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Pro-choice Thanksgiving: Amy Ferris

Pro-choice Thanksgiving:

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.

Everyone.

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.

We wonder.

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.

Thoughts by Alex Bevan_Orion

I had my flashlight to warn approaching cars that there was an idiot walking on the road, I had my mobile device tracking every step and change of location, I even had a bright blue jacket and some soiled day-glo yellow gloves to give me a much more formidable appearance than I usually try to project….. but still…. at one point… when i looked up to the sky and saw Orion….and felt the fickle kiss of the changing breeze on my cheek….. I looked for the darkest place I could find… not to hide… no…. … not to hide…. sometimes the best place to be is where you can watch things happen around you and try to decipher the confusing signals all around you…. waiting for the right moment might be a lost art…. i don’t know…. I just don’t know…..

Ray Goldberg _Shares her BEAUTIFUL STORY

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!

https://medium.com/@rayngoldberg/the-three-stories-where-i-have-to-deadname-myself-644985dc26eb

Amy Ferris_Another Monday 11/18/19

It’s been a long day, filled with some unexpected turns & doctor appointments and here is what I wanna say to each & everyone reading this:

I was in Walmart today, feeling up the fruit in the produce department, when the news came that there was another shooting, more dead – in another Walmart outside Oklahoma – and I was standing next to a woman who stared down at her cell phone and shook her head and said: It scares me to go out. Yes, I said, I know, I know. And with that, she left her cart in the middle of the produce department and ran out of the store.
She ran out of the store.
And please, I do not want any shit about being in a Walmart feeling up some fruit.

This is not how we should be living. In worry and fear and panicking and watching our backs and waiting for our children to return home from school and holding onto our hearts and texting friends and family who live near the shooting and calling our partners’, lovers,  husbands, wives, just to hear their voice because … because… you just never know, you just never fucking know, and no one is immune to this god awful horrific shit.

No one is immune.
You just never know.
Another shooting, another day filled with fear & panic and worry, another day with the lying lowlife conman grifter sexist, racist rapist motherfucker living in the White House who doesn’t give a flying fuck that folks are being massacred in this Country.
This is not how we should be living.

To quote Elijah:
We are better than this.

 

GENEROSITY as Stated by MY Friend AMY FERRIS

One moment of generosity can change a human heart.

These days, here in America, are hard right now. Folks are suffering, folks are mortified, folks are feeling disconnected, folks are feeling the unbearable weight of anger and frustration and worry and scared to fucking death; fear running through their veins.

Folks need love, compassion, understanding, generosity, sympathy and goodness.

Let’s give what we have to all those who need a bit more; let’s not hoard kindness, let’s give that away.

Kindness is meant to be shared not owned.

Thank You Melinda Smith YOU MAKE ME FEEL H A P P Y!

https://www.facebook.com/melinda.s.bilfield/videos/10220066690122588/?t=164

Amy Ferris words about MOM

Today I get to read about my mom here at Writers Conference – thank you so much Victoria Zackheim – and I want to share with you how I came to know that I had become the woman she always wanted to be.

It was the last time I saw her. She was in an Assisted Living facility; I now refer to our last visit: Assisted Loving.

I went to spend 10 days with her. I stayed at a hotel nearby, walking distance. Our visit was hard. Some days she was feisty and difficult and irritable, and on others she was tender and frail and gentle. Some days she had no idea who I was, one others I was her Amy; some days she was filled with rage and howling noises, other days she was silent and watching cartoons – her favorite. She wore a soiled nightgown and her hair, once coiffed weekly and curled, was now full on gray and stick straight.

She had once been a beauty – a beauty queen – she was now small and shrinking into her own skin; disappearing physically and emotionally.

