dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

statement from Max Airborne

cw: covid, medical, hatred against fat people

This timely statement is from Max Airborne, a fat hero of mine, about medical misinformation and prejudice hurting fat people who are being covid triaged.  I need and love fat liberation.  Please consider this! 

Hey, I have an important question for folks organizing to make sure we survive this time. I'd like to hear your answers.

When you talk about who you are organizing for, about who is at risk right now, why do you not mention fat people? So many of you talk about how much you respect and value the work I do. And I'm thrilled by that. Cross-movement organizing is what will bring us to collective liberation, and that is why I do almost everything I do. But when you then fail to mention fat people among who you're supporting and working for, I start to wonder what's going on. I start to feel a familiar sense of invisibility.

Please hear me. Right now the CDC is calling a "comorbidity" anyone with a Body Mass Index of 40 or more, and this is often the basis for who gets excluded from care in triage plans during a care rationing situation. If you're 5'2", that means if you weigh over 200 pounds, or even appear to, it is likely they will let you die in favor of someone smaller. I couldn't even begin to count the number of people I know won't qualify for lifesaving care. Does this matter to you?

If you're worried about using the word "fat," then use the words "higher weight." Perfectly acceptable. But don't stop yourselves! I desperately need you to recognize fat people and what is happening to us.

If you're a disability rights or disability justice organizer, and you think fat people should just accept the identity of "disabled," it's important to understand that not everyone who is fat is disabled. That doesn't change the systemic fat hatred we experience. And yes, sometimes internalized ableism is at play here.

Fat hatred is a cover for racism, and for ableism, and for misogyny. It has its origins there, and is a convenient way our culture maintains those oppressions. If we want to get free, we need to uproot and eradicate fat hatred. Please join me in this work.

--Max Airborne

the words under the words, trike ecstacy, who formed warm hot

I never understood Klondike bars.  My parents had them a lot.  I was like, what's the point?  If you want ice cream, have ice cream.  Who needs chocolate coating.  Or squarishness!  Or the foil-coated wrapper!

Then someone came over to our house bringing two six packs of Klondike bars, for a potluck, and he left them here, both unopened, I think.  We were like, what do we do with these?

I guess I'd never had one?  I was like, hmm, this is delicious!

Something I considered silly was their size.  I see now--the pre-portioning is nice.  You don't have to think about how much Klondike bar to eat, really.   The unit is one.

Why am I talking about this?  I guess to avoid talking about something else.  It can be that way.

I mentioned the other day to a friend how conversation, my favorite thing can be listening to the words under the words.  I also like the eye contact, if any.

My friend and I were in the courtyard, a couple weeks ago.  He was giving me some money advice.  At the end, he said something like, "I hope that was helpful."

I was like, "I like the sound of your voice, and that you care enough to want to help."  I didn't really need what he said, in a way.

"You could be telling me about different models of dishwasher machines or reciting the declaration of independence.  I would love it, friend, because I love you."

His voice is like a salve.  Like if he just talked to me enough, my soul would heal from some brokenness I didn't even know it had.

You probably think that sounds crazy.  Well, I also decided that if fishing and surfing can be spiritual practices, so can riding my trike.

Yes, it's getting absorbed in the activity.   I think it's the bliss.  Trike ecstacy.   When the ecstacy gets so good it's spiritual.  We are no longer ordinary people--we turn into bike gods, trike gods.

Lately I've been making atcs.  It's good for me, the art, letting myself make whatever I want within this small, non-intimidating format.

What are would I make, if I was making art? I wondered.  Well, it's a way to learn about myself.  What part of my mind is thinking about I didn't even know existed.

This naked multi-Kali is called "who formed warm hot."

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Bluebird of Friendliness

dear friend,

I wasn't prepared for the emotions I felt riding my trike today for the first time.  I had to trust it not to break.  Slowly I started getting comfortable, pedaling down the street, and I started feeling these intense stirrings in my body.  I started crying and pulled over at a curb.

Ming was on foot.  He caught up with me and noticed I was crying.  "Was that ok for me to leave you behind?" I asked.  I was worried he was annoyed to be trailing me.

"Yeah, I'm great!" he said.

"I'm having a lot of feelings," I said.

"What are you feeling about?" he asked.

I asked him to touch me, and he put his hand on my shoulder.  I told him, "It's because my mom is dead.  And because I'm so happy."  I realized it probably didn't make much sense, from the outside.

1.  intense satisfied joy at finally doing a thing I really, really wanted to do for a long time--ten years?

