Wednesday, August 3, 2011

mixed tape for singls moms

I made a mixed tape a while ago about being a single mom:

click here

Find that making mixed tapes for specific topics in my life is very therapeutic and I can share it with people. Sometime I can't comments or "love" clicks on my mixed tapes. I love it.

Of course, I have to have the anthem, "Baby Mama" by Fantasia. Thank you, Fantasia.

"Lord, I'm Discouraged" by The Hold Steady. Need I say more? Some days it's so discouraging, this road, that is. Some days it hurts and feels awful and I feel so discouraged by everything.

"Sea of Love" cover by Cat Power reminds me of having my baby. I carried her inside me for 9 months and pushed her out of me after a few hours of an amazing birth. My emotions were wild and she was so small and had huge, large eyes. She recognized my voice and I couldn't fucking believe it.
"Do you remember
When we met?
That's the day I knew you were my pet
I want to tell you
How much I love you"

Some specific lyrics from one of the songs,

"right the impossible
you still come through
roads wide enough you built
my heart was shaped by you
oh nights that heard those tears unearthed
a starry sky
and days that match your smile passed
a wink, a hand, my life

*Life likes to throw boulders and stones
reasons for doubt
and the hardest things you’ll ever know
a smile does the rest
finding dreams in a test
but what you see how far
you are

I guess life knows me more then I’d ever would
choices made but are they really ever understood
living day to day but with tomorrow always in sight
light blue skies whisper dreams to us all in time."

I also put Eminem's "Not Afraid" on it. One specific part that calls out to me is, "I'ma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearin down your balcony"

I think I lived into the expectations of others too fucking much. I wanted so much to please everyone because I thought I totally fucked up. I had to make sure that everyone was okay. Two people specifically were my dad and his girlfriend. They really put me down so much about everything that I have done and I've never really felt true support from them. Mostly just pure rage and shame. Every time I hear that above lyric, I think of them.

Some of the songs I put on there are kind of cheesy, but they fit. Some of the songs I don't really like, but they fit. Like, the Christina Aguilera song,

"I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring me down
So don't you bring me down today"

From that, I think of the people from my past that have abused me, shamed me, and brought me down. I stopped giving them power. While I still fucking struggle with that, I still fucking believed that I do not have to give that shit power anymore. Those people and that shit no longer deserved my time or energy.

The Chuck Ragan song, "The Boat" has the following lyrics:
"Some days we're ripped and torn away
From the shore and tossed to a watery grave
Set adrift in the depths of the drink in the hands of the gods we curse"

Because this is truly how I feel some days. Some days I feel so defeated and I feel that everything I have done is pointless and that I am just overwhelmed and done with everything. Or that I wish everything was done.

When I left my baby-daddy over 5 years ago, I was so fucking depressed. I remember listening to, "Between the Bars" by Elliot Smith. I listened to it over and over. The first part sticking in my mind, "Drink up baby, stay up all night
With the things you could do
You won't but you might
The potential you'll be that you'll never see
The promises you'll only make
Drink up with me now
And forget all about the pressure of days
Do what I say and I'll make you okay
And drive them away
The images stuck in your head"

I struggled with substance abuse (now almost 3 years sober). Drinking red wine by myself was so amazingly self-medicating for me. It helped drive away the images and make me forget about the shit going on in my life.

In the song, "for the widows in paradise, for the fatherless in Ypsilanti" by Sufjan Stevens, he ends the song with, "I did everything for you" over and over. This reminds me of trying so hard to make it work with my ex, but it also reminds me of being a mom and doing everything for my kid to make things work. I deeply care about her well being and in the best way I possibly can, I try to make things okay for her. Coming from a domestic violence background, we have had to have the courage to work through so much shit to feel okay. I desperately hope my interventions NOW prevent her from getting with abusers in the future. She doesn't deserve that, she's already gone through that in her almost 10 years on this earth.

In Feist's "Feel it all", she says, "I know more than I knew before." Exactly. Even though some days, I really shame myself for absolutely everything I have done and I focus on every mistake I have made and I think I have totally fucked myself and my kid up forever. I seriously have to remember that I have done the absolute best that I kid and yes, I know more than I knew before.

In Kanye West's "All Falls Down", it just reminds me of some of the struggles and it came out around the same time I left my ex and became a single mom.

