"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Woman-ing Up For The Challenge

I have been all adrift lately. I have let the laundry get rather out of hand, the man I never thought would be elected was, I lost some sleep, I ate junk that I know poisons me and spent far too much time sitting, I skipped hiking and I fussed a lot about feeling lonely and not being sure I fit in at our church. I went down low. And then, because I am a woman, with capacity to create life and an indomitable spirit, because I can actually handle all of those things, because life is so much grander and deeper and richer than the man who was elected or the laundry....I dug in and looked for reasons to come back up.

The world is insanely beautiful. I believe in the human spirit, the rich spirit of each and every person....of Donald Trump.....of each voter....of working people in The Heartland and wild liberals in The Bay. I think that we become that which we brood over because we are walking prophecies, and I am determined to tell a good story over myself. I think we live in the luckiest time that's ever been historically. I think humility and compassion makes the world so much better than bitterness and overwhelm ever will. I think there is far more deception in politics and media than there is truth, even though each of us wants to be known desperately....even politicians.  I think that fear compacted instead of expressed, recognized and released becomes anger which becomes bitterness which is the great poison of mankind.

I saw a movie tonight, all about Big Ag and seed saving and the incredible power of life that is in all living plants. It was overwhelming and shocking and scary but they wound the conclusion deftly into a hopeful, Everyman's battle that made each home gardener, each heritage seed catalog customer, each lover of nature into a piece of the massive, powerful solution. I love that hopeful ending. I know I am only one woman and only a housewife who frequently feels the cultural weight of dismissal and unimpressed pity because I haven't got titles or jobs or resumes or degrees or any other grand things at all. I have an audacious sense of entitlement for a small town, female nothing. I feel a sacred part of what makes the world work, I feel insurmountable in the face of trouble, I feel charged to be a healer of the sick and broken things, I feel strong, I feel unwilling to back down, I feel able to flex and bend and survive because I am a woman who knows compassion and nurturing and hears the small, pouting child in everyone who just needs love. I feel able to create and draw power from nowhere, and I would rather create than wither.

I am caught between worlds right now. I voted one way, my man voted differently, my parents and siblings are on different shores, my hometown is a world away from this place I live now. I don't belong anywhere. I have my own opinions of course, but no matter what I decide, I know too much AND too little to fit in with any camp. I am some kind of  odd, cultural orphan without a social "home." I can let that unsettle me and make me feel damned if I do and damned if I don't. I can make it feel lonely and hopeless and impossible. I can let it sever my from people and places I love, from things I once thought or even from things I still think....from pieces of who I really am. I let it turn into apathy, immobility and lethargy with a jaded glaze over my eyes. I could let it make me pissed, full of vitriolic poison for all the things I don't understand or things I understand too well. But, I much prefer my eventual path. I think I'm super lucky to be hung in mid-air, in the very messy middle of it all. I can choose compassion and knowledge and hope and connection to all my scattered bits of self and reach and arm across the circle to the people that I love on each side of the divide and be a human conductor of kindness and love when they can not bear to touch each other. I hope that my discomfort will motivate me to keep working for belonging for everyone and if that's what a little awkwardness does its worth it. That's the way I want to live, so may God keep me uncomfortable and able to tap into my own displacement for a good long time.



  1. Carlie, I too feel like an "odd cultural orphan without a social home" so maybe you aren't as alone as you think :) so much of this spoke to me and made me smile. It was like you were flawlessly interpreting the things in my own head and heart that I have not been able to explain out loud. Cheers to more awkward, uncomfortable, yet wonderful discoveries.

  2. I always love your musings, reflections,and honesty, my dear friend. Love and miss you so much. Xo

  3. Ah, you have expressed my feelings this week also as I've stumbled through it trying to make sense of it and get a positive stance from which to eye the future while encouraging others now. Ken and I also voted for opposing candidates... both of us convinced we were/are doing the right thing. I am not used to this standing on opposite shores from him. The separation on such things we feel so strongly about is unfamiliar and lonely. Thanks for the reminder that we get to choose how to keep moving forward... Being a hope-filled human conduit of compassion and kindness is a worthy cause. Bravo, my friend!

  4. You're doing a great job. A lot of the grieving women I know would struggling very much if their husbands had voted differently. "Human conductor of kindness" is lovely.

  5. I am very late to this post but it articulates my feelings very well although for me it came last year with the Supreme Court ruling on marriage. The lines are drawn in very confusing places. It seems as though things used to be clearer. There were those who believed the Bible and those who didn't and the positions of people were based on those two camps. The internet has made it clear that that is not the case anymore (if it ever was). Your conclusion is right on - we need to ask questions, and be compassionate listeners rather than squawking out our opinions all over people.