Adding more Kindness to the World

When I was a teenager, I loved to build my own websites and frequently blog about my life. My blog and my website were separate entities, but sometimes I did mix the two together without any real lasting longevity. I recently registered a new domain name — and I continue to keep the one I’ve had since 2002 — but I really am not sure what it is I want to do with it. Do I have the time or desire to build something new, or should I just have it direct to a place like this blog (or a new blog?????) since web hosting is an expensive up-front investment? I think I know the answer.

The answer: I upgraded to a premium feature of wordpress and I’ll be directing my domain here. Just make it easy until I get some time to actually do more with it.

This year I have the desire to change everything about my life. I know it’ll be a slow process, and that I will inevitably fall back on old habits. I am easily distracted by a variety of things in my life, but one thing I think I must do is write more often. I say this every time I blog. “I need to write more.” YES OK LET’S DO IT.

Since I’ve started working, I’ve been more social than I have been over the last nine-ish years. I’m continually learning about myself, and one of the things I’m fairly proud of is my ability to be kind. Opening one self to chat with whoever – even if they’re a bit awkward – really does make a difference in how people respond. One of the downsides of being very friendly is that some people will mistake friendliness with flirtations or as an advancement for wanting to have a romantic relationship. I’ve had to tell at least one person, and I doubt this will be the last time I’ll have to do this, that I’m just nice to everyone.

I recently read the book “All About Love” by bell hooks, and it has given me new things to consider while also recognizing where I’m already doing a pretty decent job in following what hooks calls a “love ethic.” When I speak of love, my definition of love is different from most people’s understanding. We’re socialized into believing that “love” only applies on a romantic level or a familial level. “Love” between strangers or acquaintances isn’t really a topic that is discussed on a conscious level, and for me that kind of ‘love’ really just comes down to kindness, understanding, and a willingness to listen. Affirming people’s struggles through this shitty ass life helps people feel seen and heard.

I post unedited stream-of-consciousness videos to youtube where I use my commuting time to and from work to philosophize about the world based on the things I’ve learned from a multitude of marginalized peoples. I’ll be working on a series of videos as well as written posts that detail how language and cultural values shape our worldview in ways that are detrimental to human progress and happiness/contentment. Synthesizing the information I’ve absorbed through my scholarship is something I really look forward to doing, but honestly so many other people have already written books, made podcasts, given talks, etc etc. on this. I had used the idea that “this has already been discussed” as a way to silence myself, but I’m trying to break free of that because MORE people need to be talking about this considering how obnoxiously loud the hard right is with their dehumanization.

I don’t suspect my blog will get much in the way of traffic, but that’s besides the point. One more place for people to get ideas or understanding that lead toward kindness should always be offered.

Interacting with other people has been very lovely for me in the way that I’m able to really see the progress I’ve made from who I was in and prior to 2017 to who I am now. I’m quite proud. But there’s always more to learn, always more work to be done, and so I shall continue to do my best.

May 2022 Update

Nearly 2.5 years have passed since I last posted in this blog. I read some of my previous posts, and I realize that in that 2.5 years not much has changed. Life got derailed by COVID-19, personal circumstances, and major episodes of severe depression. While I have started and written in other blogs, I feel it necessary to come back here and wax poetical the ways I’ve grown over the past two years.

Before I get into my own life, I want to recognize what has happened since I last posted in this blog. COVID-19 began around mid-February 2020, and since then, over 6 millions deaths have been recorded, and it is very likely that those numbers are much, much higher. It is likely I have had covid, but my symptoms were mild. It may be likely my kids have had covid, but their symptoms were mild. I personally do not know anyone who has died from COVID, and our lives have been fairly comfortable in spite of it. I say this to put into perspective that I am very well aware of the ways in which I have lucked out and not felt the full weight of trauma that has occurred to other people from this illness. I took the pandemic seriously since the very beginning and continue to take it seriously now because it is not and will not be going away any time soon. Our immune-compromised comrades deserve protection and that means continuing to wear masks and staying home as much as possible.

