FADE TO BLUE! FINALLY!

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Alright, you amazingly patient beings. Here’s the deal: Fade to Blue, Monochrome‘s prequel, is done. I KNOW! Yes, it took me about 5 years to write. Yes, that’s George R.R. Martin slow. I know, I know. But writing, alas, does not pay the bills yet, so I had to take it slow in order to work full-time on less cool things. That said, you can pre-order this baby in paperback today and as an ebook this week!

Also, I have ARC’s going out today to those of you lucky enough to get a sneak peek. I’m very proud of Ishmael’s book. I think it’s an honest and fantastical look at major depressive disorder. I hope you enjoy Fade!

Pre-order the paperback here: http://www.femininecollective.com/fade-to-blue-by-hm-jones-pre-order/

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Child Rape is Not Enough to Enrage

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It’s time, Ed Murray, it’s time to step down.

Yes, you’re white and male and powerful,

a slap on the wrist, some mild embarrassment

is, truly, all you thought to expect.

After all, we have a rapist as the President,

who uses the words “cunt,” “pig” and “nasty”

as his gentleman’s vocabulary.

A real lady killer, or he would be if

he thought the apathy was enough that he could be.

Why should you, Ed “Child Rapist” Murray,

mayor of men (of women? of raped little children?),

be more than mildly upset by the lawsuit

that might inconvenience you.

“All sins are equal under the eyes of God.”

Tell that to the voters, look for sympathetic nods.

Oh, no worries, you’ll get them.

Where I live those who molest are also able

to skate by unnoticed.

They will not be jailed, made to face the blood on their hands,

the stain of unwanted touching that men

who were boys, were boys, were boys…are boys

taught to touch anything? To take whatever they need?

“But women touch, too…”

let’s justify an epidemic need to equate everyone’s evil,

so that nothing is evil, no group is more to blame, ignore statistics,

make a god of fame,

especially when the famous wear power suits and can pay for silence.

Fuck you, Ed Murray. I strip you of your title.

You have no power over me,

and unless Seattle cries out in shame,

removing your disgusting legacy from our name,

I will not call this home.

Step down, step down, step down,

from your protected throne.

Stronger Ties

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There is a soft sentimentality that connects me to many of you, a sometimes fraying line of thin memory that lightly binds us. That one time in high school, that shared friend, that space we both occupied with smiles and laughter. We, when we meet, are a fond handshake. An appreciated recognition.

For some (You), a select few, our tie is less temporary. Our embrace is life-giving, body trembling anxiety to hold the shell who houses the soul we treasure. We are a cable-connection of warm grasps, entwined fingers, tears soaked into skin, swapped straws over sweating drinks, piggy back rides down hills where our footfalls created a beaten trail. Some of us are the spark of knowing, the gaze that projects words unsaid, the unspoken understanding of passions returned, the too-late nights over appetizers and nodding. Yes, yes: youknowmeiknowyouweknow. We know not every day that we toil, cry, pray, rage, but we know the youthatwillnotchange.

This knowing youme cannot be earned via social media, I’m afraid. Though, much of it withstands the tarnish of weathering winds, blows to ego, stale silence, computer violence over politics and cliques of years spanned and different understanding, some of it falls to forgetting.

You. “Who me?” you think. Of course you, the you who moves my blood to pumping, a half-smile or whole-hearted laugh to my lips. You brought joy to me when our heartbeats fell in time to chests meeting in embrace, when our hands joined, our eyes locked in understanding that we are who we were, though older. Not wiser. We know how much we don’t know and how much there is to not know and how far the distance will keep us from that knowing. And our cable-bond will hopefully not shatter if we can remember the way youme feel. Because even ties like these are not impenetrable. But they are strong.

That is who you are to me, apart from the shallow glow of your computer screen, text, rare call. You are my beloved and you have fueled my worth. For that, I thank you.

