Friday, December 25, 2009

Remember Your Past, But Honor The Good


In the section of Monica A. Coleman's book, "Making a Way Out of No Way," that I am reading, she is discussing the importance of remembering our ancestors. Our ancestors still influence our lives and it is important to remember their lives, although one should only honor and repeat the parts of their lives that was positive and loving. She talks about how so many African Americans today do not know much, if anything, about their own ancestors and how detrimental that loss is. As an adopted person who does not know much about her birth parents, I have strongly identified with this aspect of many African Americans' lives. I know that my adopted father's side of the family's ancestry is Welsh and that my adopted mother's is French. In fact, I can through her claim famous roots - she is related to Meriwether Lewis, of the "Lewis and Clark" fame and she is related to the horrendous slave owner who cut off part of Kunte Kente's foot in Alex Haley's "Roots." When I first heard that as a teen, I was at first horrified, but Coleman says that all stories of our ancestors are important, for there is something to learn from each-just not always something to honor. I also know that on my birth mother's side there is ancestry from English, Swedish, and Irish peoples, but that is really all I know. There is a yearning inside of me to know more about where I come from and an unsureness about whether to adopt my adoptive parents', i.e. my real parents, ancestors as my own, for some reason.

Besides always feeling a kinship to African Americans for this reason, I have also always felt a kinship with Langston Hughes after reading his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers
I think I resonate so deeply with this poem, because like the speaker, I have never met these people or been to these places, except New Orleans, and yet, because I do not have specific stories about deep rooted ancestors, I identify with a large group of people that have gone before me. I consider all womyn to be my ancestor and us all to be from the same family.

I really love that Coleman points out that we should remember all our ancestors, but only honor some. In the American South, one often hears about honoring The Old South's "heritage." When I was younger, my state and many other states, argued about whether it should leave the rebel emblem on its state flag, with many supporters saying that to abandon the emblem is to abandon our heritage. I say, "Bullshit!" Yes, we must remember the bad as well as the good in our heritage, but to keep the rebel sign on our flag and in many other ways, is to honor that old image and the racism and intolerance is not a way that should be honored. As this year comes to a close, let us remember the past, but choose to honor only the good.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Inspirational Quote for the Day

For example, a black man in America is oppressed in a racist society. If God is the God of the oppressed, then God is on his side. But if this black man abuses his female partner, does God switch sides to be with her? What if she abuses her child? A God who resists oppression does not love or hate, accept or despise one person in this scenario more than another. God resists the oppressive activity and calls each party to justice in their lives. (82)
~ From "Making a Way Out of No Way" by Monica A. Coleman

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peace

Peace is not ignoring the reality of the world, rather, it prevents us from seeing the world as narrowly we otherwise might. (69)
~ from Monica A. Coleman's book, "Making a Way Out of No Way."

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Hate That I Want It - Disney's "The Princess and The Frog"

I really do not want to want to see the new Disney movie, "The Princess and The Frog," but I have to admit that I do. I mean, I really want to see this movie. I do not like the fact that now that there is a black Disney princess, that now black girls are being welcomed into the open arms of commercial patriarchy. I would much rather the princess be an authentic African princess, rather than one that looks white and I really hope that no girl develops an eating disorder, because of this movie. (Yes, I know, eating disorders are all about control, but people would not try to control themselves through food and body image, if the impossible skinny girl was not the constant image in our society-they would find something else...)

But damn it, Disney musicals make me happy! I love musicals and there are not as many musical movies anymore, especially ones that are purely happy. I need positive energy and happiness and in this age of economic depression, I think the whole nation-maybe the whole world-needs something that is happy and uplifting. I really, really wish that the source of the happy and uplifting was not also filled with the stereotypes and nuances of the patriarchy, but perhaps we can think of it this way-perhaps now that all girls-well, except Latinas-believe they can be a Disney princess, maybe the day will come that all girls-including Latinas-believe they are worth as much as a princess.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Inherent Racism in White Collar

Right now I am watching the show, "White Collar," and it is pretty entertaining, but as I am watching I cannot help but think about the racism inherent in the show. You see, in this show, the criminal is a white, white collar criminal and he is handsome, charming, and sympathetic. He is also given a break, as he gets to stay out of jail as long as helps the FBI. This would not happen if the criminal was a person of color. Our media likes to portray white criminals as outside the norm, which you see quite often in real news stories people repeat the saying, "I am so surprised-He seemed so calm!, " which is not the reaction that is portrayed when the criminal is of color. Also, I am sure that there are real white collar criminals that are black, but our media has to continue the narrative that all men of color are violent thugs. Imagine that the show is called, "White Collar," but that the main handsome, charming, sympathetic, male character is black. Now you know why the show would not sell-if a show does not stick to already established stereotypes, then it usually is doomed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ezekiel 13:10-16 - Do Not "Whitewash" the Truth!

I usually reserve Bible verses for my other blog, Hope Is Real!, but when I was reading my Bible today, this passage reminded me about the post I wrote last weekend about Stone Mountain "whitewashing" its history. Take it or leave it, just remember that although honesty can be painful, in all matters of justice, it really is the best policy.

Ezekiel 13:10-16
10 " 'Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, "Where is the whitewash you covered it with?"

13 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it [b] falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. 15 So I will spend my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, "The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Recovery Feminism - A New Kind of Feminism

I just stopped following another blogger who is not positive enough for my recovery. I know that perhaps one of the biggest reasons why I do not get a lot of hits on my site is because I do not spend enough time reading and commenting on major feminist sites, but life is not a popularity contest. I write this blog, because I have something to say and if I do not write my thoughts out, then I will ruminate and ruminate and ruminate. I also a person who is in recovery and is trying to follow the path that leads to serenity and so I cannot spend my time at sites that continually disrupt my attempts at serene-living.

I consider myself to be an outspoken feminist and feminism does often call us to be angry, instead of complacent over how womyn are treated, but not ALL the time. I refuse to live my life always in anger-I must be more productive than that. My kind of feminism always acknowledges my journey in recovery. I do not know if there is a already a name for this type of feminism, but I suspect not, so I am naming it: Recovery Feminism.

Recovery feminism means that I am free to stop fighting for a certain cause or reading triggering material if it is causing me harm. It means that my recovery comes first, so if what I am doing for "The Cause" causes me to get incensed to the point that I no longer want to eat or start becoming depressed, then I must stop. It means that I must strive to promote sisterhood and peace in all my affairs. It means that while anger is an option, rage and hate is not.

There was a time when I was really upset about all of my limitations due to my mental illness, and I still hate it sometimes when I know that I cannot attend a rally or protest, because I am afraid that I will become too triggered or emotional, but I had to finally realized that I will not help any cause if I am curled up into a ball. I just won't. I am committed to my recovery, which means that I must surround myself with positivity and I cannot visit blog sites, even if they are wonderful writers, who allow attacking and/or hate speech on their comments section.

I know some feminists may think that by distancing myself that I am copping out, but I sincerely believe that acknowledging and positively feeding my worth as a human being is a more than valid feminist response. Surely promoting peace and sisterhood are, right?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stone Mountain Park Must Be Honest about Its Racism

Saturday, I went to Stone Mountain with my family. Stone Mountain has a troubling history-what started out as sacred space to Native Americans became the meeting place for the KKK for many years. Every time I go, although I love looking at the beautiful scenery everywhere, there is a slight sadness that follows me and it is hard to find things there that are troubling.

This time, I noticed three things: first, in the gift shop there was a book all about farmgirls and although every picture was of a different girl, they were all white. Now I do not know the exact ratio of white and black farmgirls, but surely there are at least some farmgirls of color in the South. It was a nostalgic book, with no story line, just quote after quote about how great and precious farmgirls are, so by only having pictures of white girls, it is basically saying that the only farmgirls that are worth knowing are white. Le sigh.

