Friday, September 27, 2013

Resurfacing... just in time for Fall Semester

I've started this entry twenty-six ways til Sunday. I have paragraphs and pages drafted, which become lost under piles of paper and school books. My friends, I have been in Graduate School.  Almost a year ago, I wrote a Thanksgiving entry about non-gratitude, and an angel responded to it, and offered to give me assistance in realizing my dream of becoming a teacher.  Graduate School at my age is not easy. One of my classmates last semester was incredulous that the rumors of "going under" were true. She told me "I always heard about people dropping out of the picture and resurfacing two years later with a degree. I didn't think that would actually happen to me." Honestly, I didn't think it would happen to me either. I have had a lot reactions from people about my decision; mostly positive, but there have been cacklers (I would NEVER do that! You're crazy!).  And.. me being me, I think more about the cacklers.

I've had a lot of doubt, written a TON of pages of academic APA style writing, the origins of which still make no sense to me. I mean, why must we use a tool that the American Psychology Association created for our academic writing on Learning Theory? I've called my mother more than I have ever in my life. I've cried, I've struggled through texts that are so arcane and boring, but I made it through my first semester ...with flying colors, much to my surprise.

After traveling most of the summer, and bouncing to and from my temporary housing in Wellfleet, I am back on the Cape just in time for fall classes to begin.  I can report they are much like a chariot race must have been. Stampeding, dust flying, unable to really steer around the bend, the six or eight horses a heavy load to wield, speeding along to a finish line you cannot see with the thrill pounding in your breast.
So bear with me - I want to stay in touch with all of you lovely friends. I feel so removed, buried in my books and my classroom observations and my exhilaration, my fears, that I forget to post, even 500 words, to let you know where and how I am doing and to find out from you what adventures you are in the midst of...

Please comment - I love to hear from you!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Singing the Valentine's Day Blues

I woke up on the 14th to an email from a friend of mine back east.   … Blank and I are done... just in time for Valentine's Day. Stupid holiday, whatever. What are you doing today?”

It IS a stupid holiday, especially for those of us singletons, no matter your age.  For at least a month, stores are filled with paper hearts, reminders to send bouquets, teddy bears and color themed M & Ms. And even if you’ve conditioned your expectations to the “I’m going to the dance alone” response, you still can’t help but feel that all of these items, items which will be 50% off the following day, are sweet and sick reminders that you won’t be receiving flowers, candy or even a sweet email from the ex-boyfriend who claims to be intensely in love with you and then disappears off the face of the earth but you actually know for a fact is living on his houseboat.  As if you wanted to hear from him anyway. Jeez. 

But I digress.  And after all, we can’t walk down the street with blinders on.

I responded with a link to the1 Billion Rising event I am attending tonight with my friend Kate, founder of The WIP,  and her guest, Syrian journalist Ali Turki al-Rabeo, at Monterey’s Center for Spiritual Living. It may not heal a broken heart completely, and it has nothing to do with St. Valentine, the passing of love notes or the buying of flowers, but rather an international movement where over 205 countries will be participating.

On February 14, 2011, Eve Ensler, (who needs no introduction, but why not), the award winning author of the play “The Vagina Monologues”, began an annual dance party in which she dreamed that 1 Billion Women will rise; to dance, laugh, cry and ultimately heal together.   Because of her strategic framework, articles about the events refer to the fact that 1 in 3 women are victims of sexual violence, a fact that Ms Ensler would like to become such harrowing common knowledge that people are compelled to change the status quo.

On the Monterey Peninsula, traditional Aztec and Caribbean dancing was followed by guided meditation after which Kate and Alia spoke about rape as a continued, accepted weapon of war.  Since time began and towns and tribal lands began to be pillaged by warring soldiers, women have ultimately been the casualties and the survivors. And apparently, this practice doesn’t exclude fellow soldiers. The Oscar nominated documentary, “The Invisible War” reveals that 500,000 enlisted women have been raped while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

The Billion Rising website has posted videos from all over the world, from an incredible gathering in the Congo, a country which The Guardian cited that in 2011, “48 women were being raped an hour”, to India’s multiple events paying tribute to the young 23 year old known as “Damini” who was gang raped on a bus in New Delhi and later died last January. 

The movement is about survival, by dancing together, claiming a place with your people, your womenfolk – not as victims but as a members of a powerful, empathetic group of human beings, men and women, who are gaining momentum, and with that, courage.  

Ever since Victoria and I got on the bus in Union Square to march on Washington with N.O.W. in 1991, I have felt the powerful energy of women gathered together.  I can’t think of a better way to spend this day, and to know that I am virtually sharing it with millions and hopefully a billion women across the earth. Well, that is a pretty strong cure for the Valentine’s Day Blues as well as an omnipotent message of hope and love.

Host a screening of The Invisible War: