59. Refreshed: Write a poem about a time you really felt refreshed and renewed. Maybe it was a dip into a pool on a hot summer day, a drink of lemonade, or other situation that helped you relax and start again.
Most of these women have been murdered by a close male relative or acquaintance (husband, father, ex-boyfriend). Several individual, community and societal factors contribute to this high rate of femicide and violence against women.
This Problem Isn’t Just in Turkey
It might be easy for someone reading this in Europe or North America to think that this isn’t a problem here.
That is absolutely wrong.
According to the UN, rates of violence against women and girls have increased the world over since the beginning of the pandemic.
This isn’t just happening in Turkey, or in some other faraway country.
It’s happening in your home town.
A New Challenge
I’m no influencer. No celebrity. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and participated in these largely meaningless “challenges” before (anyone remember the black square from a couple months ago?).
But I do have this modest platform, and so I am challenging all the strong, beautiful, intelligent and wonderful women I know and love who read this to take action.
Donate to your local women’s shelter. Take food. Do some research into your area. Volunteer (where it’s safe, what with covid and all).
Also, if you buy frequently on Amazon, consider shopping at smile.amazon.com. There are hundreds of charities listed through smile.amazon and you can choose from national to local groups to support. Each time you purchase on through the smile.amazon url, a portion of your purchase is donated to the charity you select.
But Don’t Forget the Pics
I do love seeing the photos of the women I know and love.
Please keep ’em coming!
I’m just asking we add substance to the feel-good nature of the exercise.
But ever since having kids, I CRY LIKE A BABY in movies.
Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? It’s especially bad if it involves crying children, parents being separated from children, children losing parents, children getting lost, or anything in that vein.
Not that I’ve ever been particularly stoic when it comes to films. I was known to have a good cry at the movies even before having kids.
Here’s a list of the top five movies that made me cry.
1. Life is Beautiful
This is the first film I remember really breaking down and weeping in.
I saw it with my family in NYC when I was a teenager, and I remember going to the bathroom with my mother after the movie ended and helping her fix her mascara.
What’s wonderful about this movie is the combination of comedy and drama, which makes it all the more poignant.
2. Schindler’s List
I ugly cried during this film, it’s true. But that very fact annoys me.
See, I have this beef with Steven Spielberg. Yeah, the dude knows what he’s doing (he’s one of the world’s most successful film makers, after all), but he plays unabashedly on people’s emotions.
“How is that different from ‘Life is Beautiful,'” you ask? There is no subtlety to Spielberg. He whacks you over the head with his point, driving it home with a sledgehammer.
For example, as Liam Neeson playing Schindler weeps at the end of the film saying, “I could have saved more!” the discerning viewer already KNEW he felt that way! You didn’t have to state the obvious!
Okay, all that to say that I ugly cried in this film and still hate myself for it.
3. Of Mice and Men
I don’t know what was up with me when I saw this, but I just lost it. The friends I was watching it with thought they had scarred me for life.
It was in high school at a New England boarding school. My advisor, the dean of the school lived on campus and she would let students use her living room to study, have group meetings, or just hang out and watch TV.
“Of Mice and Men” was showing on TV. The awkward part is that the gun shots were edited out for the TV audience, so you had some guesswork to do to figure out exactly what was happening.
It was pretty obvious, though, and I cried like I’d never cried in a movie before.
4. Mary Poppins
You weren’t expecting this one, were you?? Yeah, I choke up each and every time I watch this movie. We own it on DVD and have a DVD player in the car. We’ve watched it three times in the last month on long car rides. I still get a lump in my throat every time.
Don’t ask me why. It’s the poignancy of it, I guess. That, and Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent.
5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
I know what you’re thinking, but wait! Don’t judge!
Chico and I sat down to watch this film shortly after our first son was born. At one point, James Franco’s character has to leave his incredibly intelligent chimp in an animal shelter, and walk away.
