Will you Be the Light with me? (Free art in return for raising your voice!)

Last night I painted a hummingbird – a symbol of love and light. Painting is my way of spreading love and hope, and we could use a good dose of that right now.  

My hummingbird painting

I was inspired to paint because I couldn’t stop thinking about those kids. The kids screaming into the dark, the kids in cages. The kids being forcibly removed from their parents by my government.

The issue feels overwhelming and one person’s actions seem futile. But I don’t like feeling powerless. So I painted and thought, maybe there is a way I can share my art, spread some hope, and be a tiny drop in an ocean to make ripples to inspire others.

My idea: I take my art and make it into postcards, give sets of five cards away to people who agree to use the cards to take action on this issue. We nudge each other out of our complacency and feelings of defeat, and channel that energy into writing our senator, representative, the media, friends, family, whomever we’re inspired to reach out to on this topic.

What do you think? Will you be the light with me

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Here is the postcard, almost ready to pick up from Staples!

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Five free postcards – this is the print! – for spreaders-of-light! Copyright Sarah Dimattina

ARE YOU IN?! WILL YOU HELP SPREAD SOME LIGHT FOR THESE KIDDOS?

TO RECAP: I’ll send you five postcards* featuring my original hummingbird print above- and you agree to contact five people and advocate for the end of the child separation policy. AND, because I want to encourage a lot of people to take action – I’m also going to give away a tote bag featuring the art and a signed print to two lucky people who sign up! (Like I said, let’s spread some love and light.)

All you have to do is say “yeah Sarah, I can do that!” (via a google form, sooo easy) and I’ll mail you some postcards. Boom, done.

If we’re lucky, by the time you get the post cards in the mail the barbaric child separation policy will have ended. And if that’s the case, you can use the cards to advocate for another cause dear to your heart. Or another horrific policy that Trump has enacted in the meantime.

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You could win a tote! (And, it’s jumbo size for lots of bread and flowers! oooo!)

Are you ready to do it?  Just sign up here and I’ll ship the first batch of cards out tomorrow!

Thanks for helping shine some light. Let’s do this!

*Why postcards? Elected officials take extra notice of constituents who take the time to write a hand-written note, since most of us don’t bother to do that! You can also use the cards to encourage family and friends to take action. Who doesn’t love getting mail?!

p.s. I’m going to try to gather some articles on this topic for anyone who wants more info. Feel free to share in the comments below if you have read any good ones. Thanks!

America’s Latest Mass Shooting was Local—and I Refuse to Stay Numb

My heart breaks at the news out of Las Vegas. I am sharing the post I wrote about the aftermath of Orlando and a shooting at a dance club in my home of Fort Myers. The words I wrote then remain true today: I refuse to remain silent. I refuse to stay numb. And I am tired of this madness.

Just Follow the Joy

This morning I found myself standing in a strip mall less than a mile away from where I used to live, a dozen roses in my hand and more than two dozen reporters in my face.

I was standing on the site of the latest mass shooting in America.

A reporter asked me was why I was there.

I’d thought about this as I purchased a bouquet of small yellow roses at my local Winn-Dixie this morning. (What types of flowers are suitable to leave at memorials for mass shootings? I wondered. This is now a question we have to ask ourselves in America.)

I thought about gun violence as I made the twenty-three minute drive north from my home, driving past my church that only five short weeks ago hosted a vigil for the Orlando mass shooting victims. I thought about it as I exited the…

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Who are you waiting for?

who are you waiting forThe President? The congress? The reasonable republicans? The unreasonable republicans? (Oh Marco, I have you on speed dial but honey I AM NOT WAITING FOR YOU.)

Are you waiting for Bernie? Hillary? Kamala? Cory? The alt-left? (WHAT IS THIS AND I THINK I AM A PART OF IT MAYBE??)

Are you waiting for the mid-terms? Are you waiting for the tax returns? Are you waiting for an anointed leader-of-the-people to magically emerge? Are you waiting for Godot? Are you waiting for Justin Trudeau to hug you and tell you it will be OK? (PLEASE, LIKE YESTERDAY JUSTIN.) Are you waiting for Obama? (WE DID LOVE THAT TWEET.) Are you waiting for Michelle? (OMG REMEMBER MICHELLE???)

Are you waiting to “just see how it all works out?” Are you hiding until it all works out?

Are you tweeting the revolution? (THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TWEETED. BY REVOLUTION I MEAN NON-VIOLENT AND ROOTED IN LOVE MKAY? ALWAYS.)

Are you waiting for permission? Are you waiting for support? Are you waiting for the bat signal?

Are you numbing out? Are you hiding out? Are you making jokes? Are you freaking out?

