In Case You Need Thumb Seeds, Tiny Watermelons, Or A New President, Which Are Basically The Same Thing…

January 12, 2018 in Beth by Beth Woolsey

You know how sometimes you wish you had more than two thumbs to give? Like, when you’re all, TWO THUMBS UP to your friends but then you wish you had three thumbs because they brought cookies? Or four because they said your kids probably won’t all grow up to be serial killers? In those moments, I’m all, “I REGRET THAT I HAVE BUT TWO THUMBS TO GIVE, friends.” They deserve so much more. 

This isn’t just me. It can’t be. I mean, I know it’s just anecdotal evidence, but Facebook added a love button because sometimes like simply isn’t enough. I think they still need to add a vomit button and a rolling-eyes button given our current political environment, but still, Facebook is at least attempting to allow us to share the scope of our emotion, and I appreciate that.

I texted my friend Kasey a four-thumber the other night…

“Four Thumbs Up <- That’s if I had 4 thumbs.”

…and right away, she understood not just my approval but my deep desire for additional thumbs. 

If you cut off your big toes thumbs might grow in their place.”

Kasey gets me. She really does. I like her because she’s not just a problem solver, she thinks of practical solutions. Still, I had a few questions, for clarity, you know?

Do I cut them off with scissors? Or a knife? Or pull them off? Like, does the cut have to be straight and even for the thumbs to grow? And do I have to put thumb seeds in my empty toe holes? Does it only work with my big toes? Or can I cut off all my toes and have 10 thumbs down there?”

I’m so glad I asked, friends. Kasey initially assumed a certain level of Toe Thumb awareness on my part, but I’m a true Toe Thumb novice. 

For sure a knife. A really really big one. Make sure you cut from the bottom up if you want the thumbs to be up. Thumbs down on your feet would be embarrassing. Yes you need thumb seeds in the big toe holes. Make sure it is centered and not wonky. Very bad things happen if your seeds are placed wonky. You can get thumb seeds at Home Depot. It only works with your big toes. I highly recommend not cutting off all your other toes.”

Conclusion? ASK QUESTIONS. Nobody likes a know-it-all, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say the very last thing you want is upside down Toe Thumbs.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. If you’re looking for toe seeds at Home Depot, Kasey offered some advice on where to find them. 

Thanks! Do you know where at Home Depot the Thumb Seeds are? I assume not with the vegetable seeds; that would be weird since thumbs are obviously not vegetables. I just need to know where to tell Greg to look. I thought maybe with the pipes and/or screws since those are the parts for making robots?” “Defs not by vegetables that would just be inappropriate and disgusting. I believe they are near the screws and you should probably tell Greg to pick up a couple of those screws just in case too. They can be helpful in the rare case that they fall off.”

P.P.S. I also looked up “Thumb Seeds” on Amazon, as one does, hoping to find out whether I can have them shipped to my door and save myself the trip to Home Depot. 

I have several take-always from the search results, as follows:

A) Amazon verified Kasey’s advice by providing product info for a prosthetic thumb in case growing your own thumbs from seed proves too difficult, a pocket knife for toe severing, and thumb seeds. Well done, Amazon. Well done.

B) Clearly the seller has to call these “thumb watermelon seeds” because the selling of human body parts is prohibited, presumably even in seed form, but, by looking at the picture, one can see they are, in fact, advertising the thumb.

C) Microscopic watermelons are also a thing, which I didn’t know prior to this search. I presume these watermelons, each of which must be peeled separately in order to eat them, are for people who are exceedingly bored and thus can allot time to tiny watermelon peeling. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I know not who these people are, but I would like one afternoon to be them, please.

P.P.P.S. Following the horrific “shitholes” comment by President Trump yesterday, one of you (I’m looking at you, Mehera) suggested we elect Jed Bartlet president, instead. I’m in favor. Also acceptable, in no particular order: Jean Luc Picard, Michelle Obama, Mike Rowe, a bag of chips, my Golden Retriever Zoey, Sarah Silverman, Elizabeth Warren, a rock, The Rock, that one flight attendant who had enough of his job and pulled the emergency exit door on the tarmac so he could escape via life raft slide, my favorite barista Ian from the Coffee Cottage, Stampy the Minecraft YouTuber, Boss Baby, Gayle King, Ira Flatow, or these teeny, tiny watermelons that look like thumbs. Sheesh. 

