I am racist, and so are you.

Originally posted on Being Shadoan:

And the sooner we both acknowledge this, the sooner we can begin to address the problem. So let’s talk.

“Wait just a minute here, Rachel. You’re like, the least racist person I know. You’re always sharing stuff about race and racism. You couldn’t possibly be racist.”

Here’s the deal. Racism isn’t just guys in white robes and Paula Deen shouting racial slurs. Racism is subtle, racism is insidious, and our culture is so deeply steeped in it that it’s impossible to grow up in the US and not be racist. It’s a kind of brainwashing: a set of default configuration files that come with the culture. It’s a filter, built up from birth, that alters our perception of the world. (Literally–racial bias makes people see weapons that aren’t there.) Racism isn’t just conscious actions; it’s judgements that happen so fast that we may not even be aware of…

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On the Road to Her Dreams!

Originally posted on young creative & unemployed:

Look between your couch cushions, your kitchen drawers and in your pant pocket…right now!

Help my dear friend and fellow creative, Brittani Lee of menspired.blogspot.com make her

fashion dreams come true. Every dollar counts. No contribution will go unnoticed. 

Click here to donate. 

Love,

Shanti

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Tired.

It has been a long 10 days since I responded to @KennySWiley’s tweet asking if there were people in Denver interested in organizing a National Moment of Silence. At the time, I was on my break at work, reading about the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Like many people, I felt helpless. Like many people, I felt tired. The killing of Black people in the United States by police, security and vigilante justice, as well as the incarceration of so many inside the Prison Industrial Complex is genocide. This is not new. This has been going on for centuries.

So I responded. When someone asked if I’d done this before, I said no, but there was a first time for everything. Thanks to my years of working as a secretary, as a customer service rep, and as a nurse, I have learned you can get a lot done quickly if you have the determination, the support, and the time to make things happen. Thanks to the advice of and work of complete strangers on Twitter, I was able to help navigate the process of finding a space for the NMOS. It was the work of many. We called to the community, the clergy, and Denver responded.

Last Thursday, and tonight, at the Denver March for Justice, I heard many people talk about how tired we are. And some people don’t like that language. We are full of energy. I agree, I am full of energy. Being out of college and having free time made it possible for me to take a part in co-organizing these events. For that opportunity, I am grateful. But I admit, I am also tired.

I am tired of ideology that Black people are disposable. I am tired of the killing of my Black neighbors. I am tired of the loss of these fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers. I am emotionally, spiritually, mentally exhausted. Every 28 hours, another Black person is killed by police, security or vigilante justice. I am no where near as tired as the members of the Black community. I cannot fathom the level of exhaustion felt by people for whom waking up and going about their day is a revolutionary act.

I spend a lot of my time tired. I’m a nurse. I work nights. I frequently have to move my sleep schedule around. But I have found the more tired I am, the more I can accomplish. I call this “being a special kind of tired.”

I am tired. I am the kind of tired that forces you into action. The kind of tired that demands you find caffeine and push forward. I am the kind of tired that tells me I will not really rest until I work to make change happen. I am the kind of tired that fuels effort and change. I am that special kind of tired you become when you have been pushed to your limits.

The world has pushed me to my limits. As Kenny said, I have moved past the point where blog posts and twitter posts and arguing with my relatives on Facebook is sufficient. I must act.

Tonight I had the opportunity to take a member of the march home to Longmont, Colorado. This man, who marched in Selma, Alabama in the 1960’s, talked to me about his years of activism. The injuries he has received, the injuries he has cared for. Being in the Civil Rights Movement, he learned the skills of a field medic, and if he was not marching, he was caring for the injured. He shared his poetry. He told me about people I will never see in a history book.

He is tired. He has been tired for years. But he keeps going. He keeps pushing. He is that special kind of tired.

Never assume complacency from a tired person. Yes, we are tired. But it is this deep emotional, spiritual exhaustion that has pushed us to action. Many people have reached this state of exhaustion and are moving. We cannot stop moving. We must push forward. One day, there will be real rest. There will be time for enjoying the sun and the grass and the sky. A good book. But for today, our exhaustion is fuel.

We are tired, but we are not out of energy. We are exhausted, but we will not rest. We are going to change the world, and that requires a special level of tired to get the work done.

Rally for peace in Denver marches through downtown

Grimalkin, RN:

I am so proud of my community tonight. So amazed at how many people came out to protest in solidarity with Ferguson. So incredibly lucky to be a part of it all. Thank you, Denver.

Originally posted on kdvr.com:

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DENVER — Hundreds gathered at 24th and Welton Tuesday evening marching on the state capitol.

“I watched what was happening in Ferguson and decided I couldn’t sit any longer,” co-organizer Kenny Wiley said.

He and others took to social media asking sympathizers to peacefully assemble Tuesday evening for the mile-long march to the capitol. Hundreds of people turned out.

Denver police were watching.  Flanked by the police helicopter, police officers stood guard along the protest route closing down roadways allowing protestors to march.

Wiley conceded the march had no permit but said the rally didn’t need one as long as they complied with local traffic laws. Police closed intersections while the group passed to ensure their safety.

“We are here to show the people of Ferguson we stand with them,” Wiley said. He called the march the best half hour of his life.

Tuesday night, protestors did so peacefully.

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Moving Beyond ‘I Feel So Helpless’

Moving Beyond ‘I Feel So Helpless’.

Coloradoans For Justice

The National Moment of Silence in Denver on Thursday was a success. We held a peaceful vigil and members of the Denver Ministry came and spoke. We sang. We linked arms. In silence, we remembered Mike Brown and then we spoke the names of the dead. We collected signatures. At the end, the crowd dispersed quietly.

I personally was very nervous about the event. I’ve never organized anything before, and neither had any of my co-organizers. I feel that for something that started in the middle of the night on Sunday, we did really well.

But that was a moment. We need a movement.

We are working on planning a march in Denver on Tuesday. More information is forthcoming.

In solidarity with the protestors in Ferguson, Missouri and in recognition that we cannot stop fighting police brutality, we have created Coloradoans For Justice.

Facebook page

@COforJustice

Email: coloradoansforjustice@gmail.com

Please like the page and follow the Twitter account for updates on a march we are planning for Tuesday.

More information to come.

National Moment of Silence: Denver

 

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NMOSFlyer

Facebook Page

We will be gathering at Civic Center Park in Denver on the Broadway side at 5:00 PM August 14th.

 

Women Against the Feminist Backlash (CN)

Originally posted on Left at the Lights:

lesbian

A few years ago, after a mental breakdown that had been a long time coming I made the decision that I was no longer a feminist because I felt so utterly let down and victimised by women I’d assumed were feminists (due to the nature of the work we’d done together). At the time I was going through another period of acute mental distress as a reaction to my father abusing his new family. I’d been as transparent as I could about it at work but I didn’t feel supported and eventually the toll of dealing with domestic abuse in my own life (along with a myriad of cultural oppressions) whilst trying to prevent it in the lives of many others manifested in a few very bad decisions that ultimately led to my seclusion from society.

Yes, I was guilty of dissociating when my triggers were at their worst. This…

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The Mommy Blame

A response I wrote in my Women’s Studies class that I wanted to save.

 

1) How does the ideology of “the ideal nuclear family” affect people’s ideas and public policies concerning personal relationships and family life? Use material in Chapter 7 (readings by Crittenden and Chambers) and Chapter 8 (reading by Parrenas). Think in terms of micro-,meso-, and macro-level factors.

2. What are the opportunities, limitations, and losses for women in the global South arising from the globalization of the economy?  What responsibilities of people living in a relatively rich country like the United States to address social and economic problems faces by women from countries of the global South? What can be done? Think in terms of race, class, culture, and nation. Also think micro to global levels of analysis and action.

 

In the United States, we have bought into our own myth. We have been raised to believe that a nuclear family consisting of a husband, wife, and assorted offspring – heterosexual and of matching race – is the cornerstone to our society, when really, if we looked at our history, the ideal of the nuclear family is the result of a romanticization of a brief period in United States history when  the White middle class was briefly able to sustain itself on the income of one individual.

It is important to acknowledge the romanticization of this time period. Post World War II, pre-Vietnam War, the Baby Boom. These times are held up as idyllic when even a rudimentary examination of what life was actually like for the majority of individuals around the world at this time. In Europe and England, massive reconstruction and redrawing of borders, and wars would continue to take place for decades. In Japan, reconstruction from the devastating fall out of two nuclear bombings, and in China, the oppression of it’s dicatorial system and one child policies continued to ensure that infanticide of female babies was often seen as the only hope. And in the United States, the Civil Rights movement was underway. In Ann Filemyr’s essay “Loving Across the Boundary,” she discusses the embrace of White people of their own naivete about what was so eloquently described by W.E.B. Dubois as “the color line.” Indeed. The color line is not invisible. It’s not indescribable. And that brief, romanticized era of United States history is not what we should set as our life goals.

Programs to encourage marriage in the United States and demonize single mothers or working mothers draw heavily on the myth of the 1950’s working family. Wealthy White families who are able to thrive on one income are held up as examples to the working poor. You should be able to have this, the US says to its people. You can have this! As long as you remain married, have children, go to church, and work hard, you should be able to have an ideal life, own a home, retire well, and relax as your life nears its end. I mention going to church because the Conservative movement in the US has a deep investment in marriage as a religious institution. In order to maintain this highly unlikely promise of the benefits of marriage, modern Conservatives have done what White religious movements have been doing for centuries: demonizing single women, especially single mothers, and in the US, especially Black single mothers.

Essays throughout our chapters document this pressure felt by women, but most especially felt by Black women. The pressure to give back to a poor family and community is felt by all children who do better than their parents or better than their siblings, but it is most acutely felt in the Black community. Veronica Chambers writes about how a couple who set aside $500 of their monthly budget to give to family. She also writes about Angela Kyle, who said “I felt that I didn’t have the right not to marry a black man. I felt I had a responsibility to have a Black child.” (Kirk & Okazawa-Rey, 2013, p.351.”

When you combine Chamber’s essay with Ann Crittenen’s essay about “The Mommy Tax,” we quickly see this is a trap women cannot escape. If you work to have a successful career, you may face the inability to have children later in your life. If you have children when you are young, even if well educated, you can expect to be hired for less and to receive smaller increases in income throughout your life. If you have a child in the middle of your career, the need to take maternity leave or the desire to take a few months to spend with children is likely to affect you for the rest of your career. All of these factors will affect you when you reach retirement. In these years, when you would want to help your children attend college, your retirement may hold hundreds of thousands of dollars less than it would otherwise, and you may find yourself inable of assisting your children, even after a long life of dedicated motherhood and work. If you are single, all of those numbers go down. And if you are single and Black, you are now termed “pathological.” What is seen as the descent of the United States way of life and economy has been placed on the shoulders of single Black mothers as solidly as a yoke, and the burden is destructive to the body, soul, and mind of Black women, and Black children. By placing false blame for a perceived deterioration in society on Black single mothers, Conservatives and the Liberals who take part in this game maneuver Black women into a corner they cannot escape.

Women living in the global South, and traveling as labor from the global South to Northern areas face similar persecution for perceived abandonment of their families. While men also travel, a large portion of the blame for increased stress upon children and family bonds is placed not on the shoulders of the father, but again on the shoulders of the mother. While carrying this burden in their hearts, women from the global South work as housekeepers, nannies, nurses aides and caregivers. Because they cannot find work at home that would provide their children with food and shelter, they move to other countries to do so. They are rewarded by being shouldered with the blame for the perceived decrease in the quality of their society and culture.

