Why I March Alone, With You

thewholeruth-i-march-alone-with-you-whyimarch

This morning, I ended up writing to my friend Jenna about the march and why I’m going. Thank you Jenna for helping me hear my feelings. I was feeling them, but I couldn’t put them into words. Thank you for inspiring me…

I’d like to share my reasons for going to the Women’s March. I have the strong intention of going with others so that I feel safe, but at the same time, I intend to have a very individual experience.

It wasn’t until the last year or so that I realized that I’m the only one who is living every moment of my life with me. And there have been lots of moments in that amount of time. So my opinions are very specific and detailed. When I’m at the march, maybe some of the people there will agree with five opinions I have and maybe someone else would agree with five of my other opinions. But to find someone who agrees with all of my opinions would be strange, because they haven’t had the experiences I have had. And I have not had theirs.

Accepting this individuality lets me feel joy that I hadn’t allowed myself to feel for most of my life. I had it in my head that the only experiences that mattered in my life were the ones that related to other people. So if I didn’t have someone who related to my memories that were wonderful, joyful, I wouldn’t talk about them. For like 20 years. But they are my reality and they matter to me. Now, even if no one else was, or is, there for a past or present magical moment, I can embrace the outpouring of my own positive feelings. Or even if someone is there, but they don’t like something I like or don’t feel joy while I do, I feel it. And I’m doing the same thing with negative experiences I had too. It is beyond difficult to look at them, but it is healing not to be afraid of them anymore. They are relevant, to me. And no one else has to relate for that to be true.

This doesn’t make me feel lonely. It did at first because I only knew how to receive love through relating. Now nurturing myself with love is a byproduct of my honesty with myself. Acceptance of my reality makes me feel a fullness inside myself. I know myself better than I did a year ago and I like to hang out with myself. My self-love is new and can be pummeled by old punishing habits, but the teeter-totter is slowing switching sides.

Because of where I am in my journey, I’m not going to the march to join with the opinions of others or to have my experience feel large. Tomorrow is about me being enough.

If I could go naked, I would. I know that’s illegal. And that it also makes people think of sex, which isn’t what I mean. But I like how it could represent being vulnerable by shedding my layers, shining a light on the core of who I am and being content with that core. I mean it in a bare, open, simple way.

And as for the sex part of it, I feel like embracing my sexuality, as opposed to getting caught in caring about society’s many judgments of sex, has helped me embrace my whole self, my needs and my intuition. Someone once told me, “My sexuality is divinely connected to my spirituality.” It helped me see that my intuitive flow would hit my judgment of my sexuality and get blocked. I couldn’t be honest and spiritually full until I celebrated my whole self.

But, I will be at the march with clothes on because I’m just happy that I’ve been able to clarify to myself what my intentions are. And again, I like honoring the truth of my opinion and I don’t feel that tomorrow is a day where I can express it visually in an honest way.

There will be people there whose truth tomorrow is to do the opposite of what I’m doing, to tell vibrant visual stories and create clarity with color and meaningful art. I’m so grateful for them. I’ll just be doing something slightly similar in a slightly different way.

I guess I mean that just me quietly being there is enough. Showing up in whatever way feels good and possible tomorrow is enough. Maybe it will be bright. Maybe it won’t. (Watch, tomorrow morning I will wake up excited to wear hot pink glitter everything…) But giving myself permission to keep it simple is new for me. Anything more will be an added treat. Today I’m enjoying the honesty of discovering the present in the present. I guess there’s no other time that one would discover the present.

I also will be marching knowing that I am keeping some of myself for myself. I had never done that until recently. I was “all or nothing” and in turn gave my all and had nothing left for myself. I feel that it’s encouraged and rewarded to over-work or over-give. And that we’re only familiar with overdoing so those words shorten to become simply “work” or “give.”  I think it is a common thread among women. But I see that men do it too, in a different way. And often we’re both left with an emptiness that we might think the other doesn’t have.

My dearest aunt passed away last month and her memorial is the Saturday after the march. I know that in the past I would have not heard my inner voice saying that I want to be emotionally present with my family. I would have stepped into the wonderful whirlwind energy of the march and gotten whisked away and later resented myself for not noticing my needs. I would have given my all. But my “all” has changed. It’s still my all, there’s just less budgeted for other people now. “I need to be present at the memorial, to feel through the sadness of this experience, for my health and my heart. I need to grieve.” And I feel that marching in a way that leaves space for me, for my life after the march, is another way to stand up for myself as a woman. I’m allowed to matter: my past feelings, my present feelings and my future ones. Protecting space in the world for myself is kind.

It’s funny to me that to stand up for myself as a woman, I need to stand up a bit less for women tomorrow, but in doing so, take a stand for women by treating myself as I wish all women were treated.

Living this way looks a bit less exciting from the outside, but it makes my life on the inside much richer. And that is what I’m hoping tomorrow’s act and others like it will help make possible for women everywhere.

I feel the same way for men too. I think in a society where they are told they are weak if they have feelings, they say things like, “We don’t talk about that.” And their silence is a way of staying safe in the society they live in. In the same way that I didn’t embrace negative and positive feelings in the past and the present, it was eating me alive. I think it would be easy to resent the feminine in females because they are taught to resent it in themselves. I resented it in myself for so much of my life because I fell for the same story they are often told.

I am grateful that I’m able to now stand more often in my truth. I wish that blessing for all the humans on the planet.

So what am I doing tomorrow? I’m standing in the opinions I already have and saying that someone else doesn’t get to tell me that I’m less-than. We are all of value. It’s nice to get to be with others who will be standing in their own opinions too. I’m standing up for the fact that we all get to have different opinions and I like that.

So whatever opinion you go to the march with or don’t go to the march with, whatever way you express it, whatever point you are at in your journey, I’ll be standing up for it. I believe we are all here alone, together.

#whyimarch #womensmarch #womensmarchla #alonetogether #respect4sisters #respect4all #weareallofvalue

www.womensmarch.com | Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters | There are 673 simultaneous sister marches worldwide

www.womensmarchla.org | Women’s March in Los Angeles, C.A.

womensmarchla

The Hollywood Orchard & Green Wish

LOVELY LEMON VERBENA LOQUAT JAM

Shane and I hosted a mini jam-making session in our backyard yesterday! Delightful Chef Minh Phan, of Porridge & Puffs, was our fearless leader!

Photos by Katie Fritchel, Minh Phan & TheWholeRuth

ABOUT HOLLYWOOD ORCHARD

Since 2011, we’ve been part of the Hollywood Orchard, a beautiful community who collects fruit from neighborhood trees, preserves it in pop-up kitchens with the help of loving chefs, and then donates the remaining harvest to local food banks. In one afternoon, about 50 people can pick up to 2000 lbs of free fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste! The Orchard was founded by caring community leaders, and lovers of fruit, Bill & Tamara Pullman.

Photos by Bridie Macdonald, Kyle Soehngen & TheWholeRuth

OTHER ORCHARD ACTIVITIES

Orchard Supply Hardware sponsors us and we got to be at the ribbon cutting for their new store on La Brea!

We also have musical shows where Orchardistas play and sing and share their talents. And sometimes artists come and draw the shows.

LOQUAT PICK

Back in April, the Orchard picked and froze 7 gallons of loquats, a fruit that I see on trees in town all the time, but I never knew was edible!

Photos by Bridie Macdonald

JAM

Yesterday this little team used that harvest to make 60 jars of delicious Lovely Lemonverbena Loquat jam! It was a peaceful and laughter-filled day.

Thank you to Orchardistas Tamara Pullman, who helped set it up, Allison Brooker for designing lovely & educational labels, and Angela Gygi, Katie Frichtel, and newest addition, my old friend Jenna C. Johnson for all their hard work and for jamming out with us in our yard!

Photos by Katie Fritchel & TheWholeRuth

WHERE WILL THE JAM GO?

Who gets to eat this lovely, lip-smackety creation? Guests at a fundraiser dinner, Friendsgiving, hosted by Green Wish and Union Restaurant in Pasadena!

WHAT IS GREEN WISH?

Green Wish is a local green non-profit who sponsors other local green non-profits. It’s packed full of environmentally-passionate people like Raphael Sbarge, Scott Harris, Ed Begley Jr., Rachelle Carson-Begley, Fayna Sanchez, Libby Ewing, and Sharon Lawrence. We are honored to be included in the group of charities they are supporting along with the great  HoneyLoveMuir Ranch, and Food Forward. Friendsgiving dinner will raise money for all of us!

