Read this post for a quick From The Core update...Read More
When I see flashing lights through my rearview mirror, I panic. My heart beats faster and I feel scared. I know I’ve done nothing wrong, all my documentation is in order, but nonetheless, I feel frightened. Most often, the cop car passes, in pursuit of someone else...Read More
Unexpectedly, under a canopy of snow covered trees, a bride and groom, and their photographer, appeared. Being a romantic, I was enchanted. What magic! The scene was entirely perfect—so much hope, love, joy...Read More
Last year in Israel, I shot an M16. Doing that was a big deal not only because shooting an assault rifle is a big deal, but because I was the kind of mom who wouldn’t buy my children a toy gun.
I was the kid who wore peace sign T-shirts and scribbled the word peace all over my notebooks.
I won’t kill an insect.
But I grew up during a time of relative peace, a time when hippies spewed love and John Lennon sang Imagine.
I didn’t understand until recently that conditions in the world could change, that the harmony I’d experienced my entire life, could vanish.
I believed there would never be another war.
How could there be? Weren’t people smarter? Hadn’t we seen enough destruction in World War II and in Vietnam?
My mother used to tell me stories about the air raid drills she had to participate in during the 50's when she was a young schoolgirl, and how she was instructed to hide under her desk when an alarm rang in order to shield herself from flying glass. She always emphasized the fear, the uncertainty, she felt. I thought those stories to be antiquated, a thing of the past.
I never had to do anything like that.
But my daughter does. At her school, they practice. Students are prepared for a terrorist attack.
It seems that every day now, in the newspaper and on the news, there is a new story involving guns and death.
For so long, I believed we had to get rid of guns.
But then one day recently, I think it was after the shooting in California, I woke up and decided I wanted to learn to shoot. I was done with my Pollyanna attitude. For the first time in my life, the world seemed like a dangerous place.
It’s not that I want to hurt anyone; but I do feel a pull, a calling, to protect my family and myself.
The day after I left Tel-Aviv, four days after I'd shot an M16, there was a shooting just a ten-minute walk from the hotel we stayed at. A gunman killed two innocent people and injured eight outside a bar in the middle of the day.
He got away.
I don’t know if I could ever really own a gun. But the fact that I, a self-proclaimed flower child, could even think about it is significant.
Times are changing.
People change too.
According to Arthur Brooks, a contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, acting grateful can actually make you grateful. And I’m a believer.
I’ve always been one to see the bright side.
If I have to wait in a doctor’s office for thirty minutes, I’m grateful it wasn’t forty.
In a hotel, if my room isn’t great, I’m grateful to be on vacation at all.
I never thought about why I functioned that way but in the article Choose to Be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier, Brooks states there is a gene associated with gratitude.
But for those less inclined, there are things to be done.
Practice the AA slogan...
Because faking it til you make it works. Positive thinking affects our brain — and our mood.
Keep a Gratitude Journal. Every night before bed, jot down five things you are grateful for. These don’t have to be big things. In fact, I'm genuinely appreciative when the television show I wanted to watch was recorded.
And of course, I am thankful for the big things too. As I get older, I’m seriously grateful for the privilege of simply waking up each morning.
If you don’t want to write things down, just take the time to acknowledge them as Brooks suggests, with interior gratitude, giving thanks privately. Eventually, you may try exterior, or public, gratitude.
Over this last year, blog entries I’ve written about Mother’s Day (Are You Turning Into Your Mother?), Father’s Day (What My Father Gave Me) and Halloween (Halloween Costumes: Why They Matter) appeared after the actual day.
I’m grateful, and totally happy, that I finally got a holiday post out BEFORE the holiday!
A friend, Vicky, and I walked in her neighborhood, near her house. A car pulled up and the driver called us over. He asked for directions. It took a few seconds before I noticed; he was exposed and stroking himself.
When the man drove away, Vicky and I ran and hid behind bushes. Peeking through the greenery, we watched as the man circled the block. He slowed, looking for us.
Petrified, we stayed out of sight. We waited for the man to drive away again before we ran back to Vicky’s house. Her mother called the police and when they showed up, they asked us questions.
Looking back, I think we were awfully lucky. Crouching behind those bushes, in essence, made us sitting ducks. At the time, I weighed less than 90 pounds and, in my memory, the man who exposed himself to us looms large. The scary truth is that story could've ended differently.
Some kids are not as lucky. That unpleasant experience occurred just a few years before Etan Patz disappeared and he, and other missing children, appeared on milk cartons.
Those disturbing memories were elicited with the release of the movie, Room, based on the novel written by Emma Donoghue.
(I read the book, Room, a few years back and recommend it.)
The story is about a mother and son held captive in a small room. The book is fiction but it is based on a true story.
Here’s the thing that many people don’t know: Slavery exists today.
And it exists in many countries, including the United States. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 states. Children are sometimes forced to work in brothels, in sweatshops, in houses as domestic servants, in wars as child soldiers, on farms and in strip clubs.
Putting a stop to all forms of child trafficking is critical to UNICEF's work around the world.
Stop Child Trafficking Now (also called SCTNow) is a nonprofit international organization that does advocacy work attempting to bring an end to child trafficking. SCTNow targets those who sexually abuse children and aims to prosecute and convict them.
Years ago, I read The Slave Next Door by Kevin Bals and Ron Soodalter. The Slave Next Door explores human trafficking and slavery that exists in the United States today.
The book is a call to action, letting us know what we can do to bring an end to these horrific crimes.
“I’m bi now,” Jasmine told Pam and me. Jasmine was a make-up artist at Barney’s. ( I did not "make-up" her fairytale name to serve this post.)
For fun, Pam and I went there before her first date in over 25 years. Her husband, Sandy, an Emmy Award-winning television writer, best dad and husband, all around great guy, had passed away a year before.
"I’m bi by choice,” Jasmine continued. “Women are more honest, more compassionate. Men are little boys. You," she said to Pam, as she dabbed her eyelids with cover-up, "have great energy."
And it’s true, Pam does have great energy. What she didn’t have was a How To manual for dating. The last time she dated, Boy George was a hit singing Karma Chameleon and Blockbuster Video was opening their first store.
A lot has changed since then.
Men don’t come to the door to pick up women anymore.
They don’t bring their date home.
They might, or might not, pay for the meal, or more likely drinks, because a meal, it turns out, is too big of a commitment.
“You’re going to be fine,” Jasmine said to Pam. “You’re an alpha-female.”
In this strange new world, Pam as a single woman, it was hard to discern if Jasmine was flirting.
That night, Pam’s date was lovely. As men of his generation did, he picked her up, and they went to a restaurant together. Once there, confident and comfortable in her own skin, Pam read the menu with her reading glasses on. Not the skinny bitch type, she wasn’t about to order a salad and a piece of grilled fish— dry. She wasn’t that kind of girl. No, she ordered eggplant parmesan just as an alpha-female should. Pam feeling relaxed, took her shoes off under the table.
The evening went well enough. Until it was time to go.
Maybe there was too much salt in the food or maybe it was because Pam had flown in from California that morning but when she attempted to put her shoes back on, she couldn’t. Her feet, mysteriously, blew up, and both her pinky toes refused to be crammed into her shoes.
Her date locked arms with her as she hobbled, her pinky toes dangling, to a taxi outside.
When my husband heard what happened, he laughed and said, “That’s reverse Cinderella!”
Dating can be tough but dating after 50 is a whole different story.
“You have to kiss a hundred frogs before you find a prince,” my friend Susan said.
Susan who got divorced after 20 years of marriage navigated the single world brilliantly. While she was single, we mused over how impossible it seemed to find someone to spend the rest of your life with, especially at such a late stage of the game. A needle in a haystack.
At 50, you know who you are. You can’t lie to yourself like you did when you were 20. At 20, often, the fantasy took over and you forgot to pay attention to his work ethic, his wandering eye, his fear of intimacy, his tendency to drink everyone under the table or that he was a Momma’s Boy. Maybe he was social and loved to entertain, and you liked a more quiet life, but you got married anyway and figured you’d work it out after.
You don’t do that at 50.
At 50, there are things you can’t ignore. And it seemed like an impossible feat to find a match. There were the big things to consider like chemistry, education, religion and lifestyle. But what about weird things like hygiene?
Susan and I would lament; it seemed like too much. Date after date, there were stories.
Once, a man told Susan, on their first date, about his ex-wife. His fury mounted. “Wait until I get my hands around her neck, I’ll fix her wagon. That bitch.”
But Susan took it all in stride. “Dating is like shopping online for shoes,” she said. “You keep clicking until you find the right pair.”
Susan did find her match.
And just the other day someone responded to the new profile picture Pam put up. He wrote,
“Good Morning, Snow White.”
The bad news was that the test could be right.
I thought I was the kind of person who’d need to find out if my baby was healthy. I figured I'd have an amniocentesis done and within two weeks, I'd know.
My husband and I went for genetic counseling, a requirement before amniocentesis was preformed at the time, and we learned that our chances for having a sick child were exactly equal to the chance of me having a miscarriage due to the procedure.
Five months in, my stomach the size of a soccer ball, I was already attached to my unborn baby. Wanting it, I decided at the last minute that I could live with whatever my higher power had in store for me but that I couldn’t live with a miscarriage that was my own doing.
The rabbi encouraged me to pray with all my heart as if anything could happen but believe, simultaneously, that everything was going to be okay.
I spent the next twenty weeks of my pregnancy not knowing.
Thankfully, the baby was healthy.
Looking back, I don't how I did that.
I was scared and unsure:
Would people like what I wrote and how I wrote it?
Was I ready for the world of social media?
What if I made a grammatical mistake?
Well, I did make errors. Some I was able to fix, others I wasn’t.
And remarkably, I survived.
Reader comments kept me going.
Some of you responded directly on the blog site, some on Facebook, some on Instagram, some by private text message and many in person: at the grocery store, at parties and on the street.
(You’d be surprised how many people are hesitant to comment through social media. I was happy to learn, I wasn’t the only inhibited one.)
Tuesdays became my favorite day of the week as I woke to other bloggers liking my post and tracking how many people had read.
I heard from people I hadn’t talked to in 20 years, from people all over the country and yes, even an old boyfriend.
My work was read in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Spain, France, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and more.
A special thanks goes to my friends and family who let me write about them, their outrageous stories and vulnerable moments.
All year, friends teased that they had to watch what they said in front of me for fear they’d end up in a post.
I heard everything from, “Shhh, she’s going to write about you” to “It’s good Corie’s not here.” (Yes, people repeat these things to me.)
Looking for material or attempting to drum up good conversation, this blog has been the impetus for many a dinner table debate.
Over the course of this year, I wrote about topics that mattered to me.
Equal rights- Gay Marriage
Empathy- Still Alice
Parenting- Parenting Gone Well
Friendship- Friendship Matters
Sex- Masters of Sex
Education- Doodle Power
Addiction- Monkey See, Monkey Do
Writing- Writing: It Could Come Back to Bite You.
The Environment- Earth Day 2015.
I wrote about topics that peturbed me slightly- Pouting Face Emoji
And things that annoyed me greatly- A Tip for My Uber Driver.
And things I feared- Fear: The Good The Bad and The Ugly.
Writing about these topics made me focus on them, and in writing Gone Girl No More, I faced my apprehension, put myself out there, and finally got headshots!
Daring greatly (I'm a Brene Brown lover) I'm posting them here.
Help me choose the new From The Core photograph so I can get rid of the blurry one on my About Page.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the night my husband asked me to marry him so this is kind of a double anniversary for me.
And it’s appropriate that my blog about relationships and my marriage share an anniversary because as long as I’m married to my husband, I’ll always have plenty to write about!
P.S. Thanks for reading!! And don’t forget to pick a headshot favorite!!
“Who’s happy?” one of my friends said over drinks this past weekend in regards to marriage. He wasn’t being facetious. He was really asking. Okay maybe he was being a bit tongue-in- cheek since he is actually happily married.
But as I looked around at my group of friends, I saw something I’d never really seen before:
A friend who was divorced and with her new husband. A friend who was there alone because she was in a fight with her spouse. A friend in the middle of a divorce. A friend who is widowed. And one married couple.
That same day the New York Times reported: 5-4 Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide.
So of course, this historic news came up in conversation with my friends.
“It will be the new normal,” one of my friends said, a bit concerned or at least unsure. “It’s all the children of today will know.”
“That’s okay,” another friend responded. “Fifty years ago Blacks and whites didn’t share the same public restrooms and then that became the new normal.”
How was that reality even possible?
I guess it’s a good thing that situation feels antiquated and, more to the point, it is evidence that in time we'll look back and wonder how we could've denied marriage rights to any particular group.
I must admit I stared for a long while at the twelve photos of the same-sex couples on the cover of the newspaper, wanting to know their stories, imagining their lives— what it was like for them before this vote and what life would be like for them now.
I took a hard look at these people, happy for them, feeling celebratory that they’d accomplished this goal—to be together, openly and legally.
And now they had what we had.
And yet here we were a handful of mostly married people: all living our own individual lives, all making different choices, at different turning points.
What did we all have in common?
Maybe the divorced friend would remarry, maybe not. Maybe the married couple would stay together, maybe not.
I recently read that the word gay has become so prevalent in meaning homosexual that people hesitate to use the term in its original sense to mean happy or joyful.
I’d like to use the word in its original meaning here.
If it’s what you choose—Gay Marriage for all.
Once while peeling an apple for my kids, my husband came up behind me and said, “You’re grandfather would roll over in his grave if he saw how you were peeling that piece of fruit.” And he was right. I was peeling quickly and using a knife. Too much of the fruit was being discarded with the peel.
My grandfather didn’t waste anything: not money or food. He grew up poor and became a wealthy man; but his humble beginnings had him buying in bulk and clipping coupons.
Some of my grandfather’s ways trickled down to me; and I get made fun of- a lot!
I get accused of closing the lights in a room while people are still in it, for eating the garnish on my plate and for using every inch of a piece of paper.
It’s accurate that just like my grandfather I can hardly tolerate waste. And so a couple of years back, working as the Sustainability Coordinator at my husband’s apparel company, was a like a dream come true. It was a perfect match, a great way for me to direct my familial quirks into timely and meaningful work. My motto: No waste!
First, the company got rid of Styrofoam cups that would’ve out lasted the next four generations, if not more.
We changed the lights to compact fluorescent bulbs and switched to recycled paper.
We sent e-cards for Christmas and saved paper and money.
We changed to a filtered water system eliminating water bottle deliveries and water bottles.
But my favorite initiative was donating to Material for the Arts. MFTA collects reusable materials from businesses and individuals and makes them available, free of charge, to art programs and schools in New York City.
None of these ideas on their own is monumental and that’s why I mention them.
Tomorrow, Wednesday April 22, 2015, is Earth Day. This year the theme is: It’s Our Turn to Lead.
The Earth Day Network is looking for commitments from global leaders, businesses and citizens to pledge Acts of Green. Big and small, they need everyone to make a commitment for meaningful change.
It’s a Native American tradition that when you take something from the earth, you must put something back.
Earth Day 2015 will be a global “give back” day. The goal: to plant one billion seeds or trees. It’s expected to be the biggest grassroots initiative in history.
It doesn’t matter how we participate.
Every action, big and small, is significant.
Even how we peel a piece of fruit.
I’ve expected loyalty but got betrayal.
At one time or another, haven’t we all?
Trusting someone requires vulnerability. What I’ve learned, the hard way, is that you can’t allow yourself to be vulnerable with just anyone. People have to earn your trust. I used to just give it away- no prerequisites.
My mother (I think I’ve mentioned) used to call me Tinker Bell. And it was mostly because of this- I was too trusting. I couldn’t fathom that someone would deliberately hurt me: repeat a secret I’d shared or make fun of me in a group.
I was wrong.
Brene Brown, a research professor, writes about trust and vulnerability in her book, Daring Greatly. She says that vulnerability is full of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. It is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experience. It is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.
In my defense, understanding that vulnerability was the road map to those gifts was the reason I opened myself up again and again.
But I didn’t know about the Marble Jar.
When Brene Brown’s third grader came home from school devastated because a girl in her class revealed her embarrassing secret to her entire peer group, Brene’ struggled with how to best teach her daughter about trust and connection.
She didn’t want her daughter to operate out of fear and become disconnected in an attempt to stay “safe”. Even though it makes sense that after a betrayal someone might disengage and stop trusting, it is heartbreaking to imagine that outcome because one of life’s greatest joys is connection.
Her daughter’s teacher kept a clear glass jar on her desk, and whenever the class did something positive she put marbles in the jar. Whenever the class did something negative, she took marbles out. That day, the class was so unruly she took marbles out of the jar.
Brene told her daughter to think of her friendships as marble jars.
“Whenever someone supports you, or is kind to you, or sticks up for you, or honors what you share with them as private, you put marbles in the jar. When people are mean, or disrespectful, or share your secrets, marbles come out.”
I’d say this marble jar idea holds up in any relationship: parent, child, sibling, friend, lover, spouse, co-worker.
I love the Marble Jar metaphor. It is a concrete reminder, one that is useful for someone who is 8 and someone who is 48, that trust is built one marble at a time.
“Women are in nearly every way that really matters, superior to men and, moreover, that this superiority is finally becoming evident in our societies.” “In addition to women’s superiority in judgment, their trustworthiness, reliability, fairness, working and playing well with others, lower levels of prejudice, bigotry and violence make them biologically superior.”
“Men are responsible for much more than their share of the world’s wars, drug abuse and sexual misbehavior.”
The above statements appeared in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend. They are the words of Dr. Konner, a professor of anthropology at Emory University and author of, Women After All.
I’ve been collecting data on this topic, doing research, for months.
Pay attention. You’ll see it everywhere.
Feminism is having a revival. With a twist.
The feminism I remember from my childhood (the I Am Women Hear Me Roar era) had an angry tone. People, including women, turned away from feminism because it seemed acrimonious, and so even if women agreed with its message often they didn’t want to associate or align with the movement. The feminism of today is less brash. It is more inclusive and balanced.
Roxanne Gay, author of Bad Feminist, addresses this issue in her book. She writes about how a woman might’ve rejected feminism, believing she wasn’t a feminist, simply because she enjoyed reading Vogue. Today, feminism is taking on a different quality.
In Wonder Women, Debora Spar, challenges how women were told they could be equal to men and have it all. “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never let you forget you’re a man.”
That perspective, or myth, left women overwhelmed, struggling to balance a career and family. In our culture, an attitude of be careful what you wish for emerged as the women’s movement was blamed for women’s problems.
So here’s what’s new: Feminism is now asking men to step up and be part of the change. Sheryl Sanberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, and the author of Lean In, says that men may fear that as women do better they will do worse. But the truth is that equality is good for men too.
At Elizabeth Irwin High School in New York City there is a course in Feminism. The boys in the class made a video, clips of each of them stating, I am a feminist.
Every year at Omega Institute there is a Women and Power Conference. 2014 was the first year that men were invited to be a part of the conversation. Elizabeth Lesser’s speech was extraordinary and I encourage you to click on the link and read what she has to say about women and men and power and change.
In her speech, (which remember was a lecture on women and power) she talks about her stepson, and how he is consciously choosing to be a full-on parent. She told her stepson that the way he was being a father was changing the world at its core.
I see my own sons talking to their children and I know something is shifting. In a world that has “denied women of their smarts and men of their hearts” my two and a half year old grandson cannot only distinguish one emotion from another; he can verbalize his feelings too.
“I’m angry at you, Dad.”
“Why?” his father asked.
“Well, I’m not angry at you. I’m angry because we’re not leaving.”
He’d had his coat on and was waiting for his father for some time. He was frustrated and tried to express that. In my day, and in generations before mine, a young boy would not have been allowed to talk to his father in this manner. A boy’s frustration and anger might've shown up in a less than productive way, possibly even a violent way.
We are in a transition.
I can feel it.
I think its because we are entering the Age of Aquarius. I first heard about the Age of Aquarius in the late sixties. As a child, I sang to the 5th Dimension on a record player.
I didn’t know then that the Age of Aquarius was a real astrological age.
But a few years ago, I learned about the Age of Aquarius while attending a lecture at the 92nd Street Y. What I learned was that an astrological age lasts approximately 2,500 years and that the change into this age has begun.
According to the lyrics of the song, the Age of Aquarius will occur…
When the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding…
These are the values (love, brotherhood, peace, empathy) we need to focus on, knit into our consciousness. These principles, historically, have been associated with woman, and were thought of as weak or too vulnerable.
But no longer.
If this is where we are headed, women must take leadership roles. And men must support them.
Let the sun shine in.