Uncategorized

Opportunities for Resistance: an Ongoing List

Hello, friends.

It’s been a challenging, complex week, full of confusion and fear and hatred and love and grief. Some of you may feel differently, but I feel both afraid and motivated to take a stand against what I see and name as racism, bigotry, misogyny, ableism, homophobia, and perhaps more insidiously, willful ignorance and sheer selfishness that is currently gripping our country. With that in mind, here’s a list (in formation) of anti-Trump, pro-democracy events taking place in my home of NYC this week, as well as other pro-democracy organizations that could use your support:

 

Post Trump: I’m Ready to Organize Friday, 11/18: https://www.facebook.com/events/190356798088028/

Public Meeting: Building Resistance Against Trump, 11/15, 11/20 : https://www.facebook.com/events/1809837112619445/ or https://www.facebook.com/events/1617657175194664/

Staying Woke in Trump’s America: Strategic Planning Meeting, 11/16: https://www.facebook.com/events/615635101978273/

Feminist Urgent: Post Election Brainstorming Session, 11/19: https://www.facebook.com/events/1877318232503993/

LGBTQ+ and Allies Against Trump, 12/17: https://www.facebook.com/events/554893724635466/

 

Peoples Power Assemblies: peoplespowerassemblies.org

#decolonizethisplace: decolonizethisplace.org

Jewish Voices for Peace: jewishvoicesforpeace.org

Faith in New York: faithinnewyork.org

Black Lives Matter: blacklivesmatter.com

Families United for Racial and Economic Equality: furee.org

Community Voices Heard: cvhaction.org/chapters/new-york-city

United We Dream: unitedwedream.org

Toolkit on preparing for January: https://docs.google.com/document/d/17Rj40_i39gTuo4hMNNmhToL0_NnJnzjnr3Tx90nTPfE/mobilebasic

Interference Archive: interferencearchive.org

 

A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations that Need Your Support: http://jezebel.com/a-list-of-pro-women-pro-immigrant-pro-earth-anti-big-1788752078

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Observations, Uncategorized

two neat programs to make you feel more centered.

Yesterday I thought a lot about how much I’ve been avoiding sitting with my thoughts (and praying/ turning them over to God). So before bed, I made myself meditate.

There are a lot of types of meditation and a million websites that offer guidance on how to do it easily, but I decided I wanted to try a phone app that would guide me through an audio. So I downloaded “Stop Breathe Think.” There’s been a lot of buzz about Headspace lately, but I have to say I loved this one– and it’s free!

I chose to do a meditation called Body Scan, which directs your attention to all the parts of your body and guides you to re-integrate them as your mind, promoting a sense of wholeness. The audio voice is neutral and calm, not cloying, and after completing it, I felt significantly calmer and more prepared for bed. There’s also an option to do a “self-scan” that dims the light on your phone for a few moments while you take stock of how your mind and body feel. You rate how you feel and record (up to) five emotions; the app then selects a short guided audio meditation that addresses your current situation. My favorite part, though, is that for every meditation you complete, you get a sticker! I’ve never been one for silly online rewards (and I don’t even know what happens once you get a certain amount of stickers on this thing) but it was a nice, small surprise. The app records all of your stickers as well as how many days you’ve meditated and how you rated your feelings.

Another program I wanted to let you know about is Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga Camp. For the month of January, Yoga with Adriene  is uploading a free 30-60 minute video as part of a series meant to refocus yoga on the connection between mind, body, and soul, rather than on weight loss or strength-building. Each video has a different mantra: “I Accept,” “I Embrace,” and “I Create” are just a few. I love Adriene because her videos are for all levels– truly, I promise–and she honors the fact that everyone’s body and experience of yoga is different, constantly viewers that they should “Find What Feels Good.” I highly recommend checking her out!

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Self, Social Justice, Uncategorized

where to put that extra christmas cash you might get from returning unwanted gifts.

It happens every year: the influx of gifts you don’t want. A well-meaning aunt gives you a grown-up size of the bejeweled sweater you loved in 7th grade. Grandma gifts you the fourth mug in a row. Your sister gives you a shirt you actually like so much you’ve already bought it for yourself.

Might I make a suggestion?

Please don’t, you think; but it’s too late.

Instead of exchanging the item for something else (aka spend two hours scouring the store for something you actually want), why not take the money from the return process and donate it to one of the following charities? Each of these is an organization close to my heart, but which serves a wide variety of people.

Oregon Extension logo

The Oregon Extension: a unique alternative semester-abroad. Students (like I used to be) “can settle into our mountain hideaway in the southern Oregon Cascades for a four-month conversation with professors and peers who love to read books, ask big questions, and confront big ideas.” Participants “move out of the current where [they] can think about issues that tug at [them], cultivate friendships, feel the touch of the breeze in the forest, listen to the stream in the canyon, and reach some understanding about what things mean and why they are worth caring about.”

Amirah | From Exploitation to LiberationAmirah Boston: “a faith-based nonprofit organization located in the Boston area that strives to provide a refuge for those seeking to break free from exploitation and heal in community on their journey toward lasting hope… by providing safe homes for those that want to break free from sexual exploitation, mobilizing the greater community to create opportunities for healing, restoration and reintegration.

Picture The Homeless

Picture the Homeless: An organizing group that “was founded and is led by homeless people. [They] refuse to accept being neglected and we demand that our voices and experience are heard at all levels of decision-making that impact us. [They] oppose the quality of life laws that criminalize homeless people in any form by the city, state and national governments[,] work to change these laws and policies, [and]challenge the root causes of homelessness.”

I’m curious: what organizations do you care about and support? 

xoxo, m.

