A Much-needed Snowy Break

I’ve always enjoyed watching snow fall. This is, in part, due to the fact that it doesn’t happen too often in Texas, so you are fascinated when it does. The main reason I enjoy it, though, is because of the silence it brings. There are no claps of thunder. There is no noise when it hits the roof. It’s almost as if time stands still and you can hear yourself think. There is a beauty in its simplicity. Today, as I write this, I am staring out my window at the first snowfall I’ve seen in quite a while. My neighbors seem to be enjoying this Lone Star anomaly as well. I’ve really needed something simple like this to bring an end to a tumultuous week.

I think back to when I’d watch TV as a kid and get up to change the channel (which is something we had to do way back then). Quite often, as you were turning the knob looking for something different to watch, you’d come across a channel with no broadcast, or “snow.” Now, as a kid, that channel scared me after watching Poltergeist, but now I see the similarities of what is happening outside my window. It was a break in programming…a break in receiving a signal.

For what seems like forever, I’ve turned on the TV or seen notifications on my phone of breaking news. My immediate thought is, “Oh crap! What NOW?!” That thought rose to new heights this week with what happened at the Capitol. I pray it was the last event of that magnitude, but only time will tell. I’ve shed a lot of tears over the last few days given what transpired and am sure to shed many more as the days pass. My heart breaks that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick lost his life as a result of this violence. So many others were put in harm’s way. Sadly, I had zero doubts that something of this magnitude would happen given what this President has been saying and doing since announcing his run for the office in 2015. I just never wanted to be proven right.

As someone who loves this country, it is beyond me how so many in office and in places of authority have let the President go unpunished for his words and actions over the last few years. Many continued to sing his praises after his despicable behavior time and time again. I have lost track of how many letters and calls I have made to Congressmen and women voicing my opinion, which has appeared to go unheard. I took great pleasure in casting my vote in this last election, but living in a red state makes you feel even less powerful when so many still refused to see him and his supporters for who they are.

Many see them now though.

The blinders are off. The rose-colored glasses have been smashed. What hurts my heart so much though is why…WHY did it take the events of January 6th, 2021 for this to happen when many of us saw it all along?! Sadly, I don’t have the answer to this question.

So, here I sit, looking out my window seeing the beautiful snow falling, enjoying the silence it brings. I know that in a short time it will turn to rain and the quiet will subside. The noise will return, and, with it, so will the voices of so many who have been on the wrong side of history for quite some time.

My hope is that in this moment of clarity that has come about after recent events, we will finally find a way to come together as a country and begin to speak to each other and not AT each other. We MUST require this of those in power as well and call them out when they deny the truth, regardless of party affiliation. We absolutely have to hold those accountable for their actions, especially the President and not let this unpatriotic plague evolve any further. Finally, I pray we do not continue to repeat the mistakes of our recent past but rather learn from them and find common ground whose foundation isn’t formed on quicksand.

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Blue Skies After the Storm

When I started writing 10 years ago, a good friend of mine gave me some advice. He said when you’re feeling really down, try to write about something as far removed from those feelings as possible. Making yourself see the good in the world will help improve your mood. You know what? He was right! Many of what I’d consider my funniest blogs were written when I was at my lowest, yet you’d never know from reading them. To say this year has had low points is quite the understatement, but instead of having to force myself to write about the opposite, I’m finding that the goodness in this world is more easily highlighted in all this darkness.

I have an even more renewed appreciation of my family and friends. I will always believe that it is these connections that are the best invention ever! The random texts, messages, and calls when you least expect them seem that much sweeter and more meaningful. Given all the tragedy this year, the celebrations seem almost triumphant and even more grandiose than they were previously.

It seems that daily I hear of strangers coming to the aid of those in need…and there is so much need right now. So many are making their voices heard, and because of that positive change is on the horizon; I truly believe this. When I see stories like this on the news, it does wonders to restore my faith in humanity. I’ve cried countless times as I’ve watched good triumph over evil.

You see, I could very easily fall into an abyss of despair and let my anger overwhelm me. I could focus on the pain, the loss, the hurt, the unfairness of it all; and it has been all those things and more. Again, that would be easy thing to do. Here’s the deal though…life isn’t easy. As Tom Hanks said in A League Of Their Own, “The hard is what makes it great.” This is a daily and sometimes moment-by-moment decision for me. I’ll admit that, occasionally, I do fall into that abyss of negative emotions, but it allows me a much-needed release. I’m a firm believer that sometimes you just need a good cry. It’s not letting that side overwhelm me that has made all the difference.

So here we all are on the precipice of a new year. If you’re like me, you’ll be saying good riddance to 2020 when the clock strikes midnight on Friday. This year, we’ve all learned a plethora of lessons that I’m sure will stay with us for the rest of our lives. For me, I look at 2021 as if we’ll be stepping outside to blue skies after a terrible storm. Hell, it’s felt like we’ve been whirling around in the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, feeling the whiplash going from one extraordinary event to the next.

What I’ve realized though is that this year has reiterated how much more I appreciate the sunshine after the rain. So many of you have been the source of that sunshine for me, and for that, I’m forever grateful. I hope I’ve been a reason for a masked smile or two this year as well. Until we get to those sunny days I’m sure are ahead, we just need to make sure our umbrellas are at the ready. I know we will all be able to weather what is yet to come, but, in the meantime, let’s find ways to dance in the rain.

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The Power of Losing

Throughout our lives, we all go through many different rites of passage. We learn to walk, we graduate from high school, we move out on our own, etc. What’s interesting is that with each of these transitions, they do not come without struggles and challenges. How many toddlers do you see who don’t fall down time after time when trying to increase their steps? What young adult aces every test and avoids any sort of social awkwardness during their school years? What newly-independent person immediately knows how to “adult” automatically? This is the very point of these life transitions.

You’re not born knowing know to automatically do everything; you have to figure things out over time. You try and fail or try and learn over and over again. Failure is just a part of this process. If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried. We all wish we could learn things the easy way, but it’s the failures that teach us the greatest lessons.

Think of all the board games, go-fish matches, or rounds of tag you played as a kid. Surely you didn’t win every one of those. What did you learn from losing? – Humility, perseverance, grace. What did you learn from winning? – Empathy, strategy, teamwork. These shape you into who you become, and you grow because of them.

So what happens then if you lose without learning? What kind of person does that create? How would this person interact with those around them? How would they react to future losses? I would imagine they would blame others rather than taking responsibility for their own shortcomings. I would imagine they would feel the system is rigged against them. I would also imagine they would lash out at anyone or anything to save face.

If they would just see the power they’d hold in being gracious, they would realize that losing is simply an opportunity for growth. It furthermore provides the chance to teach others what valuable lessons you learned in the process. Being a sore loser serves no purpose, nor does being a sore winner.

Watching this play out on a national scale, when lives are literally dependent on the very act of being a good loser, is shameful, infuriating, and embarrassing. What makes it even worse is watching those who know better do nothing to set things right. I could understand if these were children in a schoolyard, but these are grown adults who must be held accountable. If you’re not prepared to lose, you have no business throwing your hat in the ring.

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Stepping Forward Together

The world waited with baited breath about how the US election would end, and now a decision has been made. People took to the streets all over the world, in the middle of a pandemic, to celebrate the decision. Now, I am very aware that for many people, almost half of this country based on the election results, that this did not end the way you had hoped, and I am never the type to gloat about this, as I know this hurts deeply for many people I care about. I also know that it could very easily have gone the other way. So, how do we move forward as a country? How do we heal this great divide that has widened even further over the last few years? What steps do we take to begin our pursuit of becoming a more perfect union?

First and foremost, we need to learn once again how to talk with each other rather than at each other. We are all entitled to our feelings and opinions, and right now they are very raw. Being aware of this is of utmost importance. I truly believe that when you get right down to it, there is much more that unites us than divides us.

I feel that when we close our mouths and open our ears more often, we tend to invite in kindness, empathy, and truth. After all, we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason. To be clear though, this goes for all sides. It should not be me versus you or us versus them. It should be all of us together taking a deep breath and a step forward to find ways to make things better for everyone.

Given the magnitude of everything that has happened, I do want to take a moment though to explain what the outcome of this election has meant to me.

Upon hearing that Pennsylvania was called in favor of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, thus solidifying who would lead the next administration, I began crying…sobbing, actually. I could not compose myself for quite some time. It was as if five years of emotions plus all of what’s happened so far in 2020 had come out all at once, and I find it’s difficult to separate out each emotion individually.

I stood behind my sofa on Saturday morning, staring at the TV screen, with tears streaming down my face. Just as a wave of relief came over me that this election it was finally over, another wave of the tsunami of emotions hit me when I realized that for the very first time there would be a woman, moreover a woman of color, serving as the Vice President. To say this is historic is the understatement of my lifetime.

Even now, as I write this, I’m having trouble comprehending just how monumental this is for women. I thought of my Little Sister, who I’ve mentored since meeting her in 2011, and was in awe that this was her very first Presidential election to get to vote in, and this was the outcome. I thought of my dear friend who has a six year old daughter of mixed race who will never remember a time when a woman didn’t hold one of the highest jobs in this country, or the world for that matter. I imagined what it must be like for so many parents to get to explain to their children what the significance of this is and how it will affect their lives in such a positive way.

I watched the speeches given both by the President- and Vice President-elect on Saturday evening. Again, I wept tears of validation that I, a woman, was finally represented in this moment. I found myself questioning over and over why it took this long. What an amazing moment to witness! I feel like I’ve lived through so much history this year already, most of it tragic. This historic moment was different. I knew I would burn the memory into my brain of Kamala Harris standing there in that white suit, delivering the speech so many had hoped they’d witness as some point, thus tearing down another barrier that had eluded women for so long.

The challenge with elections is that there can only be one victor, which means so many are left unsatisfied with the results. For those of you who had hoped for a different outcome, please know that I can empathize, as I felt the same way four years ago. I truly believe that the moment has chosen the right people to lead us, so I implore you to given them a chance just as I did in 2016. We may be separated both physically and politically, but know that I am holding an outstretched hand and look forward to us all taking that deep breath and steps forward to a future that we can all be proud of as Americans.

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Principled Behavior

I am completely mentally and emotionally exhausted right now. This is not how I thought my day would end at all. Early this afternoon, while at work, I got called out of a team meeting because my six-year-old son’s principal was on the phone. She was concerned about some of my son’s recent behaviors and, due to the severity, asked that my husband and I both meet with her and his teacher immediately. I left instructions with my team on the next steps of the project we’d been working on, called my husband, and promptly left to meet him at the school so we could get to the bottom of what had happened.

My husband arrived shortly before I did, and we walked into the school’s office together. Our son, DJ, was sitting in one of the chairs with his arms crossed and a look of defiance on his face. When he saw us walk in, he remained where he was, only shifting slightly in his seat. Before I could say anything, the principal walked out of her office to invite us inside. DJ kept looking straight ahead as if he didn’t care whether we were there or not.

As we entered her office, I noticed one of DJ’s teachers was there as well with a very somber look on her face. She was normally very bubbly, so this caught me off guard. My husband and I sat down in the two empty seats as the principal shut the door and sat down at her desk. I felt my heart racing and had to take a deep breath because I had no idea what I was about to be told. I could tell my husband was nervous as well, so I gave him a slight smile as we braced for the news.

The principal thanked us for coming in on such short notice, but reiterated how important it was that we meet as soon as possible. She and DJ’s teacher proceeded to inform us they would describe momentarily some of the behaviors they’ve witnessed our son display over the last few months. Unfortunately, today’s events escalated things quite a bit and action had to be taken. Our son was being expelled from school.

I could feel the air leave my chest, and I wondered what on earth my son could have done that would have led to this situation. The teacher could see from our reactions that we were both a bit shocked. She started off by saying that when it comes to six year olds, it is understood that some things are to be expected. She’s been teaching for a while and has seen quite a bit over the years and knows this year has been difficult given they all have to wear masks to keep each other safe. At first she thought DJ was displaying typical behavior, but it soon began to intensify.

He started interrupting other kids when they were trying to answer a question after being called on. He was reminded each time to wait to be called on. When the kids would be asked to line up to go to the library or lunchroom or even recess, he kept pushing his way to the front of the line and even elbowed another child in the side. He would be asked to go to the back of the line, but pretty soon, he’d push his way to the front and the other kids would just get out of his way to avoid injury.

One of the major problems was his refusal to wear a mask. The principal explained that she knows it’s not fun to have to wear a mask, but she had directed all of the teachers to explain why they were needed. She even had them do a fun experiment when in-person school started back up using bubbles to explain how far droplets can travel. The kids all seemed to like it, and it seemed to get the point across. Despite all this, and the constant reminders, DJ quite often refused to put his mask on and would call the experiment or “bubble race,” as he put it, a “stupid waste of time.”

While on the playground, several of the teachers noticed DJ would occasionally call other kids names. They would quickly remind him that name calling is hurtful and that he should say he’s sorry. He usually did so, but it was getting to be a more common occurrence. The principal said that it wasn’t brought to her attention until several of the teachers had witnessed the same thing but were unaware that it had happened more than once or twice. It turned out that it was happening quite frequently.

The last two things that the principal mentioned to us had happened that day, and they were the last straw. After catching DJ cheating off another student’s numbers worksheets, his paper was taken up and he was asked to move his chair closer to the teacher’s desk. As his teacher had her back to him while writing something on the board, DJ got up and walked over to the teacher and pulled down her skirt in front of the class.

There was an audible gasp both by me and my husband!! I couldn’t bring myself to make eye contact with DJ’s teacher. I was mortified that my son had acted that way and that it wasn’t an isolated incident. The look of disappointment on my husband’s face was something I’d never seen during our entire marriage and it broke my heart to see it. I knew immediately that we had a long and serious road ahead of us. We were going to have to work together to figure out how to handle this. The principal is a very kind woman, and she knew this was hard to hear as parents regardless of how difficult it was to convey it as an administrator. She informed us that the expulsion was effective immediately and that we could reach out to her with any questions.

I thanked them both for the time, yet I still don’t know how I got the words out of my mouth. My husband didn’t say a word. Before we left the room, and since I know my husband so well, I told him that I’d take DJ with me and we could discuss this further once we all got home.

Now…

For those of you who know me or who have been following my blog, you are very aware that I am neither married (anymore) nor a mom, although not from a lack of trying (see Surviving Those Questions and Comments). My point here is that this behavior of a fictional six year old would make most people concerned. The idea that this would be tolerated by adults or overlooked by parents is inexcusable. Unfortunately, these actions are being brushed off by many people, but they aren’t coming from a child, childish as they are. These actions describe the very actions displayed by the President of the United States.

It was four years ago yesterday that the Hollywood Access tape was released, where Donald Trump was heard bragging about sexually assaulting women, yet still voters supported him and continue to do so. We’ve heard him, almost on a daily basis, call those who oppose him names. Even as recently as today, when he referred to Senator, and Vice Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to be on a major party’s ticket, as a “monster” and “communist.”

We all watched as he pushed Prime Minister Dusko Markovic out of the way at a NATO summit in 2017, some describing the move as showing confidence, while others described it as that of a bully. He has embraced dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un while alienating us from our allies across the globe.

He’s either downplayed or refused to wear a mask from the beginning of this pandemic. Just this week, he promptly removed his own mask upon returning to the White House from Walter Reed Hospital after being treated for COVID-19. He entered the residence with no concern for the well-being of those around him, who he was putting at risk for a disease that has already killed over 212,000 people and infected over 7,000,000 people in our country in less than a year.  He has proclaimed himself an expert and very knowledgeable in the matters of science, yet he argues with climate scientists when they plead with him to listen to the science and he responds that he doesn’t think “science knows, actually.”

He spent the entire first, and maybe only, Presidential debate talking over Joe Biden and the moderator, refusing to follow the rules his campaign agreed to prior to that evening. This, of course, was only two days after a report in the New York Times revealed that the President had paid far less than his fair share of income tax not only during his presidency, but for at least a decade prior. There’s a reason he has refused to make them public.

My friends, the time is upon us to use what platforms we have to make our voices heard. It is clear that Donald Trump wants you to doubt that your ballot will count. It is clear that he will not go quietly when, yes when, he loses this election. It is clear that another term means the behaviors I have described above will grow exponentially worse, as it is clear those around him allow him to go unchecked.

Let’s show him that we will not tolerate his childish behavior. Let’s show him that we know our vote matters. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and need a ride to a polling station and I am available, I will gladly provide you with my personal masked transportation. Let’s show the WORLD that America is not Donald Trump’s vision of America, but rather a country that believes in loving one another because what makes us all different is something to be celebrated, not feared.

Please, vote!!!

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Time Better Spent

Below is a letter I wrote and sent to every Republican senator, as they are rushing to push a Supreme Court judicial nominee prior to the election…which has already begun in many states. Maybe this will fall on deaf ears, but I hope it might sway two or three people to rethink their decision. Many have already sent auto-responses that they prioritize their own state’s constituents. Either way, it’s out there. What they choose to do with my opinion is up to them.


Dear Senator,

I am sending this letter to you, as I am all other Republican senators currently debating whether or not to proceed with the process of confirming a new Supreme Court justice so close to an election after the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I feel, as a concerned American, it is important to remind each of you of a few things as you make your decision on whether or not to move forward.