"You Da Shit" by Lil' Wayne is fairly self explanatory. "Show em what you got baby
Show em you the shit
Go on throw it to the wall, something gonna stick, believe that
F-ck these other bitches, don’t trip
You’ve been working too hard, tell em n-ggas cut the check"

Thanks, Lil' Wayne. I'll show them I'm the shit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

love: being in love

When I first got sober, I was terrified of love. The last love I had had fucked up over, was abusive, and every fling after that wasn't that serious. I dated a few, but the relationship never went anywhere. I fucked a lot. I was really good at portraying the "sex positive" side of myself, while feeling really insecure and off. I proclaimed myself as anti-marriage since I can remember, even refusing to wear a ring on my "ring finger." With my pregnancy, it was never pushed which was good. I would have refused it, anyway.

Now I'm changing and it's rather terrifying. When I first got sober, I also entered a relationship with someone I am still with. This was new for me. It took me a long time to call him my "boyfriend" as I felt this need to use gender-neutral, more feminist terms (or something). I used "partner" or "person I'm in a relationship", etc. I finally started using "boyfriend" and it was rather refreshing. I felt more genuine.

Anyway, back to being terrified. I put up a face on being against monogamy. For some reason, I felt as though my politics pointed to that or to be a better feminist or queer, I had to be against monogamy. I wanted to prove how radical I was by saying that.

I had to put a lot of that aside when I started developing feelings for my boyfriend. I knew him as a friend, but I knew I also liked him more than a friend, somewhere inside me. To be able to start a relationship with him, I had to shut off a lot of the shit that was in my brain. Because I felt happy with him and I cared about him.

Lately I've been really angry at how I've been changing toward these types of things. I'm not anti-marriage, anymore. I'm not against monogamy. I like getting flowers and gifts. I said I didn't like those things before, although I do think I did like that stuff, I just had to portray something. Now I find myself being a hopeless romantic, listening to love mixes on 8tracks, making my own "fall in love" mixes, and doing cutesy things.

Where did this come from? Is it from sobriety and I let some of my walls down? Is it my age? Is it socialization? Did I conform without knowing it? Is it sensitization? Is it just exhaustion?

I'm not sure, but all that other shit was utterly exhausting. I need/ed to figure out a way to understand where my happiness comes from and whatever this is: is fucking okay. It's okay if I like to get flowers even though some feminist or queer theorist said it was sexist to do so. It's okay if I think marriage is a cute thing people want to do. It's okay to celebrate one's love for another.

Regardless, I'm changing and I need to deal with it. I'm still the person I've always been, just changing. It's okay if my opinions change and if I change. I'm still a feminist and still bisexual. I'm still a Leftist. I'm still a human being.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Externalized contradictions, internalized pain.

I am educated and so passionate about sexuality, health and sexuality, sexuality identity, body image, eating disorders, and so on.

I am so open about telling people to get HIV tests and STI/STD tests. Or being open about annual pap smears and mammograms after reaching the age of 40. Like, I know the times when people should start doing these things. I know where to get pap smears at and if they're poor - I have the resources. I have been open about my pre-cancerous cells on my cervix and the treatable STI I got from an ex-partner.

I am open about use of condoms, birth control, dental dams, and know so much about each type of female birth control such as the pill, Nuva Ring, IUD, etc. I am fairly knowledgeable about the percentage of protection in regard to pregnancy. I am open about sexual partners and being safe. I am supportive about rape issues and sexual abuse and assault. I have resources and so much information for people. I hand out condoms and dental dams, for fuck's sake.

I am open about being bisexual to most people. I support LGBTQ issues. I educate myself about these issues.

It's funny how I desperately try to teach my daughter to love her body AND to eat healthy. Or that I have always been interested in eating disorders and I never want anyone to go through them. I read books and watched movies about them growing up. I know they cause death and other issues. I know they can kill the esophagus and the teeth. I know they can cause infertility and many other awful health risks.

However, I am reading a book about sexuality for women in recovery. And I realized that ALL of this stuff that I am SO educated about and so passionate about - I NEVER applied it to myself.

The truth is, I have an awful hard time with my own sexuality, myself as a sexual being. I have been sexually abused by dad (and I even have a hard time writing or saying "molested" or incest). This has impacted me WAY MORE THAN I ever thought.

I hated my body (and I sometimes still do). I never touched myself until I was 19. I never even thought of doing that because I thought my vulva was gross. Even when I did finally masturbate, I was ashamed of myself and didn't do it for a long time afterward. Almost every partner I have had, I have not had an orgasm. Because everything was for THEM. As long as they finished, whew, I could be done with it. I have never really known what I actually like, sexually, because I've never given myself to chance to figure it out.

When I was thinking, I was having unprotected sex at times and didn't care. Thankfully, I was going in every year for STI testing. But here I was, telling people to USE CONDOMS and DENTAL DAMS and I didn't every time I had sex.

