In Lieu Of Romance

I’ve always felt that some people had better access than me to romantic love. I’ve always felt on the outside looking in on proposals, long walks, selfies together watching the sunrise and waking every morning in tandem with a lover friend. This has always been inaccessible to me living in this particular skin and this particular body….. So I got this lesson early… By force and as a matter of survival… That love and holding intimate space would come outside of romance. I am privileged to have learned it so young and relied on it in my worst of times. I have a twin sister by which her loving I survive and other black women that affirm and challenge and nurture me. I have never known romantic love in 28yrs but love has still touched me and grown me and protected me—

Nicci Faw

***I wrote this in response to a piece that my favorite poet StaceAnn Chin wrote on her Instagram… I’m not sure if she was just sharing thoughts or producing a poem but I commented and shared this because it flew out of the depths of me***


Thoughts after reading Kindred by Octavia Butler

Some thoughts after reading Kindred. .

The danger of slavery had Dana laying in the attic with Rufus… She could have been passively raped and she admitted as much but she chose to stab his ass. I think of how easy it would be to lie there and just let him have his way. About how this still goes on among men and women today. How many women still feel powerless over their bodies and how some men have no qualms about doing sex to a woman lying there passively due to fear (rape). In slavery consent didnt matter. Coming into 2018 it still doesn’t. It is debated and challenged and words like hoe, thot , slut etc used to further cement the idea that women do not own their own bodies. If youre seeking consent from a woman you’ve been wearing down, threatening, cajoling, convincing, a woman you know will love it; than you know you have already not been given consent. Any sex you have with a woman who is reluctant/not consented to is rape. No exceptions. You do have to hold someone down, physically them with your hands or a weapon to rape . There are patriarchal women who believe men who rape passive women commit rape. I am SICK to death of manipulation being given a pass. I’m sick to death of people joking about women being mad they were “finessed” into sex. No. They were raped. A woman that does not want sex and communicates that verbally or non verbally (pushing you away, not pushing back or engaging, not moving at all) is not consenting. I don’t care if she doesn’t physically fight her or scream for help. Some women freeze and wait for it to be over. You still didn’t get consent. Consent is enthusiastically and specifically given in the form of a verbal yes/initiation/engagement etc in the act. If a woman says no. Then accept that no and leave. Even if you think she’s playing or doesn’t mean it or is teasing you, it’s no.

This is not the 1800s where women had to go along to get along. It’s coming up on 2018 but y’all are STILL not obtaining true consent?!

When You’re An Empty Vessel

It’s been more than two years since I’ve touched this blog but it’s time to go back to writing and it’s time to stop allowing myself to be consumed by my career. I’ve been working and giving everything I have in service to other people… Particularly populations that are vulnerable. When you are serving people its so easy to forget to take care of yourself. And you justify the weight you gain, the declining mental health and the isolating by the fact that you’re a helper. What you’re doing is RIGHT and doing right will always come first. Yet here it is 3 years and some months later and I’ve gained 100lbs, an anxiety and depression diagnosis and I haven’t had a relationship in 7 years.

I’ve been pouring myself out and putting nothing back in. I’ve been investing in families, communities, children and I’ve been ignoring every physical ache and every shallow breath. I’ve developed a psuedotumor that impacts my vision and is exacerbated by stress and even then? I’m still pouring myself out. So I’m back to writing…. I’m hoping I can find myself again and in doing so fill myself up with all the good things I’ve been giving away to strangers and denying my family.

I’m mean to everyone and exhausted all the time and I can’t maintain friendships irl because I feel they’re too demanding. Right now I’m thinking of leaving social work entirely for a while and going to work at the bank lol to find Nicci again and give her a chance to live again. To breathe again. To achieve something more than 50k a year. Also….I bought a pig for my birthday

Everybody’s Talkin’ Bout FAT FOLK- Fat Shame Vs. SA/HAES

I swim! :)
I swim! ūüôā

If anyone reads this blog …it’s going to cause a little upset….I predict.

I’m tired of the two communities that talk about fatness the most…and the EXTREMES that they go to in order to protect their “safe” spaces or their status quos. Those communities are the fat shamers vs. the extreme size acceptance/HAES believers.

