End violence. Start today! Five simple things you can do in 2014.

Originally posted on Can You Relate?:

1. Resolve to be generous with your time and money, but never ever give to charity.

You can practically hear the sinews of humanity ripping apart when we think of people as charity cases. We scroll or stroll by and throw money at them.

If it weren’t for the most microscopic twist of genetics or timing, you might be the one paralyzed from the neck down, or the person sleeping in the doorway.

I know it’s terrifying, but always give to others knowing we’re all in the same lifeboat.

2. Whether you can give time and money or not, be generous with your spirit. For New Year’s, give up pity.

I do not mean sympathy or empathy. I mean pity.

I have only been pitied a few times, but ouch did it sting. I’ve written about having breast cancer, and I’ve had people pity me. There is just nothing…

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Your Holiday Mom: Supporting LGBTQ Children

This month has been a hard one for me.  I’ve pushed my body way beyond its limits without giving it any chance to recuperate.  Unfortunately that has meant that blogging has been the last priority on my list of things to do.  With that in mind I’d like to share something I shared last holiday season.

Your Holiday Mom” is a website dedicated to providing LGBTQ children with loving and caring messages from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  Everyday women come together to write letters to children who may not have family support and affirmation.  They virtually invite these children into their homes, their families, and their hearts.  It’s beautiful and encouraging.  I encourage you to check it out and share with anyone who may need a little extra love.

Power of a Bystander: It Only Takes a Little

This is slightly different from my normal posts or topics but it is so important. Bullying is a huge problem. Everywhere, in schools, the workplace, the street, on the internet. Anyone could be a bully and anyone can be bullied. It doesn’t matter what gender, sexual orientation, race, economic status, or education level a person comes from. This is something that affects all of us.

According to BullyingStatistics.org 35% of kids have been threatened online and 1 in 4 have been verbally attacked more than once.  About 77% of students admit to being the victim of some form of bullying.  One out of every 20 students have seen another student with a gun at school (2010).

70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.  70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more (source).

When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.

The video below shows not only the power of stepping in but what it looks like when someone doesn’t.

via YouTube

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Bees in My Bonnet: Before the Holiday

Bee in the Lavender

Enjoy another great installment of “Bees in my Bonnet” and for those of you in the US have a great Thanksgiving! 

A dad examines the message that telling jokes about buying a shotgun when his daughter starts dating send.

One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill. And nothing is more logical than trying to survive.”  It is so easy to judge others, criticize what have not experienced and do not understand.

Over at Defeating the Dragons the author is doing a series called “learning the words.”  One of her posts is about consent and how she, and others in fundamental, or overly conservative cultures, can take back the word. 

Another Defeating the Dragons post about what Twilight and the movie Fireproof have in common and how they contribute to, and possibly even encourage abuse.

The myths about domestic violence, abuse, rape, and other forms of gender-based violence are becoming increasingly visible.  What isn’t being discussed as much is how supposedly safe and progressive spaces can also harbor abusive individuals and how to deal with that.

A woman struggles with purity culture, feminism, and the concept of virginity.

The anti-domestic violence movement is still fairly new, relatively speaking.  And it is mainly focused on hetero couples.  This does a great disservice to the experiences of those in same-sex relationships that are abusive.  Domestic violence does not discriminate based on sex, gender, race, economic status, or education.  This article does a great job of addressing the silent epidemic of abuse in same-sex relationships.

The Male Privilege Checklist, compiled by Barry Deutsch, is an adaptation of Peggy McIntosh’s The Invisible Knapsack written about white privilege.  Both challenge privileged groups (men and white people respectively) to not only open their eyes to the privileges they enjoy but to acknowledge them.  For example, I as a white woman can go to the store and by a flesh-colored band-aid knowing that it is my flesh color, but my driving ability may be questioned because of my gender.

An awesome post about some amazing men who are standing against misogyny and sexism.

“Being an ally isn’t a title you claim. It’s not who you are – it’s what you do…”  Another great post about male privilege in relation to feminism.

For (cringe worthy) fun 25 super inappropriate ads that somehow made is past marketing into our magazines.

“This short doc [It Gets Messy in Here] challenges gender assumptions and gender identities of all kinds by delving into the bathroom experiences of masculine identified queer women and transgendered men of color…”

via YouTube

“There is no woman in the world who needs you to cut her down”

This is a reblogged post from Esther Emery’s site.  It showed up in my news feed yesterday and I’ve reposted it with her permission.

Check out her website, she’s got a lot of great posts, including another one of my favorites, “The Really Scary Thing About Gay Marriage.”

_______________

Letter to a Woman Called to Leadership

I don’t know exactly who you are. Maybe a young woman, just now stepping out into your life. Maybe a mother or a crone, entering a new phase of your authority. Maybe just my beautiful dominant four-year-old, who is ready right now to start setting the world to rights.

But I know something. I know this. You are called.

You are called to stand up, speak up, use your voice. You are called to the front of the room. You are named. And you are called.

Rise up.

The darkness does not want you to use your voice. You are so full of light. The darkness will tell you that you are too much.

Too loud.
Too greedy.
Too masculine.
Too angry.
Too emotional.

Sometimes you will believe this. Sometimes you will try to make yourself small, and quiet. Sometimes you will hurt yourself trying to be small and quiet.

Do this with me. Walk outside and look up to the sky. Reach your hands up to the wide, expansive sky, far above the crowdedness and the jostling. There is room for you up there. There is room for every bit of you up there.

That place is yours.

There is enough space for all of you. I swear there is, I promise. Even or all your noise, opinions, intelligence, even for the pure size of your frame. Even fir your passion and force of will and love of justice.

This fight, to claim your right to be, is on the inside. But when you are a woman who leads, the world will try to tell you otherwise.

Oh, sweet girl…I could wish for you an easier path than this.

You will not often be the pretty one. Pretty is one part what you actually look like and two parts not being a threat. Learn to wear your beauty like a lion, or a tall tree. Learn to wear boots, and jackets. Learn to wear whatever you want.

You will not always know what you are doing. You will lead in the dark, with your eyes closed. Sometimes your mistakes will cause harm, and that will make you question your calling. Don’t. Don’t question the calling. Question your skill. Get better. Work harder. Learn to do your work well.

You will have trouble with friends. Sometimes this will be your fault. You will practice power instead of leadership. This is a trick of the darkness. You will have to learn to trust without controlling.

Sometimes it will not be your fault. A strong woman will be threatened by you. A weaker woman will betray you. Someone that you care about will tell you that you are being selfish. This will hurt like hell, and there is not a darn thing that I can do about it.

Baby, I am so sorry.

But it will help you to understand this, and this is maybe the most important thing of all. There is no woman in the world – I don’t care how brave, how beautiful, how wildly fortunate, or how questionable her values – There is no woman in the world who needs you to cut her down.

Please, lean in to other women. We have heard that we women aren’t very nice to each other, that it is our nature to cut and compete. If so, it is only from living in too-small boxes, and competing for too-small parcels of air. It doesn’t have to be that way. Make it not that way.

It will happen, too, that a man is at your side to help you. Look for that. He might be there when you are just about to lose control of the wheel and you are also trying to hold a crying baby. Listen to me, now, this is important.

It is okay to ask the man to hold the baby. 

Listen to this, too. You may find that someday you need to leave your babies in someone else’s arms. Probably this will hurt you. But beyond the hurting there is a darkness, too, that tells you this is wrong. It tells you that you should feel ashamed. Resist it. Don’t let that darkness drown out your call. Like the Buddha, turn your hand to the earth. They are all your children.

And you will see your own children soon. Again and again, you will be called back home, like Ulysses, in your time. There will be time for Sabbath, when the call is quiet and the task is rest. You can rest from the world. But you can’t rest from yourself.

Be true to yourself.

And, women, there may be a hard thing about food. If you are a woman who leads (or any other woman…or some men), you may find it hard to feed yourself. If that happens to you, please, look for the friend. She is the friend who shares her French fries with you when you won’t order food of your own. He is the assistant, or the husband, who rolls his eyes and says, “She never eats when she’s working.” She is the midwife who brings you peanut butter toast after you have given birth. She is your sister, your mother. She will save you. Please, let her feed you.

Sweet girl, I will not tell you that this road is easy.

But one day you will slip into your skin like it fits you, and you’ll look around and you won’t know what you were fighting all those years. I can’t wait to see it. I’m going to be so proud.

via Letter to a Woman Called to Leadership

Fear Poem

By Joy Harjo (emphasis mine)

I release you, my beautiful and terrible fear. I release you. You were my beloved and hated twin, but now, I don’t know you
as myself. I release you with all the
pain I would know at the death of
my children.

You are not my blood anymore.

I give you back to the white soldiers
who burned down my home, beheaded my children,
raped and sodomized my brothers and sisters.
I give you back to those who stole the
food from our plates when we were starving.

I release you, fear, because you hold
these scenes in front of me and I was born
with eyes that can never close.

I release you
I release you
I release you
I release you

I am not afraid to be angry.
I am not afraid to rejoice.
I am not afraid to be black.
I am not afraid to be white.
I am not afraid to be hungry.
I am not afraid to be full.
I am not afraid to be hated.
I am not afraid to be loved,

to be loved, to be loved, fear.

Oh, you have choked me, but I gave you the leash.
You have gutted me but I gave you the knife.
You have devoured me, but I laid myself across the fire.

I take myself back, fear.
You are not my shadow any longer.
I won’t take you in my hands.
You can’t live in my eye, my ears, my voice
my belly, or in my heart my heart
my heart my heart
But come here, fear
I am alive and you are so afraid
of dying.

Daddy Don’t Go

According the the US Census 1 in 3 children grow up in a single parent home without their father present (source).

“Daddy Don’t Go” is a documentary by Emily Abt and Andrew Osborne that looks at one year in the lives of four different fathers who have chosen to be the exception.  They are fighting against their pasts of poverty, criminal history, unemployment, and drug/alcohol abuse to try and be the best possible father to their children.

“The film poses urgent questions that expand the ongoing national dialogue concerning fatherhood. Can a man be a good dad in spite of not being a great provider? How does being a father shift a man’s identity?”

The documentary is due to be finished mid-2014, as long as it receives the needed funding.

**I’ve been informed the video is not working for everyone.  In case you are one of those people you can view it here.

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Not a Novelty but a Love Song

Just over a year ago Mary Lambert went onto youtube to look for a cute music video to watch that expressed the love she was feeling.  The only problem was that she couldn’t find a single one; nothing that reflected her experience or love for her partner.

Many people already know Mary Lambert from the chorus of “Same Love,” a ground breaking song done by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  On her blog she talks about how she was approached at just the right time in her life to write and sing the chorus to this song.  She worried about using the pronoun she and how it would be received.  She was amazed to find not only men but women singing along to the song.  They didn’t have a problem with it and she was inspired.

She decided to expand the chorus and produce her own music video that reflected her experience and love for her partner as a lesbian woman.

“This music video is about love and it’s about visibility.  I could be wrong, but I’ve never seen a relationship like mine accurately portrayed in a music video.  I’ve seen women rolling around in lingerie, bisexual love triangles, women cheating on their boyfriends with a girl definitely.  So this is where I need to say one thing explicitly: gay relationships are not, nor have ever, been a novelty.  My love is valid, equal, and beautiful.”

via IT’S HERE! IT’S QUEER! IT’S CUTE! I’M CRYING!

This song is equally, if not more important than “Same Love.”  For women who do not see their experiences and love reflected in mainstream movies, stories, songs, or other forms of media this song does exactly that.  A lesbian relationship is not being appropriated to push a message about equality.

It is a love song, not a political statement.

 

Related posts from Mary Lambert’s blog:

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Mary Lambert, She Keeps Me Warm

How to be an Ally: Part Two

As a follow-up to my previous post, “How to be an Ally” I wanted to share another great article.

It really can be hard to know what to do or say when someone comes to you with their pain.  The following article is written by another woman who has worked at a rape crisis center.  Her main point is that it is not your job to become the counselor.  You don’t have to have all the right words.  You don’t need to have any words.  Just be present with the other person and be a witness to their story.

Be a Human: Helping People Through Trauma When You Don’t Know What To Say

“At some moment, perhaps several moments, in your life, you will be in a room with someone who is disclosing to you about their trauma, rape, domestic violence, human trafficking, suicide, etc. You may freeze up or panic. “What should I do?” You may not know this person, or you may not want to know this person. You may want to leave the room and not come back. Or maybe they’re your dad, or your girlfriend. Maybe you will leave, maybe you won’t. For argument’s sake, and because I have nowhere to go with this if you don’t stay, let’s say you stay. What now…?”

Read the rest here

Tomorrow is Halloween.  Have fun and be safe!  See you in November.

Bees in My Bonnet: From the Archives

Bee in the Lavender

October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Last year my posts during October focused more on breast cancer so here’s a look at some posts from the archives.

Your Man Reminder” is an app and a campaign done by Rethink Breast Cancer.  I find the campain, and the video (hello, shirtless men) highly refreshing compared to some of the other stuff that show up around this time of year.

Breast Cancer is Not a Pink Ribbon takes a look at the work of photographer David Jay.  He also is working to put a new face to awareness campaigns around breast cancer; a raw and powerful one called “The SCAR Project.”

Last year my mother shared her story and our family history of breast cancer in a guest post.

I also watched and reviewed the documentary “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” in a two part series I called, “The Darker Side of Pink.”  Part onePart two.

Read about a woman who made the choice to undergo a double mastectomy and how it affected her life and her self image.

Some of the songs that helped me out when I needed it.

Last year’s “Bees in My Bonnet” wrapping up Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Ribbon