Posts Tagged ‘social justice’

Life in the Fast Lane: A Thanksgiving invitation for my experimental/sociopolitically-motivated friends:

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Howdy facebook. How’s it hanging. As y’all surely know, it’s Thanksgiving in the U. S. this week. And if you’ve been around here much in the past, you might remember a little bit about what I think of Thanksgiving. :poop emoji:

I’m taking a bit of a different track this year, and I wanna share about it and invite you to consider my words or even join me.

First, a babbly history: I grew up celebrating “pilgrims and indians” thanksgiving like most suburban white kids with their turkey hand drawings in the 80’s. With a tense and often bickering family environment, Thanksgiving was so quickly a soulless tradition or annoying obligation (how ameri-white can you get eh?). I don’t really recall having a genuine connection with it after childhood, other than a convenient excuse to force myself to connect with chosen family.

Over the years I have boycotted, half-heartedly participated, hosted orphans, and increasingly shared my dissent as I’ve learned more of the authentic origins of the holiday and how continuing to celebrate it harms people I have spent a lot of therapy money and cognitive effort as an oblivious privileged white person learning to actually care about.

My M.O. since radicalizing in 2014ish or so has generally been to water fast on Thanksgiving and fill my social media feeds with trauma porn about the origins of the feasting and how fucked up it is that we do it. You’ll be glad to know I’m (mostly) over that now, in part due to actually dipping my toe into legitimate advocacy by working with orgs like Duwamish Infrastructure Restoration Training – DIRT Corps and recognizing how deeply impactful the various Native therapies I’ve experienced have been to my personal life as well as my work.

Another big factor in letting go of that rage-stance has been my exploration of my gender identity (they/them), and how getting real about the origin of my binary brainwashing being centered in whiteness has allowed me to authentically connect with the ideals in Native culture in a personal way. Without that connection, all I felt entitled to interact with was the shameful anger of the bloodshed inflicted by my ancestors, so that’s what I signal boosted.

As a developing activist advocating indigenous rights and human person adopting basic indigenous principles into my anti-racism, someone who has worked with the Duwamish and learned from native healers, and someone who is privileged to celebrate my connections any day I chose, I feel it’s important for me to reject the holiday outright in my actions as well as my public talk.

Fasting may seem pointless, and I’ve wondered sometimes what greater good lied in my time during Thanksgiving while hanging out in a van alone and starving myself; whether it was simply selfish and personal or more than that or just self destructive.

As a political/community artist, I understand the value of documenting personal praxis in a performative way. One of the things that I write about in The Book are my personal experiments and what makes them legitimate artwork and not just self-help advice: Year of the Nee in 2014 (of which I spent a year weening from romantic relationships, drugs, alcohol, and sex), W.A.S.T.E. in 2009 (in which I kept my recycling in my living space with me for months), etc.

My Thanksgiving fasts have been this sort of art for me, and I do think, when presented in conjunction with others, they are valid outside of myself. While I think it may be best to stop fasting as a means of reverence because I’ve developed such disordered eating in my last year of vanlife that it’s much more risky for my health now, I’m proud of those years in which I fasted, talked about fasting on social media, and sat with and communicated with my hunger as a means to process the reality of Thanksgiving. This year, perhaps for the last time (?), I’d like to fast again.

Which brings me to my invitation: Wanna fast with me this Thanksgiving? There are multiple elements to my approach, which I expect to expand annually if I get other people on board:

1) Water fast for the day of Thanksgiving (this is the “accountability” commitment) – Including peer-based aftercare support for the fasting to help ourselves as a group continue to healthy eating habits after going a day without food (I will personally need this from my community to continue Thanksgiving fasting in a way that does not endanger my health)

2) Funnel the money I would have spent on Thanksgiving food into a one-time donation directly to my local Duwamish and Puyallup tribes (even if it’s just a couple bucks).

3) If I’m active on social media at the time, post at least 2 local call-to-action Native advocacy resources on each of my social media accounts on Thanksgiving day. Post historical and cultural educational content about those tribes as well.

4) If a local group forms (I’m based in Tacoma now), work to create a meetup event in nature for next year, and include resources used in social media posts as lit for meatspace gatherings.

I am considering creating a group of some sort, preferably NOT using facebook, for event planning and information sharing. My idea for this is to include a national online element as well as a local in person one, though this year I expect I’m approaching this too late for a local gathering.

I anticipate most participants to be white because that’s my lane and this is our work, however anyone who is interested is welcome to participate.

If you’d like to be looped into the development of this project, comment here with the word DECOLONIZE and I’ll make sure to include you in whatever list/group/discord/slack channel or whatever the fuck it ends up being. And if you wanna participate virtually in some way this Thursday, let m know how.

Thanks for taking the long read. Also note that I have a post pinned to my artist page right now to a fabulous writeup if you want to delve in more, and many links supplied in the comments if you’re interested in supporting Natives this week.

National Day of Mourning is nearly upon us, and CHRISTINE NOBISS of www.seedingsovereignty.org has done a great service to those of us seeking to resist the colonial gaslighting that is Thanksgiving. https://www.bustle.com/p/thanksgiving-promotes-whitewashed-history-so-i-organized-truthsgiving-instead-13154470

NON-LOCAL ADVOCACY: If food justice is your thing (For instance, if you were enraged by the new SNAP benefit changes and think people on food assistance deserve fresh food), then you should know about food availability on reservations and what Queer Appalachia and @ndn.o are up to: https://www.facebook.com/QueersnAppalachia/posts/2060243613997313

EDUCATION: THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG
To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970

http://www.uaine.org/suppressed_speech.htm

EDUCATION: The Duwamish people of the inside still exist. You can visit their longhouse, attend events, sign up to their mailing list, among other things at https://www.duwamishtribe.org/

And here is their wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duwamish_people

EDUCATION: REAL CHANGE, a publication that I support whenever I have cash in my pocket (and I hope you will too), published this about the Duwamish in 2016 https://www.realchangenews.org/2016/11/09/duwamish-tribe-continues-160-year-fight-federal-recognition

DONATIONS: The Duwamish tribe has created http://realrentduwamish.org as a pathway for Seattlites and other supporters to pay reparations, and is a way you can impact the lives of those whose land we settled despite the federal government’s 160 years of refusing the tribe their rights. I pay real rent myself and encourage every Seattlite to do so as well.

DIRECT ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION: DIRT CORPS, a restoration training program I worked with in 2016/2017, works closely with the Duwamish tribe while restoring wetlands in Georgetown, White Center and South Park; areas most impacted by industrialization and training local communities, and they are regularly in search of volunteers.

https://www.urbansystemsdesign.com/dirt-corps-program

THE ORIGINS OF MY FAVORITE SALT –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coast_Salish
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Salish
https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/indian-tribes/coast-salish.htm

Meet the woke misogynists. Surprise! They’re pretty much everywhere.

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

This is my lived reality.

With former boyfriends, with former peers in the supposed sex positive/healing communities, with men in the intersectional feminist movement, with lauded teachers and self proclaimed sex healers; Every single fucking feminist woman I know who tries to date men and talks with me about it has been traumatized by this ‘Bob’ creep just like I have. Over and over and over again both personally and witnessing it go down with others.

We are constantly seeing vulnerable communities tolerating foxes in the henhouse who are ‘trying’ to learn how not to hunt and slaughter the god damn chickens, often with the added intensity of witnessing these men rise to leadership and power positions over the people they systemically oppress while invalidating our own signals of danger, like we’ve been fucking trained to do, and it’s utterly crazymaking. We observe this while denying to ourselves it’s happening until we find out about someone geting really hurt, and it’s destructive to ourselves and one another.

We are counting days between learning that one more fucking high profile feminist guy we let ourselves believe was doing it right is actually serially abusive or a flat out sexual predator. We allow the truth to break only once one of us is brave enough to scream loud enough about it to give the rest permission to speak, and frankly, it’s devastating. 

Additionally, these dudes are naturally padded by coward rape apologist niceguy’s who take their sides and feel sorry for them having to face the fucking music, by women still struggling with internalized misogyny and the social conditioning to leverage their understanding of this shit to cape for/protect/try to teach their abusers and predators not to be abusers and predators (guilty!).

In fact, I can count on less than half of one of my hands how many people over the last THREE FUCKING YEARS of my periodically talking openly and publicly about the person who raped me in 2014, how many people have asked me to tell me who he is. For a long time, I thought it was because everyone knew. But over the years it’s trickled out that people don’t know. They don’t know, and they don’t ask, because they don’t want to fucking know.

Abusers, by the very nature of our fucking society, are shielded by their powerful allies, and the snowed communities of followers of which they hold power or interest over. They invariably leverage that power to maintain that stasis they seek to maintain, despite being disgraced, at the expense of the people in those same communities who are betrayed, violated, and hurt by the shit they’ve chosen to do. 

So, so often, they double down. They make excuses. They go silent, disappear, and hide like fucking cockroaches when the lights come on. They refuse to resign their positions as presiders over people who are systemically vulnerable to their flavor of abuse. They gesture as though they are stepping to the plate, but don’t. And in alternative communities like feminist communities, kink communities, hacking communities, queer communities — where already marginalized people seek out solice — we seem to be even more apt to automatically fucking protect the living shit out of them until it is far, far too late.

At one time I fantasized of dating that mythical, truly dedicated openly feminist man who was into fighting for my humanity as much as I am. I really wanted to believe we as a collective were ready for that to actually exist. And I was still very attached to the possibility of finding a mate to grow with indefinitely.

But you don’t domesticate the fox by just letting them hang out with hens a bunch with a fucking bowl of kibble tucked in the corner. Now, I have adopted a zero-tolerance for supposed ‘consent accidents’ in the rare instance I find myself willing to even consider fucking any of these lingo-slinging space-taking dudes, who I generally won’t even give the time of fucking day to after the camel-breaking shitshow straw that was Charlie Glickman’s public “apology” to his ex, and how disgusted and manipulated I felt by having ever ended up a part of that.

Because while restorative justice models exist and are gaining momentum, I have yet to personally see a feminist man who has violated women in his community truly commit to and complete that process. Because, frankly, they don’t fucking have to.

Now, I only remotely entertain the posibility of trusting ‘feminist’ men who make their own space feminist, religiously credit the women they are learning from, and fight the fight within their communities of OTHER MEN in their feminist activism rather than buddying up with their female teachers and their circle of women activists.

Protip: if a man says he’s feminist, but mostly only hangs/talks shop with feminist women, and you don’t see him out there being the change in front of other men, he’s at best a cowardass crap ally in it for cookies and free education/emotional labor (that the women near him will both supply AND pay for), and at worst is a rapey gaslighting predator fuck who will then use the knowledge he’s gleaned to weasel out of being accountable to the same community that has invested pricelessly in his growth and resulting status. 

You are NOT WRONG to mistrust these guys, or to be angry as fuck that you have to. 

You DO NOT have to be polite, tolerant, or accepting of men in your community who give you the fucking creeps, violate your consent, rape you, abuse you, gaslight you, even if they are ‘nice’, and even if they tell you what you’re seeing isn’t true.

People who truly want to learn to dismantle their oppressive behaviors in order to take their fucking boot off your neck will find a way to do it without your having to further sacrifice yourself for it. They will find a way to do it without demanding that you be nice about it or prioritize their fucking feelings. They will find a way to do it without leveraging the social capital the have over you — be it money, or being straight, or white, or male, or being socially entitled for centuries to your validation and obedience — and when they fuck up they will fucking own it, air it, apologize like a fucking grown up and move the fuck on.

You don’t owe people who don’t have the skills to respect you, who are clearly struggling to see you as an actualized fucking person worthy of the breath meant to pass through your own neck, a god. Damn. Thing.

Thanks for giving: a shit. 

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

Third rockin’ass orgasm of the day. Enjoying the hell out of my solo day-long water fast. Fuck your oppressive shitass holidays. — https://instagram.com/p/BNNjpf5hffd/

Water fasting as of midnight last night. Had no idea when I decided to do this a year ago, take the next step in personally divesting from the lies and the cognitive dissonance, how apropos it would be as I closely follow Standing Rock.

This is the thing about trying to figure out how to meld my art with activism. I fasted today as a self care and development experience because I believe we must decolonize ourselves, and that includes, perhaps most importantly, the means and motivations for our connecting with each other. So we can stop passing up connecting with real friends to complain about being “alone”.

I could have made it into art, I could have organized people who wanted to do it together and bare witness in a collective. We could have decided to have made it disruptive and done it in the street, or in a plaza, or quietly somewhere for the groups healing and told our actual friends about it. Part of the reason I didn’t do any of those things, is because I didn’t realize this was art until now.

Art is how I sneak up on myself. It’s how I tell me my own story, and I warn myself of things, and the fucking CURSE of it (and also what makes it work?) is that most of the time I can’t see it until I’ve experienced my own fucking art! It’s like Westworld, I look at the poem or I sketch the choreography or I sew my own mouth shut in watercolor and I go ‘meh. doesn’t look like anything to me’. Until one day it does look like something, and I laugh at myself for not seeing it then.

Developing ourselves is art.

The world needs more art.

Make more art.