Fathers Be Good to Your Daughters

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Picture: Unsplash, Caleb Jones

I love that song, as simplistic and overbearing as it is. I love it because I’ve seen good parenting and I’ve seen shit parenting and I know what a difference it makes in a growing person. When fathers are good to their daughters, their sons, we will live like they did, we will be more likely to embody that love.

Today is Father’s Day and I think it’s a rough one for my family this year. My grandpa is unwell and recovering in a nursing home he hates, which makes my father-in-law down. He covers it well, but I can tell it’s not the same for him this year. My biological father passed away years ago, but I miss him every day. I don’t appreciate any of the living men in my life less nor do I dwell on the sadness on a day where I still have so many wonderful men to be thankful for in my life, but it is a reminder that I miss his presence and wish he could have been a present grandfather to my kids.

All of the Father’s Day posts  (good and bad because there are plenty of people who have terrible father-kid relationships) remind me, however, that I had it good and that I SHOULD be forever grateful for the men who raised me.

My biological father loved us dearly. He wasn’t perfect, and he wasn’t around as much as I’d have liked, but he was smart, engaged with us like we were capable of understanding anything and made us appreciate the beauty in the world around us and in the world of stories. He fostered a love for knowledge in many of us. When he visited or vice-versa, we’d often hit up the local museums or historical sites around us. I know we all enjoyed that more than we can possible put to words. When dad was around, he put his full effort into making sure that we understood where we were in our place, state, time, history. As a history major in college, he knew how important it was for us to invest in that knowledge. What he didn’t know is that by sharing those little things he loved, he was doing more than teaching us. That investment created a bond we all needed to sustain us when we couldn’t see him.

My step-father was a funny man, hard-working, firm but fair. Daily, he helped us respect our family members, fostered a sense of timeliness and cleanliness. He put down the rules and was sure to see they were followed, but was not hard on us. He moved us to a place where we could run and play. He shared his family and his past and present with us, and he was THERE, always, to make sure we had a constant role-model. He was the one to help us with our science experiments and make sure they worked, tirelessly. He loved and loves my mother with all of his heart and treated her patiently, tenderly and with disgusting displays of affection showed us how proud he was to have her in his life. His example made me see that he saw my mother as a treasure. He made me demand to be that for someone else. If a man didn’t treat me with as much love as he did for mom, the hell with him. I learned to respect myself because of my dad’s respect for me, for my mom and for all of us.

My grandfathers were all so diverse and and so interesting. My grandpa Bo was a minister who was full of prayer, smiles and low-rumbling songs, sometimes warnings when we go too rowdy, but usually gentleness. My grandpa Springer was a joker, ready with a laugh, a tickle, a wet smooch, an inappropriate but funny joke, and an ice cream when the grades were good. My grandpa Root I barely knew, but always remember fondly. He loved the squirrels, a view of his beautiful garden full of bird songs and bright flowers, he smiled and hummed and seemed genuinely kind and soft. My husband’s grandfather’s are community leaders, respected elders. Ron is a man of vision and action. Grandpa Mike is a man of spirit and song.

My current father-in-law was there when my father passed. He gave me gas money, a place to sleep and stories to keep my head from clouding over. He told me jokes and made sure I had all I needed. He provided and provides me direction when I feel lost or in over my head.

My husband is my equal. He tempers my storms, makes me laugh at myself, looks at me like I’m the most beautiful person in the world and has such tenderness and silliness to share with our kids. I’m not sure what I did to deserve such a patient man, but I do know why I found him, why I expected to be given the respect and love he gives me. I know why I love myself. Because the men in my life loved me.

I have seen female friends and relatives who have men in their life who are destructive forces. I have known men who hurt me and others. I’ve been on the other end of a man’s harmful touch, cruel words, or silence. But I wasn’t there for long. The men in my life who respected me helped me to respect myself, so that I did not long allow others to disrespect or belittle me. Abuse, neglect and anger is all some people know. They often inadvertently seek it out when they leave a home that was torn. I see those women and I mourn what they never had, what I had. What makes me more what I am today.

I cannot complain of the divorce that made me miss my father so much, the distance that separated us. Our times together were always beautiful, always meaningful. We got the best of him, and we weren’t without. My step-dad and dad respected each other and nurtured us, together, without quarrel or pettiness. I didn’t know what that meant as a child, but as an adult, I do. It means that I had more of a chance to make love, relationships and life work with the male figures in my life.

I cannot blame the fathers in my life for bad decisions I make, if or when I make them. I am abundantly blessed by the men of genuinely good character who raised me. Those who had no character, who used their privilege to harm me tried to bring me down. But they can’t. Because the good men in my life have supplied me with too much hope.

I will always have hope, even when online trolls, street whistlers and down-right misogynist assholes try to bring me down.  I have hope even as a survivor of rape. Because I know there are many good men, like the ones I was surrounded by in this world. That gives me hope for the betterment of all peoples. And hope is no small thing. Thank you, to all the dads, grandpas, uncles, and male role-models who are amazing people. It’s important that you continue to be so, and raise those around you in love.

Sometimes We Are Too Sensitive

Okay, this post might piss some people off, but, if so, it might be because we are often a little over sensitive sometimes. Look, I hate sounding like my Republican family members who throw around “snowflake” inappropriately when people are enraged that black lives don’t matter, that sexual assault is not taken seriously and that our country is failing the poor and elderly. That’s not being a little snowflake. That’s being concerned for the welfare of the underprivileged. Snowflake is a term meant to demean empathy. It’s like calling men who show emotions pussies–it relies on the idea that emotions are weakness. And that’s not true.

But there IS a middle ground and many of my social media friends haven’t found it. I’m gonna use the many mother’s day rants/meme shares as an example.

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Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everyone needs to be happy on Mother’s Day. I don’t think everyone has a great mother or IS a mother. But do people really need to be shitty or shame those who are decent if not really good mothers because other people might not like the day? No, they don’t.

It might be cool to appreciate those in your life who don’t suck even if your mom did/does. Think of the day as not about your shithole parent, but about the parents out there doing the opposite of what your parent did. I mean, good for them, right?

Well, some people lose parents and it’s hard! Yeah, I know. I lost my dad when I was 21. I’m not shitty to other people on Father’s Day because I miss my dad. My dad would not want me to stew and berate people. He’d probably tell me not be a dick to people just because he died young. I tell my brothers, my step-father and my admired friends/family/husband who are good fathers “Happy Father’s Day!” because they do a good job with their little ones, they work hard and they invest a lot of money, emotions and pain into making those little beings good humans. AND THAT’S A HUGE FUCKING JOB.

Father’s Day isn’t about my loss; it’s about appreciating those who do a good job of it. The same goes for Mother’s Day. If you’re not a mother because you didn’t want children? We aren’t being assholes to you just because we appreciate those who are and do want to have children.

I love you, friends who want to be childless. Just because I tell someone who is a mother “Happy Mother’s Day!” doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you for the cool things you do. I often tell you how much I think you rock, actually. So, no, it’s not your day, but there’s no need to be offended for those who are having fun on their day.

Can’t have children or have lost a child? I am genuinely sorry. That’s probably the hardest and most worthy of empathy excuse for being pissed on Mother’s Day, but we are also not trying to be assholes to you. I work my butt off for my kids. I actually do and did sacrifice a lot of my freedom and immediate aspirations willingly so that they will thrive because 18 years will go by fast, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

I know that might be something you wanted or still want and that can sting big time. And it’s totally valid to feel hurt by that. It’s 100% understandable to yearn for something that you want and to be sad over someone you’ve lost. I also think it’s possible to put those feelings aside and still be able to wish those you love a “Happy Mother’s Day.”

I’ve seen many of my beloved friends who lost babies or have a hard time conceiving doing so. I think they are some rock hard awesome people because they have the best reason to be bitter and they decide not to be.

And can we stop feeling like we have to swarm around those whose day it is not? I mean, my mom was awesome. It’s about her today and I’m gonna praise her all over my social feeds. I’m gonna do it right now:

Mom, you gave your last scraps for us when we were hungry. Mom, you put EVERY fiber of your being into making sure we were housed, clothed and loved and you made even the most meager holiday feel like a treasure trove of affection. You are what every mom should be.

I strive to be half of what my mom was to me, for me. And I will slather her with mushy praises on this day. I will not be made to feel shamed or guilty for feeling great when my kids and husband strive to make me feel loved on this day. I’m a damn good mom.

I’m a bi-polar mess and I can get pretty offended about things that maybe aren’t a big deal. I make a concentrated effort to really review those things in my head before I make a stink or pass a mean-spirited rant/meme on. Maybe this is a big deal to you. Maybe you’re justified in feeling bitter or hurt on this day. I’m not even telling you not to feel what you feel. Your feelings are there for a reason. I’m just asking you not to shame others for celebrating, liking being interested in things you aren’t into.

Can we just agree, for the little things that bring other’s joy, that those things aren’t meant to cause you pain, that they might actually have very little to do with you? Can we agree that it’s alright for other people to enjoy themselves, be happy, even when we are sad? I’m someone who experiences extreme and frequent depression, so I know the saying that misery loves company can feel right, but it’s not.

It’s not right to expect other people to be upset because you are. I don’t expect people to stop caring about something, expressing gratitude or love because I’m feeling shitty. If I did, I’d want all people to feel shitty about 1/4th of the time. I don’t want other people to feel badly when I do. I think those little moments of celebration, expressions of joy and love, are the only good thing about social media. I think it’s good to be empathetic, but I’m not sure that every single post needs to be put through the washing machine.

I just want people to examine their anger over this or that meme, share, post, trend. I want them to ask themselves: Is this a fight that needs to happen or is this a time where it’s okay to just let it go?

I’m not sure a huge amount of change occurs through social media rants, or even through little blog barfs like this one, so maybe we can all just chill a little?

Mean Spirited is not the Same as Bitchy

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Lately, I feel like people have thought of me as bitchier than they used to think me. I’m not proud of this. It is what it is.  It just doesn’t bug me that people might not like me, like it has in the past.

Okay, it didn’t bug me that much when I was younger either. For instance, when people made fun of my lousy fashion sense and body as a kid, I was known to say, “At least I’m not dumb. Appearances are easy to change, dumb is forever. I’m sorry you’re ignorant, but if you’re not dumb, you can work to change that.” Some people thought I was bitchy when I said stuff like that. I think it’s an asshole move to comment on people’s appearances, so I didn’t mind too much about how I was perceived by people who were mean-spirited towards me.

Bitchy is not the same as mean-spirited, though. I don’t like confrontation. I find it necessary sometimes. Mean-spirited people do like it. Bitchy is a term mostly men (sometimes women reclaiming it or women who buy into the patriarchy) use to demean a person who is acting in a way they do not find societally acceptable.

I used to be more worried about being societally acceptable, however, so I used to be more bothered by people perceiving me as bitchy because I thought that meant others would see me as mean. I’m not anymore. I don’t always like how society things we should buy, vote, behave. I’m a bitch about it.

I’m not mean on purpose, though. I’m empathetic, caring, kind to most, and very giving of my time. I care about how others are feeling, whether their day is going well. If people need assistance, I try my best to offer it. I pray for people when I see they are struggling, even if they are not people who are nice to me. Mean-spirited people will call themselves bitches. I disagree. I am a bitch who generally cares about others.

If you constantly talk down to others, gossip about others, say things that are underhandedly negative to others, make abusive comments meant to sting, you’re not a bitch. You’re mean-spirited and ugly. Don’t be trying to claim my bitchiness. You’re a troll.

