yoko and the politics of a trigger warning

August 26, 2010 § 4 Comments

this was a comment that i was writing to aaminah that kind of is taking on a life of its own…

life is triggering.  life is painful.  yes.  and i have found that once i said…ok…triggers are here and here and here and i got to walk through them.  that is when i realized that life is also fun and beautiful and maddening and sad and ecstasy and a whole lot of things that i had been hiding from because i was afraid of being triggered.  i understand that other people need to deal with things differently.  but for me.  i want the ecstasy and love and fullness of life.

also, i realized that everyone has trauma.  everyone has been traumatized either in small ways just from living in an alienating society.  or in large more abrupt ways.  we are all broken.  we are all alienated.  we are all traumatized.  and sooner or later we have to figure out a way to live with all of our traumas and triggers.

and this is in part why i question the politics of trigger warnings.  cause if we are all traumatized then how do decide which traumas should be noted and watched out for and which shouldnt?

let me give an example.  i agree with bfp that i like the way that cara does trigger warnings.  i think she does them much more responsibly than most.  and honestly the thing that cara posts about that is most likely to trigger me is not sexual assault or violence against women.  it is the beatles.  yep, the beatles.  cause the ex/abuser was a HUGE beatles fan.  HUGE.  owned every vinyl album.  saw himself as the reincarnation of john.  and of course i was yoko–the girl who broke up the band.

my body/brain starts racing and bringing to mind not so nice images when i see certain beatles pictures, especially the arcane and obscure ones. the kind that a true beatles fan salivates over.  the kind that cara loves.

now, in no part of the universe do i expect for cara to put a trigger warning on her posts about the beatles.  i love that cara has the dorky side that is all about beatle mania and collector items and genuine geekiness.

actually it was cara that first taught me how fucking awesomely cool yoko really is.  and now yoko is one of my favorite artists. if i had decided to hide from my fear of being triggered, i would never have found yoko, the artist.  and would not have realized that so much of my ‘crazy dreams of things i want to do someday’ is actually art.  cara gave me yoko.  and yoko gave me confidence.

and frankly, john, its just a pop band.

the only safety i have known…

August 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

the only safety i have known in my life has been the feeling/knowing that i belong in this body.  that i am solid.  that i am still here.

safety for me is embodiment.

safety for me is mindfulness.

safety for me is freedom.


August 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

this is about me.  not you.  not her.

i had to get to the point where i wasnt afraid of being triggered.

i still get triggered.  but i had to see that while being triggered is so painful.  that is what it is: pain.

i couldnt go about my life hiding from being triggered.

nor could i expect that the world would protect me from being triggered.

i had to get to the point where i knew that no matter how much pain it was, no matter how much i screamed and yelled and cried, no matter how much i shook and banged my body against the walls, that this was just pain.

just pain.  pain is a part of life.

just fear.

everyone has their own path. and this a step in mine.


so this is freedom

August 21, 2010 § 2 Comments

so this is freedom.  this feeling, this knowledge that i am here.  in this body.

that i am embedded in this body.  in this space.  in this moment in time.

knowing, feeling, living that there is space for girls like us.

that no matter what happens.  whatever is taken from me.  whatever is given to me.  i can know/live that i am embedded in this world.  right now.  right here. i can always return to this knowledge.  because it is real.  it is fundamental.  it is the deep silence from which my thoughts and stories spring.

so this is the freedom that has been available to me the whole time.  that i have experienced glimpses of.

so this is the peace that passeth understanding.  it is not an airy fairy peace.  it is a skin, blood, muscles, air, hearing, seeing right now. right here. in this body.  peace.

so this is contentment.  that surpasses excitement and anticipation and nostalgia.

so this is happiness.  to not be afraid of the pain.

the myth of overpopulation: we are not the ones destroying the earth

August 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

what i want to write about:

the connections between reproductive health/justice and the destruction of the environment/landbase.  how our reproductive health is negatively and positively connected to the land that we live on.  and how our act of reproduction, of creating the next generation, is an act of intervention on the destruction of the land.  how i dont buy into the ‘breeder destroying the earth’/overpopulation is the problem scare tactics.  how blaming overpopulation for the destruction of the earth, is blaming the victim for the abuser’s violence.  it is not us, lil mamas, who are destroying the earth with our selfish procreation.  it is colonization and empire.  it is huge multinational corporations who are raping the land and dumping their poisons in our backyards.  it is not our survival that is killing off 35-150  species every day.  it is the powers that be, who have the money, the access, the technology, the greed who are destroying us and all of the other species of life.

