Wednesday, August 30, 2017

vacation mode

nearly 15 years ago, i headed to the desert to meet my roommate and her boyfriend at coachella. with all the planning instincts of a free-spirited 21-year-old, i barely looked up driving directions, let alone festival rules and polices. i waited in the security line anticipating all the bands and artists i would be seeing that day. i handed over my bag to a security officer with the confidence of someone who knows she has no weapons or drugs.

"that's a lot of snacks you have in here," the security officer commented as she moved my water bottle out of the way.

"yeah. wouldn't want to be stuck out here hungry," i replied chipperly.

she laughed, gave me a long look, and zipped up my bag. "have a great time today!"

"thanks," i smiled, practically skipping away.

the moment passed without much thought until several hours later when my roommate's boyfriend started mulling over food options.

"well, i have ham and cheese if you want. also, apple slices, trisquits, fruit snacks..."

"what?!" he said with surprise.

with a sudden burst of pride in my adulting, i went on, "have whatever you like. i also have water if you are thirsty."

"how did you get this in here?"

"i packed it."

"but how? how did you get all of this past security?"

"what?" i asked, genuinely confused.

"you're not allowed to bring in any food or drinks."

"ohhhhhhhhh," i said, thinking back to my conversation with the security officer. "i think security just took pity on me. or realized i had no idea i was breaking the rules."

my roommate started laughing. "she probably figured that no one can fake that sincerity."

fast forward to august 30, 2017. i'm fighting off a pre-vacation exhaustion cold and frantically packing so chris and i do not miss our flights. between sniffles, i pack the freshly warmed leftover chicken soup from last night. as we stand in the security line, i remember that i have an apple juice in my bag.

"oh shoot! would you help me drink this before we go through security?" i ask chris.

we chug the juice and i swallow a tylenol pm just in time.

we pass through security without further ado and i settle in at the gate. i find a plastic spoon, pull out my now-lukewarm soup, and tell chris i'll watch the bags while he gets some snacks.

"you brought soup?" chris asks with genuine surprise.

"yeah, i'm still pretty congested so i thought it would feel good."

"how did you get it through security?"

"i packed it."

"but how?"

and i felt that same feeling i had at coachella. "oops. maybe they saw me chug the juice, heard my sniffles, and took pity?"

we both laughed. whatever the reason, i'm taking it as a good omen for this vacation.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


i had a hard time settling on a theme this year. i usually pick one around thanksgiving of the year before, but in 2016, november passed. december passed. and january came. my brain was a smorgasbord of unconnected thoughts and sentiments, often in conflict with each other. a few days before the women's march, i read an op ed by char adams that expressed (well-founded) skepticism about whether white women (e.g., yours truly) would show up for women of color in 2017. she ended with a laudable message:

so, on the day after trump's inauguration, i will be marching with the tens of thousands (and maybe millions!) of women and men who want to take a stand on social justice. i will stand in solidarity with those fighting for human rights. i will make my voice heard, and listen to the voices of those around me.

i was particularly struck by the final line and chose it as my 2017 theme (thanks, char adams!): i will make my voice heard, and listen to the voices of those around me.

so here we are in june. a minnesota jury - 10 white + 2 black - acquitted the police officer who shot and killed philando castille during a traffic stop last year. my sincerest condolences to family and close friends of philando castille.

i first heard about the verdict through a women's march instagram post:

we ask all our supporters - but particularly our white supporters - to show up for black folks in the fight against police violence as fiercely as you showed up on january 21.

so here i am. not as an endpoint, but for starters: i do not have adequate words for what is in my heart and mind.

i do not know philando castille and i do not know his family. but when i see their faces in the news, i see people who look like people i know and love. i see people who are more than snapshots of grief and trauma. i see people with personal stories like mine.

and if i'm being honest, i also see people with personal stories that feel distant from mine. people who don't look like most of the people in my family. or at my church. or neighborhood. or workplace.

it makes me wonder: if i encountered philando castille on the street instead of in the news, what would i see in him? what judgments would i make? how would i act? the uncomfortable truth is, i don't know. i hope that i would see in his face the faces of people i know and love. i hope that, if given the opportunity, he would become someone i know and love. but i. don't. know.

i have a lot of work to do. and i'm asking you - particularly my white brothers and sisters - to join me. let's step outside spaces where most people look like us, mourn with those that mourn, and prepare ourselves to hear hard truths.

let's put our bodies on the line - understanding that white bodies in particular are valued differently in our country - to support our black brothers and sisters. our support starts with conversation but it cannot end there.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

hello 2013!

i am sitting in the atlanta airport loving the free wi-fi. another adventure under the belt and back to my other life. you know, the one involving law school, the nation's capital, and the world's best baby sister. it feels appropriate that i spent the last few weeks of the year of music and movement making my first solo international adventure, meeting people - young and old - from all over the world, and quite literally dancing into 2013. 

as i took in the last of many blessings received during 2012, i pondered what theme might keep my superstitions at bay during the incoming year. let's face it: the kid that used to beg not to get out of bed on friday the 13th for fear of bad luck still keeps a cabin in my soul. i thought about the ways in which i have grown and changed since leaving detroit. i considered all the things i want to do this year - skills to acquire, people to meet, sanity to keep. 

my theme started to take form as i listened to the lara bravo family repeat in unison a prayer for safe travel. talking with chike, luz, and jordan further convinced me i was on the right track. i have long believed that god is in each of us because he is our creator. and it has often been my experience that i can see god most clearly through people who have differing beliefs about his existence and identity. still, my faith often fails in trusting that god - the one i pray to and the one i see in the world around me. so as i aim for a year of improved stillness and compassion, i am renewing my effort to put my confianza en dios continuamente. this language comes from the spanish translation of a book of mormon verse (alma 57:27). although the english version says,"trust in god continually," confianza can also mean confidence and faith. this mix of meanings is exactly what i will be looking for in my 2013 adventures. so my spanish-learning adventure ends, or continues? 

until the next blog-worthy expedition: may you encounter sparkles daily and love it every time!