thinking Leslie was my equal. Hell – she may have been smarter. She was certainly prettier. To this day, I don’t know why I knew my father was wrong. I just did. I had found truth. And if I had to keep my mouth shut about it, in order to protect myself from physical harm in my own home, then that’s what I would do. But that demanded silence didn’t change anything. For I knew – in my heart – that I was right.

 

Here’s the thing, and this is mainly for you closet racists. If you stand on a corner and announce that you don’t believe a suppressed and persecuted group of people has any damned reason to complain about the state of their lives, you simply cannot feign surprise when other people, who consistently make the same announcement, decide to support you for your speechifying. In other words - if you stand with white supremacists, you don’t get to be upset when they stand with you. In announcing your racism (whether it be overt or closeted), you basically gave yourself a debutante ball and invited your fellow racists to attend. And that’s on you, every single time. It doesn’t matter how you all got to your privileged perches. You’re there now and the view is the same. And it ain’t good.

 

And that’s the problem, y’all. I and about a jillion others know nothing but white privilege. That’s not our fault, per se, as our skin color is just our skin color. It shouldn’t mean anything, because it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just part of how we look. But, and I’m being honest here, it’s all I know. Being white is my only experience. I can do my best to empathize and I can do my best to understand, but I will never ever know what it’s like to go through this world as a person of color. I have no idea what it’s like to be judged adversely for my skin. No one had to teach me how to behave if I ever found myself face-to-face with a law officer aiming a gun at me. Do you know how many parents are mortified that their children will be lost forever just because of their skin color? I didn’t have that hanging over my head when I was a kid. Still don’t. I can’t imagine what that must be like for the kids, any more than I can imagine what it’s like for their parents. It’s terrifying. And ridiculous. And utterly stupid. But that’s what racism is, folks. Utterly stupid.

 

And for my white peers who still think Black Lives Matter is a crock, I feel sorry for you. You’re so ignorant you can’t even see how ignorant you are. Or maybe you’re too superior to admit you’re wrong. Or maybe you’re both of those things, along with a slurry of other ugly isms. That’s all pretty pitiful.

 

I was reading an article about a new book by John Hodgman. In the piece, this excerpt from the interview with the author is quoted: ”Why did it take me till my 40s to understand that the biggest privilege of white privilege is the ability to turn off race and pretend that it is not an issue?” At least Hodgman got there, even if it was in his 40s. Too many of us haven’t gotten there yet. And god help us, too many of us never will.

 

All of this brings me to now. So. Alabama. The big news of yesterday was the turnout of good, decent people in the 22nd state of this country. The majority of voters declared their kith and kin as being off-limits to known predators (and unknown, too, I pray). The good folks told their daughters (and sons) that they will believe them, should they ever need help. They told their kids that they won’t look away from their young souls, and that their kids can count on them. Those voters made it clear that a modicum of decency is required to occupy their highest offices. And that hopeful businesses are welcome to set up shop in the state. Yesterday, Alabama was dangerously close to extinguishing its light, but it didn’t. Goodness prevailed. Thank all the gods for that, y’all. And heaven help us, may goodness continue to rise up and prevail, everywhere. Amen.

Bitch, It’s Saturday!

 

 

It’s been one full week since the world (the whole beautiful, fucking world, I might add) marched in support of decency. The world also marched in protest of indecency. And though there are more of us (the decent) than there are of them (the indecent), there’s still too much ugliness. My tribe will continue to combat this, though. We have to. But I digress.

 

After last week’s stunning democratic displays, I read something about a scene that occurred during the march in D.C. It’s short, so please click here and check it out. I’ll wait for you. After reading the piece, I’ve not been able to get it out of my head. “Bitch, it’s Saturday” pops up several times a day, sometimes appropriately, sometimes not.

 

And I’ve decided that if I should ever be stricken with Hodor disease (if you don’t watch “Game of Thrones”, I can’t briefly explain that one to you. Sorry.), I’d like my version to be Bitch-It’s-Saturday disease. Someone asks what day it is? Bitch, it’s Saturday. Someone cuts me off in traffic? Bitch, it’s Saturday. I’m exhausted and finally able to put head to pillow? Bitch, it’s Saturday. I’m pretty sure I could use that phrase in just about any situation. Might not be the perfect words to say, but I can imagine them fitting through laughter and tears. Mostly laughter. Just typing up this post has brought me more glee than you can imagine. To that I say, Bitch, it’s Saturday.

