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Excerpt of "Everything" by Chely Wright
When I'm flying high
Or slip and fall
Hey, that's what a best friend is for
There was a time we shared it all
But we don't do that anymore

What do I wish I could undo
What do I want to say to you
What did I lose when I gave you back your ring
What did I change by letting go
What do I think I miss the most

Current Month
Apr. 23rd, 2009 @ 05:06 pm ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING DREAMWIDTH!!!!!!!!!!!
Alright f-list, listen up. I realize that most of you and I don't talk often these days, which...yeah. Sorry 'bout that. I'm barely here to post right now, given the eighteen windows open that need to be dealt with in the next 45 minutes.

However, there is something that you need to pay attention to. Dreamwidth Studios, which is a new alternative to livejournal, will be opening for public use on April 30th. And I, for one, will be out of here on that date. I'm just waiting to create an account at this point. I'll be crossposting, but all comments will have to be left there. (If you insist on not getting an account, use OpenID.)

And why am I so quick to run off to another site, especially considering how great my track record is with keeping accounts open on sites other than lj? (Which is to say, I normally maintain most accounts for a month. Sometimes.) 

Because synecdochic , the wonderful woman who is behind Dreamwidth, is a) brilliant, b) has managed to convince me through a series of posts on the subject since the first time she raised the issue, c) has pretty much the best diversity statement on the planet, and d) the guiding principles make more sense to me than lj's ever have.

I love lj. I grew up hanging around here, and the people on this site have taught me a lot. My f-list has been there for me through some shitty times and through some good ones. And I'm not completely abandoning my livejournal. I just...I believe in Dreamwidth and am willing to relocate where my thoughts dwell.

Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
Mar. 4th, 2009 @ 11:08 pm I am (in no particular order):
I am: 

I am a survivor.

I am a woman.

I am a bitch.

I am strong.

I am confident.

I am intelligent.

I am queer.

I am a rock.

I am the woman I never thought I'd live to be.

I am the woman my parents hoped to meet.

I am a friend.

I am a daughter.

I am a sister.

I am a niece.

I am a submissive.

I am collared.

I am free.

I am sanity.

I am insane.

I am the girl next door.

I am the woman you pass in the street.

I am a pastor's granddaughter.

I am a Christian, a pagan, an agnostic, and anything in between.

I am kinky.

I am nice.

I am poisonous.

I am a cook.

I am caring.

I am loyal.

I am a history major.

I am a college student.

I am an aunt.

I am a godmother(ish).

I am a cousin.

I am a ghost.

I am human.

I am shaped by my experiences.

I am quiet.

I am loud.

I am foulmouthed.

I am polite.

I am an Alaskan.

I am a granddaughter.

I am the woman I want to be.

I am the support.

I am willing to accept help.

I am willing to bear the weight of the world, if that is what it takes.

I am the memory-keeper.

I am a member of the Ladyship.

I am a member of QSU.

I am a member of the clones.

I am friend, lover, sister, daughter, rock, sanity, insanity, all chained together.

I am what abuse left behind.

I am what time crafted.

I am Alex, Annie, Nia, Alexia, Lexy, Chels, Chelse, Chelsey, Chelsea, and a thousand other names.

I am Kelly's sister,

I am Kia's sister,

I am Chuck's daughter,

I am the ghost of Judy's daughter,

I am Mike's daughter.

I am someone I respect.

I am someone people love.

I am just another girl, just another woman, just another pretty face.

I am nothing special.

I am a woman I'd like people to know.

I am all of that and more.
Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
Killing Rose
Feb. 9th, 2009 @ 09:25 am Constructing Sexuality and Innocence with Whore's Makeup

 Today is day nine over at 14valentines , and they're focusing on athletics today.

I've mentioned a time or two that I was a competitive baton twirler from seventh grade until the day I graduated from high school; to this day, I still twirl knives with a marching band and grab my batons when I'm frustrated and need a good workout. I'm still very connected to the corps that I twirled with because I spent my adolescence twirling. I know more about the dramas there than I do about the boys I dated during that period. 

