Category Archives: Daily indignities

Plus Sized Women of a Certain Age

Or: Who Brought Girdles Back?

All the plus models are young, all the older models are thin and some of us wear flats! So what’s up with the heels and the spanx? Our grandmothers wore girdles. We gave up that shit in the 60s and now the fashion industry is convincing an entire generation of young women to bring them back.#spanxaregirdles #nospanxnothanx #heelsdontdefinebeauty#wecantalllooklikejanefondalillytomlindianekeatonandkateysegal #pantsuitsareugly  What do women of a certain age wear? Plus Model Magazine????

You can follow me on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/emmarosenthal

Facebook screenshot of the fb post from my page, with the text of this blog post

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Inspiration Porn: links on the subject

This is a constant work in progress with newer articles and finds posted to the top of the page.

 One PWOD activist chastised me for using the term “inspiration porn” because it detracted from and minimized the damage and injury of “real porn” , but inspiration porn IS real porn. It is the depiction of a dehumanized and objectified person as other, for the gratification of the gaze of the viewer. It is everything porn is– exploitation, dehumanization, objectification, commercialization, abuse. We deserve to use that term an name our experience without the additional gaze of those who think liberation, revolution and justice doesn’t include us or can be carried out without us.

Image of a tweet:Text: Carly Findlay‏Verified account @carlyfindlay 14h14 hours ago More Carly Findlay Retweeted Dominick Evans The objectification of people with disability in media & social media. Makes non disabled people feel good about their lives.Carly Findlay added, Dominick EvansVerified account @dominickevans Q1. How would you define inspiration porn for those who have no idea what it is? #FilmDis 2 replies 33 retweets 51 likes Reply 2 Retweeted 33 Liked 51

The Amazing Disappearing Emma

Or “Emma, Emma where have you been?”

Well I’ve not been here or my other blogs as much. Mostly I’ve been on facebook, where interaction is more immediate. I post my informal rants, which initially would have shown up here, on facebook, where I can have more interaction. People respond there. The comments here are not as interactive and not as frequent. There’s a hierarchy between blogger and reader that isn’t a factor on facebook. So facebook changed the way I use blogging.

And I got tired of writing up every, single. time. I. endured. humiliation. or. abuse.

With DISability, it’s everywhere, every time we leave the house, and often in our homes too.

I’ve changed the way I write DISability. I used to write it “dis-ability”, but write it “DISability”, now. Both writings emphasize the social construct of DISablement– that it is what is done TO us, that it is not what ever condition or nonconformity we have, but rather, the social construct of isolation, segregation, institutionalization, discrimination, clientization, infantilization, etc. But “dis-ability” won’t show up in an internet search for “disability”, and “DISability” does. So I think that’s an improvement.

I’ve also (going back to the indignities) added the lexicon that distinguishes caretaker from caregiver. How significant and curious that these two words are considered synonyms. Since when is “taker” and “giver” the same? So I use “caretaker” to mean an abusive person who is assigned or assumed the care of a DISabled person, as opposed to “caregiver” who is someone who gives empathic, attentive and loving care. Clever, huh? Thanks! I think so.

I’ve also been really, really busy, and focused on survival, the house, getting through the day, managing my health, dealing with the imposition of aging, staying closer to home.

Recently I’ve limited my social interaction, including on facebook, which is perhaps why I’m blogging again. The abuse of DISfolx is just so rampant, and socially tolerated, especially in social justice, human rights and educational communities and environments.  It’s just unbearable. As I’ve said before, I can expect a humiliating, dangerous or violent experience almost every time I leave the house. So I’ve withdrawn a bit. I go out when I have to, shop on line when I need things, work out of my home, create community closest to where I live, and budget the amount of abuse I have to sustain. Or so I thought. I was happy working here, at DragonflyHill Urban Farm, working with people I love, creating a supportive community, where each person’s needs isn’t seen as a burden, but an opportunity for greater sustainability. (For example, my inability to stand for long periods of time, means I need meals prepared for me, resulting in our huge community breakfasts, and everyone starting the day together, with a healthy meal.) And then the city proposed a home sharing ordinance that would wipe us OUT. I’ve been writing about that a lot on the DragonflyHill blog, and will be writing more, in the coming days. I’m especially interested in how the rhetoric against home sharing pretends it’s a violation of housing, human, DISability, workers, rights, when it is ESSENTIALLY about all of those. Home sharing provides jobs and housing for people, many of whom are outside of the labor force, including people with DISabilities, undocumented workers, formerly incarcerated and otherwise marginalized folx.

There’s also the illusion that it’s passive income, when it is not. We work so hard here–all of us– essentially domestic work, which is why those pretending home sharing is taking away jobs and housing, can get away with that assertion. Shame on them for perpetuating and exploiting devalued and essential domestic labor as easy and valueless.

Getting this business off the ground has been a daunting task, and what little strength I have has gone into this. I think we’ve finally got to a point where I can clear my head enough to even consider blogging again, more regularly. Social media is mostly my job on the farm, and I think I’ve finally found my groove.

Andy, Xeres, Glenda and I have also launched, are launching The WE Empowerment Center, to make the benefits of nonprofit status and the nonprofit industrial complex, more accessible to ordinary folx. We’ve streamlined the application process and made it easier for people who may not have the organizational social capital to get in the game.

We have facebook pages, blogs, web pages, and EVERYTHING!
https://twitter.com/DHillUrbanFarm
https://www.facebook.com/DragonflyhillUrbanFarm
https://www.facebook.com/weempowermentcenter

And, I’ve updated my photography page, complete with images of the house and everything we did to get it ready for where we are today.

emmarosenthal.smugmug.com

And yes, I COULD get my own URLs for each of these, but I like giving credit to the interface I’m using. It’s more of a commons, a gathering place. So smugmug, or wordpress, brings it all together.

So see you on my other sites, and here, between the sheets, In Bed With Frida Kahlo.

Emma’s meat manifesto:

1. People need to have access to food that is good for them, their history, culture and biological needs.

2. Food needs to be raised, cultivated, slaughtered and marketed in ways that are safe, humane, and environmental for people and animals

3. Comparing animal livestock to slavery or other human systems of torture, genocide, concentration camps, etc. is offensive to those who have endured those systems and diminishes and desensitizes people to those systems.

4. Manure, a mainstay of organic farming is as much an animal product as meat, milk, eggs and leather. (The same goes for blood and bone meal which are also used as fertilizers).  I don’t know how anyone can think she can step out of that reality. In an organic garden/farm, the carnivores are the good guys, because the herbivore “pests”– that’s what they’re called– eat the crops. Farming is cruel to plant eating insects, snails and other absconders.

5. Condemning eating dogs or horses while having no problem with killing cows, ducks, chickens, sheep and goats is cultural bigotry and self righteousness.

6. There’s a circle of life and for many species, either as carnivores or omnivores it includes eating meat.

7. There are some medicines that come from animal products and discussing the morality of eating meat without considering that, is outright ableist, and in trajectory, genocidal.

8. Industrialized society, specifically settler colonialist entities are disconnected from the trajectory of most of our actions. food is no exception.

9. I have raised and slaughtered my own food. i am aware of the process.

10. Whenever we save money on something it means a person is probably only making 2$ a day on that product. that outrages me.

11. People going about their lives as if other people weren’t in prison unjustly and inhumanely or being bombed by the empire, that outrages me.

12. The conditions that workers endure to put food on our table, that outrages me.

13. I really see no moral difference in outcome, all things relative, if someone knows where meat comes from and if they don’t. Dead is dead. Though I do think more awareness would bring about greater food justice to people and animals.

14. I have no idea how animal rights activists “check” themselves. it’s not like Bessie The Cow can say to you “Hey, I know your intentions are good, and you’re really up there with that human savior syndrome, but you don’t really represent my interests. You see, i’ve been historically selectively bred specific to a particular human need for thousands of years, and if they stopped breeding me, I would cease to exist, my species would cease to exist. so unless you’re expecting to have a herd of cattle as pets, or are demanding huge public spaces for us to roam freely, , which really defeats the environmentalist arguments, I really don’t see how all your efforts don’t simply result in extinction for me and my cow peeps.”