20 Gifts UNDER $20

November 28, 2017 in Uncategorized by Beth Woolsey

A few days ago, I saw a “Presents Under $50” list that made me roll my eyes HARD and then ask my family to roll THEIR eyes, too, because my own two were an INSUFFICIENT NUMBER of eyes to roll in response. It wasn’t the general idea of presents under $50. I’m at least theoretically all for that. It was this specific list that caused the eye gymnastics. 

First, the list called its 30 items “white elephant gifts,” which, at least as far as I understand it, means these are the items the list-makers assume are good for either a) general gift-giving appealing to all sorts of people when you don’t know who’s going to end up with them, and/or b) gag gifts. I mean, if you’re spending $50 on gag gifts, more power to you, friend. Also, I want an invitation to your party, please, because that would be a cool cross-cultural experience for me. But at no time, in the history of my life upon this fine earth, have I ever, EVER spent $50 on a white elephant gift. 

Second, the list called $50 the “sweet spot price,” and “cool, cheap presents,” and “affordable.” Which… maybe… except for the fact that…

Third, the list includes items like:

  • a $47 mini mug
  • a $16 velvet hair ribbon
  • a $35 hair comb
  • a $45 bottle of handwash clothes detergent
  • a $10 one-time-use, plastic drinking straw 
  • and more items that made me cock my head to the side and go… what??

For a while, I thought the list must be satire — surely it was a joke — but a little sleuthing uncovered the fact that it’s legit. That’s when the eye rolling began. And when I started typing in all caps. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND WHO SPENDS $16 FOR A STRIP OF VELVET. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND $35 FOR A COMB. I mean, does the comb LIGHT UP? Does it BRING ME A BEER FROM THE FRIDGE? Does it MORPH INTO A GENIE AND OFFER ME THREE WISHES? I’m on a Need to Know basis over here — I NEED TO KNOW HOW THIS IS EVEN A THING. I can get 3 YARDS of velvet ribbon at Joann Fabric for $4, y’all. And a 3-pack of hair combs is $0.99 at the grocery store… or, if you want to be extravagant, you can get a fancy comb with a HANDLE for $1.49. Right? I mean, a small bottle of detergent for A TASK I REFUSE TO DO costs $45? And that’s a “cool, cheap, sweet spot” gift? Gah. Don’t worry about me, friends; I’ll just be over here hyperventilating on the floor.

Eventually, once I forced my eyes back down out of my forehead, I decided to put together my own list of gifts for under $20. Because clearly SOMEONE MUST. While $20 STILL may not be the “sweet spot” for gift pricing, it’s a heck of a lot sweeter than $50. Besides, the prices for the gifts below go down as low as $5, AND they’re not gag gifts. There’s stuff in here for kids and adults, bigger presents and stockings, picky teens, travel gear, jewelry, and more.

Enjoy!

{And…psst… A BIG HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who helped put together this list of BETTER STUFF for $20 or less. You’re the raddest.}


20 COOL GIFTS UNDER $20

Fred Bonehead Folding Dinosaur Comb, $14 — OK; I couldn’t resist starting with a comb. While I must admit, $14 is still, in my opinion, too pricey for ONE COMB, this one is a far cooler version than the $35 number, AND it’s fun enough to perhaps convince my kids to actually use it. 

 

4M Science Kits, $9-17 — a wide variety available, great for kids elementary age on up. Tin can robot pictured. Other options include crystal growing, kitchen science, potato clock, hover racer, water rocket, weather science, solar rover and more.

 

Mobile Phone Camera Lens for Macro and Wide Angle Photos, $15 — Not gonna lie — I’m hoping Greg reads carefully enough to put this in my stocking. Highly rated mobile phone clip-on lens to improve photo quality. Two lenses in one… a wide angle and a macro lens. Excellent for amateur photographers who want to up their photo quality. (THAT’S ME, GREG.)

 

Stainless Steel Reuseable Straws , $7 — Honestly, who wants a one-time-use plastic straw for $10 when you can get SIX REUSEABLE straws for $7? This one’s a win, and it comes with cleaning brushes. Hooray!