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Uncategorized

tooth care

This is a strange post. But I’m swamped with the bf’s birthday plans, writing my thesis, the blizzard, nannying for 2 (TWO) toddlers, and the start of classes this week, so it’s the best I can do.

I have never, admittedly, been all that fastidious about tooth care. My friend Bryan flosses every day and occasionally shames me about it. The bf occasionally complains about my breath. But I’ve never had a cavity, and I don’t think my mouth is all that bad. Except for when I run my tongue over my teeth and they feel weirdly fuzzy.

Is this tmi? Sorry, folks.

Anyway, all this has been true until a few days ago when I read this article. Now my teeth feel amazing. And I’m also paranoid about getting cavities and my teeth rotting in my sleep.

Here it is, if you dare.

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Uncategorized

a mean girl at a party.

Last night I went to a holiday party with the bf at his coworker’s place. She is super sweet, sarcastic, and very good at supplying alcohol. There were maybe 30 people there, both her guests and her roommates’. One of her roommate’s guests was a tall, stylish blonde woman. Her hair was shiny and short and slick, and she was wearing over-the-knee black boots and a mirror-embellished, floaty black skirt. Basically as soon as she walked into the room I felt embarrassed of my button-down and sneakers.

I didn’t talk to her, but as the night progressed more and more people showed up, including a woman named Mandy. Mandy was wearing a t-shirt too, but hers had a skeleton on it. She had a nervous tic of shrugging her shoulders. One of the first two things she told me was that she hated all people and that her cat was the greatest being on the planet.

At one point, Mandy, myself, the bf, Coworker, and Stylish Blonde were in the kitchen. Mandy was doing an imitation of her very Jewish, very smoker, very Staten-Island mother. Coworker turned to Mandy and teasingly told her to keep it down. Now, I should mention that Coworker and Mandy were college roommates. They’re good friends. Mandy is going to Coworker’s parents’ house for Christmas.

When Coworker turned the other way, Stylish Blonde took it upon herself to tell Mandy that Coworker was being bitchy. She made a face. “You keep it up, Mandy. Go Mandy! She’s being mean!” she declared. Stylish Blonde wrapped an elegant arm around Mandy’s shoulder and gave Coworker the finger.

As I watched that interaction, I couldn’t help but feel bad for Mandy, who was smiling a little sadly and attempting to exonerate Coworker over Blonde’s airy protests.The social power imbalance between the two of them was obvious, and it reminded me of a scene from Mean Girls. Regina Girl compliments a girl passing her in the hallway on her skirt, and then turns to her real friends and says, “That is the fugliest skirt I have ever seen.” It pissed me off because I figured A.Stylish Blonde would never be friends with Mandy and B. Stylish Blonde should not be shitting on anyone hosting her at their house.

So anyways, now I feel justified in my unjustifiable suspicion of all people prettier and more stylish than me.

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Uncategorized

Writing Demons: Anxiety, Cops, and Doing the Work.

Right now, I’m supposed to be meeting my boyfriend and his pals for a drink at a place called Soda bar. Instead I’m sitting in his bed, having just finished a Skype date with my college roommate, about to make a list of all the reasons I’m afraid to make a career, or even a serious hobby, out of writing. These are my demons, and I’m going to write them down for three minutes straight.

1. What good does writing do anybody?

2. Aren’t there more important things I could be doing to help people?

3. What if I can’t make any money?

4. I don’t have anything important to say.

5. I have no stories.

6. I’ve tried before and failed.

7. I can’t get out of my own head enough to create original characters.

8. I am slow.

9. I suck at writing.

10. I’m a bad judge of my own writing.

11. I wish I were somewhere else right now.

12. Writing isn’t practical.

13. There’s not enough going on in my brain.

14. I’m not smart or intellectual enough.

15. Writing is too hard and not concrete enough.

16. My words are inadequate.

17. Everyone else writes much better than me.

18. My words and ideas aren’t fresh.

19. I’m unoriginal.

20. My work doesn’t contribute to anyone’s life.

21. I am better of service by doing social work or something.

22. The world doesn’t need to hear my voice.

23. I have nothing to say.

24. Other people are way better at this than me.

25. I can’t be the best so why bother. There are already so many good ideas out there, why bother with mine?

Well, there you have it. Those are my writing demons, off the top of my head. Re-reading it, the fear seem mainly to be about comparing myself to other people, and about writing itself being a selfish profession. I also have this idea that the only book worth writing is a group of short stories or a novel– I am probably better at writing about myself than anything else, but I poo-poo the idea of a memoir or essay collection. I think I’ve worked so much on stories and character that that feels like the goal: it’s the one thing I’ve tried, and I never finish the stories or they come out like shit. Maybe I just need to change my perspective?

The bit about feeling like my ideas are shit or like I’m unoriginal probably comes from that; although looking back I’ve had plenty of kooky story ideas, and the issue ihas always been follow-through, reveisions, and endings.

I’m still reading Page After Page by Karen Sellers, and she suggests treating writing anxieties like cops: they’re maybe a bit overzealous in their protectiveness, but also helpful in a pinch. Anxiety, she writes, is what helps us during the revision process to kill our darlings. But maybe during the actual word-generation they could go have some coffee and donuts. Well, Sellers was writing before Trayvon Martin/ Eric Garner/ Michael Brown/ Tamir Rice/ every other black person shot by a cop happened. So now I really don’t trust cops. So I need a new metaphor.

Beyond that, she also suggests that the real antidote to these (ahem, racist) cops is just sitting down and doing the work. That’s kind of what this blog is about for me: a way to keep myself accountable for doing the work of noticing the world around me. And right now, as I snuggle under my boyfriend’s gray duvet and stare out the window, I’m noticing that there’s a lot of roadwork going on outside and realizing that the truck sitting next to the work site says “liquid nitrogen” on it. What kind of roadwork is this??

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