Fat shamers believe that fat people are a problem because they are ….fat. They believe that all fat people have personality defects that cause them to gain weight. These defects include laziness, bad hygiene, over eating and a lack of intelligence or self love/worth. Fat shamers also believe that every fat person is dealing with potential life threatening illnesses and often use the correlation between size and things like diabetes and heart disease to further stigmitize and harm fat people. At the end of the day …fat shamers don’t want to see fat people. They don’t believe that fat people have the right to be visible, to take up space, to have a voice, to not be abused etc. Fat shamers will demand a fat person become thin before that fat person is given a legitimate voice, before they are even allowed to speak up on their own behalf or ask people who are hurting them to stop. Fat shamers are EXTREME but they make up a huge part of our culture. They are the ones who believe in maintaining the traditional idealized standards of health and beauty and they will not be told anything that competes with that standard….whether it is true and factual or not. Fat shamers actually contribute to dysfunctional relationships that people have with food, and the cultural fear of fat. And make no bones about it, there is a huge difference between a fat model (showing off underwear, work clothes dresses) and someone who promotes a lifestyle. Fat people have to buy clothes. PERIOD. so getting mad that they want choices in their clothes and people who look like them to model said clothes…is irrational and bigoted. A lifestyle is what you do. The only thing a fat model is glorifying is the wearing of fashionable clothes and the purchase thereof. No one looks at a fat model and thinks hmmmmm I wonder how I can look like that. It is simply NOT the way our society works. We have chosen thinness as our obsession and a few fat models in lingere or a pair of jeans is not going to miraculously change that. But if a fat teen can find a shirt that fits her well or a fat mom can find a pair of jeans she can play with her kids in because of an AD, then I’d say, we’ve promoted the buying of clothes. No one goes after burger king ads for glorifying obesity when they present a new triple decker (probably more than 1500 calories for the sandwich alone). Or the family eating at BK…but a fat person in clothes glorifies obesity?! No honey. You’re prejudice. You aren’t concerned because you’d be writing letters to food companies and not commenting on articles about fat people wanting better clothing options. But you tried it.

Then you have the HAES/size acceptance movement extremists. Their major approach is that loving yourself is revolutionary (it is), that you CAN be healthy and fat (this is true as well, as backed by research) and that fat people have the right to exist, have the right to safe spaces and competent service providers etc. All true. The bone I have to pick with this movement is the idea that weight can NEVER be the cause for a person’s illness. That is just as extreme as saying that weight is ALWAYS the cause of a person’s illness. It is negligent as fuck to tell someone pushing 450lbs who is dealing with a weight related illness/disease that they should not consider treatment options that include¬†losing weight. Now it is not every one’s business that weight loss may be prescribed to save someone’s vision, back, joints etc. and it is not the prescription for EVERY illness that a large person has. In fact, that medical decision and diagnosis is between a fat person and their doctor of choice. I have a serious issue with the all or nothing-ness of a large portion of the size acceptance/haes community (I slash them because they overlap). Never mention weight loss, never mention dieting…..these are like blasphemy in a lot of these circles and that is dangerous. The fact is that there are medical conditions, like IIH, that can be treated with weight loss and then there are extremists in this community who would encourage someone with IIH to ignore their doctor’s advice, to take weight loss off the table and valid research all in the name of protecting HAES… dangerous and selfish. There are fat people who are facing medical conditions that have nothing to do with their size and there are fat people with no medical conditions. There are fat people who are extremely active and do amazing things with their bodies and who feel happy and accomplished and LOVE themselves. But the idea that losing weight means you don’t love yourself anymore is dangerous. Just as dangerous as the dumbasses who think having a lot of weight on you means you don’t love yourself. We should be encouraging people to love their bodies at EVERY STAGE they are in and we should be respecting each other’s decisions in regard to their bodies, especially in respect to their medical health. I don’t advocate for weight loss in order to meet an idealized beauty standard. I am not disgusted by fat or thin bodies. I don’t care who wears lingere, who walks their dog in daisy dukes or who goes on the beach. I care that movements that encourage self love and acceptance, include people who use their self determination to make the best decisions for them without judgement and most importantly? Without outcasting. Having been a part of the size acceptance community, I can say that it’s so beneficial …but it closes itself off from people trying to lose weight, without really caring why they are trying to lose weight. It assumes every person on a weight loss journey hates their body or has a bad relationship with it and that’s just not true. Make space in the movement for people who love their bodies AND want to lose weight. Size acceptance and health at every size….fundamentally are about loving yourself, enjoying your body and working on it’s health…..not fixating on lbs but on fitness and health. And believe me….you can want to lose weight and work on it, without being OBSESSED with it or yoyo dieting and all the other horrors. Personally? I want to lose weight….first time i’ve felt this way but losing 70% of the vision in my left eye due to IIH has caused me to start trying to lose weight. Prior to the diagnosis I worked out 2 or 3 times a week and lazily watched my food intake…and now I work out 6 times a week and am considering surgery. Because I don’t want to go blind. And like that? No place for me in the movement anymore. No support. Yet choice is not one of vanity.

