Truth in Politicking? Hahahahaha!

What might that sound like?

A section of the May — July 2019 exhibition, Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, And Green, by Rirkrit Tiravanija, at The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Photo taken by author.

What if politicians told the truth? Try to imagine it. Hilarious, right? Not funny haha though, angry funny. Our fury has no other outlet. We’re in sheer disbelief, but sadly, not surprised to find ourselves in the current situation.

What if Senator Joe Manchin (D, West Virginia), told everyone that he makes his real money from the coal industry and that’s why he consistently fights against things that would actually help West Virginians? Or what if he said he enjoyed the power that comes with being one of two swing votes in the Senate? Wouldn’t it be incredible if, instead of The Intercept or the New York Times or some other news outlet, having to uncover his not-so-secret secrets, he just announced them on the floor of Senate chamber? “Hi, I’m Senator Joe Manchin. I’ve made over five million dollars in income from the coal-related companies I founded in the 1980s and I hold stock that’s valued between one and five million dollars.[1] Yes, my stakes in the companies are held in a blind trust, but my family runs the companies so the blind trust is more of a technicality than anything else. And hey, on a tangentially related note, I keep opposing legislation from my own party, that would absolutely benefit my constituents, because I want to keep getting richer and because I love the power that I have. Y’all, I literally feel drunk with the power. I’m never giving up this feeling.”

What if Glenn Youngkin (R-Virginia), the new governor-elect of Virginia, told the voters that he was pandering to the lowest common denominator? What if, in one of his speeches, he’d said, “Not only do I not know what Critical Race Theory is, I don’t care. I don’t care even a little bit that it’s not taught in K-12 schools. I also don’t care that some high schoolers have to read Beloved, an award-winning novel, by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison (who also happens to be Black). I don’t care about any of these things, but I’m screaming about them as loudly as possible because I want to scare white people into voting for me.”[2]

How about the least favorite of your mom’s friends, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona)? Even your mom doesn’t really like her anymore; she just doesn’t know how to get rid of her. She seems to possess no clear stance on almost any topic. Her objections seem to be based solely on optics and she refuses to directly answer any questions about them.[3] What if she went to the press, that she both courts and scolds, and said, “Here’s why I object to seemingly random bills, reforms, legislation. I like being oppositional. It’s who I am. I like being difficult. I’m one of those people you can’t stand to be around because I’m consistently awful, and try to pass it off as just playing ‘devil’s advocate.’ My self-worth is tied up in being an outsider so I play into it instead of doing anything meaningful.”

And, last but not least (though possibly the least likable), Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas). What if Greg, much like the soon-to-be governor of Virginia, just made his ambitions clear? What if the man who courts racists, bigots, misogynists, and xenophobes put out a statement that said, “I, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, do not care about Texans. I definitely don’t care about people at the borders, begging for help and asylum in our country. I am a member of the party of family values, but I do not care about families. I steadfastly promise to not only do nothing for families, but to actively work against any legislation that would help them. I say the things I say, and do the things I do, because I want to make a name for myself. I want to be President, and I need the votes of the willfully ignorant to do that so all of this is just a means to an end that far outstrips state government.[4] Good luck with the power grid, too. I’m not fixing that horror show because I simply don’t care.”

Ok, time to wake up from this fever dream. But, what a glorious dream it was! And, as we rub the sleep from our eyes, we immediately hang our heads in shame as we confront the reality of our fractured society, the chasm growing ever wider by the hideous people we (largely white people[5]) have elected as our country’s leaders.

[1] Joe Manchin’s Dirty Empire, The Intercept (

[2] Glenn Youngkin’s Complicated History on Critical Race Theory, The Daily Beast (

[3] What Does Kyrsten Sinema Want?, Time (

[4] Greg Abbot and Ron DeSantis Are Competing to Be Trump. Who’s Winning?, Texas Monthly (

[5] AP VoteCast: Youngkin win built by small gains in key groups, AP News (

Crime Is Up, but at Least the City’s E-Scooters Are Safe

Elected leaders are choosing political expediency and finger-pointing instead of addressing rising violent crime head-on

Photo © Bruce Guthrie

District residents are grappling with a second year of increased violent crime. The city’s elected leaders have been intensely focused on safety. On October 1, the city’s new law requiring e-scooters to be locked up or docked instead of just left on the sidewalk went into effect.