When the United States exports its idealized tv shows and movies that continue to extoll the virtues and rightness of the White, 1950’s US family, it places pressure upon families in other countries. It creates dissatisfaction with one’s primary culture and way of life. Additionally, it creates unrealistic explanations for those who migrate to the United States, Australia, Europe, and Canada. Very few migrant workers who come to the United States will more than scrape by. There are horror stories everywhere about the treatment of the women who care for the families of those in so called “developed nations.” Denial of health care, denial of food, sometimes denial even of personal space or a place to sleep is a common theme about what happens to women who come North looking for work to support their families.

I see a rather radical need for change in the global economy that would improve the lives of women around the world. And yes, White women, I mean our lives would be improved as well. What needs to occur is a split from the ideal of the 1950’s US nuclear family. A push toward fair wages for domestic workers, as well as fair working conditions. Implementation of funds for parents to assist them as they raise their children in order to prevent them from needing to leave the country to work. And for the upper echelon of businesswomen, a move away from viewing having children as a bad thing in an employee. Paying mothers less is ridiculous and companies do it because they can get away with it easily. Mothers, especially single mothers, know they have to take jobs that come their way. They know they have to buy the most economical products, which often means using items made in terrible working conditions in factories in the Global South.

In short, the woman occupying Earth in the year 2014 is trapped in a cycle that only few escape. And when those few escape, they are held up as models of society, without acknowledging the backs of the other women they had to walk across, or the fact that they may have had additional skills, additional resources, additional advantages that other women did not. They managed to find that high paying job, have their children at exactly the right moment, and then they are able to afford the advantage of paying another woman to leave her family in order to care for their own. Even at the height of the pinnacle, women like Sheryl Sandberg are caught in “The Mommy Trap,” and perpetuate its cycle. Instructions to “lean in” or “ban bossiness” in little girls are only instructions to continue the system of least resistance that we all are a part of: the patriarchy.

Concerns and Suggestions About the Future of the ADN and the BSN

I am finishing my BSN, FINALLY, and I have …. concerns

When you view the chart, realize that the higher in the chart you are, the fewer years of experience you are actually receiving.

 

Above is a link to a rough post where I have graphed a very rough flowchart of where I think nursing is heading. I believe current goals will result in a forced exodus of experienced nurses from existing acute care facilities when they are not able to accommodate their schedules and finances to higher education.

I believe the push for higher nursing education is a good one, but if hospitals want to keep their best nurses, they need to begin to formulate a plan that sets aside paid time for educational goals and work with universities to bring the needed education into the hospital. BSN programs need to be closely reviewed to be sure the information they are teaching ADNs is relevant to practice and the goal should be to increase knowledge of the ADNs instead of simply fulfilling the core tenants of a Bachelor’s degree. In a utopic situation, the course would be created so that ADNs coming into a BSN program would actually emerge with a certification reflective of their years of experience and knowledge and placing them higher in the nursing hierarchy than new graduate BSNs with no experience.

Yes. This will require hospitals to pay nurses floor pay to attend classes. The hospitals will benefit with higher patient satisfaction scores, lower patient injuries, and better physician/nurse relations. Many hospitals already offer education assistance and scholarships in exchange for time worked after graduation. This does not need to be any different.

If nurses have time set aside for classes that they are attending with their coworkers, they have a ready made support system, which is necessary for successful education. If nurses are allowed to work fewer hours on the floor while they are receiving their education, advancing ones education will not appear so monumental and burdensome.

As far as funding these paid hours that are performed off the floor, hospitals should look to their political force. This is a viable method that can be used to increase the knowledge and the size of the nursing force, at a time when an influx of patients threatens to cripple the current United States medical system. Nurses will emerge from these programs empowered, better team players, and will receive knowledge they can apply to the bedside at their next shift rather than trying to find time to take off work, struggling through APA format and trying to find a way to pay for their own college education as well as that of their children.

No ADN currently working full time should be forced to carry a burden of student loans to maintain their current career. This is a burden that many nurses with families and current student loan debt cannot handle. Instead of requiring 2 years of work in order to receive student loan relief, while paying student loans, give the relief IMMEDIATELY, and require nurses to pay back a prorated sum if they leave the area or change careers.

It is my belief that this kind of incentive is what is needed to get ADN nurses into BSN classes. Current BSN programs focus on papers and theory, but there is very little meat added to the pot of  nursing experience already held. This is a waste of the time of experienced nurses. Because it has already been decided that management roles should be held by holders of nursing doctorates and master’s degrees, only individuals who are interested should be required to take additional classes in nurse management.  Nursing programs need to be divided into tracks: Research. Management. Advanced Care. Hospital Management.

Instead of this, we have nurses sitting in History, Music and Philosophy classes to earn their BSN. All of these are valid courses of study but are they actually efficient for people whose priority is to get back on the floor? Nurses who have an ADN and have years of floor experience do not necessarily need these classes but could use classes in new techniques, evidence based practice, and advanced practice.

As a floor nurse who has worked in multiple hospitals, including LTAC, rehab and nursing homes as I made my way up from being a tech to a RN, I feel the the nursing profession is missing a valuable opportunity to increase the abilities of their current workforce while making nursing a more rewarding experience.

On being a thing

Originally posted on Sarah Kendzior:

I do not write personal essays. This is the first, and likely the last, you will see.

I write articles that have resonated with millions of people, often in an emotional way. But I never write about myself or my personal life. I have multiple platforms and if I wanted to, I could. I choose not to – in part because I think focusing on myself distracts from the social and political problems I depict, but also because I value my privacy.

I am like this in “real life” too. I have been described as aloof, but I try to be generous and kind. I take care of my family and my community. I don’t care about fame, which is much more of a curse than a gift. I reject most media interviews. My priorities are my loved ones and my work. Yesterday I was reading Charlotte’s Web to my…

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When Chronic Illness and Acute Illness Combine

 

In January, I met with my ENT. He is still a fairly new doctor for me and believes I don’t REALLY have Meniere’s disease, but that I have an autoimmune or allergic response to something in my environment. I’ve tested negative for autoimmune diseases many times. I’m going to get an allergy test done, but I don’t think we’ll find an answer there. My doctor’s opinion is that my Meniere’s should have burned itself out after 10 years, there is no way I should have Meniere’s for 13 years. Because of this, he had taken me off my medication, to see how I would do. I immediately had a return to severe vertigo attacks.

Of course, there is a thing called atypical Meniere’s disease in which you don’t burn out, but because I agreed to get an allergy test in the next few months, my doctor agreed to prescribe me the fabulous medication that keeps my attacks at bay : 25 mg Spironolactone. Not exactly looking for crack here.

A couple of weeks after getting on the Spiro, my Meniere’s symptoms began to lessen, like they always do. Frankly, I don’t really care if my “label” is Meniere’s or not, but my condition sure seems well controlled by a weak dose of a diuretic.

The first week of February, I got bronchitis. I got really sick, and I just didn’t get better. I tried to fight through it, going to work, doing breathing exercises, but no matter what I did, it got worse.

End of February/Early March, I had severe chest pain and went to the ER. After a cardiac workup, I was told I had pleurisy, given robitussin with codeine, and sent home.  The pleurisy hung around, so I went to my regular doctor’s NP for a prescription for pain killers, which really helped.

On March 17, my husband took me to the doctor’s office because I was unable to go alone. I had pneumonia. They put me on strong antibiotics, and over the last several weeks, I’ve gotten stronger. I was finally able to take my new puppy for walks and go back to work, of which I missed about 3 weeks. I kept getting better and was planning to start working out this week.

Then Thursday, I woke up to get ready for work and had severe shortness of breath, chest pain, and a 101.5 fever. I took tylenol, used my nebulizer, and called in for my shift, knowing I couldn’t make it through a 12 hour shift. Finally, the pain got so bad, and the fever wasn’t going down, so I went to the ER. There, I learned my white blood cell count was 24. That’s really high. I was nearly septic. But just nearly. So they wrote me a prescription for pain medicine and sent me home. I’m seeing my doctor’s NP for a blood exam Tuesday and then meeting with my primary care doctor next Monday.

THAT’S THE THING ABOUT BEING A NURSE. ONCE YOU ARE A NURSE, YOU’RE NOT REALLY QUALIFIED TO BE ANYTHING ELSE, BUT BEING A NURSE IS EXHAUSTING AND IT’S NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE TO WORK WHILE SICK.

This was not the plan. The plan was to heal the sick and when I went to nursing school, I knew I had Meniere’s, but it wasn’t bad. I had no idea I would develop asthma. Because I have asthma, when I do get sick, I get sicker than people usually do.

So here I am. Up in the middle of the night, which isn’t a problem, because I work nights, but feeling like crap. I’ve used my nebulizer, taken my pain meds, used my Incentive Spirometer, which helps to increase lung volume. Once again, I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do to get better.

I feel like my health care providers don’t give a shit, which is awful because these are people I know. I know I’m on the edge of a “final warning” for attendance at work. Because I dropped to part time to finish my BSN, I don’t qualify for FMLA. It’s so frustrating, all together.

And the only good thing is that my attacks have really nearly stopped with the medication. But I’m at my wit’s end with being sick, with being in pain, with not being able to breathe.

This is the thing about chronic illness… you spend every day barely getting by, and then when acute illness hits you, recovering is a battle you don’t have the resources to fight. That’s where I am.

 

Just a note: I don’t like “spoon theory,” it doesn’t work for me, so I really don’t want to hear about it on my blog. I’ll delete comments suggesting I use spoon theory for focusing energy. I don’t have the luxury of limiting the energy I have when I’m at work, when I’m at home. There’s too much that MUST be done.

 

 

On the Death of my Father

Originally posted on Bearded Stoner:

My father died Saturday night, or early Easter morning. Heart attack. He was a man of impulse and appetites. Between the raging volcano of anger and violence that covered my youth in ash and the weathered old mountain my daughter climbed to reach the wind chimes, he was a lot of things.

I don’t know how I feel. I see the whole event receding from me, on some distant coast I can’t reach, where other sons mourn other fathers. I’m not one of them, and people who love their fathers unconditionally won’t understand. I’m sad, yes. But also indifferent. Relieved. And extremely guilty about not feeling how I’m supposed to feel. How other people would feel. Normal people.

My father loved me, his oldest son. He’d been sorry and I’d forgiven him. Mostly. I remember too much; I believe too much in the power our pasts hold over our futures…

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Patient Rights Note

I lead a discussion on Twitter yesterday and learned that many people are unaware of their rights as a patient, and that some people avoid going to the doctor due to being put on a scale.

 

You have the right to refuse to be weighed at your doctor’s office.

You can also ask to be weighed without looking at the scale and ask not to know your weight.

 

Personally, because I am usually wearing heavier clothes, and I am required (for medical reasons) to weigh myself daily, I tell the medical assistant my weight. If they argue, I tell them they are making me uncomfortable, and they stop.

Generally, I am coming to see my doctor about an acute illness, not my weight. My doctor does not need to know my weight to order a blood test or many medications.

 

Times when your doctor may insist on a weight and you should probably comply:

  • If you are at a hospital, about to have surgery or need antibiotics – proper weight = proper dose
  • If you are at a hospital and are not eating or are on medications, they may want to weigh you daily to check effectiveness.
  • If you are coming in to specifically talk about weight loss or gain.
  • If you are coming in for a physical (although still, you can refuse, but I would suggest weighing yourself at home).
  • If you have had weight loss surgery, you can expect to be weighed at each appointment before and after.

 

Your doctor can refuse treatment if you refuse to be weighed. You can fire your doctor. You can call your insurance, report your complaint and find a different doctor. You have rights, and I want you to know what they are.

 

Nurses: Remember it is our job to advocate for our patients. If a patient is not coming in for a weight related problem, we may not need to know their weight. Ask yourself if insisting on a weight is going to cause the patient stress.

Food Anxiety Chat

Today at 5 PM EST on Twitter, I will be hosting a chat on food anxiety and the different forms it takes. Please join! If you want to send questions anonymously, please email me questions to GrimalkinRN@gmail.com

 

We will be discussing what forms food anxiety takes, how it develops, how we cope, and what happens when we can’t cope.

 

Please share this post if you have a moment!

 

 

Demand Buzzfeed Retract Articles About Steenfox (Christine Fox) and Apologize!

Twitter user @SteenFox held a beautiful conversation among sexual assault survivors that was healing and loving. Before the conversation had even finished, Jessica Testa of Buzzfeed had quickly gotten foggy consent from some users, but not @SteenFox and created a salacious piece of clickbait to up Buzzfeed’s ad revenue. They they wrote an article defaming @SteenFox’s repeated requests to have her own tweets and images taken down, which is her legal right. Your tweets are your own intellectual material, per Twitter’s privacy rules.

Please sign this petition to demand Buzzfeed retract and apologize for their articles about SteenFox (Christine Fox). If you can, go a step further and block Buzzfeed’s quizzes and “news” from your Timeline. You won’t miss them. I promise.

Please, please, please share this post!

JoAnne’s Cold Killer Soup

Tonight, I’m having a Meniere’s attack – vertigo and nausea. I know part of the reason is that my sinuses are really inflamed. My husband has a terrible cold. I have a bad sinus headache. I decided to make a soup to try to make us feel better. Initially, I was just going to drink broth with spices, but then I decided to make it a meal, so I added edamame, spinach and veggies.

Serves 2. Prep time 20 minutes. Cook time 40 minutes.

Ingredients

1 bag shelled edamame

1 bag frozen spinach

6 baby bella mushrooms, chopped.

5-6 cloves of garlic

Olive Oil

4 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger (or more)

2 inches lemongrass, chopped and pressed

1 teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons fresh basil

Salt and black pepper to taste.

1 quart chicken broth. (you can use vegetable broth and then it will be vegan)

————-

Directions

Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Add garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Saute until fragrant.

Add chicken broth

Add Cayenne pepper. Add as much as you want. I know I put in at least a teaspoon, probably more.

Add basil.

Add black pepper.

Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add edamame, spinach, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes (I simmered until my husband got home from work).

This soup is HOT. It works really well to help you clear your sinuses, chest, and you feel a lot better after eating it.

Feel better!

On consent and sensitivity.

Originally posted on hoodfeminism:

About 10 years ago, I was a staff writer for the Hyde Park Herald, a community weekly that paid in Trident Layers. One day, I was assigned a story on neighborhood chess players who’d been kicked out of a Borders bookstore for ruining the aesthetic, or something. I interviewed the store manager, who later claimed that I quoted her without permission.

Three days later, I was sacked. I was livid. I didn’t understand why the woman would lie. She never deferred to a corporate rep, nor did she state that she wanted anything off the record. It was just a story about chess players. What was the big deal? I didn’t consider that the woman might have wanted her identity hidden for reasons, and I didn’t care. I was out of a job, and over a story I didn’t even want. So I chalked it up to cowardice and started…

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250

I’ve been on steroids and sick since the beginning of February and it’s added 10 pounds to me. I am at my highest weight ever.

250 pounds. I’m going to have to buy some new, bigger clothes at this rate. I already bought scrub pants, but my bras are tight and everything is tight. I tell myself I can lose weight, but I really don’t think I can do it fast enough. I have an interview today and I’m just praying my jeans won’t be too small. I’ve been living in yoga pants since I got over 230.

I feel so ashamed of myself. I tell myself I couldn’t help getting bronchitis. I can’t help that I got pleurisy and I have tried to exercise but it’s also difficult to go out when I have asthma and it’s cold. I tell myself steroids make you gain weight, and I needed the steroids to breathe. This is all true.

But there’s another problem.

I have an eating disorder. I binge eat. I particularly binge eat when I lose any weight at all. Seeing the scale drop makes me want to eat. Seeing my clothes get looser makes me want to eat. I see a doctor about this but haven’t had much success with the anxiety that comes with weight loss.

I grew up very poor, and we didn’t always have food. My mother always praised us when we gained weight. She was probably relieved that we weren’t starving. We didn’t always have food when we were growing up. This lasted from the time we moved to Nashville, Tennessee, until the time she met my first step-father, Merritt, when I was about 7 or 8. After we met him, we were abused, we were hit and emotionally tormented, but we were fed.

We also had plenty of food in the Summer when I visited my grandparents. There were snacks and my grandparents always made sure we had plenty of them. I wasn’t hungry for most of my childhood, just a small part, but it has stuck with me.

I remember once, I was hungry and there wasn’t much food in the house. My mom was at work. I found a can of tuna and ate it. When she got home, she was furious. She said “that could have fed us for a week!”

Of course it couldn’t, but I remember that. I remember her yelling at me whenever I ate something that wasn’t specifically for mealtime. Snacks weren’t really something we had around the house, even after we were better off financially, and oh my God, I felt hungry all the time.

I won a scholarship to Germany my senior year of high school and it was the first time I really was offered enough to eat for a long period of time. I didn’t react appropriately. I started buying food at the local market and hiding it in my room. My host mother really didn’t understand and I know her feelings were hurt. But the sight of the food in my bedroom cupboard was comforting. I didn’t know it, but I had started to hoard food. I didn’t know it was a psychological condition at the time.

Then I got home. Shortly after arriving back in the States, my mother and step-father kicked me out. Then I really didn’t have enough food. I literally would count change to buy a can of soup or ravioli. When I got paid, I would go to the store and buy as much food as I could. I would buy so much food that I could barely make rent. The food hoarding got out of control. I put food on credit cards. I would buy and buy and buy food and not eat it. I’d stock my pantry and fridge and then go get fast food. None of it made sense.

When I moved to Colorado, I tried to change. Several times, I took my load of food to a food bank, only to buy another hoard with my next paycheck, putting myself at risk of homelessness again. I didn’t have a great job, but I had a job that paid enough for an apartment, bills, and a reasonable amount of food. But I had to have more. I had to have cans and cans and cans of food. To preserve the hoard, I’d still go to restaurants and get fast food, so I wouldn’t have to touch my hoard.

Eventually, I got into therapy, but I never really talked about food hoarding. As my anxiety lessened, I was able to give away food a little bit at a time and now while I do have more food on hand than my husband and I need, I don’t have so much food that I regularly throw it out. I have started making recipes out of the things I keep in the fridge. I keep food in the freezer, but I eat it. And when I went gluten free, I went through my cabinet and donated things I could no longer eat.

But what I can’t seem to do is stop eating. Whenever I lose any weight, I feel a compulsion to eat. I have to eat. I can’t not eat. I eat until my stomach hurts, and then as soon as the pain lets up, I eat some more.

I gave up soda, I gained weight because I replaced the soda with other food. I gave up gluten, I gained weight because I found lots of substitutes. Last year, I tried to become a vegetarian and gained weight so fast it was alarming.

My doctor doesn’t really get it. I used to take Wellbutrin and that was very helpful for appetite control. Then I started having hand tremors from Wellbutrin and I’m on a different medication for depression that is really not helping my anxiety.  I honestly don’t know what to do. When I think about looking for a support group, I feel so embarrassed. When I think about dieting, I want to eat. When I think about exercising, I want to eat.

I really can’t throw all of this blame on my mother. She was a single mom, and we were incredibly poor. My father didn’t pay child  support until she managed to have it removed from his paycheck. But things happened when I was a child, and these things make me prone to hoarding food. I’ve managed to stop hoarding food in cabinets, but instead, I now hoard weight on my body.

If I can’t stop doing this, I’m going to get diabetes. I’m going to get joint issues, I’m going to get high blood pressure. I already have slightly elevated blood pressure.  My asthma is getting worse. My clothes don’t fit. They are painful, and I really can’t afford to buy new ones right now.

This isn’t about accepting my body as fat and loving it. I don’t feel good at this weight. I feel awful.

I’m not asking people for solutions, I’m just getting this out, writing it down. I’m going to try to find help for my specific problem.

I don’t blame my mother for being hungry but I do blame my childhood for these habits I have now. I hope that by writing it down, admitting to the world I have a problem, I will be able to start changing my habits and my body.

I want to emphasize here: I do not want dieting advice. I do not want to hear about Paleo or veganism or anything like that. I have learned that restricting my diet triggers me to binge eat. I am going to work at exercising more and learning not to go eat when the scale goes down. That’s going to be my first step.

Thanks for listening.

Why I’m Not Your Ally

I support a lot of causes and I support a lot of people. I am uncomfortable with calling myself an “ally.” One reason is that I’m not particularly fond of labels and the other reason is what the world “ally” represents to me. When I think of allies, I think of the allies that grouped together to fight the Nazis in World War II. They were together for one particular cause, even if they had different forms of government and different opinions on different sociopolitical and economic issues.

The thing about the Allies, though, they were in the front lines. They were in the trenches. They were dying. Once they were in, they could not leave. They did not leave until the war was over and the last prisoner free.

Even the white people who aligned themselves with the Civil Rights movements were allies. They took beatings. They marched for miles, and some of them were murdered along with their Black comrades.  They were true allies.

I have marched in protests. I have signed petition after petition. I have voted my conscious even when I knew my candidate would lose because they were, in my heart, the right candidate for the job. I have spoken up at the Supermarket, at the bank. I call my coworkers on racist behaviors and let my Black and Hispanic, and Indian coworkers know that I will back them up if they need it.

But when I write, when I speak out, people do not threaten me. People do not threaten my children. No one is trying to find out where I live and publish that information. When I talk about my struggle with depression, no one tries to contact my primary care doctor and send them my Twitter logs. I am generally unafraid of the police. All of these things come to me because I have white privilege. I am not straight, and I am not cis, but in not being vocal about my gender status, people assume I am. I am weak because I do not speak out about my status, but I am not ready for that battle.

I do speak out.  I do speak up. When someone is being attacked on Twitter and asks for help, I join in. When someone is being discriminated against in public, I say something. If I see a mother struggling with groceries, I try to help pay. I donate what I can. But when I speak up, the tone of the conversation immediately changes. The person being racist changes their bearing. Now they are talking to a white person, and they are suddenly more respectful. If they are being a troll online, I can use the same derailing tactics they are using to get them away from the person they are trolling.

I’ve been called a race traitor, I’ve been called a N—– lover. None of that is anything near what people of color go through. No one has threatened my children. No one has threatened my life. No one has threatened my safety. Indeed, even on my most controversial, viral blog post, the most that happened was that people said I should quit my job. Even though my boss read the post, she never thought I should quit, and her opinion is all that matters in that situation.

So I am not your ally. I wish I could say I was. But the things I do are not sufficient for me to call myself your ally. I am your supporter. I will support you, with words, with money when I have it, with friendship if you need it, but I cannot be an ally. I cannot be on the front lines of the fight you are in. You cannot leave the fight you are in, but I can. White privilege affords me that opportunity.  My efforts are not enough to call myself your ally. If there is another war, I will join you. I will put myself in 100% and I will not leave. And then I will be your ally.

