othering/a transitive verb

by Lisa Lillibridge

to treat or consider 
(a person or a group of people) 
as alien to oneself
 
Merriam Webster

I want to blame
I need to blame
someone else
something else 
anywhere else
for my inner tornado

alienate
vilify
repeat

easy breezy
automatic, unconscious

our world’s challenges
far too complex
and exhausting
to metabolize 
entirely on my own

quell my fears 
confirm my programming
please just tell me who, what, and where
I should other today

my team’s constant drumbeat
deliberate, unyeielding
laboring 24/7 
to justify
their clouding of my inner knowing 

click, forward, like, share, and tweet
fair and balanced
the daily diary of the American dream
all the news that’s fit to print

immutable 
and distracting
like a howling airplane baby

poor mum
damn baby

damn mum
poor baby

othering

seductive 
like an ice cold beer
hot, salty french fries
or another slice of chocolate cake

how did I other today?

those people are not my people
that problem is not my problem
that place is not my place

alienate
vilify
repeat

conformity is obedient and compliant
far easier
than looking in the mirror
and down into my own heart

I know I should not utter a word
until I’ve walked at least 
ten steps in someone else’s
work-boots
sneakers
high heels
wing tips
flip flops
or bare feet

but I do
we all do 
and it’s destroying us

my corona life part I…

I’ve been thinking about how we will collectively remember this time in history. I decided to look back—photos, emails, texts, notes and more. Here’s a snapshot of my discoveries.

Now, these images show the mostly good memories of sheltering in place. I unfortunately, didn’t document my hissy fits, pity party days on the couch watching TV, dumping the remainder of the potato chip bag in my mouth over the sink, or the times I just drove away because my family was bugging the crap out of me.

I suspect many of you can both imagine and empathize.

Living—March

  1. A snow day.
  2. My rehearsal dinner dress—circa spring of 1992.
  3. Jen Wool appropriately social distancing.
  4. A multi-day March headache.
  5. Beer and trivial pursuit with the girls and Jeff.
  6. Willa visiting Joanne and Bob.
  7. Ellis stopping by for a front stoop chat.
  8. Coffee time with Karen and Jeff.
  9. Making coffee time a little fancier with my Grandmother’s china and a vintage wrap.

Unearthed—March

  1. Lucy, Willa, and Jacob at Lake Winnipesaukee.
  2. A Govoni family cookout circa summer 1998.
  3. Things I wanted to do circa 1989…I either got distracted or thought leaving 20 blank was clever.
  4. A note from my Dad sometime in the mid-90s after I had moved to Vermont.
  5. Photos of a gorgeous house Jeff and I used to house sit when we were dating.
  6. The wallet of my great uncle, that I was able to return to his family.
  7. Below, notes on my phone I found funny and insightful.

ancient memories…from early 2020

I was going through photos today and realized that my memories from January and February seem like a lifetime ago. Us Vermonters are now in the 5th week of sheltering in place. It’s quite remarkable how much the world has changed in such a short time. WOW!

I decided to give my not-so-old images a treatment to make them appear as vintage and fading as they now feel to me. I provided captions for the images and a few links below.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it is a memory.”
― Dr. Seuss

  1. Spiderman ready to take on the Bad Guys
  2. Celebrating in Burke, SD https://www.facebook.com/The-Burke-Gazette-104189784512700/
  3. Ellis napping with Karen at home
  4. Jeff’s daily coffee snuggle with Karen
  5. Dinner with Chloe and the clan at Frank Day’s in Dallas, SD https://www.frankdays.com/
  6. New Year’s Eve in Burlington, VT
  7. Joan & Maggie—Trivia Night at the Saint John’s Club/Burlington, VT http://stjohnsclub.com/

seeking shelter from it all…

“People live in each other’s shelter.” —Irish Proverb

I know very little about…

my great-grandmother or my grandmother for that matter on my maternal side. Nora died in 1938 before my mother was born and my grandmother, Mildred died before I was born.

However, in this chapter of my tender, and profoundly inquisitive, middle-age life, I want to know more about the women I share DNA with. They’re a part of me, my mannerisms, my choices and so much more that I’m completely unaware of. I need to know more.

Who was Nora? Mildred? What did they love? What did they fear? What made them laugh?

Unraveling the mystery of who they were simply will not leave me alone right now.

My father died just over a year ago and I so wish we had videotaped him telling some of his favorite stories. When families start losing a generation, the stories often disappear too.

This Thanksgiving folks, ask the elders at the table to share their stories. Let the kids ask questions and record their responses. You will be so happy to have the assurance that these treasured stories won’t disappear and can be shared for generations.

Enjoy your time together asking about the good ole’ days.

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS To any Kyte or Millette relatives who might read this, please contact me. I would love to learn more about Nora and Mildred. I would be so grateful for anything you’re willing to share.

Finding ways to be grounded…

when the world feels like a batshit crazy place is pretty challenging. I don’t know the best way to access a more grounded version of myself, but I do know the quickest. When I’m acting childish and feeling like I deserve more (or less) of whatever—a little gratitude for all of the good things in my life seems to ground me the most.

Gratitude not attitude seems to do the trick.

grounded—mentally and emotionally stable: admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious (Merriam Webster)

I’m not entirely sure about “admirably sensible” or “unpretentious“. However, feeling grounded, well, that’s worth a little exploration.

south dakota gothic…

I shot these images somewhere northwest of Burke, South Dakota last Saturday. I really want to learn more about the history of this house. If anyone sees this and has more details, please let me know. The starkness and that big South Dakota sky just made me swoon.

I can just imagine the stories of the families that lived there. Work & Rest. Health & Illness. Joy & Heartache. Births & Deaths. Bounty & Scarcity. Warmth and Bone-Chilling Cold.

inner mending…

The Bargain Store by Dolly Parton

My life is likened to a bargain store 
And I may have just what you're looking for
If you don't mind the fact that all the merchandise is used
But with a little mending it could be as good as new

tight knots, loose ties & and everything in between…

Last week I posted photographs of fabric fraying with this quote: “Once the fabric of a just society is undone, it takes generations to weave it back together.” —Deepak Chopra

Well, it sure sparked some interesting dialogue. Right now, I do feel that it could potentially take generations to weave our society back together. However, as a rather optimistic realist…I wholeheartedly believe we can. Don’t we all want to feel safe, loved, connected and purposeful? What if we focused on our similarities, not our differences? Threads.

Humans need threads—tight, loose and in-between to other people, places and groups. How we choose to connect our threads is up to us individually.

Are we going to weave from a place of FEAR or LOVE?

When we’re anxious or fearful we tend to look outside of ourselves to make sense of our feelings. It’s so much easier to scan for someone or something else to blame than to be self-reflective and take responsibility for our emotions and actions. I would sooooo much rather blame someone else than acknowledge my own bullshit. I’m working on it. It’s a process.

Right now, it seems to me that politics are filling some sort of identity gap where other threads should be continually and carefully woven.

WHY? Why now?

Our party affiliation won’t ever bring us homemade soup when we’re sick, pick up a middle-of-the-night call when we’re in distress or just show up, even when we don’t understand what we actually need ourselves.  

are we frayed beyond repair?

“Once the fabric of a just society is undone, it takes generations to weave it back together.” —Deepak Chopra