nocturnal creatures of the desert

Coyotes, skunks, bobcats, tarantulas, scorpions, centipedes, peccaries, kangaroo rats, jackrabbits, owls, nightjars…me.

Last night I was sitting outside at 11:00 pm, eating my dinner, wide awake and full of energy and I realized that when left to my own devices, I have fallen into the rhythm of creatures that live in 106-degree heat. They hide and sleep during the day and come out to frolic once the sun goes down and the air cools to a reasonable temperature (below 90).

I like it. It feels right, natural, necessary.

I’m up before the sun, wandering through my darkened house, crawling around the sandstone landscape, taking advantage of the cool dawn air that will heat up within minutes once the sun climbs over the canyon rim.

When the orb of heat does show up, I close the windows, close the shades, turn on the fans, and pray for the best as the rising sun creates rising temps.

At night, I reopen everything and let the coolness invade my home.

The nearby side rolls add just a hit of moisture to the slight breeze that swishes through the leaves of my front yard shade tree inviting me to relax with the dogs and listen to the night sounds of crickets and owls.

In my repose, I wonder if taking naps midday, every day, is being lazy. At midnight, when I am going through case files for work after cleaning out my fridge and doing 3 loads of laundry, I know that I am being a lot more productive than I would be during those excruciatingly hot mid-afternoon siesta hours.

The lizards and the snakes and the coyotes know what they are doing. I am following their lead.

Anniversaries and Updates

Anniversaries:

A year ago yesterday my innards fell out.

A year ago today, a doctor told me that I needed to have surgery that had me unemployed for 9 months and from which I am still recovering.

Then…a year ago tomorrow my father died.

Updates:

My uterus is gone, as are my core muscles, so now my back hurts.

I spent today in an MRI machine, re-traumatized by being in the hospital where my son’s accident played out 2 1/2 years ago.

My dad is still dead.

I am unemployed now/again/still, along with millions of others, because there is a global pandemic.

THERE’S A FUCKING GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

The planet is blowing up.

We’re seeing a resurgence of lynchings.

And our president is an asshat.

Good thing for margaritas, the desert, and being madly in love.

 

 

 

 

unbearable

My Outward Bound community lost two friends this month. The virus didn’t kill either of them. Brain cancer did.

Both of them.

Within a few short weeks.

Both died on the same couch.

They were married.

They have children.

Those kids lost their mother and father in a month.

I want to sit with my thoughts and prayers for them and yet my mind can’t come to rest on those musings; it is just too painful.

Too unthinkable.

Unimaginable.

Unbearable.

#andyandalison #youwillbemissed

 

My daily disclaimer:

I am new to this and will probably unintentionally say the wrong thing and offend or piss someone off, so I apologize in advance

Today’s issue:

Addressing racism (Covid-19, masks, immigration, LGBTQ, poverty, education, etc., etc., etc.) in a small community.

Since the world imploded, everyone has an opinion. And everyone seems to be airing those opinions publically. Then everyone else feels the need to comment/discuss/criticize, also publically. Anger flares. People are offended. Friendships ended.

“I am more community-minded than you.”

“I am less racist than you.”

“I’m more ‘woke’ than you.”

More.

Less.

Comparisons that divide rather than unite.

It’s all over social media. Everyone’s doing it. But it’s a whole different ball game when those comparisons and judgments are, at least in part, based on already-established biases based on previous personal interactions with the individuals who are speaking.

I know that I am guilty of it. I was in full force judgment mode last night.

A community member posted something recently that I happened to think was ridiculous, but she didn’t. As is her right.

The reactions were firey, critical, and personal.

I kept my mouth shut, mostly because it seemed like the rest of the community had enough to say without me adding my two cents.

If someone I didn’t know had created the post (which, by the way, I had seen before, so someone I don’t know did put it out there first) I would have scrolled right past, dismissing it as worthless, (which is what I did the first time I saw it.)

But, because I knew the post-er, I read the entire thing and each and every comment.

And I judged. I thought, “Really? You? Come on – I expected more.”

But still, trying to avoid adding to the shitstorm, I kept my mouth shut.

In a small town, there is no way to take a person at face value, to hear what they have to say on really, any issue, without incorporating what we already know or think we know about that person.

Well, you send your child to a different school than I do so I can’t agree with you on anything regarding education.

I’ve seen you be brutally selfish and self-serving so how can I believe that you are thinking about anyone’s best interests other than your own.

I saw you in the grocery store without a mask so don’t talk to me about being a caring community member.

Etc.

It can’t be avoided in a town this size.

We have opinions of each other, good or bad, right or wrong, that will color our perception of anything coming out of a person’s mouth to the point of detriment.

How can I listen to what someone has to say when I’m too busy thinking, “You are the most egotistical human being I’ve ever known so you can’t possibly care about this issue as much as I do, and therefore I won’t take seriously anything that you say”?

And suddenly some stupid shit on your wall is that much more laughable.

Or offensive.

And conversely, I like what you said at the School Board meeting last month so I am going to blindly agree with your recent post about Black Lives Matter.

I saw you at the hardware store without your mask so obviously, you’re a bigot.

It’s fucking mayhem out there.

These conversations quickly become chaotic. A discussion about whether or not the CDC has been upfront with the world about Covid-19, leaps from accusations of fascism into “White people should just listen to indigenous people.”

It’s all over the map. Everything is connected; race is, unfortunately, an underlying piece of every issue we address. The coronavirus overshadows all aspects of daily life. I get that it’s hard to keep things separated because it is all intertwined, but I also think that it is easier to mix it all up and make a conversation a muddled mess when we know each other.

We are talking about taking our biases out of The Conversation. The Conversation itself is about removing biases – biases about race or religion or sexual orientation – but that is really challenging when it’s your neighbor against (or with) whom you have a personal preconceived notion.

I know that I am more prone to jump on or off a bandwagon based on my prior interactions with the bandwagon driver.

I’m fired up about members of my community who I “used to respect.” There are certain people who I avoid at the post office or coffee shop because I can’t agree with their stance on masks.

In some ways maybe it’s a good thing – neighbors calling out neighbors on their bullshit.

But on the other hand, are we allowing issues to become more personal and more offensive, based on who is addressing those issues?

Is familiarity breeding contempt?

 

 

Ignorant White Girl

I am white. I was raised in a very white, very comfortable, privileged world. I knew no people of color until I went to my elite private school – and even there, there were a limited few of my classmates who weren’t raised in the same white world as I.

My mother is from the South. My father’s mother told me not to sit “next to the darkies” on the bus in New York City.

At some point in my life I began to see the world outside of my insulated one, realizing that it is very bigoted and hateful. I became aware that I didn’t want to be part of the problem.

With all that is happening in our country with racism and cruelty and violence and hatred, I understand that I am still a part of the problem.

But my heart is in the right place.

I want to learn more, understand more, change my role in perpetuating this plague.

I don’t want to be shamed. Shaming others does not solve the problem(s).

I hesitate to write because while I don’t know much about being a person of color, I know enough to be aware that my words may offend someone.

Unintentionally.

My heart is in the right place.

So I am going to take a chance here and address something that I’m seeing that feels, to me, pretty fucking racist.

If I offend, piss off, or hurt someone with my words, if whatever I say reeks of entitlement, I apologize. I am a white gal trying to understand.

My heart is in the right place.

If I don’t bring this up, if I don’t try to understand, then I continue to be a part of the problem, so I will risk sounding like an idiot so that maybe next time, I don’t.

What is currently bothering me at the moment feels like an undercurrent of superiority, judgment, and white shaming…

by white people.

I want to learn. I want to be educated. I want to be a part of the solution.

I don’t want to be shamed.

I especially don’t want to be shamed by white folks doing something that I see as “reverse racism.”

Maybe I just coined a new term, but I doubt it.

There are people out there, white ones, being quite vocal on the issues of race; folks who, because they have a connection with a BIPoC, act superior, more “woke.”

Dumbest fucking word in today’s lexicon.

Maybe some are more evolved, knowledgable and compassionate, but I am also seeing, feeling, hearing words and actions of superiority that bleed over into what I perceive as cultural appropriation.

If you are white, you are white. Period. And no matter where your heart is, you are not a person of color. No matter who your neighbors are, your partner is, your child’s best friend is, it doesn’t change your skin color.

Preaching, speaking out, damning, criticizing, judging…all of it…it often seems to communicate the misguided and wrong message of “I was white, but now I’m not anymore.”

Seems pretty damn racist.

And hypocritical.

