Category Archives: DragonflyHill Urban Farm

Diary of a Staycation: Waking up alone

I woke today alone.  It is cooler at Vanessa’s house in South Central, than in Echo Park. The breeze comes through the windows. It’s a bit warm for me, but not too warm. I will cool myself with wet scarves and iced tea which is brewing. My hair is a mess. I am wearing pajamas and a tank top.  I am slow to deal with breakfast or tea. There is no rush, no one else to consider right now. I can focus on craft and growth.

Vanessa had wanted to have coffee (tea) in the morning, but I messaged her to wait a day. I am also in a lot of pain, which is common with the fibromyalgia, especially after packing and moving yesterday. I usually give myself the first day on a trip, just to rest, as well as the first day back.  This systemic pain can be very limiting.

These days, I rarely wake up alone. Aside from my partner Andy, waking up next to me, there are all the guests, my team members, neighbors and the cat in my home, and morning is the most sociable time at our bnb at DragonflyHill Urban Farm. Once the workday has begun, my bedroom turns into a hallway for team members going to and from the laundry room. Since I need to work from bed, we have many bedside meetings. The bathrooms are all shared in our home, shared between guests and team members. I do not have a private bathroom, so just going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I’m at work. I check my hair, wear sweats to bed, not pajamas and check myself before leaving the room.  Breakfast is wonderful, as everyone gathers in our dining room, but it is also a daily obligation. It is home, it is family, it is community and it is work.

Image of a crafstman house dining room, with a huge breakfast spread: tea, coffee, eggs, bagels, sausage, fruit, condiments

Breakfast at DragonflyHill Urban Farm

Before DragonflyHill, before Andy, I was dangerously lonely. Loneliness is a huge health issue. It is rampant with so many people suffering from isolation, unable to maintain or find human relationships. Most workplaces are dehumanizing and impersonal and one is expected to be “professional”.  It is safer not to reveal much.  Outside of primary relationships, there is little emotional intimacy, and there are many people who are not in a relationship who are desperately alone. It is especially hard with a significant illness and for single parents, who are not alone, but struggle alone to take care of themselves and their children.  I am not so desperate now. I love my life and the amazing people in it. This for me is a huge miracle. Time alone allows me to reflect on that when I am not caught up in the bubble of “getting it all done”.

Today is wide open. I want to work on an essay that has been in penultimate draft for over a year, and get it out. I also want to update my photography web page. That should be enough for one day.  If I have anything else, I’ll report it later.

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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.