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First they came for the communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me
And there was no one left to speak for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller
Saturday, May 2, 2020
It Should be Kentucky Derby Day
It’s another Saturday in this new Pandemic World. I am fortunate to have somewhat of a schedule for newclevelandradio.net during the week, recording and preparing podcasts. However, most weekends seem to zap me of energy as the days drag on with little to do. However, today is different. My husband and I did some closet cleaning in the studio/office this morning as we are attempting to do some reorganization. Now if you have ever been in the home studio I will tell you that my husband is a pack-rat, not a hoarder. I think we have three or four end of life computers in the closet and one set out in the room. As my hubby would say, you never know we just may need parts from one to fix another. Did I mention parts that go back to a Commodore 64? If you have no idea what that is, you are very young indeed.
Additionally, I have two podcasts today and both should be fun and interesting. The first is with Just4theSpellofIt.com, lead by Gary Moss my big brother. Isn’t it interesting that we call an older sibling our big brother or sister, and the truth is I am as tall as he is or maybe taller? Gary’s podcast is all about words and Scrabble™, yet the techniques he uses teaches and creates to become a better Scrabble™ player, any one of us can use to become better at anything we want to achieve. The second is with Rick Bolton, musician extraordinaire.
Currently, I am trying to achieve patience with the #StaySafe #StayAtHome orders. I agree with the orders and I would rather be safe and struggle financially than get this horrid virus and possibly die. I understand the need to get back to work, earn a living, and feel accomplished at the end of the day, but COVID19 has invaded us and it will linger and combust again in the Fall.
Earlier today I posted ion Facebook that I feel like I am in a time warp, that each day is the same, nothing changes, and yet the slogan #WEAREINTHISTOGETHER continues to play through the media. Together but alone and that is what is warping my senses. I need to chill and breathe and make it to the tomorrow and the many days after that when it is safer to spin out of this feeling.
Have a Happy!
From my Ferris
Living here in PA, we have tons of folks who are just eeking by – paycheck to paycheck – surviving on tips and the good nature of people; they work in Restaurants and Bars; as servers and bar folks and chefs and sous chefs and wait trailers.
Places we frequent: like Bar Louis and 403 Broad, The Dimmick and John’s of Arthur Avenue (Pizza and Pasta) Chris & Ginas and Faltes and the WaterWheel Cafe just to name a few local places that will be closed because of coronavirus.
In Jersey, we’ve all fallen madly crazy ass in love with the Layton Hotel.
Most of these places and the folks who work there are going to suffer greatly; they’ll be doing take-out only – NO SERVICE – just pickups; a few will deliver within a certain mile range (Layton Hotel will deliver within 15 miles from their restaurant, so you’re good to go in Dingmans) and they need our support.
PLEASE, SUPPORT THESE RESTAURANTS! And leave tips for ANYONE who has served you; handed you your food.
- For many, this is their only source of income.
- Order from them. They will make sumptuous meals and be thrilled you called and came and smiled.
- You can grab their menus on FaceBook, on Open Table or google them.
- Please, these folks don’t only offer up meals, they offer up kindness.
Okay, so, I’m sitting here reading a bunch of my own writing that’s in a folder on my computer that says: GROOVY WRITING because, you know, quarantining, and this writing is a few years old… and so, I open the folder and I start reading – and WHOA is me – this really charming funny weird as all fuck animated series PILOT that I wrote a few years back – OF MICE AND MENSCHES: ANIMALS IN GROUP THERAPY and yes, it’s registered with the WGA, so no stealing this idea, and I’m thinking: wow, this shoulda gotten made into a series, yeah, this shoulda gotten made… and now I’m getting comfy on the couch and I’m re-reading this little novella – that’s in the same folder – that I wrote a while back, a sexy little love story – and thinking….yeah, this shoulda been published and …. okay, stop the presses: holy fuck – holy fuck – I just got a text from my very favorite bartender who just texted: ALL RESTAURANTS are closing in Pennsylvania as of right now. And right now is RIGHT NOW, which means no Bar Louis, which means I need a Xanax.
