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Archive for the ‘honesty’ Category

Tres Corazones Después Año

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A lot of people feel grouchy about Valentine’s Day and I get it, I really do. I have not always been happy about love, nor have I always had good relationships. Plus, in a capitalist, oppressive, heteronormative culture, holidays like Valentine’s Day can feel like just another obnoxious reason people are trying to get you to buy things…

However, I am seriously into love, celebration, and giving.

For a winter holiday present (or, I suppose you could say. a Christmas gift) in 2013, I made both Matt and Marco a zine, The 3 of Us. For Valentine’s Day, or The Infamous Love Day, I also handmade them a little surprise…

Last year, just before The Infamous Love Day, two of my partners, Matt and Marco had just moved into an apartment together, becoming more than metamours, now they were housemates. I was so thrilled that these two dudes loved me and were confidant and close enough not to be bothered by the expectations that society puts on them. To not view each other as competition, to not be worried that people will think they’re gay, but to think highly of each other and value each other as friends on a deep level, so much so that they decided to become housemates. To celebrate The Infamous Love Day, I wanted to delight in the the space they were sharing and make them both feel special and appreciated. So, I made a lot of little paper hearts. On sparkly construction paper,  writing on each one some quality that I loved about one of them and I hid them all over their new space!

lotsofheart mattmarcohearts

A year later, I find myself sharing that same space with them. To me, this was a really big deal. I have only had two experiences living with partners and neither were very good. One was when I was 19, the other when I was 26, and it was an incredibly abusive and unhealthy situation with Andy Johnson. I found myself staying with the family I nannied for as a safety caution while waiting until Andy moved out of the house I lived in. So, a commitment I have had to myself since then was that I would NOT live with another partner again unless I was moving in with more than one partner. I felt this way partially because a big component of that ex’s abuse was his jealousy. The first time he assaulted me, he was blackout drunk and he had come to where I was on a date to confront me. Because he agreed to have an ethically non monogamous relationship with me and I am super into openness/honesty,   he knew exactly where I was. After making a scene in the bar, he followed me outside,  pushing me against a wall to yell at me about the mistakes I was making. From there, during the relationship, his jealousy only got worse and more hateful and more destructive. Being in a relationship like that can really eat away at your trust with yourself, so I felt like making the commitment that I wouldn’t move in with another partner unless it was multiple partners was important for two reasons. The first reason being that, ultimately, I want to live in a poly-family type of household, so why make a big commitment like moving in with anyone unless they share that value? Secondly, I don’t want to be with anyone violently jealous again, and making the commitment to move in with me and another partner of mine (hopefully) would mean that the potential partners I would be moving in with would not be violent (much less violently jealous). If one of them turned out to be, at least I would have a closer witness this time (though a few people got to witness Andy’s violent abuse despite not living with us).  The thing about having been with an abusive partner is that there remains with you a doubt in your own judgement. Even when a relationship seems great, I still feel worried in the back of my mind that everything will fall apart at any moment.

While we’ve had our own hurdles to clear the last year, I really feel like my home is with Matt and Marco. We find ourselves gardening together, building a couch together, planning our futures, working on an autobio poly comic, working on an empowerment app, and more. I feel this space and that my relationship with the two of them is really constructive. This mix I’ve made for them is an attempt at capturing our feelings and journey over the last year as a story that is told as a mix… <3

Tres Corazones Después Año: A Love Day Mix for Matt and Marco – https://db.tt/3GtjD8iX  (it’s one mp3 file, because I seriously mixed it y’all)

1. I Feel It In My Heart – Talking Heads
2. Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
3. Joan Of Arc – Arcade Fire
4. Love Is Dangerous – French Horn Rebellion
5. Sweaty (Shazam Remix) – Muscles
6. Mommy Complex – Peaches
7. I Can Change – LCD Soundsystem
8. Myth – Beach House
9. Good Intent – Kimbra
10. Forever – HAIM
11. The Reason The Night Is Long – Rainer Maria
12. Step Up – Hercules
13. Little Shadow – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
14. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush
15. This Too Shall Pass – OK Go
16. You’ll Find A Way – Santigold
17. Vaporize – Broken Bells
18. I Don’t Know What The Weather Will Be – Laura Mvula
19. The Good Thing – Talking Heads

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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.

Written by lovemotionstory

December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

Chosen family meets biological family.

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This past weekend, Matt’s mom came to visit.

Primarily, she wanted to visit to come to Matt’s book signing for the work he did on the Plants vs. Zombie comic. For us, it was a chance to humanize ourselves and our life to a woman who is very against who we are and the life we’re living, all while having little to no understanding of us or many things about our lives.