 

Infrared Flying Hover Ball, $12 — This looks like an amazing gift for older kids, teens, and grown-ups like me who think we’re still children. We’ll be launching these on Christmas morning. Sure, a lamp or two may get broken, but let’s be honest; that was going to happen with or without dueling hover balls. 

 

BEAST Double Wall Stainless Steel Tumbler gift bundle, $18 — You know what I hate about stainless steel tumblers? The fact that they’re handwash only. Not this one, though. This one’s dishwasher safe and comes with some of those stainless steel straws I mentioned above. I’ll take this over a $47 mini-mug any day, no matter how cute that mug is.

 

Handcrafted Cutting Boards, Cheese Boards and Coasters at Swamp Otter Designs, starting at $15. The board pictured is handmade with cherry, walnut, red oak and maple, finished with food-grade mineral oil, measures 8”x7.5”x1.25”, and sells for $15. Beautiful AND supports a small business owner and artist. 

 

 

Ladies’ Owl Socks, 5 pair, $14 — Guess what’s going in my kids’ stockings this year? Yep! These have already arrived at my door. 

 

John’s Crazy Socks, $6-12 per pair — John has a very cool story! Click that link to learn more. He sells ALL KINDS of cool socks, most for $6/pair. I’m currently trying to decide between Talking Goat Socks, Nasturtiums, and Portraits of Barack Obama. I just need to find out from John how well those Obama socks are going to soak up my tears. 

 

Sterling Silver Mesh Chain Bracelet, $19 — I bought this bracelet for myself two years ago, and it’s become my all-time FAVORITE. I wear it almost daily. It lays beautifully on my wrist without flipping, the mesh adds visual interest to a basic bracelet that goes with everything, and the price is right. Love this one.

 

VERO MONTE Slipper Socks, 2 pair for $20 — choice of grey or white. Classic sock slippers in white and grey options. 

 

Long-ass, Fast Charging, Durable iPhone Cable, $11 — While technically “long-ass” isn’t part of this product’s name, it should be. That’s what makes it great. It’s 6’ long, Apple certified, and charges FAST. 

 

 

Hummingbird Purse Mirror by New Hampshire Pewter, $16 — A lovely artisan product, this is the perfect small mirror to carry for those of us who care about such things. 😉 

 

Never Trust An Atom (They Make Up Everything) T-Shirt, $8 — Also available in a women’s v-neck, these are awesome science-geek-approved daywear. I get Greg a geeky shirt for Christmas every year. He always needs new t-shirts, and the price point is perfect. Last year’s shirt pictured a cat and a box and said, “Schroedenger’s Cat Wanted: Dead and Alive.” There are hundreds of clever shirts to choose from once you start looking online, and most are under $10. 

 

 

Handbag Hook, $5 — I love mine! This sucker unfolds so that the disk in the center can be placed on a table, and the linked metal around the disk forms a hook. It’s an easy, reliable way to hang my purse on the table when I go out. No more putting it on the floor, and easy to carry in my bag with me. Holds a surprising amount of weight.

 

 

Mini Backpack, available in 6 color combinations, $7 — I felt like I was taking a risk with these when I bought them for my kids last year. I mean, a $7 backpack can’t be perfect quality, can it? I took a risk and bought two anyway, and they’re one of my best purchases. We’ve been using them for 18 months now, through several trips, as kids’ daypacks. They’ve been awesome. Perfect size for kids to carry their own gear! Up mountains, through airports, they’ve been fantastic. The adults keep borrowing them, too.

 

 

Gerber Paraframe Knife, $17 — High quality, durable, all purpose knife. My 11yo bought this one with his birthday money last year on the recommendation of my father, the Marine. It has lived up to every expectation. Gerber makes excellent products, and this knife has served my kid well while camping and whittling in the backyard. My favorite part is it sharpens easily and maintains a sharp edge which (believe it or not) helps reduce the risk of injury. Has my child cut himself with this knife? YEP! Sure has. Even though a Marine trained him in its use. Nothing a bandaid can’t fix, though, and a great knife to learn on. 