our children are born with man made chemicals inside their fragile bodies.

i want to write about the difference between security and freedom.

i want to say that we have no moral right to be secure.  in that security is based on social privilege, on structural violence.  it is about choosing to protect oneself by relying on the systems that destroy others.  thinking that one has a right to use nationality, socio economic class, race, gender, sexuality, and all of the other hierachical systems of violence — in order to be protected and secure.

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a couple of links

August 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

hey.  thought id leave you with a couple of links.

–sweet post by jaded hippy on changing her mind about feminism and children

–not very surprised to find out that racism is bad for white folks health as well.  karma.

–i told myself i was going to write a blog post about this, but it just hurts too much to write about right now.  mother loses her baby for three years because she refused a c-section. had a healthy baby vaginally. and then was accused by the state of endangering her baby’s life by refusing to sign a pre consent to c section.

my decision to have c section was greatly influenced by the threat of the hospital calling protective child services if i left the hospital, and then i read this story…i run out of words.

–but dont worry women and black folks are still in more pain…women, blacks receive inadequate pain meds.

good medicine

August 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

i have been meaning to post about this article for a while.  but im late on it. this is the type of article that makes me jealous that i dont live in the usa, but grateful that i get to read the wisdom from convergences like ussf.

transforming wellness and wholeness

by cara page

Healing justice is being used as a framework that seeks to lift up resiliency and wellness practices as a transformative response to generational violence and trauma in our communities.

This past year I took a deeper dive into the notion of wellness for our movements and the role of well being for organizers.  I sat with my dreams and wondered, ‘How far have we been able to come despite noxious toxic waste dumps near our homes, and oil spills and sterilization abuse, population control and genocide…just a few things on our map of oppression.  How have we survived?”  I’ve been asking these questions to the ‘salt eaters’ and the ‘dreamers’ and the ‘shapeshifters’ among us; what is wholeness? Not an ableist notion of wholeness that implies one specific body or blood type, but a shape of wholeness that intrinsically knows what each individual and collective notion of feeling whole and safe and well can look like.  Not the bought ‘wholeness’ you can find only in supreme retreat packages at sunset salons but the kind of ‘wholeness’ that calls on whole communities and whole movements to be well, sustainable and resilient.  Who will answer the call to our hurts, our wounds, our double/triple/quadruple pains of oppression and desperation?  How will we answer our own calls to wellness and safety?

I’ve been sitting with southern and national healers to remember the role of healing inside of liberation.  I am leading a storytelling gathering project with the KINDRED southern healing justice collective to tell the stories of southern healers in the U.S. to map our sites of transformative practice as conduits of social change.  Call it a quest for what the role of healing is and how healers move us to and through liberation.  What keeps us resilient in our hearts, our blood, our bones?  What helps us to rebuild a home? How do we reclaim and re-imagine safety in our homes and movements?

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books about bodies

August 16, 2010 § 4 Comments

books ive been reading:

–marya hornbacher ‘wasted: a memoir of anorexia and bulimia’

written by a woman who is recovering from eating disorders.  very well written, her use of detailed descriptions is impeccable without be tedious. she has poet’s sense of language and diction.  and evokes the emotional through the material descriptions.

‘I remember what my hands were like: birdlike, papery, blue and numb.  They did not grip so well anymore.  When the cup got a little lighter I’d stand, keep walking.  Wait outside the Safeway across the street until dawn light began to come over the hills to the east.  I’d walk through the aisles awhile, pass by the cigarette stand, stuff three packs up the sleeve of my coat.  Buy a pack of gum, a pack of cigarettes.  Walk a while more, up the narrow road that hugged a steep outcropping of the hill. Sometimes in the narrow ditch between road and hill. sometimes on the other side of the road, along the barrier that held the cars in, the flying cars that whipped my hair up as they passed, headlights skimming by me, missing my figure there in the shadow.’

