why i marched and what was it all about

#KeepPortlandWeird gets thrown around a lot around here, and this might be considered an example but for me it is an example of the greatness that is my hometown. Full of Whimsy and Bite. This photo was from an Instagram account that tagged themself at the event. The user name for the account was CarynRochelle and she even has her own blog http://imnotevenmakingthisstuffup.blogspot.com/ her last post was all about cyber bullying, worth checking out.

#KeepPortlandWeird gets thrown around a lot around here, and this might be considered an example but for me it is an example of the greatness that is my hometown. Full of Whimsy and Bite. This photo was from an Instagram account that tagged themself at the event. The user name for the account was CarynRochelle and she even has her own blog http://imnotevenmakingthisstuffup.blogspot.com/ her last post was all about cyber bullying, worth checking out.

Like many men and women in this country I marched this weekend.

I marched on Saturday because I believe I was called to do so. When I found my purpose in life it was clear to me that it was not just to speak to hear my own voice but to speak up and our for those who cant. It was to use my voice to help other people find their own, especially women. For too long, women have had to quiet their voices. For too long we have been relegated to roles an ideals that limited us to objects. I marched because it is time that we are the subject. It is time that we are the force for change that will lead us all to a better place.

When I decided to march I did so without thought or consideration. I just knew it was something I had to do. I didn't think about who might join me. I didn't think about whether or not it was safe to march alone. I just knew I wouldn't be okay watching from a distance.

When  I decided that I wanted to write about the event, I knew I couldn't do it right away. I needed to sit with what had just happened. I needed to take it all in and sit in the emotion.

Because I sat with it, I experienced some of the aftermath that comes with expressing your views in the modern social media world we now live in. The Saturday that I had just experienced in elation turned in to a Sunday of sadness and confusion. 

let me explain...

Saturday, I woke up early, turned on C-SPAN and got ready while sitting on my living room floor. I wanted to see what was happening at the Women's March on Washington, DC and hear what all of these wonderful women had to say. With each speaker, tears fell from my face, none more than with the young 6 year-old Sophie Cruz stood with her family on stage.

She spoke with an eloquence and grace that most adults fail to muster and spoke out of her dreams and led a chant of "Si Se Puede" in front of the swelling crowd. In one instant I fell in awe and lost all sense of composure I had, not to mention every stitch of makeup I had just so carefully applied.  Between this young girls composure and spirit and the fact that we got to see in real time a mother become overwhelmed with pride for her young child, I was a goner. How in the world was I going to get through this day without succumbing to the weight of emotions that was sure to come?

i was humbled.

I know the language on my sign is strong. But I was just using the words that the President elect used when he objectified women and verbalized the value he saw in them. I chose the language on purpose. The goal of my sign was not to offend but rather to say that if we are to be strong women with a voice and view point we must exercise. Exercise our right to use our voice and have an opinion and speak up for it. (photo is mine)

I know the language on my sign is strong. But I was just using the words that the President elect used when he objectified women and verbalized the value he saw in them. I chose the language on purpose. The goal of my sign was not to offend but rather to say that if we are to be strong women with a voice and view point we must exercise. Exercise our right to use our voice and have an opinion and speak up for it. (photo is mine)

It was in this moment that sister-in-law and co-workers showed up at my door. It was also at this time that the skies opened up and rain fell by the bucketloads. We pulled out our umbrellas and walked to the Max Train (Portland Tri-Met's lightrail system).  The train was FULL of women in pink hats, positive message tee's and an unexpected amount of men and children standing by their side. The mood was jubilant, hopeful and contagious. It was there, that I decided to make my sign for the event. I knew that what I was writing might not be well received by all but the response from the people on the bus of all ages was that of joy and acceptance. 

for the second time that day i was humbled.

The train was packed, the windows were fogged up.It was because of this that de-boarding the train was so monumental. As we walked off the train into downtown Portland the sheer amount of people was overwhelming. Everywhere I looked I saw pink hats, signs of protest and positive energy.  We met more friends and co-workers. We made more signs. We walked to the rally stage.

Woah can we just talk about all of the people? They were truly everywhere.

This photo is the talent of local photographer Sara Ladu. What a great shot of the crowds i the rain. Check her out at  http://ladusphotos.tumblr.com/

This photo is the talent of local photographer Sara Ladu. What a great shot of the crowds i the rain. Check her out at  http://ladusphotos.tumblr.com/

Trudging through mud and rain we joined thousands of people under the Morrison bridge to listen. Well...we tried to listen but sadly couldn't hear much. The crowds were ready to march and you could hear the chants of "let us march" fill Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Finally after more than an hour, with soaking wet clothes and frozen muddy toes from the rain, the crowds started to move and with female led music we all started moving.  We were cheering, laughing and dancing. 

This photo is my own and was taken as we made our way from the muddy waterfront to the streets of Portland. Loved the sign.

This photo is my own and was taken as we made our way from the muddy waterfront to the streets of Portland. Loved the sign.

This is my own photo that someone in my group helped to capture. Here I am marching with like minded people. A moment I will forever be proud and humbled by. This is what democracy looks like

This is my own photo that someone in my group helped to capture. Here I am marching with like minded people. A moment I will forever be proud and humbled by. This is what democracy looks like

we were marching.

I am not sure how to explain the crowds or the emotions. There were so many. The best I can do is say that I was proud of my city and the people that make it a community. There were babies and kids, men and women, young and old and the energy was all love. The Portland Police were out, many of them donning their own pink hats and symbols of support. I personally thanked a few as we walked by for keeping us safe and heard the same sentiments coming from people throughout the march route.

Never have I experienced such an outpouring of love and support all directed at the female gender. Walking it felt like anything was possible. It felt that there was a reason to be hopeful and that love was bound to win. 

This is an image that KGW News posted to show just a small sampling of the crowds. Reports had estimated 37k people had RSVP'd via Facebook while the final tally's estimated closer to 100k showed up. WOW!

