What I’m Doing

Kitchen counter love note

Kitchen counter love note

The other day, I wrote a little bit about what was true for me right now. I talked about a quote I’d heard somewhere, “do what you can where you are,” but at that time I didn’t do any research to find out its origins. Turns out it was Theodore Roosevelt, and the full quote is, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

That’s what I’m doing. I’m reading a lot online, posts from people who have been living with this shock, this grief for most of their lived experience, who knew that there was the lingering strong presence of this kind of misogyny, racism, bigotry, fascism, etc., and have been saying all along that this was going on, but I was an asshole living in a bubble and didn’t listen. I realize that now, and I’m going to do better. When I’m reading, usually if something makes me uncomfortable, touches a nerve, I know to lean in because that’s where the real work is for me.

I’m trying to educate myself. Besides reading as much as I can on the internet, I just ordered a copy of A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn (one for Eric too so we can read it together) and put The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan on my Kindle. I’ve got lots of other relevant and more current books on my Kindle, and some great reading lists to consult when I’m ready for more. I’m also going to sign up for Patti Digh’s next session of Hard Conversations: An Introduction to Racism. Any recommendations you have for websites, articles, movies, courses, people to follow, places to volunteer or donate, kind and gentle reader, please let me know.

I spent this morning donating. I gave to Planned Parenthood, because no matter what my own personal choices are, I want all women to be able to choose whether or not they have children, to be able to plan their families, to have access to safe and legal abortions, to have a place to receive crucial health screenings and sex education. Planned Parenthood is not just a place to get an abortion; they do so much more.

I also gave to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe DAPL Donation Fund, because it’s not right what’s happening there. It’s against treaties we signed, promises that were made. It was moved there because another white community didn’t want it, and yet it’s being forced on this native community. Also, the environmental concerns are valid and the greed that’s driving this is sickening. How this is being handled, the force being used against a peaceful and valid protest, is unconscionable.

Then I gave to the Southern Poverty Law Center, because they are “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality,” and I want to help them do that.

I gave to the Prison Mindfulness Institute, because someone I love very much is in prison right now, and after watching the documentary 13th, I’m even more committed to pushing for reform of that system. I believe that meditation is a powerful path to transformation, and the Prison Mindfulness Institute is committed to “transforming individual lives as well as transforming the corrections system as a whole in order to mitigate its extremely destructive impact on families, communities and the overall social capital of our society.”

Then I went to the grocery store, where people working with the Food Bank of Larimer County were handing out lists of the most needed food donations. While I was buying my own groceries, I bought the items on the list, and not only that, I bought the good stuff — albacore all white wild caught tuna and all natural peanut butter, for example. I was already donating money to their Thanksgiving drive, but they made it so easy for me to do this extra bit. No one should go hungry, and if I am ever in similar need I hope someone will step in and feed me too, without judging how I ended up in that situation.

Later today, I’m going to my first rally. As an introvert and highly sensitive person, I typically avoid large crowds. Even if they are celebrating and everyone is happy, it makes me panicky, so many people and so much noise. But I’m going to try anyway. Today is the Fort Collins Peace and Solidarity Rally, promised to be a peaceful event, because, “Countless Muslims, Immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, People of all Ethnicities, Veterans, Individuals with Disabilities, and Women have had their very livelihoods threatened. We are coming together to show our support that you are not alone in our community and we value you as equals, as Americans. We see you, we hear you, we love you and we stand with you.” Tomorrow, I’m going to try and go to another, the Fort Collins Standing Rock Rally & Prayer Gathering. “Please come and gather not as protesters but as supporters of the Standing Rock Water Protectors, Sacred Waters and our Earth Mother. This is a prayerful and peaceful gathering.

Tomorrow, I’m also going to sneak into the building I work in and love bomb it. It’s been a few years since I’ve done it, because we had to move out while it got remodeled. I put up tearable flyers in the employee mail room, bathrooms, and over the water fountains. They get taken down pretty quickly by facilities when they clean, but sometimes they look the other way for a few days before taking them down. This will be the third time I’ve love bombed Eddy Hall, and only a few people know it is me, (besides all of you).

lovebombmaterials

I’m also doing my best to take care of myself, because if I’m strong and healthy and well-fed and well-rested and practiced, I can do more. To help me do so, I’m continuing to follow Susan Piver’s model, 5 steps to establish genuine confidence, which seem on the surface so simple, almost cheesy, but when you put them into practice, they are so powerful. I’m also all in on Susan’s idea for a third party, which she describes here, I want a viable third party and I want it today. I’m practicing “like my hair is on fire,” being gentle and kind, and as always, doing what I can, with what I have, where I am. May you do the same, kind and gentle reader.

8 thoughts on “What I’m Doing

  1. Lisa Sadikman

    This was so empowering to read Jill. Thank you so much for sharing what you’re doing and why. It’s so important right now for us to mobilize and be vigilante even though we might be scared and sad. Peace and love to you.

    Reply
  2. lauriesuewagner

    Knocked it out of the park with this one, love. So very helpful to me. Xxxx

    Sent from fast dancing fingers

    >

    Reply
  3. tinakomi

    Love this Jill – I makes me cry (although pretty much everything today does. You should have seen me when I realized I was out of cream for my coffee!) I also have been living in my complacent white privilege bubble and sadly it took such a huge a shock to realize that I have been. I wish I had the financial means to donate to organizations I care about, but at least I can support them in whatever way I can. Black Lives Matter has a very active group here in Vancouver and they’re having a meeting next week about just what it to be done and of course I’ll be attending. They’re also having a fund raiser for Standing Rock in December and I’ve volunteered to help with that. There’s going to be a demonstration next week at the Corps of Engineers offices all over the country in support of Standing Rock and I hope to be able to attend that (depends on work).

    My daughter Jenna asked if giving me a membership to the ACLU would be a good Christmas gift and I said, “Heck yes!” (and thanks, of course!)

    I’m doing lots and lots of reading. I took Patti’s racism class last year and learned so much (TONS of reading) I hear it’s even gotten better. It’s where I discovered Chiamanda Ngoze Adichi and have fallen in love with her writing. I’ve read “The New Jim Crow” and just so you know, “Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: an organizing guide, Kindle Edition” is free right now on Amazon. Also reading Ta-Nehisi’s “Between the World and Me,” which Patti highly recommended and which will break your heart.

    In addition to the brilliant Howard Zinn, I think you’d like (if that’s the right word) to read “An Indigenous People’s History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz. It will as well, of course, break your heart.

    I’ve been reading a lot on war over the summer, which as you may know, is my biggest passion, not war, of course, but ending it. To that end I’m reading the Bhagavad Gita, which was suggested by a friend. Also other anti-war books. (So thankful for library kindle downloads!) Right now war is not at the forefront of people’s minds, but I fear that it will be sooner than later. I’ve done a bit of speaking since I saw you this summer and hopefully will be doing more.

    I love the Southern Poverty Law Center and have supported them as much as I can for years.

    And I LOVE your love bombs! I think I still have Kelly Rae’s poster but I’ll look for your link anyhow. A great thing to do.

    There’s so much work to be done. But this weekend I’m letting all the feels happen, which means lots and lots of tears I can’t seem to stop. (also wearing a safety pin) One of my biggest problems when I feel like this is self-care, or lack of. It seems to be the first thing to go and I’m trying to work on that. Will be seeing my doc next week for a change/increase in my antidepressant meds.

    Thank you for all you’re doing and for being an inspiration. Sending you love and hugs!

    Reply

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