March On

“We are mothers. We are caregivers. We are artists. We are activists. We are entrepreneurs, doctors, leaders of industry and technology. Our potential is unlimited. We rise.” – Alicia Keys

“If we — the millions of Americans who believe in common decency, in the greater good, in justice for all — if we fall into the trap by separating ourselves by our causes and our labels, then we will weaken our fight and we will lose. But if we commit to what aligns us, if we stand together steadfast and determined, then we stand a chance of saving the soul of our country.” – America Ferrera

“Remember, the Constitution doesn’t begin with, ‘I, the president.’ It begins with, ‘We, the people.'” – Gloria Steinem

“Once the heaviness [of the election] began to subside, an opportunity has presented itself to make real long-term change, not just for future Americans, but in the way we view our responsibility to get involved with and stay active in our communities. Let this weight not drag you down, but help to get your heels stuck in.” – Scarlett Johansson

“A movement is much more than a march. A movement is that different space between our reality and our vision. Our liberation depends on all of us.” – Janet Mock

Woman’s March

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Hot damn the topic of politics can bring out some rippin’ and roarin’. While the majority of what people posted on social media (and by ‘social media’ I mean instagram because I’ll be damned if I have time for anything else these days) seemed to be with good flavor, I have a twinge of a bad taste left from a few of the comments on one image I posted on our shop feed as well as some of the other less-than-supportive sentiments I came across on the feeds of others. And it’s just like those bad tastes to ruin your palate all together, isn’t it? In any event, we marched the good march; not so much in protest because what’s done is done. But we marched for solidarity.

I had intentions of attending one of the larger marches but having just come back from Arizona the night before after lying Willy’s beautiful grandma to rest, the local march here – in San Clemente – was about all we could muster the energy for. And in hindsight standing amongst our local neighbors and fellow sisters was meaningful in a way that I needed.

It was fast and rather uneventful; the boys chasing their sweet friend Hazel, Sonny drifting off to sleep, and the rest of us walking amongst the honking horns in a sea of homemade signs reminiscent of so many that came before them; we shall overcome, a women’s place is in the revolution, and so on and so forth.

Prior to the march, I spent time talking to the boys about what it means to be a woman, a human, and how we can better support women and each other. For me, it’s not about bashing our new President as much as it is about talking about what’s right, what’s fair, and what equality means. We talked about respect and compassion and what those seemingly cliche words mean. We talked about embracing differences and practicing tolerance. All concepts worth introducing, regardless of the weight they carry.

And so, they carried their signs, they gave some hugs, they marched. But mostly they ran and laughed and played. Because while we’re busy working on their future, they’re busy staying in the moment.


An addendum: I think so many of us harbor good intentions but meet road blocks when trying to transition said intentions into any sort of meaningful action. The sheer volume that turned out to the marches is great, but for many, it ended when the march ended. And not so much out of apathy but out of paralysis; paralysis stemming from just how big the issues we’re facing are. So big that it’s hard for any one individual to conceptualize what needs to be done and so, many of us end up doing nothing.  I’ve been mulling over a few ideas in my head in ways I can help and contribute on an individual level. Aside from the teaching I’m doing at home, because that goes without saying.

How about you? Any ideas of how to take action?

All images shot with my iPhone after taking my camera out only to realize I had no battery life. Ho hum. Long live the iPhone. 

March On

ashley-30VeniceWhen I became a mother, I felt this annoyance with all those women before me who fought so hard for women’s rights. And by “women’s rights,” I mean this notion that women can “do it all.”  I mean of course we CAN do it all. In my opinion, we are more equipped than men to “do it all.” We are biologically hardwired to multitask because motherhood is, essentially, multitasking.
But, as a mom, I quickly realized that the implication is not simply that we CAN do it all, but that we MUST. And “all” now encompasses taking care of the household and working a good job and sustaining wonderful friends and being a good sister/daughter/whatever. I don’t think the feminists intended to make us all stressed out. They wanted us to have equal rights. They wanted things to be fair. They wanted to be inspiring. Unfortunately, I think many of us have taken their “you can do anything” mantra and turned it into a “you should do everything” mandate.
When I had my boys, I hated the fact that I had to leave home and return to work. It felt very unnatural to leave my child. Everyone says to follow your instinct as a new mom and my new mom instinct was barking like a little annoying yippie chihuahua for me to stay home.
What I do for work has changed some over the last few years and when someone asks me what I do, I kinda stumble over the answer. Consistently, I say, I’m a registered nurse. Passionately, I say, I’m a photographer. And, because I wanted to, I opened an Etsy shop. Sometimes I wonder if doing all three inhibits me from doing any one with any sort of excellence. I never give it much thought though because all three make me happy and I have come to the conclusion, over much time spent mulling it all over, that all three work symbiotically. I have, however, witnessed the struggles of those around me; moms who feel less adequate because they’ve chosen to leave their careers to mother children, moms who never had the opportunity to pursue a career because they stayed home with kids from the beginning, and moms who do a little of both but don’t feel like winners at either one.
Point being, I think we all question what we do and if we’re doing it right. I think women are notoriously hard on themselves and tend to compare themselves to one another and set unrealistic expectations; expectations that can lead to us feeling really crummy about ourselves.
I came across this article on The Huffington Post that kind of touches on women who seem to give more energy to what they’re not doing instead of to what they are. I suppose it’s the whole glass half-full versus glass half-empty phenomena. Or the notion of wanting what you have as opposed to having what you want. In general, I think we’re all more inclined to self-scrutiny and I think Elizabeth Gilbert’s article is a great reminder to lighten up a little. In today’s day n’ age, it feels like we’re doing more than ever – in all facets of life (home, work, motherhood, etc), and yet we’re seemingly more self-critical. It’s backwards.
The last bit of the article has a ‘screw it’ like mantra and has really stuck with me:
“Move to the wrong city. Lose your temper in front of the boss, quit training for that marathon, wolf down a truckload of cupcakes the day after you start your diet. Blow it all catastrophically, in fact, and then start over with good cheer. This is what we all must learn to do, for this is how maps get charted — by taking wrong turns that lead to surprising passageways that open into spectacularly unexpected new worlds. So just march on. Future generations will thank you — trust me — for showing the way, for beating brave new footpaths out of wonky old mistakes. Fall flat on your face if you must, but please, for the sake of us all, do not stop. Map your own life.”
The reality is that there is no right or wrong. Sometimes I think I need to stop analyzing what I’m doing with my life and – so long as it’s working for me – keep on keepin’ on. What I’m doing right now is fulfilling. There is always more out there, always. But, to me, the point of life isn’t to cram it full of accomplishments; it’s to find accomplishment in the simplicities of the everyday.
Photo by Tish Carlson

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