2.  physical joy of moving through space--your standard biking joy, I guess, intensified by the following

3.  weird childhood feelings of learning to ride a bike--remembering in my body how it felt to be six years old or so, in Tanglewood (that housing tract so close to the toxic waste dump, I know now)

4.  the trike felt so flimsy, it was hard for me to trust it, and when I started to trust it wouldn't break under my weight, I felt comfortable, and it was moving to me--something bigger reverberated out, like I could trust the world, which I usually don't trust, which was sad and happy mixed together

5.  deep eptness, that Ming and I could make something happen that I really wanted to happen

6.  pain that Mom is dead and I would normally tell her about something like this, txting her pictures--grief

7.  deep gratefulness to Ming for helping me get what I need, admiration of his generosity and skill and profound willingness--so much love

8.  sorrow about overwhelming poverty right there--why can I ignore it or not feel it, passing by in a car, but on my bike, I could feel the suffering in the broken furniture on the curb, boarded up houses, beat up broken cars, and the racism behind it all

9.  something about insisting on going slow, moving at the exact speed I need to, listening to what I want and what my body's telling me, feeling really safe about caring for me--I'm a adult now, I can make choices, I can do it based on my own needs rather than total compromise for others

The tires looked a little low, so we turned back.  Someone coming out of her apartment called out, "How cute!  I want your trike!"  She was asking where we got it, how much it cost.  She was telling Ming that cost wasn't bad.

"You should put a basket on it!" she yelled.  "You need a basket!"

I realized how cheap it really is, considering how much a car costs, and registration, gas, all that.  Wow, yes.  How beautiful, that I can convey myself, nothing to do with the price of oil, or making pollution.  In fact, healing my body.

Home again, Ming tinkered with my trike in the courtyard.  I cried again, hugging him, overwhelmed with gratefulness and grief.  The softness of his shirt, the solidness of his body, his being there for me so steadfastly, helping me do what I need to do.

He took it out to ride in the street for a minute and see if he did a correct thing.  I said, "It's so pretty.  I think I named it."

Then he was locking it up, I was moved to see our wheeled conveyances together in the rack, like you were our absent family member, or our wheeled conveyances were family members to one another, like they loved each other, together in their rack.

Tomorrow when we go out, Ming will ride his bike.  So then I expect I'll have more emotions, the riding bikes together emotions.

Thank you for helping me be who I am,

Saturday, April 04, 2020

mechanical advantage

My trike came today!  This is the tiredness.

Ming did amazing putting it together.

He carried my special chair to a good spot in the courtyard, and I had a lovely view.

I love this action shot.  Way to use your elbow as a lever!  The handlebars were too low.

The garden is beyond gorgeous.  Does that look pretty to you?  That's my idea of ultimate chaos-pretty.

My preliminary verdict is it's hella flimsy.  There's a spectrum from light-flimsy to heavy-sturdy.  I had to trust the bike, lean hard on the left pedal to get my right foot situated on the right.  I thought it might snap, but it didn't.

I triked around Bartlett Ave like a cautious jankiness evaluator.  Jankiness was high.  But I'll wear a helmet and hope to be safe.  I don't have a mama to worry anymore.

I feel a lot prettier than I look.  I decided that's better than looking a lot prettier than I feel.  "How can I look like a little kid and old lady at the same time?" I asked Ming.

Friday, April 03, 2020

old arts

I made these arts about seven years ago?  I can see what was happening then.

Yep, I was having a hard time struggling between needing to be safe and needing expansiveness.

Yep, I was struggling with this too.  How to be close to people without hurting them, or how much it is or isn't ok to hurt others incidentally.  How to make omelets without cracking eggs, or something.  The whole idea of getting burned in relationship is still very present.

This was some notes I took while having a phone call--can't remember with who.

Thought about God a lot as I became less of an atheist.

Transitioning from the attempted safety of atheism to the embarrassing vulnerable risk of faith.

I was thinking about being crazy a lot too, as I was applying for disability.  This idea is still really important to me.

More arts here!


Thursday, April 02, 2020

glowy glammy gardeny goodness

Tree collards are so beautiful, with their purple that matches our house!  And so tasty.

Who will win the Epic Plant Battle between sunchokes and lemon verbena?  Only time will tell!

My camera was blurring one corner, yesterday.  Maybe a tiny lint was there.  But it has a dreamy effect, doesn't it?

Tomatillos are blooming!

Borage badassery, excessive!  Too pretty--heading for a blooming violation.

Rosemary, chard, marigolds for the win.

The sweet alyssum from P, in with his kale, seems so naive and charming.

We have lots more--new yarrow, lavender, the baby jackfruit tree and its hitchhiker.  More pics another day.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

apologizing to my mom, her mom, and Mother Earth

content warning: brief mention of sexual violence, other violence, sad

I come from California's central coast.  It was a land of strawberries, broccoli fields, cattle ranches.  My parents met working in tomato fields as teenagers.  My mom birthed me when she was 19.