Now onto this life update…

I mentioned in a previous post about my nonprofit work, and unfortunately that route flew south for a variety of reasons, COVID-19 among them. I chose to step away in August 2020.

I feel now that I had put all my eggs in one basket. I mean, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was floundering then, and honestly I flounder still. I made bad decisions, and I let it affect me so badly that my depression was the worst it had ever been. The suicidal ideations strengthened, and I was ready to act on them. COVID restrictions, sleep exhaustion, bad decisions, failing, feeling not valued and unsupported, no one to turn to.

My husband gave me a generous gift to help lift me out of my depression: a gaming computer. It did the job of helping me get unstuck, but underlying cause still remain. I shifted gears, putting my energy into a different system. I helped people learn. I raised awareness. I raised money for organizations that help minoritized people.

The world is so big, and sometimes it feels hard to see the value of what you’re doing. Am I making any difference whatsoever? I feel like no, I don’t. I’m a waste of space. But I know that isn’t the reality. The reality is yes, I have helped people. With education. With financial situations. I have done tangible things that have tangibly helped people. And I continue to do so as I can.

I have put restorative justice into practice. I have amended relationships that could have turned south and very ugly if it wanted to. But we chose to talk it out, share our hurts, and made effort to make amends for those hurts. It worked. Until I chose to step away (due to social anxiety)…

COVID-19 gave me all the time in the world to self-reflect. By self-reflect, I mean rake myself over the coals, examine my mistakes from every angle, ponder all the awful or unthinking things I’ve said in the last five years, and come to understand how I could be better. All theoretical. I have yet had the chance to practice this “better” me. I’ve tried to put myself into study groups or workshops only to peter out very quickly because something trips my anxiety/depression and I run and hide (actually it’s more like lie in bed and cry). I can tell you all the things I’ve done wrong and why. Will I? Not here. And only to those who were involved. Because it ain’t anyone else’s business. Alas, I must write about it though.

I’m tired though. Tired of being stuck. My current life’s theme since 2017. I have narrowed my social justice work though. I am afraid to say anything more because of how often my ideas fail. I know failure is part of living but I’d like some success at some point please and thank you.

I’m still in the tunnel, but I’m seeing the light. I’ve read some poignant words lately. I missed some of the meaning when I’ve read them before, but now I feel like I can understand it better.

“Keep it moving,” is a saying Mariame Kaba tweets often. These words next to Maya Angelou’s is helping me recenter myself as I move forward from here. Angelou said, “It may be important that you fall. Life is not over. Just don’t let defeat defeat you. See where you are, and then forgive yourself, and get up.” And, “it’s better to just step on. You know, you have to move.”

As I collect myself, I need to recognize that I need to stop letting fear control me and keep moving. I had got stuck, wanting to go back, and spent so many hours and tears mulling over how to get myself back in. The reality is I need to move on. I did move on, into another circle, but I still had hoped to go back. I’m giving up on that. I must take new actions and let myself be the person I want to be and stop letting the person I was drag me down.

I will get there, and I will struggle. And I will have barriers (depression, adhd, social anxiety) to overcome or to manage, and I will inevitably fail again because that is part of this work. I will forgive myself, get up, and move on.

A Life Update

For the last few years, I’ve been wanting to offer some sort of analysis or commentary regarding the information I’ve learned about race and racism and linguistics. As I’ve learned more and more, I find that the need for my analyze isn’t necessary. Until such time that I get into grad school, my position is that of amplifier: I find work done by other people (POC, particularly Black and/or Indigenous) and post it on social media.

Here are things that have been going on with me lately: over the last year or so, I’ve been going to local meetings of anti-racist nonprofits to try to find what it is I can do within my limited capacity. I find that my capacity is pretty damn limited due to a variety of reasons: Family life, one car, and depression are among the top. Regardless, I show up when I can, and I offer my services with the caveat that I have limitations.