The other night I told my boyfriend some things I had never told anyone to the detail I told him. I told him I hated my body sometimes and these thoughts have been burned into my mind since I can remember. I was specific. I hate my stomach because it's fat. I hate my thighs because they're fat. I hate my calves because they're too big. I hate my the lower part of my shoulder because there's too much skin. I hate my arms because they're too big. I hate that I might get a double chin. I hate how my hands have dimples on them. I hate my hair sometimes. And even more, now that I'm typing: I hate that my face is changing and I'm getting wrinkles because of my age.

What.the.fuck. How could I claim to be body-positive when I hate my own? While I strive for health and don't want people to have health consequences based on their size, weight, etc, I hate my body. But I'm telling others to not hate their body? Why?

I used to wear clothes that were too big for me. I remember visiting my kid's dad in jail with a black shirt and jeans on. He looked at me and said I looked like a slut, put down the phone that we spoke over through the glass, and walked away. That was a turning point. No more form fitting clothing for me. I bought jeans and pants way too big. I didn't know how to dress myself. I wore things that didn't really bring attention to me, but also did at times. I wanted to dress "cool" enough, but also didn't want to look sexy.

I remember thinking I was fat when I was 6 fucking years old. SIX. I remember restricting my food when I was that young. Feeling good when I didn't eat, feeling bad when I did eat. I felt guilty when I ate. When I was 17, it got worse. I was exercising a ton, eating a granola bar a day (and bragging about it), making myself throw up when I did eat. A year after I left my ex, I started taking "natural" laxatives everyday. I didn't like feeling like I had food in my stomach. I'd much rather eat and shit it out. That's what I did for months. No one knew. It felt good. I felt cleansed. When my rabbit died last summer, I started taking these natural laxatives again. I remember being in amazement because my younger sister did not seem to have this issue. I put pillows or sweaters over my stomach when I sat. I still do this. I don't want people to see my nasty stomach. I sit with my hands across my stomach.

When I got sober, I realized almost every partner I had sex with (except, sometimes with my kid's dad) involved alcohol or drugs. I also realized that I honestly didn't have that good of a time with most of them. I didn't get off with most of them. Some of them I used. I had/have such fucking low self esteem, that I would fuck these people and then try to figure out if we had a relationship without actually asking. Then I would be upset when our relationship just ended up being sexual. I DIDN'T WANT THAT, BUT I DID. I didn't want it because I felt used and I wanted it because I realized that if I didn't close to them, then I wouldn't get hurt. Fuck relationships! Fuck monogamy!! Good fucking wall I had so carefully put up. Sometimes I used politics to validate this wall. Example: monogamy is patriarchal and sexist. So fuck it.

As far as my bisexuality goes, I've only been with one woman. So that's not good enough? I constantly judge myself on that. Or think I'm not bisexual enough. God fucking dammit, I can't help it if I like men, too. This is fucking okay. But I also have a hard time with dealing that.

In some ways, this has all been incredibly contradicting. However, in some ways, this is the only way in which I knew how to deal with my own shit. I externalized everything. Absolutely everything without looking at my own issues in the mirror. This was a way for me to be safe. To stay safe. To not get hurt. I could ignore my own shit, while focusing on everyone else. I could pretend as if I truly believed in these ideas, but deep down inside, I never really did accept them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I never write because I never have time, but lately I've been really annoyed with the concept of privilege. Not out of denial because I have it. I know I have and have no problems saying I have it, but because the constant focus on privilege does not change how things structurally occur in society. In fact, I'd say it's a distraction from the actual issues in society.

So I came across this white rapper who did a piece about how he's white, a raper, and the dynamics of this and so on. Here is a more specific example:

His name is Guante and he's from Minneapolis.

This piece of his explores his experience of being white and what that means in the hip hop community. A lot of people like it. In fact, a lot of people love it. It has also been posted on some blogs aimed toward people of color.

So, my concern and/or question, thoughts, whatever is ...

Basically, Guante put himself in the SAME position of power. Because now, everyone loves him and is applauding him for calling out his own privilege. This puts him in a safe and comfortable spot. His whiteness grants him privilege (privilege & oppression is everywhere and everyone experiences both), but because he speaks out on it, it places him the same position of power and it doesn't change anything.

Then people applaud him for speaking on this. He's posted all over the Internet. People think it's SO COOL that he did this.

Why? Why is it awesome for him to put himself in the same position of power that he is already in. He's a white male in a society that has racism, sexism, so on. He hasn't changed anything structurally to take away privilege. His piece on his own privilege doesn't take away his privilege. It keeps him in the position of power.

Can he relax now that he's called himself out?

Does constantly focusing on privilege do anything to change how things structurally are?

Does his piece liberate anyone?

Does it get rid of racism? Sexism?

Here's a couple article to go along with what I am saying:

Realizations: Identity politics

The past couple of years I have questioned identity politics. The ideology has gaps. I would see parts of the ideas go so far and extreme, that there was no way out.

For example, I could discuss each identity of mine (gender, mother, sexuality, race, ability, so on) and call out for inclusion into society and culture of each. Basically, identity politics theorizes that identities reflect one's politics. Unfortunately, inclusion does not change structural problems.

Another person who has more oppression (based on gender, sexuality, race, so on) than me could call me out for not including them in one of my ideas and/or arguments. Thus, the central focus of identity politics is focused on the marginalized person whoever that is.

This may sound like a favorable way to approach things. However, I think it becomes so convoluted that nothing makes sense anymore. New identities are constantly being added. Of course, I recognize that everyone has different experiences, not everyone is white or male and so on. But when do the identities stop? Is there an ending if I simply focus on identities?

When I started to re-think identity politics, I reflected on how much I called out men on male privilege. Usually, I wasn't responded to with many answers. In some ways, I can understand why. What do I really say to someone who tells me "you have privilege!" out of anger and frustration? I can understand the anger and frustration (yes, it angers me off that men make more than women, for example). But when I tell a man this, what can he say? That he's sorry? Can he make his privilege disappear? Not in our society and culture, unfortunately. As a white person, I know I have privilege, but I also know that simply because of my awareness, I can't get rid of it. It's a structural issue.

When I started looking at the underlying issue of why I was constantly calling men out for their privilege, I realized I had a lot of anger toward men. Mostly it was based on past experiences I had with a couple of men. I also realized that I was jealous and resentful toward men. I wish I had what they had. I wish I wasn't treated differently because I was a woman. I wish my gender didn't experience more violence. I wish there weren't policies and ideologies based on my gender.

Recently, in my feminist theory class, we were talking about the idea of resentment, that philosophers like Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche first wrote about. Slavoj Zizek has expanded on the idea, more recently. Honestly, I thought the realization of my idea of my resentment toward men was a new idea. Nobody ever discusses resentment when discussing identity politics and privilege.

Basically, the idea of resentment is creating an illusion of an outside evil or an enemy. This evil or enemy is what to be blamed for one's inferiority. There is clearly pain associated with being oppressed (I would argue that all of us, in this culture and society, is oppressed on some level and yes, even straight, white men). One creates a way to deal with the pain, they create an external scapegoat. When I was dealing with the pain, my scapegoat was straight, white men. There are many other scapegoats. I can be considered a scapegoat for others.

I could tell everyone that I acknowledge my many privileges, however, as an individual, I cannot escape this privilege. If I could, I would. Oppression needs to be looked at from a structural standpoint.

Once I realized that I had resentment toward men, most of my anger disappeared. My energy was focused on structural issues, instead of individual men. I accepted that I am a woman in a sexist culture and radical structural changes need to occur in order for sexism to disappear.

Lastly, I don't have an answer on how to change these things, but I think these issues need to be re-directed in more constructive conversations.

Language and fines

Recently the NBA commissioner David Stern fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 for using a homophobic slur.

While I do not support what Bryant said, do not agree, and am a part and an advocate of the LGBTQ community, the fine shocked me.

Many LGBTQ organizations applauded the fine and demanded an apology from Bryant. He did apologize.

He is however, appealing the fine (honestly, I don't blame him). Once he apologized, it seemed as though there were sighs of relief, as if, homophobia was erased because Bryant apologized and got a fine.

$100,000 will do nothing (where does that money even go? To help the LGBTQ community? Probably not). My first thought was that Stern fined him to make the NBA "look better" by trying to "combat" homophobia.

When in fact, fines will not make homophobia go away. It only sets up a situation in which people will fear saying that word because of the fine.

It doesn't set up a situation in which people actually communicate how they feel when they hear that word.

In other words, the fear of the fine is why people won't say the word, as opposed to discussing how it impacts them or actually doing something about homophobia.

How about the many players who have been accused of rape? Some of them are not fined as much as Bryant was. One example is Garrett Wittels, a baseball player who got a $10,000 bail for being accused of rape.

He also was cleared to go to practice for his team and the court case is still pending.

He raped 17-year-old girls. Raped. He did not say an offensive word; he changed these girls' lives forever.