We lived in a housing tract called Tanglewood for five years when I was little.  I found out recently that my house was less than five miles from Casmalia toxic waste dump, where gallons and gallons of toxic waste got dumped and put into the air in little particles to help it evaporate quicker, while I lived nearby, and they did a lot of violations, spraying the chemicals into the hills.

My mom's mom worked in agriculture also, pollinating flowers.  These people were Mexican-American.  My mom's mom died very painfully at age 52 from lymphoma.  I don't remember her.  My mom died at the end of January, from cancer also, at age 63.

Today I went to get an ultrasound because my lymph nodes have been swollen and sometimes sore for a few months.  I had blood tests also, my doctor trying to see if I have cancer--I'm 43. 

I was in the room, waiting for the tech to come back, wearing a hospital gown, wishing my mom was there with me, or Ming, but pandemic means I was alone.  As the tears leaked out, my eyes were itchy and uncomfortable, but I didn't wipe them because I didn't want to get germs in me from the door handles, lobby pens, waiting room chairs.

I feel angry because I was sexually violated as a young person, which makes me extra scared of the vulnerability of the nudity and trying to stay still as the worker presses the ultrasound thing slightly painfully against my body in a private area.

I feel angry that agriculture could be a sacred, beautiful thing of Earth and flowers and feeding everybody in the best ways, but it's ruined by capitalism, and my relatives died for that. 

Who decided spraying poison on our food, then eating it, was a good idea anyway?  Or let the Mexican-American people work in those fields, because who cares.

I feel angry that housing was cheaper, out there by Casmalia, and I breathed a bunch of nasty chemicals from the toxic waste dump. 

We could prevent some cancer to begin with, but instead we poison everybody, then spend decades and billions of dollars to treat the illnesses caused by convenience and getting the most yield with the least cost.  Wellbeing be damned.

Ming drove us home, after my ultrasound was done, and I looked by the road and saw the trash there, napkins and plastic cups, empty bottles of whiskey, and thought how so much suffering is caused by the disconnection from Mother Earth, the death that comes with it, the sadness of loss. 

I could drink whiskey because my mom is dead and I want to hurt less, or because I'm scared as I wait for my doctor to tell me what the tests said.  Instead I cry and write this blog post. 

I asked Ming what I could do with all this anger.  I said I could garden more, so we could eat food that's not poisoned, but I feel like it's too late.

Not to mention the Trinity Site, thirty miles from where my mom's mom was born in New Mexico.  I don't think she was still there when the first nuclear bomb exploded, but Ming guesses that site was chosen as a place that already wasn't pristine. 

It's racism, capitalism, patriarchy.  Nothing matters more than making rich guys richer--not clean air, clean water, health, life itself.  The rich people aren't working in those fields or living by that toxic waste dump.

My mom's mom was born in an adobe house with no address.  They made their homes out of earth.  I'd like to go inside one and see if it's damp and dark there, lie on the dirt floor, lay down my pain, and let my tears flow into the earth, apologizing to her.

Oh, Mama.  I wish you could have gotten old.  I'm very sorry.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

in which I compare myself to OG Milton without mentioning the fall of man

I was talking to Ming about Milton, because I was talking about writers who go blind.  "You know what Milton did?"


"Milton.  You know, the one with the collar," I said.  "John Milton?"

"John Stewart Milton?" Ming asked.

"I don't think so..." I said.  "John Stewart, like the daily show?  No, different white guy.  Here, I'll find you a picture of the collar."

I started telling him the story of Paradise Lost, but I got confused for a second--I said this guy was walking in the wilderness and met Virgil and they went to hell...

Then I realized that was Dante.  Oops, not the same.  I was looking on my phone and found the cute picture of Milton with his collar, where he looks so young and freshfaced.

I told Ming that Milton was born on Bread Street in 1608, great name for a street, and died on Bunhill, which seemed to make sense.  From bread to bun.

"The people who have bad teeth, they always want a bun, thinking buns are soft," I said to Ming, still reading the wikipedia article, drawing on my knowledge of serving bread to hungry and homeless people, which is a thing of the past for now.

Then I found the text itself and read Ming the first page.  It had a "in normal English" side by side, but Paradise Lost seems to be prettymuch in normal English already...

It was fun, and I remembered why I love that stuff.  "Do you see the ironic part here?" I asked.

"What?" Ming asked.  He was half asleep in bed, face down, fully clothed.  He was wearing that supersoft black warmness that's so nice to pet.