First and foremost, as someone who was raised in a Jewish home, I felt it was extremely disrespectful that mere hours had passed since her death when an announcement was made that Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat would be filled as soon as possible. Furthermore, the fact that this happened on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which is the start of the Jewish High Holy Days, shows a great deal of disrespect. Even as I write this, she hasn’t been laid to rest, and yet the spectacle of how this is playing out is proof that in America your feelings don’t matter as much unless you’re a Christian. This never would have happened had it fallen on Christmas, but of course that would occur after the next President is elected, so it’s too late in your eyes.

As we reflect on where we were just four years ago, please note that our country seemed to survive from February 13, 2016 until more than a year later on April 7, 2017 when Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch was finally sworn in. During the time before his swearing in, the Supreme Court of the United States made decisions on 88 different cases. This is proof that they can still function with eight justices, just as they can again until after the January 2021 inauguration. Take away the absolutely hypocritical actions of Republicans who refused to both hold a hearing and vote for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland in March of 2016, and I would like to remind you that it was a Supreme Court of only eight justices who finalized the 2016 election. Are you so afraid that Donald Trump will lose the election or that your party will lose control of the Senate that you would go back on your word, one that seems to mean so very little these days?

From a voter’s standpoint, it appears that your entire party has forgotten one very important thing. You work for us, your constituents. We represent more than just your party. We represent more than just your gender, your religion, your race. We, with our tax money, are the ones paying your salary, one that some of us will never earn in our lifetime. We don’t get to vote for a pay raise for ourselves. We don’t get the gold standard insurance plan for our families that you do. Furthermore, had we been hired to do a job and intentionally defied our boss, do you think we would still have that job? Maybe it’s time you remember what your “bosses” are currently going through.

We have been suffering…badly. We have lost our jobs, our homes, our healthcare, our civil rights, and, more importantly, our lives. You have sought to encourage division within this country, whether actively or tacitly, by supporting this President. You have no idea what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck or to go without health insurance or food for your family during a pandemic because your “bosses” pay for all that. Did you really think that we should thank our lucky stars that we got a single stimulus check back in April to get us through this horribly managed crisis? How long did you actually think that money would last us? Maybe you listened too much to the President that this would all magically “go away.”

What about those of us who were laid off trying to find a job in a completely saturated market? Did you think that an extra $600 per week would be enough because we’d all find jobs by the end of July when that money ran out? Are you so detached from reality that you have no idea what a normal person’s monthly bills even total?

Why were you not working together with the rest of your colleagues to make sure we, your “bosses,” were taken care of after the first stimulus bill was passed? Did you think you did your job, you were done, and you deserved a pat on the back? Do you think we would take time off when the fate of the country was in our hands and so many were clearly suffering?

You hold so much power, yet you can’t see the forest for the trees. We don’t care right now if there is a seat filled on the Supreme Court. As the 88 decisions and a decided Presidential election showed, it will work just fine for the time being. We want you to focus your attention, your power, on getting us past this pandemic in every facet, starting with not taking away coverage for pre-existing conditions. Don’t you think the Supreme Court has better things to do than purposely hurt all Americans who would otherwise be without healthcare should this coverage be removed?

What we notice is that you seem to want to be part of the problem rather than the solution. You complain about the fact that you’re not getting what you want and have completely forgotten about us. You claim this will be a fraudulent election because of mail-in voting, yet you don’t feel the need to do anything to find a solution. You fail to see how all these issues are related to one another. Imagine what could happen if you put the FULL FORCE of the U.S. Government behind increasing testing, making schools and workplaces safer, making sure that mail-in voting, or voting in any manner, is free from tampering. Furthermore, you could redirect the time you’re spending acting like children in regards to this Supreme Court seat and get another stimulus bill passed so we are taken care of finally.

As with every person, so too do your actions have consequences. When you break your word by doing only what you want rather than what your constituents want and need, you shatter the very heart of this country. You’re so busy trying to figure out if you could do something that you never stop to ask yourself if you should do something. Morality seems to be something you look past rather than something to strive towards in politics.

I challenge you to reevaluate your priorities as a senator, as there are much more important, life-threatening issues that need to be addressed right now. I want to remind you that you were hired to do a job, and if you choose not to do that job, your “bosses” will replace you with someone who will. The time of underestimating us is over. We have that power, and that should have you running scared. Remember, you may be one, but we…we are many.