This is an image that KGW News posted to show just a small sampling of the crowds. Reports had estimated 37k people had RSVP'd via Facebook while the final tally's estimated closer to 100k showed up. WOW!

again i was humbled

This photo is one of my own. As we were walking to the shuttle, I saw this kid outside of Pioneer Square holding his sign for all to see. I asked him if I could take his picture and his grace, eloquence and manners were beyond measure. He thanked me for wanting to take this picture. This is what the future should look like. Loved this kid and was so blessed to have just 15 seconds with him as he made his voice heard.

This photo is one of my own. As we were walking to the shuttle, I saw this kid outside of Pioneer Square holding his sign for all to see. I asked him if I could take his picture and his grace, eloquence and manners were beyond measure. He thanked me for wanting to take this picture. This is what the future should look like. Loved this kid and was so blessed to have just 15 seconds with him as he made his voice heard.

We made our way home on shuttles and the lightrail (Kudos to Tri-Met for a very well organized approach to the day). The faces of our fellow passengers  showed signs of cold, exhaustion and a weariness but there were also a signs of knowing and kinship. We were family. You could see, that like me, they were trying to reconcile the amazingness that we just experienced with what we were marching in response to. How do you reconcile such a huge outpouring of love exercising our rights with what had happened the day before? Was this day a fluke? If this many people felt this strongly how did we end up where we are politically?

A lot of these questions came across my social media feed that night and into Sunday. Some of these questions are fair, and some are short-sided. The one I heard the most was...

Why didn't all of these people vote?

They did.

Let us not forget that the other candidate won the popular vote. She won not by a small fraction of a percent but an overwhelming landscape of votes that some have calculated at 2.9Million. Let us not forget that most of these events were in the large cities that voted overwhelmingly for something different. These marches were a reflection of the fact that they did vote. 

Let's not get distracted with blame and shame. That is not what Saturday was all about.

As I looked through images of the march and even shared some of my own, I was struck by two things. 

ANGER.

I found this photo on the Women's March on Portland Facebook Site, submitted by a Daniel H. Maher and couldn't NOT share it. This is the kind of expression of anger that can only make you smile. Love that this kid is standing #withher and that the her in the situation is his Grandma. LOVE

I found this photo on the Women's March on Portland Facebook Site, submitted by a Daniel H. Maher and couldn't NOT share it. This is the kind of expression of anger that can only make you smile. Love that this kid is standing #withher and that the her in the situation is his Grandma. LOVE

People get brave when they can hide behind a computer. They say cruel and hurtful things. They become people that we rarely see in person. They criticize and make accusations, they post and report unfounded news that has no factual basis and therefore isn't actually news. They have quick trigger fingers when it comes to insults and to opinions that they express oftentimes in hurtful ways. Social media has become a weapon of sorts and nobody is immune. This happens on both sides of the political spectrum. So many people are upset that they choose to react rather than act with careful thought and consideration and because this is happening at such a fast pace it tends to get out of control.

And that really sucks but there is another way. The second thing that struck me was this.

LOVE.

One of my favorite things about the Women's March on Portland were the Kids. So many parents exposing their kids to standing up for what they believe in. It was beautiful and none more so than this kid and his sign shared on the Women's March on Portland Facebook Page by Alex Stamsos

One of my favorite things about the Women's March on Portland were the Kids. So many parents exposing their kids to standing up for what they believe in. It was beautiful and none more so than this kid and his sign shared on the Women's March on Portland Facebook Page by Alex Stamsos

There is a lot of love in this world. Those people that I marched alongside on Saturday were not a fluke. They were real and they were the personification of love.

We forget that living in this world is hard. We forget that we aren't the only ones who have it hard. Everyone has a story, a past that is full of both good and bad things. These things shape who we are as people. Some get shaped into people that are angry, bitter and ignorant while others get shaped into people who want more and use their experiences to work for more, to promote something better. The old saying of "don't judge someone until you have walked in their shoes" rings true.

I have decided to focus on the love.

I have decided that by doing this I will stand FOR SOMETHING, not against. When I marched on Saturday, I marched FOR SOMETHING. I put my anger and confusion aside and decided not to dwell in that negativity. I marched to instead focus on using my voice to speak up for something more. It would be easy for all of us to focus on the things that make us angry but the thing is...

This is my photo and the sign says it all. 

This is my photo and the sign says it all. 

anger and ignorance doesn't change hearts

Yes, at times these things can change minds of people, but it doesn't change hearts. When I think of the things that the new President represents I see a lot of bad things; racism, homophobia, disrespect for women, xenophobia and a general lack of understanding of what the majority of Americans go through my first thought is anger.

I can admit that. But that anger turns to sadness very quickly. That sadness gets compounded when I see that there are people who chose someone that represents those ideals. I get even sadder when I hear people say nothing at all and remain absent from the conversation. We all have our reason for what we do and how we choose to respond but this country was built on the backs of people who stood up for what was right and that is a tradition people on both sides seem to be proud of. Our country is not perfect, neither is its people but it is when brave men and women stand up and speak out against these imperfections that progress has occurred.

I choose this legacy. .  

While I was hurt today by some of what I heard around me and some of what I heard directed at me and I cried today more times than I would like to admit. It will not break me. I am ok.

I choose to stand up

I choose to stand out

I choose to speak up

I choose to speak out

I will not be silenced

I will not be complacent

I will fight for what is right

I will fight for love

I will be for something

i will lift up

i will be me

and i will use my gifts to make the world a better place that we can all be proud of 

Love, peace, equality and intelligence to all of you beautiful people out there. Thank you to all of the people around this country and beyond who organized, supported, watched over and had any involvement whatsoever on the beautiful example of democracy that happened on Saturday across the globe. To my friends, family and co-workers who marched alongside me, thank you isn't enough. I chose not to share a picture of us as there wasn't one of the whole group and I respect your privacy but please know that it was an honor to stand next to you and veryone who made their voices heard on this historic day.

i am humbled

It doesn't end here. Marching and protesting is one thing but like anything good we have to work to elicit change. not sure what to do? That's okay, the march organizers have given us some help. 10 Things in 100 Days. Click on the picture below to find out what you can do next.

