Sunday, June 25, 2017

Three in the morning

I don't know this person, but she's
going to be tired tomorrow.
It is Worth Mentioning that we will be different some day.
Think about that the next time you have "monkey mind," which is also known as three o'clock in the morning. 
Sometimes three in the morning is when you bolt upright, click on the light, reach for a pad and say, "I can't even stand my own brilliance right now." 
But sometimes, three in the morning is when your guilt and regret and self-doubt get together and party next to a poster of you on the wall.
I had a conversation with the man my daughter just married that I maybe liked as much as the man himself.

The backstory isn't important but it led to a discussion about regret, and whether regrets even make sense since they're just punishment for not knowing more than we possibly can at any given moment.  

I told him that when I'm having difficulty with someone who matters in my life, I imagine myself in the future remembering exactly the way I'm handling the situation in the present. I do this because I've learned that stubborn silences and refusals to bend and harsh remarks only make sense in the moment, which join with the other moments to become the past, which is where three in the morning holds those parties with the poster.

He said that this sounded noble, but that it isn't easy and sometimes it isn't possible, to set the present aside and stretch the imagination enough to assume future perspective.   
We were both right. 

Today, my elderly father is slowing down. Friends I've had for decades are talking about where else they "might" live someday, three of our children are nearby but for how long I don't know, and I am on a roll in my career with the desire and ability to stay at the wheel. I've been imagining for a while how I want to, and don't want to, remember - exactly now. 
I don't want to wish I was kinder,  more available, more patient, more attuned to the feelings of those I love, or more dedicated to my writing if those are things I can be exactly now. 
And while consulting the future to guide behavior in the present is hard, I know that for those who are nursing grudges, standing their ground, putting their pride way out in front, it will be a lot harder when there's no longer any point to it. 
My hope for people is this: consider that estrangements end, often over the birth of a child, rifts pass because they just seem stupid after a while, unimportant people may be your biggest fans,frail people are more frustrated with themselves than anyone else will ever be, and if you avoid hospitals because you hate them, the people in them hate them more. 

Someday, you will find that the ones you lost touch with, or those with whom you've grappled have moved out of your way. There may be a fleeting wish that they were there again. There are ways to make that hurt less.
Maybe you are already in the present that you wish to remember, and maybe there are people you would like to cut loose, thank you very much, the sooner the better. If so, Godspeed. 

If it's not like that, consider finding the strength to turn from the "I won'ts" or "I can'ts,"  that keep you comfortable on your side of distance, or safe on your side of a grudge and experiment with "I'll try." Understand that this is not giving in, but excellent training for kicking three in the morning in the ass. 

I have learned some things the hard way but I learned this easily: we don't stand in another's shoes often because it can be hard  on us to view our behavior from the outside without all those justifications that make it acceptable.  And this:  if it's hard to keep unnecessary comments to yourself until the moment ends, it's harder to take them back after you've released them.  

And this. 

Three in the morning should be about dwelling on better things, like, how it ever took this long to understand your incredible brilliance and all the things you can do with it when the sun rises, or, whatever happened to that kid in sixth grade who told everyone what the dirty words meant, or, whether it really is a deal-breaker to start a novel with a prologue.  
It's bad to live in the future, or the past. Some regret is inevitable. But some is preventable. 

That is one of my favorite things about life. 

It almost makes up for three in the morning.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Yes, you're reading too much news.

Is there anyone  who
doesn't wonder?
It starts with just once, usually in the morning.

Maybe a second look at night, right before dinner.

Soon though, it's halfway through the day when you have an odd feeling that something is happening without you, and when you check the headlines, there it is, the bright red ribbon at the top of a news page which tells you that, oh my God. You were right. You were only gone a few hours and already there's BREAKING NEWS

What the hell happened?

You realize you need more news to feel sure you haven't missed something. You start checking headlines when you break from big tasks. Then you start big-tasking when you break from checking headlines. 

Pretty soon, your normal activities become influenced by your news reading. Now, you don't want to talk about life and happiness with a friend over a glass of wine but the hidden reason Trump did so and so, and where he'll be in six months, and 

What the hell will happen?