 

45 Minute Chili with Vegan Option

Several people have asked for my super easy chili recipe, so here it is:

 

Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings)

1 pound ground beef

2 cans kidney beans (drained)

2 cans tomato sauce

5-6 cloves of garlic

2 jalepenos

2 green bell peppers

1 large red onion

Chili Powder

Cayenne Pepper

Salt and pepper

Optional:

Sour cream

Grated cheese

 

Directions:

Chop the vegetables and add to a large skillet or non-stick pot

Use caution when cutting the jalepenos. If you don’t want hot chili, remove the seeds.

Add ground beef. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, and cayenne.

Saute until beef is thoroughly browned.

Add tomato sauce and kidney beans

Add more chili powder and cayenne pepper until you have achieved your desired level of heat.

Simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and grated cheese (optional). Also goes great with cornbread.

 

I have a vegan variant to this recipe. I use tempeh and add corn as an extra veggie.

If you use tempeh, chop it into small squares. Add grapeseed or another flavorless oil. Then add chili powder and saute until tempeh cubes are completely covered in chili powder. Then add vegetables and saute until onions are translucent. Follow the recipe from there.

I’ll post a picture of my chili the next time I make it, probably next week.

Help Lynx SainteMarie find their poetic voice!!!

My dear friend Lynx is trying to raise money to go to a poetry workshop for people of color in Canada. Transportation is already covered and they’ve received a $100 scholarship to help them attend.

 

The link to Lynx’s Gofund me is here

 

Created by Lynx Sainte-Marie on March 10, 2014

From Lynx:

Hey everyone,

For those who don’t know me, I’m Lynx. I am a (gender)queer, black feminist, afrogoth poet and student of love.  I run a little website that helps to showcase queer/trans, two-spirit and gender variant people of colour and Aboriginal folk as a way to give back to a broad community that is under-appreciated and mostly overlooked.  I am also chronically ill and am working towards wellness and wholeness, both physically and emotionally. And here I am, after many years, once again starting a journey into the world of performance art and spoken word poetry. How amazing!

I stopped creating and performing for several years because of a number of reasons, including trauma (I am a survivor of abuse), the onset of my immune issues, Depression & Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Because of these issues, the impact of them I still live with, and because most of my money goes towards medicine, supplements and/or my part-time post-secondary studies, I don’t have much money for anything else. So the idea of going to a retreat or workshop that might further my creative potential and provide me with creative contacts is mostly a dream to me. So here I am, asking for your support.

I was reluctant to create a page like this and fundraise but some of my dear friends reminded me that there are folks out there who believe in my words and who would support my going to a poetry workshop to help with my journey of regaining my voice and love for the stage. So here I am, sharing my story in the hopes that you believe in me like they do :)

d’bi young anitafrika is a world-renowned dub poet and educator, offering education to poets and performance artists from all walks of life. The workshop she is offering is called “finding my poetic voice and it is through the watah school: womb arts healing. It would be an amazing and humbling experience to attend this interactive, interpersonal and healing workshop and such an honour to work with d’bi since she is my favourite Canadian performance artist.  It would be an absolute dream for me to attend this workshop and learn as much as I can from her and my fellow workshop attendees.

The cost of the workshop is $700. Because of my situation, I was offered a $100 discount (Which would bring the fee down to $600) but because of “GoFundMe’s 5% per donation and WePay or PayPal’s 2.9% + $0.30 per donation“, I left it at $700. This money needs to be paid IN FULL by April 5th.  Travel expenses will be covered by me and it helps that it is every week for six weeks so it won’t cost very much to take public transportation to Toronto.

Give what you can and ONLY what you can, however small, I appreciate it. This would be an amazing opportunity for me that I would remember for the rest of my life.  I would love the chance to hone my skills as an artist with one of the greats! Once I am able to attend, I will document the journey as best as I can so that all can see my progress. How wonderful!

So much love for you all,

LSM

Please donate and if you can’t donate, please reblog to signal boost and spread the word. It’s so hard to find opportunities for enrichment as a writer, please think of Lynx and if you even have $5 to spare, send it their way!

The History of Breastfeeding Among Black Women – What White Nurses Need to Know

If you are a nurse, particularly a white nurse, working in postpartum or NICU and teaching new parents how to breastfeed, it is vital that you understand the history of breastfeeding among Black women. Up until late in the last century, Black women were still employed as wet nurses for White families. This robs a Black woman’s own child of nutrition. It also explains why many Black women have a negative connotation with breastfeeding. Rather than blindly push forward with lactation education, nurses need to work to further develop cultural competence and understand why Black women may choose not to breastfeed, and why their relatives may encourage them NOT to breastfeed.

Ultimately, breastfeeding should be the choice of the individual involved, not the choice of a nurse or family members surrounding the new parent.

@FeministaJones made a series of tweets regarding the history of breastfeeding and black women, as well as the history of how Black nurses were treated in homes. It is hard to read, but necessary to learn. I storified the tweets yesterday, but am also placing them here so that I can quickly point to them.

ago

On Black Women and Breastfeeding

In her #WomensHistoryMonth discussion, @FeministaJones discusses the history of Black women and forced breastfeeding of White children in the United States, up to modern times, pinpointing reasons for low levels of support among Black men for breastfeeding among Black women today.

  1. If were going to talk about #WomensHistoryMonth, can we tell all of the stories, please?
  2. Check out the link in that last tweet. Jarring images of the history of Black women as caretakers of White children
  3. “Recent study, 54% of black mothers breast-fed their infants from birth, compared with 74% of white mothers and 80% of Hispanic mothers”
  4. One has to wonder where the suffrage movement would have gone without Black nannies at home raising their children while they marched…
  5. @FeministaJones breast feeding my son was a trigger 4 my grandmother. I couldn’t figure out why she was so upset but now.. that pic #tears
  6. The only acceptable feeling when shown images like those, IMO, is rage.
  7. Maybe I can spark enough rage to incite a revolution…
  8. When I discussed the idea that Black women, esp in the 60s and 70s were largely anti-breastfeeding bc of being forced to nurse White babies
  9. People suggested I was too militant and talking crazy but… I’m right.
  10. There was, on the part of many Black women, an outright rejection of breastfeeding bc of what it meant to them historically.
  11. Racism kept many of us from giving our children the nourishment they needed from us. Let that wash over you.
  12. We were forced to give milk produced for our own children to the children of our owners, forced to neglect the needs of our babies
  13. Then we were blamed when our babies got sick or died and called “bad mothers”.
  14. The connection btwn Black American women and breastfeeding has not always been positive and BF advocates have to know this.
  15. So when I see WW, esp, coming down on BW for not breastfeeding, I cringe… it’s clear they’re not employing culture competence
  16. I say barely half of Black women breastfeed, after several tweets talking about why (including historical violence) and then…
  17. When BW were working and out of the home 16+ hours a day or barely allowed to go home to their children at all, how were they to nurse?
  18. BW had few choices but to NOT breastfeed and supplement their babies’ diets with whatever was available.
  19. And yet… BW have been perpetually vilified as being “bad mothers” when they’ve been forced into these conditions
  20. @FeministaJones So would their relationships with their children, esp. from having to nurse & nurture White children at expense of their own
  21. Re: #LRT, but BW were called “bad mothers”! Without acknowledging how much mother-child connection was sacrificed for work
  22. Only in the last 20 years or so have we seen a significant cultural shift among Black women to nurse their own children, thankfully.
  23. Because, real talk…? Sistas in the 50s, 60s, and 70s weren’t nursing, in large part bc they worked so hard and so long away from home.
  24. And the stigma of BFing was “thats for them White babies”, which we can see how it came from resentment of forced nursing of White babies
  25. @FeministaJones I see that as yet another form of economic violence. Formula isn’t free but we couldnt nurse cuz we had to work so much.
  26. Let your mind wrap around one woman demanding that another woman take the milk she is producing for HER own baby and give it to hers
  27. Breastfeeding, in the mid-late 20th century, was somewhat of a privilege for those who could afford to be around their babies
  28. How can we demonize economically disadvantaged women for NOT breastfeeding at a time before pumping, packaging, etc?
  29. That was passed down through generations and only in the last one, w/advances in BF support tools, are we seeing more BW embrace BFing
  30. My mother and all of her sisters formula fed. No one breastfed. My mom asked “What formula you plan on using?”
  31. Cultural competence means not assuming a new Black mom is automatically taking the “Duh of course I’m breastfeeding” approach
  32. It means understanding that our historical connection to breastfeeding is one of oppression, violence, and denial of “womanhood”
  33. “From 2000–2008, the percentage of women who initiated breastfeeding went up from 47.4% to 58.9% for blacks”  http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/resources/breastfeeding-trends.htm …
  34. Like I said, this is a relatively new cultural shift and it’s important to unpack and respect the negative connections to BFing
  35. @FeministaJones My aunt was a “wet nurse” in the 80s in the south. When people act like this stuff is archaic…it’s not.
  36. @FeministaJones That’s why I am always so wary of white women organizing and educating BW on BFing. They gotta do the knowledge!
  37. Not just for Black women, for Black men as well. So yeah… we gotta unpack this stuff.
  38. #WomensHistoryMonth The story of the Negro Nurse (an oft-overlooked figure in American history)  http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/negnurse/negnurse.html …
  39. “It’s a small indignity [..] no white person at the South ever thinks of addressing any negro man or woman as Mr., or Mrs., or Miss”
  40. ” It is a favorite practice of young white sports about town–and they are not always young, either–to stop some colored nurse +
  41. ” inquire the name of the “sweet little baby,” talk baby talk to the child, fondle it, kiss it, make love to it, etc., etc.+
  42. “and in nine of ten cases every such white man will wind up by making love to the colored nurse and seeking an appointment with her.”
  43. So remember when I said that not standing up to defend Black women is a behavior learned and socialized into BM?
  44. And how, historically, when Blk men stood up to defend Blk women, they faced violence, imprisonment, or death?
  45. If every time you tried to defend a Black women, you were on the receiving end of violence, what might you do, eventually? Stop.
  46. “If their fathers, brothers, or husbands seek to redress their wrongs the guiltless negroes will be severely punished, if not killed” Oh
  47. When I hear “Black women ain’t worth it…” talk, at the end, I hear the unspoken laments abt the repercussion for making us “worth it”
  48. It gets passed on… it’s self-preservation…it has to be unlearned
  49. If we loop Black men into the BF discussion, we have to ask how many are supportive of BFing and the economic implications for them
  50. We have to think about how maternity leave affects Blk families where the men are struggling to find work. That’s loss of wages…
  51. And if women feel they have to hurry and get back to work, they might not opt for BFing if formula feeding is easier.
  52. Reading the nurse narrative, I wouldn’t be surprised if BFing was a trigger for Blk men back then too, in light of the WM “advances”
  53. I wonder if any BM discouraged BW from BFing bc it reminded them of maybe what their own moms went thru as wet nurses for WW
  54. Hard to think of breastfeeding as violence against women, but for Black women in America, the history shows it has been.
  55. !! RT @Alivada: @FeministaJones keeps periods at bay too …in an era pre bc …so if partner was wet nurse, couldn’t parent themselves
  56. If BW were forced to keep lactating for wet nurse purposes, the impact on their own fertility/reproduction would likely be great.
  57. So that’s my #WomensHistoryMonth chat for the weekend.

This is what silencing looks like

Originally posted on Left at the Lights:

I didn’t celebrate International Women’s Day. I didn’t feel I had the right to. I’ve known for a while that maybe I’m not allowed to call myself a feminist because of the way feminism isn’t really much about real equality (justice), or hasn’t been for quite some time even though I’ve always believed it was my calling in life, to be a professional feminist, to ‘be the change I want to see’. The movement is so fractured and ugly, there is no solidarity and as I’ve said before, what are we without it?

