Tag Archives: personal

Getting an Abortion is the Same Thing as Getting a Tattoo (not really, but kind of)

I actively avoid talking about abortion (for the most part) because there’s too much of a risk that I’m going to have to explain why I believe we need to reframe this conversation as a human rights argument rather than a feminist issue. It’s a boring conversation.  See, I believe that a person should have the right to decide whether or not she wants an abortion/ terminate a pregnancy/ kill her unborn child/ get pregnant just for the fun of getting an abortion. I believe this because I believe that people should just be able to do whatever they want to the only thing they have total ownership of- their physical body. It shouldn’t be a women’s right to choose, it should be a human’s right to choose.

The only thing we have complete autonomy over is our body (For the purpose of this post, “body” includes the concept of the two-track, that is, that the body and mind/consciousness are integrated). You can’t deny that we are born into everything that we are- you had no choice in what you were born into. This is a pretty heddy concept, and its application is personal, spiritual, and political.

Ok, so try to follow me here: the only thing we are born with that we have 100% control over is our physical bodies. As infants we learn and choose to move our bodies, associate and experience love and happiness through the action of eye contact and coddling from others, cry and experience all the sensations that comes with that cry, etc. This is the human condition- the subjectivity of ourselves. Everything else we are born into and have no control over. We don’t have control over where we are physically born into (ie: Upper Middle Class America vs. Village in Nicaragua). We don’t have control over the family and living situation we’re born into: whether there are other kids in the house, or whether there’s a dog, or whether we having loving parents, or whether we have no loving parents. The ONLY thing we have control over is whether or not to wiggle our toes, to run around, to continuing being.

Obvious-Child-clinic-shot

From “obvious child” which is a good movie about abortion, i guess. i am in love with jenny slate for real tho.

So, if all that we have complete control over is what we can or can’t do in our subjective physical and cognitive experience, then shouldn’t everyone have a right to do whatever they want in those domains? Can’t we agree on the idea that we all deserve to live in a society where we can maximize our autonomy to the highest degree? To live in a society where we can cut our hair if we want, tattoo our bodies if we want, get a liver transplant if we want? Get a vasectomy if we want? And if you were born into this thing called life as a woman who is able to do this bodily function called reproducing, then shouldn’t the same principle apply and shouldn’t you be able to choose whether or not you want your body to reproduce?  

Right?

I’m not trying to minimize pregnancy to the same thing as getting a tattoo… but in theory… it kind is. Shouldn’t you decide whether or not you want to be pregnant?

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Oprah being intersectional and humancentric ❤

This is where I think 4th/intersectional feminism needs to step up and recognize that the women who have worked hard before us, those that made abortion a feminist issue because it was an issue that needed to be elevated in order to help push for women’s rights, did us good. Now though, the political and cultural environment has changed greatly and intersectionality means promotion of expanded inclusivity. Which means we need to use our similarities (Ie: being a freaking human) as strengths. Before, the act of choosing to have an abortion has been a women’s issue, because it affects women’s bodies, but this line between gender needs to eventually be broken in order to have an equitable way of understanding our political and cultural landscape. Now that women have more rights than ever, the way to making a better world is by changing our thoughts about the world, which I think means respecting everyone’s subjective experience. And it also means moving away towards the language which has kept us separate (Woman’s Right to Choose) to an inclusive way of understanding the issue on a broader scale (Human’s Right to Choose).

So yeah. I guess I just wrote this because it’s important that we get to do what we want to our bodies and I kind of just want to be able to get all the abortions I want for the heck of it.  

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Reflections on Growing as a Motherless Daughter

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Today is the 25th anniversary of my mother’s death. I had just turned 5 three weeks before she died in the hospital from cancer. My memories of her are scarce and sad, and I can count on one hand the actual number of times I remember her presence in my life. All of my memories are of her sick. I remember more of what happened the days after her death. Like on the day she died (or maybe it was one of the following days?), when I heard church bells ring and my half-sister (I am the only offspring of my father and mother) telling me that my mom now had her wings in heaven. Or the day that I went back to daycare after my mom’s death, and the teacher had told my classmates about what happened, and all the other little kids not knowing what to say to me. This type of response, not knowing how to react to me when people found out that my mom died when I was young, is typical of my life.

As a teenager, I would harness this uncomfortability from others for my own humor, as my own way to try to normalize the inevitable awkwardness that comes with the answer to questions about my mother that she was dead. I would automatically reply to the  “I’m so sorry”s with “it’s okay, you didn’t kill her”.  Or I’d make jokes, like that my mom is lazy and lays around all day… I guess these are coping mechanisms, even if they are a bit dark. I still think I was a funny kid. Anyways, I learned early, and had it exemplified throughout my life, that I was different, and my difference made other people feel uncomfortable, awkward, and sad. So I internalized this, and this unfortunately became part of my identity.

For years I didn’t think much about my mother, and that word, “mother”, still doesn’t have much of an emotional connection to me. As I’m growing older, and my friends have started to lose their own mothers, I realize my connection to my own mother is based on her absence in my life, and that’s okay. I have learned about my own strengths through my motherless experience, and there are anecdotal characteristics which undoubtedly connect me to her life. For instance, how I take pills- I put them way far back on my tongue. My dad is always astonished at this, as this is how my mom apparently took pills. So in ways like this, I am connected to her. I’m reminded how much I look like her every once in a while from people who knew her, which used to bother me, because I wasn’t her. But now, I realize that my resemblance to this dead woman that they loved might be comforting and a reminder of her life.

It has taken me YEARS, wait, scratch that, it has taken me DECADES to figure out my identity, to figure out my purpose, to figure out what it meant to be a girl, a young lady, and now a woman, without a mother. I tell my clients who have experienced any childhood trauma this: when you are a kid, and something crazy happens to you, like you lose your mom, your experience for the rest of your life is different than the other kid sitting next to you who didn’t lose their mom (or who wasn’t molested, or who didn’t witness family abuse, or who didn’t have an addict parent, etc. etc. etc.). So your experience of life is going to be based on an understanding of the world that is totally foreign than the norm. However, through examining your life, and working towards a goal of self-actualization, this experience can eventually be transformed into a “superpower”. Your perspective of life is different, perhaps a little wider, than others. Cultivating this power to see things differently, and to understand that your experience is different, is a long process, but the end result will serve you greater than the damage the loss caused.

I had a conversation with my father last year, and I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but something along the lines of him wishing that I had a mom to help me plan my wedding, and he felt sad about it. My response was that I had accepted my experience of not having a mother in my life years ago. I don’t know what it is to feel maternal love, and that’s okay! I’ve always known that I wouldn’t have a mom to help me pick out prom dresses or give me advice about boys or help me with whatever other things moms typically do. I think this still made him feel sad, but at least he could understand that my motherless experience is my experience- it is who I am.

I don’t really know why I felt the need to write (and share) this. I guess 25 years is a long time. I feel really sad for my friends who have lost their moms in the past few years. I also have always felt a strange and strong connection to other people who have lost their parents, or who were abandoned by their parents, especially if they were young when the loss happened. Growing up, I knew no other motherless daughters, so my identity was always mine for creating, exploring, and forming. As a kid, I would wish I had someone who could understand my motherless experience. I now can realize what an opportunity this is for me- to experience life in my own unique way, to understand that I have an understanding of the impermanence of life deeply rooted in my soul, as a bedrock of who I am, because it is my first memories.  I’m still growing as a motherless woman and forging an identity without a mother, and that’s okay. I know now that maybe my experience can help others, and even if not, I’m lucky to have a superpower of seeing life in a way that many others can’t fathom. And that’s a good thing.

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Being Afraid of The Police as a Law-Abiding White Woman

I’m afraid of the police. No lie: I’ve been afraid of the police for the past 10+ years due to witnessing police brutality and abuse of power. Over the past few years I have worked on this, but there is still an unconscious response of anxiety when I happen to be in a convenient store and a police officer walks in, or when I’m driving down the road and a cop car pulls in behind me, or when I witness a cop pulling over someone else, or when I have to talk to the police for any reason.

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How is this not frightening to see coming down your street?

