Friday, July 28, 2017

My Balance Beam

I recently read a book called For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.  And, by “read” – I mean, I listened to it while I ran.  I cannot recommend it enough.  I am 100% sure that it changed my outlook on a few aspects of my life.  It brought to my attention – glaringly so – that I don’t give enough grace out loud.  Because I have such high expectations of myself and everyone around me, it must seem like I never allow anyone (much less myself) a moment of human-ness.  And in a world with up-to-the-second facebooking, news cycling, chatter, tweeting, insta-storying and NOISE…couldn’t we all use a little human-ness…a little grace?  It also made me realize that – while I try to live a transparent social media life – I want to make sure we clear up a few things.

On Grace…
There’s a difference between “doing it all” and “getting it all done.”

There’s also this concept of “I’m ok with letting some things go.” J

I don't do it all.  I mean, I technically I didn’t even read this book. I listened to it while I was doing something else important to me.  

In her book, Jen talks about things that delicately balance on the “beam” of life and things that fall to the mat.

All of life doesn't make it on to my balance beam. 

I don't do laundry. 
I don't clean my house. 
I don't go to my sons' schools to volunteer every day / week / month. 
I don't cook. 
I am not the school mom that you’ll see in pick up line every day.  Some days I wish I were.  We call those days Mondays and Fridays.
I am not the school mom that you’ll see at any event scheduled on a Wednesday.  Come on, people.  I’m not asking for things to be scheduled around me – just like you aren’t asking me to attend Every. Single. Event.  Right?
I’m probably not going to go on a weekend girls trip.
I don’t join book clubs or junior league or other “optional” activities (maybe they just seem optional to me?).
I no longer scrapbook for lack of time and, quite frankly, other options to document my life and kids’ lives.

I have a convenience fee.  If I can make something easier for me, my family, etc. – I will likely pay to do so. If I can outsource, I will.  Example:  house cleaning  …. OFF THE BEAM!  (Unless Matt is with me, and then sometimes he won’t let me.  Example:  valet parking)

Sidebar:  It is NOT lost on me how blessed I am to be able to operate this way in terms of outsourcing, convenience fee concepts and how we spend time with our children.  My point is more about making sure what is important to YOU stays on the beam...and it's OK to let the rest fall to the mat.

Balancing my life:  My travel fills up my tank for my extroverted kids.  My 3 days/2 nights on the road is where I become a better mom. Other people do that through junior league or book clubs or girls weekends or whatever. I hear your whispers about “being away from my kids” – you are too, just in different ways – so, show me a little grace, please.

It is important to me to spend my nights home and my weekends with my kids… Disney, Busch Gardens, library visits, toddler sports, pool time, park time, breakfast at our favorite restaurant…all ON THE BEAM.  All of them.

 
Disney!

Florida State Football Game
All in on the Noles, y'all!

We are a Yankees family, but we love Raymond!
The boys LIVE for swimming!
The opinion of the toddler sports moms about my “bought” (vs homemade) snack is not important to me.  OFF THE BEAM, every time.

I parent.  Teachers teach.  It’s a delicate partnership (and we have been SO LUCKY in this space!), but I won’t be at school doing their jobs just like they aren’t home with us while I do mine. Teaching is OFF the beam for me.


Your beam looks different than my beam.  I’m SO thankful for that because you mommas that bring in homemade treats and spend time in the class room are my HEROES.  I don’t mean to come across as critical of you, I mean to come across as APPLAUDING you.  (What I don’t applaud is when I get the #SideEye for store bought snacks, though, so grace goes both ways – am I right? J)  In fact, that goes for people who cook, go on girls trips, join book clubs, participate in community groups – all my HEROES.  I’m thankful for what you bring to the world. 

My husband is a priority.  We are partnership of epic proportion.  We are equals in this marriage thing and we split tasks to make it all work.  Except the laundry.  He’s a laundry lunatic and I can’t keep up.  Matt is always ON THE BEAM.  Always.