I spent time down at the bar at the hotel I was staying at, and went back to my room. Undressed, washed up, got into bed, called Ken and chit-chatted for a while. In the middle of the night I got up to pee. I stopped at the full length mirror, and I looked at myself – full on – naked; and I saw myself: a woman who never had kids, a woman who followed her heart even when her heart was cracked & chipped & yes, broken; a woman who was feisty and crazy-ass and yes, often testy and impatient; a woman who went for her dreams and never gave up even when it felt wholly fucking impossible, a woman who chose a creative path – writing; a woman who chose unconventional and rebellious and shaky as her foundation; and as I stood there looking at my body – a body that was slender but not tight, a body that was strong but not muscular, a body that had so many hidden scars that had turned into stardust, and I knew in that moment, in that hotel, in front of that mirror that I had become the woman my mother always wanted to be.

And in that moment, in that hotel, in front of that mirror I let go of much of the anger & much of the disappointment & much of the bitterness I held onto for so very long and replaced that with a profound appreciation that she – a woman who gave up all of her dreams of being an artist and all of her hopes of living a creative life and her desire to be unconventional – that she brought me into this world.

***Thank you Amy for these beautiful words.  They reflect so much that is in my heart about my own momma!”

Sherapy with Sherry Amatenstein

I am so proud and excited to be introducing you to a new podcaster who will begin with us in January 2020. Her name is Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, who is an NYC-based psychotherapist and author. Sherry will be creating SHERAPY, and you can read all about this right here on the website. 

In keeping with the theme of awareness and finding the path to travel or detour in life, this nationally known psychotherapist will be sharing your stories with our listeners. Sometimes it is easier to be anonymous (faceless, nameless) when you begin to open up. I agree with Sherry; we must not be afraid of what we think our frailties are; instead, we must strengthen our inner selves to love life to the fullest.

If you have a story or want to share issues, please contact us here at newclevelandradio.net, and your information will be sent on to Sherry Amatenstein. You need not reveal any information to us other than a name and email so Sherry may connect with you.

Sherry portraits

2020 is going to be a big year for all of us at newclevelandradio.net, and you don’t need to be in Cleveland, Ohio, to become part of the big picture, your PORTRAIT!

Amy Ferris has the Words if only we would listen and live them!

There is so much I wanna say right now, but I’ll keep it short & sweet:

Do your life, do it up, do it big, do it fucking epic; do it with everything you fucking have – everything – it’s your life: love it, cherish it, treasure it, hold it dear and hold it tight, do not let it go.

Make art, create beauty, be messy – messy is so sexy.

Hold another human up, champion another human, support another human, ignite hope in another human; and do not give up on your dreams. Do not. Keep going.

Keep going.

None of us are gonna let you fall.

Have a grand day, people, live & wear your life to the nines.

A Very Special Post from AMY FERRIS

You will soon get to know Amy Ferris if you don’t know her yet.  I am her Goddess Sister, and she is Mine!  She posted this on Facebook today and it is a reminder that life has detours, obstacles, and shit along the way but we can survive if we are compassionate, caring, and loving humans!

The Words of Amy Ferris – Please, bear with me.

Today is the anniversary of my dad’s death; 20 years today; November 2.

This is one of my very favorite pieces that I wrote about us, and in honor of him today, I share it again.

A ritual.

Every Saturday we took the Long Island Railroad from Bellmore to Manhattan. New York City. The train ride was about forty-eight minutes, station-to-station. At the candy store in Bellmore, he got a newspaper and a coffee with a little milk; and I would get chocolate milk. On the train, we would find seats – two together, side by side – and we would sip and he would read, and I would stare out the window watching the world swish by.

He had been arrested.

A bribery case – the United States vs… my Dad.

He didn’t expect to be caught. He didn’t expect to be arrested. We didn’t expect life to change. She didn’t expect to pawn all her jewelry. I didn’t expect to be bullied and harassed, and to have imaginary friends. We had never known that kind of fear and sad before, and now they had moved in with us, constant companions, tagging along where ever we went.

You don’t expect that kinda shit when you’re 8 years old.

He needed a job; to feed us, to pay the bills, the mortgage, the car, the clothes.

He got a job working at Melvin’s Frame Shop in the West 30’s. Or maybe it was the West 40’s. We would walk from Penn Station, the LIRR, to the shop. His friend, Murray, got him the job. Melvin was Murray’s cousin. Melvin made frames for Museums, and Art Gallery’s and was pretty well known in that world. Elaborate frames. Fancy frames – gold, and silver, huge frames. My dad was hired to sweep the floors, and clean the place. A janitor. He would sweep, and clean, and label frames, and organize things, and I would sit on the wooden table, my little-girl skinny legs dangling, and I’d watch – mesmerized – as my dad swept the wooden shavings from under the tables with a huge broom and dustpan. And Melvin would berate him, in an accent sprinkled with angry. “Sweep here. HERE. This. This. Here. THIS. This dust, and this sand, and these wood chips… and the mess… sweep, god-damn-it, sweep, you lazy man, can’t you see where you’re sweeping, Goddamnit?” And my dad would shrink right before me – right before my eyes. He would shrink, and disappear, and I was so scared he would disappear forever. He was a tall man – six foot one – but Melvin could make him disappear. Melvin had the same tattoos that Phyllis and Henry had. The same exact tattoos. I called them cartoons. I didn’t know what tattoos were. Numbers – like a telephone number – on their forearm. Melvin had the same tattoo as them. I knew about those numbers. I knew that Phyllis and Henry had lost both sets of parents. All four. They had burned to death in an oven. I knew that story. I had heard that story over family get-togethers, dinners. Incinerated, was the word used. I watched, witnessed, as Melvin spewed at my father. Goddamn you, you lazy man. And I would sit on the wooden worktable, my little skinny legs dangling, and watch my dad lose whatever faith he was clinging to while I was clinging to him. I wasn’t sure why he brought me with him on Saturday’s. Maybe he wanted me to know that he loved me. Maybe he was lonely. Maybe because it was a Saturday, and he never needed to work on Saturday’s, and that was our day. But our days were different before the arrest. They were filled with hope and possibility; museums and plays, and theater, and movies and Aunt Jemina pancakes. Maybe he needed to know that no matter what, no matter fucking what, I would love him. We would leave the Frame Shop right on the dot: Five O’clock, and we would walk down Broadway to Penn Station. Stopping at the automat. He would get a hot steaming cup of coffee, and I would get a milkshake. Chocolate. And we would sit at the counter, and I would watch my dad stare into his coffee, a million miles away. And I would make believe that I was a Princess from the Island of Long, and we were having a day out and no one – no one – could find us. I liked that game. And then, we would stand up, and almost on cue, we would both exhale, and then he would leave a tip, a few coins for the waitress behind the counter, and we would walk to the train station, a few blocks away, and climb down the stairs into the station, and find the track number, and go to the platform, and wait for our train, and the train would swish into the station, loud and steamy, and when the conductor said: all aboard – because back then they did – we stepped in, and found our seats, and I grabbed my dad’s hand and didn’t let go.

I didn’t let go.

And I could feel every bit of his sad and his unhappy and his burden and his disappointment and his humility and his anger and his disgrace and his embarrassment and his shame and his worry and his fear and his doubt entwined in my fingers. Our hands. I could feel it. And when I finally caught his eye – when he finally looked down at me – his little girl, his princess – my eyes were saying, you’re my hero, Daddy, you’re my hero. And I think maybe for a few seconds he believed me, and I think that maybe that gave him just a little more courage. A little more hope. At least enough courage and hope to get us home.

After months – day in, day out, day in – my dad was acquitted on a technicality. And our life came back, piece by broken chipped cracked piece. He stopped working at the frame shop and my mother stopped pawning her jewelry and I stopped having imaginary friends and we never, ever talked about that time.

It was taboo.

That huge, massive cluster of shame was hidden deep, tucked away, because that’s what you did back then – when something bad, awful, horrible happened – and it was swept under the wooden table along with all the wooden chips and all the dust and all the shavings; into corners and crevices and cracks and under rugs – hidden and buried deep.