We get so obsessed with “protecting” our safe spaces that we start excluding people who need them most because they don’t fit our criteria. And I wonder if these safe spaces (which are supposed to be free of triggers for people in recovery for E.D etc.) are really that safe. We still live in the world. How small does the space have to get for it to stay “safe”? It is not ok to police people’s bodies for being fat, visible etc. and it’s not ok to tell people they don’t belong in the size acceptance movement because they want to lose weight. As participants in the size acceptance movement, we often tell people that they don’t know what our lifestyles are like, what only our doctor and we know, therefore they cannot guess our health by looking at us. The same goes for people in the size acceptance movement who are trying to lose weight…you do not know their relationship with their body or why they’ve chosen to do this. You do not know if they are facing something scary or life threatening which has caused them to make this decision. One thing I love about size acceptance is the validation you get for just being alive….being present. Fat people losing weight who have a healthy relationship with their body…STILL need that validation. They STILL need a place to go where they aren’t being oinked at, where they can rant about strangers taking their pictures, where they can share pictures with people who look like them of them reaching fitness milestones. They still need spaces where they can ¬†feel safe just loving who they are, NOW, presently. Where they don’t have to be told that their body is a prison and don’t they wish they were skinny, shouldn’t they try harder etc. So much good is done in the size acceptance/haes communities…I implore them not to do harm by being close minded.

Personal Struggles

I haven’t posted anything in a while…..I seem to have that habit lol but I wanted to update you guys on my life… on Friday 7/31/15….I’ll be going in for an MRI and an LP due to having optic nerve edema….unknown cause. I’m terrified and my vision has been distorted….I’ve had very brief moments of complete distortion while I drive so….yeah I hope that everything is ok and I’m not suffering some sort of brain lesion (that was a caution told to me by the opthamlogist bleh!). I think it’s a psuedo tumor or side effect from the birth control I started a few months ago…but honestly? I have no clue. I am only writing this now because I have been feeling so anxious about it :/

I’m also dating someone now… idea what to expect from this person or from myself….but I welcome the challenge! So ….idk how many people follow me or how many people on wordpress care lol but drop me an encouraging comment maybe

A Child’s RIGHT to Bodily Autonomy

Well I have decided that I have too much invested in this idea of a child’s right to bodily autonomy, not to blog about this. Bear with me because it’s been a while.¬†

I’ll start with a short story: This past weekend a family member slapped her 8 year old son in the face with an open hand in front of a room full of adults. His transgression? Asking for candy. Well actually, he was asking if he could bring his aunt a piece of candy and his mother misunderstood him. Not once, but three times. Angrily. He asked and was given a stern no. He tried to clarify and was screamed at and on the third try, he was slapped.

Lets start with the fact that she heard him wrong 2 times before her irritation led her to physical violence. Sometimes parents get stressed out, they run around all day and they do for their children 24/7. They get tired, they get cranky and exhausted and they can’t always stop to have a true conversation with their child. A lot of adults rarely have the time or will to stop and have a true conversation with each other. But I want to emphasize the importance of having true conversations with our children. When we stop to really listen to our children, they feel that what they have to say has value. That feeling is important, it is directly linked to their belief about themselves. A child who is able to talk to a parent/adult that they trust, and truly be heard. Learns the power of words and learns to use words as a vehicle to standing up for themselves and others. True conversation, even in disagreement, even in flighty questions posed at random moments can shape your child’s relationship with THE TRUTH, with standing up for themselves and others and with words in general. When we teach our children the value of communication, they are empowered. The act of ignoring a child is the act of cheating a child out of their right to be heard. The act of misunderstanding a child in favor of your own conclusions or assumptions is emotionally abusive. Why? Because it is literally unjust. These small things are unjust to a child, not being heard is a huge blow to a child’s heart. Or being heard and being made to feel that what they’ve said or expressed is not important, can cause pain. Listen to your children, sometimes they talk nonsense but sometimes they speak from the heart, from curiosity or confusion….you must learn to tell the difference between their play talk and their true talk. True talk from a child must be heard, must be responded to.¬†“because i said so” logic can never work when you are respecting your child’s rights.So in the case of this family member and her son, he posed a simple question….our children ask a lot of questions. It is in their nature. In this case he wanted permission to do something. If we parent from the understanding that we do not own our children. That understanding demands that we spend time explaining to children.It means that you must help your child to understand decisions that they cannot make for themselves. As well as decisions where their choices are limited or non-existent. Only a conversation can help your child understand this. Meaning you must have self control, when you’re frustrated and patience to stop and listen.