The other two have to do with Stone Mountain's history. I found out that the original designer of Stone Mountain wanted to have a shrine built that honors confederate womyn (Stone Mountain, with its carving of Gens. Lee, Grant, and Davis, is a confederate monument). This, of course, was never completed. Many other sculptors had designs that included womyn, but in the end a design was chosen that only glorified three male generals. Now, while I am not one that neccessarily wants there to be any monument glorifying the confederacy, if the men get a monument, then I am not opposed to womyn getting their own shrine.

The last one was pointed out by my mom several times-that in the exhibit about Stone Mountain's history, it talked about the KKK's involvement excruciatingly briefly and said that they stopped meeting there when Stone Mountain become a state park in 1958, but this is simply not true. My mother said she can remember KKK meetings being held at Stone Mountain until the 1980s.

I know it is tempting to whitewash history, but that does not do anybody any good. If there is one thing I have learned in my own recovery, it is that honesty is vital. If an organization cannot be honest about its darkest secrets, then the past horribleness will continue to fester. Racism is an evil and we must deal with it openly if we expect there to be any real change and this goes for organizations, as well as individuals.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Article by The Captain, Himself about Domestic Violence - Trigger Warning

"Patrick Stewart: the legacy of domestic violence" - a wonderful article written by Patrick Stewart. "Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Need a Book? Read Worlds of Honor!

Science fiction can be quite the boys' club, but if you want a series of hardcore scifi with a kickass female heroine and really cute, empathic aliens called treecats, then you should read the Honor Harrington books by David Weber. I must say, the novels are sometimes a little too technical for my tastes, but I am absolutely loving a collection of short stories about the world of Honor Harrington and her cool cats, called Worlds of Honor.
In this collection, some of the short stories are written by David Weber, but other authors include Linda Evans, Jane Lindskold and Roland Green. What I like about all of these stories is that all of them have really strong multi-dimensional female characters. The stories are pure escapism and yet one does not feel guilty about reading "trash," unlike probably a lot of the popular science fiction that involves, say, vampires and werewolves...cough...Twilight...ahem... Random Babble provides a great post about the racism in Twilight. Call me a purist, but I just do not believe that vampires should sparkle EVER! (I guess I'm sparkle prejudiced...)
While popular fantasy is having a lot of thematic problems lately, the stories in Worlds of Honor are a breath of fresh air. I think this book would be a lot better for teen reading, as it provides strong female role models, depth, excitement, and did I mention the cool treecats?! One thing the stories do not provide though is cheesy romance, so I guess the stories will not be put into movie form or be ravaged by teenage girls any time soon, which certainly is a shame.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

AAAFDD Guest Speaker Event & Womyn of the Week - Dottie Adams

from an email:

AAAFDD Guest Speaker Event

Monday, November 23, 2009
7:00 - 9:00 PM

The Tucker Recreation Center - Room 2
4898 LaVista Road
Tucker, GA

Dottie Adams, Individual and Family Support Director
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

Dottie Adams has demonstrated her commitment, service, and dedication as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities for more than 30 years. Her passion and love for people drive her to help individuals with disabilities and their families find and get the services they need and deserve.

Ms. Adams’ career began in 1977 as a case manager at the Barrow County Mental Health Center where she conducted assessments, developed individual service plans, and advocated for individuals and families. Beginning in 1984, she served as Coordinator of the Clinical Evaluation Team on the Northeast Georgia Community Service Board. She joined the staff of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities in 2002 as the Individual and Family Support Director.

She coordinated person-centered planning efforts and the move of 65 individuals from five institutions in Georgia under the SH/PF Class Action lawsuit. She helped pioneer early intervention services, family support, supported employment, person centered planning, and supported living in Georgia. She has also conducted numerous training sessions to develop person- centered plans and train providers to develop services that allow individuals to move or remain in the community.

Ms. Adams has been a keynote speaker on person-centered planning, individual service planning, circles of support, and PASS. Currently, Ms. Adams is working on promoting self-determination, workforce development of direct support professionals, and organizing navigator teams to help guide families to resources.

Sponsored by Answers And Alternatives for Families of the Developmentally Disabled...aaafdd.org/

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NAMI Wins Fruit and Nut Bowl Award


At the annual “Alternatives Conference” organized by the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, NAMI’s Multicultural Action Center and received the conference’s “Fruit and Nut Bowl Award.”

No, the name of the award is not a slur.

It’s an honor.

The award recognized NAMI’s leadership in helping to "make it safe": for the LGBT community "to be proud and diverse" in addressing mental health needs.

The Multicultural Action Center mission includes public education to decrease stigma. In many respects, the Fruit n’ Nut award is a statement of pride that stands stigma on its head and unifies the LGBT and mental health consumer communities.

The award was first presented in 2007 to Bert Coffman of the Zappolarti Society, which runs a weekly LGBT peer support and recovery group in New York City.

Coffman presented the award to the center’s director Majose Carrasco and coordinator Marin Swesey. He specifically cited NAMI’s creation of the center in 2002 to eliminate disparities in mental health care among diverse communities and the organization in 2007 of the GLBT Leaders Group.

"MAC stepped to the plate," Coffman said in recognizing sexual and gender communities as "a culture deserving status akin to African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, American Pacific Islander and Latino cultures."

With the GLBT Leaders Group, the center has set a course for education and advocacy, including “outstanding products” such as Mental Health Recovery and Community Integration Guide for GLBTQI Individuals and its companion publication, GLBTQI Mental Health: Recommendations for Policies and Services.

In presenting the award, Coffman stood in for Mark Davis, a member of the GLBT Leaders group, who like too many people in recent weeks, was side-lined at home with the flu. Davis himself recently received a Voice Award from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
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I think it is really great that my organization won this award! When I first joined NAMI, one of the reasons why I was nervous is because I am "out" about being bisexual and I was afraid that I might experience some stigma due to this, but I did not. In fact, to my surprise I was not the only queer person in attendance! I am very proud to say that I have never experienced any stigma or even weirdness due to my sexual identity. I told a fellow NAMI member about how excited I was that NAMI got this award and she said, "Of course, people that are marginalized due to mental illness are going to be accepting of everybody..." It is true that people that are in recovery are more accepting of other people, because they are aware of their own struggles and so know that it would be a foolhardy thing to judge another. Still, I was suprised at just how open everyone was and continues to be. When I read about the award, I knew that it would be what I would write about in our next newsletter. I am out and am proud of NAMI!

Trangender Day of Remembrance - Remember To Be Kind To All

I am really sorry. Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance and since I was not on the Internet much, I did not learn what day it was until now, but I would have posted. Here is a list of many of the trans people who died this past year. It is shocking to me how many of them were young people and how violent their deaths were. Scanning through the list, it seems that the majority of them were from Latin America, but no matter what country the deceased was from, they all should be honored.

But the living should be honored too! We are all people and it should not matter if a person's gender matches what some believe they should look like. The best way to honor trans people is by showing compassion, by being a friend, and by educating yourself. And do not become friends with someone just so that you can find all the answers to your questions about their status, but do the majority of the work yourself. In this information age, there is no excuse for ignorance.

So, light a candle and have a moment of silence, for all the transgendered people who died due to hate in 2009 and then make it your mission to make this world more loving for all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Time Flarf

This is my first try at Flarf poetry, which is a type of poetry that uses only random search items from Google. It's supposed to be funny and random, but I could not help trying to put some kind of meaning to mine. What do you think? I sorta like it and it was a lot of fun to do. Try it!

