Who Writes Herstory?

Who writes history?

It is time to re-examine traditional narratives and do some inclusive re-writes.

For example, I would have bet money that my very “white” NH town had always been so. But I fell down a rabbit hole while looking for a rabbit, and found also that my town had the highest percentage of blacks in the entire state directly after the Revolutionary War. It is unclear why. The NH blacks who fought in the war earned their freedom, pensions and then settled in my town buying homes, opening businesses and starting families. I was astonished to learn this! The black community they established was erased within 100 years, both from the actual town and also in the memory of the citizens.

My town of Exeter was the Revolutionary capital of NH then and home to various military officers and their funding. Perhaps they made promises to the black soldiers? Perhaps those promises are why blacks made up 4.7% of the citizenry in 1790? It is unclear. Why is it unclear? Because those writing the town’s grand, white and male, history back then did not include it. Or perhaps it was purposely excluded? I don’t know. But what I do know it that it is time to re-examine and redress – by including.

My town is all the poorer for not letting that community flourish. I can only imagine the interesting contributions those ladies and gentlemen would have made here. In the four or so generations that the community existed (mainly near the west bank of the Squamscott River) there were many blacks that influenced the culture of this town. For example, in the following small report I give you the exploits and achievements of one family as they began their uphill climb from slavery.

james-monroe-whitfield-ovalDown in that rabbit hole I met James Monroe Whitfield, a black abolitionist poet who was born in 1822 on Whitfield’s Lane, later renamed to Elliot Street. His 1853 book America and other poems was held in the Library of Congress, but curiously, was not in any of our libraries. His name was virtually unknown in our town. But I invite you now to read my small report james monroe whitfield family lineage rm allen, and then join me in saying: “Welcome home James”!

During my research I noticed that both people of color and women were glaringly missing from the history of my town, as published on Wikipedia. So I learned how to submit to Wikipedia -thus writing in a bit of herstory and theirstory back into history.

On January 25 and February 15 the “Where The Future Came From” symposium encourages people to join them in an Art & Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon to make history more inclusive. Why don’t you give it a try too?

Dark n’ Dreary 2018

Dark n’ Dreary in 2018

by RM Allen

Hill. Ford. Hopefully there will never be another name added to this list.

On September 27th I attended a “Solidarity Speak Out” on City Hall Plaza in Boston to show support for the courage of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. That same day she was to testify about her teen-aged trauma in front of the entire country, and a row of old white guys in suits. A great many other women have similar stories of trauma. About one hundred women gathered in Boston in front of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s offices to speak their own stories aloud in front of the crowd and the tv news cameras. As I watched, woman after woman walked to the front and speak about what happened when they were five years old, or at their high school, or at Welcome to College night, or with their father-in-law, the nice guy next door – it just went on and on. I was repulsed.

boston speak out sept 27 2018 blasey ford

For some, this was the very first time they had spoken their truth aloud. After each story the crowd said “We believe you.” Some speakers cried, some were pissed, some dejected. Some had been successful in legally prosecuting their perp. Others had never told a soul. Why? Because they thought they wouldn’t be believed. One woman, after telling her story said she never told the police. Then she swept her hand in front of herself and with her head bowed she said “who would believe that anyone would want this body”? It broke my heart.

speak out boston sept 27 2018 blasey ford

Silence. The biggest thing I came away with was that the silence was what has allowed this perverted behavior to continue for centuries. Silence and victim blaming. Did the five-year old girl have it coming? Did the woman who was made by her husband to sleep with her father-in-law again and again bring that upon herself? Did Dr. Ford want to be jumped and nearly suffocated by two drunken frat boys on the way to the bathroom?

The earnestness and bravery of Dr. Ford was historic. I think she will make a difference in the long run. But she did not make a difference that week: her alleged perp was quickly installed in the highest office in the land, even after his own bizarre show of instability and belligerence. The vote was rushed and the old white guys in suits won. My prophecy is this: just like when you end up with a shoddy contractor who does a rush-job on your house and hides it from you, the truth will out eventually. And it will cost heavily.

