Post-Women’s March Thoughts

Women's march on washington

Yesterday I had the honor & privilege of participating in the Women’s March on Washington. It was an incredibly inspiring, uplifting and empowering experience. I got to march with an old friend from elementary school, her husband, and several other people. I talked to people from all over the USA, laughed at the clever, creative signs, got misty eyed at others.

One of the things I saw that really moved me might surprise some folks. Along the march route, we came across a group of counter protesters. They had a large cross that had Repent and Be Saved painted on it, as well as some other signs with a Christian focus. This group was in a protective circle made of march volunteers who held hands and Caution tape to encircle them. A police officer was with them as well. To me, this represented one of many things I was marching for: freedom of speech for all, not just the people I agree with.

A few thoughts went through my mind during the pre-march rally and the march itself:

  • How many march attendees voted in the 2016 presidential election, provided they were eligible to vote? I’d like to think all of them did, but it’s possible they abstained from voting because they didn’t like either option and didn’t feel passionate enough about independent candidates to vote for them.
  • I wasn’t a fan of the signs and chants that skewed more negative. Granted, many were very funny in their snark (the “we need a leader, not a creepy/freaky tweeter” chant was particularly amusing), but I’d rather focus on what can be done to support women, minorities, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, LGBTQ, and others who feel marginalized and disenfranchised than expend my energy throwing hate at Tr**p and his cabinet.
  • When a chant of “Black Lives Matter” started up around me, I overheard someone behind me say “well, all lives matter.” I am still a bit annoyed with myself that I didn’t turn around and tell that person (who I believe was a 20-something white girl) “not today and definitely not here.” I didn’t want to get into an argument on a day that for me was full of positivity, especially not with a stranger. But I sincerely hope she gets woke by her peers very, very soon.
  • I saw a sign that said “Hug a Journalist” and that made me very happy. I know many current and former journalists and you could say I’m one, too (though I tend to use the term “writer” to describe myself as I do so many different types of writing). A few times I yelled “God bless the journalists,” especially when I saw someone with a press pass. Someone in my group (I’d never met her before the march) said “except Fox News” and I bristled and said, “No, them too. They need the support, too.” We didn’t get into a discussion about it, but again, I believe in freedom of speech.

    hug a journalist, Women's March on Washington

    Seen at the Women’s March on Washington.

I’m hoping anyone and everyone who marched – and those who weren’t able to, for whatever reason – will channel the energy from the march into activism. This includes calling and writing their elected officials, donating time and/or money to humanitarian causes, even being kinder and more compassionate to all, which is as simple as holding open a door for someone or letting the person with only 2-3 items ahead of you in line at the store. The Indivisible Guide has some excellent tips on how to advocate for political change.

Most of all, this little girl is etched in my brain. She was probably 3 or 4 years old and she didn’t say a word as she stood holding her sign, letting people take pictures of her. May she grow up in a world where she knows her immeasurable worth and value, where she can protect and support those who live in fear of persecution, where she can love who she wants, call herself by any name she chooses, be treated the same as her male peers, and speak her truth without being shut down.

girls power, little girl with girls power sign, Women's March on Washington

 

Whoze Bettah Than You?

Several years ago I met this guy who I’ll call Billy Moretti. He was a dark-haired, muscular Irish-Italian guy originally from Queens and he was smoking hot. The first time we met, I got this jolt in my stomach – the kind of jolt that’s only happened to me twice so far – and we ended up having a very intense, secret-ish fling.

Billy and I had a few conversations about serious topics, such as spirituality and self-esteem. One thing he said to me was a phrase from his old neighborhood: “Whoze bettah than you?” His New York accent made the words even more affirming to me, and I would always say in response, “Nobody.” Sometimes I attempted a New Yorker accent, sometimes I whispered my answer. But I never changed it. I knew what the answer was.

When the Hollaback street harassment video went viral recently, I thought about my experiences in New York and other big cities of walking down the street and having random men make comments or try to engage me. I learned pretty quickly that my tendency to be engaging and kind with people is not a good idea when hoofing it in Times Square, DC or downtown L.A. There are a lot of freaky folks out there. However, I have to admit that the attention was always a little bit flattering. It meant I wasn’t as invisible as I often felt. It suggested that maybe I was doing something right with the way I was dressing or carrying myself if some stranger catcalled me.

