No Words

Today, I mourn.

Tomorrow, I fight.

Three Things Thursday: We’re All Going to Die

It’s been a while since I’ve graced you all with three things on a Thursday. I know you’re feeling the pain of that specific abandonment. (Not as much as you feel the pain of my now defunct “Shoesday” series, though, I’m sure…)

Today is a bittersweet day, and I’m feeling a wee bit political, so welcome to the “Oh My God, We’re All Going to Die” (political commentary) edition of Three Things Thursday.

  1. Today is the last full day that Barack Obama will be president. I have very much enjoyed having him as my president. I didn’t always agree with everything he did, but overall, his policies matched my beliefs. We’ve come a long way in eight years. Healthcare reform (although it was gutted by the GOP and wasn’t as good as it could be), marriage rights, increased funding to prevent violence against women, and on and on… Today, I read an article about all the things that our incoming PEOTUS has planned. Beyond gutting funding for arts and humanities, he is also planning on gutting funding for 25 DOJ programs that administer grants to prevent violence against women. Don’t even get me started on Planned Parenthood. (Did you know we’re at a 30 year low rate for unplanned pregnancy? Do you know what makes preventing unplanned pregnancy possible? Places like Planned Parenthood. Do you know what else goes down when unplanned pregnancies go down? Abortion rates! So, if you really are pro-life, why wouldn’t you support access to birth control and health care? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND!)
  2. Intersectional feminism shouldn’t be that hard for white women to grasp. I’ve given up on arguing with cis/het/white men on the internet (hahahahaha…we’ll see how long that lasts), and I know some amazingly feminist men who don’t seem to believe their masculinity is diminished by a woman’s strength. One of the most disturbing conversational trends I’ve seen in the past few days, though, is the number of white women who call themselves feminists but don’t understand why they (cis/het/white) also have more privilege than WOC and those who are LGBTQ. The number of arguments I’ve seen that start with “identifying differences is divisive/let’s not talk about race or color or orientation/we’re all women together” is so incredibly tone deaf. For all that we as women lack the male privilege, those of us who are white (and cis/het) do not get to diminish the voices of those who have to work even harder than we do to achieve the same things. That whole $0.77 on the dollar that is publicized as the income inequality? That’s only white women. There is nothing wrong with shutting up to hear others’ experiences and interpretations of the world. The more I learn about someone else’s struggles, the more I can rebuild my narrative to include everyone and fight for everyone. Sometimes that means I have to take a backseat, and you know what? That’s okay. Shutting up to let someone else talk is not the same as being silenced. We tell that to men who talk over us – let’s make sure we’re not talking over anyone else.
  3. Ugh. You guys. The cabinet nominees. I’ve never paid too much attention to confirmation hearings before because I’ve generally done some reading about the candidates, either agreed or disagreed with their nominations, and sent off a quick email to the appropriate parties regarding my opinions. This is the first time I’ve actively watched multiple hearings. Every time I think there can’t be a more ill-prepared and vastly unqualified candidate, I am surprised. Current record holder for me: Betsy DeVos. DUDES! If confirmed, she is going to gut our public education system. She is not interested in making public education better. She doesn’t care about making sure that students with disabilities receive quality education. She wants federal funds to go to unregulated charter schools. She knows nothing about education. Or running large financial systems. Or anything useful at all as far as I can tell. (She does, however, know that there are bears in Wyoming and those bears are apparently a larger threat to our school children than guns. The facts do not support that, but we are moving away from things likes “facts” and “information” and “knowledge” in our educational systems.) As someone who is attending kindergarten open house next week (which is full of crazy anyway), this is disheartening. I can’t afford private school (unlike Ms. DeVos) for my kid and can’t home school (because I don’t hate myself or my child and would like to keep it that way), so I need a good public school system with good teachers.

This was not the Harry Potter education professional I would’ve chosen. (Although with Lockhart as president, I guess it’s not that surprising…)

 

I’m trying hard to stay positive. I don’t have money to donate right now, but you can bet your ass that once I’m reemployed, I’ll be sending my $$ to all the places that are going to need it most.

Provided I can breathe and walk without trying to hack up a lung, I’ll be marching on Saturday.

I will continue to support my congress people in their fight for ALL American people.

Tomorrow

Conspiracy Theory

I am a wee bit sick. Not horribly sick, and I’m mostly feeling better; but not at the top of my game. In addition to the mild chest cold that I’m on my way out of (but whose effects will likely last forever and ever amen if I don’t take it easy on my lungs which are prone to bronchitis and pneumonia), we’ve been having a shitty winter.

The Weather Channel rated Portland as the US’s most miserable city for the 2016/17 winter so far. (Not that we’re colder or have more snow than you – I know we don’t – but we have so much more cold or snow than we’re used to, and I don’t care who you are, that’s miserable.)

These two items in conjunction with the fact that I signed up for not one, but TWO races, is what leads me to believe that I’m dealing with a conspiracy theory.

To wit:

2016. I signed up for two races. I paid to do a women’s running group. I attended the first two meetings. I got the ‘flu, even though (like every freaking year), I’d gotten the flu shot. I was so sick that I was hallucinating from lack of sleep. I couldn’t even begin to run again until well after the first race (a 5K) was over and the second (a half marathon) was quickly approaching.

2015. I signed up for five races. (An indoor tri, a sprint tri, two olys, and a 70.3). I secured the services of the best coach in these here You-Nited States of ‘Murica.  I placed 2nd in my age group in the indoor sprint tri. I immediately got a sinus infection and double pneumonia. Oh – and strep throat. AT THE SAME TIME. I did manage to do the second race I was signed up for, but just couldn’t get ‘er done for anything else.

Now – getting sick once as I begin a rigorous training schedule might be chalked up to an accident. And twice? Totally a coincidence. But three times in three springs? (This time, I feel like the weather started it, but when I made noises about heading to the gym to run on the treadmill, my body said, “Fuck this shit!”)

And the enemy is me.

And just in case you’re disinclined to believe me, in 2010 when I’d started training for my second marathon I hurt my foot so badly that I needed surgery. In 2011 when I started training for my (still second) marathon, I got pregnant. THAT WAS NO ACCIDENT! (Heh. See what I did there?)

2012 was kinda a wash, what with my dad dying and my kid being born, and the debilitating post partum depression.

What I’m saying is that my body is extremely opposed to training. Or rigor. Or any kind of physical motivation.

In fact, it seems to like sitting on the couch, arguing with misogynistic douchecanoes on the internet, and drinking wine eating fruit salad best of all.

Solution? Probably not continue to sit on the couch, arguing with asscandles on the internet (I’ve gotten one death wish and one FB block…I could strive to do better).

I told my PSM the other day that what I really need is for someone to invent a moderation pill. I’d be first in line to sign up for the clinical trial (that’s not an immoderate response, is it?). I just have no chill. I’m either all in or all out. I did my yoga as promised Monday – and accidentally found the hardest hip opening hatha class in existence. So when I realized how hard it was going to be, did I (a) stop the class and find another, easier class, (b) modify the harder poses to be gentle on my body, or (c) push as hard as I could because this gazelles doesn’t quit?

Fitspirational memes are very problematic for me.

Yeah. Obviously C. Could I move my legs without pain yesterday? No. No I could not.

I’m sure I’ve blogged about my struggle with moderation before. Things have not noticeably changed in the…ever since this has been a problem.

So, wise internets…what would you do? Continue to make ridiculous training plans that are impossible to successfully complete and then give up entirely when you fail? Skip that first part and go straight to the giving up entirely, but with wine?

If you are an immoderate person, how do you force yourself into moderation?

No, dammit! I want it RIGHT NOW!!

Speak to me! Tell me the solution that I can implement immediately, thus making myself a 123% better person by the weekend.

 

Book Review: God in Pink

My PSM Cat posted a “Be Better” book challenge for 2017. There are 15 challenge items on her list (although I can, in good faith, only complete 14 of them…I’ve never done cliffs notes for anything, although I’m considering combining 14 & 15 and doing the original and the cliffs notes for War & Peace when I get to that).

I’ve already knocked out a couple of the books on the list, and in the interest of accountability (and maintaining regular blog content), I’m going to review every book I read for this challenge.

The first one I read was from #12 on the list: A Lambda Award winner.

For those of you who don’t know:

Lambda Literary Awards (also known as the “Lammys”) are awarded yearly by the US-based Lambda Literary Foundation to published works which celebrate or explore LGBT themes. Categories include Humor, Romance and Biography.

I chose the 2016 winner for Gay Fiction – “God in Pink” by Hasan Namir.

The Blurb

A revelatory novel about being queer and Muslim, set in war-torn Iraq in 2003. Ramy is a young gay Iraqi struggling to find a balance between his sexuality, religion, and culture. Ammar is a sheikh whose guidance Ramy seeks, and whose tolerance is tested by his belief in the teachings of the Qur’an. Full of quiet moments of beauty and raw depictions of violence, God in Pink poignantly captures the anguish and the fortitude of Islamic life in Iraq.

The Cover

The Review

This isn’t the first book I’ve read where the main characters are gay. Nor is it the first book I’ve read where the main characters are religious and struggling with their faith or pleasing their families. However, this is the first book I’ve read where the main character was gay and struggling with faith (he’s Muslim living in Iran) and family.

I thought the pacing of the book was problematic. There wasn’t enough time to get to know anyone but Ramy (and Ammar, the sheik). Even their families seemed a bit two-dimensional.

However, even with the pacing issues, the story in all its simplicity was devastatingly poignant at times. Although I no longer identify with any religious beliefs, I was raised Christian and strongly identified as such when I was younger (much, much younger). I am fortunate that I was never forced to choose between  who I was and who I should be according to my faith. It was enough of a struggle to reconcile my beliefs with the teaching of the church – there was really nothing that went counter to who I was.

ANYWAY – this isn’t about me. At all. With the political climate in America being what it is, I sometimes fear that we will regress to an era where people have to hide who they are (if they can) to survive.

I wish I could say that it’s difficult to imagine living in a world where someone would rather commit suicide than be gay; where they would need to choose between family and self; or cannot exist within the bounds of their chosen religion. It’s not. For everyone I know who had family embrace them regardless of their sexual identity and orientation, I know others who feel that they must hide who they are and who they love if they also want to maintain familial relationships (never mind fitting in at church).

The message of the book struck me more than just a heart-wrenching tale set in Iran – i.e. a far away land with none of our sacred ‘murices rights – but a warning that without diligence, we are on our way back to living in a country where the government and its most vocal supporters argue for small government as well as regulating who we can love and who we can be.

The Verdict

The message of the book far outshone the writing and pacing, and for that I gave it four stars (- 1 for my mild critique noted).

 

Motivation Monday

I haven’t been to work in just over four months. This is full of the crazy. There are just a couple problems –

  1.  I love it. I love not having a job. I am not bored. I’ve been writing and editing and blogging and doing more working out and baking and preserving and my house (until the rattening) was pretty clean. I would be a great housewife/writer. Except…
  2. I am out of money. I really thought I’d be back at work before now, but I’ve burned through all my savings that I had in place and now I am desperate. I’m hoping desperation counts for something!

I need to hustle. I need to apply for one hundred jobs a day (give or take). I’ve started edits on the second book in the series, but am really hoping to get the first back from the editor this week so I can finish that up and send it out into the world where people will mock me and judge me and subtly ignore its existence (but maybe after one-clicking it).

I need this weather to be normal weather so I can run (it’s an icy snowy mess out there and I have neither the gear nor the desire to become an icy snowy runner) and swim (power outage led to the pool closure).

I need my brain to stop spinning worst case scenarios which usually involve me dying destitute and alone in a large box under the Burnside Bridge.

I have some positive habits I’ve been trying to develop, and I’m doing a little better with some of the simple self-care ones, but I need to double-down on the movement and sitting under my SAD lamp and probably should delete the time wasters from my phone so I have fewer ways to procrastinate when I can’t jump over the despair hurdles in my brain that tell me everything is hopeless.

I pledge to you – the all-seeing (not literally, I hope) internets – that as soon as I hit publish on this post, I will haul out the yoga mat and show my new catly roommates how to do a good down dog. I will drink a glass of water and then spend the next hour at my desk editing.

And tomorrow? Provided that the Bean is at daycare and not home (again – so many snow/ice days), I will yoga/write/edit/job hunt

And repeat. Next week, I’ll start running (weather providing) and swimming (pool temperature providing).

And I most certainly will not get bronchitis, even if it is my winter tradition. SOME TRADITIONS SUCK!