Category Archives: Radical healing

Frida’s Bookshelf: Trauma and Abuse

I’ve written a bit about abuse and trauma, mostly in the form of facebook posts, waiting for an opportunity to put my ideas together more cohesively.

It’s summer, in the desert, during a pandemic where my most socially responsible behavior is to stay home.

“Those who attempt to describe the atrocities that they have witnessed also risk their own credibility. To speak publicly about one’s knowledge of atrocities is to invite the stigma that attaches to victims... Denial, repression and dissociation operate on a social, as well as an individual level.” ~ Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror ~

~ Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror” Graphic from https://www.facebook.com/traumaandco

Home.

Home.

Home.

Especially for women, home is more than just a place to sleep. It is often community, work, identity, investment. Why then do we insist, even if a breakup is necessary, that it is the victim who must leave? Why not support the victim in removing the perpetrator and protecting the victim? Why is the assumption that it is her move, not his?

(I use gendered pronouns because that is the essential paradigm of abuse, that gender would apply to any victim or perpetrator. It is also my frame of reference, my lived experience. If you need different pronouns, please feel free to substitute your own. )

Victims of domestic violence are told the perpetrator won’t and can’t change and the only recourse is for the victim to leave and it is the victim who must change. DSM diagnoses pathologize victims but not perpetrators. His violence is normal. It is her “willingness” to be a target that is considered sick; that the victim didn’t heed red flags or make better choices, didn’t see the patterns, that victims think of themselves as victims, play the victim (this is a game?), that survivors are superior to victims.

I use the term victim quite intentionally in my writing. There should be no shame in being a victim. It is BY DEFINITION, NOT A CHOICE!  Some victims don’t survive. Making a moral or spiritual distinction further maintains the focus on the victim and not the perpetrators.

BLAMING THE VICTIM FURTHER NORMALIZES AND ENABLES THE PERPETRATOR.

There are many reasons a victim may have to stay. There is often extreme push back on victims who do change. The most dangerous time for a victim of an abusive relationship is during or after she decides to leave. Victims who fight back or push back are often identified as problematic, disruptive, unpleasant or even violent. The prisons are full of victims who fought back.  Victims who kill their abusers routinely get longer prison terms and harsher verdicts than serial abusers who kill their victims.

Why is abuse always put on the abused to stop? Why is it the abused who should leave? (Often sent to spaces called shelters that are abusive, controlling environments that remove the agency of their clients and underpay and over work their staff).

Why is the removal of the victim the explicit solution?

Why do we insist that abusers won’t or can’t change? Why do we not instead, hold them accountable, in community? Why do we continue to present abuse as a personal problem and the personal choice of the victim instead of the systemic issue of power and oppression?

I am not saying we shouldn’t support the victim if they want to leave. I was addressing the mandate that the victim is the one who is told to leave, told it is their responsibility to leave and is told that to get help, sympathy or support, must leave.

Victims are rarely provided with sufficient resources to stay or leave, but the agency should be the victim’s.

There are even programs that refuse to help a victim if they don’t want to leave, especially if they don’t want to break up with the abuser.

There are few if any systems of support to protect the victim and hold the abuser accountable.

Also, the mandate to leave seems to only apply to heteronormative– in form if not in substance– domestic relationships.

People in abusive work situations are told to learn to work with difficult people. Monday morning blues are the generally accepted indicator of how pervasive and normal workplace abuse is.

Children with abusive parents are told that the family unit must be preserved and it is the parents who have to change.

Parents who have abusive children (yes, it happens) are told it’s all their fault (as if there aren’t other systems pressing on children: ex-partners, people in power, media, etc.)

My understanding of abuse and trauma has been empowered and informed by several important books and some articles, that I link to below.

One of the most important books on my shelf is Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery.  Herman describes how systemic trauma is, and for women, how abuse, at the earliest age is common and pervasive and that one traumatic experience often puts the victim in positions that are retraumatizing. These are more than just the victim’s patterns. These are social patterns imposed on marginalized people, often in a squirrel’s wheel that can be difficult to escape.

Patricia Evans provides the anatomy of abuse and what the abusers think.  Those books are essential especially for people dealing with gaslighting, moving goal posts, confabulations and false accusations

Red field with one black horizontal line and several vertical lines of different sizes out of the horizontal line. Red, Black and Blue by Emma Rosenthal

Red, Black and Blue by Emma Rosenthal




Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror Paperback – July 7, 2015

Cover image of the book Trauma And Recovery, by Judith Herman M.D.

https://amzn.to/3gV3HmE Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror Paperback – July 7, 2015

Also available free, in PDF:
https://www.pdfdrive.com/trauma-and-recovery-judith-herman-m-d-e17694190.html





The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition: How to recognize it and how to respond Paperback – January 18, 2010

by Patricia Evans  (Author)


https://amzn.to/3iS5L0t





Screaming From the Margins

Quote by Maya Angelou. Black and White headshot of Maya Angelou with her hand partially obscuring her face Text: When someone shows you who they are, believe them. - Maya Angelou

Photographer and graphic designer unknown. If this is your graphic, please let me know so I can give you proper attribution.

