Take Action, Keep Sane, Make a Difference

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I am dedicating this post to my late mother, Pat, who would have turned 79 today. She remains with us still.

12 days feels like 12 years. Is this what it’s like to be in a boxing ring getting pummeled by your opponent?  The daily news is like getting a dose of bad tasting medicine- except the symptoms of my illness are getting no relief. I was telling my husband on Monday that the feelings that I am currently experiencing are similar to the ones from a decade ago. The agony of my divorce and its aftermath played out in all kinds of excruciating ways over the course of four years. Sound familiar?

Then I remember that I survived and thrived because of my relentless vigilance in the face of overwhelming odds. I didn’t let the bastard break me and I am not about to let this one either! I spent Sunday calling Senators voicing my concern and opposition to the Previcater-in-Chief’s Cabinet nominees and his outrageous Executive Orders.  I signed up for an event sponsored by our local League of Women Voters. Tuesday came. I talked with Emily who was hosting an action group with others up north. On Thursday she gave me ideas of how I can be effective efficiently. It was a God send.

It is difficult for me not to feel a sense of urgency. In my conversation with Jenn Wednesday, we shared our frustrations about our nation’s situation as well as our irritation with others who aren’t taking action.  The truth is,  we can’t expect everyone to jump in immediately- it doesn’t meant they are apathetic. In fact, they may be doing things to hold us up. Laura spends time meditating and praying for guidance from the Divine Mother. My husband gives me a soft place to land, a listening ear and delicious meals. He reminds me that I need to continue to live my life, to take time and be still, and that joy still exists along with the laundry!  I continue to remain grateful for my work as an educator. I make a difference every minute of every day in the lives of young people. They are the starfish stuck in the sand. And we adult citizens are too. The beach is filled with miles of us. Still, we must continue this long journey together. We will despair and be tempted to surrender. We must be patient and prudent. If we take care of one starfish at a time, we can prevail.

 You may ask what can I do that will have an impact? The simplest means is making a phone call to your local representative and/or Senator. This has been made so much easier by the blessed organizers out there. Here are some sites that will help you decide what you can do (with thanks to Emily!): 

Remember: the forces of evil will attempt to overwhelm us at every turn. We cannot let them win. We cannot be silent any longer.

Miss Liberty is Weeping

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Image courtesy of: AmericanIconsTemple – WordPress.com

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Can you hear them?

The thundering hooves of delusional despots

Faces with painted smiles

in a heated hunt

like hounds headed for their prey

Hell-bent on holding down the humble

Heaving them into hovels to hide-away  

Can you see them?

The circling sharks, self-serving, selling and seducing second-rate safety

Can you smell them?

The pussy-footed pustules and pompous panderers promising protection

Make no mistake, the nation will not be “ours” again

 No return to “greatness” or “glory”  

The tide is turning

The disenfranchised

The degraded

Thrown into a rip current

to be drowned


and dismissed

While those with the skin of the founding fathers

All mighty and white

Fracture the freedoms of  females

and others lacking fair faces

We are not mere birth vessels

Your slaves and servants once and again 

We cry for our beloved country

We are gutted but not defeated

Freedom of Movement

                                          Image: www.suggestkeyword.com

In my long running career, I have often been asked why I run. Or, are you training for something? ? Do you have goals? The answers have varied depending upon my age. In my teens, I was competitive. Therefore, I was ALWAYS training for races. In my twenties, I was either rebellious (refusing to run) or so injured it was impossible at times to even walk. In my thirties, I ran to get back in shape after my second son was born. In my forties, I was running to stay sane, struggling to function in a disintegrating marriage and an ugly divorce. I reached fifty. Free and forging new paths in my life and setting new goals that included competition once again, though never nearly matching the intensity of my teen years.

When I lived in New England, much of  my running took place in the early hours of the day, often in that space when it seemed darkest, minutes before sunrise. I would rarely see a fellow harrier. I didn’t mind and I always felt and was safe. These days, my route is different. We live on a  city park that abuts a bike and running trail.


But sometimes I take the short drive to the beach and run with just the sound of the Gulf surf and forgiving sand.


I run as early as I am able to safely do so. No dark starts here for a lone female. However, there are benefits to these delays. I see many more runners, walkers and cyclists. And the more I’m out on the trail, the more regulars I see. For a small town New England chick, it brings a sense of comfort as I continue to adjust to a more densely populated area.