Yes, he's grabbing my breast.  #ItsFine
My kids are a priority. 

 
 
   

My faith is a priority. (along with my family’s faith)

My career is a priority. 

My health is a priority. 

My family is a priority.

My friends, specifically my GIRLS, are a priority to me.  You know who you are.  I needn’t name names. 

My priorities get juggled daily, but they’re always ON THE BEAM in some way. Sometimes I juggle hourly because ALL OF THESE cannot be priority #1 all the time.

On humility…
Humility is absolutely necessary, however, in a world where we tear each other down more than we build each other up – we must be able to speak highly of ourselves, our skills, our trajectories in life and careers.  If we don’t – who will?

I’m good at a few things…

I’m a hard worker. If I committed to something, I will see it through to completion.

I can operate on 4-5 hours of sleep.

I get my second wind at 10:30pm and have been known to rearrange cabinets, pantries and drawers until 1am.  It calms my brain.

I’m a leader…of people, teams, projects, business transformations, initiatives.

I'm an organizer....of vacations, dinners, cabinets, closets.  

I’m a utility customer service expert.

I’m an SAP expert.

I’m a kick ass program manager and strategic planner.

I'm transparent. I don't play poker. The truth flies out of my mouth sometimes without filter. This is a blessing and a curse.  I’ve gotten better over the years.

Aligned with that transparency is integrity.  If I didn’t do it right or didn’t do something justice, you’ll hear it from me first.  The same goes for my team or my family.  If I give you my word, I will die trying to keep it.

I hold myself accountable for what is my responsibility, my teams’ responsibility or my family’s responsibility.  Need I remind you that I picked up toddler poop off the Atlanta airport floor because THAT WAS MY RESPONSIBILITY as Beau’s mother….?

I hold people accountable for their work, their commitments, their responsibilities.

I care about other people's careers...and if you ask for my help, you're going to get it.  If you want to succeed and do great things -- I want those things for you too!

I'm a fiercely loyal friend. I've lost two real friends in my life. One I got back. One may be gone forever. 


I don't go a mile wide and an inch deep on friendships. If I'm your friend, I'm your friend in ALL seasons - good or bad.....in times of celebration and despair. I'm here. 

Integrity, loyalty, accountability, responsibility and owning your strengths – ON THE BEAM!

This isn't all of them, but you get the idea about my #WorkFam.
I am funny and mostly I don't realize it. My friend Martin Palma tells me that all the time.  He may be mostly laughing AT me rather than WITH me, but I’ll take it.  Laughter will always be ON THE BEAM for me….it helps in all situations.

My children keep my humility in check by treating me like their butler, waitress, driver, personal assistant and maid.  Do not fret about my level of importance at home…I’m low on the totem pole

Women can do the hard things.  We can be anyone and do anything.  You don’t have to do ALL the hard things or be everything to everyone.  Breathe in this world of opportunity, go get what is important to you, ask for help when you need it, show the grace you expect for yourself to others and TELL THE WORLD all the things YOU’RE good at.

On self-awareness…
Having a healthy awareness of your strengths is great.  Having a healthy awareness of your weaknesses takes an extremely mature person open to ongoing personal and professional growth.  I have growth opportunities at work and in my personal life….in my marriage, in my family interactions, in my friend interactions.  ON THE BEAM, folks…I try to pay attention!

With that said, I'm not good at these things:

I don’t have empathy for all situations.

I am not good with messes, clutter and “excess.”  These things cause me IMMENSE mental stress.  Everything needs to have a place….and if we haven’t used it, worn it or discussed it in a year’s time – OFF THE BEAM.

I’m a fixer…and a problem solver – and that’s not a good thing all the time.  I always have to ask – “Am I in listening mode or fixing mode?”

I don’t embrace change well, but I expect my clients do. (ironic, isn’t it?)

I'm not good at the benefit of the doubt.  I'm terrible at it and need to be reminded of it. 

I have a short fuse. 

