You Belong, Too.

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I graduated from Nerinx Hall in 1997.  Twenty years ago.

My dad worked two jobs so I could attend the prestigious all-girl school.  I’ve always told my parents it was worth the sacrifice.

And now this gem of a school is in the headlines for not allowing a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club to form.

Once the news hit social media a closed group of almost 2,500 alumni formed.

I want to say so much, but it might be time to keep it simple.

To the Nerinx administration: You did it. You planted seeds of strength within us, you nourished roots of community and friendship, you gave us branches of ideas and compassion, you provided us with fruits of hope.  If you see us, if you hear us, you have to be proud.   You taught us that conflict is okay.  That when we see injustices we should speak up, and we are.  Can you hear us? Our voices are unified and our determination is strong.  You created these leaders of change, these women of compassion.  You taught us that one of us is not free, until we are all free.  You inspired us to see outside or our comfort zones.  You lit a fire so deep within our souls that we are not afraid to get burned. As the administration of this school, as board members of this community, I know you can do this.  You can take this energy, this momentum, and you can be leaders,  you can be trailblazers.

And I believe you will. Because I know there are girls in your halls that need a place to feel safe.  They need a group that says: I belong, too.

And I know you want to give them that.  Because it is good.  And it is right.

Will it be tricky? Yes. Will it be complicated? Yes.  Will it cause discomfort and unrest? Yes.

But I believe you will do it because it is who you taught us to be.

I believe you will do it because you provided us the space and place to dream, to believe that we can go where others have never gone.

It is who we are.

It is what we do.

Give these girls their safe place–tell them:

“You belong, too.”

38 Birthday Confessions, and Post Cancer Bits of Wisdom.

  1. 38Sometimes after I finish off an entire bag of Trader Joe’s caramel/cheddar popcorn, I wonder if I just fed lurking cancer cells too much sugar.
  2. I love my job.  I think if I won the lottery and never had to work again I would still show up. Getting to work with teenagers sets my soul on fire.
  3. I marched in the Women’s march, but I didn’t march in Ferguson because I was scared.
  4. I am still trying to understand the depth of my white privilege.
  5. Sometimes I yell so loud at my kids my throat hurts.
  6. I feel really bad about #5 and wish it wasn’t true.
  7. Sometimes I play Legos, and read books about pirate gingerbread men, and put chocolate chips in bananas to look like eyes, and sing songs about poop.
  8. I feel really proud of #7.
  9. The things that really stressed me out three years ago, only cause me to raise a slight eyebrow now.
  10. I hate my implants.  They are cold and weird.
  11. I used to have a port in my chest to deliver chemo straight into my veins.  Sometimes I stare at the scar where it used to be and wonder how did I get through that?
  12. I know the answer to #11 is: YOU.
  13. Blogging while healthy is much harder for me than blogging with cancer.  Now I think too much, worry about the audience, wonder if you are tired of my voice.  Cancer kept those insecurities silent.  Health has given them a voice.
  14. I am not sure what I am going to do about #13.  But I try to remind myself what cancer taught me:
  15. Everything
  16. Can
  17. Change
  18. In
  19. An
  20. Instant.  Be brave.  Listen to that quiet voice in your soul.  Be brave.  Be you.  Be all of you.  What are you waiting for?
  21. I know I kind of cheated with #15-20, but I am getting old and 38 things is a lot.
  22. I think I am going to be okay with gray hair and wrinkles.  I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on dyes and wrinkle creams.  I just want to be fully who I am, so that you feel okay to be fully who you are.
  23. Please don’t hold me to #22. I wonder if I started dying my hair at 39, will I be a hypocrite? (maybe just a little wrinkle cream?)
  24. I believe in things I cannot see.
  25. I believe in signs.
  26. I believe in having connections with people who have already left this earth.
  27. I’m pretty sure this has something to do with God.
  28. I have no idea how to effectively write about #’s 24-27.
  29. Sometimes I look at my kids while they are sleeping and I think my heart my explode with love.  (Why does this always happen when they are sleeping?)
  30. Andy (5) told me when he grows up he wants to build a home for the homeless.  He wants it to have a washer and a dryer and a coffee maker, and even a bed.  I told him he was going to make the world better.  He said, “I know I will because you are a good woman.”
  31. This is the same kid who saw me (with my bald chemo-head) sitting on his floor blogging one night while I was waiting for him to fall asleep and sweetly whispered in my ear, “you look like a turtle”.
  32. And Alex (8), is so curious about the world.  He never stops asking  questions.  He still lets me hold his hand while we are running errands and he wrote in my birthday card that I am “not bossy” and “beutiful and pecful”  (beautiful and peaceful).  I guess #5 hasn’t messed them up too much.
  33. And Joel (39) is still in love with me.  I know it might make you want to barf, and I am sorry about that, but we are still in love.  Every year with him just gets better.
  34. I haven’t done enough to help others.  I know this because I still feel that pull.  Got to do more.
  35. Cancer gave me the gift of this blog.  It made me terrified beyond measure, but it also made me brave.
  36. I wish I could use Andy’s Harry Potter wand to eliminate anxiety.  Sometime it still creeps its way inside my mind and ruins everything.
  37. I need to make an appointment with a counselor about #36.  Maybe if I type it here for all of you to see I will actually do it.
  38. I am here.  I am so grateful to still be here.