10 Things in 100 Days, let's continue to make history and speak up and out to make our voices heard.

10 Things in 100 Days, let's continue to make history and speak up and out to make our voices heard.

P.S. I didn't even get to talk about all of the great signs that were out there. This one was definitely one of my favorites for the pure cleverness alone so I had to share. Hopefully it puts the same smile on your face that it did on mine.

I shared as a screen shot because I just liked the whole post. It was from an Instagram user named Jon Friedman and it is just great all around.

I shared as a screen shot because I just liked the whole post. It was from an Instagram user named Jon Friedman and it is just great all around.

Did you march? In Portland, DC, LA, anywhere else? Tell me why you marched. Let's start a dialog together.

 

if only we all enjoyed eggs this much, or anything this much really

My favorite buddy

My favorite buddy

It's Friday, it's summer time. You don't want to read a long blog post. For this reason today's post is all about sending you out with some positive energy and something to inspire you to enjoy all that comes your way this weekend.

This is Otis. he is my nephew and basically m favorite person in the whole world. You could have probably guessed that already. Recently, I had the opportunity to go to breakfast with this little nugget and the pure excitement he expressed when his food came out and was put in front of him made my whole week. 

When is the last time you enjoyed something this much?

When is the last time you enjoyed something this much?

It wasn't just that he was enjoying his food. I mean that is great and clearly he takes after his aunt just a bit. The truth is, watching him scarf down those eggs and seeing his facial expressions reminded me of something I think we often forget. 

joy in the moment

As an adult, it seems as if we forget to enjoy moments. We are so caught up in what is next and making sure we "stay connected" via the variety of social media networks that we say connect us but really just keep our head down and eyes on a screen rather than connecting directly with someone. Because of this, it is often not until a moment is long gone and we go back to the idea of reminiscing that we remember the joy we actually had in the moment. 

The problem with this may not seem obvious at first but when we remember the joy, it isn't the same as experiencing and recognizing the joy in the moment. It is more removed, sedated. It would be easy to skip moments this way, to forget how truly delicious something is, how hysterical your wacky relative is or how amazing a sunset might be and that would be a shame indeed.

So, as you head out this weekend, I wish you the joy of scrambled eggs in the morning, or something equally as simple and decadent and I hope you take a moment to live there and savor it.

body shaming olympians, is this really what we do now?

Unless you are currently living under a rock you know that the Olympics are under way. While we should be reveling in the athletic accomplishments of amateur and professional athletes the world over, the attention instead has been the most ridiculous stuff. 

body shaming & gender 

I grew up in love with the Olympics. It has always been one of my favorite things ever. It represents so many wonderful things. Countries who may not agree on politics, religion or general world views come together in peace to compete. Each time the Olympics roll around we get to see and hear the most inspiring stories of grit, determination and the ability to overcome obstacles. It is empowering, inspiring and intensely riveting.

Sadly, this year, social media bullies are taking all of that away. 

Instead of celebrating the achievement of these athletes and the hard work that got them to the pinnacle of sport gets shoved aside and instead we mock them and belittle what got them there in the first place.

are you kidding me?

Here are a few examples of the body shaming that has occurred in just this first week of competition. 

Translation: “Exclusive pictures of Alexa Moreno at the end of her gymnastic routine.” (this tweet has been deleted)

Translation: “Exclusive pictures of Alexa Moreno at the end of her gymnastic routine.” (this tweet has been deleted)

Click Alexa's picture for a great profile on her and learn more about this powerful athlete.

Click Alexa's picture for a great profile on her and learn more about this powerful athlete.

Let's talk about Alexa Moreno. She is a 22 year old gymnast ranked 31st out of 54,866 gymnastic individual all around. She is ranked 12th in the world in her signature event, the vault. She has won medals in the Pan American Championships, Pacific Rim Games and more. She even finished 7th in vault at the 2014 World Championships. She competes for Mexico, a country not typically associated with gymnastics. Oh and by the way she is 4'11" and 99 pounds. I would never have told you this except for the fact that we are now body shaming people under 100 pounds. The whole concept of shaming an athlete near the top of their game is ridiculous in and of itself but shaming one under 100 pounds and implying that they are a "pig"? I am at a loss.

Here's the thing. We have all seen someone in person or even someone on television and thought to ourselves "did they gain weight" or "man they lost a ton of weight" or even "they look kind of strange to me". Anyone who says they haven't done that before is lying. Plain and simple. 

That being said, with the democratization of social media, the things we once said in the privacy of our living room are being shared on a global forum.

is it really that big of a deal?

Yes, it is. Social media creates the opportunity to turn a random observation into a weapon. People don't stop at asking a simple question, they beat the concept to death and suddenly something seemingly innocent turns into body shaming and worse still bullying. It also changes our perception of reality. 

Robel Habte who has been called the "Tubby Ethiopian"

Robel Habte who has been called the "Tubby Ethiopian"

"and in a shocking turn of events, this body shaming has now gone cross gender.

It almost looked like this body shaming had crossed genders and it kind of did but the shaming was different. Robel Habte has been called the "Tubby Ethiopian Swimmer" or Robel "the whale". While Robel faced quite a bit of his own body shaming online after coming in dead last in his swimming heat in Rio there were also people who cheered him on as having a "dad bod" and being relateable.

Yes, both experienced body shaming. Yes, they were not the only ones. Yes this is ridiculous.

These people made it to the OLYMPICS. There are only so many medals to go around, some people don't win. Some people don't look like our idea of a typical athlete, that doesn't mean they aren't. 

Bill Bowerman used to say "If you have a body, you are an athlete". This sentiment is what makes sports such a big deal. Because we can all do it. Okay, so we can't all do it well. Trust me, while I dream of standing on a podium, I basically trip trying to tie my shoes on the way to a race. 