Be brave during these difficult and trying times. Speak from your heart and your lives. Speak for your lives and the lives of our sisters, our brothers, and all our nonbinary siblings, everyone screaming from the margins! Make space, hold space for those with less voice than your own, for those who are brought forth to speak truth to power because the times demand that of them.  Speak out against violence, especially the systemic violence of racism, sexism, ableism.

Darken your profile or don’t darken your profile. Follow the news or don’t follow the news. Tell your story or wait until you find the spaces that are right for disclosure. Do not let the abusers and their apologists tell you what to do. Instead remember that this is a time of reckoning and the violent have a choice to hide who they are (or admit who they are) and reevaluate their actions or show us their body politic in all its brutality. The brazenness with which many choose to defend rape culture is truly impressive but unwise. 

We, the marginalized, the victimized, the silenced, the once silenced; are stronger than ever, though it does not always feel this way. Our secrets, the daily attacks on our body, politics that were conducted behind closed doors or under capes and hoods, under cover of night, are now out in the open. The perpetrators are scared and they are outraged. Their lifetime of entitlements are crumbling around them and the rules have changed.

It amazes: the number of people willing to defend abusers during these fragile times, on the social media walls of friends who have either stated or implied that they are victims of abuse without any sensitivity to the impact their words have on others. It is as if they think the world is split into the people they know and actual victims. It is as if the entire #MeToo movement went right over their heads: this happens to every woman, every day. We carry this trauma in our bones and in our cells, in the passageways of synapse, in the corners of memory. Listen to us to understand the geography of trauma. Believe us. We have no reason NOT to tell the truth once we break the silence. 

All you rape apologists showing us who you are. Watch out, some day your past will come up and bite you in the ass. It’s still a free pass for abusers but our day will come and your antics will be saved, for the record. We all known the likes of Brett Kavanaugh, in high school, in college, in the work place, in our kitchens and bedrooms. We know the abuse we brought down when we disclosed, when we named names, when we dared to tell anyone. We know the silence they assume and count upon as we carry their shame. We remember how funny it was to them to get girls drunk and abuse us, or corner us, or push us against lockers.  You’re all playing rapist bingo with your blame game. But we see what you’re doing. So yeah, keep showing us exactly who you are. We’re keeping receipts. There will be a day of reckoning.

Sisters and all people of the margins: feel free to set clear guidelines for your own spaces, including your social media spaces. This is not a violation of anyone’s right to free speech. They have their own wall on which to spew their hate. They have their groups, sanctioned by the powerful owners of the platforms. 

Use their self exposure to determine who you need in your life. Thank them for showing you who they really are. Plan accordingly. 

#PTSD #CrossGenerationalTrauma #MMIW #BlackLivesMatter #SayHerName #NoBanNoWall #DisposableJewishWomen #FeminismIsChoice #ScreamingFromTheMargins  #IntersectionalAgendas

Black rectangle

“Doctor I’ve Been Impaled”: Obesity & the Medical Establishment’s Fat Frenzy

Black field, with a red X. White text: Are you among the people who, under late stage capitalism & neocolonialism are just supposed to die? -Emmanations

Fascist Health Care: We only operate on people
who don’t need operations?

A new policy in England, an NHS ban on surgery for people who are obese.

And while it isn’t an official policy in the rest of the world, there is a growing movement among doctors to refuse services to fat patients. The refusal to treat people who are overweight is a serious problem even when it isn’t overt public policy.
Additionally, looking for causation and patterns, may lead some researchers to conclude that “obesity” is the cause of any number of conditions,  But when health problems are correlated to “obesity”, they fail to consider all the causes that may go with “obesity” that they’re not considering.What foods does the person eat?
Do they have a history of yo yo dieting?
Have they routinely been denied medical care?
Do they have iatrogenic trauma from medical abuse?
Do they have access to healthy foods?
Did they follow the advice of the medical establishment for years and avoid fats and instead over sugar their diet with “low fat” processed products?
Are they poor?
Do they have a high carb diet?

By using obesity as the marker, so many underlying causes are missed.

I’m Fat. I’ve been chunky all my life, and between diabetes and fibromyalgia (which makes exercise very difficult and dangerous), I’ve recently crossed that threshold where doctors don’t just suggest I lose weight, but actively refuse to treat any aspect of my health care needs and make outlandish, dangerous and uninformed suggestions, often starting with the sentence “I’m not a nutritionist, but…” (But then STHU!) If you’re not a nutritionist, giving nutritional advice is very dangerous. If you’re not even going to ask me what I eat, telling me what I should eat is very dangerous.
It’s a safe bet that anyone who is my age (58) has tried every diet, diet pill and diet strategy to the point of self harm. I’ve found a regimen that works for me, that balances my limited strength, finances and dietary needs. Very few people eat a diet as healthy as mine. My partner, Andy lost 80 pounds and has kept it off for over a year, eating almost as healthy as I do. I haven’t lost a pound. I struggle with diabetes and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia makes exercise difficult because it makes me more incapacitated. There is nothing I can do about my weight EXCEPT try a series of extreme and unhealthy practices to attempt to conform to a societal standard that I just can’t achieve.
While I am no longer a smoker, my first cigarettes were given to me as samples, promotions by the tobacco industry, handed out on the streets of Philadelphia. I was 13. I don’t know if people should be held responsible for the consequences of addictions they were introduced to by the corporations who manufacture that poison, or how much control people have over addictions.

