We Are All Broken

In a world where you can be anything, be kind” – Jennifer Dukes Lee

When I was a junior in college I broke my arm. More specifically, I broke my radial head, the part of your forearm that connects to your elbow. I had never broken a bone before. And honestly the inconvenience of not being able to use my arm for the better part of two months was far more difficult than the pain. I couldn’t bend or twist my arm at all for the first several weeks, I couldn’t grip anything with my hand. You realize how much you need your arm when you can’t use it. I couldn’t do most house chores, I couldn’t tie my own hair back, I couldn’t open my own pill bottles, I couldn’t put on a bra.

I became very dependent on everyone around me and it was challenging. I needed my roommates to cook my meals, do my chores, tie my hair back so I could wash my face. I needed my coworkers to do most of my job for me. Growing bone is also exhausting, so I was tired all the time. Honestly, it was a pretty embarrassing, helpless time.

But because I broke my arm right at the elbow, I didn’t have a cast. They wanted me to start moving my arm as much as possible as soon as possible so that it didn’t heal in one position. I had a sling that I was supposed to wear to alert people around me that I was injured and I needed space. But the sling was removable. So I often didn’t wear it.

Because I didn’t want people to know I was broken and helpless.

All in all, it worked out. No one ended up bumping into me, I didn’t trip and fall and hurt myself more, my chores got done, my job got done, I got fed, my school work was completed. For eight weeks I went about campus and almost no one knew that I was injured and exhausted. My arm healed, and life went on.

My point, if it isn’t obvious yet, is that we have no idea what someone is going through. Not everyone you encounter will have a literal broken arm, but everyone around you is going through something. And we don’t want the world around us to know. Your coworkers may be struggling financially, your friends marriage may be falling apart, your family members may be struggling with depression.

We are all hurt, we are all exhausted, we are all embarrassed at how broken we feel.

So this week, I challenge you to be kinder. Ask your barista how their day is going and really listen, give the people on the sidewalk a little extra room, reach out to your friends who you haven’t heard from in a while and let them know you still care. If someone is short with you, give them some grace. If someone is quieter, say hello. Set aside your pride, your self-centeredness, and be kind instead. Find one moment every day this week to be intentionally kind.

Maybe we won’t change the world with kindness, but maybe we will.




“I HATE MEN!!” <- That’s me, yelling at the television almost every night. Sometimes it’s Toby from “This Is Us” not listening to anything Kate says, as if he didn’t hear a thing she just said and totally speaks over/for her (the current season is much better).  Anytime violence against women is used as entertainment value – one main reason I can’t watch Game of Thrones (sue me). Or how about THE FREAKING NEWS. Women being murdered by ex-boyfriends for no reason. This fucking Boys Club that runs our country and elect’s rapists to the highest seats. HOW IS ANY OF THIS OKAY?!

My husband, sitting on the couch across the room from me either lets me have my angry moment or agrees with a nod.  I always finish the sentence with ‘of course I hate all men except for you’. But sometimes I wonder, do I mean it?

Since I choose to not live in ignorance to the world around me, it becomes more apparent everyday how men use, abuse, and hurt women. I see it in everything. How a white man walks into a room acting as if he owns it. How a man can go running at 11:30pm and make it home without even a thought to his safety. I once read about a woman who started walking in a straight line instead of moving out of the way for men walking the other way. I tried this at my gym. A small space, but I just walked in a straight line to the stretching room and noticed some men seemed totally annoyed that they actually had to move a little out of the way. It was eye opening to see this male privilege in action.

I met my husband 5 years ago and the thing that drew me to him was the way he listened to me. He believed the things I said, never dismissed any emotions. In 27 years, I had never had a man treat me like a person. He is so very aware of his white male privilege and always takes the side of the oppressed. But while he is an amazing man, he is still a MAN.

He is still representative of what feels like ‘his’ people. People born into a male heteronormative lifestyle. White male men who never ask for anything, they just take what they want and see no consequences. It feels like the more women speak out about these micro aggressions, the more it feels like ‘them’ against ‘us’. It feels so divisive.

On one hand, I am grateful to have open eyes and awareness of this, but maybe if I didn’t…
-I could love my husband better.
-I could not get so angry when he doesn’t clean the bathroom.
-I could not be so annoyed when I pick a tv show and ask him if he’s okay with it, but when he picks a show he just presses play.
-I could not look at him and only see the privilege he walks in.
-I could rant and not have to realize that while he tries his best to understand- there is no way he can feel what I feel.

