The Future Is Female: The Women’s March on Washington

24 Jan
  • carrie

It is indeed. The trip to Washington was incredible and life changing and also unsettling and just the beginning of the conversation.

So let’s start at the beginning. On Saturday morning we hit the Shady Grove DC Metro stop and found this:

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A very very large crowd trying to get into the train station. We were here for hours. Rumors went through the crowd that if you didn’t have a DC metro card you couldn’t get one anymore.

We did not have a DC metro card. The face I was making at this time was not a happy one.

Finally when we got up to the gate – which they had to close to stop people from coming in – the guards said that wasn’t true. We slowly slowly slowly inched our way through the tunnel, to the machines, up the stairs and finally onto a train which spit us out at the National Mall around noon. By this time, Independence Avenue, the location of the rally and start of the march was inapproachable. And when I say inapproachable I means the crowds were wall to wall filling every possible space at every cross street to Independence.

Like this:

YOU did this. KEEP SHOWING UP. (Repost: @averyjo_)

A post shared by Women's March (@womensmarch) on

And that’s ONLY Independence Avenue.

We were LEGION.

At that point we were chanting and hanging out waiting for this thing to happen. By 2:30 when it wasn’t, we started chanting “Let’s March Now”

And then we did. The original route went up Independence but for those of us not there there was no way we could reach it so we headed up the Mall. And when I say up the Mall, I mean pulled down fences, headed up the Mall.

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There were some really amazing chants.

My favorite was “You’re boring, you’re gross, you didn’t win the popular vote.” With runners up being:

“Hands too small, can’t build a wall”

“Welcome to your first day, we will never go away”

And it was refreshing to hear how strong “Black Lives Matters” chants were because, my march seemed to be predominately white and considering 53% of white women voted for him, I’m glad we’re the ones doing the work now. We need to fix this. This is on us.

Neatly summed up in this incredible image:

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White feminism is a dangerous and destructive thing and it is on white people to constantly work towards intersectionality and inclusiveness. And I’m hearing a lot of crappy whining from white feminism about how their “good time” is being ruined and to them I say this:

Stop talking. Listen. Really listen. Bite down on the knee jerk reaction to say “But not me” when people of color are talking about racism. You know how we hate #NotAllMen when we’re being #YesAllWomen. Same deal. Shut up and listen to these arguments because we cannot move forward unless we are walking the same path and we cannot do that unless we are together. Conversation – icky awkward it-makes-me-uncomfortable conversation has to happen. People of color live under white supremacy and face racism every day. The least we can do it is listen to them and manage that small bit of discomfort.

Also there was a lot of chatter about how peaceful the march was. And it was. Don’t get me wrong. I saw people taking such good care of each other – lifting each other’s children up, helping the elderly – it was beautiful. But the police let us march all over the Mall because we were predominately white. BLM rallies and marches have snipers, riot gear, pepper spray.

Bullets.

We did not make this peace. Our whiteness did. And now it’s important for us to show up for BLM and NoDAPL and pro-immigration and anti-Islamophobia rallies and marches and to truly stand with our sisters.

There was also a lot of really positive body image stuff at the march which I LOVED. I mean, come on? This is anatomically correct!

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And this beautiful woman dressed up!

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And seriously, all the men (and some women) complaining about the Women’s March being obsessed with pussy can just stop right there. Just remember that every day women navigate the constant miserable tightrope that is knowing that our vaginas that you straight men love and covet and need and chase after and use to feel powerful and want so fucking badly (you’ll just take them if you have to) are the same ones you mock and demean for their shape and taste and texture and smell. Don’t think that we didn’t grow up being told they were shameful and embarrassing unless they were loved by straight men. We live with that every fucking day. So if the next generation of girls grows up to think there is nothing wrong with their vaginas because at the march people wore pussy hats and had anatomically correct drawings and hell, dressed up like them and instead they think their vaginas are beautiful and natural and wonderful and powerful then this march accomplished something goddamn groundbreaking.

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Even the earth made an appearance!

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In case you can’t read that top one it says, “Alt-righters: Call your Dad, You’re in a cult!”

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And one of my favorite quotes ever…..

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We are the storm.

It was a really good day. Easily the best I have felt since the election and it mattered so much to see this groundswell of women, all over the world. Including ANTARCTICA!

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Look at us! We did this!

Me and you and you and you.

We did this.

And we need to keep doing this. Every day. We need to stay vigilant and protest. We need to support BLM and NoDAPL and Immigrants and the Disabled and Diseased. We need to call our reps. We need to support real news. He is coming for all of us. Never forget that.

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This is what feminism looks like:

So in honor of this and this historic march and our giant Pussy Fight, I’m changing my sign off slogan. I used to always say “Peace, love and starbursts” and while I still love all those things, times like this call for a little bit more.

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Resist, my friends. Always.

