My Pandora’s box

I was me, just me
feeling colors, touching dreams
seeking solace, warmth
imperfect, monstrous
not enough, absolutely
forever a stain
in stillness, silence
excruciatingly loud
and, I became whole
photographs pale, old
yesterdays and tomorrows
sadness mixed with joy
curiosity
fire, beauty mixed with evil?
the box, a siren
Pandora provokes
hornet’s nest, a quandary
dare I uncover?
peace, a gift, awaits
living fearlessly, present
genuine and strong
I am me, just me
feeling colors, touching dreams
seeking solace, warmth
Yiddish proverb:
The smoothest way is full of stones. Di smudast veg iz ful fun shteyner.
A bei gezunt. Go in good health!
 

That’s it. Period.

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…

Big and Little, so grown up!

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.

Inside Red Canna, 1919 Georgia O’Keefe (c). I had to put it in…

Instantly, she screamed across 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.

Who doesn’t love a nice carousel ride

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 bullshit 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!

      

      

      

I AM WOMAN, the musical resurfaces

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. 

Great big hugs and love to Mackenzie for her gorgeous participation and support! And Kristin, where would I be without the bug you put in my ear? And to all of you brave, men, women and children who showed up, and continue to show up in protest. That’s what I’m sayin.’
Why’d I do it? Well, I am trying hard to teach my kinder (little kids) to be brave, not perfect.
Hey, mr t, I Am Woman, and you, little man, are going to have to deal with that!  Tell me, did you march? If so, where? And most important, everyone VOTE.
      
       
    

RIP, Edie Windsor. You are my Hero

*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!

     

      

      

      

 

Resilience and Observations

Stop and see the beauty in your life… I will do this more

Getting over fighting Beelzebub was tough stuff. Losing, maybe hell, effing yeah a bissel (a little bit) worse. It has already taken up a lot of time, effort, energy and wellness for me, my Mrs., my kinder (kiddo’s) and the wonderful people who were helping me scrimmage. Still, my glass, it stays half-full. If there was an award for, ‘Most Resilient,’ this one would definitely go to me. Knock me down, and I come right back up again. Spunk, integrity, and Energizer Bunny. Pliant, flexible and rebellious. That’s me.

In this latest round of rebound, I am working on being present and mindful. Here are five things that I have noticed in myself

  • Currently, I can go batshit crazy frustrate easily. I’m aware of this and determined not to take it out on others. But, no lie, I have channeled my inner Mohammed Ali, and I punched the roof of my car when driving this week (technically, I was at a red light). Like texting, no punching and driving. Not at all smart. This helps no one. Not my hand, not the car. Not my emotions.

In Yiddish, they say, Bad temper and anger, they shorten the years. Der ka’as un der tsoren farkirtsen di yoren.

So, I must do more tai chi and learn to meditate. Stat! Plus, the anger is just sadness in disguise.

Tai Chi during sunrise, good. Punching roof of the car, bad.
  • Sleep, not so hotsy-totsy. I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Staying asleep — a whole other animal! I get up to pee. I try to make my way back into bed. I have to push aside a Little or a Big, who has usurped my precious, yet small mattress real estate yes they are all in the bed, and I am at the very edge, practically outside the apartment. Reclaim my swatch of the blanket. Find my special neck pillow. By the time I do this, Gatsby, he makes his way over with his waggity tail and kissy, shana punim (face).  I finally try to get my head to the pillow and arrange my neck in good fashion. Don’t you know, now my brain, it begins to churn with thoughts and activity. With this, I am hopeful that this Yiddish Proverb holds true:

Kirtser geshlofen, lenger gelebt. Translated to, The less you sleep, the more you get out of life. 

A nice positive spin on fricking insomnia. Nu? Leave it to Yiddish! Oh, how I love this juicy language!

  • If you (and by you, I, of course, mean me) experience a hot flash while blow-drying your hair as I did today, it feels as though you are sitting in a steam room, grabbing a nice shvitz (sweat), while doing hot yoga (like my Mrs.) inside a convection oven, in August, in Florida. The hair simply will not dry (it re-wets itself from the inside, underneath, out!) I am more than a little concerned — It is quite possible, that me, and me alone — I am responsible for global warming. Forget the cows farting methane.  “THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE” is my anthem! She’s just a girl and she’s on fire… Oy vey! (OMG!) How does Alicia Keyes know so much about me? Nu? PS, this was lovely during winter.

