Monday, January 30, 2017

No Ban. No Wall.

Another day, another protest. Is this going to be our reality in this new administration?

Friday's executive order regarding immigration is (not even) the latest horrifying action taken by the Trump administration since he was sworn in just over a week ago. There's only so much I can say without merely parroting others-so many have spoken out in beautiful and moving ways. It's also simple in some ways-simply wrong. We are a nation of (mostly) immigrants.

And nowhere was this more evident than in the protests across the country this weekend. I had friends at numerous events (though not quite as many as at the Women's March), including so very many at DTW (the Detroit airport), about 15 minutes away from Dearborn.

I was lucky enough to be in Boston on Sunday and able to be a part of the protest at Copley Square, from Trinity Church to the Boston Public Library. There were chants of "hey hey, ho ho, President Trump has got to go", "no hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here", and of course "no ban, no wall". The signs were simple and straightforward-the best was possibly one that simply said "uuuggghhh". Agreed!

While I am heartbroken we have to continue this, I am inspired by others' swift and decisive action. The protests came together quickly and successfully. Lawyers are volunteering their services. The ACLU has received over 6x their average annual donation-in less than a month. Sally Yates, who until a few hours ago was the acting Attorney General, refused to enforce this unethical, immoral, and  illegal order.

This is our reality. We will keep protesting, we will keep fighting back. And we will keep taking care of ourselves and each other.


P.S. As usual, ways to keep fighting.
       And ideas to take care of yourself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How do you love yourself?

This question has been at the forefront for me since Friday. Between the inauguration and all that has followed-daily horrifying executive orders, continued reports of emotional and physical violence by those validated by our leadership's dangerous example, the individual tragedies of friends, and my own personal sadness, frustration, and exhaustion, I have to ask myself and others: how do you love yourself? When individuals and society tell you that you are not worthwhile, that you are not valued, and that they do not care-how do you convince yourself they are wrong?

I read. Anything that will help me escape from the current reality, even if it seems a little too relevant (I'm looking at you, 1984, Animal Farm, The Handmaid's Tale...). I'm lucky enough to have access to the digital library Overdrive through my library card, so I never run out of books to read-even if I don't think they are they highest quality literature. I'm also blessed in my friends-of-friends. I was at a gathering Sunday night and talking to a friend when the lovely hostess came up to me with two books. She said, "I don't know exactly what's going on, but I think you need these." They are two completely different books, but she was right. The (much) lighter read is Shit Rough Drafts by Paul Laudiero. You can read his blog here, but I recommend going ahead and ordering the book from Amazon-or even better, your local independent bookstore! 

The other is a book of poetry and prose, milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. Warning: do not read this on the commuter rail or coffee shop. You will cry in public and you will get weird looks. It is writing to savor, to read as you are swaddled in blankets drinking your favorite tea (or wine, no judgment here). Again, do yourself a favor and just purchase it here or go back to your equivalent of Literati Bookstore, one of my favorite places in Ann Arbor, MI. 

I listen to music. Whether I want to wallow, rage, or pull myself up, music can do it. This post will never end if I write about all the music I've been listening to, so I'll just name one-ok two-for each need. 
Embracing the sadness: Joshua Radin. Anyone who knows me can't be surprised by this-I've loved his music since high school and while I will always enjoy and appreciate it, his ability to speak to pain is amazing. Tristan Prettyman. Her album Cedar + Gold just has too much to relate to right now-even if the details are different, the emotions are the same. 
Fighting back: the soundtracks from Hamilton and Wicked. These may be cliche at this point, but oh well! Singing along to "Defying Gravity" and "My Shot" energize me on a personal and political level to keep going. We will win.
Simple cheer: this is when I get nostalgic. 90's pop, the a cappella music I listened to in high school, classic Disney...pure fun, and of course songs to which I can sing along.

Oh, and "No Man's Woman"...combines nostalgia (thanks mom!) and ass-kicking. :) 

The power held and imparted by art is truly amazing. There are other forms of self-care I engage in which I will come back to another time...but I never tire of finding more.
This is not a rhetorical question: how do you love yourself? Even if you don't want to share, take some time to think about it. And do it. 

You are worthy. You are loved.


P.S. Don't forget to continue taking action: Rolling Stone has some ideas. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Speak. Inspire. Act.