What I love about her story is how she interrogates the prevailing myths and theories around eating disorders and argues with them, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not.  also the ways that she refuses to blame her parents for what she has been through, while still being critical of some of their parenting.  she shows compassion toward their dilemnas while acknowledging the ways that those dilemnas were exacerbated by their own self centeredness.  she refuses to glamourise ed, esp. anorexia, but also refuses simple pathologizing psycho babble.  she sees her own selfishness and refuses to excuse it or make it a reason to be self punitive.  it is what it is.

after this, i read susie orbach’s ‘bodies’.

her analysis is impeccable.

i have been advancing two different kinds of argument.  the first is reasonably straightforward: that bodies are and always have been shaped according to the specific cultural moment.  there has never been a natural body: a time when bodies were untainted by cultural practices….globalism, which bits nature exposes the deep inequities of race and class throughout the world, simultaneously offers a story of belonging if one can superficially erase an economic poverty of background by expunging its physical markers and securing the right look, the right kind of body.  individuals, where ever they are from, inscribe their corporeality to express the cultural moment…

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outlaw midwives vol. 2 call for submissions

August 13, 2010 § 4 Comments

call for submissions

outlaw midwives zine vol. 2

focusing on pregnancy, birth, and the baby year

for and by: mothers, friends and allies of mothers, doulas, midwives, birthworkers, childbirth educators, childbirth advocates,

intention: to create a zine for pregnancy, birth, and the first year of motherhood centering the lives of working class, marginalized mothers and birthworkers.

submit: photos, drawings, visual art
poems, essays, fiction and non-fiction
tips, suggestions, lists of resources

check out the outlaw midwives manifesta and website: http://outlawmidwife.wordpress.com/

outlaw midwives: creating revolutionary communities of love

some suggestions for topics on which you can submit…but these are just suggestions…

suggestions for those trying to conceive.  and for not conceiving.  stories of conception, abortions and miscarriage.

what are the social, economic, legal consequences and limitations for marginalized mothers to make choices about how, when and where they will give birth.

tips for the first, second, third trimester.  relationship with doctors, clinic, midwives, family, friends, etc.

how do we resist the high infant and mortality rates?

what are the ways that community could support the childbearing year, mothers and families?

how have you navigated through the systems of welfare, protective child services, hospitals, etc?

reflect on the state of midwifery today.  what do you see as the positives and negatives?  how has legalization and licensing affected mothers and families access to care?

what would you want to tell a soon to be mother about pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood?  or write a letter to your pre-mother or pre-pregnant self about what you should expect.   what didnt you expect to happen/learn/experience in pregnancy, birth, the baby year?  write a letter to you daughter and/or son about what you learned/want to pass on about pregnancy, birth, baby year.

what was your personal experience/story of birth? pregnancy, the baby year?
what did you learn/are you learning from the baby year?

what do you wish someone had told you about early motherhood and/or being a birth worker?
what do you wish you could have said to someone, but didnt?
what is your vision/ideal of how pregnancy, birth, baby year could be?

what family/traditional wisdom did you receive about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding?  what practical tips do you have for working poor mothers?

breastfeeding vs. bottle.  what are the social, biological and economic influences and consequences of the choice to breastfeed or bottle feed?

what to do with the placenta?  placenta art, consumption, burials?

why did you become a birth worker?  what has been the highlights of the experience? what have been the difficulties?

what does ‘outlaw midwife’  mean to you?

keep it simple

deadline halloween october 31st

send submissions to maiamedicine at gmail dot com

in other news

August 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

–it’s ramadan.  i love this month of the year.  the celebration of the recitation.  a holy month when the city become quieter.  i am blogging with aaminah about ramadan for the second year in a row.   come and check us out.  good times.

–oooh.  do you know cuntastic zine?  well cuntastic #3: the radical parenting issue is available!   purchase a copy.  i have a bit of visual art published in it…and am so excited to read it, the articles look scrumptious.  and vikki law is published in this issue as well!

–if i didnt have my sense of humor, id probably be dead right now.

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