Matt’s mom’s visit was so many things all at once. Pleasant, awkward, fun, stressful, relieving, revealing, and more. I realized that, in a lot of ways, she’s like my own mother, but without the violent abuse and alcoholism and with more of the racism, homophobia, and sexual shaming. She was very polite to Marco and I, saving her fretful, phobic meanderings about our relationship for when her and Matt were alone. But she also said she appreciated that Marco and I were nice to her. Having recently gone through a divorce which involved a large amount of disempowerment and deceit, she is in a tender and vulnerable place. She has a lot of trust issues, which is really understandable. We recognized that and, though a lot of her fears are irrational and due to a lack of experience outside her own circumstances, a lot of what we’re going through is a culture clash. So, we tried to just have fun and hang out with her, to try to give her some experience with us that would be positive. Also, because I love Matt so much, I want to show his mother that, despite our differences, I want to be there for her and to care for her. We went out to eat at some of our favorite restaurants, we made dinner in, we made terrariums, we took her to Multnomah Falls, we traveled to the Newport Aquarium, we showed her our progress on pizza couch, I babysat the neighbor’s kiddo and brought him over while Matt was making dinner, we got her to watch Janelle Monae videos, we sang to her at karaoke, and we had a lot of conversations with her about our lives and our beliefs (and even about how we may want to have kids). The whole time, we we’re battling off colds (mine really hit me Monday, when we went to the aquarium), so I was bummed out that I felt I wasn’t more in top form, more articulate and energetic, but we made do. It’s so intense to feel a longing to include someone who thinks so little of you, but it’s also something I’m quite used to in life. I’m thankful she was at least polite and thankful she felt we were kind. We’re united in our love for Matt, which, I believe, will carry us far.

Written by lovemotionstory

November 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm

An Internet Feminism Post…

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Internet feminism. Let’s hop on the train!

UGH. So, one problem I really have with Sinead’s letter is that it she rather demonizes sex work (I hope inadvertently), which is incredibly problematic, but, despite that, she has a point and some insight… The bigger problem I have with it? Why isn’t the letter addressed to the men and the industry? If Sinead thinks Miley is being used, why condescend to directly and her publicly? Throw the dudes in power and the institution under the bus publicly, call Miley to come over for tea. Maybe I’m wrong, but she’s Sinead O’Connor! Couldn’t Sinead have her manager or agent or whatever call Miley’s and they do lunch or something? If Sinead cares about Miley in this way and is mad at what’s happening, I feel that attacking Miley is a bit… Philosophically misdirected.

I don’t think it’s really montoring behavior, but I want to give her a little respect for trying because, let’s get real, Miley has been doing some problematic stuff.

Amanda Palmer’s letter? Triple UGH. Considering Amanda Palmer’s track record, I’m surprised she’s interested in advocating for anyone in any kind of solidarity. Her past problematic behavior (that she has been terribly unaccountable for) ranges from transphobia, to ablism, to racism,to exploiting other artists, to rapey skits aimed at another female pop star… Does this letter mean she’ll finally apologize to Katy Perry? But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, as it reads to me like she’s advocating for another white, cisfemale popstar about doing whatever the fuck she wants without consideration to anything.

I agree that Miley’s wardrobe being revealing or sexual shouldn’t be something she taking criticism for, but appropriating the experience of sex workers and non white folks to make a buck demands a lot of criticism and leave me with very little respect for Miley… Especially if she is running her show.

Also… http://feministcurrent.com/8074/
And for LOLs at myself… http://www.autostraddle.com/open-letters-an-open-letter-199234/

Written by lovemotionstory

October 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Supporting Women You Know…. Reciprocation and Integrity in Subcultures and Radical Communities, Where’s It At?

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Personally, I feel that the most feminist thing you can do is be a supportive and accepting friend to other women in your life. To defend the women in your life when they’re being torn down by others, to work not to tear down other women, to help other women you know. Even the loud women your other friends are “intimidated” by. I know people think I’m such a strong and independent person and whatever, but this applies to a few people in my life (right now and all the time) and it breaks my heart. I’m sick of being treated like an alien by people who will also call me when they’re freaking out and unhappy. Many people say that reciprocation and respect is important to them, yet seem unable to see where they’re exploitative of certain people in their lives. If you’re more interested in talking to one or all three male people I’m dating than me, it’s time to more closely examine your internalized sexism and get over the fact that I am a woman and I have opinions, ethics, and confidence to speak my mind. Yes, all at the same time. I know it’s hard to believe and it’s really weird, but get over it.

Meeting people in a lot of subcultures and radical communities, I still often approach them as potential new friends who I should try to have solidarity with. This means extending myself to others. It means being honest. It means trying to meet them where they are at. That’s something I believe in, I feel it would be unethical to approach people that I share communities any other way… Yet I am consistently disappointed that most people don’t behave that way, even though many  think they do. I recognize that expectation often breeds disappointment, so, while I acknowledge that meeting people where they’re at means that there are people I will want to support that won’t be able to reciprocate that support, I must confess that I am still very weary and I am still learning how to balance having love for myself with loving others in my communities.

