Trauma stays with us – in our bodies and in our minds. When we look inside and see someone unrecognizable — well, there is nothing scarier than that. In those moments, trying to find and direct yourself within your brain feels like wading through mud in a hall of mirrors wearing cement shoes.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that there is a mild totalitarian undercurrent not just in call-out culture but also in how progressive communities police and define the bounds of who’s in and who’s out. More often than not, this boundary is constructed through the use of appropriate language and terminology – a language and terminology that are forever shifting and almost impossible to keep up with. In such a context, it is impossible not to fail at least some of the time.
This preoccupation with thinness is not just in the broader cultural landscape, but something prevalent in daily conversations and relationships. Starting your new year with resolutions to eat more and exercise less is contrary to what everyone else seems to be promising to do. We’re “good” people when we resist cakes or sweet goods in the office — I nearly said “treats,” another value-laden term, because when we’re just being “normal” we don’t deserve them. “Being good to ourselves” means having low-calorie foods.
I was amazed at how casually the other panelist were willing to believe in backward-talking witch-magic, flying saucers, extraterrestrial civilizations, other dimensions, beings strong enough to juggle planets, invisible jets, lanterns that turn will power into green plasma energy constructs, and telepathic gorillas as the most intelligent and civilized species on the African continent (!), but the moment a black person showed up in the mountains of West Virginia, THAT was where their imagination shut down completely. White people in Nigeria made sense, but not black people in the mountains–Melungeons be damned.
In short, I was being treated better by everyday America because people were reading me as a young, white, straight (?!) male. And I recognized many new privileges that came my way because of it.
The most important part about communities formed in this way? They’re not about ideas. They’re about people. Every single community member counts, and every single community member is the reason that we have come together in the first place. Those packages we have exchanged are our stories as people, our experiences in the world, our lives. And everything that happens in these communities are based around that. Not around ideologies, not around constructing the perfect set of ideas.
Black Privilege is always having to be the strong one,
Is having a crow bar for a spine,
Is fighting, even when you have no more blood to give
Even when you have lost sight of your bones
Even when your mother prayed for you
Even after they’ve prepared your body for the funeral
We begin the damaging process of turning boys into men long before boyhood ends.
I would like to talk about what I affectionately call my Self-Care Kit. In layman’s terms, my Self-Care Kit is a collection of resources and tools I have gathered over the years to help me deal when I am having a bad spell or when I feel the pressing need for a timeout.
It is so, so effortless for you to speak a pronoun, and so, so arduous for me to cope with the fallout of hearing it. In an instant, confidence is undermined, hopefulness dissolved, safety shattered, cheerfulness undone. I am suddenly reminded, as if the world would ever let me forget, of just how little my personal autonomy is worth, of just how easily and ubiquitously my right to self-determine and self-identify will be undermined as I move through life.
Colorism is the preferential treatment given to light-skinned people. The existence of social justice movements like Black Lives Matter is proof that discrimination based on skin color is very much alive. This kind of discrimination plays itself out within and against communities of people of color.
Recently, I’ve realized that I’ve avoided looking at myself by always dating jerks. If I was the one being hurt, then I didn’t have to worry about the responsibility for how I acted.
Even when argument and the quest to prove oneself right became the focal point of our relationship, I understood intrinsically that his drive to always be correct was linked to masculinity. To be wrong is to be emasculated. To have one’s wife or children correct you is to admit that you are less than the solid patriarchal figure that you have been conditioned from birth to be.
El mundo de las dietas en sí es odioso. Es obsesivo, se convierte en una rutina de vida, en un modo de vivir, y eso no es bueno. ¿Qué es bueno entonces? NOSOTRAS. Nosotras somos buenas, fantásticas, maravillosas, nosotras que hemos aprendido entre empujones y golpes.
Losing a loved one is a lifelong process. It’s been more than a decade since my mother died, and I am still figuring out how to live without her. I’ve never mastered mourning. I’m still learning. I’ve spent a lot of time failing and flailing and pulling away from the world. Fortunately, I have loved ones who will faithfully wait in the wings for me until I reemerge.