My Tribe

 

 

So.

 

I haven’t so much as looked at this blog since the morning after the U.S. election. Which sucked, by the way, as my country decided to pursue hate, fear and ignorance. Officially. (Couldn’t you have kept that shit tamped down in your own home, for cry-eye? Did you have to display it right out in the open?) Since that awful election, I’ve been hiding. But I can’t hide from me, or my life. And though I am still mostly refraining from hanging around people, as the depression I carry will likely be with me a while, I do need to be around me. And my tribe.

 

My tribe is comprised of legitimately hopeful souls. They don’t live their lives in fear and they absolutely do not judge anyone for bullshit reasons (think religion, sexuality, skin color). My tribe definitely consists of educated people. But not all of us hold advanced degrees. For example, one outstanding member of my tribe only made it through sixth grade, and I defy anyone who would call her “elite.” My tribe of like-hearted souls do things for others on a regular basis, but you’d never know it, as they aren’t seeking a tax write-off or a plaque for their walls. No – these folks are just decent for the sake of decency. I thank God for them and I love them.

 

The rest of the mo-fos, on the other hand, are most certainly not in my tribe. They are terrified of the world and for some incomprehensible reason, falsehoods are their bread and butter. If it isn’t spewed on Fox news, they don’t believe it. (And when it is spewed by disreputable sources, they believe the bullshit blindly.) They claim to be disciples of Christ, even as their actions surely lead God to weep. They wear hypocrisy like a comfortable, old sweater. And I’ve gotta tell you – that style isn’t doing anybody any favors. Their snide, racist comments are unwelcome and ugly. Their holier-than-thou judgment of anyone different is just plain ignorant. And frankly, to put all this in terms they can understand, ugly is as ugly does. Their ugly behavior is aging them, and not in an attractive way.

 

Because I haven’t been able to snap out of the dark abyss I’ve fallen into (since the election), I’ve been turning to trusted writers and sages, trying to glean some wisdom or a bit of guidance. A few have mentioned drinking more (which I’m doing, thank-you-very-much) and some have mentioned the wisdom of those who’ve gone before. Which brings me to back to Jesus. I don’t give a rat’s ass about political party affiliations, but I’m pretty damned sure that if Jesus hitched a ride to America, he would not be hanging with conservatives. Because let’s be honest, there isn’t a damned Republican who’d invite him in, as he would probably look like an umkempt hippy. Let’s also not forget that Jesus was a Jew, and probably had olive skin and dark eyes, you judgmental crackers. And if Jesus had the audacity to speak of helping others and giving for Christ-sake, he’d be beaten up by a Drumpf supporter before he could show his ID. I bet that if Jesus had the gift of hind-sight, he’d ask for a holy do-over. I mean it. I can see it – Jesus saying, “I know I said all that stuff about turning the other cheek and loving thy neighbor as thyself, blah-blah-blah, but I’m pretty sure that if I don’t keep an eye on you, you motherfuckers are gonna crucify me. So I’m gonna head on out with my posse, turn some water into sweet-ass wine and call it a day. Take it sleazy. Christ out.” I am, as you might imagine, not an authority on all things Jesus. But he was supposed to be a pretty cool dude, so I stand by this idea. And even though I’m not on team Christian, I’m also pretty sure Jesus is down with my views on this. Or at the very least, entertained.

 

I don’t know what to tell ya. As grateful as I am for my tribe, I still have to live with the rest of the country. Hell – I’m related to a lot of the rest. And the truth is – I just don’t have a lot in common with the rest. I don’t believe in rounding up immigrants. I know who harvests and processes my food, and as I like to eat, I appreciate the immigrants who do the shit jobs in America. The ones who wash dishes. The ones working in awful conditions at the meat-packing plants. I don’t believe in some bullshit about certain rights being reserved for only some. I have gay relatives and friends. Of course they should be able to marry, or rent an apartment, or get a damned job. I don’t believe racism is an option. I have relatives and friends of every skin color. Judging people based on ethnicity doesn’t make them any less human. But it does make the ones doing the judging look like ignorant assholes. Because they are. And don’t even get me started on sexual assault and women’s rights, because I am seriously on the verge of breaking my foot off up in someone’s ass the next time some old white dude tries to tell me anything about my body. You motherfuckers.

