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Learning and trying to be kind and living my life as fully as I can stand it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Enough

Oh hello. I've missed you. I've spent much of the last year living and feeling, exploring and hiding from, talking about and thinking about what has been going on rather than writing about it. I've been journaling more, finally turning to a typed journal rather than another handwritten one because in typing my fingers cover more ground. There is so much to take in. So much to take in and so much to share.

I stood in a new-to-me bookstore yesterday, touching the pretty books, taking pictures of some I want to buy but didn't let myself because my shelves are already heavy and because much of my self-care has looked like spending money lately. I felt some anger and fear come up as I read the sleeves of memoirs. Oh no. I better hurry up. Who is going to want to read my book when there are all these other good life stories being published already?

Hello, scarcity. I welcome you so I can send you on your way. There is time. It will happen. I will make it happen.

I read so many words written by women and they are so bad-ass and wonderful it's like drinking from a life-source that will never run out. More and more and thank you and where have you been and yes. In this article about Stacy Abrams I read in a months-old issue of New York What's Next for Stacy Abrams? she talks about creating a spreadsheet in which she wrote down her goals and what it was like to admit to wanting. To be a woman and to want and to claim that wanting and how that in itself is revolutionary. To read an article about a smart, powerful, curious, multi-dimensional woman written by another brilliant, observant, powerful woman. . . yes yes yes and yes. There is no scarcity here. There is more and more pouring out and I want to drink it all in.

More soon. I want to write about my 20th college reunion and what it was like to sit with my girls and talk and love and celebrate. I want to write about taking the kids camping. I want to write about buying this house and what that's been like. I want to write about leading my first yoga circle with The Practice and getting close to finishing my certification so I can lead more. I want to write about health and body awareness. I want to write about leaving room for the mystery. About feeling love. About unlearning.There is enough. There is so much.



Friday, March 1, 2019

42

I am going to write a book. It will be the story of the last five years and for it I will take this blog and fill in the holes, draw in the landscape. I don't know how long it will take but I am going to do it. Today on my 42nd birthday I set this intention here.

Two months ago if you had asked me when I started writing this blog I would not have been able to tell you. I knew it started in my motherhood but I couldn't remember specifically when. That is how I feel about most things lately. Did that happen a year ago? A month?  Four years? I have to sit down and sift through memories, finding lamp posts of certainty--these kids were born in this year so that means this other thing happened after that year so that means. . .it's a funny reconstruction. Cleo laughed with me yesterday morning as I turned back and forth from kitchen sink to kitchen table saying out loud "You're so funny Mommy. You don't remember anything."

That's right I said, in between pouring a glass of orange juice and then a glass of ice water and then making a waffle and then pouring a different glass of orange juice.

"What am I doing?" I ask myself aloud many times a day.

I started this blog in April five years ago. I was hugely pregnant with Cleo and Daphne. Lily and Cyrus were ten months old. I'd just met and hired Stephanie, the woman who was immediately to begin saving my life. Because of her I had a little space in my day, in my mind. I had time. I was desperately afraid and nuts because of all the babies and the exhaustion and the back-to-back pregnancies and the identity changing and the self-doubt and my life-long Observer self, trying to take in all of the life that was crashing down around me and through me. At the time I didn't know how else to keep myself in the world, alive, so I poured words out onto a page in a torrent, an exorcism, a plea, to have people see me and tell me I would be okay and to get the teeth-humming madness out of my body. Writing was survival. Raw and scary and desperate and necessary.

Last year I hardly wrote here at all. I was changing and healing and noticing and for the first time in my life had the tools and the community and the wisdom and the loving arms to hold me and keep me safe as I started letting myself feel all the feelings. Feel the pain. Feel the fear. Feel the love. Be in it as it happened. Not write about it but feel it and take care of myself through the feelings. Feel it in my body, not just observe it with my mind. I got to do that for so many reasons, not the least of which is having a doctor who also is a mother of many, who had been treating me for over a decade and finally sat me down and said "You can not survive like this." She gave me the space and the freedom and the support to treat myself more gently. I got to do it because I had found a yoga community of women who were interested in and committed to showing up, listening to our sacred intuitive voices and letting our bodies guide us. And a teacher who showed us how. I got to do it because I had found a recovery community, roomfuls of people who have years of coping mechanisms that no longer serve us. Years of coping because we needed habits and skills to feel safe when we knew we weren't. Tools and books and understanding and hope and serenity because we found our way to one another and saw with gratitude and fear and trembling what healing could mean. I got to do it because when I finally started being brave enough to really show up as my whole, real self I found that I was somehow surrounded by the sweetest love I had ever felt--from all sorts of people. Somehow they knew me and loved me anyway. And I got to do it because of these four children who came into the world and broke up into pieces and who keep holding up a mirror for me even as they forge their own paths.

All of this was happening and is still happening and it has changed my relationship with writing. It has changed and is changing my relationship with my mind. With Knowing. With Figuring Things Out. It is changing my relationship with myself and even as the unwritten words call me to because I know and they know that there are other people who want to hear these stories, when I check in with myself to hear what I need and what I want my Self says "Not yet". I want to share them because I know that is what I'm here to do--take this funny, wild, difficult, unusual life and this mind that watches myself and the world like a movie and these words that make a connection between what I see and what other people are wondering about and spins them into thread that other people can sometimes grab onto. But not yet. Because the healing and the unlearning and the feeling have had to be first.

When I was in high school, maybe even as young as middle school, I remember adults or magazines giving me the absolutely useless and infuriating advice to "Just be yourself" And I felt rage and hopelessness as I inwardly screamed "What the fuck does that mean??? I need more help than that!"

When I was a young adult I remember hearing other older adults telling me "Your 40's are great! You finally really know who you are!" and thinking "Ugh! I will be so old in my 40's. I hope I figure things out way before then when I'm still young enough to enjoy it."

Imagine my surprise to be learning that my Self has been here all along. That She is here and has been here and will be here no matter how many birthdays I have. Happy Birth Day to me.

Monday, February 25, 2019

A snippet

It's been challenging for me to write lately, for lots of reasons. Here is an unfinished piece, a snippet, written almost two months ago.


This morning I woke up alone except for the dog and the cats. It was really cold in the house. I lay in bed quietly, trying to remember what day it was and what was happening.

January 2, 2019. First day back to work in an office after a fifteen month break. Wednesday. Kids coming back from their dad's. Almost the end of winter break so still no school.

I went into the kitchen, opening the cabinets to find the coffee grinder. It wasn't there. Did he take it when he moved out? I hadn't noticed. It's been a while since I've bought whole bean and he moved out in October. I debated driving to Peets to get a pound of coffee, or at least a cup, but I knew the kids would be getting dropped off soon and I didn't want to rush. Tea, then. Hot, milky, sugary tea like my English friend Jemima made for me in Madrid twenty years ago. I held the mug in my hands and sat at the kitchen table. I opened up my laptop and tried logging into Outlook--password remembered, 5400+ emails.

My dad arrived, arms full of gallons of milk in what has become his Wednesday morning ritual, steady even as routines change around him. I let him in and we sat quietly together. I made him tea just like mine.

The kids arrived, full of smiles, Cleo dressed for summer because she never gets cold. My ex-husband and I greeted each other in the kitchen, rolled eyes together at the confusion of going back to work on a Wednesday--him after being off for a week, me after being off more than a year. I told him how many emails were in my inbox and I thought of the other times I've gone back to this workplace in the time he and I have known each other. Once after my two week trip to El Salvador. Another time after our month long wedding and honeymoon break. I was in management then so there were a lot more emails. Once after my first six month long maternity leave. Once after being laid off and then a year of working elsewhere. Once after a three month long medical leave of absence. This time after the longest leave, the longest break from paid work I've ever had since being a working person.

He left, the kids settled in with their part-time toys in their part-time house. I got in the shower. The water was hot. I thought ahead to my haircut next week as I rubbed too much shampoo into my too long but still very short hair. Six months ago I shaved my head. Six weeks after that I shaved it again, marveling at how brave and how vulnerable I felt out in the world--forty one, almost divorced, no hair. Who was I? Could I still be pretty? Would anyone ever want me again? What if for the first time in my life this is the start of not defining myself by whether anyone else wants me or not. People asked me if I was scared when I had it buzzed off and I said no, shaving my head was the least scary thing going on at the time. We were going through mediation, talking money and custody and endings. I was trying to even imagine living half my life without these kids near by. Shaving my head brought my insides more in line with my outsides. It felt raw, wild, wounded, bare. Powerful, defiant, bold, free.

This morning running fingers through sudsy, inch-long, shaggy hair growth helped bring me into the moment. A physical marker of time passed. Of easy, awkward, change.



















