Category Archives: Radical self care

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

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“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.
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, 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. Interestingly, this policy doesn’t extend to alcoholics or drug addicts.
This is an ableist death sentence.

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