Because we have tried though, we can put ourselves in these athletes shoes and we appreciate the effort and work it takes for someone to do it at such a level. So why then do we insist on tearing these people down who have reached the pinnacle.

Who cares what they look like, they are pushing the limits of what the human body can do and for that we should be cheering them on and celebrating the bodies that got them where they are just as they are.

 

 

http://mashable.com/2016/08/10/mexican-gymnast-body-shaming-twitter-olympics/#AmybQZu1YqqK

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/rio-olympics-2016/1595516/rio-olympics-2016-robel-the-whale-habte-is-haunted-by-online-abuse-after-belly-flopping-in-swim-sprint-but-admits-he-is-too-fat-and-claims-he-has-already-lost-six-stone-dieting/

http://www.today.com/health/body-shamed-olympic-swimmer-robel-kiros-habte-ethiopia-gets-waves-t101821

feminism...it's time to get on board

It's a bonus post day and for good reason.

On this day in 1920, our lives as women in America were forever changed thanks to some extremely courageous, intelligent and strong-willed women. Some think the fight stopped there. It did NOT. Equal rights for women is still a topic that needs courageous, intelligent and strong-willed women to pick up the flag and demand change. We are not paid equally, we are not educated equally, our opportunities are not equal, our rights are often decided for us. 

So, like these amazing feminist women before me.

i am a feminist.

I believe wholeheartedly that we should all be feminist (women AND men). This isn't about bra burning and being angry, it is about giving all people access to equal opportunities, and an equal access to have their voice be heard. First step to this is to take what these women fought so hard to give us...a voice, and USE IT. So ‪#‎vote‬‪#‎speak‬ ‪#‎demandmore‬ It is a new wave of feminism folks, and it is global because we should care about women everywhere.

For more information on the long struggle for voting rights that women fought for in our country and the details of the 19th amendment that was ratified on this day in 1920...

 check out the National Archives.

Know your history and don't let it be in vain.

 

 

It's time to get on board.

Serena Williams is a Bad Ass...oh and by the way she is also a woman...GASP

Excuse my language in the title of this post but is there really any other way to describe Serena Williams? 

uh, no there isn't

Recently, after winning the Wimbledon semi-finals in July, Serena Williams was interviewed at a press conference. During which gender came into the dialog, as it often does. One question asked, if she felt it was fair for women to get paid the same as men, if the matches were shorter....So you earn less for being better?

uh, what? no.

I wish I could say it ended there, it didn't. Here is the question that many have been talking about ever since. One, because it was dumb, two because, well Serena schooled the reporter in the most polite and yes bad ass way ever.

REPORTER:

"There will be talk of you going down as one of the greatest female athletes of all time. What do you think when you hear something like that?"

Serena, never one to back away from the conversation of gender in sport responded quickly as if there wasn't even a question how she should respond which makes sense when you are the best of the best.

SERENA:

"I prefer the word 'one of the greatest athletes' of all time."

uh, yeah because you are a bad ass, Serena


Then, this week another reporter was talking to 2 time Olympic Gold Medalist, Andy Murray when a reporter, John Inverdale asked the following:

REPORTER:

"You're the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals. That's an extraordinary feat, isn't it?"

ANDY:

"Umm," Murray said. "Well."

He was indeed the first modern tennis player to successfully defend the singles title at the Olympics, he noted.

But "I think Venus and Serena have won about four [gold medals] each,"

uh, now I kinda heart Andy Murray

I am not quite sure why it seems so hard for people in the media to give female athletes credit for their successes. It isn't just Serena who experiences this either. 

Check out this headline that was tweeted out as an example of how we treat athletes different based on their gender.

Uh, I think they are missing the boat on the real story here

Uh, I think they are missing the boat on the real story here

I realize that not everybody sees this as an issue. When I brought the subject up around some friends and co-workers (outside of the sports industry) the response was less enthusiastic. Few people said anything negative but many questioned why it matters.

It matters because it isn't just the media attention or respect that is unbalanced. It is also the pay. While you may not directly care about how much one super star athlete gets paid vs. the next, it trickles down.

It is widely known that female athletes do not get paid at the same level of their male counterparts.

In almost every single sport women earn considerably less than their male counterparts. Women are supplementing this lack of equal pay with endorsement deals which is misleading when you just compare total salaries against their male counterparts, if you take endorsements the gap in pay is much larger.

so, why do people get paid what they do? Arguments for the gap include; overall fan base, game attendance, tv endorsement deals and in general the amount of money generated by the sport. That doesn't tell the whole story though, as many female sports haven't been given the same options and support in the way of promotion etc.

So why focus on sports, when we know that on average women as a whole make somewhere on average of 72 cents to every dollar a man makes in this country?

Exposure & Transparency

Plain and simple. The women fighting for equality at these higher dollar levels brings about exposure to the overall issue of a gender bias and the gender pay gap. This is an important part of the process for change.

In less exposed industries, like a call center for example, the worker is less likely to know for sure what her counterpart make vs. herself and even if they do find out many companies attempt to say that it is illegal or against the rules to discuss salary among your peers and people fear retribution for rocking the boat. Serena isn't worried about rocking the boat. Tennis doesn't want to lose her. Say what you will but what she has done to elevate the sport of tennis in viewership, endorsement and pure love of the game, has probably generated more revenue to the actual sport than any other athlete in recent memory.

It is easier to ignore the call center operator, but you aren't ignoring Serena Williams.

How can Serena Help Us?

In a world where there is still a long way to go regarding gender and the gender pay gap there are signs of progress.,.well kind of. For starters most women in today's world make more than women have ever made in the past. We make more than our mothers and our grandmothers. Slightly misleading since many of our mothers and grandmothers didn't actually work but it still is important to note. Women account for 80% of all buying decisions in this country. Important to note for a number of reasons:

we are more educated than ever - not just in general but with regards to our finances

We have the majority stake and say in family buying decision - as the caretakers for children, and family members, we are calling the shots in every day life. 

