Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ceci n'est pas un président

I leave for D.C. on Friday to protest the Mango Mussolini. Thankfully I got a free hotel room using points and also two free flights for me and my bandleader's wife (flights not using miles were all really inconvenient and terribly expensive). I haven't marched on Washington since 1990, my senior year of high school, when a busload of us went down from NY to support women's rights. Proud to be - sad to be? - doing this again almost 30 years later.

Abby asked how the move in with the BF went. It went fine - I think the reason I neglected to mention it was nothing really changed; he is rarely here (leaves before we get up, comes home late at night, works most weekends unless I ask him to take off for something specific). Some women would be resentful of a man being so absent, but not me. I actually kind of dread the day he changes his schedule - if this day ever comes - because I enjoy my evenings to myself (and often use those hours for work) and sometimes weekend days alone with the kids are easier on me (he always wants to do a lot of exhausting stuff like go to loud, crowded places and restaurants and keep the kids up way too late). Also, he's spent nearly every night at my house almost the entire time we were living apart anyway. So the only difference is now he gives me money. Yay. But yes, everything is going well. Thanks for asking!

Lots more drama in my dance world. More Facebook accusations of sexual assault by a dance teacher, and everyone is up in arms. I had to join in and ban a guy from my event who was supporting the assaulter - not because of that, but for that and the time he was made to leave the hotel where my event is held for being drunk and fighting, and various other Code of Conduct violations. We're all starting to get serious about banning these guys - always guys - who are just bad eggs. Honestly this should have happened years ago, but without social media we just didn't have the evidence/support/forum to do these things. My feminist group has been a huge part of this. The worm has indeed turned. All of us who are pissed off about Trump are channeling that into confronting problem men in our lives and businesses. 

I hope all of this leads to a better dance world because we're now woke AF and are calling out sexism, racism and homophobia whenever we see it. 

And I wouldn't be surprised if I end up in court again one of these days. Sigh.

Sometimes I feel like my life is just starting to get easier with the kids getting older, and then I think about how miserable life is going to be under Trump (goodbye, awesome healthcare) and I feel like the hard times are just beginning, and I didn't know how good I had it under Obama all this time.

Here is part of the sign I'll be carrying on Saturday (because I can't resist a little Magritte):

 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sisterhood

Shortly after the election I noticed an explosion of ill will on Facebook - mostly women I knew through dancing expressing their disgust and then being trolled/shut down by mansplaining opinion bullies. So I started a secret feminist dancer group with the intention of being able to discuss our rage, sadness, and fear without being told to stop whining. What's happened to this group in the ensuing two months has been nothing short of incredible.

It's become a place not just to share sadness and anger but also talk about sexism in our dance scene - the last thread I started about two guys I've been having a problem with now has thousands of comments, and I've really learned a lot about narcissists, control freaks and bullies and how easy it is to overlook and misdiagnose these behaviors, i.e., "oh, that's just so-and-so" or "they're just kidding around." It's been a fantastic place to share stories from the past that otherwise never would have come to light - the time that guy danced with a girl and told her she was doing everything wrong; the time that other guy kept "accidentally" brushing his hand across a woman's chest while dancing, etc etc. I never knew the power of these secret groups where you can say things you don't want your Aunt Tilda, your brother-in-law's Tea Partier cousin, or your boss to hear. 

Even though many of the people in the group haven't actively danced in years, so many of them are encouraged to go out again because they know their "sisters" will be there to welcome them; many people are thanking me for the group (one said "it's the only reason I get up in the morning"), many are saying they are excited to finally get to know other female dancers (normally you talk more to the guys you're dancing with). It's amazing when you can do a small thing that ends up having such a big impact.

I sang at a big event this weekend and was pretty nervous because I knew one of the guys I was at odds with was going to be there. I was feeling pretty unsafe, but I knew a big contingent of my secret group were going to be there and they promised to have my back. The whole night we ran around hugging each other and exchanging knowing looks. It was awesome. We snuck out to the lobby to recreate this photo:

 

 

I think we did pretty good. The person taking the picture asked what modern women would do in that kind of photo, and we all spontaneously did this:

 

I'm surrounded by some pretty strong, angry, terrific women. I'm really proud to be in their company and look forward to sharing the outrage of the next few years - and protesting the fuck out of it!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Don't let the door hit you...

I'm reluctant to be one of these "2016 was the worst year evahhhhh!" people because people always say this at the end of the year, and rarely does everything magically change when midnight tips over into 12:01 January 1st.

Yes, we lost many of our childhood idols. But guess what - we're old. This is going to start happening a lot more frequently. For me, Paul and Ringo are still here, as are all of The Rolling Stones and The Who and Morrissey and Robert Smith and countless others. I'll take some small comfort in that.

Yes, Fuckface Von Clownstick will be sworn in which makes me so ill I feel like I'll never stop throwing up. But I'll never stop fighting him, either. And so will many people I know. So...there's that. 

Personally, 2016 rocked. It was the first year I made any significant money and could kind of exhale. My children drove me nuts but also stayed healthy and safe and grew and thrived. I managed the ups and downs in a relationship with a very cool person who loves us all dearly. I made many awesome upgrades to my house. The election of Fuckface Von Clownstick caused me to seek out and nurture some new friendships which could end up being very significant in my life. It's pretty awesome.

I had a VERY unpleasant lunch with a person who is part of a group I've been trying to extricate myself from for years - just some crappy bullies in our dance scene that caused me a lot of issues at last year's event. The lunch was not instigated by me - they wanted to further their argument that I don't "give them the respect they deserve". Basically they're a bunch of malignant narcissists (familiar much???) with zero self-awareness. Let's just say I stated very clearly and angrily that I was fed up with their fucking bullshit* (*exact words) and wouldn't be putting up with it anymore. And then stormed out. They are now boycotting my event. Good riddance!!! I am so relieved to have them out of my life. Nothing but good can come from this. It's been about twenty years coming.

Onward and upward to 2017!

 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Meh-mas in pictures

I survived the four day weekend! This is the first Christmas the boys were really able to play independently, and it was awesome. Could it be the tide has finally turned in that department? Despite the cold, wet weather we spent a lot of time outdoors, and yesterday after a long day at the park, the boys went into their room, closed the door, and played nicely with their toys for hours while I lay on the bed, incredulous. We all had a lovely time and I am excited for the holidays to be over and normal life to resume! Here are some highlights:

 

 

 

 

I hope you all had a good holiday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Of puppets and protests

Sunday we met up with the donor sibs to see an old school puppet show, then I went alone to downtown LA to join a protest for workers' rights.

There were quite a few white hippies such as myself who decided to join this largely Latino-union-service workers demonstration just to show solidarity and support. As we marched some women in hijabs eating at a local restaurant raised their fists, smiled and cheered us on. The only - I mean ONLY - good thing to come out of this nightmare is people coming together to support each others' rights. I plan on doing this as much as I can whether the issue has anything to do with me or not. 

So, that's 2016 for you. One minute you're wiping poopy butts at a puppet show, the next you're chanting "the people united will never be divided" in Spanish while marching. Welcome to the new world.

I posted in my feminist dancers' FB group that I'm canceling the beauty contest we normally have at my event because it's too sexist, and got a lot of support. As I suspected it had been making people uncomfortable for a while, so the timing is perfect to put that to rest and maybe find a better way to celebrate women. 

I feel "woke". I feel like I'm looking at things with entirely new eyes and nothing will ever be the same again. The last time I felt this way a lot of good things came out of it, so I'm hoping against hope that despite how scary everything is right now that somehow this will all go somewhere positive.

That or we'll be anihilated in four years.

You know, could go either way.

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Keeping it together...kinda

Here we march on towards Christmas. Some of us aren't feeling much Christmas spirit. I am refusing to let The Orange Menace rob me of even this - but I have to admit that underneath my "in this moment, everything is still ok," zen-ness is the unpleasant reality that a) we're very likely on the cusp of a horrible time in world history, and b) as always, things are far from ok for most people in the world, at this moment or any other moment. 

You know it's bad when you hear news of another celebrity biting the dust and you can't help but think, "boy, they got out right in time," and find yourself feeling ever so slightly jealous. Can I just tell you how glad I am that my ultra-liberal and vocally political grandmother and aunt did not live to see this shit show???

But back to me and the kids. We were in quite a difficult behavior cycle until a couple of days ago when things seemed to settle down. I've come to believe behavior must be cyclical with little kids - it seems like we have a few weeks of the kids being pretty chill and well-behaved followed by a few of them pushing me to the brink of sanity. This weekend was THE WORST, kicked off by Bobby throwing a huge fit at the hairdressers because Theo got the fire truck chair he wanted (ughhh) and me responding by turning into a scary, screaming lunatic in public. I'm not entirely sure I can show my face there again after that display. I was shaken and depressed the entire rest of the weekend and am still recovering. Bobby, other than being bummed he gets no treats for a week, does not seem to care one whit. Which is both good and bad. For me, I am desperately trying to forgive myself for totally losing it and am giving myself as much time off as possible (i.e. using The Baby Kennel). 

I felt kind of crappy about dropping them there the occasional weekend day for no other reason than my needing a mental health break - until I saw some friends' kids' names on the register Saturday and the lady behind the counter commented they were there every Saturday and Sunday, and the parents work all week, too. So I'm not the only one! 

I will have them there Sat while I see a movie with a friend, and then Sunday a sitter while I go to another protest, this one for workers' rights. Then the marathon of two holiday weekends in a row with no childcare and school closed. God help me. And indeed, us all.

 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Meh-mahs

Dang it. I thought my new blogger app would allow me to upload a video of my adorable two-year-old calling Christmas "meh-mahs". But apparently not. So you'll just have to take my word for it.

Saturday was Christmas extravaganza with an all day decorating blitz - I was determined to go all-out with house lighting since I have the budget and man power for it - and the picture does not do it justice. The house looks unbelievably fabulous. Can't wait to invest in a giant santa sleigh and reindeer for the roof (next year).

 

Also, I do not recommend an all day Christmas decorating blitz while caring for a two year old and four year old. Theo fell and scraped his chin, then his elbow, then fell down the front steps. Bobby crapped his pants. There was tons of fighting, crushing of tree lights and ornaments, and demands to be first and pushing. It was fucking exhausting.

Luckily I got a pre-planned all day break from the kids the next day - lunch and a movie with a friend followed by dinner and a lecture featuring Gloria Steinem and Jill Holloway later that night, which was very inspiring.

I am keeping it together and forging ahead with holiday plans and ideas for a better life next year, but I'll be honest - the going is tough since the "election". I can't escape the feeling that the United States as we know it will cease to exist in our lifetime - that the eternal battle between northern and coastal liberal elites and rural right wingers which blew up once in the civil war, is going to finally come to a head again and blow us all apart for good. I don't want to think this but I just can't get around it. Maybe it's time for the great American Experiment to come to an end.

Merry Meh-mas!