Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Have you ever seriously considered suicide?
Not in a I'm gonna kill myself if such and such happens or doesn't happen, but in a real concrete way.
Have you just not wanted to exist anymore, just to disappear as if you never existed at all.
Have you gone to bed hoping against hope that you would NOT wake up in the morning?
Have you awakened and felt the soul crushing disappointment of still being alive?
Of having to face another day in the torture and hell which has become your life?
Have you weighed the pros and the cons and found that the the cons far out weighed the pros?
Have you struggled sobbing as your soul fractured to pieces with how much easier everyone's life would be without you?
Have you ever hidden your feelings behind a smile pasted on-shaky-but one no one thinks to question?
Have you thought about how you would do it?
Who would find you?
How you could make even that easier on those who life you disappear from?
In the middle of the night when you can not bear to face another day-the mere thought of it more than you can stand-have you held the pills in your hand?
All of those the pills that were supposed to make you better-strangely calm and rational now that you had made a decision?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dating Derf......
Yes, it is true, I never use real names on here, but in this case, I could not resist-the blog is blocked to the public anyway.
I met a guy named Derf on POF. We had a lot of common interests in tv shows, movies, etc. I enjoyed chatting with him, texting him and even talking on the phone. So we meet in person-what can I say-he looks exactly like you would expect a Derf to look. He wore ill fitting sloppy clothes, he had coke bottle glasses that were-Sally Jessy Raphael red-yes a man in red glasses. He was not very attractive, but he really could have done A LOT to maximize his potential-he clearly did not care. I do not think I have ever met anyone on a first meeting who clearly did not care at all about what they wore or the image they presented. He was nice and normally I really do not care about that kind of stuff-but it was really bad. He liked me alot but I really was not attracted to him. I gave it 3 dates to see if it would develop-because we had so many common interests-but alas no.
We are friends on facebook and he posts these like public notes about the knowledge he has gained dating. The funny part he makes himself out to be this cool guy who has learned so much from dating. The truth is his posts come across as bitter and angry-he mostly refers to woman wanting him as a friend so they have something to do if the person they want to date does not call them, or using him for money or whatever. Clearly he has had a bad experience-haven't we all?-but he portrays woman as users and to be honest I found it quite offensive. I told him so during our 3 short dates, but shortly after we stopped dating he posts this public service announcement about datinga nd nice guys finishing last. I really thought he might appreciate an honest reason he arrived in the dreaded friend zone-but alas it was not to be.
This is his post:
Being the sappy Mr. Nice guy is the wrong path..heh...
Mating Rituals III - For The Guys
So, love is a game. What's new?

And please, please don't give me that "It's not a game! You just have to be yourself" bullshit. Because there are plenty of nice guys at home alone right now because they don't know how to play the game. It's sad, really.
***The same is true for nice girls and in his case he is not sitting at home because he is so nice. The reasons he is at home is in my post to him to follow this.

I have learned the game. The hard way. Trial by fire and what not. And hoo-boy, was there a lot of fire. But I'm afraid that my past experiences, coupled with my thorough understanding of the system...have lead me to despite it to its very core. Really. I think its silly and stupid. This attitude will keep me single, but I can't seem to care.
***Background-this is a 32 yr old highly educated (2 masters degrees in math and computer science), who teaches and my personal fave-lives at home with his mother, his cell phone is even in her name-loser!

However, instead of let all this wonderful knowledge go to waste, I have decided to pass it on. Because I know what a lot of you guys are going through. And I'd like to save you from it, if I can. It's hell, that I wish upon no man. Plus, it would be a shame to let all this stuff just go to waste. So now, I present to you, lonely guys across the world, a simple look into the intracies of the dating game.
***Now, admittedly he can not manage to keep a woman but his knowledge is going to help who?

Think of it as a spectrum...

"Nice Guy"|----------------------------------|Middle Ground|----------------------------------|"Jerk"

The ends of the spectrum are the extreme. On one end, you have the nice guy. Sweet, charming, loveable...but highly dependent, lacks self-confidence, highly insecure, etc. Basically, whipped. On the other end, you have the jerk...rude, selfish, outspoken, but also confident, secure, and very independent. It is those last three qualities (confidence, self-security, independence) that women are most attracted to.
***Says a single man. I would never think of nice guys as "highly dependent, lacking self-confidence & highly insecure"-clearly he is speaking of himself. It has been my experience that the rude, selfish jerk is usually just as insecure if not more so.

It's important to note how women react to the spectrum. Women are emotionally attracted to the nice guys. These are the guys who they'll come to for emotional support - they'll be open and honest with them, and even expose their secrets and what not. But women are physically attracted to the other end - the extreme right, the jerk end. It's not that they like jerks specifically, just the qualities they possess by nature (strength, security, independence...).
***Really? Because he has been a woman for how long? What physical characteristics do jerks have that women would be attracted to? Jerks, like everyone else come in all shapes, sizes, colors and levels of attractiveness.

So what do women want? Ideally, they want a guy who falls in the middle ground - is nice, sweet, caring, but also is confident, independent, etc. When women say "Nice guys are hard to find", they are talking about the middle ground guys, who admittedly are a bit rarer than your average nice guy/jerk.
***Again, his vast knowledge of women gained how? If he knew what women wanted he would give it to them not be a lonely dependent, emotionally immature lonely guy.

Oftentimes, if they can't find that middle ground guy, they'll work on averages...get their physical needs from the extreme right, their emotional from the extreme left, and that will give her a middle ground of sorts. Or, women will start from the extreme right, the jerk end, and then try to bring the guy down to middle ground by "changing" him. They start on that end because that is what is attractive to them.
***This is what pissed me off. So basically women are whores-what an asshole!

How do I get to middle ground?

Middle ground all depends on you. If you're one of those guys who is chronically lonely, and you think having a girlfriend will make you happy, guess what? You're an "extreme left" nice guy. You are emotional support only. The funny thing about this system is that if you truly and honestly don't care about having a girlfriend, then you will be in a good position to get one. Its like a catch-22. You have to be happy with yourself above all else - you absolutely positively cannot rely or depend on someone else to bring you happiness. Once you have the self-security, the confidence will follow, and you will be the type of person you need to be, relationship be damned.
***I can feel his frustration in this paragraph. Clearly he is not where he wants to be emotionally. However, I think you can be completely self-reliant without the not giving a shit about a relationship. It is important to be know yourself and be comfortable with and by yourself, but it is equally important to realize what you have to offer to a relationship and what you can get out of it. Not giving a damn is not a good place to start.

