I have questions

I volunteered for the first time in my youngest’s class yesterday. He’s in first grade and was over the moon to have me there – so proud and excited. 

The teacher explained that it was quiet reading time and I could go around to kids and ask them to quietly read aloud to me and, by the way, at 1:45 there will be a lockdown drill. 

“You can head out before the drill or whenever works” she assured me.

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?” I screamed inside my head. Out loud, however, I said “oh, it’s no problem, I have the rest of the afternoon”. If my son is going to have to experience a lock down drill today you bet your ass that I’m going to be staying right by his side. 

And so the hour went and a few minutes before the drill she called them all to sit together on the carpet.  She explained what they would be doing and what was important – be still, be quiet.  Some kids tried to talk about what happened in Florida, but she redirected them to the job they had to do. I was taken aback that first and second graders knew about Florida, but in our media saturated culture I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise.  Then they went back to their desks to wait.

The announcement came over the loud speaker and we all quietly and efficiently went over to the cubbies and tucked ourselves out of the line of sight of the door.  Nineteen children ages 6-8, a teacher, a student teacher, and me.  My wiggly boy wrapped himself around whatever body part of mine he could grab as I sat near him. And I looked around at all these kids, some so serious, quiet, and stern, while others worked to contain their wiggles and giggles. 

I had pictured what it would be like to participate in a lock down drill, but I was always a few degrees removed emotionally.  I couldn’t be today.  I was right in the middle of it, looking at all of these innocent faces full of love for life and the world

I wondered to myself…

Would they be spared the horror of being murdered with their classmates?

Which kids would his teacher protect if a shooter came in the classroom?

Would she shield my child? Would she shield any? Would they shield each other?  If I was there would I only shield my child, or would I try to shield others, too?


Would it matter?

Anyone coming in with an AR-15 isn’t going to be aiming, they’re going to be spraying a firehose of bullets onto your children.  And mine. 

What do I tell my child?  Get behind your friends?  Stay still and get shot?  Or run?  To where?


I want you to fucking tell me what I’m supposed to tell my seven year old to do so he can protect himself from a sociopath with an semi-automatic weapon. 

What do I tell him so that when a shooter comes into his school he’s one of the ones that comes home alive? 

What do I tell him to do so I don’t have to plan a funeral, box up his favorite rain boots he’ll never wear again and the Lego he’ll never play with again, box up all the memories I have of him knowing I will never see him again? 

Do you know the grief of never being able to touch your child again? Hear their laugh? See them get excited about something they love? Hold their tiny hand in yours?

I don’t know that grief and I don’t want to.  There are already too many parents in this country that do.

So tell me, right now, what should a seven year old child do to keep himself from getting killed at school? 

You can’t.  We both know you can’t.  We both know that, for you, this isn’t about keeping kids safe. This is about you feeling entitled to own whatever gun you want because of your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.  You don’t need your AR-15, you want your AR-15.  This isn’t about your right to bear arms, it’s about your perceived right to own a toy that can kill lots of people at once. Nobody needs that kind of gun.

What you are saying is that your toy, or right to own that toy, is more important than every child’s life that has been killed by one of them.  And every child that will be killed with one because we both know Parkland wasn’t the last time.

Every legislator that sits back and does nothing to strengthen the gun laws to protect innocent people is an accomplice to the next murder(s) that take place with one of these weapons.

And every NRA circle jerking gun lover that uses the Constitution to defend their right to own this type of gun is an accomplice to the next murder(s) that are committed with it. 

Violence can happen anywhere, at any time.  I know that I can’t bubble wrap my children and I don’t expect to.  But let’s not make it so god damned easy for unstable people to get access to these kinds of weapons. You can do something, you are just choosing not to. Let’s work together to create laws that make sense and protect everyone.  Let’s start talking to each other and seeing each other’s humanity.  It’s time to make a different choice for the sake of my child, and yours.

If you love and respect guns so much, then I challenge you to be a part of a constructive conversation about responsible gun ownership.

The simple fact is that my child deserves to come home safely from school, every day, more than you deserve to have your big gun toy.  And don’t tell me we need to toughen up, that more guns need to be in schools (what kind of insane logic is that??), that we need teachers to defend our students.  They’re teachers, not security guards or police officers. I think we’ve ‘toughened up’ this culture enough and look at the mess it’s gotten us into. 

You don’t have to support the NRA to love guns. You can be the biggest hoplophile around and still not support a civilian desire to own semi-automatic weapons. You have been brainwashed into thinking that loving guns = loving ALL guns = loving the NRA.  #allgunsmatter? But the NRA, as an organization, does not actually have anyones best interests in mind but their own and the gun manufacturers.  Follow the money, then ask yourself… how much money is my child’s life worth? Look me in the eye and tell me what price you put on his head and the head of my other two children.  Hurry up, I don’t have much time before the next mass shooting happens. 


photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) via photopin  (license)


Subjugation by Snack Food

The Doritos people are making special Doritos for women… or Lady Doritos, if you will. There’s just one thing…

Lady Doritos are not really for ladies.

They’re for the greater good.

You see, Lady Doritos have goals.

Lady Doritos don’t want you to get cheesy, salty, day glow orange powder all over your fingers. We all know the only thing more horrifying than seeing a person licking that tell tale reddish orange cheese dust from their fingers, is seeing a person with breasts and/or a vagina and/or any other culturally accepted characteristic of femininity sucking the last vestiges of a binge off her fingers. Oh no. Lady Doritos want you do be a real Lady.

Lady Doritos don’t want you to have to tip your head back like a ravenous Tyrannosaurus Rex to pour tiny chip dust into your waiting PMS hole. No, you must enjoy nothing fully. You must leave the broken remnants of your dignity on the bottom of the bag where they belong, unless you’re giving them to a man, who is, of course, welcome to do what he pleases with them.

Lady Doritos want to be a more resilient snack for tossing in our purses, because all ladies carry purses and worry about whether or not, like camels, they can fit more fuel into their humps for their lifelong journey through the desert of misogyny. Rejoice the capacity of women’s purses, may your Lady Doritos survive being wedged between broken crayons and your broken dreams. Lady Doritos want you to make it to your destination with your snacks fully intact so you can carefully use your pristine fingers to daintily extract them one at a time, mentally counting the calories of each bite.

Lastly, Lady Doritos want to be quieter, because if there’s anything worse than women talking, it’s women chewing.


photo credit: Hugo Martins Oliveira: Doritos (cc)

Mothers in the Middle

The closing of Postpartum Progress two weeks ago now has left many women feeling broken and adrift.  Initially, I felt like the closure of PPI was a slap in the face to the thousands of us that have raised money for the organization, volunteered our time, and spent our family’s hard earned money travelling to and attending the conference, among other things.  I thought that was what was bothering me.  But as the weeks have gone on, it’s become more clear what feels so broken about this.


Those of us that were involved in PPI trusted the organization to hold us up when no one else would.  Within the ones and zeros of PPIs virtual walls we found the all important “me, too” and “I’m okay, you’re okay, and when we’re not okay, that’s okay, too”.  That kind of acceptance allowed us to be vulnerable and, when you are dealing with perinatal and postpartum mental illness, vulnerability doesn’t come easy.  We trusted that we would be safe there.  We were told that our deepest, darkest, scariest secrets were okay here.  So we told those secrets, we freed them, and we started to heal.

While the dissolution of the organization feels like abandonment in some ways, what feels so much worse is watching women who once had your back, turn theirs on you.  People are disconnecting themselves from each other by unfriending and blocking on Facebook (the 21st century version of the silent treatment).  There are sides and people are expected to choose one or the other.  There is splitting… the idea that something or someone is all good or all bad.

But what about those of us in the middle.

I’ve never been an all or nothing person.  Very few things, in my mind, are all good or all bad.

I am absolutely not okay with Women of Color being marginalized, being the victimized by people they trusted, and having their pain dismissed. It is clear that many Women of Color have not been able to trust PPI for a long time and that is absolutely, unquestionably unacceptable.

I am also not okay with the mob scene that ensued when the leadership was asked to be accountable for the systemic racism that was coming to light within it’s ranks.   When a petition was started to oust the CEO, and letters went out to sponsors asking them to pull funding, it felt like a freight train barreling down hill with no brakes.  Social media moves at the speed of light and what made PPI so accessible, in the end, was it’s undoing.  Even so, I still feel like more could have been done to salvage the organization. The leadership, however, did not and allowed itself to be engulfed in flames.

We all do the best we can with the information and resources we have at any given time. I do not blame any one person for the collapse of PPI; there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen for this one. And no one’s feelings are wrong.  However, what one chooses do with those feelings can have an infinite number of outcomes. When we choose to do nothing and turn the other way, we have indeed made a choice that speaks loudly and evolves, or devolves, depending on who takes the reigns when we drop them.  When we are reactionary and full of rage, those outcomes will generally take on lives of their own and lead down paths we may have never intended to go.

My community evaporated literally overnight.  No matter how many Facebook groups are created, or organizations take up the work of PPI, it will never be the same.  Maybe this is grief.  Maybe it’s anger.  Maybe I’m feeling abandoned.  I don’t know.  But I don’t like it.  And I don’t know where to go with all of it.

I’m glad PPI was held accountable, finally, for the systemic racism within the leadership.  And I’m glad that new organizations are being created that are far more inclusive.  But there is no trust there yet, for me, and with the way things fell apart I don’t know if there ever can be.

So where does this leave those of us in the middle?  I have felt like I’m floating along not wanting to speak or say the whole truth of what I am feeling because, depending on what I say, I’ll be pigeon holed on one ‘side’ or another.  I don’t want an echo chamber. I don’t want to be in a silo of whiteness and I don’t want anyone to wipe my white woman tears.  I also don’t want to be dismissed.

I want a place where I can work this out safely; a place where I can ask hard questions of of myself and other people. Racial issues are complex and confronting your internalized racism and challenging your privilege is no easy task.  These are issues I’ve been examining deeply for the past several years.  I don’t want any awards, I’m just stating my truth.  I want to have the discourse. But I’m hesitant to talk about how I feel about the closing of PPI without this constant fear that if I say the wrong thing I’ll be branded and excommunicated.  Maybe that fear, in and of itself, is part of my white privilege.  Maybe not.  I just don’t know.  And the point is, there feels like there’s no where, no where at all, to unpack all that and figure it out without the risk of it all getting turned on it’s head.


photo credit: kitch Broken via photopin (license)

Warrior On

Six years ago I was a month postpartum with my youngest child.  I was having a glorious postpartum period; far better than what I had experienced with my other two children.  There were a lot of factors that played into this healthier postpartum period, however, they would soon become irrelevant.  What I didn’t know six years ago was that it was all going to come crashing down around me in just a few short months.

When the darkness started to close in and I was alone and not sleeping, I found Twitter.  Then I found #ppdchat.  Then I found Jill Krause and Baby Rabies who helped me learn that Postpartum Anxiety was a THING (and something I had).  Then I found Postpartum Progress (PPI).

As my healing progressed, my involvement with PPI progressed.  I participated in the annual Climb Out of the Darkness event on my tiny little personal scale.  I went to the annual conference twice – both times were life altering.  I became a Warrior Mom Ambassador so I could bring PPIs wisdom and support to my corner of the world.

I began to believe that my experience mattered.  I began to really feel like a Warrior Mom. 

I loved Postpartum Progress.  I loved what it signified.  I loved the community.  I loved the guidepost it was in my healing journey.  I loved, and still love, the women I met online and in real life.  These women were the most critical part of my story.  I read their blog posts and comments on social media and thought “me, too!” a million times; I got to meet them in person, to sit across from them and say “me, too!” a million times more.

In the past week it became clear that the organization that I loved, that I thought I knew, was not in line with the image it presented.  More importantly, that it was horribly misaligned with my own values.  Accusations of gross cultural incompetency and racial insensitivity came to light.  One woman spoke up, then another, then another until a cacophony of voices, women of color and those who love them, rose up and said “I was hurt, I was used, I was abused”.

It never mattered to me to know exactly happened.  It happened once.  It happened many more times.  And the silence from the beloved leadership was deafening.  When that silence was broken it was a string of platitudes upon platitudes.  A once bright beacon of light for so many flickered until it finally went out.

Today Postpartum Progress announced they were shuttering the organization.  Rather than do the work of becoming culturally sensitive and fighting systemic racism within its own ranks, it took it’s ball and went home.

I am so deeply disappointed.  I have vacillated between sadness, grief, and rage all day (while trying to work a 12 hour shift at my job).  I feel betrayed, I feel cheated, I feel duped.  I feel like leaving hundreds of people high and dry is grossly unethical.  Walking away from this is a slap in the face to all of us who have championed this organization, who have helped built it brick by brick, dollar by dollar.

But within minutes of that announcement I saw, on the horizon, pin pricks of light.  First one, then two, then dozens shining their light, beckoning us all home.  

Postpartum Progress was never about just one person.  My journey to healing was never about just one person.  We were blinded by the light of its leader, we let ourselves fall for an idol that we wanted so badly to exist, and we are crushed by the weight of the truth.

But the most important truth is that the Warrior Moms I came to know and love were the ones lighting the way the whole time.

One person doesn’t make a movement.  We made this movement.  You and me.  In every Tweet, in every Facebook post, in every text, support group and phone call.  We did this.  We created this space to heal in.  We demanded that space be safe for everyone. We have all been here, the whole time, lighting the way for other parents struggling with Postpartum and Perinatal Mood Disorders.  We will continue to be beacons.  We will continue to be the Warriors we are.  We will continue to help other parents believe that they, too, are Warriors.

I’m not going anywhere.  I’m here for you and I know you are there for me.

Warrior On my friends, Warrior On.

Warrior Lego.jpg


photo credit: Reiterlied The Viking via photopin (license)

I put lube in my hair

No, really. 
Eight months ago I started my Curly Girl journey. Simply put, the Curly Girl method means no shampoo, cleansing with non-silicone conditioners, and styling with products meant to keep your curls moisturized and healthy. There’s quite a bit of minutiae to it, but those are the basics. 
And there’s a lot of trial and error to find which products work well with your particular hair type. I’m in a large Facebook group where we talk about different products and methods of managing our curls. I’ve heard lots of folks rave about using water-based lubricants as a styling agent but couldn’t quite make the mental leap. 
This week in particular so many women were singing the praises and showing off their gorgeous soft curls. I finally decided I had to try it! A bag of cheetos, a selfie stick, a tube of generic lube, and an offhand comment about Tinder to the sales clerk and I was on my way. (Just kidding… maybe.). 

I’m a little giddy about the results even though I’m still working it into the routine. Some women use it as a stand alone styler, others in conjunction with gel or curling custards. I just have to figure out what works best for my hair and curl pattern, but it’s clearly worth the effort. 

What’s the craziest beauty product you’ve used?


This aquarium sits in the 3 foot wide space that is my only entry in and out of my kitchen. I try to keep things in order, ideally, because it helps my brain feel less chaotic. My impulse to make him clean it up at the end of the day is strong. But he’s so clear that his work isn’t finished. I push down my needs for order to make space for his needs for creativity because this is his work, and my ability to leave it is mine.