Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#Metoo and Why We Don't Get to be Surprised

Yesterday, the hashtag #metoo went viral. A rally cry for those who have suffered sexual harassment or abuse, social media flooded with the stark reality of the sheer number of people (mostly women) who have experienced this horrific injustice.

As Dan and I talked about the hashtag while we got ready for bed I made the comment, “Almost every woman can make that claim.” That’s crazy, right? Surely an exaggeration after being swept up in the emotional toll of an online movement.

It’s not.

I would be hard pressed to find a single one of my women friends who hasn’t been the subject of unwanted looks, comments, advances, or touch. Some by strangers, others by people they knew, even trusted and loved. This is staggering but not surprising anymore. #Metoo has been trending in hushed whispers and trusted companionship for ages. It’s not new to women. So why has it taken so long for women to speak up?

First, it hasn’t. It’s just taken this long for people to listen.

Second, the answer to this (offensive, victim blaming) question is easy. 

We as a society have decided that there are a million things more important than the bodily, spiritual, and emotional safety of our people. And in doing so we have decided to protect the abuser and not the abused.

We protect them in our education system because we have decided that game wins and school pride are more important than the human spirit.

We protect them in our churches and cathedrals because we have decided that appearances and reputation are more important than the holiness of a person’s intrinsic worth.

We protect them in our entertainment because we have decided a few hours of amusement and distraction are more important than the shattered lives littered behind the scenes.

We protect them in our government because we have decided that money and party lines are more important than the value of human dignity.

We protect them in our communities, neighborhoods, our homes because confrontation is hard and messy and challenging and why rock the boat when it’s only a very battered, shame filled, broken heart at stake?

We live in a country where a man can PUBLICALLY sexually assault an unconscious woman—he can literally be caught in the act of sexual assault—and he will be sentenced to six months in jail. And only serve three.

We live in a country where a politician can brag about his sexual predatory ways, and remain unapologetic for it, and we will give him more power by electing him to the highest office in the land.

We live in a country where a football coach can abuse countless children for years, and school officials will cover it up for the sake of a solid sports program.  

We live in a country where I don’t even have to name names or post links to the situations above because we all know who they are, and yet it still isn’t enough.

We place both the blame of the incident AND the burden of finding a solution at the feet of those who are in desperate need of help. “Why didn’t you speak up sooner?” We don’t get to be surprised that the abused don’t speak up. We as a nation have given them too many reasons not to do it. But when they get brave, when a movement sparks and safety comes in numbers, then for the sake of everything good and holy, pay attention. Don’t write it off, don’t play dumb, don’t act like it’s someone else’s problem. It’s our collective problem, our burden to share. And we need all hands on deck to create a solution.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Amazing, Disgusting Miracle of Children.

Let me tell you something about kids.

They are beautiful, smart, miraculous creatures. They're always learning and soaking up information. They give the best, albeit slightly sticky, hugs. Their humor consists mostly of nonsensical knock-knock jokes, but I guarantee you there is nothing funnier on the planet. Their bar for what constitutes as amazing is basement level low. You could put a bow on half an Oreo and they will freak the heck out. They are easy to please and fun to hang around. 

Kids are pretty cool. 

But let me tell you something else about kids. 

They are pretty gross. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

People Pleaser

I have been a people pleaser my whole life. I genuinely want the people around me to be happy, to be content, to have peace. I want to help cultivate that in their lives, even if in small ways. But I also know that I don’t do well with tension and conflict, and the easiest way to avoid these things is to make sure the people around me are happy. I know, it’s super healthy. I don't want people to be disappointed or upset, and I especially don't want them to be disappointed or upset with me. I say yes to requests before I have time to process what is being asked of me, let alone if I actually want to do it (or even should do it). More times than I can count, I've "yes-ed" my way to a too-full plate and an empty cup.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Some People Just Like to Watch the Toys Burn.

In the on going case of Matthew Slater vs. His Mother's Oven, I submit more evidence for the jury's consideration.

(Please note that no names, conversations, or melted utensils/toys have been changed to protect the crazy, as the people involved couldn't make this nonsense up if they tried)

Exhibit A: The mother's desperate plea for the vacation that seems so close, yet so far away.
The jury will note the father's attempt at lightening the mood. Let the record show that the mother is not having it. 

Exhibit B: The mother CAN'T EVEN
The father cries out to the Father.

Close up of Exhibit B
Banana Block Bread

Exhibit C: The mother's face caught in its natural "WHAT ARE YOU DOING" state. 
The jury is asked not to be swayed by the boy's seemingly innocent "Who, me?" expression. 

This conclude's today's portion of the trial. There will be a brief recess in which the mother will work on Exhibit D: A bucket of her own tears. 

But wait! Surprise bonus evidence has just become available: Heat resistant spatulas 
Please note: Evidence given to mother from another mom of boys. Solidarity, man. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Hidden Gift of a Hard Year

“I’m going to die someday.”

Dan and I were out to dinner a month back, and he asked me what had been on my heart lately (swoon! Fellas, ask your ladies this often. Then get comfortable for the next two to ten hours). This party starter was my response.

“I’m going to die. You’re going to die. What are we doing with our lives? I’m terrified we’re going to wake up in twenty years and still be wishing instead of doing. We are so busy busy busy all the time, but what are we actually doing?”

(I can be a real indie movie when the mood strikes.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Overcoming the Fickle Heart

I usually read the above verse and think of all the ways I need to protect my heart from the world. I need to be mindful of the shows I watch, the books I read, the music I put on in the car. I need to be careful of the people I choose to have in my life and the places where I spend my time.