My dogs will not leave my side tonight. I am not sure why. There is a storm brewing. It has been brewing all day. I did my house calls early in the day for fear that weather would preclude reasonable travel later. A smattering of rain, some bit of wind. No major storm yet though. It is sitting there in the air, like an about to be lit stick of dynamite. I feel like it is inevitable that things will explode, so please, just touch the lighter to the wick already.
My dogs may sense the storm. They may know of a "big one"coming. They may think I am a big piece of bacon. It is hard to say for sure.
Maybe they read the news. What is happening in the world is certainly scary enough. And the coming election is like being stuck as a character in To Kill a Mockingbird. Racism is over, right? Nope. Sexism is passé, yes? Nope. Unwanted sexual contact is illegal, YES????
When I was 16, I was on a bus to the Vatican in Rome. It was packed. A man came from behind me and as I held onto the hand rail above me for dear life, he grinded into me from behind. I was horrified. It happened again in Venice, on a gondola. When I was 18, I was in college, walking home from a café at night. A man followed me, I quickened my steps, he followed closer, I got to my destination and nervously got inside. I have a dozen more similar stories. I hardly get through a day, much less a week in my profession without a comment on my appearance. It is not OK. It is not OK.
It is not OK, because I am human. Not because I am a Mom, a wife, a daughter, an Aunt, a sister.
I like to run. I like to study. I like to play piano. I like to read. I like to think I can walk in the wilderness alone. I like to travel. I like to be a Mom of daughters and also of sons.
Here is what I have been told:
To run is to be thin.
To study is geeky and not lady-like.
To play piano is to wear the right dress and to be presentable.
To read is to like chic lit.
To walk in the wilderness alone is dangerous.
To travel, as a woman, is also dangerous.
To be a Mom is to be perfect. To be an example of hard work, morality, and to make the best cookies in town (which I do, if I do say so myself). And to work but not too much. To be present at every major developmental stage. To keep your kid out of jail, and send them to a big name college. To be presentable, perfect, kind, adaptable, and pretty.
Be pretty most of all. It might become law if The Donald becomes president.
My dogs are probably mistaken. Nothing big ever happens when we expect it. But I respect their commitment to me, or my perception of their commitment. They love me, for sure. They are not filled with hate or prejudice or misogyny. They just like a good run, a soft place to sleep and the knowledge that they are part of a pack that matters.
I think my pack matters. I love my family, my community. I welcome the coming storm. I run from nothing. I run to everything. Everything that matters.
And, please, Michelle, can you run for president?