Yes, But.

I went for a walk this morning. No headphones, no running, no Kendell tagging along. I needed to go to the doctor’s office for a blood test (my yearly check up of thyroid and other issues) and since it’s only about a half mile from my house, I decided to just walk.

Just as I got to the junior high, I heard the familiar sound of someone running. The pattern of breath and the repetition of footfalls; for a few steps there was a little tap instead of a thud because a pebble must’ve been caught in a shoe, and then it dropped out and the pattern went back to only thuds. I turned to see where the person was so I didn’t accidentally get in their way, and saw it was a black teenager.

Before I go on with this story, I have to clarify that I live in a state, Utah, where there is not a huge population of black people (at the last census it was 12% black), and I live in a county in that state where 2% of the population is black. I don’t know what it says about my prejudice that, when I see a black person where I live, I think “there’s a black runner” (or grocery-store shopper or whatever) instead of just thinking “there’s a runner,” but it is my unguarded reaction. Not in a fear-based what but an observational one, true, but I don’t like that that is my first thought.

As he ran past me I gave him that little wave you give passing runners, but he didn’t see me. He turned the corner and then, a few minutes later (he was fast!), I did too. We were both moving west along a frontage road adjacent to a much busier road, separated by a weedy berm.

Just down the street, there was a police car on the same side of the road, lights on, and a police officer leaning in to talk to the person he had pulled over.

I kept walking and I started really watching.

I thought about Ahmaud Arbery, and I thought about the sound of the running feet of the person running in front of me, how the cadence is measured and practiced, not panicked. That slight irritation of a caught pebble that all runners have felt, and the little relief when it frees itself.

I thought about the bland statement made by the leaders of my seeming faith, which was safe and generic and spoke of love but had no fire or outrage and certainly did not apologize for its history of racism.

And the one from the city where I live, equally safe, which made sure to point out how fantastic our police department is.

I thought about the interactions I’ve had with police in my city, which have always been calm and rational.

I thought about the tiny protest I saw last week, on one of the busiest corners of our town, thirty or so people—most of them white—chanting “no justice, no peace,” waving their signs in the rain, and how, when I was stopped waiting for the light to change, I looked at them and felt ashamed (because I have not protested) and hope (because they were all so young, so unjaded, so bright).

I watched the runner. I watched the policeman on the side of the road.

I touched my cell phone to make sure it was still in my pocket. Just in case.

I wondered what he was thinking—the runner in front of me.

Did he think about Ahmaud Arbery too? Did he think about what his parents taught him about his actions around police? Was he afraid?

As he got closer to the police car, he stopped running.

And, I don’t know. Maybe it was just part of his run that day, maybe he was doing a walk/run cycle, and the walk portion just happened to happen then, when he was passing a police car.

That’s possible.

But it’s also possible he started walking because he felt that was safer.

I kept watching.

I thought about all of the voices and ideas I have heard over the past three weeks. The people wanting to change the financial structure of cities so that less money goes to police forces, and the people who refuse to see that as a viable option. The people who have said “well, I’ve never had a bad interaction with police,” as if that proves anything. The bland voices of my community. The more passionate ones of closer friends who share my perspective. And about my own doubt that I can change anything.

The runner kept walking until he had passed the police car with the flashing lights. He stood still while he waited for the light to change, and he walked across the street. He didn’t run until he was on the opposite side of the opposite corner.

I let my hand stop hovering near my phone.

I’m still unsure. I still feel unable to make much commentary on what is happening in the world. I don’t want to say the wrong thing, I don’t want to be ignorantly racist, I don’t want to cause more hurt. Besides, what insight can I have, this middle-aged woman living in an uber-white community?

But I also remembered: it isn’t about what insight I can offer. Black people don’t need my insight, and what can I say that might help my more closed-minded friends open their perspective a little?

And I thought: it has, at least, changed me. Would I have been watching so carefully, before this spring’s events, when a black runner ran past a white police officer? I don’t think I would have.

I think that one of the keys to being anti-racist is the ability to be open minded, and by that I mean the ability to understand that your perspective is not the only way of looking at the world. The ability of imagination, perhaps: to see a situation with your own eyes and realize it might look different to someone else, and then to be able to imagine some of the possibilities.

(Which is one of the reasons that I find fiction to be just as enlightening as non-fiction.)

If the unrest and the killings and the violence has not given people the ability to see the existence of other realities than their own, nothing I can say will change it.

But those things have changed me. They have taught me that the scope of my imagination was far too small.

They have taught me that I still have so much to learn. So much. They have taught me that even in my white-washed community, I have opportunities to watch, to witness, to be prepared to speak out or take action if it’s needed.

I hear you—those “yet, but” voices. Yes, but our police force is really good. Yes but who are you going to call if someone burglars your house? Yes, but blue lives. Yes, but…all of it. I hear you.

Yes.

But I am going to try to see things from perspectives other than my own.


Examining my Own Racism

When the story about Amy Cooper was just starting to break, there was a discussion about it in one of the Facebook groups I participate in. Someone tried to excuse her behavior by saying that she, as a woman alone in Central Park, must have felt threatened, and only reacted like she did because she was afraid in the heat of the moment. Books by black authorsMany of us pointed out that she doesn’t act afraid but is, in fact, the one doing the threatening. As has already been pointed out, she turned her whiteness into a weapon, trying to build something painful with her knowledge of how black men are often treated by the police.

And then, of course, George Floyd was murdered by a white policeman, as if to prove the point.

Like most of our country, I am thinking about racism. I am wondering what our nation can do, how it can change—not just wondering, but trying to think of solutions. What can I do?

What can I do?

Let’s be honest: I live in a white state. I think when I graduated from high school there was one African American student. Utah is becoming more diverse, but is still 88 % white (as of the 2010 census). I was 47 years old before I could say I have a friend who is black. Not because I don’t want to be friends with black people, but because in my tiny circle, I haven’t had the opportunity. I am a middle-class white woman in a white state, with no influential relationships and without the wealth required to really have a voice in this world. How can I be a voice for change when I know so few people of color and don’t have much power?

Here’s another truth: I have taken pride in the idea that I am not a racist person. I want that to be part of my identity. I want people to know that I am not racist. I mean, look at me! I read books by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker and Tayari Jones and N. K. Jemisin, Zora Neal Hurston and Roxanne Gay and June Jordan. I have annotated my newest copy of Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider so much it’s like flipping through a pen explosion.