But in the meantime, the whole sordid week left me depleted and traumatized. The world went all dark and dreary for weeks. At some later point, I realized that it felt like someone had died and I was grieving. Often, I had wondered what it must have felt like to try to live a normal life during the Vietnam War era. This dark month had given me a tiny glimpse of that. Just laboring on in your work-a-day life, full of sorrow and rage. I was not fit to be out in public. Eventually I had to hide from the news and sit with my grief and just heal. My poor husband, what a saint.

So here we are, five days from the mid-term elections. I am petrified. Please tell me that the majority feel that these inglorious past two years have been a huge mistake. Exploding excesses of testosterone. I can’t even look at the polls. I feel a little sick, and a lot snarky. My poor husband, what a saint.

I have been biding my time and persisting the best I can, but my heart is so heavy. Sigh. Please dear goddess, clear the dark and dreary clouds and show us your lovely face. Bring back Love.

speak out blasey ford sept 27 2018 boston

Hot Flash at Night

Ballad of the Hot Flash at Night

(to the tune of Beverly Hillbillies)

 

Come and listen to a story ‘bout a woman in her bed

For one full year all a-sweatin’ and a-red

Then one day she had had it up to here

Sat at her laptop and did a questionnaire

(“bout getting old & dry that is, not she!)

 

Well the first thing you know our girl’s getting’ prepared

Kin folk said “now girl don’t be scared”

Said the vitamin aisle is the place you oughta be

So she loaded up the car with jars of B, D, and E

(From Rite Aid that is, sleepy time, melatonin)

 

Well now it’s time to say goodbye to the flash and its dry kin,

It’s great to be a crone, don’t want the fake estrogen

The thing that really gave that flash the kybosh

Was a jar of the herb called Black Cohosh

(Juicy Goddess, that’s what he calls her now

….Y’all got Kundalini power, it’s here!)

 

Explosive hot flashes? Goddesses use a natural remedy to ease the way….Black Cohosh: every few days

Guns and Roses (vote them out)

Guns and Roses

by RM Allen, May 2018

“She’s got eyes of the bluest skies” is a line in one of my all-time favorite rock songs “Sweet Child of Mine” and today I am going to tell you a story about another child with blue eyes, my niece. Let’s call her Rose or just R for privacy sake.

R is thirteen and a very sweet and civically minded girl. Just after the Parkland school shooting happened she was alone in the same room at her school with an older boy she did not know. He shook in a funny way and told her that he wanted to shoot more people than the Parkland boy did. Although she was shocked and scared, she tried to be compassionate and soothe him. He told her not to tell anyone.

But she did, for she is a school ambassador and that is her “job”. It got her into a sticky situation, and for a couple of days she was scared to go to school so she stayed home. Many adults were franticly mobilized and got the boy some help. At such a young age, she knew to do the right thing. My niece R is a s/hero.

There was another girl who was about the same age as R and just as compassionate. I never met her, but I have her name on a slip of paper. I sat with that slip of paper posted to my office bulletin board for a month just thinking about her, and her devasted family. Slowly she seeped in and kind of became part of me although I didn’t even know what she looked like or anything about her. She was just a name on paper.

You see, I attended a vigil/discussion on the Parkland shooting a week after it happened. Seventeen slips of paper were placed on a table around a lit chalice. Participants were invited to take a slip home with them. On each slip was printed a name and an age. Mine said “Gina Montalto, 14”. It took me a month to get up the courage to Google her.

Her face came out of my computer. Beautiful, slender, brown hair, big smile. I was crushed. I wept. She looked a lot like one of my step-grandchildren of the same age, L.

Then I saw pictures of rows of airline pilots in uniform at her funeral. Her dad is a pilot for United Airlines. The family is crushed.  The community is crushed. I feel sick. In my mind I see her (and L.) scared, bleeding, running down a hallway in Florida. I feel angry.

