Behind Every Feminist is a War

She comes from a lineage of impeccable posture and stands tall, yet covers her eyes and hides her young face as she reveals her dream of becoming a nurse. I am slow to respond on the exterior, yet my interior races with all the complications involved in such a dream – the educational costs, the logistics of leaving home and boarding at a school far from her family, the question of where she might work even if she brought this beautiful dream to fruition. I acknowledge that although Bebian may be taller, I stand much higher on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and find her perspective nearly unfathomable. I repress the urge to inundate her with queries and smile at her brave answer.

Her widowed mother goes through the motions of hospitality with grace, but I catch a glimpse of what looks like heartbreak and frustration. The reflections of firelight dance upon Sietta’s face; shiny with a sweat that is rich with the history of loss brought upon by war and disease.

They have a goat I attempt to pet, but it is clear that their lack of affection for this animal is intentional. I tell them that I miss my goats and actually sold them to come on this trip to Uganda. I realize the irony in my choice to become attached to an animal I would eventually have to sacrifice. They preserve their affection for the spade and dark, overworked earth that provides their family with green beans, yams, bananas and maize.

As we sit in a small room illuminated by a puny flashlight hanging from the earthen wall, Sietta shares a fragment of her story. Then she asks us why we are here. The unarticulated answer still swirls within my soul as I struggle to compose a sentence that makes sense in either of our cultures.

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The only explanation I can confidently provide is music. The only gift I can provide that doesn’t feel tied to an agenda thick with corruption or haughty greed is music. I can study the music of their culture and bring in my understanding of a human’s physiologic response to the rhythm, timbre, and harmonic structure of a song. I can combine the evidence provided by advanced technology and intertwine it with this ancient practice and say, “Sing! The wisdom of your ancestors is finally being proven by an fMRI or EEG. Sing and clap and dance as I acknowledge the ways in which you are enhancing neural activity both individually and collectively. Sing proudly and trust that I know you sing not with reckless abandon, but with great intention and unwavering purpose.”

Sietta and her older daughter escort us up the steep trail in the morning. When we get to the main road and it is time to bid this woman farewell, I feel the urge to kneel before her, reach into my ribcage and present my heart for some sort of blessing. Just one night in her presence has taught me so much and I struggle to express my gratitude appropriately. I take her hands in mine and whisper, “Webale.”

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Behind every feminist is music.

Behind every feminist is music

…a continuation of the #shithole rant with a song by Stoneface Honey.

I have a band called Stoneface Honey. We’re working on an album right now that I can’t wait to share, but after Trump’s #shithole #shitshow, I had to share the acoustic version of My Land because sometimes #shithole country-inspired songs just can’t wait. And no, my great-grandmother, Sofia, wasn’t an official Russian Warrior Princess that I know of, but she was BAD ASS! For Christmas, my grandpa shared some stories about his parents. Sofia was kicked by a horse and had a steel plate in her head, she fought off a pack of wolves with firewood, her parents died when she was three and she was in the care of the town “mayor.” When she heard they were going to amputate after a leg injury, she ran away and healed herself in the woods by soaking her leg in a stream and wrapping it with leaves…all before she made it to Germany, Scotland and then finally the US in 1907. 

My Land. #dumptrump

This land was made for you and me.

Watch where you’re walking, you might step on a crack and then we’d have to break your sweet mama’s back. Oh, and watch how you’re talking you might say something that you’ll later regret. When we got you out back. And we ask for your papers and your cards. Then we revoke them and throw out to the yard.

Welcome to the land of the free and the brave. We can’t help you any longer I’m afraid. We don’t give a damn where you go. Just as long as you ain’t here no more. This is my land. Created just for me: the white and the wealthy man. This is my land. Created just for me created just for me, me, me. It’s the rise of the white and the wealthy man.

Burn all your textbooks we don’t need them anymore. I will tell you what you need to know. Oh, and spy on your neighbors, we can’t trust them anymore. You just never, you never know. If you’re pretty enough, I might let you pass. Just as long as you let me TAP THAT SWEET ASS.

Welcome to the land of the free and the brave. We can’t help you any longer I’m afraid. We don’t give a damn where you go. Just as long as you ain’t here no more. This is my land. Created just for me: the white and the wealthy man. This is my land. Created just for me created just for me, me, me. It’s the rise of the white and the wealthy man.

And I will save my friends, build my legacy. I will rape the land ‘cuz it belongs to me. And don’t you, don’t you ever worry. But don’t you ever step out of line. Never mind the man behind the curtain. Move along, move along, move along, MOVE ALONG.

Welcome to the land of the free and the brave. We can’t help you any longer I’m afraid. We don’t give a damn where you go. Just as long as you ain’t here no more. This is my land. Created just for me: the white and the wealthy man. This is my land. Created just for me created just for me, me, me. It’s the rise of the white and the wealthy man.

This land is your land. This land is my land. From California to the New York Islands. From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream Waters. This land was made for you and me.