I know I must say it every month, but I can’t believe it’s the last week of June. Wasn’t I just sitting down to write May’s One Little Word post? It certainly feels like it, but nope – June has already flown right by us. Thank you to Carolyn for hosting these monthly linkups, because they’re apparently how I keep my bearings straight as the year slips away.
I had this post nearly finished last week and decided to scrap it over the weekend. I nearly finished it again on Sunday morning but decided to delete it all this morning. There’s nothing that feels right at this particular point in time. I feel like I could cut/paste from last month’s Surrender post and just insert last week’s heartbreaking news. I’m still in the “crying for days” stage of grief.
Like the tragedy in Uvalde, I don’t want to surrender to Friday’s court ruling. And we shouldn’t. Instead — I’m surrendering to my feelings, allowing them to unfold in a way that feels natural, and then looking for a plan of action that feels right to me.
Yesterday was a good example. My brain was in an endless loop of how I’ve failed this country and every woman in it by not being a better activist and advocate (maybe yours was, too?). We decided to take a ride on the Kancamagus Highway in the mountains — it was hot and no one was very happy playing outside or being stuck in our un-air conditioned house. We stopped at a few pullovers along the way so that Matthew or I could take our phones out to do some birding with our Merlin apps. One stop was by a very low and gurgly river and I followed a little path to get away from the road noise. That path took me here:
A perfect, quiet little spot for us to throw rocks in the river and do a little splashing. We weren’t dressed for water play and had no changes of clothes or towels packed (lesson learned again). But I went back to the van and said, I think everyone needs to get out. So everyone tumbled out, after a little coaxing for Colton, and made our way down a very lightly trodden path (which required a LOT of coaxing for Colton). We ended up staying over an hour and it was exactly what we all needed.
It was an afternoon of pure delight tucked into a weekend of sorrow and disgust. Sorrow over the state of things and disgust in myself for taking the work of my foremothers for granted.
Friends, it’s time to surrender any guilt we may feel for “allowing” this to happen. It’s time to look to the future and to fight like hell. And we can’t forget to take the unexpected opportunities for joy as they show themselves to us – they will sustain us.
Where are you donating right now? Planned Parenthood and NARAL are my obvious choices and I’m interested in finding smaller organizations who are doing good work. Please share your favorites in the comments.
I hope to be back on Wednesday with a few bookish updates. Until then – please take good care and be kind to yourself.
I loved your post, Katie. I tend to be someone who wants to quietly be supportive but not enter the fray. However, it feels like a time when entering the fray is necessary. I was just interacting with a friend who has never been actively involved in politics, but is stepping in now. That gives me hope, because I suspect this is happening everywhere. In whatever way people are comfortable…or can stretch a little…it all helps. As for organizations, Equality Health Center in Concord is a local place that deserves and needs our support. Here’s the link to their website: https://equalityhc.org/ Thank you for your words, always!
Thank you! I will be donating to the Equality Health Center. I’m also someone who doesn’t want to enter the fray – I hate debating and don’t feel like I should have to justify what would be a nuanced and intensely personal decision. It’s crazy-making! And I agree – more and more people feel like a line has been crossed and it gives me a little hope.
Katie, my heart hurts and I am also angered by last Friday’s news even as a Canadian. It is so hard to see things sliding backwards. My eldest grandson is growing up in Texas, I believe that my daughter (his mother) does not agree with the politics of the day and hopefully will be able to instil what she believes to be right in her son.
I love that you and your husband decided to go for that drive and then find the beauty and stillness of nature what a wonderful family time.
Thank you, Wendy. I love that your PM announced that people would be able to enter Canada for adequate healthcare if necessary. Thank you for being so welcoming!! 🙂 I grew up in Texas and know how difficult it is there for progressives. I’m glad to hear your family is doing their best!
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I am feeling all the same things, my friend. It’s been a very hard few days. But I think we need to release ourselves from feeling any guilt — we are all doing the best we can. We could do more, but even if we were spending hours and hours in the fight every day, there would always be more we could do. One very useful suggestion I’ve been seeing on social media is to give to local providers (not necessarily local to you, especially if your state is not one where rights have been taken away, but local rather than national). The big national organizations have a lot of name recognition and support, but smaller centers and clinics where abortion is still an option are likely to see an influx of patients from places where it is not. Here, for instance, I’m expecting we’re going to get a lot of women coming from West Virginia and Ohio, so I’m going to be donating to local clinics.
On a lighter note, it was so wonderful to see you and talk to you on the Zoom on Saturday! It sometimes feels very weird to consider someone a friend if you’ve only every talked to them in writing, but talking to you in real time confirmed to me that we would get along great in person, too!
All of this! (especially surrender the guilt… yes!!!) That stream… what a lovely find! 🙂
Be gentle with yourself.
Thank you, Kat! I hope we can all find ways to be gentle with ourselves in the coming months/years… it’s going to be quite a road!
You found the perfect spot by water. Just remember that this too will pass. You live in a democracy, you get the chance to change things just by voting.
Thank you, Cathy. It ended up being a lovely afternoon! And thank you for the reminder about living in a democracy… I just wish it felt like the voting made a difference!!
What a lovely spot! I’m so glad you found it and had a good time. I need to get to the mountains soon! I’ve been feeling all sorts of emotions similar to you this weekend… and you’re right, it’s time for me to step out of my comfort zone further and do more. I found a local group to make a monthly donation to but I feel like I need to do more. It’s a rather terrifying time right now. Take good care, Katie!
It is SO terrifying, Laila. And it makes me so nervous to step out of my own comfort zone… I’m not sure what makes sense for me, but I hope to find something soon.
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So glad ou found that spot by the stream Katie. Nature can be so nourishing to us all and is sorely needed at times. Wishing you and everyone a calm and peaceful week.
What a lovely way to share your word Katie, thank you! Not only the much-needed hour by that stream, but also the message to surrender our guilt – truly, we need more of the former, and none of the guilt.
Stacey Abrams sent an email Friday afternoon that suggested Planned Parenthood and four other local (or local-ish) organizations.
Planned Parenthood Southeast is the Planned Parenthood affiliate representing Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
Feminist Women’s Health Center works to advance reproductive health, rights and justice through community education, grassroots organizing, public affairs and advocacy programs in Georgia.
SisterSong is a Southern based, national membership organization whose purpose is to build an effective network of individuals and organizations to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities.
Access Reproductive Care (ARC) Southeast provides funding and logistical support to ensure Southerners receive safe and compassionate reproductive care including abortion services.
NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia is the grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in Georgia fighting for reproductive freedom for all.
I’ve saved her email because it allowed us to click one link and spread our donation to all five.
I’m glad it resonated a bit, Mary. This month’s check-in felt especially hard to write! And thank you for all of these resources — I’m looking for places to donate in the hardest hit states and Georgia is definitely on the list. And Sister Song looks particularly interesting!
This post just nailed so much, Katie. I’m delighted for you all that you found such a gorgeous place as respite from the world…just to be connected to nature, yourselves, and to one another. I really love it when that happens.
(And I’m with you. Getting so tired of the posts that feel impossible to write because the state of our world is so devastating we can hardly find the light.)
Thank you, Carolyn! It made the weekend so much more bearable, for sure. And let’s hope for a little more positive news in July??