Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Second Agreement



Some years ago, I read a brief and wonderful book called The Four Agreements.


The four agreements, made even shorter, are these:


Be Impeccable With Your Words
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best


**
This week, I started reading To Kill A Mockingbird. 


A conversation between 8 year old sister Scout and 12 year old brother Jem:


"Scout, don't let Aunty aggravate you."


It seemed only yesterday that he was telling me not to aggravate Aunty.


"You know she's not used to girls," Jem said, "leastways, not girls like you.  She's trying to make you a lady.  Can't you take up sewin' or somethin'?"

"Hell no.  She doesn't like me, that's all there is to it, and I don't care."


She may not be impeccable with her words, but Scout lives by the 2nd Agreement. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Only Baby Book You'll Ever Need

My little sister is going to have a baby any minute


She has brought 2 lovely little people into the world, and she has high hopes for this 3rd little person. 
Rather, one high hope: that this little person will sleep. 


In honor of the fact that at a certain point of parenthood, you throw the book against the wall (if you are reading a parenting book)  (mine was the one that had sleep schedules and the acronym EASY, which stood for Eat, Activity, Sleep, and I forget what the Y stood for...yurts, or yaks, or Yemen or Yugoslavia or something), I am posting this fascinating little opinion piece titled


The Only Baby Book You'll Ever Need, by Michael Erard


Just because.  Read it.  You'll see what I mean.


 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Trust your self.

I once opened a fortune cookie that read:
You should listen to yourself more often.
I hung it on my fridge with a piece of Scotch tape.


I see it still, and sometimes wonder: How different would this world be if women did this, instead of listening to those who demand trust, instead of earning it?




Cindra Ladd writes here and proves it is never too late to speak  your truth. 


If history teaches anything it is that truth can come in bits and pieces.  Or sometimes, a landslide.


So why speak out at all and why now? The simple answer is that it's the right thing to do. The truth deserves to be known.  
We are only as sick as the secrets we keep. Once those secrets are spoken aloud, even if to just one person, they lose their power.
Thank you, Cindra Ladd.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV.



Why aren’t people listening to these women? Is it because most of this allegedly happened so long ago? Is it because some of them went into Cosby’s hotel room alone? Is it because there are no polaroids? Is it because he’s so famous? Or is it just because they’re women?


---Larry Wilmore




When it came to light that actor Stephen Collins had sexually abused three girls, some of the commentary sounded like this, "But I loved him!" 
Meaning, I loved the character he played on TV
On TV, he was a minister.
And a father of 7 children.


I attributed some of the initial shock at the Cosby allegations to the fact that we loved him. 
Meaning, Heathcliff Huxstable. 
Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable: devoted husband, father of 5, funny face maker.


Beyond Heathcliff, we loved Cosby, or the man he played in life: charitable, comedic.


There can be such kickback when we don't want to acknowledge  what I will label "difficult stories" presented to us, especially when they challenge an already formed loyalty.


As these stories continue, it doesn't appear that we are as attached to the TV personas as much as to the need to have 300 confirmed victims, a semen stained dress, a time limitation on when this this could have taken place, eye witness accounts, and a description of what she was wearing.


May we listen as these difficult stories come forth, and remember how very hard it is for someone to speak about something for which they know they will be further attacked and discredited. 


This is why it has taken so long.
This is why there are so many.  Women are finding strength, years later, in finding that they are not the only one.


Can you imagine being a lone voice saying, I have something to say about the man you adore and revere. 


Good luck to that lone voice.


We still confuse power with greatness, and persona with goodness.  They are not the same. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

From a Source You Can Trust



“I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe women.  You to go Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man.   Here you need 25.”


---Jay Leno on the accusations against Bill Cosby



Monday, January 19, 2015

The Dream, The Nightmare

Listening to recorded speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., alongside interviews from those closest to him, I notice something:


his utter discouragement. 


Somehow, when I have read about him, I have formed in my mind a figure so strong and so invulnerable to the forces that he had to move against in order to speak a truth that needed to be heard.


We honor him fully today, but he was not supported in his time, and over time, this led him to doubt. 


He did not doubt the truth that he spoke.


But he had times that he doubted what use it was.


What use to speak the truth, and have it fall on deaf ears?


What use to live by truth, and have it be discredited, rejected, demonized?


He was not immune to weariness.  He had times he wondered if he should just take a position as a preacher, and lead a church, as he was trained to do. 


He moved through doubt. 


In this speech, A Time To Break Silence, he begins with this as the foundation:


"I cannot remain silent." 


He may not have wanted to continue to live a mission which seemed to bring so little response.  But at the core, he felt he had to.  His words:


We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace....If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
 
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. 


Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? ..... Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Listening

"Almost all of my pictures with children have their mother holding them.  Would you could hear them talk, their philosophy would astonish you." 


--Mary Cassatt


Mother And Child XI - Mary Cassatt - www.marycassatt.org