Are you blocking family-who-voted-for-Trump? Are you blocking family-who-voted-third-party? (BLESS YOU MY MILLENNIAL COUSINS. I FORGIVE YOU.) Are you hiding from your neighbor who voted from Trump? (SERIOUSLY SHE BLASTS RUSH LIMBAUGH AND IT DRIVES ME NUTSSSSS.)

Are you angry? Are you scared? (YES, YES.) Are you defiant? Are you indignant? Are you usually the follower? Are you usually the leader? Are you done? Are you SO DONE you could stick a fork in it?

ARE YOU FED UP YET?

Because here is the thing: American needs you. YES, you. It was always you. (CUE THE ROM-COM CLIPS.)

You cannot do it alone – no. But listen to me: it starts (end ends) with you. 

I am here to say, dear ones, that now is the time. To speak. To move. To find your voice.

You are the ones we have been waiting for.


You might also like: Let’s use this fire-breath to bring down the patriarchy! (Or something.)

Oh, what a glorious task we are given

“Because Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person.
Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” We The People. We Shall Overcome. Yes We Can. It is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.” 

Pres. Barack Obama, 50th anniversary commemoration of Selma “Bloody Sunday”

Finding inspiration in Obama’s vision for a new definition of what it means to be a Patriotic American.  Full text of the speech is here. It’s worth the read.

Also, I am pleased to share that today I avoided getting sucked into the Twitter/news vortex ANNND I subscribed to the PBS news hour podcast with the goal of news consumption limited to once a day only thankyouverymuch. 

Well, except that in the process I also stumbled upon my new favorite podcast “Pod Save America.”  (It’s hosted by former Obama speech writers. Seriously, when I listen I feel like CJ Craig hanging around with Sam and Josh.)

Oh…and took a listen new podcast The Daily from the NYT…it’s excellent.

But, I stayed off Twitter. (Mostly.)

Yours in solidarity,

Sarah 

Surviving #Alternativefactland (Or, Sarah, GET OFF YOUR D*&!! TWITTER!)

How is everyone? Are you surviving #alternativefactland? Or are you starting to lose your ish? I will confess: I read one too many think pieces yesterday and felt ACTUAL PANIC. Creeping authoritarianism FTW. But, I am getting through with tweets from Alt-POTUS 45. You know, the twitter feed from an alt-reality where Hillary is president:

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This picture is everything. (From Alt-POTUS 45 @ifhillaryhad 
I’m pretty sure I need to stop reading Twitter though. As one person joked, there is now enough news to actually fill the 24-7 news cycle. You could literally stare at the stream of horror all. day. long.

But, no more. I have decided I need a news fast. For self-care. For sanity!

Nobody wants to think they are burrowing and hiding from reality. . .but I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy for me to be feeling PANIC, either. My new strategy (it’s only been two weeks and I’ve tried a couple already, sigh) will be to watch the news ONCE A DAY. Just once. Maybe PBS news after dinner. Not right before bed, not the first thing I hear in the morning. I dunno.

Because it is a bit addictive isn’t it, seeing the stream of horrors? Nobody wants to admit they are the type of person to peak at car accidents, but we all do it. You know, just to see if everyone is ok even though we know OF COURSE THEY ARE NOT OKAY THEY JUST CALLED JAWS OF LIFE. WHO ARE YOU FOOLING?!

Panic. I need to not feed into it. What are you feeding?

I have been thinking a lot about how it feels like I am straddling two realities. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, you may believe that this is the case. Some of us have woken up and others have not but boy they are being jolted awake now, aren’t they?

I keep reminding myself that as old ways are being dismantled, I don’t need to watch every brick fall in horror. I don’t need to gawk in horror at every 3 a.m. POTUS tweet. (There will be many.)

Instead, I can stay present, stay focused, and I can help dream a new world into being.

The shadow side of our culture is now exposed on many levels – and this is being shown in all countries around the world. The shadow had to come up to be acknowledged and healed. We all know how dysfunctional family systems get when there are secrets that are hidden. The shadow is now showing itself in such a profound way that it cannot be ignored or buried.

Part of the shadow is how money is seen as more important than honoring life, all living beings, and the Earth.

When we focus on the work we ride a different wave then the dense collective. It does not mean that we do not grieve what we see going on in how life is being dishonored. But if we express and work through our emotions and focus our energies on working in the invisible realms to spin a new tapestry that will one day replace the tapestry that is being dismembered we do make a huge difference. As I repeat again and again we were born to dream a new dream into being.

But the new dream manifests when the dismemberment is complete. And none of us are privy to the knowledge on the timing.

Sandra Ingerman, A Message of Love for Our Global Community, Transmutation News

Are you ready to help dream a new world into being?

Much love, Sarah


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Mom, Mary, & Me

 

Mary Tyler Moore holds a special place in my heart.

Not Mary in the Dick Van Dyke show (though we loved here there, too). I’m talking Mary in Minneapolis. Mary in the newsroom. Mary with Rhoda. Mary in her apartment serving drinks to Lou at a Very Bad Dinner Party.

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artwork my own

Mary Richards seemed to be the seventies embodiment of my mother.  Funny, kind to a fault, determined, sometimes naive–and always fashionable–Mary was like mom is so many ways. My mom before kids, working as a bank manager, rocking blonde hair and wide-leg pants, hosting cocktail parties with friends.

When I heard about Mary Tyler Moore’s passing I immediately thought of mom and my many memories of watching the Mary Tyler Moore show with her–which, I will admit is a little weird as a high school kid in the ’90s. It wasn’t like any of my peers were staying up late to watch Nick at Night reruns of a syndicated seventies sitcom with their moms.

My mom’s love for the show was contagious. I became a fan with her. In re-watching her favorite episodes (Chuckles the clown’s funeral comes to mind as one of our all-time favorites) I got a glimpse into my mom’s life as a working woman in a male-dominated workforce int he 1970s.

I‘ve long seen my mom in Mary, but it is only now that I realize my mom saw a bit of Mary in me, too. As I went off to college, graduated and moved to bigger cities in states far from home, got my first suit, my first apartment. As she watched me experiencing all the highs and lows that come with tossing your proverbial hat in the air as a single working woman. As she saw me live out some of the Mary Richards’ experiences she never had.

R.I.P. Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017)
Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/QYYVf5 “R.I.P. Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017)” by Brian is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Those were the part’s of Mary’s story were foreign to my mom, who married my dad at the young age of nineteen, never attended college, or lived alone in her own apartment, or navigated the dating scene. This fact was lost on me much of the time, especially as I was living those experiences. I often resented what I perceived to be my mom’s desire to project her own dreams onto me as I made questionable choices about careers, men, hairstyles.  

It’s only now with the benefit of age, and becoming a parent myself, that I get it. My mom wanted me to get every ounce out of the Mary Richards experiences that she couldn’t have. She wanted me to get it just right, to savor these freedoms that were not in her reach.

My own daughter is only four, but I already think wistfully about how I hope things will be better for her–that though I am afforded more privileges that most of the world’s women, I still dream bigger. I hope my daughter doesn’t have to demand she gets paid the same as a man for doing the same exact job. I hope, should she decide to have children, that my daughter doesn’t have to navigate a workforce still trapped in the Mad Men era.

R.I.P. Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017)
Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/RnDYcP” R.I.P. Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017)” by Brian is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I can’t wait to someday introduce Mary Richards to my own daughter and tell her how much her grandmother loved the show. I’ll tell her the stories my mom told me about life in that era, where her only career encouragement was to go to typing school. How she ascended the career ladder in a male-dominated workplace, without a college degree, to become a manager in a bank. How she loved working full-time and letting the dishes pile up in the sink at home–a wild version of my mom that I caught glimpses of but never fully saw, as she lived out her life within the confines of motherhood and part-time work and breast cancer and the damn patriarchy.

Until then, I’ll stream some episodes of Mary Tyler Moore just like old times. I’ll make popcorn on the stove like my mom did. I’ll sit in the dark and laugh and cry as I watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show–this time just me, with mom and Mary in heaven.


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Why Donald Trump Compels Me to Speak

Do you hear the quiet hum that is slowly rattling the china? The whistle that is building to a roar?

For some it was the bragging about sexual assault. For others, the name-calling and body-shamingFor me, it was Jane Doe’s story

Jane’s story was largely buried, for to speak of it was to admit it was possibly true and that defied comprehension. Her claim was universally viewed as so outrageous to be deemed a falsehood from the start. But in her fits and starts, her reluctance to speak for fear of life, and her silencing, I saw myself.

Our stories differ in the details, as they always will. Jane Doe was raped at 13 years of age;  I was raped at age four. Jane says she was held against her will after promises of a modeling contract and then was raped by strangers (one of whom is running for president of the United States); I was assaulted by a member of my extended family. Jane sought justice in court. My perpetrator is now deceased and was never held responsible for his crimes.

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Despite the differences, all Jane Does understand certain truths.

I understand how speaking can be or feels like a matter of life and death. My own memory of being held at my neck (certain I would die) followed by a verbal threat of death if I did tell. Every cell in my body screaming to never. speak. of. this. again. I didn’t for over three decades. Precisely thirty-four years of silence.

I understand the desire for anonymity. My childhood was a practice in hoping not to be noticed. My pre-teen years involved a sexual repression so deep that I endured homophobic slurs.

I understand the risks in speaking. I know what fall-out looks like. In the telling I have grieved the loss of an entire branch of my extended family, its limbs denied oxygen and light and left to wither in my hands.

I understand how others recoil, deny, and turn away. The blaming, the name-calling, the assumption of lies. Or simply the deafening silence. I understand how the act of believing a survivor is a radical act. How it requires bearing witness to another’s horrific, unimaginable pain. To face the shadow side of our families, our communities, our criminal justice system, our notions of masculinity, our religious beliefs. To admit that the people around us—family, friends, coworkers, strangers—could not protect us or did not protect us. there-is-know-greater-agony-than-bearing-an-untold-story-inside-you-maya-angelou

All of this begs the question: in the face of all of this, why speak? 

To speak is to evict the the panic and fear that were stored in your cells as part of your surviving.

To speak is to fuel a living, breathing rebirth.

To speak is to transmute pain, to alchemize fear. 

To speak is to write your own ending.

You speak for the silenced, muffled, mocked, and maligned.

You speak for the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers. You speak for the sons and daughters. 

You speak to heal family, community, and yes, country.

You do all of this humbly, with the recognition that you are one of the lucky ones. With loving parents. With resilience built into your bones. With white skin, advanced degrees, conforming gender and sexuality. With the love and support of spouse and friends. 

You do all of this because the alternative is a repression of spirit and mind and body so extreme it is to watch your repressed truth manifest in disease, dysfunction, or yes, even dystopia.

You speak because if the shadow has been laid bare, then so must our truths. 


Thank you for reading. I couldn’t have written this without the loving support of this WordPress community. 

 

 

When it feels like the world is falling apart (Trump with nuclear weapons anyone?)

This post was inspired by hearing about Donald Trump’s fascination with nuclear weapons.

Nuclear apocalypse tends to invoke a little bit of unease, now doesn’t it. It’s hard not to flee to Canada react with fear to all the things currently imploding in the world. My husband and I have remarked more than once in the last several weeks that it feels as though things are falling apart…that the center cannot hold.

But I really don’t think the world is quite as doomed as it seems. 

When I think about my own life and the times that things fell apart—because they eventually always do, don’t they, like a plant that drops its wilted flowers and goes to seed, eventually dropping those too in order start the process all over again—the most painful and difficult times in my own life were also the times that most healed me and opened my heart. Each time I have painfully put myself together, I’ve discovered a stronger, braver, and more fearless version of myself emerge.   

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Dandelion going to seed. image source

Maybe the same will be true for our nation and world. Perhaps a braver, more fair and just, and less fearful world will emerge after all the turmoil.

But hot damn, the falling apart process ain’t easy. I usually want to retreat under the covers with a bag of Cheetos, waiting until someone gives me the all clear! before I surface again.  Unfortunately the call never seems to come. (So ridiculously unfair). The only call I get is my husband when he finds the orange crumbs on the sheets going, seriously, were you eating Cheetos in bed? (Uh yes, and your point??)

Yes, hard times call for Cheetos but also bravery. And self-compassion. And a kind-hearted village, because none of us, and I mean none of us, can do it alone. Warm fuzzy puppies also tend to help (who incidentally sort of smell like Cheetos but you kind of just ignore that about them).

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It’s so easy to fall into helplessness, isn’t it? Whether it is the world at large or our own little inner world. I am grateful that I am not currently dealing with any major life upheavals. (Though trust me, there are a few in my very recent review mirror.) The little things I am dealing with now (and they are little compared to nuclear appocolypse) have been frustrating me lately. For instance, I’m trying to start groundwork for making some career changes. It feels like I keep putting things out into the universe again and again and…nothing. I’m talking both intentions and actions. What gives?

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Slow and steady. image source.

I was feeling grumble-y about this recently. Well, lo and behold the other night a huge snail showed up on my window, leaving a long streak in rainy window. As far as snails go, this one was kinda cute. I tend to view odd encounters like this one as symbols from spirit. I asked myself, snail, what are you here to tell me? Slow and steady, slow and steady, and you will get there, immediately popped into my head.

Useful advice for sure. But there is more to snail than meets the eye. I was reading about snails and apparently they are capable of laying dormant for a long, long while but then when the rains finally come, they spring to life. Nothing, nothing, nothing, and then… boom! Movement!

Perhaps the same way in our lives and in our world. Keep the hope. It may feel that small actions are not making a difference. It may seem as though you are getting nowhere. But when you least expect it, cleansing rains of renewal may spring everything to life.

(And my personal prayer for the universe: when that day comes may we all collectively put down our Cheetos and prevent the Cheetos-colored man from ever touching a nuclear weapon, mkay?)


This post was not sponsored by Cheetos. If you like Cheetos, and my blog, I invite you to join me on Twitter or Facebook.