Another young lady from that same hallway has risen from being scared, to being a super s/hero in ripped jeans. This is Parkland’s androgynous Emma Gonzalez: she who weeps compassionately on TV while at the same time channeling her anger and being intensely fierce beyond her years. She has stirred a whole nation out of its complacency.

Because of Emma and her friends, the students in my town called and participated in a local forum after the March for Our Lives protests and 150 townsfolk attended. A panel of local politicians on both sides were called to account on gun safety legislation and mental illness. The NRA dog-whistle phrase “soft target” made me feel sick to my stomach – and drew boos from the crowd.

“Vote them out” was spoken many times on the stage and in the audience. Yes my friends! Find out who takes money from the NRA in your state (or votes along their brain-washed lines), this is easy to do. Then vote them out – and vote in folks who can make common sense reforms like: background checks, licensing, training, safety locks, a complete ban on real and adapted “machine guns”, and etc.

Don’t just sit there and think someone else will handle all this for us and our children. They won’t, it will just be business as usual. Parkland, Santa Fe, your town next, what town will be LAST??  R, L, and all the others need you now. Be the goddess.

And so, I close with a photo of Gina Montalto, and another line from “Sweet Child of Mine”: I hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain…

“The Grab” a #MeToo pop-up play

no groping signI wrote this 5-minute play because I couldnt’ find one. Feel free to use it. It is maximum impact and minimal fuss: all actors wear black and hold scripts onstage.

Props needed:

  • text book
  • briefcase
  • shrink-wrapped small plate of brownies
  • diary and pencil
  • large gloves on sticks, (like fireplace tongs)
  • 3 monkey grinder vests, or similar

 

THE GRAB, by RM ALLEN  2018

Contact at: ExeterNhArts.com

ACT [1]

A SINGLE CHAIR ON LEFT, LARGE CURTAIN IN CENTER, AND A BENCH ON STAGE RIGHT

(Monkeys in vests are seated in a row on the bench)

MONKEYS: (In unison)

1982!

 

(Woman walks onstage from the left holding school books, talking to someone, then pauses in front of curtain)

WOMAN

 

Yes, that class was interesting, Mr. Smith. By the way, I am glad you liked my English essay…

(Before she can finish, large hands being manipulated by the puppeteer emerge from behind the curtain and start groping her- just as suddenly, disappear back behind the curtain. Woman freezes, mortified, and looks down in shame before running silently off the stage.  Monkeys have seen this)

MONKEY #1

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over eyes before sitting back down)

 

I did not see that

MONKEY #2

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over ears before sitting back down)

 

I did not hear that

MONKEY #3

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over mouth before sitting back down)

 

I will not speak about that

 

(All the monkeys are seated on the bench.  They speak in unison)

MONKEYS

1992!

 

(Woman walks onstage from the left, holding briefcase, talking to someone, then pauses in front of curtain)

 

…I really enjoyed that seminar, David.  By the way, how many widgets should we order…

(Before she can finish, large hands being manipulated b y the puppeteer emerge from behind the curtain and start groping her- just as suddenly, disappear back behind the curtain. Woman freezes, mortified, and looks down in shame before running silently off the stage.  Monkeys have seen this)

MONKEY #1

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over eyes before sitting back down)

 

I did not see that

MONKEY #2

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over ears before sitting back down)

 

I did not hear that

MONKEY #3

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over mouth before sitting back down)

 

I will not speak about that

 

(All the monkeys are seated on the bench.  They speak in unison)

 

2012!

 

(Woman walks onstage from the left, holding paper plate of plastic-wrapped brownies talking to someone, then pauses in front of curtain)

WOMAN

…What a great BBQ, I am bringing some brownies home for my daughter. Goodbye Lynne, bye Liz, bye Mark…

(Before she can finish, large hands being manipulated by the puppeteer emerge from behind the curtain and start groping her- just as suddenly, disappear back behind the curtain. Woman freezes, mortified, and looks down in shame … before slowly going over to sit in chair. Monkeys have seen this)

MONKEY #1

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over eyes before sitting back down)

 

I did not see that

MONKEY #2

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over ears before sitting back down)

 

I did not hear that

MONKEY #3

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over mouth before sitting back down)

 

I will not speak about that

 

(Woman sitting on the chair, picks up a diary. Opens diary and writes…)

WOMAN

 

“Dear Diary, Yesterday it happened again!!!! Why does this demeaning groping persist?? That new boyfriend of Liz’s is a real creep. Such a jerk!

