Dear Mr. Cross,
Friday, June 4, 2021
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
June 2, 2021
I wrote this blog post last year around this time. I have worked to recognize my own unconscious bias but I still have much to do. It isn’t enough to work silently. At a minimum, one needs to be an ally — better yet a partner in change.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Hi…my name is Maryann… I mean Karen. I mean apparently, my name is Karen… I mean…
God. This is hard. I think I might be a Karen – maybe? I guess that’s what I’m here to find out. And I’d like to apologize to my friends who are named Karen (or Keren, Caren, or Karin). I don’t know who decided that Karen is the bad one but know that you are wonderful.
First of all, I’m not one of those “hey you kids get off my lawn!” types. And I don’t compose Nextdoor posts about people of color driving through my neighborhood looking suspicious because they are people of color. And I don’t write snarky responses to the people who DO post these things, starting a neighborhood war over the likelihood that the person driving down your street is your neighbor’s grandnephew coming for brunch. Frankly, the worst people driving through my neighborhood are my own neighbors DRIVING OVER THE SPEED LIMIT!
Oh, wait. See? There she goes. My inner Karen just showed her ugly, grey roots. (She seriously needs to get a box of color – and soon!). Breathe, Maryann.
Okay, I’m better now.
I will admit that I am likely to give someone not wearing a mask at the Kroger the stink-eye, but that’s not so bad, is it? All I’m asking is that my fellow shoppers GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE PEOPLE AROUND THEM FOR ONCE IN THEIR LIVES!
Crap. There she is again. It seems as though she’s been breaking through more easily in the past few months. I’ll ignore the fact that the timing lines up perfectly with me cutting my meds in half, blame it on the pandemic, and do some more deep belly breathing.
I did notice the other day that the neighbor down the street – you know the one with the mid-century modern house - they need to mow their lawn, don’t you think? Thank God we don’t have any houses for sale on the street right now! I’d hate for a prospective buyer to see that. And I know that my lawn is a little bit overgrown, but I’ve been really, really busy and just haven’t gotten to it.
Oh. Yeah. I see it now. That’s kind of a pot and kettle situation, isn’t it? Shut up, Karen, and mow your own lawn.
Oh fine. I see on everyone’s faces that you think I need to mind my own business, avoid being a b-word on social media, and maybe up my meds again. I promise I will try. I will try really, really hard. And I’ll attempt to not fly off the handle the next time my neighbor complains about how many trees someone has taken down in their yard and whether or not they got approval from the county tree department. I mean, seriously. IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!
Oh well. I guess I’ll see you again tomorrow.
Thursday, March 4, 2021
Friday, August 28, 2020
I lost an old friend today. No, she didn’t die. But she’s definitely gone and I’m really sad about it. We had been friends for about 30 years.
I lost her in that quintessential 2020’s way—she unfriended me on Facebook.
I’ll take some of the blame— I posted something last night after watching the only three minutes of Trump’s speech that I could stomach and knew that would be the end of our friendship. Full disclosure: I used the word “vermin.” And I added an #unfriendmeifyouwant hashtag. And she took me up on it.
I have strong political beliefs that have gotten stronger during the past four years. I make no secret of my dislike of the current administration. My grown children and my husband also have strong political beliefs (fortunately for our family we are on the same side of the spectrum). My daughters might choose different words than I would, but I unequivocally support their sentiments and am incredibly proud of the outspoken, caring women they have become.
My friend made a dismissive, nasty remark about “culling the herd” and “we’ll just look at each other’s pretty pictures on Instagram.” I knew she was talking about my daughter (her Goddaughter, who happens to be an excellent professional photographer), and I confirmed that she had indeed unfriended Hannah. And sure—go ahead and unfriend someone if you can’t stand their posts or politics. That’s your right. I’ve done it. Rarely, but I’ve done it.
But why be so blatantly mean when she had to have known I would see the post? I guess thirty years of close friendship doesn’t mean much. Or maybe it wasn’t that close after all. Maybe the last four years created a bigger divide than I thought.
But why? Just because we disagree? I didn’t attack her. I didn’t attack her politics. I’ve never attacked her or her politics. We’ve had many opportunities to disagree about the current administration and we’ve always been respectful of each other’s opinions—or I thought we had.
In the end, her being crappy to/about my kid in a forum she knew I’d see told me pretty much all I need to know about how much she cares about me or our past.
But it’s a past that was important to me. Shared inside jokes. Long, important conversations. Crying together at the end of movies. Supporting one another through difficult times. Laughing until we cried. I wish that had mattered to her.
I goaded her; I know. But the problem is so much deeper than snarky hashtags. And it’s a problem that so many of us are dealing with right now. We have no capacity to have discourse on things about which we disagree. I’m as guilty as the next person as far as that is concerned. I know what I believe but am mostly incapable of explaining why I believe it. And as much as I can’t understand how people can believe a thing, they can’t understand how I don’t believe that same thing. And around and around we go.
I know some of my tens of readers (lol) are going through the same thing. I have no solution, of course. I just needed to write it out because that’s how I process.
I do know that it’s a hard world out there right now.
Be nice. Be patient. Maybe don’t use the word “vermin” to describe the political side you disagree with.
And post lots and lots of pictures of puppies and kittens. Those are generally pretty safe.