I have a zero-tolerance policy on laziness, incompetence, and lack of integrity. 

Listening to a chapter in Jen’s book (“Jen” – like we are girlfriends and on a first name basis now?) helped me learn that I “exercise compassion without enabling misconduct,” laziness or giving an "out" to hard work.  I have empathy for people who want to do the work to improve their situation, but need some help/advice/a boost to get where they are going. I can relate to that. I do and can enable success.  I do not believe in victims of circumstance. I do not relate to complaining without action.  I do not do hand-outs. Ever. You want something?  Work hard(er).  Per Jen Hatmaker – “Young MC said it best: "Don't just stand there, bust a move."”

I question every parenting decision we make. 



I'm claustrophobic.

I'm terrified of heights.

New places make me anxious because I don't want to miss the good stuff a new place has to offer.

I over plan.

I over pack for vacations (but never for the work week).

I over think family dynamics.

I'm incredibly more sensitive than you know or that I portray.  Many people think I don’t have feelings because of how “cut and dry” I can be at work.  There are times when that is true.  There are times when that is necessary.  There are plenty of times when that approach is not necessary and not used.  Don’t assume.  The tough exterior that I’ve built to protect myself has created a reputation that isn’t always warranted.  I am human.

My communication style can be perceived as harsh, mean or short-sighted.  Know that nearly every move I make is a calculated one.


I am not politically correct. 

I often use money to replace the time I can’t spend on something when TIME is what was really needed.  (See “sidebar” above)

I’m not worldly nor culturally savvy.  My real friends and colleagues know this about me and lend me grace and help me learn.

I’m not good at being bored. I shop on my Nordstrom app when I’m bored in airports.  This is bad.

I’m addicted to my phone…. news, shopping, social media, games, emails, texts.  #PutYourPhoneDown

I don't understand the concept of privilege and I'm not convinced it's the reason for all the problems in the world. I’m a work-in-progress on this topic.

I can be hard on the people I care about the most and the people I think have more potential than they are realizing. 

On common ground…
The good news is that we have a common ground.  We are all human first…. before we ever categorize ourselves with gender, race, ethnicity, religion, etc.  There’s nothing wrong with being confident in your skills – both personally and professionally.  In fact, I applaud it.  If you don’t know what you’re doing well – you likely don’t know about the areas available for improvement.  Self-reflection (like this blog, I guess) is a good way to find grace and humility. Assume positive intent – even when it feels unnatural.  Tell the truth. Be kind. Be human.  Be Brave.  Be YOU. It won't look like my day (or one of the 1 billion other days you see on Instagram) and that is OK.  

#BeTheChange
#GiveGrace
#BeKind
#BeBrave
We Love America.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Work Backwards.

I always start with the worst-case scenario.  I develop a plan on how to manage through my worst case.  Right, wrong or indifferent -- I start there as a coping mechanism … because if I can figure out how to handle the worst case, then I can manage anything between here ----- and there.

For about an hour today, I thought my baby had leukemia.  That was my worst case.

Last night, Matt mentioned to me that Beau had a lot of bruises on him.  Like, more than normal for Beauzilla?  Yeah.  More than normal…and they were oddly placed.

When we got up this morning – more bruises…groin area, back of the arm, back, stomach, waist/side region.  ODD places.  I immediately didn’t feel right.  Beau was acting fine, but not looking the part so I banked on our parental intuition -- and called the pediatrician and got an appointment this morning. 

By the time we arrived at the pediatrician's office, more bruises had formed...

As soon as the doctor saw his markings, she went from her usual jovial kid doctor self …. To a very serious, stern and focused medical professional with very specific instructions:  “Go to the emergency room right now.  I’ve called ahead.  They are expecting you.  You need blood work as he appears to have some sort of platelet issue that can be anything from ITP to Leukemia. Now, because he has no other symptoms -- it’s probably ITP and treatable, but we must run tests to be sure.”