I am trying to understand where I’ve gone wrong and coming up with a blank. It is my belief that I trust survivors, no exceptions. I stand by that belief, I put it into practice. Of all my feminist principles, believing survivors of patriarchal violence (entitlement that is positively encouraged by society as opposed to other forms…

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Magic Chicken Vegetable Soup

Not your grandma’s chicken soup. I make this soup when my husband or I aren’t feeling well. It’s easy to make, and fast. Yes, you can roast a chicken and make broth but this soup is for days when you don’t really feel like doing much. Before I was gluten free, I would add Grandma’s Frozen Egg Noodles, and it was delicious.

I pair the soup with Against the Grain’s baguettes and make garlic/basil butter for the bread. Delicious.

Ingredients

1 pound chicken, chopped into small pieces

2 green bell peppers

1 bulb garlic, peeled and chopped

1 red onion

Bag of frozen veggies (peas, carrots, corn)

Celery

6 small red potatos

Olive oil

Ginger root

Lemongrass stalk

Rosemary

Thyme

Sage

Directions

Heat olive oil in a pan or pot. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper. Saute chicken until thoroughly cooked.

Chop ginger root into small pieces. Cut up lemongrass stalk and grind lemongrass. Add to chicken.

Add rosemary, sage, and thyme. I use fresh herbs but dried will also work well.

When chicken is cooked, add chicken broth. I use 2 quarts. Add potatos. Simmer 30-45 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

Luck

Grimalkin, RN:

I feel like this is me and @LynxSainteMarie. We were always going to be friends, the internet just gave us a way to do so.

Originally posted on :

“Sometimes you meet someone, and it’s so clear that the two of you, on some level belong together. As lovers, or as friends, or as family, or as something entirely different. You just work, whether you understand one another or you’re in love or you’re partners in crime. You meet these people throughout your life, out of nowhere, under the strangest circumstances, and they help you feel alive. I don’t know if that makes me believe in coincidence, or fate, or sheer blind luck, but it definitely makes me believe in something.”

unknown, via tumblr.

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A Fitness and Diet Post

Over the last year, I’ve gained about 50 pounds due to developing painful tumors between my toes and steroid treatment for them. Prior to that, I’d lost 30 pounds with diet and exercise, but the tumors were so painful, all I could really manage was work.

My husband has also been gaining weight. I’m putting down our weight loss and exercise plan here because I want to keep it simple and document what we are doing.

 

1) Exercise 3-4 times a week, at least twice in the gym with weights.

2) Smaller portion sizes with more vegetables. Vegetarian/vegan meals 3-4 nights a week.

3) Better snacking. Rice cakes and almond butter. Veggies and Hummus. Veggies and salsa

4) Less alcohol. If we want more than one beer or glass of wine an evening, we have to walk to a bar.

5) If we want a splurge meal, we go to the gym, walk or bike to it.

6) Take a 30 minutes walk after dinner every night.

Most of my plan is activity oriented. I’m getting really good at planning meals as well. I wanted to put this down because I don’t believe in diet fads, but I know where John and I could be doing better to lose weight.

Along with this, I am working to be more accepting of my body. I’m never going to be a size 8 again, but I can get stronger and more comfortable in my skin. I am still in much better shape than when I started exercising 2 years ago. That’s really important. I also need to be accepting that I have Meniere’s Disease, which causes me vertigo, so I cannot always exercise, and I should not make myself feel guilty about it. This diet and fitness plan is not just about changing my body, but about accepting my body.

A Day in the Life Of

Tonight, I’m just going to write about my day and things that are going in my life. I don’t often share these things with my public blog but I really feel like it tonight.

Backstory: last Monday I was in the ER with chest pain from pleurisy. Tuesday Comcast jacked up our cable rates and we cancelled cable because we’ve been spending too much time on the couch. We wanted to exercise more, read more, talk more, and actually be present in each others company. It’s been such a good week.

It starts at Saturday evening, 5 PM. That’s when I woke up, had dinner and went to work. I had a good shift at work, REALLY nice patients, worked with a new grad I like, and got off on time. I came home and slept for 4 hours.

After I got up, my husband John and I went to the gym. We worked out. On the way home we stopped at Vitamin Cottage and I got the ingredients for the awesome dinner I made Sunday night.  We came home, I worked on my homework for Community Health (I’m in college to get my Bachelor’s of Nursing Science, I have an Associate’s Degree), made that kick ass (like really) dinner.

Last night, I didn’t sleep. Maybe I slept an hour, but I just couldn’t fall asleep. This isn’t new for me. I see a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders and it is not unusual for me to go several nights without good sleep. The last month has been particularly hard because I had bronchitis and now I have pleurisy.  It’s extremely painful. I’m on prednisone, a steroids, which has been keeping me awake at night.

This morning, I got up with John after a sleepless night. I think I slept about an hour. I was in a lot of pain. A LOT. Our automatic cat box, the Cat Genie (which is normally awesome) malfunctioned and smelled. Smells keep me awake, but John had a long work day ahead so I didn’t want to wake him up. Also, I didn’t realize the extent to which it had malfunctioned. We heard the engine start moaning a week ago, so we had the new Cat Genie ready to go, thank goodness.

I couldn’t sleep so I got up and made John breakfast while he made me coffee. He said it was an awesome start to his week. John left for work. He works part-time in office, part-time from home, which is a great arrangement because he works about 60 miles from home. My husband sold his house and drives that commute so that I can live near my hospital. I’ve never met anyone so supportive of my career and life goals.

After John left, I cleaned. I stripped the Master and Guest bedrooms, mopped the wooden floors upstairs, cleaned the guest and Master baths, and did a ton of laundry. My sister is coming to visit in a couple of weeks, so I want everything really, REALLY clean. While in the guest bath, I saw the Cat Genie wasn’t working properly, so I sent John a text to tell him we needed to work on it tonight.

Then I called my doctor’s office and was seen. They gave me a prescription for percocet to take at night. I can manage the pain during the day with tylenol, but at night, the pain is so nagging I just can’t sleep. I still had not slept. I went to the grocery store. I got home, put the Master bedroom back together, flipped the laundry again, and finally started feeling like I could sleep, so I took a 2 hour nap.

I had physical therapy this evening. He’s been working on my severe plantar fasciitis, which is getting better. He also did dry needling, on my back and shoulders. All of the coughing has really thrown my back out of whack. My PT helped me stretch my body back into place and I’m feeling much better.

I got home, and after last night’s fancy dinner, just made some gluten free chicken nuggets and steamed broccoli. After dinner, per my weight loss plan, we went for a 2 mile walk. It’s a beautiful night in Denver, not too cold, and we had a nice walk. We made plans to get a puppy by the end of the month.

So here I am, very little sleep, in a good mood, but in pain, heading towards delirium.

When we got home, we decided to tackle the Cat Genie because if the odor is too much, the cats like to pee on the couch. We do not want the cats to pee on the couch.

We took it apart and John assembled the shiny new one. This left scrubbing the old one (we want to save it for parts) to me. I scrubbed and scrubbed. IT WAS A LOT OF CAT SHIT. There was SO much. Finally, the worst happened. A washer, still covered in poo, flew off and hit me in the face. I came close to losing my dinner, but I’m not a nurse for nothing. I scrubbed my face with antimicrobial dish soap and kept going.

On the way back upstairs, I stopped and poured John a whiskey and myself a glass of wine. We finished assembling the new cat box and watched it’s inaugural run while toasting each other’s awesomeness.

My house smells SO good now.

Getting rid of cable TV has been the best thing we could have done for our marriage. I was watching way too much TV when I could have been out doing things. I wasn’t exercising. At night, we weren’t talking, just watching MSNBC or Aljazeera. When the news wasn’t on, we were watching shows we didn’t really like because nothing else was on. We weren’t talking. We ate every night in front of the TV.

Then Comcast raised our rate by $50 and we had a serious discussion about it. John and I have been cutting our expenses by turning down the thermostat, planning meals and eating at home, planning shopping trips, etc. No way was I going to see money I’d been saving to donate to heat Pine Ridge Reservation and Keep Marissa Alexander out of jail go to Comcast. So we got rid of it.

It’s only been a week, but I feel like I got my husband back. Sitting there in the bathroom, watching the robot do it’s thing, drinking wine with my geeky husband, it felt so good. Like when we were first married. We were such a team. We are that way again.

Tomorrow night, we’re going to have a gym date and workout, then go out for burgers afterward. It’s going to be awesome.

I’m so relieved to have my husband back. Also, very relieved my mouth was closed when that shit covered projectile aimed for my face.
Good night, world.

 

 

Sauteed Salad with Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinagrette with Gluten Free Garlic Bread (Vegetarian)

Without the garlic bread (for which I used Against the Grain’s Gluten Free French Loaf and butter), this meal is vegan. I’m cutting out dairy but didn’t want to throw away half a loaf of awesome bread.

So vegetarian and gluten free. Vegan if you have vegan bread. You can use olive oil, garlic and basil to make a nice topping for garlic bread. Broil on high for about 3-5 minutes, watching closely for your kitchen to catch on fire. Such is the life of someone who doesn’t broil very often. BUT I DID NOT BURN MY BREAD TODAY.

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Sauteed Salad with Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinagrette (Vegan)

You will need:

Salad (I used a mesclun salad, but any base will do)

Cold veggies – any you like, I used carrots, celery, radishes, cherry tomatoes, cumber and an avocado

Veggies for sauteeing: I used snap peas, baby bella mushrooms, a yellow bell pepper, and an orange bell pepper. This would also be great with asparagus.

Extra firm Tofu

Ginger root

Balsamic Vinagrette

Honey

3 cloves Crushed Garlic

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional: Daiya “cheese”

……………………………………………………………

In a tofu press, press the tofu until as much water as possible has been drained. Then pour in a small bit of olive oil and 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette. Marinate for at least an hour.

Wash your salad and vegetables thoroughly. Chop veggies, setting cold veggies in one bowl and hot veggies in another bowl. Set out plates with your base salad and the cold veggies so you have them ready for later.

Chop about 1 tablespoon of ginger root into very small pieces (or grind).

Crush or grind at least 3 cloves garlic.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil, several tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette, and 2-3 tablespoons of honey. When water begins to evaporate from vinegar, add garlic and ginger root. Cook until fragrant. Add hot vegetables.

While the ginger and garlic are cooking, take out tofu and cut into small squares. Toss squares with remaining marinade.  Add to oil/vinaigrette mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until squares are thoroughly saturated.  Add veggies to be sauteed. Saute veggies until tender and fragrant.

Add hot veggie/tofu mixture to salad, making sure to pour any extra oil/vinaigrette mixture onto salads. Salt and pepper to taste.

The daiya cheese tasted good, but honestly the salad didn’t need it. I won’t add it when I make it again, but I will add asparagus.

This salad was unexpectedly satisfying and flavorful. The honey and balsamic vinegar compliment one another nicely, and the olive oil & avocado are healthy fats. This meal is high in fiber and nutrients. It is NOT a cheap salad to make unfortunately, but it is delicious. I will be making this salad for a future episode of #cookingwithjoanne on Twitter.

Why ‘feminist infighting’ is coded language for ‘pipe down I don’t want to hear about your intersectionality’

Why ‘feminist infighting’ is coded language for ‘pipe down I don’t want to hear about your intersectionality’.

Why I Stopped Identifying With White Feminism

(Inspired by @SamAmbreen’s post here: We will not let white feminism divide and conquer us)

Today I’ve been talking with @HadleyFreeman about a series of posts she made to @JudeinLondon earlier in the day. Short story: Freeman wrote a problematic article, Jude discussed it on Twitter without linking to Freeman, someone emailed Freeman about Jude’s response and Freeman demanded, repeatedly, that Jude take the discussion offline. In my opinion, she abused her platform and privilege. She called Jude’s preemptive blocking of her account “childish” when it was an act of self care. Eventually, she used the same tone policing on me and I believe she has blocked my account, although I fully admit to blocking her and not checking back. Maybe later. It was yet another example of why I don’t belong in White feminism and why many other white feminists feel the same way. Today, @SamAmbreen asked for White feminists who practice intersectionality to discuss this, and after a lot of thought, here I am.

I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was a little girl. Poems, short stories, papers. I’ve edited papers for publication. When I used to perform poetry, I was often called a “feminist writer.” At the time, I really didn’t know what that meant. I was raised in a very anti-woman environment with more than a few religions. I shied away from the term “feminist” in direct conversation but that didn’t stop me from allowing the label to promote my writing. Few poets and writers have writing careers, and I am not an exception. I’m okay with that. As I have said many times, I love nursing, and these days, I find my energies are better spent in active campaigns, protests, phone calls and letter writing.

But then came the internet. I played with learning about feminism, and quickly found early online feminist communities to be battlegrounds. After witnessing a few virtual bloodbaths, I left the communities. I don’t like being flamed, I really didn’t like direct confrontation (but I’m getting better at it).

I read. I went to college. I started to learn more about feminism. But it was in a conversation with a women’s studies major that I realized I would never quite fit into mainstream White feminism. I’ll get into that. While women of color were happy to talk about feminism in class and online, recommending sources and books and Twitter accounts, White women were less welcoming. Still, I got involved the day Caroline Criado-Perez started receiving rape threats. It was too much. At the time, I had no idea how prevalent rape threats on Twitter were, but I found out, because I received my own. I quickly followed her account and my tweets in her support rapidly gained me new Twitter friends. FEMINIST friends. I was so excited. Finally I could learn. And I did.

Then one day, I saw a heated, excited Twitter conversation. Flavia Dzodan (@redlightvoices) had written a blog post at http://www.redlightpolitics.info, and one line kept ringing throughout the discussion. “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be BULLSHIT.” At the time, I thought a different Twitter user had coined the phrase. This is important later. I knew nothing about intersectionality. In fact, most of the books on feminism recommended to me were written by white women. I was also ignorant of how readily information was available. I asked a close Twitter friend, @judeinlondon what intersectionality was. Jude gave me a brief explanation and told me to check Wikipedia. I realize now I really should have gone to Google myself. Jude, I love you and I thank you so much for your direction and that we are such good friends.

I read. I realized ~ MY FEMINISM WAS “BULLSHIT.” It wasn’t intersectional. Intersectionality is really a simple theory and easy to understand if you want to understand. My feminism wasn’t transinclusive. My feminism didn’t recognize the different struggles faced by women of color, women in poverty, sex workers, or even the struggles I faced as a disfigured woman with a disability. I began to see feminism in a new light. I began to see where I might fit in as a feminist.

Eager to learn about trans issues, I went to Google. I read GLAAD’s page on trans terms. And I followed a few Twitter accounts run by trans individuals. And then something happened. I began to see drama. I hate drama. I really do. The drama I saw was linked to a couple of terms I had never heard before. TERF, SWERF. This feminism was “bullshit.” I started tweeting about it. I started talking with trans individuals, and one day, my follower count dropped by about 20 people. All white feminists. Mainly British white feminists. I was really hurt, but I quickly learned I wasn’t alone.

I mentioned talking with a women’s studies major. This is important because it was this young White feminist’s opinion that because I chose a female dominated field and not something else, I was supporting the patriarchy and had no place in feminism. I didn’t talk further with that young woman because her feminism wasn’t open and inviting and uplifting. She was kicking down. I realized her feminism was “bullshit.”

One day, I was tweeting along and I incorrectly credited Flavia Dzodan’s (@redlightvoices) now famous quote to Judith Wanga (@judeinlondon). Someone told me I was wrong but I was quite certain I was correct. I could have easily verified it but I was lazy. Flavia let me know how wrong I was. I deserved it. I apologized. In talking to Flavia, and reading her blog and Twitter, I realized how much education I was losing. But I didn’t want to impose upon her. So one day, I asked her if I could follow her. I reiterated my apology, and the most amazing thing happened. Flavia forgave me. She followed me back. We have had a few very enlightening and uplifting conversations. She doesn’t kick down.

I’ve screwed up several times. initially, apologizing wasn’t a skill I had. I got into an incredible, damaging argument a few years ago with @amaditalks and we blocked each other on my primary account. I still followed her on my nursing account and eventually I began to feel very guilty and intrusive about following her when she didn’t know who I was. So I brought it up. I apologized. And we are friends. We are good friends. If I had not apologized, my life would be poorer. Amadi has taught me, along with others, how to more skillfully debate. She has reminded me to use inclusive language and given examples of what this is. I was wrong, so wrong in our argument, and while Amadi had forgotten it, I never had. Because I was wrong, and I knew it.

So here I am. In intersectional feminism, I have found a place. I have come to terms with my own gender fluidity. I am out to my husband and online and I will never deny my queerness or gender fluidity in person. I have learned about White privilege, and learned to check it. I have become a better person. I have become a better nurse. I have learned to confront people, first online, and then in person. Thanks to Ngọc Loan Trần, I have a new method of calling out problematic behavior. in their article Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable, I learned a way to call out bullying behavior without crying and shaking. It has made work easier.

I don’t fit inside White feminism’s neat bubble. I’m not going to take extra classes when information is so readily available. I do not need a women’s studies degree to practice feminism. I need my brain and my heart, both of which are currently functioning. I’ve been called “divisive” by White women when I back up women of color, primarily when I back up Black and Muslim women. It’s pretty obvious. I’ve been told that feminism needs to focus on the needs of ALL women instead of subgroups.

White women are a subgroup of feminism. It is true that placing the focus of feminism on subgroups is divisive. This is why White women must learn to stop crying for “unity” (Adele Wilde-Blavatsk) and realize that women of color, trans women, trans men, and others are moving on in unity WITHOUT us.

Am I going to screw up again? ABSOLUTELY. That’s the thing about White privilege, it doesn’t go away because you start recognizing it. You have to actively work to be a better person. You have to actively work to change the world. I doubt I’m going to change many minds with words, but I hope I do so by actions. That is the inspiration behind my @TransDyingYoung project, and my tentative decision to focus my NP on care of the transgender population. This is work, and with work comes mistakes. But I have learned to apologize. I have learned to Google. These are not difficult things to do with practice.

I don’t believe mainstream “White feminism” wants to change. Instead, it will die a painful death by attrition. A few days ago, I tweeted that White feminists are angry because they didn’t come up with intersectionality and make it about white women and I really believe this is true. I have seen White women say “we have to come up with a better term.” This rebranding of intersectionality is nothing short of plagiarism and theft of its founder, Kimberlé Crenshaw. It wasn’t a White woman’s idea. It wasn’t about White, cis gendered women. This is appropriate. This isn’t “bullshit.”

I want to thank so many people, mentioned in this post, and unmentioned, who have let me learn, who have told me when I was wrong, and who have taught me what my White, racist parents never told me: it is okay to be wrong. Apologizing doesn’t make you weak. Learning new things makes you stronger, and we will come through this with a more unified feminism.

We will not let white feminism divide and conquer us

Originally posted on Left at the Lights:

Everyone knows how white people colonised the world by pitting neighbours against each other. My own grandparents wouldn’t speak about partition, all my gran would say was that there was a time when Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims lived in the same villages, they were different but they respected those differences; going into the mountains to slaughter meat for food for example, acknowledging that this practice might be offensive to Hindus and Sikhs. The only other thing I recall my gran mentioning was the horrific state in which the trains carrying respective Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus arrived at their destinations, all passengers on board slaughtered by the other side. I can understand why they didn’t want to talk about it. That said I won’t ever forget their belief that the British were to blame.

I’ve always wondered how this manipulative tactic comes so easy to colonisers, even when they aren’t drawing…

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Protected: Why I have my locked account

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Do Not Link allows you to ethically criticize bad content

Originally posted on Skeptical Software Tools:

I’ve written many times about how skeptics need to take care when linking to bad information that we intend to rebut. Because links are used by search engines to measure the importance of content, linking to a piece of pseudoscience or misinformation (in the process of rebutting or debunking it) might actually have the effect of making it more visible to others. That’s not desirable. I would even say it is unethical to increase the visibility of such content, insofar as it has the potential to cause harm.

Do Not Link: link without improving "their" search engine positionIf you doubt my thesis, read this New York Times article. It tells the story of how negative reviews of a particular business actually had the effect of catapulting that business to the top of the relevant search result, thereby bringing it more customers. Talk about a skeptic backfire!

In blog posts and other web content, I’ve long recommended a best…

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Sometimes I Hate My Job

Originally posted on Nurse Eye Roll:

But not in the way you’d think.  It’s not the hours or the pay or the poops.  It’s how keenly and constantly aware I am of our precious and fragile lives.

Today while I was driving, I came up behind a car with an “organ donors save lives” bumper sticker and I immediately thought, that driver or a loved one of his must have received an organ.

I thought of the times at work when I’m comforting a family who have faced the terrible and sudden death of their loved one who decided to donate their organs.  I thought of the gut-wrenching pain that I’ve seen them experience.

And then, the scenario immediately played in my head of what it would look and feel like if my husband became brain dead and was a donor.

As I pictured myself outside of the OR, right after saying my last goodbye…

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Cheesy polenta with Paprika Mushrooms & Spinach

Made this dish tonight inspired by this recipe which called for shrimp.

 

Ingredients:

1 tube premade polenta (or make your own polenta)

About 2 OZ cheese, any kind

1/4 c milk

1/4c water (optional)

1 bag frozen spinach (or fresh)

1 container baby portabello mushrooms

1 onion (use your fave)

Garlic (4 cloves – to taste)

Basil – at least 3 tbsps

Amchoor Powder – 2 pinches (optional)

Smoked Paprika – 3 teaspoons (more if you want)

Plenty of Olive oil

Pepper

Salt (to taste)

1/2 lemon

Veggies:

Slice the mushrooms, onion, garlic, basil.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic, basil, dash of salt, liberal black pepper, paprika.

Heat for one minute, until garlic is aromatic, add onion.

Cook until onion begins to become translucent

Add mushrooms and frozen spinach. Mix well until everything is coated with the oil and spices. Cover and cook over medium until mushrooms are desired tenderness.

Spray with lemon juice. Layer over polenta. Serve.

Polenta

If you have made your own polenta, just add the cheese, stir until melted and serve.

If  you are using premade polenta, cut it into chunks.

Heat a small amount (1/4 c or so) of liquid (I used milk), then add the polenta,

With a potato masher, get to mashing that polenta. When it’s really mashed, switched to a spoon and stir that polenta.

Add the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted.

When the cheese has melted, YOU ARE DONE.

 

Spoon the polenta onto a plate, cover with the veggie mixture. Eat and be happy.

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We can’t be friends.

Originally posted on Dugans InCahoots:

Moms,

See that picture above?

Thats my life. 90% of the time- that beautiful mess is my life. Despite my best efforts, it is crazy, chaotic and absolutely unorganized.

I like you. I think you are sweet, and fun to hang out with. But let me give it to you straight. If I have to clean for three hours before you come over…

We can’t be friends. We just can’t.