This shouldn’t be the case, and certainly one would think that a young white woman wouldn’t have a fear of police… but I do. And the more and more the police forces become militarized, the more and more I worry about abuses of power. My town recently had a “Police Appreciation Parade” and my house sits on the parade route (legit, my town has like 20 parades a year, and they are all in front of my house. I never thought I would hate parades until I moved here). So, the police force in my town has a lot of money that is partially funded by a huge, stinky landfill that you can smell from my back yard (and I’m about 4 miles from it). So the police have a lot of toys. The parade scared the crap out of me. Police vehicle after police vehicle set off all of their freaking ridiculously loud sirens, with officers armed in heavy duty SWAT team armor and heavy duty, scarily huge guns (I’m sorry I don’t know anything about guns. These looked like big machine weapon guns). The alarms were so ridiculously loud, and really scared me, and my poor dog. They weren’t just the regular police siren, but were the alarms that were the high pitch beep and the one that says “This is not a test” and stuff like “Stay in your houses, we are on lockdown”. All I could think about was how re-traumatizing this probably was for veterans and people who have been in warzones. The end of the parade had camouflaged humvees and other war vehicles. The only thing that makes living on a parade route tolerable is the candy thrown to those watching the parade. Needless to say, there was no candy being thrown for “Police Appreciation Day”.

Now listen. I realize that most police officers are good people, people who want to legitimately make the world a better place, and for these people, I can’t express my gratitude. I cannot imagine what it is like going into a job knowing that you could encounter dangerous situations, that maybe this is the day you don’t come home. I also can’t imagine the stress police officers are going through, knowing that now people are watching their every move and the blanket of criticism that has been laid on the police force since Ferguson (well, I mean, really since reconstruction, but Ferguson seems to be the easier chapter to look at for millennials to understand the effects of authoritarian policing and stigmatized racism).

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True Dat

How I’ve dealt with my anxiety of police officers is consciously working on turning this fear into love. When cops pass me multiple times while walking my dog, I wave. I say hello when they’re drinking their coffee in the corner store. And I have a friend who is a police officer, and this helps me personalize police officers and reconfirm my belief that there are many good, hardworking police officers who just want to make the world a better place and improve their community. It’s unfortunate when one bad banana spoils the public opinion of the rest of the bunch, however, I can talk from experience, that after seeing police brutality up close I gained a strong distrust for police. I think this is appropriate though. If the only interaction I have with police is negative, then of course my view of all police are going to be tainted. So when there are police departments that support a culture of racism and authoritarianism, of course people in those communities are going to have a hard time believing that the harmful police methods (ie: stop and frisk) will cease.

Just thought I’d keep it short and sweet. In conclusion: wear your seatbelt and download Waze while driving, and try to think of police officers as your equal, not someone who should be feared. Easier said than done.

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i’m not trying to be sexy, i’m trying to not be sweaty.

This is inspired by a girlfriend of mine who commented on my “booty shorts” when I thought I was just wearing normal shorts…  Reflecting back now, it does help explain the dirty looks I received from the waitresses at the restaurant under her apartment when I was just innocently trying to pick up my take-out.

OKAY. CONFESSION TIME.  I love clothes. I’ve always loved dressing up and having my own style. When I was a little girl, my dad let me dress myself as soon as I could pick out an entire outfit, and I have pictures of myself in these carefully curated outfits- one that comes to mind is 7 year old me, wearing a pink and white dress, with one pink and one white shoe and matching alternating color socks.  I am still proud that I made all of my high school formal dresses (the best was Junior Semi when my dress was made out of a Twister mat) and wish I still had the duct tape skirt I made in 7th grade. I have always preferred thrift stores and the majority of my outfits are from where I like to call, Salvation Armani.  The tradition that signifies the beginning of spring and that I look forward to all winter long is rescuing my summer clothes from the dark, cold, lonely attic and welcoming them back into my wardrobe. Summer clothes are my favorite, and I’ll take floral flock over flannels any day.

Over the past few years, as I’ve been making the migration from the Junior’s section to Women’s, I’ve found myself in some predicaments over how to dress in the summertime. It is becoming harder and harder to find something to wear that you feel cute, comfortable, and conservative in (when I want to dress conservatively). I honestly think that new lines of shorts, dresses, and skirts get slightly shorter every year. There is little compromise between feeling comfortable wearing the same pair of shorts out in public and comfortable wearing them in 90 degree weather. Case in point: Right now, as I type this out, sitting in an air-conditioned coffee shop to gain a little reprieve from the 92-degree day outside, I keep catching myself subconsciously tugging at my cut-off, mom-approved, high-waisted Levi shorts, trying to pull them down a little bit closer to my knee cap. I’m not wearing these shorts to be sexy. I’m not wearing these shorts for people to look at me. I’m not wearing these shorts to show off the tattoos on my legs. I’m wearing these shorts because it is fucking 92 degrees. That’s it.

venn diagram of shorts

There are hardly any summer shorts/skirts/dresses that are both cute and will make you feel both socially and physically comfortable.