This is an ableist death sentence.

To quote Lavar Burton “But you don’t have to take my word for it”, here are medical sources, patient anecdotals and activist sources on the issue. This list is updated as more information becomes available to me. Newest additions to this list of resources are at the top of the list.

Ragen Chastain created this list of phrases to keep in your back pocket when you experience fatphobia in a medical setting! What else would you add to the list? [Image: Titled "Helpful Phrases at the Doctor's Office". The list reads: * Show me a study where a majority of subjects succeeded at the amount of weight loss you are suggesting. * Do thin people get this health problem? What do you recommend for them? * Due to a low rate of success and serious irreversible side effects, including death, weight loss surgery is not an option. * The research I've seen shows that the vast majority of people who attempt weight loss fail, and may actually gain weight long term. * Please provide me with evidence-based medicine and the opportunity for informed consent. * Shame is bad for my health. I would ask you to first do no harm, and provide me with shame-free healthcare. * In our limited time, I'd like to focus on [what I came in for.]]

 

  • Exposure to weight stigma causes physiological stress
    https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/6524/

  • “Background: Though the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices are well-established among the general population, less is known about how developing and adhering to healthy lifestyle habits benefits obese versus normal weight or overweight individuals. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between healthy lifestyle habits (eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables daily, exercising regularly, consuming alcohol in moderation, and not smoking) and mortality in a large, population-based sample stratified by body mass index (BMI).
    Methods: We examined the association between healthy lifestyle habits and mortality in a sample of 11,761 men and women from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III; subjects were ages 21 and older and fell at various points along the BMI scale, from normal weight to obese. Subjects were enrolled between October 1988 and October 1994 and were followed for an average of 170 months.
    Results: After multivariable adjustment for age, sex, race, education, and marital status, the hazard ratios (95% CIs) for all-cause mortality for individuals who adhered to 0, 1, 2, or 3 healthy habits were 3.27 (2.36-4.54), 2.59 (2.06-3.25), 1.74 (1.51-2.02), and 1.29 (1.09-1.53), respectively, relative to individuals who adhered to all 4 healthy habits. When stratified into normal weight, overweight, and obese groups, all groups benefited from the adoption of healthy habits, with the greatest benefit seen within the obese group.
    Conclusions: Healthy lifestyle habits are associated with a significant decrease in mortality regardless of baseline body mass index.”
    Healthy Lifestyle Habits and Mortality in Overweight and Obese Individuals
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22218619/

  • Effects of a new intervention based on the Health at Every Size approach for the management of obesity: The “Health and Wellness in Obesity” study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6034785/

  • A final message Ellen wanted to share was about the fat shaming she endured from the medical profession. Over the past few years of feeling unwell she sought out medical intervention and no one offered any support or suggestions beyond weight loss. Ellen’s dying wish was that women of size make her death matter by advocating strongly for their health and not accepting that fat is the only relevant health issue. “
    Obituary: Ellen Maud Bennett”
    https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/timescolonist/obituary.aspx?n=ellen-maud-bennett&pid=189588876
  • A Study on Fats That Doesn’t Fit the Story Line
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/16/upshot/a-study-on-fats-that-doesnt-fit-the-story-line.html

  • “Weight stigma has been shown to lead to poorer health care and treatment of fat people by medical professionals.”What we know from research is that doctors, most of them hold higher levels of anti-fat attitudes than the general public,” Dr Pausé says.“They believe their fat patients to be lazy, they believe them to be non-compliant.“Very few doctors are taught any specific medicine around fat bodies, like how do you palpate a super fat abdomen like mine? They’re never taught that.””
    “Dr Pausé, and the other experts ABC Life spoke to, support the idea of adding weight and size to the discrimination act.“Of course, that’s not going to end discrimination against fat people, but it’s a signal to say to society that this is not OK,” she says
    “My argument is always that people’s civil rights aren’t health dependent.“Health doesn’t have any place in the conversation around how everyone should be able to participate fully in society. And anyone who is trying to kind of bring that in is simply a bigot and is trying to hide behind what they think is socially acceptable. We need to call that out.””
    What does fat shaming and weight discrimination do to your health?
    https://www.abc.net.au/life/health-impacts-of-weight-stigma-and-fatphobia/1172852

  • Weight Discrimination and Risk of Mortality
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4636946/
  • “When a doctor invalidates me and my experiences, it isn’t just about my feelings getting hurt. (And if it were only about my feelings getting hurt, that would be valid too.) Ignoring the concerns of patients with disabilities can have dire, fatal consequences. I don’t trust ableist doctors to provide the kind of care that I deserve because they’ve prioritized invalidating me instead of offering treatment. These clinicians decide to engage in ableism instead of using their time to discuss medication, side effects, treatment, accommodations, lifestyle changes, etc. ”
    Medical Ableism is a Cultural and Institutional Issue, not an Individual Problem
    http://blackyouthproject.com/medical-ableism-is-a-cultural-and-institutional-issue-not-an-individual-problem/

