I want to be the man in the BBC video.

by renegademama

So, we need to talk about that viral video with the dude whose kids barged in while he was being interviewed. You remember. The yellow-shirted child who walked in owning the place, and then the baby in the walker who charged in after? Yeah, them.

I found it cute. Of course, the Super Concerned Citizens Brigade had some concerns about the way he gently pushed his kid away. Of course they did. Because one should always be excited about having their children around. They are precious gifts from god, even while working. Obviously.

(Nope.)

And of course the people wondering why we are “congratulating a man for doing what women do all the time.”

Hmmm. Okay.

I thought it was an amusing glimpse into the shared experience of trying to work from home with children who don’t give a fuck that you’re trying to work from home.

And then there was a parody video: “How a woman would have handled it.” And it was a woman picking up the toddler and giving her a bottle instead of trying to get rid of her, and then roasting chicken and ironing and putting out a bomb and helping her husband find a sock, etc. It was funny.

I mean, sort of, until I realized the video wasn’t really critiquing the process, and in fact, the woman joyfully states at the end: “Alright let’s find this sock then!”

The point of course was to highlight women as master multi-taskers who would have DONE IT ALL while being interviewed about international politics, and I fear I may be the only person on the planet who thinks this is utter bullshit.

Look, I love humor. And I’m only uptight on Sundays. I’m the funniest person I know (this is not true). But I felt a wave of repulsion when I saw that video.

I know the point was to “revere” women and point out our incredible ability to take care of all the things all the time and hold down careers. I get that. And yay us.

But truly, fuck that shit.

I want to be the man in that video.

No, I AM the man in that video. When I work, I don’t want my kids around. I don’t want them barging in. I don’t want to feed them a bottle while I do my job. And frankly, fuck you for expecting me to do so.

I don’t want to be the one grilling shrimp and changing a diaper while writing a book. Yes, I 100% EXPECT MY HUSBAND TO GET THE FUCKING TODDLER OUT OF MY FUCKING ROOM SO I CAN WORK.

Sorry for yelling, but come on.

Roasting chicken, doing taxes, buying coconut oil, and planning parent-teacher conferences while working is to some extent the reality of my life, but mostly I accomplish “motherhood and career balance” by failing in rotating areas and lowering my motherfucking standards. I put out fires and focus on that which must be done right now.

Glorification of this “do it all” mode of being makes my stomach turn. I do a lot of things in a lot of areas, but I sure as hell don’t do them perfectly, joyfully, or with an attitude of “no problem. I got this honey.”

Why is it that women have accepted “juggle all the things” as our job? Why and how and when did we get it through our heads that we are even CAPABLE of such a thing (::whispers:: it’s the patriarchy)? We all know it’s impossible, and yet we celebrate it.

It has become a mark of accomplishment for “women,” an intrinsic aspect of our identities, a badge we wear with apparent honor.

I’m a writer. I have a major deadline coming up in five weeks. For the past three weeks, one of my children or I have been sick in rotating cycles of hell that have reduced my already scant 20-hours a week of office time to 4-5 hours a week. To make up for it, I have worked evenings and entire weekends, which means I leave my family for two days at a time, missing activities and evening events and their faces. I have all but ceased grocery shopping and cooking. I missed a parent-teacher conference because I had the date wrong. I may or may not be returning phone calls.

Ultimately, I have to REMOVE myself from my family to pursue my career. It’s hard, and it stings. But is it worth it? Yes. That’s why I do it.

You know who picks up the slack? My husband.

Because that is what we do for each other because we are not superheroes we are humans. 

So please stop implying that my family can literally or figuratively join me in my workspace, or that if I were a better woman, I would bring the kid onto my lap rather than kick her the hell out of my office.

 

And the truly unfortunate thing here is that I have the “ideal” career for “balancing” motherhood and work. I work for myself, so I have “flexibility.” My husband works two hours away as an ironworker. He is not available during the days. If he doesn’t show up for work, he doesn’t get paid. I am grateful I can be here.

But even though I enjoy “ideal” conditions, this shit is still impossible. I cannot do it all. Ever. And I’m growing mighty tired of the idea that I can.

I know people will read this and say, “Hey genius if you wanted a career, why’d you have so many kids?”

And to you I say: That is an excellent question.

And I will answer it as soon as we start regularly asking men the same question: “Hey man, why did you have so many kids if you wanted a career?”

Most of us are working – men and women – BECAUSE WE NEED TO EAT. But only one of the genders is being asked why the fuck they aren’t getting the ironing done.

I’m kidding. Obviously nobody actually irons.

 

When I excel in one area, it is at the cost of another.

When I focus on one area, I have less focus to offer other areas.

This is logic. Excellent stuff.

I cannot do it all. I cannot balance it all. I cannot perform at stellar levels in every damn area of existence. And that’s cool.

I will pass on the incessant multi-tasking, thanks.

So yeah, get the fuck out of my room while I work, kids.

Mama loves you.

Bye.

 

15 Reasons I Need Plastic Panels in my Mom Jeans

by renegademama

I will admit, at first I was unsure how I needed  “slick plastic panels” to “bare my knees for a futuristic feel” in my “mom jeans,” but now that Nordstrom has mentioned it, I’m discovering the ways my mom life could benefit from such a thing.

What are “mom jeans” exactly? Oh, glad you asked: They’re jeans signaling the degradation of fuckable woman body, characterized by a large, flat ass, marriage and a minivan, and complete surrender to never being hot again.

The jeans themselves are characterized by high waist, tapered legs, and throwback denim from the 80s. These exact jeans are considered hip and trendy on other bodies, so the real key to recognizing “mom jeans” is the ability to apply a misogynistic gaze to determine if the wearer is still meeting the requirements of “hot thin young woman,” or not. Give it some time. You’ll figure it out.

Anywho, back on topic.

As I mentioned, at first I was unsure how and why I needed plastic panels on my knees, but since the advertising guys are always correct, I simply put my mind to it and realized there are at least 15 ways I can benefit from strategically placed knee panels:

  1. I can’t lie. I have on occasion been disturbed by my wardrobe’s total lack of “futuristic” allure. I mean there just isn’t enough sci-fi space vibe to my daily attire. I feel so present-day earthy. Total drag. So Nordstrom, for a mere $95, really spoke to the exact sartorial motif that’s been missing in my life.
  2. Now, not only can I be spacey cool, when my kid vomits on my legs, I can simply Windex that shit.
  3. Also if I happen to piss on myself and it gathers in the knee area. You know what? That’s a stretch. I never full-on urinate in that manner in my own jeans.
  4. Or if I need a spot to do a line of cocaine.
  5. Please forget that last one. I am simply brainstorming potential uses.
  6. I can also have more consistent knee visibility during colder months when shorts aren’t an option. One of the big problems in my life is that I can’t see my knees at all times. I need little windows to my knees.
  7. Why? Well, to assess whether or not I need to shave, or maybe they’re fat. Do I have fat knees? I should go running. Nobody likes fat knees. Little knee windows allow me to assess fatness and hair density and length, allowing me to more fully meet the expectations of how you think I should look.
  8. Wait omg. Also OTHER people can assess my knees. Hallelujah! Freedom!
  9. It also sounds fun to sweat against the plastic during hotter months. If I sweat, will the windows fog up? That sounds fun. I hope they sell anti-fog knee-panel spray and that it’s available on Amazon Prime.
  10. Plastic knee panels would serve as a tiny adorable slide for my toddler, turning me into a living play structure!
  11. Also, my kids may enjoy covering the little panels in tissue paper and glue, like little stained glass pieces. That way, I could wear my child’s art at all times, which has always been a goal of mine.
  12. Or, I could tape things to the inside of the panels, perhaps little Post-it notes with my shopping or to-do lists, or daily affirmations such as, “You are a bright shining star.” Happy reminders, you know, to stay positive while I make a casserole and wait for my husband to come home.
  13. But most importantly, plastic knee panels help me remember that I am a unique individual. I can be a mom and wear funky cool things and really stand out, like in high school when I decorated the soles of my Doc Martens with black permanent marker. My individuality has not been erased by these kids. Thank you, Nordstrom, for understanding that. Thank you for seeing the ME in here.
  14. Um, well, hmmm. I’m working on more uses. A portable plate for my toddler to eat off of! (Easy clean-up too!) No grass stains! The ability to teeter on my knees on wet grass without my jeans getting wet! That’s something I often want to do.
  15. You know what. That’s all there is. There are only 14 potential benefits of plastic knee panel mom jeans, but that’s good enough for me, because if you tell me something’s cool and necessary, I AM WITH YOU ALL THE WAY, AMERICA.

****

Look, the key to a meaningful life is writing ridiculous lists of useless information. Find out how! Let’s do it together!

Two spots left in my online writing workshop! 

We start on April 5! Join us! So many exclamation marks!

I found this a year after I named my workshop “write anyway,” which basically means I am Junot Diaz.

I want you to know a few things about grief.

by renegademama

I generally try to avoid writing “helpful instructional” posts, mostly because I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing (you know, in life), but every now and then, fate hands me some piece of information that I think may be helpful to others, so I share what I know. For example, alcoholism.

And now, traumatic death and grief.

For those of you who don’t know, on the evening of November 9th, 2016, my grandmother was murdered by my mentally ill cousin. I was pulling out of my kids’ school parking lot the next morning when my mother called, screaming.

And in that moment I was inducted into the traumatic death grief circle. I don’t love it here, and hope you never join me, but you or somebody you know probably will.

I want to write what I’ve learned about grief because let’s be honest, nobody knows what the hell to do when a friend’s sister, child, spouse or parent suddenly dies. Nobody knows what to do when somebody’s loved one slowly dies. I didn’t. I sent a text or call or card, flowers or food or chocolate, and moved on. If it was a close friend, I showed up once or twice.

I see now that I could have done better for my friends. And I will now.

 

It’s not surprising we sort of suck at this. We live in a culture that does its best to protect us from aging and dying – botox, face lifts, endless “anti-aging” creams, sending our elderly to homes – so I get the feeling most of us don’t want to move too close to the topic of death, and the grieving among us become death beacons. We’re like giant glowing WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE marquees.

And who wants that?

BORING.

When it comes to death and dying, we want to show up for a moment, touch it for a second, then recede quickly back to our fantasy of safety. There’s nothing wrong with that fantasy. In fact it is necessary for life: How else would we feel comfortable every day hurling down a freeway in a box of metal with thousands of strangers who are probably texting?

Delusion of safety.

And believe me, after having it ripped away, I realize fully how we NEED that delusion. Because I’m terrified all the time now, and I sure won’t weep when that’s over. (My dog suffocated in an insulated lunch bag 5 weeks after my grandmother was killed, and we found him dead in the morning, and it was precisely at that point my psyche shifted into random death can occur at any moment mayday WE ARE NOT SAFE mode. And now I’m weird AF but getting better.).

 

I’ve read a lot of posts about “What not to say to grieving people,” and while I suppose that’s helpful, I’m not into it. People say stupid shit. People said profoundly insensitive things, and honestly, if you message a person whose grandmother was murdered wanting details of the crime because you saw it on the news and you’re living out some detective fantasy, nothing I can say will help you. And yes, that happened. More than once.

But most of the time, people just don’t know what to say. Every time somebody said, “I know what you’re going through. My grandma died last year of old age.” I wanted to be like, “Yeah that’s not actually the same thing as having your grandmother stabbed to death by a family member so please stop,” but I knew that person was trying to reach out, to empathize, to help. So for sure their words were not “perfect,” but it’s small, you know?

It stung because it reminded me of my own sense of isolation and loneliness – as in, what sort of freak has this happen in their family – but during those first couple months, damn near everything hurt like hell. Everything reminded me of the trauma. I had to get off the internet entirely. I was a raw open wound and the world was unknowingly chucking salt into the center of it about 80 times a day. So it was more about ME than them. They were never gonna win with me. I hurt too much.

Plus, how can we make hard and fast rules about what to say or not say in a time as personal as grief? For me, I had to make some sick ass jokes. I needed to laugh about some really dark shit – not at the expense of my grandmother, but rather, the situation in general – because the weight of my sadness was crushing and I needed relief to breathe. At some point, I needed maniacal laughter, maniacal laughter to open a vent and let a little of the insanity of the situation out – my brain unable to hold it. My heart unable to house it. My thoughts unable to reason with it.

 

It’s not about saying the perfect thing.

It’s about showing up and meeting people where they are and I think we do that through opening our eyes and really seeing people, in all their grieving mess, and not making it about ourselves, our comfort, our fear. I know immediately when I’m around a friend who I can be honest with and those with whom I need to give the “Oh I’m fine” runaround.

But here’s what I really want you to know:

Grief is a physical pain. It hurts the actual body. In headaches, tension, anxiety, exhaustion – my bones ached. My face. My head. So I appreciated physical help: laundry, cooking, food, cleaning.

Grief scatters the mind. I straight up forgot about a button on my car that unlocks the doors from the driver’s door. I used it a thousand times, then forgot about it entirely for weeks. I’ve missed more appointments the past 4 months than probably the past 3 years of my life. I will commit to something on Thursday and forget on Friday. I can’t figure out simple questions. I grow confused easily. So I appreciated people’s patience with my mistakes and when they didn’t require me to help solve their emotional problems as perhaps we had done in the past, because holy mother, I HAD NO MORE TO GIVE.

Grief makes you super weird. My pain moved from a freight train slamming my body to waves of panic and terror and sorrow to a gray cloud descended over me all the damn time. A heaviness. A strange apathy. And then, at the strangest moments, the wave comes again, and I think maybe I can’t withstand this one.

And I want you to know how much terror is involved in grief like this. If this is true, what else can be true? What else can be taken? 

Every time my kids want to ride their bikes, I want to say “no.” Every time my mom doesn’t text back at night, I wonder if she’s been killed, and my body physically responds. A friend showed up unexpectedly at 9:30pm one night and my heart raced for 30 minutes after because I thought he was the police, there to tell me somebody had died. The simple walk to the door had me panicked. This happens 10 times a day, still, in response to random tiny events. My intellect says, “Janelle, this is nonsense. Stop. My body and heart say: ‘DANGER.'”

I walk around with that inside all the time, and the world doesn’t know.

So yeah, it’s weird and dizzying and painful for a long time, in a literal, material way – and sometimes I feel like I’m going to get carried away into oblivion, and just then, I get a message from a friend that says, “Hey I’m thinking of you and you don’t need to respond but know you are buoyed, and we will not let you drown.” And I cannot tell you how much I think those messages actually made me survive.

And it was the people who kept sending them and calling two weeks, one month, two months after it happened – and still bring it up sometimes – that helped me beyond measure because they give me permission to keep talking when I was afraid to “bring people down,” and they slammed that sense of isolation.

Because in our busy lives coupled with the desire to distance ourselves from death, once the funeral is over or a month has passed, the world says, “Oh you’re fine now let’s get back to the usual programming,” and that is precisely when the agony settles in: Reality to the new life.

But where did everybody go?

Back to life. Back to the routine. I get it. But there are a few friends who stick around, who keep showing up, who keep asking, “How are you?” in a way that really wants to know, and they keep us alive. They keep us above water.

So now I’m going to show up for the grieving when everybody else has stopped asking. When everybody else thinks it’s “over” and “time to move on,” I’m going to come to your door through word or body, and I’m going to say, “Hey. I’m here.”

And whatever happens with you will become the power to get us both through. Your world is falling, and I know it, but I’m here with you so let’s get weird and real until all the waves have crashed, and we’re just sitting here again in the sunshine.

I’ll remind you it will come, as they have done for me.

 

With my Arlo a few days before she died. I don’t know what I’ll do when he outgrows those dino pajamas. She thought they were so cute.

Could the internet please figure out what “free speech” means or STFU about it?

by renegademama

Did you see what I did there? I talked about free speech then asked people not to talk so I violated their First-Amendment free speech rights.

No, I fucking did not.

BECAUSE THAT IS NOT WHAT “FREE SPEECH” MEANS.

I know this may be rough and wild in the world of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” where apparently everybody goes around inventing information at random to suit political aspirations, but outside that special vortex, people try to use words according to their actual definitions.

In fact, some of us get super frisky and use the Google to research what a word means if somebody informs us we are using it incorrectly.

But you don’t. This is what you do, Candy. (I named you Candy.)

Candy: “Milo Yiannopoulos losing his book deal is a violation of free speech! Dangerous! Sad!”

Somebody on the internet: “Hey, hi. That’s not what free speech means.”

Candy: “Hillary Clinton is a crook!”

Somebody: “Okay but that’s still not what free speech means. Please look it up.”

Candy: “Politically correct snowflake liberals love to silence people like Milo!”

Somebody: “That’s probably true, but Milo’s free speech rights are intact nonetheless. Google it.”

But you don’t. Ever. I am convinced you’re not even trying.

But no worries. I am here for you. I googled “freedom of speech” (because that’s the official terminology –I’m not trying to be sneaky), and here is what I found for its definition (incidentally, all dictionaries say the same thing, which is how definitions work):

“the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc.” (source)

Another: “the right to speak without censorship or restraint by the government. Freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.” (source)

Okay so this is not complicated, right? The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects our right to say virtually whatever the hell we want without fear of legally enacted censorship (although some speech acts are in fact illegal), meaning we can speak without fear of being thrown in prison, or killed by the government (although one may wonder what happened to some of those black Civil Rights activists of the 1960s and 70s who disappeared into thin air, but I digress.)

I can’t be thrown in jail for saying: “Our President acts like Caillou.”

Or “Gee I wish that Nazi was clocked 50 times instead of one.”

Americans get to burn flags, protest, rage, scream, sing, teach, write, and paint without getting chucked into the poky.

Melissa McCarthy gets to make fun of Spicey. Baldwin gets to mock Trump. Limbaugh gets to say women live longer because their lives are easier. Milo YiannoFuckYou gets to be the head gay spokesman for the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic “alt-right.” Bakeries get to gay-bash on Facebook.

IT DOES NOT MEAN THERE WON’T BE CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE WORDS.

Please for the love of baby Jesus HEAR THIS:

It does not mean we won’t get fired, shunned, uninvited, criticized, kicked off Twitter, blocked, banned, dragged, mocked, and publicly ostracized. Why? Because other citizens get to exercise THEIR freedom of speech in response to ours, and those of us in the private sector get to fire or ban or drag your ass for being an asshole.

Once again just for fun: “Freedom of speech” does not mean “protection from the natural results of being a dick and/or sharing opinions the majority of Americans have progressed beyond because they result in the systematic dismantling of the civil rights of others.”

If I get mad at a coworker and yell that he’s a “washed-up piece of cow shit,” I can possibly get fired for violating a business policy of employing people with self-restraint and manners.

If I walk up to a gay bakery customer and start shouting: “You are evil in the eyes of Jesus and deserve no cake!” my boss can fire me because I am messing with business. Even beyond economics, businesses often have a mission statement, a corporate culture, and if my opinions are not in concert with that culture, I gotta go. 

It’s a condition of my employment. And whether you like it or not, if you believe gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry, or women should stick with the kitchen gig, or all Muslims are terrorists, you are holding archaic beliefs many Americans do not support, so if you share those ideas, there may be repercussions.

This is called, “Being an adult.”

Feel free to hold and yell and cuddle those ideas like your fleece Nascar blanket, but be prepared for what follows.

Societal progress is a motherfucker, ain’t it?

 

Milo YainannaDoucheNozzleButNicePearls can say whatever the hell he wants, and indeed he was invited to UC Davis and UC Berkeley, but protestors created an environment that the university (or HE) felt was unsafe, so he left. He said all kinds of racist and xenophobic and misogynistic neo-fascist shit, and still got invited places and published.

But then it came out that he stated pedophilia isn’t pedophilia if the kid has hit puberty, which apparently is JUST TOO FAR for Simon & Schuster and that Republican rally thing and Breitbart (who knew Breitbart had standards?!).

The rest though was no big deal for those guys, so not one deserves a cookie, not even stale ones with raisins in the back of grandma’s cupboard.