I only heard about 4 words of that entire statement…. 
emergency room right now” 

and 

leukemia

By the time I had my wits about me, Jack was already in tears…. “worried about Beau.”  So with that – I reminded myself that it does a baby good to know that others can soothe him and love him. It will always take a village to raise a child – better to start sooner rather than later.  I called my VERY sweet neighbor who took Jack off our hands…and they hand a grand little day together running some errands, having lunch and playing the pool.

Also?  I'm thinking to myself -- Reschedule the entire day.  Email all the people you were meeting with throughout the day.  Email your client.  Email everyone that you're kind of off the grid for a hot minute.  THANK GOD for the amazing people that I work with every day...Accenture and DTE, for giving me just a moment of space to deal with this thing that was invading my personal space.

When we arrived at the ER – they were expecting us…and had urgency that only increased my anxiety.  Another bruise had formed on Beau's face...and now one on his leg...it looked horrible and painful.  We got into a room and the dr. came in almost immediately…  She explained to us how the blood works.  We’ve got red blood cells and white blood cells.  And we have platelets that help us heal and clot the blood.  The white blood cells create antibodies to fight off viruses. 

They need to draw the blood to look at all three – red, white, platelets.  She said it again – “this can be anything from a thing called ITP …. To leukemia, but I need to see the blood to be sure.”

All I heard was leukemia.  So I started there…I hit the internet with research on types of illnesses, treatments, special centers …. Correlating them to current and future clients to make sure I could continue to work to support the treatments but be near to be with him.  I started to do the math…and figured out what we could cut back on to make ends meet.  I researched what my insurance would pay for…all of that while I waited for the nurse to come in to draw the blood.

Then – they DREW THE BLOOD and for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, I cried more than Beau did.  But he cried BIIIIIG alligator tears….and I tried to give him his binky…and he gave it back to me.  I almost took a hit off of it.

Then we waited.  They needed one hour.  And for one hour, I planned our life with leukemia treatments.  I found all the best centers, found nearby apartments to all of them, did research on doctors, found all the support groups, mapped flights into each area to correlate costs and budgets... And I know that must seem WILD to you, but that’s how I work.  I accept the worst case – and work backwards from there….because I need to be able to handle anything she says when she walks back through that door.

So we played and walked and blew up gloves into COW UTTERS…. And we found all the pictures of the cows on the ER floor….and we mooed…and we watched the ipad and the TV and mommy’s phone and sometimes we tried to work on mommy’s work computer because that looks like fun too.



We waited.

AN ETERNITY.

And finally – she came back.  It’s not leukemia.  

Sometimes, those antibodies that the white blood cells are producing to fight viruses are not so smart – and they attack the platelets.  A kid Beau’s size/age needs about 150000 …. He has 1000.  Just 1000. 

The antibodies will continue to attack the platelets while they are trying to fight off whatever virus is inside Beau right now.  This is ITP -- Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura  -- New antibodies are created each time the white blood cells detect a virus to go attack…the next round of antibodies may not attack the platelets.  It’s hard to tell.

We now need to hear from the hematologist.  This poor ER doctor has reached her limit on knowledge of blood disorders – and probably her tolerance of my questions and antics.

The hematologist came in…saw the look on my face and said “I’m going to say this three times so that you know that I’m serious – He does not have leukemia.  He does not have leukemia.  He does not have leukemia.”  The bruises aren't painful, but he's prone to bleeding now because he has no ability to clot...so any bad fall or head bump requires an ER visit.  Oh, Jesus take the wheel - for real?!

Ok, I think I’ve got it.  It’s not the worst case scenario…let’s start working backwards now…
Beau is going to be fine – but he’s going to bruise every time the wind blows until this set of antibodies run their course…and move on.  So, we’ll see the hematologist every work to do blood tests…until such time that things change…and then we will change courses, but for now – no treatment other than restricted activity.  No contact sports.  

Hold up – what?

He’s 2.  He already broke his leg TWICE… My whole house is a contact sport.

Lord help us.

Jack understands…he’s ready to take care of his brother.  “I’m his keeper.”  Yes, baby…yes you are … so when he jumps on you to wrestle, you have to resist that urge to Jimmy-Superfly-Snuka him…because he’ll bruise up like a peach and Child Protective Services will be BACK at this house (read here for that story). 

Ain’t nobody got time for that.


We got a doctor’s note.  Just in case.

It's fine.  He's Fine.  We are fine.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I Did Not March.

*Disclaimer! This is not a post about my kids/family/husband. These are my views...not Jack's, Beau's or Matt's. Although, I'm pretty sure Beau would give everyone on both sides of this debate the middle finger and ask when the food is arriving*


I know you will attack me on my points. I understand the passion on these topics as some of these impact the very life that we hold dear. I welcome constructive and respectful debate on any of these topics. I welcome that debate in person or via PM. I will not get into a comments war with you as that serves no purpose. I will not tolerate hateful commentary either, so if that’s your intent – go away. You guys marched. I write blogs/commentary to give a voice to the side that doesn't march.

Someone telling me that I can’t do something gets me FIRED UP. This is America, for God’s sake…we should be able to do anything within reason that doesn’t harm another living being. I’m ALL FOR a march and a protest that proves a point and creates positive momentum for change. I love that many of you took your kids to these marches to show them what democracy and our right to assemble is all about. Makes me burst with pride for our Country to see you teaching your kids about our Constitution.

What I’ve learned the most through this political season is that maybe I’m lucky. (Maybe that’s what you guys call “privileged?”) Maybe I’m lucky to have a set of parents that instilled values in me to work for everything that I want. Afterall, if it’s worth having – it’s worth working for. Am I right? (#amirite?)

I don’t believe I was handed anything or provided some amazing opportunity that no one else had. I have a public high school education. I earned scholarships to pay for my public state college education (that so many of you have either seriously or jokingly deemed “poor quality”). After that, I got a job…which is what you’re supposed to do. I worked my way up from being a computer programmer – to being a partner and a leader.

Maybe that’s why I’m so confused about this march. What is it that you folks want that we/you don’t already have?

The world is our oyster!

We can educate ourselves in any school in the world. We can vote, work, own property, own animals, own our own businesses…hell, we even have federally funded special programs and services for minority owned businesses.

We can even marry each other now if we want.

We can be on boards, be CEOs, be inventors and investors…and even the President of the United States if we so choose to subject ourselves to that experience.

…or we can roll around on stages grabbing our private parts and offering sexual favors to Hillary voters.

Like I said, the world is our oyster. Every ounce of our constitution offers that right to every human being – man or woman, regardless of color or sexual orientation.

So what rights do we not have?

Is this about birth control and a woman’s right to choose? I get that to some degree – and I’m also not naïve that everyone feels differently about this issue. This is where I start to be torn because I want women to have the right to choose, but my religious belief on this topic means that I hope that all babies are born unless there’s a traumatic issue at stake (e.g., rape victims). Most states offer victim medical funding for these situations now anyway.  However, I’ll tell you this – I don’t want to pay for your birth control, your abortion for convenience and your food stamps when you have the baby(ies) that you can’t afford. You know what else? If you have time to have sex, then you have time to go to work to pay for your OWN condoms and birth control. Birth control is not the responsibility of the government…just like I don’t think it’s the responsibility of our government to tell you that you can’t have an abortion. Pro-life is my religious belief – but it’s not necessarily my political belief. (see how I get sideways pretty quickly?) So, we’ve elected a pro-life President…so what? The birth control is still readily available to all of us. So, the Planned Parenthood federal funding is drying up…so what?  Maybe Cecile Richards should take a pay cut to pay for everyone’s abortions because that’s the only difference (that everyone is discussing) between a government funded health department and Planned Parenthood.

Am I making sense here?

