How to be Attractive

I logged into my Pinterest account today to grab one of my images for one of the other posts I was writing and there was an image sitting there waiting for me because apparently based on the other things I have been pinning Pinterest thought I would like it. I had a total WTF moment about it. Here is the image:

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What the fuck Pinterest? Really? Do you not know me at all?

I am sorry but my inner feminist could not let this one slide. I have been made aware that this utter nonsense exists in the world and for the next five minutes it is my mission to balance this garbage.

Luckily as if she somehow knew I needed something awesome in this moment my soul friend sent me this.

This awesome slam poetry serves to rip shame in half and give the finger to sexist agendas that aim to keep women small, neither seen nor heard.

Hear is my truth about feeling attractive and connected to myself: I do it for me not for anyone else.

  1. I smile when I feel like it not out of obligation to the world. Sometimes I feel swallowed by my emotions and smiling is not a thing, I am no less attractive because I experience more than one emotion.
  2. I smell the way that I smell. It is my smell. My smell is usually lavender and lemon oil, it may not be for everyone. I am not open to anyone else’s opinion on my smell.
  3. I wear clothes that feel good and make me feel like myself when I look in the mirror. No outside opinions needed or wanted in that area either.
  4. I will educate or shelter myself on and from the world as I see fit. I am no less intelligent or worthy of taking up space based on my decision in this area.
  5. I can kind of get behind this one honestly. I do not speak kindly of myself though, that is doing it for other people. I speak kindly to myself because I do it for me, not for you.
  6. Have whatever kind of hobby you want, screen or no screen. Or if you prefer don’t have a hobby at all. Your interests are YOUR interests. They belong to you, do what feels right.
  7. I do value education, that is my truth. I also thought that college was out of reach. You are no less worthy if you did not get past the 8th grade. You do your life in the way that feels right for you and do not accept anyone else’s judgements or opinions based on some classist bullshit like higher education.
  8. Make time for yourself and anyone else you feel drawn to give your time to. Our time is an enormous gift, we deserve it as much as the rest of the world. You are still a good  and worthy person if you never volunteer a day in your life.
  9. I like the piece about saying thank you because one of my own personal truths is deeply connected to daily gratitude. I do not believe in obligatory reciprocation though. You reciprocate when you feel compelled to and do not allow others or society to guilt you into doing favors you are not comfortable doing.

These are my truths about being attractive based on the list provided. They may not be your truth, maybe you like the original list. That is alright. Personally, it was not for me. I am more in line with Olivia Gatwood and her Ode to the Resting Bitch Face.

You owe the world nothing. Focus on you, figure out what unique brilliance you bring to the world and do not allow others to tell you that you are less than because you did not conform. Radical self-love my friends. Embrace all aspects of yourself as you are not as others believe you should be.

 

 

“We Should All Be Feminists.”

These are the words my professor uttered a few semesters ago after a classmate stated, Well I don’t personally identify as feminist.

I don’t know if my professor meant we as social workers, or we as women, or we as liberal minded individuals, or we as in every single person ever (I personally lean towards the last option). And I know that professors “should” remain objective but I sure am glad she said it! I know I am not alone either.A lot of my friends in the class breathed a visible sigh of relief when the professor spoke up.

Every time I hear someone, specifically women, renounce feminism I feel myself hold my breath. Suddenly I don’t feel safe because if you are telling me that you do not identify as a feminist it makes me wonder if there is an aspect of equality that does not speak to you? And if that is the case then yeah, back to what I said, I kinda don’t feel completely safe around you.

This exchange led to a really awesome conversation. This professor is a huge feminist and very open about it. We discussed why some people do not choose to identify as feminist, some people in class spoke up to share their reasons.

The reasons ranged from: I don’t know enough about it, to my dad would kill me, to but I don’t hate men, to feminism is not inclusive, to I am not political, to I just don’t believe in it, to feminists are always so angry and I am not an angry person, to I’m not much of an activist.

My professor and some of the rest of us helped illuminate the discussion by explaining some misconceptions and answering questions.

So I wanted to share a little bit of the discussion for anyone else that may still think feminism is a dirty word.. Let’s brush some of that dirt off.