The law was voted on in 2020, when Washington, D.C. had 198 homicides[1] and a 141% increase in carjackings as compared to 2019[2]. We’ve had 166 gun-related homicides so far in 2021, seven of which were under age 17.[3]

Carjackings also continue to skyrocket. According to NBC 4 News, Washington, D.C. has seen an over 50% increase in 2021 as compared to last year.[4]

Eleven people were shot in the first nine days of October. Since January 2021, 11 children under the age of 12 have been shot with one young girl succumbing to her gunshot wounds. Thirty-seven children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been shot, with six of them dying as a result.[5]

Accidents between cars and pedestrians and bicyclists continue to happen. Recently, two little girls, along with their father, were hit by a car while walking to school. It was National Walk to School Day. One of those girls will require multiple surgeries to correct the damage to her face. The driver was unlicensed, had temporary Maryland state tags, and has around $900 in outstanding tickets. Earlier this year, two people were struck and killed in a hit and run incident at Hains Point. Their killer still hasn’t been found.

On September 22, Fox 5 DC asked D.C. Council chair, Phil Mendelson, “Does the council bear responsibility for the rise in crime we’re seeing in the District?”. His response, “The quick answer is no.”[6]

He goes on to point out that D.C.’s crime increase is not unique among major U.S. metropolitan cities. Mr. Mendelson has decided that dereliction of his duty to District residents is preferable to working with Mayor Bowser and MPD Police Chief Contee to stanch the literal bleeding.

The Council is trying very hard to appear to be advocates of police reform, and that’s commendable. But, if they bothered to actually listen to their constituents, they’d understand that what residents want is simple. We want to be safe at our homes, schools and work, and in public spaces. We want the city’s children to be safe playing outside, walking to school, and in their school buildings.

The problem is that the work of ensuring people are safe is not simple. It requires addressing the inequities in our criminal justice system and actually making changes to solve the problems. It also requires reforming policing practices while still allowing officers to do their jobs responsibly, so that all residents, no matter their race, income level, or which ward of the city they live in, feel that law enforcement is there to protect them instead of worrying they may be killed. Our elected leaders must create and implement programs that provide real life training, education, and opportunities for D.C’s residents so they can earn a livable wage and provide for their families. It means ensuring that landlords who rent properties that no human should ever have to live in and developers who sell poorly constructed properties are held liable for their inhumane actions. It also means arresting, and prosecuting, the actual criminals so they’re not on the street continuing to terrorize people. And finally, despite the controversy it is bound to cause, it means the Council will actually have to allocate funds to hire more officers so that MPD is able to provide the increased police presence and enforcement that residents are begging for.

As a white resident of Ward 6, I am aware that my outrage over the shooting that occurred around the corner from my home, during which a stray bullet broke through the window of my neighbors’ two year old’s bedroom, is both expected and unsurprising. And, my anger has been met with empathy and understanding. Many of our city’s Black residents are not provided that same level of basic decency and courtesy. All voices calling out for help should be treated with urgency and respect.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that playing the blame game about who is responsible for the city’s rise in violent crime isn’t going to work the way the D.C. Council, or the Mayor’s office, wants. Playing politics with people’s lives is a dangerous game and Mr. Mendelson, along with the other council members, and Mayor Bowser, should note that their constituents are paying close attention to their actions. Inaction is its own action and we won’t tolerate elected leaders who simply do nothing rather than tackle difficult problems.

[1] Metropolitan Police Department, District Crime Data at a Glance,

[2] The Washington Post, “Puzzling spike in auto thefts, many of them violent, worries D.C.-area police”,

[3] Gun Violence Archive,

[4] NBC 4 News, “Driver Recalls Terrifying Armed Carjacking in DC”,

[5] Gun Violence Archive,

[6] Fox 5 News, “DC Council Chair says council not responsible for rise in crime”,

It’s Never Been About Abortion

Control holds much more appeal

Photo taken by author, in front of the U. S. Supreme Court

In early 2010, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. My husband and I were so thrilled. We told our family and friends, just prior to our first ultrasound appointment, but after we’d confirmed the pregnancy with my doctor’s office via blood test. A couple of weeks after we told our family, we went to have our first ultrasound. It’s such an exciting moment for expectant parents! We held each other’s hands as we waited for the ultrasound tech. We watched as she moved the wand around inside of me, getting an up close and personal look at my uterus.