After two or three weeks of this, you wake to the mother of news hangovers when you realize you're still upset about that awful story you read yesterday and couldn't stop thinking about. Your sense of humor is MIA. You're anxious and depressed.

You'll cut back, you say. You'll check headlines only once in the morning, like before. You fail.

When people say, "I never look at news more than once a day," you envy them.

Later, you think about that. "Ridiculous," you say while you stare at your phone and don't type "W" into the google box which has learned to instantly bring up the Washington Post.

Later still, however, you are vulnerable. You're working on a short story, you've been productive all day, and right there is the Google Chrome button saying "just two clicks and you'll be at the Wall Street Journal learning new stuff. Come on, you know you want to."

You wonder, as Kathleen Parker wondered in a recent article, if  you along with others are going a little crazy with Trump spreading viral crazy all over the place.

You remember that news hangover from last week .

You say your mantra: "Not doing this."

You walk away.

For a while you stand by the window and think about what's really going on.
You realize, you're not looking for information. You haven't been looking for information for a while. You just haven't been sure what would happen if you stopped looking. 

You remember what you've always known about anxiety: Fear is not information.

You realize that if these days feel uncertain and scary, BREAKING NEWS is not information either, but a hand yanking you into a dark alley as you pass by, minding your own business.

And now that you're tuning into your inner ally, a very, very good thing happens before you even have to find a local News Readers chapter.  

You no longer wish to be vigilant.

You just want to live to write and write to live the way you're supposed to.

A day or two later, you're laughing again and telling funny stories. Reading novels has left you with less time to read the news and today, you even forgot to check the headlines.

You're texting with your friends and talking about kids getting married and finding great jobs, and you're making plans to get together and talk about more stuff that doesn't come in red boxes with white letters.   

This was not a boating accident. You didn't happen in and happen out of your preoccupation with news. You know you need both a micro and macro feeling of control over your world and for a while you lost the latter.

Now you know, if reassurance  isn't available via Google Chrome, it is attainable via your powers of reason, resistance, and resolve as long as you protect them.

You won't forget that.




Sunday, June 4, 2017

Every once in a while

Where I am


Every once in a while, I feel extraordinary attunement with the moment I'm in, which is also known as the present. 

In that moment, I know I am 
taking care of the people I love,
doing what I must to remain centered,
reaching out when someone else needs help.

I know I can
counsel myself away from a regrettable comment,
walk away from drama,
forgive,
forget.

I know I have
done my part,
pulled my weight,
shown my love.

Emptied the trash.
Bought ice cream for my husband.

I know now
that originality is more important than popularity, 
that the way to change behavior is to imagine how you'll remember it when you're older,
that I  have taken the right things from my mistakes,
and have started to forget the rest.

Every once in a while, I don't think about improving
or excelling,
or being read or seen or heard,
or noticed at all.

I don't dwell on times I've been in pain because in persevering, I've become a person I once didn't think I could be.

I don't look back,  
I don't look ahead,
I just look.

Every once in a while, in that still moment of the present, I realize,
I am not what I once wanted to be,
but what I am supposed to be.

I don't have what I once wanted,
but what I've always needed.

I don't hope for things to go well
but realize that things go the way they will,
and that "well" is up to your view of them.

Every once in a while, I feel really comfortable and I realize... 
It's not a mood,
It's not a good night's sleep,
It's not that I'm behaving,
It's not that I got good news or found money.

I feel really comfortable because I understand,
I'm not looking anymore, 
I'm here.

I'm remembering it. 
Because right now,
up or down, 
I'm where I'm supposed to be,
before I go anywhere else.




Monday, May 29, 2017

Keeping the lessons, but losing the baggage before a new decade begins.

This is for people who will change decades in the near future.
Here is a person who doesn't
look like she enjoyed any of
her decades.


If you're like I was about leaving the forties, you're probably trying not to remember how you viewed older people when you were nine or ten.I know I looked at my grandparents who were in their  fifties and wondered how long they'd live being that old. 

It sailed over my head that they had a ton of friends, played a ton of golf and laughed and partied like college kids. 

A while back, my husband and I sat down for dinner at one of our regular restaurants. We had just ordered wine when I spotted a group of women nearby, probably in their mid-forties. Judging from the depth of their conversation, ("So, you cut your hair! It looks great!") they'd only convened in the last ten minutes or so. The first tray of drinks was arriving.

They looked great. Healthy, nicely dressed, great make up and jewelry. I was, of course, looking at younger me and my friends over there, out for dinner on a Wednesday night, feeling young and fun, and smelling like expensive hair products.

Around the house are pictures of me when I was in my forties. I'm smiling in most of them and when I see them, I think of the things I never worried about, and all the things I did.

I was too busy to dip below the surface of the think tank for starters. I managed four kids who went to different schools, three after-school sports, two dogs, and a commuter marriage. I had started writing and was getting ready to submit a first novel. Alone at the helm Monday through Friday, I often felt like I was racing alongside a bus, this close to hopping on.

I had been told that forties were some of the best years I'd have, but here they were being consumed bite by bite by the demands and stressors of daily life. Parenting young teens employed my intuition, patience and sense of humor every day. My writing began to feel like bad singing. In the community, judgey parents could tank your day with one half-smiling, half-concerned expression that rivaled the teen eye-roll in how like crap it could make you feel.

I don't remember the low-grade anxiety that kept me company each day. But in those pictures, it's there, in my eyes.

Meanwhile, women were writing about their "invisibility" after forty, and feelings of irrelevance in the workplace after fifty.  As for my writing dreams, many publishing experts suggested that writers who hadn't published by forty likely never would. Some contemporaries who seemed happily married actually weren't. Divorce was happening everywhere.

To leave this decade and walk into the next one was like approaching a cave, knowing that a good life waited inside if I could brave the entrance and not be tripped up by fearsome unknowns on the way. 

Fifty.

Would I be my grandparents now with their golf and cocktails and bridge parties? 
Would I be that woman in Huffington Post who swore she'd never have plastic surgery until she saw herself in a store window? 
Would I start saying downer things like, "It sucks to get old?"
Would I tell new jokes about sagging and flatulence? 

My decades met like workers changing shifts. One left, one came in, and not only did it not hurt a bit, I was left with some useful time-release wisdom that I wish I'd had, rather than had to earn, in my forties

Life began to change around me, and I changed around life. 

I became better at almost everything. I was more understanding. I laughed more often and more easily.

I sang in the car, loudly.   

My kids left and I didn't fall apart. 

My husband and I got serious about what we mean to each other. 

I concentrated on what I could do now because I was older. As a result, I still help resilient teens write their difficult life stories, a thing that has changed my life.

I wasn't defiant or rebellious, but I laid things down that were too heavy to carry anymore like perfectionism, and all the silent assumptions I once made about how others saw me.   

In conversations with strangers, I stopped blurting things out to kill silence.

I became good at helping people express difficult truths.

I trusted answers that came from my gut more than any others.

Last month, before I had another birthday I tried to remember the angsty feeling of leaving the forties. It was impossible, the way it's impossible to remember what you expected of a place or person before you went there or met them.

The women at the table near ours were two+ drinks in. I know they weren't, this night, worried about looks or stages in life. They were instead, frustrated with spouses that had to be dragged into helping around the house.  They were worried about the parents in the community who wouldn't support new sports facilities. They were unhappy with the way their teens spoke to them, and why, they wondered, was it was so difficult to get out of the house without feeling guilty?

I know, they will not worry about these things in ten years, but they will probably have mixed feelings about leaving these years all the same.

If this is you before thirties, forties, fifties or beyond and you're feeling nervous about trading one decade for another, believe this. You can't embrace the next decade as long as you think it will turn you into a person you don't know, like my grandmother or that HuffPo woman. 

Believe, it won't. You'll still be as you as you are now only likely happier, even joyful, and God willing,  in possession still, of a sense of humor that is above sagging and fart jokes.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Every single day

Person who is running away from
 "okay" and toward "enough"
Last week, I spent a couple of hours at the salon where, if things go well, I leave with an inspired mind and not just a barely changed haircut and a nail color which is always some shade of cranberry. 
My stylist/pedicurist is a quiet, sweet person with a good sense of humor and an excellent sense of when to talk and when not to. 
As she worked, I noticed that she looked different – healthy, rested, etc. But then I noticed that she looked, actually, radiant, a word I use very, very sparingly because like others you get from the word choice drive-thru – it might fill up your sentence but there are better choices. She shined like many women do when they're a few weeks pregnant and have not started to get sick and miserable yet. 
I know she went through a sad and unexpected break-up a few months ago. She had not updated me, nor had I asked about it, but I suspected there was some connection to that upheaval and so I said, "You look really, really good. Is something going on?" 
She shared that she'd spontaneously decided to run a 5K. 
"All of a sudden, I just wanted to," she said.  
She described the obstacles that she had to face down.  It was more exercise than she'd ever had and it was harder than she expected. But she'd been surprised at the determination that seemed to come from nowhere. She changed her diet. She drank no alcohol outside of the weekend. She started drinking a lot of water and went to bed early every night. She started planning her meals and cooking for herself. She lost weight. She went to the gym every day. 
"Every single day?" I asked 
Because, there are people who do go to the gym every single day and never say they do because they don't want to seem freakish to the rest of us, which they are. 
She stopped painting and looked at me. "Every. Single Day." 

She said she's never felt better.
I told her I was proud of her, and she thanked me for knowing what a big deal it was and I got misty and that's as close as I want to come to crying at the salon. 
The timing was interesting because I have been wanting to drop a few lines here about perseverance, resilience and determination for two reasons. First, because I love writing about those things so much I have to stop myself. And second, because I know a handful of people who right now, are facing times of change that aren't going to be easy. 
However much I paid for some lesson I can offer, anything is worth more if it's used more than once.  
Here we go. 
Changing your life
Any change is possible – big or small – if you pick a tiny thing that takes you toward it and do it every single day.
Just one tiny thing.
Every single day.
When you've made it part of how you live, pick another.
Don't do anything else. 
Standing up to disapproval
When you hear disapproval in someone's remark or question or see it in a facial expression, or when someone makes a joke that is meant to actually make a point, and says "I was just kidding," here is what you should do: 
Look straight at them and say, as if you are asking them if they need something at the store, "What are you actually trying to say to me?" 
It's non-threatening, it's calm, but mostly it's you taking care of yourself.  
Tough times
When your worst, most painful times end, and you are left feeling not defeated but strong, and feel not relief but joy, you are something a million times better than lucky which is - resilient. 
Regrets
Some of us look back with guilt, shame, or embarrassment over something we said or did, but that is the direct result of growing and changing for the better. Every time you groan over a thing you said - and I've said some doozies - understand that if you were the same person, you wouldn't have any problem at all with the way you acted . 
Fulfillment
In my twenties, there were two kinds of pressure: 
1) Find a good job and claw your way to the top 
2) Be yourself. 
I'm sure it left a good part of my cohort conflicted. Many who were successful but not fulfilled began to behave like they'd been lied to. 
Would that we could just wake up and go get fulfilled because it's what everyone tells us to do. In reality, of course,  fulfillment is like confidence in that it results from something else. 
Confidence comes from doing a hard thing well.
Fulfillment comes from proximity to a thing or place or relationship that so connects you with the best parts of yourself, you have no interest in looking for something better. 
Enough
My stylist's success in customizing her own makeover, pushing through the old to get to the new, reminded me again of how we can, at all times, every single day, learn to be ourselves in full. 
But it takes some honest time in front of the mirror. It takes courage to face an "okay" life and know that more is needed to make it enough. When we're brave enough to face that, it takes faith to believe we're more equipped than we think to act on it. 

And then, take the chance that we're right..


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Why introverts can't be extroverts but really like to sit near them

I don't know this
person but I like her plan. 
A while back, when I was not an extrovert like my brother (seat-me-next-to) Tom, but wished I was, we moved into a new town and our kids started grades 0 through 5. If you've done this, you know these are prime friend-making years because you have an instant ice-breaker.
A year or so later, still an introvert in hiding, I organized a New Year's party for one-hundred and fifty people in the community. They all came. 
There is a photo of me standing with my true nature by the window that night as the cars approached. We don't look relaxed. 

One night a few years ago over a glass of wine, one of my favorite extrovert-friends, Maureen, asked me if I was going to some wine tasting event for a cause I don't remember.  
"No," I said.
"Why not?" she asked.
"Because I don't want to," I said.
"Ha!" she laughed. 
By now, I knew that the kind of gathering that energizes Maureen, makes me tired and cranky. Where I might have once slogged through it to be socially in the loop, now I wondered why I ever needed a loop at all. 

Part of this evolution occurred as I was learning about Meyers-Briggs and the study of their sixteen personality types. There is more to it than that, but tests can determine whether people are more or less intuitive or observant, judging or perceptive, feeling or thinking. 
According to Meyers-Briggs, I am an INFJ: Introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging. When I first learned that, I took the test again, because who wants to be classified as an awkward, humorless recluse? In time, I realized that we introverts aren't awkward and humorless people at all. We just feel that way when we're around extroverts who can start conversations with a phone book.  

Some things about introverts:
Introverts don't dislike people. We just want to know what makes them real. Oprah Winfrey is an INFJ and Oprah loves people but she loves their authentic stories more. Remember "A Million Little Pieces?

And we don't hate parties, we just don't feel comfortable launching conversation for the sake of talking, because while we are saying "I was really surprised at how much parking was available for this event," we're thinking, "How did you wind up here and where did you live before and why did you move and what kind of person were you in high school and how many times did you change careers?" 

We aren't anti-social, we're very social, but we have the most fun around people we trust, especially if those people are extroverts like my brother Tom or my friend Maureen. 
Introverts may be envious of extroverts. I have no data. But I do think some introverts don't like their own label. I think some of us make an effort to be more outgoing at large events because it's "what people do," even though we're at risk of saying something to a total stranger like, "You look tan, have you been away?" 

Some of us will stay in a conversation with a too-loud, self-absorbed, close-talker for too long, because we lack the knack for exiting without feeling impolite. And I know some of us sabotage our own success at small talk because we eavesdrop and often get caught doing it.

Introverts mix in an interesting way with extroverts. Nobody is more fun to observe than extroverts and we're actually similar in how we react to counter-intuitive opportunities. The introvert reaction to large surprise parties, large gatherings of unacquainted people (new co-workers, parents at a classroom coffee) or large public events is the same one my brother Tom would have if he were forced to spend six weeks in a tree house by himself with no electronics, a thing I would actually like a lot if I had bug spray. 
In that party picture of me at the window trying to be an extrovert, or less of an introvert, I can see how much it exhausted me to be out of step with my nature and later, I wondered what else I had expected. 

That is exactly the kind of problem introverts like to ponder in traffic jams while other people are giving strangers dirty looks, because we think all the time. Too much, too deeply maybe, but all the time. We are never bored. We daydream a lot. And like dogs and babies, we know when people are real and when they aren't. 
A few years after the New Year's party,  I gave myself a far tinier party for a milestone birthday.  I got an outfit and a new haircut and invited my favorite people. They all came and it was really fun. 
Maureen was unhappy that I hadn't given anyone a chance to surprise me. Then she told me she couldn't make it. Then she drove up the driveway to surprise me.  
Introverts and extroverts do things like that for one reason and it is because we need each other more than we want to be each other.  








Monday, May 8, 2017

A comment thread walks into a bar.

Disclaimer:  Some people who leave comments in a thread, myself included, are perfectly gracious, thoughtful people. 

To my writer-friends who have been mauled by the others, have you ever wondered what would happen if people talked to each other in real life like they do on a comment thread? 




Let's! Let's imagine.

Let's say, you are new in town and you've just been invited by some co-workers to a bar-party. You will not know anyone there, you don't even really know your co-workers, and you don't know what to talk about. 

But earlier today you saw something that could be worth mentioning.
A man was standing on the median holding a sign in one hand while he used the other to talk on a cell phone. He yelled angrily into his phone and waved the sign around so you couldn't really tell if he wanted to work for food, or needed a few dollars, or what. 
What are the public and private views we could have of this scene, you wondered at the time? Your natural response might be sympathy but here is this person screaming at someone and now, your compassion is fighting with your fear.  
Good. You'll bring this up.
You arrive at the party. You're at the bar, and so is everyone else. You start talking about this man and his behavior. What do you do when you feel both compassionate and skeptical, you ask?

The person closest to you says, "I don't know. I figure they have enough problems. I usually hand them a five." He takes his drink and walks away.   
Two persons who have overheard this come over. 
Person 1 says, "I heard what you were saying and I see this all the time and my opinion is, GET A JOB. Then talk to me."
"That's so insensitive," Person 2 replies. "You have no idea why he's not working." 
"Really! Insensitive?" Person 1 replies. "Are you also the type who'd like to raise taxes to help him buy beer too? And go back to school for a college degree that I never even went? Snowflake." 
"That's not what a 'snowflake' is and name-calling is a sign of low intellect, my friend," says Person 2.

"I believe," says Person 3 who is nearby, "the question was how to resolve the cognitive dissonance. It is false to say that we don't have mixed emotions when we see an unusual display of mixed behaviors. But I would say to our guest, that you are more likely to regret acting on fear, than on compassion. " 
"We're not friends," says Person 1 to Person 2.
You notice that two new people are looking at you.  
"That's stupid, what you said," says Person 4.
"He reminds me of people who didn't like me in school because I had bad skin," says Person 5 to Person 4.
Person 4 agrees with person 5 and says, "I had to stay in the classroom because of bullies who made fun of my birthmark." 
"People like you who trash-talk other people who don't have money disgust me. Maybe you don't have their toughness," says Person 5 to you. 
"Despikabel," says person 4.
"That's not how you say 'despicable'," says person 2. 
"This is so first world," person 6 says to you, "how you sound sympathetic, but really don't like people if they aren't like you. I see it all the time." 
"Yeah," person 7 says to you, "Cry me a river, I can tell from your shoes that you never had to work a day in your life." 
"The man on the median is why Trump got elected," says person 8 from the edge of the crowd where there isn't much light. 
"Trump is an ass****" person 9 shoots back. 
"Trump knows our country has forced people to stand on the median. And he's going to fix that. You watch," says person 1, who is drunk. 
"You people who think Trump even knows who you are," says person 2, "are the problem." 
"There is no unity in proving another wrong so that you can be right," says person 3. "Let's stop talking fault, and start talking solutions!" 
"You're an idiot," says person 9. 
"You're all missing the point," person 10 says, "did you even listen to what our new friend was saying?" 
"Trump," says person 1, "we're talking about Trump." 
"I had really bad skin in high school, but I took medication for it and it was fine!" says person 11 to person 5. 
"That's really irresponsible," says person 2 to person 11. "The side effects include insanity." 
"You're insane," says person 1 
"You're all in a dark basement. In the dark," says person 6
Everyone looks at Person 6 with expressions of WTF.  

"Ass**** Trump supporter," says Person 9 to Person 1.
"Snowflake," slurs Person 1. 
"That's not what 'snowflake' means," says Person 2.
The conversation is now taking place without you. It's as if you're already home in bed while persons 1 -11 are becoming Lord of the Flies.   
The next day, you mention this to your co-worker, the hostile nature of the conversation, the name-calling and attacks, the off-topic departures, and the absence of real discussion after you launched such a great ice breaker.
"That's how they are," says your co-worker. "They're always there but they're not there for the conversation. They just want to be somewhere at all. And even when they pick on each other, they're still engaged in the same activity."

You know you'll come back to this bar. You'll take a seat, throw out a topic and enjoy your adult beverage while the crowd devours it. You'll understand that commenters are looking for one thing more than anything else which is another person that appears to be listening. 


You may or may not elect to be that person. But you'll know that what's most important is that you didn't elect to go home and stay there. 

The end.





Monday, May 1, 2017

How Trump made me a better person

My old sign.
Worse than not knowing what to post on the blog on Sunday, was not posting anything. 
It happened or didn't happen because I had so many topics, I didn't know which one to develop. On my Word doc where I leave posts in progress until they are finished, I have six – SIX – half-written posts. 
I opened the news yesterday to read about Trump's rally in Pennsylvania over the weekend. "Orgiastic" is the way Frank Bruni of the Times describes any gathering of Trump and his supporters and this one was no different. He swayed and bellowed and bathed in the glow of glory days.
There was President Trump and his followers, trashing the "elites" who, Trump has convinced his fans, are any people who shine a truth light on him. There was President Trump railing against the "liars," who report what they see in that light. 
It reminded me of bully-cops I've known who leave their small town, only to be seen and treated for who they are in bigger towns of bigger people, and can't wait to come home and tell smaller people how much better smaller is for everyone, because of how it's served him. 
That was the subject of my post of choice, but it was too big. 
I decided to no-show instead of half-post.
But that was yesterday. 
Back when Donald Trump was running for President, as much as his bawdy appearances on the trail offended me, I never feared he'd be elected. His lack of experience and demonstrated lapses in character and humanity, I was sure, would be answered with a loss. I did my part. I posted things about him on Facebook and didn't vote for him.  
I should have done more. 
But I didn't.  
"But" is an important word. 
I decided to give him a chance, but however appealing his reforms are to the population that overlooks "the rest," his flaws fight with my core values and I wind up just feeling depressed when I listen to him.
He is unkind.
He is cruel.
He is hedonistic.
He is narcissistic.
He is immature. 
He may have sober-thinking, cool-headed people to plant him in front of cartoons where he can't be too destructive, but in the ways I can't abide, he is a flawed human being. 
Supporters, or even non-Trump supporters but optimistic non-Hillary people, are tempted to believe that "well, yes" he is all of those bad things, but... 
He isn't Hillary
He is standing up to North Korea
He punched Syria in the face after Ivanka showed him pictures of what was going on over there.
He...tax reform
He...immigration
He...health care 
But.
Trump is dishonest. If we wished once to give him a chance, how is that possible when you feel you either have to fact-check everything he says, or stick your fingers in your ears and sing to deal with the toads that leave that man's mouth.  
Here is the rest of the post.
I've considered that I'm predisposed at this point to reject anything that Trump says or does. But he could be Mister Rogers and he still would have carried out an act that I've come to see in my burgeoning political view as a "last straw." 
Nobody was surprised, but on April 13, Donald Trump closed the door and signed legislation, allowing states to refuse Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood or any organization which provides abortion services, regardless of whether they provide other essential health care, and regardless of the fact that abortion is never funded by Medicaid anyway unless in cases of rape or incest or threat to a mother's life. 
Planned Parenthood  serves millions of women, men and children, mostly the poor, who will have no other access to health care in states where Planned Parenthood can't survive.   
Here are the services they will lose:

  • STI/STD Testing & Treatment for women and men
  • Contraception 
  • Female and male  sterilization procedures
  • Cancer Screening and Prevention Pap Tests
  • HPV Vaccinations
  • Breast Exams/ Breast Care
  • Pregnancy Tests
  • Prenatal Services
  • Adoption Referrals to Other Agencies
But. 
They can just go to another state, right?
They can just go to the community health centers that will continue to be funded, right?
They can just go to a private doctor, right?
Private donors will make up the lost funding, right? 
No, 2.5 million women, men and children won't be absorbed into existing, already over-burdened community centers. And no, private donors will not make up the 40% of Planned Parenthood's budget that comes from state and federal funding. And no, poor women in rural areas where Planned Parenthood is the only provider of family health care will not find the funding and transportation to just go elsewhere, and many private OB/Gyn clinics don't accept Medicaid. 
What will happen is that the number of unwanted pregnancies and children will rise.What will happen is that the tax burden to fund Medicare will grow heavy with maternal, prenatal and pediatric services, not to mention the way poverty alone will further warp these lives with crime, drugs, violence. 
I've never been an activist, in a march-joining, megaphone-seizing, in-your-face way, not even at a dinner party after wine. It's been enough to exercise my right to vote, maybe pen a letter, place a call to my congressperson. 
It's not enough, anymore. 
Sooner or later, you have to write the post. You have to get your supporting data, and crystallize your ideas, and figure out what you need to say, even if you don't know how. 
I've never been that political. 
But President Trump has convinced me to change that.
I don't know how or what I will do to raise my voice.
But.
I know I am a pro-choice woman with sons and daughters and grandchildren in my future. 
I know that at this moment, federal funding for Planned Parenthood will remain in place through September and that beyond that, families trying hard to prevent the worst things from happening to their lives will face new obstacles and risks.
I know if I don't loan my talents, spend my time, research and educate myself and others about what this could mean to them, and to us all, and how I can make some difference, I will be guilty of this: 
I should have. 
But.
I didn't. 
And that's as no-show as it gets.