  • “Many people can’t and shouldn’t exercise like this, but it’s an important article to challenge attitudes toward fat people and the assumption that skinny= fit.”
    I’m Not Your Typical Ultramarathoner. Here’s What I Want Everyone To Know About Size And Fitness.
    https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/a29628423/ultrarunner-mirna-valerio-on-size-and-fitness/

  • https://twitter.com/upupdowndown/status/1192441005917790209 
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10217812382716205&set=a.3880107516105&type=3&theater
    “A coworker just passed away. She was a Black woman in her early 30s. She went to her doctor last Wednesday about shortness of breath and chest pain. He just told her to lose weight. Well, she had clots in her lungs and had a massive heart attack Friday.

  • Impact of weight bias and stigma on quality of care and outcomes for patients with obesity
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/obr.12266

  • Weighing the care: physicians’ reactions to the size of a patient.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11477511
  • “In the latter half of the 20th century, the medical industrial complex (MIC) and the health industry worked in conjunction with the governments of the west and our media to express deep worry for the state of fat people in the western world. They referred to it as the “obesity epidemic.” From that moment forward, the public’s perception of fat people was warped—and, in many ways, justified and affirmed—by fear mongering headlines, medical and pharmaceutical officials who antagonized their fat patients, a billion dollar diet industry built off of the fear of fatness, and a government that pushed a wide-range of “health initiatives” in schools across America…
    …Generally, there is no in-depth analysis in these left spaces around fatness and health. However, through work written by J. Eric Oliver, Roxane Gay, Sabrina Strings and others, we learn that our obsession with “obesity” and being “overweight” is less about health—as there is little to no science that shows ‘obesity’ is an actual killer disease—and is more about cultural and systemic anti-fatness which the diet and medical industrial complexes and media industries profit off of. Just like with the “war on drugs” and the “crack epidemic,” which many of the organizers in these spaces know about and understand, major institutions (including our government) made up or falsified evidence about the effects of fatness/’obesity’ as a way to criminalize, dehumanize, and profit off of fat people.  (J. Eric Oliver, “Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America’s Obesity Epidemic”, 2005); especially and particularly fat Black folks. If you can understand just how harmful science has been for other marginalized groups, and how much the government has lied to propagandize the public, you can understand exactly how much the “obesity epidemic” is not real.””

    FAT PEOPLE MUST BECOME A PRIORITY TO THE LEFT
    https://wearyourvoicemag.com/news-politics/to-the-left/fatphobia-leftist-organizing

  • “Race was integral to the issue. At the onset of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, skin color was often used to determine racial belonging. But by the 18th century, skin color (after years of interracial sex in the colonies) proved a poor sorting mechanism.What we had by the 19th century was a new racial discourse that suggested black people were also inherently voracious. Combine this with the displacement of poor Europeans in the 19th century (i.e., Irish, Southern Italians, and Russian Jews), and white Americans were being advised to fear black people, as well as these “degraded” or supposedly “part-black” Europeans, who were also purportedly identifiable by their weight and skin color.”
  • BOOK: FAT PHOBIA AROSE FROM RACISM AND RELIGION
    A new book explores the religious and racial origins of society’s obsession with Thinness
    https://www.futurity.org/fat-phobia-book-sabrina-strings-2130182-2/

    ConfirmDelete Julia Agron Owen R. Broadhurst is a mutual friend. ConfirmDelete Suggested Pages See All Funky & Darn near new Richard likes this. Like English (US) · Español · Português (Brasil) · Français (France) · Deutsch Privacy · Terms · Advertising · Ad Choices · Cookies · More Facebook © 2019 Emma Rosenthal 5 hrs · Image of a tweet Description: Conversation RedBull in a china shop @upupdowndown A coworker just passed away. She was a Black woman in her early 30s. She went to her doctor last Wednesday about shortness of breath and chest pain. He just told her to lose weight. Well, she had clots in her lungs and had a massive heart attack Friday.

  • “The issues facing obese people follow them through the medical system, starting with the physical exam.

    Research has shown that doctors may spend less time with obese patients and fail to refer them for diagnostic tests. One study asked 122 primary care doctors affiliated with one of three hospitals within the Texas Medical Center in Houston about their attitudes toward obese patients. The doctors “reported that seeing patients was a greater waste of their time the heavier that they were, that physicians would like their jobs less as their patients increased in size, that heavier patients were viewed to be more annoying, and that physicians felt less patience the heavier the patient was,” the researchers wrote.
    Why Do Obese Patients Get Worse Care? Many Doctors Don’t See Past the Fat
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/26/health/obese-patients-health-care.html

     

  • “”One of the most popular explanations is that fat people get more aggressive treatment than thin people, because their weight raises red flags at the doctor’s office. This seems questionable: studies show that overweight and obese people tend to avoid doctors, get fewer preventive screenings, and receive worse treatment because they’re often misdiagnosed as “fat” rather than with a specific medical condition.””
    Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health

    https://qz.com/550527/obesity-paradox-scientists-now-think-that-being-overweight-is-sometimes-good-for-your-health/

