When life gives you 8 paths and you create a 9th

Collaborated with the lovely and engaging Emily Wessel Farr of Myra last night, bringing together a group to hear from Tracy Baim, publisher of Windy City Times and Co-Founder of Chicago’s March for Women and Debbie Hillman (aka Mom), an activist focused on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Comedienne Elizabeth Gomez loosened us up to start the evening and then Tracy and Debbie recounted how they’ve crafted their lives over the years, forging their own paths, stopping and starting along the way as they questioned, learned, experienced, and prioritized.

My favorite aspect of the evening was the deep, comfy conversation on couches with a diverse array of strangers, who shared asks and offers and insight and inquiries, inspired by two intelligent, strong-willed, do it my way women.

Happy International Women’s Day indeed!

The framework for Debbie Lyn’s talk

(As someone who has never used Twitter or hash-tagged in her life and is generally allergic to most things tech’y, Mom’s Twitter-fying was particularly enjoyable for me)

1950  My grandfather, David Hillman, died.  I was in utero.  Supposed to be named David.  Parents not happy #2 child was also a girl.   I was not welcomed. Hashtag:  Hell to pay.

1962  First big box discount store opens in my neighborhood — Shopper’s World.  11 year old couldn’t understand how they could charge less than the neighborhood drug store and wouldn’t lose money on every transaction. Hashtag:  How do prices get set?

1967  Family moved, Chicago to Highland Park.  Culture shock.  Middle of my junior year in high school.  Quadruple culture shock.  Saved by a Sociology teacher.  List of radical books.  Summerhill — a democracy school. Hashtag:  Getting educated about education.

1972-73   4 years of college, philosophy.  No clue about anything.  Went to India.  Homeopathy, ayurveda, food as medicine, yoga, real tolerance for diverse beliefs. Hashtag:  Starting to take control of my life 

1978  Oct. 23, 1978 10 months pregnant.  At work in Northwestern office.  Water broke at 2:00 PM.  Went home to have my baby, 1:00 AM Oct. 24. Hashtag:  Life begins, 24/7

2004-08  Menopause.  Wild thoughts, crazy feelings, more wild thoughts.  Hermit phase, reading, thinking, feeling, sensing. Spirituality.  Women’s spirituality.  Adulthood. Hashtag:  Is this all there is?

2005  Organized an Earth Day event:  Our Food: The Local Story.  Colleagues suggest an Evanston food group.  In five seconds, I say yes.  Evanston Food Policy Council.  The Talking Farm.  State of Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council.  Backyard chickens in Evanston. Hashtag:  Stepping onto my path.

2014  Floundering, no income, no moral support.  Seeking, learning, reading.  Following the signs: Women, gift economies, indigenous peoples, democracy, getting clear.  Finally, the missing piece — Iroquoian Women.  Iroquois Constitution. Hashtag:  Sanity saved.

2017  Nov. election.  Jan. 21 Women’s Marches.  Feb. 22 J is for Junk Economics.  March 7 USDA Visioning statement.  March 8  A Day without Women.  March 10  Native Nations Rise. Hashtag:  All connected.  Here we go….