conversations with a two-year-old

“mama, why do you want to be a doctor?”

“because i want to help people be well.”

“ohhhh…” (disappointed face)

“you don’t want me to be a doctor?”

“no, i want you to be a mama.”

“my love, i will always be your mama; i will just also be a doctor mama.”

smiles and hugs.

International Women’s Day

perhaps you never had your male boss physically drag and shove you in the direction he wanted you to move. and if you did would you have realized that not only made you feel bad, but that he was wrong enough in his action to have deserved serious repercussions? perhaps you did not spend your teenage years with nearly daily unwanted physical touches by your male peers. friends. innocuous enough to feel safe, frequent enough to feel normal, unwanted enough to feel violated. and perhaps if you did then you had a similar reaction when you were later raped. the questions of your culpability, the disgust for not somehow preventing the unpreventable. the sense of loss and shame. the overwhelming isolation. perhaps your first longterm employment was not in the female role of the grocery store when only the male role led to management. perhaps you were never questioned by your male interviewer how, as a woman, you would be able to handle a certain situation. perhaps an interviewer has never commented on your exotic appearance, beauty. perhaps a mentor has never done the same. perhaps the majority of powerful roles in your world are not held by men. perhaps you have never had sexual threats yelled at you as you walk down the road, drive in your car. perhaps you were never responsible for feeding a child from your breast in a society that is only comfortable with breasts exposed for adult male pleasure. perhaps the emotional, biologically normal responses of women are not medicated in nearly a quarter of women in your society. gray hair is not distinguished in men but scary in women. i hope so, but if so, don’t fail to listen to others.

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” Maya Angelou

blood

it is not just your own blood that you are afraid of

but also your pain

when you start to feel too much

when the first drops flow

turn your head

pretend

it will all go away

listen

one of the most disastrous consequences of male privilege is the unwillingness and inability for males to listen. when men run society (patriarchy), their decisions are critical so this affects all issues.

what do i mean when i say listen? i mean the ability to hear and think and not respond but instead to support. to hear a woman say that society is constantly telling her that her beauty is inadequate and then reflect on how his own actions may further this. to ask this woman (and others) their ideas for positive change and then to respond accordingly.
to hear a community of people saying they are scared of the police and react by finding a supportive role within the work they are already doing.
to hear the LGBT community say that marriage equality is crucial and support their right to determine for themselves what is important regardless of personal opinions.
to hear Native communities say seeing themselves as mascots is hurtful to the youth and respond by changing the mascot.
this ugly trait—not listening—is not just seen in men. women need to come together to change society, not just to hold the role men historically have. in haiti, foreign men and women alike think they have better solutions than Haitians themselves—as proven by the hundreds of NGOs on the ground.
so maybe i see it daily in men—congress legislating women’s access to healthcare, male family members telling me what i need to breastfeed my child, interviewers commenting on my physical appearance—but it is more about privilege than gender. the more privilege we have (race, gender, sexual orientation, class, education, zip code, religion), the less we listen. good to be aware of in myself, good to be intentional about with my son

parenting mantras

he is not doing something TO me. he is simply doing something.

he is not GIVING ME a hard time. he is having a hard time.
pause. listen. understand.
good for them, not for me. (other parents)

time

they got me thinkin about time

about how i can control it with you

breathe deeply the sweetness, the sweat, the last notes of shampoo

these are the moments

you can create in any moment

time is yours to mold

experience

breathe life into your time

christian racism

in so far as christianity states that it is THE Truth for all people groups, the only religious life path that does not lead to eternal damnation, it is racist. this foundational christian belief, as history continually proves, results in the stripping of ethnic groups around the world of their cultural inheritance. while it is limiting for christian followers, it is disastrous for everyone else.

this belief in ownership as the sole carriers of Truth naturally leads to perspectives of superiority/inferiority, us/them. it is just this neat splitting of the existence of purely good and purely evil that led to enslavement of ethnic groups, among other forms of systemic oppression that continue today. the islamists deserve to be destroyed. the natives need missionaries. the classification of christian vs nonchristian is automatically one of right and wrong. as power structures around the world shift and groups as large as women gain autonomy and authority as never before, christianity has had to make dramatic shifts to stay relevant. it appears we can overlook centuries of religious systemic oppression and the entire biblical story’s lack of female authorship as long as women can now lead the choir and work outside the home.

christians would do well to recognize that just as they recognize faults within their doctrine toward women, homosexuals, minorities, etc., they are not, after all the sole possessors of Truth. the united states was founded by christian men and has continually been a nation of war. without a major shift in collective perspective, we will continue to be.