Friday, December 04, 2020

On a random afternoon …

Greetings! This year took nearly all I have to give, so I haven’t had the emotional energy to post as much as I would like to. That said, I’m not closing up shop because I do love knowing I have someplace to practice the fine art of bitchitude!

So, 2020. 


My family dealt with our older brother’s recovery from COVID-19 and the stroke that followed … and the two brain surgeries required to save his life. We watched friends lose parents, partners, colleagues, and loved ones. And in November, our mother passed away after suffering a stroke.
I’d like to thank everyone who reached out with support and condolences this past year. Y’all have no idea how your kindness and generosity kept a sistah going, and it warms my heart to know that thousands of people have donated to Fair Fight in honor of our mother’s lifelong commitment to voting rights. 

Thank you.


When I was a young activist, I asked an elder what advice she wished someone had given her at my age. She laughed and confessed that she wasn’t very good at taking advice when she was young, and then she said that the best advice she ever got was to know who you are. 

After the elder shared her advice, I asked her why she felt it was so critical to know who you are. 

A slow smile across her face, a wink of her eye, and she replied that people will try to define you for all kinds of reasons and they will assign motives to your actions that are more about why they would do a thing than why they think you did it. And you can't control that. 

Off and on, at the most random moments, I find myself meditating on that wonderful human’s advice and then checking-in on who I am. What made me, what motivates me, what lives in my heart and guides my life?

She was right. There is comfort and power in knowing who I am.

In times of calm or crisis.

After a victory or a defeat.

In celebration or in mourning.

Or on a random afternoon.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

UPDATE: My Brother is HOME!

Just a quick note to let y'all know that my brother Bill is home from the hospital. His care team has a 14 day quarantine for the house, so I don't have any pictures. But Bill is home, resting comfortably, and I could NOT be happier!

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Happy 50th Birthday to my brother Bill!

Today, July 5, 2020, is my beloved brother’s 50th birthday!

Picture of Bill Merritt wearing a suit, bowtie, and crown


Longtime readers have learned a lot about Bill over the years. For folks new to this blog, my older brother is autistic, non-verbal, and a huge fan of Kit-Kats and Earth, Wind, and Fire. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few months ago.


Well, Bill kicked COVID-19’s ass ... but he has had serious complications since being diagnosed. Two brain hemorrhages and three surgeries later, he is still in hospital recovering. He’s getting stronger, and I was happy to hear from the nurse that his appetite is back.


I won’t be able to see Bill today.


I want to, more than anything.


Earlier this week I spent several hours mapping out the logistics of a visit. I was so excited by the idea of being able to hold him, hug him, fret over him until he got annoyed and told me to leave.


But toward the end of the week reality settled in. My sister and I need to stay healthy, and we simply can’t risk going to a hospital during a pandemic in a county where COVID-19 cases are surging.


I am not okay. This has all been extremely hard.


I’ve slept for hours, and I’m still exhausted.


I also feel like a total asshole for being depressed when I’m so fucking lucky, and I feel guilty for being so upset about not being able to see a loved one who survived … who is surviving … who, God willing, I will get to see soon.




Damn it.


Okay, so ...


Feel free to drop birthday wishes for Bill in the comment section, and I will share them with him. 


If you are willing and able, please donate to the following in honor of Bill Merritt’s 50th Birthday ...


Bill is alive today because of the outstanding care provided by his residential staff. Please support Easterseals Midwest here.


Bill’s care in hospital, at home, and out in the community is made possible in large part by Medicaid. If you are a Missourian, vote Yes on 2 on Tuesday, August 4. Learn more and take action to support Medicaid expansion in Missouri here.


I am an organizer, so I know all too well the limits of policy when it comes to progressive change. That said, the 2020 general election is the most important political event of my lifetime. Everything that make my family possible is under threat, and while I organize for liberation at the grassroots, all y’all need to get your vote on in November.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - be there, do the right thing, go forth and make sure others to do the same.


Register to vote and check your registration, because The Man is shady as fuck.


Action St. Louis is building a movement to transform St. Louis – support their work to ensure our family lives in a region free of violence and oppression.


Finally, please dance and get your groove on to one of Bill’s favorite songs! 

With love, Shark-Fu.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: Ways to Help Team KitKat ...

My older brother Bill has tested positive for COVID-19. For those that don't know, Bill is autistic and lives in a group home near us. My sister and I are co-guardians. We have been social distancing since March to try to protect him, but ... yeah.

So, some folk are asking how they can help. Here are some options, and thank you in advance.

1) Purchase items off of the Amazon wishlist. (note: for the thermometer, you will have to manually input Easterseals Midwest's address - see #2)

2) Make masks for direct care staff. They need 250. Let us know how many you’re sending and when you’re mailing them!

Easterseals Midwest
11933 Westline Industrial Drive
St. Louis, MO 63146
(314) 394-7100
Attn: Tom Barry re: Cloth Masks

3) Donate $25 to Easterseals Midwest. Donate here.

4) If you have a hook up for cleaning supplies (disinfectant, alcohol) please advise. They need lots of 409, Lysol Kitchen and Bath, Clorox Wipes, Alcohol (isopropyl, not Smirnoff) for dozens of group homes in the community.

5) Continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands!

Prayers, magic, positive thoughts, and healing energy are all welcome. We ask that you also lift up the amazing homecare workers who are providing excellent care in the midst of truly terrifying conditions. If we get feedback on what those workers need for support, I will share it on this blog.

It’s gonna take a village. Thank y'all for being part of mine.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Sometimes we need to call bullshit by its name ...

A little over 15 years ago, I received a gift that changed my life in the most amazing ways when my dear friend Robbie gave me this blog for my birthday. My first post was on February 10, 2005 … and I’ve been practicing the fine art of bitchitude on one platform or another since!

Like many folk, I gradually migrated my opinion sharing to Twitter several years ago. And it’s been cool … I still enjoy it, especially now that I’ve curated the fuck out of it to achieve a lovely balance of sea otters, sharks, dogs, hockey, and reproductive justice. But I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t missed starting my day off with a strong cup of coffee, a dog at my feet, and my thoughts on the page.

Facebook is trash, but I keep my account so I can keep up with all the happenings going on. I use Instagram to post pictures of my dogs Zelda Bj√∂rn (the white Kuvasz floof) and Vincent Adult Dog (cocker/pittie).

Anyhoo, I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch. I’m apologizing to myself too, because the last five years have been amazing but left little time for reflection, posting, bathroom breaks or writing blog posts while lounging on the couch with a dog.


*pause … sip coffee … give Vincent Adult Dog a scratch … and begin again*

Now that we are settling into our pandemic-based quarantine, I’ve been struggling to sleep. I’ve suffered from insomnia most of my life, but had recently made some progress in getting five hours a day on a semi-regular basis.

That shit ended in March.


Last night, I was awake thinking about the play Doubt, A Parable. I saw it many years ago, and I think of it often.

I lay beneath my warm blanket, pondering how certainty can provide false comfort when perception becomes reality without the sure footing of evidence and facts. And I have personally experienced the anxiety of weighing the consequences of acting on what you think is going on … what you are even pretty damn sure happened … versus the potential harm of waiting to confirm what may not be confirmable.

A bitch was thinking deep ass thoughts, y’all!

I was all prepared for a multi-hour session debating all that shit in my head, but then I took one last scroll through Twitter.


Most of the information I’ve seen about the source of the novel coronavirus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) points to a transfer from bat to human or some other unintentional happening. Yesterday, I saw tweets expressing outrage that the fiend currently stinking up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue claimed both that the novel coronavirus was cooked up in a lab in China and that this is all President Obama fault because he allegedly failed to develop a test for a virus that was identified three years after he left office.

Now, I can see why the fiend is doing this. The U.S. response to COVID-19 is FUBAR, and it’s hard to convince people that dead or seriously ill friends and family members are an invention of [insert Trumpian description for news outlets other than FOX].

But it’s clear that he’s trying to plant some seeds of doubt that he hopes will establish some sunlight between a catastrophe that will define his presidency and the fact that he spent the critical first 70 days of this shit golfing, tweeting, or creating hurdles to slowdown the distribution federal funds.

I was thoroughly distracted by the responses I saw to this shit. Folk were stating facts and dropping links to sources like this fool had really set some powerful misinformation in motion.

He didn’t.


Did not.

His base will love it, but Trump could pull an Ozzy Osbourne with a live bat and then spend 14 days coughing on them and his base would thank him.

The reality is that all roads lead to Trump pulling a Trump and fucking the pandemic response up.

If China created a novel coronavirus in a lab, the Trump administration shat the bed on intelligence detecting a bio-terrorism threat and then wasted critical time responding to a threat they should have seen coming.

If COVID-19 is a naturally occurring virus that hit China hard, then the Trump administration shat the bed on intelligence detecting and the administration acknowledging a likely pandemic and then wasted critical time responding to a threat they should have seen coming.

And if reports are accurate that the administration was briefed multiple times as far back as January about COVID-19, then Trump & Co. owns the fuck out of failing to lead on this regardless of the source.

Sometimes a claim is worthy of doubt and a pause to explore all the angles framing how certainty can provide false comfort when perception becomes reality without the sure footing of evidence and facts.

And sometimes we need to call bullshit by its name, and pivot back to the fuck up in progress.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Revival ...

***cracks knuckles ... sips vodka cran ... begins, again***

Let's cleanse our palate with the fantabulous Lucille Clifton, shall we?

A bitch is back, y'all. 

Stay tuned.

The Gumdrop Stage of Grief ...

So many of you have shared condolences and support after the death of my beloved brother Bill from COVID-19. I wish I could thank you indiv...