I have three full-blood siblings. Each of those three siblings are soulful, compassionate people; together, they have been my lifeline for most of four decades.
My siblings all had one elementary school teacher who never taught me in a classroom. Far from condemning my single mother, as most adults around my siblings and I did, this teacher praised her: “Any one of your children is kinder and more compassionate than any other student I’ve ever had. That all three of them are like that tells me it’s not an accident, but a reflection of you.”
I was never his student, but he and I became friendly in the years after my siblings left his classroom. He went on to teach teachers. He told me he used me and my siblings as shining examples of what you can become when you care for other people.
(When I had a chance to help one of his people a few years ago, I leaped! How seldom do any of us have a chance to explicitly show kindness to the people who have saved us?!)
Sometimes, I talk to people and wonder how they have so little faith in the folks around them. “How do you believe people are innately assholes, and only ever pretend to be otherwise?” I ask myself, puzzling over this until something or another reminds me: They did not have my siblings!
As my mom lost herself to untreated mental illness, I had my siblings. As our mom died of cancer, I had my siblings. After she died and I argued heatedly about how we should dispose of her house, I had my siblings.
(I was so angry about how we disposed of Mom’s house, I signed the papers upside-down to reflect my protest. Still, I signed because I understood my siblings were more important than a house, and I apologized later when I really understood it.)
And so, I have walked through every day of my life knowing I have three people who will support me even when they want to whack me upside the head (which is probably often). I have three people who know, absolutely, that my heart is full of love, even when the things I do or say don’t necessarily reveal that.
Most people don’t have that.
That is a sadness I can’t even fathom.
Most people have never even had one-third of that. Read more…
I recorded a video a couple of nights ago. I wasn’t planning on linking it here, but I just listened to it and changed my mind. It reveals so much about where I’ve been, where I want to go, and why I want to go there.
It did originate with politics, so you might want to skip it. Basically, some folks expressed concern with my supporting Brand New Congress, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that could legally accept dark money. It’s so personal that sitting down and writing it out didn’t feel right. So … I recorded a (respectful!) video, and I’m glad I did.
Just be forewarned: my husband might work in show biz, but you’ll see none of that glitz watching the video here!
Many times, I’ve explained how the Democrats lost me.
No times, until this week, did I explain how Bernie Sanders won me.
Writing about my love instead of my earlier rage felt joyous. Right.
Something unexpected and beautiful happened even after I posted. Someone tweeted three magic words that made me cry: I believe you.
For years, my slogan has been, “your belief is irrelevant.”
All the same, seeing those three words opened the floodgates for me. Those words of support weren’t only about me, but my mom, who spent her whole life yearning for people to believe and lift (instead of castigating) her.
I’ll include some more tweets behind a cut below. One was retweeted more than 80 times, which meant I saw the hashtag #IBelieveYou every few minutes throughout Saturday. Each time, I said quiet thanks.
In ways I’ll have to explain later, the piece only happened because I got out to vote for California delegates last weekend. Actually stepping out into my community and interacting with people here changed everything for me.
If you’re yearning to do something but don’t know what to do, you might consider attending an Our First Stand: Save Health Care rally tomorrow. People will gather across the U.S. to demonstrate our commitment to health care as a human right.
By showing up, you have the power to help save lives … all while setting aside worrying in favor of acting, from love.
It may not be everything, but it’s a fine start.
More #IBelieveYou tweets below the cut
I was prepared to love Bernie Sanders almost thirty years ago.
I was barely a decade old when I testified against a pedophile. He sat only a few feet away from me as I described how he’d once placed a hand on my breast.
I’ve learned a lot recently, and learned much of it very quickly.
Unfortunately, this means my ability to understand the U.S. political landscape has far exceeded my ability to explain it. Fortunately, I started practicing a lot, so I’m better now than I was even a month ago.
My passion still exceeds my skill, but the gap between the two gets a little less cavernous every time I practice.
Never (yet) has the gap been clearer than when I expressed horror over what’s happening in Yemen.
Once I recognized my passion-skill gap there, I sat with it a while.
I spent a long time thinking about how to explain–sans antagonism–why I care so much about strangers in Yemen.
Finally, I found a way to explain with a better balance between passion and skill.
Please click the image below to read my second Progressive Army piece. For more context, you might also want to read this illuminating Bill Moyers piece.
I hope you’ll read, reflect, and share your thoughts with me.