I wrote this during my first year of college for an assignment that wanted us to look at sexuality in an environment that we knew well. I chose to look at the way that the athletic environment I grew up in—a competitive baton corps—constructed heterosexuality in such a way that every day norms are magnified to the point that an outsider would find them repulsive. For example, how many people have dealt with the angel/whore dichotomy? It is one thing to know that many men expect you to dress like a whore but act like an angel (or vice versa). However, the time I spent dealing with this attitude in an athletic arena remains one of the weirdest periods of my life partially because it was understood that no one talked about that particular attitude and its manifestation in our lives. And yet, it’s very hard to ignore when you’re wearing costumes that cling to every curve on your body complete with a skirt that barely covers your ass and yet you're still expected to act like a wholesome little angel.

For the purposes of “athletics day” there are many different ways I could have explored the six years I spent as a competitive baton twirler—I could have contrasted my own experience with that of a friend who twirled in a marching band in Texas. We had very different experiences—for instance, I know people who have competed on a national and international stage; she doesn’t know half the tricks I’d learned by the end of my first year.  Looking at how the athleticism and prowess my corps was expected to display as opposed to the fact that she was just supposed to be “showy” produced two very different types of twirlers would be interesting. Or for that matter, why a basketball player is accepted as an athlete but a baton twirler is generally not would also be an interesting topic. Instead, because this was originally written for a class, I focused on the intersection of normative heterosexuality and a specific class of athletes—the competitive baton twirlers who I grew up with. Hopefully, this is at least semi-enlightening.

Constructing Sexuality and Innocence with Whore's MakeupCollapse )

Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
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Feb. 3rd, 2009 @ 02:33 pm February is American Heart Month.

Today is the third day of 14valentines  and the topic is Health. I was going to post a fanmix, but the only one I can come up for health this year is a mourning mix. </lj>


February is the American Heart Month.  To quote the American Heart Association, “cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are this nation’s number one killer.”


February is the American Heart Month. What do you know about the statistics and your heart health?Collapse )
Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
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Feb. 1st, 2009 @ 10:13 pm (no subject)
*dies a little* The Cardinals just lost. And while I don't actually like the Cardinals, apparently everyone I know does, so I had to support. (Trust me, after my own bullying the year that the Colts won, I have to support anyone I know if their team gets in.)

And...I have an essay to finish. While trying to remember how, precisely, to breathe. (Anyone want to take bets on whether or not my cold's moved to my lungs? Because that's my bet right now.)
Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
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Feb. 1st, 2009 @ 04:58 pm Body Image and Disordered Eating

This is for day one of

14valentines.  Today's focus is on body image, and for me, that issue is intricately tangled with eating disorders and the way that that can cause you to form a negative body image. It doesn't matter how many times someone else tells you you're pretty; some days, I think nothing is ever going to change my negative view of myself.

And I'll preface this with: yes, I'm a size six. Sometimes a size eight, but given the way the past several years have gone...well, yeah. I generally swim in a size eight. And I know that I'm small (a grand whopping 134 lbs), but the BMI swears to god I'm overweight, and sometimes that starts to sink in. And then someone points out how ridiculous my body image issues are. So I know that it seems bizarre that I spend half my life worried about the fact that I hate my body and I tend to worry that I'm headed down the path to anorexia.

At one point, near the end of my first year in university, I realized that I hadn’t eaten more than a banana in three days. I remember freaking out; for all that I may hate my body, I have always managed to hide from the lurking specter that I call genetic predisposition and someone else might refer to as “Eating Disorders.” I’ve had more conversations with therapists about disordered eating, anorexia and bulimia than I have about other topics. And yet, here I was starving myself in a manner that I recognized. And someone said, “Well, you’re not actively trying to harm yourself. You don’t see being painfully skinny as a good thing. You’re not anorexic, hon.” And they were right, but they were also very, very wrong.


I had just spent the better part of a year on a campus where the workout facilities get more use than the library, where there is an entire gym that is dedicated to women who want to be as fit and as trim as humanly possible. I understood the feeling of inadequacy about my body—I’m five foot, two inches, 134 pounds, and I hate the people who say, “Well, you’re only a little bit chunky”—and I knew how quickly the disordered eating could spin into something far, far worse. I knew that if I kept hating my body and loathing food, I would wind up on a path that I’d been fighting for six years. I had lost fifteen pounds my freshman fall because I wasn’t eating; while I didn’t mind being skinny—we’re trained by the media, by commercialism, and by our peers to know that skinny girls are the only ones who are desirable—I also knew that it was an incredibly unhealthy cycle.

For you see, I am the daughter of an anorexic-bulimic. I know the cycle of disordered eating that spirals into starvation followed by binging followed by purging. I understand the need to control something, anything, and realizing the only thing you have to really control is your body, your responses, or your eating habits. I know, in some long buried part of me, that eating disorders have a thousand different causes, a thousand different reasons, and that it isn’t as simple as, “But you’re not displaying classic anorexic reasoning.”

And no, at the time, I wasn’t thinking about how much I hated my body and if I just lose a couple of pounds, it would be alright. I was just not thinking about food or about eating or about the need that the human body has for sustenance. I wasn’t thinking that it’s ridiculous to consider myself fat when I fit into ninety percent of all size small clothing and that most mediums actually swim on me. But later, when someone harped on my body image—apparently, I have a negative image of myself; somehow, this doesn’t surprise me—I thought about all the reasons why I could have kept starving myself. All the reasons that I could have used to justify “just a little less food.” I realized at some point that that was probably how my mother’s anorexia really began.

And that was when I stepped back from the issue and got help. I’m sick of the media telling me that I’m not okay at my weight; I’m sick of feeling inferior to girls who are sticks and who don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive. I will not allow myself to slowly die to please some horribly twisted ideal. So I work out enough to keep myself fit, and I eat salad because I actually like the taste, but I don’t take it to extremes as much anymore. I keep fruit in my room in case I end up missing a meal; fruit and packaged tuna might not be the most normal meal in the world, but at least I’m eating.

And if I ever let myself start to starve again, about four different people actually ask me on a weekly (or daily) basis if I’m eating. They smack me if the answer isn’t “yes”. Hell, they smack me if takes too long to remember that I actually ate. 

These are, by the way, the same people who remind me that the BMI screws people with muscle mass over.  And often, anyone else.

Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
VM Sad
Jun. 14th, 2008 @ 09:57 am Writer's Block: Gender Bender
Do you ever want to be of the opposite sex? If so, what attracts you to the idea? If not, what repels you?

Most of the time, it wouldn't even cross my mind. I am happy in my body, I am who I am, and even when that means I don't particularly adhere to gender norms and stereotypes, I still believe that female is both my sex and my gender.

I like being female, I don't particularly want a dick, and girls get away with things that don't fly for men. (Yes, there are days when I say fuck it, play to gender stereotypes and bat my eyelashes and/or flirt like hell to get out of things.)

I enjoy hanging out with women (although I have always made friends with those who aren't especially catty) and I like interacting with queer folk as a woman. What I don't like is interacting with straight people, especially men, as a woman.

They look at you like you're a piece of meat, they talk to your breasts, they comment on how nice your ass is. They weigh your appearance as much as they think about what the hell you're saying, and if you're found wanting, they may not listen to you. If you're not adhering to specific gender standards, chances are good that they'll remark on it, either to you or behind your back. And I've always wondered why men get away with calling women "butter faces" meaning "Everything's attractive but her face."

But men don't have to anxiously look behind them if they bike to work. They don't think, "Two men on the trail in front of me; is there anything suspicious about them? Can I bypass them somehow?" They don't worry about the fact that there was a rash of rapes on the last trail you take to work, just last week. Even though they caught the guy, you still have to worry, and when I called in sick last week, and the head of legal forgot to tell her assistant (my boss) that I wasn't going to be in, the first thing that popped in my boss's head was that the trail I take is a rough one, and that someone had pulled me into the bushes somewhere.

They don't have to worry about the men who are screaming out of a car window, "You have a nice ass, honey. You legal yet? Yo, bitch, why won't you answer?" You pretend your iPod's all the way up and you just can't hear them; when the walk sign goes on, you add a little more power to how fast you're pedaling, and you're at your sister's place a little bit sooner than you might have been otherwise. No power on earth will make you admit the incident happened, even though it's something you've dealt with before and will most likely encounter again.

At the end of the day, however, it would sometimes be nice to have it as easy as middle class, straight, white men have it. (Because at the end of the day, I am still a lower class, white queer woman whose family has a genetic heritage that probably includes something other than Caucasian--my father grows an Afro if he doesn't cut it, and it's not a white man's version.) There are days, when I'm running into sexism, classism, and/or homophobia, when I wish I was male. It's a momentary thing, but it's rooted in the fact that men have privileges that women don't.

I have one privilege, and that's that I'm white. Every other portion of my identity tends to work against me.

