Friday, February 24, 2017

Feeling Stupid And That's Okay

Earlier this week I got the opportunity to feel stupid. Like, really stupid.

(Note to self: when you reply to blog posts written by people you REALLY REALLY admire and you ask a question, make sure you give it the proper context. Otherwise the answer might have you going, "but, I totally knew that, and now I look stupid in front of this person I REALLY REALLY admire, and it's not a real conversation so there's no point in going back and trying to explain or defend or whatever". 'Cause it really isn't worth going back to it.)

Nope. I just got to sit with feeling stupid for a while. But it got me thinking about stuff I've been learning in the anti-racism trainings/study I've been doing, how one aspect of dominant white culture is the need to not be wrong. And how that can lead to all sorts of really ugly behavior, in some cases (ahem, our current president).

In my case it leads to not speaking up. To not asking questions. To not taking risks.

And thus to not being there, for myself or for my friends or for, oh, the world.

Ugh.

So, one of the things I'm actively working on is to go ahead and take risks in what I say. Which means learning to be comfortable with not being comfortable.

Even if that means sitting around feeling stupid for a while. And not acting/reacting in response to it. Because you know what? It's just a feeling. And I'll be fine.

Always learning,
Annie

*There's lots more I could say about this but I think these two posts cover it well.




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bike

A beautiful day here in Chicago yesterday (leaving aside that it shouldn't be 70 degrees in February), and we went, as a family, to the park on our bikes.

ON OUR BIKES. All of us. Well, not G, since one of his training wheels came off en route and we had to turn back to get his scooter instead. But we all started off on our bikes.

I haven't ridden a bike since, oh, I don't remember. And I haven't had one I liked since high school.

I'm not totally wild about this one, either. It's very... squishy. And heavy. And low. The minute I got on it I had the song Low Rider in my head. On the other hand, riding with G, I have to do a lot of sudden stops, so it's probably good to have a bike with serious shocks.

But I want to name her, so I guess I'm already smitten.

Technically, it's not my bike, it's being housed here while my sister-in-law lives overseas. So I can't mess it up with stickers or the like. I'm tempted to, though. I should just write her and ask if it's okay. Some Harley Quinn, maybe, a calavera (sugar skull). A crow, of course.

It was awesome, even riding down the city blocks with G, stopping every house or so. And then when we got to the park and I could drop G off with the others and just ride around for a while - GLORIOUS.

High on the wind in my hair,
Annie

*According to this blog, I had a bike and rode it in 2010. I don't remember what happened to that one, it's not the one I'm currently riding. It was not comfortable to ride, I remember that clearly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trying To Remember That February Always Drags

Not a lot of energy these days, and I'm finding that some of the time I would normally dedicate to keeping in touch with people (including this blog) is instead being spent on following the news (and then talking to people about the news). Bah.

Along those lines, have you seen the twitter feed for RoguePOTUSStaff yet? "The unofficial resistance team within the White House." Fascinating. And this winter we've been watching "West Wing" again so that makes for interesting discussion, comparing the two.

All this news watching makes me feel scattered. I've been telling others (because I need to tell myself) to remember to rest, to eat well, to draw strength from whatever works for you.

So poetry, of course, for me. Language(s). And then some art.

HPM-GOLD-2.jpg
by Ernesto Yerena Montejano, through his Hecho Con Ganas project 

And a special Valentine.

Image may contain: flower, plant and text
by Kate Madeira, posted on Afropunk
Wishing you a peace-filled and righteous February,
Annie

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Okay, Now I Really Want The Sun

I've been using my early morning runs as a time for prayer and meditation, since I won't wear headphones when it's dark. And that's great, it's a guaranteed time I might not set aside otherwise. I have set prayers I've memorized and then let my brain drift from them as needs be. For example, on a line about healing I might then think about those people I know in need of healing, physical or otherwise. So that's good.

But I gotta tell you, I miss my music. At this point, I am aching to be able to go out when the sky is beginning to turn, slip my tunes in, and run through the park without worrying about anything.

Waiting,
Annie

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Changing Skies

The light is changing.

On my way back home yesterday morning the sky was a deep periwinkle blue, instead of its recent heavy Prussian.

And if it hadn't been cloudy I might even have been able to see flashes of pink or orange, reflected on clouds or the undersides of gulls' wings.

It cheers me to think I may someday soon be able to finish my run in time with the sunrise, to watch the clouds change as I pass under, to see the sun flashing on the river, to go through the park freely.

The world turns and spring is coming. I know we may have two more months of snow (or possibly just rain, ice, and mud), but spring is on its way.

Which is good to remember, because winter is coming, winter is here.

Bleakly,
Annie

*And yes, that is a Game of Thrones reference.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

500

I've finally found a writing rhythm that seems to work for me. This includes the macro view of how I split my time up between work on my novel, poetry, journaling, correspondence, and yes, this blog, and the micro view of where I write (at the dining room table, in my study, cafes), when I write, and how (by hand or on the computer, depending on the kind of work I'm up to).

Right now I have a corner in my study where my decrepit old laptop lives. This is where the bulk of my work on the novel takes place, though I have a notebook I keep for it as well. The laptop can't keep a charge, so for a while every time I wanted to work on it I would have to wait while it started up again. But time is precious! I experimented with different locations in the house until I found I could work upstairs in my study, propped upright on the futon sofa. This meant I could just leave the laptop parked there and plugged in, saving me valuable moments. And today I determined that Tasha (our cat) is content to settle down next to me while I work, as long as I leave a blanket out for her and crack the curtain that serves as my study door. No more howling at doors, making me fear that she'll wake the other inhabitants.

And there I sit, tea at hand, plugging along for 500 words a day.

And some days it flows and others I sweat blood,
Annie

Friday, January 13, 2017

That White Privilege Thing

And, of course, I am aware that things might have gone differently for us at airport security if we had been:

  • black
  • brown
  • visibly Muslim
  • visibly queer
  • non gender-conforming
  • non English-speaking
  • disabled

Or any other way of not fitting in to Trump's America.

Maybe. Or maybe not, but that things might have been different for us based on who we appear to be wasn't something I had to think about in the moment. And I didn't. And that's not true for everyone.

I did think about these things when our Uber driver was pulled over on New Year's Eve. (He had new tags but hadn't put them on the car.) There was a moment's joking about jumping out of the car and running and all I could think was, Are you effing kidding me? That might be the difference between living in Chicago and living in a suburb of Denver - even if I personally don't have to worry about my interactions with police I know too many people who do, never mind the daily news.

Still pissed off that the Trib endorsed Gary Johnson,
Annie

And yes, "queer" is a loaded word, and I gave a lot of thought about whether to use it or go with the newspaper-friendly "gay/lesbian". But this isn't a newspaper, and it's how I identify, and so in the end it felt odder to me to not use it.