The personal is the political

My older brother died before I was born due to a heart condition that doctors can now successfully treat with advanced surgeries like the one Jimmy Kimmel describes here:

So, with tissues out and proverbial protest signs up, a few Thank Yous:

  • Thank You mom and dad for going through what must have been a horribly traumatic process and still deciding to have me and Adam;
  • Thank You scientific research for helping prevent similar grief; thank you US Congress for increasing, rather than decreasing funding for science despite the proposed budget (keep up the good work!);
  • Thank You Affordable Care Act for insuring me and everyone else who has pre-existing conditions when nobody else would; and finally,
  • Thank You everyone in countries where socialized health care exists for being a bit more compassionate and recognizing that most Americans did NOT vote for Trump before responding with something like “you voted him in, now deal with it” whenever someone expresses their grief about what is going on in the US right now.
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On privilege, intersectionality, and how a Trump presidency could affect New Zealanders

While I chose not to join my friends and hundreds of others in Auckland who marched in solidarity today with the Women’s March on DC, I was very much there in spirit. Rather than marching, I spent the day researching this essay; consider it my contribution to the very important work that is currently happening around the world.

***

Last night as my yoga class was closing, the topic of the March came up. Another student, a white woman in her early 40s, asked if it was an “anti-Trump March.” I tried my best to offer a different perspective, in the spirit of “When they go low, we go high:”

“I prefer to think of it as a march FOR women’s rights, and for the rights of people of color and immigrants and people of all sexual orientations and–”

That’s as far as I got before she interrupted, “so, it’s an anti-Trump march.”

Her interest in simplifying this for herself only started to get under my skin (consciously, at least) after my post-yoga bliss wore off.

Today's #ActivistAday features myself, ShiShi Rose (@shishi.rose) and I am one of the admins here. . For some people, their outlook of this country deeply changed on November 9th. For the rest of us, this is how it has always looked. I want to remind you that that is a privilege. It's a privilege that white supremacy wasn't at the forefront of your reality, because you benefit from it. I want to remind you that no ally ever got very far, in any movement, without acknowledgement of their own privilege daily. You do not just get to join the efforts that people of color have been working for their entire lives to both teach and survive, without doing work, too. You don't just get to join because now you're scared, too. I was born scared. Now is the time for you to be listening more, talking less, spend time observing, taking in media and art created by people of color, researching, and unlearning the things you have been taught about this country. You should be reading our books and understanding the roots of racism and white supremacy. Listening to our speeches. You should be drowning yourselves in our poetry. Now is the time that you should be exposed to more than just the horrors of this country, but also the beauty that has always existed within communities of color. Beauty that was covered over because the need to see white faces depicted was more important. Now is the time to teach your children, to call out your family, to finally speak up. You have been silent for long enough. Now is the time to realize that you should have joined us sooner. But since you're here now, it's time to get to work. #WhyIMarch

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I’m going to give my yoga classmate, and most other Kiwis I’ve spoken with about Trump’s election, the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they are inherently good, well-intentioned people. Indeed, the average Kiwi that I have encountered thus far seems to be FAR more politically aware and progressive than the average Americans I encountered at home.

But there’s something about their flip dismissal of what the election (and now, inauguration) of Trump actually means that has really been bothering me. Continue reading

We know what we know

Last October/November, I caught that horrible cold/cough that was going around… and it stuck around for more than five weeks by the time I finally got over it.

My friend Mike knew exactly why I was sick.

The day before I woke up with the telltale tickle in the back of my throat, Mike and Penny and I had biked to the Clement Street farmers market. I bought a bunch of carrots. And proceeded to eat several of them. Unwashed. Much to Mike’s horror.

A devout germ-o-phobe, Mike hates touching things in public places Continue reading

Why prescriptions are bullshit

At 5:04 PM on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 (oh, the magical/horrific specificity of digital records!),  I emailed the following to my brother:

Howdy,

I woke up this morning realizing that we obviously need to start writing a brother-sister tag-team relationship advice column. Not because either of us has really demonstrated any long-term relationship success (ha), but because it would be awesome. I can smell the book deal already!

Your 3 Things (“things”??? do you have a better name for them?):

  1. Honesty.
  2. Accountability.
  3. No Bullshit.
  4. (I would add compassion, ie, you give people the benefit of the doubt, but these are your things, not mine…)

He’s been talking about his three things for years. Not sure why I decided to add my own on that particular day, but that’s the kind of thing annoying big sisters do.

I then wrote up my own 4 Prescriptions for Healthy Relationships (be it with romantic partners, parents, colleagues): Continue reading

Reasons

Kitties

Several months ago my friend Mike mentioned an article he’d read about a parasite in cats that may contribute to turning people into (as I remember him telling the story) crazy cat ladies. As I have become more and more smitten with this handsome kitty, it amuses me to imagine that his rough licks are in fact a form of feline manipulation rather than a demonstration of any affection.

Why wouldn’t he want to infect me? Well, for one, why else would I get out of bed at the first sound of his meow Continue reading