I’m working this out. Every day I am trying to see him for the beautiful human being he is. The person who is my safe place to fall. Who loves every part of me.  I am l trying to navigate how to love him well, while constantly being bombarded with how his gender generally views mine. I basically think it’s my lifelong job to help him understand the difficulties women face and how we are represented (I cannot even imagine it’s 100x harder for women of color).

I don’t really know how to end this article since there isn’t any big revelation or anything I’ve had. Maybe it will resonate with someone else. It feels like until the world fully changes (I don’t have very high hopes it’ll be anytime soon) I will struggle with this. I think I should bring him into this struggle and not deal with it on my own. It feels very raw and vulnerable. While he may not be able to do anything to fix the world around him, he and I can continue to love each other the best we know how.



48 Hours in the Life of Basic Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment has been talked about a lot this past year. I’ve talked about it a lot this past year. And I know there are still plenty of people who think the daily sexual harassment women are “claiming” is exaggerated, over reacted, and is still be dangerously downplayed. There are even people who still claim that it’s not sexual harassment, just compliments, and we should be flattered. And I’m here to tell you that that could not be farther from the truth.

So let me take you through what can happen in just 48 hours walking this world as a woman:

-I went to the grocery store on my break. On the walk back, a man jogged up to catch up to me. This is not a man I know. By all initial appearances he looked like a normal man, not a homeless man or drugged out or drunk man, just a normal man in typical Seattle casual ensemble. When he catches up with me he says to me, “Hey can I get your number, we should hang out”. I simply said, “No thank you” and changed my course so I was now walking away from him rather than with him. He starts shouting after me, “Whatever Bitch thanks for nothing”. This was roughly 11AM on a weekday.

-There are lots of construction workers striking in Seattle right now. And there are lots of construction workers picketing outside our building. Meaning I have to walk right through them to get into work. As I am walking into work one of the picketers, “Hey you look nice today let’s talk for a bit”. I smile uncomfortably as I continue on my way into my job. “That’s rude, you know that! Bitch!”. This was about 9:30AM on a weekday.

-I went running on Saturday. A man got in my way so I could not walk past him and started waving his hand wanting me to take my headphones out to talk to him. I do so, while keeping my distance, maybe he just wants directions. “How long can you run for?” A very disturbing question, why are you going to chase me now? “Have a good day” I say as I put my headphones back in and continue on my way. “Come on, just talk to me for a bit!” I continued running. This was about 4:30PM on a weekend.

-I went running again during the week. A bus stopped and many people got off, as they do. Most of these people were considerate enough to make room for me to run past them without trouble. One man in particular, a very tech-bro Amazon/Microsoft looking man, decided to purposefully get in my way, moving back into my way as I tried to navigate around him. I finally had to stop where I was because it was obvious he was not planning on letting me pass. I was visibly not amused. He laughed and told me he was “just kidding around”, tapped me on the arm, and finally let me pass. This was about 6:30PM on a weekday.

Over the course of 48 hours I was harassed by four different men, none of whom seemed homeless or intoxicated. These were normal, regular men, who felt entitled to my time, and my company, and my space. In almost all instances, my choice to politely keep to my self and go about my business invoked anger.

And all things considered, I actually consider myself lucky. I don’t have to deal with harassment in the work place. In past jobs that has not always been the case. So I only deal with this harassment when I am walking out and about. And yet, in 48 hour I was still harassed by four different men.

In none of these instances did I feel flattered, I felt uncomfortable and unsafe. My guard instantly went up as soon as these men started interacting with me, because I knew they wanted something from me. They weren’t asking for directions or help (though I was asked for directions during this 48 hours as well, and it was a perfectly pleasant exchange where I was neither harassed nor felt unsafe), they wanted something from me that I wasn’t willing to give. These men all felt entitled to me. And that is in no way flattering or complimentary.

These aren’t isolated instances, this is a typical day in the life. These aren’t a small ratio of men giving the rest a bad rep. These aren’t crazies and drunks. These are normal men harassing normal women on a daily basis. And every time I go outside I put my guard up. Because every time I go outside some man decides to bother me.