Elmo's Got a Gun

--[Not for Kids]—
BULL FREAKIN' CRAP!!!
They sell guns, pizza, beer, computers, coffee, and they have an internet cafe! Everything a growing boy needs. ...
Elmo's got a gun.
2006Elmo is a crazy mother fucker!
Elmo Sighters Anonymous: "Only SLIGHTLY Insane ;)"
Diamonds in Elmo, UT • Guns in Elmo, UT • Jewelry in Elmo, UT • Loans in Elmo, UT • Pawn Shops in Elmo, UT • Saddles in Elmo, UT ...
... and rescuing Elmo from threatening-looking terrorists bearing Nerf guns. ...
according to federal investigators who ...
Guns make him jumpy
pYzam
A Colorado drug operation hid large quantities of methamphetamine inside Elmo dolls,
Intended to help Elmo-sighters deal with their problem, ESA
cause him trouble with the androids that work for
people like Mr. & Mrs. Elmo in Palm Springs. ...
Our granddaughter loves Elmo.
... At one point, Elmo doses a gang of skinheads with a super-powerful laxative and watches ...
Drugs, Guns, Car Chases And a Chemist in a Kilt
: Fad or Crazy?
throw it away or to sell it.
Elmo thinks hard,
pYzam
pYzam
pYzam
www.elmos.com.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Menstrual Massage Therapy

I am on my period!!! Sunday, my arithritis, combined with the soreness generated from starting my period prevented me from being able to drive and my dad had to drive me to church. But did you know that there is massage therapy for menstruation? I found a site called "Spire Med" that is very womyn friendly, but I want to know what professional offers this kind of massage therapy and what health insurance would cover it?! I suggest showing this website to your significant other, if you are like me and have trouble with menstrual pain, or dysmenorrhea. I do not even have a lover right now, so I am simply favoriting this site and saving it for the day I do.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Had No Idea...

That there is a Feminist Women's Health Center in Atlanta!

About the organization:

Since 1977, the Feminist Women's Health Center has strived to empower women through service, education, and advocacy. As Atlanta's leading non-profit feminist women's health resource, we have earned an outstanding reputation for providing quality care and community education, while working unceasingly to improve women's health. Our center embraces a holistic approach to health care and wellness, and we believe that education and knowledge are vital components in a women's ability to make health care decisions.

Through our three programs, Cliff Valley Clinic, Division of Reproductive Medicine, and the Community Education & Advocacy Network, the Feminist Women's Health Center offers a wide range of services and education for the community.

Emergency Birth Control is a safe and effective means of preventing pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. Our Trans Health Initiative offers sensitive, friendly and affordable gynecological health care to gender variant and intersex individuals. We offer Assault Survivor Sensitive Care which addresses the specific physical and emotional needs of our clients by offering a unique program for survivors of violence to include domestic or gang violence, sexual assault, abuse, or incest.

Here is information on an open event there on November 19th:

Do Rape Victims Get Justice In Georgia?

Thursday Nov 19th
7-8:30pm

For directions: Call (404) 929-1738

Join us for a panel presentation addressing the problem of untested rape kits and strategies for advocacy. Representatives from the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center and The Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault will discuss the process of testing rape kits in Georgia and the implications for those left untested.

Please RSVP to Claire at outreach@feministcenter.org
or 404-248-5445

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Womyn of the Week - Pearl Cleage

Pearl Cleage is a phenomenal speaker and writer, who I heard for the first time at Charis Books & More 35th anniversary celebration. I was captivated and I highly recommend hearing her if you ever get the chance. I especially liked her piece that was in honor of Rihanna, in which she apologizes for the fact that domestic violence still happens everyday. It was a painful piece to hear and yet its message is still so important to not just hear, but really listen and comprehend what she was powerfully saying.

Pearl Cleage has produced several best-selling novels, plays, essays, articles, and more. She is also a contributing writer to Essence magazine and frequently performs her work on college campuses. Pearl is the mother of one daughter, Deignan, and lives in Atlanta with her husband, Zaron W. Burnett, Jr.
This was her first bestseller and was featured on Oprah's Book Club!
Plays:

Pearl Cleage is one of America's most produced African American female playwrights!
"Flyin' West and Other Plays," 1999

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I have never read any of her works, although after hearing her speak, I really, really want to-looks like I need to get started!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day and Mental Illness

This Veteran's Day, let us not only remember all those that physically died or became wounded in war, but also all those who suffer from horrible mental illness.
(picture from the blog, SteveAudio, portraying a soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

From Nami.org

GRIM STATISTICS

Almost one in three veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq confront mental health problems.

On an average day in this country, suicide claims another 18 veterans.

Approximately 30 percent of veterans treated in the veterans health system suffer from depressive symptoms, two to three times the rate of the general population.

More Vietnam veterans have now died from suicide than were killed directly during the war.

Approximately 40 percent of homeless veterans have mental illnesses.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street - Women Can Be

Sesame Street is 40 years old today!!! In 1969, Sesame started bringing inclusiveness and feminism PLUS the ABC's, how to share, and Spanish to children's programming on television. Not only that, but they provided very catchy songs that were both enjoyable to parent as to child. Thank you, Sesame Street! May you last forty more!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Marcus J. Borg - "Politics of Compassion"

If you are part of Western culture, then you are probably most familiar to images of Godde that support the patriarchy, i.e. the "Heavenly Kingdom" or that Godde's only parental quality is like that of a "Father." But according to Marcus J. Borg, in his book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, this was not always so. In fact, Jesus refers to God as a "womb:"


And to complete the imitatio dei, to "be compassionate as God is compassionate" is to be like a womb as God is like a womb. It is to feel as God feels and to act as God acts: in a lifegiving and nourishing way. "To be compassionate" is what is meant elsewhere in the New Testament by the somewhat more abstract command "to love." According to Jesus, compassion is to be the central quality of a life faithful to God the compassionate one (49).


Later, Borg states that Jesus is promoting a new subversive way to live, "the politics of compassion," (49) and he demonstrated that in having a '"discipleship of equals" embodying "the egalitarian praxis" of Jesus' vision (82). According to Borg:

Indeed, his words, "call no man on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven" may very well be directed against the patriarchal family, which as the primary social unit in that world was a microcosm of a hierarchical system. If so, this is a fascinating instance of Jesus using the image of God as Father in a way that subverted patriarchy.



But in at least the American society, we think of compassion as an individual act. We are taught to support politicians or ideologies that are not compassionate in order to get what we want. We are taught that compassion is a private action, but according to Borg, Jesus did not, contrary to popular opinion ("Render to Caesar what is Caesar's" for instance).

This book has inspired me to think about my own political viewpoints recently. I used to be strongly libertarian. My parents are independent, with Republican leanings and I have been told all my life that Democrats have "nice" ideals, but that they are too naive.

I am not saying that I am leaning more towards becoming a democrat now, but I am taking the idea that politician and that politics should have compassion as a core value much more seriously. Hell, I might even be a communist or a socialist!

There is no pressure for me to come up with all the political answers any time soon, but one thing I do know: it is increasingly becoming more difficult for me to support any candidate, as punishment, intolerance, and negativity are more popular ideals to promote than ones of compassion, tolerance, and love. And while I of course know that there are no perfect people, I am looking for the whole package! I do not believe that one can have a horrible moral life and be a great politician. I just don't!

Most likely, I am going to become fiercely independent. Too many people in too many parties only set high bars for themseles politically and not spiritually or morally, and no, when I say "moral," I am not talking about "family values," unless those family values include a call to inclusiveness. I am not "naive," but I do have high standards. Won't you join me?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Take Good Care of Your Heart! Put Yourself First!

This is cross-posted at Hope is Real!

