Sunday, July 19, 2015

Yes to the Dress

I'm taking a study break.... cause cash disbursements journals are not exactly the most riveting of reading materials.

Earlier this week I was having a chat with one of our interns.  She's engaged to be married but has kept pushing the date back for her wedding in order to lose weight.  She was considering bariatric surgery at one point....which was absolutely frightening.  I understand her concerns, I do... but trying to lose over 100 pounds because you think that you need to in order to look nice in a wedding dress is NOT enough of a reason to do that to yourself.  Besides, she has a good man who loves her now, and how she looks now.  During this conversation she also mentioned that she was petrified to go wedding dress shopping.  She was afraid that nothing would fit, or if it did she would look like a giant puff-ball.  She was worried about the looks that she would get in the bridal shop.  She and her fiance have the entire wedding planned and paid for, the only thing left is her and the dress.  As we are the same size, I offered to bring in my old wedding dress the next day for her to try on.

When she put it on, it fit perfectly.  It zipped right up.  The two of us are the same height so that she doesn't even need to get the dress tailored.  It was as if the dress was made for her.  This is a picture of her in the dress.  The smile on her face is genuine...it is the look of someone who was realizing that all of this wedding stuff was possible for her and that she can look absolutely stunning.  It was a beautiful moment, and needless to say, the dress is now hers.  And I gotta say, for sitting in a closet for 9 years, the dress is in amazing shape.

I'm glad that she now has it.  It feels like a purge for me....like the dress will finally get the happy marriage that it was originally designed to usher in.  But like all purges, I have mixed emotions.... the strongest however is absolute relief...twinged with a little regret. 

In all this purging however, I'm considering another purge of sorts.  I've been urged by many, and its been a running project for a very long time, to write about the Mr.3 saga and put it into book form.  In the back of my head it is this undone task nagging at me.... and I'll have good days, start working on editing and all of that, and then get triggered and actively avoid writing anything for weeks/months.  So in this spirit of purging, what if I purge that idea as well? 

What if I say no?

Its an intriguing and freeing idea.

At the moment I am leading a full AND fulfilling life.  There is this amazing forward momentum happening now....yes, even with my frustration at double-entry accounting. 

I can write a memoir when I retire....cause right now, I'm working to get to that point. 
Living is pretty awesome.

Now.... back to figuring out how to make a trial balance worksheet by hand....

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stupid Little Life Lessons

I am my own worst critic.
And I am not exactly sure if anyone really believes me when I say that because I try to hide my feelings of inadequacy.
They are failings after all.
And my failings should be secret, locked away in a little chest buried deep, deep, deep underground guarded by mythical creatures.

Its Ramadan again, and I can't be sure if my latest upheaval is due to the internal focus that the season invites, or if what is going on in my life is just difficult.  I've lost all perspective. There is definitely an epic battle going on between me and my ego.

Battle of the intellect: I decided to go back to school so that I can sit for my CPA exam.  It is part of my multi-year plan to get myself to the place where I only need to have one full-time job instead of two.  I started last month in the accounting program at Western Governor's University.  I was hoping just to be able to go into the masters of accounting program, but I need to have an accounting bachelors first.  I'm glad that WGU is competency-based, because it means that I can progress through the degree program at an elevated pace.  And thank god it is all online, because not only would scheduling classes into my current obligations be near to impossible, but also....  I think that I would be a nightmare in a classroom setting.  I've reached that point where you've acquired so many pieces of expensive paper that you really feel like people should honor and respect how smart you are.  Feeling entitled is incredibly obnoxious.  So far I've managed to clear out a class a week in my degree plan, which is excellent.  I would like to finish the bachelors in one six month term, which would mean continuing at my current pace....a pace that I'm not sure that I can keep up.  This acknowledgement of my limitations infuriates me to no end.  I submitted my business ethics assignment and they wanted me to revise. I did, but submitting it through the online forum doesn't really satisfy my need to want to slam the paperwork on someone's desk and shout "Here! Are you happy now!?"  I took a pre-test for the intro to accounting class and didn't pass. So I read through the materials, re-took the pre-test and got the same damn score.  I think I keep getting my debits and credits mixed up, because for some reason we have to do double line accounting.... this also makes me want to scream at people. 