If you push someone’s kid because that kid was being mean to yours, for instance, that’s not bitchiness. That’s abuse. Same goes if you  call a child as asshole and tell him to get hit by a car. Abuse. You can’t and shouldn’t do that. You’re meaning to wound, where you could teach. If you tell that kid’s mother, “You need to talk to your child, now, or I will call security to deal with it” or take a nuanced approach and tell the child, “I don’t like how you’re playing. You’re being abusive, so we are going to go where people are playing nicely.” These might be construed as direct, even bitchy, but it’s acceptable behavior meant to warn or teach rather than wound.

In my class, when adults are not doing what they can to finish their assignments, when they make excuses where they should just own their mistakes, I often say, “I can see if I can help you with that issue you’re having, but you should have said something before class. Communication is important, and you didn’t communicate the problem, so you’ll have to take this not great grade and we’ll try again with the next assignment, okay?” I don’t want people to fail, but I also don’t want my students seeing my time as expendable. My students sometimes think I’m a bitch.

I think our internet culture defines selfish and assholish behavior as bitchiness wrongly. I am a bitch sometimes. I stick up for my loved ones, for my own rights, for those I don’t know, even. I do so passionately and with logic. I do not allow myself or those I know to be pushed around. I do not care if I am liked. I want to be respected, so I respect others, but I don’t mind if people decide I’m not their cup of tea. People sometimes think I am a bitch. Well, those who don’t respect me and treat me badly do. I don’t care about that. I am a bitch if it means that I don’t accept abuse.

But if I, in turn, say or do abusive or mean-spirited things I am not a bitch. I am a troll. Trolls are the parents who public shame their children to get “likes” on Facebook. That’s mean. Deal with your children privately and don’t look for accolades. When you post annoying videos of yourself berating other parents, your children or your spouse, you’re mean, not bitchy. Please stop calling yourself bitchy. When you use the expression, “I just tell it like it is” to say mean things about people who didn’t ask for your opinion or even did but are fragile and need reassurances, you’re not bitchy. You’re an asshole.

So, let’s stop using the phrase “bitch” to mean, “I can say/do whatever I want and people will just have to deal with me being ‘real.'” Bitch is a term many women are trying to reclaim. I am not always nice when injustice is occurring. I will use logic, passion and compassion to engage in a topic that is important to me. If people don’t like that I stand up for those things, I’m okay with them calling me a bitch. Being vocal about important things will not always make me popular. I am taking “bitch” back. It means I stand up for what I perceive is right.

You can have troll if you just want to be a jerk to people, but just stop calling yourself a bitch.

It’s My Job to Protect My Freedom, Not Your Feelings

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SOCIAL MEDIA “FRIENDSHIPS” ARE FALLING APART BECAUSE ‘SENSITIVITY’

I’d like to take a moment to thank all the recent “friends” of friends on social media who’ve been gently reprimanding and correcting me and my fellow feminists/human’s rights advocates for being appalled by those who stood up for Donald Trump by voting him into office.

Thank you for asking us to stop being crybabies by unfriending people who “don’t think like we do.” It has certainly helped us understand that we are being “too sensitive.”

I’d like to take moment to express my shame that I am angry at these “friends” for not thinking like they do, for trying to force them to think about how their vote made us feel unsafe around them. They’re right, you see. I do think they should have, in this instance, thought like I did. Or thought about it more carefully, in the very least.

I have been properly shamed into admitting that I don’t think a rapist and sexual predator should be in the highest seat in the country. Want to push against the facts? Got some alt-facts you’d like to discuss? The charges are long and public. But you didn’t seem to care enough about that, and that makes me angry. “Unfriend” angry.

So it is that I have let these ‘precious’ friendships slip through the cracks, the callous bitch I am, because it is clear to me that we have a very different idea of what is right, and some people’s idea involves giving power to a very sick man and being “grown up” about him being the commander-in-chief.

