In high school, I fought to be the best at every boot-camp exercise our ex-Navy coach put us through during soccer practice. One day I laid flat on my back for nearly 15 minutes lifting my feet six inches off the ground because the coach said whoever kept their feet up longest could get water.
I won. I got water. I couldn’t walk the next day.
I heard my teammates describe what they did to (not with) their girlfriends as a matter of pride. I learned how to change into my uniform on the bus for away games without a sliver of upper thigh or chest showing.
I sometimes stuffed a sock in my shorts, I ran faster and hit harder, and I got angry that the referees refused to call fouls on me. The one time my coach smacked my butt after a good play, “Alright, Hill!” – it surprised us both; he’d forgotten I was a girl for an instant.
I was permitted to play on the boys’ soccer team, thanks to Title IX, because we didn’t have a girls’ team.
My teammates got by fine just being mediocre. I had to be twice as good just to be seen as OK. Continue reading I Survived Sexism. Ableism Took Its Place.
Yesterday evening as I was walking with my friend, Robert, by the river, two men in a motorboat passed by heading the same direction.
One called out: “Are you two a couple?”
“Are you related?”
“Then smack that ass. You better smack that ass!”
I immediately turn to keep walking and ignore them just as Robert yells, “Why do you want her to smack my ass?” as he gets in front of me and bends forward slightly. “Like this?”
So I did. I smacked his ass.
But the end of the story is not what made me nearly sob today when I remembered the interaction.
Continue reading “Smack That Ass!”
I didn’t plan on writing this piece about #BlackLivesMatter. I wanted to watch how it all played out without getting too involved. Truthfully I was afraid that I would say something wrong that would make me look unintelligent and uninformed. Then I realized that by being silent about it, somehow I was allowing more damage to happen. I write this from a place of vulnerability, love, and hope. I’m willing to be brave for those whose voices are drowning in fear. I hope to amplify the voices of my black brothers and sisters as they scream, even when it seems no one is listening. I hope to be corrected, as needed, by those whose lives are in danger and whose shoes I can never occupy. I will keep listening.
Continue reading Standing in Solidarity: Black Lives Matter