Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

Posts tagged “opinions

Fighting The Ughs In My Personal Life And My Politics

Anytime I see the word trump in the news, capitalized or not, I just get… ugh. Yeah, that’s the word. I get ugh.

It doesn’t help that I’ve got some personal things happening right now in my life that for the first time ever make me feel prolonged sadness. I feel very ugh almost all the time now.

But, there are some things going down that are fighting the ughs.

Personal

  1. I finally booked an Airbnb for the Paris portion of the trip my husband and I are taking to Europe for New Year’s. Nothing like having somewhere to sleep so you don’t end up in a hostel to make you smile.
  2. I have started playing Sims 4 again, and writing stories about my Sims. The SimLit community is fantastic and I’m so happy to rejoin them after a long hiatus.
  3. I’ve finally got my younger cat Jasmine on my side! She seemed to barely tolerate me since we moved to New York, staring at me with contempt every time I dare to show affection to my husband or older cat Belle. But yesterday morning, she climbed into my lap and sat there purring while I petted her. Chris and Belle were just as confused as I was.

Political

dapl-protest-strong

  1. The protesters in North Dakota triumphed! Read about it on NPR. CNN has this picture on their website that is just so powerful to me. It reminds me of the interconnected struggles of all marginalized communities. I’m hopeful that all the naysayers who swear protesting does nothing will now shut the entire fuck up. If you’ve been under a rock, and you don’t know about #NoDAPL, well, all you need to know now is the Army has agreed to reroute a pipeline that had the potential to damage the groundwater and desecrate the burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Army backed down from the latest in a series of violations of a treaty signed long ago. The celebrations that are happening today are heartwarming. It is so much better than what we thought would happen. December 5th was designated as the day they were going to forcibly remove people from the land to setup a “free speech area”, supposedly “for their safety.” So much bullshit and gaslighting went into that concept, but it matters not! Instead of that crap, December 5th is now a day of celebration for everyone who supported their cause.
  2. Yesterday was the anniversary of the day Fred Hampton was murdered in 1969. You may not have heard of him, but you should go learn about him. He died for the cause and is an example of what you must be willing to sacrifice for progress. Today is the anniversary of the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. You likely have heard of that, but you should still learn more about it, and the Freedom Riders too. These sustained protests are examples of the economic power of the oppressed, as well as their ability to fight against unjust laws. Looking back on the significance of these days informs our present and future. The varied forms of protest as well as the varied outcomes leave me with pride, courage, and resolve. And believe it or not, it also helps me push the ughs away.
  3. In the context of history both decades and hours old, I look forward to what’s coming next. For me, that is the Injustice Boycott. In just over an hour after this post publishes, we will get details of who the boycott targets are. I grew up hearing stories about how economic protests made Montgomery, Alabama integrate their city bus system and how all the major national African-American organizations boycotted Arizona until they observed Martin Luther King Jr Day. I’ve always believed in the power of protest to affect change. I was on board with protests against Chick-fil-A and other companies that have been associated with discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, and I’d like to think I’m a good ally for that community, ever learning and evolving to be an even better ally. I’m just glad that now I get to engage in a protest that helps my own community. Once they put up details about the protest, I’ll probably put up another post explaining how I’ll participate.

I’ve been struggling as of late to stay positive and happy and optimistic about the future. But on days like today, there are glimmers of hope that the darkness won’t last.

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I Enjoy Less Because Feminism

The patriarchal cisgendered norms of my worldview have been buffeted by intersectional feminism.

In case that sentence was gibberish to you, let me break it down.

Patriarchal: When I use this term, I’m referring to the second definition, which refers to a society controlled by men.

Cisgendered: When I use this term, I’m referring to people who identify as being the same gender they were assigned at birth.

Intersectional: When I use this term, I’m referring to the concept that the problems of marginalized communities are interconnected, and cannot be separated.

Feminism: When I use this term, I’m referring to the belief in and fight for the rights of women based on the belief in their equality to men.

Intersectional feminism: When I use this term, I’m referring to an idea that the fight for equality for women is a fight for all women and femmes, crossing racial and social and economic and age and gender lines.

