I’m Tired I’m tired of acquiring but never keeping nice things; possessions I work arduously for that are torn up, soiled or otherwise destroyed. I’m tired of endless piles of laundry, clothes strewn across the floor, indistinguishable as clean or dirty, but washed again nonetheless. I’m tired of chaos, of the arguing, of the drama and constant conflict that ages my soul. I’m tired of being shown how for granted I’m being taken. I’m tired of never knowing if I’m coming or going. I’m tired of feeling responsible for the complete care of everyone else and sacrificing my own care of self. I’m tired of feeling chronically exhausted. I’m tired of my complaints and concerns being pushed aside, minimalized and marginalized. I’m tiring of knowing “things could always be worse” as a means to not being able to be entitled to my emotional journey. I’m tired of listening to others during their times of deepest sorrow, frustration or fear and being a pillar of strength for them but rarely being given my own time to grieve. I’m tired of being told I’m hormonal. I’m tired of having my emotions rationalized for me. I’m tired of being expected to “deal with it” and accept that “it’s just part of being a parent” or “being an adult”. I’m tired of feeling like I cannot still express my inner child, have big dreams and be encouraged to chase them. I’m tired of adults bullying other adults. I’m tired of divisiveness and actions that only perpetuate further trauma and abuse. I’m tired of being an angry white female. I’m tired of feeling threatened by PRIVILEGED WHITE MEN I’m tired of fearing for my own safety, bodily autonomy and well-being EVERY DAY. I’m tired of, when expressing my concerns and frustrations, being called names like snowflake, FEMINAZI, bitch and CUNT. I’m tired of working myself until I’m literally ill and yet still feeling immense guilt for purchasing that $19 shirt at Target. I’m tired of the pressure to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter/sister/nurse. I’m tired of attachment titles. I’m tired of being expected to take a side when my beliefs lie somewhere in the middle. I’m tired of women having no safe place to candidly talk and share without fear of persecution, name calling or mean-spiritedness. I’m tired of male violence against women. I’m tired of watching so many of my fellow brothers and sisters continue to live lives full of anger, resentment and self-entitlement, oblivious to their own inner demons. I’m tired of Dr. Google. I will always side with evidence backed scientific studies. I’m tired of watching parents put their children at risk for a lifetime of illness because of a handful of conspiracy theorists. I’m tired of trying to explain facts to those same people and them finding a means to justify EVERY SINGLE TIME. So, I’m tired of selective ignorance where there is a literal WORLD of information at mere fingertips. I’m tired of reckless, self-serving decisions of others that may adversely affect countless people. I’m tired of online battles, egocentric conversations and people’s inability to say “I’m sorry” or “I was mistaken”. I’m tired of being oppressed because of my gender. I’m tired of being objectified because of my outward appearance. I’m tired of consistently having to maintain a stern exterior to protect my children and myself from pervasive predators. I’m tired of mean, bitter people. I’m tired of always being strong. I’m tired of being responsible for everyone’s emotions, blatantly disregarding my own. I’m tired of letting things roll off my back all the while knowing they will puncture me on the way down. I’m tired of pretending I’m always unbreakable. I’m tired of violence, both via the media and in the world. I’m tired of endless wars, of which neither party will ultimately win. I’m tired of our elected officials, having taken oaths to serve citizens and country, acting like nothing more than selfish, insecure middle school children. I’m tired of relentless mind games, fear mongering and empty threats. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of taking on all of this weight. I’m tired of being accused of attacking others when I can no longer keep it all in and finally break down and speak my mind. I’m tired of the fragile male ego and the need of constant reassurance. I’m tired of watching women lessen themselves to help a man feel significant. I’m tired of toxic masculinity. I’m tired of men trying to justify their bad behavior as “urges” or “needs” or the old adage “boys will be boys”. I’m tired of watching the world in its current state; its destroyers in utter denial. I’m tired of ALL THE GREED- It has caused abuse, war, human mutilation and countless children’s deaths. I’m tired of society’s RIDICULOUS expectations of the ideal female form. I’m tired of fake tits, tight asses and flat tummies. I’m tired of men expecting “perfection” in a woman while they fill their ever expanding waistlines with chicken wings and beer. I’m tired of the ass-patters, the at-a-boy-ers. I’m tired of seeing blame shifting, scapegoating and flat out lying all in pathetic attempts to save face and avoid accountability. I’m tired of feeling stretched far too thin, always dancing on the edge, but never actually jumping. I’m tired of cooking countless dinners, only to have them picked at by children. I’m tired of washing dishes with tears of frustration in my weary eyes because the dinner I made and threw out was the last of the food budget. I’m tired of pretending to be OKAY. I’m tired of never being allowed to own my feelings. I’m tired of sharing and being condemned for doing so. I’m tired of hard swallows and “I’m fines” through gritted teeth and clenched fists; anxiety attacks in the bathroom between motherly duties. I’m tired of pushing through my own emotions inappropriately in order to quickly address the needs of others. I’m tired of finger pointing; defensive, argumentative conversations. I’m tired of waiting for inevitable civil war, feeling riddled with anxious anticipation EVERY DAY. I’m tired of the pandemic that is disrespect, both for others and self. I’m tired of trying to fix everything. I’m tired, I’m tired. I’m tired… I think it’s time I rest.
I originally wrote this for my blog this past September and it remains one of my favorite writings to date. Thanks for reading!
A 2016 poll found that there are between 0.5 to 0.6% people who are transgender in the US.
This putS the total number of transgender Americans at approximately 1.4 million adults.
This is her journey:
Despite living in a sizable city, there are very few people who know what transgender means. Not even the doctors here knew what transgender meant until we explained it to them.
Imagine having two transgender children in a community that is extremely conservative and evangelical. The schools are unwelcoming. The churches are unwelcoming. Most people reject the local LGBT individuals. The state legislature is actively pursuing bills that legalize discrimination against people like my children.
Given that the trans population is less than half a percent of my state’s population, the lack of awareness of transgender people is unsurprising.
Visibility of transgender people in the media is increasing, but not at a rate fast enough to make a dent in the general population. Here, where we live, at least, visibility occurs as the few LGBT people come out of the closet to their families, friends, coworkers, and ultimately to the community as a whole.
Being out in a conservative, Republican city and state is often dangerous. Add in any other minority characteristics and the danger to the individual increases exponentially.
My two wonderful teenage transgender sons have to navigate this world. It’s terrifying to think of them in the school setting (so they are homeschooled), unbelievably frightening to think of them out there alone and out as they medically transition in the future.
Transgender visibility and awareness is vitally important. My kids were born into the wrong bodies. In the second trimester of my pregnancies, each of them were exposed to increased testosterone, changing their brain structures to resemble male brains.
Like sexual preferences, being transgender is not a choice. My sons, despite the identification at birth being female, are male. Because they are trans male, they are the lucky ones. They are less likely to be abused, less likely to be killed than trans females. They will, with testosterone, grow facial hair, increase their muscle mass and deepen their voices. They will enter into society with the stereotypical male look with ID cards that match their genders.
Most transgender people are not fortunate enough to have accepting families and doctors. Most struggle and suffer because of the extreme prejudices they face.
As allies to the LGBT community we can help change these struggles.
We can make sure that all people are accepted and treated equally.
Trans visibility is key, but without our speaking up for the community, for our friends and family members, change will be slow.
We must make this a seismic change. For my boys. For all trans people. For the world.
I’d been casually chatting with my father about my growing orchid obsession. He looked at me a little funny – nothing out of the ordinary there – when he dropped a bomb, “You know, your grandfather grew these orchids.”
No, no I didn’t know that. I’d remembered the greenhouses from my early childhood. Every other weekend, I recall, we’d go to a certain greenhouse or another, which is why the smell of that good green growing earth makes me nostalgic and warm inside. I remember being a toddler, spending hours at the rose garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, listening to my family plan my future wedding there. I cannot tell you how sorry I am that I did not marry there.
My grandfather grew roses – beautiful roses – always puttering around with them, lovingly spraying them with this and that, warding off all potential pests and coaxing out the most beautiful, heavenly-scented blooms.
When I grew my own rose garden, lovingly spraying them with this and that, warding off potential pests, and coaxing out the most beautiful, heavenly-scented blooms, I’d think of him. Not at first. But eventually, I felt as though he was right there beside me, helping me identify pests and apply the proper fertilizers.
The orchids, though, they threw me through a loop. Until I found this:
That’s an orchid bloom in my curls.
My grandfather is with me always, it seems.
He is my hero.
And not just because he grew orchids and roses like I do, but because he lived the sort of live I hope to live. It was a life less ordinary.
He graduated from Johns Hopkins medical school at nineteen and became a doctor at the same age that my life hit a crossroads. I’d always planned to go to medical school myself, and life found a way. I became a mother.
He worked as the sort of family doctor that made housecalls, his forceps and stethoscope always in his medical bag, ready to deliver a baby, diagnose rubella, or treat a broken arm. It was during these housecalls that he was exposed to tuberculosis and spent many months at a TB sanatorium in the mountains, missing out on his first son’s – my father’s – early life.
Before that, though, he was a doctor in the United States Army. He was the first on the scene when the Allies liberated the concentration camps. He was the first medical personnel to treat the concentration camp victims. He never spoke of those days, what he saw, the atrocities of the Nazi’s, and what he had to do to help the survivors, although I know they weighed on him.
By the time I rolled around, he’d given up his medical practice and became the head of pathology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
The apple of his eye, his granddaughter, he spent as much time with as he could. Weekends roaming the botanical gardens. Nights at Ravinia, on the lawn, under the stars, listening to the magical strains of Saint Matthew’s Passion and The 1812 Overture, eating fried chicken on a picnic blanket. Those were the best days of my young life.
An adult with children of my own, my grandfather long-passed, I have the vain hope that one day, my life will, too, be remembered as less ordinary, if only by myself. That because of the choices I’ve made, the people I carry in my heart, the people who now (however virtually) walk by my side, the experiences I’ve put behind me, that my own life can be as far from ordinary as his.
I’d say that I miss you, Grandpa, but I know you’re always with me.
Today we remember the six million Jewish people, as well as millions of other minorities and disabled people, killed during the Holocaust during World War II
Today we remember the people that were ruthlessly torn from their homes and transported to concentration camps in an effort to eradicate them.
We remember that 1.5 million children were among them.
We remember the parents, helpless to protect their children. We remember the old, young, sick, healthy, teachers, doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers, and so many more that were killed for fear.
People turned against neighbors for fear of the other. For decades, the chant has been never again
. Never again will we allow children to be separated from their parents. Never again will we allow people to be locked away for wanting to live free.
And yet, we are here. We are witnessing the rise of hatred and fear.
We are watching as families are torn apart. As we fail to reunite these families.
And we are forgetting the stories of those people who came before, that tried to help us to learn how never acceptable this is.
This year’s theme is “torn from home”. While it is unlikely that any of us lived through the Holocaust, it is very conceivable that at least one or two among us has been torn from the only home we’ve ever known and thrown into the terrifying unknown.
Today, we will honor the stories of those who came before us and lived long enough to tell us about it. Love and light today and every day.
This weekend marks the 36th year of celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. I could tell you that people lobbied for the holiday since his assassination in 1968. I could describe the countless city streets named after this iconic hero. But it wouldn’t do justice to the fact that racism is still alive and well. I’m not even bringing up the overt racism of Neo-Nazis and the KKK, although there’s a special place for them in the afterlife, but of the implicit bias of our white society.
From the accidental slip of a micro-aggression, “The crows are so negative because they’re black,” to the doll test where African American children choose the white, blue-eyed baby doll as good over the brown, brown-eyes doll, we are right from a young age that white is good, and black is bad. Call me an SJW. Mock me for trying to be “woke,” but the crux of “Political Correctness” is not being an asshole; be kind to your fellow humans.
And that’s when I found the book “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” by Anastasia Higginbotham. It’s part of a series called “Ordinary Terrible Things,” which sums up the theme nicely. I ordered it from Amazon with some trepidation, although I knew it was important that I have this conversation with my seven-year-old, and on previewing it before reading I said oh.
“Who is that with their hands up? Why is that policeman screaming at him?
Oh crap, what have I gotten myself into? How could expose my seven-year-old, who has never even heard 2/3 of the creative swear words the English language contains, to this violence?
Oh, I see.
It’s definitely part of my privilege as a white person to try and shield my children from it. Children of color are exposed to police brutality on such a large scale that the mistrust of police begins in preschool: “Then daddy threw the chair at mommy and the police took them away (actual quote from a four-year-old).” Being mistrusted by the police stems from old biases that African descendants are lazy, shiftless, uncooperative, and unintelligent. Why else would they have such problems with the law?
…No. the law is an attempt to make this land safe for its inhabitants, to support democracy, and to set a code for behavior in the different aspects of our society.
As a white person, I have a duty to show my children their privilege; to let them know that the “I have a dream” speech wasn’t a panacea that solved the problem of racism in the U.S.A., that people are stilltreated poorly because of their skin color, and that color blindness is nothing more than an ostrich, it’s head buried in the sand. Higginbotham explains this by saying “When grown-ups try to hide scary things from their kids…it’s usually because they’re scared too.”
So I sat my seven-year-old down and we read the book. She wasn’t as visibly struck by the police shooting element as I was, but she hasn’t been exposed to gun violence. We read about how racism still lives, that we are allowed to combat it by saying it’s not our idea, and that all the evil behind the mask (dollar-themed) sells to us is an illusion of power that could be taken away at any moment.
She didn’t really understand the concept of racism at first, but by reading through the book we began a conversation that was needed for her to fight for justice in this world. She agreed that if she saw a person in need she would help them, but the question of how else she could use her voice to fight for justice remains.