Eventually, she stopped and said she’d be right back with the doctor. This being our first ever ultrasound we had no idea what was going on, so we were blissfully unaware of anything unusual. My doctor told us that I had a blighted ovum, a form of miscarriage where the body creates a sac for the baby, elevates hormone levels, and thickens the uterine walls, but stops before making the baby. I had two choices: go home and wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally or go to the hospital for a dilation and curettage (D&C) so that they could get all of the sac, etc. out of my body. Natural miscarriage carried a higher chance of infection and no one could tell me when my body would actually start the process. It could have been that evening, the next day or a week later. There were no guarantees. Right then, even knowing that, I wanted to do it at home because I was sad and afraid. The next morning, while I was at work (Yes, I went back to work. No one there knew that I was pregnant.), I realized I needed to let the doctor help, both for my physical and mental health. I called my doctor’s office and off we went.

I was terrified. I’ve broken my arm twice, broken my toe, sprained my ankle at least three times, and jammed a finger, but I’d never actually been in the hospital and never had surgery of any kind. I had to sign paperwork, agreeing to the procedure, nothing out of the ordinary. The procedure was listed as “Dilation and Curettage for a missed abortion”. I will never, for as long as I live, forget those words. Abortion stood out to me like a giant flashing light. I was having an abortion. Actually, my body had already performed the abortion all on its own and the hospital procedure was just to make sure that everything went as smoothly as possible and lowered the possibility of infection. But, I had an abortion. So did the 33% of women who have also experienced a miscarriage in one form or another. Abort simply means to stop something.

In Texas, and in Florida if their copycat bill passes, my doctor could now be sued by a private citizen for performing my dilation and curettage. The new anti-abortion law bans abortions, and the dilation and evacuation (including curettage) procedure, after six weeks, but does not criminalize abortion, nor make criminals of those who seek or perform abortion services. It simply deputizes the citizenry, including those outside of Texas, to act as watchdogs and sue abortion providers in civil court. The law makes no provisions for miscarriage, though it does have exemptions for medical emergencies. The Texas law is morally repugnant. But, objectively, it’s a well-crafted law. Since the law does not criminalize abortion and explicitly bans the state government from prosecuting abortion providers, it makes it more difficult to challenge.

Conservative politicians and priests, men and ministers, love to preach about the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of the unborn life. Though if that unborn life grows up to be a woman, her humanity is overlooked.

But, men alone cannot get these laws passed. Conservative women are equally culpable. The women who believe that other women cannot be trusted to make decisions for themselves. The women who say nothing in the face of so much male self-righteousness. The female politicians who vote for laws like these, that eviscerate the line between church and state.

These laws are about control. It’s about the desire for mostly white conservative Christian men and women to control women’s bodies. Abortion is a red herring. The control and the cruelty are the point. They want women to be meek, to subjugate themselves to the superior morality and intelligence of the men. They think they know better.

These same politicians crow about the need to be pro-life and complain about government programs to help families. Without supporting access to affordable, adequate health care and child care, housing that helps keep families safe, food programs that can educate people about healthy eating and provide access to affordable, healthy foods, claims of being pro-life ring hollow.

Anti-abortion laws overwhelmingly affect lower income women, a higher percentage of whom are women of color. Restricting access then forces women into impossible situations and we provide very little support once babies are born into difficult circumstances. These laws are an attempt to control the personal actions of all women, particularly lower income Americans.

The Bible they use as cover for their horrific laws also says the meek shall inherit the Earth. So, we the meek, are coming for you. Hell hath no fury like a woman told her life is nothing more than a host body. We will not sit quietly while politicians diminish the sanctity of our lives under the guise of piousness and morality.

But, we need every single voice to scream from the rooftops. Men who find this attempt to remove women’s bodily autonomy a violation — of the Constitution, of basic human rights — must speak up and speak out. Your silence is your complicity.

Write letters to your political leaders. Write to newspapers. Speak publicly about the issue. Flood their offices with messages of opposition. Donate to groups that are fighting this fight. VOTE. Vote in every election. Donate to, and vote for, candidates who believe that women have a right to bodily autonomy.