 

Which brings me to this: it may be time for us to part ways. You may be terribly offended by some or all of what I’ve written here. That is your right and I respect that. (It’s America, remember? You get to choose.) So please – unsubscribe. Forget you ever knew me. We simply may not be members of the same tribe. Go hang with cohorts who share your views. Live your life. Over there.

 

I’ll be over here, with my tribe. We’re a busy group. We’ve got homeless to feed and shelter. We’re taking care of women who’ve escaped abusive relationships. We’re trying to make sure poor children get basic medical care. We’re teaching English to eager newcomers. We’re building houses for folks whose best hasn’t quite afforded them the opportunity of their own homes. We’re trying to stop bullying in schools, even though it has been stationed in the highest office of the land. My tribe is a good group. Just thinking about them brings me calmness and strength. And gratitude, as they are truly the best this country has to offer.

 

So yes – please unsubscribe if you’d like. Please. Tell yourself you’re not a racist, even as you forward ugly, obnoxious memes. Tell yourself you’re a good, loving parent, even as you stand up for a sexual predator. Tell yourself you’re a good person who supports folks with disabilities, even as you stand up for a bully who openly mocks the disabled. Tell yourself you’re a worthy, humane being, even as you shelve your basic morals and ethics to stand up for and support a terribly indecent person. Tell yourself whatever you need to so that you can sleep at night. And unsubscribe.

 

For the rest of you choosing to stay? My tribe? I’m back, y’all. And the gloves are off.

Nice is Good!

 

 

A friend has been working on a project with Melissa McCarthy, the actress. My friend texted me the other day to tell me how sincerely nice Ms. McCarthy is, as my friend knows I’m a fan. That was the gist of our exchange – short and sweet.

 

What I liked about learning that is this: I see successful people (from afar) all the danged time and I never know anything about the decency of their souls. I often find myself hoping folks are nice, especially when I appreciate their work, but as I will likely never, never, ever meet any of those people, I can’t know for sure. That’s the nature of celebrity-dom us-and-them. We think we know someone, but we don’t. Not really.

 

When my friend told me how awesome Melissa McCarthy is, I was happy. It’s great when someone you admire is actually nice. And nice is good, y’all! For reals!

Good People

 

 

Yesterday I crossed paths with 3 folks who – upon first glance – seemed like a lovely family, out for some chili and sight-seeing. Looks can be deceiving, however, and my assumptions couldn’t have been more wrong.

 

The older lady wasn’t feeling well. She had been riding in the back seat, all the way from San Bernardino to Burbank and had gotten carsick. The middle-aged couple, who’d been sitting in the car’s front seats, were tending to her while waiting for the joint to open. I met them in the parking lot and tried to help. I offered my arm to the older lady and we slowly made our way inside. I got some ice and put it in a plastic bag, wrapped that in napkins and gave it to her for the back of her neck. She said it was helping her to cool down, and she sat quietly, sipping lemonade for her rumbly tumbly.

 

While she recovered from her carsickness, I talked with the middle-aged couple. They were all on a day-trip, on a quest for Chili John’s chili and then off to see the Space Shuttle. I thought they were a nice family. Only they weren’t. Family, I mean. I learned that the middle-aged lady was the older lady’s mail carrier (and has been for years). The older lady – with the exception of short bus trips to the bank and to the market – hasn’t left her home for nearly 30 years. Having no family or relatives nearby, she spends most of her time alone. Her mail carrier thought the older lady could use a nice outing, so she arranged the day’s activities and her husband agreed to go along.

 

When the middle-aged lady shared this with me, my eyes filled with tears. I looked at her and said their lunch was on me, because I so appreciated what she was doing. I told her she was the epitome of what we’re supposed to be in this world: good human beings. Here she was, taking care of someone (her customer, basically), for no other reason than it being the right thing to do. I don’t mind telling you – she welled up a bit herself. And all 3 of them thanked me for the gesture.

 

There was more conversation and laughter, and after a while the older lady seemed to be feeling much better. The 3 of them said their good-byes and went back out into the bright, warm day, ready to travel on to their next destination. I watched them go with appreciation and a full heart.

 

Sometimes I get wrapped up in trying to figure out how to be a better me, a better person. Yesterday I was privileged to simply witness someone else being a better person. I was truly inspired, and tremendously grateful. Those good people made my day.

 

If I get a chance to pay it forward today, I hope I’m present enough to take it. And if I am blessed enough to merely witness someone else paying it forward, well, I will be one lucky girl. One lucky girl, indeed.