Next August – one hundred years

Next year on August 18th the U.S. will celebrate 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. A couple of Western states had given women the right to vote already in 1910. Idaho and Utah had given women the right to vote at the turn of the 19th century.

Lucretia Mott socks
I have socks with Lucretia Mott‘s likeness, which I wore with pride on election day this year. 

It is hard for me to imagine the changes in democratic consciousness that have taken place in the last 100 years. Generations of women and men began to understand that true democracy could not exist until more people could exercise their right to representation.

Granted, some people probably wish we had gone back to a world where men were in charge and women were property. I don’t tend to hang out with people like that for obvious reasons.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next year with various candidates. I’m hoping we winnow down to less than 5 options by February caucus season. I would like to follow election politics but right now it’s hard to take any candidate too seriously. Unfortunately we do not regulate campaign spending very well in this country. So the people who raise the most money tend to dominate the airwaves.

Given the shock and trauma of the election 3 years ago, and the disastrous result of electing someone who has openly bragging about assaulting women, I am ready to help with GOTV efforts. Let’s make it a celebration! 100 years – can we imagine some new leadership? I say YES WE CAN!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday share honors Toni Morrison

This week, we’re sharing stories from Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Rachel Sugar, Kate Knibbs, Mark Arax, and Anna Wiener.

via The Top 5 Longreads of the Week — Longreads

The first of the top 5 Longreads of the week is a beautiful tribute to the life of Toni Morrison which ended this week on August 5 at the age of 88.

Her books could be shocking at times and always causes me to think deeply about racism and privilege. I’m grateful for her contributions to American literature.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

On teaching and learning

Yesterday I finished the fourth and final session of a girls’ empowerment course that I was teaching every other week for an hour at a local community center.

During the third session I had an eye-opening realization working with these young women (ages 12-14). We got into a discussion of safety and violence, and once again my privilege slapped me in the face. Many of these women had observed or experienced violence in their families or with close loved ones in ways I am unlikely to ever understand.

resmaa-menakem.jpg

I had begun reading the book “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Manakem. I wish I had discovered it when I first designed the course. There are many amazing practices that are yoga-like to help both black bodies, white bodies, and police bodies heal the trauma of racism in America.

I managed to teach “legs up the wall” pose first as a calming pose. Then we laid on the floor to do belly breathing for a couple of minutes and to notice where we felt the breath. We tried crocodile (on our bellies) to again notice where we felt the breath. After a few cat/cow transitions, there was silliness and I realized 15 minutes of yoga was the upper limit for this group on this day.

Though this group of women rejected “yoga” when I attempted it on the first class, by starting with legs up the wall, as a way to calm the nervous system, they seemed open to the other poses as well. Less talking, more demonstrating and practice in the future. Good lessons for me.

I thanked this group for being my teachers in this class. They seemed surprised that I would put it like that. But they taught me far more than I could teach them.

On the eve of another 3-day yoga teacher training weekend (#6 of 7), even if I am unable to count those hours toward my practicum requirement as initially planned, I am profoundly grateful.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Manual transmission

On Tuesday night I had to move my husband’s truck from the driveway to a side street. The townhome complex will be seal-coating our driveway, and they told us they would tow away vehicles still there at 6:30a.m.

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A photo from our camping trip in 2018. 

Hubby is heading home from Wyoming via his fixed motorcycle today, and hopefully will be home by Thursday. So it was good that I persuaded him to leave his keys at home in case the vehicles needed to be moved.

After a 6-meeting day, an exhausted brain rebelled against writing. I pulled up some You-Tube videos to remind myself how to drive manual transmission. It has been a couple of years since I got some lessons from hubby in his old truck. He reassured on the phone on Sunday when I expressed my concern that I wasn’t sure I would remember how to drive stick.

Of course I put off the chore until dusk because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of the neighbors in broad daylight. But I did it! I backed it up and slowly drove it around to the side street, stalling only twice. 😉

It made me realize that what is different about automatic versus manual is that you must pay attention at a more subtle level to the clutch pedal. So it is about mindfully moving through the gears while paying attention to the sounds of the car, and the “catch” of the pedal beneath your foot.

The metaphor struck me: we live so much of our lives on auto-pilot. Without thinking. Without noticing subtlety. When we have to pay attention, it takes a little effort, especially if driving manual is not habitual for us. So the truck was my teacher tonight: it will go just fine if you take it slowly and pay attention.

Victory.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

Captain Marvel on a pineapple

I found myself with a rather odd disinclination to write on Wednesday. So I picked a strange observation and brought some curiosity to it. That’s always good for a idea; I wish I could be that swift when it comes to Toastmasters Table Topics!

I am fascinated with why the Dole company would pick Captain Marvel to advertise on a pineapple.

I guess another question is: why not?

I had not realized at first that Captain Marvel is a woman, until my husband and I went to the movie a few weeks ago, and I watched the trailer beforehand.

Captain Marvel on the pineapple

It reminded me of the Ted Talk I saw by Christopher Bell on needing more women superheroes as models rather than simply side-kicks and love interests, a notion with which I agree wholeheartedly.

So I did what any self-respecting internet user does when they do not know something: I googled it. It turns out that there is a campaign to honor healthy female superheroes, with specific health and wellness content. Who knew?

I just thought it was strange that we were handed a pineapple in the store at Leuken’s in Bemidji this past weekend, and it was discounted but not presented as something we could refuse. I do not normally buy pineapples – they seem a hassle to process.

We swim in tide of media that is controlled by 6 large corporations making 9 out of every 10 movies. This narrative-driven industry perpetuates myths and stereotypes about gender, which devalue the contributions of girls and women, selling them princesses while boys get the hero action figures. Is it any wonder that self-confidence plummets about the time girls reach adolescence?

The beauty of Captain Marvel is that she is unapologetic about her strengths and her power. She owns her power, and for me that is a joy to watch.  She swims against the tide. But hey, some of us are strong swimmers, and challenges make us resilient. Just something to keep in mind as we consider any voices of doubt in our heads and from whence they came: just about every cultural message we absorb every day.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com