How Good News Ignites Us.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ~ Philippians 4:8

Our family received some lovely news yesterday. It’s not mine to share, but I can tell you joy rose in me like it does in a child at Christmas.

We seek to grab the good, get on our mats and stretch into it, get on our knees and pray it in, work, affirm… It all helps.

Nothing like Kundalini, but that’s just crazy me.

Yesterday reminds me: Sometimes the best gift someone can give is their own good news.

Joy over another’s fortune is as pure as music that moves us.

With the announcement, I felt surrounded by our families’ ancestral lines smiling and celebrating. Happiness fell on us like confetti.

These days, we need good news to compensate for our outrageous political and chaotic social climate, and the bombardment of media and technology we’re addicted to.

As a female citizen in the United (now acting divided) States of America, it’s my civic duty to pay attention to the occurring conversations and decisions affecting us culturally, while aligning my activist inclinations with truth, compassion, and action.

There’s an allegiant mindset determined to fix our problems. First, we must face them. Yuck!

Recently, a girlfriend said, “I don’t watch the news. I like to stay positive.”

That’s how I felt in my 20s and 30s. I suppose some people weren’t rivetted to the news as Watergate unfolded, either.

In our 50s, in these #metoo times, women (and men) can’t afford to go back to sleep. And the young people are showing up fully awake.

I don’t want to be the person who isn’t paying attention while history is making a solid mark on humanity.

For decades, through helping myself to personal growth and positive thinking, I learned the art of positive denial.

I rode it like a skateboard. Then, I crashed and came face-to-face with all I’d refused to look at.

Positive denial is still denial.

Now, I’m into facing life head on, because I may not have time to circle back to see what I left under the bed.

There’s a balance, isn’t there? In previous scenes in my life, I practiced playing Pollyanna, but I’m not her.

I like being educated and informed, and yet information, understanding, and truth-seeking can be heavy.

Oh, but that good news! It ran through my blood like a happy drug. I want more.

In turbulent times, joy still dances.

People fall in love, get married, and have babies. Promotions are granted, new jobs landed, homes purchased, and travels taken.

Sometimes, when we talk about our own joys, it feels like bragging. Sometimes, I hold back–as if my joy diminishes another’s or dismisses their pain.

We must share our good news—in spite of and because of the personal and collective challenges of our times, which we must face with courage and character.

Although serious, let’s not be joyless. Let’s share good news like juicy gossip.

How Secrets Fester.

I was 24-years-old when my sales manager befriended me, told me I was smart, and soothed away my insecurities.

He gave me books to read: Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The Richest Man in Babylon.

He stroked my business ego and seduced me with ideas of success—mine.

Skilled in the use of the law of reciprocity, he promoted me and doubled-down by giving me the best sales leads, or at least suggesting he had.

He trained me to close sales like a champion. My sales soared.

I felt invincible.

My manager showed up at shows I worked. In his presence, I persisted in my pursuit of dangled rewards, accolades and money.

I stepped into a leadership role, hiring and training, in the office and in the field. I made a name for myself.

My ambition and hard work were paying off.

When my 27-year-old brother died in a car accident, my manager infiltrated my family by forming an unexplainable bond with my mother.

He found an in with her while she grieved her only son. This manager and my mom spoke on the phone for hours. She embroidered shirts for him with our company logo, as she’d done for me.

Mr. Manager also pointed out my husband and I weren’t a fit, as if delivering helpful facts, rather than planting seeds of poison.

This manager often “just happened” to be working close to my territory. He’d call to check on me. And oh, we should meet for a celebratory drink. Or to analyze the sales that slipped away.

My boundaries weren’t yet buckled down. I enjoyed his company. I was eager to succeed.

I leaned into the learning curve. For the first time in my life, I felt like a responsible adult with a career and a vision.

He was my manager. I thought he was my friend. I trusted him.

He manipulated me with calculation and precision I couldn’t see, or even fathom, due to my inexperience with treachery.

One night, this manager raped me in the office where we worked, the office that felt like home, the office I ran when he was late or absent, where I interviewed, hired, trained, took calls, and began to build my career.

My manager raped me when I was 24 and the world was an open door.

I couldn’t tell you what he was wearing or what I was wearing. I only know the date because it was his birthday and my first year in the business.

I was overcome with an unquestionable urge to repress.

For over a decade, I told no one. Not even my mother.

Now, I wonder about a night she came back to my house after an evening with him.

She said he was crazy. Their friendship ended as oddly as it had started.

Although we were close, she and I never discussed it.

It’s hard to talk about the thing you’re desperate to deny.

How convenient for a master manipulator/rapist.

Did he rape my mother, too? Would she, were she alive, be saying #MeToo about a man I introduced her to?

It’s a very real possibility I try not to bite down on too hard.

Now, I know: I’m not invincible. 

I’m not going to pretend I am and go to work and about my business pretending it didn’t happen to me, pretending it hasn’t happened to others, and hoping it doesn’t keep repeating.

It’s our responsibility to talk about what’s become pervasive and perverted in our society.

Along with thousands of #MeToo sad, but true stories, I’m telling mine.

It’s no longer just about what happened to us as individuals. Now, it’s about what’s been happening to women collectively while we quietly nursed our individual wounds.

Truth only stays submerged in society for so long. #TimesUp. #MeToo.

No, we will not go quietly. That didn’t work for us.

We refuse to mirror denial any longer. 

The #MeToo Movement and The Cost of Keeping Quiet.

I am my mother’s daughter, as she was her mother’s daughter. In an age when women stayed home, my grandmother took nontraditional jobs like welding.

My mom embodied the fight for women’s rights. She also believed education to be the great equalizer. When I was in elementary school, my mom earned her master’s. While I entered college, she completed her PhD. Her checks read Dr. Sandra D. K. Kelley.

She could shred me with one look of disappointment and shoot me into unwavering determination with five words: “Honey, you can do it.”

I rose as a national sales trainer just as she lost her job. We lived together in Denver while I travelled for work. She made sure I got to the airport on time and picked me up when I flew in. She took my car in to get the oil changed, ran untold errands, and made the mundane easy for me.

My mom set aside her pride and took jobs that were beneath her, like doing administrative duties on an oil tanker and selling encyclopedias.

Sandra Kelley was a woman warrior, but even warriors succumb to cancer. She died on April 28, 1995 at age 56.

For years, I danced for the affections of a woman now gone from this world.

It took me decades to see what my mother sacrificed in the name of women’s rights: her femininity. She couldn’t afford vulnerability. All that pushing down of emotions—propelling forward when two marriages fell apart and her only son died—ravaged her on the inside.

In many ways, I’ve marched behind my mother—two marriages in my wake, a couple of degrees earned late, and grief that threatened my desire to fulfill my destiny.

I carry my mother’s strength and I’m meant to be, do, and own more. Be more at peace in my own skin. Do what’s right for me, not just to prove my power. Own my feelings and truth.

Own this moment in history—mine and the collective. We’re our mothers’ daughters, but we’re so much more.

A friend of mine told me her mother wasn’t on the front lines of the fight for women’s rights. In fact, she advocated for no change and thought women like my mom were insane for trying to shake things up, jeopardizing the sweet position her mother held at home with the kids. She loved being a housewife. What?

I’d never considered that mindset. I didn’t know this friend when I was a child in the 70s.

I believed every woman felt the calling to rise out of her current circumstances.

I also couldn’t fathom that my friend’s mother would feed her scraps of judgement on homosexuality and therefore invite my friend to hide hers—even from herself—until her mid-30s.

We’re our mother’s daughters, but we’re not our mothers.

Every movement, every step of progress, brings challenge.

To compete with and find our place in the workforce dominated by men, we often became like them, never letting them see us sweat or struggle or cry.

That “never send a boy to do a man’s job; send a woman” still implied the job belonged to the man.

We’ve journeyed far enough down the historical line to prove a woman’s place is wherever she wants to be and works her way into.

However, along the way—maybe as backlash to the women’s movement or maybe a salute to Disney’s influence—little girls weren’t told they could be President or queen, but that they were princesses. Pink became the perpetual color of a generation of women who could be my daughters.

Too many either didn’t know or forgot the lessons of our mothers. I heard young women in my own family laughing off flirting bosses and other men who were clearly crossing the line.

I know educated women in their 30s and 40s who chose to vote with their husbands and invested less time researching issues and candidates than researching their next vacation or home decorations. Because their husbands knew better?

Use it or lose it applies to our voices and our votes. Just because you showed up doesn’t mean you voted your conscience or what’s good for your kids, especially your daughters.

The Me Too Movement was born after we individually and collectively tried to brave the worst of circumstances.

Here’s the sickest truth I know: the man who raped me likely raped my mother.

I can’t prove it and since she’s deceased I can’t ask her, but I’ve never seen my mother shaken like I did after the night she went out with him.

She was a woman warrior—the kind who would’ve sworn before that she would make sure a rapist would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Many years prior, she’d won a discrimination law suit in my hometown when a less qualified man was hired into a job she’d applied for with the school system.

In 1988, I continued a friendship with my manager and continued working for him after the night I tried to forget—the night he raped me.

Shortly after my brother died on December 10, 1989, this man—let’s call him Dick—called my mother’s house to speak to me and ended up talking to my mother for over an hour.

I didn’t know then, but I can see it now. Dick began grooming my mom in the way a career criminal and master manipulator grooms a grown woman who’s fresh into the storm of grief over the death of her only son.

I can’t go on with that story because even now I want to deny what I know is true—how my trying to be strong was wrong.

I did my best. Still, I think: what have I done?

What have we done? Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too.

Men are the culprits (typically), but have we, at times, been complicit by keeping quiet?

No longer. This is our time. I applaud Andrea Constand, Victoria Valentino, Ashley Judd, Dr. Ford, and too many others who share all-too-familiar stories.

Every voice matters because truth matters.

Because Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby, and other men who abuse their power can’t be taken down by just a few women.

However, the collective rising is a mighty force.

We’re feminine and fierce. We’re vulnerable and strong.

This is our time. We collectively call out the BS so the Me Too Movement can move us into honest, challenging, and courageous conversations that pave the path forward.

Now, we’ll scream if we must. We will be heard. The daughters of future generations will be treated with respect and dignity.

Women have the power to change society. Like the women who came before and the women who came before them.

We say Me Too. We call BS. Enough. Times up.

No more princesses. Now, we rise as warriors and queens.