Where to Now?

road
The ever-winding road

Like so many in the wake of the presidential election, as an American, a liberal, and a democrat, I am left to wonder what I should do now. I have an almost overwhelming need to do something, but I am not yet certain what that will look like or how it will manifest.

The irony of this situation is that I have been rudderless the last several years. I have poked around and done different things. Many of these pursuits have been passing interests that have sputtered into nothing at all; others have been gigantic shipwrecks that I am still trying to avoid drowning from (and succeeding at for the most part).

To have a direction, a goal, is something I have searched for, and longed for, since becoming a stay at home mom. Though raising a human being is, arguably, one of the most important jobs in the entirety of history and the world, I (most ashamedly on certain days), wanted something a little different, something that I felt had a direct impact on the world, rather than a secondary impact based on how well I raised my child (though that too is important, obviously).

I wanted to have my cake and eat it too… and as most people with similar situations, I never did much about it.

And then the election. Before the election I would have avoided speaking about my political and ideological views. The flagship of my stance was my avoidance in telling people who I supported in the election and why; however, since the election, I have realized that my voice, though limited to those few I know and the few readers I have here, is a powerful one, and by not speaking up, there is a possibility that I had a hand (no matter how small) in our current political (national) situation.

Therefor *deep breath*:

I support Hillary Clinton.

Not only am I #withher, but I am #stillwithher.

I doubt very much that she will ever again be as central in politics as she was these last two years, but what she does and what she has done, continues to inspire me.

She fights.

When the going is incredibly tough and bordering on impossible, she continued(s) to fight. I know the tiredness that stems from being a woman in a male-centric world. A week ago, I would have never talked about the sexism that I have known and seen my whole life… put on a happy face, understand there is progress etc…. but I am done with that way of approaching this world.

I am done with being a people-pleaser.

Because, I AM exhausted.

I am so tired of fighting against social norms and expectations, but, because we as a nation and world are nowhere near where I thought we were in regards to equal rights for women, or African Americans, or Latinos, or *fill in the blank here, you know who you are*… I am going to keep fighting in hopes that one day I can stop being tired.

Because if Hillary can continue fighting, then, damnit, so can I.

The Yellow Brick Road

But what does that look like?

Therein lies that most important question.

Do I start speaking out? Do I start posting things on my twitter? Do I go back to facebook (after a year away) and start engaging with others… including those whose views are, at times, violently opposed to mine?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am beyond scared to stir the pot. I have read the stories of doxing and that shit is terrifying. I have a young son! The  mama instinct in me roars at the thought that my political viewpoints, or social viewpoints, will be expressed at the expense of my son’s safety.

And then I hear what I am saying (or read what I am typing in this case), and I am horrified. Sickened. Disgusted.

Why?

Because the very fact that I am scared to voice an opinion because of the possibility of a negative fallout is the exact opposite of the very ideology that created this country.

In other words: unacceptable.

Because my message is simple: all humans matter and love trumps hate.

That kind of message shouldn’t cause violence or stalking or internet trolls, but it does… as I am sure you all are aware. Of course, deciding to come out of the shadows is not really doing anything… yet, but it is a first step towards something.

Where do I go from here, then?

I have fluttered on and off of the idea of going back to journalism, in a grassroots way at least. I am a news junky, so perhaps I could take what I am reading, analyze it and put it in historical perspectives. I don’t know if that will make any difference in changing people’s minds towards inclusiveness and understanding, but maybe it will?

Of course, I realize that kind of blogging is hardly be popular.

I know, through interacting with online blogs for awhile, that most people want messages of hope… they want to feel good after reading a post.The uplifting stuff gets clicks, ask any blogger out there. The negative is largely ignored.

Unfortunately, sometimes that feel good moment is at the expense of thinking.

(Ouch. That was hard to write… still haven’t gotten rid of the “I don’t want to offend people stigma yet.”)

So, if I was to follow a path of journalism in the way that I am imagining it, likely, I will lose a few of you in the process, but maybe I will gain a few more. I honestly don’t know. I DO know I want to do something to promote critical thinking, thereby leading (as it always has and will), to acceptance and understanding. That is the direction I want to help our country move towards (after being shown we have such a very far way to go).

The next step is figuring out how my contribution will look.

What about you, dear readers? Do you find yourself called to action, and if so, in what way? How are you doing it? What is your reality like now?

And if not a call to action, what is your reaction to this post 11/9 world?

What are your thoughts?

Existential Questions of a Preschooler

GOD!!!!
A Monty Python Belief System

“Where does God live?”

“Is God stronger than Hulk?”

“Who would win in a fight; the Devil or Superman?”

“Who is the Devil?”

These are some of the questions I have fielded lately from my five-year-old. He is intensely interested in God and the Devil, and how they fit into his reality. He wants to know where we go when we die; where Heaven is; and the biggie, if God is so good why are there bullies?