I am taking a CPR/first aid class and today I hearned that hear attacks are the number one cause of death in both womyn and men in the United States. For men, the biggest sign for a heart attack is chest pain,m but so for womyn-they usually experience back, head, or jaw pain. Womyn are also less likely to report their symptoms and so less womyn get treated for heart attacks and heart disease.

This scares me! How many times have you hidden a headache or a backache, because you did not want to worry others or be a bother? How many times have you dismissed your own health in favor of someone else's? For myself, the times are countless.

But knowledge is not only power, for true wisdom requires one to take action!

Ladies, we must stop dismissing ourselves! Not only will we not be able to take care of our loved ones if we die due to our own carelessness, but the simple fact is true-you must advocate for yourself, because no one else will.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tomorrow: "The Public Attitude Toward Homosexuality in China"

LECTURE:
Professor Yinhe Li, Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing
Title: "The Public Attitude Toward Homosexuality in China"
Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Time: 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Place: Rm. 270 (Lanier Suite), GSU Student Center, 44 Courtland Street, Atlanta, GA 30303

Cosponsored by the Asian Studies Center, Department of Sociology, and Women's Studies Institute

Noted Chinese Sociologist (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1988) and activist for gay rights in China, Professor Yinhe Li, will be speaking on campus on Wednesday, November 4. Topic of her talk is "The Public Attitude Toward Homosexuality in China."

A professor at the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, Dr. Li also serves as a member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. In the latter capacity, she has submitted proposals to legalize same-sex marriage in China in 2003, 2005, and 2006.

Dr. Li has published extensively on issues of sexuality and marriage in China.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Support Gray Matters Behavioral Health Caucus on Nov. 9

From a NAMI email:

Support the Gray Matters Behavioral Health Caucus on November 9, 2009. This is the second quarterly caucus for mental health champions in the legislature to meet and learn what is happening and what can be done about it. Our first caucus was held on August 8.

We all know how often we hear or talk about Georgia ’s broken and failing mental health system. Now we can do something about it.

Last year, we had maybe 10 - 12 Champions, legislators who really went to bat for mental health, and we got a new department of Behavioral Health and a new mental health ombudsman Imagine what could happen if we had 50 legislators this year to champion our cause. We could really make things happen.

We began working on this idea in May. Then in June, the new Commissioner of the Dept of BHDD suggested that a Caucus of 50 legislators would be a great idea. We said “We thought so too, and had already begun working on it!”

We’ve done a lot to set it up, like getting Host legislators and a place in the Capitol to have the event. We have 12 legislative and 19 organizational co-hosts. Everyone is getting on board, even the Governor and Lt. Governor’s offices support the initiative.

But we need your help. We need to make sure that as many legislators show up as possible. So we’re asking you to contact both your State Senator and your State Representative and ask them to attend. Let them know how important it is to you that they care about mental health.


Go to Congress.org, which allows you to send an e-mail while on the web site. Click on the link below and then, in the box that is titled My Elected Officials, enter your 5 digit zip code in the top zip code box and then enter your 4 digit "+4" numbers in the bottom zip code box and click "GO". There is no need to enter your full address. On thee next page, in the same box, you will see the titles and names of your elected officials. Find your state Senators and Representatives and click on their name's. You will be taken to a page with additional information about each.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spook Somewhere Else, Please!

Happy All Saint's Day!

Did everyone have a wonderful Halloween? I was a little disappointed in that we had very few trick or treaters this year and even fewer gory/spooky costumes!

But I was more than disappointed when I was watching a show that day telling about various commercial haunted houses in the USA and several take place in an old insane asylum. Sure, these places are creepy and so are the perfect places to scare people for money, but these places were at one time real places where people were tortured in the name of health. People have really died in these places! Does honoring our dead only apply to the sane?

I know that because of my being hospitalized several times that I am more sensitive to this issue, but even so, I just feel like all people who have suffered so horribly deserve our respect and that all the dead should rest in peace.
Light a candle in honor of a loved one today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Femi-Nation is a Featured Site on Substance-Abuse-Counselor.com!

Tonight I went to check my femination email and I was incredibly pleasantly surprised to find out that I am a featured site on Substance-Abuse-Counselor.com!!! According to the person who contacted me, the website is "the largest website featuring more than 30,000+ websites and blogs" and it "averages 200,000+ unique visitors." I am very proud to be recognized for my writing about substance abuse. Addiction is a mental illness, which is not a hot topic at most feminist sites, which is why it will always be welcome here. I also talk about substance abuse quite a bit on my other blog, Hope Is Real!

Really, I am proud to be recognized for my writing at all, because up until today, all of my emails have been requests for money. So here is a friendly reminder that my ultimate goal for this site is to build community. I would love to post up my members own essays, artwork, recipes... Just contact me at femination@yahoo.com!

Tell Seventeen Magazine that Shoddy Transphobic Reporting is Unacceptable!

from the facebook group,"Letter campaign to Seventeen Magazine- WRITE NOW"
The November issue of Seventeen Magazine featured a story entitled "True Life Drama: My BOYFRIEND turned out to be a gir!l"

Rather than use this opportunity to educate readers about transgender issues, it never once even uses any terminology (well, unless you consider the slur "he-she")but instead furthers the common transphobic assumption that someone who's gender does not match their sex assigned at birth is a deceptive liar and even compares them (at the bottom) to perverts, drug addicts, and older dad's trying to get someone young w/o disclosing their parental/age status.

Please read the article (follow the 1st link) done in poor taste with a terrible accusatory tone from the get-go and write a letter to the editor (MAIL@SEVENTEEN.COM) expressing your opinion about the article, the implications it has, and ask them to put an apology in one of their next 2 issues.

The more responses they receive about this the better! Even if you don't read the magazine, it's important to send the message that articles like this will not be tolerated and that we don't want this hateful message being sent to young people who read it. Please invite anyone you can to write a letter, too.
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Here is my letter:

Dear Editors of Seventeen Magazine,

When I was a teenager, I was a faithful reader of your magazine, which is why I am saddened to learn of the transphobic article, “True Life Drama: My Boyfriend Turned Out to be a Girl” in your November issue. The article is filled with hateful stereotypes and in a country where there still many hate crimes directed at trans people, this kind of shoddy reporting is unacceptable. In this day and age, the writers of Seventeen need to be more sensitive to trans issues-do you not think that you might have readers that are trans, themselves? Do not insult, create fear, or stereotype your own audience! I demand a written apology in one of your next two issues of Seventeen and a promise that you will use your magazine to help teens understand trans issues, instead of making them worse.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chilling, but True...

In the spirit of the season, a chillingly true tale sure to give you goosebumps:
Earlier this year, the nation's public mental health care system for adults received the average grade of D... the same grade it received three years ago.

Despite the ghastly grade, many lawmakers continue to cut funding to mental health services as a way to offset the struggling economy.

The state of our mental health care system is frightening.

Your generous contribution supports NAMI's fight to awaken our nation from this nightmare and continue our work to improve the lives of everyone affected by mental illness. Go to Nami.org for more.

Just One Word's Power

I am currently reading a really funny, delightful, Victorian novella, titled "Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog," by Jerome K. Jerome.
In between its very funny pages are also some really beautiful passages, like this gem I read this morning:


It was a glorious night. The moon had sunk and left the quiet earth alone with the stars. It seemed as if, in the silence and the hush, while we her children slept, they were talking with her, their sister-conversing of mighty mysteries in voices too vast and deep for childish human ears to catch the sound.

They awe us, these strange stars, so cold, so clear. We are as children whose small feet have strayed into some dim-lit temple of the god they have been taught to worship but know not; and, standing where the echoing dome spans the long vista of the shadowy light, glance up, half hoping, half afraid to see some awful vision hovering there.

And yet it seems so full of comfort and of strength, the night. In its great presence, our small sorrows creep away, ashamed. The day has been so full of fret and care, and our hearts have been so full of evil and of bitter thoughts, and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. Then Night, like some great loving mother, gentlylays her hand upon our fevored head, and turns our little tear-stained face up to hers, and smiles, and though she does not speak, we know what she would say, and lay our hot flushed cheek against her bosom, and the pain is gone.

Sometimes, our pain is very deep and real, and we stand before her very silent, because there is no language for our pain, only a moan. Night's heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching; she takes our hand in hers, and the little world grows very small and very far beneath us, and, borne on her dark wings, we pass for a moment into a mightier Presence than her own, and in the wondrous light of that great Presence, all human life lies like a book before us, and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels of God.

Only those who have worn the crown of suffering can look upon that wondrous light; and they, when they return, may not speak of it, or tell the mystery they know. (77-78)



Unfortunately, my enjoyment of these passages, or any passage, in this book is overshadowed by one very nasty word that is contained in this book: the n-word. The word does not seem to be uttered with the same feeling of hate or disgust that I normally associate with it. It is mentioned in a passage where one of the characters is talking about a particularly "loud" jacket and it is said, "considered as an article of dress for a human being, except a Margate nigger, it made him ill" (49). Still, the word certainly has a negative connotation and it disgusts me that it is in the book at all when any other word would be better.

While I know that the book was first published in 1889 and that the word was more common back then, the word is still unneccessary and is still fraught with horrible, derogatory meaning. What disturbs me the most about reading the word is knowing that in just one word a whole group of people is excluded. One does not expect one to continue reading or to be reading a book you wrote in the first place if you insult them. There are some people that think that this word is sometimes okay to use, but I disagree. This word is so fraught with demeaning meaning that any time someone hears or sees it, one is disgusted. I have to believe that there are always better words to use in any situation, in any time period. Words matter. Always.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Womyn of the Week - All the Hundreds of Thousands of Womyn Raped and Murdered in the Congo


Since 1996, nearly six million people have died as a result of conflict and conflict related causes in the Congo since 1996. Forty-five thousand continue to die each month. Hundreds of thousands of womyn have been raped as weapons of war. You may not know this and if you don't, don't feel too bad, because our media chooses not to report it. Our media thinks the life of one little boy who might have died as a result of a bizarre balloon accident to be much more important than a holocaust in another country. All people matter and all people have equal value, whether our media believes it or not.

Why the Congo? The Congo is what is known as "the heart of Africa," because it has every kind of natural resource that one needs to get rich, only the Congolese are not rich, because whiteness stole their resources with just about every company that works there being involved in illegal activity. Fair trade is a nice idea, but one not practiced in the Congo.

Womyn have been systematically brutally raped and made infertile, in order to kill off a people. That's what the group "Friends of the Congo" informed us is what they mean when they say, "using rape as a weapon of war." THIS MUST STOP!!!

Get a group of rabble-rousing friends together and invite a speaker from Friends of the Congo. Go to the site Congo Week and find an awareness raising event going on this weekend. Recycle your own phone, so that less coltan has to be mined. Write your senators and other lawmakers. Write the president. Even better yet, write letters to these companies and inform them that their products are not worth people's lives!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Zero-Tolerance Times Talk


Type: Education - Lecture
Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Time: 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Location: Basement of Beeson Hall at GCSU

Description: A 6-year-old boy suspended from school for a Cub Scout utensil...an Eagle Scout suspended for a keychain pocketknife...Is this policy taking things to an extreme?

Check out these articles and come to Times Talk to voice your opinion! FREE PIZZA!!!!!!!!!!

NYTimes--It's a Fork, It's a Spoon, It's a ... Weapon?:

NYTimes--Suspended 6-Year Old Returns to School:

The Troy Record--School suspends Eagle Scout for pocketkniife:

The Troy Record--Teen’s dad wants son’s record cleared:
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What do YOU think? Personally, I do not think that schools should be a prison, which is what they are becoming. I believe school should be a place that promotes creativity, not punishment. One cannot learn, if one is afraid all the time, which is supposedly the reason for the zero tolerance policy-that one should not have to fear for their safety, but the fact remains that children are being bullied and hurt anyway. Children and teens fear for their lives AND they fear that they will be in trouble for committing a crime for something innocent. Teenagers get in trouble for hugging in the halls, and yet when truly big, horrible crimes happen, we say, "But we did all we could! We have a zero-tolerance policy!!!" Perhaps the key to preventing crime is not by jumping down our children's throats, but by treating them as we would like to be treated-with compassion and respect.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Aretha Franklin Respect

In respect (sorry!) to my last post, I just had to post this! Aretha singing "Respect" in I'm guessing the mid 1990s on the now defunct Rosie O'Donnell Show. Fabulous!

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journal Through Madness by Elyn Saks - a Book Review


After a few more rounds of questions, the doctors carefully explained their recommendations to me. In England, treatment recommendations were always just that-recommendations. To leave a hospital, to stay in it, to take medications, to participate in group activities or not-they never forced any of it on me, and each time the decision was mine. Even at my craziest, I interpreted this as a demonstration of respect. When you're really crazy, respect is like a lifeline someone's throwing you. Catch this and maybe you won't drown.

from the book, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, by Elyn R. Saks



Respect is so important. I firmly believe that along with the essentials needed to survive like food, shelter, and clothing, that human beings need respect and love. When I was in the fifth grade, which is when I learned about Maslow's hierarchy, I wrote my health book company and stated this belief. I stated that it has been proven that babies who are never touched except to change their diapers do not learn how to walk or talk. We need each other to care for each other. The health book company said that while this is preferred, technically, though, the baby is still alive, even if it is developmentally delayed. I still stand behind what I wrote at age eleven. There are plenty of people who are technically "alive," but are spiritually or emotionally dead. This is unacceptable.

As Saks observed, respect needs to be shown to everyone, even those who are "crazy." We are all human and we all have the capacity to be great people and so should be respected. It has been very hard for me to read Saks' book, which is a book about her experiences with schizophrenia, because I have schizoaffective disorder myself. Her story is one of success, but it is too hard for me to read about her struggles and so I am making the decision to set myself up for success by recommending it, but waiting to finish it another time.

Unfortunately, perhaps, I have never been hospitalized in England, but I have in America four times-each time in a locked unit and each time, I had an experience that severely lacked respect. Respect IS a lifeline and the people that have shown me respect and compassion when I have been "crazy" mean more to me than words can say and I would do almost anything for those people. Medicine helps, but so far there is no medical 100% cure for any kind of mental illness. Respect cannot cure all things either, but when it is combined with the medicine, miracles happen. It should not have to be said that therapists should respect their clients (note: I consider the word "consumer" to be derogatory and it will never be used on this blog to describe those living with mental illness. We are not walking dollar signs.), but I have run into many therapists and doctors who I think consider themselves above respecting their client as a person. Fortunately, the one I currently see and my last one are/were fabulous therapists.

Respect, compassion, and love need to be shown to every one you meet. Give dignity where it's due.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Submissions for Mighty Real: An Anthology of New Black Gay and Lesbian Writing

Edited by Royce Bryant Smith and Darius Omar Williams

This is a call for submissions for a book titled, Mighty Real: An
Anthology of New Black Gay and Lesbian Writing. The anthology will offer a collection of poetry, fiction, and essays by black gay and lesbian writers throughout the U.S. and abroad. Not only will this book reflect contemporary issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia, it will give literary and political voice to the experiences of brothers and sisters from numerous black SGL communities. Finally, this book will introduce new black gay and lesbian writers in addition to introducing new work by more established writers.

Please submit five poems, three short stories, or a critical essay on a topic of your choice reflective of your individual identity and aesthetic. Feel free to submit work from all three genres. Documented articles should follow MLA format. Previously published work will be accepted. Please email hard copies of your submission(s) along with full contact information and a short bio (to be included in
anthology) to:

Darius Omar Williams
sanghatheatre@yahoo.com

or

Royce Bryant Smith
roycebsmith@yahoo.com

NOTE: THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS NOVEMBER 1, 2009!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day - Celebrate it with a Moment of Silence

Today is Columbus Day in the United States of America, which is a holiday that is not widely celebrated, except by those who work for the government and those in retail who are looking for any reason to have a SALE!SALE!SALE!!!BUYNOW!!!

Columbus Day is celebrated, because he was the first white person to discover America, although historians think that Vikings discovered it first. But what's a little history? Don't rain on my parade!

Since the Americas were discovered by white people, a country was formed with some pretty radical ideas, especially the one that all men are created equal.

Well, not quite.

Men could own other men, which means that they were really not considered equal and a people that were just fine handling matters on their own were soon enslaved and killed.

I'm just manifesting my destiny, don't you know...

How about before you go out shopping, if you do, hold a moment of silence for all the Native Americans and African Americans that lost their homes and their lives due to whiteness discovering the America.

Jesus Is a Feminist!

This is cross-posted at Hope is Real!

It is important not to domesticate Jesus' social passion. The point is not that Jesus was a good guy who accepted everybody, and thus we should do the same (though that would be good). Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. Jesus was not talking about how to be good and how to behave within the famework of a domination system. He was a critic of the domination system itself. Indeed, that's the best explanation for why he was killed. He wasn't simply a nice inclusive fellow but a religious social prophet whose teaching, behavior, and social vision radically challenged the elites and the domination system of his day.

From the book, "The God We Never Knew," by Marcus J. Borg.
Discuss.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Womyn of the Week - Dorothy Day

I am still reading, "The God We Never Knew," by Marcus J. Borg and I was startled earlier today by not knowing the name of a major American social activist mentioned in the book. On page 133, Borg writes,

And some ways of thinking about God lead to a passion for a transformed social order. In our own century, we have seen this in figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., and Desmond Tutu and in movements such as liberation theology and Latin-American Christian "base communities." The conviction that God cares about suffering leads to protest against unjust social orders and advocacy of an alternative social vision.



I was shocked that I did not know who this womyn is, since I know and honor the other social activists mentioned. I cannot help but think that the reason that I have never heard of her good works are at least partly due to her gender.
Dorothy Day 1897-1980
"The biggest mistake sometimes is to play things very safe in this life and end up being moral failures."
1897 - Birth in New York City
After her daughter was born, Dorothy Day converted to Catholicism. Day understood the difference between simply following a religion and using its principles to be radically compassionate. In 1933, she met Peter Maurin and they began the Catholic Worker Movement. This movement published a newspaper, and probably more importantly, opened up many houses to help the homeless. Their mission was to change the world! As she stated,

What we would like to do is change the world, make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute, we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world.



Before her conversion to Catholicism, Day was an active social activist. She worked for womyn's suffrage, and for worker's rights. In 1924, she wrote a semi-autobiography titled, "The Eleventh Virgin." She always supported herself, which was in itself a revolutionary act at that time.

By 1941, she and Maurin had established thirty Catholic Worker communities-today there are 100 such communities all over the world!

In 1952, she wrote an autobiography, "The Long Loneliness" and she wrote about her movement in a book called, "Loaves and Fishes" in 1963.

Her bohemian beginnings led her to be called "the first hippie" by Abbie Hoffman in the 1960s, which was a titled she agreed with, although she no longer believed in some of those attributes, like "free love."

In 1971, Day was awarded the Pacem in Terris Award, or "Peace on Earth" Award. She is currently being considered for sainthood, although she had said while living not to consider her a saint, for to do so would diminish her work.

Posthumously, she was award the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey in 1992 and in 2008 was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.
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It is a myth that one cannot be feminist and a Catholic. It is true that there are some pretty major conflicts in church doctrine and certain feminist principles, but one must remember that there is a difference between a person's individual faith and the mandates set forth by a person in authority. The church needs to be changed and the only way that change will happen is from the efforts of people within the established religion, who understand the new needs of this time and people.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Let Let Us Promote Joyous Sex, Not Simply Avoiding Rape

Right now I am reading the inspiring book, "The God We Never Knew," by Marcus J. Borg. It's a book that explains some pretty heady Christian theology, but in really simple terms. It posits not that God exists, but that God IS, which is a different thing altogether. Godde is all around us and is even inside us. This is the first of probably several posts inspired from reading his book.

Borg says that for some people, habitually following religious rites can unintentionally open one up to seeing and experiencing the Sacred. He describes several different types of rites followed by Orthodox Jews and by Catholics, although he notes that there are rites that can give the same kind of experience in other religions. One such rite is observing the Sabbath. Here is how Borg explains the Sabbath:


Sabbath is not experienced as a day of inconvenient restrictions but as a day of joy. (117)



But here is were my feminist lens sat back in surprise and my inner Spirit leapt for joy:


Husband and wife are expected to make love on the Sabbath, for they are Adam and Eve, the primal couple naked and unashamed in Eden, the Garden of Delight.



One thing that I find lacking in feminism is that it often only seems to be the domain of angry womyn who when talking about sex, only talk about either the right to choose what she should do with her body, i.e. have an abortion or not, and rape. These are incredibly important topics, but there needs to be a space for womyn who are not content to play the role of "angry liberator."

Liberated people, while they may be angry, are also usually full of joy! I know I am when my heart is open to the Sacred, which is where I want it to be. Womyn, feminists, do need to talk about abortion and rape, but we also need to talk about joyous sex too.

Womyn are by means completely liberated, but I believe that we can only accomplish true liberation from the patriarchy by living as if we already are, which means it is imperative for us to open ourselves to the possibility of experiencing Joy on a daily basis.

I truly believe that the good feelings that sex provides are one of Godde's greatest gifts-not the fact that sex might produce babies, but the ecstatic feelings themselves. I'm a little afraid to admit this, but the times when I feel the closest to Godde are when I masterbate. I've written about this before, and I am going to say it again, we will not stop acts of rape from happening by talking about "stopping violence"-it will only stop when we are solely promoting that womyn should only expect joyous respect in their sexual intimacy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Womyn of the Week - Ann Wright

(painting by Robert Shetterly)
On Tuesday, October 6, at 5:30pm, Ann Wright will speak about the current crisis in Afghanistan and then sign books at First Iconium Baptist Church, located at 842 Moreland Ave, Atlanta, GA, 30316.

Ann Wright is very involved in the peace movement. In fact, in 2003, she was one of three State Department officials to resign in order to protest the Iraq invasion. Peace is precious and the way to fight for peace, at least I believe, is to not fight at all.

Wright says, “Your job is to implement the policies of an administration…if you strongly disagree with any administration’s policies, and wish to speak out, your only option is to resign. I understood that and that’s one of the reasons I resigned – to give myself the freedom to talk out.”
And Wright did just that! In 2008, she wrote the evocative book, "Dissent: Voices of Conscience Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq."
True patriotism means speaking out when one believes her country is doing something dangerous and/or unethical. True patriotism means that one must always question authority and never simply follow orders, for if those orders mean that all are dead, then who can one ultimately follow?

Go to the website, Americans Who Tell the Truth to read more about Ann Wright's life and about other "true patriots."

Tuesday's event is co-sponsored by the First Iconium Social Justice Forum, Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace, and Veterans for Peace Atlanta Chapter 125.

