“Conservative manipulation of mass media has successfully encouraged parents and students to fear alternative ways of thinking, to believe that simply taking a Women’s Studies course or an Ethnic Studies course will lead to failure, to not getting a job. These tactics have harmed the movement for progressive education as the practice of freedom, but they have not changed the reality that incredible progress was made. In ‘Teaching Values’ Ron Scapp reminds us: “The antagonism toward and fear of those who ‘question’ had a long (and violent) history That those asking questions today and rejecting the ‘givens’ of our cultural history are seen as pariahs and are under attack should also not be ‘surprising.’ “Scapp calls attention to the fact that the folks who resist progressive education reform “are quick to dismiss or discredit (and sometimes destroy),” but this does not alter the fact that there has been a powerful meaningful insurrection of subjugated knowledges that is liberating and life-sustaining.”—bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope (via adailyriot)
These introspective New Year’s posts are perfection for my self-care blog. It’s about depression survival strategies and finding a balance between self-care and being a community-abandoning asshole of a person. There are cute animal photos.
I really want to open this one up to co-bloggers, too, if anyone’s interested.
Pls reblog all over the place if you’re so inclined.
If you have not already heard, we have great news: Gladys and Jamie Scott will soon be free.
Last night, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour suspended their sentences, and the sisters are returning home for the first time in 16 years. As those of you who have been following this case are aware, Judge Marcus Gordon had condemned each of the women to double life sentences for an $11 robbery – an outrage emblematic of the biases systemic in our criminal justice system.
I don’t know if people from the countries mentioned here can confirm these traditions. I know that around here we do put on yellow underwear on NYE and I know from my grandma that they do eat 12 grapes at 00:00.
Spain: Stop whatever you’re doing at midnight and get out…
There are men who refuse “chivalrous” acts from a woman, such as refusing to walk through a door that a woman holds open for them, while believing that it is rude for a woman to exercise the same right to refuse.
Women can’t express anger without the very real fear of being accused of “hysterics” or being “shrill”.
Women get scolded for “un-ladylike” behaviour: using coarse language, talking frankly about sex or other “impolite” topics, confidently voicing one’s dissenting opinion, etc.
People continue to believe and perpetuate gender essentialism based on bad science or using actual studies to “prove” the innateness of gender roles when the study itself supports no such thing.
For same-sex couples, people think it is okay to ask “who’s the woman/man of the couple?”
Women are seen as the “gatekeepers” to morality/sexuality, charged with the duty of fending off the advances of men. If they fail then they were “asking for” it and/or are “damaged goods”. Their clothing/actions will always be questioned to see if they were “leading on” the man at all.
Men are seen as “beasts” who are unable to control their “raging hormones” – which absolves them of guilt for “improper” sex (anything from date rape to sex outside of marriage) but also paints them as uncivilized brutes.
Year End Gratitude (A Summary of Good Things That Happened to Me in 2010)
Oooh, I’ve spent a good deal of the holiday Internetting. I’m okay with that. Also, see my new headband I made!
+ The lucky penny turn of two wonderful fuzzy engine running purring kitties that came into my life. I would never have known how much joy animal companions could bring until these two. I’ve had dogs before, and yes, I do love dogs, but I’ll forever be a cat owner for the rest of my time now. Nickel, a Russian Blue who sleeps under the covers, on top of my head, curved into the small of my back, and has had her fair share of trials and tribulations with her health. I wasn’t ashamed in the least when, I held her in the middle of the night,—so calm, trusting, loving—and cried into her fur (I feared I might have to put her down because of a serious illness this year, but fortunately, she got better) . She is a gorgeous cat and has weathered medicines and myself, a new cat owner with not a clue of what to do with a cat. The haughty queen of the house who is mostly ignored by company in favor of her frolicsome companion ‘Mitri, and make no mistake, she prefers it that way. Nickel and I are a lot alike in that she is a bit moody, we both like Billie Holiday, and 350(+) thread count sheets. Dimitri (see photo below. Nickel is a bit camera shy.) is the little tuxedo younger tomkitty who came later. His walk is more of a trot, and when I got him he had these huge ears that dwarfed his head. He was a gangly Eurotrash looking mess. Sort of ugly with a dramatic dashing black smudge of a mustache. He won me over with his funny antics, and he still has a happy go lucky attitude and is perpetually destroying something. His personality makes him every visitor’s favorite. You can tell within five minutes of meeting him that’s he’s a disaster. Lol.
+ Teddy and I sliding through the night on the way to Minglewood Hall in Memphis to see Iron & Wine. We had many realizations about age that night, and I enjoyed my bearded friend standing nearby while I sang along with Sam to one of my favorites, “Sodom, South Georgia.”
+ I did my first freelance piece over at Flower Shop Network covering an amazing show that mixed studio glasswork and floral design that I went to at my favorite place in Memphis, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens. The photos tell the story of how incredible it really was, and if you missed the article here’s the link—Recent Gallery Trip Proves Flowers Unite People (it says “By Mandy” on the link, but if you scroll to the bottom its got my guest bio…also, make sure you look at the bottom and look through the photos I took—really what a show!). From that article, I got my first paid freelance gig doing their company newsletter. I am immensely thankful to Mandy for providing me the opportunity to work with a group of creative people and get my feet wet, if you will. This lovely lady is the Graphic Designer for my upcoming fashion blog! I’m so excited to have her working with me. She’s a Renaissance (wo)man if I’ve ever met one…so much talent.
+ My dear bestie Strawberry leaving her Chicago and visiting me for the first time in the sticks! She brought her companion, and we had such a wonderful time catching up, exchanging presents that we had failed to send for many holidays & birthdays, wearing gold lame in honor of the King and visiting Graceland (I added my own heart attack episode in the bathroom just like Elvis to everyone’s consternation), watching the great cinematic experience Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, lazing around reading books all cozy and quiet but still in company (isn’t that the best?), and watching the movie that brought Rachel and I together, John Waters’ Pecker. I miss my dear lady, and I found her companion to be a lovely fellow and I think, so good with Rachel. I’m glad to see her so happy. She deserves it for being so awesome and such a good friend.
+ A piece I wrote accepted in the in-the-works book,Dear Sister Anthology. From the editor, “Dear Sister is an anthology of letters and other works created for survivors of sexual violence from other survivors and allies. It is a collection of hope and strength through words and art. In its distribution, its objective is not to have any and all survivors pick it up and find themselves mirrored in the words. It’s meant for post-trauma. It’s meant for those who are surveying the pieces left in the aftermath. For some, this can be days after an assault. For others, it can be decades. When someone is attacked, something has been stolen from the survivor. Something was taken and something in its place was left behind. This project is seeking the works of survivors and allies who took what was left behind and rebuilt something in its place. Dear Sister will be a collection of truthful narratives which emphasizes the opening of a door, not slamming it shut for closure. It is about hope, strength and creativity. Most especially, it’s about possibility.” There is strength in our voices, and while I wrote my piece a while ago (some of you have read it in my spaces on the ‘net), I don’t think I’d truly come to healing until this year. I think it was the vocalization and renunciation of guilt/shame that brought me peace after 19-20 years. We are not alone.
+ I’ve always loved fashion, but it wasn’t until Dressember that I found such a supportive creative well-dressed (lol) community to share this love with. Their encouragement has lead to a fashion blog in the works for the new year as well as pushing me further to explore, play, create and embrace this form of art. I participate both on Flickr and Facebook. I haven’t posted in a few days, but catch up soon to come, loves!
+ Savannah Trip. Although only given a day and a half to explore, I was taken with Savannah. I met a woman who must’ve been about sixty in a shop related to one of my favorite books & largely the inspiration for the trip to Savannah, John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We became fast friends, and she said, “Did you know that it is the one year anniversary of Minerva’s death?” Minerva, whose real name was Valerie, was the witch doctor in the book which is based on a true story of a fascinating murder in Savannah’s recent history. Not sure if you’ve seen the film or read the book. My new friend seemed to be a mixture of Southern Baptist with a healthy dose of respect for the paranormal and old root medicine & voodoo. When the cash register went awry, she speculated, “I sure hope Minerva doesn’t cause problems around here today. She may be hanging around the shop wreaking a bit of havoc on us.” We spent a well enjoyed slot of time discussing cats, herbs, and art and then took a picture together, arms slung familiarly around each other as if we’d been friends for years. She pointed out an abandoned home that was built in the 1800s and was said to be one of the most haunted places in Savannah. It was beautiful and full of character, and we were able to peer through the mail slot & take a picture. She has a secret dream of owning it and converting it into a museum that will tell all about women in the 1800s she tells me, smiling with her dewy eyes. Natives of the city have a healthy appreciation for green & gardens, and many of them are quite secretive. If you’re curious & prying as I am, you’ll peek through the many of the gorgeous welded iron gates that curl & twist and find the most exquisite little slices of gardens tucked away like private Edens. The people of Savannah are a friendly bunch with words that drawl, music to my ears. A silver haired older gent & I exchange hello’s, and that cadence, “You’re looking lovely today,” that lingers spread out over the block we walk. Many a wonderful meal was enjoyed in the city: from Tom Kha soup made properly, creamy yet hearty with smooth velvety pale coconut milk & the sharp lovely bite of the Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, & cilantro to omelets with lox & bowls of grits with orange marmalade, and I found a French patisserie that I entered and demanded one of each of the flavors of my favorite cookie, the macaron! Ah: pistachio, rose, lemon, lavender. One of mine had a cherry heavy with liqueur nestled inside. Hedonism is the philosophy I live by daily, and I’ll be only to happy to share it with you, a guaranteed secret to happiness. A friend of mine wilted away over the course of two years, a vegetable and specter of his former piano playing self , but not before imparting what I consider to be this greatest gift I’ve received, a lesson in truly living that I’ll never give up. He also left me with the memory of playing piano for me in an old abandoned cemetery chapel one night while I held a flashlight for him. His fingers floated over the keys pounding out Tori Amos songs. Back at the hotel, I relished lazing about in pajamas & eating nachos while watching a marathon of the Ghost Adventures. On the way home, I had the good fortune to see my beloved cooling towers of a nuclear power plant, romantic at dusk. I think I might have mentioned to you my whole hearted mad fascination with anything involving nuclear power plants/atomic history. I blame it on my bio father & step mum who are both science people. Suffice to say the trip was enjoyable no matter how short it ended up being. There is talk of revisiting.
+ The best show in my life, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Minglewood Hall. I can’t capture it with words, ever. I’ll never forget the night. A show much needed after heartbreak wherein I experienced the most participative crowd where EVERYONE danced and sang and smiled and laughed and moved like a giant ball of positive fucking energy. I never felt so encircled with love, acceptance, and revelry. Myself, The Romanov Princess, Golden Boy, and friends of their’s…all held hands for the last song and sang, and it was like how imagine church would be if it were any good and not tasteless. If you ever get the chance, see this band. If I ever get the chance again, you’ll find me there. A grin from ear to ear, a voice lifted, an ass shaking, and a heart full.
+ My recent trip to Alton, Illinois to visit Aunt Pam. I won’t go into much detail on that because it’s so fresh, but if you missed it, read here.
+ While my Alternative Film Series was largely unsuccessful, I am thankful for the encouragement of a boss and friend of mine to get it started. I am glad someone around here appreciates similar films, and I have immense gratitude to him for letting me chose the films & giving me a space for the kind of thing that rarely gets done or shown around the rural misery that is Northeast Arkansas (Don’t worry, I’m on my way out the door in August before you tell me to move if I don’t like living here. Gotta graduate, and it’s splitsville, assholes!) I love him for giving people like me a chance.
+ Watching the baby brother play rugby. I never ever thought I’d enjoy watching a sport, but rugby is sooo much fun. Yes, the hot man thighs rippling in short rugby shorts don’t hurt, but truly, it is exciting to watch, too. Trey Trey learned a lot this year, and we were so proud of him (he scored several points & made several tackles which was not bad at all for his first time playing rugby ever!). Also, pride abounded when we watched him graduate in December. He’s continuing his Master’s in the Spring, and we can’t wait to see where he goes from there.
I know there is probably a ton more I’m leaving out, but that, in a nutshell, was my 2010.