And there’s a terrific variety of fleet footers out there as well. All doing their part to stay in shape, work on their goals and maybe even achieve a little peace of mind. One of my favorite groups to observe is the FAB 50 women who run on Saturday mornings. All shapes, sizes and ages out there working really hard while clearly enjoying the camaraderie. Whenever I see them, I am always brought back to the times when the sport was closed off to women. (Heck, I remember when many sports were non-existent for women!)  I know and understand the history behind the fight to participate in and create sports for girls and women and I appreciate the battles won, even more so as I get older. If it weren’t for the efforts of those unnamed many, none of us would be enjoying the right to discover and uncover parts of ourselves that we never knew existed.

Image: 9gag.com

It would be easy for me to write a political opinion or cite the landmark court cases and laws that allow me and other females to throw on our running shoes and shorts, enter races and compete against men, each other and ourselves. Simply put, this right to participate happened as a result of long struggles and hard won legal battles that in some instances seem to have little to do with running. But every single one of them is connected to each other and the present day independence from which women and girls continue to benefit.

Running gives a woman positive bodily integrity.  The sheer act of it is an example of how women should not be controlled by restrictive laws or narrow thinking that seeks to put us in our place or shames us into choices that someone else is making for us and our lives. Running restores broken spirits. Running returns control of one’s own life to the person it matters to the most-HERSELF.

So why do I run? I run to stay EMPOWERED. My goals? To remain a FREE and SELF-DETERMINED WOMAN. And what am I training for? MY LIFE.

This post has been churning for a while. The final push came after listening to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air interview with Gloria Steinem (ww.npr.org/2015/10/31/453029648/fresh-air-weekend-gloria-steinem-the-witches-carrie-brownstein), a heroine of mine since I was a teenage girl in the 1970’s. 

Where’s My Space?

“Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must  harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

The other night I was listening to one of my favorite Pandora Radio stations when an advertisement broke in for an apartment rental search company. The selling point for the ad was that a couple’s search for an apartment together was successful because it had a “man cave for him and plenty of closet space for her.”  I had to stop what I was doing because of its two implied messages. Women need closet space? Men need a “cave”  in order to retreat from their partners and/or children? The ad reeks of sexism and notions of a privileged class. It assumes that women have an overabundance of clothes and shoes and need substantial storage for them, and only men are entitled to an extra room just for themselves.

I don’t know about you, but I have one closet that houses all of my clothes and shoes for every season. When I was married, I shared that closet only by storing my out- of- season clothes in a makeshift hanging area in the basement.  That very same area also housed the family’s cold/wet weather gear. (My home has no closet space on the first floor so when colder weather does arrive, we hang our coats in the mudroom.)  All of my other clothing items are stored in a dresser or in a plastic container under the bed. I believe that this is quite efficient, practical and frugal considering the fact that I am a runner and yogi in a four season climate. Would closet space be a possible selling point for me if I moved to a new home? Sure!  But not because I am a female in search of wardrobe storage!  Seriously, 3 closets for 3 people ( 2 are male) is quite a tight arrangement.

The need for a man cave is a 21st century idea born of the sexist belief that women control all household matters-cooking, cleaning and decorating- and enjoy those responsibilities. Hence, because men now must also be more “sensitive”, it has resulted in their emasculation. They need a space to freely express themselves. Further, this concept presumes that all men are alike-they yearn for a place to hang their deer heads, NASCAR posters and read pornography. It has become so commonplace globally that Ikea opened a store in Melbourne, Australia with a “manland”.  The space was created so that men who didn’t  want to join their partners in shopping could have a place to relax and enjoy themselves in a “manly way”.  There are now man cave websites dedicated to decorating ideas and contests for the best caves, among other things.

The truth is that they are few of us in this world who have the square footage to enjoy a room of our own. Heck, I write this blog from my kitchen table because my desk shares space with the living area!  If someone is watching TV or the boys have company, the only other choice is my bed. And besides, the kitchen table is less crowded than my desk is! Additionally, my yoga mat is on the rug in front of the desk and my strength training equipment shares space with my washing machine, furnace and other basement storage items. We are squeezed but it seems to work.

For most of us living communally is an economic reality- we need help with the rent or mortgage. For others it is a lifestyle choice: marriage, children or one half of a couple. I think the trick is to find a way to have your creative “space” and share it within this realm. Didn’t we learn this in Kindergarten?

I have no doubt that I aspire to a clean and orderly home that is decorated as an aesthetic expression of my life and identity. However, this is not because I am female!  I am the homeowner; I have pride of place just like everyone else.

Truthfully, I have never given a thought to designing a room of my own. Maybe I need to engage in some fantastical thinking. And so do you! When my dream space is complete, I’ll share it with you and invite you to do the same.

Enjoy the reverie!