Friday, February 22, 2019

Happy 40th Birthday Martha

I don't remember not knowing my sister Martha because she was born a week before I turned two. If you look back at photos of our early years you see two very similar-looking girls with bowl haircuts wearing some funky outfits in 70's colors that would have matched better had we swapped pants or shirts. Knowing what we now know about my sister's fashion sense I'm amazed she let either of us out of the house back then without doing some re-arranging. I have questions about this.

My sister is brilliant. Her mind works so fast that she often skips multiple words in the middle of her sentences as she strings her thoughts together, gesticulating her elegant hands in the air and looking at you with bright eyes and raised eyebrows, waiting for confirmation that you were flying alongside of her.

In nursery school we played a game where the girls would take turns lying on a mattress pretending to be sleeping princesses and the boys would take turns trying to wake us up. Writing this now this game seems very strange and weirdly gendered in a gross way but I think at the time it was fun. One day I was winning the game by not showing signs of being awakened so a boy got frustrated and bit my calf. That woke me up. My sister responded by punching him in the nose. She was three.

My sister was an artist from the beginning, not just with her clothes but with any medium she could get her hands on. My dad still has a framed piece of art she drew in nursery school hanging on his wall. She took an art class with high school students at a museum when she was in elementary school. I was jealous but also filled with admiration for what she could do.

My sister has always been surrounded by friends and they have always seemed to be doing fun things and holding each other up and loving each other. This was true in elementary school, again in middle school with some slight variations, again in high school with a totally new group and then again in college even though she thought she could never and would never possibly meet friends as close as those she already had. I've watched these girls and women laugh and love and celebrate my sister and each other over and over again as I've watched her grow up. My sister is a bright light and the kind of friend that people find and hold on to with both hands and full hearts because if you are lucky enough to be loved by this woman you know you would be a fool to let her go.

My sister walks tall, fierce, bold with long hair streaming down her back or tied up in a bun. Her strides are long, her eyes are sharp, her mind is matchless. I can guarantee that many people who have crossed her path have been intimidated for one reason or another, unable to imagine the soft, tender heart and the artist's soul housed within.

My sister graduated with honors from an Ivy-league university and wrote a thesis on beauty pageants for her degree in cultural anthropology, rocking baggy sweats and headphones as she researched and wrote page after page and then went to party like a college student to bring all the pieces of herself back together.

My sister threw herself in the air and onto the ground thousands of times over the her decades' long soccer career as a goalie.

My sister worked in a flower shop after she graduated when there weren't many jobs to be had (it was 2001). Then she worked in PR which stands for public relations which is the business of getting products in the news which is an art I knew nothing about until she started doing it and teaching me. She is known and sought after and beloved in her field. She has elevated companies into international awareness because of how she thinks and what she says and how she understands people.

My sister ran the adult kickball league in San Francisco as a young adult without a car and somehow managed to get equipment and people to where they needed to be, including herself to Las Vegas for kickball championships which I bet you didn't know were even a thing.

My sister and I have lived together as roommates and upstairs/downstairs from each other as neighbors as adults in two different apartments in San Francisco. We loved it and were always perplexed and sorry for the many people who responded with shock saying "I could NEVER live with my sister."

My sister and I got engaged within months of one another and carried our babies at the same time, both times. Together we birthed six children in 2013 and 2014.

My sister is the fiercest protector I have ever had and could ever hope to have. When I was in the hospital waiting for my liver transplant she, among other things, crawled under a sterile paper blanket to hold it up off of my face while doctors inserted a central line into my neck because I was scared and claustrophobic and the doctors wouldn't listen to me so she took matters into her own hands. She also walked in the room after flying home across the country during finals her senior year, took one look at me and said "Can't you at least wash her hair?" leading to the most glorious hot water/hair washing experience of my life, still unmatched as of this writing.

My sister has given me 80% of the clothes and shoes I wear and anytime I get complimented on anything I'm wearing I almost always respond with "Thanks, my sister gave it to me." People then invariably say "You're so lucky! I wish she were my sister." to which I respond "You have no idea."

My sister is the most loving aunt I have ever met. My son told me once how much he loves her and how well they get along and said it was because "we're like two eggs in a pan." She shines love and delight upon my children unabashedly and unreservedly and they bask in it. Wait until she sees the bag of funny, random goodies my daughters put together for her birthday.

My sister is a loving, fun, natural mama and anytime I hear a random video of her interacting with her young sons I marvel at the sweetness of her voice.

My sister, in addition to starting her own PR company, raising two young children and two older children alongside her husband, co-oping at her boys' nursery school, creating and running one of the most successful and joyous fundraisers in the school's history, showing her friends and her family how much she loves us and thinks of us, sponsoring scholarships and speakers at women's financial conferences, and doing other daily, regular life stuff also helps run the San Francisco Women's March as a volunteer. She is badass and big-hearted and I don't know how she does it.

She is generous. She is kind. She is funny. She is quirky. She gifts me with her love over and over again even when I have nothing to give in return. She is the reason I am so grateful to have given my own children so many sisters.

Happy birthday Fanny. I don't have the words to do you justice.

Monday, October 22, 2018

A weekend

It's Monday morning and I'm alone in the house, cleaning. I'm on a bit of a roll, making some progress that might outlast the arrival of the kids in a few hours. It usually feels futile.

Last Thursday I got sick. Not "go to the hospital" sick although it can be hard to know that. It felt like croup, my chest full, cough deep. Do grown-ups get croup? When I felt the sickness creep into the corners I felt the alarm bells in my head. Get a sitter, they said. Don't try to take care of these kiddos when you feel like crap, they said. I dug deep and pushed forward because I am a slow learner.

By bedtime I was long past done. We'd had a mellow, TV-filled afternoon and everyone was pretty mellow. TV coma mellow. I thought bedtime would be easy and it wasn't and I lost it. I screamed at those sweet loves and scared them and felt like a shithead. I burst into tears, which scares some of them more than the yelling does. "Please stay in bed. I'm so tired. I don't feel good. Give me a break."

They kept creeping out to me, cowed but wanting to say one more thing, wanting to get one more doll. I never want anyone's posture to change because of my behavior. I don't want to scare, to intimidate, to try to control. But I felt the wave of exhaustion and rage building and pouring out of me before I could stop it. By that point it's too late anyway. I recognized the point I needed help long before that and I ignored it and then the yelling.

I went back to their room and sat with my back against the wall, mug of hot tea in my hand, rivers of hot tears pouring down my cheeks silently. They quietly fell asleep and I mourned the pain that I as the flawed, needy, sick person that I was and am can cause.

Friday morning I called my friend and asked if she could take the Bigs to school. Yes, she said. I called the babysitter and asked if she could take the kids after school. Yes, she said. I dozed on the couch with the Littles watching TV, waiting for their dad to pick them up and taken them to the pumpkin patch for the field trip they'd been eagerly awaiting for weeks. He came and they flew out of the room, jazzed. The front door closed, leaving me alone in the house, and I wept. All I'd wanted was to be alone to rest and when the solitude arrived so did the despair.

"I'm going to be alone forever. I'm going to be taking care of four kids by myself forever. I can't do this. This isn't what I wanted."

I knew I was in the dark place. I knew it was the sickness doing what it does, bringing me to my knees. I knew it wasn't the only truth but it felt like the one and only truest truth.

As Anne Lamott says I eventually picked up the heavy phone and started reaching out for help. Help me, I'm scared. Help me, I'm lonely. Help me, the shame is overtaking me. I yelled at my kids. I scared them. They'll be gone all weekend and I didn't send them off with love. Help me. I need help.

Help arrived, in reassuring words. An offer of physical help from my mom who would come the next morning. Understanding. Solidarity. Sympathy. Support. Help came and I could eventually fall asleep and start the process of getting better.

Friday night was the second night ever that I slept alone in the house. The silence of being alone is so different than the silence of being alone with my four beloved sleeping children a few rooms away. I left the microwave light on, even though it was just me, to shine as a bridge between this new life and my real life. My life as a mom when I'm so busy and so distracted that I don't have to face myself. I read and slept and fed myself and it was a mix of peaceful and lonely.

Saturday morning my mom came and held me. She walked the dog and cleaned the kitchen and offered to buy me the special, expensive food I need to help me get back on the eating plan I've fallen off of these last few weeks when I needed the most to be taking care of myself but when I put taking care of myself on the most distant burner available because it felt too hard. Her offer made me burst into tears, out of gratitude. And out of the shame that comes from needing so much help for so long. It was sweet to work side by side and get the house on the road to not being a total disaster. We didn't talk much and that was nice too.

She left and I spent the rest of the day alternating between sitting quietly and reading, resting and then working on a task. Everywhere I turn inside and outside this house there is a pile that begs to be dealt with. It exhausts me to see them and it exhausts me to deal with them. The mix of rest and work soothed me and by the evening I felt agitated, knowing I still needed rest and knowing I needed a change of scenery. I put on a cute outfit and a little make-up, drove the San Francisco with the intent of checking out LitCrawl. Instead I got a parking spot directly in front of my friend's house and stayed in all night, ordering my favorite Chinese food for delivery and watching a movie on the couch.

Sunday morning I woke up early and slipped out of the house with my dog. We walked the quiet, cool streets of the city to Blue Bottle on Linden Street. My city soothed me, as she always does. I love the feeling of being alone surrounded by people. I love all the human interactions I have, each and every time I'm in San Francisco. They are brief but there is something about them that makes me so happy. "Good morning. Cute dog." Smiles. Acknowledgement. Community. Camaraderie. Contentment. I took deep breaths, breathing in the feeling of being me, a me I recognize and love. I talked to a beloved college friend and that filled me up. I looked and listened, appreciating the colors and the familiarity of these streets. The memories they hold.

I took a different route back to my friend's house and ended up walking past murals painted on plywood barriers across the street from Alamo Square park, down the block from the Painted Ladies. I admired the art and felt grateful for the impulse and need to create art. A block later I slowed down, across the street from the huge, rambling Victorian I lived in back in 2003--the year I turned twenty-five. The year I started working in organ donation. Four adults sat on the front steps, drinking and hanging out in their pajamas. It was clear they were still going from the night before, not starting a new day. I hesitated, staring at them and they started staring back. Feeling shy but feeling like me I crossed the street. They stopped talking, curious.

"I used to live here," I said.

The smiles came. "No way. What room?" Testing me, maybe.

"The big one by the kitchen," I said. Now the smiles got bigger.

We talked about the great parties in that house, one of which was still going. "Come in!" they said.

So many smiles, so many memories, so many little stories of their lives there and mine. I moved out a only a couple years before one of them moved in--we wondered how many degrees of separation it would take us to link our tenancies. Real conversation with strangers. One of my favorite things.

I turned to leave, walking down the hardwood hallway pointing to the doors. This was my office, where I allocated organs for transplant alone at my computer in the middle of the night. I touched the bathroom door and smiled. And in here I had one of the best kisses of my life.

Life. Change. Memories. Possibility. The dark places. The hopeful places. The sweet, sweet beauty and grace that comes so often hand in hand with seemingly unbearable exhaustion and pain. What a strange, amazing design it is to be human.



Thursday, October 11, 2018

Depression

In honor of Mental Health Day, which was yesterday, I add some words. This was written a few months ago and does describe my current mental state.

Coming out of a depression is like taking deep sips of the clearest air. Like drinking the purest, coldest water--the icy water out of Arthur's red Igloo cooler at soccer practice. Ideas and insights pour into my mind unchecked. I can't get to the page fast enough. Some of it is relief at no longer being in the pit. In the darkness. And some of it is the other face of the beastly angel that is my mind, the joyful extreme. I earn it because I pay the heavy pile of stolen coins, the anguish of being deep inside a painful brain that lies to me and won't let me out until its time.

My depression came on two weeks ago, most likely because I got sick. Those two things almost always go together. I got sick and that made me scared--scared about being sick when I'm alone with the kids. Scared because when I get sick my body shuts me down and I can barely get out of the chair. Scared because I turn a lot of resources inward, trying to recognize whether I'm sick enough to need to go get checked out or whether the muscle memory of being sick fires the panic buttons inside me and I'm really just regular sick.

Depression for me is wearing poop-colored glasses. I hate where I live. I can't think of anyone I actually want to be with, even as I remind myself of all the people who love me and accept me who would happily take my call. I can only see the things I don't like about myself, even as I'm trying to soothe myself saying "These are the mean voices. This is not the truth. This is the darkness and it won't last forever."

I got a little bit better physically and my mood lifted a bit too, which made it harder to be plunged back down the next day. Oh. Still here? Fuck.

I balance my physiological health with my mental health. The isolation is bad. The loneliness is crushing. But I don't want to go out. I don't want to talk. I don't want to spend the energy it will take to be around people.

I have never been suicidal and I don't think I ever will be, mostly because this life was given to me by a young woman when she died 18 years ago. It's my gift. It's my responsibility. It's my honor to be here. And there are times when I sit in my own head and beg "Do I have to keep being this person? Does it have to be this hard? Isn't there something I can do to make it better?" It's why I avoid meditation, afraid that in the quiet I will tip into the abyss and not come out again.

People tell me I'm too hard on myself and I now understand that to be true, even when I'm not depressed. I am healing that part of myself, slowly and steadily. And because of my yoga practice, my spiritual practice, my sacred movement and sacred sisterhood at The Practice I remember to find my breath. To tell myself, I have this breath. And this next one. Can I stay here, in the pain and the darkness, knowing it will not be forever? Yes.




Friday, September 28, 2018

Me too

As a freshman in college I played on the Varsity soccer team. Played is overstating the case but I was on the team. One night I went to an off campus party with a bunch of my teammates. I got wasted even though we had practice very early the next morning. Several hours later I woke up in a bed with a guy having sex with me. I'm pretty sure we had been making out at some point in the evening. I know it was his house because I took a pair of his shoes so I could run the mile to campus in time for 6 am practice. As I ran around the turf I could smell the alcohol coming out of my skin. After, we all went to breakfast and then went to work concessions for the football team. I ladled bowl after bowl of clam chowder for grown up alumni, holding back my vomit. The smell, the texture, the whole experience. It was years before I could eat it again.

I don't know that guy's name. I don't remember what he looks like although I think he had brown hair. I don't know who came with me to that party. I do know the PM Dawn song "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" was playing because to this day I can't listen to it. If it comes on the radio I have to change it because because my body vibrates with NO.

I was drunk. I'm sure I was letting him know I was interested at some point. I imagine I must have laid down in his bed. I don't think I blamed him or even really thought he'd done anything wrong. No one ever told me that it wasn't ok for someone to put himself inside of me when I was unconscious and it didn't seem obvious. I got myself into that situation.

My body knew it wasn't OK though because it kept saying NO to that song. It still does. I feel panicky when I hear the intro.

Many many many years passed before I thought maybe that was date rape? Or something? The conversations around me started changing. People started talking about consent. Oh. My intellectual understanding of what happened started catching up with the physiological trauma that my body had been carrying. Oh.

I don't know if that guy thought it was OK. Did he hesitate? Did he ask himself if it was OK? Was I somewhat responsive? I don't know.

It's embarrassing to admit to getting so drunk that I would let that happen.

Sex is pretty confusing. At least it is to me. Some of that has to do with the fact that I started having sex when I was in high school and none of us knew what we were doing. Although I thought the guys did know what they were doing and that they would somehow teach me. A lot of the confusion has to do with the fact that not many adults then, or now, know how to talk about sex and love making and feeling good and navigating the emotions and the awkwardness and the power of it. Certainly not with kids although now that I'm grown I see that we don't really know how to talk about it with each other either. I was in my 30's when a therapist said "You know men have a lot of anxiety and self-consciousness when it comes to sex too" and my mind was blown. Oh.

When a grown woman is willing to sit in front of a country of people and tell us about needing a second front door to feel safe because of something that happened to her when she was fourteen, that is real. And when many or most or all of us know that in the end the people who decide probably won't give a shit, that is real too.

I can easily imagine scenarios in which a high school boy pushes a girl down and gets on top of her, holds her down, laughing, and then walks away thinking nothing happened. No one got naked. No one had sex. What's the big deal? Add some alcohol to the experience and the whole thing could easily be forgotten by him. Because it wasn't out of the norm. And because we can still have a national conversation around the fact that a woman is saying "You did this to me. You hurt me and you scared me and I can't forget it because my body will hold onto it forever" and the responses are "No I didn't" or "He was only 17" or "All his colleagues like him."

We all make mistakes, at seventeen and forever after. Things that seem obvious now, like "Having sex with an unconscious person is not OK" didn't seem obvious to me then.

The devaluing of women is so pervasive, so insidious, so normal and deep, that I'm still waking up to it myself. Most of my embarrassment about writing this is that I'm still not outraged and hurt enough on my own behalf. That I still give that dude the benefit of the doubt. That I still think he probably wasn't and isn't a bad guy. That he didn't know better. That's still my default.

Imagine a world where there is room for curiosity. Where Brett Cavanaugh, the professional, successful, advocate of women that he tells us he is, could say "I'm so sorry. I don't remember doing that but I believe you when you say that I did. I never meant to hurt you and I will keep working and learning to try to atone for the fact that my actions have affected and will continue to affect you forever. Please forgive me." That is someone I'd be willing to have as a judge--a human who is fallible but willing to be better.

Instead he is a man who complains that he won't be able to coach kids again, even though he loves it so much. He is a man who complains about how long the past ten days have been. We're talking about a lifetime appointment and the ability to make laws that affect all of us forever, sir. Can we have someone better than you?