 

 

Camping Hammock, $18 — Speaking of outdoor gear, hammocks are just all-around rad and an ongoing favorite of my kids. This one is highly rated and comes with straps and carabiners for hanging. 

 

 

Flingshot Slingshot Flying Screaming Monkey, $7 — For parents who have lost their everloving minds and simply no longer care what gets broken. You thought the hover balls were bad? I have no doubt these are worse. Which is why we’re getting at least two. I DID discover there’s a way to dismantle the screaming portion, though. I mean, I AM out of my mind, but I still have some standards. 

 

 

Bottle of Wine: Myriad Options Under $20 — There’s a reason a bottle of wine is a perpetual favorite. The bottles are often lovely, you can find very decent wines at reasonable prices if you know where to look (hint: ask the wine merchant at Trader Joe’s for the best bottles at your price point), and it’s always classy. Pictured here: wine I love from Anne Amie in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley

 

Quick Reminder, You Glamorous, Glamorous Moms: You’re Not Alone

November 25, 2017 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Hey.

So you know how you’re sitting quietly on the couch, minding your own business, next to the Christmas tree with the soft lights all around, and you think to yourself, what a wonderful world?

And you know how you’ve stayed in your short, cotton nightie all day because you have that sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head cold going around, but it doesn’t matter because no one’s going to see you anyway? You’re comfy and the ibuprofen’s working, so who even cares that your legs are prickly, your bra is God knows where, and your make-up is left over from yesterday so you’re sporting that whole strung-out raccoon look? 

And you know how you have a quilt on top of you and a pillow behind your back, and nothing pressing, and the children, praise Jesus, are all busy elsewhere and quiet so they’re probably setting the house on fire but who cares because you have, like, ten whole minutes entirely to yourself?

You’re with me, right?

Yes? 

You know how you got yourself a cup of French pressed coffee with just the right amount of cream, and it’s warm and perfect, and you set it down on the little table next to you, and you’re actually, for once in your life, drinking it before it gets cold?

And then you know how one of those children, bless his heart, decides to get the games down from the very top shelf of the bookcase behind the Christmas tree? And so said child must step over you and onto the arm of the couch and lean over the coffee and hang onto the tree for balance?

And then you know how the child overbalances and the tree tips and the games fall and the coffee crashes to ground and so does the child and most of the ornaments and there’s coffee and game pieces and shards of glass everywhere?

And you’re fine with all of that because the child is OK and you don’t have to go to the emergency room, so you pull the child from the mess and send him to get a towel and a broom and tell him it’s OK and everyone makes messes and I’ll clean this one up because, in our family, we help each other?

And you know how you feel rather kind and very heroic and like you rocked the poop out of motherhood, reacting with grace and compassion even though you’re sick and you could have been a total ass to your kid?

And then, you know how, in an effort to step in neither coffee nor glass, you drape yourself decorously over the couch to clean the mess? With grace and elegance? Pretty much exactly like a 1950s housewife who wears heels and pearls to polish her already pristine home?

And you know how your kid, that little turd, grabs your camera and takes a pic so you get to find it on your phone later and reminisce?

You know?

You know, right?

Well, me, too. And I just want you to know when that happens… you’re not alone, friend.

You are definitely not alone in this glamorous, glamorous life.

With love,

Quick Life Tip

November 6, 2017 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Dear friends,

Just a teeny, tiny quick tip for you today.

If somebody says, “Hey! You look really nice today,” maybe just say thank you.

Thank you is enough.

Thank you is not as awkward as Other Options.

Thank you is socially appropriate. And, sweet friend, you actually do not need to offer an excuse for looking nice.

Maybe, for example, do not say, “Yeah, I would’ve worn my usual jeans except I put them on last night to go out, and I realized they smell like butt. I suppose I should’ve expected that since I can’t remember the last time I washed them, but it still came as a surprise. I sprayed them with perfume, which, as you might suspect, made them smell like Perfume and Butt. It really wasn’t an improvement over Just Butt, but at least it’s the smell of I Tried, you know? I wore them anyway because I was already running late, but I vowed I would not wear them again until I actually wash them because I have standards. Eventually. I have Eventual Standards. So, because I’ve put on, like, 30 pounds over the last couple years, I only have the one pair of jeans right now, which means the inner thighs are practically see-through and in imminent danger of ripping and presenting a serious social hazard. This dress is the only other thing that fits. So, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, that’s why I look nice, I guess. My butt-smelling jeans are on the fritz.”

Maybe do not say that, because then the complimentor will look at you, and you will look at the complimentor, and there is no where to go from there.

In conclusion, YOU MAY SQUIRM at compliments. They may make you itchy and uncomfortable. But I assure you — and TAKE THIS FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS FROM RECENT EXPERIENCE — it is way, way less awkward to just say thank you.

Repeat after me: JUST SAY THANK YOU.

Your Friend,

 

 

Gun Rights AND Gun Control: What If We ACTUALLY FOLLOWED the Second Amendment?

November 5, 2017 in Beth, But Seriously by Beth Woolsey

I can start this blog post one of two ways: I can either tell you I’m the proud daughter of a Marine who responsibly owns guns, in which case you’ll think I’m a proponent of Gun Rights, or I can tell you I’m a pacifist Quaker married to a conscientious objector, in which case you’ll think I’m a proponent of Gun Control.

You’d be right.

Yes, I am.

I’m also, quite frankly, BAFFLED by the conversation about guns in the United States of America, and if I could just take one minute to Piss Off All the People, I’d  like to propose a solution.

It’s just, I have this idea, after 1,000 conversations with my gun-toting father who floated it first, and after 1,000 more chats with my peacenik friends… that we could do this RADICAL THING in America and ACTUALLY FOLLOW THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

Usually, public conversations on guns go like this, “I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY GUNS BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTION SAYS SO,” and then, “BUT PEOPLE ARE DYING,” and then, “BUT GUN RIGHTS,” and then, “BUT GUN CONTROL,” and I realize I may be being simplistic here, but the Second Amendment LITERALLY ALREADY SOLVED THIS PROBLEM.

Have you read it recently? The Second Amendment? It’s only 27 words long, but I rarely see it quoted in articles debating gun rights and gun control. It goes like this:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In other words, yes; Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. And yes; that right shall not be infringed. AND ALSO, these rights are to be exercised within the parameters of a well regulated militia. TRAINING, in other words. ORGANIZED. Within a COMMUNITY of people that supervises and monitors the use of said weapons. 

Listen; I get it. I understand that there are Originalists and Textualists constantly debating what Militia means… what well-regulated means… what exactly is “necessary to the security of a free State”… and whether any of those refer to individual rights, community rights, states’ rights or all of the above. But regardless of how you interpret any of those definitions, it remains that our Founders set parameters and presumed some type of coordination, administration and management of our arms-bearing citizens. And it remains that we currently have none.

I’ve heard my friends and I’ve seen the memes that if we did nothing after Sandy Hook, we never will. I’ve felt the same hopelessness watching the innocent die month after month, year after year, and I doubt that today — the day 26 more Americans died in a mass shooting, this time while sitting in church in Texas — will be the reason we finally act. But although I give in to despair for a time, I refuse to dwell there. I refuse to stop talking about it. I refuse to stop pushing for solutions that both protect the fundamental American right to bear arms AND the fundamental human right to basic safety.

Maybe we could start by actually following the Second Amendment. Or maybe that’s far too practical. I’m curious what you think…

Me, too. But I didn’t realize it for 25 years.

October 16, 2017 in Beth, But Seriously by Beth Woolsey

Have you seen #MeToo rolling around social media? It goes like this,

Me too.

If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “me, too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Copy and paste.

#metoo

So first I want to say, if you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, you’re not alone. Me, too.

Second, if you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, you should ONLY copy and paste this as your status if YOU ARE READY TO DO SO. Because not only need we not feel shame for being harassed and assaulted, we also need not feel shame about when we’re ready to talk about it. Some of us are ready. We have processed enough of our stories and/or trauma that we can say it out loud, even to the world wide webs. Some of us haven’t. Some of us aren’t ready. Some of us, by sharing now, would be retraumatizing ourselves and making it worse, not better. Pretty please, dearest friend, share when YOU are ready, not when the world decides you should be. OK? OK. Glad we had this chat.

And third, this is my story.