"He's talking about God, trying to justify the ways of God to man, totally Christian.  But he's talking to this muse, and what's a muse?  A god, basically.   He's doing Christianity, but then he's totally pagan also.  He's got this whole pagan worldview."

Ming was very sleepy, and I continued.  "So all those people who dis me for having more than one religion at once--it's a really common thing!  Even Milton did it.  So you know what I say to those people?  Boo yaa!"

I guess that's an ordinary morning for a pagan-Hindu former literature major and her caring narcoleptic spouse during a pandemic.  Then I came to the living room to write this down and listen to late 1980s Samoan-Californian hiphop on youtube, dancing.

Monday, March 30, 2020

all this light

Ming's birthday yesterday, I had a lot of feelings.  I asked him beforehand what his expectations were, and I forgot to ask myself.  Oops. 

Didn't know I'd cry because my mom is dead.  She was never that involved with Ming's birthday.  But doing all the important things with her on the other side feels so sad.  So!!! sad!!!

Lots going on--decisions to make for the groups we're involved with, meetings to have, my own feelings about everything, others' feelings about the pandemic, supporting people in new ways, people trying to support me in new ways.  Friends who left.  Changing relationships. 

Spring is always weird!  Oh, spring.  How did you get so weird.  The sunlight affects me a lot.  I spent the first 42 years or so of my life a fall and mild winter girl.  Now I'm a sun-worshiping lady.  I love it all.  But what do I do, with all this light?

I made pumpkin coffeecake.  What a good idea; I should get a coffeecake award.  Well, I did--the reward is tasty coffeecake.  It's way better than I thought I'd be.  Please remind me to put canned pumpkin in my cakes always.

I'm a baker again; it had been a while.  Now I have flour--I was given some wheat flour and some quinoa flour.  Oats.  Baking powder and baking soda.  Look out for carby goodness.  I'm always a fiend for rice and pasta, but now I can bake again.  Not sure how that changed.

Birthdays have the cake ritual, but the whole day feels like a ritual, kind of.  Helping someone transition from one age to another.  I will hold you safe as you age.  I will be here for you as you become a new person.

Like a birth, or a death--that would be cool if we had Birthday Doulas.  Someone who could come help you with that.  Maybe a party planner is a Birthday Doula.

Our friend gave Ming a present of dinner delivered from Veganos.  It was yummy.  Ming had an impossible burrito, while I had sopes.

Tomorrow is guacamole day.  I bought half a case of avocados, and they're ripe!  Wish you were here. 

I like to add garlic and salt--that's it.  I know people put peppers, tomatoes, lemon or lime juice, cilantro, onions, maybe some spices.  Maybe salsa only.  My mom used to put mayo, strangely! 

I tried lots of ways, years ago, and found my favorite is garlic and salt only.  Maybe a little cayenne too.  I'll try to remember to take pictures.  Love to you.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

old old fashioned

I really liked Frightened Rabbit for a time.  This song, my friend put it on a mix for me, years ago.  Nice accent, nice tone, smart words, lots of feelings.

I thought of it because I like the whole idea of clearing the room of furniture to dance, doing it like they did in '43.  Not sure what happened in '43.  Where's a history major when you need one.

But my friend asked on facebook what they should do, at that Worker House, stuck indoors, no tv or internet.  I said talent show, charades, dancing.  They could read out loud also.

It wasn't my favorite song on the album for sure.  Ten years ago, I listened to that album like crazy.  The lead singer died, sadly, by his own hand, it's assumed, based on his tweets before he went missing.  His peeps formed a charity Tiny Changes in response.

Ming took this picture of our garden yesterday.  I prefer more closeups, but I thought you might like some context.  It looks strangely neat and tidy from this distance and perspective.  I think of it as sweetly chaotic.

I took this picture of some stones on my desk just now.  They're vesuvianite.  Love to all.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

give yourself grace

Happy to be alive, this spring.  Thank God for the new year.

We helped our close friend move.  He is gone, northward pointed, and has much of his stuff stored here.  So I think we'll see him again.  It was quite a push.

We gardened.   Put in some special lavender that grows well here, Goodwin Creek.  Some yarrow, planted seeds of a special "forest fire" hummingbird sage and another yarrow.  It's looking amazing out there!

Pink-blooming strawberries for the win.

Borage is blooming, my favorite.

Advanced theology from a trader joe's greeting card.

Friday, March 27, 2020

I invite you to love my disabled self also

The other day, I met my friend at the park.  My friend brought their little doggie.  The doggie seemed sweet.

"I don't have energy this morning," my friend told me.  They explained they hadn't taken their testosterone.  They said it was just laziness, that they'd take it when they returned home.

I don't know how all that works.  I've had a lot of trans friends but never asked about some aspects.  I assumed that taking testosterone would be a big deal, but I never knew it was energizing.