So, I guess one solution would be to buy up a few sizes so that the short will extend a whooping half inch further down my leg, but I don’t really want to do that. All I want is to wear clothes I feel good in and that fit so that I am physically comfortable. Unfortunately, I don’t see affordable women’s clothing lines helping create a trend of extending the length of shorts and skirts anytime soon. The other solution is to exclusively wear longer skirts and dresses to try and stay cooler on hot days. Listen, I’d rather wear a dress than shorts or pants in almost every situation, however a mid-length dress or skirt isn’t going to keep you as cool as shorts will. Plus, it’s way more comfortable to wear a pair of shorts than a dress when I want to go for a bike ride or walk at Nay Aug Park with my dog.

 

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The shorts I’m wearing right now still make me feel self-conscious that they are too short even though they’re ugly af.

 

The ultimate solution, the solution that would actually fix everything, would be to figure out a way for society to stop sexualizing women for trying to stay cool during the hot summer months. I wish there was a magic way to unsexualize all women’s summer fashion and teach people that the girl wearing the short lavender dress isn’t a slut or trying to show off her body,  but instead is just trying to wear something she feels good about- both temperature-wise and self-esteem wise. And we gotta educate other people, especially our boys and men, about this. Because it’s easy to think that a girl is dressing a certain way for one reason, when the reality is totally different.

And ladies, it’s okay to wear short-short booty shorts on purpose. It’s okay to wear a short dress because it makes you feel sexy. I just wish our culture could shift the immediate assumption that a woman is wearing shorts on purpose to show off her body, and instead replace that thought with recognizing that she’s probably just trying to beat the heat because its 92 degrees out. I mean, at least for me, it’s not that I’m trying to be sexy, I’m just trying to not be so fucking sweaty.

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Social Media Isn’t Real (And That’s Okay).

Two quick reminders: Social media isn’t real and I write this blog from a female feminist perspective. My views may be completely off the wall compared with yours (isn’t that cool?!), and whatever the next few paragraphs say, they are no means an attack on anyone I personally know- I feel we can all relate to this shit, na’mean?

i like you more than the instagram you

This is probably true, unless ur a garbage person in real life but super sweet online.

So recently, a few people have commented on pictures of me and my finance on social media, saying things along the line of “perfect couple” or whatever. And I’m not gonna lie, that attention is kind of a nice feeling, but nonetheless I’ve been really, really taken back by these statements. Because a picture alone cannot tell you much about our relationship. I’m not saying that my relationship with my partner is bad or anything like that, but it’s definitely not “perfect”, and I don’t want people thinking that about us, because, well, it’s not true! Also, just real quick: no one’s relationship is perfect.

I know a lot of people have been feeling less-than lately because of internet culture, and I just want to reiterate that social media is not real, and perceive people’s “realness” based on their social media persona can be super toxic, yo. What we see online of people is just part of their cultivated digital personality. Ok, wait a minute. Let me back up real quick. What we see online is of real shit, but the meaning we infer from it is not real. I like social media. I get to see pictures of my friends kids, of my family that lives far away, and just funny shit that my friends post. However, thinking that these pictures are actually a true, complete representation of these people’s lives is way misleading.

Yo, you wanna know the real kicker is? It’s that our feeling of less-than in comparison to someone else’s social media life actually has everything to do with our own perceived inadequacy. Feeling envious of anything or anyone is totally based in how we feel about ourselves, right? We can’t be envious unless we are comparing ourselves to someone else, and if we feel shitty about ourselves in the first place, than jealousy is gonna come around a lot quicker. It sucks that social media makes people think that their lives have to be a certain way because their “friends” lives look that way. Also, this is a pretty big realization that I had to learn the hard way, through years of being jealous (including being jealous of people online). I totally was in the camp of “I suck at life because my house is always messy, I don’t know how to be super crafty/good at makeup/athletic/rich/someone who travels a lot/insert whatever here, plus I have split ends and acne on my face”. It wasn’t until I learned that it is freaking impossible to compare my true, authentic personality to anyone else’s, that I started to feel better about my less than perfect life. We are all unique, and that’s a freaking wonderful, crazy, amazing thing! If my house was spotless, and super beautifully decorated from shit I made, and if I went surfing every weekend after having a brunch of grass-fed grass, well… I probably wouldn’t be super thrilled because that’s not being authentic to myself! It honestly took me basically my whole life to understand this- that there is no reason to compare myself to anyone else because it’s comparing apples and anti-freeze. We’re all different and that’s dope.

Ok, ok ok, I’m being a little overzealous. I totally still get jealous sometimes. I look at people’s Instagram posts and that thought will come in my head- the “I’m not worthy” thought. The thing is now I have a following thought that is, “oh shit, social media can’t communicate what the real truth is behind this picture, and this person strategically picked this photo to post”. ALSO, I don’t know what your motive was for posting that photo, just like you don’t know what my motive was for posting another picture of my dog (it’s because my dog is the fucking cutest and I want the world to know).

And also- it’s totally okay to post whatever the fuck you want. Who gives a shit. And if you post something like a selfie because you are feeling shitty, and want some superficial attention- dude, that’s okay. Or maybe you’re really feeling yourself and that’s why you post a selfie. Dude, do you. Sometimes, when I’m down, I’ll take a selfie and filter the fuck out of it because it makes me feel better. But here’s the deal- it’s still not real, and once we all start realizing that about social media, I bet you $5 that a lot of people will start to feel better about their lives. I think social media can be a really great thing. We just have to keep in mind that it’s not real before actual, real emotions develop in response.

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anxiety, insecurities, and sunshine

Thank you, sweet universe, for giving us hope in the form of such a beautifully sweet spring day! Ahhhh, I’m so grateful that it’s nice out and jeez louise, how powerful a change in weather can be to our psyche.

flowers are a'bloomin', there's hope, y'all!

flowering bush is a’ bloomin! there’s hope, y’all!

That past few weeks have been really hard. I feel like I’ve been tirelessly running the final stretch, for like a whileeee now, and I thought that the finish line might have evaporated…but, …hey! today the sun shined! What a good, glorious thing! I don’t want to get too personal, but I’ve been really stressed lately (hello final semester of grad school! hello not knowing what the future will bring!), and I allowed myself to get tired. I stopped trying to proactively find good things in my life. Everything bad and cold and stressful seemed to be snowballing in my life, but maybe, if it gets warmer, these things will melt away; that life can be good. I know this much: the future will not be better, if I am not better. If I am better, the future will be better. Better said then done, am aright,? 😉

When I worry about things, I sometimes let these worries (see: self-hatred, negative thoughts) get the best of me. I get anxious and I bring that anxiety-fear with me and it can make me really uncomfortable, especially in social situations, (sometimes I’ll apt to duck out of social things because of this anxiety, whatcha know ’bout dat?). But you know what helps me to feel better, what helps me to experience life in a more loving way? When I don’t worry about things in the first place. I’m not saying to suddenly stop worrying about your life, but I urge you to try to worry less about things. It’s hard to be totally fearless, but life is way better when you at least try to inch away from the fear-end on the life continuum. And I know, I know, who am I to say “worry less, your life will be better!”. I don’t know your struggles, I don’t know how heavy your heart is. My experience in life is different than your’s, so there’s no way that we’ll ever be able to comprehend exactly what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. I’ll never be able to see out of your eyes, to know what it feels like to hug your mom, to experience your life. Our own experience of life is totally subjective. So, I don’t know. But I promise, just try to not be so mean to yourself about the things you don’t like about yourself and you’ll feel better, a little better, at least.  I mean, it doesn’t hurt to try.

So where does anxiety come from? I think it comes from our insecurities… and insecurities are ugh, so painful, right? It sucks to think about them, they make us feel sad, especially when we dwell and ruminate on them.  So how can we shed the things we don’t like about ourselves? How can we rid ourselves from the things that we can’t think positively about in ourselves? First, we need to recognize their existence. I know what mine are and where they have come from (hello, being called ugly in freaking elementary school; hello, not getting into my first choice college), but figuring this out for yourself might take a little bit of time. (And if you have trauma in your life or childhood, you should process your feelings with a counselor or therapist or even a trusting friend, if that’s at all a possibility. Just ‘cause trauma can really fuck up cognitive development and processing. Dealing with deep deep sludge takes time to really deal with- to really accept. It’s not easy, no matter how far removed you may be from your past.)

So once you recognize what your insecurities are, you can start to change your perception. Once you get rid of those insecurities, you start to let go of your ego. Ego is hard to define. I don’t mean ego as in confidence or over-confidence, I mean it more as like the onion layer analogy. I like to think about ego as a shell made of fear which surrounds us, and the more you grow in this shell, the harder it is to believe that it can be shed. It can become like a second skin, and won’t let any good things in or negative feelings and anxieties out, unless we consciously work to chip away at it.

Dude, none of this is easy. It’s really hard. I’m just figuring out this shit. And I’m so used to not dealing with feelings and letting my ego overpower me. I’ve spent so much of my life constantly worried about what other people think about me, but once I started to understand that life is life, and my insecurities aren’t making my time on this earth any more enjoyable, I was able to become a little more fearless and a little more loving. I still think about what other people think about me, but not nearly as much as I have for almost my entire life. And that’s progress, and that’s good. So I urge you to try and be a little tiny bit more loving toward yourself today so you can break off a little bit of that ego shell and let some sunshine in.

 

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My 2017 Goals

After meditating on the subject, I decided to share my goals for 2017 in order to be held accountable throughout the year. So, if you read this, please do not hesitate to call me out on my bullshit this year.

2017 Goals and Intentions

I will be the best version of myself. I hope to do this by being mindful of each situation, each interaction, and each thought I have. I know this is impossible, but this is the overarching goal of the whole year.

I hope to rid myself of toxic people and spend time with the small, but close, kind, and loving people I have in my life. I don’t need to waste my time on people who make me feel bad.

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I just found this pic online, and boy, what a good way to think about saying “no”

I’m going to try to say “no” more. I say yes to so many things, which then stresses me out when my schedule is crammed. I become miserable and hold resentments towards the people WHO ASKED ME whether or not I could help with such and such. When I do say no to different thing, I often experience so much guilt and self-hatred for not being the best helper person in the world that I’ll beat myself up for days/weeks.

I will mediate everyday in some way.

I will have my two research papers published. I am the author of one research study that I’ve been tirelessly working on for the past 5 months (I’m currently taking a break of analyzing data to write this blog post), and am the sole research assistant for a professor at my university- we’re working on a quantitative study which is really exciting. My dream is to get these published, and I will. I’ve never had anything published, let alone a scientific research paper (who would’ve thought?) and I really hope I can make this happen.

I want to write more. Write more music, write more blogs, write more research papers, write more personal stories, journal more, write poems, write lyrics to songs that yet have to be born. I also will write these in a way that is most pure, and for the sole audience to be me when I’m writing. If I want to share them with others, I will, but the real reason is to strengthen creativity in this therapeutic process.

I am going to take advantage of as many moments as I can to be happy. I don’t want to get too personal, but my whole life has been a struggle with this subject, and I vowed in 2016 to try and experience as much happiness as possible, and I did a pretty good job. So I plan to keep this up this year.

I want to be the best friend/fiancé (or wife?!)/daughter/sister/daughter-in-law/dog-mom etc. I want the closest people to me know that I can be depended upon. That I will do what I can to make sure they have the same amount of happiness I have.

I want to be happy and feel fulfilled at whatever job I get after I graduate. I will not be scared away by the idea of relocating or being inadequate or whatever.

I will practice yoga, I will go running, and exercise on a regular basis. My goal for January is to complete Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga Revolution videos on YouTube. I have done each day so far. If you see me this month, please ask whether or not I did a yoga practice today.

no-pizza

This will be the hardest.

I want to eat healthier. Everyone who knows me and Ed know how much we love pizza. I really really want to limit myself with food like this and start eating balanced meals. I expect this to be one of the most difficult goals because I love sugar, cheese, and bread so much it brings tears to my eyes. This also means that I’ll probably have to, like, meal plan, and shit that sounds awful to me. BUT I WILL PREVAIL AND FREEZE FOODS AND THEN REHEAT THEM LATER AND EAT THEM AND NOT JUST LET THEM SIT IN MY FREEZER.

I also want to help the world more. I want to donate the things I don’t need and volunteer. I am really busy all the time, but somehow I can find myself sitting on my phone for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon when I could easily be doing something beneficial for the greater good.

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Green Party of Lackawanna County, I will do as much as I can to help you grow!

I want to be as politically capable as possible. I want to be as educated as I can about the issues that matter most, and really do all that I can to help promote the Lackawanna County Green Party and our efforts. This includes writing more political blog posts, and continuing to do so in a way that allows others to question and challenge my beliefs. I also want to write political posts in such a way that does not come across as intimidating to read, nor pretentious. I think so many people get overwhelmed by politics, and I hope to use this blog to show that it’s not as complicated as it seems.

I also am going to try to love myself. This sounds stupid, but its so hard! One way that I will do this is by not wasting so much of my life on social media (especially Instagram). I like social media to stay up to date with friends, but I often find myself going down these rabbit holes which result in total self hatred because I don’t look like the girls who post pictures of their beautiful faces, beautiful bodies, and beautiful lives. I know its all fake, but that doesn’t take away the feeling of shittiness that accompanies an Instagram binge.

Okay. I think this is a good start. If you read this, what are some of your goals for the year? Do you feel confident in your goals? If you see me out, please feel free to ask about how I’m doing accomplishing these things. One reason why I just confided all these personal junk is to be held accountable! Honestly, next time you see me eating Doritos ask me wtf am I doing

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Narrative Theory in our Political Context

Ok, shit,  guys, we need a plan. I have let myself sit the past few weeks in this sad, heavy, cold, quiet panic of our encroaching doom (T-minus 30 days until inauguration), and I need to jump the fuck out of this thinking. Okay, okay, here’s a quick breakdown of how I think about life: I think there are only two emotions: fear and love, and love > fear. Everything boils down to these two things. And because of the internet, because of widespread and easy communication, it’s much easier to let our thoughts be influenced by others. So, I have let myself become fearful, because the collective feels fearful, the news I read, the people I surround myself with, also have a type of fear- which is completely understandable. I’ve been living with fear the past two years. But now I realize that I need to shift my heart and brain towards love. That is the answer.

I need to look to the future with a  sense of belief that the future will be AMAZING. That 2017 will be a great year. Because here’s the deal, we have one life, so I better believe that this life is going to be the best life possible. It’s work for me to think like this, and I need to practice thinking about everything this way.  I don’t know if there’s “God”, and I doubt that any religious version of a deity exists, but I think there’s something, even if it’s just little tiny balls of energy sperming around the universe for eternity.

So, the future is coming no matter what we do. We can’t go back in time. This is what we have: A really crazy person with only interests of corporate greed has guided his entire life, who has been filling his cabinet with the worst of the worst, what’s proving to be a hard brick-red Congress, and likely having a conservative supreme court. So, the opposition is in charge of everything and the hand hasn’t been this heavy in decades. This is not how our democracy is supposed to work out. We are supposed to have checks and balances.

So, narrative theory, or “narratology” as fancy scholars like to refer to it. I wasn’t familiar with narrative theory until this past semester in school, where my practice class was about using different theoretical perspectives and figuring out what my own personal lens is (feminist and narrative). Ok, so narrative theory asserts that people have an understanding of their life based on their own personal experiences. How they understand these experiences is what creates the “life story” of the person, and thus influences their thinking and understanding of life and future events.

We get so stuck in these narratives that we believe that it’s all true. For instance, and I hope he doesn’t get mad at me for using this example, but my father recently retired. This has been difficult for him, as it is for most people who have spent their life working and now have that huge part of their life missing. He was talking to me the other day and said that he felt bad because he knew he always imagined fly fishing after he retired, but the river levels have been too low for him to go fly fishing. So I brought up the idea of, “what if you never thought about fly fishing? What if that wasn’t what you had planned your whole life to do after you retire? What would you do then?” and this was a WHOLE brand new thought. He was so caught up in his self-prescribed understanding of what his life would be, that it was like a door opening when he was able to think about the possibility of opening his mind to doing something else- to changing his narrative.

Ok, so narratives are powerful. I have seen the word “narrative” used a billion times during the past year to describe political events. What someone’s narrative is, influences how others to think about them. We love underdogs. So, we think about Bernie Sander’s narrative, and how he worked so hard to become a Senator and spark up this political revolution that is gathering kinetic energy, waiting to explode. This narrative helped people connect with him, because we often judge people by their narrative.

We love good stories. We love a good movie with a great plot, with great character development, that we can relate to, even if it’s just relating on the surface value and of being empathetic. We can’t really relate to Trump’s narrative because it hasn’t been set out for us. But Trump used his voter base’s narratives. He listened to what they had going on and used it to reinforce their thinking. In many places, including towns in Northeastern PA, the consensus is that jobs have been shipped overseas, and that “true” American’s aren’t gaining in life because of illegal immigrants. Trump helped reinforce this narrative by running a campaign that promised to fix these things. He didn’t help these people understand a different narrative, one that is more honest towards the situation. He didn’t come out and say that companies are moving overseas because of trade deals and that illegal immigrants either work for wages that most people wouldn’t get out of bed for and that illegals don’t have any rights (ie to welfare, etc) in America. It is much easier for Trump to reinforce a false narrative than try to expose an honest one. So in this lack of truth, it is easier to appeal to heartstrings than the brain.