     

  • “Dieting does not meet the criteria for ethical, evidence-based medicine. But as studies like Matheson et. al, Wei et. al., and the Cooper Institute Longitudinal Studies show us, focusing on our actual health, and allowing our bodies to settle at whatever weight they settle, is a far more evidence-based health practice than trying to feed our bodies less food than they need in the hopes that they’ll eat themselves and become smaller, and that somehow the result will be improved health.
    An Open Letter To James Corden From A Fellow Fat Person
    https://danceswithfat.org/2019/09/18/an-open-letter-to-james-corden-from-a-fellow-fat-person/

     

  • Watch James Corden’s beautifully honest response to Bill Maher’s pro-fat shaming take
    https://mashable.com/video/james-corden-on-bill-maher-fat-shaming/?fbclid=IwAR1y9y88hDPf49EAh4hTQZJDJnDiEQGAoKRGBz-3zsHo9bdqkOhZOQGs4lE

     

  • “When the culture and the medical world are constantly pushing the idea that “obesity” needs to be eliminated, it’s not the fat cells that are feeling that stigma—it’s the fat people. This hierarchy of bodies is nothing new, with roots in racism, slavery and every other attempt to rank bodies. We can no longer pretend that being less likely to be hired or get promotions, being paid less, receiving biased medical treatment, being socially excluded and bullied are attempts to help people “be healthier.” These are the direct consequences of living in a culture that vilifies and fears fat bodies and that treats the people living in them as morally lesser beings.”
    Fat Is Not the Problem—Fat Stigma I
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/fat-is-not-the-problem-fat-stigma-is
  • “Negative words—“noncompliant,” “overindulgent,” “weak willed”—pop up in their medical histories with higher frequency. In one study, researchers presented doctors with case histories of patients suffering from migraines. With everything else being equal, the doctors reported that the patients who were also classified as fat had a worse attitude and were less likely to follow their advice. And that’s when they see fat patients at all: In 2011, the Sun-Sentinel polled OB-GYNs in South Florida and discovered that 14 percent had barred all new patients weighing more than 200 pounds.”
    Everything You Know About Obesity is Wrong
    https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/everything-you-know-about-obesity-is-wrong/

Real revolutionaries:

  • Know it doesn’t just happen in the streets and work to find ways to be fully inclusive
  • Don’t avoid difficult conversations on issues of marginalization: class, racism, sexism, ableism, agism, Palestine, settler colonialism, indigenous rights, antisemitism, Black lives matter, Say her name……
  • Aren’t afraid of complexities
  • Understand that the role of the movement vanguard is to defend the working class, not the other way around.
  • Don’t use “The Party” as a vehicle for abuse, demanding obedience or ostracizing dissident voices.
  • Draw the circle wide
  • Embrace intersectionality
  • Don’t use their social capital to marginalize, abuse and assassinate people and their character, who may be inconvenient, challenging or different
  • Don’t snitch jacket
  • DON’T make accusations without a whole lot of ——EVIDENCE!
  • Don’t avoid evidence when it’s right in front of you, just because the guilty party is your dudbro, homie, movement star, favorite author
  • Invent evidence just because the innocent party said something they didn’t like, made them uncomfortable or demanded greater inclusion and consideration
  • Don’t accumulate people according to identity
  • Don’t play racism, sexism, ableism bingo
  • Don’t avoid class analysis
  • Aren’t afraid to be wrong and can take criticism
  • Constantly take inventory
  • Hold themselves and others accountable
  • Recognize complexities
  • Fight for everyone: Justice not Just us
  • Don’t engage in self promotion at the expense of social justice, the collective benefit and the greater good
  • Use their skills, abilities, entitlements, resources and access for the growth of the movement
  • Don’t derail the discussion with platitudes like “Not all_____”
  • Hold events at venues that are accessible to people with disabilities, children, elders, people without money….
  • Don’t make excuses for exclusions
  • Don’t hold themselves above scrutiny
  • Don’t silence dissent or attack people with new ideas
  • Constantly work on themselves and enhance the movement
  • Give other people credit for group efforts.
  • Make a deep commitment to a place, a time, the group, the movement
  • Understand we are in this for a lifetime
  • Don’t use their identities as an excuse for lack of accountability
  • Don’t disregard their elders or the new generation of activists
  • Don’t use their entitlement as a shield of fragility against real conversations and human lives
  • Don’t play cheerleader for the abusers in the community
  • Support those who have been bullied, abused and maligned for the political expedience of opportunists
  • Call out opportunistic abusive bullies
  • Take difficult positions within the community of activists
  • Engage in grassroots organizing
  • Meet people where they are
  • Put principles before personalities, power and prestige (Opportunism isn’t a principle, it is the antithesis of principle)
  • Build counter cultural alternatives to the state to meet human needs in health care, education, housing, food production, transportation, child care, jobs, community, spirituality
  • Don’t ascribe to new age platitudes and spiritual fascism to blame the victim and dismiss individual and collective narratives
  • Continue to define the work of real revolutionaries, knowing that our work is never done and that a shield protects us against attack and also serves as a mirror for self reflection.