I know that the lesson here is that one is always a student, being challenged is good.... but I am psychologically back in that place when during my masters I burst into tears of frustration in my master's program adviser's office.  She had no tissues in her office and just looked at me like I had grown a third head.  She offered no sympathy, just told me that I needed to try harder.
Yeah, I get the message....I still get to be annoyed by it though.

Battle of the harsh-judgy-ness:  I've felt a little ganged-up on at work the past week or so.  I feel like my feelings about these interactions with several members of staff are justified.  The hard part for me is that I haven't been able to let these feelings of being hurt go.  Nor have I been able to let go of the hurt by something my brother said to me carelessly in June.  I really do have a difficult time holding onto grudges and anger.... its exhausting.  I also recently called someone graceless.  They had posted a video of a performance that they did, and I couldn't look at the performance from a place of "hey that's awesome that they were willing to go on stage like that"....  instead I viewed it as "they have no grace, no class, and are trying too hard to look empowered when I suspect that it is all fake".  To make matters worse, I told a couple students about how graceless I thought this person was.  In my role as a teacher I should never have done that.  In my role as a feminist, I shouldn't have put another woman down like that.  In my role as being my true self, I shouldn't have viewed her performance from a place of judgement stemming from some complicated unwarranted competitive-thing I feel with this person.
I've turned into Judgy McJudgerson, and its been haunting me for over a week.  Sadly.... I have more examples than this from the past couple of weeks.  All I feel is shame, and hurt, and tiredness..... and like my head is going to explode.

Battle of perfection: So lets add all of the above and combine it with my regular sense of never being to do enough, act enough, achieve enough... my desire to be perfect in anything that I put my mind to, but trying to hide the fact that I am barely just getting by in everything I'm attempting.  A dear friend of mine looked at my star-chart, a language I really don't fully comprehend yet, and told me that he was surprised at how ambitious my chart says I am.  I'm not surprised....but that's because I live in my own head.  And with my sense of trying to be perfect, I still am and will always be shocked when people tell me how laid-back I seem.  Under normal conditions, I can forgive anyone's mistakes, shortcomings, general humanness..... anyone's that is, except my own.

I wish that I could end this blog post with an upbeat "I'm working on it and am confident that I can overcome all of this".   I can't.  I can only hope that I finish the grant report I'm working in a timely manner and that the pain meds I just took for my headache will kick in soon.

Oh and that I won't suddenly lose it on someone with or without cause.

Monday, February 09, 2015

The significance of anniversaries

Anniversaries are odd things really.  The date alone means nothing, the only importance is the significance that we attach to that date.  February 9th, is just that....a day on the calendar, just being, not doing anything to anyone, benign in all aspects.  Several February 9th's have come and gone with little to no emotional impact upon me at all.... many of those instances resulting in me going "oh, the 9th passed, huh" several days after the fact.

But not this February 9th.  I'm out of sorts today.  Actually I've been out of sorts for several days now....not emotional, or depressed....just feeling ungrounded, living in the ether.  In fact on Saturday I was so concentrated on looking up and all around me, that I forgot I was walking until I came crashing down upon my back steps.  It took almost an hour before I realized that the odd pain on my arm that was nagging me, was due to the fact that I had fallen on it and that it was filled with little splinters of wood.  It wasn't until hours later that I realized my ankle hurt and that I have a muscle on my back/hip area that is cramped and inflamed. 

This distraction doesn't feel manic, or over-burdensome.... rather it is very calm.  While I feel in my body that I've been thinking deeply, my mind has been fairly clear.  Maybe its the weather.  Maybe its hormones, or diet, or sleep, or too much work, or not enough, or ....who knows.  Finding something to blame my out-of-sorts-ness on actually doesn't help anything or anyone. 

Maybe I'm just marveling at the passage of time...and the ineffability of it has finally melted my brain.

On the wall in my bedroom is a picture of two people who I love very, very dearly: my little brother and my best friend.  I see this photo every morning, and while on most mornings I dismiss it as I've looked at it so often, I subconsciously know that it is there.  The photo itself was taken on another February 9th, nine years in the past.  Nine years ago being the date that I married Mr.3.  Eight years ago on this same date marking the last full day that I spent with him, as I took him to the bus station the morning after.  I sent him away with half the rent money and wanting so badly to believe him that he really had found a new job and that he was going back east for training and that he would return.  Wanting anything, everything to feel better in our relationship...as the prior 3 weeks since he had returned home from being in jail for several months had been hell.  I was scared of him, but didn't know that was the emotion I was feeling.  The agitation of waiting in that line with him: his four bags of belongings heavy at my feet, knowing that he was taking too much with him for two weeks; the distance when I looked at him, he was a stranger, hard, angry and annoyed with my presence; and not watching him get on the bus, nor waving goodbye, not even a deep soulful gaze between us.  I was just glad to be out of the bus station.

Looking back nine years ago to the wedding, it all seems like it was play being enacted by others.  Anything that could go wrong did.  I wanted to be married on the 2nd, because the idea of getting married on Groundhog Day made me chuckle.  We couldn't and had to delay a week so that the person performing the ceremony would be in town.  I couldn't afford $500 for a venue, so we tried to find the cheapest places possible....and we kept getting rejected wherever we asked.  We finally ended up getting married in the Hinckley room above the Middle East Center.  At the time, I told myself that it was quaint.  So many moments of our relationship were marked by that building, that it seemed like some sort of cosmic symmetry.  Plus, it was free and they recorded it for us from their overhead video camera.  The invitations were so late back from the printers that we ended up having to print them ourselves on my crappy printer with poor graphics we copied off from the internet.  I had a beautiful dress, which I seemed to wear only for about a hour.  Bouquets and boutonnieres were made by me that morning with $18 of grocery store flowers because I had only $25 left on a credit card to buy them with.  The restaurant I wanted to go after the wedding wasn't an option about 5 days before the as money set aside for the wedding was unexpectedly diverted to regular household expenses as a check for Mr.3 never came in.  Everything I wanted, however modest, got halved under the guise of "compromising", but there really wasn't a choice.  I should have called off the wedding.  I didn't because of my pride.

I used to joke that it was the "cheap as free" wedding....trying to laud up my abilities to make something out of nothing, being resourceful against all odds, the frugal queen pulling off yet another amazing escapade.  I really was trying to make something out of nothing though....and I succeeded.  It is a very hollow victory.

Time is a funny thing really.  Next year I'll be able to say that I was married once, a decade ago.  Classifying things in decades is pretty cool when you think about it.  It adds weight to the life experience gained, or it just highlights your inability to change and adapt.  This adds weight though.  Nine years ago everything felt like it would last forever, but always turned out to be temporary.  Now, that which I would have understood as being temporary will last forever.  At 26, having a friendship that would last into the double digits years was unthinkable.  Making the five-year mark at any place of employment felt like a lifetime.  In fact any five year plan somehow included an entire lifetime's worth of work: I would have my own home, a career, two kids, a new car, and retirement completely planned out, etc. 

Looking at the future from your mid-twenties is exhausting.  Looking at the future from your mid-thirties makes anything seem possible- when the time is right, if the time is ever right, and if the time is never right....then everything will still be ok.

And while I know that everything is ok....I also know that I won't have any tolerance today to deal with those who are caught up in the emotional aspects of the temporary and the permanent.  Change can and does happen, but you have to work towards it.  Crying about it, being horrified by the bad things in the world around us are meaningless exercises if they don't lead you to action.  The past nine years has been marked by action....and progress.  A decade ago, I used to have to call 5 or 6 nearly maxed out credit cards to see if there was $20 available to pay to go out to eat.  Not now.  A decade ago, I was worried that I would never be taken seriously in work, in life, in anything.  Not now.  I feel like I've been working so hard to change and improve my circumstances, that I haven't properly evaluated where I was and where I am. 

That must be the true importance of anniversaries: we attach the significance so that we will always remember, we will always reflect, and we always say "never again"...and we will mean it.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rest in Peace lil' Scooter

Today has been rough.
When I talk to people about my turtles I always talk about how I'm surprised that they have lived as long as they have....that we are cranky men growing old together.  Well, the trio is now just a duo.


Scooter died.



I wish that I could be exact in telling you when it happened.  I thought that he was asleep on Friday morning before I left for work and Kansas City because I could have sworn I saw his leg move when I touched his shell to say goodbye for the day.  It was late when I got home from Kansas City last night and I didn't turn the light on when I touched both Scooter and Zippy's shells when I got home.  This morning I was going to wait until Scooter woke up before feeding the both of them.  It kept getting later and later in the day.  Then Zippy did this noisy and messy fart/poop thing right next to Scooter's head.  Under normal circumstances  he would have been annoyed and moved away.  When he didn't move, I knew that something was very wrong.

