Posted in about shae, badassery, femininity, Uncategorized

THANKSGIVING BUZZ

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. Whenever I’ve asked a hairdresser to do it, they’ve balked. Their definition of femininity didn’t allow it.

Know that I LOVE IT.  If you don’t, that’s ok. I didn’t do it for you. It’s the most freeing thing I’ve done with my “look” since I cut it shorter in the first place.

It’s so freeing. I have heard my whole life, from people who mean well, how “pretty” I’d be if I a) lost weight, b) was more demure, c) had long, high-maintenance hair.

I don’t need to be “pretty.” I’m already beautiful.

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Posted in Uncategorized

REMINDERS OF WHAT WAS

Today, my Bestie posted a photo of herself from last summer and then posted a photo of herself from today for comparison. The longer the before image lingered there, the more she was bothered by it. She “loathes” that photo.

I encouraged her to leave it up as encouragement to others. I know she’s probably looked at it over and over a few dozen times, loathing that photo, but not the person in the photo. I know she’s grown beyond that. Still, she’s left that photo up and I am so proud of her. That willingness is a benchmark of courage in a long and painful journey.

How many of us have old photos, keepsakes, or reminders of ourselves from our past, reminders of what was so we can appreciate what is now? Most of us probably do. I think it’s important not to dwell on the past. That’s for certain. If we eliminate all reminders of what was, we have no comparison to see how far we’ve come. In some cases, that’s a merciful thing. In other circumstances, ridding ourselves of something to compare our progress by, we eliminate an important way to measure our progress.

I’m truly proud of my Bestie and her courage to share her progress with the world. That’s a vulnerability that’s a sign of strength. She inspires me, and I hope, by sharing her journey, she will inspire someone to start a journey of their own.

Posted in Uncategorized

ONE WORD 2018

It’s time to choose my One Word for 2018. Last year, that word was, “see.” In 2017, I focused on “seeing” more clearly, seeing around me, truly seeing others. In past years, words that have motivated me have been “push,” “fearless,” and “hope.”

For 2018 I choose “adventure.” I promise to do better about chronicling my adventures both in writing and visually as part of the adventure.

What is your one word for 2018?

Posted in holidays, Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some people have asked how I can stand being alone on a holiday. It’s not easy to explain. Yes, I miss my family, but I live far from all of them. West coast, Midwest, and Florida at times. It’s not always practical from a time or financial standpoint to head home for the holidays. I am grateful when I can spend holidays with them.

I used to visit other people’s homes for holidays and while I loved it (miss hanging with some families in particular), it is sometimes stressful for me walking into a handful of strangers and their family dynamic whatever it is just for the sake of not being alone on a holiday. I used to be more stressed out by being alone vs not being alone, but no more.

I am not afraid or stressed out by being alone. Ever. Even on holidays. It’s not an act, it is a genuine state of being for me. I put on music or a movie or whatever sport is in season and I cook and sing and make myself laugh (I am currently sporting bandaids on each thumb from knife incidents earlier). I am my own good company. I choose to be happy regardless of my circumstances.

I have had a great day today. I created savory culinary delights in my new kitchen. I decorated my balcony and made a lot of soup. I watched a football game, Gone With the Wind, and I have a cup of coffee in one hand and wine in the other.

For this attitude, being comfortable in my own skin, for being happy no matter what, for being my own good company, for that, today, and most days, I am incredibly thankful.

I hope you had a great day today no matter how you chose to celebrate. I am thankful for all that stop to see what crazy thing I’m up to when they have a chance.

Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

Posted in community, nature, pics, Uncategorized, weather

HARVEY, AND THE TURTLE SWIMMING IN MY BACK YARD

IMG_6213It’s been a week now since Harvey started steamrolling his way up the Texas coast, dumping 30 inches of rain in my neighborhood over a 5 day period.  I live in the Buffalo Bayou watershed, and that water is still lapping against the bottom floor of my four-story building.

Mercifully, that water has receded about a foot and a half in the last 24 hours.  It’s not unlike a clogged bathtub drain – since they keep releasing water from the reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou, they do not expect this water to fully drain (and that’s if there’s no additional rain) for another 10-15 days.  Most other places in town, the water is receding or has receded.

I’ve been working from home for over a week. Thankfully, I only lost power for 15 minutes on Saturday morning and it came back on and has stayed on.  Tuesday I did go out, in the pouring rain, because I was going a little stir-crazy.  I made it to the Thai place close by and got some takeout. While I waited, I chatted with a much older gentleman named Bill. It was nice to have some conversation that did not involve posting warnings to other coworkers (we are spread all over the Houston metro area) and checking in on people where the water was rising.

It’s not unusual to feel helpless during disasters like this.  My health is not allowing me to do much in the say of hands-on help for people, I have no cash to really help anyone, and though I live on the fourth floor, I sustained some water damage in my apartment due to the wind, prior undiscovered damage that this storm brought to light, and relentless, pounding rain.  I’m really worried about the mold that is already there and that will have a chance to grow until I get my turn on the fix list (there are many apartments on the first floor of other buildings that had rising water in them that are priorities, and I get that).

I know people who have lost everything (again) and people who have lost cars, and some people who are just stuck because we are living on a series of islands in this area of town and if you want to go north/south from here it is nearly impossible. It’s insane and difficult to describe what’s going on down here in Houston.

This is my fourth…fifth… major flood/storm in the last 9 years. I’ve really lost count how many times this creek that is often just a trickle of inches has gone over its banks (about five feet), but this is the first time the water has risen to within a foot of the balcony on the first floor.  It’s only gone down about 18 inches since the rain stopped Tuesday evening.

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I do the only thing I can do in times like this, document the situation as it happens, encourage others, and take photos.  Some of the photos you see on this post were taken with my iPhone or Canon over the past couple of days as the sun came out.

I noticed, while taking these photos, something was moving in the water. I know there are snakes down there, frogs, and who knows what, but a turtle surfaced in the water.  Of course, I named him Harvey.  How could I not?

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The apartment management visited yesterday to survey the damage and get me on the list of getting things fixed.  We opened the door to survey the door frame damage, and I pointed down to the turtle.   They were all amazed.  Through all that yucky, brown water, swam this little guy.  And from up here, if he looks like that, he’s probably a pretty good size.  Harvey finally made some people smile!

Some people thought I was delirious because I was saying a turtle swam by my apartment, but here he is:

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While I am ready to get back to work, I hope some of the routes north open up, otherwise it may take me over an hour (or more) to go 8 miles when it comes time to try go to the office. The Buffalo Bayou runs all the way to downtown and everywhere there’s a bridge over it, it’s under water and will be for a week or two.

Still, I’ve been able to find some beauty in the mess, and that’s saying something, because it’s a big mess!  All of Houston must reach deep inside to find the silver lining, and keep trudging forward, because Harvey left us with devastation that will take months to clean up.

The best part of this mess is seeing the best of humanity amid the worst of nature.  People helping people, no matter their color, creed or political slant.  Volunteers being turned away because there are too many.  Communities everywhere donating to those in need.  Trucks pulling boats from other states coming to rescue people from their homes. That’s still happening, by the way.  Amazing. People can be amazing when they need to be.

I hope this goodness continues to spread across the United States.  It’s too bad it took a natural disaster to draw it out, but I hope it’s a start.  Please be good to each other out there.

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Posted in Activism, advocate, commentary, community, Equality, fearless, feminism, Uncategorized, World

NEVERTHELESS, I PERSIST

Yesterday was another day of political upheaval here in the United States. I am 48 years young but I’ve never seen (or was too young to really remember) anything like the baffling regression of the American spirit like I’ve witnessed over the past 18 months or so.

I will say this and leave it right here: I believe in equality for everyone. Everyone. Progress has been made the past decade to close many gaps for many different people groups and I refuse to let any group in this country try to drag us back to the dark ages of closed-minded thinking.

