Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Home State

I was driving through the panhandle of West Texas
last Sunday afternoon, thinking about all of the
things I love about my home state. Driving along a dusty two-lane highway, I thought about things like big pickup trucks, slow twangs, Taco Villa's peppery taco sauce, "yes ma'ams and no ma'ams," barbecued green beans, real iced tea, family ties, miles of corn and cotton under brilliant blue skies, and a million other small things.
And then Harvey happened. As I drove north to safe Colorado, my mama drove to my sister's house in the metroplex area instead of to her home in Houston. Not because she did not want to go home but because she could not go home. She stayed north for days, blessed because she had a safe place to go to even as many others did not.
Harvey was/is horrifying. While I am over a thousand miles away, my heart hurts for all of the suffering and loss that Harvey has dropped onto so many people, heartbreak that will continue long after the news stories disappear. While Harvey did not discriminate, and managed to hit every demographic imaginable, those with the least may suffer the most in the long run. Even as I watch all of the sadness, read the stories, and speak to people suffering as I work each day, I am struck by the big thing I love about my home state.
Texans pull together. In a time of tragedy, Texans pull themselves up by their bootstraps, wade into the water, and pull others up and out of harm's way. All that other stuff, politics and disagreements, that can all wait when there are grandmas to be rescued from rising waters.
All of the people flocking to danger, without a second thought, have brought me to tears more times in the last five days than I should admit. Every video of grandmas being rescued from their flooded homes in jetskis, people using monster trucks to pluck others out of rushing waters, human chains putting themselves in harm's way to help strangers- they remind me that good and grace still abound in 2017.
There is a reason, after ALL of these years in Colorado, that I still identify as Texan. A little of it might be the Big Red sodas and the barbecue, but this last week reminded me what it means to be Texan.

Peace and love and big blue skies and brave bootstrappin', y'all. XO

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Love


I keep seeing "this is not who we are."

Ummm, yes it is. We created this, with our silence, our quiet acquiescence, our turning off the news because it is too "negative." I have loved ones who have said they cannot watch because it is too negative and too upsetting. My friends, this is the very definition of white privilege. I know the words  "white privilege" make you bristle and they set you on edge. I know, I know, you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and you worked hard for everything you own. I know, I know, no one "gave" you anything. I get it. We grew up together, went to school together, worked together, our kids played together- I know you. I get it.
But our silence and not wanting to be uncomfortable created this. We created this madness. We let it be voted in. We let it seep in, so that people who might have hidden their evils underneath starched white hoods feel comfortable enough to parade with no masks, with their alma maters emblazoned across their chests and their Pepe pens on their white Izods. 
So, my suggestion is to be honest about your white privilege, and stand up for the people who have been denied privilege and equal rights for centuries. You have "white privilege." If you get stopped by the police, and you feel irritation instead of fear- white privilege. If you have not been stopped twenty-eight times for a broken taillight or matching a description of something bad- white privilege. If you have a teenage boy and you have never had to explain to him how to react if he gets stopped by a policeman for no reason- white privilege. If you can walk around Sephora with a Starbucks in hand and a big handbag, without being followed by an employee- white privilege. If you can leisurely walk through Target with no purpose, and with no employees following you- white privilege. If you pay lower rates for your mortgage and your insurance, as played out in the news with one bank that shall not be named but that rhymes with Fells Fargo- white privilege. If you can make a reservation with an online home-sharing site without your name causing the host to tell you it is full- white privilege. If you can hail a taxi easily even as people near you get passed by- white privilege. If you can scroll by the icky news and go straight to the cute animal memes that are not upsetting- white privilege.  If you can live your life without being compelled or driven to pay attention, you, my loves, are enjoying the fruits of your white privilege. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. 
Now. Now what? What to do? 
Hell if I know. Maybe the first thing is to be honest. There is a huge problem in our world and failing to acknowledge it makes it fester and grow. Do not scroll past. Read it. Empathize. Cry. Get honest. Get woke. Educate yourself. Commit to be an ally. Vote. Show up. Let me know what I can do. Be better today, and then be better tomorrow. Be brave. 
Charlottesville shone a light on the cockroaches scattered amongst us. Now, we have a responsibility. Because, unfortunately, this is who we are. But it is not who we have to be. We can be better and do better. We can be louder and more full of love. We can do good things, because love trumps hate. 

Peace and love and shining the light in the darkness, buttercups. XX


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