[Trigger/Content Warning: Sexual Assault]

I didn’t let my teenage daughter have a job in high school. Instead, I paid for dance tuition — usually hundreds of dollars per month we had to scrimp and save — so she could dance 20 hours each week and participate in conventions and competitions that cost hundreds more.

I was alternately embarrassed and relieved by this decision. Embarrassed because we were choosing to live a rather elitist lifestyle, pouring money into our child and not requiring her to earn it. Relieved because she wouldn’t be dry-humped and felt up by her McDonald’s manager in the drive-thru like I was at age 16. 

Oh, sure; dance taught Abby a hard work ethic, physical fitness, goal setting, and time management. It was a fantastic part of her education, and she was grateful, but still; LOTS OF MONEY and rhinestones and my kid graduated high school without ever working a job beyond the occasional babysitting gig. This was not at all how I was raised, nor is it how my husband was, and I couldn’t help but wonder if we were setting her up for a lifetime of entitlement. After all, we hear all the time about today’s teenagers who are “too good” for honest, hard work at less glamorous places like fast food restaurants. But every time I thought she could at least work a fryer during the summer and pursue dance, every time I tried to convince myself that just because it happened to me didn’t mean it was going to happen to her — every time I thought of her alone, closing the restaurant at midnight with a man bigger and older than her, my hands got sweaty, and my heart pumped faster, and I knew I was never going to ask her to apply to grill burgers. Not ever. I couldn’t do it.

Which is how, at age 40ish, I finally realized I was sexually assaulted. 

It wasn’t that I’d dismissed what happened to me working swing shifts at McDonald’s. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten. It was simply — and this has come to be even more terrifying to me than assault amnesia — that I believed my experience was wholly unremarkable. As normal as tripping over a curb or missing my seat in 6th grade math class and crashing to the ground. Which is to say, an experience that is memorable and uncomfortable but not anything out of the ordinary or worth commenting on.

THAT is how ingrained sexual assault is in our culture. THAT is how embedded. THAT is how common and mundane. That 16-year-old me thought having a man push me into a corner and rub his erection on me while trying to grab my boobs was just another, normal, unfortunate work condition. A bummer of a surprise like seeing how much of my paycheck went to taxes. A meh, whatever, shrug-it-off situation. Something we girls bitched about in the work room while we ate our $3.49 of free food per shift. But also something none of us even considered reporting. Not because it wouldn’t do any good, but because clothed sexual assault didn’t seem to rise to the “Must Report” level. Any ejaculate was contained in his pants, after all, and, if we said no and pushed him off enough, if we smiled at him so he wouldn’t be mad, he left us alone for the rest of the shift.

I read that now, and I go, DEAR GOD. I mean, DEAR LORD JESUS IN HEAVEN, WHAT THE HELL? It seems impossible to me now that I didn’t see it then. But it’s still true.

I didn’t tell my parents. The same parents who were always so good about telling me no one has the right to touch me in the bathing suit area and that I could talk to them anytime about anything which was true. I didn’t tell them because it didn’t cross my mind. I didn’t tell them until they, too, wondered why Abby wasn’t doing time at a local burger joint. My dad pumped gas as a teen. My husband washed cars at his dad’s used car dealership. I flipped burgers and worked a cash register. Shouldn’t Abby learn the same way? I didn’t tell them until we were having the conversation in my kitchen, and I answered casually, “I just don’t think I want my kid to be dry-humped by her manager.” I said it casually because I still felt casual about it. But as soon as it fell from my mouth, I did a mental double take. And ever since, I’ve been realizing how very ingrained assault is in our culture, our communities, and our lives as women navigating an unfriendly world.

My story is unbelievably common. Unbelievably normal. Obvious assault and harassment experiences we didn’t see as obvious or as assault because we are subconsciously, insidiously trained not to recognize it. One of my girlfriends posted this yesterday, “I was just about to post how extraordinarily lucky I feel to have never been a victim of assault as a woman. Then I remembered the time I was drugged in a bar and (thank goodness) passed out while still in the bar, spending the night in the hospital. I guess that’s another “me too.””