  1. Feminism is not about hating men. That is a totally different thing called misandry. Some Feminists may personally identify as misandrists but that is like some may identify as lesbian or Christian or Latina or male. You can be all of these things and be feminist but they are not the same. So to be clear: Misandry = dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men. Feminism = the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. NOT THE SAME THING.
  2. Feminism is all inclusive. Malala Yousafzai defined feminism as a synonym for equality and I personally agree with that definition. Now, this misconception is a fair one, but I would like to clear it up all the same. There are different branches of the feminist tree and some are less inclusive. For example, radical feminism has a history of discriminating against trans folks. Some radical feminists do not believe that trans folks belong in the movement. That is not the feeling of the majority however and feminism as it exists currently is very clear about its commitment to intersectionality and inclusion. Feminism has multiple branches, Liberal, Social, Radical, Womanism.. etc.. If you would be more comfortable getting super specific then I recommend doing the research and pick which one feels right to you. Or define it for yourself, that is a totally acceptable alternative as well.
  3. “I’m not political/ I am not an activist”. Cool, me either, but I am still a feminist. There are no rules to being a feminist, you get to define it for yourself. Let me repeat: THERE ARE NO RULES, YOU DEFINE WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU. I would not typically attend a protest personally because that it not usually the energy I want to put out into the world, that does not make me care any less about equality and women’s rights. I am also not super political. I think our political system is a joke and have very little faith in our elected officials. That does not make me any less a feminist.
  4. Not all feminists are angry. That is like saying all social workers work for DCF (my social work friends will get why that is such a cringe worthy statement), or all Christians are anti-gay, or all white people are racist. Those are pretty heavy accusations to make and THEY ARE NOT TRUE. Sure, some feminists are angry, and they have a right to be, consider what we are talking about here; protecting the rights of a group of people who have historically had their rights infringed upon based on their sex/gender. We have a right to be angry. And yes, some feminists bring that masculine energy into the movement, especially at protests. That does not mean all feminists are angry. Personally my brand of feminism comes from more of a earth-mother- nurturing place and I lead with a much more feminine energy. Again, there are no rules, you get to define it. Feminism belongs to you, and to me, and to everyone. We make the decisions about what it means to us. And I would like to make the statement one more time before moving on that there is nothing wrong with being angry. To focus on the emotion in a negative light like that serves to minimize the experience of the individual. People have the right to be angry, we all have the right to feel our feelings. There is nothing wrong or bad about that.
  5. My family/friends/significant other/social circle/kid/employer/grocer/dog/bus driver wouldn’t understand. THAT IS OKAY. This is not for THEM, it is FOR YOU. The things we believe in BELONG TO US. They are personal, they are sacred. No one is required to understand them and WE DO NOT OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION.

I am going to end my list there and address the last reason separately, I just don’t believe in it. To me that is a cop-out. That is shutting down the conversation because for some reason you are scared. It is like when I used to identify as atheist because I knew if I said that when someone tried to talk to me about spirituality the conversation would die and I wanted it to die because spirituality was a scary place for me for a long time. My question is WHY? What stops you from believing it? What is holding you back? What are you unsure of?

If you do not believe in equal rights then say that, say I do not believe in equal rights that way we know where you stand. But to say I don’t believe in feminism without a reason is just putting the movement back and that is not doing gender minorities any favors I can tell you that. Saying I don’t believe in feminism is like saying I don’t believe that Black Lives Matter. Saying I don’t identify with the feminist movement is like saying I don’t identify with the civil rights movement, or the LGBTQ+ movement, or any other social justice movement.

Understand this: Being feminist is not about being better than anyone else, it is not about excluding anyone, it is not about hating anyone. It is about equality and the very fact that feminism is still considered a bad/dirty/scary/negative word to some people proves that the patriarchy is alive and well.

Now more than ever it is IMPERATIVE that you stand up for what you believe. That you openly identify with those beliefs. WE NEED YOUR HELP. If nothing else, please do me this favor, do the movement this favor.. If you can’t get past the label for whatever your reason maybe 1. Please reconsider and 2. Please do not renounce feminism. We are trying to change the world and make it safe for all people, every time you renounce us you are setting back time. Please,please, please if you can’t get past the label at least find it in your heart to be our ally. And as our ally please do not do or say anything that would negatively impact the positive work we are striving towards.

If my passionate advocating has not convinced you, give me one last chance: here are a bunch or celebrity feminists who get it, maybe they will change your mind. I mean who doesn’t love Will Smith?

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www.hdnicewallpapers.com
http://www.hdnicewallpapers.com

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Don’t Mind Us, We just Live Here

Tonight hubs and I chose to stay in and have a quite night. We had a nice dinner together, played some games, and now we are both enjoying our introvert time – separate but together.

He is watching a documentary on the tablet with earbuds so I can read in silence. It was a nice idea, to spend the night reading in silence, in theory. It hasn’t quite worked out to be the quiet evening I hoped for. This is thanks to living so near downtown.

The outdoor stadium is not far from our home. It is common place for us to go to bed listening to fire works, or announcers announcing soccer scores, or crowds cheering the distance. These noises have become the noises of our home, much like the train that goes by in the night, we have become used to their presence in our home, they are welcome and comforting in a way.

Tonight is different though. There must be a monster truck rally going on or something. The music is obscenely loud, I can hear every word. I guess it would have to be in order to be heard over the deafening noise of the trucks.

We live a few miles away and it is as though this event is taking place in our backyard. Lucy has been pacing and whining, it is all a bit much. But I guess that is what we get, we knew the stadium was this close when we bought our home. It comes with the territory, literally.

This post is not about me though, not really. The people I am really frustrated for are the people of the community I did work in a few semesters ago.

When our city decided to take on a professional soccer team with it came the plans to build a new soccer stadium for the team. It was decided that this stadium would go smack in the middle of the community I am talking about. Right in the middle of this residential community’s downtown.

As a result, in solidarity with this community, my husband and I have never attended a soccer game. We will not support anything connected to the gentrification taking place in this community.

When I worked with and interviewed families in this community I noticed something, when I would ask them about their feelings about what was happening in their community they did not even identify that part of their community as theirs any longer.

The report my classmates and I submitted with our findings is what got me the spot on the committee I sat on during undergrad. It was also circulated in certain circles associated with the work and continued gentrification of this community because others who have tried to come into this community and speak with the residents have not had much success, they will not speak with outsiders.

Unfortunately my work did nothing to impact positive change for this community. The stadium is moving along on schedule and now the very university I attend is planning to build a campus in this community. It is wrong but that is all I will say about it. I stand with the community, not those who would take it from them.

So tonight as I lament in my home over the noise pollution plaguing my quiet evening I think of this community I have come to love. I think of the mothers who will be trying to put babies to bed over the noise of a soccer stadium that is literally in their backyard. I think of families who will be plagued by the noise of the crowd, and of concerts as they choose between keeping the windows open to stay cool or close them to get some peace even though they do not have air conditioning. I think about how this community has been invaded, how they are being pushed out, how they have been told over and over that they do not matter, and their land is not theirs. They watch as their community is taken from them block by block and turned into a playground for outsiders. Stadiums and universities are built all around them while they know full well that even though it is on their land, they will never have access.

I may not like the noise, but I have options. What about those who don’t? I guess they don’t matter as long as everyone else is having a good time.

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Martyrdom is Manipulation

Martyrdom: a display of feigned or exaggerated suffering to obtain sympathy or admiration.

Martyrdom is a form of manipulation.

Parents use it to guilt their children into doing what they want. I gave birth to you! After all we have done for you! Enter the martyr.

It is a used in relationships. I would do anything for you and you can’t bring yourself to do this one thing for me! 

It is used in religion as a way to shame followers into submission. He died for your sins.

It is used at work as a means to increase productivity without incentive. Look at Sue she works 10 hour days and weekends and never comes in late, why can’t you be more like Sue?

Manipulation at its simplest is about control. It is about getting needs met. It usually refers to negative, underhanded ways of getting needs met, but at the core that is what manipulation is.

Martyrdom is an exaggerated form of manipulation that uses guilt trips, and shaming, and extremes, and generalizations to get these needs met or exert control.

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In my life I have personally been the victim of this kind of manipulation and I have used this kind of manipulation in past relationships. I am not proud of that fact of course but it is true and I am at a place now where I can show that piece of myself love.

This form of manipulation is very triggering for me none the less. It reminds me of times I have been hurt and times I have hurt others. Neither are memories I like to go back to.

Martyrdom is a thing in social work. It is not only a thing, I feel that it is glorified. I feel it used against us as a way to keep us down. To keep accepting low pay, and high case loads, and long hours, etc. etc. These things become expected and we become the martyrs.

Part of what took place in supervision the other day was manipulation. We listened to a long story of martyrdom and were told that we were not as good because we were not doing it this way.

I was triggered for two reasons mainly, for a moment it took me back to the absolute worst employment experience of my entire life.

I worked for a company for 5+ years that was completely toxic because I loved the work and the population. I finally left after my papa died. That is when I realized I had totally lost sight of what was important in life. The night he died he was surrounded by his family. I was not there. I had worked a 12+ hour day and was too tired to make the drive to hospice. He was stable, I would go to him first thing in the morning. He did not make it to the morning.

Following his death I took no time off to grieve. I was in charge, I could not take time off. I thought my job was the most important thing. I realized after experiencing prolonged complicated grief that I had that all wrong. It took me a long time to forgive myself for the time I lost at the end with him. He was more important. I don’t even work there anymore. How could I have ever thought that work, no matter how noble the work I was doing, was more important than the people I love?

The other part of the trigger for me has to do with my mother. Growing up and even into my twenties my mother used martyrdom, shame, and guilt to control me and get her way. It took years for me to recognize it for what it was. It was not until I recognized it in myself that I was able to see it in our relationship. She no longer has that power over me but the pain is still there. It takes a while to heal that kind of wound, especially when you are trying to learn to love and forgive yourself at the same time.

Social work is a primarily female field. Guess which gender struggles the most with work-life balance in general? Guess which gender is the most over-worked and underpaid? I think it is sad that we do not see this as the feminist issue that it is. It is true that many of us, myself included, do not enter this field for the money but that does not mean that what we do is not valuable and I do believe that we should be advocating for ourselves here. It is not just social work either. I feel the same way about teachers. It is another field that is heavily populated with female workers and is very demanding and treated in a similar way.

As women we are programmed by society to feel shame for wanting to be heard and seen and to have a place at the table. How are we supposed to break the glass ceiling if some of us do not even see how we are being manipulated and controlled by those who would rather keep it in place?

Martyrdom is manipulation. I will not believe anyone who tries to convince me I am not worthy of being seen, and heard, and that I have a place at the table. I will not be a martyr, I will be an advocate for myself and minorities like me who are being manipulated into believing we deserve less.

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Shine a Light

This morning hubs and I woke early. Truth be told I don’t think I was ever fully asleep. I went to bed earlyish last night because I realized with the direction the vote was going in there would be a good chance I would not sleep at all if I heard the results before bed. This measure to protect myself from bad news and attempt to get a sound nights rest was somewhat futile unfortunately.

So we woke up this morning with the anticipation of two children on Christmas morning only this was not a joyous anticipation.. It was the anticipation of two children who knew they would not be receiving gifts this Christmas but hoped against hope that by some miracle Santa had come and delivered presents to their home. I am sad to report that Santa did not visit America this election season. There were no overnight miracles just the sad sinking in of our new reality. A reality that many of us, myself and hubs included, are not ready to see.

You want to see what forcing an idealist to come to terms with reality looks like? I started my day in tears. I cried for myself, I cried for my future children, I cried for every single person in my country and in the world who has even more reason to mourn today than I do. I have certain amount of privilege that will insulate me from any havoc this new reality may wreak, I know many who have far more reason than I to cry this morning.

So I gave myself space this morning to have my reaction. My hubs had his as well and we supported one another through it. There were a lot of unanswerable questions. There was a lot of reassuring. There were lots and lots of hugs and snuggles.

The truth is I didn’t really want to get out of bed. It was hard to find the motivation. I wanted to stay in that negative frame of mind and dwell.. Then I was scrolling through the mournful reactions of my friends on social media I saw something that reminded me of my truth..

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My whole perspective changed in that moment and I remembered who I am and what my life purpose is. I am a badass idealist who sees what can be not what is. I am a light in dark places and sometimes “the real world” can be a very dark scary place. Yes, I got dropped kicked in the face by reality this morning and yes for a moment I felt shattered. What the outcome of the election has showed me though is right now my light is needed.

There is a reason there has been so much negative energy brewing lately and a lot of us, again myself included, thought that after election day that energy would finally clear.. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. That doesn’t change me or my life mission though. I could not feel stronger in my resolve as an idealist in this moment.

Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Bernie Sanders, John Lennon, Rosa Parks.. All of the heroes of the world who stood up for something bigger than themselves were idealists! They saw beyond what was to what could be. They believed in the goodness of the human spirit and what the world is capable of through love. They shined their lights so bright the world could not ignore them.

So today take your moment. Mourn, or celebrate if this is not a sad occasion for you, or get angry.. Do whatever you need to do for you then go out and be a light for others. Show our brothers and sisters your humanness, your ability to love, and to meet negative energy with pure kindness and compassion. Be example. Shine so bright that it is lights up the dark and blinds those whose lights are turned down.

While I was in the shower thinking about all of this and meditating on my truth and my own mission in life I started singing. Without realizing it at first I was singing a song from my childhood.. When I was little, 6 or 7 I think, Disney came out with Polly. It it a favorite movie from my childhood, it bestowed on me valuable lessons. My gift to anyone reading this is this song from the movie… Now go out and shine your light today. Be the reason someone does not lose hope today. Help remind the world what love feels like. It is time we turn up our light.

Feminism Encourages Women

I don’t even have time to write this post right now. I should be running errands and getting myself together so I don’t run late meeting my girlfriend for tea. All those shoulds will have to wait though because I have to get this out now.

I was scrolling FB a few minutes ago and one of my favorite powerful women who totally inspires me to be unapologetically myself at all times posted this photo for a laugh.

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Of course when I read it I did not laugh and the truth is I am sure she didn’t either. The message actually doesn’t bother me, it is the judgement behind the message I take issue with.

I met the woman who posted this in D.C. when I was there for my HEALS Scholarship event last fall. She is a social work student from Louisiana and if there is one thing I have learned about her through our brief meeting and extended relationship through FB it is that she is no nonsense when it comes to feminist topics and I like that.

So my second reaction to this photo was, Well they’re not wrong technically.. Feminism Encourages Women. Period. End of story. Feminism not only encourages women, it EMPOWERS them and yeah, that probably scares the shit out of whoever created that banner.

My truth is that women are the most powerful beings in the universe. Imagine how different the world would look if the 3.5 billion women inhabiting it all woke up to their power at once. Simply put, men run things because we have allowed it.

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How We Help

I feel like the universe has been sending me signs the last few weeks telling me it is time to write this post. It started a week or two ago with my mother, we were in the car running errands together and we saw a person sitting on a curb holding a sign asking for money/help.

This led to a discussion about what we both do in terms of offering help to homeless people we encounter in the world. Personally, I am one of those rare individuals living in this digital world that still keeps cash in my wallet, I give money, usually a few dollars. My Mom seemed surprised by this. She went on to explain how she would rather buy someone a meal than give cash because she is concerned they would use the cash to feed their addiction and she does not want to enable that behavior.
While I am making no judgement about whether her way of handling the situation is right or wrong I will say her answer did not surprise me. I will also say, and I admit this does come with a bit of judgment, I have never in my 32 years of knowing this woman seen her buy a homeless person a meal.
I mean it is a nice thing to say but if you have never actually acted upon it I think the appropriate response to How do you help the homeless? is I don’t.

I know why my response surprised my mother, because she and my father did not raise me that way. They raised me in the judgement place where all homeless people are addicts and we don’t get involved. Furthermore, my mother raised me to be a cautious woman because this world is not a safe world to be a woman in, so I am sure my engaging someone and giving them money scares her in terms of my safety. To that I say I understand her concern but it is my risk to take.