We must speak out. We must act. We must do everything in our power to bring awareness to and then eradicate this hateful treatment of others.

Is there a way to do this without acting better than, more evolved? Without taking on another’s culture as our own? Without disdain for that white person who married another white person and maybe even gave birth to white kids; a person who fell in love with another’s soul, not their skin color?

Currently in my family – my children, their partners, their roommates – two white boys, a blond-haired blue-eyed Mormon gal, an African-American girl, and three Mexicans, one of whom is a DACA kid.

Does this make me “not white”?

Certainly not – it actually makes me feel even more ignorant in understanding the ways in which these members of my family have experienced life.

I am thankful that my family is more diverse than the entire county in which I was raised. I am proud of my children for not letting race differences determine who they love.

The reality is, I love my family – each and every one of them.

But, I am not more evolved, less ignorant, or simply better than because we have a wide-ish range of skin color under my roof. And I am fully aware that I am not black, I am not an undocumented worker from south of the border, I am not a foster kid desperate to connect with his Mexican heritage.

Can you imagine if I tried to “get my Mexican on,” like my son does? I’d be ridiculous. Learning to make my own tamales does not change my upbringing. And having a brown child does not make me brown.

It makes me a white mother who really needs to educate herself.

I am rambling here. I am trying to speak in generalizations (somewhat) so as not to point fingers.

Not to shame.

But I see a level of self-righteousness that offends me because I feel that the idolization of one culture over another, even if it’s a historically oppressed culture, is the SAME FUCKING PROBLEM.

Especially when it has a hint (or more) of cultural appropriation because it’s coming from the WASP’s among us.

(WASP – White Anglo Saxon Protestant.)

It feels like a lack of honest humility and oozes self-importance.

Teach me. I want to learn.

Show me how to help.

Explain to me what I am doing to perpetuate the problem.

Share with me your experiences. I want to hear.

I want to see change.

In the era of systemic racism that has been going on in our country for generations, I am a relative newcomer to understanding the depth and danger of our system.

I have a long way to go.

But, my heart is in the right place.

I am an ignorant white girl

I am white. I was raised in a very white, very comfortable, privileged world. I knew no people of color until I went to my elite private school – and even there, there were a limited few of my classmates who weren’t raised in the same white world as I.

My mother is from the South. My father’s mother told me not to sit “next to the darkies” on the bus in New York City.

At some point in my life I began to see the world outside of my insulated one, realizing that it is very bigoted and hateful. I became aware that I didn’t want to be part of the problem.

With all that is happening in our country with racism and cruelty and violence and hatred, I understand that I am still a part of the problem.

But my heart is in the right place.

I want to learn more, understand more, change my role in perpetuating this plague.

I don’t want to be shamed. Shaming others does not solve the problem(s).

I hesitate to write because while I don’t know much about being a person of color, I know enough to be aware that my words may offend someone.

Unintentionally.

My heart is in the right place.

So I am going to take a chance here and address something that I’m seeing that feels, to me, pretty fucking racist.

If I offend, piss off, or hurt someone with my words, if whatever I say reeks of entitlement, I apologize. I am a white gal trying to understand.

My heart is in the right place.

If I don’t bring this up, if I don’t try to understand, then I continue to be a part of the problem, so I will risk sounding like an idiot so that maybe next time, I don’t.

What is currently bothering me at the moment feels like an undercurrent of superiority, judgment, and white shaming…

by white people.

I want to learn. I want to be educated. I want to be a part of the solution.

I don’t want to be shamed.

I especially don’t want to be shamed by white folks doing something that I see as “reverse racism.”

Maybe I just coined a new term, but I doubt it.

There are people out there, white ones, being quite vocal on the issues of race; folks who, because they have a connection with a BIPoC, act superior, more “woke.”

Dumbest fucking word in today’s lexicon.

Maybe some are more loved, knowledgable and compassionate, but I am also seeing, feeling, hearing words and actions of superiority that bleed over into what I perceive as cultural appropriation.

If you are white, you are white. Period. And no matter where your heart is, you are not a person of color. No matter who your neighbors are, your partner is, your child’s best friend is, it doesn’t exchange your skin color.

Preaching, speaking out, damning, criticizing, judging…all of it…it often seems to communicate the mis-guided and wrong message of “I was white, but now I’m not anymore.”

Seems pretty damn racist.

