It’s taken me what I consider a shamefully long time to put together some thoughts about Chris Cornell’s death in May. I awoke that morning to my husband gently telling me that Chris had killed himself the night before and immediately leapt out of bed to stream my hometown radio station, KEXP. In the shock of this terribly sad piece of news, I was transported back to April, 1994, when word came over the kitchen radio that a dead man who appeared to be in his late twenties had been found above Kurt Cobain‘s garage. Losing brilliant artists to suicide or drug overdoses or a combination of both is a devastating epidemic turned legacy of Seattle, my hometown. Andy Wood. Stefanie Sargent. Kristen Pfaff. Layne Staley. Mike Starr. Kurt himself. Hearing the news about Chris made me ache to be home, under chilly grey skies and dark Evergreen trees, so I did the next best thing–wrapped myself in flannel and turned up the radio. Continue reading
I reject the notion that the incoming presidential administration represents a new normal we must “get over”, accept and even (fuck, no!) embrace. Absolutely not. Absolutely not, because I refuse to be gaslighted. I refuse to allow a person or group shape my reality in order to elicit my consent in an attempt to hold absolute authority over me. No. I refuse to allow a person or group to distort the truth to their own ends, in their quest for unlimited success, power and ideal love. No. I refuse to allow a person or group to attempt to manipulate our common understanding of reality in an attempt to meld it to their will and pleasure. No. I refuse to allow a person or group’s desperate need to be right, to have the last word to superceed the needs of the common masses. If we can come to a common understanding of gaslighting, to recognize it, challenge it and root it out, we will have a shot at avoiding a dystopian nightmare. Continue reading
Watching Barack Obama’s farewell speech this week was an emotional experience, and I found myself crying, don’t leave! at the TV over and over, as he made critical and sensitive point after point in his signature way. I struggle to find the right words to describe the gratitude and privilege I feel to have had him as my president after enduring eight years of inarticulate, knuckle-dragging W. (to say nothing of his policies) as I came of age.
The first time I saw Barack he was the junior senator from Illinois speaking at the 2004 DNC. I remember sitting on my parents’ couch in Athens, Georgia, straightening up and leaning forward as he mesmerized me with his oratory brilliance. Who was this guy? And then he rode in on a unicorn in 2008, offering me the hope and inspiration I so desperately sought. Continue reading
The first time a male exposed himself to me I was five years old, and it was below the lunch table in our kindergarten class. Hey, look, he said and there was a tiny five year-old dick, right out in the open, lolling around in its owner’s grasp. I am thirty-six now, and I can still see it, clear as in that moment, that unwanted visual assault. Continue reading
It’s that time again, the three week period where I clear the decks to make room for as much TV as possible. I love the Olympics, summer and winter, and when they’re on, that’s what I’m doing. It all started the summer of ’84 when I was tiny and living in L.A. with my parents, the center of that season’s action. My memories are hazy at best–Mary Lou Retton on the Wheaties box, Greg Louganis springing high, disappearing without a splash, Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long” and Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” playing against fireworks erupting across the sky. What lingers is the sense of excitement that buzzed across the city that summer, the thrill of being up close and personal with history in the making, the dazzle of watching the human body perform exceptional feats of athleticism. Even a four year-old could pick up on that. Continue reading
…continued from Tuesday
A few weeks ago I published a post called A Direct Appeal where I called on men and boys to fight systemic sexism and shift rape culture out of existence. I asked men and boys to get involved on a micro level, to challenge other men and boys, to change the conversation, to call out bad behavior, and support women and girls. I asked them to leverage the power afforded them by their gender to put an end to violence against women. But if I’m not working the same angles for other oppressed groups, what am I? If I am not leveraging the power afforded me by my skin color to put an end to violence against people of color, what am I? Continue reading
It’s a horrifying, gut-wrenching time to be human. I suppose it always is, and always has been, and maybe none of the staggering hate-motivated events are new, just our ubiquitous recording capabilities and 24-hour news cycle are. We’re sick with hate. Sick from hate. I’m starting to hate humanity. But before I seek refuge in my dark feeling that the sooner humanity is wiped off the planet, the better, I return to an adaptation of a Hillel quote I once saw on the front of a Seattle synagogue that makes me do the work. Continue reading
I’ve posed this question both to myself and others, usually when harm has been done. It’s important to draw the line and hold it, otherwise we run the risk of allowing others to damage us, entering into a cycle of abuse. Now I’m posing this question to the nation, as we face the worst mass shooting in recent history. Continue reading
Reading the news today about convicted rapist Brock Turner, the accounts of his crime, and the extraordinary lenience of his (six month!) sentence have me reaching for my throat. My gag reflex activated by another miscarriage of justice, I stand here staring at the screen wondering if women have any value in society at all. Continue reading
I’m grossed out by public restrooms. I hate using them. And I have to all the time due to the amount of water I drink. I’m that person who’s in-and-out, holding my breath, trying not to to touch any surfaces, flushing with my foot, washing up quickly (with soap!), and using a paper towel or my foot to open the door. You will never see me using these vile spaces to primp, change clothes, or brush my teeth. Too unsanitary. And god forbid I have to wait in line for the privilege of exposing myself to a public petri dish. I will use the men’s, if I have to. I do not make eye contact, I do not look around the room, I do not chat or smile. My objectives are access and expediency.
What grosses me out more than public restrooms is this asinine controversy we’re currently having over who is allowed to use which room. Continue reading