Scooter's been sick since November.  He's improved with the addition of a heat lamp, and I got eye drops for him last week.  Earlier this week he was back to his old self almost.  He was wide-eyed, affectionate, excited to see me.....I hadn't seen him that happy for a while.  He must have been rallying before the end.

And now he's gone.
Zippy seems to be handling it better than I am.  Although if I cry in the front room, Zippy gets upset.  I worry about how long Zippy will last after his companion of over 20 years is gone.

Goodbye munchkin.

Thank you for years of unexpected laughs at coming home and finding you in compromising situations.  Like the time you tried to climb behind the bookcase and got stuck, Or the countless times you tried to mount Zippy and it failed....even after it resulted in the need to have you castrated.  You just kept trying and trying.


Thank you for those unbearably cute moments when you were just you.  Like when you would burrow into my dirty laundry because it smelled like me. Or when I was looking for you around the house for hours only to find you stuck inside my tennis shoe.  Remember that time when you got totally strung out after taking a bite out of a philodendron leaf?  We were lucky that you didn't die....and the reverse corkscrew circles that you did for a couple of hours that night seem funny in hindsight....although I was petrified that it was going to be worse.


Or that one time where you were following me around the house and every time I turned around to catch you, you tried to make it look like you weren't following me.  Like I didn't know.... silly goose.



We grew up together. Thank you for teaching me love.



And laughter.

Both Zippy and I are going to miss you.


Love you Scooter.


Monday, January 05, 2015

New computers are almost too pretty to be touched...almost

Got a new desktop this weekend and I finally finished setting it up. It is a thing of beauty...

I didn't realize how much I actually missed being able to work at my desk.

I also reread some of the work I had done on the-book-that-will-never-be-finished and discovered that it was all absolute crap. But there is something to the quiet of the house and sound of keys softly clicking to your touch that can spark the intellect. Four pages later and I now have an introduction to the book that I can be actually proud of. 

I only hope I can feel the same when I reread it later.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Two Men on the Occasion of the New Year

He wears his stress like an undershirt
Mostly hidden
But the outlines are visible
Like a collar peaking out from the edges
He buzzes with it
It jitters in the atmosphere
Bouncing off his shoes
As he tap, tap, taps it off from him
He smiles and giggles
The jokester
The ham

But you can see the sadness in him when he thinks no one is looking.

It makes me ache
I want to soothe it away, make it easier for him
But I can't
He doesn't know that I saw
He doesn't see me
It is not my place

The other wears his calmness like a mantle
Purposely obvious
Like a neon sigh flashing
All surface sparkle
A transparent attempt to be an enigma
Hoping that by surrounding himself with people
That he won't feel alone
A feigned independence
He smiles and rescues
The big brother
The saint

But you can see the sadness in him when he thinks no one is looking.

It makes me ache
I want to soothe it away, make it easier for him
But I won't
He doesn't know what I see
He never saw me
It is not my place




Sunday, December 07, 2014

Life Lessons That I've Learned From my Turtles

1. Even when you're in your thirties, when you're sick, all you want is snuggles from your mom.
2. A warm bath makes everything feel better.
3. Everyone is passive-aggressive to some degree.  Everyone.
4. One of the hardest decisions in life is "Do I stay where it is warm?" or "Do I move to go and get some food?"
5. Silence and a tilt of the head can convey more emotion and meaning than music, art, and literature combined.
6. We all need someone to grow old with.
7. Never underestimate the awesomeness of being able to fall asleep anywhere and in any awkward position.
8. Moustaches are captivating....especially if they belong to Freddie Mercury, Neil Degrasse-Tyson, or Tom Selleck.
9. Unconditional love is limitless and very real.  You can be angry with someone, annoyed, mad, hurt, etc. and not love them any less.
10. There will be days where you just want everyone to get the f#@k out of your way so you can go and hide in the corner...and that is ok.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

An Unexpected Case of the Feels- Somali Edition

Trust me to not be able to sleep on the daylight savings time when we actually GAIN an extra hour.