Doesn’t that prove I’m not racist?

I am outraged by the way people of color are treated in America. I watch the news and read the books and try to stay informed. I don’t only grieve for what is happening, but I try to read widely so I can try to understand how difficult it is to be a Black human being in America, knowing I cannot really know because I haven’t lived it, but hoping that learning will at least help me to be more empathetic.

Does that prove I’m not racist?

I get annoyed when I see fabric lines or scrapbook supplies with illustrations of people—sketches, stylized paintings, cartoonish images—that are only white. When someone’s fragile-white friend on Facebook says something like “all lives matter” or “not all white people!” or “just because some white people kill black people doesn’t mean everyone has to riot!” I try to write a calm, thoughtful, and pointed response in the hope that maybe my words will trickle in. I try to remember that images matter, metaphor matters, the way people speak matters. Words matter, so I try to learn what they mean outside of my own context.

See! I’m not racist!

When we first started practicing social distancing, I had no problem veering widely around white people in the grocery store, but I felt deeply uncomfortable going the wide way around black people. I had the words in my mouth, “I’m not doing this because of your skin color! I just have two people with heart conditions so I’m being extra careful!” Words I didn’t say because I would sound like a crazy person, right? Did I need to say it? I smiled, that’s enough, right?

Am I racist?

But I find myself thinking, over and over, of Amy Cooper in Central Park. A white, educated Democrat woman trying to use her whiteness to harm a black person. I find myself wondering: deep down, when push comes to shove, is there a part of me that is capable of using my whiteness like she did? Am I really a good person, or is there a situation I haven’t experienced yet that, in the heat of the moment, would cause me to act in racist ways?

I hope not, but honestly: I don’t really know. Maybe no one really knows until that situation happens.

What I do know, honestly, is that while I try to not be racist, while I abhor the inequality and while I want to weep (and have) at humanity’s seeming inability to love each other—while all of those things are true, I also am a white woman. Even though I came from a family that had some financial struggles, I still have benefitted from the way society is constructed. Even though as a woman I have less power than men, I still have been able to construct a life for myself, a life that includes food and a safe home and the luxury of my own trees and a bookshelf stacked fully with books and four pairs of running shoes.

I have accomplished my small, normal, everyday-life accomplishments because of work, true. No one gave me anything. Except—America did. Of course I would go to college, because that’s what people like me do. Of course I would build a house in a suburban neighborhood—it was the next step to take, so I took it. Of course I would have children without ever having to give them the “talk,” the one about how to act around police officers so you don’t get arrested or hurt.

I try not to be racist. I hope my anti-racism is deeper than whatever fear I might encounter. I believe without question that everyone should have equal opportunities.

But I know: I haven’t ever really been tested.

I know that I can believe whatever I want, but the reality between opportunities based on skin color is vast.

I know that my life has benefited because of racism.

I will likely never be a person with an amplified voice. I don’t have the power to change society.

But I have the same power that every white person in America has: to look at myself. To change myself. To continue working. To write letters to senators and make phone calls to governors. To vote—to vote in ways that benefit people other than myself. To speak up when I read racist comments on social media. To learn and to try to empathize. To put my own ego aside and to try to see the world from someone else’s perspective. To always push myself to continue learning and doing whatever I can.

What I can do is breathe. I can breathe. And I want to use my breath to help those who are being suffocated, even if my efforts are small. My voice alone is small—but many others are speaking out as well, and I am adding my voice to the chorus.


Dear America: An Open Letter to All the Voters

Dear America:

You break my heart.

Since 2016, I confess: even though we’re all supposed to “go high” and to try to see both sides and to understand that different people have different ideas about what makes a good leader and to listen to everyone’s voice because everyone’s voices deserve to be heard—I know and believe that. But deep down (and probably not so deep down, especially in my private conversations) I have held contempt for trump voters.

I confess: I do not understand how anyone can think he is good for the country. I am still astounded that a reality-show conman is the president of the United States. I still feel like I am living in the wrong chapter of a choose-your-own-adventure story. Honestly, I find it disgusting that people can believe a person who makes fun of disabled people and thinks that white supremacists are upstanding citizens and denies science and destroys butterfly habitat for a pointless wall (and thinks that building walls is a solution) and doesn’t have time for books, who stands in front of the country every single day to lie about everything he can, even inane issues he doesn’t need to lie about—it disgusts me that people think this is OK.

I’ve tried to keep my small, judgmental thoughts to myself. But, you know? The other smallminded people don’t mind sharing their opinions.

“trump’s my man!” the mom of one of Kaleb’s friends told me shortly after the election. “He’s getting all those lazy unwed moms off welfare.” (This was a short-lived friendship.)

“That man is doing great things for our economy,” many, many men have mansplained to me on Facebook.

“At least he’s preserving our religious freedom,” more than one church member has said.

“Nah, he’s right,” a friend astounded me by saying. “All the hype over the environment is just fear mongering.”

Library patrons, church members, neighbors, friends, strangers at Costco…it isn’t my imagination. People—actual adults—think he is OK. They aren’t even embarrassed to think he’s just fine, while I’m over here struggling with shame that I think they are morons. And trying to convince myself that if I could see both sides I could somehow heal the rift, at least between people in my actual life.

Maybe it’s time to realize that there isn’t much I can do. Republicans are going to republican. They’re going to continue thinking that voting suppression is fantastic and that taking away women’s rights is a great idea and that destroying the ACA is just fine because, after all, it was pushed through by a black man. I can wave my arms and write my blog posts and raise my eyebrows in disbelief but none of that is going to stop them from being who they are.

And until recently, I held on to the belief that this is a Republican issue. That small-mindedness and the overwhelming desire to look backward for an image of how our country should be (“make America great again” really means “make America white again”; it means going back to that 50s ideal when wives in pearls and dresses scurried around at home making sure dinner was ready for their husbands when they walked in the door, when Black people knew their place, when gays stayed properly in their closet and, of course, when all the Mexicans were still in Mexico) belongs squarely on the red side of politics.

But the Democratic primary is making me think otherwise.

It’s making me think that maybe my sister Suzette was right. “It’s not just Republicans who are slime balls,” she’s reminded me more than once. “It’s all politicians.”

Except…I’m not really heartbroken by politicians.

I’m heartbroken because of voters.

I’m devastated that once again, our choices will come down to old white men.

OLD.

WHITE.

MEN.

I’m so tired of old white men ruling the world. Definitely the current president—I’ve been tired of his type of new-money trashiness and stupid wealth for all of my adult life. But all the senators too, blocking bills and putting narrow-minded judges into courts. Governors like Utah’s stroking the back of the dominant religion and selling our state to oil and property developers. Even the mayor of my little town is an old white man, one who swirls his finger around in his retirement funds and redecorates his office.

But over and over and over and OVER, we just keep voting for old white men.

And of course, the old white men are just going to keep showing up and consuming everything and ruling the world. Why?

Because America elects them.

“Hilary couldn’t beat trump,” someone told me yesterday, “so people won’t vote for a woman because they don’t think a woman can beat him.”

Is this true? Even though Elizabeth and Amy and Kamala aren’t Hilary?

Biden isn’t Obama.

Bernie isn’t Roosevelt.

But Biden says “I’m an Obama Democrat” and we all line up to vote for him?

Obama bailed out the banks. Clinton was a sexual slime ball. The Bushes got us into unnecessary wars.

The litany of trump’s mistakes and failures is legion.

Over and over, old white men—and, OK, at least Obama was black—have done damage to our country.

And yet over and over, we just keep electing them.

America: isn’t it time for something different?

Can’t it be, at last, the time when we can look forward? When we can grow up and let go of our prejudices and narrowmindedness?

If not now, when?

When?

“Did you vote for Elizabeth Warren just because she’s a woman?”

That is the question I asked myself yesterday, over and over. Partly, no. I voted for her because she took on Bloomberg in the debates. And because she had actual plans. And because her health—physical and mental—seems much stronger than Bernie’s and Biden’s. Partly, yes. My first choice already dropped out, so I went with my second choice. I know enough of feminism to understand that this is what people hate about feminism; they think that it’s about prioritizing women over men. If you also have studied feminism, you know that at its core it is about equality, and we have to call it feminism because it is women—not men—who have to fight for every scrap of power.

I voted for Elizabeth Warren because Bernie terrifies me and because Biden can’t remember the position he’s running for or the, you know, the “thing” (ie the Declaration of Independence). And because Bloomberg is terrifying in an entirely different way. And because while I disagree with her stance on health care, I agree with almost all of her other plans, and because I think she would stand a better chance at helping to heal America’s divisions (Bernie certainly will not do this; Biden might but only if he can remember what he’s doing).

And, yes: I also voted for her because she’s a woman.

And it breaks my heart, America, that you can’t do the same.

Sincerely:

Amy


Libraries Make Our Lives Larger

This week is National Library Week. I'm glad such a thing exists, considering all that our president has done to try to de-fund libraries (did you know that every single budget he's created has tried to take away the funding for the IMLS, which is the primary source of money for libraries and museums? While Congress isn't always known for doing the right thing, at least they've made sure to continue to support libraries, but a president who doesn’t think libraries are worthwhile is not something I’d ever believe would exist.)

 

I didn't set out to become a librarian. I got a degree in English because while science was interesting enough, I'm not really brilliant at it, and while I can get along in math OK it's not pleasant, but learning about books, words, writing, poetry, fiction, literary theory, grammar, and everything else that goes along with an English degree felt like the only reason to go to school. (I wish I had taken more history classes, though.) There've been several people in my life who have told me that I "just" got a degree in English, or that while, sure, I did graduate from college, it's only in English. Other people have told me that while science, math, and/or technology degrees are difficult, and require a certain type of mind and thinking skills, an English degree requires talent.

Maybe both are true, but my English degree did help me land my job as a librarian, even if I got that degree because I wanted to be a writer. (Doesn't every bibliophile want to be a writer?) I’ve been a librarian for almost eleven years, and I confess: I still get a little thrill when someone asks me where I work and I get to say “at the library.” I love being a librarian.

I love being a librarian. And I love libraries.

But I’ve also learned that not everyone understands the importance of our communities having good libraries.

Like the old friend I bumped into once who started laughing when I told him where I work. “So you spend your days just checking in books and putting them on the shelf?”

Like a podiatrist I went to once, who, when I answered “I work at the library” when he asked me what I do, said “Wait! The library is still open? I didn’t think people used the library anymore because of Kindle books.”

Even like library patrons themselves, some of who come into the space annoyed and entitled, who complain about what we don’t have for them, or about fines and fees, because books are too graphic or too cautious, because we have R-rated movies, because we don’t have enough movies, and who quite often end their complaints with some version of “I’m a tax payer and you are wasting my money.”

And, yes, like the president not wanting to fund libraries.

Try to imagine American society without libraries. Our libraries hold our collective history, the creative visions of our (and the world’s) writers. No libraries would mean that many people would have much less access to our literary richness. Throughout our entire life, access to the library gives us access to tens of thousands of books, from board books to picture books to chapter books to novels. Dictionaries and cookbooks and poetry, memoirs and science and history. Without libraries, only the wealthy could afford access to so many different books, and so libraries are one of society’s great equalizers.

Numerous studies have shown that readers are more empathetic human beings. I am glad data supports this, because it is a thing I unequivocally believe. Through reading you become larger than your own experiences; you learn that there is more than one way of thinking about the world. You start to understand something about the trials of being human: both that your troubles are smaller than many other people’s and that you are not alone in your troubles. You get to go places you otherwise couldn’t, discover things that you didn’t learn in your high school history class. Puzzle out mysteries, weep over characters’ losses, struggle with moral dilemmas.

Books create a life that is bigger than any individual. And libraries facilitate that largess.

Even when I wasn’t a librarian, even when that career path hadn’t even entered my thoughts—even then I loved libraries. If I left the library tomorrow (which I’m not doing of course), I’d still be an advocate for libraries. They are places full of books, and stories, words and images. They are more than just books on shelves, too. They are places where people gather, find information in many different ways, make friendships, stay warm in storms. They aren’t only about books.

But for today, I’m celebrating the books that libraries give us access to. They are worthwhile for so many different reasons.

And libraries are worth whatever funding we can give them.


Some Rambling Thoughts on Election Night 2018

Two years ago on election night, I made a scrapbook page. Kendell was watching the election results in the other room, but I couldn’t bear it. I could only witness with one of my senses. So I listened while I stood in my little haven with its blue walls and Van Gogh posters, its abundance of exacto knives and collection of paints. The layout I made was about Jake, who wasn’t talking to me at the time; I didn’t know what was going on and making something with his photos was the only way I had to feel any connection to him.

I fussy cut leaf after leaf, snapped off blade after blade from my knife.

I was already grieving for the mess my personal life had become and as the results came in, it felt the whole world was mirroring my little turmoil.

My turmoil roiled large and national.

Some part of me has never been the same after that experience with Jake, even though things are better now.

And some part of me will never be the same in regards to my country, either. Even if the country changes, if politics shift, if the narrow-minded, fear-mongering hordes see reason instead of hatred, I will never forget how that night felt. My nation electing such a vile man.

Two years ago, I wept and raged.

Today, I read an essay by a historian on Facebook about how we’ve seen this before: in the years before the Civil War, when wealthy white men used fear of black people to try to retain their power. When poor white people went along with it because at least they were on the same side as the wealthy men (even if they never benefitted financially, even if their sons died in war). This clicked some little thing in me, like when you snap your watch band together and it stays put. A click: OK. Understanding doesn’t fix it, but at least understanding can happen.

Today I also read a post on Facebook, this one in a feminist group I belong to, wherein the poster posited that maybe we should cut white, educated women some slack, because they (we) had all been taught—indoctrinated—that Hillary was bad. It wasn’t the fault of white, educated women (my demographic), this person suggested, that they voted for trump over a Clinton, because society had taught them to hate her. Which is probably true; if you only look on the surface, if you only listen to one media voice, another Clinton just couldn’t be trusted. Except: I reject that utterly. As a white educated woman I cannot understand how any white, educated woman could vote for that person simply to cast a vote against. I don’t know where these people were educated, and that is saying a lot because I graduated from BYU, one of the most conservative universities in existence. Yet, my education taught me many things. Critical thinking. The understanding that my perspective is not the only one, that my concerns are seen through a lens made from my environment—a lens I can remove. I know many such women, who believe trump was bad but Hillary was evil, and I cannot understand it.

Unless it is the same thing as those poor white men in the 1860s: white educated women want to just stand in the same place as white wealthy men. The ones with the power.

For the past two years, I have felt like I am living in one of those choose-an-adventure books, in a chapter created by someone choosing wrong.

So many wrong choices.

And those trump voters, two years ago. Saying yes it will be bad, but not that bad. We’ll survive.

But not everyone did survive. Or will.

Personally, my love of Americans has faltered. My patriotism is a little bit shaky. I never knew. I never knew.

That we are still so racist.

That we are still bigots.

That wealth and power are the only things that matter.

That we don’t care for the marginalized and the needy.

That we revile people from other countries (except Scandinavia).

I always knew my rights as a woman were threatened. I never stopped knowing we couldn’t stop fighting.

But I didn’t see the rest.

I thought we were courageous, openhearted, willing to look forward.

I thought we would create a world our grandchildren would thrive in.

I thought we were a country that looked at what we feared and then overcame it, not a country that used fear as tool to blind ourselves with.

For two years, I have resisted, just a little, in my heart. I have thought surely there are still enough people to see the truth.

But as another election passes this night, I find myself—in another wrong chapter. Not back where I was at the 2016 election, but somewhere actually darker and less hopeful.

I had my little personal miracle: Jake is turning around and we are healing.

But in this national darkness, I have stopped having hope for a national miracle.

I don’t know how to believe the voices of the wise, the brave, the calm, the rational will be heard again.

I don’t believe my voice matters.

But…here I am. Writing this. Despite knowing it is a silent, unidentifiable drop in the vast Internet ocean. Despite feeling my voice has been silenced.

Tomorrow we will wake up to election results. Will America have changed?


(Towards a) Feminist Understanding of Scrapbooking

Every once in a while, I log in to my Family Search account and follow my family line down one descendant or another. There are so many resources available there, including personal and family histories that people have typed and submitted, so other relatives can read them. Seeing photos, birth and death certificates, and gravestone portraits and reading stories about my ancestors makes me feel a complicated sort of joy. I look at their faces in grainy photographs, searching for a hint of my own; I savor the few details that are there but I wish desperately for more.

Last week, when I was writing this blog post, I wanted to make sure I had the genealogy correct, so I started clicking around on my family tree. I came across a link to a document I hadn’t ever read, called “The History of Charles Simmons and Mary Elizabeth Hughes,” who were my great-great grandparents. Usually it seems that most of the life histories are about men, and while I do enjoy those stories, too, I am much more interested in reading about my female ancestors. So I was fairly excited to click on the link and learn something of my great-great grandmother, who was my namesake’s mother-in-law. From this combined life sketch, I learned that my great-great grandfather came from an old Southern family which, according to county records, owned slaves. Most of his brothers died in the Civil War. He left Virginia to move west with his wife Mary, but they stopped in Salt Lake City and liked the Mormons enough to join the church and stay in Utah. The document also has a paragraph about the freed slave they brought with them to Utah, who, although he was free, didn’t want to leave them but also refused to live in the house with them.

About Mary Elizabeth Hughes, there are absolutely no details.

This frustrates me to no end.

I came to feminism partly by way of my English degree. (Also by way of my mother, who’s been a feminist for as long as I can remember.) For me, feminism is about equal rights and equal access to freedoms; it is about the right to be able to choose what to do with your life based on what you need and want, not based on stereotypical gender roles. But it is also about women’s stories, both in literature and in history. The woman in the text, if you will.

And so many of those stories are lost.

You discover this so quickly when you start digging in to family history. There are many, many of my female ancestors who are noted only as someone’s wife, without a name, and daughters listed just like that: daughter. Yet most of the sons’ names are noted. Women’s stories—all the way down to their names—are invisible.  

Tradition of silence

I want to know: what did Mary Elizabeth Hughes love about her childhood in Virginia? What experiences did she have during the Civil War? What experiences did she have traveling west? What did she think the first time she saw the mountains? Did she love or hate to cook? What was her favorite season? What were her daily struggles? What did she think about her son Nathan’s choice of a wife (my great-grandma Amy)? Did her Nathan have any similarities to my Nathan?

Unless some previously-unknown document was discovered, I will never know any of those details, about her or about any of my female ancestors.

And, sure: you could argue that if I did know those stories, my life wouldn’t change much. I would still live this life that I have. And I can’t really explain why I want to know these stories so badly—but I do. I can almost feel them, hovering around me, the women whose choices created my life. Like the angels in the Brian Kershisnik painting, except people with real experiences. If I just knew something more about them, something real, something unique—maybe if I knew I could see them in some way.

And this is one of the reasons that scrapbooking is so important to me.

Without a doubt, it’s a craft that can be viewed as kitschy. As something silly and childlike, as colored pencils and cut-out flowers, paint and frippery.

But it is so much more than it seems.

There is a long history (as long as human history, really) of women’s crafts being seen as less-than or secondary. There are artists, and there are female artists. There are writers, and then there are women writers. Poets, but poetesses. So part of feminism is claiming (not even reclaiming, as we haven’t ever been allowed to own) our art forms as being equally as important as men’s. Artists, writers, photographers, sculptors: creative people who happen to also be women are taking the stance that what they create is good not despite their gender, but because it is good.

Scrapbooking can have that same claim.

It is, in fact, a radical form of feminism: women telling their own stories. Women knowing that their stories matter (not only their children’s, not only their husband’s). Women ensuring that their voices—expressed in stories, yes, but also in the products we chose to use, and in the art we make—have a chance at being heard by future generations.

We lived. We breathed. We walked on this earth. Not all of us have extraordinary, history-changing lives. But all of us have been a part of human history. Almost exactly half of it. And the only way our voices, our stories will be remembered is if we tell them.

Tell them, somehow. In a blog or a journal or a blank screen in the word processor of your choice. Say them out loud while you record yourself. Or, yes, even: make a scrapbook. A layout or two or five or an entire album or ten albums. Your stories are important and no one else can tell them.

And this will never stop being important to me.


A Week after Independence Day, Some Thoughts on Being an American

(I meant to write and publish this on Independence Day, but I was hanging out with my family and never got to the computer!)

American flags

As July has arrived, I've found myself thinking about what it means to be patriotic in our current political climate. How can I say that I am proud to be an American when I am ashamed of almost everything our government officials are doing, saying, promoting? When disdain for anyone who isn't white, male, wealthy, able-bodied and cisgender runs rampant? When our government refuses to understand science and work to protect the world, when our national lands are up for sale to the highest-bidding oil drilling companies, when environmental restrictions are being overturned?

Our country where intelligence seems to have fled and stupidity rules the day?

Which brings me to another question: Can one round of really bad election results ruin America?

I hope not.

"Make American great again" as a rallying cry is problematic; it assumes America was, at some point in time, "great." 

And aren't we great?

We are proud of our history of rebellion and the quest for freedom and liberty.  We are a nation that helps other nations. We are a country that strives to spread freedom across the world.

I love America and I am glad to be an American. I am proud to be a descendant of people who came to America as immigrants looking for different types of freedom, from my most recently-emigrated great-great grandmother Annie who came from Sweden via a packet ship in 1863, all the way back to my great-something grandparents who came from England on the Mayflower.

But I can't say that without all of the problematic aspects of being an American nudging at me. I am not proud of what we did to Native Americans (and still, considering Bears' Ears and Standing Rock—what we are still, five centuries later, doing to Native Americans). I am not proud of our history of slavery. I am not proud of our history and ongoing relationship with racism and discrimination. I am not proud that all of the states have yet to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (and I'm ashamed that my state is on that list). I am not proud that in the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world (and in the history of humanity) there are homeless and hungry people. 

And yet, when I saw that row of American flags at an Independence Day celebration at a local park, I still got a lump in my throat out of pride for my country.

Patriotism appears to make zero emotional sense.

The day after Independence Day, I read this poem, "The Tent," by Naomi Shihab Nye and I can't stop thinking about it. I love how she frames the idea of patriotism as both individual and community stories. We create it when we tell our history, when we place ourselves on the map of humanity, when we form something communal. It's a story we create, and for everyone it is a little bit (or, likely, a lot different). 

A story was sewn, seed sown,
this was what patriotism meant to me—
to be at home inside my own head long enough
to accept its infinite freedom
and move forward anywhere, to mysteries coming.

to be at home inside my own head

Her poem somehow gave me the language to write about what I believe about America. I don't think we are great, not yet. I think we have had great moments. And I think we should continue to aspire to greatness; I think our potential for greatness is what makes my heart swell at the sight of the flag. 

It shouldn't be "make America great again." It should just be "make America great." 


​Looking at the current state of things can easily fill me with despair. So, the following list is perhaps more about fling out sparks into the darkness as it is about building anything. But this is a list, anyway, of the story I tell myself about the qualities that a great American should have:

  • A deep understanding of what freedom means and a commitment to honor and uphold the positive qualities of our society.
  • Active in both local and national politics. (In other words…every American should vote, after studying the candidates and issues.)
  • Educated, and not narrowly. Art is as important as technology, literature is as important as math. All subjects do, in fact, feed each other, and a population that is eager to learn as much as possible about many things will, I believe, create a society that is more capable and nurturing. (I feel constantly embarrassed, these days, about what people don't actually know about the world they live in.)
  • Committed to equal rights and equal access to opportunities, education, safety, and health care.
  • The ability to look forward and focus on building a better future for more people, not just the wealthy.
  • The ability to look backward, not to recreate "better days" from the past, but to learn from our mistakes and not make them again.
  • The compassion to realize that one individual's happiness is not more important than another's.  (Both within our country and without.)
  • A deep commitment to improving the world by using our knowledge to create green, non-polluting solutions and technologies.
  • A global perspective—the realization that we are a part of the larger entity of the world, and that we should use our wealth to help other countries in non-destructive ways.
  • An abhorrence for war.
  • The valuing of creativity, perseverance, hard work, and intelligence.
  • Accepting of "other" and recognizing that we are all different, but understanding that in our difference is our strength.
  • The ability to realize that there is not just one norm, that we each live within our own perspectives and knowledge and to see that as a thing to improve on.  (I know, for example, that I come from a place of relative privilege, because I am white and will not ever likely experience discrimination based on the color of my skin, but racism is a topic I care about and want to understand better.)

And yes, I know. Those are sparks: idealistic concepts that might not be achieved by humanity in decades. Centuries, even. Certainly not in the current political climate, which feels like a darkness we must suffer through. But despite our flaws, despite our failures, I still get a flutter at the sight of an American flag: We changed things. We can continue to change for the better—we can make America "great"—but only if we are willing to look at ourselves critically. Only if we as citizens can see that the greatness doesn't come from our leaders but from us, standing up and striving for greatness.

What qualities do you think a great American possesses?