It's time we get the respect we deserve for that and if Serena, women like her and even awesome men like Andy Murray continue to point out the discrepancies and demand better it helps us all.

Further proof of Serena's bad-assness....this little girl here...

For more information on the gender pay gap in sports, check out the infographic below:

SOURCE: http://sportsmanagement.adelphi.edu/resources/infographics/a-look-at-male-and-female-professional-athlete-salaries/

SOURCE: http://sportsmanagement.adelphi.edu/resources/infographics/a-look-at-male-and-female-professional-athlete-salaries/

it's okay to cry, we're men, we cry

My favorite little guys on the verge of tears

My favorite little guys on the verge of tears

I know I usually speak about girls and women but the truth is I speak about gender as whole. Often times it is specific to marketing and how to understand gender better in an effort to provide products and services that meet their needs. Other times however it is about the way in which we tear down people based on stereotypes and expectations tied to gender.

One of the most common ways this occurs in our every day life is in how we genderize emotion. Since who knows when we have taught children that boys don't cry, only girls do. We tell boys they need to be tough and girls they need to be sweet. This seemingly harmless act has pretty big repercussions.

and just like that he let it all out

and just like that he let it all out

it’s okay to cry, we’re men, we cry

I recently came across this fantastic video from a martial arts school in Detroit. At this school, the instructors focus on teaching and celebrating boys and their fathers by allowing them to be strong and vulnerable. There is a focus on allowing these families to express their emotions as boys and men and teaching the strength that resides there.

What a wonderful way to allow boys and their fathers to express emotion other than anger. This permission seems small but he reality is that expressing all types of emotion keeps people healthy. Typically we tell boys not to cry but allow them to express anger and then wonder why they grow up unable to express other emotions. We teach them that being sad is weak, all while allowing girls to express sadness and wonder why women are seen as weak. 

The idea that we place a gender on an emotion makes no sense really. Emotions don't differ by gender. We all get sad, happy, mad, embarrassed etc. It is how we are taught to deal with and express these emotions that becomes genderized by our culture. 

As I researched the topic I found a great article from The Washington Post called "Why it's good to let boys cry". One especially interesting part was a direct quote from a book, here is what the article said...

In the book “Why Boy’s Don’t Talk — and Why It Matters” (McGraw-Hill, 2004), authors Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon say we need to find ways to connect with our sons because, “when boys don’t talk, we assume that they don’t feel…We don’t get to fully know them; we end up validating only one part of them. It matters because when boys don’t talk, it inhibits intimacy....we shortchange their emotional growth; as a result, parts of boys remain hidden.
— Washington Post - Jennifer Kogan May 25, 2012
Even the strongest lions need to cry every once in awhile

Even the strongest lions need to cry every once in awhile

The moral to this story is that allowing our boys to cry and teaching them that it is a sign of strength not weakness helps to build men who can express emotion, share intimacy and express themselves in healthy ways.  Don't we owe our men that opportunity?

i'm in the pursuit of magic and writer's block sucks

I have been staring at a blank screen for a few hours now. On a number of occasions i have written a sentence or a paragraph only to hit the backspace button while taking a deep exasperated breath. Such is the journey of writer's block.

writer's block sucks

the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing
— google

it sucks even more when you are trying to remain consistent with a blog. I decided not to erase the last paragraph but of course then I was stuck again. So I decided to research writers block. During my research I found a pretty cool article about the different types of writer's block called "The 10 Types of Writers Block (and How to Overcome Them)". 

score

Maybe I won't find anything to write about but at least I might be able to figure out why. Instantly, I recognized my issue...Number 2 on the list "You have a Ton of Ideas but Can't Commit to Any of them and They Peter Out". 

story of my life

When you write a blog, you write each entry separately. On the left side of my screen is a list of all of my blog posts and at least 1/3 of them are started but unfinished blog posts on a variety of different topics. The idea is not the problem. It's just once I start writing, often times the thought doesn't fully come together in a way that wouldn't be utterly embarrassing for you to read, so I leave it there and hope that I can come back later and turn it into something that doesn't suck. 

My situation 20 minutes ago, or maybe an hour ago, it is kind of all blurring together at this point.

My situation 20 minutes ago, or maybe an hour ago, it is kind of all blurring together at this point.

So I read this article in the hope that it would tell me what to do. Guess what? It didn't. It basically told me told me what I am already doing. Apparently I am totally ahead of the game and know exactly what I am doing. Well, that is a first. It also does not help in this moment.

Apparently, writer's block is a pretty common thing and obviously not really something you can pin a date on as to when/where it originated but apparently the term writers block came about in academic literature some time in the 1940's by a psychiatrist named Edmund Bergler. In fact, Bergler went on to research writers block and wrote a paper on it in 1950 called "Does Writer's Block Exist?" The basic premise is that a writers is working to solve their inner problems by writing. This actually makes sense to me. It is like a lot of different creative outlets. You work through your issues by getting your creative juices flowing. He posited that a blocked writer could use therapy to become un-blocked.  The idea being that you figure out the psychological struggle and you unlock the ability to write.  Later research seems to confirm this. A lot of this later reserach shows blocked writers were often unhappy, anxious or depressed and all sorts of other things that claim to be the source of the block.

This is where I got a little lost. I get how being unhappy, anxious or depressed could cause writers block, it isn't that but if writing is your creative outlet, well then...

it is your therapy

Here is the thing though. Writing a book or a manuscript is a lot different than writing a blog. Writing something in long form is an intense process. It more than likely takes over your life. Writing a blog, I suppose could do the same thing but it is different. Depending on how often you post you have to come up with new and exciting topics that will make someone one want to continue to check in and care about what you are writing about.

not really doing a great job of that in this post right now I realize...sorry about that

If I waited for perfection I would never write a word
— Margaret Atwood

But telling stories is in fact my therapy and whether it is in writing or verbal story telling it fills the void. My problem isn't that I am unhappy and blocked, it is that I am seeking perfection. within reason of course. I say within reason because I am not a writer at heart, I didn't study English or journalism. I very rarely remember the grammar rules of a semi-colon and I probably use the wrong adjectives all of the time. The perfection I seek isn't in the writing as much as it is in the way the content is received.  I feel a responsibility to the content I choose to post. It is important to me that there is a purpose to what I write. I want the stories I tell to create a spark. What happens then is up to you but if I can somehow create the spark then...well then that is where the magic is.

i'm looking for magic

and that is why writer's block sucks so bad. I am in pursuit of magic here people and having a block is not helping. This is where you come in...that's right, I am bringing you into my block.

What would you like to read about? It can be about anything as long as it is positive in nature. Give me some ideas in the comments below.

SOURCE: 

http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/how-to-beat-writers-block

http://www.9bridges.org/overcoming-writers-block/

glamour, the president and feminism for the 21st century

click through for source

click through for source

As I was deciding what to post today, I came across and article written by our President for Glamour Magazine. As I read it, tears hit my eyes and a swell of pride hit my chest. This is my President. He gets it. So rather than give you my commentary, I decided to just insert his words. Thank you Mr. President and Thank you Glamour Magazine.

You can read it below or online at Glamour Magazine where the article originated. Glamour Exclusive: President Barack Obama Says, "This Is What a Feminist Looks Like."

"There are a lot of tough aspects to being President. But there are some perks too. Meeting extraordinary people across the country. Holding an office where you get to make a difference in the life of our nation. Air Force One.

But perhaps the greatest unexpected gift of this job has been living above the store. For many years my life was consumed by long commutes­—from my home in Chicago to Springfield, Illinois, as a state senator, and then to Washington, D.C., as a United States senator. It’s often meant I had to work even harder to be the kind of husband and father I want to be.

But for the past seven and a half years, that commute has been reduced to 45 seconds—the time it takes to walk from my living room to the Oval Office. As a result, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time watching my daughters grow up into smart, funny, kind, wonderful young women.

That isn’t always easy, either—watching them prepare to leave the nest. But one thing that makes me optimistic for them is that this is an extraordinary time to be a woman. The progress we’ve made in the past 100 years, 50 years, and, yes, even the past eight years has made life significantly better for my daughters than it was for my grandmothers. And I say that not just as President but also as a feminist.

In my lifetime we’ve gone from a job market that basically confined women to a handful of often poorly paid positions to a moment when women not only make up roughly half the workforce but are leading in every sector, from sports to space, from Hollywood to the Supreme Court. I’ve witnessed how women have won the freedom to make your own choices about how you’ll live your lives—about your bodies, your educations, your careers, your finances. Gone are the days when you needed a husband to get a credit card. In fact, more women than ever, married or single, are financially independent.

So we shouldn’t downplay how far we’ve come. That would do a disservice to all those who spent their lives fighting for justice. At the same time, there’s still a lot of work we need to do to improve the prospects of women and girls here and around the world. And while I’ll keep working on good policies—from equal pay for equal work to protecting reproductive rights—there are some changes that have nothing to do with passing new laws.

In fact, the most important change may be the toughest of all—and that’s changing ourselves.

This is something I spoke about at length in June at the first-ever White House Summit on the United State of Women. As far as we’ve come, all too often we are still boxed in by stereotypes about how men and women should behave. One of my heroines is Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African American to run for a major party’s presidential nomination. She once said, “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’ ” We know that these stereotypes affect how girls see themselves starting at a very young age, making them feel that if they don’t look or act a certain way, they are somehow less worthy. In fact, gender stereotypes affect all of us, regardless of our gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Now, the most important people in my life have always been women. I was raised by a single mom, who spent much of her career working to empower women in developing countries. I watched as my grandmother, who helped raise me, worked her way up at a bank only to hit a glass ceiling. I’ve seen how Michelle has balanced the demands of a busy career and raising a family. Like many working mothers, she worried about the expectations and judgments of how she should handle the trade-offs, knowing that few people would question my choices. And the reality was that when our girls were young, I was often away from home serving in the state legislature, while also juggling my teaching responsibilities as a law professor. I can look back now and see that, while I helped out, it was usually on my schedule and on my terms. The burden disproportionately and unfairly fell on Michelle.

So I’d like to think that I’ve been pretty aware of the unique challenges women face—it’s what has shaped my own feminism. But I also have to admit that when you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society. You see the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues transmitted through culture. You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.

life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself.

And those same stereotypes affected my own consciousness as a young man. Growing up without a dad, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, how the world perceived me, and what kind of man I wanted to be. It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man. But as I got older, I realized that my ideas about being a tough guy or cool guy just weren’t me. They were a manifestation of my youth and insecurity. Life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself.

So we need to break through these limitations. We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear. We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.

We need to keep changing the attitude that permits the routine harassment of women, whether they’re walking down the street or daring to go online. We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.

We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers. We need to keep changing the attitude that values being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace—unless you’re a woman. Then you’re being too bossy, and suddenly the very qualities you thought were necessary for success end up holding you back.

We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color. Michelle has often spoken about this. Even after achieving success in her own right, she still held doubts; she had to worry about whether she looked the right way or was acting the right way—whether she was being too assertive or too “angry.”

As a parent, helping your kids to rise above these constraints is a constant learning process. Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard or feel unfairly judged based on their gender or race—or when they notice that happening to someone else. It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.

It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too.

It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.

The good news is that everywhere I go across the country, and around the world, I see people pushing back against dated assumptions about gender roles. From the young men who’ve joined our It’s On Us campaign to end campus sexual assault, to the young women who became the first female Army Rangers in our nation’s history, your generation refuses to be bound by old ways of thinking. And you’re helping all of us understand that forcing people to adhere to outmoded, rigid notions of identity isn’t good for anybody—men, women, gay, straight, transgender, or otherwise. These stereotypes limit our ability to simply be ourselves.