It’s just way too stressful, and trying to keep my home perfectly neat in this stage in life is impossible and overwhelming. I used to be more put together, believe it or not, I am naturally organized ( and a little OCD) . But then my kids became mobile, they ganged up on me, and my life and time were no longer my own.

If you do come over, and I really want you to, I won’t pretend that I…

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Your Spouse May Be Black, But You’re Still Racist

Originally posted on Evette Dionne:

Interracial Love

My former sister-in-law is Caucasian, originating from the trenches of the low-income Russian slums. Her blonde tresses, piercing blue pupils and pale—almost tanned, but not quite—complexion signify her Whiteness when she enters the room. The pompousness of Whiteness is the looming shadow behind her slim hips. But my Black American brother sidestepped the privileges and the centuries of oppression and put a ring on it.

Their union was blissful and two children were bore from their happiness, until her Whiteness rose without warning or provocation. Purchasing a home out-of-their price range and enduring the subsequent financial turmoil was the catalyst for her arrogance. In a simple exchange between man and wife, she told my brother that the crumbs he was delivering to the kitchen table weren’t enough.

Her exact words were, “You need a better job,” as if the fortune of her White brothers and father would be bestowed on…

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Queer Of Gender Posts Its First Article!

My dear friend @LynxSainteMarie’s labor of love is coming to fruition. Today, their website “Queer Of Gender” launched, with it’s first article, by Mercy Medusa Mahogany Immanuel Thokozane Minah.

Take a moment, read the links, and if you are Queer of Gender, contribute!

Dealing With White Guilt

Today, thanks to Meniere’s Disease, I am confined to my bed. My husband is here to help me and I’m going to be okay, if not miserable.

By now, most of us have already read the piece of clickbait that was Jen Caron’s: It Happened To Me: There Are No Black People In My Yoga Class and I’m Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable With It. (Clicking these links will not up their page counts). This piece was wrong in so many ways. Most likely, the unnamed black woman (because they are always unnamed, see Eve Ensler’s article on “Congo Stigmata“).

Now, I’ve been told repeatedly that white privilege does not exist. This argument pales because I see it on a daily basis. Getting served first. The extreme politeness of POC towards me when I’m at the grocery store. Often, I want to to stop and say “I’m not one of THOSE white people, please just act normally.”

But I don’t. There are reasons for this.

I use my white privilege when it is helpful to me or my friends. Indeed, when I helped @Suey_Park with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, I had several people accusing me of abuse of white privilege, even though AAA has a policy dealing with gifting accounts instantly. Many people assumed that because I was white, I was able to do things a person of color would be unable to do. In that circumstance, my knowledge of AAA’s policies was what was useful. I had learned about them while working in Customer Service.
Honestly, I wasn’t using white privilege at that moment.

Times I have used white privilege? When I’ve seen a POC being treated poorly at the hands of white customer service agents. When I see a POC being treated poorly by another nurse. When I’ve seen a Hispanic person clearly struggling with a language barrier who needed help with translation. My college education is a form of privilege. I am determined to use it where ever I can to pull people up, not to bring people down. This is how I use my white privilege.

There are other times White Privilege has benefited me without my intent, so many circumstances I will never know.  Other times, I become aware of it as it is happening, and I try to stop it. When I see a white person invoking their privilege, I try to say something about it, if I am able. I do not have Male Privilege, and I am aware there are times when speaking out could cost me my job, and I really need my job.

But how did I become aware of this privilege? Slowly, very slowly. I was raised in Nashville, Tennessee, very close to the projects, and until I went to a private high school on scholarship and my mother scraping by, I went to schools where white people were a minority. Still, I had white privilege.. I wasn’t aware of it, but I was given opportunities black people were not. Classes for the gifted. Extra time with teachers.

I am smart. In some situations, such as memory and language, I have been called “scary smart.” Still, this didn’t earn me additional time with teachers. Indeed, I should have been okay if left alone. So why did I receive so much attention from white teachers in a mostly black classroom? White privilege.

Still, it was years before I learned about white privilege. I credit @judeinlondon with so many things, and through reading her tweets, I learned about white privilege . I also saw Jude say over and over that it was not her responsibility to educate.  I googled. I learned some more. I was horrified. All this time, when I thought what had been achieved on my own merit was probably influenced by white privilege. Was I even equally qualified for my job? (After a great deal of thought and introspection and looking over the lives I have saved, I believe I am completely qualified and very good at my job).

Then I did an Ancestry.com search on my family. It wasn’t particularly easy, but eventually I came upon what I didn’t want to see. My distance descendants were slave owners. While I had been told, repeatedly, I was descended from Native Americans, I couldn’t find written proof of this (I have been told by Native Americans I have distinct Lakota features, but I do not know how distant the relationship is).  There are several pictures of Native women owned by my family, and I have been told they were my great great great grandmothers, but there is little proof. Definitely not enough proof to claim discrimination due to my ancestry, as many white people do.

The facts, staring right at me, were sickening. I am the descendent of slave owners, which means, like many white Americans, I am unknowingly complicit in the horrible treatment of African Americans and other people of color. I closed the program. I was nauseated. I opened Twitter. I needed to talk to someone. But who? Who would be the right person to talk to? I was very close to tears. I felt sick. But I remembered the words of so many black women, that it was not their job to comfort me, and I decided to respect that. I had never harmed them, but by asking for forgiveness for crimes I personally did not commit, I could become a vehicle of harm.

I closed my computer.

Discovering white privilege and distant relationship with slave owners is painful, but it is not the duty of black people, particularly black women, to comfort us. @TheTrudz has spoken out many times on Twitter about the tendency of white people to seek out comfort and forgiveness from black people when the first pangs of white guilt hit our hearts. This morning, we had this exchange:

Trudy has made herself very accessible online, and paid a heavy price for it. Here is my point: It is not the job of black people to comfort us. For the most part, they do not want to comfort us. The desire of white people to have forgiveness from black people from things done hundreds of years ago does not require white people to “prostrate” themselves to black people. What it really indicates is a desire to have the love and attention of the “Mammy” figure.

@TheTrudz has suggested this article: 28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors That Indicate a Detour or Wrong Turn into White Guilt, Denial, or Defensiveness. She also has multiple articles at her blog, Gradient Lair that are very useful.  I have never read an article by @TheTrudz and not learned something valuable. She also suggested this reading: Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? By Beverly Tatum. It contains step by step instructions. I have started reading this book and found it powerful. Unfortunately, my tablet is dead and I’m waiting for it to completely charge.

Mammy is long gone. Yes, black women can be incredibly nurturing and kind. So can all women, should they choose to do so. But black women are no longer obliged to give us comfort. To expect comfort for your white guilt from black women or other women of culture IS AN ABUSE OF YOUR WHITE PRIVILEGE. This is why I don’t just come out and say “I’m not one of those white people.” Instead, I use a different tactic. If there is someone I want to be friends with, I gently approach them and over time they will see I’m not one of “those” white people, and if they are willing, and like me back, friendship will grow on it’s own. There is no need to force it.

Still, I see people, hundreds a day, coming into the mentions of my black friends on Twitter, demanding education. They refuse to read links, valuable links, that could educate them. They will only take education from a black person, THIS black person, as a matter of fact. THIS IS AN ABUSE OF YOUR PRIVILEGE SO OBVIOUS SARAH PALIN CAN SEE IT FROM HER HOUSE. If she weren’t so blind to white privilege herself.

So here is my proposal. If you are feeling a big dose of white guilt, come talk to me. You can reach me at @grimalkinrn on Twitter, and I will be happy to talk about your feelings. These feelings are a part of growth. They are valid, and they are necessary. What is not necessary is burdening women (or men) of color with your feelings.  If you need privacy, you can email me at grimalkinrn@gmail.com or DM me on Twitter (though you will need to let me know you need me to follow you back ). Needless to say, trolls will be blocked.

If white people talk to one another about our white privilege and white guilt, we will be better prepared to use our white privilege to the advantage of others, and not just ourselves.

White Feminism 101

Originally posted on Left at the Lights:

White feminists sit around daydreaming about their next campaign. They’re not fighting for basic recognition like the rest of us, they’re thinking of even sillier ways to assert their power and so they have the luxury of poking at the institutions to look as if they are doing something worthwhile. So we show them how bullshit their feminism is and how do they respond? Do they take on board our feelings about how we are being erased? Do they accept that there is a kyriarchal structure they personally maintain? Do they fuck.

Last week various WoC had to push down triggers of domestic and sexual abuse in order to defend the perpetrators of these acts of violence against women. The two men in question; Mike Tyson and Stan Collymore. Y’see if you’re a white woman and you know that so and so is a prolific abuser, you can condemn…

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Transgender Dying Young Project

This semester, I have my community health class. I have to spend 56 hours volunteering and gathering data about a population in my community and a disease that affects that community.

I’ve thought all week about where I should focus my project on, and I’ve come to a decision.

Individuals who are trans face incredible odds, particularly if they are people of color. They also dying younger and by more violent causes than the general population.These are my friends and neighbors I am losing.

I identify as genderfluid but generally do not bring it up because to do so would invite scrutiny, accusations, and mockery. But I am saying this here because even though I have the privilege of passing, passing limits my free expression of who I am and one day I truly hope to be free in that expression. I would love to have a closet divided into thirds. One for woman. One for man. One for the days when I don’t feel like any gender expresses who I am.

Reasons for this project:

We have the horrible last days of Dr. V, now etched into a webpages walls for clickbait for all the world to see and judge and mock. (Note: link posts to @ParkerMolloy‘s eloquent synopsis and take down of how the article could have been written without outing Dr. V. and causing her and her loved ones so much distress.

We experience hate crimes all over the world. Countries where being trans is a death sentence.

We experience higher rates of STDs, especially HIV among trans individuals.

Most members of the medical community receive ZERO training on the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the trans population. Because of this, trans individuals are often afraid to go to a hospital or doctor’s office, even in an emergency. This must stop.

I am going to make my Community Health project about death in the trans community and what could be done to prevent the early deaths of my trans friends and family. I am going to be able to present to at least 60 nurses and my professors what can be done to improve the mental and physical health of the trans community. While I am doing this, I am also going to create a presentation that can be easily emailed and blogged and shared about the healthcare needs of the trans community.

I am going to tweet about my project and the work I am doing under the hashtag #transdyingyoung.

Because I am new to this, I am going to enlist the help of anyone who would like to review my project and my posts. If you would, please email me at grimalkinrn at gmail dot com. I will not out anyone. I will not post personal, identifying information about anyone who does not want to be identified. I WILL listen to members of the trans community and solicit their instruction and advice.

I have a pretty good idea why I think trans individuals are dying so young, and of so many things that cis individuals do not, but I also know there are cultures that embrace multiple genders. We have people that embrace multiple genders.

My hope is that with this project I will bring education to more than 60 people. I am going to share my research and blog about these 56 hours of data collection and service. And by sharing this blog post, I am going to out myself to my classmates, and fellow nurses. I am genderfluid, and I am not going to be silent about it anymore.

This is not going to be a journey down a rabbit hole where things get stranger and stranger. I am going to work to put the healthcare needs of the trans community into the light of day, and move the practice of medicine FORWARD.

Care Left “Undone” During Nursing Shifts

‘Care left undone’ during nursing shifts: associations with workload and perceived quality of care

This study, performed in the UK, shows the correlation between tasks left undone during a nurse’s shift and staffing on a hospital unit. Tasks that are most often left undone include talking with and educating patients.  This affects patients far after they leave the hospital, especially if they do not receive vital instructions for maintaining their health, such as how to care for wounds, when to take (or not to take) medication, and when to call a doctor. This is yet another study that shows nurse staffing affects patients not just while they are in the hospital, but also when they have left.