We are trained not to see it, and we are trained to belittle it when it happens to us.Well, sure; I’ve felt unsafe hundreds of times around men, but it’s not as bad as what happened to ____.” Or “He only felt on top of my clothes so I wouldn’t say it was assault, exactly.” Or “It wasn’t technically rape, so… Or I knew better than to go to his room alone.” We have unlimited excuses and dismissals, really. I know I did. Until I had to decide what was OK for my daughter. It turns out what happened to me is definitely Not OK if it happens to her. Which means it’s Not OK that it happened to me. This particular assault was Not OK, and neither are the other times I was grabbed and groped; neither are the dozens of times I was sexually harassed with words and actions. Who knew? 

I’m telling you this story, friends, for specific reasons, which are these:

1. I refuse to be ashamed or embarrassed about this, and I will absolutely do my part to name the things that are Not OK — the things that Must Change — so our world has to face it and do better.

2. Not everyone can share her story. Not yet. Maybe not ever. And I want you to know, whether or not you are able to declare your “me, too,” I still see you. And so do countless others. We know you’re there. We know that for every person who can share, there are myriad more who can’t. We see you. We’re waving in the dark. You’re not alone.

3. You’re also not alone if you, like me, have suddenly become aware. You’re not alone if you realized belatedly you were assaulted. You’re not alone as you reluctantly claim membership in this club. You’re not alone as you realize how widespread this problem is and how brainwashed you were not to see it earlier. You’re not alone as you grieve your discovery of both your own experiences and of our culture as it actually is, rather than as you thought it was. And you’re not alone as you wonder what in the world we might actually do to change it.

Me, too, friends. Me, too.

With love, always,

 

 

 

 

On Sitting in the Ash and Mourning with the World

September 5, 2017 in Beth, But Seriously by Beth Woolsey

Oregon is on fire. Ash fell from the sky last night like a blizzard. We saw the sun today, a dim ball of deepest orange through the smokey sky, and I let my kids have All the Screens and Not Wear Pants because they couldn’t play outside.

I’m sitting outside now, on my back porch where I usually watch the mountain behind our house. I’m sitting outside even though my eyes are stinging and it’s like breathing inside a campfire. I can still see the mountain, but barely. The squirrels didn’t come out today. Neither did the birds. But I did, late in the day, because somehow sitting in the eerie quiet, breathing translucent air I can taste, feels like a lament that matches the inside of me.

I wanted to write a post tonight that’s optimistic and hopeful, but swaths of Texas are under water. So are parts of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Nepal, actually, even though we don’t talk them.

I wanted to write a post tonight that’s positive and cheerful, but Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, is on its way now to countries in the Carribbean like Haiti which haven’t recovered from last year’s Hurricane Matthew, and it’s expected to make landfall in Florida this weekend.

I wanted to write a post tonight that’s uplifting, but North Korea is launching missles, and our president is threatening fire and fury and sending military orders by tweet.

I wanted to write a post tonight that shines a light in the darkness, but gender and sexual minorities are under regular, blatant, and insidious attack, so light feels a little too far, like the sun hiding in the smoke.

I wanted to write a post tonight that’s at least reassuring if it can’t be rosy, but Nazis are marching in our streets while an unbelievable number of Americans are denying racism is an issue in our country. I wanted to be positive and to assume the best, but Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients – children who through no fault of their own know only America as home and country – are falling asleep tonight afraid for their futures; yet another group of people of color who’ve watched the U.S.A. rescind our promises.

I wanted to be positive and to quickly overcome the overwhelming, cumulative sorrow of today and this month and this year — and years before that full of macro- and micro-aggressions against others, that I, in my privilege, failed to see — but, instead, I’m going to sit tonight in the ash and mourn.

I’m going to sit tonight in the ash and feel sad like it’s my job.

I’m going to sit tonight in the ash and lament like it’s OK to sit and to grieve.

I’m going to sit tonight in the ash while the night grows dark around me.

I’m going to sit tonight in the ash while the world burns, and I’m going to pray without words, because words aren’t enough.

And in case you’re sad, too — in case you, like me, need the reminder in our rush to fix the world that we can also mourn with those who mourn — you’re invited to join me. To just be quiet. To sit in the ash. And to pray and hope and wish without words.

Waving in the dark and OK with that for now,

 

 

 

 

P.S. This is a doodle by my friend, Heather España, who also prays without words: