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Monday
Nov102014

The Hashtag Psalm

This is my confession, this is my plea. Today, may our keyboards lead us to good and not to temptation. May the Internet grant us the grace of favorites and likes abounding. And also RT you. 

The Hashtag Psalm

Twitter is my Hashtag Eden (#Eden); I shall not want.

Buzzfeed maketh me to lie down in FB shareable Myers-Briggs quiz pastures: they leadeth me beside gifs of wow and cute and JLaw.

YouTube restoreth my soul: it leadeth me in the paths of smokey eyes, DIY tiny houses and recursive TED talks.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of social media, I will fear no clickbait: for ADD art with me; my share buttons, they comfort me.

Pinterest preparest a table before me in the presence of mine meta memes: thou anointest my board with recipes for popcorn balls; my artisanal cocktail shaker runneth over.

Surely quoteboard and thinkpieces shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of sublime distraction for ever.

 

Friday
Oct242014

5 Random Things About Me Meme

Susan Goldberg tagged me in an old school meme that is snaking around, and I'm down. Memes are so me. I only have a few minutes so this is going to be super extemporaneous, but that's the point...let's see what comes up on this random adventure. It's like a car trip and you are focused on driving and I'm chatting to keep you awake, or maybe just won't shut up but you were tired of hearing me butcher Tom Petty lyrics so you are letting me talk myself out. As if that could happen.

1. When I was in grade school and middle school I usually had long hair until one year I got a Dorothy Hamill haircut and subsequently was frequently mistaken for a guy. The first time was at a puppet show at Six Flags Over Mid America. Part of the puppet schtick was engaging with the audience, and one of the puppets repetitively called me "Sir" until I got it that he was addressing me. It was thrilling. It was only a puppet, but that puppet broke open a universe.

2. I like most foods but I am deeply suspicious about okra. I don't think we're supposed to eat it.

3. Perhaps related, I love conspiracy theories. When I was a kid I saw a friend of the family I knew to be a Mason give a secret handshake to another Mason in an elevator and it was downhill from there.

4. My grandfathers: trash collector + grave digger. My grandmothers: maid + telephone operator.

5. When you've worked in a crisis program you are trained to not address clients or former clients if you see them in public, or to acknowledge you know them in any way. You really shouldn't even help fill in the blanks if someone does that "don't I know you from somewhere" thing until they get it themselves, and they fully decide to engage with you, and even then you are supposed to be super boundaried and distant. This is said to protect their emotional safety and perhaps their physical safety or yours, as they might have returned to their abuser. It doesn't happen often, but it's always weird when it does. It's hard when someone comes up and says "You don't remember me, do you?" Anyway, I have broken this rule twice when seeing the client who had asked me to accompany her to the hospital when she was in labor. I stayed with her, at her request. I witnessed her give birth, otherwise alone in the world in a strange town, her body cracking open to deliver her child, the son of a violent man, both of them deeply loved by her. I've seen her, with them both in tow, in town twice and we hugged and talked without following protocol each time. I saw her give birth years ago. I can't pretend I don't know her now.

Tagging you. Please do this, it's cool to see what comes up, and tell me about it.

Tuesday
Sep232014

Going Paleo Is So, So Great

My Paleo diet is going so great, you guys. So, so great! I am only eating the things that Paleo man ate--meaning lots of fresh produce, no dairy, lots of handfuls of nuts and seeds, some lean meat, salmon for the long-chain DHAs, so important.

No processed foods, duh, because what did the Paleos process? Just some hides, my friend, just some hides. Probably also, in their own way, some primal fear. It was a big transition.

The Paleo diet works with our ancient genetic physiology, plus updated with lots of Pinterinspiration.

No dairy! Paleos didn't eat dairy. When offered cheese I respond "Not unless you know how to milk a saber-toothed cat and then have the time to promote bacterial growth until it ferments, coagulates and can be drained of its whey and then ripened with fungal spores, uh, no I don't." That helps everyone remember.

Paleo is great for the body especially for me because I finally found a time period where my body type is seen as divine!

 

Since going Paleo I drink mostly spring water and some wine and kombucha. Wine is Paleo! Did you know wine is Paleo? It is. It's old fruit, basically, and fermentation has many health benefits in addition to letting you eat your collected food past the stage of "rotten compost" and Paleos invented this, I think. I don't think chimpanzees make wine, could be wrong. I started making my own wine in my toilet (the fruit cave) after I had the water to the house turned off when I moved to a rock shelter in my backyard. 

I thought I would crave sugar but it's not been a problem. I do crave fish, but that's on me. My harpooning skills are weak at best. I think I'll be inventing the net in thousands of years, though. That will be awesome!

God I love roasted cattails! 

If you go Paleo you will never want for two things: insects and carrion. They are everywhere. It's like the Golden Carrion Buffet out there once you know how to look for it. 

 

My splintered reed toothbrush is, if I'm being honest, more Mesolithic than Paleo. I am a work in progress.

I don't want to embarrass sinew but you can do a lot with sinew.

Offal is nature's facial. Rub it right on your skin and leave it for, oh, say, winter.

God, I love ferns!

I don't own shoes anymore. Cold feet, warm heart, can't lose. I hike barefoot through the woods with my toes gripping the rocks like my feet are massive, whiskery catfish maws and I later harvest thorns from my ankles. Delicious!

God I love jerky. All kinds. (Except bat. Everything isn't for everybody.)

All the chairs went on Craigslist. Squatting is so good for you. So, so good. Basically you are ready to give birth at any moment. And harpooning endurance is off the charts. I actually squatted out twins yesterday while messing around with a stone tool and almost inventing the awl. I know!

O how I long to be half woman / half muskox! Born this way. 

 

Paleo is so good for your ligaments and disposition. Everything from Neolithic on is basically asking for inflammation and the existential angst that comes from authentic inquiries about the meaning of life.

I rake my nails through rain-soaked dirt for the microbes as should you. Germs are so good for building immunity and feverish cheeks. I got started by licking my knapped stone tools after I lend them to someone in my hunting group, so maybe that will work for you, too. 

I resolve conflict with my bare hands. Try me.

I am reversing aging as we speak! I am also reversing evolution. Guess what, just did my measurements and my brain is shrinking! Good news! I might just give up fish so I can roll past Paleo, and my brain will be chimpanzee-sized by the holidays! 

In closing:

 

Friday
Sep122014

If I Make A Medusa Rage Ring Or A Million Or So, Do You Want One?

I used to have a silver ring that I have given to someone who needed it more than I did, but for a while a long time ago I wore it often. I needed it. A talisman. A remembrance. A shield.

 From a distance it looked like a rough coin, or maybe the type of emblem that that would be pressed into hot wax to seal an envelope or an edict. If you moved a little closer to me you might see that the detail was a woman, in an art noveau style, her small face framed by her hair. Only very close up, my hand in yours, the silver ring close to your eyes, would you see that you were looking at Medusa, snake hair and all.

I called it my Medusa Rage Ring.

The story of Medusa, like all myths, is subject to various interpretation, but there was a time in feminist circles that Medusa was claimed as a protector against violence, and that was the spirit in which my Rage Ring was given to me, and the spirit in which I passed it on. Here, wear this to remember you are healing. Here, wear this to remember it wasn’t your fault. Here, wear this to turn men to stone, should one ever dare again.

I want to give Medusa Rage Rings to women everywhere right now. The news has been reminding us (again and always) that our bodies, privacy, safety, lives don’t matter. I want to give rings out to have something to do. One to celebrities whose private photos are stolen, one to mothers of murdered children, one to women beaten in elevators and elsewhere, one to women who may approach a porch in the hope of receiving help. One to whomever wants one or needs one for reasons big and small. College ball or NFL. It’s all the same, it's all connected. Abuse scales. 

The way things are, I’m going to need a lot of rage rings. I’m going to need a fort full of silver ore and a massive smelting fire. I’m going to need lightning and a big-mooned night and hammer that travels in a tornado of women’s torn-nail memories.


Medusa was raped. She was perfection, a celibate priestess to Athena, and she was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple. An enraged Athena replaced Medusa’s beautiful hair with snakes and made her so ugly/fabulous that one look at her would turn onlookers to stone, and she was shunned for that superpower. (Because men can only be in the presence of beauty?) Ovid said this all was punishment to Medusa for sullying herself with Poseidon and for breaking her vow to Athena; but I prefer the opposite interpretation: that the making of the monster of Medusa was a transmutation of pain and victimization into castigating rage and empowerment. Athena eventually used Medusa’s severed head as part of her shield. Here. look at this, I dare you Athena would challenge.  But before that could happen, before Perseus had severed Medusa’s head, before the glorious winged-horse Pegasus emerged from her dead body, drops of Medusa’s blood spawned dark and light, both vipers and the beautiful coral of the Mediterranean.

Enduring violence can do both to you, you know. Can attract punishment to you, can cause villagers to heap blame upon you. Can change everything, including your very DNA. Can steel your senses and your spine, giving you untold power. Can make you wild and monstrous in the best and worst ways.


I’m not surprised at the victim blaming and abuser apologies we’ve heard in the last few weeks in response to crime after crime. I’ve heard it my whole life, and you have too. Somehow it makes people feel safer to pinpoint and blame, because they think their blame is a roadmap keeping them away from victimization-if they would never do X, then certainly Y or Z won't happen, that they will never be beaten, or shot, or hacked, or raped, or fill-in-the-blank. It’s taking us a long, long time to chip away at that delusional defense mechanism. I hope it doesn’t take forever, but part of me knows that it might.


 Now we also have all of this gawking, too. In the past weeks people I know to possess empathy and care have clicked on stolen nude photos and elevator security cam footage that they know they don’t need to see. It used to be impossible to get people to talk about domestic violence or be willing to serve on a jury. Now everyone thinks they are CSI-trained and wants to see the evidence themselves. Let’s wait and see. Isn’t it obvious that that is not the way to justice and creates secondary trauma? It’s regressive, we’ve moved beyond stockade trials, why the rollback? Click, and people have analyzed images as though they were in a jury box presented with forensic charts and toxicology reports. The video shows a woman punched out cold in an elevator, simple nouns and verbs don't suffice? I don’t know why they would want to expose themselves to that material, why they want to be bystanders after the fact, why they want to traffick in stolen, private images, knowing full well they were viewing against the victims’ wishes and compounding victims’ shame and trauma. 

 I used to sit on committees that would guide how images of victims were to be handled by medical personnel, employers, property owners, bosses, university personnel, legislators, you name it. And of course, the media. Complex ethical discussions supported by research from Poyner Institute and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma as well as victims rights leaders and survivors themselves informed policies and best practices about who saw what when and how events were framed. All of that seems laughably lost now. Media has abandoned proper investigative journalism and lost all good ethical boundaries about how victims should be shielded in reporting, and instead we are left with the worst possible version of “you won’t believe your eyes” Internet clickbait. If our friends said Here, a snuff film, look, would we? We have a lot to think about in order to reduce bystander and voyeuristic behaviors that create an environment that allows violence to thrive. Images without consent are not content for mass consumption.

Lately I’ve been wishing that Medusa could be on the other side of those Reddit and TMZ postings. I wish looking where you have no business looking could turn people to stone, if only for a moment, if only for long enough for viewers to reconsider being voyeurs to victimization.  Click on the wrong link, and a snake-headed woman full of righteous rage will stare back. Look her in the eyes. I want to Medusa Roll the Internet’s voyeurs.


I guess I need a new Medusa Rage Ring. I’ve had my eye on a gold logo ring from Versace that might do the trick, but I don’t know. Something about silver feels right. Silver is a purifier. It’s used in bandages and to filter water. Silver nitrate, lunar caustic, reflects us back to ourselves in film and in mirrors. I think that might be the medicine that’s needed. I just need to find that ore and that fire and get back to work. Let me know if you need one. 

Sunday
Aug172014

I've been taking the cure.

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