“Not Okay” Is a Distant Memory for Parents

Where we are now is well past the breaking point

Street art in Washington, DC. One woman, two directions (artist unknown to author). Children in the middle. Photo taken by the author.

The Atlantic recently published a piece titled “Parents Are Not Okay” by a father, Dan Sinker. It detailed the many ways in which the pandemic has taken its toll on families, and now, as we return to school, the concerns parents continue to have regarding child safety in the midst of COVID-19.

The thing is, I already wrote this article. I wrote it back in January 2021. It was called “We Are Not Women Who Can Stand Things”. It was personal and revealing. It touched on my life, and the lives of mothers I know, who were broken, tired, and scared by pandemic life, but continued moving forward because there was no alternative.

The truth is that it’s almost (almost) impossible to accurately put into words what parents are truly feeling. I’m going to try anyway.

Stress. Constant worry. Giddiness. Relief. Guilt. The weight of knowing that we’ve had to choose between our children’s mental health and physical health. And, knowing that we are simultaneously doing the right thing and the wrong thing. Relief from never, ever being alone, for even one minute, unless it’s one o’clock in the morning. Parents are also, somewhat guiltily, thrilled that their children are back to in-person school. It feels like a return to some kind of normalcy, even as we send them to school with masks and warnings to wash their hands often. I use the word parents because I don’t want to exclude fathers from this equation altogether. There are plenty of dads out there that have taken on the primary parenting role during the pandemic. And, in two parent families, both parents usually make decisions together. But, the reality, and the numbers, show that when push came to shove, mothers were the ones who’ve dealt (voluntarily or involuntarily) with the most difficult parts of pandemic parenting. Whether it’s trying to work and parent and help with virtual school or giving up, or being forced out of, their jobs because having the children at home full-time demanded full-time parenting, mothers have taken the brunt of the pandemic hit.

The similarities between his piece and mine show that not much has changed in the last eight months. If we were already broken in January, imagine what we must be feeling now. We all know that it seemed to get a little better, but then the Delta variant arrived and quickly changed the positive outcomes we were seeing.

Both my piece and Mr. Sinker’s piece, linked above, are well worth reading. As we watch video after video of people screaming, protesting, and generally being awful to one another about mask mandates in schools, we need to face the reality that none of this is ok. Children are getting COVID-19. The Delta variant continues to prove to all of us, including scientists and medical experts, that what may have been true about children and the original incarnation of the virus no longer holds true. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of pediatric hospitalizations.

Parents are worried about their children, particularly those under 12 who do not yet have a vaccine available to them, and children who are immuno-compromised or medically unable to receive the vaccine for a variety of reasons. My children’s school, which tests all students and staff weekly, had a positive COVID test on the first day of school. My kindergartner got two days of school before having to stay home and get another test, with a negative result, before returning to school. Our story is not unique. Most parents I know are worried because their children’s school had a positive COVID case in the first week. It feels insane that this is where we are now. It’s not just physical health at stake here; their mental health is just as important. My ten year old’s mental health has absolutely been affected by this pandemic. She is clearly uncomfortable in situations where there are larger groups of people, even outdoors. She wants nothing more than to be vaccinated. She wants to feel safe again and I don’t blame her. As parents, all we want is for our kids to be safe, happy, and introduced to the “real world” in ways that hopefully don’t scar them for the rest of their lives. Clearly, the pandemic has thrown all of us into the deep end of an infected pool. We all like to hope that this will be something we look back on and shake our heads at, but in our hearts we know that it’s going to take a long time before that moment comes.

The silver lining to find in all of this stress and worry is that we know the protocols laid out by health and medical professionals work. Masks work. Our school’s upgraded filtration system, plastic shielding between students, keeping children in their pods, enforcement of masks for all, and their decision to test everyone, every week has worked. And, at least in our house, the kids are so, so happy to be back in school, to see their school friends in-person, and to be back in the classroom. It makes the difficult decisions easier when you can see the joy on your children’s faces.

If we all work together, we really can move past where we are now.

So, Mr. Sinker, you’re right. The parents are not okay. Women, mothers, have been telling you this for months now. The current situation only serves to highlight what we already knew. None of this is normal. There are no easy, pat, answers to be found. We’re all trying to find the light wherever we can, even as stress continues to plague us. Parents aren’t just “not okay”; they’re broken. But, as I wrote in We Are Not Women Who Can Stand Things, “We don’t have time for a mid-life crisis. We have too much to do.”