You just need to realize that the only person that can truly make you happy...is you.
***Not quite the case-the only place you can find true happiness is within yourself. If you can not find it within you will never find it without.

Personally, I have faith in nobody...people are unreliable and overrated.
***Bitter much?
That probably puts me closer to the extreme right. But, a lot more women notice me now than when I was extreme left.
***Notice how?

I don't even need or want them!
***LOL, you wish!
Back to the catch-22.

I think I'm a middle ground kind of guy. But I still fall in the Friend Zone™. Why?
***Clearly this is the real reason for this post, what is really bothering him and making him bitter and angry.

If you are middle ground, but you exhibit too many nice guy qualities, you will send nice guy signals to her, and she'll nudge you over to the extreme left. So, you'd be there emotionally, but never physically. Friend Zone. Basically, if you are in the middle ground, you need to showcase more jerk signals than nice guy signals. Is there too much of an extreme right? I honestly don't know. I flat out told one girl that I hated relationships and all women were evil, and that made her want me more. Go fig.
***I find this HIGHLY unlikely and suspect, because what would be the point of meeting someone online to date them and telling them that all women are evil and you hate relationships?

But, if you're wondering what some of those signals are that will push you more to the extreme left than to the right, here are...

Common Mistakes Guys Make in Pursuit of Girls
***Unfortunately these are not the mistakes he is making.

You say: "I'd like to be involved in a serious relationship right now/I'm looking for that special someone."
You think: You are communicating your maturity and your readiness for a relationship. You are telling her that you are prime for the taking.
She thinks: You are dependent and insecure. You need a girlfriend in order to be happy. She will be the sun to your universe - if she doesn't have time for you, or just doesn't want to see you on a particular occasion, it'll crush your world. And no one wants to have that kind of person around them.
What you should do: Don't say you want to be in a relationship. The attitude you should carry is "If it happens, fine. If it doesn't, fine. I don't care either way." This shows her that you are independent and secure with yourself. This is attractive to her.

You say: "I'm really lonely right now/women just don't find me attractive for some reason."
You think: You can get some sympathy from her, and that's a warm feeling, right? Plus, you're showing her that being an "undiscovered jewel" so to speak, she won't have any competition in nabbing you for herself.
She thinks: If other women don't like you, why should she? Plus, sympathy is a nice emotion...but the root of sympathy is pathetic, and pathetic is not attractive. Pathetic gets you in the FZ in no time flat.
What you should do: You should lead a healthy social life. Or at least, appear to. By all means, do NOT talk about your exploits with other women around her. That's a big no-no. But you should have other friends that you do things with. If she's going to be all you've got, again, that's waaaaay too much burden for her to bear.
***In the time we talked he never mentioned a friend, not a single one. He did show me pictures of his family, his school, his class room, the path he liked to walk on, but not a single friend. All he ever talked about doing were working, going to the movies or out to eat with his mom and playing video games-it was almost like he was a teenager.

She says: "I don't think I'm as pretty as other girls/I look terrible today/I'm not that attractive" or some other such statement designed to fish for a compliment.
You say: "What? You are very pretty/you always look good/you are very attractive" ...basically, giving her the compliment she was fishing for.
You think: You're making her feel good, and communicating your interest by showing how highly you think of her.
She thinks: How nice. What a good friend. See the problem? Now she knows that she has your approval, and doesn't have to work for it. Plus, anytime she doubts herself she can come to you for instant support.
What you should do: You can compliment her...but only when its warranted. If you go out to a fancy restaurant and she's dressed up, tell her how beautiful she looks. Once. Don't overdo it - if you run into her, and she's wearing a sweater and her pajama bottoms, don't tell her how beautiful she looks. Again, you're not here for emotional support. Not yet. Emotional support leads straight to the FZ.
***How ironic that he would feel like judging how someone dressed given his clothing choices.

"I Just Want to Make Her Happy" - Weak Wallet Syndrome - You constantly buy her things...from lunch/movie, dinner, maybe she sees a stuffed animal she thinks is cute, and you bust out your wallet and buy it.
You think: You are making her happy, and showing what a stand-up guy you are.
She thinks: You are so insecure, you have to buy people's approval. Which, if you think about it, is kind of true.
What you should do: Keep your wallet in check. You can do that kind of thing maybe once in a while, but make it rare. You shouldn't give off the vibe that you have to buy her approval...she should like you for who you are, $$ is irrevalent. If she sees something she likes, don't buy it on the spot for her. Come back later, buy it, and give it to her after some time has passed. She will be impressed by your thoughtfulness, and even more impressed that you remembered. If you buy it on the spot, not only does it not have that great effect, but it might put you in the FZ/just weird her out.
***He mentions money in a lot of his posts, I suspect he has tried to buy love and it has not worked out for him and made him bitter. Contrary to popular belief woman have jobs and earn a living. Here I am a single mom with no child support-I own a house and he lives at home with his mom-but woman are after him for his money-sigh.

"I Just Want to Make Her Happy" 2 - Sucker Syndrome - You are doing her favors. Especially ones where you have to go out of your way. You help her study for a class you're not even taking. You give her a ride, when it's in the opposite direction. You help her set up her computer, which takes hours out of your day. ...You get the idea.
You think: You're showing your committment to her through all these nice things. And again, what a nice guy you are.
She thinks: Just like buying her stuff, except now with time and effort instead of money.
What you should do: Again, you shouldn't be trying to buy her approval. She should like you for your own merits, not what you do for her. You can do her a favor occasionally, but make sure it's on a "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" basis - you expect her to return the favor at some point. For example, you buy her lunch one day, and make sure to mention that now she owes you lunch at some point in the future. And hell, collect that free lunch. You get the idea. Again, this shows your independence and confidence in yourself. If she were to become interested in you, it would be an equal relationship, not just you always trying to please her. Being pampered might be fun as a novelty for a while, but no woman wants that - she wants a partner, not a worshipper.
***I feel for him here, I have been in an unequal relationship before and it is it's own special pain. What he fails to realize is EVERYONE no matter how pretty, rich, cool, studly, jerk, etc-we have ALL been in relationships where we loved someone who did not love and value us back.

