Recently, a Facebook post has been making the rounds listing some good things that have come out of the Trump administration so far. Things like people getting more involved, people knowing more about Hitler, the Constitution, people different from them, etc., than ever before…Trump’s election proving that “anyone can be president.” I appreciate the attempt here but to me, it feels like meager anesthetization. For one, democracy requires constant, committed work so it’s a little bittersweet for me that people are just now becoming more involved…maybe if they had been all along, we wouldn’t have gotten to this point of utter disaster. Two, I don’t think ignorance of the Holocaust or of the Constitution caused the mess America and consequently the world are in. I think Trump and his appointees are the cause, honestly. And I don’t believe they have no idea what they’re doing. But, the point on this list that worried me the most was that “anyone can be president” was being said as a good thing. Continue reading Anyone Can Be President
This day last year, with about an hour of 2015 to go, I was 30,000 feet in the air going through what I can now say was tiny turbulence compared to the last 12 months and was told this would be the hardest year of my life. My only reflection on it is, “It f*ing better be.” I leave this year wondering if anything will work out (personally, nationally or globally) and hoping that I might be able to stop waking up in the middle of the night sobbing. I’m glad I’ve reached the age where a year feels like just several months.
Thankfully, I started learning German this year and they have a perfect word for this: Lebensmüde. Life-tired. From an article on the Book of Life: “We believe ourselves to be firmly attached to life, but a lot of our behaviour attests to something more interesting and troubling; an occasional longing to give up our hold on existence. It is deeply useful to have this word to hand on gloomy days when it feels like nothing will ever work out.”
2016 wasn’t really anyone’s year so instead of wishing you a happy new year, I’m going to say that I hope, for myself as well as you, that this incoming year will reveal and affirm why we’re still here.
There is a time to be peaceful, a time to let go of arguments and agree to disagree. This is not one of those times. Those of us who care about justice, equality and love more than power, vengeance, winning and getting ahead not only have a right to be outraged; we have a duty to be outraged. Those of us who are Christians not only have a right to be disgusted by claims that God appointed Donald Trump, we have a duty to speak out against such unbiblical falsities. It is not only the right of those of us who have been made much more vulnerable by this election, it is entirely appropriate. Continue reading We Don’t Have To Calm Down
The only response I have to America’s election results last Tuesday is this. Those who are against everything Trump stands for can show it by looking out for all who this election has just made much more vulnerable. On some level, who that is is obvious; these are people whom Trump has specifically targeted – pretty much everyone but straight, cis, wealthy, white men (which, no, is not “just as sexist and racist” as Trump. If I see only white men doing something, it’s not sexist and racist for me to call out white men; it’s speaking the truth. Also, reverse racism is not a thing and reverse sexism is not a thing. It’s the epitome of privilege to demand that the term sexism or racism be applied equally without fighting for actual equality among all). But, really, if we truly mean it when we say “we have to look out for each other,” we need to start paying attention to those who are silenced, endangered or invisibilized when: Continue reading Vulnerability, A Definition in the Trump Era
Our country’s gun laws are ridiculous. That, for example, civilians can rather easily get access to war weapons is unconscionable, even if it is covered under the 2nd Amendment (a dubious assertion; one that seems to miss the point: even if something is within your “rights” to do, are there not other, higher, standards by which to evaluate whether or not you should do it?).
But targeting people with so-called “mental illness” is absolutely not the way to fix them. I’ll be putting the phrase “mental illness” in quotes for the duration of the post, not because I question the suffering of those who experience mental and emotional distress but because the entire field of “mental illness” is an utter mess. Continue reading Gun Control
Should I think of it as the top of this gnarly crag and it’s all downhill from here? It’s been harder for me to hike down a mountain than up it; I’m not only shaky-tired from the climb up, but my jello joints can’t withstand gravity’s suck nearly as easily as they brace for my muscles’ pull against it. Continue reading Sad Lady and the Halfway Point
In another round of “awareness” campaigns, this whole month has been dedicated, supposedly, to that of mental health. Last month was for autism. I’m weary to learn what June will be for, what real-life experience for millions will be reduced to a cause for which people post factually-inaccurate and stigma-producing articles and memes in service of nothing more than feeling like they’re contributing to making the world a better place. I was going to just ignore this “awareness” month campaign (I’ve shared my issues with “awareness” previously) but there’s just too much misinformation, shallow “participation” and ego stroking for me to stay quiet in good conscience. So I’m just going to address a few myths about mental health here. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Part 1
I want to name as trauma the experience of not being chosen in a coupled world. The living alone, the having no one witness your life or help you make life decisions, the having no one to hold or feed you when you get sick, the practical ways that two actually are better than one – because there is certainly nothing in our culture that says we have any reason to expect such care from our friends – are hard, traumatic, enough (though there are differences, this is true for both people who have never married and people facing the “after” of a marriage). But the meaning conferred by our society onto singleness as, essentially, unwantedness is unbearable, not just because the shame of such judgment often provokes tendencies to isolate and further remove oneself from community, but because it may confirm deep suspicions about one’s self. Continue reading This is your culture on trauma
Unless you are willing to take care of me for a while, or take something off my plate, or spend time with me to ease the burden of aloneness, stop telling me to practice “self-care.” That’s a nice-sounding excuse not to show up. Self-care? How about community care? As Bessel Van Der Kolk writes in The Body Keeps the Score, “We barely exist as individual organisms.” A genuine thank-you to friends who have made a consistent effort without making me feel guilty for “taking” their time. Continue reading Sad Lady, Sounding Mad in Mourning
Bessel van der Kolk is a Dutch psychiatrist with 30 years of experience and infinitely more compassion. Reading his work felt like a hug, firm against my railing and flailing but not constricting or threatening. I have a friend who met him, and that’s apparently how talking to him “in the face” (a concatenation of “in person” and “face to face” I made when I was young) feels, too. I’m tempted to simply repost all the quotes I’d put up on Facebook, in an effort to be seen and known, while I was reading this book, right here because they really are the best reasons to read this book. You don’t have to be a therapist or doctor to benefit from this book; its technical precision and ‘shop’ language don’t obscure the message for the lay reader and his gentle yet urgent tone belies his deep concern for those who suffer, both at the hands of those who are supposed to care for them and under the care of the system that is supposed to help them heal. Continue reading The Body Keeps the Score, A Review