Here is a little story of how Hollywood Orchard came to be friends with Green Wish…

THE L.A. RIVER

My fiancé grew up in a small town in Ohio. His littlest sister was (and still is) best friends with Chelsea Peters as a kid. Chelsea now lives in LA. She introduced me to her amazing friend Fayna. Fayna said she was helping throw an event. It was the screening of the documentary A Concrete River, about the LA River. I didn’t even know we had a river in LA! So I figured I should go watch it and learn.

It was a beautiful documentary, directed by Raphael Sbarge, who is also on Once Upon A Time and Murder in the First! I learned that the large divot in the ground filled with cement and a sliver of water that I see whilst atop bridges is our river! The river rises with the rainy season and when the Native Americans lived along the edges of it, they would have to move their huts if it rose into a flood. In the 1938, when non-Native Americans lived along the edges of it, a severe flood happened and they couldn’t move their infrastructure. Over five-thousand buildings were destroyed, 15oo buildings were damaged and many roads were washed away or buried in debris. One-hundred and fifteen people passed away.

So the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers channelized the river by digging deeper along the riverbed and putting in miles of cement. It has helped with the floods since then, but even the floods of 1964 and 2005 were too big for our man-made fix. But there are downfalls to channelization. It kills wetlands and their wildlife, which also have a natural cycle that keep surface water clean. It also straightens the path of the river which makes the water flow faster and can therefore cause more soil erosion and flooding in the sections downstream from the channelization. And it reduces fish population.

These may not seem like such a bad thing, but they make so much of a negative environmental impact that the government has mostly stopped channelizing rivers. If they do it, they must create wetlands somewhere else to offset the damage. And in many cases where channelization was put in years ago, the government is going back and removing the concrete they laid in the first place! I find it amazing that they are able to be objective, humble and honest about their well-intentioned yet harmful behavior.

And that’s exactly what happens in A Concrete River. Ironically, the very same U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that put the cement in is ready to take 11 miles of the cement out! The film shows how people who have been fighting for the river’s wildlife for 25 years and the government are working together to get the project approved. They are 2/3 of the way there.

If you ever want to spend time with the river, there are bike paths along it and you can even kayak! The same people who are in talks with the Army Corp help L.A. locals learn about and experience the river. They are a non-profit called the Friends of the Los Angeles River, led by river-lover Lewis MacAdams. He is a warm soul and extended an open invitation to The Frog Spot.

In their words, “Located along the breathtaking Elysian Valley bike path, the Frog Spot is Friends of the Los Angeles River’s summer gateway to the LA River. At the Frog Spot, visitors to the river can take a break for a poetry reading, take a yoga class, learn about the about the river’s history and ecology, enjoy a cup of coffee, or see live music every Saturday night.”

MEETING GREEN WISH

It was wonderful to learn about our precious local resource. And wonderful to meet so many kind souls who have been caring about it and for it for so long! During the talk-back, we learned that Green Wish sponsored the film and that they help green non-profits raise money, market themselves and find volunteers.

I ran into Hollywood Orchardista Jodi Long at the event and we both thought Green Wish would be great for the Orchard. But Jodi luckily said, “Well, let’s go talk to them!” They said they were interested in us and said that we could apply! I went and thanked Fayna and told her about the Orchard and that maybe Green Wish will give us a grant. She replied that she’s on the board of Green Wish! I had no idea! At the very end of the event, I was starting to understand where I was, ha!

So, long story long, I was excited to be a teeny cog in a series of wheel people who helped the Orchard apply for a grant. With the intense efforts of Emilee Moeller, Becky Waer, Angela Gygi, and Larry Markes, the Orchard recently received a grant from Green Wish! Thank you to Fayna Sanchez, Jodi Long, Libby Ewing and Victoria Bogner, for bringing Green Wish into our lives!

MEETING UNION RESTAURANT

Green Wish and Union Restaurant Pasadena are hosting the Friendsgiving dinner fundraiser for all of the charities. It will be the first of many Green Wish fundraiser dinners there. The jam we made in the yard will be a treat for the guests in their gift bags. We’re also donating Hollywood Orchard’s hand-squeezed tangerine juice to be used by Union’s chef, Bruce Kalman, who is incorporating food from each charity in each course of the meal. (Fun fact: Chef Kalman has been on Beat Bobby Flay and did indeed do that!)