 

Chins up, Claws Out,

Ally

Day Zero: Shipwrecked in TrumpLand

19 Jan

And here we are…

I watched some footage of Michelle Obama taking her last walk through the White House. Insta-tears.

I told my husband this morning that even if Hillary had won, I would still be mourning the loss of MY President.

Regardless, here we are. So where are we?

Well we did a little protesting this weekend. My Brooklyn neighborhood is incredibly diverse (like nearly every New York City neighborhood) and predominately Arabic. I love my neighborhood. So when I saw that they were holding a pro-Immigration rally and march, I headed over.

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Seriously this family wins twice – one for the Not My Tsar and the other for the kid’s finger painting protest poster.

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This isn’t the best example of the magnitude of the crowd but you get the gist. The whole time cars were honking and people were cheering because….

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Not this time, indeed. This was a nice primer for Saturday, The Women’s March on Washington which, in all honesty, I think might be the most historically important thing I have ever done in my life. I’m proud to be there, with my friends, to stand up and be counted.

It’s going to be a long four years. We need to protest. We need to call our reps. We need to be vigilant. And we need to keep making art because Art Is Resistance.

As many of you know, my husband, John Grochalski kept a poetry blog posting a poem a day for nearly a decade. He retired that blog this fall but then, when Trump was elected, decided to bring it back only this time it wasn’t just his writing – it was for all of us.

He’s going to be posting something every day of the Trump Administration (read: Trumpocalypse). That’s 1, 460 days. So, my artist friends – please submit to winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com

Also it doesn’t have to be Trump specific but could also be observations on our life in these terrifying times. Any kind of art accepted – poems, stories, rants, novel excerpts, music, photos, paintings, digital art, stuff your cat does at night, whatever you consider to be art, is what you send.

We’re going to work together to RESIST what is happening.

Artists, get on your motherfucking marks.

Get set.

Go!

So to kick off this blog, today John posted his first piece. It’s very dear to my heart and penned by a man in my life who taught me the power of empathy, the importance of listening instead of speaking, and, as an immigrant, the lasting impact of courage.

Here is the letter that my father, or as we like to call him, Big Ron, wrote to me on my sisters days after the election, when everything felt so raw and helpless. Thank you for being there for us. Thank you for being you. And I too hope you get to see a Madam President.

(And congrats on your first publication!)

And to hear more about what John is doing with his blog, check out his interview on Talk with ME and his artist’s statement on his blog. Again if you want to submit, (winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com) do it! We need to stick together.

Remember that scene in Apollo 13 where they had to slingshot around the moon and they were going to go radio dark and no one in Houston knew if they would make it?

Yeah.

Yeah…..

See you kids on the other side.

Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

Bugger off 2016

31 Dec

 

First off, a quick thank you and shout out to Rebecca at Albany Poets for this amazing review of Better Luck Next Year

Even though Malinenko is discussing how cancer changed her life, her multi-dimensional self-exploration allows the reader to appreciate how any life altering experience can disturb the way we once saw ourselves and our placement in the world.

So….here we are….finally reached the end of this terrible terrible year that in many ways went to shit on January 10th, 2016 (I still miss you Bowie) and then continued to plummet to absolute hell after that.

And it’s not like there’s much to look forward to in 2017 with the monster taking office and the GOP running everything. It’s going to be bad. It’s going to be ugly. People are going to get hurt. We are going to have to keep fighting and resisting and it’s going to be exhausting.

But there’s still us. You and me and the rest of us who didn’t want this and who will fight against it. There are more of us than there are of them. That matters.

Not to sound all Gandolf-y but no one wants dark times. But that is not for us to decide. All we can decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new year. There’s art to be made. Art to fight, art to comfort, art to make us laugh. We’re at the starting line, artists. Take your mark.

On that note, writers, photographers, artists of all flavors, John Grochalski is restarting Winedrunk Sidewalk. He needs your help. Submissions can be sent to winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com

I’ve told my husband a few times that I think this year is worse than 2014, and he keeps disagreeing with me. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe that’s the power of perspective.

But on the last day of 2014, after the diagnosis and the surgery and the radiation and everything was finally finished, and the worst year of my life was coming to an end this is what I posted.

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I still believe it’s a magical world. I always will because that is central to the core of who I am and how I navigate through my life and this world.

And not cancer or a monster in the white house is going to shake that.

Happy New Year, my friends. Know that I love you. Let’s take care of each other. Let’s go exploring.

Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

Love Wins.

29 Nov

And as November wears down and the final month of this year begins I feel the need to reflect on the few good things that happened this month. Because the rest of it has been pretty goddamn awful with no end in sight.

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photo courtesy John Grochalski

1. Some horrible person spray painted a swastika on playground with the words “Go Trump” in Adam Yauch’s (MCA from the Beastie Boys) park in Brooklyn Heights. So basically the whole borough came out to prove that we won’t tolerate hate.

Brooklyn is awesome like that.

This is a video from youtube because mine sucked and my battery died half way through. Also I’m short so you couldn’t see anything but heads and jackets.

I couldn’t find a video for Borough President Eric Adams which stinks cause his speech was really fantastic and moving BUT City Council Member Brad Lander went old school with the people’s mic which was pretty sweet.

 

It felt good to be there, surrounded by people who will give up their Sunday morning to stand in the freezing cold (and it was COLD) and link arms and cheer and shout and sing together. We sang the National Anthem because as I said before – the fascists that voted him in – they don’t own the word Patriot. This is what Patriots do. We fight and we protest and we stand up for each other and we hold our country up to a higher standard.

2.  Another really cool thing that happened this month is that I was invited onto Talk with ME, Marcia Epstein’s incredible radio show. I got hooked up with this show through Wolfgang Carstens who recently published a chapbook of mine – I’ll Be So Still You Won’t Even Notice Me. I was incredibly honored to be included in the series and to have this opportunity to be on the show. Over the course of an hour we talked about a lot of different things including my ridiculous writing schedule (4:45 am, folks) and the importance of art in times of difficulty; about cancer and mental health; we read some poems;  talked about Life and Death and the Universe and Empathy and Compassion and really How Goddamn Beautiful This World Really Is.

At the end of the hour I started to describe this image I had seen online, a drawing of Snoopy and Charlie Brown sitting on a dock.snoopy

After I described it, Marcia started to laugh with that really beautiful deep throat, throw your head back laugh that she’s got and she tells me that Wolfgang actually made that.

Of course. Full Circle. Everything just keeps coming round and round. It was one of those moments where everything felt magical.

You can listen to the whole thing here:

 

3. And the most absolutely wonderful thing that happened this month is that I had the sacred honor of standing witness as my best friend Dan married the love of his life at City Hall.

This was really important to me because I have known him for a long time. And when I say, a long time, I mean, a LONG TIME

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Always with the snot, Malinenko

My most heartfelt congratulations to you, Dan and Adrian. May you be as happy every day as you were today. It was truly a sacred honor to bear witness.

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And now, comes December and Christmas and New Years and then 2017 and whatever it brings. We’ve got to take care of each other. We are, after all, all we’ve got. It’s just us sitting on this pale blue dot in all that nothingness.

If you have the money, please donate to causes that need it, that will fight for the people who are the most vulnerable. Do what you can.

In January I will be going to the 1 Million Women’s March on Washington. Come stand with me, with your partners and your children and protect our rights, our health, our safety and our families. I hope to see you there.

 

Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

10 Things White People Need to do Right Now

15 Nov

Where are we now, where are we now?
The moment you know, you know, you know
– David Bowie

That’s a good question, David.

Where exactly are we?

Everything went wrong. The pollsters were wrong. The newspapers were wrong. I’m not going to analyze what happened because frankly there are much smarter people out there already doing that.

But what I will say is this: Racism won this election.

Read this whole thread (Mom you have to click on the date (15 Nov 2016) in the tweet. You’re welcome.)

White people did this. White women did this. White men did this. Rich ones, middle class ones, poor ones. All of us.

But I want to talk to the white women first.

Remember when we were all #YesAllWomen and some people came at us with #NotAllMen and we went ballistic. Remember how we didn’t like people re-framing our experiences? I want you to keep that in mind when PoC say this is white people’s fault. Because if you come back with “not this white person” you’re doing the exact same thing as “not all men.”

Just own the fact that white women did this. And that as white women we are all complicit. They are our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends and our relatives. Every time we let a racist comment slide we added to what happened on Tuesday. I know it’s hard to hear but life is hard.

WE ARE COMPLICIT.

Sit with that. Own it.

That planet of regret and shame you feel inside you is yours. At some point you start stoking that thing with some righteous anger and you make use of it. You donate to causes that will protect the people who are in harms way. You volunteer. You protest. You vote locally. But what you do not do is try to defend yourself to PoC because guess what? You don’t get a cookie for just being a decent human being.

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Dig your heels in. Do the work, white people. Start here:

  1. Call out sexism and racism every time you see it. Jokes with the boys about homos? Call it out. Uncle Randy has too much to drink and pontificates on The Blacks or The Asians? Call it out. Male colleague makes your female colleague uncomfortable? Call That Shit Out.
  2. Call your representatives in both the House and the Senate. Remember they work for you. Hold them accountable. Make them answer.
  3. Boycott. There are numerous brands associated with Trump that you can easily boycott but before you do – do the research. For instance, I want to cancel my paypal account because while Peter Theil (a Trump Supporter) is not longer the CEO their investors include Carl Icahn who is. BUT the current CEO has Dan Shulman opposed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act. So you need to weight your decisions.
  4. Donate
  5. Protest
  6. Use your privilege to protect the people that are most in danger. Speak up. I don’t give a shit if you’re wearing a saftey pin or not, just SPEAK UP.
  7. Vote. Midterm elections will be here come 2018. Between now and then you find out everything you can about the people who represent you. Never forget that apathy pulls a lever too. So we come out in numbers. We take the Senate back. We Tea Party their asses.
  8. You talk less and listen more – especially you, white men. You don’t tell marginalized people how they feel. You don’t tell women how they feel. You don’t talk for awhile. You listen. No harm has ever come from listening.
  9. Amplify the voices of PoC. Retweet them. Share their facebook status. Make sure your racist grandma sees it.
  10. And then do that all over again. And again. And again. Until we’ve started to undo what we’ve caused.

What you DON’T do is hand-wringing or apologize for racism or call for unity and love. Real people are hurting. Real people are going to continue to be hurt. Now is not the time for unity. Now is the time to be on the right side of history. Hold tight to your anger. But do not let it become rage. Anger can feed you but rage eats you up.

And remember this – the other side – they don’t get to own the word Patriot. Over time patriot and nationalism have been conflated. Patriots fight and they protest and they hold their country up to a higher standard.

We are Patriots. Act like it, America.

 

Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

Washington DC and Me

4 Nov

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Is our long national nightmare over yet?

How is this election still going on?

Have you seen how much we have all AGED?

Remember back in 2015 when we were young and pretty and David Bowie was still alive?

Sigh.

That said, ONE good thing that happened this year was my first legit trip to Washington DC. I was there back in 2007 for an afternoon when my husband and I took a cross-country car trip but that was it. We had plans to go in 2014, even bought tickets but then…well stupid cancer!

So clocking in a full week, I have to say I loved it. And could easily have filled another week.

I mean how can you not? It’s beautiful!

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We hit up all the monuments:

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Strolling around the Mall

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Einstein!

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MLK Jr:

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And of course the Museums. There is so much Art in DC it’s ridiculous. Both inside:

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and outside (snicker snicker):

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And of course the amazing National Museum of American History which had:

Kevin Arnold’s JACKET!!!! You know I love me some Wonder Years.

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The Lady who needs no introduction:

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There’s no place like home!

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The Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit in Protest

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A Life Mask of Abraham Lincoln (more on him later!)

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The NBC microphone that broadcasted War of the Worlds

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My boys and their duck:

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Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves

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Apple computer from the 80’s

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En Vogue!!! Never gonna get it, never gonna get it, never gonna get it

(you’re welcome for getting that song stuck in your head)

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And what I thought was the most incredible part, the hat Lincoln wore to Ford’s Theater the night of his assassination.

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Speaking of Lincoln, one of my absolute favorite experiences in DC was the Ford’s Theater Tour.

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Waiting for the talk by the Park Ranger – which was INCREDIBLE

This is the booth as it was then, still today:

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And here’s Lincoln’s seat:

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After the theater talk you get to go next store to the boarding house that Lincoln was brought to, in there was the bed he died in:

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Or NOT because when you read the note next to it it explains that the real bed is in Chicago as part of an exhibit. Grrrrrrrrr. Still Ford’s Theater was incredible.

One of the other museums that I really wanted to go to was the Museum of African American History which opened up the weekend we were there so getting tickets was impossible. But we got to look at how pretty it is.

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Hopefully next time.

And of course there was the Air and Space Museum which this little space nerd went bonkers over. First off, you can touch a piece of the moon!!!unnamed-30

That’s the moon and I touched it!

And they had a capsule:

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and a lunar module:

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And lots of suits:

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And one of the coolest things they had was a recording of the noise that Jupiter makes.

I’m 100% not kidding. See:

 

Also the air and space museum has the Spirit of St. Louis:

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And the Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega 5B which she flew alone across the ocean and the United States – both a first for women.

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Speaking of Earhart, did you hear the new castaway theory?

Anyway, my point is it was a really great trip. And it was incredible to be there while Barry was in office. Speaking of, at one point near the White House they made everyone stay where they were on the sidewalk and they closed off the street and 5 SUV’s came down and the woman next to me started freaking out saying that Barry was in the middle one (which makes sense considering the layout of the cars). To say I was excited was an understatement. You couldn’t see in but I assume it was basically this:

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I’m looking forward to going back to DC.

And this time with a woman in the White House.

Cause we’re going to do the right thing on Tuesday, right America?

Yes, we are. Because we are NOT THAT. We are better than that. We are With Her.

Don’t forget to VOTE ON TUESDAY!

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Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

Goodbye, My Girl

13 Oct

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“When they built you, they broke the mold” – Bruce Springsteen

Goodbye, my June.

You were my very best friend and I am heart broken.

May 2, 1999 – Oct. 12, 2016

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