On my unit we try to keep the mentality that it’s a 24 hour job and the next shift can get to things if we cannot get to them ourselves. But this primarily addresses tasks that a nurse is not able to get to, not patient education and counseling. It would be so nice to have adequate time to talk to my patients and educate them thoroughly. Currently this feels like the exception rather than the rule.  I know busy nurses everywhere are suffering from the same chronic disappointment in our jobs. We got into nursing for the patients, it is upsetting when you are forced, due to staffing, to give only the care written down on paper and not the vital care that nurses are trained to give every patient: emotional support and comfort. The ability to spend time with your patients and care for their emotions is part of what makes nursing a rewarding occupation, and the inability to do so is what causes many nurses to develop compassion fatigue, burnout, and to leave the profession.

Calling Out Vs. Calling In: How Activist Techniques Can Be Used to Decrease Lateral Violence and Bullying in Nursing

A little while ago, I had the privilege of reading Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable by Ngọc Loan Trần. The essay is well written and thought provoking, and brought a new idea to the way I practice feminism and activism. I keep thinking back to this essay and what it could mean in my personal life. What if we brought Trần’s idea of “Calling In” to nursing? Could we find a method of speaking to each other that comes from a place of concern and love? When speaking from that place of concern, could we use language and tone in such a manner that lateral violence and bullying on our hospital units is decreased? Could we actively support one another to improve our patient care without bringing someone to tears? I think we could.

From the essay:

“Most of us know the drill. Someone says something that supports the oppression of another community, the red flags pop up and someone swoops in to call them out.

But what happens when that someone is a person we know — and love? What happens when we ourselves are that someone?

And what does it mean for our work to rely on how we have been programmed to punish people for their mistakes?

I’ll be the first person and the last person to say that anger is valid. Mistakes are mistakes; they deepen the wounds we carry. I know that for me when these mistakes are committed by people who I am in community with, it hurts even more. But these are people I care deeply about and want to see on the other side of the hurt, pain, and trauma: I am willing to offer compassion and patience as a way to build the road we are taking but have never seen before.” (Trần)

While Trần’s essay deals primarily with actions within the activist community, I see a lot of parallels with nursing. A good example is shift report. Generally, report is a smooth transition, performed by thousands of nurses each day to get one shift in and another shift out. Everyone’s goal is to get through report quickly so the oncoming nurse can get to work and the offgoing nurse can get some sleep. Report isn’t always seamless, and a big part of that comes from nurses. There are nurses who approach report aggressively, and by the time the offgoing nurse has finished, that nurse feels like they have been through a battle. This is lateral violence.

There are nurses who seem to look for mistakes and consider themselves blameless. Now, we are all going to make mistakes, and because we all make mistakes, we are all going to FIND mistakes. Some mistakes are big, and have a lot of people involved. Some mistakes are small, and are the result of action or inaction by one individual. Regardless of the level of mistake, we should never berate one another or treat one another in a hostile fashion. Rather, we should deal with the mistake, and if we are in the presence of someone who has made a mistake, we should not talk to them as if they did not have a nursing education. We should keep in mind that this is our co-worker, someone we trust and have worked with as a team member. We should tailor our language and our tone to maintain professionalism, patient confidence, and the relationship of trust we have built as members of the patient care team.

When another nurse is aggressive during a nurse to nurse interaction, it is lateral violence. When a nurse is aggressive toward a CNA or other member of ancillary staff, it is BULLYING. This happens to CNAs more often than nurses are willing to admit. It can happen as a result of stress. It can happen as a result of miscommunication, but it happens. We need to be aware, as nurses, of the potential we all hold to be bullies on our units, and to watch our tone, watch how we delegate, and to be aware when our CNAs simply cannot handle one additional task, and that we need to do something ourselves. We are ALL working hard. When viewing bullying by a nurse to ancillary staff, it is important to speak up and stop the bullying behavior. Trần’s idea of “calling in” gives us a new technique to use when we see bullying behavior in a co-worker for whom this behavior Is abnormal. What is causing the behavior today? What can we do to stop the behavior and save the relationship between the nurse and the ancillary staff?

So what is the difference between calling out and calling in?

Trần works to define (and states this is a work in progress):

1) “The first part of calling in is allowing mistakes to happen.”

(Now, in nursing, if we see a medical error about to happen, if we see a safety issue, we should always speak up. I am not advocating that we allow preventable medical or safety errors to happen. In nursing, we should be aware that mistakes will happen and we will have to deal with them, but it is how we deal with mistakes that either brings us closer together or pulls us apart)

2) Think about “what makes my relationship with this person important?”

            Are they a long time co-worker? Are they a new graduate? Are we friends? Do we know they’ve been having a rough time lately? What do we know about our co-worker that makes them valuable?

How do we start these conversations? Again, Trần has put a great deal of thought into this, and nurses do not need to stretch far to see how Trần’s model could be used to decrease lateral violence and bullying on our units:

I start “call in” conversations by identifying the behavior and defining why I am choosing to engage with them. I prioritize my values and invite them to think about theirs and where we share them. And then we talk about it. We talk about it together, like people who genuinely care about each other.”

Additionally:

“I picture “calling in” as a practice of pulling folks back in who have strayed from us… Calling in as a practice of loving each other enough to allow each other to make mistakes; a practice of loving ourselves enough to know that what we’re trying to do here is a radical unlearning of everything we have been configured to believe is normal.”( Trần)

Trần discusses how we have “configured to believe it’s normal to punish each other and ourselves without a way to reconcile hurt.” This is where nursing needs to look up and examine itself closely as a profession. Too often do we see a mistake and rather than deal with it quietly, we mention it to our co-workers. We say “someone was having a bad day” or make comments that lead others to believe our fellow nurses are now not as trustworthy as they might be. Comments like these undermine nursing as a profession. They undermine the teamwork on our units, and they break down the relationships among nurses.

It should not be “normal to punish each other.” Instead, when a mistake is noted, deal with it. If the mistake needs to be reported, do so quietly and efficiently without involving others, if possible. If you need to involve someone, involve someone who will also be discreet. Offer your fellow nurse a shoulder, support them if they need to take a moment for self-care. Be aware of the signs of compassion fatigue or burnout.

By incorporating the idea of “calling in” rather than calling out, we can decrease the incidence of lateral violence and bullying on our units. We can make our workplace more professional, and less stressful. We can encourage each other to participate in self-care to stay mentally and physically healthy. We can be better nurses, and we can elevate the nursing profession.

I would like to address the issue of “calling in vs. calling out” as it relates to ancillary staff. If a nurse finds an error made by a CNA, “calling in” can still be very useful, but nurses need to remember the potential for bullying in these situations. There are different power dynamics involved with nurse-CNA interactions than with nurse-nurse interactions, and the potential for harm here must be acknowledged. Remember how humiliating it can be to be “called out” at the nurse’s station, in a patient’s room, and afford all of your co-workers the same respect, and do not use these power dynamics to better yourself, but to better all staff.

Raising an urban Native kid in a white bubble

Originally posted on Righting Red:

I fancy my husband and I as purposeful parents. In addition to the basic necessities (you know, tons of books), we try hard to ensure our child has well-rounded access to her traditional Lakota/Ojibwe cultures, feminist teachings, and spirituality. She picks herself up when she falls, has clear concepts of right and wrong, and – especially because she is an only child – is encouraged to grow her creativity and independence as much as possible utilizing a combination of modern technology, craft projects, and the outdoors. Her teenage self may throw shade my way for using her so often in my blogs, but I think most people who know her would agree my 5-year-old is a well-adjusted child.

But this kind of purposeful parenting is hard and actually pretty tough to keep up on top of all of life’s other stuff (jobs, writing, and Harry Potter marathons, among other things)…

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Afterthoughts and Aftershocks: Why a Dozen Different Editors Failed Dr V

Originally posted on aoifeschatology:

If you are a trans person contemplating suicide, please visit here for information on how to find help. I’m not going to tell you it gets better; but I will assure you that your survival is important and meaningful. Please consider alternatives.

James Joyce once exclaimed that trying to cross Dublin without passing a pub would be an excellent puzzle.

Here’s a much easier one: see how long it takes to get through Bill Simmons’s reflections on Dr V before you pass by the word ‘sorry’.

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Fake Controversy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Digital Bestseller

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

hitlerA juicy story broke last week, the kind that makes savvy sub-editors salivate over potential Twitter-bait headlines.

It had been discovered that Hitler’s pre-war memoir Mein Kampf was a digital bestseller, leading to a global bout of media hand-wringing and pontificating. One excitable commentator even suggested it was a sign the second Holocaust was imminent.

The only problem with this story is that it’s not true. At all.

Hitler’s “bestselling” performance was first reported by Chris Faraone at Vocativ under the headline Kindle Fuhrer: Mein Kampf Tops Amazon Charts. Then spread like wildfire.

Huge blogs and websites like Gizmodo, Huffington Post, GawkerSlate, and Salon reported on this phenomenon. Major newspapers also covered the story: the Guardian, New York Daily News, the Daily Mail, and the Los Angeles Times. Television networks got in on the act too, like ABC News

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Allies and alliances

Originally posted on Sometimes, it's just a cigar:

The occasional ‘these are jst my first thoughts’ warning hangs over this blog. Comments are welcome

Overnight I’ve re-tweeted a number of tweets about a man called Caleb Hannan. Caleb wants to be a journalist, and one day he may be, but right now he’s an unethical piece of work who unapologetically writes about an ‘investigation’ he has conducted that may have led to the suicide of his victim. Not subject, but victim.

A number of the people I’ve re-tweeted identify themselves as trans, and the victim of Caleb Hannan was herself trans. I haven’t re-tweeted the things I’ve re-tweeted because I am an ally of trans people, but because I agree with the tweets in question.

I have  a real issue with anyone who calls themselves an ally of one group or another. Partly it’s an egotistical thing, and partly an historical thing.The egotistical thing is quite simple. I…

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The shame we feel as women

Originally posted on Left at the Lights:

It creeps up suddenly; self-consciously you adjust your posture to close in a little on yourself. Your eyes drop downwards. Suddenly you feel very exposed. This happens frequently; whether in a meeting at work or walking into a bar and almost certainly when walking home late at night. By slouching, we hope to divert attention away from our breasts, by avoiding eye contact, we can hope they won’t think we brought it on ourselves. We are reminded everywhere we turn, of the temptations we promise, and if we don’t fit the bill, we can be stuffed and pumped up with man-made fillers and human bum fat. If we’re healthy, we’re “starting to waddle”, a timely reminder we shouldn’t eat so much else who will fancy us?

The shaming begins early. They make mini-skirts and boob tubes for 3 year olds. I will always feel sick to the stomach remembering the…

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I can’t tell you about this

But last night was one of the best nights of my nursing career. Right up there with the night I saved a baby’s life and the moment a patient had a stroke in front of me and left the hospital with minimal residual effect. Right up with the night I started my first IV. my first NG.tube, hell, the first time I did anything, last night was up there with that night. Adequate staffing, manageable patient loads, and something I can only say a great once in a while “Just this once, Rose, EVERYBODY LIVES!!!). To say more than that would risk identifications. But damn, I had a good night. I gave good care. My patient got good news and I’m writing this down now to remember on all the nights where we’re nurse poor patient rich, when my healthy patient suddenly gets ill, when I have to work thirteen and a half hours without a break, I’m going to remember last night and find energy in that memory to keep going.

 

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