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After the MLK March, January 2018: Dear White People

I wanted you to march for peace today. If you had the day off, I wish you volunteered for the community today. Our president said something awful today. Yesterday. The day before. Tomorrow. His words cause real damage. People are dying. So many of us voted him into office or at least we voted his enablers into office. So many of us turn a blind eye to what he’s already done, because we have to do our self care right now. You are going to see yourself in this. It’s going to hurt your feelings. You’ll close this post and…

I Did Not Achieve My Fitness Goal

In 2017 I did not achieve my fitness goal. I’ve had the same goal weight for twenty-four years. I reached it once in 1994 for about ten minutes. I still thought I was fat, which I equated with ugly, and so set another even lower goal weight but got pregnant instead, thank God. In the beginning of 2017 I set my same old goal. I didn’t reach it. In fact, I gained ten pounds between January and December. I am telling you this boring story because of a conversation I had with three friends the other day. We were talking…

The Graceful Art of Subtraction

My youngest daughter and I visited my friends over the summer while they did a house sit in LA. My daughter was most impressed by the fact that Warner Brothers was shooting a television show next door and using the lawn of the house we were in to stage equipment. I was impressed with the house owners’ fork and knife and spoon drawer. The homeowners were committed minimalists. Every item in their house was beautiful, useful, and had a place. In the utensil drawer, there was no mosh pit of metal and plastic and crumbs. Everything was uniform and serene…

Not All Men

This is not about workplace harassment. This is not about the man who felt up my bare knee under the table during a meeting at work. This is not about the time he sat on me at another meeting, giggling as he crushed me with his body. Neither is this about the time I blocked a colleague I hardly knew on social media after he sent me suggestive messages and a picture. I ignored his dozens of notifications until finally he flipped out and sent a series of vicious emails berating me for, among other things, my bad online etiquette….

Yolo

For Homecoming Prayer Service 2017 There’s a saying, I know you’ve heard it. YOLO. You Only Live Once. Let me tell you something about YOLO. YOLO is a lie. You don’t only live once. You live every time you wake up in the morning. You live a new day 365 times a year, if you’re lucky, every day a new chance for a new beginning, a new way to think of others before yourself, and a new way to be kind. A new way to live the spirit of Jesus Christ, and be a source of God’s love to others….

To My White Sisters: So. The Tina Fey Thing.

To my White progressive sisters who read my blog sometimes: We’ve had some space and time to think. Tina Fey’s sheetcake bit. We need to talk. I didn’t write this right away because you were very raw at the time of my Twitter and Facebook posts pointing out that Tina Fey’s crack about theoretical White supremacists in Central Park feeling threatened by the sight of “six foot four black men” was harmful in light of what actually had happened to an actual black man at the hands of actual White supremacists in Charlottesville not a week before. The assumption behind…

The Long Ride Home

Maybe it is because I’m a high school teacher and spend my days surrounded by actual young adults that my standards for YA literature are so high. My favorite books for readers in their teens are full of characters facing real life problems with no clear solutions. The dialogue needs to sound like something an actual kid would say, or else I’m gone. No messages, please. No lessons to learn that could also be imparted in a thirty minute sitcom. No morals to the story allowed. Ever. If I’m going to recommend a book to anyone to read it has…

Opening Prayer Service 2017

There is a famous saying. You’ve heard it. It goes like this: In life, If you fail to plan, Then you plan to fail. Your teachers and your coaches and your parents know this is true. And so do you. To succeed, you first set goals, then plan specific steps to achieve them. If you want to improve as an athlete, you don’t sit on the couch eating hot Cheetos all the time. You go to the gym, the track, the field, and the court. You lift. You train. You work. You stick to the plan. If you want to…

What Do I Say To My Students?

A teacher friend just asked me how I plan to talk to my students about Charlottesville on the first day of school. The country is on fire. White supremacy has taken over the White House. People are dying in the streets. What am I going to say? I do have a plan about what I’m going to say to the students in my English classes on Wednesday about the political turmoil in this country. It’s the same plan I had at the end of the summer of 2016 in light of the murder of Philando Castile and the police officers…

What Color Is Your Tiki Torch?

My dear White brothers and sisters who are expressing surprise at the expression of tiki-torch carrying White Supremacy, violence, and domestic terrorism in Virginia today, I would like a word. Yes, I’m talking to you who just said, “I can’t believe this is 2017.” If we are the type to be offended by racism, of course we are outraged by today’s news. Of course we want to distance ourselves from those uncanny, waxen-faced weirdos waving Confederate flags and making Heil salutes over the flames of their tiki torches. Distancing ourselves is not enough. In fact, I argue that we take…