I love you all.
Hold tight, stay safe, fall in love with YOUR MAGIC; fall in love with the words that you write, that pour outta you onto the page, fall in love with your creativity, your talent, your sexy crazy ass art, fall in love with your beauty, fall in love with the music you make & the dances you choreograph and the photos you take and the poems and the prose and the plays and the movies you create… and mostly, mostly fall madly head-over-heels in love with your own badass gorgeous messy life.
(Amy I love being a BADASS)
2/6/20 Message from Amy:
Today, Teresa Stack & I begin our glorious Podcast journey… on REDEMPTION…which, yes, is coming soon! Thank you Karen Moss Hale!
We will have great guests on the show.
I am a firm believer that our mistakes can become our mission, that poison can be turned to medicine, that our scars are indeed our stardust & our blemishes are in fact our beauty marks. And no, I don’t believe all folks can be redeemed, but I do believe, with every fiber in me, that humans, and no, not all humans, can take their worst moments, their worst experiences and use those moments and experiences to inspire and encourage and enlighten others. I believe that through and through. We, humans, are capable of so much greatness and beauty. That our pain can help us understand another heart, that our failures make us stand taller so we become more determined, that our heartbreak can teach us how to love ourselves first and foremost and yes, become more compassionate. I believe that who I am in this world – who I am today – was born out of many mistakes, many fuck-ups, many fuck-downs, much pain, much heartbreak, and heartache; the bits and pieces, the edgy and the frayed, the lessons learned, the wrong turns, the one night stands, getting lost got me found. And getting found filled me with compassion and passion, determination and much beauty, and all of that makes me quite extraordinary. I imagine the very same for you.
So, today, love yourself more.
See the beauty in your life.
Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worthy.
You are worthy.
So very worthy.
Today was an amazing day, the first of many Sherapy: Therapy with Sherry Amatenstein. Sherry is an NYC-based psychotherapist and author. Her podcast is a little unconventional for some. Still, it is becoming more traditional, especially to Millennials, as well as working professionals who want to participate in therapy but are limited on time and travel. Each episode of Sherapy is a 50-minute therapy session. The aim is to demystify and destigmatize psychotherapy. Too many people in distress still suffer silently. None of the participants are her private patients. On Sherapy, a person can receive complimentary therapy and remain anonymous. If interested, please contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am so excited to have Sherry Amatenstein on our podcast show real she may be heard by clicking on https://newclevelandradio.net/sherapy-real-therapy-with-sherry-amatenstein-3/real-therapy-with-sherry-amatenstein_podcasts/ – choose a streaming service to listen to this podcast.
Sherry Amatenstein (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) is the author of The Complete Marriage Counselor: Relationship Saving Advice from America’s Top 50+ Couples Therapists; Love Lessons from Bad Breakups; and Q&A Dating Book.
She writes advice columns for www.womansday.com, www.thirdage.com andwww.brides.com, and is frequently called upon to give relationship advice on many national radio and TV programs, including The Today Show, Early Show, Inside Edition, GMA Live, CBS News, and HuffPost Live.
I hope you will enjoy the show and learn more about yourself by listening to others share their journeys.
Amy Ferris, thank you for sharing your words. In Memory of beloved cousin, Stuart Freedman Colby, you were loved by many and recognized for the kind and wonderful individual you were. I think Stuart often and my heart hurts that he had to hide and live without the support of his parents. We all should live our lives to enrich the community we are all part of.
World AIDS Day- Amy Ferris
A day we remember those we loved & lost; friends and family, neighbors and co-workers, lovers and partners.
A day we stand up for and with – alongside – those we love & cherish who are living with HIV/AIDS.
