Getting Away with Murder

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...

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When My Novel Gets Published

Last weekend at a party, a friend asked, How’s the book? And I cringed, feeling small and absolutely defeated because it’s been so long! “I’m waiting to hear back,” I said, walking on.

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Slavery Today

BLOG-STOP CHILD TRAFFICKING NOWThis week, I found myself reflecting back to a day in1974. I was ten.

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.

BLOG-CHILD TRAFFICKING

Faith

BLOG-FAITHAn Alpha-fetoprotein test indicated there might be a problem with my unborn baby’s health. The good news was that this particular blood test often showed false positives.

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.

From The Core- One Year Anniversary!

BLOG-ONE YEAR AND COUNTINGIt’s been a year! My first From The Core post appeared July 28, 2014.

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

Marriage- Why Are So Many Marriage Essays Going Viral?

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.

I wrote about what I found comical- Braces: The New Chastity Belt and Are You A Control Freak Parent?

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.

HEADSHOT #1

HEADSHOT #1

HEADSHOT #2

HEADSHOT #3

 

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!

Wink Emoji

P.S. Thanks for reading!! And don’t forget to pick a headshot favorite!!

Gay Marriage

BLOG-Delcaration-760x760“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.

Marriage.

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?

Choice.

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.

Earth Day 2015

BLOG-7 GENERATIONSOnce 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.

BLOG-EARTH DAY2

Trust, Vulnerability and a Marble Jar

BLOG- VulnerabilityI’ve trusted people I shouldn’t have. I’ve opened my heart and been hurt.

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.

BLOG-MARBLE JAR

Feminism and the Age of Aquarius

BLOG- Women Strong Ones Cropped“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.

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.