In my dreams all I could see was the faces of the Somali women I had spent time with earlier in the day.  You see, yesterday was the first day of the healing circle/support group for Somali refugee women that we are doing at my office.  Years ago, when I would present in front of a group I would come down with what I referred to as "stress stomach", but as I present in front of a variety of groups all the time, I rarely get that anymore.  Yesterday, I had an awful attack of it.  I was so nervous.  Talking in front of people....easy.  Talking to and encouraging people to open up about their trauma....frightening.  And it isn't what I am likely to hear that worries me....what worries me is that I don't want to mess this up.  I do not want to let these women down.

And these women.... they are the most brave, are the most beautiful (in all of the complexities that the term can denote) women that I have ever met in my life.  Their strength and resiliency is not able to be compared to mine....not that that is something that should ever be compared to begin with.

This is a new gathering of women for me to work with.  I've presented twice to this particular Somali band before and many of the faces I have seen already.  The goal of this group being to create a space where these women can have a safe place to talk about the trauma in their lives and learn new coping strategies.  It is a pilot project....and I really hope we can make something good of it.  If we can, we can bring this to the other refugee communities, who are vastly under-served in Utah.

Yesterday's meeting was merely an introduction and we had our share of logistical hurdles.  I took notes when everyone introduced themselves, but I can hardly read the names that I wrote.  I had them tell me about their families....who was married, who was not, who had children, grandchildren, how many years they had been in the US...  I may not remember the names of some of these women, but I'll remember their stories....such as the woman with 8 children who had given up counting the number of her grandchildren, but I'm sure she has one for every laugh line in her face.  Or the fact that joking about being happy to be divorced is a pretty universal thing.  Or that when I introduced myself I got asked how long I had been in the US as well.

We had children playing in the background, drawing pictures and practicing their English lettering.  Teenagers hanging out on the couch who got so bored that they started looking at the books on our shelves for something to read....I'm sure that the rape recovery handbooks weren't the type of reading they were looking for.  We even had communal prayer-time.  I had prepared a back room area for that, but when it came time we just gathered all of the blankets in the office and spread them out on the floor....three rows of women all bowing towards Mecca.

I learned that the terms "boyfriend and girlfriend" apply to plural marriage relationships beyond the first wife.  All food is equally shared with the elders being given the food first and then the children....and there are never leftovers. And sometimes.....men return to Somalia because they can't handle not having the absolute control over their wives that they did in their home countries.  I also learned that I severely had underestimated the elder female community leader.  She may get tired after translating for an hour, but she hand-picked the women in that room.  She knows full well what topics they needed to talk about...even with them saying that they had "no problems".  Living in America means no problems in comparison to their past lives in Somalia and in the Kenyan refugee camps.

There is alot of work that I need to complete in the next month.  I need to develop the meeting curriculum, and the entails quite a bit of research.  I also need to research Somalia more.  I can tell you about Rwanda, and the Congo....the histories of Egypt and Northern Africa....but Somalia?  I'm limited to Black Hawk Down and a book called A House in the Sky about a female journalist kidnapped and held hostage there.  Definitely not enough to even begin to understand the historical background of these women's lives.  My heart feels heavy as I begin this research.  In my youth when I spent my time working on the Kurdish cause, I could feel that same heaviness.  The heaviness of pain and regret....the impotence that overcomes you by not being able to do a damn bit about any of it.  Hopefully....this feeling won't last.  This time, I can do something.  I can help shape and improve these women's lives.
I only hope that I am worthy enough for this.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sorry. Not Sorry.

I've been thinking about blogging for a couple of weeks now....writing and rewriting posts in my head but never typing them up.  Which I should have done, it would have been a decent chronicle of my ups and downs....something better than what I am sure this will end up being.  Sorry, not sorry.

I feel like I think too much.  And I'm not thinking about things that are good....but things on the rather messed up side.  For example, just the other day I had the following dialogue in my head "with all the work and extra hours I've been doing you would think that I would have more free time".  See? Completely irrational.  For the past several nights I've been having nightmares....the kind where your heart is pounding so much that you don't care if the dream signifies anything, you just want to feel safe.  Last night, they were so bad that I just stayed up with the light on until I fell asleep in absolute exhaustion.  Ever notice that when you wake up in the morning after a bout of insomnia that everything still feels like it is in the middle of the night? But at least I didn't feel like someone was standing in the doorway watching me anymore, trying to suffocate me with the bedsheets.

