He was 39 when he died. He was only 39. I think about that all the time. When people hit that age now, they are still using the word “adulting.” Or at least, the entitled people who have a cushion of some sort—a cushion of money or education or white skin or some other privilege they’re wantonly taking for granted. Something that makes them think they don’t need to pick up a pitchfork or a picket sign or the concerns of others. Martin Luther King Jr wasn’t one of those people. He was a person who led with light but also might, who loved everyone but suffered no fools, who knew he would end up sacrificing his own life for a line that was not just ancestral not just racial but the dream of the human race at its absolute best. He said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” He said, ““Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable.” He said, “Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle.”
I am like Marge Piercy. I love best the person who pulls like water buffalo, with massive patience, who does what has to be done, again and again and again. MLK was that person above all else. To honor his legacy we must embody him in our actions and words. We must stop waiting for someone else to say something, be something, do something. We must embody the best grownup America ever birthed, with the sweetest child’s love. Not for nothing was Martin Luther King Jr the only 20th century American who scored a national holiday. We are never too young and we are never too old.
Question: What happens when your solar return arrives the day before a supermassive blood red wolf moon eclipse in my-way-or-the-highway Leo? Answer: You cry a whole river, which is how I spent my birthday, no holds barred. I wept more yesterday than on any birthday since I was a kid. Today I woke feeling crazy and a little frantic. I’ve long believed that how you spend your solar return dictates the tenor of your new year, which meant I was in for an unholy dirge. In desperation, I called my shrink, not an astro-maven by any stretch of the imagination but a wise woman across the board.
“You’re letting it all go,” she said. “Your myths, whatever and whoever was holding you back. Your old ways of getting through the day. Whatever wool was still in your eyes.
“This doesn’t mean your 49th year will be terrible,” she went on. “It means you are being shown what can’t enter your year to come.” Continue Reading →
I have known K since our late 20s–actually I turned 30 a few days after meeting him*–but we only became solid friends in our 40s. First he had a crush on me and I found him esoteric. Then I had a crush on him and he found me extra. Only now that we’ve outgrown feeling slighted by people who don’t desire us have we become good friends.
It’s the best.
Because we are neighbors, we often meet up for coffee, go on rambling walks, help each other out. We have seen each other through some very hard times–illnesses, deaths, breakups, poverty. Neither of us are out of the woods in that final category, and we talk about how being broke is different when you get older. Aging is a constant undercurrent of our conversations.
Perhaps I should say overcurrent because the topic looms. Continue Reading →