Sunday, October 22, 2017

Elizabeth Smart, Deondra Brown, and MeToo

Okay, this is a more earnest post than I usually make, but it's been pressing on my mind in the wake of #metoo stories (though the following isn't the most articulate presentation of thoughts).
I went to the first Smart Talks presentation on Friday night in Provo, UT, with Elizabeth Smart, Deondra Brown, reporter Kim Johnson, child psychologist Dr. Keeshin, and RAD program leader Alyson Larsen. It was really eye opening and interesting.
One thing that stood out to me is that while one in four girls are likely to be sexually abused, one is six boys are also likely to be abused. I didn't know that the statistic was so high for boys. So I just want to say that I think there is increasing liberation in women speaking up, but there is still not very much room for men to share their #metoo stories, which is very troubling to me. This doesn't mean that for every person abused there was an abuser; rather, an abuser may very well have abused multiple people. As well, I think it is worth noting that the percentage becomes more disparate after adulthood is reached, and that men are less likely to be either harrassed or abused than woman are, but in terms of protecting children from abuse there isn't a chasm of difference in risk, and there are many men who have been abused as children.
Another thing that stood out to me was just how much support meant for both Elizabeth Smart and Deondra Brown. Elizabeth Smart was able to pour all of her emaciated energy into surviving because even though she thought no one else would love her if she ever escaped, she *knew* her family would love her. Heaven forbid anything like that happen to any child, but if any situation happens to a child in which they feel ashamed and unlovable, having that knowledge could be the difference between life and death. After she was rescued, she said that it was so helpful to feel the support of others, too--people who didn't hate her, people who said she wasn't any less for what she had been through. YOUR support matters.
Likewise for Deondra, who was molested by her father, having support meant the world. In her case, that meant first the support of her sisters, who had also been abused. Then, it meant the support of her siblings as well as her husband, as she began to process what had happened to her. When the news went viral, all of her siblings were paranoid that they couldn't perform again, that people wouldn't want to be around them or hear them play. When they did their first performance after the news broke, they had a standing ovation as they walked onto the stage, and that support meant everything to them. YOUR support matters.
Even those who have a me too story they didn't share need the support of everyone. They need the support of the people they do tell, and the need the overall cultural support of knowing that they won't be blamed or shunned for what happened to them.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Life of a Slow Driver (#2)



Sometimes when a car is stuck behind me on a one lane road and I'm not comfortable going faster, I imagine that I'm an exotic insect catcher (usually fancy cars are the ones bothered by my speed-limit abiding tendencies). When the lane opens up, I think to myself, "Fly like the wind, butterfly! You're free!"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Camping Will Solve All of Your Problems

Are you overwhelmed with mess? Wondering what the purpose of life is? Generally irritated at the world around you?


Camping will effectively bring you purpose, let you have space from the world, and eliminate the messes created in your house or apartment for the duration you spend away. This tactic is actually quite compatible with children, at least as long as you


  1. Camp in an area that is not infested by racoons
  2. Camp in an area that is not surrounded by a raging river/cliff drop-offs/mountain lions/virus carrying mosquitos
  3. Camp in an area that is within a few minutes of a grocery store and at least one fast food restaurant
  4. Have extendable arms
  5. Have more than two arms
  6. Have a magically appearing stock of sippy cups and clean water and goldfish and cheese sticks and veggie straws.


If you are interested in this approach to getting a new start to life and you own a home, you may want to consider buying a pet racoon. This nocturnal omnivore will eat through your various doors and walls and eventually require the demolition of your home. However, as you will still own the plot of land, you will be left with a very clean lot of dirt, with which to set up a spare, minimalist arrangement, perhaps with the aid of a tent.


If you don’t own a home, you may want to forego causing any damage to your immediate building, as this will only leave you truly homeless and in debt, for you will have neither roof nor place for belongings nor--and this is the important part--a piece of land to easily camp on. However, with some preparation, you can notify friends or family of your camping intentions and spend increasing lengths of time camping in back or front yards.

Suddenly, your clutter problems will be over and you will have the mental space to focus on the now, prioritizing the pressing need to keep you and your children fed and clothed and at a sustainable body temperature.

New family pet included.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Oklahoma

The season is changing and the sky is softer and the leaves are crunching and the wind is stirring and all things are alive and dying with autumn. We've spent the last few days at a corn maze and a pumpkin patch, pumping water to race ducks and the little one throwing balls in a pit of thick, cool, dried corn kernels. Dirt is filling our nostrils and the seams in our palms. Two little pumpkins, an orange gourd laced with green and a green gourd laced with white lay on our wooden table, a small, yellow-hued thing that we love dearly.

And this morning is was, oh, such a beautiful morning.


So for all of these reasons, here is that most wonderful of states, Oklahoma.


 


Ode to Old Glasses

A few weeks ago I found a page that looked roughly like this in one of my old journals. Dearest Glasses, Fortunately you were bea...