Our first meeting for the dinner was at Union Restaurant. Even being there in the day when it’s closed, I could feel the passion and love they have for food! That meeting was also when Green Wish presented us with our first check. Such an honor! And Muir Ranch owner, Mud Baron, brings the most beautiful homegrown flowers with him everywhere and takes photos of people with flowers on their heads! Sounds silly, but it’s an instant joy-causer! It made the meeting even more special. Enjoy more flowerjoy on his Instagram! #flowersonyourhead

#GREENWISHUNION FRIENDSGIVING DINNER

Here are some Greenwishers at the Pasadena Farmers Market prepping for Friendsgiving: Chef Bruce Kalman, Ed Begley Jr., Sharon Lawrence, Scott Harris, & Raphael Sbarge

Photos by Jules Exum

Friendsgiving dinner is Sunday, November 15th. It’s going to be a magical, and tasty, night.

#GreenWishUnion, To join us: http://bit.ly/1MoY4Ky

Thank you to Katie Frichtel, Minh Phan, Bridie Macdonald, Jules Exum, & Kyle Soehngen for your gorgeous and sincere photos!

The Drought

14.11.30 TheWholeRuth DesertsAreBeautifulToo

Surprised to read in the LA Times that “…right now [California] has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one…”

I’d like to see LA want to switch, in our hearts, from lush landscaping to desert terrain. Palm trees aren’t native plants. The way the hills and canyons look is our natural terrain. Sprinklers often come on at night when people don’t see them, so I think people assume grass naturally grows here. But if we don’t manually water it, it dies. Anywhere we see green grass is an alert that someone is wasting water (except in the rainy winter). Even in fancy places or landmarks we love that take our breath away.

Moving from South Carolina to Tucson, Arizona was a shock, but I got used to the fact that I lived in a desert so it looked like a desert. Southern California needs to gently accept that we’re actually in a desert pumping in water to make it look tropical. It will be hard to give up the way we have perceived our home for decades. Deserts are beautiful too though. Especially when there’s enough water in them to drink, bathe, cook, grow food and live.

20 Ways to be #PositivelyPoorInLA

  1. When you can only afford water at the bar, you can say you’re on “a cleanse.”
  2. When you can’t afford shampoo and your hair gets clumpy and wild, you can say you’re from Venice Beach.
  3. When you’re wearing the same clothes you wore decades ago because you could never buy new ones, you can say you’re being “retro”.
  4. When your hair is greasy, your clothes are dirty, and you’re too skinny from hunger, you can say you are a “hipster”.
  5. When you need work, the tranny hookers in your neighborhood are a reminder that there are always jobs out there.
  6. When you can’t afford a gyno and Google’s advice is fingering yourself with tea tree oil, you can say you “like holistic healing.”
  7. When becoming homeless feels like a possibility, you can take solace in knowing everyone has a car to live in.
  8. When you start selling marijuana to pay your bills, you’re not alone.
  9. When acne takes over your face from being in survival mode,  you can say it’s because you’re going to be the lead in an acne infomercial.
  10. When you have to ride the bus, the other people on the bus are a bright reminder of how sane you are.
  11. When you are biking because you can’t afford gas, you save money on gas.
  12. When hitchhiking seems like a good idea, you can say you are into “innovative networking.”
  13. When you’re late from walking miles to get somewhere, you can blame it on traffic.
  14. When you arrive somewhere sweaty from walking, biking, chasing the bus or from anxiety during your hitchhike you can say you “just got back from  Runyon Canyon.”
  15. When you can only eat rice and beans, you’re “gluten free.” And dairy free. And soy free. And meat free. And nut free!
  16. When you eat other people’s food left on the table at a restaurant, you can call yourself an “adventurous foodie”.
  17. When you get caught eating out of a trashcan, you can say you’re putting together your audition tape for Top Chef.
  18. When you’re starving, you can call it “fasting.”
  19. When you become too hungry to respond emotionally to life, you can say you’re really into this new “natural botox.”
  20. When you write about how poor you are on social media as a cry for help, you can say your manager told you to strengthen your online presence.

Ruth Gamble Beach 2014 Thank you to Christopher Schram and Shane Portman for their contributions.