I finished the fifth of a series of five community dialogues that I participated in through the YWCA/Women's Table/Allston Brighton Community Development Co. last night and what an awesome experience it was. Our group was as diverse as could be: Black, White and Asian; Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Episcopalian, Congregationalist; nuns and mothers, gay and straight, ages ranging from early twenties to eighty. Sitting in a room with such a range of people, personalities and experiences and talking about race was difficult, thought-provoking and inspirational, and I am excited that we have decided to keep meeting once a month to talk about what is happening in our communities and what we can do as a group and as individuals to fight against racism and promote knowledge, tolerance and peace. In addition to some wonderful conversations and getting to hear about others experiences with race relations in and out of Boston, I was able to reflect on my thoughts on racism and how I identify, which has never been as "white" but as anything else. I am not ashamed of being white, and I am proud enough of my Irish and English heritage, but there is so much more that I am so much more proud of. I am proud of being a woman, of my Catholicism, of being a wife and a daughter and a friend, of being a volunteer and a case manger; I am more proud of the things that I chose to be than of the things that I really have no way of covering up or un-identifying with. I am also totally okay with that, and think that it actually makes me pretty awesome. Another thing I am proud of is the exposure and constant desire to be exposed to other races, cultures and religions that I have had and my curiosity to learn more about other people, of all types. Of course I am not perfect, and no one can truly say that they are blind to prejudice or preconceived notions, but after sitting with this group of women over the past five weeks and discussing all of these things, I feel confident that I can address these ideas and thoughts within me and take the progressive actions to breakdown everything I think I know and make sure I know I know things, you know? I am so glad that I partook in this opportunity to exchange dialogue and brainstorm actions and I encourage anyone who wants to talk about these issues to join a round of the dialogues through the YWCA. For me, it changed what I thought I knew and created a sense of community that I am excited to grow in.
In other events, I am wrapping up another season of ARISE, which is the international faith sharing program that I am doing with my YAC group at church. This season is about sharing our faith and "evangalization" which has a totally different meaning in the Catholic Church than it does in most other Christian churches. We are not the knock-on-the-door or wear sandwich boards type of people, more a "look at how happy we are and what nice things we do, care to join?" sort of group. This is how I prefer it, since I choose not to be preachy about my faith, but I always encourage people to come to Mass with me or talk about faith, but I think pushing things on people only serves to turn them off of it. I think that living my life as good and loving as possible is the best way to show my faith, not wearing it on a sandwich board or all over my bumper.
Life wise, things are busy. I have become busier at work, which is nice, but I still have days like today where I am sitting at my desk listening to Miles Davis with my shoes off. I had a doctor's appointment today (more on that in a minute) and had enough time to stop by the Allston Library on my way back home. I had never been inside, and found it is as pretty inside as it is outside. It is obviously a lot smaller than the main branch in Copley that I always go to, but it was so easy to run in and grab a book and jump back in the car. I checked out "Miles and Me" by Quincy Troupe and am already loving it. I had my nose in my book my entire T ride to work, and am now listening to Miles until I can stick my nose back in.
My doctor says that I still have high blood pressure, which is frustrating, but I know some of the things I need to do and I am committed to doing them before my next check up in January because now I have the goal of getting my body pregnancy ready, which makes me much more dedicated than if it was just for me. We aren't going to start trying until the spring, so don't get too excited yet (Mom, I am looking at you) but I am already taking steps to make sure that my body is a happy sanctuary for a baby when we are ready, and my blood pressure is something that could make pregnancy very unhappy so it is going to be the first to go. Part of my plan is to make sure I am getting to yoga at least twice a week. I went to an awesome 90 minute class last weekend at Chestnut Hill and did tree pose while gazing out the window at an old cemetery - very zen inducing indeed. I also want to make sure that I am hitting at least two spin classes a week and otherwise keeping up with my cardio and strength training. Although losing a little bit of weight will be nice, I am also looking forward to the great mood and restful sleep that exercise gives to me. Luckily, it has only been since our honeymoon that I have been out of the loop, and even recently I have stepped it up, so I think the transition back should be pretty smooth.
Tonight I am hosting some of my lady friends (including my lovely co-workers) for a Lia Sophia jewelry party put on by my friend Kristyn from Suffolk and then we are all going over to another co-worker's house to have a little housewarming for him. I am hoping that tomorrow is nice enough for Matty and I to go for a hike in the Blue Hills before the winter comes and makes me want to stay inside all the time. Saturday night we are going to hang out with our friend Julie and Sunday will be a mix of football (for Matty) and visiting my favorite family of five, the Jehus, to get some little kid time in and squeeze some fat baby cheeks. I am excited for some friend time, some relax time and most of all, some time with my awesome husband, who has made me the happiest bride on earth for almost two months!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend too!
Ps. That picture is Matty and I on Halloween - don't we look awesome!?!