Let’s talk about this wage gap. We can do and make whatever we want in this Country – and if you’ve lost the art of negotiation, then you probably don’t believe that. I’ve never earned less than a man with the same amount of responsibility as me that is performing to the same level. Trust me on this. I out-earn most men I know…and that’s not by chance, folks. I value my skills and what I bring to the table – and unless you do also, you will continue to be underpaid. That’s on YOU…not our government or any President we’ve ever elected. This has been an issue for many, many, many years and somehow we’ve made Trump the reason for all of this? Stop looking for a hand out or some law to protect you and make a case for yourself and your skills.

Is this thing on?

Let’s discuss your way of marching… You guys put vaginas on your heads and made signs about “p***y roaring.” That’s great. That’s just great, folks. Is this how you’re asking for respect? (Respect that you already had, yet probably lost on Saturday.) Speaking of respect, help me understand how it’s ok for Bill Clinton to be sexually serviced in the Oval Office by an intern…and it’s ok for Madonna to offer HER sexual services to Hillary voters …. AND, it’s ok for Bill Clinton to publicly undress Ivanka with his eyes while standing next to his wife…yet you hold Trump to a different standard for his words that were recorded about grabbing p***y. (God, I hate that word.) And, for those of you shocked by his words – get a grip on reality. Your significant other has said something similar behind closed doors. I guarantee it.

What’s the term you guys use…double standard?

Maybe you’re marching because you don’t like President Trump’s choices for his administration? Like the Secretary of Education? I can see that point. She doesn’t think like you guys, so I understand your disdain…but that’s not what the rest of us hear when you’re wearing vaginas on your head and shouting #NotMyPresident.

Maybe you’re concerned because of what you think President Trump may do to the ACA in terms of caps and pre-existing conditions. I can see that point too, but that’s not what the rest of us hear when you’re wearing vaginas on your head and shouting #NotMyPresident. Some of us are worried about what happens if this current plan continues. What about us?

Maybe you’re concerned about our environment. I can see that point. I am too…but that’s not what the rest of us hear – and trust me, we are trying to listen. And because I’m also concerned, I’m taking a different approach – because no one can HEAR YOU when you’re wearing vaginas on your head and shouting #NotMyPresident.

The march wasn’t about feminism…or wage gaps…or abortions…or “hate speech.” The march was about you being angry that you lost. The march was about creating fear. The march was about accusing Donald Trump of taking something that he has no plans of taking – your rights. (#BlameTrump?) If you don’t know what to tell your daughters about this election – that’s a parenting problem – not a Presidential problem. Teach your daughters to have a thick skin, to think for themselves, to take up for themselves and to have a good grasp on reality. The last thing we need is another generation of victims.

And before you start – Illegal immigrants don’t have the same rights as citizens. That’s the law – and now you’re mad that Trump is going to start enforcing that law because “they are humans too.” I’m not naïve to the fact that you choose to use that language to make it appear that Republicans (including me) don’t care about immigrants as human beings. This is where you are wrong. I’m ALL FOR immigrants in America - - it makes our Country a better place. But if you’re going to live here, drive on these roads, go to these public schools, enjoy these public parks – then you are going to get a VISA, get a green card and/or become a citizen and pay taxes and help our country flourish – just like the rest of us. Because, just like I don’t like paying for everyone else’s healthcare, birth control and food stamps – I also don’t like paying for your livelihood.

None of my statements above mean that I don’t want equality for all women and minority men and our LGBTQ community.  I believe #BlackLivesMatter.  I believe that #LoveWins.  I believe that women and minority men need special programs in order to afford these minority groups the same opportunities of non-minority men. I genuinely love all types of people and walks of life – my career has done a nice job of confirming that for me over the years. I want our government to enable minorities to do whatever makes US happy – just not ALL at my expense.

I can’t with you guys. If you’re mad, say you’re mad…and either shut up or learn how to have a conversation about it all. I’m ready when you are, but allowing someone like Madonna and Ashley Judd to speak for you with their out-of-touch nonsense just makes you look crazy. And no one likes crazy… In fact, these women of Hollywood…who get paid MILLIONS speaking for ANY of us is just plain NUTS.