Over-committment to Her...ie Flake Syndrome - She asks what you're doing tonight. You tell her that you have plans with some of your other friends. Disappointed, she tells you she asked because she was hoping you two could do something. You offer to break your plans with your friends so you can go out with her.
You think: You get an opportunity to spend some time with her, and that's not bad, right? Plus, you're showing her how important she is to you.
She thinks: You're way too dependent. She wants her boyfriend to be a part of her life, not her life. You should be an addition, not a takeover. She wants to be able to go out with her friends without you if she wants, and to have time alone now and then. If you're breaking plans with your friends for her, then you'll expect the same from her, and she's not sure she wants to do that. Plus, if you can break your plans with your friends, how long until you're breaking your plans with her?
What you should do: Mirror her disappointment that you two couldn't go out tonight, but make plans for another night. Then and there. Something definite. Get a day at the very least - "What about next Saturday?" If she's interested in you, she will find a way to meet you in the middle.
***I think not losing sight of yourself, your needs and your wants is important.

Conversely, don't give too much preference to your friends. If she runs into you and your friends somewhere, don't be cold to her. Smile, be friendly, and tell her you'll call later. You don't want to drop your friends completely for her, so keep it brief and deal with her on your own time.
***Again, he is 32, not 23?

Deference of Choice - You two make plans. You ask her "Where do you want to go for dinner/what kind of movie do you want to see?" etc... She hits you with the female Old Reliable™, "I don't know." You then start trying to figure out what she wants, by giving her options, trying to get her to pick something.
You think: You are being sensitive to her needs by giving her preference, trying to determine what she wants.
She thinks: You are indecisive and slow to action. Not attractive.
What you should do: Offer her a choice initially, sure. After she hits you with "I don't know" (I reeeeeeeeally hate that, BTW), already have something in mind. Pick it. "Well then, I've always wanted to try so-and-so/I really like this, lets...." Make a decision. If she doesn't like it, she'll let you know. If she doesn't, then that's her fault for not saying anything. But either way, she'll admire your decisiveness. If you are asking her out, try to have several choices already in mind...if you ask her to dinner, have at least 3-4 restaurants ready to go...recommend the first, and if she objects, keep going until you get to one she doesn't have a problem with.
***Actualy, I thought he was pushy. Finally, I just gave in since he was such a huge pain in the ass. I did not want to see a movie and he kept pushing, we saw the damn movie and he talked through the whole thing.

Too Much Too Fast - You really like this girl. You can't stop thinking about her...and you just met her yesterday! You call everyday, or every other day. You call her immediately after dates. You want to see her as often as possible. You're already gushing about how great she is. And so on...
You think: You're showing her how much you like her, thus opening the gates for a potential relationship.
She thinks: Back off partner. You're getting Kathy Bates "Misery" weird. She doesn't want you to consume her life. Plus, you're very dependent, and she will be the pillar of support you depend on. Nobody wants to carry around that weight.
What you should do: Remember that as a potential future boyfriend, you would supplement her life, not take it over. Start small. Especially initially, you should always let a few days pass before making contact again. If you go out on a date on a Saturday, call her again on Monday or Tuesday (personally, I'd go Tuesday). Don't be so thrilled about her - you two barely know each other! Show her that you're interested, but you still need to know more about her before you get head over heels. Coming around too much can really ruin things...I saw this one guy completely destroy his chances with this girl because he text messaged her every day, sometimes 2-3 times a day. She was really interested too, but after that it was just too much and she hit him with "let's just be friends." Poor **stard.
***Sadly this is me he is talking about. I am sorry his feelings were hurt, but it is not for the reasons he thinks. He SO did not wait to ask me out again, before our first date was over he was already trying to make plans for the next one and texting me none stop!

"Issues" - You're getting comfortable with this girl. You like her a lot. Subsequently, you decide to open up with her. Start sharing about your thoughts and feelings. Tell her about all the things that's going on in your life. And she does the same, trusting you with "secrets" and always saying how comfortable she is around you.
You think: You two are growing closer...so the relationship must be around the corner.
She thinks: "Yay! Emotional support! A friend! Now I need to go find some jerk to ****."
***Again all woman are whores, sigh.

What you should do: Do NOT let the issues start to come out while dating. Keep your blasted mouth shut, even if she starts to pry. If she starts talking about her own, head that shit off at the pass. Issues are for much later, when the relationship has been established and solidified. If you let the issues come out now, yeah, you'll grow closer, but in that whole emotional support context. She will not be attracted to you. You will own the Friend Zone. Dates are simply for having fun and getting to know each other better.

Following the super nice guy path too early will get you Lion-ized (0 for foreva). Remember that....

Ok so after much thought I decide to tel him the real reason he fals into the friend zone-because really it is not for ANY of the reasons he thinks. He had told me he thinks every experience is meant to be and important to learn from. I will also admit that his post pissed me off, but I did try to phrase it as kindly as possible.
Here is what I wrote to him-privately not posting on his page for others to see:

The Dreaded FZ-Comments and Suggestions

First, I really liked you as a friend we had a lot in common. However, I have to admit that I found your public service announcement on dating tired and somewhat offensive.