Another good example of narrative theory is the Joe Biden-Barack Obama-BFF memes. I love these memes so much. I love that it seems like Biden and Obama are legit best friends forever and that Joe is a hapless dude who acts as the protector little miniature watchdog for Obama. I love thinking about Biden and Obama like this. But you know what, it’s probably not true. And this narrative only allows us to think about Biden and Obama as good pals, and that’s honorable, and thus their candidacy must be honorable too. It leaves little room for doubt or for exploring what an alternative narrative might be. Although I think it is a form of propaganda, I do love a good Biden-Obama meme.

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love it

Alright, I’m not sure if this makes much sense, but it’s something that’s been on my mind the past few months, and I figured I’d try my best to explain how I have been noticing narrative theory used in a way to influence people’s understanding of politics, current affairs, and past actions done by our government.  Narratives are formed in the mind, but can be reinforced by using both love or fear. It just depends on how we want to view them.

bidenobama

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In Defense of the Green Party

In Defense of the Green Party:

Full Disclosure: If it matters, I am a registered member of the Green Party but the following is in no way affiliated with the Green Party of the United States, or any political party. This is my own opinion, and only my opinion.

I feel scared to openly admit that sometimes, that I’m a registered Green Party member, and that’s a weird thing. So I want to break down how I feel about the democratic process, in a brief nutshell:

What I want and value: love & world peace & fairness & equality in the world. I know that’s huge and subjective and metaphysical, and I don’t know how to get there, but I do know that the Green Party’s Platform aligns best with what I believe in. Concerning the real, the big, issues, I think that we need a whole transformation. I don’t know if it should come in the form of a revolution, but we need a freaking big change. And listen: Everyone, one day, can be alright. I truly believe that. We’re all in this together, we can make it work. What we need to do is to put our heads in collaboration conjunctively, and figure it out. But that can’t happen when we are constrained to a two-party system.

So, here’s what’s up. The shit that we see on mainstream media and a lot of the internet is only a piece of the pie. The “Can you believe what she just did?”, “Oh, you won’t believe what Trump just said!”,  “So-and-so is back up 2 points in the polls!”, “So-and-so drops 2 points in the polls!”.None of that matters. Seriously, it doesn’t, but it makes up everything that a lot of people know, and that’s a real big problem.

Listen, there is anger on all sides. There’s a lot of hate and darkness, and it exists everywhere. You can’t get away from it. It’s smeared all over the place. Hate is fear is fear is hate.

So here’s what I want: I want to vote for someone. That’s how I’ve always felt about doing my civic duty and casting my ballot. I always want to vote FOR someone. Because that’s where my true values lie. I want to live in accordance with MY values. I want MY goals to come true. And not to come off too cozy (or snotty), but I think I have pretty good values. And that’s what it all comes down to, ya’ll. No matter what my party affiliation may be, I’m always going to vote where my heart and conscious are. And right now, that happens to most closely lie within the construct of the Green Party.

 

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Happy Birthday, to my Awesome Dad

My dad is awesome. He turned 75 years old yesterday which is crazy. He’s the smartest, kindest, and insightful person I know and I hope that I can be half the person he is.

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me and my pops

He’s gone through so much trauma and heavy shit, more than anyone I know, and still is the most loving and kind person I know. He told me that that the reason for life is to love as much as possible and experience as much joy as possible. Seems pretty legit to me.

He raised me, and raised me to not be an asshole, and for this I am forever grateful. He’s the person I get to have the best political and life conversations with. He has always taught me to keep an open mind and to treat everyone with as much kindness as possible. He always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up, and when I asked to take piano lessons at 6 years old, he allowed it. I’m so grateful for this and that he dealt with listening to a little girl practice piano… because I’m sure that was probably headache inducing.

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Anyways, this is his mail from one day and all the charitable organizations he contributes to. He’s a 75 year old single while man, and this is what he cares about. I admire my dad the most out of anyone in the world, and anyone who has met him can understand why.

 

So happy birthday dad. Thanks for being really wonderful and not letting me grow up to suck.

 

Love,

Chelsea

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