I'm blaming the nightmares on depression.  I've been bottling up my emotions again, because it is safer.  It still feels sad, but ultimately very, very safe.  Recently a friend asked me if I felt like I could ask people to support me.  I know that I do have plenty of people who love and support me.  I have no problems in dropping everything to help out those that I love in need; but I have a mental block in asking those same people to make time for me.  I've been trying to rationalize this out....and I'm not doing a good job of it.  Everyone who I would ask....has other people, people that I would be taking time from if I asked their loved ones to spend some time on me.  I don't want to impose on anyone....because if I impose on them, if I become a burden, they'll leave.  Cause everyone leaves.  I've known this for a very, very long time.  And was just reminded of this by someone who I thought was a friend, who I thought of as family, decided to cut ties abruptly.  I was very angry in the beginning....he's definitely uninvited to Thanksgiving....now I'm just really, really sad...because.....everyone leaves in the end, don't they?  This is probably why I put my heart and soul into institutions and causes....they have a less likely chance of leaving me.

So couple this with the exact opposite of situations....  I've had a couple of odd instances the past few weeks of meeting with people who I've trained in the past.  Meeting with people who are passionate about the work that I do is one of the best parts of my job....however this went over into the hero-worship side of things.  It caught me off guard.  It's good to know that I am doing my job well and that I've inspired people....but I don't think that I'll ever get used to being confronted with it.  I guess that I now know what it feels like when I've done that to people I greatly admire.  I would apologize to them....but I won't.  Sorry, not sorry.  I'm so used to working hard and never really getting recognition of my strengths and attributes that I have no frame of reference in order to handle not being taken for granted.  This is something that I must build.  I'm not sure what that building would look like though.  My instinct is to create something sturdy that I can hide behind to cry in, and then step out from when I need to be in front of people.  Maybe I'm a jack-in-the-box....no one really knows what the jack is doing inside the box....it could be crying, sleeping, plotting or planning....no one really cares as long as it comes out when it is supposed to.  Its not a perfect system, but a functional one until I can find something better.

Because everything has to get better....it just has to.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

my body is an anachronism

trapped in the wrong age, unable to see its value
I’ve been to lands older than the place of my birth and have feltl the pull of time…..
welcoming me back, lulling me home….

I am the Venus of Willendorf
fertility goddess
the ideal of motherhood
bringing forth life to a barren landscape
wanton and wanted

I am the muse of Rubens
Botero’s dream
the void on Lucian Freud’s couch
a living canvas
untamable and wild

I am the mirror of ancestors past
the strong women smiling in a black and white photograph from a pile of memories in my Grandmother’s shoebox
women with my same breasts, same hips, same build
tillers of the land, shelters of my genetic code
my bones, my skin hold the history of ages past
I must find a historian in this world of the now
who will love each inch of me like they love each tome on a dusty shelf in a library
each word read firing like neurons; the lightest touch of a lover’s caress

I will not be ashamed of this body 
for I love it as I love history
and literature
and poetry
I see the magic in my limbs, the grace in its movement

the strength in my narrative

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

That moment when wondering if you were a bad ally means that you probably actually are...

One way to make me truly annoyed is to make me lose sleep over something....I'm so tired on a regular basis that I ususally sleep the sleep of the dead.  However, after playing Clickomania on my phone for the past hour, I'm declaring a loss in this battle and just getting up for the day.  I foresee alot of coffee and/or eating alot of mini-meals to keep me awake in my immediate future....wow...yoga is going to be interesting tonight.

I digress...

What am I losing sleep over?

Last night we began a new 40-Hour Rape and Sexual Assault Advocacy Training at work.  The co-host agency we work with demanded that they do a half hour exercise before the training because they think we aren't doing enough emotional check-ins with the participants.  We've allowed them to do this because as an agency we are open to critiques on how we do things.  After this however, I'm gonna raise some major objections at the next recap meeting.

