Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

This is what I look like right now. This is my fifth bout with skin cancer, and the fourth (and by far the worse) permanent scar on my face.

I don’t go in the sun. I wear sunscreen every day (have for as long as I can remember) so how did I get this way?

This is a result of the horrible sunburns I subjected myself to as a teenager- all so I could look like someone else. Back in the late seventies, when we fair-skinned girls were supposed to be bronzed like Farrah Fawcett, I hated my body, I hated my skin. Kids used to tease me and call me Casper the ghost. That together with the fact that I was trying to be anyone but myself back then (if you’ve read my essay in Dancing at the ShameProm, you know what I mean) was a toxic combination. 
The girl who didn't want to be herself.

So I baked in the sun until my face blistered. And it was awful and painful and foolish, but still I did it again. And again. Anything to not look like me.

And here I am at 48.

When I think back on all the stupid things I did as a teenager…hitchhiking, drugs, hanging out in liquor store alleys asking adults to buy us booze, running away from home and sleeping in the park….Who would have thought that the most dangerous thing I ever did, the thing that caused me the most harm, on so many levels, was wanting to be someone else.

Now I have a permanent scar in the middle of my face to remind myself of the ways I didn’t take care of myself, the ways I didn’t honor myself, the ways I didn’t realize I was fine just the way God made me.

Take it from me- don’t long to be anything but you. Look like you. Embrace you. Live as you. Be grateful for you.

And you won’t end up looking like me.

Don't fight who you are.

Please feel free to use me as a cautionary tale for your kids who won’t wear sunscreen, and to your teens or friends who bake in tanning booths. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bill Patrick is a Feminist

Is it possible for a man to be a feminist? If it means to care deeply about women's issues, to do work protecting women and girls from gender violence, and to raise a strong and confident daughter, then yes, Bill Patrick is a feminist. 

Check out Amy Ferris' blog today for our article/interview with this amazing man who articulates so beautifully what it is to be a man in a world of gender violence and inequality. 

To read more of Bill's progressive thoughts, check out Bill's Profeminist Blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Answered Prayers

Troy is home from Japan with videos and pics of our grandbaby Ayumu, and as I peruse them again and again, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I prayed for this EVERY day for a year. I woke up each morning, and thought about Ayumu. I closed my eyes and tried to remember the scent of his hair, the feel of his skin, the weight of him against my hip. I conjured up the feeling of running my fingers through his baby curls, the way he'd nestle his head into the hollow between my neck and shoulder, how he'd exhale and lay soft against me. Then I would take all that love, and put it into a prayer. Every single day. I called on every ancestor in spirit. I prayed to God, to angels. I asked for help from anyone who was out there in the cosmos.

A year ago, when Aya,my daughter-in-law, and Ayumu failed to return from a "visit" to Japan, when her facebook and email accounts disappeared, when she stopped communicating with all of us, yes, I panicked. I feared we would never see our grandson again. But I knew that fear was not my friend, and would only make a bad situation worse. After the tears and ranting, I decided, instead, to invest in faith. I put that faith in LOVE. 

For a year we have prayed, and sent only loving words to Aya. Even though she often would not respond, we still sent love. 

A year later, this happened in Kobe, Japan. I think this picture says it all.
My husband Troy and grandson Ayumu, reunited.

Some may say it was coincidence that while touring with Wilson Phillips, Troy was booked on a layover in Japan, but I know it was my answered prayer.

Aya rose to meet the occasion, and welcomed Troy into her home for three days, letting him spend every waking moment with Ayumu. Ayumu rushed into Troy's arms, held his hand everywhere they went, chattered in Japanese to him. If we had gotten angry with Aya, which certainly would have been justified, I know this gentle reunion would not have happened. Aya has matured over this past year. She is seeing things differently. And now, she is talking with both Troy and our son Taylor ( still her husband) about the possibility of coming to visit.

What I have learned through this ordeal is to never lose hope. Never lose faith. Miracles are possible when you keep your heart open. We don't have the perfect scenario, and I don't know that we ever will, but somehow we will find a way to be a family. Even with 5000 miles between us, through the cultural differences and the hurts and misunderstandings, we are a family. Love wins.

Saying goodbye at the airport, Troy whispers, "Come home to us, little one."