A fool doesn’t age and cold water doesn’t spoil. A nar vert nit elter un kalteh vasser vert nit kalyeh.

Yiddish! Beautiful… a phrase for every life moment!

  • I am slowly reconnecting with the people that I have knowingly detached from —  my own feelings of shame and self-worth caused this silence. And what I have learned this week, a friend is a friend is a friend, as a rose by any other name, would be a rose… If you haven’t heard from me yet, you will. Or if you call, I will answer, and explain the battle that has tied me up.

To fall down, you manage alone but it takes friendly hands to get up. Falen falt men alain, ober oifsuhaiben zikh darf men a hant fun a freind.

Thank you dear friends. ❤

Oh how we have fun with SnapChat. And my Mrs., oh how she laughs!
  • Nothing, and I mean bupkis (nothing) makes me happier than seeing my family happy and hearing their laughter. Those priceless giggles that stem from deep inside, fill my heart with joy and simultaneous calm. I must crack the code on this one, bottle it and imbibe daily. And if I do? I will share the tonic.

Happy mamas, and an easy upbringing. Freylekhe mames, un a gringe hodevaniye. 

So true!

And I continue to move onward! Karma will win in the end. It must! As for resilience, I must figure out the lesson to be learned here. It’s a bit tiring to keep reinventing the wheel.

An ounce of luck is worth more than a pound of gold. Besser a loit mazel aider a funt gold.

      

   

Quote

Do you see us?

Do you see us? We are a family, just like yours.

It’s a slippery slope my friends and we are headed down the rabbit hole fast. The latest for me, my Mrs. and our shanah maideleh kinder (sweet beautiful girls) is our invisibility in the upcoming Census. It’s been announced that there will not be an LGBTQ count in the 2020 census. To be fair, that’s the way I roll, it’s important that you know that we have never been counted before. But after the stunning momentum from the Obama administration, the proclamation to love out loud with all the legal rights and freedoms from the Supremes, government agencies, lefty liberals, and this Yiddisheh lesbian, we were hopeful that following the next Census, our government would see us. And after they see us, they would work to find ways so that we wouldn’t always be under some threat, be it physical, emotional or legal. They would see us and allocate the resources that are so important to our LGBTQ community. They would see us and help.

Congressional Democrats (much too many for mr t to count on his tiny little hands), along with several government agencies (Health and Human Services, the Justice Department and Housing and Urban Development) have all requested that mr t’s administration counts the LGBTQ population in the next Census (2020). Figuring, ‘Hey, wouldn’t be a swell idea to better understand sexual orientation, marital status, family status, gender identity and the location, size and socioeconomic status of this population?  We are out ringing doorbells counting anyway?’ 

mr t and his slimy swamp mates, they say there’s no need for collecting data on us. A crowd of people, and not one real person among them. A groyse oylem, un nito ein mentsch. Their anti-gay agenda is clear as day, and I feel it as real as those hot flashes, vey iz mir (OMG). Gorsuch, poised for confirmation via the cowardly nuclear option, is an extreme threat to our civil rights for the next 4 to 5 decades. Well, you know what f*ck that? WE ARE HERE. You cannot erase us.

You may say, Lisala, what’s the big mitziah (problem)? I can’t speak for everyone, but you know how loud I speak for my mishpocha (family). Coming out, ‘being out,’ makes you leave the cloak of invisibility behind.

If you are straight, you don’t know from this tsuris (trouble). Your are counted. You count. You matter.

To read the rest of this post, please click here

M’wah! It’s worth the click!

 

 

      

     

      

 

 

I AM WOMAN, the musical

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. 

Great big hugs and love to Mackenzie for her gorgeous participation and support! And Kristin, where would I be without the bug you put in my ear? And to all of you brave, men, women and children who showed up, and continue to show up in protest. That’s what I’m sayin.’
Why’d I do it? Well, I am trying hard to teach my kinder (little kids) to be brave, not perfect.
Hey, mr t, I Am Woman, and you, little orange man, are going to have to deal with that!
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