I’d like to thank so many of you (though you might not read it because I was not a grown up and I deleted you from my social circle) for pointing out that all people are flawed and that all politicians lie. It very much makes up for that fact that my civil liberties are going to be violated, that my body will not be my own and that the rights of countless minorities are in the hands of a man who wants to target people based on their religion in a country founded by people who fled religious oppression.

Thank you for reminding me that I’m being petulant because “my candidate” didn’t win the nomination. For one, that’s literally not true. In a fair democracy, my first choice, Sanders, would have won the primaries and my second choice, Clinton, actually swept the popular vote. Secondly, I’m enraged that a sexual offender and bigot is my president, not mad that a viable candidate was swept under the bus.

But, let’s talk about the media and how we can’t trust that Russia interfering with our election isn’t actually a huge deal (even though our own intelligence agency seemed to think it was). The fact that our president now has a very tangled business agenda isn’t either.

Please tell me to calm down again. Please tell me to just wait, watch, be patient and friendly. Please tell me why I shouldn’t be angry, that’s it’s just an election.  Please tell me I’m crazy.

Please gaslight me and my friends because you cannot physically make us be friendly, cannot force us not to have valid concerns that someone with the sexual harassment record of Trump (who should not even be able to hang out near parks) is now in charge of the country where my children are supposed to feel free. Please try to name call us, tell us we are overreacting and childish. Invalidate our fear so that we can be molded into civilly oppressed peoples.

Like this meme on Ben Carson’s webpage, tell us to love first, to be kind, to open doors, etc. etc. Never mind that our current leader and the people he is employing are dismantling our health care and yanking a rug from under the disenfranchised in this country. We should do as they say, not as they do.14358761_1089656484482522_7029007914321763101_n

Yes, call us divisive. Remind us about creating a civil war, even though the Civil War was fought for the freedom of the racially oppressed and was a truly JUST war. Convince us that we are slaying our sisters because we are appalled that our family chose to vote a rapist into office, and chose to promote people who have upheld the KKK.

Keep the gaslight burning. It might keep us quiet, docile for a bit longer.

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I’M NOT TRYING TO GASLIGHT, I JUST WANT PEOPLE TO BE NICE!

For the most part, I think people don’t know they are gaslighting. They want to be right, they don’t want to seem like the bad guy/girl, and they do want people to be nice to them, and maybe they were just voting with their party. Unfortunately, the way they voted is gross to me, will have a drastic impact on so many marginalized lives. So, I don’t want to be nice about it, and I will not tiptoe around you in order to not hurt your feelings.

You can’t make me feel that I’m acting like a sore loser. Doing so makes you like Trump, who is one of the biggest gaslighters I’ve ever seen, as Frida Ghitis wrote for CNN Opinion:

“…recently the tactical tampering with the truth has become a preferred method of strongmen around the world. Gaslighting by other means was always a common feature of dictatorships, but it has found new vogue as a more subtle form of domestic political control even in countries with varying degrees of democracy.”

Ghtitis rightly calls out Trump as a man who sets the example of gaslighting. In so doing, he asks his supporters and those who follow him to do the same. She writes that his “techniques include saying and doing things and then denying it, blaming others for misunderstanding, disparaging their concerns as oversensitivity, claiming outrageous statements were jokes or misunderstandings, and other forms of twilighting the truth (“Donald Trump is ‘gaslighting’ all of Us”).”
If you have lately told someone that their concerns were an example of over-sensitivity or babyish behavior, you may be a gaslighter.

Shea Emma Fett in her article  “10 Things I Learned About Gaslighting…” explains gaslighting further:

The distinguishing feature between someone who gaslights and someone who doesn’t is an internalized paradigm of ownership. And in my experience, identifying that paradigm is a lot easier than spotting the gaslighting.

Gaslighting tends to follow when intimidation is no longer acceptable.

I believe that gaslighting is happening culturally and interpersonally on an unprecedented scale, and that this is the result of a societal framework where we pretend everyone is equal while trying simultaneously to preserve inequality.

You can see it in the media constantly.