Shouldn’t I expect that women seeking to empower themselves and be anti-oppressive would be a bit more responsible towards their female friends and their relationships? Shouldn’t I expect that dudes who attend panels on ending rape culture wouldn’t spend a couple hours complaining about how I have such a strong personality to one of my partners? Shouldn’t I expect that a sex and consent educator in a sex positive community wouldn’t push the boundaries of a non sober person they’re hanging out with at their house while their asleep? Shouldn’t I expect that other queer radicals who complain about feeling isolated would think about how little they reach out to the same person they’re complaining to about feeling lonely and isolated to?  You know, maybe reach out when they don’t have something to complain about, just for fun or because they know I’m going through a hard time? Shouldn’t I expect the people I am supporting to be equally willing to meet me wherever I am at?

The thing is that those people might not think of me as worth their time outside of what I might be able to do for them (listen to their problems, advocate for them on their behalf as mediator, give them a ride, etc). It breaks my heart, but I also don’t want to be closed off to others because I recognize that everyone has to start somewhere in learning how to really build genuine relationships of reciprocation. I also theorize that those people don’t realize what they have to offer in personal relationships. I find that, because I often take on leadership roles in projects or communities, people imagine I have all the answers or that I have magical, self-esteem powers. I think some people don’t reciprocate because they don’t imagine themselves as having anything to offer me. I also imagine that some of this may come from the fact that some people view me as inherently different from them because I am a little bit different from them, so we couldn’t possibly be closer friends, though they are using me as a confidant because their friends are unable to help them in ways they imagine I can help them in whatever moments they’re seeking me out. I think stepping down from some community roles this past summer will help change this a bit for me moving forward, but I hate that I have to pull back in order not to feel like I am overwhelmed by being there for people, simply because they are unable to reciprocate, due to lack of maturity, courage, or knowledge to see how draining and selfish they can be in their personal relationships.

Unsolicited advice? You think you’re an activist, you think you’re a feminist? Start in your own life, deconstruct your biases and oppressive dynamics. Stop struggling to have white male approval above everyone else. Be there for the people you turn to and rely on even when it’s not convenient or when it’s painful and forces you to have hard conversations. Do you feel down on yourself, do you feel disempowered, do you feel unheard? Look around at who is close to you. Do they tear down women they perceive as weird or powerful? Are they willing to listen to women? I will be the first to say I haven’t always practiced behaving like this and it’s something I still find myself needing work on, it’s been a long journey, but it’s something I work really hard towards. I have found that trying to have supportive relationships with other women, even when I don’t imagine that I totally relate to them, has been one of the most transformative experiences in my life for loving myself. I hope that loving the women and other people around me is a journey I never find myself ending…

And I hope to have more people in my life who are willing to respect me as a human, not a stereotype or just another resource for them to use as they learn more about the world and how to empower themselves.

Even though I am complaining, I want to acknowledge that I do have a few really awesome friends, like Katy and Becky and my partners Marco and Matt, who do actually do this. I want you to know how thankful for you that I am. You make me feel so less lonely in this world and you all remind me that there are folks who appreciate the energy I put into my relationships and who will return it… Or tell people trashin’ on me that they’re wrong or they just don’t get what’s up. I would feel much more alone and hopeless and drained without y’all.

Written by lovemotionstory

September 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Being Myself

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The older I get, the more I am fully myself and live the life I want to live, because I have confronted myself and my inner workings. I have confronted my biases (granted, my identities force me to because there is a lot around me that would have me be biased and hate on myself) and I see that they are an issue to be constantly tackled. And the more I am fully myself, the more people simultaneously admire me for being myself while also trying to shame me for being myself.

Let me tell you this:

I rather be myself (happy, realizing my dreams, getting things done in my communities). I rather be sincere, honest, and confronting hard questions within myself and of those around me. I rather be true myself and my values than to be quietly, unhappily conformist and avoidant.

Confronting life is how you let go of what is hard. It can feel painful because we are so often taught to keep our heads down and so many have issues being direct and dealing with honesty, but that is how you come to a real understanding with the folks around you. By confronting and addressing your differences. If you are really incompatible, you don’t have to be around each other, but, if you seek to share space, you gotta work that stuff out by confronting and respecting differences.

Written by lovemotionstory

August 2, 2013 at 12:15 am

Teachers are so important.

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I just wanted to share this beautiful story I read, linked to by my friend and former PZS organizer, Doug… http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/05/a_portland_teachers_gift_chang.html#incart_river

As someone who had neglectful parents and felt lost in the world growing up and moving around a lot, a had a few amazing teachers that helped motivate and support me to get through it. I had three different science teachers that were women I bonded with (and even built a wetland with at one high school to filter the campus water, this is why I originally wanted to study biology), as well as some great English and Spanish teachers (again, all women) that kept me in love with the language which also got me into comics and zines. They gave me something I didn’t have at home: positive, female role-models who cared about me in healthy and empowering ways. Women who encouraged my intellect and also helped me get help to get out of my bad home environment.

I believe that is why I am so passionate about teaching and community organizing now. It’s a damn shame we don’t pay our teachers more. It’s also a damn shame that we don’t all work to take care and support each other more. To see when someone is vulnerable and empower them, those are very lasting and radical actions in a divisive and painful world.

Written by lovemotionstory

May 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm