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.

America the Shameful

Nearly 8 billion people live on this planet. It’s quite foolish to think that people think the same way. No two people will completely agree on everything. And while some people are open to new ideas and allowing their minds to change when presented with new information, a major majority of people are pretty set in their ideology.

It seems very likely that Roe vs Wade will be overturned by the Supreme Court according to a leaked memo to Politico. Naturally people are freaking out and super fucking pissed — well, the people I follow on twitter anyway. Of course there’s the other side that is celebrating and feeling as if their world-view is finally coming into fruition.

It’s really fucking odd to me how obsessed some people are about taking way other people’s autonomy. This dehumanization of particular groups of people for what…? Power and greed? Like. I think about how hard people fight for pro-life yet they have zero clue or zero inkling that somewhere close or far away, someone had an abortion, and that abortion affected pro-lifer’s life in zero ways.

It makes zero sense to me how tightly conservatives want to control the lives of strangers. And I know that to them, my ideology makes zero sense to them. The polarization of world view, cronstructed in pockets carefully crafted by red-line housing, has created people who can’t relate to other people because they’re never around other people who don’t think or act like them.

And then there are the democrats, who are pretty much conservatives performing as for-the-people democrats. All talk, no action, because they have the same sort of ideology as conservatives but know how to play the game to appeal to the other side.

The rich continue to get richer, the poor continue to suffer. It’s maddening, sickening, infuriating, and nauseating. They bleed every last drop of blood from us as flames lick the world.

As Marime Kaba says, “Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.”

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.

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.

Writing Project, Anti-racism workshop, Knitting

I’m in the process of creating an informative post about systemic racism. It’s the first time writing something requiring time, energy, and research in a long, long time. I’m very rusty, and the energy required is great after being dormant for an extended period. Seven years? No, I did stuff like this for work, so more like nearing 5 years. Yikes.

It’s a good goal though. I want to inform, to put work out there. I know this kind of work has been done before, and I plan to utilize and compile those resources in the post I’m drafting. I know I’m not reinventing the wheel. Moreover, I’m creating one another space on the internet to amplify the voices of the marginalized. Another way of framing these issues for a white audience.

It’s going to take a while, as all good things worth reading should.

***

I’ll be attending an online anti-racist workshop in early January. I look forward to it because it’ll give me a chance to interact directly about the things I’ve been learning. Mostly I’ve been silently observing and absorbing, and there isn’t anyone I can really talk to about it without it being unpaid emotional labor. Don’t want that. But I do want to know more on what I could be doing personally to leap into activist mode.

Today’s entry in the #meandwhitesupremacy workbook was “You & White Silence.” I had a very good example of an issue that I don’t know how to handle, something I’m hoping this workshop will help me figure out. Silence is so easy, which is why most white people do it. Myself included. Who wants to be uncomfortable? Well, when it comes to racism, everyone needs to be uncomfortable. That shit needs to be addressed so that minoritized people don’t have to take the brunt of that discomfort/hurt/harm.

***

In other news, I have far too many knitting projects going on right now. Plus two crochet blankets that need to be finished. I’m working on my first knitted sweater, but I need more stitch markers because I keep misplacing the ones I have. Supposedly we’ll be making a trip to Joann tomorrow. I love that store entirely too much. It’ll be hard to resist buying yarn.

Today was my birthday. It was a pretty good one, even if nothing particularly special happened. I got chocolate fondue with strawberries, cheesecake, nilla wafers, and marshmallows. Completely decadent way to start 33. I think this year will be a good year. I think this year I’ll actually get somewhere with my life. Be more than just a stay at home mom. Can’t wait.

Bubble-livin

I’m very tired so this will be short.

Today I had a little internet interaction that although isn’t a big deal in scope, it was a useful reminder to me of what kind of knowledge I have that other people do not. It also was a good reminder that when people get push back on their assholery, there is resistance and deflection, and I am the one to blame.

I live in a bubble. I’m home all the time, and my interactions with strangers is limited to a nod and a smile or a huff of annoyance while strolling past each other in store aisles. I don’t have a job to go to. I don’t have to interact with other people in a long term, or even short term, way. I have seconds of interaction before I return to my home and read Twitter where everyone I follow is smarter than me and already have knowledge of intersectional oppression under them.

When I wander away from my Twitter timeline or go into other social media places, I see very easily how people unwittingly uphold oppressive values. The pedantic grammar nazi is very prevalent in all comment sections, and as an anti-racist linguist with some knowledge under me, I can name the ways that these views uphold white supremacist ideals. I forget that people are quick to dismiss, deflect, victim-blame, gaslight. I need better skills to navigate such situations. When do I keep pushing, when should I stop? I stopped fairly quickly on today’s incident because I knew that anything I had to say would be quickly dismissed. Or I would get myself banned. Meh.

This is just the very beginning. I need to work on my approach. White people are fragile, and I know this, because I am not free of this fragility. I just have more information under my belt and a willingness to understand and be called out. Most people don’t have that, don’t want it, and don’t like it when it happens. Understandable, especially with an unapologetic approach. I need to think of who my audience is and what my ultimate goal is. That would be a good thing to ponder about for a while.

Writings, Notebooks, and Xmas

Last night I wrote creatively 1051 words. Terrible, awful words. Well, the words themselves were fine, but the sentences were not. That’s okay though (my current catchphrase); I have to start somewhere.