*****Wright will also speak at a noon luncheon on Wed. Nov. 7th at Emory University, Goizueta Business School, W320 12-1 p.m. Free to public, RSVP required: email roslyn.sledge@emory.edu or call 404-727-2031.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Support NAMI - Donate to NAMI Walks


On Oct. 3rd, this Saturday, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) GA is having a walk-a-thon in order to raise money to help pay for the services that they provide for our community. I will be there that day volunteering my time and I hope that after reading why NAMI is important that you will donate a little bit of money towards the group in my name by going here. Even if you can’t, please pass this announcement to someone else, because awareness about mental health advocacy is ultimately the goal.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots advocacy group for mental illness and I am a member of the Gwinnett branch. This group is dedicated to breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness by educating all the people in a community – those with mental illness, family members, police officers, even President Obama, as representatives from NAMI recently met with him during a summit on mental health. But the reason I am asking you to support NAMI is personal!

If you are reading this, then you probably already know that I have mental illness. The two main ones are schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type and an eating disorder, which means that I get stressed out more easily than most and that when I do, the consequences can be quite severe.

In 2007 and 2008, I moved away from my support system in Atlanta to try to obtain a degree in music therapy. I did well in the music therapy program, but unfortunately, I often felt stigmatized by the fact that there were almost no appropriate mental health resources for me in all of central Georgia. I suffered a relapse in my eating disorder and when I came back and tried seeing a new psychiatrist in Milledgeville, I was sexually harassed. After that incident, I knew that I could not stay for much longer in a town that could not meet my needs.

When I came back home in December 2008, I had to find a new mental health support group, but fortunately, I knew that there was a NAMI group nearby and I started attending regularly. The first time I went it was a wonderful, supportive experience. I no longer attend as regularly as I used to, but I am still thankful that they are there and every time I do go, I see that same joy on each newcomer’s face.

Right now, I am currently taking NAMI’s Peer 2 Peer class, which is a free class that is taught by a peer – someone with a mental illness – to a peer. It is a positive experience, providing me with more coping skills and education.

NAMI needs your support in order to continue providing these classes for free. The organization has not only classes for peers, but for family members, and even members of our police force have taken mental health sensitivity training, as provided by NAMI. Obviously, supporting NAMI is not just about supporting me, but about supporting our community, our safety, and our leaders. Perhaps one day there will not be the kind of overwhelming stigma and lack of resources that I have experienced in these past few years. Can you help me achieve these goals?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Clerks II - Dancing to ABC is Guaranteed to Make You Smile

I had a hard day, but then I watched the last half of Clerks II and like magic, I was happy. This clip made me smile and so I felt obliged to share. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Paper Bag Press Wants Submissions - "We Only Discriminate Against Bad Writing!"

A friend told me that this erotica ebooks site is looking for submissions, so I went to their site and thought they were great, so I decided to post it! That, and the site struck me as having a wonderful sense of humor and as I looked through the site, I couldn't stop laughing. Who knows? Perhaps one day there'll be an update stating that I have a new short story available to buy. It can't hurt to give it a try! I posted their submissions page and then a couple of answers from their FAQ. Yay for equal opportunity, totally consensual porn!!!
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Call For Submissions!We at Paper Bag Press are looking for the highest-quality erotic short stories on the planet. Our official storefront, located at paper-bag-press.com, made its debut on February 14, 2009. We are always looking for more quality e-books. That's where you come in.

We are seeking new or established authors for exclusive publication. We want writers who can craft a short story with a strong plot that revolves around sexual experience. The stories are not necessarily romantic — the sex is the focus. If the characters are in luuurv, that’s fine, as long as the sex is hot.

We know that you are taking a chance on us since we are new. Because of this, we are offering a 5% royalty bonus beyond our normal royalty rate of 30% for the first 25 stories that are accepted for publication.

All kinds of stories are being considered, including:

•Heterosexual
•Homosexual
•Bisexual
•Groups
•BDSM
•Fetish
•Anal
•Oral
•Vampire
•Fantasy
•Cowboy/Western
•Futuristic/Sci-Fi
•Historical
•Paranormal


If you have an erotic story that you'd like to us to consider for publication, go to the Submit Your Story page to tell us about it! We are seeking stories from 1,000 to 15,000 words. However, we are not draconian about the word count. These are just guidelines and not strict observance.

We are strict about what we will not accept:

•Pedophilia — all characters involved in sexual situations will be 18 years old or older.
•Bestiality — no humans having sex with animals.
•Rape — absolutely not allowed. All sex must be consensual.
•Toilet issues — must we go there? The answer is no.
•Physical abuse as titillation — again, the sex must be consensual. No characters harming each other within the sexual framework (no snuff, no stabbing, none of that). In BDSM, it must be made clear that the people involved have consented and are enjoying themselves.
•Necrophilia — again, must we go there? The answer is still no.
•Incest — once again, must we go there? The answer is absolutely, unequivocally no.
Other than that, we are an equal opportunity smut peddler.

Please read our Submissions FAQ for more information. Questions? Drop us a line.

Ready to submit your story? Complete the Submit Your Story form. Your story should be in Microsoft Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf), size 12 font, double-spaced.

Have fun writing!
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Further Content Clarification from the FAQ

My story is about transgendered folks. I don't see that as an option. Are you interested in stories like this?

Yes, we are interested in all sorts of stories. Our submissions page outlines what we absolutely will not accept. Everything else is under consideration. We do not discriminate against a story if it is about GLBTQ folks at all. We only discriminate against bad writing. If we should contract an author for a story, and we don't have a genre listing particular to it, we will create one.

How "raw" are you looking for, regarding description of sex? I don't want to write porn, but I would be okay with a "hard R" or a "soft X."

We are looking for "soft X" to "hard XXX." We want you to write porn. We expect to see the following words: cock, dick, penis, pussy, cunt, vagina, cream, lick, suck, fuck, ass, asshole, anus, orgasm, come, cum, slide, ride, and squirt. And/or many more words, for that matter. If you are not comfortable reading that list, then your writing is probably not for us. If that list makes you laugh and think, "Yeah, that's my writing!" then please, submit it. (I DID laugh!!!)

Does the story I'm submitting have to be previously unpublished?

Yes. We are interested in first rights to your story. If your story was published online in your blog or a friend's blog, on a friend's website, in a magazine, in a newspaper, or book, in a podcast, or in any other way made available to the public, then it is considered "previously published." If you had your writing group read and critique the story, that does not count as being published.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's That Time Again! - Menorrhagia and a Plug for NuvaRing


It's that time again-my period's here! Thrilling....

Hopefully, this will be one of my last months to have a period, at least for a while, because when I see my doctor in a few weeks, I'm going to request to start using NuvaRing again. I've used it before and loved it-I got off it, because I started having hot flashes and my doctor wasn't sure if it was caused by the new birth control or not, but we have determined that it is not, so NuvaRing, here I come!

(If you click on the image, you can print out a coupon!!!)

The reason for my enthusaism is twofold:
1. I can never remember to take "the pill" and why pay for it, if I cannot remember to take it in the first place? The benefit to NuvaRing is that you only have to remember to put one in once a month! The commercials advertise this benefit, but here's what they don't tell you:
2. If you keep the birth control in for the thirty days, instead of taking it out for your period, and then having to remember to put another in afterwards, you will STOP getting your period!!! Hallelujah!!!

This is what I choose to do and it is this fact that was my deciding factor for starting NuvaRing in the first place. Why? I have incredibly heavy periods, or Menorrhagia, which can be stressful and sometimes painful. My very heavy periods often require me to use both tampons and pads at the same time and with my periods being chronically irregular, when I am out in public, forgetting to have some "protection" with me, i.e. a feminine hygiene product, means that when I discover that I am menstruating, I am on a mad dash to procur the necessary supplies and amount of supplies - super plus, please! - before time runs out and my underwear is soaking red. Not pleasant.