    Add your own, in the comments below!

Diary of a Staycation: Packing to go home

Diary of a Staycation: Packing to go home: With links to my adventures & accomplishments

I go home today. It’s been an amazing few days, with long periods of necessary solitude  pleasantly interrupted with tea and cake with my airbnb host, Vanessa. Last night localWatts Towers, Watts, Los Angeles, California airbnb host, Leslie also joined us, and we  went out to dinner at Locol a new burger joint in Watts and then we stopped by the Watts Towers.  We are the face of airbnb hosts: elder women on fixed incomes with varying health issues, using home sharing to keep our homes. We are among the many hosts who do this work out of necessity and who also love this work.  We are not reluctant. We are all activists fighting to keep our homes, jobs and community. We have all three been activists all our lives on many fronts. You may recognize Vanessa from the airbnb ad. Her home is gracious and elegant.

The Airbnb I run has 3 active listings, all in my own home. One of the contradictions of this economy is that I was able to qualify for a home loan and very little else, and the home I found that I qualified for, was a very rundown 1014 Craftsman home that needed years of work. So I do have a big house, and I can’t afford a big house. But I qualified for the loan on this very big house. It’s expensive, it’s a lot of work and if I can’t make ends meet my options are to sell and leave. And this is the situation many hosts are in.

Andy, my partner, didn’t join me for my staycation. We thought he might be able to get away at least one night, but he stayed home and took care of guests. People, when they are traveling, when they are away from home in unfamiliar environments  can get very needy. There is a lot of emotional labor in this work.

The purpose of this vacation was to refocus, meditate, write, work on my photography and my photography web page. Living and working in a 24/7/365 business means we never really get a break. I needed to get away and reflect on my life, my work. I am incidentally a business woman. I am essentially an artist and writer.  The craft of writing and art requires solitude, meditation, lots of time where nothing seems to be happening, but there is a deeper process at work. I needed to go and wander the corridors of my own mind and my own heart.

I hope I can bring some of this stillness back to DragonflyHill. I think it would be good for everyone I live and work with. I have a lot of unfinished projects, but I went into this staycation with two clear objectives: Get my photography web page back up. (A change in smugmug formatting had left it in disarray), and finish an article that Xeres Villanueva and I are coauthoring. I did accomplish both these tasks, though some last minute suggestions from Sylvia Posadas, my ever present, online bestie, who lives in Australia and whom I’ve never met, gives us the opportunity to go over it one more time before sharing it with the world. We’ll have it out probably by the end of the weekend.

The photography web page is ready for the world, though I will be adding to it in the coming days, weeks, months and years. Most immediately I will be adding a feature where viewers can purchase my photographs through the web page, and I will be adding images to the “This is Home” series.  Currently the photos of DragonflyHill are listed under commercial photography, and I will also be listing them under fine art photography as well. And as I attach links to this post, I notice a few remaining glitches I need to address, but most importantly, this page is up, and I’m more familiar with the format and will be able to make changes easily. It took me the better part of a day, complete with frustration and just short of meltdowns, to get to this point. I needed the isolation to do this work.

So Andy should be here soon. I’ll brew some tea now, take a shower, get dressed and packed up, and head back into the fray.

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.

Diary of a Staycation #1: New Meditations

Diary of a Staycation #1: New Meditations

My life has changed so much since I started this blog. I’m older, my body is not at cooperative as it used to be, added a few more diagnosis to the mix of my DISabled life. I was terribly lonely when I started this blog. Isolated in suburbia, a single mother on a very limited fixed income, I was dangerously alone. Today I live in community, with very little privacy. A life of abuse, the resulting lack of boundaries, and so many years of isolation and I accept my lack of privacy as a choice and a blessing. We need each other more than we need time alone.  My partner, Andy and I along with an amazing team, including Glenda, Xeres and Carlos, run a modest and wonderful bnb out of our home, as well as provide a variety of community services. (Read more at dragonflyhill.wordpress.com, a web page and blog I also manage.) I handle most of the social media, from our airbnb listing pages, to our blog, twitter, facebook, yelp and google.  I did most of the photography for our advertising and our blog and most of our writing. Guests come from all over to stay with us, and we start every day with a huge community breakfast. We rarely know who will be joining us, including local activists, community members and guests.  Xeres and Andy and I comprise the board of the newly form The WE Empowerment Center (theweempowermentcenter.wordpress.com)

There’s a lot of physical, cognitive and emotional labor that goes into this space and maintaining community.  I haven’t had much time to court my muse, to write creatively or to do fine art photography.  And on the way, I’ve lost pieces of myself.

So today I’m starting. Today I’m taking myself back. Leaving the home business to my capable team, I’m taking a few days off and staying in the bnb of a local airbnb host and dear friend, for a few days of meditation and creativity.

Here are some samples of food for thought and where my mind is wandering, a map of sorts. If you’ve been following me, (and if I don’t know you, please reach out), watch out. I’m going to be posting a lot of new material, much of which has been 90% finished for some time, and has just waited for the time to focus on it, and craft it to perfection.

