Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom. Geredt kumt fun natur, shtilkayt durkh khkhmh.
A bei gezunt. Go in good health.
Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom. Geredt kumt fun natur, shtilkayt durkh khkhmh.
A bei gezunt. Go in good health.
Guess what… this a not a political rant or a thumbs down to the tsuris (troubles) our world is facing due to mrt
kind of passive aggressive of me, eh?. This is a girls story. My Big, she is growing up. Born not ten minutes ago, yet my shana maideleh (sweet little girl) is soon to enter double digits. She is gaining wisdom, confidence, curiosity and her own personal identity, wrapped in a blanket of kindness and love. Oy, here I am kvelling (enthusiastically bursting with love and pride), again…
I should probably show a Georgia O’Keefe painting right about now because I am going there… Periods. Girls are getting them. There is chatter. We have chatted. And we are doing everything we can to keep it positive, normal and free of shame as we begin to prepare for this milestone
gallstone kidney stone. She’s got two moms — this should be a walk in the park for us, right?
But I gotta say, she just learned to ride a bicycle. Am I ready for the menstrual cycle?
Which of course got me thinking about my own very strange, first-period experience. It was the Saturday of labor day weekend, 1976 and I was thirteen. We lived in south Florida
and it was hotter than hell in a sauna on those particular September days. School had begun in August and I had welcomed the 3 days off. The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon played on every TV in our house. I went to pee, and there it was – the small red blot. It was more of a dot than a blot. Definitely a dot. I was rattled I wanted to write, ‘mortified’ but you’ll soon see, my father’s name is Morty. Some of my friends had already gotten their periods, so I knew time was not on my side. I read Judy Blume’s, Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret, a few times by now. I just did not want it to happen. Gay avek (get lost, go away)!
So I very inconspicuously left that bathroom, and quietly went into my room with Buttons, our poodle, and my closest confidant. I closed the door and sat on the floor quickly putting my legs up on my bed. I went vertical, in what I now know was a yogic shoulder stand. I was upside down. Dammit, I was going to send this period back where it came from… Surely if I stayed this way, there was no way for the ‘flow’ of Aunt Flo to wind its way, well, down. Why had no one else tried this? I was brilliant! Buttons agreed.
Day 1: After the initial spatter, I was fine. Feeling positive that I had this entire situation well under control, laughing with Jerry Lewis. Buttons, she was just happy we were staying in the air conditioning. Day 2: Coasting. Not even Dexter could find any blood spatter. I stayed on the phone, watched the telethon, Buttons at my upside-down, side. Day 3:
WTF What happened to physics? How could this happen to me? I was in a shoulder stand for three solid days! I was as invested in this endeavor as Jerry was in raising money. I had to do something. I had to call my mom… Ugh!
They were at the tennis club. This was all pre-smartphones. I picked up my princess phone and dialed the club. Max, who manned the front desk and was 90-years-old if he was a minute, answered the phone. He paged my mom. Yes, called her by name over the loudspeaker and told her she had a call.
Kill me now, before she picks up. A bolt of lightning. Divine intervention. Thankfully her doubles match was over and I wasn’t too much of a burden. I told her I didn’t feel so good and could she please come home. That was all I said.
Instantly, she screamed a
cross the entire restaurant, “Morty! Lisala got her period! Let’s go!” They came home, my father teased me incessantly and my mother handed me a futon-sized bedroll and called it a maxi pad. She said, “You know everything, right?” I mumbled, “of course I do” and slinked, head down, in shame, into the bathroom where this nightmare began. She added, “Be careful of the sheets at night, from behind the locked bathroom door.
Later, on that dreadful night, they took me out to dinner
an alleged celebration at The Rascal House where they embarrassed me by telling everyone in line, the waitress, the guy who brought the pickles, the other guy who cleared the dishes, the cashier, that I just got my period. Wasn’t it bad enough that everyone could tell I had a mattress between my legs? I prayed for invisibility well before Harry Potter had the cloak.
Needless to say, things got way worse before they ever got better, and there will be more stories, to share, I am sure. And I never wore white pants again.
Last week, I was invited with my Big to go with her to Diana Circle. It’s like the happy, hippy, feminist version of Girl Scouts
no judgment here, no cookies to sell either. They are an empowering, safe, and inclusive group that celebrates modern young girls as they experience their own, unique rites of passage. In a world filled with mixed messages, misogyny, double standards, a stunning amount of sexual harassment, and thankfully, oceans of #strongwomen in #pinkpussyhats marching the earth, I am so very grateful to Tara R. and her spiritual girl-guidance. She helps us to help our kinder (kids) embrace life, take the bulls hit by the horns and grow up to be strong, healthy, and proud women.