I was privileged to attend and engage in the Boston Women's March for America on Saturday. The speeches, signs, and individuals were inspiring in their creativity and call to action. Boston's march felt gigantic-and it wasn't even in the top 3 for attendance. However, all 175,000 attendees fit into the Boston Common and that was pretty amazing.

The speakers were wide-ranging in their styles, foci, and identities. Savannah Fox Tree-McGrath, a First Nations woman of Arawak descent, performed one of the most beautiful and moving renditions of Amazing Grace I have ever heard-first in Cherokee, then in English. Of course Mayor Marty Walsh had some strong words for the new administration, informing them that Boston-and Massachusetts-will not give up on the legacy of forward-thinking and social justice that has formed the area. Attorney General Maura Healey's closing line of "We will see you in court" rang true-we must not allow our rights to be trampled and rallies are just the beginning. I was incredibly moved by the President of the Boston Branch of the NAACP, Tanisha M. Sullivan, Esq. and her call to continue to work toward justice in all arenas, while acknowledging the work done by men and women of color before. There were many more speakers and performers, all of whom had important words to impart.

One of the most significant challenges to the success of this march, and so many others, was inclusivity and intersectionality. As people began to plan for the D.C. rally and beyond, there was an early call out to not just include women of color, but to collaborate with them in leadership. Feminism without the specifier of intersectionality often lacks awareness and acknowledgement of the complex-and not entirely affirming-history and current challenge in ensuring all who identify as women are being advocated for and supported by it. I saw a lot of success in some ways; a racially diverse group of performers, speakers, and attendees (though a significantly higher presence of white women than any other), a number of people with both visible and invisible disabilities, and a general respect for each other within the crowd. However, it does not serve individuals or the movement to dismiss the challenges; language excluding trans women from the conversation, continued racism, body- and slut-shaming of women on the other side(s) of the political spectrum (ex. Melania Trump), and the self-congratulations of "doing protesting right" without awareness of the privilege afforded to this movement.

The work doesn't stop there-but I won't say it's just beginning. People have been fighting for their basic human rights since time immemorial-and many of us are just waking up to it. Please fight back-by calling legislators, standing up for those whose rights are being taken, donating to and volunteering for organizations doing this work on a larger scale, and spreading love in the world. Don't give hate a platform. Practice radical empathy, for yourself and others. Show up-in every sense. I plan on it.

10 Actions. 100 Days.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Oh hello there!

Hello friends (and friends-to-be)!

It's been a long time since I channeled any creativity into writing. I was actively involved in music (my beautiful a cappella group For Good Measure) and theatre (Ann Arbor Civic, Rosedale Community Players, Birmingham Village Players, the Brass Tacks Ensemble...) in the Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit area while I lived there. For the last few years, the most creative I've gotten in my writing has been coming up with different ways to articulate goals and describe building rapport with clients while working as a therapist.

However, since I moved to New England in August, my hours at work have shifted and my commute has increased such that any performance-related activity is currently impossible, so I'm giving this another shot. Now, for the classic introductory post...

I'm a 27-year-old lady who recently moved from my hometown of Ann Arbor, MI to my dad's home in Providence, RI. I commute on a daily basis to South Boston where I serve children and families as a social worker-and love it. I used to be a therapist (and definitely miss it) but am really enjoying getting to build more expansive relationships with the youth I serve in my new role.

I love living with my dad-we haven't been even in the same state since I was in high school-but I've finally started searching for housing in Boston. In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy getting to see my dad nearly every day-and having a dog again! I don't think my cat loves it quite as much...but she does appreciate having another person to take care of her when I have to work late or actually have some social time after work!

We love to take Binker to the beach! 

Triss is more into snuggles...

As I work toward finding my written voice again, I'll be exploring a number of my interests and passions, including vegetarian cooking, baking, (lots of) eating, binge-watching Netflix, social justice, books, shopping, travel, music, and exploring my new home with friends and family. So please forgive some jumping around as I find my niche...hopefully it will come quickly!


P.S. The title of my blog is borrowed from the lyrics of one of my recent favorite bands, Us the Duo. I can't wait to see them perform in February! I chose it for how important I think the concept is for me personally as well as for the world...more to come on both, I'm sure.