An open letter to female Bernie supporters…

So you are voting for Bernie Sanders and you are a young woman. Good! I am glad you are voting, I am glad you have made up your mind and chosen your candidate. I don’t think you are stupid or senseless. I am excited to see you involved in our political system and excited about that involvement. I don’t think you are making a mistake, I just don’t agree with your position.

You see, I support Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for the Sanders campaign, if my support of her had wavered at all during the primaries it’s the behavior of Sanders supporters that has shored that support right up.

Somehow – at the same time you are telling me your feminism isn’t my feminism and loudly declaring that you have your own agency and will make up your mind based on issues – you are dead set on robbing me of my agency and sweeping all of my choices away with a patronizing hand.

You tell me I am voting with my vagina because I want to vote for Hillary Clinton.

With that one sentence you take all the research I have done and the experience I have and you toss it out the window, telling me I am too stupid to make up my own mind because I am not voting for Bernie Sanders.

In other words, you have decided to be the worst kind of hypocrite. You are telling the world you get to make up your own mind but the rest of us do not, unless we agree with you.

You aren’t betraying your sex because you aren’t voting for the first female president. You are betraying it because you treat everyone who is voting for her like a brain damaged infant in need of your care and guidance.

This is not rational adult discourse. You are behaving as though Hillary supporters are dissing your dad, not engaging in debate with your opponents.

Your dismissal of Hillary supporters fails to acknowledge the momentous occasion those supporters have worked so hard to be a part of. You might think there is a lifetime to wait for the next female presidential candidate but a huge section of us have already waited that lifetime. We have been part of the democratic machine you so desperately wish to overthrow. We have fought for our revolution like you are fighting for yours. It just happens that our revolutions are playing out at the same time.

I am voting for Hillary Clinton for a whole host of issue based reasons. Healthcare, paid leave, equal pay, etc. However, I am also voting for her because of a whole host of experiences that have everything to do with gender inequality;

  • Being told by hundreds of jocular men that I couldn’t be trusted because I’m an animal who bleeds for seven days out of the month and doesn’t die.
  • Being hit on by my superiors at every job I have ever held.
  • Watching every single political debate of my life revolve around my uterus. (Until this election.)
  • Being called on in class countless times, stating my piece, and not getting a reaction from the professor until a male in the class says the exact same thing.
  • Watching men with kids get promoted while being told I shouldn’t plan to get promotions because I have children.
  • Being told to smile, all the time, everywhere, by complete strangers.
  • Having to teach my pre-teen about rape.
  • Being told by a Judge in court that my case would be stronger if I was wearing a skirt-suit instead of a pants-suit.
  • Being told by men at the bus that my skirt-suit makes me look like a hooker.
  • Being paid less than men with years less experience than me.
  • Watching the first Hillary campaign and being told I was only voting for her because she was a woman.
  • Watching this Hillary campaign and being told I am only voting for her because she is a woman.

There are hundreds of experiences in my life that make it clear to me that gender issues are real, sexism exists, and change is slow. If you don’t share those experiences, that is great news! I am thrilled for you and for the hope that means for the future. I couldn’t be happier if my daughter were able to live a life free of all of the above bullshit.

However, I have fought for equality for women my whole life, so has my mother, and so has Hillary Clinton. Don’t tell me what my equality looks like. Don’t diminish my viewpoint and experience just because they differ from yours.

Don’t tell me I am only voting for her because she is a woman.

You don’t have to respect my candidate but you should respect me. You should respect the women who came before you. Regardless of where you are now – or who you are voting for – you are there because of this legacy.

**************************

Comments for this post are turned off primarily because I am fairly certain I have read all the possible permutations of them over the past three weeks.

 

 

Restful good-doing…

 

I have decided to add a new task to my daily resting schedule. Instead of only reading, watching t.v., or listening to Audible, I am going to learn Spanish and do some good for the world at the same time.

How? I am using DuoLingo and Freerice.com.

DuoLingo is a good program. I haven’t had the chance to speak much with other people so as far as I know I may not be progressing as quickly as they tell me I am but so far I am learning lots. For example:

Mis elephants come pan. (My elephants eat bread.)

No es un pato, es un penguino. (It is not a duck, it is a penguin.)

Ellas lean mis libros. (She reads my books.)

The most interesting part has been learning about common idioms. Some correspond to English idioms, like; Más vale tarde que nunca. (Better late than never) but others I have never heard before: Mala hierba nunca muere. (Bad grass never dies). 

So I run through several exercises a day in Duolingo and then I move over to FreeRice and test my vocabulary while earning food for the World Food Programme.  Each correct answer earns ten grains of rice. Yesterday I earned three thousand before going to bed.

I may not be working but I am learning and doing good, all from the comfort of my bed.

Update:

Oooooh! I like this one: No hay rosa sin espinas. (There are no roses without thorns.) 

 

The world is made for those not blessed with self awareness..

A while back I quit Facebook and deleted my account. I was going through a divorce and that was part of it but the biggest part was being so chronically ill and seeing everyone’s shiny FB life while mine seemed to fade more and more each day. I didn’t want to post about my pain or illness because it felt like no one wanted to hear it. Each day I had less to post about until I would sit at the computer staring at the screen casting about for something to say that had noting to do with my life. My post dwindled to nothing and I left.