For instance, every time an obvious hate crime is portrayed as an isolated case of mental illness, this is gaslighting. The media is saying to you, What you know to be true is not true ( everydayfeminism.com).

IF YOU’RE UNINTENTIONALLY GASLIGHTING, YOU CAN QUIT

Look, if you’re not trying to manipulate people into being submissive drones so that Trump’s cabinet can trample people’s rights without being held accountable, that’s good. I’m proud of you. Maybe you’re just misinformed or a little racist/sexist/bigoted, but you generally want people just to get along, and you try to be nice to people. Yeah, conflict is uncomfortable. I get that. But conflict is sometimes necessary in order to move forward.

So if you don’t want to gaslight me then stop saying I have to take the withdrawal of basic human liberties–fair treatment, privacy, equality, thought, education, etc.–quietly and good-mannered. I am not being an oversensitive, sore loser. I am a concerned citizen who is justly angered.

Don’t be like this Facebook gaslighter:

“Being good friends isn’t about one person expecting the other to believe what he/she believes or they aren’t friends. Proselytize, Obtrude or otherwise force your beliefs on another as a condition of friendship doesn’t seem much like friendship, but then again, I get we don’t all share the same values. People seem too important to discard like that.” (anonymous FB gaslighter)

I’m not expecting people to have the exact values I have, I just expect my friends to not treat others like second-class citizens, as Trump has repeatedly done to those he does not care for (or even women he seemed to actually like). If you support a man like that, it makes me wonder if you are the type of person who behaves like that to his/her friends. If so, I don’t need that in my life. Bye-bye-bye.

Lastly, if you think friendship and people are so important, don’t try to make them feel badly when they are worried about the lives and civil liberties of ALL Americans and want to take a valid stand against tyranny. That makes you look like a hypocrite at best and a gaslighter at worst.

TO THOSE I TREASURE 

If you are still on my social media feed and we disagree heartily about this topic, it means you are probably a family member who I treasure. As a believer in the God of love, I am told to love everyone. I try. I’d be lying if I said I’m really good at this, but so would you. Anyway, I still love you. I do not have to like how you behave, who you support or everything you say to love you.

I also challenge you because I expect more from those I love. I expect those I love to act like the loving souls who played with me, read with me, cheered me on, supported me. I also expect that we will sometimes fight, like we did when I was young. I have ALWAYS been different. You saw that then, and you worry about it now.

You think I don’t know that you pray for my soul, a soul you feel is being tarnished by libtards and leftists. But I don’t play that game. I am a woman who loves widely. You are in that circle of love, but so are many people unlike you. I will not partake in the rhetoric of hate. I will be disappointed when the people I love support it, and call me out as crazy, conspiratorial or sensitive because I decide to question an immoral authority.

I don’t even know why ya’ll are surprised by this. My favorite book was 1984 when I was 15.I was literally the only person who liked it in my class.

I am disappointed that we don’t see eye-to-eye, but I love you like the German father in Echo by Pam Mun0z Ryan who loves his daughter despite their great divide. You probably don’t get that reference, but that’s for the best. You’ll think I’m making an unfair comparison. You’ll think it unloving, or maybe a little crazy.

Harassment Is Everyday For Some

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For a little while after the election, I couldn’t put a finger on the horror that overcame me when I realized that some of my friends and family members voted for Trump, that he would be the president of the United States and that people were treating him as “just another candidate,” telling me to “get over it” and not be bitter “because your candidate lost.”

I could not even deal with that shit for the first couple of weeks, so I deleted comments, blocked the ignorance and took a breather. But I’m horrified all over again, thanks to something that happened to me on Christmas eve.

I was getting some last minute food for our meal the next day and had to park a little away from the store, since it was busy. I walked toward the store, past two young men who were looking like they were up to know good in the alley beside the grocery store. They were smoking and leaning up against the building. As a woman who as been both harassed, stalked and raped, a red flag went off in my head. As a woman who made sure to take self-defense after she was assaulted, those red flags were important.