This fall we enter a historic election. Two hundred and forty years after our nation’s founding, and almost a century after women finally won the right to vote, for the first time ever, a woman is a major political party’s presidential nominee. No matter your political views, this is a historic moment for America. And it’s just one more example of how far women have come on the long journey toward equality.

I want all of our daughters and sons to see that this, too is their inheritance. I want them to know that it's never just about the Benjamin's; i'ts about the Tubmans too. And I want them to help do their part the ensure that America is a place where every single child can make of her life what she will.. 

That's what twenty-first century feminism is about, the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free." 

boom. microphone drop.

What a great way to get inspired before the weekend. 

we all fall down sometimes but are you going to do this or what?

Now that I am back in action on this blog thing, I realized that I missed the mid-year check in on my goal setting for the year. YES, even people who blog about setting goals, sometimes lose sight of them. I get busy, some fire alarm needs to be addressed and the goals go to the wayside. Basically, life gets in the way.

While it stings a little to lose sight of your goals and admit failure, it is also the most honest and authentic part of the process. 

we all fall down sometimes

So this picture right here is totally a #waybackwednesday but surprising and thank my lucky stars I actually don't have a ton of pictures of me falling down. What worries me is who else might...yikes. oh and Go SEAHAWKS

So this picture right here is totally a #waybackwednesday but surprising and thank my lucky stars I actually don't have a ton of pictures of me falling down. What worries me is who else might...yikes. oh and Go SEAHAWKS

Coming to terms with that realization is probably the biggest indicator of ultimately meeting your goals in the end. It is an indicator because of the hard conversation you have to have with yourself when you do slack off or fall down. It is in that moment when you  have to make the decision of whether your goal really means something to you or not. It is in this moment when you are faced with a challenge that you get to decide 

am i doing this or not?

Full transparency here? If I hadn't of scrolled through some old blog posts, I may have forgot all about my 2016 goals UNTIL I sat down to write my 2017 goals. I could have skated for the rest of the year but...and here is the rub, I hate losing. I am uber competitive even when I know I have no chance of winning. 

and competing with myself? Oh man, that's when the real competitor comes out. I am my biggest critic. It should be known, however, that I am also my biggest fan. I just expect a lot along the way. I want to be sure that when I am cheering myself on, it is because of something great. 

So, all of that is to say, I didn't do too well in the first half of the year. 

Let's take a look at the scorecard. If you want to hold me accountable check out the original post "Goals Require You Put Some Skin in the Game."

In my defense, I have had some foot issues that have prevented any kind of major exercise. HOWEVER, that does not excuse the extra food I was eating and not burning off. #noexcuses

In my defense, I have had some foot issues that have prevented any kind of major exercise. HOWEVER, that does not excuse the extra food I was eating and not burning off. #noexcuses

Lose 25 Pounds by April 6, 2016

I am giving myself a giant F here. Not only did I not lose any weight, I actually gained some weight since I made the goal. How did this happen? It is simple. I blamed being busy when in reality, I was being lazy and didn't follow any of the guidelines I set in place to hit the goal. I got back on the wagon last week with food and this week with some light exercise so I am going to re-instate this goal. 

One way to get me moving here? I have a bet with a co-worker to lose the weight by our Christmas party, December 4th. There is big money on the line but more important is pride.  Remember when I told you I was competitive? I was not joking. I can not let my co-worker win. He is going DOWN! - goal back in action.

Maybe I was just waiting for this dope address?

Maybe I was just waiting for this dope address?

Buy a house by April 2016

For this I will actually give myself an A-. I did in fact buy a house, it just happened a month late. The whole process took much longer than I had anticipated in this crazy Portland housing market  But I am on board now and know I am going to have to really focus on my financial goals for 2017 to keep the momentum going.

A great session in March with the "Retail Optical Circle" brought to you by Vision Ease and Zyloware

A great session in March with the "Retail Optical Circle" brought to you by Vision Ease and Zyloware

Book 5-10 Speaking Gigs by June 2016

I will rate this a solid C. I have booked some gigs, although not quite 10, I did meet the minimum number. The only reason I am not grading higher is because I didn't actually do a lot to get these gigs. I got so wrapped up in the new house and my "day job" that I didn't actually focus on the tasks I had outlined for myself. The jobs I did book were due to word of mouth and recommendations, which by the way is AWESOME. It, however doesn't let me off the hook for doing what I set out to do. That means I am re-instating this goal as well and will finish what I started by the end of November 2016.

Randomly this picture was taken on the day I was supposed to have met all of my goals in April. Oops.

Randomly this picture was taken on the day I was supposed to have met all of my goals in April. Oops.

Monthly connections with friends and family

This is harder to rate. In some ways I have made headway in this and in others I have let the day to day get in the way of what I really wanted to do here. I will also admit that this was the most lackadaisical of the goal I set for myself and didn't have a lot of meat to it, which is probably why it is so hard to rate. I have made a heck of an effort when it comes to my adorable little nephew but probably haven't done the best at keeping in touch with friends, especially the ones who are out of state. I think I need to better understand how I want to execute this one before I re-instate it so that I am setting the right expectation. In the end it is mainly about not becoming a hermit.

How are you progressing towards the goals you set for yourself this year? Have you fallen off? Is it time to re-engage and recalibrate? If so, join me in re-committing yourself to your goals and lets end 2016 better than we started it. 

Thanks go out to ponder & muse for the cool graphic

Thanks go out to ponder & muse for the cool graphic

weight of a moment - why #imwithher matters

When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”
— Hillary Clinton

Last week, our nation experienced a historic moment. Much has been said about this moment, both positive and negative. Me being me, I would like to focus on the positive. The positive is simple.