Wouldn't it be more productive to have conversations about how one feels when they hear a word or phrase, instead of throwing fines at celebrities and/or sports figures and creating laws to not use certain words?

Ironically, while writing this article, I came across an article critiquing the constant onslaught against language called "From Redistribution to Recognition: A Left Critique of Multiculturalism" by Anis Shivani. Shivani discusses a similar argument I am proposing here, so I only thought it was appropriate to cite him in this article.

His argument and where I am going is that politics have started to focus on language and other superficial and surface problems.

Talking about and focusing on language does not change or really challenge systematic oppressions. Basically, it sets up a situation in which people feel this need to constantly not offend people without ever being told the reasons why.

There is a constant response of, "that's offensive! Don't say it!" Followed with a fine (in some situations) or an urged apology (as if that erases sexism, racism, homophobia and so on).

Supposedly, these fines and apologies have become acceptable and only creates a growing internal resentment of the person who said the word or phrase.

A quote from Shivani's article states, "Liberals, rather than changing the economic conditions leading to subjection of women and minorities (a project they gave up on a long time ago), sought to attack some forms of speech, limiting it at times and abolishing it at others. Not economic reorganization but speech performance became the center of attention."

As I was saying, the constant bombardment of language has become the central focus of Liberals.

Instead of doing something to actually change the systematic oppression and economic situation of the oppressed, groups and individuals are constantly calling out people for words they say.

Sure, what someone says may hurt me, but an apology does nothing beyond an individual level.

In fact, I feel more assertive and empowered when I tell someone what they said personally hurt me, as opposed to living off of assumptions that people shouldn't say certain things because it may/may not be offensive to me.

An apology does not change the systematic oppression that sexism has created for being a woman. I've already accepted that our culture is sexist, why do I want to try to reform it?

I'd rather live in a world in which sexism (and other oppressions) don't exist.

Do I have an answer on how to do that? Honestly, no.

However, as a Leftist, I'd much rather see real change occur instead of fines being slapped on celebrities or soft Liberal groups (such as the Human Rights Campaign) publicly demand an apology.

These types of actions take away energy from what is truly going on. It hides true oppressions and the reality of people's lives.

As Shivani said and I am also arguing, speech and not offending people has become the center of attention for Liberals, instead of focusing on the reality of true oppression and economic disadvantages.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not feeling happy in capitalism.

I haven't posted in forever because I AM SO FUCKING BUSY.

And I HATE being this fucking busy. I get so busy that sometimes I just end up sitting on the computer at night doing nothing because I become so apathetic. I end up posting shit on facebook or reading stupid shit. I am just so ... I don't know. I am very apathetic right now. I want it to be May 2012 and I want to be graduated and down and hopefully trying to find a job. But yeah ... who the fuck knows. I want to stay in school so I didn't have to work, but school is driving me mad because I am so busy.

So, I have been thinking about capitalism, working, motherhood, being a woman, feminism, happiness, etc. I really resent the idea that 40 hours a week is a reasonable amount of hours to work. I wish it was less. Yes, I completely understand that, sadly, people had to fight to get 40 hours a week (and not more!). But my day is totally eaten up by this time. Then I only have a few hours with my kid and by the time I get home, I'm rarely up for playing (even though I desperately try to), and then I just want some time to actually do something for myself but I don't even now what that should be. Is this life fair? Honestly. Of course, I made the decisions I made but I never really felt I was truly free and liberated in any of these choices. I know that I pull myself together and get shit done, but do I really want to? I want a life full of freedom, choices, and I want to feel liberated. Getting a degree, a full time job, a career, etc is really not on that list. I have $80,000 in student loans, a $6500 car loan, and some miscellaneous debt building. I will probably never own a house and if I do - when the hell would I have the time to even work on it? What if I want more kids? Do I have the time/energy/resources/money/mental sanity for that? I feel I've missed out on my 9.5 year old kid's life because of school, work, my mental health.

Then I wonder if I am feeling this way because this is my time of sobriety or something. This is where I am at. Maybe it is, but FUCK. I desperately want to not be busy and I want to feel okay with where I am at and my choices. I don't want to be scrapping by.

Being on public assistance the past 10 years has been SO FUCKING draining. Mygod. Talk about the complete opposite of empowerment. It's so disempowering. I have to turn in sheets every month about my income and other things to get money for food. Granted, I realize that's reasonable, but fuck! I hate not being able to support my kid and myself.

Maybe I'm feeling this way because I've been on poverty for fucking ever?

I don't know how and where to feel happiness. Is it in myself? I suppose. But how? I am a slave to debt and will become a slave in the world of work someday soon (again). I want a total systematic change.