15. Would that food police, food fascists, evangelical vegans and animal “rights” activists focus their outrage in responding to environmental racism, food deserts, equitable access to food, food choice and healthy food options.

16. I support species rights– the rights of species to endure. I support environmental policies that protect people and animals.

17. The dismissing of the eating of meat as “simply cultural” is another example of cultural imperialism and racism. Let us instead support traditional food production, which is often much more consistent with humane treatment and environmental safety and stewardship. We must respect historic and traditional hunting grounds, animal domestication, agriculture, family and communal farms and permaculture.

18. Live and let live– I don’t see meat eaters going around demanding everyone eat meat, as part of an essential political mandate. (Though the bullying of vegans and vegetarians to eat meat,  by meat eaters they know is also unacceptable behavior.)

19. Animal “rights” movements that don’t address the issues of DISability access to society, including to autonomous food choices and body autonomy and don’t denounce Peter Singer and PETA are not allies in any struggle for social justice. so just don’t even talk to me. you weren’t talking to me anyway. i wasn’t really human– or animal, for that matter.
The animal “rights” movement has a seriously problematic history of racism, sexism, classism and ableism, so anyone who is advocating for animal “rights”, needs to center these issues in their politic and severely separate themselves from the mainstream animal “rights” movement.

20. The “animal ownership is slavery, meat is murder” argument AND the environmentalist argument are incongruous with each other. Either meat is slavery and murder and after the dictatorship of the vegan proletariat, there will be wild herds of formerly selectively bred domesticated animals, maintained at human expense, having the same environmental impact they have now, except that they won’t become meat, OR   the total extinction or partial extinction of entire species so as to not have that environmental impact. Either way, these domesticated animals will nave no autonomy from human decision making, and as such will continue to be subjected to human authority.

21. The insistence that one diet would work for everyone is cruel, supremacist, racist, ableist and patronizing. Whenever we assert that our lifestyle, diet, way of life, habits and morals  are the only correct ones we are asserting arrogance and hegemony. Check that and check yourself!

22.  The issue of environmentalism including veganism as individual choice is a distraction from capitalism in general. We can all recycle and compost and think that’s going to make a difference while corporations run amuck and unchecked. That’s where the attention needs to be, in real struggle against this hegemony that is destroying the earth, and not on appeals of guilt and the illusion that this is simply about personal choice for those who have the option of actual choice.

23. The racism, ableism, sexism and classism that is embedded in the animal “rights” movement prioritizes animals above entire groups of people, and  that allows those with certain choices to assume a false moral high ground without actually challenging systemic oppression.
White savior syndrome, paternalism, self righteousness, unchecked provides outlets and platform for legitimizing white patriarchal ENabled ruling class hegemony; the antithesis of real social change, providing the illusion of social justice without actual justice.

24.  Animal “rights” essentially is used to take away from or even perpetuate systemic oppression against marginalized people. In that regard, it will never really be about animal “rights” but will instead simply support abuses of people by means of a meaningless distraction.

25. For many activists who include veganism in the larger issue of social justice but continue to insist that meat is murder and slavery, maintain this position of moral supremacy over people they are in “solidarity” with. It’s one way entitled activists can maintain the moral high ground in the context of systemic oppression and inequalities in the movement.

(In numbering these points I am not suggesting a hierarchy of importance. I’m simply counting.) um meat, i love you let me count the ways.

(Scroll down for additional links)

[Caption: Scene from Community, season 3, episode 6, “Advanced Gay.” Happens around 8:01 in the episode.

Britta (white woman): “I can excuse racism, but I draw the line at animal cruelty.” 

Shirley (Black woman): “You can excuse racism?!”http://mamie-caro.tumblr.com/post/71828601864/ultralaser-britta-i-can-excuse-racism-but-i

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Some source material that inspires me to fight on, even when I’ve been raided and interrogated by the food police (new material added regularly. Newest posts are at the top of the list):

  • If you want to save the world, veganism isn’t the answer
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/25/veganism-intensively-farmed-meat-dairy-soya-maize
    “So there’s a huge responsibility here: unless you’re sourcing your vegan products specifically from organic, “no-dig” systems, you are actively participating in the destruction of soil biota, promoting a system that deprives other species, including small mammals, birds and reptiles, of the conditions for life, and significantly contributing to climate change.

    Our ecology evolved with large herbivores – with free-roaming herds of aurochs (the ancestral cow), tarpan (the original horse), elk, bear, bison, red deer, roe deer, wild boar and millions of beavers. They are species whose interactions with the environment sustain and promote life. Using herbivores as part of the farming cycle can go a long way towards making agriculture sustainable.

    There’s no question we should all be eating far less meat, and calls for an end to high-carbon, polluting, unethical, intensive forms of grain-fed meat production are commendable. But if your concerns as a vegan are the environment, animal welfare and your own health, then it’s no longer possible to pretend that these are all met simply by giving up meat and dairy. Counterintuitive as it may seem, adding the occasional organic, pasture-fed steak to your diet could be the right way to square the circle.”

  • Going Vegan Isn’t the Most Sustainable Option for Humanity
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/earth/going-vegan-isnt-actually-th
    “A group of researchers has published a study in the journal Elementa in which they describe various biophysical simulation models that compare 10 eating patterns: the vegan diet, two vegetarian diets (one that includes dairy, the other dairy and eggs), four omnivorous diets (with varying degrees of vegetarian influence), one low in fats and sugars, and one similar to modern American dietary patterns.
    What they found was that the carrying capacity—the size of the population that can be supported indefinitely by the resources of an ecosystem—of the vegan diet is actually less substantial than two of the vegetarian diets and two out of the four omnivorous diets they studied.”
  • Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios
    https://www.elementascience.org/articles/10.12952/journal.elementa.000116/
    “Strategies for environmental sustainability and global food security must account for dietary change. Using a biophysical simulation model we calculated human carrying capacity under ten diet scenarios. The scenarios included two reference diets based on actual consumption and eight “Healthy Diet” scenarios that complied with nutritional recommendations but varied in the level of meat content. We considered the U.S. agricultural land base and accounted for losses, processing conversions, livestock feed needs, suitability of land for crops or grazing, and land productivity. Annual per capita land requirements ranged from 0.13 to 1.08 ha person-1 year-1across the ten diet scenarios. Carrying capacity varied from 402 to 807 million persons; 1.3 to 2.6 times the 2010 U.S. population. Carrying capacity was generally higher for scenarios with less meat and highest for the lacto-vegetarian diet. However, the carrying capacity of the vegan diet was lower than two of the healthy omnivore diet scenarios. Sensitivity analysis showed that carrying capacity estimates were highly influenced by starting assumptions about the proportion of cropland available for cultivated cropping. Population level dietary change can contribute substantially to meeting future food needs, though ongoing agricultural research and sustainable management practices are still needed to assure sufficient production levels.”
  • Local animal rights advocates protest Indigenous hunt near St. Catharines
    https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/11/14/local-animal-rights-advocates-protest-indigenous-hunt-near-st-catharines.html
    “A counterprotest, comprised of mostly Indigenous people, showed up to support the hunters. Bonnie Emmerson said objection to the harvest is racist and that her attendance reaffirms a chasm between people in the area.“It’s here,” she said. “It’s live.”Protestors in prior years have yelled at her and criticized traditional songs, she added.“If we weren’t here, it would be different for the hunters,” Emmerson said. “They’ve been spit at, had things thrown at them for basically exercising fundamental rights as Indigenous people.””
  •  The Indigenous fight against colonial veganis
    http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/vegan-challenge/2014/04/indigenous-fight-against-colonial-veganism
  • Before you Criticize the Food Choices of Others  http://meloukhia.net/2010/03/before_you_criticize_the_food_choices_of_others/“Food policing is an area in which all sorts of assumptions are made about class and ability status. It goes hand in hand with the idea that people have an obligation to be healthy, that all bodies are the same so there’s only one way to be healthy, and that there is virtue in eating “right” as dictated by current authorities in the food world. Like, say,MichaelPollan,whoiseditorializedfawningly in numerous publications all over the planet for his “simple” and “helpful” food rules.
  • Unspeakable Conversations (Should I have been killed at birth? The case for my life.)
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/843688/posts“He insists he doesn’t want to kill me. He simply thinks it would have been better, all things considered, to have given my parents the option of killing the baby I once was, and to let other parents kill similar babies as they come along and thereby avoid the suffering that comes with lives like min…”
  • Daily Show: SeaWorld of Pain
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/daily-show-mocks-peta-suit-slavery_n_1282395.html
    Wyatt Cenac reports on the orca liberation movement and its opponents.
  • Stanford research shows Aboriginal hunting practice increases animal
    populations
    https://news.stanford.edu/pr/2013/pr-fire-aborigines-wildlife-102913.htmlThe way that Aboriginal people in Australia go about hunting monitor lizards for food, based on “dreaming,” leads to many more of the lizards, rather than fewer.
  • I don’t want your veganism if…
    http://strawberreli.tumblr.com/post/30740642481/i-dont-want-your-veganism-if
    “ idont wantyourveganismifitsabelistidont wantyourveganismifitsclassistidontwantyourveganismifitsbasedinprivilegesidont want your…”

