Monthly Archives: November 2016

New Space

I have a new blog for the more personal/political stuff.

Will keep this space for my middle school librarian adventures, of course.  🙂

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What’s Next

I have what I think is a decent theory about why it happened, but that doesn’t matter now.  My days are spent surrounded by youngsters, half of whose faces light up at the sound of our president-elect’s name and half of whose faces fall, and all of whom I love.  I can tell you that if these kiddos are the future, we have a LOT to be hopeful about.  Because they are the very definition of awesome.  If you need a lift, come to the library before school some morning and hang out with Anne, William, Matthew, Kristin, and Drew.  Ask them about their plan to build a book-shelving robot cat.  Or come during recess and chat with Jewel about her invention of a bag within a bag, or check out Ty’s growing collection of pillows, or Ned’s 3D designs.  Watch these kids teach other how to do new things in the Makerspace; watch them help us shelve books or help each other find good things to read; or just watch them being goofy rascals flopping around on the comfy chairs.

No, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.  They can be unkind to each other–it’s part of being human, and it’s definitely sometimes part of being a middle-school-aged human.  But they have good hearts. I see it every day, and it lifts me. I worry about what I’m reading in the news about unkindness all over our country, but I hope to see a strong movement in my school, rising from the children themselves, counteracting the ugliness that we are seeing in some pockets. If I believe in anything, it’s the power of these kids to fix our world.  They need our guidance and they need our support, but the love is in them and really all they need is for us to not screw this up.

So I will wear my safety pin.  I will tell the kids that it’s not about who I voted for, but it’s about sending a message that no matter who you voted for, everyone should know that they are safe.  That is my first step.

 

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What?

I’m home with a migraine. I’m going to pay dearly for looking at the screen for as long as it takes to type this post, but the stress of not typing it is doing its own damage, so there you go.

Yesterday, I went to work.  In a numb state, I taught all day, a lesson (pre-selected) about Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, which deserves its own post and which has inspired me to find my voice to write this post, even though this blog really isn’t the place for it.  I had to keep my opinion about the results of the election to myself while around kids–which is something I understand, because they should feel safe being authentic and shouldn’t have to worry about whether their opinions match mine.  In any other election, I would 100% agree with this.  In this one, it felt like a big lie.  Thus this post.

A month ago, I texted my teenage daughter that the election was over.  The bus tapes had been released, and I knew that the American public would never elect a man who spoke so casually about sexually assaulting women.  I mean, it should have been over before then, but now it was really over.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and of assault as an adult, this whole side of the campaign became a trigger–not the fact that Donald Trump said those things (I can handle a single person being a creep), but the fact that such a huge portion of our population was okay with it, so okay with it that they felt that he was still fit to be the President of our country.  I got to a point where I could handle it, though, because he wasn’t actually going to become President.

Then, well, you know.

I know that this is just one issue among many, and I am highly, highly concerned about all of them.  I am highly concerned about my students and friends who are Muslim or LGBTQ.  I am highly concerned about casual racism and misogyny.  I am highly concerned about people losing access to healthcare.  I am basically terrified.

But here’s where I am especially having a problem right now, and probably why my head, that has been actually been doing pretty darn well the last few weeks, has decided to throw a huge migraine my way.  We, as a society, seem to be saying to boys and men that girls and womens’ bodies are not their own.  We just said it’s okay to joke around about grabbing girls and assaulting girls.  We think it’s okay for a grown man to go into the dressing rooms of teenagers to check them out–not just okay, but we think that man can hold the position of highest power in our nation.

People, I can’t wrap my mind around this.  I thought that the world was changing and that it was safer now than when I was a child.  I knew it wasn’t safe then, but I thought it was better.  I need to believe that it truly is better, but part of that is simply going to have to involve me finding a way to let my middle school students know that, while I support their right to be for Trump (about half of them voted for him in our student election), some of his behavior is simply NOT OKAY and not easily dismissed with “that’s just locker room talk.”  We don’t talk like that in any locker room in my world.

I can only imagine how it would have felt if, as a child living the life I was living, I had the added stress of knowing that half the country was essentially cool in some way with what was happening to me, so cool that they elected a President who would possibly do those things.  I know anyone who voted for Trump is going to read that as overdramatic and unfair, but a child’s brain, seeing things through the media lens, might very well see it that way.  And how freaking heartbreaking is that.

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