Mourning and Resistance as a Queer Survivor

I spent the better part of last week struggling to process the effect that the Brock Allen Turner case had been having on me personally and professionally.  There is something unique about working professionally in the anti-sexual violence field as the rest of the nation is having a conversation about sexual violence.  On the one hand, I feel like I am supposed to be thankful that so many people are thinking, some for the first time, about their role in perpetuating rape culture and gender-based violence; on the other hand, it’s utterly exhausting to be unrelentingly bordered by sexual violence.  After more than a decade of doing this work, I have bared witness to so many moments where our national dialogue has shifted to talking about how we are complicit in creating a society that consistently finds ways to deny women the dignity of believing them; yet, when that story dies down, and it inevitably will, we will still be working against a tsunami to prevent sexual violence. I closed my computer on Friday determined to use the weekend to come out on the other side of my looming sorrow and depression.  And then 49 people LGBTQ people of color were murdered at a gay bar in Orlando early Sunday morning.  Like so many people in the queer community, I have been teetering precariously between a deep, profound sadness...

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Ferris Bueller had the right idea!

So I have to be honest. This is not the blog post that I’ve been working on for the past two days.  The post I had been working on was actually about something that happened about two weeks ago and that I had been hemming and hawing about whether I should write about it. I drafted the post but wasn’t in love with it. The more I wrote, the more conflicted I started to get. I even had a friend take a look at my draft last night just to get some input on where I was headed (thanks Stacy!) but even after we discussed what I had, I still wasn’t sure.    Figured I would sleep on it – that always helps right? Well not exactly. As I was running around this morning getting the kids ready, last min prep for a house showing today (fingers crossed) and getting myself ready for work I decided that since I was still so up in the air about what I had written that I would just put it on the back burner for now. (Side note: it’s nothing bad – just something that was odd and still not sure how I feel about it). Which of course left me in a little bit of a pickle for what I would actually write for today (yeah no pressure). Told my husband...

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Overnight Stay

This week was the first time I have been away from my daughter for an overnight stay. I know that this probably may seem ridiculous to some people, especially considering that she’s five years old. I was kind of looking forward to certain aspects of it, even in light of the fact that I knew I’d miss her. I was away for a couple of nights for work, but I had conversations with her on the phone each of those nights. Her little voice was so clear. She caught me up on her day. She made me laugh. Those phone conversations highlighted how grown up she suddenly seemed. Like, we can have conversations now. When did this happen? The second night on my own, I talked to her before I headed out for dinner and she was telling me about that song from Zootopia while eating French fries and pizza with Dad. Is it lame that my delicious, grown-up dinner just wasn’t all that fun without my little Bean? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it felt a little lonely. And it was nice to have a bed to myself, but I definitely missed not having her hog the whole thing when she stumbled in for her 2:30am “visit”. She totally loves hotel rooms. I bet she would have appreciated it more than me. I worry about germs...

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Teaching My Girls How to Love Themselves

As I drop 10 off on her second to last day of school, I turn to the back seat. She is smiling and ready. The last day is almost here and this almost-done-with-fourth grade girl is ready for lazy days of summer, for sleeping in, for swimming, for playing with friends and her cousins. I lean in for her good-bye kiss. As she races to jump out, I yell, “I love you and remember… “ – she cuts me off – “I know mom, she says smiling, “be kind to everyone,” like she has heard this reminder every day...

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Hitting the Jackpot

I feel like I just hit the jackpot because… HOLY CRAP – I JUST WROTE MY LAST DAYCARE CHECK!!!!! I just instantly got a raise because next year, my children will be going to Kindergarten in our public school. While our school district charges a fair amount of participation fees for things like sports (i.e. “pay to play”), it doesn’t even come close to the cost of paying two concurrent daycare tuition fees. How much of a raise did I get?? Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to tally the fees and see how much I averaged per month. Keep in mind that I...

