Well heeeelllllloooo good people! Welcome to this my first installment of my blog. In truth the whole concept seems a bit odd to me at this point, hav...
November 11, 2014
Greetings and happy early Winter to all of you! I hope this time of deepening darkness finds you all in good health and spirits and getting ready for...
"Lo Mío:" A Celebration of Sensuality, Freedom and Our Right to Safety
October 31, 2017
Greyhound Musings: On Sisterhood and Auntiehood
November 30, 2014
Hello good people! Coming at you live and direct from Boston, Massachusetts, where I will be staying with family until just afer the New Year. It had been a long time since I'd been home and it was calling me for a visit. The day before I was scheduled to leave New Mexico, I went to the doctor and found out the wrist injury I'd suffered in a bike accident in early October and self-diagnosed as a sprain was in fact a gnarly fracture. I feel very blessed to be home with my loving and supportive family at this time when my dominant hand and forearm is in a (pretty purple) cast and the basic tasks of everyday living are challenging.
As some of you know, in my last blog post I told of my plans to take the Greyhound to Boston and insisted that I enjoyed long bus trips. Well, I made it, and yes I did enjoy the experience. (I'm really not just saying that). I kept my mindstate militantly positive throughout. I was committed to rolling with the whole thing, not allowing myself to bitch internally at any point. I talked with lots of interesting people and in some cases met "bus buddies" with whom I kicked it until our paths diverged.
Though I definitely connected with some great guys on the trip, the overarching theme of my experience was connecting with women. I spent the vast majority of the trip hanging out out with cool ladies, and it was awesome! Everywhere I turned on my journey, it seemed like there was a woman willing to engage with me and spend time together. There was the funny and gregarious Monica, a recent graduate of trucker school who was mortified when her lover picked her up in Oklahoma City in a stretch Humvee limo; Debbie, the fundamentalist Christian who kindly and patiently listened to my stoney, tangential rant about the need for Christians to proactively address the pain caused by those who have oppressed in Christianity's name; Aisha, the only one of my fellow passengers in the Port Authority bus terminal not perturbed by my request to please watch my luggage for a moment when I went to Customer Service. In the middle of the (different kind of) stoney silence, she stepped right up with a solid "I got you." She then gave me an entire uneaten gyros sandwich and we talked the whole way to Boston- about many things, including our spirituality. We have plans to have tea together soon.
There was Chastity, the beautiful six-year-old travelling from Phoenix to Harrisburg with her mother, grandmother and little sister. She came to sit on my lap and sing me songs and tell me all about her many pets. I asked her about their personalities: every single one she described as "very lovable," amongst their other attributes. We had an interesting coversation about the things that girls like. She started with "makeup, hearts, stars, and butterfies" and then I added "singing songs, cooking, having friends" and lots of other things that I wish I could now recall. She was "mmmmm-hmmmmming" along with me most adorably. (Note: I know that not all girls like all these things and in retrospect, I wish I'd said something about that. She was clearly a pretty-pretty princess, as am I, so we were really talking about what very feminine girls like. I wish I'd asked her if all girls like these things, and if boys like these things, too). Although I missed the opportunity to examine gender roles together, this conversation felt like a very sweet celebration of our shared girl/womanhood and femininity.
I've always enjoyed easy connections with other women. I largely attribute this to having such a close and beautiful relationship with my sister Caroline. I notice that in the past few years, connecting with other women feels even easier than it had in the past. I no longer get as caught up on some of the things that used to occasionally stress me out in friendships. I think this has a lot to do with having become a lot easier on myself, with having generally adopted the belief that "I'm okay and so are you." People have all kinds of quirks and dysfunctionalities, yes, but we're still lovable. I feel a lot more open than I did in the past. "Drop the storyline that causes stress/fear/division and just be loving" was a major lesson of my last Boston sojourn (Summer 2013). When I returned to New Mexico, butterly showed up on my path as a reminder of just that. Whenever I see a butterfly, I'm reminded to LET GO of whatever silly tape-loop my mind may be playing in that moment and tune into the beauty of the world around me. This includes opening my eyes to the person I'm interacting with, and doing my best to actually seethem, to actually hear them, without projecting some kind of.....whatever! I have lots of work to do, as old patterns die hard, but I see that that's the direction in which I'm heading.
So yes, sisterhood, bring it on! I got mad love for the ladies. I want to connect, laugh, share stories, be supportive to one another, kick it! Patriarchy has done so much divide us, and here were are in this crazy oppressive system in which the lines of race and class are so acutely felt. I know that sisterhood isn't necessarily an automatic feeling between women whose backgrounds, life stories and experiences with oppression vastly differ. There are wounds. There is mistrust. But still, I see the potential for sisterhood- true sisterhood, of the heart- to grow and become a powerful force for change on this planet. I see how women light up and come alive in spaces where we are allowed to be ourselves. I see how a woman's growing love of herself naturallly extends to her family, friends, community, and the world at large. I have great faith in the power of big-hearted women to heal and to care about us all.
(I want to extend empowered, loving sisterhood to the brothers, too!)
On the related topic of auntiehood: my experience with little Chastity has me feeling inspired to step it up and act like an auntie when I feel called. In this society, we're so deathly afraid of interfering, especially when it comes to other people's children. My spiritual teacher always told us that women are the defenders of life. I pray to one day soon be like her, a woman who would march right up to a frazzled parent and offer to hold his/her baby if she saw the parent mistreating the child. On my Greyhound journey, I saw that being a defender of life can sometimes take the form of simply engaging with children. I saw lots of kids who seemed to really need someone to talk to and their parents were either too exhausted in the moment (in the case of Chastity's mom and grandma) or didn't seem to be interested (oh, the life-sucking effect of our collective addiction to screens!) I'm going to challenge myself to offer my energy and attention to children who seem to need it in moments when I have it to give. The old addage of "it takes a village" is true. It was beautiful to witness the positive transformation in Chastity's family when I and two other adults (both very kind men about my age) started interacting with the two children. Their collective stress level palpably decreased and their energy got much lighter. The effect of just a little bit of love and support!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please let me know what you think if you feel so inspired!