I felt "no fair" like I want energy.  I also thought of some offensive ideas my doctor said to me about women's sex drives and testosterone levels on my blood test results.

I thought how I'm disabled and my energy is low.  I wanna be like "fuck your productivity norms" and that my worth has nothing to do with how much I can do, especially work kind of doings.

But what if I want to get more done?  Energy can feel good.  This morning I cooked breakfast, started some ginger tea simmering with Ming's help, assembled cold oatmeal to put into the fridge for tomorrow.  Sliced overripe banana, quick oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, milk of my choice...   Doing felt good.

I want to love my disabled self and love me all the ways I am.  But it can be hard to go against a whole world telling me go go go.

I am enough.
I am good.
I'm good how I am, right now, this very moment.
I don't have to do anything to prove I'm good.
Just sitting there, I'm good.
Lying in bed, doing nothing, I'm good.
Sleeping, I'm good.
Digesting food, pumping blood, thinking a thought, breathing, feeling a feeling, all that amazing work my cells are doing at all times--that's way, way more than enough.
I don't need to compare myself to anyone.
I don't need to measure up to anyone.
I don't need to look at myself in the context of other persons.  Not Ming, not my mom or dad at my age, not friends, not enemies, not ex-es or the partners of ex-es, not people I went to grad school with, not Mother Theresa, not Santa, not Audre Lorde, not my dearest theory hero Mia Mingus, not the teacher I wanted to be like years ago, not even Sufjan Stevens.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

yellow flowers

Our friend's kale bolted. We sat on the couch in his backyard, talking for hours, eating lunch.  He was wearing his R2-D2 socks. 

"That's the droid I'm looking for," Ming said.  We talked about R2-D2's personality.  His squat loyal snarkiness foiling C3PO and C3PO's fear.

A hummingbird came to sip nectar and dart away.  We talked about feckless, pulses, matriarchy.  Sufjan Stevens, my darling.  Painting icons, stormtroopers.

Bittersweet, to finally learn where our friend's house is, right before he leaves and the house is sold.  A place so dear to me I may never go again.  As we drove away, I cried.  Ming sees this happen, but not the person I'm crying about.

I told my good friend last night, sometimes life seems like a fuckton of loss.  I imagine a huge crane, lifting a mega pallet of loss, moving it slowly to another location.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Some bit of advice someone gave me, 15 years ago, I still remember and consider. 

When Ming and I moved in together in North Oak Park, the previous tenant had left behind some shampoo, in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, which I used to wash my hair.  A friend who dumpster dived a lot said to be careful doing that.

Recently some rich friends of ours moved away, and they gave us seven boxes and bags of stuff, mostly pantry foods.  Today Ming is going through the cleaning products.  I want some fancy shampoo that I suspect is in the bag.  The bottle's angular shape.

I was reading about some sacred clowns.  They do stuff backwards.  Sounds fun.  Something about whether Thunder Beings had spoken to them...

I was thinking, Thunder Beings never talked to me.  But I've heard voices ever since I can remember.  Maybe they're Thunder Beings?  Probably not.

We could wonder all day, about what my voices are.  One on end of the spectrum is "malfunction" and on the other end is "oversoul."  Maybe somewhere on that spectrum is angels, Thunder Beings, and errant dream bits surfacing while I'm awake.

This art is on the side of the free box at San Miguel Community Garden.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

competitive religion

"Are you going to turn Quaker?" I asked Ming.  "Do you need another religion?"

He looked at me from over the newspapery newsletter he held in his hands.

"If you had three religions, and I only had two religions, you would be winning," I said.

"I would be what?" he asked, turning pages.

"You would be winning," I said.  "In the religion competition."

Later I was trying to learn about inflammation.  I was trying to understand--is this a vague hippie thing, or a real thing, or what?

Don't get me wrong--I love hippies.  Hippies are my people.  But asking hippies for health advice can be dangerous, you have to admit.

I was looking online--wow, that was dangerous too.  One thing I read was listing foods for an anti-inflammatory diet, and one of the foods was pasta, which I'm supposed to cook till al dente.  I'm like--"What?  You're saying pasta is better for me, if I cook it less?  Who are these people?  Why should I believe anything they say?!"

So I was telling Ming that, and he said I could swing the other way, and I was like--"I don't want to listen to a bunch of hicks either!  They're going to be all--Eat beef!  It'll heal you!"  Then I was laughing a lot.  "Eat lard!  Eat a jar of lard!"

Probably the laughing is what will heal me.  I was telling Ming, hippies giving you nutritional advice would tell you to strap a crystal in your belly button.  Ming didn't smile.  I accused him of having crystals in his belly button.