A day we honor all the activists & all the warriors & all the human rights champions – all the extraordinary humans – all the men & women – who fight every single day of their lives against discrimination and the stigma; who showed us and taught us that silence is not golden – to be loud and noisy and to make a fucking ruckus.
A lot of my friends – tons of friends – are alone this year, this Thanksgiving. Many folks are estranged from their families; from friends or from a life they once had & held.
I know this feeling. Estrangement.
And I will tell you that there were many days – many days – more than I care to count – where I’d rewind, replay, re-adjust, re-calibrate, recall, & review all the crazy ass-shit that went down, all the shit that went sideways & just blew up. Imploded. The pain was unbearable. And what I can tell you, what I know – most of the guilt & shame & regret we carry around – schlep around – is not our own. It’s not. We inherited it; a collection – a greatest hits album – an entire lifetime of family history: the anger, the shame, the guilt; years of he said, she said, they said. Fuck you, no, no fuck you. fuck you more. Years of crap. Years of garbage piled on top of more garbage.
Years of mistakes & wrong turns & rebellion that are treated like felonies instead of misdemeanors – without forgiveness, or acceptance. There is nothing worse than having the past thrown up in your face over & over & over again. To be reminded of all the crazy crap you did when you didn’t know better. When all you wanted was to be seen, to be heard, to be held – when all you wanted was to be loved.
And the truth is – the rub is – everyone has their own shit.
Everyone has their own guilt.
Everyone has their own crap that they have dealt out, that they spewed, that they tossed into the heap.
Everyone has stuff that they need/want to hide, keep secret. Everyone has stuff they want hidden deep – way deep – kept in the darkness.
We are all broken. We are all filled with shards and jagged edges and sharp pointy pieces that can hurt like a motherfucker. We are all imperfect creatures. Each & every one of us, and my heart breaks, cracks, for all my friends who will sit alone this year wishing for forgiveness over stuff they said or did when they were younger. Foolish. Over mistakes they made because all they wanted was to be loved or liked, over actions they took, words they said, because they wanted a piece of a memory, a token of a love from someone they once cherished, adored. A reminder to hold. Wishing to hear the words: I’m so sorry. To hear the words: I was wrong. To hear the words: I hurt you, abused you, mistreated you.
We treat our own so unkindly and we wonder why the world is so deeply chaotic, so deeply troubled, so deeply wounded, so deeply steeped in pain & suffering; so unforgiving, so horribly mean-spirited.
So for all my friends and all the folks out there who are deeply, deeply pained, who are sorrowful during the holidays because they have been discarded, dismissed, forgotten, left out – please know this – we get to choose who we wanna share our lives with. We get to choose who we want in our lives. We get to choose the folks who lift us, inspire us, make us feel like we swallowed the sun. We get to choose who we walk side by side with, and stand with. We get to choose who we love. Blood may be thicker than water, but water is so much easier to clean up.
So, please, love yourself.
Please, forgive yourself.
Believe in the greatness of your own life.
Believe in your beauty.
Believe in your own amazing, stunning, messy, complicated, gorgeous life.
And if anyone – one soul – makes you feel that you are not worthy, not enough; if anyone makes you feel small, insignificant, less than – they do not deserve the privilege of you.
I hold you tight.
Ray, thank you for allowing us to post the link to your story https://medium.com/@rayngoldberg/the-three-stories-where-i-have-to-deadname-myself-644985dc26eb
You are an amazing individual that I am proud to call friend, and almost MISPACHA (family.) As we approach 2020 many changes in our world/society are evolving and if we are lucky we can journey in life that makes us feel whole. Too many of us have traveled down many paths taking right turns when we felt the urge to turn left, or going straight when we saw something on the horizon to our right. It takes courage to climb a mountain but when we do and we reach the APEX we can agreed that the sight is beautiful.
I hope your beautiful story will enlighten and encourage others to live life and dance as if no one is watching!
Hey reader, I have a question for you. What is it like, being cisgender in the tech industry? What sort of challenges have you faced? Do people treat you well? It must be really scary, being yourself in such a competitive and high-speed environment.
If you’ve never been asked these questions before, then congratulations; you are not an out transgender person who works in tech. In fact, it’s possible that you may have asked somebody else these questions in the recent past. That’s OK! It’s natural to be curious, and I’m sure you want to be a good ally to your trans coworkers. How will you know how to act if you don’t ask questions, right?
Today’s your lucky day, because I am going to tell you the definitive answer to “what does it mean to be transgender in the workplace?” After you read this, you will never have to ask another trans techie about their experiences, because you will already know the answer, and will be able to act accordingly.
Are you ready?
Being a transgender person in the workplace means having this exact conversation, over and over and over, forever. The question can only be answered by the question itself, ad infinitum. We often spend so much time justifying our presence to others that it begins to feel like our reason for being there in the first place. Why are we here? We’re here to tell you why we’re here.
I’m not here to make you feel bad for asking these questions. Well, maybe a little bit, but I want you to understand when your well-intentioned allyship stops being helpful and starts being intrusive. The fact of the matter is that we’ve got a job to do here, same as you; we just have a few more obstacles to maneuver around as we do it.
If you are serious about making your office a more inclusive environment, remember that changing these things is hard work. Your LGBTQIA+ coworkers will probably want to help or advise you, but it’s as unreasonable to expect them to do it all for you as it would be to have employees with mobility issues to commission handicapped parking spots. We can do it, but it’s not in our job description, and it’s an unnecessary amount of physical and emotional labor to demand of us on top of the actual work we are there to do.
With that in mind, here are some easy steps you can take towards making your workplace welcoming to transgender people. This list is by no means exhaustive, but you’ll find that even these small changes can have a remarkably positive effect on morale, engagement, and teamwork.
First and foremost, respect people’s pronouns. Yes, including the singular “they”, and yes, including ones you haven’t seen before. Consistently misgendering people is the fastest way to make them feel that they are in a hostile environment. Model correct pronoun use yourself, and reprimand cisgender employees who refuse to do so themselves.
Will you get pronouns wrong? Almost certainly. Contrary to what the media may tell you, transgender workers can tell the difference between mistakes and malice. When you do slip up, apologize, correct, and move on. Dramatic mea culpas do more to make us uncomfortable than using the wrong pronoun now and then ever could, because it makes us feel like the jerks in the situation.
An easy way to head off these confrontations is to normalize including pronouns when introductions are called for. This might seem odd to you; one complaint I’ve heard several times from cisgender people is “but my pronouns are obvious.” Good for you, but this isn’t the case for everybody. If the only employees in your company that introduce themselves with their pronouns are transgender, then that’s a way they are othered, a marker that they are separate from everyone else. By making pronouns a default part of introductions, then this barrier between cis and trans workers is torn down.
Does this seem like a lot? It really isn’t, but be prepared for pushback. For some people, even this small amount of consideration will be far too much. The people who push back hardest will probably surprise you; some of them will be people you’ve worked alongside for years, people whose politics you thought you understood. Transphobia isn’t limited to any side of the political spectrum, and can be found in even the most empathetic and liberal individuals.
This leads us to a harsh truth. Transphobia cannot be tolerated in the workplace, whether it manifests as refusing to respect a coworker’s pronouns or harassing them for using the correct bathroom. When it occurs, if you really are serious about fostering an inclusive environment, then your transgender employees will look to you for support. Be prepared to offer sensitivity and diversity training to employees who exhibit transphobic behavior. Stricter disciplinary actions may even become necessary.
Being an ally isn’t easy; as somebody once told me, it’s a verb, not an adjective. It means putting yourself out there, to serve as a shield between your marginalized employees and those that would harm them through actions and words. It also means being open to criticism, and accepting that you do not understand transgender people’s experiences the way you understand your own. If you have the strength, humility, and empathy, then you can make your workplace a beacon of inclusion.