Important Words from Important People

Right now I am listening to the audiobook of The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison and narrated by Bahni Turpin. Within the collection of essays and speeches is a piece she wrote when she won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1993. There is accompanying audio of her reading this speech on the night she accepted the award, but the version I heard was the one read by Turpin. I plan to listen to Morrison speak tomorrow for right now I want to write. The piece is an extended metaphor about the power of language and of humanizing language. In a way I feel like this piece came back to me at just the right time and the right place. I have listened to some of the audiobook a few years before, but I’m not quite sure if 1. I had heard this piece and, 2. Whether it would have resonated with me then as it does now.

Language is on my mind. It’s always on my mind. Part of the reason why I don’t write as much as I used to is because I care about the language I use. It takes a lot of time and effort to carefully write out my thoughts because a lot of my thoughts are a lot more complicated than they used to be. Because I use what I consider to be elevated language, a higher diction, and I’m now consciously aware of how my speech patterns differ from others. This is why I find it important to engage in political education — to create the shared vocabulary that is essential to understanding societal problems.

Within Morrison’s speech, she says, “The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation.” Nuanced. Complex. Delivering life, birth, happiness, love. Political education is giving name to the nuance of language that is so necessary for delivering life, birth, happiness, and love. It’s complex, so discussion and dialog is a must. Within the same paragraph, she says, “Sexist language, racist language, theistic language – all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.”

Encouraging the mutual exchange of ideas when framed with mid-wifery properties – i.e. political education – burgeons the desire to create life-giving institutions that abolitionists are striving for.

TONI MORRISON LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE UNLOCKED IN ME. Thank you.

Trying to engage in dialog where there is a lack of understanding of the nuance of language drives home the need for slowing down a conversation long enough to explain words for common meaning. We must have a shared vocabulary. A lot of abolitionist and anti-racist education requires a lot of unlearning of concepts. These concepts are taught to us through culture (family, media, music, socializing), and you can’t know a thing unless it’s pointed out to you.

James Baldwin said, “If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.” Moving through the world with a love ethic means pointing out the dehumanization of another that we learn through the subtle nuance of language as taught via culture. The unlearning of harmful language is wrought with discomfort because we have to wrestle with our moral selves as we try to understand how we came to absorb such lessons. There has never not been a time when problematic language or imagery is being pointed out by someone — often and most likely by the people who are being hurt the most — but we are not conscious of what we cannot see.

Silencing the opposition is the only way to avoid accountability. James Baldwin said, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” Accountability never feels good, because those of us with a good moral conscious feel guilt and shame. We have demonized guilt and shame so much that we avoid it at all costs. Or, that’s what the rich and powerful have done and have taught us.

But I digress…

Today I also took the time to listen to a podcast interview of Mariame Kaba. Both Morrison and Kaba galvanize me to take action. During the interview, Kaba shared the importance of accepting and taking lessons from failure. More words given at the right time at the right place.

My tiredness has set in, and so I will hopefully continue these thoughts tomorrow.

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.”

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.

Values, part 2.

Prior to the previous post, I just started drafting up a blog post to really spell out the values of anti-racist work. While the previous post gives the root of what my value is, this post will share the fruit of that root. Harm none is a good starting point, but there must also be action. That would be my second value.

It is not enough to harm none, not in a society that gains profit on the backs of marginalized communities. One must also be actively involved in community to help shape policy that will help the marginalized get the equity needed to live a quality life.

Those are some fancy ass words. Policy, marginalized, equity, quality. In context you can get a sense of what those all mean, but what does it mean in terms of action? I think it would be best to define those words individually so you can see how they fit together.

Policy are laws that create guidance on how a society should run. Nearly every aspect of our life has policy created around it, and if you’re part of the dominant culture, you probably benefit from those policies.

Dominant culture means white people. White people are dominant because they make up most of the bodies that create policy in government, schools, hospitals, housing authority, etc. etc.

If you’re within the marginalized community, you fit within one or more of the following identities:

woman, BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color), trans, disabled, queer, immigrant (i.e. non-US born citizen)

Equity means that resources are redistributed so that those within the marginalized communities get what they need to be on equal footing with the dominant culture.

To spell it out differently, people of color are given the opportunity to get resources that would give them the same quality of life as white people. That means they receive resources for well-funded schools, hospitals, mental health services, housing and food security, safety, etc.

Quality means the lack of struggle. No one should have to struggle to live. No. One.

Now that those are somewhat better defined, what would action look like? To be honest, I’m still learning. But here is what I have learned so far:

Action = involvement. Showing up. Being active. Helping to formulate ideas. LISTENING. Being available for the follow-through. Talking to other people and bouncing ideas around. LISTENING. Keeping in mind those who will benefit the most as you create new policy ideas. Possibly running for office yourself. LISTENING to the marginalized. Uplifting the marginalized. Allowing the marginalized to SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES and SUPPORTING THEIR IDEAS.

These are great things to speak of in the general, but what do the specifics look like? That I am still learning as well, and I haven’t yet seen it in practice. Luckily I’m on the edge, waiting for that crest to fall. I will report back once I see the results of action in action.

People whom I don’t hate

I like using whom, not because I’m trying to be a prescriptivist, but because I learned the prescriptivist grammar rule, and I know it, and I kind of like it, so I like using it. How’s that for defending myself for using ‘whom’ as a self-described linguist?

I received this comment a while ago, and I remember getting a notification for it but then quickly forgot. I read it tonight.

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After reading through almost every entry you’ve written here….. I don’t hate you. If you knew me personally you wouldn’t hate me either, then if I explained my worldview and shared some opinions you would hate me quite a bit. I don’t hate you at all though, I might even love you in a way for being a good wife and mother. Even though I think much of your outlook is wrong and harmful so far it seems like your major decisions in life are good. You’re married, you have children, you love them all quite a bit and do your best for them. And as long as you stay committed to your family the hate in this is all on your side, I have no negative feelings towards you. I’m happy you’re doing things right in life, outside of your family everything else is just useless noise. I’m going to stick around for now, maybe I’ll move on and forget you eventually but I’m still interested in seeing how your intellectual journey goes from here. Cheers -M

Allow me to address you directly, MW.

Your comment has a lot of projection going on within it. Do you believe that your values are worthy of hating? Maybe you should change your values.

My values are pretty simple. And I’m a fairly forgiving person because I know that learning to be antiracist requires a tremendous amount of self-reflection that many people are unwilling to do. Or, at the very least, they don’t realize that they need to do any self-reflection at all. Self-reflection requires critical thinking skills, something that is hard to teach unless you know how to teach effectively, which in and of itself is a skill. Skill on top of skill on top of skill… it’s hard all around. From my observation of the world, these skills are neither encouraged nor well developed. Few people acquire them, few people realize the value, and few people want to put in the work to get good at it.

What are my values? Harm none. That’s pretty much it. You do you, live your life, and let people live their lives as long as they’re harming none: not people, not environment, not animals. Beyond that, I don’t care what you do. Be whoever you want to be. Live the life that makes you happy.

But don’t live a life that actively seeks to put people into some box that is arbitrarily decided upon. You don’t have to like how other people live. It’s not your life and it’s not your decision. And their decisions don’t affect your life, if you’re following the harm none value.

There are a lot of strange and different ways of living in the world. I’m not about to list the lifestyles I find not to my liking because it doesn’t really matter. If they’re harming none, they can do whatever the fuck they like. Doesn’t matter to me cuz it doesn’t affect me.

But once people start putting their values onto others that causes harm to their lifestyle, that’s when I start having problems.

So, MW, are you the type of person who wants to force your values onto others in a way that causes them harm? If you understand your values to be framed like that, then why is that your value? Do you really actively seek to harm people? You should ask yourself why. Why do you want to harm others? Why is it okay that you are the person who gets to decide that someone else’s life is worth harming? I don’t want to know the answer. But think about it. Journal it. I dare say, self-reflect on it. Develop that skill, and maybe you won’t have to project your feelings in the comment section on a stranger’s blog.

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.

Beyond the Basics

Today I attended a one-day conference for teachers called Teaching Equity conference. I wanted to see how the facilitators would frame the discussion, and I somehow got the expectation that I might learn something new.

The day was broken into six parts – breakfast/opening, a quick discussion about bringing ethnic studies into schools, session one, lunch, session two, closing. The workshop I attended filled both sessions, called “Culturally responsive classroom interactions.” I thought to myself, hey, this is exactly the kind of class I would want to teach once I’m done with my masters degree. Both hubs and I attended.

The opening was pretty amazing. A Native man sang a song of thanks in his native language while beating on a drum. The school’s Step Team did a performance, a black teenage girl read an essay she had written, and three black teenage girls who are officers of the school’s Black Alliance club read a speech they had written about being Black women. They all spoke their truth so well, and as I glanced around the room, I could see some white women getting in their feelings.

The morning session started off talking about implicit biases, different kinds of racism, different kinds of microaggressions. The one thing I did learn is about the subcategories of microaggressions – I added some new vocabulary to be able to explain it more deeply. The afternoon session talked a little bit more about student to student and teacher to student interactions. The teachers were asked to think about their relationship with their students and to their students’ families. I wasn’t able to participate much in this session since I am not a teacher, but it was interesting to see how others talked about it. These are things that hubs and I talk about fairly regularly, so we were already thinking about this sort of stuff before attending this conference.

The place where I’m at personally in my studies is beyond this point. These sessions were a surface-level gloss over of concepts I already knew. I was hoping they would dig deeper, but there’s only so much you can do in three hours. It is then I realized that these free workshops are not going to be offering me anything new I don’t already know. I’m ready for advance courses. The hard courses. The ones that will dig so deep that you can’t help but squirm with discomfort.

While I’m happy about this – that I, all by myself, have positioned myself to learn all these things on my own thanks to (library) books and Twitter and articles written by race scholars – I also find myself mildly frustrated that these things aren’t talked about beyond the surface. Monday of this week I went to an event called “Confronting Antisemitism and Intolerance.” It gave me some new information to think about as far as the history of antisemitism, but there wasn’t much I learned there beyond that.

I know I’m no expert, and I’m almost afraid to call myself intermediate. But I’m definitely beyond these beginning surface level workshops that are being offered around the sound. I want deeper conversations. I want the harder stuff. I want to be challenged and talk to other people about the complexity of these systems and how to go about dismantling them. I want the activism to pull in people who want to do more. And I’m trying. I need to reach out to a woman again who agreed to let me do some volunteer work. I really want to get this ball rolling.

I think the session I attended today was useful to people just starting to think about racial justice in schools, and it was well facilitated. I enjoyed the teachers who taught it, what they said and how they talked about their own dealings with biases. But I’m ready for more. Give it to me.

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.

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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.)