Posts Tagged ‘choice’

Hope in the Dark

In 2015, my goal was to read one book per month. I barely reached it, but was glad to have beat my 2014 reading. Having grown up immersed in books, it depressed me to have lost my stamina for reading.

This part-year, by contrast, I’ve already read almost twenty books. I’ve crammed in minutes of reading wherever I could, trying to learn more about the many connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena. Understanding these connections has felt pivotal for being able to describe them, especially those least intuitive, and perhaps find ways to help effect much needed, positive change within and outside my home country.

I spent several months last year in a state of genuine shock at the world I saw uncovered by my book reading. I’d vaguely understood there were some injustices happening somewhere out there, but only began to comprehend their scope and scale last summer. Seeing how many millions of people have suffered and died needlessly, whether of hunger or treatable illness here or bombs and drones abroad–for decades, under command of U.S. Republicans and Democrats alike–sent me toppling into despair.

I don’t regret raging. I don’t regret grappling aloud with my despair. These are understandable, even appropriate responses to discovering what great and sweeping cruelties have been and are being worked by my country right now.

Even when the shock finally wore off, anger and great sadness lingered. I stumbled forward with little hope, desperate but clueless about how to start working effectively now for a better world for my children … indeed, everyone on this planet.

Genuine hope finally found me a few weeks ago. It came (wouldn’t you know it?) in the form of a book. Read more…


In which I reluctantly “choose” Hillary

9/18/2016 note
Subsequent to posting this, 
I read at length and concluded I cannot
vote for Clinton. See here and here (to start)
for more insight into this conclusion,
which is informed by concern for
poor women and children
around the world.


Mom, always

My mom “chose” rape.

I want you to sit with that for a minute.

Please, do. No matter how uncomfortable that feels, please, do.

Her ex-husband, my dad and an officer of the law, forced my mom to choose between rape+child support or no rape+no child support. He could do this because he had power. My mom did not.

My mom grew up believing that a woman’s worth was in her capability as a wife and a mother. She strove toward being an A+++ in these areas, even after my dad made clear that he didn’t give a fuck what she did. He would always hate her, and he would always hurt her … because he could, with impunity.

She had a high school degree, but she didn’t have a college degree. She had a husband who didn’t care what happened to his kids, as long as he hurt their mother. That was what she was up against: a conservative Christian man who said he’d tried to make his woman see the light, when what “tried” meant was “abused her so diligently that he hadn’t yet discovered any abuse tactic that would make her agree he was superior and it shouldn’t matter, then, what happened to their kids.”

When my mom divorced my dad, he was intent on making her suffer however he could. He opted not to pay his child support, and then raped my mom–coerced her into having sex with him–as incentive for him to relinquish court-mandated child support. Read more…

You are capable of changing them

My five-year-old suddenly became quiet during our playtime yesterday morning.

After a few minutes, I asked if anything was wrong.

“I’m sad your friend has to go back to prison,” he told me.

“Oh, sweetie. I am, too,” I told him with a hug. “But it’s not too much longer. She’ll be out only a couple of weeks after you graduate kindergarten … ” Read more…

Life beyond the leash

I started a new job two months ago.

I will leave it next Friday.

This is not typical for me.


From a February 2014 post. Yes, really.

I cherish stability, a fact I recognized long before I learned my DiSC personality type is C for “conscientious.” (Is anyone here surprised, looking at the description? No? Right, then.)

But there can be a dark side to stability. Sometimes it means staying with someone who hurts you because the pain you know can seem better than even the possibility of worse pain somewhere else. It can mean sticking with something that limits you while keeping you comfortably, predictably “safe.” It can mean living with your wings wrapped tightly around you because you know you’re less likely to fall if you don’t even try testing your wings.

Of course, avoiding falling means you also never learn to fly.

I only saw this a few months ago.

I used a different analogy then, though. Read more…

“The fun begins in 3 … 2 … 1!”

Folks, please allow me to perform an improvisational dance in the corridor!

For your added pleasure, I’ll throw in a game of dodge-the-flight-attendant! It’ll be merriment for your whole family, but you’ll only catch it if you kindly set aside your tablets and laptops and books, oh my!

The fun begins in 3 … 2 … 1!

In “My sweet, soaring vulnerability,” I wrote that “I only have panic attacks before takeoff.”

That’s true. When flying, I only have full blown panic attacks before takeoff.

It’s also true that I’ve felt panic’s fiery grip in flight. It’s much less common, and I’ve avoided the worst by reminding myself I was just fine up until four seconds ago. By counting in twos the moment my vision starts dimming. Counting backwards from 100. Breathing in and out in slow, even rhythm. Doing crossword puzzles. Telling the person next to me I’m about to have a full blown panic attack if they don’t share their thoughts on the weather and/or their favorite sports team pronto.

There was one time none of my usual in flight strategies worked.

I’m trapped. I’m trapped! I thought myself around in dizzying circles. I am stuck in a sky on the plane and the seatbelt light is on and the flight attendants said I have to stay in my seat so I am trappedtrappedtrapped!

On the verge of a full blown panic attack, I asked myself one question that changed everything: Read more…

Once Sisters, now sisters

Sometimes it’s easy to miss the glory in small moments.

This afternoon, I saw one such moment for what it really was: the culmination of millions of choices made in very particular order to bring a tiny band of people together beneath the Los Angeles sun.

sparkly auntie

For one the two people pictured here, some of those choices included: Read more…

The trouble with willpower

mightyMy life changed two years ago today.

The change started small, but became bigger and scarier over the days and months that followed.

I didn’t accept it. I was invincible! I could do anything I wanted, if I only wanted it enough. Anything. It was only a matter of willpower.

Then Reality interjected herself. I remember clearly the moment I saw Reality unadorned by my own desires for her. My sister sounded so anxious talking with me and dropped off our phone call so abruptly, I saw that my perseverance wasn’t changing external circumstance. It was destroying my body in ways that were devastating my mind.

There, wrapped up in Reality’s too-tight embrace, I saw what had to change: me. I had to stop believing I could do or be anything. I had to stop nurturing the delusion that every single problem I faced could be overcome by my will alone. Read more…

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