Things are moving slowly, but they are moving in a direction that I’ve been hoping. One particular nonprofit has been putting investment into me, and I have done a few events for them in return (it’s actually more that I told them I’m interested in doing more, so they are creating a way for me to do more). I helped facilitate one event, which was a lot smaller in scope than we were expecting but it is what it is. As recently as last week, I’ve been tasked to help maintain their website and social media pages. We’re still working out the kinks, and it’s moving a little slower than I hoped, but I am learning to be patient. Not my strong suit though.

I continue to read what I can when I can, which sadly isn’t as often as I would like. A large part of that is my bad time management skills, another is kids are exhausting, and another is the only time I have to read is late at night, and the books I want to read require brain power I don’t have late at night. I need to find a way to manage my time better while also carving out time to read those academic-language-heavy books.

One of the great things about Twitter is the generosity of people’s willingness to educate in 280 character threads. Citing them is difficult if you don’t grab the link right away. I’m not quite sure how to best manage twitter citations, but I have a plan that’s in the limbo works. I’ve learned so much through twitter because of how accessible it is. I feel forever in debt to it.

I have a lot of good ideas on projects and tasks to do with the nonprofit I’m working with the most. The slowness of it drives me a bit crazy but that’s also because I just don’t have the time to put more energy into it, and the other people in the group have their own things they need to take care of. The projects will get off the ground at some point, and when they do I think the community will really thrive. I partly don’t know what I’m doing and am at the mercy of other people. I think that’s the nature of this work. Maybe. I don’t know. I know nothing.

I don’t talk much on social media about the things I’m doing because the results don’t seem very tangible or significant. I worry about coming off as being ‘performative’.  But I am doing stuff. And once I get a few projects from ‘brainstorm’ to ‘completion’, I’ll be posting a lot more.

One thing that I’m involved in at the moment is aiding a local school district into decolonizing their math curriculum. The math director is pretty amazing to be doing this, because it is an effort at the high school level that involves all the math teachers as well as community members. About five people from the nonprofit are showing up to these monthly meetings that are finding ways to refine the math curriculum to be more equitable. This is in the beginning stage, but already I feel like what I have offered is valued.

Another task on the horizon is applying to a graduate program at a local satellite university. Luckily it does not require the GRE. I need to start putting time into crafting the essays and asking for recommendations. I don’t know how I will pay for it, but I’ll worry about that if/when I’m accepted into the program.

I am

I’m a witch. A novice witch, but a witch nonetheless.
I’m a writer.
I’m a scholar of the independent variety.
I’m a feminist, follower of the tenets of Black feminism. (I haven’t learned enough to know whether that’s called ‘intersectional feminism’ or not.)
I’m an activist. Newbie in this area as well.
I’m a knitter and a crocheter, novice and advanced respectively.

I was once a photographer. I’ll start again soon.

I have entitlement issues.
I sometimes fail at being humble.
I often think I’m better than (most) everyone. I know I’m not. This is a bad habit I’m trying to break.

I’m a mother.
I’m a wife.

I’m unemployed.
Or rather, I’m employed by two tiny people who are very demanding. I like to think I’m their boss. I’m not.

I’m impatient in many ways.
I’m patient in many other ways.
It depends on my ability to cope based on how my mood is at the time.

I have low energy most of the time. Then I’ll have random spurts that make me want to do everything all at once.

Other people’s energy affect me greatly.

I’m independent, but I also allow myself to be swayed by the lazy aura my husband radiates. It’s because I also have a lazy aura. Together, we are ultra lazy.

When it comes to my kids, I take the easy path. I know it’s the wrong path. I know it doesn’t do them any good. I’m setting bad habits and setting a bad example. I’m not a good parent. I’m too much of a push over.

I think I would be a better parent if I was a working mom.

I’m tired a lot. I need a lot of sleep and a lot of downtime, and I don’t get either of those these days.

I overthink everything.
I can’t get my brain to shut up.
Meditating is hard for me. I probably haven’t yet found the kind that works for me.

