second hand news fiend

I’m not going to apologize to friend or foe
alike for refusing to swallow
the bullshit that’s being fed to me.
I’m not going to pretend to like
the taste in my mouth
As it ruminates on my tongue,
Bat my eyes and smile,
Letting it satiate a sick hunger.

The battles I fight are constant;
the burdens I bear, relentless.
Because there are those who seek truth in place of lies.
And others who can’t tell the difference.

tail between legs

I disquiet more and more men as time goes by;
a sign of how formidable I’ve become, I suppose.
I take it as a compliment.
They’ll stand there,
offended by my assumptions of them,
then with tail between legs,
yet nose held high,
amble on as if I’m the one who’s said
something wrong; done something to display
a grave ignorance or disregard for the
dignity and worth of another human being.

Perhaps I should wear a sign:
Don’t confuse my lightheartedness
with a willingness to laugh at your crude jokes.
Don’t mistake my tendency to want to please
for the ability to understand your need to feel superior.
Don’t forget, my feelings and experiences
as a woman are valid.
Don’t look away
just because the truth is hard to take.

daily intentions

Setting my intention for the day;
what needs do I wish to fulfill?
And how can every action,
every thought,
every word
bring me closer to my center,
bringing me closer to others?

What change can I bring about
in myself
so that my life doesn’t stagnate?
So that I don’t just become
what everyone wants
or expects me to become
but rather,
I come to recognize the divinity
that is my soul?

hera

One starts to realize
the lies
they were told their whole lives.
One starts to wonder
why they aren’t
automatically
given a choice
or allowed a voice.
We’re born as equals,
yet nurtured to hinder
our own growth
for the sake of others;
cast as “mere women”,
we are secretly envied
for our ability
to conceive
and nurture
life
in a way
man
never
can.

Finding Strength and Inspiration In The Life and Words of Leaders Worth Looking Up To

“I know that my country was not made to be a land of hatred.  No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin,  or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”  -Nelson Mandela

Just days after my country honored the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who devoted himself to the abolishment of segregation and discrimination against people of color, we will be handing over the reign of power to a man who would prefer that we go back to those times when “America was great”; that is, when certain people were not regarded as human beings with inalienable rights, but as ‘things’ that could be dishonored and dispelled of.  That includes not only people of color, but anyone who is ‘different’ or unfavored; that is, not white, cisgender male, heterosexual, Christian, American, monetarily well off, and physically able.  Members of society have fought long and hard to force those with privilege to see the humanity in each and every person and therefore, to share what for them has never had to be earned but has merely been freely given.

It is a battle we are still fighting.  And now, with the new presidency, it seems we will have to contest even harder to ensure that the victories hard won by the likes of MLK, Jr. and countless others are not overthrown in the name of hate, fear, and ignorance.  But hear this: hate begets more hate; that is, hateful people do not respond to hate with love.  Hateful people, like the one elected to be Head of State, only respond to hate with more hate.  If those of us on the other side want our values of equal rights and respect to prevail, we must put those ideals into practice even when our adversaries decide to take a dump on them.

If we are to continue along the path of progress, we must ask ourselves: what can this presidency show us?  What can the government teach us about ourselves even when it doesn’t care to represent us or show compassion for its people?   How can we, mere citizens, become leaders of our own lives, our own families, our own communities?  If we cannot depose the regime, perhaps we can affect change on a micro level and thus be the change we wish to see in the world.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”  -Mahatma Gandhi

Sometimes people we don’t agree with can be like a mirror put in front of our faces, forcing us to see what we don’t like about ourselves.  How can we use that reflection to become a stronger, more consolidated nation?  How will we grow to become better having been put through the worst?  Will human kind ever evolve to see only the spirit that unifies us all, making us one; not the skin, or the body parts, or the body type, or the clothes, or the sexual preferences, or the beliefs, or the language, or the money, or the abilities that serve only to make us seem not of the same?

Nelson Mandela began his leadership on a very different path.  Initially, he thought the only way to vanquish the tyranny over his people was to conquer violence with violence.  But after 27 years in prison, Mandela came to the notion that the weapon needed to end the war against South Africans was forgiveness.  And sure enough, a peaceful resolution was finally brought about.  Similarly, as Americans, if we are to win the fight against racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, homophobia, social injustice and discrimination of any kind, we –the people– cannot use the same ammunition employed by the new majority of leaders of this great country.    We must err instead on the side of love, peace, and hope.

