Editor’s Note: The following story was provided to me by a friend who felt it was time to tell her #YouKnowMe story. At her request, I’m publishing it here.
I’m one in four. You know me. I don’t owe you my story, but I’m ready to tell it – and to do whatever it takes to protect long-standing rights of women AND young girls, including my three daughters and countless females without the resources I had.
It was 1985. I was working at my first summer job, as a file clerk in an insurance agency for minimum wage. The work was monotonous but that didn’t explain why I was so tired. A co-worker saw me laying out the couch in the women’s room one lunch break and commented, “what are you, pregnant or something?”
It’s clear by now that I’m terrible at keeping a blog, so I won’t make any pretense or promises that I will suddenly reemerge with a consistent cadence. However, the current environment being as it is, I feel the need to at least nudge this blog out of its Rip Van Winkle-like sleep, if only to be at the ready for whatever musings or fiery soapbox ramblings that might suit my mood.
Truthfully however, I’m reawakening this in large part to provide a friend a forum for her #YouKnowMe story. None of us owe you our stories. I’ve chosen to share mine here, as has my friend, but there are so many stories out there that remain untold. For every story there are dozens like it.
So if our stories do some small part in changing opinions, strengthening resolve, or creating empathy, then I think those of us that are able to share them feel that it’s worth it – to give voice to the silent stories of those who, for reasons of their own, cannot share theirs.
This weekend, the ashes of one of my closest high school friends / old boyfriend were scattered in the ocean near where we grew up. And as friends and family gathered on a beach yesterday to remember the fun and joy he brought to others, I’m reminded all too poignantly that sometimes neither age nor experience, success nor family, love nor friends, have anything to do with how we leave this world.
There was a beach memorial service that I couldn’t attend with the people whose lives my friend touched. Of those that I know, I haven’t seen many of them in more than two decades. I wish I had been able to join. And as I see the pictures both of the memorial service and of our high school years that my friends keep posting, I think how it’s amazing that despite three thousand miles and two decades, it’s actually so easy to slip back into the days of our youth.
I have no words. As someone who has built her career on her ability to use words effectively and well, this simple statement is both humbling and terrifying. But those emotions are simply reactions to the other emotions that threaten to engulf me. Today, on this Sunday of what has been an eternally long weekend, I am filled with pain and sadness, helplessness and fear, sympathy and empathy, righteousness and anger, fatalism and passion, loneliness and solidarity.
The sign my daughter made and carried on January 29, 2017 at the Boston protest against the immigration ban
Slate.com just published a great article, written by a high-school junior, about her campaign to de-gender McDonald’s toys. I’m impressed by the article, and the initiative of the girl who wrote it. I wish I had been that committed to change at her age. Heck, I wish I were that committed NOW.
I’m hopeful that the promise she’s been given by McDonald’s chief diversity officer, Patricia Harris, will bear fruit and that they actually are changing their policy. I’m appreciative that though this letter was written in December and it is now late April, that McDonald’s is a very large organization, and that it takes time for such dictates to make their way through to individual franchises.
But I’m not going to get excited until I see it actually happen in my neck of the woods.
Advance apologies – I’m going political on you. But long-time readers of this blog know that this topic hits very personally to me. I was listening to NPR the other day, and a story caught my attention. The story was about a just released documentary entitled, “After Tiller.” Created by pro-choice advocates (so I’m sure it has quite a lot of bias), the film attempts to communicate the reasons why doctors and clinics who perform late-term abortions make the decision to continue doing something that is so clearly fraught with danger. From what I understand (and I should note that I have NOT yet seen it), the film also looks at the people who get late-term abortions for both medical and non-medical reasons. The part that struck me was this statistic: Today there are only FOUR doctors in the US who perform late-term abortions. To get to them, it seems you often have to be pretty desperate.
This is the box that was put together for us to memorialize the life that wasn’t. Filled with pictures, blankets, hats and footprints, it’s something we cherish.
Six years ago, my then husband and I were presented with an almost unthinkable “choice.” Continue reading
Weird departure from my usual fare here. I’m not super fond of cooking. I’m not great at it, and I find that it takes me twice as long to cook as I ever intend it to. But I do make a few dishes really well, and much to my dismay, one of them is fried rice. One of the jokes among my friends is that the only thing I can cook (well, with any regularity) is fried rice. And potstickers. Nothing like conforming to stereotypes.
Recently, an old roommate of mine asked me to send her my “recipe”. And since a few other folks have asked me for it over the years, this is the easiest way to throw it out there. It’s been about 13 years since my roommate has tasted it, so I hope it lives up to her memory. Continue reading