think he knows I’m alive, having come down The three steps of the back porch And given me a good once over. All afternoon He’s been moving back and forth, Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs, While all about him the great fields tumble To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky To be where he is, wild with all that happens. He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows Living in the blond heart of the wheat. This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots, Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.
We’re just a few days away from elections in Virginia and I’m working flat-out to try and keep Virginia blue. Meanwhile, the trees on the Blue Ridge mountains have started turning in earnest and Samhein is even closer than the election.
SCOTUS is going to take down Roe. The only question is whether they’ll outlaw abortion all together or (my guess) leave it up to the states. After the fascists get abortion, they are coming for your birth control, your gay marriage, your health care, etc. So, as I’ve said over and over, if you don’t plan to have any children or any more children, get sterilized. Now. If you’re planning to have children some day or to have more children, then buy condoms and Plan B and store them somewhere hidden and according to the storage directions. If you’ve been planning to marry your LGBTQ partner, do it now because there’s a chance they will leave existing marriages intact and only outlaw new ones. Get all the health care you can get now (trip to dentist, new glasses, that nagging problem with your back, etc.) Once they’re beating on your door, it will all be too late.
You can’t erase your ancestors, but that doesn’t mean you have to embrace them. You should acknowledge who they were but acknowledging and honoring are different. You can call your ancestors to the circle, you can even make an offering to them, without in any way honoring them as good, noble, or worthy of emulating. The first step in rejecting something is knowing what it is you are rejecting.
Some ancestors . . . show up at offerings and I ask them for advice and connection. Others I say “take this offering and shut the fuck up. I don’t want to hear from you”. Remember, offerings are not only for spirits you like. Paying off spirits that cause harm or that you don’t want around is a time-honored tradition.
Mrs. Whatsit will be back next week. Meanwhile, Atrios posted this excellent discussion of how the press creates the impression that liberalism is dangerous and/or not supported by most Americans. It begins by focusing on the story we all know that just ain’t so: the McDonald’s hot coffee case and “frivolous law suits.” It’s not very long and is well worth a read.
The author notes, for example, that many such stories : “display the superficial features of investigative journalism, a deep dive reveals the same motivated reasoning, nonexistent evidence and indefensible editorial standards that misinformed the public about frivolous lawsuits.” These features include: (1) really low stakes, (2) irrelevant examples, (3) misleading statistics, and (4) false equivalence.
“Moral panics entrench misinformation and foment reactionary backlash. The parents storming town halls and taking over school boards to ban critical race theory have been explicit that their efforts are in response to the alleged “wokeness” of K-12 teaching. This is precisely, word for word, the narrative that the Economist and Atlantic articles, and dozens like them, have promoted.
The “frivolous lawsuits” panic should be seen as a foundational embarrassment for the national media. Rather than educating the citizens of a functioning democracy — the role we journalists love to tell ourselves we’re playing — prestigious publications were de-educating them by presenting evidence of a national trend that didn’t exist.
They are doing the same thing now, playing with the same fire that has pulled the United States rightward and backward over and over again for the last 40 years.
The media has tremendous power to shape public opinion. Reporters and editors should not just be aware of their ability to spread moral panics. They should be terrified of it. “
Do you vote in primaries? You should. I’ve been reminded this week just how many people simply don’t.
I’ve been phonebanking and, due to the weird way Virginia registers voters, the list of “likely Dem” voters comes from people who vote in Democratic primaries. (I assume it’s the same for the Republicans, but I don’t, you know, ever phone bank for them.) The phone banking program gives you a name, phone number, sex, and age of the person. To say the list skews not just “not young” but to “genuinely old” is no understatement.
Look, democracy can be a hassle and I don’t expect everyone to take politics as seriously as I do. But you have to vote.
From up here in the leaves’ no-kidding goldishness you’d guess everyone was already in lovely w/ each others’ cheekbones. Infinity scarves & vanilla coffee, mint tea, warm whatever. Cozy becoming the coming-at-the-seams, a couplet of verbs mid-bodily inexperience. That man doing cartwheels is not wearing a shirt & in any other life I’d want to be the double dare fanfaring a future so totally astonished by his nipples. This is what I mean
when I say things like catastrophe. Okay, fine. Just one more winter. Nothing can compare anymore to us anymore. You big good oak limb. I’m in such cute like w/ you today.
In one diary of my have-beens, my mother named me Elizabeth after one of her mothers. You god particle. You matrilineage. I’ve never lived anywhere more or less this haunted. She named my sister Elizabeth. You boy genius. You midsummer pinky promise ring.
There’s this person I know I’m not in love w/ but wears a dress patterned like a postcard from the state my grandma died in. Imagine waking up a whole frame away from your bedsheets. Imagine waking up & being anything as yellow as a dress. You treeline. You root song. What’s an amount of time equal to you? You kindling ring finger. You unchewable bark but the headache’s gone. Pardon me, dandelions, have you seen my ghost, six foot nothing,
has an interstate for a mother but also a mother? Adjust your spurs, honeybunch. This time I’m writing all of us in pink ink. Let’s huckle-buckle off into the leafiest of all possible genderings. You know how the rain starts right after you get home & the country song your friend slow-danced w/ her big love to, the one your mom would play real quiet on her moonbeam highway streak back to Pensacola, is somehow
already at the chorus & you forget there are words like joy? Or when someone whispers Imagine you never met them back at the bum, grinning stars? You remember. It’s like that. Or, is that. The difference between salt & salt. A someday of matching sweaters. Told you it’s cute. O sweaters. O little knit bundles of vegetable-spit. It’s always sunsetting.
You golden hour. You soap-soft seasonal. Once my mom found me sitting in a circle of candles, touching each rosebud & sat w/ me until we were wax musuems of our secrets. Look— the sky’s a toenail & the moon’s a chesthair. All the shirtless boys have tired themself out, spread-eagled & slapping the sun off their shoulder blades. My body is a line heading for my body. You crushed-grass sex smell. You dirt-inverted comma. Someone w/ bleached hair is biking home to restud their denim. I rediscovered kissing foreheads & it is so yes again.
Hurry up & sunspot, daylilies! The cops aren’t going to awe themselves to death & we have a dictionary to laugh across.
The light’s seltzer, bubbles. I said My lord. I thought My god. O moonstruck. O gladracket. Barring gravity, our knees could be forevering each other.
Barring leather, love is a world I’m praying all my mothers’ joy back toward.
Elizabeth was my name. I’m writing this on all the trees like a wish. I’m kissing every hem in sight.
We’re all hysterical & going nowhere together.
C’mon rapture. Let’s go bedazzling.
Nothing gets futured without its own spitshine & I’m already not not not not not not miraculous.
Brene Brown referenced this article from the Harvard Business Review on her Facebook page. The short synopsis is that we blame women for “suffering” from “imposter syndrome” and make that one more thing that’s wrong with women and that women need to fix when, in reality, workplaces are set up in ways that almost ensure women won’t feel that they belong. It’s one of those things, like mansplaining, that, once someone points it out, you go, “Oh! Or course!”
As the article explains:
“In truth, we don’t belong because we were never supposed to belong. Our presence in most of these spaces is a result of decades of grassroots activism and begrudgingly developed legislation. Academic institutions and corporations are still mired in the cultural inertia of the good ol’ boys’ clubs and white supremacy. Biased practices across institutions routinely stymie the ability of individuals from underrepresented groups to truly thrive.
The answer to overcoming imposter syndrome is not to fix individuals but to create an environment that fosters a variety of leadership styles and in which diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities are seen as just as professional as the current model, which Opie describes as usually “Eurocentric, masculine, and heteronormative.”
The truth of the matter is that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they are much smarter than women. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group.
The same systems that reward confidence in male leaders, even if they’re incompetent, punish white women for lacking confidence,* women of color for showing too much of it, and all women for demonstrating it in a way that’s deemed unacceptable. These biases are insidious and complex and stem from narrow definitions of acceptable behavior drawn from white male models of leadership. Research from Kecia M. Thomas finds that too often women of color enter their companies as “pets” but are treated as threats once they gain influence in their roles. Women of color are by no means a monolith, but we are often linked by our common experiences of navigating stereotypes that hold us back from reaching our full potential.“
*Think Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
The article isn’t long but there is a reason why, as Ms. Brown notes, it’s among Harvard Business Review’s 100 most-read articles of all time. The message of “imposter syndrome” is that you’re misperceiving reality. But women are usually very good at reading social cues. And in lots of places, they are getting cues that tell them they don’t belong, they’re somehow not good enough, they’re “less than.” That’s not imposter syndrome; that’s women correctly reading the room. It’s the cues that are wrong, not women’s perception of them.