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Let it Grow

Earlier in the year I made plans and rented a bed in a community garden.  My thought was tending to the garden would be a novel (and almost free) way to connect as a family over the summer.  Also, I love fresh, juicy, garden grown tomatoes.  Good intentions were there front and center during my initial decision making process and then, life happened and I neglected the bed all spring because (spoiler alert!!) we are busy.  I was starting to doubt that we’d make any use of it and was berating myself for overcommitting and under delivering in the ‘fun mom with cool ideas’ category.  Thankfully, the Executive Director of the non-profit that runs the garden reached out and asked if I’d like some help getting started because our bed was currently overgrown with weeds.  And with that, my kids and I had plans for an early evening of weeding. Two days later with our weeding date looming, I was, again, questioning all the logic and reason I have left.   It had been a long day. I was hot and hungry.  So were the kids.  My capacity for taking care of One. More. Thing. was nonexistent.  The LAST thing on Earth that I wanted to do was pick weeds.  I tried to hype it up enthusiastically with the kids and they weren’t even 50% on board: “Wait, is this a farm?” “Are there animals?” “Do I...

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Ever Considered Writing Your Own Blog Posts? Consider Joining Us!

Hellooooo lovely readers!! From time-to-time we put out a call for guest writers and that time is NOW! We encourage any Connecticut moms to send us a short writing sample and some information about yourself. Here are a few of our parameters: Good writing skills Lives in Connecticut Open to writing once a month for a 3-month period Comfortable sharing the honest truth about what your life is really like Happy to write in a non-judgmental way Extra bonus: have a unique perspective to share If you’re interested in joining us please send an email to michelle@ctworkingmoms.com with your...

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My Scary Places

I’m reading a book called “The Places That Scare You.”   A friend gave it to me, knowing I was going through some changes in my life. In it, Pema Chondron teaches:  We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder.  I’ve recently had some “circumstances” in my own life that have threatened to harden me and certainly scare me.   Scary Place #1 Life as a Single Mom I got divorced last week.  It was the right decision.  But I’m scared.  Not of...

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Caught Up in Me

About a month ago, the job I loved was taken away. In case you haven’t heard, the state budget isn’t looking so hot and in an effort to “streamline” government, my agency was consolidated with two others. The result being that a 43 year old feminist agency was eliminated and my professional future unclear. And, unfortunately, I didn’t handle it so well. By all appearances I handled it just fine- mature, professional, understanding. But at home, with the people who love me most, and with friends whom I entrust in, I was a hot mess. I was selfish, angry, and expressed unusually large sums of self pity. What would happen to me, where would I go, I’ve worked so hard, why is this happening? I started to read my horoscope every day…a clear sign for me that I’ve lost my shit. Not knowing what came next and the uncertainty of my professional future became unbearable and I lost sight of what was right in front of me. I forgot to be grateful for all that I do have. I didn’t stop to recognize how very fortunate I am. And I most certainly didn’t believe that it would all work out as its supposed to (thus the reading of the horoscope). Now, on the other side of the chaos, it has all worked itself out. I am home with my...

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Blankie

I was enjoying the relative quiet of nap time, one child singing upstairs in her bed, the other nurse-dozing on the boob.  I was thinking of something to write about this week (blog topics don’t exactly spring to mind with all the screeching in my house recently) when my eye caught something unusual – Blankie, crumpled up in a corner, her owner upstairs in bed. Meet Blankie. She (yes, “she” – my 2-year-old is adamant about this) is a 12-ish-inch by 12-ish-inch squarish knitted blanket.  My ultra-crafty mom made her and many others like her by hand.  We have lost at least two other blankies and currently have two in different sizes, but the current version of Little Blankie is my daughter’s favorite by far. Blankie has been through a lot.  For this reason, I can really identify with her.  She’s not nearly as bright or as soft as she used to be.  She is lopsided, there are strings hanging out of her, and she has… an odor.  It is 90% my daughter and 10% germs.  Some might call her shabby, but any mom knows she’s just well-loved.  My daughter crumples up Blankie and holds her close to her heart, against her cheek.  She rubs her on her nose when she’s tired. Blankie goes to bed with my girl.  She rides with her in the car.  She goes to...

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