In short, Milo shares a message that many American citizens believe does not deserve a platform. So they did their best to assemble, and deny him that platform. We can argue over the goodness and sanctity of that act, but his freedom of speech is intact. We know this because he’s still walking around being blathering on as a washed-up piece of cow shit.

 

Boycotts are not a violation of freedom of speech.

Protests are not a violation of freedom of speech.

Losing a book deal is not a violation of free speech.

Being uninvited from a speaking engagement is not a violation of free speech.

Milo’s career is smashed because of the choices he’s made within the context of the world he’s living in. Undoubtedly he will maintain a cult-following of alt-right worshippers, but the rest of us have no time for his bullshit, and kindly ask that you exit your unique snowflake word-definition vortex and figure out what “free speech” means, or shut the ever-loving fuck up.

Alright, not so kindly.

But this is America. Milo and I (I just threw up) and you and duck dynasty homophobe guy get to say what we want, and then, we get to deal with the consequences.

THAT IS OUR RIGHT.

 

Here. I made a handy guide the intended audience will never use.

It’s called “Is my right to free speech being violated: A STARTING POINT”

 

***

Speaking of saying whatever the hell we want,

you should join my April online writing workshop so we can

DO THAT TOGETHER.

“Write Anyway” begins April 5.

108 Comments | Posted in nothing to do with parenting., politics | February 22, 2017

Even in this dumpster fire, we’ve got power, and it may or may not be on Facebook.

by renegademama

Remember when we used to go on Facebook to see pictures of people’s kids, read amusing Buzzfeed listicles – did I just say “listicles” because if so I hate myself – and see what drunk Phyllis posted last night?

That was so fun.

Remember when we used to go on Facebook to read meaningless shit instead of discover new developments in the systematic dismantling of what was left of American democracy?

I loved that.

Now, people who don’t post about the proto-fascist authoritarian dicks in office stick out like devious outliers while I sit there scream-thinking: “I don’t give a fuck about your cat. BETSY DEVOS THINKS GUNS SHOULD BE IN SCHOOLS BECAUSE GRIZZLY BEARS.”

On the other hand, if we didn’t have an occasional cat thrown in – or, my personal favorite: frolicking river otters – this shit would be unbearable, and it’s already unbearable.

Endless streams of bad news, of people referencing “alternative facts” as if that’s a thing other than, um, falsehoods. Our President tweeting about TV show ratings and slamming our judicial system, the very balance created to save our country from the likes of him. Not to mention the whole Putin situation. Ummmmmmmm. FUCK.

I pick up my phone, scroll, feel flames rise through my body, a sense of panic and rage and sadness and hopelessness, then throw my phone. Pick it back up, Google: “Does Spain take Americans?,” “Is Trump going to nuke the world,” and “What does anxiety disorder feel like and do I have it?”

Swear I’m getting off social media for good. Realize it’s only been THREE GODDAMN WEEKS, feel a sense of hopelessness, wonder how the hell we’ll get through. Commit to no more news.

Ten minutes later, get back on my phone thinking fuck these assholes I’m not going down without a fight.

“Fake news” everywhere. Real news conveyed as “fake news” because it hurts Trump’s baby feelings. A top presidential adviser plugging Ivanka Trump’s products as if our government is some new branch of QVC. The White House getting filled with Wall Street executives even though Trump campaigned against exactly that, but now suddenly his supporters don’t seem to mind. HOW WHY WHAT FUCK AGAIN.

Where are we?

It’s a dizzying dystopian fiction. It’s a constant sense of “is anybody else seeing this? SOMEBODY SAVE US.”

As if I can’t find reality. As if what I’m seeing before my eyes is not real, and yet it is real, and yet if it’s real, how the fuck are we expected to simply go on about our lives? WHY IS EVERYONE JUST SITTING HERE?

On the other hand, do we have a choice? Do we engage for knowledge or disengage for sanity? I go back and forth all day.

My go-to coping mechanism lately has been irate Facebook status updates. I guess it makes me think I’m doing something, while lying in bed naked at 2am.