This crap has been happening to me my whole adult life, usually more discreetly, but this time it was right out in the open. Those people are all my good friends, yet no one stuck up for me.

I am SO mad. Even my date was SILENT! Ugh. He just said the next day “oh, I saw it but I thought you had something going with him”. WHAT????

Why does this happen to me?

 

(She stops writing)

WOMAN

 

Hmm, yes why? ……And why do I go silent? Why don’t I defend myself?

 

(she thinks for a minute)

Have I bought into the old-school “Good girls don’t make waves” culture? (pause)

Have I bought into the fear-based “he’ll make my life miserable, so I’ll just be silent & avoid him” culture? (pause)

Have I bought into the victim-blaming “She must have brought it on herself” culture? (pause)

Hmm…now THAT makes me mad. Madder than I was before, but in a different way. I have done nothing wrong. I am the victim here…

(thinks some more)

 

Well, now that I really think about how I used to be silent, I am FURIOUS …..at MYSELF! This will NOT happen again. I swear it!  I have found my voice and will school myself on what to do next time. YES! I will be soooo ready for the next perp.”

 

(WOMAN stands up fiercely and walks off stage)

(Monkeys are seated in a row on the bench)

MONKEYS: (In unison)

2017!

 

(Woman walks onstage from the left, talking to someone, then pauses in front of curtain)

WOMAN

 

Yes, my darling husband, just a minute, let me say goodbye to our hosts Mr & Mrs Jones — thank you so much for the lovely meal…

(Foam hands emerge from behind the curtain again and start to grope her.  Woman pushes hands away and yells…NO)

WOMAN

“NO!”

 

(MONKEYS have witnessed this, turn to look at the woman.)

 

WOMAN

 

Ha!  I swore that would never let that happen again, and it WILL NOT. I will persist, but I can’t do it alone.

(addresses audience)

Me, your mothers and sisters and daughters, and everyone – we need YOUR help too. Don’t enable. Do NOT be a silent bystander anymore.

MONKEY #1

(Stands up and speaks)

I SAW that!

(Puts hands up to eyes like binoculars)

MONKEY #2

(Stands up and speaks)

I HEARD that!

(Cups hands over ears)

MONKEY #3

(Stands up and speaks)

 

I WILL speak up about that.

(steps toward woman/puppeteer and says)

“That is NOT cool, dude, don’t do it again!”

ALL

Don’t enable. Speak up, call it out…

 

(then all raising hands)

 

ALL

“PERSIST!”

***

monkeys

The Year of the Cat (a song for Earth Day)

“You’re Gonna Make it After All” (cropped) acrylic on canvas by RM Allen 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Year of the Cat

by RM Allen, April 2018

“She comes out of the sun in a silk dress, running like a watercolor in the rain” is a memorable line from an old Cat Stevens song, and the way I feel this rainy Earth Week. After this long, cold and confounding winter I am mottled and grey. The constant work on social justice issues has drained me of my usual colors.

I used to wonder how women of bygone eras went on day-to-day, nurturing their families and themselves while also working their jobs (and let us remember that homemaking is a real job), when the community around them was in chaos. I am talking about the chaos of the Civil War, Jim Crow/Civil Rights, ethnic cleansings around the globe and other insidious forms of devaluing and dividing people. The year 2018 feels remarkably what I think the year 1968 in the US must have felt like to thoughtful people; every time you glance at the headlines there is more and more shocking news. I am drenched in the rain, with my hair and silk dress plastered to me. I shiver. I don’t smile as much. Yet I steel myself and go on because I am thinking of my family.

