Let’s Stop Dehumanizing Each Other

At a time when we desperately need to come together and support the good in each other – at a time when we need to do away with stereotypes and stop dehumanizing each other – it was very disappointing to see the headline in the paper today. It felt like a punch in the gut. It’s time for people of privilege to stop using “Karens” as their scapegoat – as a way to show that they are allies to the disenfranchised and that they aren’t bigots. In actuality, people who use “Karen” as a pejorative are revealing their bigotry – their sexism and ageism – by using the name in this way.

Using “Karen” as a label for a racist isn’t funny or clever. It’s mean. Those named “Karen” feel pain; they cry and mourn and grieve and deal with mental health issues just like everyone else. And this kind of bullying hurts – I have at least one friend named “Karen” who has contemplated suicide in the last year. Using “Karen” in this way does not add anything good or kind to this world. And this world is in desperate need of kindness.
Karen Molenaar Terrell

The Good You Seek

The Good You Seek

I want to take a break, I said.
Can I step out of life for a moment,
or maybe stay in bed?
Can things go on without me?
Can you just pretend I’m not here?
For life is a messy business
and I’m tired and I’m weary
I’ve made too many mistakes to count today
And I’d like to not make anymore, not any.

And the still small voice reached into my thought
– gentle, peaceable benediction –
“All the good you seek and all that you’ve sought
you can claim right now – and that’s no fiction –
for Love is yours to express, to feel, and to be
– you are wealthy beyond description.
Nothing else matters, there’s no other power
no warring opinions, no need to cower
You are loved and you’re loving
and that’s all there is to it
Love’s loving child, and there’s nothing else
but loving, simply nothing.”
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, A Poem Lives on My Windowsill

And It’s Okay to Feel That Way

I’m feeling sad tonight. Discouraged and sad.
And it’s okay to feel that way.
It’s okay to feel bad.
Sometimes I just have to sit in it, you know?
Just let myself feel what I feel
and learn what I need to learn, and grow.
There’s no battle I need to win here,
nothing to overcome,
no other place I need to go,
but right where I am.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Tell Me Again Why You Need an Assault Rifle?

Another rampage. Another rapid fire assault rifle used (an AR-15). Ten more people dead. Tell me, again, why you need an assault rifle?

When the second amendment was added to the Constitution, rapid fire weapons did not exist. (The guns available then were muzzle-loaders.) The first rapid fire, mechanical-loading gun – the Gatling – didn’t appear until 1862. It was created for the Civil War – to kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time. That is the purpose of rapid fire rifles. So, tell me again why YOU need one?
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Below is a photo of my favorite gun in my gun collection. Circa 1977. Quickly tossed to me by a guy named Brad (or maybe Phil?) so I could defend myself during an epic squirt gun battle at Washington State University. It didn’t hold much ammo, but it was quick and light and the water could actually go pretty far. It was a state-of-the-art weapon for that time and highly dependable – it did what I needed it to do for me – it got a lot of people wet.

It’s HER! SHE’s the One with the White Privilege!

Self-censoring myself, stowing word-sabers –
sarcasm and snappy satire – in the scabbard,
and becoming the saint of scrubbed and sanitized
sacchariney sweetness
so as not to seem sensitive, insecure, vulnerable
so as to seem safe, secure, strong, unsusceptible,
so as to seem above the spikes and spurs
because we all know the scapegoat should
never sound off – her job is to be stoic
and suffer in silence for your sins
when the song stops and there’s no seat for her
– she’s the one still standing for all the other
people of privilege to paste the sign on
and establish that THEY are not racists,
maskless, vaccineless stooges
(strangely, establishing their biases
in their efforts to seem bias-less)
but – suffering succotash – it stings!
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

The Karen Meme: As If We Don’t Already Have Enough to Deal With

Dear Huffington Post:

You’d think a writer named “Ron Dicker” would be one of the last ones to use the “Karen” meme in his story.

Until now you’ve been one of my go-to places to get information – progressive, smart, witty and wise. But that just changed, for me. It turns out your writers, too, are bigoted, unkind, bullying, and mean-spirited. As if the inhabitants of our world don’t already have enough crap to deal with right now – dying friends, dying family, dying planet – let’s perpetuate that whole “Karen” thing, right?

Note: The maskless woman was named “Terry” – not “Karen.”

Words, people. Words matter. I expected more from your writers than old labels, unoriginal thought, stereotypes, sexism, ageism, and bigotry. What good were you adding to the world by using the Karen meme? How is that going to make our world a better place?

I am sorely disappointed.
Karen

I Have Been a Lot of People in My Life

I Have Been a Lot of People in My Life

I have been a lot of people in my life –
I’ve been the daughter, the sister, the wife,
mother, grey-haired lady, and young lass.
I was once the littlest girl in my class –
thought too skinny by some
who couldn’t see that playing was more fun
than eating. I won the blue ribbon
for the broad jump and the dash in fourth grade.
I was the queen of multiplication tables
in the fifth grade, and in sixth grade
my teacher said I “ran like a deer.”

I was the new girl in school that year
and someone wrote “brainbucket sits here”
on my desk. Then I was the nerdy girl
in black frame glasses who weighed
more than 100 pounds and thought she was fat
and my eighth grade PE teacher said,
“We finally found something you’re good at”
when I was always the last one standing
in the volleyball elimination games –
she didn’t see that I ran like a deer.

I was shy in high school, but some people
thought I was a snob –
I saw myself as an unmemorable blob.
I was Karen when Karen Valentine
was everyone’s favorite ingénue
and I was Karen when it meant something else, too.

I’ve been chubby, pretty, plain, dazzling,
athletic, awkward, confident, insecure,
dull, creative, boring, funny, judgmental,
self-centered, open-minded, and generous.
And I guess “I” am still all of those things –
depending on who’s looking at me.

But the I who’s not in quotation marks
is what God, Love, sees
when She looks at me.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

It’s Here! It’s Here!

Mother Earth News is using another one of my photos on its “Photos from the Field” page! This one will be in the April-May edition. I got my copies in the mail today. Check it out – my photo is of the heron at sunset…

Pushing Me Into the Now

The winds blew across the bay –
creating stretch marks on its surface –
and great cleansing gusts blew through me, too –
rowdy and playful – forcing me from thoughts
of the thens and fears of the tomorrows
and pushing me instantly into the now
of doing what I could to not blow away.
Putting everything in perspective for me again.

There is no problem too big it can’t be solved.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Photo of Bellingham Bay Boardwalk by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Introduction to Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist

Introduction to Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist:

Years ago an old boyfriend said to me, “I can’t see that Christian Science has made you any better than anyone else.”

“I know!” I said, nodding my head in complete and happy agreement, “But can you imagine what I’d be like without it?!”

He raised his eyebrows and laughed. What could he say? He was looking at a self-centered, moralistic, stubborn idealist who saw everything in terms of black and white. But I could have been worse. I believe without Christian Science I would have been worse.

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I am not the best example of a Christian Scientist. I’m not as disciplined as I could be. I have fears and worries and doubts. I’m a little neurotic. I am the Lucy Ricardo of Christian Scientists.

I should probably put in a disclaimer here, too—the views expressed in these pages are not necessarily the views shared by other Christian Scientists. Christian Scientists are really a pretty diverse group of people—there are Democrat Christian Scientists and Republican Christian Scientists, “Green,” and “Red,” and “Blue” Christian Scientists, and Christian Scientists with no political affiliations at all. Frankly, I like that about us. We keep each other on our toes.

I should also tell you that this book is not an authorized piece of Christian Science literature. If you want to actually study Christian Science you should probably read the textbook for this way of life, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

My purpose for writing this epistle is really two-fold (I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “two-fold” in my life, and using it now is making me feel sort of professorial. I like the feeling.):

First-foldly, to introduce you to one Christian Scientist so that if you ever hear someone talking fearfully and ignorantly (feargnorantly?) about Christian Scientists you’ll be in a position to say, “I have a friend who’s a Christian Scientist, and, although it’s true she’s a bit of a nut, she’s also…” and you can go on and talk about how your friend has used her study of Christian Science to try to make the world a happier place.

Second-foldly, I feel the need to acknowledge God’s blessings in my life. I don’t want to be like those nine lepers in the Bible who couldn’t take the time to thank Jesus for healing them. I want to be like that one leper who “fell down on his face at his feet” before Jesus and gave him thanks (Luke 17). Through my study of Christian Science I’ve witnessed some incredible proofs of our Father-Mother God’s love for Her creation in my life. God has filled my life with infinite blessings and it’s time for me to acknowledge these blessings to others.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell