You were marching for me

Today is a day that will go down in herstory. 3 million women and honorary women marched around the world to make their voices heard. Our voices. Our outrage and love. Our fears and hopes. Our refusal to allow the horror looming on the horizon to go unchallenged.

Apparently, the world has our back too. They are almost as terrified as we are. Those 3 million people weren’t just here in the United States of America. They were all over the world. Women. All. Over. The. World. Marched. Thank you England, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. But holy mother of god thank you Kosovo. Seriously, Women in Kosovo feel badly for us and wants to stand in solidarity. This war torn country want us to know that they’ve got OUR backs.gty-womens-march-washington-4-jt-170121_12x5_1600

Just before I began writing this, I posted on my Facebook page, “I cried so much today and wore out my love button on your brilliant and beautiful posts from the front lines. I am in love with every woman out there who joined hands and carried signs and loved each other. My spirit soared with every glorious moment you shared and my spirit sped to everywhere you were. I am in awe of the truths shouted loudly, clearly and full of passionate intelligence, wit, and force. No-one will ever forget this day. I have my work to do – work that I can do to contribute to the greater good – and I’ll do it. Proudly, fiercely, and with devotion. You are my heroes and I have your back. Now, I need to blow my nose and charge my iPad again. I’ve got work to do.”

(I apparently was so much in love with the word ‘love’ that my composition skills took a back seat.)

So. I’ve opened my internet mouth. What do I do? I started scrolling down and immediately under my post was one of those Facebook things urging you to pimp your business page. See, I have another page. It’s not a business but Facebook doesn’t get that. Anyway, the only things in the box were the name of my page, the cover photo and the page description. It’s the description that slammed me. It said…

I write.

That’s what I do. That’s what I can do.

I’m a writer.

I write about my journey. I’ve been told that that’s helpful.

So. I’m starting right now.

Why wasn’t I out there marching?

I have friends all across the US who got on planes, buses, cars and trains to get to the front lines. To wear pink pussyhats and carry signs and Be There. Instead, I obsessively watched every moment. I cried. I reveled in every photo and post. I took immense joy from speeches and raps and those fantastic signs. I felt guilty for not being there. Horribly, horribly guilty. And ashamed.

Why wasn’t I out there marching?

I’m not agoraphobic. I’m great one-on-one. I love going to events like the theatre and jam sessions and giving big parties. At the moment, however, I don’t have the ability to handle crowds of potentially angry people. Seriously. Pathologically. I saw how passionately loving and peaceful these 3 million people ended up being. Well before it played out that way, I’d have passed out from fright just before I thought my heart would burst from the adrenaline that pumps through my body when I’m on constant startle reflex. Sadly, this is not hyperbole.

You were marching for me because I couldn’t do it. You marched for everyone who couldn’t do it. There are a number of us. In case there are any who are ashamed to own it, I’m taking this one for the team.

My point? I refuse to be ashamed anymore. This will take some personal work but everything we believe in takes work. This is also work I know how to do. I create things behind the scenes so that everyone in front and in the audience can shine. This is my love for the world in action.

You deserve, in turn, for me not to be ashamed to own it. I’m standing up for every woman and honorary woman who works tirelessly to contribute without marching. Your actions enable me.

I am a powerful and brave woman, responsible for my own destiny. I take chances and both soar and fail spectacularly. I know this.

So, why couldn’t I march?

I also have PTSD and have been living triggered for almost 2 years now. If you don’t know what that means, let me give you a shortcut. Imagine walking through a Halloween haunted house and discovering that they are all real and you can’t get out. That’s what it feels like.

Last August, I began a Hail Mary effort to make the horror stop. The woman – of course, it’s a woman – who is helping drag me kicking and screaming up for air has performed miracles. This is an agonizing and funny-not-funny story in itself. I will brave the telling another time.

When working on PTSD (and just about anything like this), shame is a frequent roommate. It’s not unusual for even the most enlightened people (cough, cough…).  I have to fight the shame and self-recrimination along with fighting the PTSD. And, I have to not be afraid to admit it. It’s such a rude condition, too. Can’t I just have the one thing to deal with without it imposing these pissy complications? Whinge, Whinge, Wink.

I’m no longer constantly triggered. It’s been about 3 weeks. I am like a toddler who falls down a lot but can sometimes giggle about it because I fall on my padded tushy and occasionally miss hitting my head on the living room coffee table.