In my imagination it's a pretty amethyst, held in by a strap of hemp.

R was pulling weeds--I noticed the weeds were rocket.  I went outside and told him, it's like a mustard.  Like a wild arugula.  He ate a leaf.  I ate one too--it was tasty.  It wasn't bitter.  It wasn't too peppery.  It was good.

This year, rocket is growing everywhere--a green carpet by the laundry room with airy yellow flowers.  Ming said, "You're a rocket scientist."  I said no.

I would be a salad scientist.  Salad is complicated.  What is salad?  People think it's "healthy."  But I think it's any cold food, that's not a sandwich or dessert, that has bits of foods mixed together.  Maybe in a dressing.  And dressing can be the worst thing in the world.

Maybe I should get a Master's degree in salad.  If I wanted to be a rocket scientist, I would need a PhD in salad.  Well, I don't want to be in school that long.

Monday, March 23, 2020


My mood fluctuates.  My belief in humanity fluctuates.  My ability to spell fluctuates fluctuates.  I wanna put an x in it, of course.

This is new growth on the palo verde tree we planted at the end of last year's Sacred Peace Walk.  I like the red.

We're going to get some soil.  I wanna plant a bunch of seeds.

I told Ming a long time ago, I enjoy getting a garden that was already made, seeing what's there, adding to it and making it a new thing with a lot of the old.  That's what life feels like, to me.

He said a lot of people like to plan a garden and make the plan real, then move on.  The creation is the part they like.

In my dreams, I find old gardens I made and forgot about.  Usually they're doing great and I'm happy to find them.  Often they're geometrical in ways I would never make in real life.

I was dreaming early this morning, a white guy was going to swim in a cold place.  It wasn't for fun--there was some other purpose, symbolic or to fulfil a weird need.  To prove something? 

He handed me something in a little paper dish, with a white plastic spoon.  A bit of ice cream, maybe, lavender colored.

"Please be safe," I told him.  I was afraid he would die in the cold water.  He tried to kiss me on the mouth, although I think he was gay, and I dodged it.

The whole dream had a feel of very dignified cosmopolitan.  Another part with this white lady everybody liked.  I resented her.  But I could see why everyone liked her.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

spring song

At the garden, we bought tomatillos, basil, a tomato, a mild hatch chili, a cilantro. 

It was fun to walk around and see the garden beds.  Tons of aphids had infested the cruciferous veg, but ladybugs had come to eat them.

Ming also took a berry cane, to plant here, and I took a sprig of chocolate mint and a sprig of oregano to try to root in water, here.

I love spring.  In the past I've been known to spurn spring, or think spring's too easy.  I'm a lover of fall, usually, and a mild desert winter.

Well, I changed my tune.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

no bus drivers allowed

I was kind of mystified.  The white guy on the zoom yesterday, giving me condolences on the death of my mom.  Then I realized--it was just his excuse for him to talk about his own mom dying.

He said how it was 25 years ago.  She stopped treatment, at the end, which he didn't know until later because he was traveling in Germany.  He said how it was so difficult, the loss of a loved one, so much time to recover, but then he was divorced and bankrupt soon after, and it led to clinical depression.  How his sister took it much harder...

I was like, why are you telling me this?  It was hurting me.  His story flowing on me, phrase by phrase, like gross dark blue lava.  Ugh.  Get your ideas off me.  Get your past off me.  I don't want anything about you in my mind.

Something about the clinicalness of the depression.  A doctor said my feelings are real, so you have to look at them and admit they're real.

He was explaining how it was, like that was supposed to help me, but he doesn't know me, has no idea of my life, who I am, who my mom was.  I felt rigid, closed, and angry.

I was harmed, but I couldn't stop him.  I wish I could have said, "Hey, will you stop?  I really didn't want any comment on my share."  Sometime it's hard to ask for what I need in the moment.

"You're a jackass of pain," I would have liked to have told him.  How about, "You're everything I hate about humans."  As he talked, I felt hatred toward him, and it was like he was digging himself into a hole.  But maybe he didn't know that.

Or he was getting farther and farther from me, like his computer chair on its little black plasticy wheels was rolling farther and farther away, down a long far distance, so he was getting tiny in my sight and his voice more quiet.  He was trying to connect with me or heal something about his own mother loss pain, but the result was the opposite.  By hurting me, he was getting more alone.

I woke up in the night and wanted to sort my socks.  I need some black socks, and I wondered if there were black socks hiding on the bottom part of the pile, in the socks / chonies / bra shelf of my clothesshelf.

Ming woke up.  I cuddled his warm, half-asleep body.  "I need to get up," he told me.

"Why?" I asked.

"Bad dreams.  Bad bus driver dreams."

"Ok," I said.  "How did the bad dreams get there?"

"Bus drivers," he said.

Ps, I have almost no black socks.  Now I know.

Friday, March 20, 2020

greater vehicle

I dreamt I was traveling down a stream in a paddle boat.  "You have a flat tire!" someone yelled to me from shore.

"Ok!' I said.  "I didn't even know paddle boats had tires...."

"You have a flat tire!" someone else yelled at me, a minute later.

"I'm heading back!" I said.  I was on a paddle boat course.  I had never been on it before or seen a map.  I had taken over someone else's paddle boat without receiving the training.  I was just guessing which way was back.

I've heard that in a dream, a vehicle is you, the dreamer.  It's funny because I wrote an email last night to the radical mental health collective saying fairies, faeries, and ferries are welcome at the upcoming meeting, as well as other kinds of boats.  So maybe that's why I dreamt of a boat that was me.

Also there was a broken bracelet in the road, with pink round beads.  I had made it, and then it had broken.  I wanted Ming to pick it up from the street, but he couldn't reach it.  We were making a u-turn.  I guess that was in a car.

I woke up with a Madonna song in my head, from when I was a kid.  "I'm tired of dancing here all by myself.  Tonight I want to dance with someone else," is the part I'm thinking of.

I watched the video to see if there was some clue in it.  I mentioned Madonna in a letter recently to an old friend, reminding her of a roadtrip we took together around 1993, to LA, to visit her dad.  We listened to a Madonna tape over and over again--Like a Prayer.

The combination of intense sexuality and religious imagery--you know I like that.  Prince did that too, the combination of sexy and religious.  For some people, it's all ecstatic.  So it makes sense.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

not disposable

Last night I was at a fat tea held over zoom. It was my first activity with Fat Rose, which is a fat liberation, disability liberation group.  I met a bunch of people and liked them, heard what's going on in other parts of North America. 

I liked being in a space where being fat was normal and ok.  That was new for me.

I bound zines while listening, and I checked in, which felt good also.  I was the only desert dweller.  Most of the people were in the Bay Area. 

I want to do more with them.  I lasted just more than an hour.  Sometimes I can like something a lot, but it feels intense and I can only do it for a little while.  Especially at the beginning.

I keep waiting for a bored time.  Things seems busy and weird despite civilization slowing down.  Yesterday Ming bought me some menstrual pads, as well as laundry detergent and bananas.  I was excited.

I don't understand how long we'll be told to stay home, and I don't understand how much things will break down.  I guess not knowing is part of the fun of all this.  Two weeks is pretty different from six months.

Ming's been wearing a sweater I wore for a while and don't like anymore.  It looks great on him, dark blue and light blue marled together.

One of my access needs is that I can be quiet in groups and need people to let me be who I am, including quiet, without taking it personally.  I don't want to face consequences later, that I was quiet. 

My quiet is not about you.  It's about introversion, what feels comfortable for me, not knowing what to do socially, a lifetime of being told I don't matter and my words aren't relevant to the conversation, my need to feel safe, listen, and feel things out for a long time before speaking up a lot--possibly indefinitely. 

Possibly I'll never feel safe enough to talk a lot, especially if the group is difficult for me because it's full of small talk, weird us and them binary gender stuff, conversation about media I don't use like movies and tv shows, a bunch of white cis ostensibly straight people, commonplace guilt ideas about food and fatness, or even talking a lot about the kids everyone has. 

I love kids, but I never had my own.  I want everyone to get support about raising their kids, but yeah.  It's especially hard when non-kid-havers are getting assumed about or shamed.

A lot of my traits make me strange.  People can assume that my not speaking means I'm angry, stupid, or don't have thoughts to share.  Or I'm judging them a lot. 

Really, I don't belong almost anywhere I go.  I belong at the radical mental health collective meetings, and now I belong at fat meetings also.  At meetings of the Las Vegas Catholic Worker, I'm loved and known.  Everywhere else, I can try really hard to understand what's going on and behave appropriately, but I miss the mark.

My main disability is capitalism.  I'm disabled by capitalism.  Being crazy can be hard too.

"Wrong Laura-Marie!  I need to trademark myself!" I just told Ming.  "You look really cute in my sweater."

"I feel very cute in your sweater," Ming said.  "What's more important, I feel warm in your sweater."

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

deeply ok

A funny sentence a holy person said as she led UU church on Sunday was, "I invite you to mute yourselves."

I remember when I was in grad school, many years ago--this professor I knew used "invite" a lot, and I enjoyed making fun of her, privately--not to her face.  "I invite you to do academia.  I invite you to be a highly appropriate person.  I invite you to stop inviting me. "

The only time I smoked a cigar, I couldn't do it right--I inhaled.  I didn't know how to smoke without inhaling.  You're supposed to keep the smoke in your mouth only.

