Why I took part in the Augusta Solidarity March

On Friday, the day Donald Trump officially became the 45th president of the United States, I took my daughter to the park with the intention of not thinking about politics. Earlier in the day, I joked with my editor about the day being set aside for mourning. But I really cried when I watched the Obamas welcome the Trumps into the White House. 

I live in a very red county now, so it shouldn't have surprised me to see, on our drive to the park, white men standing on the corner of a busy intersection, waving a Confederate flag and holding up a sign that read, "America is back!" My chest tightened, but I pushed it out of my head so I could enjoy playing with my baby girl. She just started walking, so every day is a new adventure with her.

But the next day, Saturday, I joined about 600 people from the Augusta area to march in solidarity with the historic Women's March on Washington.

On the last day of 2016, writing goals, and my kid

It's the last morning of 2016, and my kid and I are hanging out in my home office. Correction: I'm hanging out in my office; my kid is wreaking havoc. Toys, office supplies and books I've yet to read are scattered everywhere. The play area I've set up for her under the window remains neat and untouched. 

I'm in planning mode, but half-heartedly. What do I want to accomplish next year, professionally and personally? How do I continue to grow my business and manage the never-ending needs of my tiny human? What am I going to do about childcare, now that she's so close to walking and will undoubtedly no longer be content to sit in my office and play while I work? 

Then I look over and see my kid. She's got a marker in one hand and a book in her lap -- the picture of a future liberal arts major. 

What I'm reading today to bring me crashing back to the real world

It's been a long five days since I sat at my desk and engaged with the online world. Are you still trying to clear the post-Thanksgiving fog, too? Here are five articles I read this morning to bring me crashing back to the real world:

"After Florida passed its ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, killings went up" via Fusion

"It Pays to Be an Assertive Woman in the Workplace, New Study Says" via Broadly

"The Toll Activism Takes on Your Body" via Tonic

"Moroccan state TV apologizes for airing domestic violence makeup tutorial" via Mic

"Trump pushes conspiracy theory that ‘millions’ voted illegally for Clinton" via Washington Post


Ava DuVernay, Korryn Gaines: One day of writing, two different black women

Today, I published two pieces on Vice's Broadly. The stories they share are very different, but they both focus on a black woman who caught headlines this week. 

The first piece is about Selma director Ava DuVernay, who just became the first woman of color to work on a film with a $100 million budget. Only two other women have reached this feat. With Disney's full confidence, she's bringing us A Wrinkle in Time, due out next year.

Insert that awesome hashtag #BlackWomenDidThat.

When good writing makes you light-headed

Because there's never enough good writing out there tackling women's bodies, I share with you this essay by Zsofi McMullin titled "The Uterus Must Go On." In it, she confronts the fact that she won't have any more children after her doctor discovers a large fibroid.

My god. At one point, I had to take to skimming sentences to keep from passing out from the imagery. (Honestly, I have no idea how I birthed a human -- I get so light-headed when confronted with images of human trauma.) But it's such powerful writing, I reread the piece a second time, when I could stomach it.

What I love about this essay is the unapologetic rawness. The language is visceral, and the intentional gaps in narrative force you to into the writer's shoes -- when she's in the shower, when she's in the hospital. And if you're a woman, it's not hard to imagine what she's going through.

Dear world. More like this, please. 



On being nostalgic for my former life

Motherhood wasn't something I'd ever written down on my list of goals, especially in the last few years of my life. But here I am, tapping away at a quick blog post while my tiny human naps. Becoming a mother is the most ________ thing I've ever done. I leave that space blank because I'm still trying to figure out how to describe this. My heart is bursting with love for that kid.

But there's still a part of me that looks over my shoulder at my old life. More so recently, as it's now been a year since I left a full-time job in journalism.

Recently, Redbook published a very cool story package called The Mom Gig. In it, the writers explore what it means to be a stay-at-home mom. I guess that's my life right now. I haven't actually said those words out loud yet--"I'm a stay-at-home mom"--because they feel like pants that don't quite hug my curves snugly enough. But it's technically true.

Predators like Brock Turner make me afraid for my own daughter

After I finished reading the statement of the woman assaulted by 20-year-old Brock Turner at Stanford University in 2015, I cried. I scooped up my 4-month-old daughter, who was lying on her playmat talking baby gibberish, held her tight and cried into her tiny neck.

I cried for the woman who woke up in the hospital to find her underwear missing and pine needles in her hair. I cried for the victim's younger sister, who will unfortunately live with the guilt of leaving her older sister alone at a frat party--a burden she shouldn't have to carry, a precaution women shouldn't have to take. 

And I cried for my own little girl, who could, God forbid, one day be in a similar situation as this young woman.

Emotions have been running high recently because Turner was finally sentenced on Thursday after being convicted of three felony charges (assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object) in late March. Judge Aaron Perksy gave this predator six months in jail. Six MONTHS. His reasoning was Turner's age and lack of criminal history. “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him," Perksy opined. "I think he will not be a danger to others.” 

The message this preposterously short sentence sends is gut-wrenchingly clear: a woman's body has far less value than a young white man's future.

Sometimes, I find myself holding onto my daughter tightly when I carry her. One hand squeezes her chunky leg a little too hard, and when I notice, I immediately loosen my grip. Maybe subconsciously I'm scared to death of accidentally dropping her or hurting her in some way. She's the most precious thing in my life. I want nothing more than to love and protect her.

But how can I do that when people like Brock Turner and his father exist--both who have refused to own up to the seriousness of the younger Turner's actions. 

How can I send my precious, sweet girl, who will one day grow up to be a beautiful, young woman of color, into this world knowing it doesn't assign her half the value it does a young white man with a "promising" future?