I was postpartum. I couldn’t handle it. Enough said.
A Couple Others for Good Measure:
6. Coco: You cannot tell me you didn’t cry at the beginning of this movie. YOU CANNOT HONESTLY TELL ME THAT.
7. Up: Ditto for this one. I mean, COME ON! They fall in love as children! They dream of traveling together! They lose the baby! They grow old together! She gets sick AND DIES! I was weeping.
There Are Probably More…
I have definitely cried or at least teared up in other films. But these are the big ones I remember.
This may not make any sense, but I’ve never thought of myself as creative.
Sure, I write. And I knit. And lately I’ve been playing the piano. I acted in plays and musicals for years as a teen and young adult. I’ve even dabbled in drawing and painting.
Not Much Spark
I just don’t consider myself creative because I always follow some kind of pattern or model.
When knitting, I follow a pattern. I always drew best when I was looking at something, rather than from the imagination. Even in teaching, I would hash out ideas for lessons and activities with colleagues, or search online for inspiration.
But it’s the execution I’m pretty good at. And it’s the act of creating that I enjoy.
Creativity in Pandemic
Since the pandemic started, I’ve found it helpful to add creativity to my daily life.
I set myself this writing challenge, which, though sometimes a bit of a pain, has also been a fantastic exercise.
Since we got a piano, I’ve been sneaking in about an hour of practice each day. I’ve been slowly plugging away at my knitting (though the warm weather slows that down).
It’s turned out to be hugely important for keeping myself sane.
For the short while that I’m writing, knitting or playing, I am taken away from the reality of confinement and the anxiety of this situation. When I’m writing, knitting or playing, those things don’t matter.
I’m an extremely social person, this is true. But this pandemic has helped me find resources within myself for coping with the isolation.
I’m tapping into a creative energy I didn’t know I had.
I’m far from being 100% okay in this situation. There are days when I’m practically climbing the walls.
But having a creative outlet has been wonderful. (It also helps that I’ve added exercise to my daily routine.)
So often we’re told to cut something out to feel better. Cut out sugar, alcohol, Facebook or TV. Sure, sometimes things do need to be cut out.
But what about the benefit of adding things in?
Tell Me About It
What do you want to add to your daily routine? What would make you feel better? What would make you feel more like yourself?
I can hear my mother nagging me to practice piano as a child. I can see the little upright we had in my childhood home. I can hear my brother playing “The Entertainer.”
Fast forward nearly twenty years since I last had a piano lesson. A piano has fallen in my lap.
Friends were clearing some things out of their home and offered us their old spinet piano. It hasn’t been tuned in twenty years, but hey! It’s a free piano!
Well, turns out nothing is really free.
The tuner came in on Tuesday and opened it up. I heard a tentative clearing of the throat.
“Jane…? I need to ask you a question.” “Yes?” I said. “Did you spend any money to move this piano here?” “No… Why?” “Well there’s that, at least.”
The bass bridge is cracked and there’s what looks like mold in the bottom of the piano.
Essentially, the piano sounds like crap and will always sound like crap unless we pay about $800 to repair the bridge. Even then, the sound is nothing special.
The question is, is the piano worth this much?
The tuner was wonderful. She didn’t charge me for coming out, and she gave outlined three possibilities:
We repair the crack in the bridge ($800 as previously mentioned).
We ignore the crack in the bridge, tune the piano and know that it won’t be a stable tune and the crack could get worse.
We replace the piano.
We looked around a bit online at Craig’s list and Facebook marketplace to see what was on offer. Turns out, a lot of people are trying to get rid of pianos for free (since they know whoever takes them will have to pay professionals to move them).
It also turns out that people who are trying to get rid of pianos are happy to open them up and send me pictures of the instrument’s innards.
So now I’ve identified a promising piano. I know how much it would cost to get it here and to haul out the old one. I know how much it would cost to get the new (old) piano tuned up and repaired.