I thought about ignoring it because as a fellow modern-dating-human I know where it comes from, but I thought I would do you a solid and let you know why you fall into the FZ-'cause it is NOT for the reasons you think.
I will use our dating as an example:
First off, there is never a second chance to make a first impression-tired but true. I am no slave to fashion and I can wash up, put on my make up, do my hair, get dressed and be ready to hit the door for a date in 30 minutes or less-so I am not suggesting that you take a day to prepare. However, you looked sloppy on our first date-not dirty, not unkempt-but like you had just grabbed whatever was closest and wore it. That sends me the signal that you see me as a friend and not a date because you did not take time and care with your appearance. Again, I am not suggesting you hire a personal trainer and stylist, get your teeth capped or even get contacts-there is not a thing wrong with how you look. I like the way you look in fact-I just wish that you took care with your appearance. You put the energy into the date-you just put it into the wrong place-another example-when we went to Mongolian BBQ-you drove out there in advance to check it out, made reservations, etc. So I know you were serious about the date-but again, you were dressed like you were going to shovel snow or do yard work, not go out to a restaurant on a date. You need to put some of that care into your appearance. Physical appearance is important when you date. You want to put your best foot forward. You are in need of a make-over which I think would give you more confidence dating and also send the signal to the person you are dating that you are interested in them.
Second, listen to the person you are dating and give them what they say they want or what you know they have an interest in, not what you have an interest in. Case in point, for our first date you asked me if I wanted you to bring anything-I said flowers. You said you were not a flowers kind of guy-which I appreciate knowing so I do not buy you any-but remember you asked me what I wanted. Instead you made me a CD of music from video games that you like to play. Why would I want a CD of video game soundtracks? I made it clear to you that I did not like or play video games. If I wanted to give you something, I would look at what I know you like-Comics and Graphic Novels. If I had handled it like you handled what you gave me on our first date I would have bought you a book I like to read but that I really have no reason to believe that you would have any interest in. These are all indicators that you are not interested in wooing me, I do not think it is intentional on your part but this is the signal that you are sending. If you notice when you asked for a pic of me for your phone I sent one you said you liked. I know this because you have expressed it and I LISTEN to you. When you told me you liked Hawaiian Punch I made sure some was at my house for the next time you visited.
Finally the stuff about a woman dating one man for emotional and another for sexual needs is offensive. Let me be up front in case you do not know-woman enjoy, desire and need sex every bit as much as a man does. However, often woman are shy or embarrassed by their sexual needs. In some cases if a woman really likes or loves a man she may not want to hurt his feelings by letting him know he does not meet her needs sexually. Men are usually able to be more upfront about what they want and need but do seem to suffer from performance anxiety-poor chaps. I tell all my male friends, co-workers, cousins, etc-if your woman does not want to have sex with you it is usually 1 of 2 things-she wants something you are not giving her (usually a monogamous relationship or marriage) which leads her to punish you via sex OR you are not satisfying her in bed. Contrary to what you may believe men that are selfish jerks usually are not good in bed-after all why would a selfish jerk care about whether or not a woman enjoys herself in bed? and they would never believe it if a woman told them they sucked in bed. In my experience the best sex I have had is with men who listen to me and are in tune with my needs, desires and wants-that goes both ways. I am totally comfortable with my sexuality and my sexual needs, comfortable enough to tell a man he is not meeting mine and end the relationship if I do not believe he is capable of improving. If you have had an issue with this I highly suggest you purchase and read The Guide To Getting It On by the Goofy Foot Press-it is the sex bible:) I have a copy by my bed!
I hope I have not been harsh been but I felt you were worthy of the true reason you probably have some of the issues you have dating.
Needless to say he did not find my truths helpful-guess he is not realy looking to grow like he thinks he is, he is just looking to bitch and moan for pity.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust,

I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air,

I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.
I still can not believe it even though I have checked every channel!!!!
Barack Hussein Obama will be the 44th president of the United States of America. I makes me proud to be an American-for the first time in almost 8 years I have not wanted to be Canadian.
I honestly never thought in my lifetime I would see an African-American run for president at the head of one of the 2 major parties.
I figured Hilary would run-win the bid for the Democratic party and win president. Last summer I started kind of hearing about him, but he did not have alot of support. Then at work-during all of the back biting between he and Hilary I went to CNN and checked out what they had to say about the candidates. There I found his speech on the American Dream. It blew my mind, after reading that speech I wanted to support him and for him to win so badly I could taste.

BETTENDORF, Iowa (CNN) -- It's wonderful to be here today. I feel right at home in Bettendorf, which is just a stone's throw from my home state of Illinois. But the truth is, we share more than the banks of a great river.

If you spend time in Washington, you hear a lot about the divisions in our country. About how we're becoming more separated by geography and ideology; race and religion; wealth and opportunity. And we've had plenty of politicians who try to take advantage of these divisions - pitting Americans against one another, or targeting different messages to different audiences.

But as I've traveled around Iowa and the rest of the country these last nine months, I haven't been struck by our differences - I've been impressed by the values and hopes that we share. In big cities and small towns; among men and women; young and old; black, white, and brown - Americans share a faith in simple dreams. A job with wages that can support a family. Health care that we can count on and afford. A retirement that is dignified and secure. Education and opportunity for our kids. Common hopes. American dreams.

These are dreams that drove my grandparents. After my grandfather served in World War II, the GI Bill gave him a chance to go to college, and the government gave them a chance to buy a home. They moved West, worked hard at different jobs, and were able to provide my mother with a decent education, to help raise me, and to save enough to retire.

These are dreams that drove my father-in-law. A city worker in Chicago, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 30. But every day, even when he had to leave an hour earlier in the morning and rely on a walker to get him there, he went to work while his wife stayed home with the kids. And on that single salary, he provided for his family and sent my wife Michelle and her brother to college. His dream was to see them do better. And they have.

These are dreams that drove my mother. A single mom - even while relying on food stamps as she finished her education, she followed her passion for helping others, and raised my sister and me to believe that in America there are no barriers to success - no matter what color you are, no matter where you're from, no matter how much money you have.

And these are the dreams that led me to Chicago over two decades ago to become a community organizer. The salary - $12,000 a year - wasn't what my friends would make in the corporate world or at law firms. I didn't know a single person in Chicago. But I knew there were folks who needed help. The steel plant had closed. Jobs were disappearing. In a forgotten corner of America, the American dream was slipping away. And I knew dreams are worth fighting for.

What is unique about America is that we want these dreams for more than ourselves - we want them for each other. That's why we call it the American dream. We want it for the kid who doesn't go to college because she cannot afford it; for the worker whose wondering if his wages will pay this winter's heating bill; for 47 million Americans living without health care; for the millions more who worry if they have enough to retire with the dignity they have earned.

When our fellow Americans are denied the American dream, our own dreams are diminished. And today, the cost of that dream is rising faster than ever before. While some have prospered beyond imagination in this global economy, middle-class Americans - as well as those working hard to become middle class - are seeing the American dream slip further and further away.

You know it from your own lives. Americans are working harder for less and paying more for health care and college. For most folks, one income isn't enough to raise a family and send your kids to college. Sometimes, two incomes aren't enough. It's harder to save. It's harder to retire. You're doing your part, you're meeting your responsibilities, but it always seems like you're treading water or falling behind. And as I see this every day on the campaign trail, I'm reminded of how unlikely it is that the dreams of my family could be realized today

I don't accept this future. We need to reclaim the American dream. And that starts with reclaiming the White House from George Bush and Dick Cheney. We're tired of tax cuts for the wealthy that shift the burden onto the backs of working people. We're tired of waiting ten years for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay is soaring. We're tired of more Americans going without health care, of more Americans falling into poverty, of more American kids who have the brains and the drive to go to college - but can't - because they can't afford it. We're ready for the Bush Administration to end, because we are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

But this is about more than George Bush. He's just the beginning of the change that we need. These problems didn't start when he came to office and they won't end just because he's leaving. We're not going to reclaim that dream unless we put an end to the politics of polarization and division that is holding this country back; unless we stand up to the corporate lobbyists that have stood in the way of progress; unless we have leadership that doesn't just tell people what they want to hear - but tells everyone what they need to know. That's the change we need.