I write some super brilliant (!) shit, then I reread it and add and subtract this and that, and then I hit “post” and wait…OMG will they like me!? A few likes come in, a couple comments. A share! Wheeee!

I am making fun of myself, but this is all real and true. True facts. Not alt-ones.

I’m a bit of child when it comes to this stuff and have no shame in admitting it. Welllll I have a little shame.

 

But what I’ve learned about social media is this: If not used thoughtfully, it engages my baser self. It engages the part of me that wants instant gratification, approval, and attention. It engages the part of me that wants to be RIGHT. It brings me fear and by the end of the day, I’m spinning in circles and essentially useless, mentally.

You know what? I’m tired of that shit. Now is not the time for me to run around trying to be right. Now is the time for me to run around trying to be helpful, trying to share what we know in a way that can be consumed, digested, and relatively useful for others. Now is the time that I ask myself how I’m using my time, voices, and commitment to resistance.

Look. You know me. You know my anger rants are like air to me, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop writing inappropriate, poorly thought out Facebook posts that strike me as amusing at the time but later seem irrational and somewhat unhinged.

I’m committed now. I’m all in.

I’m not writing some manifesto on social media behavior. I don’t care how people use it, and it takes all kinds of voices.

I simply just realized in a very real way that social media has to a large extent turned into a sort of self-congratulatory echo chamber for me: I throw out ideas and people who already agree with me respond with support, which makes me happy, and sometimes new people respond with dissent, which makes me mad.

WHEN DID I BECOME FIFTEEN AGAIN?

As the months (years? SHUT UP.) have passed– I realized I was completely swept away in anger and fear, and neither of those are particularly helpful to the world. Anger is an amazing fuel for action, but as an end in itself, it’s something of a dud. Also, it’s miserable. Like if I get mad only to get madder, I’m simply discontented. And useless.

The truth is I am a bit lost. A good portion of what I knew to be true about my personal life has crumbled in the past few months, and everything I knew to be true about my country and the people in it and the direction we’re capable of heading has also crumbled, and I feel a sense in me that I need to take a serious look at what I’m contributing to the world. You know? As a human being. As a writer. As a mother.

I’m questioning ALL OF IT.

 

I believe something fully though, and I believe it more every day: We already have what we need to make a real, clear, and vital difference in the community around us. We have what we need to survive, to get through this together as a fucking people. We have what we need to lift our voices and be drivers of change and hope rather than festering powerlessness and fear.

We make art. We write and we sing. We show up to school board meetings. We donate to the mission. We talk to our neighbors. We volunteer in schools. We rally. We march. We raise kids that love. We give money to the motherfucking ACLU.

And totally we post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, duh. And our blogs. Yeah dude, I get it. I get the hypocrisy.

I just wanted to remind you that she persisted, because I had to remind myself. I got a little lost in apathy and rage and generalized confusion. It’s easy to forget where you stand, who you are, and what you’re capable of.

This is a weird world right now, and it’s easy to get so overwhelmed we find ourselves recklessly spinning, forgetting perhaps that we will persist, even through this. Plus, if he nukes us we won’t be here to know the difference. Goddamnit I was trying to be positive.

For real: I see you. Your fucking talents and voice. And I hope you use them. And I hope you use them loud.

Because the world may be crumbling, rearranging, and exploding around us, but we are never powerless. They want us to believe that, they want us to get lost in restless anxiety and fear, but we persist by returning to the strength and creativity and fertile resistance we’ve got inside, and letting that run this fucking rodeo.

Also river otters. And each other.

Mac made me flowers out of scrap sheet metal. This is what I’m talking about. We gotta make flowers out of metal for no reason other than love.

***

I promise this post was not written for this moment, but I need to let you know I’m teaching the last two live sessions of my ONLINE “Write Anyway” workshop this April and June. April is the only evening workshop I’ll teach this year.

If writing is your thing and you’re not doing it, I hope you’ll join us. We work through and deconstruct the fears blocking us, and I know there are many. I have them all.

We fucking need you. 

Please email me with any questions: info@renegademothering.com.

I found this a year after I named my workshop “write anyway,” which basically means I am Junot Diaz.

13 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | February 15, 2017