At the same time, we must also be courageous and vigorous in the face of bigotry.  We must make our voices heard.  We must stand united against those who try mercilessly to divide us.   We must march in the name of what is right and just.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Man or Woman, how do you measure?  Black, Brown, or White, how do you measure?  Straight, Gay, or anything in between, how do you measure?  Rich, Poor, Young, Old, Able, Disabled, Native, or Immigrant…. how do you measure?  We cannot allow ourselves to become or remain complacent.  The time to act is now.  The place to start… is in your heart.

Bringing In The New Year With Some Good Ol’ Fashioned Cheer

If you love something, set it free. It’s something most of us have heard; this year has taught and reinforced for me many things and that is one of them. A few months ago, I wrote in a poem :

“It isn’t until you’ve been fully rejected that you can begin to fathom the possibility that you might be worthy.”

And ever since then I find that I keep coming back to that idea. Admittedly, sometimes I’ll put something out there without being totally convinced I have it right. Yet the truth–my truth–is that my whole life I’ve wanted to be made to feel by everyone I tried to love that I am worthy of also being loved. And too often I’ve been disappointed.

They say love is blind. But I don’t think it is love that blinds us.  It is need that distorts our thinking and ability to see things for what they are. After finally accepting being rejected by people I care for, I began to feel a sense of liberation. I don’t need anyone to tell me I am worthy. Love–pure love–can only exist where there is no need. My worth is inherent. And anyone who can’t see that is the one who is blind.

This year has been a series of losses, let downs, crises, and failures; full of moments and experiences that made me stop and think and feel quite a bit. I’ve fought, I’ve lost, I’ve moiled, and I’ve mourned. I’ve been challenged in so many unusual ways I never could  have prepared for or expected. I’ve had to let go of the life I envisioned for myself and my family in preparation for a life that was meant to be mine.   I’ve endured rejection and hardship so that I could discover the true meaning of love and freedom.

So many people I know have been going through the same things.   The struggle to accept our lives as they are, without need, without regret… this is one that few fail to fall into.  We all long for something.  We all look in all the wrong places before stumbling onto something right.  We all get desperate when a sense of control is beyond us.  We all want to belong.

But we also have to relinquish whatever it is we cling to if we are ever to experience pure peace. pure bliss. pure love.  We have to remember the light that is inside, even in these darkest of days.  I belong to myself.  And, I belong to something much, much greater than me.  I am a part of it.  You are a part of it.  It unites us in so many mystical and magical ways.

There will always be dark as long as there is light.  2016 was a dark year.  I’m hoping 2017 is accompanied by a lot more light, despite the cards stacked against it.  But I think no matter what challenge lies before us, loving our way through it is the only way to wholly overcome anything.

And so it is, as we reach the brink of both an end and a beginning, that I resolve to love and to let go.  May we all learn to embrace our dark side even as we welcome the light.  May we cherish the winter in spite of its storms while remembering the warmth that is promised.  And to the New Year… Cheers!

Another Underdog Story the World Won’t Get Over

cubs

I am not a Cubs fan, despite residing in their home state all my life.  I’m not even a sports fan.  While I can watch a game and appreciate the strategy and athleticism that goes into it, I can walk away completely detached.  If I were to choose a team to root for, it’s most likely going to be whoever the underdog is in a particular game.  And maybe that’s why the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series has me so choked up.

Because seriously, why am I crying just watching the highlights of Game 7 and hearing the crowd go wild?  I didn’t watch a single game of the World Series or any other game this year for that matter.  Because I DON’T CARE.  But there’s something about their story that has made their victory feel especially meaningful.  There’s also something about a bunch of dudes hugging and loving on each other that, well, tugs at my heart strings.  As a spectator, I can feel what it’s like for them to have failed time and time and time and time again.  And that to me is what makes the reward of their championship title all the more significant even to me, a non-Cubs/sports fan.

All good stories, the ones we internalize and cherish the most, include an underdog.  It seems most people tend to identify with those individuals who have been on the bottom, but after copious defeats and perhaps even because of their recurrent struggle, rose to the top.  And I have to wonder if that would ever be possible if they didn’t have at least someone in their corner who believed in them to cheer them on and defend their honor even when there is no success in sight.

The Cubs team has had a lot of people in their corner for many, many years despite having been on a losing streak for more than a century!  So who would the Cubs be without their devotees?  It is the ultimate test of loyalty when the support one receives is not contingent upon a particular outcome; when the worth and potential of a person or team is never diminished in the eyes of their votaries.

But today, the Cubbies and their tried-and-true fans are feeling vindicated after several decades of being hated on for being the dark horse of baseball.  Today, their story gives hope to all underdogs everywhere that if we believe, we can achieve.