Having defined those terms as I am currently using them, let’s say that first sentence again using a lot more words.

The world defaults to the best interest of men, particularly those who were assigned the male gender at birth, and I was raised with those same patterns of behavior and views. In learning more about the world around me, particularly as it relates to the equality of all people, and the way all marginalized communities are connected, I no longer view the world that way.

I notice this in ways small and large. It has affected the way I see things, and changed the things I used to take for granted. I count myself lucky because I was raised by parents who taught me to be independent and decide for myself how I view the world. They taught me that even if I disagree with everyone I love, I must think, feel, and do what I think is right.

Some examples:

  • I can no longer watch TGIT with my mother because she and I disagree on the normalcy of the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve been visiting Chicago a lot recently for my mother because my grandmother is sick. This last visit, I watched Grey’s Anatomy, Notorious, and How to Get Away with Murder with my mom. Every show that night featured characters engaging in homosexual behavior. Each time my mother would say something along the lines of, “they’re so gay.” Her tone and redundancy bugged me, and I expressed my dissatisfaction. But aside from learning to not voice certain things, I don’t think much can be done to fix this situation. I no longer enjoy watching television with my mother. I am no fan of Raven-Symone, but I was so irritated when over the summer my mother spoke of her sexuality while we watched an eipsode of The View.
  • I can no longer attend church services at the church where I grew up. The last sermon I sat through there was a ranting mess about how gays and Muslim immigrants and bankers were responsible for the economic hardships. I was completely fucking floored and done with the church after that. The pastor of the church wasn’t there that day. The preacher who gave that awful ass sermon is now the pastor of another church, thank God. But his departure doesn’t change the reaction of the congregation during the sermon. I was horrified, openly horrified at that sermon, and I seemed to be the only one. The people who were actually listening, and who managed to follow his bullshit line of reasoning were responding as if it were any other barely mediocre sermon. I cannnot attend a church where they think blaming marginilized communities for our community’s problems is okay.
  • The song Hallelujah is one I have always loved. That mournful tone and the way the music swells as it builds to its peak have always been so beautiful to me. But the lyrics maaaaaan… The second verse is all biblical references normalizing a lot of crap towards women. It gets real rapey and hateful in just five lines. Pretty much the only version of the song I can listen to these days is the one by Pentatonix. I can easily listen to the beauty of their voices without the lyrics penetrating.
  • Eminem, who I would call one of my favorite rappers, says some awful things about women, homosexuals, etc. I don’t really love rap to begin with, and that is now tested even more. His song Rap God, which I used to listen to on repeat, now is like a slap across the face every time he uses the word faggot. It’s just not the same now that I no longer make excuses for the use of that word in music.

Those are just a few, but there are many more. Obviously, a lot of the issues I have come as a consumer. Music, television, even news articles just fall flat to me when they aren’t doing enough to fight for progress.

Several articles in the Washington Post recently address feminism, but they do it in such an incomplete way, that without a good knowledge base, you’d think they hate feminism and have never heard the word intersectional. I know feminism has a lot of problems, mostly that it tend to leave out those are aren’t white, cis, middle class, career-focused, American women. But these articles, which you can read here, here, and here, seem so limited in their scope. They seemed to make the point that there is feminism and there is black/poor/non-white feminism. In my opinion, they are not helping the cause.

The unity that is essential to resisting future overlord DJT feels like it’s being attacked from all sides. For any Harry Potter fans out there, remember that sucky speech Dolores Umbridge gave at the start of year feast when she was Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher? Basically she spoke a lot about preserving some traditions and pruning others. Just like DJT’s narcissistic ass, she sought to only keep the “traditions” that forwarded her and the Ministry’s selfish aims, damn those who are hurt in the wake.

If we are going to properly resist what’s coming (and already happening), we can’t let mainstream media twist and/or make light of important movements. And you can’t let the constant stream of music, online videos, television and movies (white-washed Dr. Strange, I’m looking at you… “Celtic” my ass…) shape and re-shape your perception of what’s normal–and what isn’t.