Music for meditation

Black and white image of a samuri in a forest. The image is very soft and slightly out of focus. Text: A student said to his master: "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do ou reconcile the two?" The master replies: "It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war."

H/T Xeres Villanueva who posted this to her facebook feed.

Words to Roll By:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • DISability inclusion always, all days,  every way
  • LGBTQIAA affirmative

    Wood or linoleum cut. Black letters on brown and white background. Text: If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. Aboriginal Activist Group

    – Lilla Watson, Aboriginal Activist

  • Gender justice
  • Free Palestine
  • Refugees have right of passage & right of return
  • Antisemitism is racism
  • Fat is a DISability issue
  • The only safe borders are open borders
  • U.S. out of North America (yeah, you read that right)
  • Indigenous rights now
  • Universal human rights
  • Universal humanity
  • Workers’ Rights
  • A woman’s place is in the world
  • Trans sisters are women
  • LOS MARINES NO PASARAN!
  • DIALOGUE MATTERS
  • HONOR THE TREATIES
  • No ban, no Wall!
  • IF IT ISN’T INTERSECTIONAL IT ISN’T CLASS STRUGGLE
  • CLASS STRUGGLE IS KNOWING WHICH SIDE OF THE FENCE YOU ARE ON, CLASS ANALYSIS IS KNOWING WHO IS THERE WITH YOU (anonymous poster c 1970)
  • Decolonize!
  • Socialism the means of production
  • Honor youth
  • Respect your elders!
  • Age in place!
  • No means no!
  • Radical consent!
  • Healing is a community issue.
  • Health care is a human right

    White text on dark blue background over two hands holding each other in a u-shape under text. Text: If you're truly intersectional in your activism and advocacy you're going to make a lot of enemies.

    -Emma Rosenthal

  • No blood for oil
  • No U.S. imperialism
  • Antifa
  • Prison abolition
  • No torture
  • Bullying is bigotry
  • Solidarity not charity
  • Exclusion serves the oppressor. Inclusion serves the struggle
  • Nothing without all of us: Justice not just us.
  • Housing, education, health care are basic human rights
  • Honor the earth
  • physical beauty isn’t a virtue
  • Down with white supremacy
  • Don’t cross a picket line
  • Fight the labor aristocracy
  • Nothing changes without a complaint
  • Never Again
  • Never Again Anyone
  • I remember the Armenian Genocide
  • Jihad means struggle.
  • This is my jihad…

If I left you out, let me know, because none of us is free unless all of us are free.

ANY QUESTIONS? DO YOU HATE ME NOW? UNFRIEND ME UNFOLLOW ME.
Some bridges need to be burned

Reiki for a Cause

Fundraiser for
The WE Empowerment Center

Reiki text in JapaneseFor a donation of $30 or more you can have a one hour reiki session with Emma Rosenthal

All donations over $30 are tax deductible.

Make your appointment today!

https://reikiwithemma.wordpress.com/

Reiki with Emma specializes in

  • FibromyalgiaDisability symbol for wheelchair access, cognitive emotional DISabilities, sign language and blindness
  • pain management
  • meditation
  • Focusing and ADHD
  • PTSD and ongoing traumaReiki sessions to be held at DragonflyHIll Urban Farm.
      DragonflyHill Urban Farm is a wheelchair accessible, DISability and LGBTQIAA affirmative, anti-racist, anti-sexist, decolonialist, social justice safe and sober space.

    Please let us know in advance of any specific DISability access requirements.