+ As for 2011, my New Year’s resolution that I’ll share with you (I have several more personal ones), is to set up a savings account specifically for travel. I’m going to put back like a mad woman and my vow to myself is to plan and execute a trip out of the country again. It’s been entirely too long since I’ve traveled. Perhaps one of you loves will accompany me, but if not, I’m going anyway.
Dimitri and I hope your year was wonderful, and wish you a Happy New Year!
Apparently, ‘Mitri is a bit camera shy, too. “Enough!!”
“It is to be protected against violent crimes driven by bigotry, it’s to be able to get married, it’s to be able to get a job, and it’s to be able to fight for our country. For those who are worried about the radical homosexual agenda, let me put them on notice. Two down, two to go.”—Rep. Barney Frank celebrated the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell earlier this week by admitting he is pursuing a “radical homosexual agenda.” (via corruptpolitics)
“I frequently look back at my life, searching for that fork in the road, trying to figure out where, exactly, I went bad and became a thrill-seeking, pleasure-hungry sensualist, always looking to shock, amuse, terrify and manipulate, seeking to fill that empty spot in my soul with something new.”—Anthony Bourdain Kitchen Confidential via Joshua Wabby. (via tobia)
I’m feeling spectacularly emotional with the year’s end in sight; who knows? I can only tell you that after a year that was fairly trying in many parts, I began to think about the good things that had happened and type a year end message/summary to you all (this isn’t it, but soon to come), and I was reminded of how fortunate I am.
For health issues, there came an outpouring of love that I could never have imagined.
For the times when I raged, probably should have been more forgiving and not nearly as impetuous as I always am, there came patience with my anger and understanding (truly what greater gift can you give someone than respecting, loving, still supporting, & standing steadfast by them in the heat of a great storm of temperament. As I said, I’m an impetuous brunette; I will always, even if I don’t say so, have such an overflowing of love & gratitude in my heart for those that can weather my “moods” and “bad times”).
In spite of the hurt that came later and truthfully still resonates a bit, M. gave me a month of joy, anticipation, and gave me the proverbial shake by the scruff of the neck and reminded me to take chances, do things out of my norm, push myself. A wildly daring night that I still hesitate to reveal the details of for fear you all would brow beat me with admonishments for taking such a risk (sometimes, it’s necessary to remind yourself of the foolhardy bravery of youth), dancing in the living room to jazz, clothes trailing to the bedroom/gorgeous selfless unreciprocated bone shaking pampering in the best of ways (heavy wink)/passion that curled around my hips & sat comfortably behind the crook of my knees…that I was sure everyone could read all over my face whenever I left the house, discussions wherein we hashed over theories & philosophies and I was beyond thrilled to have met someone that I felt could be such a profound tutor, a wink from across the room when he introduced me to his family that had said so much to soothe my always jangling nerves (the nerves that he knew I hid so well), carrying me to bed and the rough scratch of plaster against my back when we couldn’t make it that far, the way he interrupted me at any point for kisses…charging forward like a bull, both surprising and delighting me with urgency), his generosity and his conviction. I will hate him as long as I live. As Hornbacher wrote, “Hatred is so much closer to love than indifference.” What a beautiful scar.
The sweet dependable solid enveloping love only one who birthed me could give, particularly the night I hiccupped raucous cries into the night and tucked my knees under me, laying in the kitchen floor, and cried until I couldn’t move as the unexpected séance of “Ghosts I’d Put Behind Me Who Came Back A’Visitin” raged all around me.
I have so much more to say about this year (to come in another similar post), but for now I’m fairly tired as I spent an entire day with no naps (the first since I’ve been off, I swear), visiting with my Grandma and my St. Louis family. It was so lovely to see them; it’d been too long. We had an epic feast of sushi, Gyoza, Edamame, and wonderful conversation. Of course, I’ve been spoiled this Christmas (I’m sure many of you saw Mama’s photos of the day), and a second wave of it again today: stacks of vintage magazines, delicate elegant little gloves, amaretto tea/coffee stirrers, a calendar a day with sassy women quotes, bath confetti, and a glittery manicure set. I hope you got everything your heart desired for the holiday, but most importantly, time with those you love, a warm home, and a thick slice of bright shiny potential for what’s to come.