This week we (Todd, myself, and sometimes our friend who is staying with us) have been driving through downtown quite a bit. Our friend’s sister (who we are also friends with) is vacationing nearby right now as well so we have been driving over to her hotel to see her. One night when we were driving home through downtown there was a man with a sign walking through traffic while we were stopped at a light. I did not have my wallet with me.
A night or two later we were stopped at that exact same light and the man was there again and again I did not have my wallet.
This led to a short discussion with our friend about what her church family does for homeless folks which is care packages in the form of backpacks with filled with essentials from what I was understanding. I thought that was a beautiful idea.

I understand not everyone is comfortable giving money, I think a really important starting place in terms of helping folks who are homeless or out on a corner with a sign is not to ignore them as if they do not exist. I think acknowledgement is one small step in the right direction.

I don’t feel like I have all the “right” social work answers to speak to the needs of this population. I have done some work with this population while in school (serving meals at the shelter etc) but this population hits a little too close to home for me and I have not done my emotional work around it in order to feel like I could work with this group without having major boundary issues.

My cousin who was my first best friend growing up is homeless and has been since the age of 18, she is my age now. She is not an addict or a prostitute, she is not a criminal or an alcoholic. She has a mental illness and a long history of trauma. One of the reasons I give money is because every time I see a person with a sign I see her. That right there tells you my boundaries would be a mess, I know I project my own stuff on to this group of people as a whole. At the same time having someone I love and worry about living out in the world, often on the streets or in the woods, makes it so much easier for me to have love and compassion for those who are struggling. I am not passing judgement on this group of people, I just want them to be okay. The only way my cousin has been able to survive this long is because strangers have gotten involved and helped. I have to pay that back anyway I can. By giving money I am taking care of someone else’s loved one just like some stranger out there is getting involved and taking care of mine.

Another reason I give money, this speaks to my Mom’s concern about feeding a person’s addiction, I recognize that the money I give might go towards alcohol or some other substance, I also know that detoxing/withdrawals from alcohol can potentially kill a person, it is not something that a person should be experiencing on the street.

Ultimately when you pass by a person holding a sign you have choices, you can ignore them or engage, you can give them specifically what they are asking for or offer to help in another way. I am not here trying to make determinations about what is right or wrong, good or bad. This topic came up a few times recently and I felt the need to write. I choose to do what I do for very personal reasons in hopes that the energy I send out with this act will some how repay itself in the form of assistance for my loved one. Everyone has their own reasons for their actions and as a result the world still spins.

Standing Up for What You Believe In

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Saturday a presidential candidate who has been garnering much media attention will be holding a rally locally and the venue chosen just happened to be my university. I personally find this to be unfortunate because much of what I have heard from him sounds xenophobic, sexist, racist, and generally hateful fear mongering. With that being said, it appears there are plenty of people who do not share my view of him that plan to attend this event in support of the candidate. Such is their right.

One of my colleagues in the program shared a link to a peaceful protest that is being organized on campus Saturday against the candidate and in one day more 2,ooo people expressed and interest in going, myself included.

When my colleague first shared the link I was kind of excited by the proposition of a peaceful protest where I could stand with like minded people against all of these things I feel so strongly against. Throughout the course of the day though as the movement gained popularity I started to feel the idea of peaceful protest was beginning to devolve into something that felt too close to what I wanted to stand up against. I am hoping I am wrong about this but either way what I was seeing posted on the page was enough to make up my mind for me.

I understand the frustration that so many people are feeling, I feel it too but historically meeting hate with hate has never solved anything. There is nothing peaceful about some of what I am seeing being proposed and while I am sure the actions of a few are not representative of the many who truly do want to hold a peaceful protest, I started thinking there has to be another way to stand up for what I believe in a way that feels right to me.

Next Saturday Todd and I are attending a Bernie event downtown so we have decided that we will donate to his campaign while there and see how we can possibly get more involved locally with a candidate we do support rather than one we do not.

I fully support my friends and family who plan to attend the protest, I hope they are able to stand up for love and acceptance both peacefully and safely. I look forward to hearing all about it after and for myself I will put my energy into what feels right for me.

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Talking Politics with my Dads

Politics have come up a lot this week in my family. After Bernie swept New Hampshire my Dad called with some encouraging words for Todd and I.

My parents and I had a heart to heart not so long ago that resulted in us being able to have a much more honest relationship and a strengthened bond. Among the things we talked about was my feeling like a black sheep in the family because my views on a lot of things I did not think lined up with the rest of the family. What I found is that my parents love for me is much stronger than I gave them credit for and none of this changed anything for them.

I am now out of the closet on a lot of things I thought I had to keep hidden to be accepted. This has resulted in a much deeper appreciation and understanding in my family.

So my Dad called after the New Hampshire primary to talk politics. We talked about feminism, we talked about who we like and who we don’t like as much out of the presidential candidates. My Dad said more than one time how proud he was to have such a fair minded, accepting daughter. I feel the same way about him really. My Dad and I believe in very different things but we both also believe in acceptance and respecting others beliefs as well as their rights to their beliefs.

On Wednesday Todd’s parents arrived for a visit. After unpacking the car his Dad sat right down and started talking to me about politics and social justice topics. I know I have mentioned this before but I will say it again, I hit the in-law lottery! Love Mom and Dad Baxter. We were on the same page about everything. He suggested a few books about social justice topics for me and I recommended some documentaries for him.

When I came home from my internship today he was ready to continue the conversation from yesterday evening. I like that he is so willing and eager to discuss this stuff for me. I love talking about social justice issues.

Tonight Todd and I will watch the debate in bed and I am sure Dad and I will have more to talk about tomorrow.

Language Matters

I have been writing this post in my head for about three weeks now and I decided it was time I put pen to paper before it got any bigger. Forewarning this post is going to contain a few links as points of reference.

In a previous post, The Wet Blanket, towards the end of the post I mentioned an assignment about baseball that I was working on with a few other class members. When discussing the assignment in the post I brought up concerns I had around sexism, what I left out were concerns I had surrounding other “isms”.

The worksheet we were collaborating on asked a question about how the players were picked, in reference to baseball players who play professionally. The members of my group wanted to answer the question by saying the best players from around the nation are recruited. WRONG. I saw that as a classist answer. I explained to my group that we cannot use the word “best” because we can not say definitively that the players chosen are in fact “the best”. My group did not agree with me. I continued to explain that what if the best basketball player to ever live dropped out of school at 16 to start working and help his family afford their bills? Not everyone has the same access because of socioeconomic status therefore we cannot say definitively that those who play MLB are the “best”. This should help explain how ended up with the nickname Wet Blanket in this group. The point I was trying to make when challenging my group on this particular answer was language matters.

That class was the original birth place of this post that has gained momentum since then.

In another class a group assignment was given where we, as a group, have to present on the topic of disability. Our goal is to help the class to become culturally competent when engaging with individuals from this population. The professor asked that we do independent research to become versed on our topic outside of the information available to us in the book. In doing so he actually recommended that we look on the internet for articles and not just at peer-reviewed articles.I was surprised and delighted to hear this. Normally any research conducted has to come from peer-reviewed sources and while I actually enjoy reading journal articles I knew just the place to look for articles on the internet.

One of my favorite go-to places for interesting articles is Everyday Feminism, I have referenced this site before when writing posts about social justice issues, it is one of my favorite online resources. So I started searching for articles that I thought might be relevant and thought provoking, they had many to choose from. One of the articles I chose illustrates how oppressive ableist language is, it can be read in its entirety here.

I shared this article and another that I liked with my group members via email and then last night after class three of us had the opportunity to discuss the content. Coincidentally all three of us worked on the baseball assignment together as well in the other class. Myself and another group member who read the article discussed how pervasive ableist language is in everyday conversation in America. The third group member then made a comment about how he thinks it is okay when you are hanging out with friends but not around other people who could be hurt by it. WRONG. I explained that ableist language is no different than sexist, racist or homophobic language. He tried to defend his side further by stating that what you say with your friends is different than what you say in front of other people. He ended by saying don’t you think? I explained that personally I do not agree and our other group member then chimed in and said that is how this type of language becomes acceptable in the first place is because of attitudes like that. I was grateful for her input, it is exhausting being the only voice of opposition sometimes.

This morning I was researching blockers for a case study on a transgender child I am working on. While immersed in my work I stumbled upon another great article that is titled The Power of Language. It speaks directly to what my classmate was talking about last night. Language seeped in “isms” is always hurtful even when you’re just talking with friends and this person’s story outlines that perfectly.