November astrology

These days, I think I can call myself an astrologer. I have been studying astrology for the last 3 years and have just loved every second of it. There is something in there that speaks to me, and especially in our birth charts. Here, we can see the universe at the exact moment of our birth. We can see where the planets aligned, how they interacted and what the energy of the universe was in that first breath. I see this as the energy that courses through my body.

Astrology also speaks to me because it has been substantial in my parenting. The lesson I simply work from is that each of my kids is their own artistic work of this universe filled with a completely set of different energy than me or my partner. And you can compare the charts between parents and kids to see where there could be hardships, help, or even mergers in their energies. You should look too. And if you want, I can look. Check out my astrology page here or my Etsy shop here.

But to get back to astrology, one area I have not studied quite as much is the current day astrology. So, I’m learning. And I recently learned something that I want to share. Right now, Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn are on their way to a major conjunction where they will meet up in Capricorn – taking place in the earlier weeks of November. Pluto is the planet that makes us see our perception of power and the abuse of power. Jupiter is about the law, philosophy, and expansion. Saturn is about constriction, slowness, and rules and boundaries. Capricorn is a sign of practicality, austerity, and responsibility. The last time this exact setup happened was in the 1200s, when the Knights of Templar fell.

The Knights of Templar were known for their extreme policies and distribution of fake news. And, it was after their fall that the evangelicals moved into West Africa…thus, resulting in the starting interest of the capture of Black hostages to be sold to the rest of the world. Mostly in this county we live in, on stolen land, filled with fake news, extreme policies, and regular doses of inhumanity.

So why am I sharing this? November feels big because astrologically it is huge. November has the potential to define us. To set a course that can completely change the future for us. So I just keep waiting and wondering, what will this humanity choose? I know what I have been working towards. Hindsight is 2020? Right?

Lord Beric

I love dogs, like love love dogs. In fact, I dream of retirement on a farm with so many dogs. Enough to fill the fields and enjoy the wonders of the land.

I have always lived with a dog, starting with the day I was born. First, there was Bruno, a German Shepherd who spent his days protecting our family and his nights wooing the neighborhood females while outrunning the dog catcher. He was my first understanding of someone who was dying of old age. I used to go downstairs before bed to tell him goodnight. And I’d tell him that if he had to die that night, it was ok and we loved him.

Then came Sally, a black lab mix who thrived on pizza, candy, getting her nails done, and photo shoots on the picnic table. I taught her as many tricks as I could including how to take the parts of my dinner I didn’t want to eat and to chew them quietly under the table.

Shortly after, there was Brandy. A Frankenstein-like mixed breed who was put together all wrong, except her brain was on point and she was smart, opinionated, and clever. She liked baseball, water bowls, telling the other dogs what to do, and trying to kill our pet rabbit.

Next was Cody. We chose him out of a bathtub full of black lab puppies. I picked each and every one up to see which one we wanted. I turned around and my Mom was holding him, his head on her shoulder and we just knew. Cody lived through much including two torn acls, a near fatal spider bite, and wood floors. He loved my mom, figuring out his next path to relieve his floor anxiety, stealing food, and not sleeping. Like ever. We’re pretty sure he never actually slept. Cody was the last dog my parents owned.

When I was on my own, I found him. A golden orange mixed breed with a sweet face and the softest ears. We (my partner and I who learned that day that I make a decision and run at it) named him Carter. He was trouble, and I learned quickly how to guess which household item he’d consume next…duct tape, shampoo bottles, deodorant, my sister’s wedding necklace, playstation controllers, camisoles, season 5 of 24, and many more. He loved to play, hike, walk, eat, cuddle, and get lost. His first companion with us was a mini french lop rabbit named Rocky. They were friends, until Rocky lived out the last bit of his 9th year into old age.

