not the only one…

“Embrace your inner girl”

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I’m so happy to have women in the world like Eve Ensler dedicating her life to ending violence every day. (If you are reading this post in your email, go to my blog site online to see the video of Eve I posted.)

Women like Eve inspire me. I hope to find the self-confidence to be my true, emotional, compassionate self. To be comfortable enough with vulnerability that I am able to be loving and compassionate to every person I know, everyday. The temptation to be “smart” and “strong” all the time so I can fight against the stereotype that “women are meek and mild” is exhausting. I want to just be free enough to be myself on any given day without feeling like I have to “hold it together” or I have to “not take it personally” or I have to “fake it till I make it.” I want to be my authentic self more by allowing myself to be more emotional, more humorous, to take in and enjoy the world, more. To be less serious, less concerned with being always a “smart, strong, leader” of a woman, and just be me. Be more outspoken. Yes, more! Be more open about who I am and what I need and want. Listen and hear more. Respect others for being human. Love people, animals and plants more. I want to be me, uncensored.

Gandhi says, “we must be the change we want to see in the world.” I want everyone to be their true, vulnerable, happy, curious, funny, loving selves. Because it is only when we make ourselves happy and fulfilled, will we make the people in our lives happy too. Love yourself so you can love the world, and the world will love you back.

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love & community w/o religion?

Today, I responded on facebook to a local pastor at a liberal church who was talking about why he thinks christian liberal churches are in decline but conservative churches thrive. His answer: christian liberals have given up and conservative churches simplify their message so much that it provides a safe haven in a world that is often overly-complex.

Here is my response:

Hi [pastor], I was raised as a member of the UCC 1st congregationalist church of Bellevue and I share your world view, and that of the church, that life is good and so are humans. I still have respect for all UCC and liberal churches. I have thought about returning in recent years (its been about 12 years since i’ve been involved) because I believe that community and love are missing from our world, missing from local communities and missing in everyday interactions. But there is something keeping me from re-engaging with a church. I work for social justice in my non-profit job everyday and volunteer for several organizations working for justice, dignity and equity for all. I would like to push back against the idea the “christian liberals” have given up, and instead offer the idea that liberals are dropping the title of “christian” because it no longer resonates with them. So many horrible things have happened in the name of organized religion, that, for me, I would like to find a new way to express love and community to the people around me. A new path to justice that welcomes all people, but is not rooted in a dedication to any deity. Instead, to work toward justice, peace, love and community because they are well worth fighting for on their own. In peace, Natalia

I am happy for this opportunity to express my views in this area because I have been recently struggling with the idea of returning to a church, but something is just holding me back. I am very interested in the idea of finding truth, peace, love, community and justice without having to under-pin this work in a faith that is rooted in a man-made persona, named god or jesus christ.

I believe there is a strong spiritual force in the universe that surrounds us and I believe that nature is a powerful force. I believe that if we listen closely and pay close attention to the present, we will learn much about the pulse of our world. There is so much happening every second. If we are too loud or distracted or focused on the tiny material details of our consumerist culture, we miss so much beauty, truth and love. I believe that putting our faith in the universe and acknowledging there is a force running through us and everything surrounding us that is much, much larger than we are is necessary if we are ever going to find peace as a society. In this sense, what Christians call “prayer” is a powerful force, because it is a recognition that something larger then us is pulling the strings. Writing is a form of “prayer” for me. Its my way of putting my concerns into the universe, letting go of my anxieties so I can slow down and realize all the beauty and goodness in my life. And, I do talk to the universe too. Christians would say, we are all “blessed.” Seculars like me say, we are “lucky.”  I believe we are addressing similar phenomena but just in different, and often separate, paradigms, complete with separate language.

I realize I have been speaking in a “christian context” because that was the context of my interaction above. But I would like to acknowledge all religions and wish for all religious and secular people to come together to realize that one way is not better than the other. We are all on this planet so we should do our best to enjoy each other and make our world the best we can for everyone. To me, we are put here to learn how to trust and love each other — and, it can seem like at every turn society is trying to block this from happening: stereotypes, competing religions, corporate profits valued over people, classism, hatred, war, fear, and our constant desire to divide ourselves by groups (gender, race, sexual orientation, class, ethnic origin, age, ability, religious affiliation, political party and on and on).

My wish is for people to slow down, get to know each other better and learn to love each other more because of our differences as well as our similarities. After all, humans are much more similar than we are different.


Where is the rape charge?

A recent “Seattle Times” article reports that Edmonds, WA police officer David Lavely, “forced [a] woman into sex” on a night in May 2012 in the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot in Edmonds whiles she was in his arrest custody.  No where, in any of the articles, is the word, “rape.” “Forced sex” is the definition of “rape.” When someone is not consenting to sex and it happens anyway, a rape has occurred. Lavely is still on “administrative leave” at the Edmonds Police Department. This means he is still being paid with tax payer dollars.

Here is an article from June 7, 2012 describing what happened, stating innocuously that the two “had sexual intercourse.” Making it “seem” consensual.

Since then, an investigation by the Everett Police Department occurred and Lavely has been charged with “Custodial Sexual Misconduct.” The Seattle Times, on November 1, 2012 (and modified online November 2, 2012) uses stronger language to describe what happened and reports that the police officer “forced the woman into sex.” But, the Edmonds Beacon article still claims that the officer “had sex with a 28-year-old woman who was in his temporary custody.” While neither article mentions the woman’s side of the story. Both articles are linked here:

(And, if you can’t read the full Edmonds Beacon article in a couple days from this post, its because they require you to have a paid subscription to the paper to see archived articles.)

But back to my main point, why is this officer not being charged with rape?  And what the heck is “custodial sexual misconduct?” That sounds like a slap on the wrist. And, both the recent articles report that the Edmonds police department is reviewing the criminal investigation of David Lavely to “determine what, if any, disciplinary actions the City of Edmonds may take.” (Emphasis added.)  Are you kidding me?  There is a chance this guy might get to keep his badge?

Where is the voice of the woman?  She is only mentioned indirectly:  “The woman reported the incident to law enforcement a few days later.”  It’s fine if the victim does not want her name in the paper, but if this is case, the reporter usually mentions that “the victim does not want to speak to the press,” or that “the victim would not respond to calls,” or the lawyer representing the plaintiff makes a statement on her behalf. But, no. There has been no mention of any attempt to talk to this unknown woman, or to contact her, or to get a statement from the lawyer that was likely issued to her by the county of Snohomish.

I have reached out to a council member in Edmonds to learn more and find out where we are in the process of this case and when Edmonds PD will make their decision as to the future employment of Officer David Lavely.

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Pot’s legal!

Initiative 502 “New Approach Washington” passed on election night in Washington State, November 6, 2012!  A historic night to celebrate and I ended up in a large full-color photo in the print & online editions of the Seattle Times on November 7th, with the title “Pot’s legal!” in large letters above my pic.


Natalia Fior of Edmonds waves an I-502 sign as supporters cheer the measure’s victory at a campaign party Tuesday in Seattle.

And, I must say, I don’t mind one bit being the poster child for ending the drug war, legalization and revenue for Washington State. A friend said they spotted me on King 5 too but I haven’t been able to find it…