Normally when we start a 40-hour we do brief introductions and then jump into an overview of rape and sexual assault.  My co-worker indulges me and lets me do the opening for the majority of the trainings.  I hope this means that I am half-way decent and engaging....rather than my co-worker feeling pressured into letting me do it.  I'm trying to not be as tied emotionally to the presentations I do and my performance with them....but the operative word there is "trying".  Because I really do pride myself on being a good presenter, being able to actively engage an audience, and on being able to set an upbeat tone for the rest of the training.  If you have agreed to do 40 hours of training on this topic, you already know that it is going to be difficult.  Honestly, we don't need to make it any harder than it already is.  We do want people to stay and work in the field after all.  Ugh....I'm digressing again....

Last night, we let the representative from the co-host agency do this half hour exercise before the training.  They gave out slips of paper in which everyone had to write down their fears and anxieties about taking the training.  Then they were to talk about them after everyone taped them to the wall at the front of the room.  Even though they had the full half hour they wanted to do the exercise, they didn't finish fully talking about it.  Also, the slips of paper were left up on the wall so others can look at them.  The idea was that this was supposed to create a camaraderie among everyone there.  The reality was that people were triggered, not completely heard, and then the rest of the presenters had to present their information with everyone's fears and anxieties symbolically taking up the wall behind them.

Ugh.

My presentation went ok....but it wasn't up to my usual standards.  I felt like I wasn't really connecting with the group.

When my co-worker went on after me, she got called out on something in her presentation.  She was covering rape myths and discussing the myth that handsome men don't need to rape.  She had a photo of that NFL guy who has been in the news recently for having a victim in pretty much every place he's played.  This man is black.  And the women of color in the room were rightfully upset that the first image that we see of a perpetrator was of a black man.  My co-worker acknowledged that she didn't think of that when adding the photo, acknowledged that it was her privilege that blinded her to the fact it could have been upsetting, and promised that she would remove and/or change the photo.  It was a tense moment, and I think that she handled it well.  While it was unfortunate that the conversation had to be had, it was a good thing that the group felt comfortable enough to bring it up with her.

Shortly after this, I headed home for the evening.  I checked in with my co-worker and things seem to be ok.  The evaluations will be interesting to read. 

While I was attempting to sleep, my brain could not stop noodling over the unease I felt about my presentation.  Why didn't I connect with people more?  And the epiphany moment I had (also the reason why I can't get back to sleep) is that I connected perfectly well....to all the white people in the room.  Before I even started speaking I felt a barrier....which is very unusual for me.  My general nature is easy-going and amiable and I use it to my advantage.  I rarely face hostility in a room (even if I am working with cops- not that cops are hostile- but my subject matter makes them gear up for a possible fight).  The times where I have faced any hostility...the presenter before had had an issue with the audience.

So I began to review that half hour exercise.  The presenter let a white survivor talk for several minutes about how she was worried that her voice wasn't going to be heard, that people would judge her, etc.   An important discussion to have to be sure.  However, when a woman of color raised her hand and said that she was afraid that her race and issues affecting victims of her race where not going to be heard in the training, she was answered with "ah huh, that's a concern too.  Other thoughts?"  She dismissed her completely.  That woman and the other women of color in the room who had nodded in acknowledgement were the people in the audience that I felt I couldn't connect to.  The co-host representative ended with a series of questions that anyone could ask themselves if they were having problems with the content: what? so what? and now what?  The idea being that you identify what is bothering you with the first question.  Look deeper into all that surrounds that issue for you.  And then figuring out what you do with that bit of information to move onwards.  These sound great and all...but just like that half hour exercise, you can't just unload those items and not discuss them fully.  I should also note, that after she completed this exercise....she left for the evening and will not see the group until their Saturday session.

I would like to use her question system to further flesh out my problem-

What?  I witnessed someone actively oppress a group of people and did not react immediately to it or recognize that is what I saw until several hours after the fact.

So what? My awareness counts for shit. 

Now what?  This is where I need help.  Badly.  What can I do about it?  I'm going to raise the issue for sure in our wrap-up meeting.  I will be taking down those little notes when I get into the office today and I'll contact the amazing woman we have presenting on cultural competency to ask her advice and let her know what happened.  But ultimately....it doesn't matter how much I tried to be open and honest in MY presentation, it doesn't make up for the fact that I failed to act when I should have.  Do I apologize for my inaction to those women? Or would that be rubbing salt into a wound?

Friday, May 02, 2014

Really? Who trys to scam a small non-profit with the offer of fake PSAs anyway?

