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).
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.