With that out in the ether I’ll add this: I’m ashamed of the president and what he’s stirred up in this country and continues to allow with no intelligent comment or rebuke. I have a great admiration for presidents past, and I hope to have a president I can admire and be proud of and respect again, but 45 is not that president. I have great respect for the office of the president, but I do not respect the current president. I can and will make that distinction for the duration of his term. If you voted for him, that is your right, but please don’t try to defend him or your choice. I am tired of that conversation. It’s done.

My heart hurts for the family that lost a sweet daughter yesterday. All she was doing was protesting a hate group. Peacefully. She believed in the diversity and love of all in America and she was marching to show this hate group that she still believed we could all get along, that there was room enough at her table for all. This hate group cannot stand that thought, and one man from that group took it upon himself to violently end her life and injure many others because people like her are trying to put other beliefs, thoughts and color into his whitewashed world.

I believe I am fortunate to be surrounded by a wondrously varied group of people every day. I work for an international company in the most diverse city in America. I work with people who were not born in this country who came here for freedom and chose the US and became citizens. Some are just here for a few years or months, others’ parents or grandparents came here and brought their rich cultures to the greatest melting pot in the world.

I navigate a number of cultures, religions, belief systems, biases and dissimilarities every single day. Harmony, even when there are notable differences, can be achieved if everyone allows their worldview to be wide enough to consider that not everyone was raised the same, believes the same, or wants the same outcomes for their lives.

I still don’t understand the notion of making America great again (MAGA), as if America wasn’t already great. It seems to me that the MAGA directive for the 45 supporter is to regress back to the idea that one way is the only way, which is anchored in ignorance and fear.

I wholeheartedly believe that America’s diversity is its strength. When hate groups march (which is their right as long as they are peaceful) and preach that they want to keep America the way it is or was (for them) they miss the point. America has always been diverse. America has always been a haven for all. These groups have just isolated themselves so much that they are afraid of what and whom they don’t know or understand. Rather than build a bridge, they want to vote everyone else off their very small-minded island.

I’ve lived in Houston 23 years now. I went from a small town in Indiana where most people looked, talked and thought like me to the most diverse and culture rich city in America. I am all the better for it. I understand so much more of the world because the world is here all around me and it is a wondrous assortment of people. If MAGA means isolation, hatred, racism, and a white’s only attitude, I want no part of it.

After the events yesterday in Charlottesville, I was a bit disheartened to say the least. America feels like it is sliding backward, and I feel like a small minority of hatred is going to suck me down with it. I can’t let that happen, but I don’t always know what I can do.

I become overwhelmed with the vastness of the pervasive hatred that some humans have against other humans simply because they are not disciples of the same ethos or they have a different color of skin. What can one person do to turn the tide?

I was reminded today to do something I already try to do – reach one person at a time. Learn as much as I can about our differences and use every opportunity to lift that person up. If that person needs an ally, I will stand with them. I will celebrate everything that makes them unique, because I also thrive when my uniqueness is noted and celebrated.

It really does boil down to treating others as you yourself want to be treated.

Nevertheless, I persist.

Posted in fearless, femininity, feminism, music, Uncategorized

CHAINED TO THE RHYTHM

I really like this song! The lyrics are wonderful, and I was not surprised to see that this was one of Sia’s offerings to another artist.

Let the words sink in. I will never fit into the picket-fence utopia and once I stopped trying to do so, I was much happier!

Chained to the Rhythm by Katy Perry (Video)
Are we crazy
Living our lives through a lens
Trapped in our white-picket fence
Like ornaments
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble
Aren’t you lonely
Up there in utopia
Where nothing will ever be enough?
Happily numb
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble

Ah, so good
Your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

Are we tone deaf?
Keep sweeping it under the mat
Thought we can do better than that
I hope we can
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we can’t see the trouble, the trouble

Aha, so good (so good)
Your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

It is my desire
Break down the walls to connect, inspire
Ay, up in your high place, liars
Time is ticking for the empire
The truth they feed is feeble
As so many times before
They greed over the people
They stumbling and fumbling and we’re about to riot
They woke up, they woke up the lions (woo!)

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

It goes on, and on, and on (turn it up )
It goes on, and on, and on
It goes on, and on, and on
(It goes on) ’cause we’re all chained to the rhythm

Written by Sia Furler, Max Martin, Katy Perry, Ali Payami, Skip Marley • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Posted in fearless, photography, Push, see, Uncategorized

ONE WORD 2017

Last year, I chose the word, “Push” for my One Word challenge.  Push did not affect me like fearless did, though I did push through many challenges in 2016.  I have decided that it is time for a new word, a new focus.

I have chosen “see” as my word for 2017.  See encompasses so much simply by definition. I will see with my eyes, my heart, my soul, through words and photographs and so much more.

What is your one word?

 

Posted in death, movies, storytelling, Uncategorized

GOODBYE, SASSY PRINCESS

Carrie Fisher was my first princess.  I was 8 years old when Star Wars: A New Hope arrived on the scene and it changed the world forever.

Princess Leia was no ordinary princess, at least not the ones I’d seen up to that point. She was smart, sassy, and in charge.  She didn’t wait for a prince or hero to save her, she grabbed a gun and shot her enemy and fought her threats herself.

Three movies and an entire space mythos later, Princess Leia was firmly entrenched as one of my role models. Pink, fluffy-haired, prissy, weak damsel in distress princesses would never, ever measure up.

I was thrilled to see Princess Leia return to Star Wars decades after Princess Leia helped save the galaxy and ride off into the galactic sunset.  She had aged, yes, but she was still in charge.  Now a general, always royal, guiding fragments of humanity to overcome the throngs of evil that will always rise and fall.

The eighth installment of the Star Wars saga finished filming this summer. Again, Princess/General Leia figures to figure prominently in the galaxy far, far away.  Unfortunately, her story will end.

Carrie Fisher, the talented, gritty portrayer of Princess Leia, is gone.  She left us this morning, after suffering a heart attack Christmas Eve.  She was only 60 years old. Earlier this week, we lost George Michael at only 53 years old. All year long the list of celebrities and the well-known who have left us has been long – young, old, talented, not so talented, smart, sciencey, larger than life, angelic, humanitarian, mercurial.

And now the list has my Princess.  I’m saddened to know her story has ended in life and on screen, and the world mourns with me.

 

Posted in Activism, badassery, GLBT, LGBT, politics, safe, Uncategorized

SAFE SPACES

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Whether you agree with the safety pin movement, I ask you to think about all the marginalized people groups you know of, and friends you know who are labeled into those groups.  While a safety pin is a small gesture, a gesture some mock or ridicule or label too small, it’s a step in the right direction.  The hearts are in the right place. We shall soon see if their hands, feet, mouths and ears are in the right place as well.

I’ve always thought of myself as a safe space for people. In hindsight, I know that was not always true.  I was often judgemental and closed minded.  While I know that I’ve come quite a long way (a canyon’s divide) from where I once was, I’m only beginning to understand how to be a safe space, and I hope to become a proactive safe space.

One step at a time. First I must ensure I am a safe space for those who need it. I must seek to understand a pain or fear I perhaps have not experienced myself.

Second, I must listen more. I do a lot of talking. I seek to heal, empower, and encourage people with words. Sometimes, safety is found in my silence.  Sometimes, it’s found in the words I’m afraid to say aloud. No more fear.

I’m still trying to find words for all I’m feeling right now.  Still digging through. The main point of this post is to say I’m a safe space for those in fear, those who feel unheard, threatened, or pushed to the margins. As a single, middle-aged woman, I am in some of those margins myself.

For now, I hope this is a good first step. If you need a safe space, I’m here for you.