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 see you

There has been an uptick in traffic to my blog. The reason isn’t a mystery. You read something I wrote on twitter, didn’t understand the context or misread the statement, and decided to find out more of what kind of person I am. I’m sure you’re not unsatisfied in your perceptions.

Here’s the thing: I could write a post clarifying my statements, defending myself, adding further context. But would you read it in good faith? With an open mind for learning? Are you actually trying to get to the bottom of what exactly it is I was trying to say? The answer isn’t a mystery.

I won’t waste my time with that. But I do want to take the time to notice you. I see you. Your boredom, you’re hatred. You’re reason for feeling righteous. Your reality and my reality don’t align. We have different perceptions. We have different values. We’re different.

Here’s another difference: I don’t go out of my way to be hateful and harmful to other people. You can think what you want about my viral tweet, I’ve already heard it from multiple people who think like you. The truth is I don’t spend my time hating people. Except nazis. And there have been plenty of those letting me know their opinions of me. Y’all can go fuck yourselves.

So go ahead, look around. Absorb some random tidbits about person you don’t know but feel righteous fury for in this moment. You’ll forget it in a couple weeks when you’ve moved on to another target. Same as it ever was.

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.

A Meandering Review of “Reclaiming Our Space” by Feminista Jones

Feminista Jone‘s Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets is the first book I have read that delves into modern Black Feminism. It gives definitive histories of several high profile Black feminists who have made their way in the world through social media and the internet. The first few chapters talks of origin stories, both of the feminists/womanists themselves as well as the hashtags that helped launch modern movements that center support around Black lives and Black women.

I am a white woman who has recently started her journey toward becoming involved in social justice. Since around June or July 2017, when I ‘formerly’ rejoined Twitter in pursuit of a new academic goal on obtaining a PhD in Linguistics, I began to follow Black women. At first I started with linguists, who then RT’d Black feminists, who utilitized Follow Friday to show me the way to other Black women. My following count shot from about 160 to 400 in a matter of a few months, and currently it sits around 870; many of those people are Black women who educate the Twitterverse about social justice issues.

Reading the origin stories included in Jones’s book gave me a whole new appreciation to the women I have been following for nearly two years. It has given me background to who they are, where they pour their energies, and how they have created national and/or international movements in the name of Black liberation from an intersectional way of living.

Jones’s love of hip-hop permeates this book, adding a unique voice that will resonate with its music fans and give additional perspective to those of us who are not familiar with the genre.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Reclaiming Our Space is that Feminista Jones was just as much as an online person as I have been. In Chapter 3, “Thread!”, she shares stories of the internet as it used to be: the days of AOL chatrooms and instant messanger, stories of the desire to connect with other people who would understand you way better than anyone IRL, the resulting internet meetups and how the internet has evolved since those days really mirrored a lot of my own experience. We obviously lived in different online circles, but a lot of what we sought from internet friends and acquaintances was much the same.

Jones gives details about how the internet has evolved with the invention of social media, and how Black women have really made it what it is today. There are many accounts within the book that shows how the current use of Twitter hashtags is indebted to the ingenuity of Black woman: from marketing campaigns to live-tweeting, from organizing conferences to galvenizing the public for movements in the streets. These ladies know what they’re doing.

I have been on Twitter on and off since June 2008. I had started to lose interest in Twitter just as many of these large campaigns for social justice took root. But at that point – between years 2010 and 2015 – I know I wouldn’t have been following the right people to hear wind of any of these movements, and if I did it would have been the wrong information. That’s how insular into my white privilege culture I was.

Since rejoining Twitter, and following many who have written anti-racism books, I am trying to get my hands on the books that I think will be the most useful in empowering the way I will think about the world for the better. Feminista Jones’s book is useful to white women in that she tells us exactly what we need to hear: Black women aren’t here to save us. She tells those hard-to-swallow truths that get white women in their feelings. Luckily for me I have already heard some of this before and can avoid getting butt hurt about it – or at least recognize that I need to sit with my feelings and reflect on them. One of the things Jones writes that really stuck with me is the following:

“[Liberal white women] seek comfort. They seek salvation. They seek alleviation from the burden of truth and the challenge of real action. They want to ensure that Black women keep showing up in the ways that serve their best interests, so this new onslaught of admiration has felt less celebratory and more like pressure to add more work to our already full plates so that they, too, might benefit from our labor. They’ve begun to see us as Mammy 2.0, the perpetual supplier of digital comfort and salvation. They regarded us as wise (we are), they acknowledged us as strong (we can be), and they tried to position us as wells from which they could drink and be filled with refreshingly new points of view that made them feel better about being White (you cannot). They did not want us to be who we are; accepting the complex fullness of our humanity would mean having to respect our right to say no, which may have eventually denied them access to whatever comfort they were seeking in these trying times. They believed they were complimenting us by saying ‘Black women will save us,’ ‘Black women have been right all along,’ and ‘We need to follow the lead of Black women,’ but they were not. They began to demand more work without our consent, masking it as praise, admiration, and support, all while projecting their fears onto us.” (pp. 149-150)

Jones’s no bullshit approach is the exact thing we white women need to hear. There are a few chapters full of information that white woman need to read to realize what kind of work we must acknowledge and do if we are truly going to help Black women and other marginalized women become liberated. What the above paragraph and other parts of this book has taught me, personally, is that while it is worthwhile and necessary to educate ourselves (as white women) with Black feminist thought, we must also remember that this is our work to be done. We need to stop relying so heavily on the labor Black women already do. We need to pick up our slack without trying to put more work onto Black women.

Feminista Jones has written a valuable book for our time. I was already beginning to explore Black Feminism in its origins (such as the Combahee River Collective statement, which Jones includes portions of in her book alongside her analysis), but this book has made me look to finding other recently published titles that center Black Feminism within the pages. Jones drives home what will truly lead us all to be free – free from racism, sexism, classism, and other isms – Black feminist thought and praxis.

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.