So, we decided to find him another companion and headed to a no-kill shelter with Carter in tow. My partner saw her first. A small black and brown rottie mix hanging in the back of her cage. She looked at me and didn’t really say hi, but I agreed to meet her. She walked into the room and sat in my partner’s lap. He was convinced and so was I. She met Carter in their play area in the back. She kept trying to get his attention but he was too focused on peeing in all of the baby pools. But they were convinced he tolerated her, so home she came.

As I was pulling out of the parking lot, it started. The barks, play, romping, in the back of the car. We panicked and laughed, glad that Carter finally acknowledged her. We named her Penny, show name Not Penny’s Boat. She still warms our hearts at 9 years of age. She loves barking at absolutely nothing, fried chicken, donuts, sunbathing, and me (yes, she ended up picking me anyway).

We love dogs, and have had many. But somehow this past June we forgot all about these lovable quirky qualities that you have to train through or learn to live with. Because we decided now was a good time to adopt a second dog. In a pandemic. When we’re all home all of the time. And with a 2 yo who was just coming of age in their “terrible twoness.”

We connected with a local rescue and they matched us with a cattle dog mix who was blind in one eye. He fit all of our criteria except his energy level was a little higher than we had wanted. But we’ve got this, we’ve dealt with so much before in dogs. He was so sweet when we met him, and good with the kids, so home he came.

Then, we came inside. And they started “playing.” We were convinced they might be trying to kill each other, but we couldn’t tell. It went on well into the night, followed by telling him over and over that he could not sleep in our bed. We finally won about midnight, only to then have him wake us up at 5am. Penny just rolled over and went back to bed. I got up with him the first day. Then, he hit repeat. Every day.

His energy level was beyond what we expected. And he nipped, a lot. He herded us like cattle and just wouldn’t stop.

We put our heads together and called a trainer and reached out to the adoption group to ask for help. They said they are indeed playing, just loudly and roughly. My daughter says it’s like watching a fight between a grizzly bear and a black jaguar. The trainer helped us think of ways to keep him calmer, busy, and stimulated.

I was worried we couldn’t keep him. My partner kept saying how he just wanted another Penny. I reminded him that the perfect dog is always older than 5 years and has been living with you just as long. Penny’s favorite pastime these days is sunbathing on the deck during her nap.

But we committed, and we named him Bear. Short for his show name Lord Beric Dogdarrion. His show name may actually come in handy one day as my oldest is convinced she is going to train him on agility and he will be on tv.

But as I type, this little red heeler is curled up next to me sound asleep. On my bed none the less. But we’re doing it. He loves to wake up at 5:30am, eat dirt and cardboard, ride in the car, steal the kids’ toys, and snuggle, with full on doggie hugs.

We’ve learned that we can work together to make this work. We’ve learned that we can always say no, even though this time we stuck with our yes. And we’ve learned it’s easy to forget all of the hard stuff about dogs after the years, because we love them so. However, we know this loud, rambunctious, attention demanding, lovable puppy is and will be “the perfect dog.” And will remain so until he’s 29 (I haven’t told my partner, but the longest living dog ever was a cattle dog who lived until 29…picture my daughter at age 34 telling her friends that her childhood dog just died…)

In the meantime, look for us soon on tv. If you’ve read about my daughter, you already knew she’ll make this happen. Lessons start in a couple of weeks!

My name is Kelly Baker Warner

My whole life, I’ve been so good at being good. I have shown up in the way that others have wanted me to, or how I have assumed they have wanted me to. I’m tired of being good, and my rawness is starting to seep out. So let me reintroduce myself…

My name is Kelly Baker Warner. My married name is Warner, my born name is Baker, both are descriptive of my soul. I am 38 years old. I grew up in Maryland and have also lived in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Today, I live in southern Maine on the stolen land of the Pennacook and Abanaki people. I am married to a cis-hetero man and together we have a cis-daughter and a to be determined toddler. We also have two furry pups.

