Friday, December 29, 2017

2017: Still standing

2017 was a difficult year for writing my specialty - the mundane - when nothing going on in this country is normal and I feel quite strongly that it should not be normalized. Trust that I could have written 365 posts this year about exactly that. I chose not to for many reasons.

A very few examples of Not Normal that are not partisan - citizens from both sides of the aisle should be alarmed by these things:
  • A president who wages an unrelenting campaign against the free press (and consequently, the First Amendment) while he is in office
  • A president who praises and congratulates the world's dictators
  • A president who strikes equivalency between Neo-Nazis and people protesting Neo-Nazis. Sorry, no, there are no good people who are also Neo-Nazis.
  • A president who spends his time stirring up hatred against the press, immigrants, democrats, black athletes, and various other groups and people. The presidency is a big job and that is not a part of it. 
  • A president who brushes off Russian interference in American elections.
  • A president who is anti-science and advancement 
  • A Congress that ignores all of this and does nothing about it, leaving us with many Dem do nothings and a Republican party that is morally and ethically compromised. Republicans can not stand behind their Constitutional, personal, or ideological standards when they will not enforce the emoluments clause or force the promised disclosure of the president's taxes or deal with the blatant conflicts of interest that enrich the president and his family while he is in office 
  • Passage of a Tax Bill that enriches the very rich which 80% of Americans do not approve of
  • A president who tells really obvious lies that are very easy to disprove with photographic and video evidence, but insists they are the truth, over and over again...and his supporters parrot that
  • A Press Secretary that stands behind a podium every day and tells people what they are seeing and hearing is not what they are seeing and hearing. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

I have aged 10 years in this one. I've forced my introvert self who is more comfortable expressing myself in writing to show up in person, to stand among the people.

But oh, the people. I've met a lot of smart, passionate people and reconnected in a new way with many that I already knew. I've been buoyed by the actions of fellow resisters, women in particular. I have said this a million times and I will not stop: I believe women will pull us out of this mess.

Because it is a fucking mess.

I learned a lot about people this year. None of it is political, but an alarming worship-like love of a sham politician is what ended up highlighting what I have failed to see around me, good and bad.

I've seen supposed Christian people defend the indefensible and excuse the inexcusable and say God gave us a man to save us - this POTUS is who they're talking about, mind, not Jesus. It's fucking wild.

I've seen people give everything they can to people they don't know - money, material goods, time. I never feel so good about humans as I do when we show up for each other, be it after a natural disaster or to help a local family in need or at an airport on a Sunday afternoon to protest a xenophobic immigration ban.

I've seen republicans who have never supported this man, the one time trump supporters speak up against bad policy, and others wake up and jump off the trump train completely because at the end of the day, we are all human beings, and so much of this administration's work is focused on stripping us of our humanity. Hope, is that you?

I've seen that it is possible to co-exist with our close friends and family members who are conservatives. We keep a mutual peace by not poking each other. We disagree sometimes, but we co-exist.

Then I've seen other people...people I don't have any kindness or understanding for, people who have drank a fucking weird koolaid and spent the rest of the year spewing it in the face of everyone.

I've seen those people attack MFD for showing up as often as he can, insisting he's a jobless drain on society because he schedules - and uses - his time in a way that allows for activism.

I've seen people make inferences about our life, mental health, and his sobriety that are, to put it nicely, fucking outrageous. There have been threats and attempts at intimidation and no, I'm not exaggerating.

When you take a stand, you expect push back. I didn't expect it in a lot of the ways it came and that's on me for expecting better from people we know personally but apparently not well. I've stopped expecting better of people.

Regular old Joe Citizen people have worn me the fuck out more than politicians ever could.
Photo by Hanbit Kwon
I am a woman who yells living in a world that still wants me to whisper. I can't and won't act like things are normal so we can pretend to live in harmony because there is no peace or harmony in an upside down world. I'm angry about where we are and I don’t give a fuck if that is uncomfortable for anyone else.

The need to resist this insanity is a constant undercurrent in my life. I am still living and enjoying myself, but I'm different than I was before Election Day 2016. I am more conscious of what I say, of my level of engagement with my employees (the people we elect are our employees), of what's going on around me, of how I treat people, of how other people treat people, of what I do to amplify voices that are not given the space I have, of where I spend my money, of what I'm willing to put up with (not too fucking much anymore), of what I'm willing to sacrifice. All of those are good things coming out of bad.

How our society operates is largely dependent on us - it deserves constant attention, cultivation, and participation. We dropped the ball. It can't be all of us out here for ourselves - increasing the greater good benefits all of us. This political climate highlights the vast chasm between that notion and the good for me/doesn't effect me so who cares split we are experiencing as a country right now.

That split has been painful.

What is more important than the society we live in? Nothing. If it crumbles, our ability to enjoy all the big and small things, like our families, freedom, hotdogs, Dirty Dancing...that all crumbles too. This is important. Truth matters. Speaking truth to power matters. I won’t apologize for it or stop doing it to make other people more comfortable. It’s not who I am or who I want to be.

If you feel similar to me, I hope you won't apologize for it or stop either. We are the people we've been waiting for. No one else can fix this and so many things that have come out of this year are not government or political problems - they are people problems. I'm looking at you, systemic racism and misogyny - while they certainly manifest themselves in government and politics and greed and power, individual people breaking down walls is where the shift has to happen first. Keep your sledgehammers out. We have systems to smash. Other people getting rights another group has always had does not mean that group will have less rights. Equality on every level is the only way out, and we don’t get there unless we confront inequality everywhere. Having power over people does not make you powerful. It makes you the oppressor.

Anyway. Before I move on, let me just say this, and thanks to Stacey for this gem.

What a year for the world, as evidenced by Google's Year in Search:

And for me. This year I turned 40, slept out to raise money for homeless youth, spent two vacation days off with my niece, enjoyed Easter and Thanksgiving down the shore, read 158 books, fixed my busted ass old tattoo, instituted an annual OG girls weekend, was together with two of my college girls for the first time in nearly 20 years, and rambled around Grounds for Sculpture.

I went to the Women's March with my people in DC, we found ourselves at the airport to protest the Muslim ban late on a Sunday afternoonmarched for science because we have to do that now, and a lot of other small showing up shit that I have previously talked myself out of doing.

I rooted for you, talked about rape culture, got my ass to the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, showed you what living my best life looks likethrew up on the MFing train, became a godmother, dug Ocracoke, and spent just under a week in Emerald Isle. I celebrated six years of bloggingseven years of marriage, two years of shore house ownership, and three years of Show Us Your Books. My Geege died and that broke my heart completely. I will not ever be the same, and that's okay. Grief re-shapes us and we have to allow for that.

We got a new puppy and that's helped heal us. I've recapped TWTW 52 times, shared Thursday Thoughts every Thursday, watched as many sunrises as I could, and MFD is still saying shit. My nephew joined the world on 12/17/17, forever changing it for the better. No year is ever all good or all bad, and in that vein 2017 certainly had both, which I chronicle here and on Instagram - mine and the shore's.
As Zora Neale Hurston said, there are years that ask questions and years that answer. I always think of this quote at the end of every year and evaluate which type of year it was. This year answered, and for the first time in a while the answers were not things I liked hearing. Luckily you don't have to like things to learn from them.

Thanks for hanging in through this year - it's been a tough one for me to reconcile in my own head let alone in this space.

What's coming here in 2018? More life stuff. More me being imperfect and real because I simply don't know any other way to be. And certainly social issues and political stuff, because do you know me? but don't worry - it still won't be seven days a week of Gong Show posts so it's safe for you to return and carry on with me if you'd like to. Thank you for reading what I dump here.

Cheers to 2018. May the odds be ever in our favor. If we get off our asses and work to make sure society is reflective of the good I know is in the hearts of most people, they will be.


  1. Godspeed and all the positive energy in the universe for all that is good to happen to all.
    I’m faclempt.
    Love. Your. Momma.

  2. That video had me crying in less than 20 seconds.

    You & I do not always see eye to eye when it comes to certain issues, that's just the way it is. It's actually something I do love about politics and people. The fact that you can have people that you agree with most of the time, some of the time, or none of time but still coexist if done correctly. For the record you & I would fall into the "some of the time" category. I guess this is all my long winded way of saying that I enjoy reading your blog, I always have, & despite the fact that we don't always see things the same way, I respect the hell out of you, everything do, & the fact that you apologetically stand up for what you believe in. I can't wait to see what you do in 2018. Happy New Year!

  3. Man, this got me all riled up.
    I hope you replace the regular people in your life with extraordinary people in 2018. Life is too damn short for hate and toxins.
    That Google video made me cry, too. Damn.
    "Luckily you don't have to like things to learn from them." I love that.

  4. As,a Christian, i can't even,grip how people would think one earthly man would be the one God sent to rescue or save us...i don't get it.
    I so appreciate your passion for right in our world. It inspires me every time I read your posts or see a pic of you protesting or standing for what's right. Keep inspiring my friend!!!
    It will get better

  5. All.

    Every last fucking word.

    Thank you for being my words when I simply don't have them anymore.

    That video is magic today.

  6. Just started following you this year - no regrets. I'm as introverted as they come and your posts have inspired me to open my eyes and react to what's outside of my bubble. I might not always do what I wish I could/would/should, but ... baby steps.

  7. You're a huge inspiration, Steph and a safe haven in a world gone crazy. I know it's not in your DNA to do/be anyone else but still, thank you for speaking out. Some days I feel absolutely terrified about all the shit Trump and his acolytes are trying to normalize. And other days I remain deeply hopeful that all this shit is going to have an amazing payoff. He woke up women, a sleeping giant he never intended to awaken and it will be women who get us out of this mess. As we have always done and why we are feared. We are powerful. Misogyny and racism were always part of the fabric of our lives, but just often ignored, not any longer and we cannot make change without acknowledgement first. And I felt the most hopeful when I went home to my small conservative town where the majority of my family voted for him and were expressing disgust with him. Something I did not expect. Something that made me smile more than any present under the tree. 2017 scared me frequently but 2018 - I smile. A scary, ferocious smile.

  8. All of this and more. ❤️ I started a new blog because of you this year. I felt like this year asked more questions than gave answers. All in perception I guess..... Here’s to a great 2018. 2017 can suck it!!!

  9. Beautiful and amazing! I cried❤️😭

    1. Beyond proud of both of you and sending love and light to those who send negativity to you. Love. Always. Love. Love. Your. Momma

  10. Well said.

    I need not say more except, "Amen! May the odds be forever in our favor!"

  11. I confess I skipped over the video until I saw the comments, and then went back and watched it, it’s beautiful. As are you. ❤️

  12. I feel like I grew up in 2017, and I think politics had a lot to do with it. It's harder and harder to see things as other people's problem (totally the way I was raised) or think that you are unaffected by all of this. While I'm grateful for the lesson, I definitely wish it wasn't so unrelenting and that it didn't reveal who the assholes are in my life who simply don't care or mock those who do. I find the ways you and MFD spend your time in service of others to be completely fascinating (I mean getting arrested John Lewis style seems scary, but apparently maybe not?) - please continue to share!

  13. I just...what? seriously? people have openly questioned your choices and those of MFD? I had no. idea. I admire you so much for putting yourself out there, for speaking up, for showing up. You're showing this classic introvert+ just what one or two people can do. And, um, you make it so that I don't miss SEPTA at all, so thanks for that, too. ;)


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