As December has transitioned into January and 2016 has given way to 2017, we not only find ourselves in a new year but a new era. In this new era, a group of people have managed to position themselves in places of power, and the agenda they are forcing through in extremely dodgy, sneaky and downright unethical ways chills the heart of most liberal, moderate, and some conservative citizens in this country.
This is usually the time we bust out pieces of paper and jot up some New Year's Resolutions. The first on the list for most women usually is "lose x amount of weight." Well, bitches, we don't got time for that.
In point of fact, there are many things that we do not have time for. These are things that in order to fit into the ideal mold of feminity in this culture we have struggled with and also many of us have tried and tried to shed, recognizing the waste of energy. This waste of time has used up energy we could've been using to become our best and most powerful selves. And yet, we still fall back to not feeling "good enough" because we can't check the boxes of the Perfect Western Woman. There are also negative attitudes that flourish in our competitive patriarchy that do not foster the culture we need to fight the good fight.
Bitches, we are being called. I give you permission - nay, I ORDER you to let this shit go. As soldiers on the ground in this new era, the only thing that matters is what serves you and your fellow human beings. And it's not how your butt looks in jeans.
Here is the top 5 shit turds we don't got time for.
1. Losing Weight/Being "Pretty". Now is not the time for diminishing ourselves. We need to be LARGER, not SMALLER. The number on your scale is inconsequential. What matters is how strong you are. Can you run away while holding your breath, when they tear gas your march? Can you sit for long periods of time waiting for your local representative to acknowledge your presence and hear your concerns? Can you punch someone in the throat if they threaten you or your children? (Ok I can't do that one either but maybe I should sign up for some local boxing lessons....) Look for opportunities to strengthen your bod, and keep it clean, healthy and happy. That includes eating ice cream or cheese + bread. Also take care of your teeth and eyes. If you do these things, you can give no fucks to anything else: not how young you "should" look, how long and flowing your hair is, or how well you apply your make up. Also, please avoid clothing that constricts or inhibits your ability to breathe or move. Don't got time for that shit.
2. Being Nice. Now, I'm not suggesting you should become mean (remember: when they go low....). However, things like apologizing for your opinions, ending your sentences as a question, "softening" your vocabulary - bitch, we don't got time for this. Speak your truth: calmly, authentically, and as loud and often as you need to.
3. Judging and/or Engaging in Petty Disagreements with Your Fellow Bitches. We are on the same team, bitches. Comparing and competing ain't going to get us where we need to go. Take everyone at face value and for what they bring to the Resistance. Engage in debates on solutions only. And bitch, if you bring up the Bernie/DNC debacle or how your conscience is clear because you voted third party, I don't got time for you.
4. Playing the Martyr. Bitch, you are not that special. Just join your sisters and do your job. We don't got time to feel sorry for you. We have a Resistance to mount and evil to eradicate. Enough with the whining. If you are tired or overwhelmed, take the time or participate in the activities you need to recharge. Ask for help if you need it. We expect you to be fueled and ready to suit up. You trying to do everything alone and burning out, or seeking sympathy and not solutions for your woes, serves no one.
5. Questioning your Value. Are you good enough? Of course you are good enough! Don't use that as an excuse for not stepping up. You will never be ready. You will never know everything there is to know. But are you willing to learn, are you willing to work as a team, are you willing to be your best in each moment? If you are, well then. Bitch, let's get to work.
*Some of you may take exception to the term "bitch". I realize it has been used disparragingly as a term for a woman who is subordinate or submissive to someone else, or as a description of a mean and unpleasant woman. I prefer the definition "female dog" or even "female wolf". You really do not want to mess with the Alpha Female. And that bitch does not have time for no kinds of shit.
I, like many Americans, have been on a rollercoaster of emotion for - ok like a year and a half. But over the past 10 days it has been extreme. Shock, sorrow, fierce anger, hope, motivation, exhaustion. This past week's theme for Illustration Friday was "Aquatic" and this is what appeared in my sketchbook as I attempted to connect to this word. The storms are raging, and I have cried an ocean. But.
I will NOT be wallowing. I am channeling all of these emotions towards positive action. I will no longer be the "slacktivist" I have been in the past, simply casting my vote and thinking that's enough to participate in a Democracy. Full disclosure: I am not one naturally called to Social or Environmental Justice. I have been lazy about matching my actions to my values. But there are times when we are all tapped to step up, and I am answering that call. If there is one powerful thing that is positive in the current state of the United States is this: my eyes are open, I no longer take my rights and privileges for granted, and I will use these things to fight anyone who tries to take it away from me, my family, my community and those who are currently in a much more vulnerable place.
What does this mean in a practical concrete way?
I belong to a private group that is now 3.7 million people strong who are now organizing for change and to resist what is currently happening.
Specifically I now have the phone numbers of my state representatives and Senators so that I may call them DAILY if I have to, to express my strong opinions on things like the appointment of Steve Bannon, a white nationalist who now holds a position in the White House, my feelings of horror over the discussion of a Muslim Registry, and my fierce rage over the suggestion that Roe v. Wade is overturned. Sadly that is just the tip of the iceberg that threatens our great ship. But it's a place to start.
I also will be giving 50-100% of any art sales towards organizations such as the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law, Climate.org, and to people running for office such as Louisiana Democrat Foster Campbell (please go donate right now: if he wins the race this December, the Democrats in Senate will not be as much of a minority ).
I will be emailing Journalists who use words like "Alt Right" instead of "White Nationalist". I will be subscribing to media such as NY Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, and Bitch Media to support the integrity of journalism.
I urge you to, if you are feeling helpless, to find a local group of like minded people to join in the fight. We have much to do now and in preparation for the elections in 2018, and the elections in 2020.
If you are a reader like I am, you may find the book "Hope in the Dark" by activist Rebecca Solnit inspirational and helpful: www.haymarketbooks.org/books/791-hope-in-the-dark
If you enjoy listening to podcasts, NPR TED Radio Hour has an episode called "Democracy On Trial" which I found informative and very hopeful.
Please listen to the call. Do not sit idly by. That is a privilege we cannot enjoy right now.
It's the third morning of our new reality. Like many people I've been gutted by this, and am absolutely terrified. I've been glued to social media and the news, trying to make sense, grieving, and looking for hope. Looking for someone to tell me it's going to be ok.
There ARE some people saying it's going to be ok.
But what I've found is that I cannot - and will not - take comfort, even though I yearn for it.
I've been called.
You've been called.
No one is going to save us. The people who could've been heroes failed us (looking at you, Paul Ryan. You're very pretty but your soul and character need some work. Not to mention your buddies).
I am full of anger for people who definitely share some blame in bringing this situation about. However, quickly we must move past recrimination for it is a waste of our power and energy. This is an emergency of epic proportions, and if we want to make history/herstory proud, we have to move quickly and effectively.
I know many of you probably feel as lost and hopeless as I do, but there are actions to take. We must gather together. We must look to institutions that are already in place with knowledgeable people who have the tools of change. But they need US.
I'm not going to lie to you, I've been perfectly happy being apathetic - or rather, letting people who are called to work for social justice and global change carry the load. I thought things were - ok - or I let myself be asleep about how it wasn't ok. But this election is the 2X4 to the head that is saying it's not ok, it's seriously absolutely not ok, and you don't get to be asleep anymore.
So this is what I am doing. I am researching, reading, talking, gathering and planning. I will figure out what is the best use of my time and money to make sure that what I know is right and good is not destroyed. All my creative efforts going forward I am devoting to making sure the America I was raised to believe in is not destroyed.
And I will share with anyone what I am doing, if you feel like you can't figure out what you can do, or you can share what you are doing too, and together, We Will Rise. We MUST Rise. The time for choices is past: the only choice is LOVE and JUSTICE.
Hey there sports fans! If you read my last post, you know that I have decided to make a piece of artwork from my sketchbook once a week for Illustration Friday, which is a website that challenges artists to create an illustration based on a one word prompt. This week's theme was the word "steam".
So I rolled that around my head, while listening to my multitude of podcasts discussing the state of the nation and politics and what in the heck is happening. So yah, what in the heck IS happening guys? Crazy times.
Actually I'm going to be frank here. Heartbreaking times, really. What has been stirred up this election cycle is nothing short of horrific. I've found myself on an emotional rollercoaster - shocked, scared, sad, and.... MAD.
I'm so MAD. I'm so mad at the irresponsibility of certain people who normalized the hate speech that we are hearing. I am not naive: I know that there is racism and sexism (and insert all the other "ism"s here). But that it is, in a way, being celebrated and exuberantly encouraged by certain people who KNOW they are not telling the truth and KNOW what they are doing.
I'm so so angry. But I guess I'm also thankful, for the scales have fallen from my eyes, and I see where we REALLY are in terms of our evolution. I feel motivated - beyond just voting - to figure out what things I can do (don't know what that is yet but I'll keep you posted) - to make this Nation a better place. To make this world a better place. Because I think that's a pretty great way to live your life.
So yah. "Steam". My character here is both Steampunk, and pretty steamed about stuff.