I like to think. A lot. About everything.
I play scenarios through my head on the most mundane topic.
I like to imagine marketing meetings for really bad products or poorly named items.

Going back to feminism: I found out I’m a feminist by reading bell hooks and the combahee river collective statement. They fight against

patriarchy
white supremacy
classism
racism
capitalism
imperialism
militarism
colonialism

Makes sense to me. Fuck all those things. I also stand against

antisemitism
islamophobia
transphobia
homophobia
dehumanizing disabled people

Essentially, all people should be treated with equity so they have equal footing to live a quality life.

Black feminists are also

pro-choice
activists
scholars

[This thought is currently incomplete.]

I’m a socialist.

I think the government’s role in society should be to make sure everyone can live a quality life through providing housing, food security, income security, quality healthcare, and quality public transportation. Higher education would be free.
Jobs should be for all that extra shit you wanna buy, for vacations, and for providing services to humanity that will increase quality of life.

I’ve not studied socialism. Yet.

I want to be a gardener. I have a spot picked out already. But I haven’t planted anything yet. Hopefully in May.

I wish I was an artist, but I never take the time to practice drawing.

I bristle at the idea of being famous while at the same time desire to be known.

I have a book I’ve been working on since I was 15, but haven’t worked on since the kids were born. It’s epic fantasy. As I learn more about the world, the more and better ideas I’m getting for my book. One of these days I’ll write it.

I was not an avid reader until recently. I’m not even sure I’d call myself an avid reader now. I do read a lot more than I used to. Though technically I read all the time because I’m always on the internet.

If I could, I would be a forever student. I want to learn almost everything.

I want to learn a trade skill. I’m not sure what. Electrician and auto mechanic are top choices.

Religiously I am agnostic deist:
agnostic – there may or may not be a god(s)
deist – god(s) created the universe and no long have any sway on its creation

Spiritually, I’m reconnecting with my witchy side. Nature and the elements are what make me feel spiritual.

I think I can be both agnostic deist and a witch. I feel like Nature is its own entity, not related to any deity. I’m still exploring this. In fact, the exploration of my spirituality is what made me start this post. Defining who I am will help me define what I want my spirituality to be. How to pursue it, how to incorporate elements of me into it.

I like to cook. I like to bake too. I want to try to grow my own herbs and learn how to dry them for storage. I want to cook with fresh ingredients from that garden I want to have.

I am unable to create a routine for myself unless there is some external reason that forces me to stick to a schedule. It sucks, because there is so much I want to do but I’m easily distracted by everything around me. I wonder if I have some sort of ADHD. I really don’t know and hesitate to call it such. I just suck at self discipline.

I want a job so we can stop being on the edge of poor all the time. But I also want that job to be meaningful and somehow connected to my activism. I need to network more before this will happen though, I think.

I feel like I fail my kids a lot because I don’t give them very many opportunities for life experience. I feel like my inability to get my ass out of the house to take them places is really going to fuck them up. I don’t know what to do about it. Everything sounds like a shitty excuse when I start to list it out.

I don’t think I’m made to be a good mom. I try, but I fail a lot. A lot. A lot lot lot lot.

Speaking of failure, my house is a mess. Clutter everywhere. Small house, little storage, lots of stuff. A lot of paper. A lot of little things that don’t have a home and I don’t know where to make a home for them. I need to declutter. I am tentatively planning this next week to be declutter central, but every single time I have made this plan in the past it has failed miserably. Maybe this time will be different. Maybe not. I will try.

Decluttering would help with my spirituality. I say to myself in text. Have a happy spirit with a clean house. Get off your phone for more than two minutes so you can make this happen.

I want to redesign my wardrobe. You know, when I get that money I don’t have. I want to try on being a little bit more 60s hippy. Long dresses and skirts. Neutral/natural colors. A choker. Dangly earrings. Lots of bracelets, rings. More pentagrams.