I am white, my ethnicities are Swedish, Scottish, Norwegian, and English. There are stories in my family of a great grandmother who was Native American, but these stories have been lost. I am agender and use the pronouns she or they. My expression is often feminine and I exist among groups of women often. Thus, I am often assumed to be a cis-hetero woman which grants me much privilege.

Both of my parents are living and they are loving, dedicated humans to their family and this world. I have two siblings, both also dedicated to making a difference and loving as deeply as they can. We are spread all across the country and I miss them desperataly. But we are also okay in our independent ways.

I live in an able body, but often with some level of pain. And I live in a small fat body. I am recovering from decades of disordered eating and even though I am fat, I still experience thin privilege in almost nearly every area of my life.

I am a writer, an artist, a creative, an educator, a doula, a lifelong learner, and an evolutionary leader. I believe in mother earth. I believe in astrology. I believe that Black Lives Matter. That Trans Lives Matter. That Black Trans Lives Matter. That in order to dismantle the systems of oppression that we live in, we must create a world that is built for those who are oppressed within it. This includes ability, race, gender, age, sexuality, immigration status, wealth, and every other ism you can name.

I believe that capitalism is another word for racism, for oppression. That capitalism is not about opportunity and advancement, but about stepping on the necks of others in order to take.

I believe that we must abolish the police. Because I believe in a world where we take care of humans, not punish them. That we do not throw people away. Thus, I believe in prison abolition. And I believe in transformative justice.

I believe that our health system is corrupt, bought, and laced with inequities that kill people of color at rates substantially higher than white folks. And I believe that this system is killing us white folks too.

I believe that fatphobia is really racism. And that the diet industry, the health industry, the clean eating industry is a sham. I also believe that we judge each other harshly. That this is a country of trolling, healthism, and oppression. But, I also believe that all bodies are beautiful. That all food is good food that can nourish our survival. And, I believe that hunger is a symptom of a drive to survive, not a failure of willpower.

I believe our bodies have all the wisdom we need and that capitalism, individualism, and oppression have taught us to doubt this.

I believe in free healthcare, free childcare, paid leave, paying people a liveable wage, and that no one should be a millionaire let alone a billionaire.

I believe in the wisdom of our elders. I believe that my white ancestors have stripped my understanding of the past, in their silence of stories that are too important not to share. That their shame has kept them silent when sharing this shame is actually what sets us free.

I believe survivors. Every time.

I believe that this earth is hurting, we are hurting it. And that it’s our job to make our peace with her. To see how we can reconnect as we watch her course correct time and time again.

I believe in revolutionary love. And not the kind of love that we all tout as the answer to oppression. But the kind of deep love that allows us to see ourselves in others, to know that we are all the same but not the same. That every life means something. That we ask for change because of revolutionary love. That we are angry because of revolutionary love. That there is interconnectedness between us all, and in the words of Valarie Kaur “you are a piece of me that I do not yet know.”

I believe that my kids are my greatest teachers. That in them, I can see me, and through them I can see how my healing is impacting the future of this world. That through them, I experience joy and wonder, and reconnect with my imagination, all essential to our surival. It’s through them that I remember what it’s like to experience this world for the first time, second time.

And so I write about them, because I want others to hear their teachings too.

Damn, it feels good to write again

I’ve been away for six months. In early 2020, I attended a retreat to vision the year ahead. I was struggling, just thinking about the simple tasks I wanted to complete. What were my values and how was I meeting them? I was forced to confront this. And it became so clear to me, the exhaustion. Of living every day for someone else. Almost never for me. So I decided I was going to “rest.” I stopped writing, and have not written until this post. I stopped participating in groups and events that did not immediately serve me. That did not bring me an overwhelming yes.

These six months have been little “rest,” but they have been filled with transformation. In some ways, the ask to stay home to avoid COVID has been a gift. A gift that has allowed me to find time to work on me, and also to spend time with my partner and kids.