Humans do some weird things.  Who figured out to grind wheat and mix the resulting powder with yeast and water and let it rise and bake it.  Weird invention.

Or kombucha.  The brave soul who saw the scoby and thought, "That liquid around that scoby might be delicious."

I've heard there's scoby jerky.  I'd like to try it.

Last night I was crying because I wanted to talk to my mom.  I told my friend I wanted to talk to my mom--she asked what I wanted to tell her.  My friend said she believes my mom is still in the world, even if she can't respond.

I would say this: Mama, I'm ok.

Another friend asked what I liked about teaching.  I said, "The teaching part."  He wanted to know what I meant by that.  I said, "The part that's actually teaching.  Not the administrative stuff, not grading.  Not negotiating.  Not staff meetings or commenting on drafts."

He didn't understand what I meant by teaching.  I explained I meant the part where we're in the classroom, discussing a text or ideas, I'm modeling a level of discourse, students are rising to that, and we're doing it--we're learning.  Sharing ideas, building on the ideas of one another, making connections, making something new.  Getting somewhere.

I could have said something about helping the lightbulbs turn on.  That spark of life where someone understands and has a new skill they can carry with them their whole life.

I mentioned as an example students in groups, and one student would go up to the board and write her sentence, and we would all talk about it.  Being vulnerable about ideas.  Risking foolishness to bring something into the world that was never there before.  I enjoy the excitement of helping someone get to a new place.

My friend said something about one-on-one.  I asked, "You mean office hours?"  I said no--well, sometimes.  I had some bad experiences of students trying to bully me about a grade.  Or a student who had problems generating ideas and wanted me to teach her how to think, but I couldn't do that, as she was panicking.  She lashed at me, angry, and blamed me for not being a good teacher.

I could help in certain ways, but generating ideas feels a bit mysterious.  How do you put your mind into a space where something new can arise?  It seems almost mystical.  I know how to brainstorm, how to loosen up and ask God for an idea.  To ask for a solution in a dream--to sleep on it.  I like to hold a bunch of known ideas in my mind loosely and ask for some new connection among them, or to ask for a new direction, or a new perspective.

If that sounds religious, I guess it feels that way, for me.  I can explain it without God, but it can be hard when someone's not receptive to anything because they're scared.  They want an equation, or to plug in x to get y.  Can you teach someone how to think?  I can help someone down a path, but to invent paths, or invent mental movement itself, seems hard in a different way.

I remember going to my homeland when my mom was dying and staying at the big hotel in town.  We were on the fifth floor, and I was looking out the window as the sun came up, at the clouds on the mountains.  I was getting a new perspective on my homeland, literally.  I was amused by that and deeply grateful.

My friend was saying teachers grade a student's work based on preconceptions about the student's work, rather than the work itself.  It's about the relationship with the student, not what the student actually did.

I know expectations can affect us a lot--people see what they think they'll see, much of the time.  I'm not fan of grading.  I know grading is bullshit.

But his criticism hurt a little bit.  He doesn't know what I went through with grading, all those years, or that I scored standardized tests also, with no relationship with students or any ways to prejudge them, except for their handwriting, I guess.

It was me, essays, and a rubric.  That's it.  A six point scale.  I don't believe in grades or scoring.  But I have 10+ years of experience.  I guess most all of us have experience from the other side of the desk, being graded...

I think I was a really good teacher.  It drove me nuts to be positive and upbeat, entertaining.  Thirty people were looking at my clothes and my body, judging my voice, my gender performance--all that.  I would see some of them, staring at me, half-listening, and we're animals.

I was being evaluated on things that had nothing to do with my teaching.  That was hard to know, and at the end of the term, I would get evaluated on a piece of paper, and which classes I was rehired to teach was partially based on that.

Needing to be positive and entertaining made me crazy.  I mean that literally.

Well, it's good to get swept up in remembering.  Thank you for listening.

I taught online also.  The discussion was very different--make a comment, comment on someone else's comment.  It seemed more than ever, students were like, what's the bare minimum here.  I have to write three sentences.  Ok, here's my third sentence.

That was a long time ago.  I have a whole different brain now.  Maybe I could do a better job teaching online, as a 43 year old lady.  I have a different understanding of people now, including myself.  I'm hurt by different things.  Some things that really hurt me 20 years ago, now I would just laugh.

Thank you for listening.  I feel like I'm playing violin as the Titanic sinks.  I guess it's been sinking for a long time.  Better than rearranging the deck chairs, I guess.  Thank you for being here with me, virtually.