Tag Archives: New Year

Feeling Grateful in Time of Great Despair: Happy New Year

1 Jan
2017:Organize

2017:Organize

2016 has been an exceedingly painful, turbulent, and awful year. Since turning 50 three weeks ago, I have been deeply troubled by the current course of the United States under what can only be called a Fascist regime, under Trump and his merry band of racists, misogynists, and homophobic collectibles, who seem to want to dismantle all of the agencies that serve people in the United States. Their collective efforts will ensure that the top 20% of Americans not only keep their wealth but will build on it exponentially — a wet dream for Paul Ryan. Sadly,  author Thomas Pynchon  captures the philosophy of the 21st century GOP:

Back when I was getting into the business, all ‘being Republican’ meant really was sort of principled greed. You arranged things so that you and your friends would come out nicely, you behaved professionally, above all you put in the work and took the money only after you’d earned it. Well, the party, I fear, has fallen on evil days. This generation — it’s almost a religious thing now. The millennium, the end days, no need to be responsible anymore to the future. A burden has been lifted from them. The Baby Jesus is managing the portfolio of earthy affairs, and nobody begrudges Him the carried interest…

There is no sense of paying it forward — no sense of leaving the earth a better place for future generations. No, the rules have changed and now it is about getting all you can and getting more than you need, regardless if others have to go without, and future generations have to suffer for it.

As I have turned 50, I am witnessing our country turn backwards and turn its back on all targeted individuals and communities. For those predicting an economic windfall under TrumpPutin, I worry you are a bit delusional. I am most regrettably predicting a recession that will be just as traumatic as the one George W paved the way for during his administration.

While it has been most challenging not to give into a misanthropic abyss, or The Princess Bride’s “Pit of Despair,”  I have also had to do some serious reflection as we are about to usher in 2017. While I am terrified of what the next four years have in store, I have to also be exceedingly grateful for the life I have.

Here is what I have that makes me share tears of joy: A life partner whom I love and adore and who loves me as we get to travel this journey of life together; such amazing family and friends who make my heart swell with love — friends who constantly make me work to be a better person. These two things alone give me hope and make me so extraordinarily grateful! I know I am strong enough to persevere and resist a fascist regime.

I know how to engage in community organizing, how to stand in solidarity for human rights and social justice. I know how to keep vigilant and NOT normalize our current condition. I also know I do not do this work alone, for I do this work with my brilliant family and friends! To all of you: I say thank you! Happy New Year. I wish you all peace and that you each are surrounded by love.

Starting Fresh in 2012: Emerging from the Winter of Our Discontent

1 Jan

A bumpy night? How about a year?!

I began this very personal post yesterday as I reflected on the very bumpy road that was 2011 for my family; in many unfortunate ways our lives reflected the woes of too many Americans who now find themselves without income and in despair.  Despair is an all too easy place for me to go, for I suffer from depression. After taking the time to exorcise some of what had happened, I decided to recast things as a wish for our new year–I hope my story will inspire others that suffer from depression and are currently unemployed due to no fault of their own to focus on the resources and love we have and to work hard to make 2012 a far better year than 2011.

The first week of December, shortly before my birthday, I was having coffee with some very dear friends of mine here in Portland,  Mary and Tamara. They asked if I still wanted to return to Atlanta; my transition here to the Northwest has been fraught with many obstacles and culture shock. As progressive as Portland can be, it is not particularly diverse, and subtle forms of racism and homophobia lurk behind many corners as even well-meaning people overlook their privilege in this bubble of liberalism.

To my great relief and surprise, however, I was able to answer my friends with a resounding NO. I love living here in Portland.  Our lives finally make sense here.  I love social work school and my husband loves his job. We also have legal protections here in Oregon that we will never have in Georgia.

This was eleven months into a tumultuous year. I went through the major process of applying to graduate school and began the adjustment of returning to the other side of the classroom. This came on the heels of months of being rejected for jobs because of my age and experience– painfully ironic.  My husband had a crazy year with major career ups and downs.

Sadly, right after my revelation, things turned upside down. We are now a fully unemployed household in a still perilous economy–a very frightening place to be indeed!  All the uncertainty and trauma I’ve faced in the past two years resurfaced as my husband now begins his job search. I worry about the challenges he will face and how we can be supportive of each other as we emerge from one of the most challenging years of our life together.

I am exceedingly ready for 2011 to come to an end!  As awful as things are right now, I know we are still fortunate!  We have food, we have people who love us, and my husband and I have each other.  We have survived being robbed repeatedly, a transcontinental move, my falling off our roof, and abominable discrimination–we will survive this setback as well.  My New Year’s wish for all those that don’t have equal access to resources, for all those that are oppressed due to race, gender, sexual orientation, and age is that 2012 will bring good energy and change for the better.  I still believe we can make the world better, but we must change the system of a white heterosexual power structure.  My family knows all too well how easy it is to lose your job because of sexual orientation.

My husband and I are dedicated to a happy, successful 2012, we are fortunate enough to have the support of friends and we have an education; with that love, support, and education we hope to overcome the barriers of white heterosexual abuse of power and emerge stronger and better equipped to help others that are disenfranchised. Let’s all look forward to a year of progress and success.  As someone who has battled depression for a lifetime, I hope is that anyone struggling with depression will seek help, be it medical, family, friends–get the support you need.

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