I have yearned to get rid of my periods ever since I decided that my chronic illnesses are too severe for me to try to have children naturally. For womyn who deal with menorrhagia, there is a relatively new procedure, called Her Option®. Her Option® Office Cryoablation Therapy is a safe and effective ablation procedure that uses sub-zero temperatures (cryoablation) to reduce your heavy periods to normal levels. The cold temperatures destroy the endometrium. With the endometrium reduced or eliminated, there’s less tissue to shed each period. I have a friend who's mother had this procedure done and apparently her mother is incredibly happy with the results. Her Option also is a form of sterilization, so it should be considered carefully. I would love to get it done, but it is expensive and I do not have health insurance, and even if I did, most health insurance companies view these kinds of procedures as frivolous, mainly because health insurance companies work for the patriarchy.

So hopefully soon I will be happy and healthy using NuvaRing. And in case you're wondering, using any birth control method in order to miss your period does NOT harm your ability to reproduce! Once you stop taking whatever form of birth control you do, your period should come back and you will once again be ready to reproduce...that is, if you so choose.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Challenge the Culture of Fear-Write a Letter to Reduce Shifa Sadequee's Sentence!!

Friday, September 11, 8:00-9:30pm at Charis Books & More

Since 9/11 there has been an increase of Islamophobia and the targeting of Muslim communities globally and here in our own local community. Almost a decade later, Shifa Sadequee, a US citizen and resident of Atlanta, was convicted and faces over 60years in federal prison for a crime he did not commit. Join activists and Shifa supporters to write letters & get updates about Shifa's case. Help reach the goal of sending 1,000 personal letters to Judge Duffy, urging him to reduce the sentencing! Letter writing supplies will be provided. Please contact freeshifa@gmail.com for more info.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NAMI GA's Family to Family Class Needs YOU!!!

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Georgia is offering the Family-to-Family Education Program at the offices of the Dream Center of Walton – Gwinnett starting Monday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. and running for 11 consecutive weeks for 2 and ½ hours each Monday night.

The Dream Center Offices are located at:

109 Lee Byrd Rd
Loganville, Ga. 30052
404-387-5740

The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is a free, 11-week course for family, friends, loved ones and caregivers of individuals with severe mental illnesses.
● The course is taught by trained family members
● All instruction and course materials are free to class participants
● Over 115,000 family members have graduated from this national program

Call or e-mail Brenda Vinson to register
678-231-6263 or 770-338-0468
bvquilts@bellsouth.net
Class size is limited so register now!
Check our website for more information
www.namiga.org
********************************************
Currently NAMI only has two people signed up to take it and if ten more people do not register soon, then the class will be canceled! Learning about mental illness and how to help yourself and your family member is one of the most important things you can do, plus the class is free, so please do not hesitate to sign-up! And feel free to let others know about the class.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Strength in Vulnerability

We don't always have to be strong. Sometimes, our strength is expressed in being vulnerable. Sometimes, we need to fall apart to regroup and stay on track.

We all have days when we cannot push any harder, cannot hold back self-doubt, cannot stop focusing on fear, cannot be strong.

There are days when we cannot focus on being responsible. Occasionally we don't want to get out of our pajamas. Sometimes, we cry in front of people. We expose our tiredness, irritability, or anger.

Those days are okay. They are just okay.

Part of taking care of ourselves means we give ourselves permission to "fall apart" when we need to. We do not have to be perpetual towers of strength.. We are strong. We have proven that. Our strength will continue if we allow ourselves the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable when we need to experience those feelings.

Today, God, help me to know that it is okay to allow myself to be human. Help me not to feel guilty or punish myself when I need to "fall apart."

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Identifying Anger and Expressing It Appropriately

"We boil at different degrees." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anger is a major problem for many people. Some of us boil at the freezing point and some of us freeze at the boiling point.

Identifying anger and using it appropriately is something we didn't learn as children. We were preoccupied with trying to maneuver through the minefield in our homes.

We need to understand why we substitute anger for hurt, or why anger turns into self-hate or self-pity, or why we think we are terrible people if we feel this forbidden emotion.

I am relearning attitudes about anger. I can learn to express it appropriately.

by Mitzi Chandler. copyright 1989

Dear Angela - A Request to Quit Blow


Dear Angela,

It is with love
That I hold my heart
From you.

And it is most certainly
With pain each day that I keep
My heart hidden from view.

But I must.

For you are not acting
In love
Or
In kindness
Or
Anything even resembling
Your own true self.

I cannot let cocaine steal
My heart, my friends, my life.

I cannot let it destroy me
Like it has destroyed you!

And so I wait.

I wait for the day
When you return to me
Drug and drunk FREE.

OR

I wait for the day
I discover that you opted
Instead to come home to heaven.

Either way,
I am heartbroken
And sad

That you do not consider
My love and friendship-
And that of your two
Beautiful boys-

To be enough to keep you away
From the tortuous trip down cocaine lane.

National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month

This month is National Alcohol & Drug Recovery Month. If you click on the widget to the right, then it'll take you to a page full of resources for those seeking recovery from alcohol or drug abuse and all the events, not just for the month, but for the year, that celebrate recovery. Here are the events going on this week:

Brown-Bag Roundtable Discussion GU 09/03/2009 12:00 PM - 09/03/2009 1:00 PM
Facilitated by the Pacific Daily News in which treatment providers, individuals in recovery and family members discuss various aspects of treatment and recovery. This session leads to the submittal of articles for the editorial section of the Sunday News.

Recovery Month Kick-Off Carnival! FL 09/03/2009 3:00 PM - 09/03/2009 7:00 PM
A fun-filled afternoon to begin the celebration of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Month by bringing together families, recovering individuals and community resources. We will have great food catered by Tastebuds, carnival games, prizes and several bouncees for adults and children. Door prizes and drawings will feature recovery related items. Come join us!

The Art of Recovery - Gallery Show - Juneau AK 09/04/2009 5:00 PM - 09/04/2009 7:00 PM
The "Art of Recovery" show invites people in recovery to create art for a public showing. The pieces can be paintings, drawings, pastels, charcoal, sculptures, or other media. Contributors should be people in recovery from addiction disorders and/or mental illness. Artists can be professionals or amateurs. Pieces are inspired by recovery and reflect a celebration of recovery, rather than a reliving of the addiction or mental illness.

Serenity Walk GU 09/05/2009 5:30 AM - 09/05/2009 9:00 AM
A free event that takes place along the coastline where treatment providers, individuals in recovery and family members partake in a group walk promoting recovery of the mind, body and spirit. Light refreshments and t-shirts promoting recovery month will be provided for free.

4th Annual Ohio Recovery Ride OH 09/05/2009 10:00 AM - 09/05/2009 6:00 PM
Pep Rally begins at 10:00 am with onsite radio personalities and live broadcasting. The Ride is approx. a 2hr. run. Non-riders will visit the zoo and enjoy the pinic and playground area while the ride is taking place. When the riders return the program begins with a speaker,public officals and Dr.Westley Clark, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment under the Substance Abuse and mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Food, fun and fellowship to follow.

Niagara Rally for Recovery NY 09/05/2009 12:00 PM - 09/05/2009 5:00 PM
A recovery rally and picnic at Oppenheim County Park

Celebrate Recovery Month with the Washington Nationals DC 09/06/2009 1:30 PM - 09/06/2009 5:00 PM
In celebration of Recovery Month the Washington DC recovering community will gather for an afternoon of baseball at National's Park in Washington DC