#TheyDontSpeakForMe

You will hear directly from me the MOMENT I feel oppressed or like someone is taking a God granted or Constitutional right away from me or my family

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Voted for Trump.

*Disclaimer!   This is not a post about my kids/family/husband.  These are my views...not Jack's, Beau's or Matt's.  Although, I'm pretty sure Beau would give everyone on both sides of this debate the middle finger and ask when the food is arriving*






I'm a college educated, white woman with an impressive corporate career.


I'm the Inclusion and Diversity lead for my business unit at my company.

I voted for Trump.

I held my nose and I voted for Trump.

Seeing this craziness on social media and tradtional media outlets has been astonishing and eye opening.  In fact, one post said that “you” were disgusted by anyone that would vote for him.  Good to know.  My advice to you is to start listening.  You were so busy and so loudly denouncing this man that you thought you knew...and putting this woman on a pedastal made up of false fears....that you stopped listening for the real concerns of the American people.

The truth is...I didn't know I was going to vote for Trump until 2 weeks ago.

I didn’t have signs in my yard.  I wasn’t vocal about it.  I didn’t answer online polls or exit polls.  I didn’t want to lose friends over it…and if I lose a friend now, then we weren’t really friends anyway.

I am the silent majority. 

My parents are the silent majority.

Many of my family members are the silent majority.  (and some, not-so-silent majority)

We were raised to not talk about politics, religion or money…because opinions are strong and sometimes divided.  And we can all be friends on so many other levels than those three topics.

So when you categorize Trump voters as “racists” or “bigots” or “rape supporters” – you’re talking about me.  You’re talking about my family.  Does that really sound right to you?  Can you look me in the eye and tell me that you truly believe I’m one of those types of people?  Do you truly believe in your heart of hearts that I’d vote for someone that I really believed to be a racist/bigot/rapist?

No.  You can’t.  You don’t. 

So, stop.

JUST STOP.

Stop generalizing.  

Everyone that voted for Trump is not a racist, nor are we "blind" to his shortcomings or the many flaws of the American democracy system.  In that same vein, everyone that voted for Hillary is not a feminist.

While I don’t feel that I owe you an explanation, let me tell you how I got to my conclusion on which one of these VILE human beings to vote for....because if I just reach ONE of you with my words, maybe we can find our common ground and we can move forward.  Maybe we can even remain friends?

I turned off the television and social media news outlets.  

I stopped listening to debates and rallies.

I stopped scrolling through FB and IG…  I only posted pictures of my family, my dinners and my 
rants about airports, college football and the Cubs. 

I did take every single “test” that I could find online…answering 100s of questions about social 
issues, immigration issues, tax issues, etc.

I did read their plans.  I read all 100+ pages of Trump’s plan for America.  (summary version here:  https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/_landings/contract/O-TRU-102316-Contractv02.pdf)

I also read Hillary’s plan.

I did this due diligence because I had to in order to vote my conscience.  

Do I believe that that Trump is an asshole/DB/*insert derogatory term here*?  YES

Do I believe he is inappropriate, insensitive and un-politically correct?  YES

Do I believe he needs polishing?  YES

Do I believe he is going to build a wall?  NO

Do I believe that he’s going to crack down on criminal illegal immigrants and keep our country safer?  YES

Do I believe that he hates women?  NO

Do I believe that he stands for "rape culture?"  NO 

Do I believe that he hates any minority class?  NO, however, see above on his insensitivity.  

Do I condone his inflammatory statements?  NO

Do I believe in or condone the mis-treatment of any minority class? NO 

Do I believe that he’s going to fix some of the things that I think are wrong with this country?  YES

Do I believe in his plan for America?  YES

Do I believe that all of our issues lie with a President? NO

Do I believe that he played on the emotions of right wing extremists?  YES, however, didn’t Hillary do the same?