In part, these questions stem from the Christian preschool he goes to, but I think it has a lot to do with his essential nature as well.

This kiddo is a thinker.

The problem lies in the fact I am also a thinker, and therefore must be very aware of how I answer these questions. Belief for me is a fragile thing, based on years of thought and reading and more thought. I have gone through my existential crisis and have, through tears and terrors, arrived at my own belief system.

It does not, necessarily, encompass any one religious thought.

But. I can’t explain that to my preschooler. I can’t talk to him about faith and the act of choosing belief (because all belief is a choice). I can’t speak to him about the fallacies inherent in all religious systems; the tension between what is said and what is acted; the irony of picking and choosing and pressing on others a hodgepodge of thought.

No. What he wants to know is where God lives, and I find that my answer is simple: Heaven.

Where is Heaven?

Another dimension. This is a concept he understands from his video games.

What is the Devil?

The biggest bully of them all.

My husband believes in God, a traditional Christian God.

I believe in a bigger and grander being, something that cannot be identified with a pronoun.

My husband’s version is the one I tell my son. God is love. God is good. Where is God? In your heart.

Is it right? I don’t know. Maybe one day he is going to call us out for “lying” to him about the existence of God, Devil, Heaven… and he will be right to do so. And we will have a conversation then about belief and faith. But until then, the concepts that are black and white,  good and evil, are those concepts he understands.

And, by the way, his conclusion is that God is totally stronger then Hulk, but only because God has access to Captain America’s original serum.

🙂

Happy Friday, lovely readers!

Parenting and the Break of a New Era

Parenting in my house
Parenting in my house

Parenting is hard. In my opinion parenting is one of the best and worst things that anyone can go through. You have these amazing highs and then you have these amazing lows, and they can happen within mere seconds of each other.

There is this idea before becoming a parent that you will be able to handle the stress, and the complications, and no matter what happens you will always love your child. And all of this is pretty accurate. What you don’t realize is that there will be this terrible, horrible guilt that will constantly plague you. Why?

Because you will forever and always feel that you are doing everything wrong.

Because of the worry that something you are doing will forever impact your child’s life in a profoundly negative way.

Because of the need, the almost overwhelming instinct, to take away their pain, both the pain they experience now and the pain of the future; like the pain of bullies, of broken hearts, of not being good enough in someone’s eyes. Those pains that have never even happened yet.

My husband and I were married for six years before we decided to try for a child. We weren’t even sure we wanted to have a child; not sure if bringing a human being into this messed up world was a good decision. There was and is so much terribleness in the world, and we wondered if it would be fair to bring someone, knowingly, into the screwed up situation.

I remember at the time, I was talking with one of my co-workers who had two children of his own. His children were(are) adults and they were(are) fairly successful and normal human beings. He told me, as I was wondering in the wandering way I do, that my husband and I should have a child because we would raise a conscientious, kind child in a world of hate and terribleness. He explained that the world needs children who are raised by smart, loving adults because those children, in turn, would become smart and loving adults.

I liked the argument at the time and thought there was something to his point of view.

I question it now.

I look at my son and worry. Constantly. Hopefully only a fraction of my worry is apparent to him, because if any more is, oh boy is he going to need some therapy.

Seriously, I worry, because as the years have gone by I have realized that sometimes it just doesn’t matter what the parent does. We can be intelligent, loving and kind parents, and we might raise someone who will be addicted to heroine and steals for a living. We might help him through the rough patches in life (as much as we are able) and provide a loving home for him always and forever… he might still hate us and never want to come back to that loving home. There are so many negative outcomes, so many pitfalls facing my son as he gets older, and we, as the loving and kind parents, seem to have such a very small influence.

I am a reasonably smart individual, and I know that stressing and worrying about the future pitfalls he faces is not going to help the situation; so, instead I worry about the current pitfalls. Am I helping him enough with his speech issues (he has problems saying ‘k,’ ‘l,’ and ‘f’ correctly), or should I be doing more? Is there more that I should be doing for his reading? His counting? Am I obsessing so much that I am causing a psychosis in him?

9f507f11da50326da31415b94ef93caeBecause here’s the thing: I KNOW I have a myriad of psychosis, obviously if you have read anything that I’ve written over the last week, but hell no do I want those psychosis to move on to my child. Not everything is going to be rainbows and happiness all the time, obviously, but if I could somehow create a barrier between my psycho self and his fragile being, I would sleep better at night.

Where is the line? Where is the balance?

And of course, where is that point where social standards start influencing me as the parent? Where do my instincts come in? Do I even know what is good and what is bad for him? Does his teacher? Does his peers?

And I suppose that is where it is, because there is no answer but to do the best you can do and hope it doesn’t keep you up too much at night.

One step in front of another.

Pitfalls as they come.

And not lose sight of what is actually good for this little man who sits next to me on the couch, curled up at my side, warm and soft, smelling of shampoo and outside… me reading my book and him watching his show.