“Me too.”

It’s a thing happening on Facebook right now. Women are simply uttering the words “me too” to illustrate just how many of us have faced harassment in the workplace. My feed is filled with this. I have never in my life had a job where I was not sexually harassed. The gravest case was when my harasser became a stalker. I had a restraining order against him, though it amounted to nothing. He had his ways to trail me. I ultimately moved out of town and spent the summer living somewhere other than my father’s house so he could not track me down. Harassment is serious shit, folks. There’s nothing banal about it.

I am 49-years old and have been harassed literally in every job I’ve ever had.

Hey Sunshine.

You look hot in that outfit.

You’re a sight for sore eyes while I’m away from my wife. Here’s my room key.

A slap on the ass.

Ogling at my chest.

Talking brazenly about my body in front me while I’m leading a training class.

Placing bets on my measurements.

Just how much do you want this job?

Don’t distract the guys from getting their work done, okay?

Want to come sit on my lap?

More women in the work force should look like you.

I thought all the hot women were kept inside at stay at home wives.

We’re going to a strip club, but we’ll stay here if you give us a show.

Receiving a string bikini in the mail from a colleague.

Room number scribbled on corners of scrap paper and palmed to me in a handshake.

And the list goes on…

I documented and reported much of this behavior. My confidence as I grew older, yet still today, it’s a risk to speak up. In many cases I have spoken up and confronted the men who have uttered such disrespectful crap to me. I was met with laughter and jeers of “Lighten up.” or “Don’t you know how to take a joke?” The worst — “You should take this as a compliment.” Not once did I experience justice. Every power play was from an elected official, vice president, or heavy hitter in the sales force. These guys knew they wore teflon suits and they knew they had each other’s backs.

This is why we need allies. This is why we need more women in positions of power so we too have someone to have our back. Sure, men could and should have our back too, but so far that hasn’t been true for me.

Please read this piece I wrote ages ago. In it, I chronicle one of my experiences with harassment.  This happened to me in the nineties. Things haven’t changed.

Can we stop being surprised by this? There’s a Harvey Weinstein in every industry, every company, every branch of government. It’s time we force them out of hiding and band together as a united front against harassment. Men and women, parents of daughters and sons alike, it’s time.

It’s beyond time.

 

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Happy 14th Birthday, Bird

by Ilinap on August 29, 2017

Dear Bird,

You know I’m the sentimental type, right? My heart usurps my brain, for better or worse. You might not realize this yet, but you and I share the same constitution. I see so much of myself in you, the good bits and the not-so-good bits.

We are both smarter than the average bear (our little secret) and we are stubborn as hell. We relish being right and alienate others along the way because of it. We are opinionated and vocal, qualities that are largely good but can be perceived as negative when we talk more than we listen. We don’t lack conviction and will never be accused of complacency. While we are so much alike, there are also notable differences.

You are confident beyond measure. You’ve been this way since I dropped you off at preschool with Ms. Kris. You can enter a new situation with aplomb. When I dropped you off in kindergarten, you took your seat, picked up a crayon, and started drawing and chatting with the kid next to you. You literally did not look up when I said goodbye. I turned around with toddler Deal clutching my hand. And I sobbed. I cried not because I was sad, but because I was proud.

Here we are nine years later, and I just dropped you off at high school. High. School. My god, where does the time go? We have four short years left with you at home (because I know you’re not the basement dwelling type). I try hard not to fast forward time, yet this hourglass looms over my head with granules of sand torturously dripping. We have so much to look back on and so much to anticipate. Milestones will be paving your way, and we will be here cheering you on. You have gifts and talents and insights to share, and I look forward to you finding and using your voice. I am in awe of your ambition and know that you will do remarkable things in this world.

I know your best years are ahead of you because your dad and I have done our best to give you a cushion of good years behind you. Our little foursome sticks together. Regardless what you do, three people are behind you when you need support or a little break from standing tall. I hope we’ve laid the foundation you need to make good choices, chase dreams, frolic, find love, grow, teach, inspire, laugh at yourself, and soar. You’ll always be our Bird, after all.

Happy 14th birthday, First Baby. I love you to the moon and back.

Mom

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The Promise of Darkness, Eclipse 2017

August 21, 2017

Tweet  We’ve been a nation shrouded in darkness since November 9, yet today we welcomed the darkness as we eagerly awaited the total solar eclipse. In a paradoxical twist, it was the promise of darkness that breathed an airy lightness into our country. Today was a remarkable day. We rallied around a scientific event, celebrating […]

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“What did you do to make the world better?” – Support Backpack Buddies Mediathon

July 18, 2017

Tweet“We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.” — Jimmy Carter   It is criminal that we have hungry children in our community. These aren’t far away kids whose faces you’ll never see (as if that mattered). I’m talking about children who sit next to your children and mine […]

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I’m a Flag Waving Liberal

July 3, 2017

Tweet The republican president is not my America. My America is open and diverse and welcoming. My America celebrates its freedom rather than squashes it. My America lifts others up, not puts them down.  My America doesn’t make me feel ashamed. Independence Day has long been my favorite holiday. There’s no pressure and stress of […]

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He’s 12.

June 22, 2017

Tweet If he had a theme song, it would be You Are the Sunshine of My Life. He was born sunnyside up, after all. This sweet child of mine is tender hearted and funny. He’s also pensive and thoughtful; I can almost see gears clicking in his head as he unravels how things work. His […]

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Time to Slow Down

June 5, 2017

Tweet Instant gratification is the culprit of all societal ailments. Patience has disappeared from a long list of diminishing virtues. Every click, push, turn, and touch makes things beep, buzz, hum, and go. I don’t even need a key to start my car. Hell, even my drawers and cabinets are “self-closing” so they shut with […]

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Weighting Game

May 31, 2017

Tweet I was long overdue for a visit to the doctor. Just regular check up maintenance to ensure my parts are all working. I’m lucky to be pushing 50 with no creaky bits and achey joints. Since I never played sports as a kid or took up running, I guess I never punished my body. […]

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Summer Adventure List 2017…With a Twist

April 23, 2017

Tweet Though it might seem like it, I never forget that I have a blog. I just forget to schedule time to actually write anything. There’s no shortage of ideas flurrying around in my head. Some are irreverent. Some are controversial. Some are whimsical. All are logged in a notebook that I carry around, yet […]

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Rules to Live By

February 24, 2017

  I am a woman who loves rules. I also love pushing and stretching and bending rules that don’t make sense. I appreciate civil disobedience. I love a good protest. I’ve been writing letters to CEOs and Senators since I was 10. While I appreciate rules, I also appreciate using my voice to influence change. […]

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