I have my pedal to the metal and still feel like I can’t keep up. The silver lining in this current perfect storm of neo-Nazi/haters, “clean” coal, and the attempts to make America into a corporation is that it has lit a fire under women and they are organizing. You may or may not like Facebook, but you can be sure that it is being used by both public and secret women’s’ groups for collaborations on every possible issue out there. I see it every day and I am amazed. Drop after drop after drop of water is pouring into the ocean and forming the fourth wave of feminism, which is mostly blue with big streaks of black and aiming directly at mid-term elections.

One strategy I use to keep myself fairly sane is to focus on just two issues: women & family rights and environmental issues. Which brings me back around, finally, to the topic of Earth Week.

Here is the view from my town that reflects women’s collaborations on environmental issues. One of the fruits of my recent collaborative labors is the newly formed town energy committee, and my appointment to it. Our first two projects are LED streetlight conversions and Electric Vehicle Chargers (EVC). The group is comprised of four women and one man (my husband!). Single-use plastic is another issue around which a group of mostly women have formed here. Women are also leading the thrust to have legal “intervenor” status granted in response to a proposed natural-gas pipeline mapped to run through our town.

But what about the men? There are some beautiful men out there too. Obviously. And some others are just taking a different route to get to the same place.

It heartens me to tell you that an older friend of mine, who still loves his oil stocks because they are “money makers”, is planning to buy a Tesla for his next car. He is not buying it to save the environment for his grandchildren – he is buying it for the performance and the sexiness of it. Sex sells. My favorite genius Elon Musk is an extremely green person, yet he also speaks the language of (mostly) non-green men: competition. Competition is why I just read today that Porsche is putting 500 free EVC’s across America. (Can’t let Tesla have it all!) Competition is why a tariff was recently put on imported solar panels. My long-suffering stock in the US company First Solar finally saw a nice jump. Thank you.

The squelching of competition is why offshore wind farms are not a thing in NH yet, despite being one of the best spots in the US. Those big oily pockets are beginning to grasp at the linty bottoms of truth. You can’t stop an idea whose time has come. Especially when there is money to be made in the gleaming game of competition!

Surfing on the blue wave of women, I can glimpse the shore where competition and collaboration are slowly joining in the Buddhist concept of “right livelihood”.  Collaborative women are in the game now, tempering it. It is still a long, hard slog in a wet chafing dress – but cats are said to have nine lives.

The Goddess’ Speech

The Goddess’ SpeechThrive Yoga Studio of St Augustine FL super full moon in Virgo 2018

By RM Allen, March 8, 2018

It is time to vote for a new member of town leadership in my town, the Select Board, formerly known as the Board of Selectmen. Today it is half, if not more, peopled by elected women. When I watch their meetings on TV I see the nameplate in the center of the long table still says “Chairman”, no matter if a woman is sitting behind it or a man. Does it really matter? No. But I think if the nameplate said “Chairwoman” and a man was seated behind it most times, it would be quickly replaced.

…chairman, chairwoman, chairperson

I do a lot of volunteering. During scheduling I often hear someone say who will “man the table”? Does that exclude women from volunteering at the table? If a woman declares “I will man the table” does that mean she has to sport pants and a mustache? Does the figure of speech here really matter? No. But I think if a man was asked to “woman” a table, he may wonder exactly what it would mean.

…man the table, woman the table, staff the table

One of the most striking songs ever written is John Lennon’s Imagine which contain these lyrics: “…no need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people, sharing all the world…”  By now, you see where I am going, my friend! Does the language really matter? No. But if Lennon had instead written “a sisterhood of women” would that have rendered men invisible in relation to this song and turned it into a feminist manifesto?

…brotherhood of man, sisterhood of women, folkshood /family of people

In the tradition of my church, Unitarian Universalist, if you are forming a new branch and are lay-led and don’t have an ordained minister yet (or never plan to), you are known as a “Fellowship”. When snowbirding, I attend the “Universalist Fellowship of St. Augustine” which is a lively and lovely operation in a gorgeous building. Fellowship is this instance is a very Christian word, which is funny because most people who identify as UU’s are not Christian, though some are. Does using the word fellowship then diminish those in the group who are atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Jewish, Humanist, etc? This in combination with my observation that the majority of attendees at any church are female makes me wonder if Sunday gathering houses would be more appropriately named “Dameships”?

Try these on: “We serve coffee in the Dameship Room.” “We welcome you with warm dameship into our fold.”  Awkward. Seems to render the men all but invisible, possibly unimportant. But would it actually deprive them of any power in the democracy of their home church? Does using the word fellowship do the same? Who thrives when we use the following terms…

…Fellowship, Dameship, Folkship?

All the above is something to ponder. Try switching out some of these words/phrases in your speech every once in a while, just for the reaction. Does it make others:

  • take pause, awake, and embark on course-correction
  • say you are a feminist bitch
  • say thank you

Amen, Awomen, Namaste

 

Laughing Goddess

Laughing Goddess

by RM Allen Jan 2018

The commencement of January always finds me assessing the outcome of 365 days of sitting with my “Word of the Year” (WOY) for the previous year. Back in December of 2016 I was still in sleepless shock, worried about the inept and crude leadership of our country. What about you? For me, this was combined with the onset of nighttime hot flashes, three months after my last menses in July. Dismaying days and fitful nights: in this state sorrowful state the word “laugh” chose itself to be my WOY for 2017.

I began laughing school in the typical way; by watching comedies, reading funny books and also rather oddly by just plain forcing myself to laugh maniacally in private. You can literally feel the happy waves wash over your brain cells. It is true that “laughter is the best medicine” and sets up a body for good health! I challenge you to laugh maniacally right now for 30 seconds to test this. Do it!  Tee hee hee! Mwa ha ha!! At least crack a smile 😊 and breathe deeply. See how easy that was.

IMG_20180102_121644592

Now, about halfway through the year,  as my body began to move into the world of the powerful and wise crone, I was asked to babysit my adorable three-month-old grandson once a week. He is my first, what a thrill!

If you need to be schooled in laughter, spend time with a curious and happy infant. You start with the googly face — then they give you the toothless grin. Pretty soon everyone’s eyes are bright and moist with laughter and joy. My smiles linger all week thinking about his dimpled little face and pudgy toes. What luck that my tickly cherub came to me just at this time!

This wonderful weekly grammy day helped me leave the gnarly wider world for a while and just enjoy sunshine and laughter with my tiny man-cub. This and my other laughing efforts finally got my perspective back.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” So, let us laugh generously with ourselves and loved ones as we practice patience, and PERSISTENCE.  See you at the polls.

Goddesses and Asses

 

time-person-of-year-silence-breakers metoo goddessGoddesses and Asses  (aka #MeToo)

December 7, 2017 by RM Allen

Time Magazine’s person of the year is a group of silence-breakers. It is the #METOO women’s movement that seeks to stop the sexual abuse that has been going on for years. YAY!!!! I am happy that others won’t have to put up with the gropers I have had to for decades. Read on sister if you want to know my stories.

The incidents in my life that stand out the most are:
1982: I didn’t say a word, too stunned and scared when the high school teacher put his hand on my ass.

1983: I was stalked by a tech-nerd classmate at GTE Sylvania who had to make a show of grabbing my ass deeply – into the crack and beyond (the reverse pussy-grab?) in the hallways. It was so demeaning and disgusting. No one said a word, not even me. I finally complained to the teacher who replied. “Yea, I saw that and I thought you wanted it.” I was speechless. Then he did zero. I graduated shortly thereafter.

2012: While saying goodbye to the house party host (and her new boyfriend), he pulled the reverse pussy-grab… I was mortified and hoped no one saw, and ran off to my car. But they all saw. No one said anything, not even my date at the time who said after: ” Yea, I saw it – but I thought you had something going with him.” WTF??

So finally, in 2012 I decided to grow up and stand up for myself. Why did I not do this before? (It was the era of victim blaming, career sabotage, etc. etc.) What luck for me that I had just read the feminist-interpreted fables in “Women Who Run With the Wolves.” I examined all my feelings around groping and got SUPER pissed.

Millennials and younger may wonder why women rarely stood up for themselves. I think it was instilled into us Boomers by our families. Many women’s first assault was by a close male relative/friend who preyed upon their naiveté and threatened retribution. Many girls of the era did not want to rock the family boat and become unloved, or weren’t believed, or simply told to hush. “It is not a big thing.” “Boys will be boys.” “ The man is always right.” Men had the only paycheck and women were second class citizens then, but no more! Four million strong women marched in January 2017 against pussy-grabbing and locker room talk and cads and loss of health choices becoming normalized. Post-march women knew that other women had their back. Lawyer Gloria Allred for one, ask Harvey.

The Women’s March has super-charged two things that are playing out right now: #MeToo and #SheShouldRun (for elected office). And this, my sisters, is ushering in an orgasmagical transformation in society! Stay tuned!

But back to my story. A course correction was overdue for me after I examined why I always became mute when violated and demeaned. Decades of latent anger was to be sprung on the next perp…

2016: While standing next to my husband and saying goodbye from a lovely dinner party for four, the 80-year-old host ground into me and whispered yummy noises in my ear. Yuck. Disgusted. Mortified, his poor wife was standing right there too. Well, thankfully it wasn’t the reverse pussy-grab, but it sprung the trigger and I finally stood up for myself. Most angrily.

Now I have an important ask for YOU: when you see this behavior in the future please say “THAT IS NOT COOL” and call them on it. Don’t be a silent bro-stander. (Kudos to two brave people in the past who have stood up for me, and averted what could have been more than a grab. Thanks!)

Have you got a story? Get it out there – tell your sister, friend, husband or even Facebook. Release that festering gunk and be free. Speak up Goddess and admit #MeToo if it is your truth, as it is for over 40% of women (and a smaller percentage of men). Don’t name names if that is too uncomfortable – simply name the feelings and #METOO.

metoo person of the yearclick picture and download

The First “American” Eclipse!

aug 2017 solar eclipse in Leo

I read somewhere that summer 2017 is the “summer of resistance.”

Resisting, persisting, insisting; it is pretty much a spectrum and I am on it – trying to find balance in the middle somewhere. Trying to adapt to the changing political climate and find common ground.

Listening to the news is still a perplexing activity which breaks my heart, so I continue to avoid the drama and persist along my green path. It is summertime, and the living should be easy, but drama keeps floating in on the breezes like the perfume of a skunk. I often imagine how disheartening it must have been for Suffragettes and Freedom Riders, yet they persisted in doing the right thing anyway and that fact hardens my resolve.

Many other women (and men) are growing in resolve too. Like pretty little summer wildflowers that pop up surprisingly in unexpected places, I am heartened by the groups I see popping up all over in this summer of 2017.  The Women’s March this spring woke people up, got them on the street for a day, and then told them to gather locally and regularly in any fashion. So we did. We have quietly gathered and we are sowing seeds, sometimes silently but sometimes not.

Now we pass the halfway mark of summer, a day called Lammas in some traditions. As this summer wanes, there will be a full solar eclipse on August 21 that crosses the entire US. (Excellent viewing in the south, limited viewing in the north.) This is a very special eclipse for Americans: Not only is it the first eclipse to cross the entire USA since 1918, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively with the US, making it the first eclipse to do so since the country’s independence in 1776!

I take this as a very good omen. Perhaps someday history will mark this eclipse as a tipping point, a flashpoint, a revelation, a revolution, or the beginning of a new era of balance — whose seeds were sown over the last 9 months of darkness. After the moon passes fully by the sun and the new light shines on the fecund earth in the USA, may those seeds grow sturdily and bear bountiful and luscious fruit for all.

I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Happy “American” eclipse my fecund goddesses 🙂