On the midnight train to NYC! (Woo, woo!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:25-04:00 July 30th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, civil rights, Creative, creativity, elections, Equality, friends, friendship, gratitude, inspiration, Life, motivation, nyc, poetry, politics, sharing, stories, story, storytelling, strangers, travel, Uncategorized, voting|

There I was on Tuesday, dropping everything because a dear friend called to say she had secured me entry to that evenings proceedings of the Democratic National Convention. I try not to get too political in this space because we are all entitled to our own opinions, (except of course for those voting for the Cheetoh-man).

Chilly train station

Amtrak station welcome!

I’ve never been to Philly, and I had been warned by my friends already at the convention that it was insanely busy with people, protests, street closures, etc.. I have a friend that lives in Philly and he was patient enough to text-guide me through my visit. (Thanks RC!) I navigated the subway system with the confidence of a New Yorker and only had to ask a few people for directions along the way. That’s not where my anxiety was, my anxiety lay well ahead of me when it was time to turn back and head home. A midnight train from Philly to Penn Station. A <ahem> young lady traveling on her own. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and made my way to the convention, which was electrifying and inspiring! Yes,I got a picture of me with the unbelievable Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker! Yes, I got a picture of me with the Vice Presidential nominee and Senator from Virginia, Tim Kaine! Yes, I met Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy who was brave enough to lead the moving and powerful sit-in regarding gun control a couple months back. Yes, I was still going to end up in Penn Station in NYC at 2 o’clock in the morning.

Credentials, train ticket, and Totems. Oh my!

Credentials, train ticket, and Totems. Oh my!

Fast forward and I get to hear the end of President Clinton’s speech (the first Clinton president) and I run out to make my train! I get to the station in plenty of time, but there’s still the issue of getting home from Penn Station. I figure I’ll find someone to talk to and see if they’re heading uptown and maybe we can share a cab. If that doesn’t work, thankfully I have a night owl friend who will gladly sit on the phone with me while I navigate my way home. (Thanks PR!) I board the train and I confirm for a gentleman that this is the train to NYC and I find a seat.  That same gentleman comes down the aisle and asks if the seat next to me is available, which it is, so he sits down. Then I oh so casually say “it would be great if you were heading uptown, because then we could go up together.” Not only does he say he is going uptown and that we can take the subway, but he even offers to get off the train and walk me home. Wow, this man was raised right!! I thank him and explain that once off the train I’m really only a block away so I’ll be fine, and I have my phone friend, of course. We introduce ourselves, he’s Paul and he was in Philadelphia because his son had just moved there and he was helping him with his apartment. We chatted a bit, Paul snoozed, I read my book. The trip to New York was pretty fast! We chatted some more and I learned that Paul came to New York years ago to pursue acting and through a series of fortunate events found himself a Librarian for the New York Public Library! That’s a big deal by the way. Paul also happens to be a writer and is clearly brilliant. I tell him that I write as well and we have a sort of meeting of creative minds, talking about the things we’ve done, the things we’d like to still do and in a way we push and inspire each other to keep going. Paul likes to quote famous creatives from Pablo Picasso to Georgia O’keefe. I smile and tell Paul that someday, people will be quoting him. Turns out I have the honor to be among the first to quote him, from a poem he sent me the morning after our journey. Paul wrote that “our chance meeting was a poem waiting to be written”, and I now hold that as a mantra for every chance meeting to come. Here’s the whole poem for you to enjoy!

 An Amtrak Ride To New York From Philadelphia 

at 12:A M On A Tuesday Morning

(To Julie @ Totem Tamers)

Chance meetings can reveal

the color of one’s eyes

if you take the time to look;

chance meetings can be a

conversation in which you

hear yourself in another person’s voice;

chance meetings can be pleasant

as homemade lemonade

on the front porch of a sunny day

Our chance meeting was a poem

waiting to be written, a time to

wrap ourselves in the shared

moments of what we already know –

how else can we change the world?

An Amtrak journey and a subway ride

uptown to 72nd street offered

the usual perspectives

on renown habits of the world;

nothing much has changed

It is better to practice caution

when a woman is coming home

in the peculiar darkness

of New York sorrows

aware and alone

Still, we made our way to wherever

We had to go, asking questions of ourselves

asking questions of tendered days –

one day, and if We meet again

We should compare answers

But, never accept things as they are

when We know how things should be –

How should We live within the days of our lives?


Stay well.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:52-04:00 November 5th, 2014|elections, politics, voting, women|

I have a very clear memory from my school days as a young girl. The teacher had asked us all to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. I looked around the room at the kids who were so sure that doctor, firefighter, super secret spy agent, and chef, were hats to be worn in their futures. I stared at my blank 8 1/2 by 11 page and heard the answer in my head, but how could I put that down on paper? Well, if you know me, you know I didn’t hesitate for too long, I quickly turned my sheet of paper horizontally and wrote down five words in big print. Then it was time to share our dreams with the class and we went around the room. There were lots of doctors, veterinarians, basketball players and gymnasts. Then there was me, this girl with a sign that simply said “President of the United States.” Sure there were snickers and giggles and finger pointing and more, but at that moment it didn’t matter, because I dared to dream big, and bigger than anyone else in the room, and that’s what counted for me. Yesterday, many women, who were once little girls just like me, dared to dream big. Midterm elections were partly a disappointment for the party I belong to, but as far as that little girl from years ago goes, it was huge progress! There were plenty of wins, and I couldn’t be more proud of the campaigns that were hard fought, but I am most proud of the WARRIORS I have met along the way who are helping more little girl dreams become a reality.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts!

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts!

From Wisconsin...Mary Burke!

From Wisconsin…Mary Burke!

Senator Wendy Davis with my MOM!!

Senator Wendy Davis with my MOM!!

Secretary Clinton and possibly, hopefully, our next President of the United States, and likely the closest I'll come to that role!

Secretary Clinton and possibly, hopefully, our next President of the United States, and likely the closest I’ll come to that role! Oh yeah, that’s me!

There are so many more WARRIORS, and I wish I could show them all, but Totem Tamers honors them on this, the next day and next crossroad, where we make the choice to dare to dream big, or go home. I can promise you, we will not be going home, anytime soon.

Senator Wendy Davis said in her concession speech yesterday, “Being disappointed is ok, but being discouraged is not!” We are not discouraged, we are empowered and inspired by all of these WARRIORS and we look to the next generation of dreamers and believers to continue the charge.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers is a great tool to help you if you get overwhelmed or anxious, make sure you have one on the road to your dreams! Click on any of the Totems on the page and get one today.