Cross Generational Trauma: a resource of links

Cross Generational Trauma: a resource of links

Most recent update:  September 8, 2019

(Work in progress. I especially need links regarding restorative justice. Also, please post your favorite links on this issue. Newest links at the head of each section, by topic.)
Links on the ongoing exploration of cross generational trauma, something that has impacted my lineage and my life tremendously and must inform our activism and policy as we try to create systems of support and determine reparations. Some links posted for future reference. Please feel free to comment on the links and critique their premises. Some basic concepts to consider as we recognize and explore recent evidence that it’s not just socialization and psychological behavior that explains the cross generational transfer, but that the trauma actually is in our DNA.
  1. The wisdom of our ancestors– what has been lost, stolen, forgotten and abandoned– language, customs, wisdom, healing, is also in our DNA. We embody in our cellular memory all the hurt, but also all the love and knowledge of our ancestors.
  2. It stands to reason that it is not just victims who carry the DNA memory, but also the perpetrators. They two carry with them– entitlement, power, abusiveness, violence, guilt. Their inheritance isn’t just the monetary inheritance of centuries of theft and enslavement and exploitation, but the entitlement of and power gained from the abuses inflicted on our ancestors.
  3. That is, power and powerless carry with us, into each subsequent generation this relationship of owner and slave, colonizer and colonized, Abuser and abused, Victimizer and Victim.
  4. I reject the rejection of the term victim. The assertion by many that we choose to be victims, we perpetuate the systemic and cultural tendency to blame the victim, either for their victimization in the first place or in their healing and response afterward. By thinking we, individually can step outside of this history without collective work and collective healing and accountability is to side with oppression and perpetuate abuse. Blaming the victim is the religion of systemic and cross generational trauma. Another term for victim that can be used, is “target” and the term “survivor” is also acceptable, but with the understanding that there is nothing more moral about being a survivor than having not survived. It is NOT a choice. To privilege survivors over those who were massacred is to embrace essential white supremacist ideologies of fitness and worthiness.
  5. I reject the idea that soldiers are victims. Soldiers are perpetrators. If perpetrating violence is traumatic, then that’s easy– stop perpetrating violence.
  6. Trauma is insidious– it can make us lash out at the what triggers us, which may NOT be what caused the trauma or the flashback at all. Like the child who dives under their chair when a plane passes over head, miles from the location of the trauma of war, where passing overhead planes meant the dropping of bombs, those of us in communion, where spaces are actually safe, are not the source of the trauma, just because we are the location of the trigger. It is the work of our PTSD healing to learn to recognize the difference between danger, and the flashbacks that come up when we are safe.
  7. I also want to point out that POST Traumatic Stress Disorder, may not be accurate. Much trauma is not only in the past, the distance past and our DNA, but is ongoing. It is exceedingly difficult to recuperate from ongoing trauma because the wounds are not only fresh, but are constantly being reopened.
  8. Terms like “Children of the Holocaust” and “Post Traumatic Slave Disorder” are headlines here, for the much larger body of work on trauma among Jews and African Americans, respectfully. I use those terms because they also reflect the narrative within those communities, even where the issue of cross generational trauma may be greater than the scope that term may imply.
  9. Too often because of its scope and intensity, 6000 years of who Jews are and what we’ve done and what’s been done to us gets encapsulated in the 6 years of the Shoah, and now in Israel. As if aside from 6 years of being the victims of genocide and 60some years of being the perpetrators, is the sum of all we are. (That’s not the narrative, the narrative is that there is some redemption and deliverance for the years of suffering, via Zionism).
  10. The Shoah (Holocaust) came out of years of abuse and genocide– expulsions, crusades (where many Ashkenazi Jewish towns were massacred by the invading armies on their was to the Holy Land), pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, ghettoization, more expulsions, humiliations, incarcerations, segregation, discrimination, etc. Jewish trauma, specifically in Europe, reaches back hundreds of years. For Jews who were not in Europe, the Shoah impacted them in Northern Africa, and the trauma for non-European Jews was most experienced as colonization in the particular geographies of location. The Holocaust studies on cross generational trauma can inform the larger discussion on cross generational trauma, but it is not an isolated event. That degree of racism doesn’t just pop up like a camping tent and disappear just as quickly. The study of Holocaust survivors and their children is very important to this discussion on cross generational trauma, and it provides a very clear and distinct set of data, but there may also have been a predisposition to those genetic changes and the other changes that were passed on to children, due to the centuries of abuse and a much slower genocide, particularly for European Jews. (And by European Jews I am referring to Jews who were geographically in Europe, which would predominantly be Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, but would also include many North African Jews and Middle Eastern Jews, in Europe.)

Image of a tweet. Text: ash 𓂀 ‏ @mama_ashley_ Follow Follow @mama_ashley_ More I feel like lots of us were raised by parents who experienced trauma as children they never healed from and even though they love us and nurture us we’re left to deal with the every day ways that their trauma affects them and us without fully understanding it 6:21 PM - 17 Apr 2019 1,869 Retweets 8,028 Likes JadennnÜtal💘Grace With Luvӄʏɛ ☾TK Egan°₊·ˈ∗♡ ᵐᵃᵐᵃ ᵏ⁸ ·ˈ( ˃̶᷇ ‧̫ ˂̶᷆ )♡∗ˈ‧₊°˗ˏˋ 𝚂𝙴𝚁𝙴𝙽𝙰 ˎˊ˗J👑🔗 23 replies 1,869 retweets 8,028 likes Reply 23 Retweet 1.9K Liked 8.0K Direct message

Topics:

Children of the Holocaust 

(And other Jewish traumas, but this was the title of the book that started the current discussion on cross-generational trauma)

Post Traumatic Slave Disorder and Cross Generational Trauma in African Americans

“The Truth is that disability has been with us, in us since the beginning of time. Disability has held and kept us. It is in our marrow, in our blood, our sweat and tears. Disability does not make us less than, it makes us who we are. Ableism and anti-Blackness are the enemy. Disability is our kin. While the world has convinced itself and the Black community that disability is a bad word and a bad circumstance. It is neither. Disability and Blackness is pride. Disability and Blackness is innovation. Disability and Blackness is brilliance.

Native Americans: Cellular Memory

Childhood Trauma, particularly ongoing trauma and violence

General Research and Cross Cultural Considerations

Expanded Research: Beyond Jews, African Americans and Native Americans. (New material)

Cambodia:

Responses and Resources for healing:

Restorative Justice

(What it is and what it isn’t)

Meditation and Healing

Bearing Witness

Ancient Wisdom: Culturally Based Healing Modalities