With love for this country,
Robyn Thorn




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Dear Mr. P

Dear Mr. President,

I would like to begin by introducing myself. I am a divorced, white woman in my mid-40’s who, in 2018, became a published author. I have always considered myself a suburbia girl, which is where I currently reside. Despite being born in Ohio, I have lived in Texas since I was six years old. I am a gun owner and believe that life begins at conception. I am the proud daughter of an Air Force veteran who I watch fly his flag on an American-made flag pole every day. It is something I’ve always admired about him. I love this country, and one of my favorite trips was to Washington, D.C. where, amongst other things, I toured both the Capitol and White House as well as Arlington National Cemetery. Based on much of this information, you’d probably feel that it’s safe to assume that I would fall directly into your base. This could not be further from the truth.

Let me explain…

I am the youngest daughter of a veteran, a Jewish veteran, living in the Bible Belt. I am the granddaughter of immigrants who fled their countries because of the persecution of Jews. I have been discriminated against simply because of my religion, which can be deceiving since you can’t tell someone’s religion simply by what they look like. In the south, most people assume you’re a Christian. We’ve already proven, based on my opening paragraph that one should never assume, like us assuming you go to church on a random Sunday. I have been preached to that I must pray to Jesus in school despite this going against the religion in which I was raised. Prayer in school sounds good to most Christians, but it is most likely because they believe putting it back in school means it will only be Christian prayer. The feelings of isolation and segregation are palpable to those who have another’s religion forced upon them. Of course, you wouldn’t know anything about forcing things upon people, especially woman. Anyone who believes that must be a pussy.

I am not only a gun owner, but I’m a really great shot with a rifle and shotgun. I’ve even gone deer hunting and killed two deer, which I cleaned, quartered, and ate. I do think shooting is a lot of fun, but unless I need to feed my family, I reserve any “fun” for clay or paper targets with proper ear protection. I also have my gun securely stored in a hard case, unloaded, with a trigger lock. I believe that people should have the right to protect themselves and know many other gun owners, including those with concealed carry licenses. What I do not agree with is the reason for automatic or military-grade weapons in the hands of civilians. The fact that we have been so desensitized to mass shootings in the country is unfathomable. How you can see nothing wrong with your supporters attending protests or storming state capitol buildings with automatic weapons is a blatant disregard for public safety. The fact that you encourage it is criminal. Of course, you must think that if the governors or protestors can’t handle seeing a few automatic weapons around, well…they must be a bunch of pussies.

I absolutely believe that life begins at conception. This is something very personal to me, as I spent years trying to have a family only to fail time and time again. The only thing I have to show for it are pictures of my beautiful embryos that my body sadly rejected. I do not believe that abortion should be used as a form of birth control for this very reason. I wonder though, as a man, how you seem to think you know though what is best for a woman and her body is beyond me. Unless you have a pussy, you can’t understand what it’s like to deal with all that goes along with having one. How you can brag about grabbing one without a woman’s permission is the absolute definition of a crime. How you can preach about the precious life of an unborn child while promoting the death penalty is the ultimate hypocrisy.

Here are a few things that I haven’t yet mentioned, which might further explain why your assumption I would be a supporter would be wrong…

I work in the hospitality industry, and my company and its leaders are pretty amazing. We are told weekly how appreciated we all are…at least those who are still lucky enough to have a job or remain furloughed. Sadly, I have seen so many amazing people lose their jobs because of this pandemic. April was the worst month in the HISTORY of the hotel industry, but surely you know that. Despite the trillions of dollars that have been handed out, your administration has done NOTHING to help this industry, which I believe is largely in part to the fact that you’d be afraid it would show favoritism to your own properties, and only a pussy would do that.

I am a college-educated woman with a double major in Psychology and Communications. I also have a teaching certificate, so I have seen the inside of a classroom as more than just a student. My heart aches for so many dear friends who are terrified and suffering from anxiety for the first time in their lives because their schools are not a safe place to be. There is an enormous lack of equipment, protective measures, and inadequate spacing because there simply isn’t enough funding. The person you appointed as the head of the Department of Education in YOUR administration is a complete and utter moron who should have been putting a plan in place the minute schools were shut down in the spring to ensure the safety of every student, teacher, administrator, and staff upon their return in the fall. They shouldn’t have to scramble to fend for themselves district by district. They tell me stories of their own kids being afraid to go to school. I hear them fighting back tears as they share their fears with me not only for the safety of their own children but for those amazing students for whom they’ve dedicated their lives to educate. Maybe all these people are just being unreasonable and acting like pussies. Yeah, that’s got to be the right explanation.

