Men Who Claim To Be Allies

I started by morning, before coffee, reading Irin Carmon’s “Women shouldn’t trust the men who call themselves allies” at The Washington Post. Go ahead and read it.  After coffee. Carmon writes powerfully about Harvey Weinstein and a whole bunch of men who proclaim to be allies while harming, maligning, and harassing women.  The actions of this men tell us a story about how claiming to be an ally doesn’t actually mean you are an ally. This is a  story, the story, about power, misogyny, masculinity, and the emptiness of words without action. Camron writes:

To the preexisting condition that is misogyny in the world, such men add a certain sense of hopelessness. They fuel those old snickering jokes about the ulterior motives of men who visit feminist spaces. They exploit the fact that women are eager to affirm men making baby steps toward our humanity and make a mockery out of our socially ingrained impulse to give them the benefit of the doubt. At least the Bannons of the world stab you in the front.

As I read her article, I laughed grimly, though I wanted to cry, when I reached this line: At least the Bannons of the world stab you in the front.  At least, we know where the Bannons stand and how much they hate us. It’s the knife in the back from the men who are supposed to be friends, partners, colleagues, co-workers, bosses, and professors that we aren’t expecting. They say that they are allies. They say they are feminists. And we want to believe them. Like Camron, I’m not sure we should. (more…)

Grace Period is now a paperback!

As most you likely know, Raven Books, an imprint of Blue Crow Publishing specializing in non-fiction, decided to publish Grace Period: A Memoir in Pieces as a PAPERBACK. If the shouty caps weren’t enough to clue you in, I am so, so, so excited that my memoir is now a physical book that you can read or hug or use as a coaster for your coffee mug. I’m equally glad that all of you who don’t read on Kindles or iPads will get a chance to read it. I can attest that Blue Crow did a fabulous job with the cover and book design. I pretty much happy-cried my way through checking page proofs because everything was so beautiful.

So, I’ll hope y’all will do me a favor: If you get a copy, please tweet me a photo, so I can see the book out in the wild. I promise that I will be sharing photos of my two adorable children with their copies as soon as my author copies arrive. (Hurry, please, postperson!)

Additionally, Blue Crow is giving away TWO copies of the uncorrected proofs of Grace Period. The details of the contest are here. Please note that the the winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday, October 4th.

And finally, I’m hosting an Amazon giveaway right now to celebrate my book’s paperback publication. I’m giving away 10 eBooks of Joan Didion’s After Henry: Essays because I adore Joan Didion and I love excellent essays.  The giveaway ends October 10 at midnight PDT, so check it out!

Graham Cassidy

Here’s the letter I sent to Senate Finance Committee opposing the Graham Cassidy repeal. The letters/emails are due tomorrow, Monday September 25th by 1:00 pm EDT. Wall-of-us provides both the email ([email protected] ) and a script for your letter.

Please consider sending one.

Greetings,

I’m writing today because my family relies on ACA for quality, affordable healthcare. Because of this, I oppose the Graham Cassidy repeal.

Currently, I work as a freelance editor/writer, and my husband works for a small start-up company. For the last couple of years, we’ve relied on ACA for insurance for our family, which includes an eight-year-old and a four-year-old.

This week, our four-year-old complained about his leg hurting. We thought he might have bumped it, but he hadn’t fallen. Then, he started limping and refused to climb stairs or climb into my SUV. When I attempted to carry him on my hip to give him a break, he yelped and started to sob. I called the pediatrician for an appointment, once I realized that a limp is always something their office recommends having checked out.

I handed over my insurance card when I took him to pediatrician. He sat in my lap while we waited, which is unusual because he’s usually too busy to sit still. The PA looked over his leg, but called in the pediatrician for an evaluation. The doctor explained that he needed x-rays to determine if something was wrong with his hip or if it was toxic synovitis, inflammation of the hip joint that can sometimes occur after another virus. (more…)

You Were Ambitious

I was ready to write an essay on motherhood and ambition, but then my three-year-old wouldn’t let me leave at drop-off while his older sister waited in the car. He wouldn’t hurry up the stairs to his preschool or through the door to his classroom. We place his stuffed troll in his cubby and hang his green monster lunch bag on a hook. He walks even more slowly across the floor of the yellow room to the door that leads to the playground outside. “Could you hurry up?” I huff at him, and he grins at me. I’m annoyed at his slowness, but I’m also angry at my annoyance. His small legs only propel him forward so fast. He doesn’t hurry. His friends were already swinging on the swings and climbing up the equipment while he walks in slow motion and clings to my hand.

I hug him goodbye and discreetly glance at my watch. Now, I am running late. His eight-year-old sister has to be at camp in 20 minutes, and we will be hard-pressed to make it. One hug goodbye isn’t enough. He wants another and then another. Then, he wants a kiss, and then, he gives me a kiss on my arm as I try to look at my watch again.

“One last hug,” I say, “and then go play.” (more…)

Not Nice

“I was just trying to be nice.”

“I just wanted to be nice.”

“Not nice,” I say to the toddler after he bludgeons his sister with a random toy, “NOT NICE.”

I find myself thinking about “nice” a lot lately, often before recounting a story of something gone terribly awry. Exasperation lingers in my tone. Frustration coats my words. I was just trying to be nice, but things go sideways. They tend to when I start with nice.

I’m not sure why this happens. Maybe, my attempts at niceness appear as sign of a polite weakness. Maybe, nice renders me a pushover, a people-pleaser, who will go out of her way to remain pleasant. Initial friendliness suggests the desire to be agreeable at all costs, even when other people become increasingly unpleasant. Being nice shows that I can be dismissed without much effort or time. Being nice makes me easy to overlook, ignore, and disparage. (more…)