At the previous gathering, one of the older girls got her first period and she was celebrated in a beautiful and moving way. The Mrs. and me, we are trying our very best to do right by our kinder. May they never be shamed for their bodies or their natural bodily functions. May they embrace the challenges of growing up as their uniquely beautiful selves free from adolescent misery and filled with love, connectedness, and honesty. A way I never knew was possible
until a decade or so of therapy.
And friends, I leave you with this Yiddish Proverb:
No one knows whose shoe pinches except the person who walks in it. Keyner veys nit vemen der shuckh kvetsht, nor der vos geyt in im.
Nu? What’s your first-period story? Share with us and we all become a bissel (little) closer. Here’s to #mightygirls becoming #strongwomen!
Tonight is the eve of the 1 year
weirdest year in my lifetime anniversary of the Women’s March, where pink pussy hats bopped atop millions way more than those who attended the inauguration of marching women (men and children too), across the US and in countries around the globe. We gathered in protest of violence and sexual harassment, for reproductive rights, gender equality, and quite frankly, against our new president (little p) and his band of bad men. We were and continue to be, a viable, visible force of peaceful people saying wtf just happened looking for answers and questioning truths. One dizzying, nauseating year later, what’s changed? We went from strong women proudly marching to women governing and legislating. We ran for office and we are winning! This weekend, get your walking shoes on. “Cause we still have some work to do my friends.
I’ve got my walking shoes on… so hear me ROAR!
#metoo #blacklivesmatter #neveragain #muslimregistry #strongwomen #weshowedup #resistmrt
Nu? This mr t, he has me farklempt (all choked up) with his evil and hatred. Not too long ago, I wrote a post, I AM WOMAN HEAR MY VOICE. Well, I’ve taken it to the stage folks. Please, bear with my
(awful) voice as I stumble through my own, personal feminist anthem.
Please feel free to sing along. If only to cover up my voice! Vey iz mir…I’m meshuggeneh (crazy), but I am so motivated to peacefully make a change. (I said peacefully, not notefully!) Because Never Again, is now folks.
Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.
Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.
Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice
Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists? Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.
She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.
President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”
RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.
As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.
On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.
Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you do.
What a gutte neshumah, she is. What a good person with a big heart, she is.
*video courtesy of You Tube and Huff Post Live
Last week, the world lost an awe-inspiring hero for supporters of LGBTQ civil rights. Tiny, tough, lusty and outrageously fierce, Edie Windsor was the main plaintiff in the case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court, United States v. Windsor.
You see, Edie and
her same-sex partner Thea were together as a couple for 40 years. After an absurdly long and loving engagement In 2007, they loudly and proudly said, “I do,” in Toronto, a place where gay marriage was both safe and legal. Thea died two years later, in 2009, leaving her entire estate to her spouse, Edie, in the form of a revocable trust. But you see DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and the people who built this hateful excuse of a law specifically defined ‘marriage’ as deliberately excluding same-sex couples. They couldn’t see ‘us.’ They went so far as to say that the term ‘spouse’ only refers to that of a ‘man and a woman.’
Edie filed taxes after the death of her lifelong love, and justly claimed the federal estate tax that allows exemptions for surviving spouses. The IRS not only barred the exemption, they forced her to pay $363,053 in taxes. Quiet and demure never described Edie. She boldly set off on the battle of a lifetime. All of us in the LGBTQ community, we were with her every step of the way. After forking over all of Thea’s loot to the government, she filed a federal lawsuit for a full refund of the nearly $400k, stating DOMA was unconstitutional, unfair and singled out legally married, same-sex couples.
Windsor fought to overturn DOMA where non-sensical legal language stripped equality from life as she and many others of us knew it. Oral arguments were heard in March of 2013. On June 26th of that same year, ‘the Supremes’ sang out in favor of love. This court, in a 5-4 decision (thank you, Justice Kennedy! Please never, ever retire), affirmed that DOMA was unconstitutional “as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment.”
In my household, as in gazillions of same-sex households across the US, it was the feeling of sheer, unfettered joy. Phones rang, hearts throbbed, hugs, kisses, and high-fives could be heard
in most major metropolitan areas where we believed we would be safer far and wide, and we were all alive with the promise of equality happening right before our very eyes.
Book the hall, call the caterer, hot-damn, we were going to be legal. In this lifetime. In our lifetime.
Once, when my Big, she was about two, maybe three years old and she asked us to see our wedding pictures. We told her we weren’t married. She asked why, and we looked at each other and said, the law, it doesn’t allow us to marry. She started to cry. We told her that despite the law, love wins.
Edie will be remembered as a powerful trailblazer in the long history of the gay rights movement. A queen in the Yiddish fight club! I am forever grateful for her, and all the others before her who went out on a limb and stood up for what is right. The positive outcome of her battle against the establishment has led to many happy and loving nuptials with similar
ridiculously long engagements. (Ours was a mere 17 years… and we married legally in 2013)
Edie, you will be missed. Thank you for giving me and my mishpocheh (family) the gift of equality and acceptance in a time where we are tested, challenged, and opposed daily. Your giant heart gave out on you at 88, but we can still feel your pulse of hope. You will live on in our hearts each and every day. We carry your torch proudly and hope to keep moving our case for equality, justice, and authenticity forward.
My deepest sympathies to your surviving wife and family that are left behind. You left a tacca (big) set of shoes to fill, and you have proven that love does win. ❤
To make promises and to love don’t cost any money. Tsuzogn un lib hobn kostn kayn gelt nisht.
My Mrs., Big, Little, I love you! Ich hob dier lieb!
Hello, my friends. I have been quiet of late — very unlike me, I know. It has been a hell of a couple of
years weeks. First, strep throat knocked us all to our knees. One by one, we fell. Despite hand washing, Lysol wipes and new toothbrushes, we were coated with cooties and all swilling shots of penicillin. Strep is literally, like swallowing a brick. Not fun times as an adult — I can only imagine the pain for my kinder (children). Gatsby was literally, the last man standing. Vey iz mir (OMG, but worse), it was bad.
What followed in the aftermath was tougher to bear than the bacteria-baked bricks… Our, my journey of late has been tough. No harder than the next person mind you… of that I am well aware. Still difficult, nonetheless.
I have been living the plight of the salmon. (Not the delicious kind that ends up atop your shmear (cream cheese) on a toasted everything bagel…) I’m talking about the astounding event where the momma fish
like any other but the mother would do this leaves years of comfort in ocean dwelling, genetically alters its very form to seek out and return, upstream, against the tides, waterfalls, bears, and all odds, to the roots of their birth. Without google maps, these salmon, they locate the exact freshwater stream of their birth, to lay the eggs of a new generation on the gravel river beds. And then they die, knowing the kinder are well-tended and will carry on.
These salmon, they are fighters. They are filled with courage and defiance to do what they must do — to follow their core. They are the definition of #rebelgirls and #strongwomen. They defy all limitations and persevere, despite obstacles, predators and sheer exhaustion. They do this because they have no other choice but to be true to themselves and those they love.
This Yiddisheh momma has been #livingfearlesslyauthentic, much like the salmon. I swam hard and long. I reached my freshwater riverbed, and I spoke my truth. I did so for injustice and all that is unfair. I did so for my Mrs., my Big, and my Little. I did so for ME. And I truly believed that:
If you lie on the ground, you cannot fall. Az mi ligt oif der erd, ken men nit fallen.
What I learned, was that you can still fall. That the truth is not always enough. That there are so many who can easily look away from truths. That so many can label, misrepresent, smear (very different from a nice shmear), and lie. And that the latter group that can win. And that in itself can be mentally and physically crushing.
My silence is over. My quiet has passed. I still grieve the loss, nurture my courage. I will become whole again. After all, I have two shayneh maidelehs (sweet little girls) that must know that despite everything, it is always an obligation, to tell the truth. That we must always stand tall and respectfully fight, not only the injustices that we face, but those of our fellow humans too. I have learned in no uncertain terms that the battles that surround us are much larger than we know. That the work ahead is complex.
And despite my loss, I would stand up again, and risk the same fall. My Mrs. and me, we will raise two mighty girls with voices to engage and take a stand for their sisters and brothers who need them.
Injustice won this time, a shonda (crying shame). But this particular salmon, I am not rolling over and playing dead.
A liar tells his story so often that he gets to believe it himself. A ligner hert zikh zeineh ligen azoi lang ein biz er glaibt zikh alain.
Plus, I know karma is a bitch for all nogudniks (someone on the wrong side of the law).
Nu? This mr t, he has me farklempt (all choked up) with his evil and hatred. Not too long ago, I wrote a post, I AM WOMAN HEAR MY VOICE. Well, I’ve taken it to the stage folks. Please, bear with my (awful) voice as I stumble through my own, personal feminist anthem.
Please feel free to sing along. If only to cover up my voice! Vey iz mir…I’m meshuggeneh (crazy), but I am so motivated to peacefully make a change. Because Never Again, is now folks.