The Modern American Insurrection Attempt Celebrates Its Half Birthday

Capitol Rioters outside the Old Executive Office Building of the White House; Washington, DC; photo taken by author

By the time I publish this, the day will probably be over. July 6, 2021. It’s two days after we celebrate American Independence Day and six months, to the day, since an angry group of mostly white, most male Americans tried to overthrow our government. And, it’s been exactly six months since the current Republican leadership in Congress have done anything to hold these people to account. It feels like an occasion that should be remembered.

Six months ago, the night before January 6th, my husband and I debated the merits of going downtown to our daughter’s orthodontist appointment because of the large number of Trump supporters in town. We knew those in town were angry, often violent, and often racist. We knew that encountering them wouldn’t be something we relished, but as white people, our privilege meant that we probably wouldn’t get harassed. We had not considered any scenarios that were even close to what actually happened.

That day, as Washington, DC went into lockdown mode, I watched in horror as violent hordes of domestic terrorists stormed past the Capitol Police barricades. I watched as they broke windows, urinated in the halls, broke into offices, and the floor of the House of Representatives. I listened to them call out menacingly for female Congresspeople. I cried as the scenes of violence unfolded, the beating of police officers, both Capitol Police and the DC Metropolitan Police. I was terrified for, and immensely in awe of, Officer Eugene Goodman who took on an entire group of insurrectionists, leading them away from Congressional leaders. I felt physically ill when we learned that a gallows had been constructed on the lawn of the Capitol building because some were hoping to lynch lawmakers they didn’t like. I worried while my husband worked his way home from his office. I fielded concerned calls and texts from friends and families all over the world as they, too, watched the news of the world’s most stable democracy descending into violence.

Later that night, after the violence was quelled, Congress returned to their session and certified the 2020 election results that declared Joe Biden president-elect. Prior to the certification, a variety of Congressional leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made impassioned speeches about the sanctity of the electoral process and duty to serve our government.

Six months later, GOP Congresspeople continue to tell the American public that what happened was nothing more than a group of tourists on a Capitol tour. After first saying that former President Trump was responsible for the insurrection, they now say that he had nothing to do with it. They refuse to meet with officers who were severely injured during the attack and make snide remarks about and smirk at the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for our military as he explains why we need to know about white rage and its place in the January 6th attack. They shoot down attempts by Senate leadership to create an independent commission to study the events of this horrible day. They’re trying to make a martyr of the woman killed that day by a Capitol Police officer as she committed violent crimes.

Between the pandemic, police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the election, 2020 was a painful year for our country. 2021 won’t be much different if we don’t hold all of those responsible for the events of January 6th accountable. Insurrectionists have been, and continue to be arrested, as they should be. We have yet to arrest any politician involved in the incitement of this violent attack. They are as culpable as the Americans who actually did the attacking because they knew they were riling up an already angry crowd. And, their actions since that day, their nonchalance about their actions, and their unwavering refrain that their words were just words shows their disregard for what happened that day. They believe they are above the law.

Two days ago we celebrated the day our fledgling country declared its independence from a tyrant king. Today, we celebrate the half birthday of the Modern American Insurrection Attempt, the day a group of angry, delusional Americans’ tried to overthrow the government and install a tyrant wannabe into office despite his losing the election. Today, we celebrate the further division of our country by a party bent on ruling by fear and loathing.

I believe we can get better. But, we must have better leaders; leaders in Congress who encourage their party members to govern rather than tread water until the next election, believe in their promise to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, and who care about both America and all Americans, even those that disagree with them.

Love is Love and Respect and Acceptance

Double rainbow in Washington, DC. Photo taken by author from her back porch.

There’s a woman that works in my coffee shop. She happens to be transgender. We’ve talked a bunch of times I go there a lot because during pandemic it was very close to my house and it was an easy way to get out and move around a little bit, so we’ve gotten to know each other. She has a strained relationship with her parents because of her gender identity. The other day her mother reached out and asked if they could have coffee together. She and I had a quick conversation about it, but kept it brief. She sent me a DM a couple minutes later explaining that she didn’t want to create a situation where I had to talk to the girls about something that we hadn’t discussed yet. I wrote her back, saying that we’d already had that conversation with our children and they have been taught that everyone deserves respect no matter who they are.

Another friend recently relayed a story about childhood bullying because of his suspected sexual orientation. It wasn’t just name calling, though that was part of it. In addition to the hateful words, he was subjected to physical violence. All because they thought maybe he was gay. He hadn’t yet come out and no one knew for sure; they just decided it and decided the answer to that was to beat him to a pulp. He knew he had the talent and determination, all on his own, to be a success. He embraced his differences and used those horrible, unjustified experiences as fuel for his internal fire.

Yesterday, I took a yoga class on Peloton. I like the instructor; I like power yoga and this happened to be Pride-themed. It was difficult. There were some poses I just couldn’t do, and he had a number that literally put us off-kilter to make us understand that it’s not always bad to feel out of balance and slightly uncomfortable. His personal theme for the class was about owning your weirdness, your different-ness. He talked about growing up in Texas, feeling different, and how growing your physical strength, watching yourself get stronger and more confident can help us understand what we’re capable of physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

I can never truly understand what it means to be LGBTQ+. I am quite straight and cisgender. But, I think almost everyone can relate to feeling different, to questioning who we are. What I learned from those experiences is that I never want to make other people feel that same way.

As we close out Pride Month, remember that everyone deserves to feel loved, cared about, and respected. My husband and I have taught our girls that we don’t merely tolerate people’s differences, but that we celebrate them. Uniqueness is something to appreciate. The funny thing is, and as cliché as it sounds, when we are able to see people for who they really, truly are, we find our commonalities. The heart of the human condition is just that, love. We all want to be loved.

Happy Pride everyone!

Welcome to the Anxious ADHD Brain

With your host, Katy!

ADHD is doing yoga, taking medication, and trying to meditate (world’s okayest meditator here!) because such efforts help your brain do what it’s supposed to do. Anxiety is feeling guilt because doing yoga and meditation feels selfish. ADHD is having to physically force yourself to do routine chores, even though they only take a short amount of time, because your mind really, really, really doesn’t want to start. Anxiety is feeling like you have to do those chores because your spouse is doing other chores even though he, unequivocally, does not expect you to do any such thing. ADHD is finally starting the chores and, thanks to the power of medication, not stopping what you’re doing to do the seven thousand other things that you see that need to be done. Anxiety is feeling the weight of expectation to do more, be more, give more even though those expectations are only in your head. ADHD is needing silence to concentrate and get work done. Anxiety is feeling guilty that you need that because your children are just being children and you love to hear them laugh and be happy. Those thoughts, and much more, are just from this morning!

My ADHD also means that I’ll sit down to write and if it doesn’t just flow out of me, I’ll find something else that needs doing. My anxiety means that I worry whether I’ll ever get that creative spark back that’s been snuffed out after a year of much-needed social upheaval, a horrific number of deaths due to a global pandemic, and over a year of virtual school for a 4 year old and a 10 year old.

It also means that despite my brain telling me about the zillion other things that I need to do (Right now! Right now! Right now!), I’m pretty organized. Without organization I would be a total mess! My family’s shared calendar is a work of art. But, if I forget to add something to the calendar, poof, it’s gone forever unless someone else remembers it.

But, you want to know what it really feels like? It feels like wanting to tear your hair out and scream and cry all at once. It sometimes makes your skin crawl with the crazy, out of control feeling. When your train of thought is going straight ahead, and seemingly out of nowhere it veers sharply to the left, it doesn’t seem weird to you, just to other people. It’s the realization that most people’s thoughts don’t work like that and that moving from discussions about dinner to a news article you read earlier and back again, with no transition, sometimes leaves people bewildered. It’s being an extrovert and a talker by nature, and being self-conscious that you might be talking too much. It’s being smart, and intellectual and curious, and maybe more than a little silly at times. It’s self-effacing, but confident that you’re much more than what people assume. It’s the ability to laugh at yourself, not take yourself too seriously, and love with your whole self.

I’m acutely aware of other people’s emotions, and can almost guarantee that I’m right when I sense someone feeling uncomfortable, upset or just generally “off.” It means that I’ll often do everything in my power to make people feel comfortable and at ease. I think it has a lot to do with my own insecurities. When your brain processes things differently, it can be difficult for others to understand why something that comes easily to most people doesn’t work for you. People get frustrated, and I know that. I try to make sure I don’t let anyone feel that way.

It’s stressful and freeing. It’s also coming to grips with who you are and the kinds of people you’re willing to let into your life. It’s being very careful about who you give all of that available love to, but when the right people find you, whoa boy, you’re all in, and it’s glorious. It’s being thoughtful and sharp. It’s the ability to be wildly goofy with your children and putting those non-linear thoughts to use to be as silly as they are.

ADHD doesn’t rule over my life, but it does impact it. It’s part of who I am, not all of what I am. But, as we wend our way closer to the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, I hope this look into complexity of this one person’s thoughts and emotions makes us all feel a little more empathy and a little less judgment. No one is without struggle. It just doesn’t always look the way society thinks it’s “supposed to” look.

The Most Basic Definition of Racism (And How to Know If You’re Part of the Problem)

Photo by Clay Banks on

Racism isn’t hard to understand. If you hate or you believe that you are inherently better than another person because their skin color is different from yours, that’s racist. If a white man murders eight Asian people, six of them women, because he needed to “remove the temptation” for his sex addiction, that’s both racism and misogyny. If you feel justified in attacking, assaulting, harassing, berating, or otherwise bothering elderly Asian folks because the way they look reminds you of COVID-19, you’re a racist. If you think doing the above to any Asian people at all, of any gender, age, or ethnicity is a good idea then you’re a racist.

Killing eight people isn’t a “bad day” like the police officer said. It’s murder, racism, and mental instability. When I have a bad day I want to cry or I want to scream. I vehemently do not want to go murder anyone. Everyone has bad days. In fact, I’d venture to say that every single person on the planet has the occasional bad day. However, the majority of people don’t use that bad day as an excuse to go on a racially-motivated killing spree.

We all know by now that crimes against the Asian-American Pacific Islander community have risen 1900% in the last year. That’s an absolutely mind-boggling number, right on par with the number of people who’ve died from COVID-19 in the United States because certain individuals chose to politicize a public health crisis instead of actually doing something about it. But, I digress.

Racism isn’t a black and white issue. Well, it is; and it isn’t. Racism includes Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinos, Native Americans, Black Americans and anyone else who might be hated for something they were born with and cannot change. If your ego is so fragile that you need to tear someone else down to build yourself up, maybe you should do a little soul searching and figure that out. Stop taking it out on innocent people. It cannot possibly be this difficult. Stop killing, hurting, and demeaning others.

Please do not conflate my righteous indignation and anger for lack of intellect. I have spent most of my life trying to be polite, kind, and nice to people, even, or maybe especially, those I disagree with most. I am merely exhausted. (Imagine how the victims of racism must feel!!) However, racism isn’t a difference of opinion. Racism is inherently evil, will not be tolerated, and will get called out by me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this racism primer. Have a great day!

How to Support Women on International Women’s Day

You want to support the women in your life on International Women’s Day and all the other days too? Really support them? Give them a break. A literal one, a metaphorical one; it doesn’t matter. Just give them a break.

Give them the benefit of the doubt. Allow them to put down their burdens just for a little while. Your friend’s/sister’s/mom’s/kid’s classmate’s mom’s/boss’s/coworker’s baggage and concerns might look different, but they’re still weighing heavy on her. When they tell you it’s ok, listen to their voices. When they tell you they’re doing as well as can be expected, just handling it day-by-day like everyone else, look in their eyes. Let’s be better to one another.

If you want proof that women need a break, look at the numbers. We all know that in December 2020, in the United States, 100% of the job losses were women leaving the workforce. Did you also know that one in four women is considering either slowing down their careers or leaving the workforce altogether? [1]

If you love women, and want to support women everywhere, just give them a break. Don’t make them shout it from the rooftops or scold you or even tell you to Google it your damn self. Just give them a break from the expectation that they be all and do all for everyone.

[1] CNBC, Women are leaving the workforce in record numbers, crisis due to burnout.

We Don’t Negotiate with Terrorists… Unless They’re White Supremacists

Capitol Hill, in Washington, in the snow. Photo courtesy of the public domain photos from the Architect of the Capitol.

Let’s play a game. It’s called “Guess The Threat Level!” On a scale of 1-10, let’s guess the perceived threat of various groups.

