IWD 2020: “I Don’t Care”

Be a “lady” or don’t.

Curse if you want to. Spit if you need to.

Wear lipstick and heels, or wear flannels and Blundstones, I don’t care.

Be courageous.

Be a slut, or keep your body to yourself; it’s yours to do with what you want.

Be emotional, even when society is telling you not to.

Fight the patriarchy.

Dislike your extra flab, but love your body, as she is your temple and she got you here.

Don’t explain or feel you need to justify yourself.

Drive a truck, or a sexy convertible, I don’t care.

Have one lover, multiple lovers, or no lovers at all.

Go for the CEO position, and don’t care who you piss off.

Be a mother, raise your children, and raise them in power.

Be a woman of the universe, and connect with her divinity, as she has some secrets for you.

Be M2F, trans, cross-dressing, stuff your crotch, bind your breasts, take hormones, I don’t care.

Be the woman who builds bridges not creates moats between you and other women.

Be an ally.

Be a bitch.

Be a whore.

I don’t care.

Be shameless and unapologetic.

Speak up when you need to and silence your silencers.

Make connections with women who are different than you.

Let your freak flag fly.

Don’t hate men, just teach them the perspectives they don’t understand.

Be a woman, be a lady, be crass, be crude, be fancy, be a slob, be pretty, be sexy, be free, be be be…. Just Be.

Happy International Women’s Day.






My Lego Babies

When I was about 3, I had imaginary friends. Except unlike other children who had imaginary friends as companions, my imaginary friends lived in my tummy.
I’d always talk about my babies in my tummy. They were named “Crowdy” and “Chairclean”.
Some of my earliest memories of life were of family discussions around Crowdy and Chairclean. In my imagination, they looked like Lego people and lived beside my belly button.
I don’t ever recall an issue with swallowing Lego people which could be a logical explanation for their existence, but just that Crowdy (the first baby) and Chairclean (the second one) were fully manifestations of a 3-year old imagination.
My sisters used to ask me what my babies names were, and I’d respond “Cwowdy” and “Chaiwcwean” in my little baby voice. “Where are they?”, they’d ask, “In my tummy,” I’d say matter-0f-factly.
One day I must have just forgotten about the Lego babies that lived in my tummy. It’s been almost 35 years since I was mother to Crowdy and Chairclean.
My sister who works in hospitality said that whenever she is cleaning chairs in her job, she always thinks about “Chairclean” and will laugh out loud.
While I don’t think I’ll have any real babies in my “tummy” in this life, I will forever get a chuckle about the one time I thought I was bearing Lego babies when I was 3 years old.

The Day I Saw a Sea Monster

1995, Lake Champlain, Vermont
Imagine three pre-teen girls in a boat, enjoying the freedom of getting away from their families at their “boring” Vermont cottages, to be able to sit in a boat in the middle of Lake Champlain.
They were the grand-daughters of my grandmother’s cottage neighbors. After a few weeks of boredom and black and white TV, I was so relieved to have someone my age to hang out with.
I’d heard about Champ my whole life having a family cottage in Vermont.
In the previous summers, my Dad would take me out on our rowboat into the middle of the mirky, and seaweedy Lake Champlain that the cottage that had been in my family for decades had been on, and he’d tell me stories.
He’d tell me about “Cloak Island” which was an island off in the distance from our cottage, where a man had gone to look for his lost love, but disappeared, only to have his cloak left behind, giving the small island its namesake.
Then there were the stories about Champ.
I’d squirm with discomfort and fascination as he told me about the Lake Champlain Sea Monster. Apparently, Samuel de Champlain had first recorded seeing the “20-foot serpent with the horse shaped head and a body the size of a keg” upon “discovering” the lake that would later bear his name.
I’d try to forget about Champ whenever we’d go into the paddle boat, but of course, he was always top of mind.
That hot summer’s day with those two fellow- 12 year olds, we were ambitious and decided to paddle the boat as far away from the cottages as possible with our new found independence.
In the middle of the lake, we talked about what girls of that age talked about. Shaving our legs, boys, and all those awkward things in that super awkward stage of life between 12 and 13. I can remember that whole summer being just strange and transitional, like the ones you’d read about in a Wally Lamb book or see in a movie like “Now and Then”.
All of the sudden, I saw something approaching underneath us.
“No,” I whispered under my breath, “It can’t be.”
“What?” the girls innocently asked, seeing my face go white and my eyes grow wide.
The girls looked down wide-eyed and saw what I was seeing, as a large, white-ish-grey-ish-green-ish mass of sea creature swooshed under our boat. It never came up close to the surface, but the size, the color, told me all I needed to know.
“CHAAAAAAAMMMMMPPPPPP!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “The sea monster!”
The girls and I stood up and for some reason began stamping our feet on the bottom of the boat. The three of us screamed, the shrillest kind of pre-teen girl scream you could ever hear coming from a paddle boat from the otherwise tranquil Lake Champlain.
Our parents who had congregated at the shore for relaxing cottage time said all they could hear was screams as we paddled back to our cottage docks so fast we basically hydro-planed our way there.
“We saw CHAMP!” we all screamed to our parents when we arrived, tired, scared, and kind of excited too.
I don’t know what they were trying to do, whether they just wanted to calm us down, or just thought we were being silly kids, but they tried to convince us that all we had seen were snapping turtles.
I am a bit of a realist in my adult age, but no matter what new evidence comes out, or no matter how my memory fades, for life I’ll consider that day in 1995 as the day I saw a bona fide sea monster.
(Photo is from the 1970s of a photo of Champ himself.)