20181223_2039561633730648.jpgTonight I purchased my fancy schmancy notebook for the #meandwhitesupremacy workbook. I finished day one just now. Something I did in a few questions is to stray from the question. The idea of the book is to talk about yourself deeply, meaningfully. At one point I moved to the general. I think it was mostly a pep speech to myself to say what I should be doing. It’ll be interesting to see, as I progress, how my perspective will change on that pep speech.

It’s getting late and I should get to sleep soon. I was trying to avoid having to wrap gifts on Christmas Eve, but alas, I did not succeed. I got half the presents wrapped before today, though. So I at least did better than last year.

And because of second mom’s Christmas gift to us, we were able to gift ourselves Nintendo Classic. I am so stoked. I can’t wait to start playing. I don’t think we’ll play until Christmas day. It will be fun to get the kids into some video games. If they aren’t obsessing over their own toys anyway. I guess that gives me and hubs the opportunity to play. I think I want him to play Double Dragon with me. I loved that game. My brother and I played it a lot.

I’m so glad Christmas is here. The build up to it has been… meh. I think I’m just eager to give the kids their gifts. I’m ready for it to be here already.

To sleep I shall go then.

Been Blogging since 1999

When I was in middle school and high school, I kept an online journal. Several, really. I couldn’t decide on which site to use. First it was MyDearDiary, then DeadJournal, Xanga, GreatestJournal, LiveJournal. I had my website, which had several journals where I used wordpress and other open access blogging software. Despite not being able to settle on a location, I was fairly consistent about detailing my life. I was a teenager after all, and these were the days before social media existed and so sites like these weren’t widely read. People preferred anonymity in those days.

So I could write, in detail, the on-goings of my life. Mostly I bitched about homework, working, or whatever social drama that was happening. Nothing too deep. The occasional survey. Ok, I did lots of surveys. I liked talking about myself. But as I said, no one read it.

I forget sometimes that that sort of anonymity doesn’t really exist anymore. It does, to a certain extent, in certain corners of the internet. At any rate, this blog has some of my details on it, linked to some social media that gives a few more details about me. Yet I still sometimes write as if I am anonymous.

As such, I will undoubtedly say things that may appear performative. Or like bragging? You know, I just love to brag about my personal issues like my mental illness. WooOoOoOo. What I can tell you is that the purpose of my writing here is to write about my life. And my internet life since 1999 involves writing my diary online.

Now, I don’t get into super personal details, but I think I go a little bit further than I should. Maybe. I’m open about some things that most people think is better suited for friends or family. Well, I have few friends and I’m sorry but I’m not going to tell my husband everything. He gets most everything. He’ll probably read this and get this part of me too. I burden him with my thoughts sometimes, so I will put them here instead. You can choose to read it or not. Performing is not the purpose of this journal.

It just so happens that at this moment in my life, I’m at that awkward stage of trying to begin taking action towards anti-racism work. I think I made some good connections tonight, but time will tell on that. But part of the anti-racism work that my goal aims toward is dissemination of information. And nearly all the information I will distribute comes from Black women. It will undoubtedly be a regurgitation of information that can be googled until I can find my voice and put my own framing on these issues. This is how I learn, and this is how my writing process goes.

I don’t know why I’m taking a defensive stance on this. Probably white fragility. I’ve been accused of performing before. I was in the wrong, the way I’ve said some things, but it wasn’t in the spirit of performing. The intention was solidarity. As a white woman, I’m still trying to navigate when my solidarity needs to be in the form of silence, boosting, or new framing. I recognize that I don’t get to talk about some things because it’ll be construed as if my pale ass knows the realities of racism. I know I don’t know what that experience is like nor will I ever know. But I am still trying to figure out what is or isn’t acceptable for me to comment on. Mistakes will happen, and I will try my best to be graceful when they do.

Socializing (for once in my life)

Today has been a roller-coaster. After two nights of shitty sleep and forgetting to take my anti-depressant last night, I had a major mental illness day. I spent most of my time near the bottom, and with two little sick kiddos, it was hell. Tonight also happened to be the night of an event that I semi-helped prepare by creating the flyer and invitation. I was feeling very unmotivated to go, but I knew I would be missing out on something I really need in this moment.

I went, and I was right: I would have missed out if I had decided to stay home. It was a cosy get-together that had just enough people to feel like you’re actually connecting. I felt mildly awkward and out of place. I’m naturally the listening type, and I’m not the best initiating conversationalist. I haven’t really socialized much outside of my husband for the last several years. I’m a mess, really. But that’s not the point.

I was able to talk a little bit about what I’ve been learning, what I plan to do. I felt like I had something to say; that I am able to reproduce the knowledge I’ve been absorbing for the last year and a half.

An interesting question was proposed to me: How did I decide to take this route? (The question was worded differently but this was the general gist.) I know it was Charlottesville, but I can’t remember what I was doing just before, and who I began listening to just after.

I know the Charleston Syllabus and the New Jim Crow were first on my reading list. Two books I haven’t finished because the content is so brutal that I kept having to put it down and my library was demanding their books back. I know Ijeoma Oluo, Tressie McMillan-Cottom, and Eve Ewing were among the Black women who first held my attention. From there they suggested other Black women to follow, who suggested more… I follow a lot of Black women on Twitter. And the messages they produce are always the same – a universal Truth for Black women, with a capital T and B. I’ve been listening.

I’m going to take the time to research how I got started on this path because I think it would be a good thing to have in writing. And I’ll writing about those Truths, though I’m sure there is plenty of content out there written by Black women who have way more authority than I do to talk of such things. Here’s one Truth I’ll share:

Listen to Black Women