I believe that Americans want to come together again behind a common purpose. Americans want to reclaim our American dream. That's why I'm running for President of the United States. It's the same reason I packed up my car and moved to Chicago. Because in this country, that dream is worth fighting for - not just for ourselves, but for each other. And that's why I don't think you should settle for a President who's only there for you when it's easy or convenient or popular - I think you deserve a President who you can trust will fight for your dreams every hour of every day for the next four years. That's the change we need.

This starts with an economy that works for working people. Americans don't expect government to solve all our problems. But you're tired of a government that works for special interests, and not for you. It's time that we had leadership that worried as much about Main Street as it does about Wall Street. That's why I'm introducing an American Dream agenda - to put some wind at the backs of working people, to lower the cost of getting ahead, and to protect and extend opportunity for the middle class.

We need to give working families a break. For twenty-five years, we've seen gaps in wealth grow larger, while our tax code that favors wealth over work. That's why I've proposed an income tax cut to offset the payroll tax that working Americans are already paying. This will be worth up to $1000 for a working family. I'll make retirement more secure for America's seniors by eliminating income taxes for any retiree making less than $50,000 per year. And I won't wait ten years to raise the minimum wage - I'll guarantee that it goes up every single year. That's the change that working Americans need.

We know that the cost of the American dream must never come at the expense of the American family. You're working longer hours. More families have two parents working. Meanwhile, it's hard to get a hand. It's even harder to get a break. That's why I'll double spending on quality after-school programs - so that you can know your kids are safe and secure. And that's why I'll expand the Family Medical Leave Act to include more businesses and millions more workers; to let parents participate in school activities with their kids; and to cover elderly care. And we'll finally put federal support behind state efforts to provide paid Family and Medical Leave.

We also need to change a system that is stacked against women. Forty percent of working women do not have a single paid sick day. More and more women are denied jobs or promotions because they've got kids at home. As the son of a single mother, that is not the America that I believe in. I'll be a President who stands up for working parents. We'll require employers to provide seven paid sick days each year. We'll enforce laws that prohibit caregiver discrimination. And we'll encourage flexible work schedules to better balance work and parenting for mothers and fathers. That's the change that working families need.

We also need a housing market that is honest, open and accountable. I've introduced a bill in the Senate that cracks down on mortgage fraud. As President, I'll get tough on enforcement and raise penalties on lenders who have broken the rules. For homeowners facing foreclosure through no fault of their own, we'll create a fund and reform bankruptcy laws to give them a shot at avoiding foreclosure. We'll mandate that prospective homebuyers have access to accurate and complete information about their mortgage options. And we'll give middle class homeowners added relief by providing a tax credit that covers 10 percent of a family's mortgage interest payment each year. That's the change that America's homeowners need.

Since many people who hold subprime mortgages are shifting their debt to credit cards, we have to make sure that they understand their commitments - otherwise credit cards could be the next stage in the subprime crisis. To make sure that Americans know what they're signing up for, I'll institute a five-star rating system to inform consumers about the level of risk involved in every credit card. And we'll establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights that will ban unilateral changes to a credit card agreement; ban rate changes to debt that's already incurred; and ban interest on late fees. Americans need to pay what they owe, but they should pay what's fair.

This same principle of fairness is needed in our bankruptcy laws. For far too long, the same politicians in Washington who have been cutting back the safety net for working people have been protecting golden parachutes for the well-off - so workers lose their pensions and their health care, while CEOs get multi-million dollar payoffs.

I fought against a bankruptcy reform bill in the Senate that did more to protect credit card companies and banks than to help working people. I'll continue the fight for good bankruptcy laws as President. No more bonuses for executives while pensions disappear. We'll press firms to put more money into their pension funds, and require firms to disclose their pension fund investments. And we'll increase the amount of wages and benefits that workers can claim in bankruptcy court. That's the change we need in our bankruptcy laws.

And if you can demonstrate that you went bankrupt because of medical expenses, then there must be a process that relieves that debt and lets you get back on your feet. I don't accept an America where we let someone go over a cliff just because they get sick. That is not who we are.

Every four years politicians come before you to talk about health care. You hear the same promises. And then you see the same results. Well it's time to end the outrage of 47 million uninsured Americans. It's time to finally do something about it. I reformed health care in Illinois, and I didn't do it alone - I did it by reaching out to Democrats and Republicans. We took on the insurance industry, and we won. That's how I'll pass a universal health care bill that cuts a typical family's premiums by up to $2500. And mark my words - I will sign this bill by the end of my first term as President. That's the change that America is waiting for.

And health care isn't the only cost that we're not keeping up with. Americans who work hard their entire lives have earned a secure retirement. But right now, we've got 75 million working people in this country who don't have employer-based retirement plans. Personal saving is at an all-time low. A part of the American dream is at risk.

That's why I'll establish an automatic workplace pension policy. Employers will be required to enroll workers in a direct deposit retirement account that places a small percentage of each paycheck into the account. Then you'll have the choice of opting out, matching, or adding to this account. When you change jobs, your savings will roll over into your new employer's system, or into a system that you control if you leave the workplace or become self-employed. And the federal government will match savings for working families. This will dramatically increase the number of Americans who save for retirement, and lift up the amount of savings in this country. That's the change we need to help Americans achieve the retirement they are working for.

But we need to do more than put the American dream on a firmer foundation. Every American has the right to pursue their dreams. But we also have the responsibility to make sure that our children can reach a little further and rise a little higher than we did. When I am President, we will stop passing bills called No Child Left Behind that leave the money behind, and start making real investments in education. That means early childhood education. That means recruiting an army of new teachers, and paying them better, and supporting them more so they're not just teaching to test, but teaching to teach.

It also means putting a college education within reach of every American. That's the best investment we can make in our future. I'll create a new and fully refundable tax credit worth $4,000 for tuition and fees every year, which will cover two-thirds of the tuition at the average public college or university. I'll also simplify the financial aid application process so that we don't have a million students who aren't applying for aid because it's too difficult. I will start by eliminating the current student aid form altogether - we'll use tax data instead.

And I'll tap the tremendous resource of community colleges, which educate half the undergraduates in this country, by creating a new Community College Partnership Program. We'll help schools determine what skills and technical education are needed to help local industry; we'll expand new degrees for emerging fields; and we'll reward schools that graduate more students. That's the change we need so that our young people can achieve their dreams.

This is what we must do to reclaim the American dream. We know it won't be easy. We'll hear from the can't-do, won't-do, won't-even-try crowd in Washington; the special interests and their lobbyists; the conventional thinking that says this country is just too divided to make progress.

Well I'm not running for President to conform to this conventional thinking - I'm running to challenge it. There is too much at stake. Too much at stake for the family that can't get ahead; the elderly worker who faces a retirement filled with worry; the kid who doesn't believe America has a place for her dreams. To stand up for these Americans, I don't want to settle for anything less than real change, fundamental change - change we need - change that we can believe in.

It's change that I've been fighting for since I moved out to Chicago over two decades ago. Because those dreams - American dreams - are worth fighting for. And because I wouldn't be standing on this stage today if it weren't for the dreams of those who came before me.

The dreams of my grandfather - who marched in Patton's Army and moved his family west in search of opportunity.

The dreams of my grandmother - who was up at dawn and worked twice as hard at her job because a woman had to work harder to get ahead.

The dreams of my father who crossed an ocean because America offered that light to the world.

The dreams of my mother - a single mom who understood that a life rich in family and experience was more important than a life of riches.

The dreams of those men and women on the South Side of Chicago, who fought with me to create a future for their community after the steel plant was shuttered.

There has been a lot of talk in this campaign about the politics of hope. But the politics of hope doesn't mean hoping that things come easy. It's a politics of believing in things unseen; of believing in what this country might be; and of standing up for that belief and fighting for it when it's hard.

America is the sum of our dreams. And what binds us together, what makes us one American family, is that we stand up and fight for each other's dreams, that we reaffirm that fundamental belief - I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper - through our politics, our policies, and in our daily lives. It's time to do that once more. It's time to reclaim the American dream.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

I made it back to the Temple last week for a sunday sitting/dharma talk-which I have not done in over 2 years. Odd, isn't it-when I lived in RH it took me almost 45 mins to make it on sundays and I almost always went the 1 or 2 sundays I was off a month. Just over 2 years ago- I moved less than 10 mins from the Temple and was in a position to have 3 or more sundays off a month and I have only gone for full moon chanting-and that few times at best. I am not sure what has drawn me to the temple now.
I have been off work almost as much as I have been at work this year and could have attended every event and used what was there to aid my healing-but I never did. Does that mean I had given up on what Buddhism offered me? Was I becoming jaded-as I so often do with religion. Being man made religion has so many many holes-so many restrictions-that no matter how beautiful I find the way I view humanity from the comforts of a given religion-in the end the paradoxes and hypocrisy always gets to me. As I have gotten older-really since before Ameena was 4 or 5, I have mostly looked to non-traditional, non-book religions-which has helped the Honeymoon period with a particular faith or practice to last longer, but none the less I soon find holes in whatever pagan theory I am studying and before I know it I am jumping sects and changing my mind. Years ago I would keep a journal of how I felt when I discovered a new practice/way to exist-how it touched my soul, how I viewed my life and all humanity through it, how it had changed and developed me. I would later look back at how I felt during my first few months of 'dating' a new religion or practice, after had I seen all of the puppet strings and was tired of the show-ready to jump to something else-similar yet different enough to satisfy my now logical view of this practice. I could always still see how I was changed by having believed and practiced-even for a short while-but it made no difference as to me having outgrown that particular practice or belief. It was time to move on. You know Sagittarius are supposed to be unreliable and irresponsible-free spirits untouched by the responsible aspects of life. I have always thought I never fit that description (well except for the sexual part-and even there I lack the partners you would expect a Sag to have had) I am so serious and was born responsible-in fact the first person I can remember feeling responsible for is my mother:) Yet, in the religion and spirituality category I am a true Sag-I fall in love quickly and completely with a new faith or practice or belief and just as quickly I outgrow and am done with it. People are so serious about religion-hell most wars are fought with that as a base-yet I have never understood how any person can not outgrow at least one religion. For me it would be like still liking the same foods as an adult that I liked at 5-when I smothered everything in ketchup (which I can barely tolerate now). It seems like stunted emotional growth-especially in people who believe so strongly and live so little of what they believe. How do they avoid hating themselves? The contradiction fascinates me....but I digress:)
Buddhism was the first 'main-stream' type rellgion I have been interested in oh 6 or more years. That's not completely true, I think in a sense I have always been interested in Buddhism, I just never studied it. After all, I grew up reading Pearl Buck books, I can not remember time I did not love and long for the China that existed in her novels. I studied Chinese for 4 years in high school and even visited China in 1990-so obviously I knew about Buddhism. I can vividly remember visisting a 'real' Buddhist Temple in the middle of winter in China-nothing I have seen in the states even compares:) Yet, in my mind I always saw myself as not good enough for Buddhism, my soul to dirty-not evolved enough. My soul was too young to be that kind, that compassionate, that wise. Underneath my cold and often difficult to really know or get close to exterior is a very much hot-blooded passionate woman. I do not just mean passionate sexually-though there is that aspect-I mean socially. I could never have followed Martin Luther King Jr who during the Civil Rights Movement turned the other cheek. I am more Malcolm X-I am not going to hurt you, but if you slap me you best expect I will slap you back bitch! My heart did not ache and hurt for injustice or inequality or atrocities-my blood boiled. I did not want an apology, I wanted heads to roll. Also my pagan studies have given me a different bent on human nature and existence. I do not believe in non-violence-even as a more or less Buddhist I do not. I do not believe in "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth"- and not just because I am not Christian and consider the bible to be Christian mythology and not fact-but becuase I can see that policy just leaves everyone "blind and toothless". Yet, I do believe that a certain level of violence is part of nature and therefore a part of human nature- anyone who has swam in lake Michigan will tell you it is the undertow that kills-no matter how beautiful the Lake appears. How violent is a storm-with branches left all over the street and power lines knocked down-and that is here where storms are mild. Violence is part of both nature and humanity and to pretend otherwise is rediculos. Now I eat meat-though I have gone through vegetarian phases. Whether I ate meat or not, I never felt that it was wrong to kill animals. Death is a part of life, I do not support the Death Penalty, but I support abortion. I view abortion as the death of that potential life-I think it is re-born, not gone forever, but I do believe it is a life. My views are varied and to explain them could encompass a novel longer than the unabridged version of The Stand-and that is not what this post is about. Violence has no place in Buddhism and I guess inside I always viewed Buddhists as highly evolved spiritual beings and I have always been too flesh and blood for that. I know most 'practicing' buddhist might not fit my definition, but I do not join or claim to practice and follow a religion unless I truly buy into what they are selling. Otherwise I would be a hypocrite-and as rude as this sounds I am going to post it anyway-if I was that shallow I would just be a Christian. Mean, I know, but then unless you have been hunted and hounded by a group of people who can not seem to agree on anything other than that you are going to hell and it is their personal responsibility to help you see the error of your ways, you can not understand how Christians, in this country at least, can make a pagans life hell here on earth. Or how hard it is for me to be nice and take them seriously when I behave in a more Christian manner than they do. Here I will give a few examples, since I am so bitter, the Christian teacher who told my 4th grader that she was going to hell because I did not take her to church or believe in Christ. My previous boss who was a co-leader with me but did not believe me over one of our employees because it was his duty as a Christian to believe another Christian over me-a pagan and heathen. Becuase I could see in the eyes of one of my favorite employees that he honestly believed I was evil, as he prayed over every meal he ate and considered himself to be a 'true' Christian though he had sex outside of marriage, cheated regularly and without shame or remorse on his girlfriend, fenced stolen items and was not above selling drugs. Yet, he honestly believed that I was the lost soul. The hate also gets to me-Jesus was such a sweet hippy dude how did a religion descended from his teachings end up with so many hating self-righteous idiots? But, again, I digress.... this is not a post about Christianity has destroyed the modern world, it is about Buddhism and how I was drawn to it.
Believe it or not, a book is what sent me studying Buddhism, a sci fi book no less. The book was Radiant, byt James Alan Garder (who is of course Canadian:). It was of a series of books he had done on humanity in the future-low on the totem pole and often quite funny. The main character-You Suu (which means Ugly-screaming stink girl)-was raised on a Buddhist planet. The book featured a form of future Buddhism which, of course, does not exist today, but fascinated me none the less. I began to really look into Buddhism. I started with His Holiness the Dalai Lama-who I liked anyway, though I quickly decided that Tibetan Buddism was not for me. The internet was an invaluable source of information. The deciding factor would be this post found on a website:
Why religion? Why Spiritualism? Why Buddhism?
This entire article is actually posted on this blog on a post I made Friday, January 20, 2006. So I will para-phrase here. What caught was his explanation of 'religion' and what we as humans seek in it:
Religions usually start when one person has a profound understanding of life (the universe and everything). They try and share their insight - they teach. Other people get interested in religion because they see something in that person's TRUTH; they too want to know about the truth.

So then, what is this 'some-thing' that we are to join with - or be afraid of? Most religions say that this 'thing' is God. But what is this God thing? And it goes on like this and on like this and on like this. The trouble with words is that they are limited - the word can never be the same as the thing it is describing.
You can listen to many different teachings but only through your own study can you actually realise THE TRUTH.

I could not have agreed more with that. What further drew me in was not that Buddhism was based on the premise that life was suffering and his path-the Buddhist path- was a way to end suffering, what drew me in was his example of how we created our OWN suffering and reveled as victims in it:
The suffering is not so much physical as mental. It is what we 'add on' to a situation. For example you have a nice china coffee mug -- you drop it and it breaks. Maybe it drops on your toe and there is pain. I'm sure you can survive this much. What is difficult to deal with are the add-ons . . . ''Oh, that was my favourite mug. My best friend gave me that; I will never get another. What stupid idiot left it balanced there anyhow? How can I tell my friend? And look at the stain on the carpet. My mother will kill me. It's not fair. Why do these things happen to me?''
It's difficult to accept the facts of life the way they are!
To be content with things just the way they happen is not easy.
So the dukkha, the suffering is something we actually create -- we make the problem. Mugs break, friends come & go, the weather changes -- all of this is natural.
We don't want things to go wrong we want them to go right. This is only natural. But the bad news is that it is natural for things to go wrong (sometimes). Most people can see this but it is very difficult to fully accept it. The good news is - it will change (eventually).
Because we do have some control in the world, and can often get what we want (and that is nice) we want that all the time. SORRY. No can do. Sure, you are careful with mugs; you try and look after your friends, but ... you've got to allow nature to do its thing.

Go with the flow.
If you can see when it is time to stop wanting and just leave things be your suffering will decrease. Like if you are trying to push start a car with a dead battery. You push -- and it nearly goes -- push -- and push again -- its worth making the effort. You want the engine to go. But maybe the nature of that engine means it won't start. Know when to stop. Take a break. Flag someone down. Call the repair man.

It may not seem like it, but this was a revelation for me. I could so see how it was not the event that caused suffering-though that is clearly not always the case-but what we add on to it. How we hold onto to an unwanted change that has occurred with both hands, struggling, cursing and sweating, trying with all our might to force that change to return to how it was before. How this in effect is how we choose to suffer rather than choose to except reality at it exists in that moment. The key word being choose. How often do I feel beat up by life, like the things that happen to me are out of my control-which is true-but I do not have to allow that to direct my path. I could learn another way to handle those things that are going to happen anyway-those un-fun and often life altering, aspects that are the bread and butter of this journey we call life. I wanted to know when to let go, take a break, call a repairman-and so my journey into Buddhism began.
I will not go over the details-for those too exist in previous posts-but I will say that at the dharma talk I attended this past week, I felt renewed. My teacher said that an easy explanation of Buddhism, the 10 Commandments-so to speak-of Buddhism would be:

Not to do any evil,
To cultivate good,
To purify one's mind,
For some reason this definition moved me, like an epiphany. It was nothing I had not heard or read before in studying Budhism but for me, it opened the reality of what I was seeking from Buddhism-not perfection but simply to not do evil, cultivate good and purify my mind.
I can do that!

So, I am seriously thinking of taking the Precepts this spring-commiting to Buddhism after many years of study-I am ready to not be perfect but instead to not do evil, cultivate good and purify my mind.....
~~Where ever you go, There you are!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


By Maya Angelou

You declare you see me dimly
through a glass which will not shine,
though I stand before you boldly,
trim in rank and making time.
You do own to hear me faintly
as a whisper out of range,
while my drums beat out the message
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

You announce my ways are wanton,
that I fly from man to man,
but if I'm just a shadow to you,
could you ever understand?
We have lived a painful history,
we know the shameful past,
but I keep on marching forward,
and you keep on coming last.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you've heard me crying,
and admit you've seen my tears.
Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb through my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Our Grandmothers
by Maya Angelou

She lay, skin down in the moist dirt,
the canebrake rustling
with the whispers of leaves, and
loud longing of hounds and
the ransack of hunters crackling the near

She muttered, lifting her head a nod toward
I shall not, I shall not be moved.

She gathered her babies,
their tears slick as oil on black faces,
their young eyes canvassing mornings of madness.
Momma, is Master going to sell you
from us tomorrow?

Unless you keep walking more
and talking less.
Unless the keeper of our lives
releases me from all commandments.
And your lives,
never mine to live,
will be executed upon the killing floor of
Unless you match my heart and words,
saying with me,

I shall not be moved.

In Virginia tobacco fields,
leaning into the curve
of Steinway
pianos, along Arkansas roads,
in the red hills of Georgia,
into the palms of her chained hands, she
cried against calamity,
You have tried to destroy me
and though I perish daily,

I shall not be moved.

Her universe, often
summarized into one black body
falling finally from the tree to her feet,
made her cry each time into a new voice.
All my past hastens to defeat,
and strangers claim the glory of my love,
Iniquity has bound me to his bed.

yet, I must not be moved.

She heard the names,
swirling ribbons in the wind of history:
nigger, nigger bitch, heifer,
mammy, property, creature, ape, baboon,
whore, hot tail, thing, it.
She said, But my description cannot
fit your tongue, for
I have a certain way of being in this world,

and I shall not, I shall not be moved.

No angel stretched protecting wings
above the heads of her children,
fluttering and urging the winds of reason
into the confusions of their lives.
The sprouted like young weeds,
but she could not shield their growth
from the grinding blades of ignorance, nor
shape them into symbolic topiaries.
She sent them away,
underground, overland, in coaches and

When you learn, teach.
When you get, give.
As for me,

I shall not be moved.

She stood in midocean, seeking dry land.
She searched God's face.
she placed her fire of service
on the altar, and though
clothed in the finery of faith,
when she appeared at the temple door,
no sign welcomed
Black Grandmother, Enter here.

Into the crashing sound,
into wickedness, she cried,
No one, no, nor no one million
ones dare deny me God, I go forth
along, and stand as ten thousand.

The Divine upon my right
impels me to pull forever
at the latch on Freedom's gate.

The Holy Spirit upon my left leads my
feet without ceasing into the camp of the
righteous and into the tents of the free.

These momma faces, lemon-yellow, plum-
honey-brown, have grimaced and twisted
down a pyramid for years.
She is Sheba the Sojourner,
Harriet and Zora,
Mary Bethune and Angela,
Annie to Zenobia.

She stands
before the abortion clinic,
confounded by the lack of choices.
In the Welfare line,
reduced to the pity of handouts.
Ordained in the pulpit, shielded
by the mysteries.
In the operating room,
husbanding life.
In the choir loft,
holding God in her throat.
On lonely street corners,
hawking her body.
In the classroom, loving the
children to understanding.

Centered on the world's stage,
she sings to her loves and beloveds,
to her foes and detractors:
However I am perceived and deceived,
however my ignorance and conceits,
lay aside your fears that I will be undone,

for I shall not be moved.

This is for the mothers........

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here."

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see.

And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year.

And then read it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers who put pinwheels and Teddy bears on their children's graves.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.

This is for all the step-mothers who raised another woman's child or children, and gave their time, attention, and love... sometimes totally unappreciated!

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway?

Is it patience?


Broad hips?

The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart?

Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home?

Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation...

And mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all.

For all of us.

Hang in there.

In the end we can only do the best we can.

Tell them every day that we love them.

And pray.

"Home is what catches you when you fall - and we all fall."
Stand Up and Fight With Me

I am a mother.

I am a daughter.

I am a sister.

I am a friend.

I am a great listener.

I am a terrible singer.

I am an animal lover.

I am an awful dancer.

I am a woman with a bright future and an interesting past.

I work.

I shop.

I pay taxes.

I drive.

I vote.

I respect my elders.

I love.

I am in love.

In a world of disposable spouses and conditional love I fight, everyday, for what I feel.

I fight fear.

I fight prejudice.

I fight injustice.

I fight hatred.

I fight ignorance.

I fight because I have to.

I will continue to fight.

I will fight for who I am and who I love.

A love worth fighting for is never wrong.

Your third wife may not believe that, but I do.

While you're trading up, I'm holding on.

I will not bow out gracefully.

I will not admit defeat.

I am the girl next door.

I am the woman behind the counter.

I am the woman on the street or in the elevator.

If we met, you might say "What a sweet young woman."

If I didn't tell you, you'd never know.

I am a lesbian.

I have a name and a face and a life.

I have hopes and dreams and plans.

I have a love you cannot even fathom.

You have taken away my rights by you will not damage my spirit.

You will see me.

You will know me.

You will learn from me.

You will respect my strength.

You will envy my commitment.

You will not think I am sweet again.

We're not done here, people. The worst thing we can do now is give up. Stay strong. Stand up and fight with me.

Butt Prints In The Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream,

One set of footprints there was seen,

The footprints of the Goddess they were,

But mine were not along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared,

And I asked Her, “What have we here?

These prints are large and round and neat,

But much too big to be from feet.”

“My child,” She said in somber tones,

“For miles I carried you alone.

I challenged you to walk in faith,

But you refused and made me wait.”

“You would not learn, you would not grow,

The walk of faith you would not know,

So I got challenged, I got fed up,

And there I dropped you on your butt.”

“Because in life, there comes a time,

When one must fight, and one must climb,

When one must rise and take a stand,

Or leave their butt prints in the sand.”

I asked the Goddess…..

I asked the Goddess for all things that I might enjoy life.
She said, “No.
I gave you life so you might enjoy all things.”

I asked the Goddess to give me happiness.
She said, “No.
I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.”

I asked the Goddess to grant me patience.
She said, “No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn’t granted, it is earned.”

I asked the Goddess to spare me suffering.
She said, “No
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.”

I asked the Goddess to take away my pain.
She said, “No.
It is not for Me to take away, but for you to give it up.”

I asked the Goddess to make my handicapped child whole.
She said, “ No.
Her spirit was always whole, her body was only temporary.”

I asked the Goddess to make my spirit grow.
She said, “No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.”

I asked the Goddess to help me LOVE others, as much as she loves me.
She said……..
Aaahhh, finally you have the idea.