96 years ago on August 18th the 19th amendment was ratified. This amendment gave women their unalienable right to vote in the United States of America.1

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SOURCE: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-07-28/ap-explains-long-history-of-women-running-for-president

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SOURCE: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-07-28/ap-explains-long-history-of-women-running-for-president

Less than 100 years ago, women like myself were unable to take a stand and vote in this, our progressive country that promises equality for all. Now, anyone who has a television, computer, phone or is just reading the good old fashioned newspaper knows that this country hasn’t exactly lived up to its “equality for all” promise. Those same media outlets I mentioned about will probably offer varying opinions on the validity of my statement and I am not here to start an argument or debate with any one.

I am here to say that many women have used their voice, intelligence and strength of character to get us to this moment. The excitement of the first women receiving the honor of being a major political party nominee for the office of the President of the United States is just that, exciting.

I realized the other day, however that the weight of this moment might not fully be understood by everyone because for some reason, the concept of representation isn't understood. 

representation matters

It matters because despite having faith, too often in a culture that has at your fingertips accessibility to just about everything, seeing is believing.

For much of the last two centuries, every sitting United States President has represented one basic group. Caucasian and privilege. While this does not automatically mean that they do not have the good of the people in mind as they enact laws and regulations for this country, it certainly does provide some distance from some of our countries most glaring problems and inconsistencies. 

When Barack Obama used the slogan "Yes We Can" as part of his platform for election, it resonated because it involved inclusion and an understanding of the plight of people beyond just the status quo.  Millions of citizens who had been denied the right to vote based on their race were able to not visualize change for themselves. They could see someone "just like them" rise to the highest office in this country. That means something. 

We have seen and heard it time and time again in the world of media, where people saw someone that looked like them and realized that there was possibility out there. So, why not in politics?

Well, that same concept was realized last week as Hillary Clinton accepted a major parties nomination to be their candidate for the United States of America. Young girls and women were able to see for the first time something amazing...

possibility

The possibility that change can indeed happen, even at the highest levels of bureaucracy.  This change is not without its challenges. Just look at the questions and media attention that surround this female candidate opposed to her male counterparts thought the entire run thus far. Look at the amount of free air time given to her opponent (understandably, this is for soundbites, just as much as gender bias). So much free air time in fact that her opponent, has needed to do little to know actual campaign ads, in contrast with record spending for Hillary to get her message out to the people.

But, as with any trailblazers, you get burned quite a bit setting a new path. With each ditch, burn and road block, you get up, you start again. Because of her, other women have this possibility. Because of women before Hillary, like Victoria WoodHull (1872), Gracie Allen (1940), Shirley Chisholm (1972), Linda Jenness (1972) and Jill Stein (2012) who all ran for president to varying degrees of success, Hillary saw the possibility. 

These images came from various sources on line and are not my own. For an article detailing the ladies who fought before this election, checkout this great article from Time Magazine: 5 Other Women Who Ran For President or checkout each of their names above to be redirected to some background info on each one of them

These images came from various sources on line and are not my own. For an article detailing the ladies who fought before this election, checkout this great article from Time Magazine: 5 Other Women Who Ran For President or checkout each of their names above to be redirected to some background info on each one of them

These were not the only women to blaze a trail towards the most coveted office of the land. Here is a list of others who also ran for the office of President of the United States and put a crack or two into the ceiling. (SOURCE:)

cracks in the ceiling

Victoria Woodhull (1872)

Belva Lockwood (1884, 1888)

Laura Clay (1920) 

Gracie Allen (1940) 

Margaret Chase Smith (1964)

Charlene Mitchell (1968)

Shirley Chisholm (1972)

Linda Jenness (1972)

Patsy Takemoto Mink (1972)

Evelyn Reed (1972)

Ellen McCormack (1976, 1980)

Margaret Wright (1976)

Deidre Griswold (1980)

Sonia Johnson (1984)

Gabrielle Holmes (1984)

Isabelle Masters (1984, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)

Patricia Schroeder (1988)

Lenora Fulani (1988, 1992)

Willa Kenoyer (1988)

Gloria E. LaRiva (1992)

Susan Block (1992)

Helen Halyard (1992)

Millie Howard (1992, 1996)

Monica Moorehead (1996, 2000)

Marsha Feinland (1996)

Mary Cal Hollis (1996)

Heather Anne Harder (`1996)

Elvena E. Lloyd-Deffie (1996)

Gerogina H. Doerschuck (1996)

Susan Gail Ducey (1996)

Ann Jennings (1996)

Diane Beall Templin (1996)

Joanne Jorgensen (1996)

Elizabeth Dole (2000)

Cathy Gordon Brown (2000)

Carol Moseley Braun (2004)

Hillary Rodham Clinton (2008, 2016)

Cynthia McKinney (2008)

Michelle Bachmann (2012)

Peta Lindsay (2012)

Jill Stein (2012)

Roseanne Barr (2012)

Carly Forinia (2016)


As I was researching items for this post and watching the Democratic National Convention I noticed an awesome hashtag #centenariansforclinton. It was awesome, because it was mainly being promoted by women over the age of 100. This mean that these women, born when it was illegal for them to vote can potential see the possibility of a woman in office before the end of their life. I dare anyone to tell these women that representation doesn't matter.

SOURCE: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/meet-jerry-emmett-arizonas-102-year-old-honorary-delegate-to-the-democratic-national-convention-8472872

SOURCE: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/meet-jerry-emmett-arizonas-102-year-old-honorary-delegate-to-the-democratic-national-convention-8472872

I surely didn’t plan to live past 100 years old,” she says. “When I did, and I saw all these things that were happening, it was like I had a shot in the arm.” She became even more enthusiastic about getting Democrats elected.
— Jerry Emmett, 102 year old Arizona Delegate
Ruline Steininger, 103 might have given my favorite quote (seen below) IMAGE SOURCE: 

Ruline Steininger, 103 might have given my favorite quote (seen below) IMAGE SOURCE: 

After giving this problem much serious thought and consideration, I have come to the decision that I must live to do my part November 2016, I can die later!”
— Ruline Steininger, 103 years old

As for me, I am recognizing the moment and reflecting on the possibility.