Men have power, men have freedom, and they are considered worth far more than women. Wage discrepancies continue well into this, the twenty-first century, even though it's currently at the smallest gap yet. Women earn roughly 80 cents to every dollar that a man makes. Kinda sickens you, doesn't it?

Men don't have to put on makeup to work in a corporate office, don't have to deal with the hassle of changing from jeans to a skirt when they reach the office, don't have to deal with heels, stilettos, platform heels, etc. They don't have fear lurking in the back of their brains about whether or not they're going to be the 1 in 3 women who will be raped.

Men don't have to deal with the pain of a screwed up menstrual cycle or the horror of knowing that birth control pills will never work for you. The horror of knowing that if you ever end up in a relationship with a male, your ability to protect yourself from pregnancy is considerably weakened. (Condoms are good and should always be used. But it's still best to use two forms of birth control, and the options other than the pill--or shot or ring or stick-- aren't the greatest out there.)

So yeah, sometimes, I kind of wish I was male. I wish that I had the privileges that white males take for granted, but I know that I still have some privileges as a white female and try hard not to take those for granted.

Mostly? I live my life the way I want to and try not to let fear control my decisions.

Most of the time I succeed.
Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
VM Sad
Oct. 30th, 2007 @ 12:56 am Innocence, children, and cycles
So I'm an aunt again. And I'm thrilled. But I'm also hesitant about it, mostly because I hope (as I always do) that my niece doesn't end up in the cycles that both me and many of my siblings and friends either grew up or ended up in.

Here's another letter to the cousin I barely know, who often seems like he understands nothing about my life.

I hope to hell the children don't lose their innocence the way we did.Collapse )
Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
Oct. 12th, 2007 @ 07:38 pm So...creative mood?
Tags: ,
It starts with a shared grin at the barre
And the dance teacher telling us to pair up
Class full of rich chicks, and a couple guys in it to score,
And two girls wearing ratty old gym clothes
Kind of like a badge of honor,
Isn’t a surprise, that we pair together.
Later, fate conspires against us,
And your cousin is in my bio class
--you know, the one where the teacher
Was baked the entire semester.
And my sister’s in a class
With your cousin’s girlfriend.
We kind of pussyfoot around it—
Fourteen, and the balls of steel
And confidence haven’t quite arrived—
But we make out, once, quick and messy,
And messier, when my parents walk in.
By sixteen, I’ve dated your brother,
My sister’s close to dropping out,
I’m pouring myself into my studies,
You’re getting high with my brother,
And just when nothing can get weirder…
You ask for my permission,
Because you think you’ve met the one.
She’s pretty enough, and tough enough to handle me, maybe,
But she’ll break with prolonged contact
To you.
But I just nod and smile,
And whisper, “Have fun”
And it means:
(Don’t do anything I wouldn’t,
And don’t make me patch you up later,
Even though you know I will.)
And when I get the call,
a couple thousand miles away,
I gag on an I told you so.
We tangle a couple more times,
Chains of bruises over both torsos,
My turtleneck collection grows,
And my parents,
My parents ban you forever,
After we barely avoid them walking in…
Big sister just laughs,
And your cousin tells me, “Don’t get hurt”
(She means:
She'll bruise you,
Harm you,
Leave you,
Break you)
But I’m the one who leaves,
And you’re the one who stays,
And maybe there’s a world of pain,
But it’s tangled in a net a couple years old.
So when’s the baby due anyway?
Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
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May. 4th, 2007 @ 04:43 pm Old-fashioned might be the best
I'm taking a Native carving class. It's supposed to be a way to get seniors in high school in touch with their heritage and promote the state university.


Okay, so my heritage is exactly that. Heritage. It's a part of who I am, but it takes a hell of an eye to pick up on the fact that I'm not totally white. Hell, I'm still trying to figure out why I'm on the lists as "Native" anyway...I identify on most documents as Caucasian. I got yelled at by several teachers about this while I was applying to scholarships. Look, if you know where to look, you can typically tell that it's there (not so much with me, but with my father and his brother. Even with my cousins). However, it comes from a great-grandmother and none of us are registered. It happens.

And I know where I'm going to college. It's not UA.

That said, we use hand tools, a lot of patience, and basically chisel the design out of the wood. As I watched the shop teacher carve something with his power tools (it was quick and fast and easy, and his work didn't look like it had life at all), I had a Gibbs moment.

Seriously, I now get why he doesn't use power tools.
Quick Synopsis of My Current Insanity
VM Sad