A Modern Woman on the Move

in hot pursuit of the great green light…

Turning 30, Living My Dreams!

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For a couple years, I have been planning and brainstorming as to how I can support queer students in the after school program that I work for, waiting until I felt more secure of my position and my relationship with the director, before I straight up asked to facilitate a queer support group. I was thinking of facilitating something like a Gay Straight Alliance, but more spectrum inclusive, but then I learned the after school program had lost their Black Student Union teacher and therefore BSU, leaving a greater need within the after school program for support of marginalized students facing various kinds of discrimination and challenges. The idea I’ve come up with is a club called Youth Empowerment and Solidarity, or YES!

My plan for YES! is to do activities centered on strengthening student bonds and relationships,  talk about constructive communication (especially non violent communication), talk about conflict resolution with peers and authority figures,  discuss key vocabulary that will turn students on to verbalizing their struggles (ageism, homophobia, empowerment, solidarity, autonomy, consent, oppression, marginalization, racism, sexism, etc.), talk about media messages and the importance of dismantling them, talk about the importance of caring for yourself (physical and emotional) and how to care about others, have guests whose experiences will add to the conversations we’ll be having in class (different community leaders and activists), talk to the students about local youth resources (Multnomah County Youth Commission, SMYRC, Portland Youth Summit, Youth Empowered Action, Rock ‘N’ Roll Camp for Girls, etc.), read/discuss parts of Stay Solid!, and address/talk about whatever else the students want or need to talk about. This is the poster I made for YES! to promote it within the school…

yesposter

Since I was a preteen/teen living in poverty with an abusive and neglectful parent, struggling to get out of that environment and better my life, it’s been a dream of mine to become a teacher and to have a positive impact on youth, but also to advocate for youth rights. I vowed I would grow up to be an adult that made a difference in the lives of young people. Back then, I thought I would become a biology teacher and just be present for my students. Over the years, I have switched gears a bit. I began to loath the structure of the public education system (as I watched it fail many of my peers and realized its oppressive and inherent flaws) and I fell away from wanting to study biology to become an educator, deciding to pursue my own creativity through comics and zines and wanting to teach kids those skills and more around independent publishing, seeking involvement and belonging in those communities… Which was a struggle, especially coming into the comics “community” in Portland in my early twenties, as the community was riddled with oppressive, power-hungry dudes that were incredibly misogynist (that special brand of nerdy misogyny with a lot of gate-keeping). But, I started doing indie comics workshops for kids and broadened to teaching general zine workshops for kids. As I had quickly become disillusioned by the comics community, I turned more towards zines, becoming a PZS organizer because that community felt safer, being facilitated by more women and having a Safer Spaces Policy (safer, but certainly not without it’s own problems and crappy people, as I also learned over the years). Along the way, I made a lot of friends, zines, anthologies, and memories. Becoming well known as a zinester by volunteering in that community on so many levels and working with youth int hose communties lead me to be invited into schools to teach.  Working with kids to make zines felt so right. Zines encourage literacy in a very engaging way and making their own media is very empowering to young folks. It also opens a dialog with youth as to how mainstream media fails them. Now, my path as a zine educator has helped me fulfill my goal of working with and empowering youth not only with teaching zines, but with other interests, like debate, games class, and social justice activism (my new group, YES!). After I do a couple terms of YES! where I currently teach, I’m hoping to bring it into other schools.

In case you don’t know, I am about to turn 30 this month, so I have been doing a lot of reflecting as to where I am at and feeling really happy with my life and excited for everything in front of me (hence this post). I find myself accomplishing quite a few of some of my oldest goals and feeling like my heart and mind are going to explode.

Especially my heart. This year, for my annual Friendsgiving, I was hosting in my shared home with two amazing life partners. I have been living with my partners Matt and Marco since May and it’s been a very transformative experience. There have been bumps (mainly Marco and myself have wrestled with some baggage from past bad relationships and our childhoods clashing a little bit), as with any relationship transition into deeper intimacy (the deeper intimacy brings out deeper demons), but I have honestly been amazed with Matt, Marco, and myself. We garden together, we’re building a couch together,  we laugh together, we cry together, we’re planning comics together, we celebrate together, we chill out together. We also have separate spaces and times, we schedule date nights and alone nights, balancing our desires to be together with time for ourselves. They each have there own rooms that they share with me, but I’m also working on having  my own (I’m lagging because I also have the smallest room and I just need to get rid of a lot of stuff before it’s a functional space). When I kicked an abusive partner out of my house a few years ago, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t live with anyone again unless it was multiple partners, thinking that, if more than one partner wanted to cohabitate with me, we’d probably all be having pretty awesome relationships and they would probably be awesome people whose goals in life were compatible with mine. Both Matt and Marco are incredibly sweet, supportive, accountable, and motivated people. I find myself continually inspired by them both and feeling thankful for them both.

I have wanted to have deeper loves in my life for a long time, trying to have healthy relationships and practicing non monogamy (bent more towards polyamory) over the years with a lot of trial and error, but I finally feel I am sharing my life in meaningful way with not just one amazing partner, but two. We have shared space, shared goals, shared projects. It all has me feeling incredibly fulfilled and happy, my home is feeling like one of the safest and most wonderful places… It really feels like a home and Matt and Marco are my family. All with room for more.

So, with all this, I am going into my thirties. Considering where I’ve been and where I’m at, I think this may be the most amazing decade of my life. It took a lot of work to get here, but it’s all been incredibly worthwhile.

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Written by lovemotionstory

December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

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