How I became paralyzed

Are we at the edge of the cliff yet?

I haven’t written a blog post in months.  At first I didn’t know why.  I have time, I have ideas, and a lot has gone on in my life.  So, you ask, where have I been?   My daily life goes on as normal.  I attend to township business, my volunteer and nonprofit work, supporting political causes and candidates, a social life, and the mundane everyday work of cooking, bill paying, laundry, gardening, and the dogs.  But beyond that, I have been paralyzed.  Unable to get beyond the daily grind, to write or think deep thoughts, or even to look beyond tomorrow. Continue reading

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One last snow before the thaw

Tuesday evening we had another snowstorm.  First it snowed, then it stopped.  Then it came down freezing rain, and by Wednesday it was back to snow again.  At the end of it we had a foot of snow.  Everything was covered in a deep blanket of fluffy white stuff.  We stayed home and caught up on email, had a late breakfast, and considered how to catch up on our cancelled meetings and appointments.

Then I started thinking.   What do we do with our time?   Where does it get us?  What is important and what is not? Continue reading

Is it our time . . . yet?

 

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An homage to Rosie the Riveter by artist Abigail Gray Swartz, titled: “The March,” cover of The New Yorker.

The Women’s March on Washington has come and gone, but the commitment remains.  For every woman who marched in Washington or any of the hundreds of other marches that feeling of sisterhood just won’t go away.  We continue to wear our pink hats proudly as a symbol of resistance.  It’s a symbol that says “I am woman” and “take me seriously because I really mean it” and “it’s time for me.”  I think that 2017 just may be the year of the woman.

I”m not really sure why it has taken so long.  We make up more than 50% of the population, we lead companies and families, we wear the uniform and defend our country.  And still the fight continues.  We are underrepresented in Congress, in the boardroom, and continue to be underpaid in sports, the workplace, and elsewhere.  Men just can’t resist mansplaining, protecting, patronizing and putting women in “their place.”  In this time and this place we finally have our chance to be in the front lines.  The time is ours.

I’m not sure that men quite realize this fact.  We continue to see laws being promulgated all over the country to restrict and roll back reproductive rights for women.  It’s an inconvenient fact that women have babies and men do not.  We tend to be smaller and are viewed as quieter and weaker.  Also inconvenient facts.  Women generally do not demand pay raises or apply for jobs for which they are not qualified.  When we fight back or raise our voices we are called shrill or shrews or worse.  Men are tough and strong and assertive.  The same behavior gets a completely different table.  I was in a battle like this this afternoon.  Larry and I went to visit one of our state representatives and when I raised a bill that I did not agree with he began to lecture me, raise his voice, and wondered “how do I not understand this.”

This is the ultimate female conundrum that I have not yet figured out how to resolve.  If you fight back in kind, you fulfill their view of you as a petulant, ignorant, shrew.  If you back down and let them rant, you feel weak and beaten down.  And they know this.  Eventually I just said “we’ll agree to disagree.”  I was beaten down and I was angry.  He went on for another thirty minutes to have a conversation with Larry and never made eye contact with me again.  I was not part of the conversation, I was a minor actor, the little women.

My mother taught me that women  have good manners, know how to dress for every occasion, get a good education, and have household talents like cooking and decorating.  I picked up some of these skills, but others I rejected.  I came of age in the 1970s and 80s when women were learning how to wear pantsuits  and carry briefcases.   Being feminine meant walking a tricky line between being taken seriously as a professional and not appearing to be a man-hater or even worse, like a man.  Mostly it was trial by fire.  And still we fell behind in wages and promotions to senior positions.

So here’s my question:  how do women fight back?  How can we let these neanderthals know that their behavior is unacceptable and downright nasty?   Larry has an answer for this question.  He says don’t get mad, get even.  By this he means that women need to stop complaining and get out there and get in positions of power where we can influence the political scene.  Marching and knitting pink hats is one step in this greater march, but it isn’t enough.  It’s time for women to put their money where their mouth is.  We need to get out of the kitchen and the boardroom and get into the state house and the Congress.  It’s our time to shape our future and finally demand and expect equal treatment.  Are you with me?

On the march on an American island

Our older daughter and a friend at the Women's March on Washington in D.C.

Our older daughter and a friend at the Women’s March on Washington in D.C.

Larry and I got back from vacation a few days ago.  While we are still recovering from jet lag, we jumped back into our lives.  The dogs need to be walked, and laundry awaits.  As I listen to the wind outside and watch the temperature drop, I remember the warm breezes of the Big Island of Hawai’i.  This was our first time in Hawai’i and we decided to get a bit off the beaten path.   No beaches for us.  On the Big Island we were greeted by highly changeable weather and micro-climates, and found common ground with the people we met, both tourists and residents.  The population is diverse.   Native Hawaiians live beside mainland transplants looking for warmer climes, descendants of Chinese and Japanese immigrants, and every other race and creed.   We learned that Hawaiians are not shy about expressing their opinions.  They were enthusiastic participants in the Women’s March on Washington in Kona.  I think this may have been the last Women’s March in the world.  We joined in, and my pussyhat came along for the ride. Continue reading