Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Month of Fever

February, the month of the fever. It is the time of year when those of us in the cold parts of the world start to go nuts. Stir crazy, cabin fever; whatever you want to call it, we are aching for Spring.

I am aching for Spring. It is a time of hope, renewal, and clear sidewalks. Glorious sunshine and long underwear sent to the back of the drawer.

Most of my life, I have been afraid. Afraid of being bad, of doing the wrong thing- most of all, disappointing people. It has left me, at times, completely frozen.

No more.

It is time for my own revolution. It could be my new job, and the confidence I’ve gained from it. It could be my edging ever so much closer to fifty years old. It could be my realization that being a role model for my children is changing, as they grow older.

It is time for change.

My classes are currently writing persuasive essays and putting music to them. Basically, putting a soundtrack to their thoughts and words. If I had to put music to this today, I would pick Beautiful by Carole King.

You’ve got to get up every morning, with a smile on your face, and show the world, all the love in your heart…

If I don’t believe in myself, why should anyone else? If I don’t trust my strength, no one else can.

and people gonna treat you better, you’re gonna find, yes you will, that you’re beautiful, as you feel…

It’s a song I memorized as a kid, playing the album until the grooves were worn out. (Note to the youngsters: Albums were vinyl disks, grooved to hold a needle in place, played on record players. Hard to imagine, I know.)

I wrote about beautiful a while back. Not pretty, not cute, but the power of beautiful. My goal this Spring, is to feel that way. To, perhaps for the first time, love myself.

If there’s any answer maybe love can end the madness, maybe not, oh, but we can only try…

For who I am- not what someone needs me to be, or wants me to be.


Because you know, I got the fever…

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Good Die

The good die and the assholes live, a colleague said to me yesterday. So painfully true.

I think about my sister every day. She is in my thoughts, always. In my dreams, she is smiling and happy. I can't shake the image of her dead when I'm awake. It is all I see. I know in time that will change.

My whole world is shaken, unsteady and unfamiliar now. Teaching has been an incredible gift to me. It gives me respite from what feels like constant sadness.

In time, that will change, too.

Loss brings up loss brings up loss. My mother has been haunting my dreams again. She is never happy with me. I am tired of this image. Awake, I know she would have been proud of me. Well, mostly proud.

Thus the dreams.

More losses come up- the loss of my family of origin. It is gone. Other losses too painful to write about, of childhood, and a father's love and so much more. It is, I have been told, the way we wade through death of someone close.

I have countless papers to go through, and I must clean out her house by February 28th. It is an impossible task. When I go over, I wander around in circles, and am easily overwhelmed.

I don't want to. I have to.

I know there are services to do such things but it feels wrong to me. The problem? I'm simply not ready to let go. It has been pointed out that I refused to believe she was dying when she was dying.

The good die. She is gone. Every day makes it less difficult to believe.

But no less painful.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Egypt: We Should be Celebrating

Egypt is a multicultural, diverse population. It is one of the oldest cultures in our world today. Egyptian culture has six thousand years of recorded history. Egypt has the highest number of Nobel Laureates in Africa and the Arab world. Egypt is recognized as the cultural trendsetter for contemporary Arab culture- as it’s culture thousands of years ago influenced that of Europe.

Today, thousands of young people who are fed up have started a revolution. A peaceful, powerful, all inclusive revolution.

A revolution. Remember when youth in this country started a revolution? Remember when we thought we could change the world? Small revolts, single shots, and finally, we were the United States of America. With a Bill of Rights and a Constitution that reads, “WE the people…”

What happened? We are more focused on finding the right restaurant and the right flowers for Valentines Day- a "holiday" that came from a card company- than we are in supporting a huge democratic surge in Egypt.


I can understand the media images in the last few days feeding fear. Janet Napolio (check name) has stated that the terror alert will be higher than it has been since 2001.

Really. Why am I not surprised?

Be afraid, is the message. Why? Why is it frightening that young people have taken the streets and are calling for a true democracy? Might the passion ignite other youth in other countries to do the same?

I’d like to say I don’t understand, but I do. It is the fear of the unknown. Change is, by nature, difficult for people to go through. My son had a fit that the chairs that were always in the living room were switched with the chairs that were in the back room.

No reason, just wanted to change it up.

There is an amazing reason for the change in Egypt. It is about freedom, fairness and justice. It is about all the different voices being heard. Don’t believe for one minute it is a singular voice. Expand what you read, look for other sources; listen to how you are being pushed.

I have been to many protests over the years, surrounded by clergy of many denominations. I joined hands with them, sang songs with them, shouted slogans with them.

I was and still am an atheist.

Look at the pictures being shown of people in prayer. How many are? How many are not? What is the wide-angle shot versus the close up?

Every Fourth of July, America celebrates a revolution. It was a bloody, violent revolution, a war that lasted years. Not so in Egypt.

But they are looking for the same thing.

It is time to stop the fear mongering and let freedom ring.