Why Libraries Matter

Working as a librarian, I have had the opportunity to help people in many ways. Finding books, of course, magazines and newspapers and essays and poems and short stories and picture books and chapter books and biographies and how-to books and novels to scratch that “I want to read something really, really good” itch. Not to mention resources for research papers. I’ve helped patrons look for apartments, post their antiques for sale on Ebay, and find a solution to every conceivably imaginable “how do I do this on the computer?” question. And the printing! Photos from Facebook, divorce papers, tax forms, homework assignments, emails, resumes, obituaries. I’ve helped lost children find their moms and lost parents find their children. Sometimes patrons confuse the library for the phone directory, so I’ve looked up a bajillion different phone numbers. I’ve helped photocopy and scan. I’ve walked patrons to their call numbers hundreds of times. I’ve broken up arguments and been shouted at and once or twice shouted back. I have listened to people’s stories—so many different stories. Library edit
(Sometimes being a librarian is fairly similar to being a bartender, without the booze.) I’ve sent homeless men out the door with my worry. I’ve shown teenagers to the pregnancy section and hoped my body language spoke the compassion I felt for them. I’ve talked my librarian friends through their various crises. (As they have done for me.) I’ve helped bleeding patrons and strung out patrons but, luckily, never any puking patrons (one of the reasons I’m glad to work on the grown up side of the library). I’ve answered countless reference questions, some of them involving actual books.

I’ve been privileged to match the exact right book to the exact right patron and then had them come back and tell me thank you.

Last week, I had the opportunity to help in a way I never have before. A patron in a wheelchair, who had no legs, asked me if I would plug him in. He rolled over to the outlet and walked me through plugging his electric chair into the wall (various cords and electric boxes were required) so he could charge. I made sure he had something to read while his chair charged and he thanked me and I went back to my desk with a lump in my throat, feeling changed. There are many gratitudes I felt welling up behind that lump: that I have legs and can walk (and run and hike!). That technology exists to help people like him. That he asked me to help him so calmly and confidently, which suggests that other people have also helped him. That he asked me to help him; maybe this seems strange but it felt like an honor.

And it made me grateful for libraries.

I have been thinking about the importance of libraries since National Library Week. Ivanka Trump tweeted something inane about celebrating libraries and librarians and it made me fairly furious, seeing as how trump wants to cut off IMLS, which is the source of the majority of libraries’ funding. (Please, read this article with responses to her tweet, just so the combined outrage of many librarians can let you know that we’re not only introverts with our noses behind our books.) 

I hardly need POTUS’s daughter (or the jerk and his blind-sighted, backward-thinking, narrow-minded budget) reminding me that communities are valuing libraries less and less. Because in addition to helping people use the library every time I go to work, I also am told, in different ways but at almost every shift, that libraries are kind of lame. Patrons complain about hold lists, slow computers, damaged books, books we don’t own yet. They get annoyed at displays for different reasons. They say rude things like “this place is a dump” and “I only come here if I’m desperate” and “thank God I can afford to buy most of my own books.” And then there are the constant limitations that librarians and libraries are constantly bumping up against, because we only have a small budget to make this whole show work, and that means cutting corners when we wish we didn’t have to.

It’s not only inside the library, though, that I’m reminded. The world at large does this very well. I was once at a doctor’s appointment and the physician, upon hearing that I worked at the library, said “wait, the library is still open? I didn’t think people read actual books anymore, I thought they just read Kindles.” Or the city election a few years ago, when the good citizens of my town elected a vociferously anti-library person into the city council, which felt like the whole population marked the “libraries don’t matter” checkbox on their ballot. Or the way the publishing industry is declining. Or the way that intelligence, understanding, and learning are less important than wealth and body type and entertainment value.

So when trump’s budget plan included that IMLS cut, I wished that people would notice, but I didn’t expect anyone but the librarians would. I mean, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have a march that was just about funding for the arts? (The NEA is just as important as the IMLS.) We could wear, I don’t know, books on our heads maybe, and think of the poster opportunities! But not many besides the librarians even really noticed.

Which brings me back to the legless man in the wheelchair at my library. Which brings me to me kneeling down and crawling around his wheelchair to get it all plugged in. Which brings me to knowing, and to wishing that the world at large could know, just how much libraries are not only about books.

Libraries, at their core, are about people.

And quite often they are about saving people, in both big and small ways.

A library saved me once, when I was an angry punky goth kind of girl, sluffing school because I couldn’t bear to walk into those high school doors. Sometimes I’d leave and drive around aimlessly, but sometimes I went to the library. No one else in the world knew where I was, except for the librarians, who left me alone. I’d sit somewhere and look out the window and read, and for a little while I’d feel a sort of peace wash over me. In the library, in my rebellious black phase, I felt safe.

Teenagers are saved with books that give them information about their problems—cutting and drinking and yes, sometimes unintended pregnancies. The elderly are saved with large-print books that bring them company and stories and happiness. Children are saved by beginning their literacy journey at the libraries. The unemployed use our computers to find jobs. The ill use our databases to find answers. The homeless use our couches to rest.

Libraries are about people.

So today, I am issuing a challenge. If you are at all civic-minded. If you care about libraries at all. If you know your senator’s number. Please make some noise. Write a blog post about why you love your city library. Write a Facebook status about why you love libraries. Post a photo on Instagram of the books you have checked out right now. Draw attention to how libraries influence your life for the better.

And then call your government representatives.

Let them know that defunding libraries is unacceptable. Let them know that libraries matter. Let them know that they don’t only matter to librarians, but to communities. To individuals who use them in a million different ways. To people who need help in a thousand different forms.

Libraries matter.

Let’s save them!

#savethelibraries


Why I Am a Feminist

Because I was born to a mother who is also a feminist. She taught me to cook and bake, to sew a straight seam, to love my family; she taught me that my value was only in homemaking if that is where I wanted to place it. She taught me I could choose who I wanted to be, no matter what church leaders or teachers or the prevailing zeitgeist said.

Because I had three sisters.

_MG_4096 edit 4x6 sisters amy becky suzette michele sue
these women are my origin story.

Because I was a strange, shy, quite child who lived in her head and imagination but, brotherless, really only knew anything about the male species via novels.

Because of gymnastics coaches who taught me that women could be more than only mothers and who then, quite often, acted as surrogate mothers to me, at least as far as bandaged rips and taped ankles and consolation and encouragement and cheering go. They taught me lessons about doing hard and terrifying things, about facing my fears straight in the face, finding the space inside myself that let me believe I could do the seemingly un-doable thing, and believing that space was right. They taught me I could fly and sometimes I did, and even though I can no longer do a double full or a giant or a front flip, I still can do a cartwheel, I still remember every swing of my last bar routine, I still find that the space is structurally sound. I don’t fly anymore, but I still draw emotional strength through the physicality of my body.

Amy gymnastics 1986

Because in the summer after third grade I sat alone in my backyard and I could hear the girls playing on the other side of the field and I wondered then at girls’ capacity for cruelness, how the world seemed to think we were soft and sweet but mostly we were crocodiles.

Because my dad loved me in gentle ways. Because he taught me to love books, to listen to music, to read the newspaper, to tell stories, to take photographs. Because once, when I was 15, he yelled at my date for getting me home so late. Because he taught me to water ski. Because he taught me to wander in the mountains, even if he never took me wandering in the mountains with him.

Also because he made a beautiful yard and planted all the flowers and grew tomatoes, peppers, summer squash; because he mowed the lawn and never taught me how to do any of it. Because he didn’t teach me how to throw a baseball (even though he loved baseball and, by all the family legends, was quite good at it) or how to throw a football (even though he played football in high school) or a basketball. Because he was quiet and suppressed and never found his way, never found his true calling, never felt like a successful man.

I am a feminist because of my rebellious adolescent years, when the only tools I had for dealing with what I was experiencing was what I had learned from John Hughes movies, from Disney princess ideals, from the social understanding of what “romance” means, from, even, romance novels. Because I fell for the fairy tale image of what society says relationships should be like and then reality didn’t make any sense. Because no one, not even my mother, had taught me that I needed to know myself before I could be loved by someone else. Because I didn’t know it was not just OK but even good to define yourself free from the definition of boys.

Because real, true women friends are hard to find but, when found, they are irreplaceably valuable in your life.

Because I had to make some hard choices that grew out of misplaced ideals and muddled understanding, because those choices changed everything, changed me in ways I am still experiencing, and that was empowering but I never should have had to make such choices in the first place.

Because I can debate with my friends who have different ideas about what is right and wrong and we can disagree but still respect each other.

I am a feminist because of books. Because of Anne, Laura, Harry (not Potter but Crewe), Louise, Kit; Petrova, Paulina, Posy and all of the other Shoes girls. Because of Pippi and Nancy and Mary and Sarah and Lucy and Charlotte and Meg and Karana, not to forget Meg/Jo/Amy/Beth. Because of Esther and Edna and Moira and Maddy and Elaine and Esperanza and Clarisse and Morgaine and Lavinia and Orual. So, not just because of books, but because of characters in books who suffered, survived, learned, changed, grew, discovered. I couldn’t learn just by living all of the knowledge I have gained through fictional characters, who have all taught me something about what it means to be a woman and, equally, what it means to be a person alive on the earth, trying to live a good life. Trying to be brave and true.

And because of poems. And poets. Poems have saved me more times than I can list, because I have found myself in them and because I have found an Other in them, because they have given me words when I couldn’t speak or they have spoken the words I didn’t know I wanted to say. And, if poems then poets: Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Mary Oliver, Sharon Olds, Anne Stevenson, Louise Gluck, Jane Hirshfield, Josephine Jacobsen, Adrienne Rich, Muriel Rukeyser, Marge Piercy, Naomi Shihab Nye, Carolyn Kizer, Carol Ann Duffy.

Poetry books amy sorensen

I am a feminist because in seventh or eighth grade I wrote a research paper on the Salem Witch Trials and it disturbed me on so many different levels, the betrayal of women by girls, the betrayal of women by society, the malice and menace of human violence expressed in real terms against real women’s lives: that little research paper changed me utterly. Then, decades later, I found I am a direct descendant of a woman killed in those witch trials, Ann Poindexter, and a puzzle piece of my life fell into place. I am a feminist because I want to teach all of my little great-nieces what witches really are: women who threatened the patriarchy.

Img020

I am a feminist because I became a teacher and discovered, among so many other things, that the idea of teaching being the perfect career for a mother is a lie. Because it is immoral and despicable how teachers, more and more and more of whom are women, are treated by this country, specifically by this state. And because the nation’s regard for the education of our children is so small.

Because of college and because of what I learned in college: literary theory, feminist literary theory, queer theory. History. Linguistics. Folklore. Because of Mary Wollstonecraft and Simone de Beauvoir and Virginia Woolf and Luce Irigaray.

Because I am a Mormon—because I am a Mormon. Not because Mormonism lends itself to feminism; it mostly doesn’t. But because Mormonism needs feminists, it needs open minds, it needs broader thoughts or its sons and daughters will never change. Because Mormonism says “here is how to live your life” and my heavenly parents teach me “yes, perhaps that’s the ideal, but here is how to live your life, the one we gave you, the way we made you, the one we are making together” and because I see the most beauty in the non-traditional, non-conforming outsiders. Because I know our outsiders’ voices will make all the difference, but only if we open up our lips and use them.

I am a feminist because I am a librarian, because I see children and teenagers be changed by books, because I search out books with strong female characters, because I assure boys over and over that it is OK to read a book with a female protagonist. Because I almost never have to tell a girl that it is OK to read a book with a male protagonist because she’s already got plenty of practice with it.

I am a feminist because I had a daughter, who I tried to raise with my own vision of what it means to be a feminist, to be a woman in this world, as a part of who she is. Because I wanted her to have a backbone instead of a wishbone. Because I wanted her to fulfill her entire potential.

IMG_8175 6x8

I am a feminist because I had sons, who I tried to raise with my own vision of what it means to be a feminist, to be a man in this world, as part of who they are. Because I wanted them to have the courage to show their soft side instead of only exposing hardness and fierceness. Because I wanted them to fulfill their entire potential.

_MG_2809 jake nathan kaleb amy 4x6

I am a feminist because I believe I should make the choices of what I do with my body, not the government, not religious leaders, not my opinionated neighbor.

I am a feminist because I have been changed and influenced by so many good women: my mothers, my sisters, my friends both current and past. My friend Chris who is still, almost 30 years later, the bravest person I know. My two favorite college professors, Susan Elizabeth Howe and Laura Hamblin (and I am a feminist because of my least-favorite college professor, who had that air of some old-school professors that male poets were the real writers, while women poets were just hysterical, made worse by the fact that he wasn’t old at all). My grandmothers, Elsie and Florence, who each taught me something about womanhood, who I wish I could have known as an adult. The one young women leader, Lori, who, when I was fifteen and sixteen, looked past my black clothes and bad attitude and saw a person who needed love and acceptance more than conversion. I am a feminist because I have been blessed to learn from amazing women my entire life.