I’m no longer living in crisis. May I express here and now what a mind-blowing thing this is? In the process of going from 100 to 5mph, I’ve discovered that my day-to-day stress management skills are a little atrophied. I don’t need those super-powered survival skills that my brain has been focused on every day. So, she’s also teaching me how to deal with the whole spectrum from miffed to ripping mad. It’s pretty cool.

Here’s how your marching + my personal brain health work are now combined.

Last night, as I was writing this, I made my first Facebook post about Donald Trump. The afterglow euphoria of this herstoric day was not yet faded and I was getting to work like promised. I am accepting the baton. I feel empowered and supported enough to do so. I stood with you every moment, soaking in your ability to do this. I feel my post was intelligent and had substance. I’m happy I made it.

Is this a big deal? It is for me. I put myself out there and stated what I believe in with no fear of repercussion because the repercussion didn’t matter. I felt I could handle it. It’s also what I do and I love it.

I write.

I bet there will be a day when I can go to a gathering. I fantasize about going with friends and not puking in the car on the way there. Maybe it can be like hountitled_artworkw I learned to love broccoli. It started out covered in stir fry sauce and great gooey things like that. Slowly, there was less and less goo and more veg. Eventually I was like, “Give me the broccoli STAT!” Maybe we can get together for coffee and I find that we accidentally run into more friends at the Colectivo. We have a great and passionate chat about something important. Maybe we all walk to our cars together and stand in the parking lot getting worked up about the thing that’s happening and what we’re going to do about it. All of a sudden, someone’s holding a banner and it won’t phase me a bit. I’ll be like, “And, my banner is going to say (something really brilliant)!”

Thank you for marching for me.

(Did I mention, I love you?)




March 19, 2010

“Medical College to commit $8.2 million to stem youth violence.” YES!!!! Go, Medical College, Go!

I read an article in the paper this morning that inspired me.

Medical College to commit $8.2 million to stem youth violence

Okay, okay — what does this have to do with me?  I’m working on getting a tour company and Shakespeare in the Park on it’s feet.  Youth violence?  Health issues?

I’m not the most extreme poster child for the positive affects of the arts and entrepreneurial skills on stemming youth violence and creating a healthier life, but I’m one of them.  Probably one of the most common sorts, frankly.  I grew up surrounded by violence — both subtle and extraordinary.  Mental, physical and sexual abuse was part of life.  My health suffered as a consequence.

I’m 47 years old and am a bootstrapper.  I’ve wondered this before, but what would life be like for me now if I’d had some structured help along the way?  I’ve got some natural talents and smarts, but imagine where I’d be if I’d finished college?  If there had been some truly comprehensive programs that I could participate in?  I fell in between the societal cracks instead.

I wasn’t violent toward others, so I didn’t get news coverage.  I wasn’t beaten up much myself, so I didn’t get emergency room care or a halfway house.  I did get placed in a foster home once, but not for long.  Instead, I witnessed it all.  I absorbed it.  I was collateral damage.  Beatings, murder, rape, drug abuse.  Yes – that was my childhood.  And yes – it seriously compromised my health.

For every person in the headlines, there are a dozen more that have their heads and bodies messed up due to their close proximity.  Yes, please stop the headliners.  Get those kids to put down the guns and fists.  But don’t ignore the people around them that they’ve broken just because we’re quiet.  We’re not the squeakiest wheels.  But we cost more in medical bills than all of them put together.

I turned my life around and it took a lot of work.  It took a lot of different people at key times.  There were programs, but mostly it was stuff I fell into.  Acting in high school.  The Ren Faire community later.  Working in a bookstore.  Alateen.  CODA.

I’ve pulled myself out of that hell and continue to be watchful.  The tug-of-war is not as extreme by a long shot, but the effects of my upbringing find ways of creeping up every once in a while.  I’m grateful for friends and the skill set I’ve finally acquired to deal with them.

I applaud this program.   It smacks of Tipping Point smarts.  Stop the violence and heal our bodies and souls.  I know how I’d do it.


Nothing, Nothing, Nothing has the comprehensive life impact that the arts do.  Not sports, not business, nothing.  Period.

Give me those kids.  Those screwed up, fell in the cracks, needy, damaged kids.  It’s not too late.  Look at me.


Susan Scot Fry

Update… By the way, I don’t share posts like this with Mom.  It would just hurt her and that’s not good.  I believe that dealing with the onset of dementia and bad knees is more than enough.

Update… And with the death of Joseph Zilber today, I’d say Milwaukee can use this continuation of his great ideas.  Pick a neighborhood (or two in this case) and focus on them.  Thank you, Mr. Zilber.