  • An Open Letter From a Farmer to Angry Vegetarians
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenna-woginrich/an-open-letter-from-a-far_b_5587803.html

    “The truth is there is no meal we can eat without killing. None. A trip to your local grocery store for tofu and spinach leaves may not include a single animal product but the harvesting of such food costs endless animal lives. Growing fields of soy beans for commercial clients means removing habitat from thousands of wild animals, killing them through deforestation and loss of their home. Songbirds and insects are killed by pesticides at legion. Fertilizers are made from petroleum now, and those fields of tofu seeds are literally being sprayed with oil we are fighting wars over. Deer died for that tofu. Songbirds died. Men and women in battle died. And then when the giant tofu factory harvested the beans they ran over those chemical oil fields of faux-food with combines that rip open groundhogs, mice, and rabbits. Tear apart frogs and fledgling birds. It is a messy and bloody business making tofu or any of that other non-murderous food.What about organic tofu and vegetables? That doesn’t include chemical fertilizers and the companies are mindful? Right? Well, that is correct. But if you are not using oil to fertilize your crops then you are using organic material: manure, blood, bone, fish, etc. You may be a vegetarian but your vegetables are the most voracious of all carnivores. That small farm at your local green market needed to lay down a lot of swine blood, cow bone, and horse poop freeze-dried in bags marked “ORGANIC” to grow those carrots so big and sweet. Animals are an integral part of growing food for us, as food
    themselves or creating the materials that feed the earth. And the earth must be fed.”

     

  • 4 Ways Mainstream Animal Rights Movements Are Oppressive
    http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/03/animal-rights-oppressive/
  • White Friend More Intolerant of Gluten Than Racism
    http://reductress.com/post/white-friend-more-intolerant-of-gluten-than-racism/
 José Trinidad‏ @JoseTCastaneda3 Follow Follow @JoseTCastaneda3 More You can't make this stuff up. An animal rights / vegan group took space in front of the Indigenous women's group and started berating me and my friend for carrying sacred medicine and eagle feathers. 11:34 AM - 20 Jan 2018 844 Retweets 2,039 Likes Kyla©merry liminal spacemasashmelee range ghoulsthe boyAscension EdiblesPhoenix WritesWinter TashlinDana Paresa 28 replies 844 retweets 2,039 likes Reply 28 Retweet 844 Liked 2.0K Direct message

No Room at the Inn.

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two scooters loaded into our van.

well, i’m on vacation, the first vacation in years. it’s piggybacked onto a conference my partner, andy griggs has in oakland.  so we planned to drive up the coast, stay near san luis obispo, drive to emeryville, near oakland, stay for a few days, head back, stay in santa cruz, and come home.

tonight we get to our hotel on avila beach,  which we were able to get at a great rate, through a special program. it’s a very nice place.  i checked the web page and called in advance, before booking the room, where  a high degree of wheelchair access was indicated; even a lift to allow for pool and spa access (which neither of us needs, but it’s an indication that we would be welcome and accommodated, unlike those places where they go out of their way to keep us out. — more on this later.) when i spoke to hotel staff,  i very carefully explained that we didn’t need a wheelchair adapted room (lower cabinets, walk in shower, etc.) but that we needed to be able to get to the room without obstacles (stairs, for example) and be able to get our scooters in the room.  i even asked how many elevators there were and was told that there were two. (because i’ve had the experience of no access because the only elevator is broken and i just couldn’t get to my room.)

we get to the hotel and ALL the accessible parking spaces are taken. the other spaces are down a steep hill, and past rows of cars, which is really dangerous for wheelchair users because cars can’t see us and we can be backed into.  it’s 9:30 PM.  after considerable negotiations a very kind clerk and a very rude security guard “let” us park in the blue striped space which risks a hefty ticket and towing fee.  no other option was given to us and our offer to have the security guard park our car for us is rejected. initially we were told we would have to park down the hill. i explained that we couldn’t do that, that i wasn’t even sure the scooter could get up the hill.  i was exhausted and explained that i was now in a an impossible situation, that they were basically telling me to do something i cannot do.  AND I CALLED BEFORE BOOKING THE RESERVATION.  we we’re told that they have met their legally required number of spaces. like that makes the fact that i can’t leave and can’t stay, any better.  i check and see that neither of the cars on either side of the blue striped space, is a van, which would mean our car would be blocking side door van lift access to their car.

the clerk was embarrassed by the behavior of the security guard who showed absolutely no empathy, and had made sure to repeatedly tell me what he could not do and how the legal responsibility of the hotel had been met. (except that I HAD CALLED BEFORE MAKING THE RESERVATION, AND THEY SHOULD HAVE LET ME KNOW THAT PARKING MIGHT MIGHT MIGHT BE A PROBLEM.) “he’s usually a very nice guy, she said.

“well, dis-ability brings out sociopathy in normally empathic people.” i explain. we’ve seen this before, a lot. many of my fb buddies have seen this on online discussions, and my real world friends have seen this in situations like the one described here, when we go out in public, where absolute cruelty without consequence is demonstrated unabashedly.

we park the car, and head off to the pool and i relax in the hot tub, to the extent that one can relax while paying to be discriminated against. we get up to our room. it’s now 11:00 and we’ve had a long day and we have NO SPOONS* left, and i notice a message light on the phone and call the front desk to find out that while the hotel won’t be towing us for parking illegally in the blue striped space, if another guest calls the cops, we could end up away from home without a car and have to spend some serious time and money to get our car back.

so far no one has offered us anything other than NO-pologies, like “i’m sorry you’re upset”, we’ve not been offered any comps or real options.

what they do offer us, is to allow us to re-park our car at the base of the hill and access the hotel via the employee entrance. had they offered this when we were in the lobby, we would have been fine with this. but it’s 11 PM and we can barely move.  this means scooting down to the lobby, loading the scooter into the van, driving the van down the hill, parking, unloading the scooter  and scooting back up to the room, which is about 2 blocks of corridors from where they are now suggesting we park the car.

andy decides to take them up on this offer, because risking getting a huge ticket or having our car towed is just NOT an option.

earlier in the day we saw a restaurant in santa barbara, and i wish i had pictures, but my digital camera was in the car, and my iphone was out of electricity. it was a restaurant that could have been accessible, it was even ramped, but the management had carefully placed signs and plants and tables in such a way that access was impossible.

this is why so few pwds go on vacation.

now, before some bar hopping, “slunting” pedantic activists from yale, or USC,  privilege bait me (you know who you are!)  for having the nerve to complain that i can’t access a luxury vacation (it’s not like low end travel is even remotely an access option!), please tell me, are there any other demographics to whom hotels and restaurants would acceptably bar access; would refuse to provide equal service for the same payment?

the day was otherwise pleasant, beautiful coast, photography, talking in ways we haven’t before, or at least so long ago,  i can’t remember,  and much needed time together, but right now, i don’t really want to be here, and yet i also am just not able to leave, either. i do hope tomorrow is better.

and returned to the room, and tells me the charger to my scooter isn’t working. we have one charger between us, for two scooters. hoping we don’t lose that one too.

relax relax relax.  ohhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmm.

*http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

letter to a friend who suggests i am sick because i want to be

your ideas aren’t new to me. i don’t talk about my illness nor am i sick in order to get attention or because this is what i actually want. i have enough talented and intelligent, that if i weren’t this sick, could get a whole lot of attention doing a whole lot of things. as it is, i could get more attention pretending my illness didn’t impact my life the way it does. i could get a whole lot of attention pretending to be positive and happy, when i’m really not. i think there is a greater truth to be told, and a cost to that truth, but i also appreciate that my ability to articulate my experience is of benefit to those who also endure what i endure, but don’t have that capacity. —they tell me this! hearing from people who are validated by my words is priceless and makes my efforts valuable, to me, and apparently to others.

i think we live in a very compassionless society that blames people for their misfortunes and loves stories about people who “made it”. it’s a lot easier than actually taking care of each other. it’s easier than compassion, and it’s a politic that supports a brutal ruling class– that the rich got where they were, because they THINK better, that healthy, beautiful people are somehow more spiritual, superior.

it’s a politic that i embraced at one point in my life, and it rejected me. it doesn’t work. at a certain point all it does is create huge areas of denial –denial of pain, denial of people from the margins.

i do make healthy choices– eat healthy foods, do yoga, meditate, take vitamins, etc. i’ve tried many expensive modalities for treatment. i’ve thought good thoughts, etc. i’m sick. it’s just the way it is. (actually there are things i can do to get better, but some of them are too expensive right now. i simply don’t have the money.) thing is, when i get sick like this, speaking the truth about my condition, and resting resting resting is what helps. i’ve had this condition for 15 years. i know what it takes to manage it.

friends who want to help can offer to do so. they can ask my partner what they can do to ease his responsibility. they can give me rides to drs offices, bring over food, help out around the house, bring groceries, help raise funds for the care i can’t afford, support my work, or even, just visit. just sit and bear witness to what i real, what the present challenge is. — the things people used to do for each other, what they still do in compassionate communities.

life isn’t changed because we think good thoughts. nice idea, but it just doesn’t work that way. i’ve know a lot of people who were really silenced and marginalized with this thinking– people who have survived cancer, but not because they thought better than the people who didn’t. i lost friends to cancer who tried to be positive, ate all the right foods, did all the right things. i think it added to their stress, when what they really needed was to say exactly how frustrated, scared, alone they felt.

we tell people they create their own condition because it excuses a whole lot of injustice and marginalization, and because it makes us comfortable. it’s not easy listening to people in pain. it’s not easy listening to people who complain. it’s a lot easier to silence that in a spirituality of complicity and obedience. it’s certainly a lot easier than actually fixing this mess the world is in, and creating a society that meets human needs.

i also am not a fan of madonna. (the friend who this is to, used her as an example of positive actualization and insight).  she’s a very mean and narcissistic person who has left a lot of bodies in her wake. the way she treats people who work for her, in her own words, is hardly positive, kind or healing. she’s no one i look up to. she has masterfully marketed her extreme talent into meaningless pop drivel and sexual objectification. as for her attachment to kaballah– it’s an ancient tradition, not a passing fad. it is very complex, not something that can be simplified for mass production. cultural appropriation is never attractive.

i haven’t come to these ideas casually, nor have your suggestions failed to make their mark on my life, nor have i rejected them capriciously.

i think greater healing though is had through telling the truth, no matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable. i know i am at odds with the culture around me, but nothing changes without complaints and non-conformity. i would rather find myself a small counterculture of resistance than find ways to please and appease an intolerant and compassionless society that blames people for their conditions, instead of insisting on ways to meet human necessity and asking people what they need.

i don’t want to have this conversation more than once, because i find it very hurtful and isolating. there is something more negative than the negativity sick or otherwise marginalized people are often accused of. it is the negativity of negating the full range of human experience and existence. it is the negativity of telling people what they have to say, who they are as they are, has no place in the larger society and is their own fault, if they only thought better or adopted some magic protocol.

there is a difference between curing an illness, and healing. healing is a much deeper process that requires deep truth telling, process and transformation. it is often quite wrenching, lonely and painful. (it is why so many cultures have initiation rituals that involve pain).

(at this point in time, there are no cures for my condition, though there are ways of managing it.)

i am not interested in maintaining the world the way it is, on either a small or large scale. i am interested in the deeper transformation, the deeper healing, and we won’t get there by insisting we need to think positively. we will only get there when we can clean up the muck that keeps us apart, that separates, that exploits and that poisons us. we certainly won’t get there by telling people in difficult circumstances, that their reality exists because they want to live that way.

(anyone who really knows me, knows i have a tenacity and a spirit that is hardly complacent or stagnant.)

my illness is caused by trauma and environmental toxins. without going into the details here (storytelling doesn’t mean some things aren’t private), the trauma i endured most people don’t survive. the trauma i endured is rooted deep in the power relationships of a brutal body politic, that i am determined to fight, on every level.

i tell the truth. i don’t just lie in this bed, sick, meditating, waiting, eating well, etc. i share my journey and i express my journey as a political one, among the larger issues of the day, imperialism, health care, education, oil spills, domestic violence, genocide, racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, etc. and i challenge those systems that allow these negative realities to go unchallenged under a cloud of enforced positivity and false blame.

Sickbed ennui in the land of banana leaf hope

  1. Another twitter storify: http://storify.com/emma_rosenthal/sickbed-ennui-in-the-land-of-banana-leaf-hope
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    i wish i had more energy to do more with my life.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 15:58:43
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    this constant fatigue provides little strength fortasks i feel give meaning, purpose and healing to this broken crying world.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 15:58:48
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    strong winds blow in the southland of the angels. making stop motion blur on silver film.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 15:59:56
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    i want the wind to carry me, lift me up, take me somewhere else away.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:00:26
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    away from this sick bed ennui. the tedium of cellular efforts. the hard work of waiting waiting waiting for strength.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:00:51
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    i want to fly on a banana leaf, to some other place, where sick gurl dreams become something more than fear and loss.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:01:25
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    there is so much to do to heal this wounded crying world. i have so much shuffled away in other world plans.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:02:13
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    plans, wishes dreams, stored in boxes, cabinets, bell jars and the corridors of my mind.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:02:48
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    i wander empty spaces of time. days that are marked only by disappearing cups of tea
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:03:24
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    and the march of the shadows of banana leaves on neighbor’s walls as this corner of earth spins to and from rays of our local star.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:04:14
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    hope is dangerous territory. my most feared neighborhood,
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:05:00
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    where ideas are washed away faster than the fleeting work of stealth artists on alley walls.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:05:05
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    i am writing again, without fear or hope of publication. wordpress and storify are my hogarth press. i have a room of my own.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:07:11
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    the world moves around me. i am more like the sun than earth. it only looks like time revolves around me, from my perch overlooking hills
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:09:02
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    i feel like it all spins without me, in this box in the center of the storm. waiting waiting waiting. unlike the sun i am nothing immobile
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:11:02
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    lists to do scatter like dust, pollen and bird feathers from broken winds. i want my banana leaf wings.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:15:44
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    i want this wind to take me somewhere where my dreams can fly.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 16:15:51
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    but tomorrow the walls will still be peach against a purple trim. banana leaves will flutter against the green garden walls
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 23:17:51
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    and i will still be plastered to flannel sheets. wind provides the illusion that change is sweeping thru,
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 23:18:39
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    that stagnant air makes way for new possibilities. that opportunity is there to be grasped.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 23:20:10
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    that i could fly away on a banana leaf and not look back.
    Sun, Apr 01 2012 23:20:15