I am a feminist because I have read about feminism and studied the writings of actual feminists, because I know what it means more deeply than a few soundbites on cable TV news, because I will never understand women who say they are not feminists.

I am a feminist because there is always more to learn, more to change, more to fix in the world. Because we will never be finished with equality.

I am a feminist because I believe—no, because I know—that all people have amazing sides and dark sides, good and bad, unique ideas and abilities. Because there are always limitations but gender, race, nationality, identity, religion, socioeconomic levels should not be limits.

Why are you a feminist?


Words for the Men In My Life Who Voted for Trump

I have a theory that there are two types of men who voted for Trump: one is men who believe the rhetoric, who want the wall and the labels and the restrictions, whose fear-based hatred of anything Other drives them to stupidity and violence; and two is men who believe that there was no clear, good choice but that Trump was the least bad of two bad choices.

And while I disagree utterly with your assessment and choice, I can say that you are men who fall into the second camp. You see Trump’s ugliness and implied violence and fascist slant, and you voted for him not because you admire that about him, but because you thought the other option was worse.

I know that you are in the second group because I could not bear to associate with the first type of man, the type who hates based on race, gender, orientation, or anything not inherently evil. And because I have seen your goodness in other settings.  And because you have told me you only voted for him because of the other option.

Lady liberty on election day

When the election results began coming in last night, I began to panic. My heart started pounding, my chest ached, and I had a hard time breathing.

Because for me, choosing Trump is untenable. Choosing a bigoted, racist misogynist with the temperament of a grumpy toddler who needs a nap as the leader of the free world is not the least-worst option out of two bad choices. It’s the worst possible choice we could have made, and I expect absolutely nothing good to come from it.

From your choice.

And as the night wore on I grew angrier and angrier, my lungs tighter and tighter until I found myself making a sound that I had only previously made at someone’s death, a breathless, wailing keen of grief.

No one died, but something died.

My belief that Americans are, at their core, intelligent people, perhaps.

My faith in our judicial process.

But also…my trust in you.

How can this dissonance stand? How can good men vote for such a bad man? Is all of your goodness negated by this bad choice?

I still think you are good men.

But doubt has crept in to my feelings about you.

My concerns about Donald Trump as a president are myriad and complicated and deep. But my two largest are these:

Will he protect the environment? (No; he has stated that he believes climate change is “bullshit” and high on his priority list for his first 100 days is negating the Paris Climate Agreement and besides, he obviously has chlamydia from all that time he’s spent in bed with Big Oil.)

Does he stand up for human rights? As a feminist, I am most deeply worried about him stripping away women’s rights, because I know that when women start losing their rights, so do all the other groups that are seen as Other. (This is how I can answer that question: Nathan, today, in attempt to get his mother to stop weeping, joked with me. “Mom!” he said, “do you think Donald Trump likes libraries? He’s gotta like libraries, right? Who doesn’t like libraries?” and then I fired back, “No! Of course he doesn’t like libraries. He likes strip clubs and women with big tits in short skirts that make it easier for him to grab them by the pussy” and if that doesn’t illustrate how devastated and destroyed I am by this election—the fact that I shouted two words I absolutely detest at my 16-year-old son whom I adore—then I don’t know what could. Donald Trump will not stand for women’s rights; he will try to strip them because stripping is what he does to women. He stands for the rights of wealthy white men. Preferably angry white wealthy men who cannot bear the social ramifications of treating all people like human beings. He sees women as objects for having sex with.)

The man you voted for is power hungry and he will use that power to do bad things.

Already he is doing something bad: he is infiltrating my relationship with you. He’s making me trust you less. He’s making me wonder whose side you’re really on. He’s making me a little bit terrified that you are secretly men of the first camp, men who ridicule women, minorities, handicapped people. He’s making me fear that, given the choice, when Trump starts trying to give women’s power back to men, you might be tempted to accept it.

Before this vote, I never saw you as the patriarchy.

But now, a little, even though I still think you’re good men—now, you too are the patriarchy. To me, in my heart.

I trust you less.

(And, honestly: I am angry at you. So, so angry. Whatever political reasons you had for voting for Trump should have been superseded by a non-negotiable abnegation of Trump’s views on women, because I am a woman, because your daughters and your sisters and your mothers and your aunts and your neighbors and your friends are women, because I know you know women aren’t only objects but people, but when you voted for him you negated that. I am so angry I want to punch holes in walls and throw everything breakable around me against cement, I would like to incite violence against you but there is a small voice that says but they would only think you are a hysterical woman and see: already how it has changed, my trust in you.)

So here is what I need from you. From the men I know who voted for Trump.

If you want me to trust you again, if you want our relationship to be based in respect instead of fear, if you want to earn back my open and untainted affection for you, you have to doubt.

None of you have gloated, but you never can. Because you have to know that he is a danger to the world and you have to know that gloating for the triumph of badness is as horrible as the badness itself.

You have to tell me, “Yes, I voted for Trump, but I am not sure it was the right thing.”

You have to watch him and be sickened.

You have to know that you have lost any right to complain when his policies affect your life in negative ways. When that happens—and even though you are white men, it will happen even to you—you only get to take it.

You have to protest. You put this man in office, so when he does bad things, wrong things, horrible things, you have to stand up to him.

When he tries to lay waste the environment, you need to be there, protesting with signs, shouting and objecting.

When he tries to take away my rights as a woman, you need to stop him.

Your actions need to prove your words to me, if you want me to believe your motivations.

If you only voted for him because he was the lesser of two evils, if your choice wasn’t based in fear or misogyny or narrow-mindedness but in your belief that it was the only not-horrible choice, you have to prove it.

And you prove it to me by fighting against the awfulness you claim to know he is made of.

I need a few days, honestly. I need to grieve. I need to learn how to be in this new world where I am stripped of male allies. I need to know how live with my distrust of you.

I need to tape my shattered self back together.

And then I’ll be fighting, against Trump and all he stands for. And you’d better be there, fighting with me. Because if I’m fighting that fight alone, I will need to learn to fight all the fights alone.

Don’t let me down again.

(These 1349 words are for the men in my life who voted for Trump. I have no words at all for the women who did.)