For the podcast Sugar Calling, Cheryl Strayed interviews authors during quarantine. In a recent episode, Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States, read and recited poetry. Collins is a poet who reminds me that I like poetry. In the podcast, he quoted Irish poet Eavan Boland, “Poetry begins where language starts: in the shadows and accidents of one person’s life.”
If ever there was a time that felt like a shadowy accident, it’s now. Thus, I can’t write anything resembling advice. Dozens of COVID-19 think pieces exist or will soon, and I can’t do that to you or to myself. Also, I have no sourdough tips.
So instead of a blog, I’ve written a poem, followed by some poems I enjoy.Read more
Lately, I’m heartened by my nonprofit colleagues, both locally and nationally, who advocate for listing salary ranges on job postings. I have friends in the sector who draw the line at sharing job descriptions without this information because they perpetuate gender and racial pay inequity.Read more
Since becoming a single mom, I realize just how much the nonprofit sector relies on single moms to tell stories of our work, and it’s weird. I’ll admit, I probably didn’t notice this before having this experience myself, but now I cringe when people tell a narrative that aligns with their idea of an experience and not the person’s story. So I thought it would be helpful to write about what it IS like to be a single mom.Read more
White people, we need to talk. Despite our talk of equity and inclusion, there is an insidious thing happening. Nonprofit fundraising still hinges on a relic of white supremacy that it seems white people are just not willing to quit.
I’m talking about the white savior complex, discussed in Nonprofit Quarterly here. The article quotes Teju Cole, who describes a white savior as someone who “supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening.”Read more
It has been a doozy of a year. I feel spent. A lot has happened on a personal level. I labored for 34 hours and experienced a traumatic birth during a nursing strike. A friend overdosed and died. A beloved family member fought a very scary illness. It only crescendoed from there.
And yet. I met my son for the first time. I got a promotion at work. My badass book club and family showed up in every way possible. In a time of accelerated pain, there seems to be inversely proportional joy sprouting up.Read more
Outside a fancy lounge in downtown Minneapolis, I duck behind a marble column and change my winter boots to dress shoes. I breathe heavily, having booked it from the lightrail, and bend to notice the crack along the front of my right shoe.
I have researched the people I am about to meet inside, because that it is what fundraisers do. The people have Ivy League educations, wear neutral tones, and speak in low, even keeled voices. I prefer jewel tones, no one researched my public school education before this meeting, and my voice is a product of a confusing mix of messages about who a working class woman is to be: a fighter, strong, and also vulnerable to the whims of men around her, suddenly cut off and quiet.Read more
When are you having kids? Chances are if you are an adult female in the workplace, you’ve been asked this question. I was planning on making a whole list of questions to stop asking your female coworkers, but realized that they were all iterations of this one way-too-personal, awkward, and invasive inquiry. Please understand the panic that enters my mind when you ask when I plan on having children.
Here are a few of the myriad reasons a woman might not want to talk about this:Read more
I need to quit something. It’s a something that is a net good thing for the world–it brings me extra income, it accomplishes positive things for people–but it is a something that is not good for me.
Lately, I’ve been challenged to think about the dangers of people pleasing and its negative health consequences. Fellow do-gooders, nonprofit professionals, and people pleasers of the world, I’m here to tell you: if something isn’t feeding you, it’s okay to quit. That thing–that volunteer gig, that second job, that thing that helps you 10 percent but runs you ragged–can survive without you. I am replaceable, and you are replaceable. That’s a really freeing thing if you’ll let it be.Read more
For a long time, when I cried in front of someone, the first words of out of my mouth were, “I’m sorry.” I guess I was sorry for what I assumed made them uncomfortable.
About a year ago, my mom and I took a trip to pack up my grandfather’s house. It had been a hard spring – in addition to his death, I had spent hundreds of hours and a healthy chunk of change to apply to grad school, only to be turned down. I was about to move to another state, and I had no idea what direction my life would take.
On a break from packing boxes, my mom asked how I was feeling. I started crying. “I’m sorry, Mom,” I began.
“Why are you sorry?” she asked, “Your tears are telling you something. Honor your tears.”Read more