child slap

Lets move on to physical discipline. Beyond conventional discipline. That model of discipline where a parent pulls out a belt, tells the child to lay on the bed or a lap and spanks their bottom. Spur of the moment discipline is the¬†most dangerous kind. Spur of the moment discipline is done out of a parents loss of control. That loss of control can cause serious harm to a child. That is why experts recommend that if you use spanking/physical discipline that you NEVER spank when you are angry or emotions are running high. This is because you run the risk of harming your child.¬†Slapping a child in the face can literally harm them, it can cause hearing loss, it can draw blood or bruise, it can fracture bones in the face. This is why children services investigates referrals that involve hitting in sensitive parts of the body. The head/face and back, these are considered very sensitive places. Now, outside of the practical issue of spur of the moment physical discipline and physical discipline in general, you have to understand what you are communicating to your child when you hit them.¬†When you hit a child you are teaching them that their body is not their own. You are teaching them that someone they trust is allowed to violate their body in order to control their behavior. You are teaching that child that they are powerless over their body and what happens to it. Adults understand that people are not allowed to hit them. They understand that people are not allowed to touch them without their consent. This lesson is integral to the growth and development of children as well. A child needs to know that their body BELONGS to them. That strangers are not allowed to touch their body because it BELONGS to them. That family/neighbors etc are not allowed access to their body because it BELONGS to them. That lesson is important, practically, because if someone harms your child, they need to be able to recognize that harm as wrong in order to report it. But emotionally as well because that is the beginning of self esteem and the formulation of boundaries. When human beings understand that no one has rights to their body but themselves, they naturally start to work out ways to protect their body. The desire to protect the body stems from an understanding that their body is valuable. That understanding of value is a part of their self esteem. Having the power to make decisions about your body is also a part of your self esteem. When you hit a child, you are violating their body. whether it hurts or not, whether it leaves a mark, whether it’s a spanking or a slap in the face. You are violating their right not to have anyone harm their body or threaten their body. Worst, you are sending them the message that when they do something you don’t like, they no longer own their body or have control over it. When other people can control your body, it loses it’s value. When you learn that your body is not valuable, you are less likely to believe you have control over your body. Hitting a child teaches them a very serious lesson about power and control. You are teaching them that they can control situations by violating boundaries. That they can control situations by using violence. That control and violence can give them power. Idk about you but that frightens me. We have a lot of adults now that get off on the use of power….in our government and in our prisons.

Obviously I’m not saying that children who are spanked grow into adults that don’t value themselves or know how to put up boundaries.Nor am I saying that every adult who is spanked or even abused has power/control issues. But to say that our childhood understanding of ourselves bears no impact on our adulthood, is ridiculous. There is so much research coming out now about the effects of child abuse on children. It is fact¬†that child abuse/neglect negatively impacts growth & development, that trauma literally causes you to lose I.Q. points. People are fragile, especially young people. The way we experience and understand our world as children tends to be the way we experience and understand it as adults. If boundaries and autonomy weren’t important as a child, why would they be important as an adult? If we learn that we can gain power over others by being controlling or even violent, why wouldn’t we try this as adults? Especially if it worked on us.¬†

If you were slapped in the face and spanked as a child for everything you did wrong, or did to cause your parents displeasure or irritation. What kind of adult will that make you? A bully with no self control? A victim who confuses love and abuse? A successful adult with intimacy issues? because being close to people makes you feel powerless? As parents, do we think about the adults we are sending into the world, when our children are annoying 8 year olds that we have to deal with? What difference could we make in their development if we took time to listen? If we gave them more choices, even in their forms of discipline. Do we ask little Jenny if she wants her tablet taken away, a spanking or 3 hours in her room without TV on saturday? What do we have to lose by offering children these kinds of choices? Power? Why do we need power over our children? Is discipline an exercise of power, or is it a vehicle for understanding and growth? Aren’t we correcting our children in order to protect and nurture them? And if we are…as we should be…shouldn’t they be a part of that process and not a victim of it? we must EVOLVE as parents. We must learn to be CONSISTENT.¬†

Teaching bodily autonomy and respecting it, consistency, choices and learning to listen to children’s true talk….this type of parenting BUILDS strong empowered people. That is our sole job as parents, as stewards over vulnerable humans.¬†

Wound—A poem

Sometimes I want to be the “wound” Ntozake spoke about

and sometimes I simply want freedom…

oh that wound…

so you never forget

you ache in forgotten places when the weather grows cold and heavy

…tickles like phantom

sometimes I want to be a limb cut off….

slow healing, seeping scar….

i want to be that ugly thing your new lovers trace with solemn finger tips, questing in the dark….

yet my descent has slowed by pity’s hand and time’s quiet call to blush, i cannot sustain my own decay

…to wound you