But let’s be real, not much of 2020 so far has been much of a gift. Insight maybe. Change for sure. But no loss of life that could have been prevented by systemic intervention is a gift. This has been a time of unveiling. Pulling back the curtain on the society, systems we live in. And I believe it’s not done.

So the gift isn’t just the time I have spent. But also in that I have had my own unveiling. I have found no excuse not to pull back the curtain on how I have been living my life.

And I am here, eager to start again. Finding my way out from rest. In some ways, moving out of the cocoon into the stage of drying my wings. I have so much to share. And I’ll start with a few things.

I cut off most of my hair. It’s the shortest it has even been. And it feels so free. In contrast, my legs are covered in hair. I have realized that I don’t care to shave them. It is rooted in my oppression, so I have stopped.

I have gained weight, intentionally. To heal from disordered eating. I can now be called small fat, moving from a chubbier frame to one of fatness. I am working so hard to find my home here, to find power in this larger body. The irony I am reminding myself, is that the world wants me to shrink nearly everywhere I go. But where my heart resides, in resistance, the pursuit of justice and equity, space is essential. And the more you take up, the more impact you can have.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I am healing, medicating, and finding balance, love and joy in this body and life I am in.

I now use the pronouns she or they. More to come on this. For now, I ask you to consider seeing me as without, seeing me for being a human who chooses to live in this world full of space, love, tenderness, and an unyielding desire to change this world.

Even if it’s just one piece of writing at a time.

Blocked

I have something to share, I’m blocked. This happens every once and a while where I have nothing to write about. So it leaves me with this task of writing for the sake of writing, which then makes me feel unsure about my work. I also find it draws away from authenticity. I instead write from my head rather than my heart.

This is easy to do, as I have a history of being the leader, the one in charge. In my work, I had to make the decisions, strategize, and bring people along with me. This sometimes made it so I had to move things forward that were out of alignment with my values. In order to help a program or piece of work survive in this constraining world, I had to rationalize why it made sense to do it a certain way. Even though my heart screamed at me to do it differently.

An example is throwing people away when they don’t “produce” or “meet expectations” or “perform.” So easy to do in the work world. But frustrating because we only want to do it when someone doesn’t fit into the system. And instead of fixing the system, we throw someone away and try someone else who might fit instead. Don’t get me wrong, people make choices within that too. But shouldn’t we have set it up better so that their choices, the work is better suited to their success?

But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today, I am reflecting on what it’s like to be in my head for two straight weeks and how that is impacting my parenting.

These past two weeks have included some stresses, family death, travel, illness, unexpected changes in schedule. It was also week two and three as a stay at home parent. See I didn’t tell most folks, but the kids stayed in daycare for 4 weeks after I resigned from my job. I still feel guilty about it. And it was essential to my ability to let go of the corporate world, shed the skin that was suffocating me, so I could tap into my heart filled time with them.

Week 1 with them was bliss. I noticed their every breath, every milestone. I played for the first time in forever really enjoying it. I felt removed of the constraints of schedule, housework, social media. The first week I even did a reading purge where I read nothing and stayed off social media except to share my work.

Then week 2 came. In order to travel, my partner had to work 10 days in a row. I went from being by myself every day, to a couple full days with the kids, to every day all day with the kids. And then came croup followed by teething.

I’d be lying if I said I found any heart time. I started to write a few pieces but it all felt so superficial. So contrived. So educational. It didn’t feel like me. It felt like me two months ago, corporate me. I am choosing to release that part of me, to shed that skin.

So there will be gaps in blog posts sometimes because I am tending to my heart, my growth, my family. I am learning to balance. I am learning to write from my heart because that matters to me. Writing anything else is not the story I wish to tell.

In a world of chaos and wonder, we must evolve

A few days ago, my baby turned one year old. As I did with my first, I spent the hours up until the anniversary of their birth remembering where I was, what we were doing, and what was happening. I am quite surprised by what came up for me. With my first, I remember trying to relive only the good moments. And when the tough ones arose, to instead consider that it all worked out, that everyone is healthy and doing well. This time, I let myself sit in some of the discomfort.

I feel as if we are expected to remember the bliss of labor, the happy times. But for me, this first birthday was filled with lots of emotions. Leading up to the day, I was feeling sad. This was rooted in the knowledge that this baby will be my last. Part of me wants to have another child in our lives, but I look at this baby, my oldest, and the relationship that is established without a third is so glaringly clear to me. This baby is meant to be our youngest. So my sadness was in the knowledge that these are the last moments I’ll have a baby. The last moments I’ll have someone less than 1 year old. They started walking two weeks before and I quickly realized that they no longer rely on me quite as much, as they race after me on foot instead of whining to be picked up. The finality of it, as another mom spoke. Those were the words I was looking for.

The sadness was also wrapped up in the memories of being in the hospital and confronting a health system that failed to trust me. Ironically, I remember how they kept asking me if the baby was bigger than my last. They said that statistics showed that moms were the best at guessing the weight. I remember saying that it felt the same. I was sure they weren’t much bigger, and likely not much smaller. I suspect “mom thinks baby is 10 lbs” is in my hospital chart. I know what is missing in that chart – “mom knows that her body is wise and was built to birth children. That pitocin is not working because her body is fighting an induced birth because it won’t work. That if you’d all be patient, it will tell us when it’s ready and what it can and cannot do.” There’s none of that in there though.

I have so many good memories too. It was two full days with my partner, just us. A simple gift to allow us to be together for many calm and quiet moments before being parents of two. My doula was in touch the whole time, and she kept making me laugh. Her first born had a birthday the day I was scheduled for induction so we were thinking we might have a shared mama experience. Not being in active labor, I was able to text with so many people including some friends from afar. I remember the massive amount of love and support that was incoming on my phone. It was even hard to keep up. I remember seeing the night nurse, who 5 years before had delivered my daughter. I remember the moment she walked in, it was like seeing a ghost because I had no idea she was there or even working. It was such a special gift to see her. I remember the feeling in my body shifting from worry to grounded. I remember feeling my heart burst open and feeling ready to tackle the day with my partner by my side.

These memories all fed into when baby woke up this weekend on their actual day of birth. When I went to get them from bed, the sadness completely left my body. The day had arrived and there was no stopping it. All that was left was joy, gratitude and love. Many mark a first birthday as momentous because the baby is really shifting into toddlerhood. Medical providers mark it as a day of relief because the risk for SIDS drops even more dramatically. We marked it as a day of survival. It is the day that marks the moment that we spent an entire year as a family of four. We all made it, figured out most of it, and we continue to live in this life with love.

All day, I remembered what we were doing, what time people came to visit, when they took me back for surgery, when they were actually delivered, when my daughter met them, and when we finally had quiet. It was all perfect and fun to relive.

After I put them down to bed and said good night to my daughter, I sat on the couch and looked at my partner and said, “It was about this time a year ago that I thought I was going to die.” He pulled me close and said, “It was scary.” This moment marks our partnership for us. It reminds me why we chose one another and continue to choose one another every single day. There was no need for, “You’re alive, or you made it, or you’re okay.” Just a simple acknowledgment of that shitty set of minutes, hours, fear, marking it as a page in our story. A year later, we can’t rewrite it, as much as we’d like to. We can simply remember that it’s just a single page. A single page in a much longer story of our lives.

We then had another piece of birthday cake and started to straighten up the house for the birthday celebration the following day.

This past year has been momentous, and not just because we all survived. But because we chose this year to move our lives towards our dreams. We had always been walking towards them, but this year we decided to run. Full speed. And to take charge of our direction. We had a new baby, moved to another state, I quit my job, and together we are living a life that is simple yet so full in every single moment.

To reflect on the baby’s last year is impossible to do without considering all that came with it. When I look at this little person, our family, I feel the radiance of love brought forth into this world.

My daughter is full of confidence, care, and power. She is the tiger she always wanted to be. When she was three, I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said, “a tiger.” When I look at this baby, it’s starkly different. No less power or strength, but simply a different way to live it.

I cannot wait to see what happens this year in both of their lives. To see where they both step next. As a parent, I feel I am often tasked to be a teacher, a guide, someone who is supposed to set the trajectory for their lives. Instead, I live a couple steps behind. Close enough that they can turn and leap into my arms when and if they ever want to or need to. But far enough that I can just simply watch them grow.

This year will have so many more moments for this family. I continue to write and venture out into the world in a new way of being professionally. My partner is now at home, in the woods, living a life outdoors and in a place where he regularly reminds me feels like home. My daughter is navigating school and what it’s like to spend many hours in a cage, while you’re a wild tiger. This baby is journeying through exploration, new experiences nearly every second, and what it means to take off on their own.

A year full of so many things. A couple days living through last year is reminding me that pain is important. It’s part of how we got here. And it’s important to let it live as an experience rather than trying to push it away. I’ve found that when I allow the pain to live in my story, it has less power. It instead just has life within the rest of my life. I am able to remember moments for all of their emotions which feels like such an honest way to love.

When I started this blog, the words “In a world of chaos and wonder, we must evolve,” came to me. I’ll admit that I didn’t really know how to explain what it meant. I tried to re-write it and I even thought about replacing it. But those words simply rang true, even with no explanation. This past year, I have started to see why those words sit at the top of this page. Why they are so important in my life. These words are defining this writing, where I have been, and where I am going. I still don’t have the words yet, but I am working on them. I am writing until they come. I am living until it maybe starts to make more sense. For now, all I know, is that my heart, my body, my family are exactly who and where they need to be. One year is a long time for a little person. It’s their whole life. Today, I’m thinking it might be mine as well.

Valentine’s day and my high school newspaper

It has been many years since I have been able to get on board with Valentine’s Day. I just haven’t been able to connect, mostly due to the capitalistic side of it. Like many other things, I did some research on Valentine’s Day in my younger years. I did this while I worked on my high school newspaper, a place that continuously inspired me to find truth. My junior year, I wrote an article on the history of the holiday, exposing the continuous changes that included both oppression and religious agenda. Newspaper was a place where I could document and expose the myths we were living. For four years, I wrote story after story, sharing the history or hidden truth of whatever was next on my list. Some stories got me in the principal’s office, like my first story on sex and birth control, which was ironically part of this same Valentine’s Day spread. Others, just got some laughs or new insight for myself and my peers.

When I think about it, my time on the newspaper staff was my first real exposure to activism, to voice, and to pushing back on the system. The piece that brought me to the principal’s office was a story on what resources existed for people who were having or were thinking about having sex. I interviewed the school nurse and cited abstinence, it was and is still a good piece. The Vice Principals at that time, were reviewing the newspaper before print, after a fall piece where someone snuck in a headline that caught their attention. “Master Debators Head to State Finals,” I believe it was. We were on thin ice, as this came shortly after “Golf Team Whacks Off Towards Regionals,” or again something like this. All I know is that they reviewed every article and they pulled my piece the day before print. In protest, we chose to run a blank spot instead of replacing it with something else. There wasn’t enough time to argue its removal before print, so I quickly scheduled an appointment with the principal the next day, ready to argue my way back into the paper.

I sat down in his office, brought the piece with me, and stated that I wanted it printed. It was not obscene as the Vice Principals had cited, or even inappropriate. It was informative and comprehensive. He read it while I waited patiently. He looked up, said it seemed like a great and fine article to him and gave permission to run it in the next paper. I was elated, and also felt my first taste of victory.

Yes, it was entirely out of place in the next paper where the theme was no longer relevant. But knowing that the Vice Principals would then review the next month’s paper before print and would again see the article, this time with instructions to not touch it, it was worth it. This was one of many battles we experienced as journalists in this school, such as drawing attention to the nepotism that permeated the music performance the school was known for, or writing about the named structural racism in our homecoming system, or even witnessing abusive power dynamics by certain teachers with more tenure. I experienced overt sexism when I wrote a piece on the wrestling regional tournament and it wasn’t printed because they instead wanted to report on a baseball game. I was told, it was “pretty good” after I had begged to write it because no girl had ever written about wrestling before, let alone had it printed. I remember the seething feeling in my body when he said “pretty good,” and how much I wanted to spew back, Yet, I held it together because he was older and an editor and I knew I wanted to change things for the long run.

I even tried to be the sports editor the following year, just despite him. I lost out on that, because I was told I was needed elsewhere. It did suit my journalism, I was just bummed at the notion that I couldn’t change the system that easily.

But that piece on sex and Valentine’s Day still sits with me. See, what I uncovered about Valentine’s Day is that it used to be a celebration of sex and pleasure. With the overhaul of Europe by the hands of the Roman Catholic Church, the event was quickly put to bed, pun intended. Saint Valentine was chosen to represent the day instead. He was known for sending love letters from jail to his love, a unrequited love at that.

And so today, like many other tales, we follow what has been scripted for us. Celebrating love is not a bad way to do it, but what I struggle with is the money put into it all and the marketing of what Valentine’s Day should be. We buy expensive cards that share words we haven’t written. We buy flowers, cheap but pricey chocolates, bottles of wine, and splurge on a Valentine’s meal and sitter if you can find one. Today is targeted at those that are coupled, primarily heterosexual couples, and is marketed as a celebration of romantic love and partnership. Thus, it can be a hard day if you are unpartnered  – a day to avoid everyone who is coupled and all of the red and pink. I remember so vividly what it was like in college and high school to be unpartnered. In college, I even baked a vulva shaped pizza to empower myself in womanhood and to declare my love for myself and my body one February 14th.

With all of this swirling in my head, today I am thinking deeply about my kids. What do I want them to take from Valentine’s Day? What do I want them to see it as, how can I show them how to live it? Today, we have a few gifts for them. And my partner and I often give one another something small. I get my partner hostess cherry pies because he loves them. Her gets me some type of chocolate that I never treat myself to. My oldest just likes the fun of it, giving out valentines and making them. This year she is making them for us, and they are awesome. She made us a big valentine in art class with many gifts in a basket. They are strips of cut paper and she keeps giving them to me. I love them because I know that she puts high value on tiny things like this. So, yes it’s trash, scraps, but to her they’re important. So they are to me too.

I want to teach that Valentine’s Day can be less about the script. That it can be simply an excuse to love out loud. We move so fast sometimes, that we forget to tell people we love them. And to teach that today is not just about people who we romantically love, but about all of the people we love. Can we just simply tell everyone we love them? Can we see today as a practice day, as we step into tomorrow and remember to tell people we love them again and again? To hug a little longer, kiss people in greeting and goodbye, hold hands, and to see people in all of their being in all of the ways that we love them? To decide that intimacy is how we define it, not how the marketers tell us it should be?

Valentine’s Day is this for us. Our kids won’t witness the dinners, babysitters, or big presents. They likely won’t see flowers or chocolate hearts or even red and pink. Instead, they will see that today we love them, and today we are doing it up extra special because today is a reminder to share love out loud. To tell the world, our people, this earth, our ancestors, that our core being is rooted deeply in our ability to love one another. And just as importantly, to love ourselves. Because this folks has been my lesson. My activism is to love despite what society teaches us. To seek intimacy in all sorts of relationships, to explore how to love more fluidly and loudly. And to tell people how you feel all the time. This is the lesson I want my kids to see, that activism is love. That loving out loud is resistance. That loving all people in all ways is a key piece to how we change this world.

I should have written an article on that.