Tell your sister that she’s gotta rise up

On Saturday, I wore a tiger striped hot pink pussy hat, held a sign that said, “This Pussy Grabs Back,” and marched.

It’s a long story that I’ll save for another time, but I didn’t make it to DC, and instead marched in Pittsburgh. I am sad and disappointed I couldn’t make it to DC, but marching in Pittsburgh was also important. It was inspiring and empowering to march alongside 25,000 kindred spirits.

Five million women, men and children marched on Saturday—in most major US cities, and on every continent.

“This is not a moment, it’s the movement.”

Women's March Pittsburgh

The work doesn’t stop here. We will keep fighting (here’s something you can do today). We will keep marching. You can try to silence us, but as we proved this weekend, we are legion. We are everywhere. And we are pissed the fuck off.

I am all for peaceful protest, but if the worst comes to pass I am not afraid to take up arms, to fight with my fists and my feet and my nails.

This pussy grabs back.

Boiling

Whenever I finish a big writing project, like a book, I feel completely spent and empty. The only things I can write for months afterward are flash fiction, (bad) poems, or blog posts. Sometimes only blog posts, and sometimes not even that.

I have heard other writers describe this feeling of being empty and raw, scraped clean from the inside, as if you are a carcass whose organs are feeding vultures and coyotes.

The sense of relief and accomplishment at having completed a project I’ve been working on for years soon devolves into panic that I will never, ever, be able to write another word again.

I know now, from experience, that this isn’t true. I will write again, always. It’s not a process that can be rushed. That only leads to frustration and unnecessary struggle. It’s better to wait. To think. Read. Play board games. Take the dogs on walks.

And eventually, I will wake up in the morning, and feel that urgency again. That burning need to get it all down on the page before it evaporates like smoke. Because I’ve always got something on the back burner, heat turned down to low.

But even on low, eventually the water boils.

 

You can only move forward

People talk about starting over,  new beginnings, new leases on life, fresh chances.

Those phrases are all a little misleading. You can’t ever truly start over.

(Well, not unless your memory is erased, nullifying the sum of your experiences. But for almost everyone, I’d bet, that would suck.)

People argue nature versus nurture all the time, but I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. We are who our genes tell us to be as much as we are what our experiences make us.

So at each “fresh start,” we are applying the lessons we’ve learned throughout the courses of our lives, however subconsciously.

It’s like hitting the “reset” button on an old cartridge game. Yes, you are starting the game over, but now you know more than you did on your last play-through. You’ve learned how to control your jumps better, where that secret passageway with all the rings is, the exact spot you need to hit to kill the boss.

This is why no word written is ever wasted. Just by putting your pen on the paper and moving it you’re learning.

And humans are designed to learn and grow. That process only stops if we stop paying attention.

Never stop paying attention. And keep moving forward.