When I joined Facebook again I swore I would post about my day whether or not I was in pain. If I hurt, I would post about hurting. If I didn’t I would post about something else. For the most part I have kept to that resolution. However, it hasn’t been easy.

I feel like a whiner most of the time. I try not to imagine people rolling their eyes and thinking “yeah yeah yeah she hurts. We know.” when they read another post from me but sometimes I do imagine just that. Of course “people” and the people in my life are two different things. No one I have on my Facebook feed actually would roll their eyes and yada yada me, but the internal me that is still struggling to exist in this world of lowered expectations is still really impatient with herself. She is the person who rolls her eyes and tells me to shut up. In fact, she is likely the reason I quit Facebook to begin with.

I think Susan Sarandon said it best. “The world is made for those not blessed with self-awareness.” I’m aware of the difference in my posts and those of my healthy friends each time I post. Most of my pictures on social media are from inside my room, with my cat or my children, as I work to make it through each day and accomplish something meaningful. It’s a stark difference from the pictures of children ice skating and of travel and of work and parties and friends. I am aware each time I post that I have said some permutation of this before and I feel the self criticism rising.

Be interesting, be different, be someone other than you.

Distracta-maximus!!

The barometric pressure flirting with the Rocky Mountains this week caused me to hide in my cave and bemoan having a head, much less trying to use it. As usual though the best way to handle constant intense discomfort is to trick your mind into thinking that pain is just in the background and convince it there are better things to pay attention to.

I began the week watching Season 3 of Mr. Selfridge because I hurt too much to do much else. When I started to get bored with life as a great store owner in London during the 1920’s I began to look into other things to do. I read a book Marlena recommended called “Nobody’s Princess” about Helen of Troy as a youth. It was a cute YA novel and took a couple of hours to peruse.

Then I got creative. I made yarn pom pom kitties with a funky device I got after Christmas.

IMG_20160119_210037
Mrow!! 

 

I started brushing up on my Spanish using Duolingo. I am now able to say, with confidence, that El mono come la manzana. Just in case you were curious.

Then I began working with my jewelry again. I had to take a bit of a break after getting so much done for the craft fair in December so my little jewelry bench sat quite forlorn and neglected for nearly a month. Not anymore! It is once again a disastrous example of the creative mind’s idea of organization. I have been making rings with wire and having a grand ol’ time doing it.

 

Today I awoke feeling a little bit better than I had been feeling. I am still up in a 4 out of 5 but there is relief that I am not a 5 out of 5. I hope the trend continues and I am able to get back down to a friendly 3. Until then, I am continuing my distraction treatment.

In pain in the me brain…

I made a mistake.

I spent a glorious day with friends and family and paid no attention to my spoons. It was magical, it was delightful, it was a great day. I’ve been paying for it ever since.

Much like the hangover day after a night of enthusiastic drinking the days following a spoon spending frenzy are hard. My head pounds with demanding intensity leaving me spent and miserable in bed. Light hurts, sound hurts, thoughts hurt. I am rendered useless by my agony.

The second day after feels like having the flu. I’m shaky, low energy, easily tired, and sore.

The third day I start to feel better again, more like the moderately pained me and less like someone who has crawled under a rock to die.

Today is the third day. Today I have had to remind myself to keep those spoons close and save them for the whole day.

I loved my day ‘off’. I took a friend to the airport, went ice skating with a bestie and our kids, cooked dinner and baked a cake, and played games with friends into the evening. I felt pretty good, the distractions pushing back the headache and keeping it outside my immediate attention. I felt nearly like a normal person again.

I wish I could have more normal days like those without the follow up low energy days. Someday perhaps I will.

Self care in the New Year…

It’s the first day of a new year and I am faced with determining what feet I plan to step forward with as the year progresses.

To begin with I am going to continue to work to grow comfortable in my new skin, to feel okay about wanting to stay in instead of going out, to accept my limitations and celebrate my successes even if they feel small.

I am going to keep working on being okay talking about what is going on with me. I want to shrug off the stigma of disability, illness, and mental illness and embrace the fact that my life, while filled with amazing people and wonderful moments, is hard. I want to work to remember that it is okay to talk about the hard and I want to resist the urge to sweep it under the conversational carpet and pretend everything is fine.

I want to get better and believing that the people in my life understand and love me anyway. I keep being surprised by how accommodating and supportive people are. The narrative in my head about my limitations is so negative at times I think I transfer those feelings of resentment or impatience to others around me. It’s not fair to them or to me as most of the people in my life, if not all of them, actually really get that I am traveling a road that differs from theirs. They are happy to cross my road when they can and let me cross theirs when I can but they aren’t dismissing me because I am on a different path. They aren’t rolling their eyes behind my back and talking about how I must be faking it, they aren’t shutting me out of their lives because I can’t participate socially as much as they do. They are just allowing me to set the pace and join in when I can.

I believe my social anxiety will reduce dramatically once I allow myself to fully recognize these truths. Once I am able to fully appreciate my victories and limitations, once I am better able to talk about them, and once I am seeing people’s support instead of fearing their dismissal I think I will have a healthier outlook on life.

So those are my resolutions for self-care this year. It’s a tough set of things to accomplish but it’s going to be better for me than resolving to lose 10 pounds, especially as I’m eating snickerdoodles while I write this post.

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