And hypocritical.

We must speak out. We must act. We must do everything in our power to bring awareness to and then eradicate this hateful treatment of others.

Is there a way to do this without acting better than, more evolved? Without taking on another’s culture as our own? Without disdain for that white person who married another white person and maybe even gave birth to white kids; a person who fell in love with another’s soul, not their skin color?

Currently in my family – my children, their partners, their roommates – two white boys, a blond-haired blue eyed Mormon gal, an African-American girl, and three Mexicans, one of whom is a DACA kid.

Does this make me “not white”?

Certainly not – it actually makes me feel even more ignorant in understanding the ways in which these members of my family have experienced life.

I am thankful that my family is more diverse than the entire county in which I was raised. I am proud of my children for not letting race differences determine who they love.

The reality is, I love my family – each and every one of them.

But, I am not more evolved, less ignorant, or simply better than because we have a wide-ish range of skin color under my roof. And I am fully aware that I am not black, I am not an undocumented worker from south of the border, I am not a foster kid desperate to connect with his Mexican heritage.

Can you imagine if I tried to “get my Mexican on,” like my son does? I’d be ridiculous. Learning to make my own tamales does not change my upbringing. And having a brown child does not make me brown.

It makes me a white mother who really needs to educate herself.

I am rambling here. I am trying to speak in generalizations (somewhat) so as not to point fingers.

Not to shame.

But I see a level of self-righteousness that offends me because I feel that the idolization of one culture over another, even if it’s a historically oppressed culture, is the SAME FUCKING PROBLEM.

Especially when it has a hint (or more) of cultural appropriation because it’s coming from the WASP’s among us.

(WASP – White Anglo Saxon Protestant.)

It feels like a lack of honest humility and oozes self-importance.

Teach me. I want to learn.

Show me how to help.

Explain to me what I am doing to perpetuate the problem.

Share with me your experiences. I want to hear.

I want to see change.

In the era of systemic racism that has been going on in our country for generations, I am a relative newcomer to understanding the depth and danger of our system.

I have a long way to go.

But, my heart is in the right place.

rethinking every thought (or, being a great beauty in an ugly world)

This photo was in my FB newsfeed this morning.

The caption was: Nyakim Gatwech, a South Sudanese model, may have the darkest skin in the world.

My first thought was, “I wonder what it would be like to go through life being that beautiful.”

I often have that thought. There used to be a model in the Sundance catalog who had the most incredible green eyes and outrageous, wild, free-range hair; I imagined waking up and looking in the mirror and having those eyes look back at me. I would ask myself, “Would my life be so much better if I had that hair?”

Yes, actually, it would.

She probably has her “fat days” and “ugly days” just like the rest of us. Maybe even gets a zit or two, but I still can’t fathom being that stunning.

While I can admit that I am fairly attractive, I am certainly not jaw-dropping gorgeous.

“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

Unlike the great beauty, Ms. Gatwech, with her flawless skin and mile-long legs…

and her youth.

Okay, not everyone reads the morning newspaper in a black strappy dress, heels, with a glass of wine, casually seated on the 8,000-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets.

I certainly don’t.

I don’t even read the paper.

I usually prefer coffee or tequila instead of wine first thing in the morning.

Anyway, I have the thought about being so stunning and what life must be like, etc., and then, reality kicks in, and I think,

Her striking looks, her incomparable beauty, her forever legs that aren’t mottled with cellulite and scars – these things that I struggle to imagine having myself – these things don’t change the fact that she is black.

In America.

And while I understand that I will never experience life as a gorgeous head-turner, what I really will never experience is being a black woman in this country.

And unfortunately, If I am going to be truly honest, I am shamefully grateful for this reality.

#blacklivesmatter

#whiteprivilege

#checkyourracisimatthedoor

 

 

Holy Shit

Half of me is in denial, half of me is preparing for the Hunger Games.

Global pandemic.

Millions of people dying horrific, lonely, torturous deaths.

Even John Prine wasn’t spared.

Quarantine.

Fighting. Riots. Looting. Murders.

Lynchings.

Police brutality. Bringing in the military to control the restless masses.

Leaders inciting violence.

In-fighting amongst the people.

Fear. Distrust. Anger. Hatred.

Global warming.

And today’s headline:

Wildfire Season Starts In Southwest Colorado