Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want all to thrive in

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Welder, Solar, Designer and Builder!

So if your in/near Columbus, Ohio & need a FABULOUS welder, come to Columbus Idea Foundry & ask for Rachel! She's amazing, talented, & competent!!!

I needed the tray for my batteries extended because I'm buying bigger batteries than my previous ones. She had to grind off the end and then weld an additional 1.5" piece onto that end. It took her about 45 minutes between grinding and welding and getting various machines and tools down the ramp and outside to my truck.




Then moving a little north in Ohio, if you looking for solar, Terry has great batteries, panels, inverters & info. He replaced my old batteries & now my solar is up & running. He's not a tRump supporter nor is he exceedingly macho but he is white & racist - not the overt kkk aryan nazi type but 'just' the ignorant 'them vs us' superior type....grrrrr.

Of course, if you need a camper designed and built, Shazam from the SF Bay Area is the BEST!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Justice for Womxxn!!!




Join us at Five pm in the parking lot closest to Strathan Hall for a special appearance by Xan Joi and her awesome “green-powered” truck. She will talk about her book “But What Can I Do” before she heads out to her next speaking engagement. The six pm event is a rally against domestic abuse and violence. Hope you all can make it!

HOW can we continue to continue our lives as usual????


How can we know this - & all we know - & continue our daily lives as usual? 
 
When oh when will we care more about valuing & protecting sacred life then our fucked up pursuit of the fuckin amerikkkan nitemare?
 
THIS is what causes us grief: our refusal to pay attention to what is happenin in our country, in our name and then to choose not to ACT. 
 
It is NOT the injustices we witness that make us crazy but it IS the desperate clinging to a lifestyle shoved down our throats in the guise of the amerikkkan nitemare as we dedicate our lives to the continuation of that nitemare regardless of the pain, suffering, destruction, injustice it brings to other humans & Mother Earth. 
 
It is the "continuing our lives as usual" when it has become soooooo clear that our lives as usual are killing others. That is the source of our misery, our fucked-up search for meaning while we destroy meaning, our inability to be 'happy'.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

'accidental' exposure....

Yikes - in Bloomsburg PA where lesbians were refused bridal gowns as the hateful owners who love god so fiercely consider them "sinners"!!! I 'accidentally' parked my truck out front to study my maps!

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

ECIN NAITSIRHC

So I re-did my highway response card (again) - the fuck u's were fumin to hard to clearly see the old one

Fuckin piss(ed)off white men

What the fuck is the matter with white men? They just won major domination & free pass for violence along with a blow to womxxn - & they're STILL fuckin pissed. I got sooooo many fuck you's 2day, white men calling ME names intended to diminish MY intelligence, driving recklessly with vehicles they must not realize are much smaller than mine, & in a half-empty parking lot, look who chose to reveal exactly how much smaller he is, parking next to me:


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Huntington W VA


I'm so thrilled to find a Y open today, Sunday - last night the Charleston Y closed at 6pm, even tho the internet said it's open until 10...grrrr. As I was trapped by the parade, I didn't get to the y until 5:50pm so another day, not working out.

This Huntington Y is huge with two pools, several womyn's locker rooms, steam room and sauna inside the womyn's locker room! And I get to exercise upstairs, in front of a bank of windows overlooking the parking lot, while keeping an eye on my truck. Several people take pics but no one leaves a note!

When I go to leave, a big solid white man with a bald head and large beard eases around my truck and starts talking at me before I get a chance to put my gym things away. He is quite upset about the white and male war and appears to be really wanting to express his response.

He tells me I look like I’m probably 50 like he is and so we understand each other. Hmmmm – I’m 68 for the record.

He claims he’s lived thru riots, that his parents were poor and they lived in the ghetto. Doing the math quickly – he’s 53 – I tell him that would make him three and four if he’s talking about the response to the murder of MLK, which he is.

He demands that I admit Black people can be as racist as white people, which of course I challenge. He gets so angry, he’s spitting and shouting, his bald head reddening so brightly I’m worried he’ll have a heart attack. He is here to work out, I assume, but he doesn’t appear to be that healthy, more fat than solid.

I tell him I’m not going to talk with him if he can’t stop yelling at me, interrupting every time I try to speak. He calms down, apologizes, then his eyes fill with tears, voice wavering, as he curses Black people that are drug dealers, going so far as to say ‘they’ all need to be killed.

I am alarmed by his threat as I try to talk steer him in the direction of drug corporations & his lack of anger toward them. He wants me to prove that oil companies are not the richest in the world, but he has calmed down a little.

So I decide to ask him who uses more illegal drugs in this country, white or Black people. He looks at me as if I asked him did the sun come up today. He is adamant it is Black people who are drug dealers, murderers, and destroying his beautiful town of Charleston.

When I tell him the same exact percentage of Blacks and whites use illegal drugs - 13% of both populations - BUT Black people are incarcerated at 70% and whites at 13%, he demands that I prove that too. I ask him if he wants to buy my book but he doesn’t because he’s a poor truck driver who hates to read.

I tell him I love to read and spend many hours every day of my 68 years reading, researching, uncovering facts from lies.

He is not happy but at least he’s not still shouting at me. I leave him with the challenge to take his eyes off Black people and to start looking at those white people at the top who are pulling the strings and go after them. 

Scary fella...

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Charleston West Virginia

I head strate to the library so I can catch up on emails, work on scheduling more readings, and let folks know I’ll probably be off the grid for a few days – I’m heading to a national forest to spend a few days respite and recharging.

The library closes while I’m still not done – I haven’t been able to write one blog entry, grrrr, & there’s soooooo much to write about.

When I leave the library to return to the street, I am unable to move my truck because that very street I'm parked on has suddenly been shut down for a parade. A parade!

There are tons of mostly white people standing on the sidewalk with lots of children in tow. I can’t get anyone to explain to me what kind of parade this is until I see the banner stretched wide across the entire street in front of a marching band.

It says something about the Navy and several of the band folks are in the white dress uniform. Strutting along behind the band are people dressed up in various lacy costumes mostly in all black. It’s quite a bizarre parade but I hasten to my truck to engage with people staring at the Spanish side mostly. And the death to racism side. 

I want to join the parade in my truck but I'm facing the wrong way.

Many folks don't talk to me but take pics before hurrying off to march with the parade.

West Virginia love...


It’s been a long time since I’ve tarried in West Virginia. Last nite I spent the uneventful nite at the West Virginia Welcome Center, so there’s great internet access here. I spent longer here than I had intended because of my rhubarb that I brought on the plane from my garden, all the way thru Detroit and then Philadelphia, driving thru rain and fog to Delaware, then Maryland, and now West Virginia.

I spent the morning cutting up rhubarb and strawberries – organic also but these I had to buy for $5.00…grrrrr – steaming them together, and making yummy sauce.

When I leave my truck, getting ready to hit the road, a very excited and talkative older white man approached me saying that he just HAD to talk with me – that he had seen me down the road and took pictures, he admits sheepishly until I emphatically encourage him to do so.

He was driving by when he saw my truck parked so he had to turn around and come back in order to talk with me and take more pictures.

While we’re talking, a white womyn stands on the steps and flashes me a thumbs up, joyfully proclaiming this truck made her day!

A young Black man walks over, also smiling broadly. He has “ARMY” written on his black shirt and is wearing a fatigue hat. Z he tells me he is called. I ask him why he’s advertising for the military. He’s at first a little confused, then seems to remember what he has on. He tells me he is not advertising for them, this is just his workout clothes.

Hmmmm. When we talk further, he tells me he’s a college student, despises the military, plays football, and is studying criminal justice – in North Carolina. I encourage him to invite me to come read at his college. He wants a picture with me and I tell him I’ll have to cover up the “army”. He smiles broadly and obliges as he drapes one strong forearm over the blazing gold letters and the other over my shoulders.

I sell one book to Lewis and gift Z a book.

Off to the Y

Friday, September 07, 2018

What is Patriarchy?

I put on my "Smash Patriarchy" shirt this morning before I head to Darlington and the Lesbian Music Festival there! I'm very excited to be reading with and for womyn again!

I run into the large building at the rest stop which houses several fast food restaurants, Starbucks, a market, clean restaurants, and free fast wifi! An older white man opens the door for me, leans toward me and asks "What is patriarchy?"

I search his face to see if he is being funny or serious. I land on the serious side so I tell him "Patriarchy is white male domination and violence against all womyn, and against men of color."

He claims he's against all violence. I look at him with my eyebrows raised, nodding my approval and then I question what he means. "Are you sure?" I ask. "Are you against the violence of police and prisons?"

He looks a little uncomfortable but says "sure." So I add "Are you against the violence of war?"

Now he's on more comfortable ground as he chuckles and says in his deep man voice "Well, that's the government, we can't do anything about that."

So I tell him, sure he can, he can not pay his taxes, not allow his children or grandchildren to go to war.

He slips silently into the men's room before I can finish the list of what he can do.....

Thursday, September 06, 2018

I'm the problem...

I've womonaged to extend my workout at the y this afternoon to beat the heat - and to watch/read the disgusting kava hearings that should not even exist. I'm SOOOOOOO proud of MY senator Kamala Harris, who I've had the distinct honor of voting for several times!!! Durbin shocked me with his ruthless honesty calling out tRump, and Cory Booker - another hero, saying 'try to get rid of me, I'm telling what I know'.

But leaving the y I'm stuck in Philly traffic as I try to advance to Whole Foods to continue using wifi and cool air. A young white man in a pick up truck next to me, drops his window to lean over his passenger seat to tell me "there are some good white men". I grin at him and do my best fake shock, hand over the heart and all that "what, really?" but he responds seriously, "yes, I'm a good white man".

I tell him I'm sure he is as he tells me he has three beautiful daughters  and he tries really hard to not be sexist in his interactions with them. I nod and smile my approval as he continues telling me that he talks to old white men about their racism. I tell him I support him doing both, and don't add out loud as he should.

"But your sign" he indicates the back of my truck "makes me feel like I'm the problem."

Traffic is starting to move and he will be ahead of my lane in a few seconds so I quickly ask him "to take a few quiet moments to himself, and honestly look at where that feeling comes from." I add but don't think he's able to hear "not all 'good' white men react this way". He is nodding contemplatively as he returns his windows to their closed position.

Interesting, the white men responses to "End the white and male war..."

Tomatoes!

I've gone ten miles out of my way to find a laundry mat with both air conditioning and wifi but I don't get to plug in and work because as I'm putting my clothes into the dryer a very tall older man with a "Viet Nam Vet" cap slung over his forehead approaches me and asks me if he can take a picture of my truck.

I say of course, all four sides! He tells me how much he loves it. I struggle to understand him as he speaks fast, has no teeth, and the laundry mat is so very noisy plus there's loud music playing - music I want to sing and dance along with.

He comes back as soon as I'm finished loading my wash machine - it was hi-teck and I had to get help figuring out how to pay my $4.95 for the damn thing. He starts talking to me about food: he's an organic gardener, retired military, and has a large garden at the airport on land no one wants or can build on. Plus he has another garden in West Philly. He says people aren't looking to grow food anymore but he has some of his grandmother's seeds!

He has misinterpreted my anti-monsanto mural. He doesn't speak Spanish and doesn't realize I'm saying NO GMO's as he points to that symbol and starts to tell me all the bad, side effects of GMO food. He's so happy when I tell him I'm anti-GMO. He talks about horse manure and straw as the only natural things you need to make the soil strong to grow delicious food.

I ask him if he wants some seeds - I tell him I'm also a seed-saver and I love handing out organic seeds to folks. He's very hesitant at first but he has three acres! It must be difficult and expensive to find seeds for that much land! Finally he tells me he has a bag of tomatoes he harvested today that he was going to give to someone else but he'll trade me for seeds!

We make the exchange as I get a phone call I have to answer so I never get to taste the tomato and tell him how yummy they are. And how timely, as it's still too hot to cook

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

The monsanto mantra

I'm hiding from the heat again, this time in Morgantown West Virginia at the library. I have to pay for parking - 2 hour ONLY Strictly enforced - so I'm writing quickly.

Morgantown is a treasured memory of my early adulthood when I had the dubious honor of attending college, for the first time, in southern West Virginia. Morgantown was the place all the northerners at Wesleyan drooled over (after Pittsburgh) and fantasized about escaping to - the biggest city around.

The streets are so small and narrow, the buildings old and in many places lacking sidewalks, but even more, windy and hilly. The beautiful river is concreted off from public access, altho there's a lush green grass park running paralleling the river with an asphalt trail snaking down the middle. Trees appear as oases (that's the real plural of oasis...) along a river bank that I'm sure was blanketed with trees and vegetation.

I feel the familiar pang of loss and deepest sadness when the picture of long ago (50 years now) superimposes itself on this 'new' Morgantown.

Parking costs 25cents for 20 minutes and so many cars drive through or around this maybe 6 street 'downtown' that it takes a good 10 minutes to go 3 blocks.

I've only gotten fuck you's thus far from white male drivers - that hasn't changed over the decades.

I am pleased to find a food co-op on the edge of downtown. No parking close by but it is my habit to stop at co-ops if I can. In the old days, food co-ops were guarantee lesbian places, as were libraries. I have to walk the length of downtown to get from my parking space to the co-op - and this time I have to pay 25cents for 15 minutes!

The co-op is in a beautiful old building, with two sections or storefronts: one includes a little vegan cafe and the herbs and environmentally products from makeup to shampoo to dish soap, as well as every vitamin and supplement known to man.

The other side is the produce and food products part. I'm looking for greens, even though it is too fuckin hot to cook - they'll probably just cook themselves! Much of the produce is labeled "local" and some is labeled "organic" but not all.

You know the answer I got when I asked the sweet young white girl, pierced and tattooed, if the greens were organic. Oh no, much too expensive to get certified mantra of Monsanto...

She did not appreciate my challenging her holding onto and passing on that mantra. But maybe she'll do the research, she is after all, in a university town!


Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Anti-male, anti-white, and anti-trans....grrrrr

I'm still hot as hell - the shower I took earlier at the y is as far distant as a childhood memory - but I need to get a couple hundred miles east so I can make it in a couple days to my veggie oil guy's place in time .

As I roll down the window preparing to take off, I notice a large charcoal grey pick up truck roll up beside me, angle his truck in front of me so he can lean across the passenger seat, smile broadly, in order to let me know with that both white and male confidence that little ole me just needs to be told and of COURSE I'll agree that "racism works both ways".

I meet his smile and ask "Huh? And what ways are those ways, do ya think?"

His smile loses a little of it's luster as he leans even farther over to try to almost whisper emphatically "brown people can be racist too" and then adds quickly "so can Black people."

I get out the truck and walk over to his window before he can roll it up and drive away, as I'm sure is his intention. He just wants to deliver his racist bomb and ride away into the sunset (which is not setting fast enough for me).

I ask him if he knows the difference between prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and racism because "what I think you're describing is bigotry or prejudice, not racism."

He rears back and sneers "You're talking about power. They have power, you pretend they don't, but they do."

"Oh" I say, very curious now, "so you've already been informed about power."

"Yeah and it's bullshit. 'They' have just as much power as I do. In fact...." But I interrupt him, I know what he's going to say.

"The only reason you're saying that is because you're white and male and you can dismiss or ignore or deny your power."

He rolls up his window then, indicating if I'm interpreting this move correctly, that our conversation is over. I flash him the peace symbol, which he takes such great offense to that he lowers his window once more to yell at me "You're just anti-male and anti-white".

And he's right, although not in the way he thinks: to call out the truth of racism, is to be anti-white when white means racist; to identify the truth of sexism, is to be anti-male when male means sexist; to point out misogyny in transdomination theory is to be anti-trans when trans means attacking, defining and exploiting female sovereignty.

I see him shaking his fist in his rear view mirror and hear him yelling "anti-male, anti-white" all the way out of the parking lot.

So be it.

 

Oh no, the 'buying new' choice....

It's 98 degrees and only 10a.m. There's no way I can drive in this heat, and not because I don't have air conditioning - it is actually much more pleasant driving with the windows down than being outside. But because the strain I'd put on both the engine and the tires.

But being outside my truck is challenging, to say the least, in this heat. Already I've used the early morning 80's weather to change first one veggie filter - the small one - but when that didn't result in a smoother ride, I found an auto parts store and bought two more filters for my veg oil system: the big one and the pre-filter little one.

I was pleased to notice there were two womyn working in the store, both white, although the boss was a younger white male, of course. Still gotta work on that! They were so friendly and helpful, even after I dropped the new oil filter (filled to the brim with cleaned veggie oil) on their pristine cement parking space while I was in the process of changing that filter....grrrrrr

Then I went to the hardware store and purchased the screws necessary to replace the two that had disappeared from my camper door lock, plus a few eye hooks so I could re-secure my dish drainer to the camper wall. If you have a camper, you know that EVERYfuckinTHING needs to be secured down if you want anything left after driving even a couple miles.

So I feel SOOOOOOO accomplished, once again, having fixed my veg oil system, the door lock, and the dish drainer. Now I need to find a ymca and then library or grocery store where I can huddle for the rest of the day, waiting for whatever relief from the heat and humidity the dusk will bring.

Of course, my sense of accomplishment is tampered by my knowledge of making choices that counter my values and I'm breaking one of my first 10 'things to do' that anyone can do: never buy new.


PA air quality damaged

Poor western Pennsylvania - those boys with the diesels that can drop black smoke on command seem to be all on the road this morning, damaging the air quality as they noisily rev their engines, race past me, and then let out a huge black billowing cloud of smoke from their trucks.

AP Government

I'm at a gas station, buying ice in preparation for the heat of the day and my poor suffering solar batteries that are barely working. I can't afford to let my food spoil.

A youngish white man and a shiny black pickup truck rolls in next to my truck. leans out the window and shouts at me. He is so very excited to see me and promises he will talk about my truck to his AP Government classes today. They're talking about what is protest.

He snaps pictures all around my truck while he talks. He warns me that this is the MOST republican county in Pennsylvania and cautions me to be careful. I have gotten several fuck yous and disgruntled drivers expressing their dissatisfaction already early this a.m.

I give him my card and ask him to invite me to come speak to his class. He nods enthusiastically and promises he will contact me.

We'll see!

Howard County Friends of Latin America

I am focused on leaving early this morning, trying to get the miles behind me while it is still below 80 degrees out. I do take the time to go to the bathroom and as I approach a huge, older white man steps out the building and starts questioning me.

He wants to know if I'm going to NYC, to which I say no. "D.C.?" he asks. No. He starts asking me how long I've been on the road and do I like the rest stop.

I'm stumped for a few minutes, I don't get a reading on him and I don't know if he's seen my truck and connected me to it. So I ask who he is and where he's traveling.

He tells me he's from Baltimore, on his way back home, and asks me if I've ever been to Maryland so I tell him I'm heading there right now, to a lesbian music festival where I'll read from my book.

He tells me he's an activist also. He's working on abolishing the police and the prison industrial complex, he explains, Baltimore has been devastated by racism and police violence.

I ask him who he's working with and he tells me the Howard County Friends of Latin America - he's committed to ending violence against immigrants and refugees. He invites me to join them weekly on the bridge until I let him know that I'll only be in Maryland for the festival, then I'm off again.

 


Monday, September 03, 2018

My big mistake...

I totally spaced the holiday so I can't find a ymca that is open nor a library but I did find a Fresh Thyme. We don't have Fresh Thyme's in the west as far as I know but I really like them in a pinch because, although their organic section is very small, it is fresh and often cheaper than Whole Foods. But mostly because they have a very private section with chairs and tables in the front of the store with free wifi and plenty of electrical outlets. The very best feature of this part of the store is the height of the tables that line one wall: you can easily stand and work - or lean on the tall stools. I hate to sit and write, especially after driving most the night through driving rain and horrid humidity to land in sunshine, humidity, 100 degree heat and no open y's!

I've spent the good part of the heat of the day here - not catching up on my blog, but putting out emails and answering emails for future readings/gatherings/discussions.

I also finished the editing for my 3rd printing of 100 books, at least all the editing I'm doing this time - the first 15 or so chapters. I'll focus on the last 15 or so chapters for the next edition. I have to get a rush printing anyway because of all the readings I've scheduled this weekend...

So I'm in the middle of gmo corn-on-crack corn fields, mega farms and green rolling hills, getting into my truck after avoiding waves of white male anger coming from the revving engine black truck parked opposite me when I notice an older white womon in some kind of sedan has circled past me twice, staring openly and in disbelief as she goes around my truck.

She finally parks two spaces down from me, grabs her large shoulder bag, and comes strolling over. I've rolled down my window but I open the door and start to slide out but she's already there expressing her wonderment and firing questions at me.

At first I can't tell if she's a positive or negative, she's so taken with the fact that I exist, my truck exists, and asking me how I came into this existence. I tell her about 9/11 and thou shall not kill, and then the rest. I'm pretty sure she is trying to smile but is gaping so broadly it's hard to tell.

Margaret, she says, when we exchange names, who has lived in Indiana all her life. She is small, in an old lady dress, curiosity overcoming any misgivings she might have talking with a stranger so different from her church friends, I imagine. She is catholic, pissed as hell with bishops and even the pope, the one and only pope I actually occasionally like.

She finally confesses how deeply her faith in knowing the truth has been undermined, how hard for her to know who to believe, who is telling lies, she's given up. But she adds hastily - even before I tell her believe in womyn - she believes me and everything written on my truck. She has had a hard life - her eyes leave mine and I know she's talking about church-condoned male violence - although she's quick to assure me her life is better now, she has survived.

I guess she is one of the 64% of old white women who voted for tRump and so I ask her. Her eyes bore into mine as she angrily tells me it was such a big mistake as he hasn't done anything she thought he would. I ask her, as I always do, what did she think those things were, that tRump was going to provide us.

She waves her hand turning her head in disgust, causing a flash of brilliance sparkling in the weak but still hot rays of the setting sun off her ring of diamonds, temporarily blinding me. Because he wasn't a 'politician' (just a fuckin billionaire, I mumble under my breath) she considered him one of the 'normal' people who wouldn't lie like politicians.

I don't ask her "when has a rich man done anything for you" but between her ring, her sedan, and her health she perhaps has had a rich man doing many things for he. 

I have to ask her how could she, as a womon of indeterminate (to me) age although I would guess late 70's, given the only opportunity she's ever had in her entire long life to vote for another womon, how could she choose not to?

She shakes her head sadly, protesting she didn't know until recently about how many concentrated lies the media was spreading about Hillary. "It was really both of them together, the Clintons" as if they're inseparable like water and wet - which I don't point out the internalized sexism in holding a female candidate responsible for her husband...grrrrr - that, well she believed they had murdered so many to get so high in politics, that they were 'traffickers' and all around evil people.

Did she think about what tRump did to become a bazillionaire?

While she's talking, she riffles through her pocketbook - the one hanging over her shoulder - and pulls out a little red purse that she opens and takes a $20 bill to hand to me. I ask her if she wants a copy of my book but she hesitates and appears so uncomfortable, I wonder if she reads. She wants to know if I sell it. I nod, hold up her donated $20 and say she's already paid me for it.

She promises to read it and pass it on to her womyn's group at the church - the womyn's group who have been talking about nothing but the betrayal of the men of that church, a conversation I'm sure womyn have had over the eons. Maybe that's why womyn became nuns and isolated themselves from those men in the first place. What do I know.

I encourage her to bring me back to do a reading/gathering/discussion with her whole group - I'm very mobile!

Sunday, September 02, 2018

The Guilt, The Bad, The Problem...

In my line of work, confronting bigotry, racism, sexism, sometimes liberal whites respond with declarations of guilt caused by the info I'm revealing to them, or maybe perhaps the way in which I'm revealing it.

Often they also say they feel like they’re bad people or worse, they are part of the problem.

Hmmmm

This happened today at a reading in Madison when an older white womon told me I was making her feel guilty. Liberal whites expect that to be the end of the conversation, well maybe the end after I apologize for laying a guilt trip on them. For it seems to be a condition of liberalism to avoid like a plague making anyone feel guilty or bad or ‘the’ problem.

So I asked her what she feels guilty about but she quickly claims just doesn't want to feel guilty.

Ok, who does? I ask her  “I’m wondering why you disparaged my veggie oil truck?” to which she responded with cautious smile she never did. I look at her with my best disbelief expression “Really, you didn’t? Last week at the grocery store you put down my truck’s paint job and told everyone who would listen that a 5 year old could have done a better job?”

“No,” she is leaning toward me, firm and sincere, frowning now.

“Well, maybe that wasn’t you,” I concede and she begins to slide back, “but I know it was you who broke my cell phone and then hid it in the garbage can.”

She jumps upright in her seat and demands to know what the hell I’m doing, to which I respond “I’m trying to make you feel guilty. Do you feel guilty?”

“Hell know, “ she responds, “I don’t have anything to feel guilty about.”

“That is my lesson for this day. I don’t believe anyone can ‘make’ us ‘feel’ guilty unless there’s something we’re doing to feel guilty about.”

Everyone in the circle, including Sarah, nods slowly as I explain.

So I urge my participants to try something different, when they’re talking about or being confronted with racism or sexism, or any ugly truth etc. If and when feelings of guilt, of accusation, of I’m a bad person comes up for you, take a few minutes and step back, open your mind and thoughts to figure out what exactly it is that you have to feel guilty about, to feel bad about, to feel like you are part of the problem.

And then change it.