Do I believe in "voting the party line?" NO

Do I believe that he represents change from typical Washington nonsense?  YES


I voted for CHANGE.  I voted for a non-politician that was going to shake things in a BIG way.

I believe that he says what he says in order to swing the pendulum WAY too far in one direction so that it lands in the middle.  Good leaders do this all the time.  We push our teams (i.e., our Country) to shoot past a target so that we ensure that we hit the target.

My entire life, I've been shamed and mocked for being a Republican.  I've been made fun of for my patriotism and allegiance to this country.  

Let's be clear - I believe in many things you think I do and some that may surprise you....like our right to bear arms (people kill people, not guns), capitalism, racial equality, gender equality, marriage equality, birth control, a woman's right to choose, more money for public schools and welfare.  I just think there's a time and a place for some of those programs.  

For example, my religious beliefs intersect with my "right to choose" belief and I essentially hope that all babies are born unless there are known traumatic issues.  
For example, welfare is broken.  Those who don't deserve it, have it...and those that need it, don't.  
For example, Obamacare is not working.  I mean, what else ya got?  'Cause this ain't it. 

The bottom line is this … When you call an entire MASS of people “deplorable,” when you undermine their well-being, when you tell them they are dumb/uneducated, when you tell them they are small town and have no “worldly views,”

….WHEN YOU TELL THEM THAT THEIR UNHAPPINESS IS UNFOUNDED….

…..they WILL rise up and make you pay for it.  You should know this, Hillary.  Isn’t that your story?  Isn’t that the story of women and minorities in general?  History has taught you better, hasn’t it? 

You can only call small town Americans “dumb and uneducated” for so long.  To your surprise, they were smart enough to find their way to the polls – just when you thought they wouldn’t….or maybe couldn’t.


If you don't believe me...maybe you'll believe one of your own?  He uses a lot more F bombs than I do (and that's saying a lot)...but I agree with his points.  If you want "us" to believe in "your" way of thinking - talk to "us."  Debate "us." Don't insult "us" because that's not getting any of us any where.



I believe Bernie Sanders said it best today:
“Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids - all while the very rich become much richer.
To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”
My parents are not college educated, but that doesn’t make them dumb.  They are small town America.  They are hard workers.  They are gun owners.  They are not racists.  They pay taxes, follow rules, respect authority….and they have a deep love, respect and admiration of our country. That’s how I was raised. 

When Obama won his second term, I was upset…appalled, even, that we’d let something continue that I didn’t believe was getting us anywhere.  My parents were QUICK to remind me…  You respect the position, even if you don’t respect the person.  That’s how I was raised.

And, I don’t need a woman president to tell me that I can shatter glass ceilings…I shatter them every single day without lying, cheating and name calling.  That’s how I was raised.

If you – Hillary – thought for ONE SECOND that these people that you’ve mocked for months (years?) were going to stand by and let you lie, cheat and name call your way back into the White House…. well, I’m guessing you must be feeling that sting today.

Nope.  I’m not a party line voter.  I voted for Obama in his first election.  And NOPE – I’m not a sign waving, rally attending, fanatical follower of Trump.  However,

We ARE the silent majority.  And, we have spoken.

No one is going to tolerate Trump’s flaws …. Or any level of racist/sexist/xenophobic/anti-environment policies.  Republicans nor Democrats.

Now let’s get to work on what we can impact – raise your children to be and encourage your friends to be compassionate, kind, thoughtful and considerate.  Stop teaching hate.  Start listening.  Stop generalizing.  Start tolerating that which you don’t yet understand.  Teach and encourage each other to be respectful of rules, authority, an appropriate way to voice concern and make change thru peaceful protesting.  

And, let me remind you what my parents and SO MANY of my Democratic friends told me when Obama was elected to a second term:  Respect the position, even if you don’t respect the person.

Try to view each other through the most generous lens that you can, because ultimately… 


"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." – Angelou