  • Black Lives Matter protesters, protesting the police brutality that overwhelmingly affects Black Americans: Threat Level 9
  • Armed, angry white supremacists, hell bent on stopping the certification of a fair election by mounting an armed insurrection at the behest of the now former commander-in-chief and various Congresspeople and Senators: Threat Level 5
  • More white supremacists, the Patriot Front, marching in Washington, DC on January 29: Threat Level 2
  • Children and their parents, armed with sleds, asking to play on the hill in front of the Capitol after living through an incredibly violent and volatile month in the nation’s capital: THREAT LEVEL 10!!!!! 

Growing up in Washington, DC is a unique experience. Kids here learn a lot about society, the good and the bad, at a very early age. They don’t have much of a choice, to be honest. And, the past year has been a crash course, a masterclass if you will, on how to negotiate childhood in the nation’s capital. Despite the absolute insanity of 2020, and January 2021, the children of DC have taken it all in stride. They’ve asked questions, been sad, cried, and scared. But, like all kids, they’re resilient. They pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get back to virtual school.

The last weekend of January 2021. We were all thinking, “Oh, thank god we’re almost to the end of this ridiculous month.” Plus, Washington, DC was finally going to get enough snow to go sledding and play! It’s such a fabulous way to end what’s been a pretty harrowing month. In anticipation of our snowy Sunday, our non-voting Representative to Congress, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote a letter asking the Capitol Police to allow the families that populate the Capitol Hill neighborhoods to sled on what is, arguably, the best sledding hill in the city. It’s the People’s House after all. They’ve done it for years, and there’s even a provision written into the Appropriations Bill that specifically allows the neighborhood families to sled when there’s a snow event. And, despite the hideous non-scalable fencing and the continued presence of the National Guard, what’s the harm in letting a bunch of children play in the snow? According to the Capitol Police, the neighborhood families are a huge issue. They quickly shot down Rep. Norton’s request, claiming security issues. We all know that school children are our country’s biggest threat.

We don’t negotiate with terrorists. You commit an act of terror against the United States, you better be ready for the response. 

Whether it’s communists, jihadists, or, sometimes even when you’re not actually a terror group like Black Lives Matter protesters who protest police brutality and the unequal treatment of Black Americans, we will send our military and our law enforcement after you with a vengeance. 

But, if you’re an angry white supremacist who is so devoted to a failed despot that you feel compelled to come to Washington, DC and commit violence upon its citizens (as happened at least two other times prior to January 6) and the politicians who work here, you are handled with kid gloves. We make excuses for your behavior and tell traumatized Americans, including those whose lives were literally in danger and the families of the police officers who died, including two who have taken their own lives in the wake of the insurrection, to just move on, already. The narratives now include interviews with the domestic terrorists who’ve been arrested as they angrily sob that their lives have been ruined because they’re facing consequences for their actions. It looks unlikely that the politicians who helped incite the riot, and continue to perpetuate false narratives (lies) will face any real punishment. We’re just going to keep letting the Josh Hawleys, Ted Cruzes, Mo Brooks, Lauren Boeberts, Marjorie Taylor Greenes, and Rand Pauls of the world keep representing their states like it’s no big deal that they’re all clearly in league with the racists. The white supremacists who tried to overthrow the government are being treated just like we expected, but dared to hope wasn’t going to be the case. 

When anyone who’s not white is angry or upset, they’re dangerous and accused of hating all white people. We hear the tired refrains of “Not all white people!” “All Lives Matter!” But, when the white people, the same ones who scream those lines, are mad, well then, we all better stop and do something about it. They’re being oppressed. The Real Americans want everyone to know they’re mad and they don’t care if they have to use violence as a means to their needed ends. They don’t care that the city they came to for their violence is still filled with soldiers because the threats continue. The politicians involved definitely don’t care because they’re only in town three days a week and all of those days are behind the unscalable fence, guarded by soldiers and law enforcement with big war weapons. 

The residents of Washington, DC would love nothing more than to “move on” and see an end to the threats of violence, to Neo-Nazis marching in the streets, the removal of large fence around the Capitol, that pushes into the surrounding residential neighborhood, and the National Guard troops able to go home to their families. We’d like the Capitol Police to categorize our small children’s perceived threats as the same level of white supremacists. 

We don’t negotiate with terrorists in the United States… unless they’re white supremacists. 

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