I must say, I do love my husband. He’s my best friend. He makes me laugh so much, so hard, all the time. He has his faults. I have my faults too. We recognize that our own faults gives space for the other to have their faults. We’ve reached that point in marriage where we’re so comfortable with each other that we will tell each other the TMI details of our lives and neither of us cringe or say “I don’t wanna hear about that.” We lift each other up. We believe in each other.

My husband was raised mostly by his mother. His father was there but he spent more time with his mom. He’s a feminist. He recognizes our strengths as women. He tells me how badass I am. How proud he is of me. He makes sure I get ‘me’ time to recharge. He supports my activism. He parents his daughters. He’s a good man. A great man.

The day I can do chores on a daily basis is the day I can criticize him for not doing his share. That day hasn’t come yet. He could do more though. >.>

I love him. lobelobelobe

We have awesome inside jokes. We cackle a lot.

I’m hoping I’m getting to the point where I can start writing critical thinking essays. Synthesize information and create my own analysis of material. I’m getting there. The problem is that most all the books I’ve read so far were library books, and I didn’t bother to take notes as I was reading them. Eventually I plan to buy them so I can have them to reference. Another issue is that a lot of what I’m learning I’ve learned through twitter. I follow 900+ people and don’t always remember who said what and when. How do you cite a tweet? (Something for me to research at a later date.)

I have too many knitting and crochet projects started. There is one particular blanket that I’m eager to finish but I need to buy more yarn and I don’t know the names of the yarn I was using. I did take a picture for reference, but now I need to hunt it down. I think I started it two years ago? Or one? I can’t remember. That’ll be an interesting rabbit hole when I finally get to looking for it.

So, based on all the shit I spewed out here, I will try to synthesize what I like to do and how to incorporate it into my spirituality.

Oh oh oh oh oh. You know what I haven’t talked about? Music. MUSIC. I love music. I love unusual music, depending on your perspective: Japanese rock. I actually like a wide variety of music. Rock music will always be my foundation. What I look for in music is variation of sound that is rhythmic. Dance like. It makes you move. Or moves you. My favorite combination of music is a symphonic orchestra playing alongside rock. Metallica does this well. Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, tonight.” Get those violins playing alongside that electric guitar and intricate drum beat. MmmmMmm.

Ok, so now I feel complete.

My spirituality must include

Nature
Writing
Learning
Feminism
Music
Cooking
Laughing
Loving
Activism
Crafting

Not in that order.

That was a fruitful exercise.

Goals goals goals

Being a stay at home mom is tough, especially when done in isolation. A lot of my time is spent catering to the kids needs, which for the most part I don’t entirely mind unless they’re being extra demanding. Luckily they’re getting to the age where they can be more self sufficient, and so I can put a little bit more time into myself and other needs.

Three days a week the girls go to preschool/pre-k for three hours, so I have that time to myself. It has been about two weeks since they’ve gone due to holidays and snow days. It feels nice to have some time to myself. I get to think a little bit more clearly without being distracted by the demands of little people.

20190220_1053401229485660.jpg
Paper page of my goals.

Today I am focusing on goals for myself. Myself only – not the house, not the kids, but me. I am an easily distracted person, and I often struggle to remember that I sometimes set goals for myself. I need a flashing marquee or something to help remind me that I need to take the time to focus on those goals. I’m hoping that once I get that bullet journal, I’ll be able to easier track the things I need to do. I don’t know why I think it’ll help in a way that a normal lined journal doesn’t. Little mind tricks I guess. Who knows.

My biggest goal is gearing up once again to study for the GRE. I also need to read a textbook (Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy) and write a long-form review of it as part of the writing sample needed for the grad application packet. I might turn it into a literature review. I’m not sure yet. I just know it needs to be 10-15 pages long.

I set a few other goals for myself as well, and once that journal arrives, I plan to break it down into chunks so that I’m slowly working on each goal at a time. I might try to micromanage my day, but that has never worked for me before. I need a life coach or something. haha.

Now that I have a list made up, I should start working on at least one of these items (aside from writing). And since writing everyday is a goal that I always have (and tend to fail), expect more posts from me.

Gonna Start a Bullet Journal

I’m going to jump into the world of bullet journaling, which I’m sure will be met with minimal success since I tend to not do well at keeping up on anything. But maybe I’ll be able to keep at it since part of the allure is to look at it everyday to make checkmarks and fill in squares and whatnot. Plus I want to have an excuse to buy more fancy colorful pens. ;D

My days have been up and down, mostly down, and I think it has to do with expectation as much as lack of sleep. The bad sleep is definitely the root cause, but I also have these weird expectations about how my day will go that just isn’t really based in reality. I need to come up with better ideas on how to keep the kids entertained because I know they are so bored out of their mind. Tomorrow I plan to take them to the library.

Random thought: I wonder how fast I type when I’m just doing my thoughts and not trying to follow some sort of prompt.

Anyway. I’m hoping by micromanaging some habit tracking, making sticker charts, etc., that I can work on changing my habits and really get myself into a better place. I think if I spend less time on my phone and more time doing actual shit that produces something, I will feel much better. And I need to remind myself to start small. It’s ok to fuck up as long as I’m making any sort of progress. Right now I am at a standstill because I can’t even get my lazy ass motivated enough to do five minutes of work. Just set a timer, and do something. Anything. For five minutes. Or seven, which is a time someone on the internet suggested but I’m not sure who or where I read that from. Hm.

I often open up my current journal with my colorful pens and I just dont even know what to write. I just know I want to use my pens in colorful ways. Maybe if I take the time to do the bullet journal, and have the excuse to make pretty looking stuff, the combination of doing artwork and seeing progress by actually doing progressive things I can change my habits for the better.

I’m pretty sure I’ve given this same type of pep talk to myself in the past. It sure does sound nice. I hope there’s actual follow-through this time.

I’ve been looking at layouts and spreads, or whatever they’re called, for a few hours tonight. I ordered my journal online so I need to wait for it to get here. And I don’t think I can justify buying more pens this month, but I can get all the fun stuff set up in the meantime. Habit tracker, chore tracker, money/finance tracker. Maybe start a savings one? Maybe after a few months tracking finances so I can know how much to put into savings.

I’m also going to use this new journal as an excuse to get myself back into the GRE study swing. I made all those flashcards a year ago and I have not once used them. Ha! I don’t know what got me off track from that – oh, I remember. I decided to take a pause since grad school wasn’t feeling like an actual possibility. Well, I need to get back to it, so the journal will hopefully create some accountability for that. Or something.

I know I’m a visual creature and I need visual reminders of things to do. When left to my own devices, everything is such an easy distractor. I need that thing to help keep me engaged with goals and whatnot. I’m not sure if I wanna go crazy all out with it and get that cool design tape or whatever it is. Maybe. We’ll see. Maybe stencils, because why not?

For now, I got my lined journal out and I’m writing ideas about what I want to include into the dotted journal, which I’ll get sometime next week.

Oh, and I really hate the internet now. Every page is so full of copious amounts of advertisements. Ugh ugh ugh. Just have a site without trying to commodify every little fucking aspect of it. Bleh.

P.S. Also, lol at “desktop app”, aka a PROGRAM. Jesus how times have changed…. (I just saw an ad from wordpress that says that there is now a ‘desktop app’! OH WOW.)

Still trying to find My Way

When I go several days without solid sleep, I spiral into a depression that is both full or rage and despair. I have no patience for anything mildly upsetting, and my hyperbolic brain goes into overdrive with the desire to give up. Luckily I am able to recognize this, that these feelings aren’t real and that they flare up when sleep is lacking. Unfortunately there’s not much I can do about it until I can catch up on some Zzz’s.

That said, the last few nights I’ve been feeling a bit of an identity crisis. I have no one to garner feedback from aside my husband, and there is only so much one person can do to help you figure out who you are. I’ve been neglecting myself in the name of education or taking care of my kids. It’s rare when I take the time to look at myself in the mirror. Like, really look at myself. I have neglected to nurture myself in meaningful ways, and I’m not even sure what that would look like.

I am trying to figure My Way. Mariame Kaba, prison abolitionist and active twitter user, occasionally tweets out advice regarding getting overwhelmed, finding what you can do to help combat white supremacy.

 

I have been spiraling toward what it is I want to focus on for a while. First it was linguistics, then raciolinguistics, now multicultural education. I’m still not sure what exactly that means, but I do know that the way I plan to approach it is through a cross-discipline point of view. I want to help minoritized kids in school through decoloninizing the curriculum. Through looking at the history of the Black people in the United States, as informed through Black Feminism, with a linguistic and sociology perspective, I think approaching curriculum or teaching teachers how to teach will help move our society forward. But how much will I need to be involved in educational policy?

I know there are people already out there doing this work, but I am not acquainted with any of them, or at least very few. I’m still working on learning my black history and feminism, and perhaps in the next month or two I will move onto reading about pedagogy and papers created by people who are in the educational linguistics and multicultural education “departments.” Continue on my journey to self inform until such time that I get into grad school.

I was hoping that I could have a more direct impact in my community through the NAACP, but I’m not sure that’s going to work out. I will need to find another route since my current reaching out has been met with mostly silence. I have not earned anyone’s trust, I suppose, but my attempts in trying I guess isn’t working out. It is what it is. I’ll just have to find another way.

Anyway, I’m super tired. I wish I could be more alert, have more brain power to write more in-depth analysis of what I’ve been reading so far. One of these days it will happen. Just won’t be today.

Can’t sleep post

I had some late night coffee and have a stuffy nose, so I’m awake whether or not I want to be, at 1:30am.

The “Do” part is finally starting to fall into place. I’m feeling both excited and weary. I will be treading forward into a realm that I have zero experience with, both in process and social interaction. I’ll be frank: I feel very awkward when interacting with people in person. I spend far too much time alone and online, so while I feel more graceful now than in previous years, I still fail at some social expectations, whether preceived or imagined. I just feel awkward.

That being said, I will be working on those skills rather immediately. Luckily this week I can plan out fairly carefully what it is I want to say. I will be attending a city council meeting where I will only have three minutes to talk. I already have some idea of where I want to spend my time researching. AND luckily I know some mighty good resources to start from.

I’ll get more detailed once I get more comfortable with what the hell I’m doing. You get vague posts in the meantime.

Thursday I have a phone appointment with an admissions counselor for the graduate program I’m interested in. I’m going to be getting into contact of the previous committee chair person for an NAACP committee I want to eventually lead. Going to start being busy here soon.

I need to shift my reading focus from Black history/feminism to education and the prison industrial complex. I need to spend more time reading and taking notes on what I read.

I wish I didn’t read so slowly, but I rarely read, so why would I read quickly? Silly me.

OK I’m going to attempt to go to sleep. Again.

The Racism Continuum (& other stuff)

I am so tired right now but I feel the need to write so here I am.

After reading White Fragility, I see a lot of ways that I still fail at being anti-racist. Robin DiAngelo mentions that she likes to think of herself on a continuum, where sometimes she is more or less racist, but it is always there and never ending. It’s a weird thing to realize that we can’t escape our own racism, even if we really try and really want to. That’s how deeply embedded it is in our society and our personalities.

Beyond the racism I know I have some other problematic behaviors rooted in entitlement and self superiority. I don’t like these parts of me. These are both things each of my parents continually showed through actions, and they became embedded in me as well. I think this is probably something I’ll need therapy for in order to help myself out of it. The anti-racism studying helps, I think. It brings with it a humility you must adopt in order to effective at being anti-racist. Yeah, I’m a racist too. I can’t deny it and there’s no way around it. But I can try to minimize it with conscious effort and constant reflection through critical thinking.

That is humbling but not undoable.

Tonight I have been completely listless. My self-enforced ban from social media has left me having to find other ways to spend my time, and while there are things I can do, I don’t really feel like doing any of it. I tried playing Stardew Valley but after one day I didn’t want to continue. I tried some games on the Nintendo but those are skills that need rebuilding but I just don’t have the patience for it right now.

I’ve been knitting a scarf that a friend requested. It’s looking really good but it’s slow work. I just hope I have enough yarn to make a complete scarf.

I’m downloading a new game called Tera. I have low expectations. I just want a good game to play that is RPG and fun.

I had more to say but I’m too tired to continue.

I will always be racist

I just finished reading Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. I have so many thoughts about it, so this will be a stream of consciousness post as I process my thoughts/feelings. I’m putting it out there so maybe someone else can benefit from it.

The book is well written. It does well to define white supremacy as a system and continually reinforces this idea. One of the major benefits of the book is the vocabulary given to define different aspects of whiteness and white fragility that prevents the discussion of racism from moving forward.

I think this is the most important aspect of the book is the reminder that all white people are racist, will be racist, cannot escape from being racist. No matter what, because of how we are socialized into white supremacy, there is no way to escape it.

I have been guilty of distancing myself from racism. I needed the reminder,

“We must continue to ask how our racism manifests, not if.”

I’m guilty of feeling superior because of this conquest I am undertaking. I feel that “I’m one of good white people” and positioned myself as better than other white people, which only serves to distance myself from the ways I have and will be racist. DiAngelo writes, “I offer that we must never consider ourselves finished with our learning. Even if challenging all the racism and superiority we have internalized was quick and easy to do, our racism would be reinforced all over again just by the virtue of living in the [white supremacist] culture.”

The reality of being white in a white supremacist society is that there is no escape from the privilege of being white. I will inevitably take advantage of being white – whether intentional or not – because of this reality.

I will write another post to discuss the book more deeply, but for now I need to wrangle with my feelings.

A few days ago, Ijeoma Oluo posted this on her social media pages:

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If your anti-racism work prioritizes the “growth” and “enlightenment” of white America over the safety, dignity, and humanity of people of color – it’s not anti-racism work. It’s white supremacy.

As a white woman who is working toward becoming an anti-racism advocate, this is a good reminder for me. Of course the goal of anti-racism work should be to uplift people of color from the weight of white supremacy – to give value to their humanity. Admittedly, my career goal is that of educating other white people, but that shouldn’t be the only goal. And it isn’t. I want to create classroom environments that create space for children of color to be able to have dignity, to feel their humanity, and to not be minimalized into racist tropes and stereotypes. Education of white people will help, but there is more that can be done. And that’s what I’m hoping graduate school can teach me.

 

This work is hard, and it’s uncomfortable. That’s the design of white supremacy – the need to keep white people comfortable so when they aren’t, they’ll retreat back into comfort so the status quo stays unchallenged and unchanged.

My husband has asked me to take a break from my anti-racist learning. He knows it’s valuable work, but he can also see this sort of spiralling path I’m on. Everything he shares I see through the critical eye of anti-racism, and I know I’m not a very fun person to talk to much anymore. I want to pick all the battles, even when I have only limited amounts of information.

I know it is my white privilege that allows me to take a break. It’s actually going to be hard for me to take a break because I’m really invested in this. My social media accounts are full of anti-racist education, so I will have to take a break from those as well.

I don’t think it’s wrong to recharge. I’m in this for the long fight. I know that the amount of stress that this work creates can cause stress-induced illness. So now that I finished White Fragility, I’m now on break for the next week. Then I’ll dive back in.

I recommend all white people to read DiAngelo’s book. I think it’s a nice starting point for joining the anti-racism cause. After finishing White Fragility, I would move onto Ijeoma Oluo’s So you want to talk about race, followed by Crystal Fleming’s How to be Less Stupid about Race.