I’m not the only woman who’s felt this way. “Sidewalk” is a fantastic animated short by Celia Bullwinkel that chronicles a woman’s life as she walks down the street.

 

Sidewalk, Celia Bullwinkel, animation, animated, cartoon, women, street harassment, self image, female empowerment

GIFs from Celia Bullwinkel’s animated short “Sidewalk.”

In an interview she did with Jessica Goldstein over at ThinkProgress, Bullwinkel talks about what motivated her to make the film. Conversations with her mother about appreciating catcalls “because when you get older, it goes away” and reading Nora Ephron’s essays on aging proved to be a perfect starting place.

I started to really think about how I could make a film that dealt with body acceptance, and how life is more than just how you look or how you feel about yourself being young. Who cares if you get older? Everyone ages at the same rate. We all do it, so why not celebrate it?

 

It’s Bullwinkel’s comment later in the interview that reminded me of Billy’s saying, and how it made me feel back when he was saying it to me.

I wanted to show that, even if it takes you until the end of your life to change your outlook, change your mindset, about who you are, it’s never too late. You can learn to love yourself at any age in your life.

Lately I’ve been on a positive reinforcement and self-improvement kick. I’m wearing mascara and lip gloss most days, even if I don’t go anywhere, because it makes me feel good (thanks to reading an interview with Betty Halbreich, the legendary Bergdorf Goodman personal shopper). I’m talking myself out of negative thoughts about my weight, my looks, all of it. And it’s been working. I feel really good and I feel people are responding to me differently. I’m not getting catcalls, nor do I want them at this point in my life, because I’m finally validating myself in ways I haven’t before.

But I do hear Billy’s voice in my head, and my own voice, too, asking, “Whoze bettah than you?” And my answer is, as always, “Nobody.”

Cute Comfy Shoe Alert!

Disclaimer: The following post is based on content I received from Reebok via ShareASale.

One of these days I am going to get kicked out of the Girl Club for not owning enough shoes. Seriously, I’ve never been one to buy lots of shoes, probably because I was traumatized as a child by all the trips to Stride Rite and all that damn toe pinching by the salespeople and my parents. “Is that your toe?” they would say as they jammed their thumb onto my big toe. If someone did that to me now, I’d likely kick them in the face and claim it was reflexes.

When I saw the info about the new Skyscape from Reebok, though, I instantly wanted a pair. The colors are fun and they sound really comfortable. Get this: the shoes were crafted by borrowing the materials and soft molding process used to create lingerie, which provides all-around comfort and creates a shoe so lightweight that it only weighs 5.0 ounces. That’s lighter than an iPad. (Not that you’d be wearing an iPad on your feet, of course, but I thought a point of comparison would be useful.) Best part? Skyscape is even machine washable!

What about support? Skyscape Runaround features Skysculpt and Skyspring technologies to help support the foot and provide all-day comfort. I like all-day comfort. I mean, really, who wouldn’t?

If you’ve now fallen in love with this shoe and MUST HAVE IT NOW, I should point out that this is an online exclusive early release, so head to shop.reebok.com and get your pair of Skyscape.

**Order by Friday, December 20 at noon EST to receive guaranteed holiday delivery.**

Saturday’s Shout-Out: Ainjel Emme

In 2002-2003, I became friendly with the members of a L.A. based all-girl rock band, Goddess Freak Ensemble. Like any band, the group went through some changes in guitarists and bassists. Through each change they continued to make beautiful music while showcasing their sexy, sassy selves. But when they briefly worked with Ainjel Emme, it was mind-blowing. Her mad skills on the guitar are evenly matched by her amazing voice, which is wistful and sly and sad and wise all at once.

A couple of months ago I started thinking about Ainjel again and decided to track her down on Facebook. Sure enough, she’s got her own page and frequently posts links to videos and songs. When I heard some of the stuff she’s been working on recently, I was once again blown away. Knowing how Giles feels about his lady singers (I call them his sirens), I had him take a listen. His face lit up at the first few notes.

I don’t want to even try comparing her music to anyone else, she’s that phenomenal, but I will say this: if you love great music, and you love hearing women sing and play guitar, give Ainjel a listen. Go buy her music. And then tell a friend.

To whet your appetite, here’s Ainjel doing a cover of The Smiths “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”. Check out other performances on her YouTube channel.