Author of Breasts Don't Lie

Archive for the ‘personal responsibility’ Category

Times, They are a Changing

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Usually, after Yom Kippur, which finished at sundown last night, I feel encouraged to go out in the world and do good deeds, fight the good fight, and so on.

This year, I want to go back to bed, eat chocolate, binge on Netflix and cry. I’m in a shitty transition time – it’s not fun, and I’m not fun to be around … I’ve become a bit of a grump.

I don’t think it’s age. I think this is just a shitty time – waiting for a hip replacement, knowing it knocks out long-held dreams and dreading the months of recovery.

So last night, I cooked. I broke all the Jewish dietary laws in one swoop. I made pasta with bacon, onions, peppers, and shrimp, covered in cheese. It was good, even great. Exactly what I needed. I had two helpings and waited for divine retribution. Nothing happened, not even indigestion.

This unholy culinary twitch was triggered by a supposedly innocuous statement by a dental assistant. After balancing a series of pointy sticks on my chest, she asked about the hip replacement. I was trying hard not to cry. Then she started with “God never gives you more than you can handle,” and continued with the equally moronic statement, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

What a crock of shit.

Tell that to the people whose homes have been flooded.

To a couple who lost a baby.

To a person who has been mugged, assaulted, beaten.

Yeah, go ahead and try smothering them with platitudes. See what happens.

These well-wishers dismiss the pain, the existential despair, and suffering of being human and thoughtful. Being a person is difficult – thinking, empathy, feeling, navigating your world and the world of others takes energy and kindness.

So for the new year, I am going to work on kindness – giving more into the world by acknowledging when people, myself included, are in shitty places. I’m not going to deny people their pain. Maybe I’ll make them some pasta.

 

 

Important Safety Recall Notice

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The world is a hot mess, more than usual. To misquote GOT’s Martin, ‘Winter is coming.’ The crazies are out in hordes tearing down the wall of our hard-won freedoms and laws.

I’m watching the world implode, and my bloody hip hurts. Inexplicably, one day I woke up and I couldn’t move my leg more than six inches above the bed without searing pain. Since that morning, my hip has hurt every day, worse at 3am when I hobble to the bathroom for my pain meds.

I have a feeling you’re saying, ‘yeah, well, you’ve done crazy yoga poses for years. You’re one of those crazy Instagram nutters who do the legs behind the head pose while balancing on one hand.’ No, I’m not! My yoga practice has been about developing the strength to counteract my stretchy joints. I learned assertion in yoga – walking away from classes that were too stretchy or when I was told to go deeper into the pose or anything that reeked of batshit crazy hyper-flexibility. In my yoga and movement classes (except for the first year when I was a little too enthusiastic), my mantra is ‘Do Less.’

I don’t know how the hip injury happened. However, I can get my hip replaced or resurface (like replacing grout) or whatever other, probably painful procedure the orthopedists are doing today. The hip won’t be good as new, but it will work and hurt less.

But I do know how the world’s chaos and cruelty happened. Like most people, I lived in a bubble. But in the quiet caused by a painful hip, when I’ve stepped out of my daily activities and usual busyness, the causes become apparent. We did it by inaction when –

People who admit to sexually assaulting others get elected.

People who stand by while families are separated then post a picture of themselves holding their son, and we click Like or buy their products.

People who suggest registries for one group or another, and we don’t condemn the action.

People take away another group’s authority over their own body, and we stand aside.

People who decide that certain groups cannot have access to education or healthcare.

People who use images of people at their most vulnerability to sell t-shirts, and we buy one in our size.

People are maiming, raping, and killing, and we look away.

The list feels endless and innervating. I am ashamed of myself and want to pull the covers over my head, sleeping away my responsibility. But my hip won’t let me sleep.

To people who say it’s not my fight, I’ll be dead by then, I’m not a woman or an immigrant or a Jew or a Muslim or an Asian or it’s not my country, remember Niemoller’s indictment –

‘Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.’

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