I understand that the English language can be confusing. I know that big words like Yosemite and Thailand can be a real bugger. I get that the fear of public speaking can turn a confident orator into a monotone pussy who can’t riff to save his life, especially if he has to look at a stupid bunch of mask-wearing fake media who seem to catch him on every single lie he’s told to the people of the United States…who, by the way, are who he answers to because it is his JOB as an elected official.

There is one huge difference between you and me, the likes of which you can’t comprehend. I actually love this country. I believe there is no better place in the world to live. It is my home. I take pride in my home and will be forever grateful to those who serve and have served this great country. I take great offense when someone tries to hurt what I love. In one fell swoop, with your Hollywood Access tape, you proved two of my favorite sayings – 1. When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time, and 2. Integrity is doing what is right even when no one is looking. Look at you, killing two pussies with one quote!

Here is your biggest problem…your fatal flaw, and it has me smiling inside. You have greatly underestimated me and many like me who will not allow you to stay in office after January 20, 2021. We will not allow you to continue to be a national home wrecker any longer. Here’s some free advice – start working on a plan now to get everything packed so you’re all set to go back to Florida or hell or wherever by Biden’s inauguration, as this country doesn’t take well to Oval Office squatters. As a property owner and slumlord, I’m sure you’re familiar with this type of situation.

Disrespectfully yours,
Robyn “Nasty Woman” Thorn

To my readers: If the blatant use of the “P” word has offended you, then I have proven my point. Remember, I’m just a writer. I’m not the President.

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My Eviction Conviction

I’m sitting here writing this, finally able to compose myself after watching something on TV that I know many people are going through during this economic crisis. I’m referring to eviction. I watched, sitting comfortably on my parents’ sofa, as a Harris County Constable in Texas had to serve eviction notices to multiple people on a daily basis who have been unable to pay their rent due to lack of income because of the Coronavirus. Now, with the CARES Act payments having expired and the eviction moratoriums doing the same, many find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Despite this being a somewhat short news story, my face was stained with tears watching person after person, family after family, having to leave their home, some with no place to go. Their pain was palpable.

Since the onset of this pandemic, I have been blessed enough to maintain my employment, despite suffering a pay decrease due to the fact that I work in the hospitality industry, which has been devastated by this crisis. I have been able to spend time with my family, staying with them during the latter part of the week since I’ve been fortunate to be able to partially work remotely. I have continued to not only pay my rent, but I’m also scheduled to move into a new apartment in late October that has given me something to look forward to this year. All of these blessings were going through my mind as I watched these distraught, terrified, and financially ruined families gather what little they have and walk away from the safety of their homes in hopes they are able to find a safe place to stay.

What have we become as a country? How did we get to a point where there is such a huge divide between those who enjoy a comfortable, or, in some cases, extravagant lifestyle, while others cannot afford even the basic necessities including a roof over their head? Why have so many in positions of power and influence become complacent, taking their roles for granted? Why do they continue to childishly fight over petty things rather than act like adults, set aside their differences, and work together towards much-needed change?

This economic downfall is like a house of cards. Remove just one wall and you see a collapse that affects so many – businesses, families, landlords, banks, etc. I am aware that there is much that goes into our socioeconomic status, but until we acknowledge and fix issues as basic as equal rights for all Americans, we will continue to see suffering on an unimaginable scale.

I know that so much of what we’re experiencing now could have been avoided. It has been avoided in other countries who had a national plan to fight this pandemic and the associated financial effects. What hurts me on a daily basis is that this country seems to be stumbling around in the dark, unable to find its way. I know so many who are suffering. As this news story showed, rent is more than many can afford right now, but, for everyone, compassion is free. I pray that it becomes the foundation of our national plan. I believe that out of compassion comes love, and love will always light up the darkness and hold us together when times are tough.

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One Out of Many

E pluribus unum. We’ve all seen and heard that Latin phrase. It’s on our currency. It’s a part of the Great Seal of the United States. The translation of it is, “out of many, one.” It was adopted to show that out of the union of the original Thirteen Colonies, a new nation emerged. One nation. A more perfect one. A united one. There are several variations of this actual translation, however. It can also mean “one from many” or “one out of many.” It is this last translation that I’ve been thinking about a lot this morning.

On April 3rd this year, I started tracking different stats about this pandemic from the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Almost every day since then, I have added to my spreadsheet. At first, I was just tracking cases and the difference in cases each day both in the US and worldwide. It wasn’t collected at the same time every day, but it was almost every day. Soon thereafter, on April 19th, I added the number of deaths worldwide. Again, this was worldwide. At the time, we were at a total of 165,106. The next day, I added the difference in deaths per day. I watched, day after day, as the number of cases rose. By April 25th, we had already surpassed 200,000 deaths. By May 15th, we reached over 300,000 worldwide.

On May 20th, I began tracking the number of deaths in the US as well as the difference per day. At the time, over 91,000 people had died in our country, and before the end of the month, we hit the horrible milestone of 100,000 deaths. As of this morning, August 18th, I have tracked the following information:

* Worldwide Cases – 21,916,639 (201,591 new cases since yesterday)
* US Cases – 5,444,554 (40,054 cases since yesterday)
* Worldwide Deaths – 774,720 (731 since yesterday)
* US Deaths – 170,564 (499 since yesterday)

It is this last number that I can’t get out of my head. You see, the husband of a very dear friend is now included in the total added from yesterday. He is one out of many. So many. We see these numbers go up day after day, and it’s becoming just another thing to acknowledge and move on. We, as human beings, have to stop and really take this in. Why did it come to this?

I want you to ponder something that has boggled my mind. We all have seen or heard a memorial such as one from 9/11 or during a Black Lives Matter protest when the names of all the victims are read aloud in remembrance. Hearing each name read gives validity to their lives and helps to put what happened into perspective. With that in mind, I calculated how long it would take to read, at an average pace, the names of all those in the US who have died from this pandemic, knowing very well that every medical expert is sure the number is much, much higher. As it stands now, it would take over 43 hours to read the first and last name of each victim. Furthermore, it would take over 58 days to read the first and last name of all those in the US who have been infected. Is someone you know or love included in that time period?

Now is not the time to be selfish about the fact that wearing a mask or socially distancing is uncomfortable or is infringing upon your rights. There is nothing right about all those who have been infected, will be infected, have died, or will die. Wearing a mask does not impede your ability to speak or voice your opinion. Socially distancing won’t last forever, and, with all of us doing our part, we will be able to embrace our loved ones, high five a teammate, or comfort someone in person. As much as we’d like the world to revolve around ourselves, it doesn’t. Your actions have consequences, but out of many, you are one. You are a powerful individual who has the ability to keep those around you safe by doing something so very simple.

The numbers I listed above represent people. These are not numbers, they are lives affected, infected, possibly because even just one out of many was not being safe. Multiply those numbers by how many are in your immediate family, and the results are overwhelming. How many more lives will be touched by this before we realize that we have the power to help make things better? You may be one, but we…we are many.

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The Cleared Road Ahead

Sometimes when I’m driving, I’ll come across an accident on the opposite side of the highway. Quite often, the result is that traffic in that direction is then backed up for miles. When this happens, three thoughts come to mind. First, I hope and pray no one was hurt badly. Secondly, I’m usually very glad this occurred on the other side of the road. Finally, as I continue my drive, and I see the end of the line of traffic and the open road behind it, I often feel sorry for those approaching, just merrily driving along their way, as they have no idea what type of delay is in store for them just up ahead. Usually we rely on our navigation system to get us around something like this, but lately, I’ve been comparing this to my life. Wouldn’t it have been nice to know six months ago what we were all in store for given the current state of the world?

I wonder if some being or time traveler is, metaphorically, sitting up high enough to see the road ahead of and behind us. Would they have the same empathy knowing what is to come? Would they think it was best if we just didn’t know what awaits? Should they just let us take the “ignorance is bliss” defense and go about our way? On the flip side, what if up ahead, past the delay, they saw a beautifully cleared road and how happy we would be?

The pendulum has to eventually swing the other way. So, what if we are on the precipice of this time? What if things will soon be getting easier? Maybe we just have to make it past this traffic jam or this horrific tragedy to the point when the lanes open up. Being patient isn’t really my strong suit, especially while driving, but so be it. I have to keep asking myself what I can do within my power to get to that point – the point in the road where I can finally get back to my previously-planned drive. I have to believe that is where we are all headed despite this delay and the pain associated with it.  I will put my faith in knowing that despite the gridlock we’re currently experiencing, we will all be changed for the better because of it and the road we’re traveling will lead us where we’re supposed to go – to an amazing destination.

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