“Women of color” is a deliberate political designation, not a biological or genetic term. The term has great power because, as Loretta Ross says, we “self-named ourselves.” We use it to recognize solidarity among ourselves and to honor our matriarchs.
For the past two years, I have been taking anti-depressants as well as practicing the Alexander Technique. Through this technique, I have learned about a soft gaze and a light awareness. It has been two years of unlearning the habits of zooming in. It has been two years of expanding out, seeing more.
Your Child Should Never Be Forced to Hug Anyone (Yes, Including a Relative) – Here Are 7 Reasons Why
In the instance of a child being forced to hug an adult even when they don’t want to, they learn to not always trust their gut instincts when it comes to their safety, their surroundings, and the people they don’t know very well or are meeting for the first time.
Considering Australia’s reputation as a tolerant nation, it is fair to say that gay marriage should have been legal well before now. Every country that can claim to be culturally similar to Australia (New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada) has legalised it. Every country more tolerant towards homosexuality than Australia, as well as a fair few countries less tolerant than Australia, has legalised it — or is well on its way to doing so.
The assumption that those with disabilities are generally miserable and would trade anything for “normalcy” ignores the many disabled people who live perfectly happy and manageable lives. It ignores that we have more in common than not. And it makes for superficial characters.
It’s not that the questions themselves are wrong. It’s that, so often, the person asking the question is drilling deep but has little stake in the answers. Intent matters. When asked by a confidante, such questions can be mined for meaningful or cathartic conversations. But when asked by an acquaintance or in the context of small talk, they can feel intrusive or inappropriate.
I remember a time when I easily fell for the story that Latino men liked big women. For a fat girl like me, it was a comforting story. But, over time, the story started to make me uneasy. Yes, my partner has a leaning towards fat girls like me, but to suggest that everyone in an entire ethnic group has the same preference was clearly wrong.
I think of my whole being as permeable, rather than as a container. It’s not my job to hold pain, but to experience it and let it go through me. Releasing it from the body is the goal. I think of the physical or emotional torment as pure energy, and therefore, not harmful to anyone or anything outside of me. If I think of it as damaging, I cling to it so as not to cause harm. Remaking the negative as neutral is a hard but necessary step. It allows me to let it flow away and sometimes even tricks my brain into standing down from its high alert.
I have read so many stories about fat people who have been patronisingly told to read food labels, or to not have second helpings, or to not buy certain foods. The implication is that fat people just don’t understand how food works, and that it is the sacred and socially responsible duty of the noble cape-wearing thin people of this world to intervene.
When you begin to practice true radical self-love, many things begin to change — not only within yourself but also around you. Many will not agree with you. You will lose many “friends” along the way, and you will realize they really weren’t friends. You will be questioned, frowned upon, and called selfish and self-centered. To truly practice radical self-love, you have to develop what I like to call slippery skin. You just have to let things slide off your skin because, if you don’t, you will begin to feel guilty that you are placing yourself first. And everything you hear, you will end up taking personally.
As we all started to settle into our new lives with work and school, my grandfather — who had neither work nor school — started to renovate the front yard. He worked on it from sunrise to sundown every day. He had nothing else in our new home. Everyone else was gone all day. He had no friends. He could not drive or speak English. So, the yard became his obsession.
Sometimes, I come home positively soaring from my delight in my students’ open-heartedness. Some days, I am so weary from their tactlessness, from patiently enduring a bigotry that isn’t even fully their own. It’s not easy being a walking gender studies class, but if my presence can gently assist a kid in undoing the hate society has placed in them for people like me, or even help them work out their own gender issues, it is a duty I will shoulder gladly.
The outliers are the ones who know just what to say. It seems so simple — How can I help? — but it unfurls like a revelation.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about the therapist’s credentials. Ask about the therapist’s techniques. If religion is important to you, ask about that. Try out a session or two before deciding whether this is a person you trust. If you’ve been with a therapist for a number of years, and it is no longer serving you, find the strength to move on and let go.
A conversation that bears fruit is not easy. People argue, and give offense, and get pissed off, and embarrass one another, and have their sacred cows knocked over, and watch their heroes thrown off pedestals, and hurt one another’s feelings, and otherwise experience all manner of uncomfortable things. But they also keep coming back for more, and there is only one reason they do so: They care more about helping to make someone else’s life worth living than they care about what is in their own heads. From that kind of conversation might emerge any number of solutions to any number of problems.