If you believe in equality, if you believe in progress, then pay attention. Learn their code words, and learn your code words. When I hear the word urban come up in politics, I know what they mean. It catches my ear and puts me on alert because what follows the use of that word is almost always some bullshit, and almost always is an attempt to harm my community.

I’m paying attention. And when the time comes, I’ll be ready.

Listen. Progress. Resist. Thrive.


Everything Is Awful! A Song That Definitely Wouldn’t Make The Oscars

If you have small children or great whimsy in your life, you know about the song Everything is Awesome. It was liked so much, it was used as one of the performances for the 2015 Academy Awards.

I think about this song because it mostly makes me feel happy/amused/smiley, but the song itself is represents a way to fool the masses into falling in line and distracting them so they don’t question authority. I wonder if a song about fighting the power would make it to the Oscars.

For the past several posts, there hasn’t been much happy in my life, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. I will say that the title of this post is hyperbole. Everything is not awful. Just a lot of things are.

So what awful thing am I talking about today?

I was walking in to work this morning, checking notifications that came up on my phone when I saw the news that Florence Henderson had died. This made me really sad; I immediately thought of her on Dancing with the Stars, and when she visited this past season for Maureen McCormick.

I will never get tired of seeing celebrities break out of their molds on this show.

I will never get tired of seeing celebrities break out of their molds on this show.

These days, I have very little patience for white-washed TV shows like the Brady Bunch. But this show came out before I was even born, so I was watching reruns on Nick at Nite as a child before I knew better.

I remember a holiday episode where she sang O Come All Ye Faithful, which for years I wrongly remembered as her singing O Holy Night. It’s an absolutely absurd plot, but I loved it. The kids contemplating cancelling Christmas because their mom couldn’t sing is likely a contributing factor to why I don’t want kids, lol.

I wonder about Florence Henderson’s political beliefs. Is that weird? I’m not sure if she’s on record having voiced an opinion about women’s rights or race relations or LGBTQ+ equality or the Dakota pipeline/Flint water crisis or any of today’s pressing issues that I care strongly about.

I’ve been keeping a running tally in my head for a few different lists:

  1. Wholly Against Us
  2. Suspiciously Quiet When It Matters
  3. Too Little Too Late
  4. Oh, Now You Wanna Speak Up When It Affects You and Yours
  5. I See You Making Efforts, But It’s Not Good Enough
  6. Social Media Warrior, Okay, Okay, But What Are Your Actions?
  7. I See You Speaking AND Acting, You’re Down for the Cause
  8. You Should Definitely Be Considered a Leader of the Movement
  9. It’s Like This Isn’t Even Happening In Your World

Florence would definitely go on list #9. Most people seem to speak highly of her, she was an amazing woman by all accounts. My perception of what makes a person amazing, however, is evolving. I don’t know that I can consider someone “amazing” who isn’t helping the fight for equality move forward.

Today is particularly rough at work too. A lot of the deaths we’re getting in are under suspicious circumstances, very sad, and hard for even the doctors and medical examiners to deal with.

I’ve got a lot of conflicted feelings. For instance, there’s this article in the NY Daily News: NY Daily News: Sorry, America, but ‘The Brady Bunch’ was a lousy show. The tweet for this article was even worse:

twitter-brady-bunch

 

It feels a bit disrespectful, no? It’s not so much the sentiment because I was basically just saying above how a show like this would do nothing but piss me off were they making new episodes today.

For me, it’s the language. “No disrespect…but..” I mean, come on. Only dedicated assholes say things like that. And yes, maybe the show does suck, and maybe that’s been this journalists opinion since he was a little kid. But to decide that today is the day he must share his opinion with the world is a bit tone deaf.

Florence Henderson spent a lot of time defending the show from critics with very real and accurate criticism of the bubble in which the show existed. So confronting her stance on the show is… I guess… fair game. Kinda like when you review someone’s legacy after death, it’s usually okay to point out the parts you specifically agree with.

But the article didn’t address anything she’d ever said about the show. It was just an opportunity to crap all over a show he clearly never liked. This was in poor taste.

I was genuinely sad at the news of her passing this morning, but I think focusing on it today is helping me cope with some personal issues, as well as the continued craptastic current events (Jill Stein getting hinky with the recount money, Dakota Access Pipeline injuries and assaults at the hands of police continuing, more black folks dead at the hands of hateful white people, more minorities assaulted by Trump supporters).

Seriously y’all, how fucking long until 2016 is over? I swear something moderately bad could happen 1/1/17 and I will be less bogged down by it that if it happens on New Year’s Eve.


“We’re All Gonna Be Okay, No Matter What,” She Says

Tonight was like many Monday nights I’ve had. I didn’t have to work today, so I spent most of the day on the couch, catching up on the DVR.

There are so many shows on TV, new and old, that I absolutely love. Pitch, Rosewood, NCIS, Bull, Modern Family, The Good Place, etc. are all so good. We really are in a new golden age of TV. But I digress.

Back to my night. When I’m off on a Monday, I go to vinyasa yoga at 6:30p and aerial yoga at 7:45p. I’ve been doing these back to back yoga classes for a few months now, and it really gives me life.

I have so many endorphins running through my veins after two yoga classes. But tonight, there is something battling the endorphins: anxiety.

I’ve been feeling a continuous low level of anxiety for a few weeks now, keeping my baseline heart rate higher than I’d like. I’m not sure what’s going on with that yet, but the anxiety at least lessens when I’m in the middle of yoga class.

The election is tomorrow. The country will decide whether our next president will be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The thought there are enough people in this country who are thinking of voting for Trump to give him a chance of winning the presidency gives me chills.

And anxiety. It gives me anxiety.

Then tonight in yoga, the teacher said, “we’re all gonna be okay, no matter what.” She was talking about the outcome of the election.

I thought about how many different privileges went into her making that statement so wholeheartedly. This woman, who is one of the few people I’ve met in Bed-Stuy that I liked immediately without knowing well, has got a lot going on in her world where she can say something like that so casually.

She said this right at the beginning of class, so I spent most of the class swallowing my responses to her statement. I’ve been trying to teach myself to pick and choose when I share my unrequested opinions. I felt like this wasn’t the time.

But I was thinking of Ana Navarro, who finally decided to vote for Hillary Clinton. This woman has a lot of good reasons why we aren’t “all gonna be okay” if Trump is the one who wins.

Then I was thinking of Shaun King, who made a deeply personal plea for for voting against Trump. This man has a target on his back, and he’s not crazy to think it’s only going to get worse in a Trump presidency.

For me personally, not too much in my life would change in a Trump presidency. I’m not a member of the media. I’m not an immigrant, though I did marry into a family of immigrants. I’m black, and I live in what probably counts as a gentrified inner city, but I fall smack in the middle of the middle class.

Heading into tomorrow, I can’t think of only myself. I have to think of all the groups of people whose lives really would be made worse under a Trump presidency.

I wonder who the “we” is that my teacher was thinking of when she said that. Maybe she doesn’t know any immigrants. Or Muslims. Or female journalists. Or black activists. Or Native American activists. Or military reservists who aren’t interested in being sent to go and get Iraq’s oil on a whim. Or every part of the population who would suddenly get targets on their back with a national stop and frisk policy.

She was trying to be reassuring, that much I know. It just so happened to have the opposite effect on me.

I will feel much better in about 24 hours. In 12 hours from now, I’ll be back home on my couch, watching CNN or MSNBC, having just cast my vote for Hillary Clinton for President (alone with some other important down ballot votes). In another 12 or so hours after that, hopefully we’ll have enough election results to have a new president.

Even though my vote won’t help her win New York (that’s happening no matter what), my vote will add to the total number of votes for Clinton. I’m hoping the margin of victory for the popular vote is very large.

Once she wins, I’ll feel better. Even then, we won’t all be fine. There will still be work to do, policies of hers that need changing and evolution. But at least she won’t be a demagogue who is a real threat to innumerable numbers of global citizens.