Firstly, the men immediately paid attention to me and stood up from the brick wall. Secondly, one of the men started walking toward the path I would be using. I knew what to do, thanks to my training. I met his eyes, turned towards them and stared at them. I told the guy moving toward me, “I see you.” Nothing else. I wanted him to know I could see him moving toward me, that I was willing to voice my concern, that I was not passive. I moved my bag to my less strong arm, put my hand on my waist and glared. His friend shook his head and motioned that his friend should come back.

“Not that one,” he muttered, quietly but not quietly enough.

That one heard him. The other guy moved away, I walked out of sight and listened. “Not that one. She looked tough. You can tell she’s tough.” I had a second’s hesitation before grabbing my phone, and turning around to face them again.

“That’s right. I’m tough. I’m also calling the cops.” I dialed 911 and stared them down, watched them as they mumbled some shit about ‘not doing anything’ than ran when I started talking to the dispatcher.

I don’t know what those guys had in mind. Probably steal my purse, maybe harm me or rape me. I don’t know. All I know is that if I were less confident in my hulk-like rage and strength, less tall, less tattooed, more feminine, smaller, things might not have ended so well for me that night. If you can call the guys running off and probably not getting caught a good ending.

It’s not a good ending. It’s not a good ending that I had to learn to defend myself like that in the first place, after being assaulted before. It’s not a good deal that I get dick pics, sick comments and propositions daily online and walking down the street. It’s a shit deal that no one takes what I do seriously, but will ask me about what my husband is doing and tell me how lucky I am to have someone so smart and talented as my spouse. I am not lucky. I am well-matched. I am talented, smart and witty. I am good at EVERYTHING I do, including my many underpaid jobs.

This is where the horror creeps in. This is my reality–the fact that men might try to rape or steal from me if I’m on my own. It has always been this way for me. When I went to school by myself at night, I usually had a male friend walk me to my car, not because I can’t handle myself but because I DON’T WANT TO FUCKING HAVE TO. But I do. I deal with it all the time. Do you know what it’s like to weave your keys between your fingers to use as a weapon, just in case? Do you know what it’s like to be groped when you’re just trying to get from point A to point B on a too-full bus? I know these fears. I have lived these realities and worse ones.

And our president-elect is the same type of person that those men who harassed me are. He is the face of rape culture. The many cases brought against him, the ways in which he has spoken to and about women, the way he has shown himself to be in “grab them by the pussy” commentary. He is a pervert. He is a bully, and not just to women. And he is not shy about being this way because he doesn’t have to be.

I won’t be silent on this front. I won’t be told that this is the same as other elections. This is a reiteration that many Americans care more about ignorant talking points than humanity. And I’m horrified that that’s the case. So I will say so.

 

Aging Red

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It is my pleasure to feature poetry from one of my favorite writers. Her pen bleeds and I cry. Her pen laughs and I chuckle. She’s a friend and an amazing talent. Please enjoy “Aging Red” by C. Streetlights.

“Aging Red”

-C. Streetlights-

These days,

they melt like a Dali

minutes dripp-

ing

into

the hours

but seconds

pour, pour, pour-

ing

into the days.

I wear age

like I do my lipstick –

bright, bold, and red.

I am red years old.

Age is a number

that deceives like a Seurat,

dots fill-

ing

the years

but moments

beat, beat, beat-

ing the heart.

Red years old (though)

means vibrancy, brightness.

It means passion and spirit.

Someday is gray,

a rejection of color like a Picasso,

but

Not mine.

Mine smells of memory.

And I remain red years old.

cstreetlights

After writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her memoir, Tea and Madness, won honorable mention for memoir in the Los Angeles Book Fair (2016) and is available for purchase on Amazon.

Streetlights is represented by Lisa Hagan Books and published by Shadow Teams NYC. For all press interviews and other inquiries, please contact Ms. Hagan directly.

You can connect with C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon Author Central, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.