Now I understand that scam artists are unethical by nature, but every once in a while....they still manage to surprise you with what they do.  For example, today in the office we get a call from a gentleman who wants to put up a PSA advertising the sexual violence hotline on two local radio stations in Utah over the Memorial Day weekend.

Its an odd cold call to get, but we do get members of the community that will call the office truly wanting to help out.  So I listen to what he has to say.

Keep in mind.....we do training specifically in my office that teaches individuals about honoring your gut feelings and of specific red flags to look for in predators.

So, he begins by telling me that this is an issue close to his heart as he once dated a woman who was abused, etc.  Typically, someone giving you more information than what is necessary to the conversation is a red flag....it confuses the primary issue and more often than not, it is used to lower your guard and create sympathy.  It's an excellent tool.  You can't do that to an advocate though.....our training makes our brains switch and we aren't feeling sympathetic....rather we are trying to figure out if you need services.  Basically...an attempt to tug at the heartstrings of an advocate turns them into a customer service rep.

I listen to his story....not reacting, but just letting him talk....because an advocate is supposed to be a non-biased active listener.  I'm sure at this point, he's thinking that I'm hooked.
He then reads me the PSA he has written and wants to put on the air.  Its highly impersonal, persuasive- but in a slightly condescending and completely detached from the issue type of way.  It mentions a hotline number multiple times and directs people to donate.  It needs alot of work, but the spirit is there.

Still in advocate mode, I start to tell him that he needs to have a different number.  As I'm starting to give him the correct information, he interrupts me and begins to list a bunch of figures for the air time.

Cause really?  Who calls a non-profit offering a PSA and then 5+ minutes into the call turns it into a sales pitch?

This guy apparently.

Incidentally this bait and switch thing is also a red-flag for a predator.

I wanted to hang up on him, but I didn't...one of us needs to be professional, right?

I tell him that for a large campaign such as this that I need to have board approval and ask if can please email me the figures. 

Guess what?  He doesn't have an email.  A "salesman" in 2014.

He then explains that he is actually a "volunteer", who also happens to have the authority to offer free days of advertising.  When I ask him to tell me the costs again so I can write them down, he prefaces the list (which was different than his first list by the way) by telling me that he's written over a thousand sermons and that he really wanted to marry the abused woman but it wouldn't have worked and so on and so forth.

I wrote down his cell number and told him we would be in touch.
A short internet search later there is a bunch of forum posts confirming just how shady I think this guy is.

He can take his sermons somewhere else.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Goodbye Grandma- An Incomplete Eulogy

Everytime a person dies, a library is burned to the ground.  -African saying

Grief doles itself out in bite-size chunks
Not allowing you to feel everything at once
Not allowing you to avoid thinking about it at all

Grandma's home smells of her
Her pills are laid out on the dining room table
Freshly cut daffoils in a mason jar
Dishes still in the sink waiting to be cleaned
or put away
I'm not sure which

Her home is a living thing
And a time capsule
It breathes, and coughs, and ages
Photos of my brother and I from varying ages covered in varying amounts of dust are in every room....placed in the midst of photos of her own children in similar ages and covered with similar layers of time
There were calendars up everywhere....most of them for this year, the occasional one from 2012, 1967, 1980...
Her home was a place to watch the time pass
A home that still housed the family members that no longer lived there
My father's books still on shelves, his drawings, the telescope he built but no longer wants

Part of me desperately wants these things.....to take with me all that I ever gave her, made for her, all that was my father.....because in some place in my mind if I kept all these things that I would no longer feel regret at not knowing her better.

In the end, I only left the house with a few books....to save symbolically the library I never really knew

During the viewing this morning, the lighting made it look like she was breathing
Nature sounds playing over the speakers
Crickets and babbling streams
The very appearance of life
Cruel indeed

I sat next to my father then
Our knees touching
The odd comments....when did we see her last? remember when she did this?  that shape of eyeglasses is not her usual, they look good...
I want to know if they leave those eyeglasses on her when they close the lid, or do they gently take them off and put them next to her?

It felt weird leaving the room without shutting the door behind me
Like I was being rude at not respecting the sanctity of a nap undisturbed

If they hadn't told me it was her, I wouldn't have recognized her
Not because she had changed, but because I have no memories of her eyes being closed or not having a smile on her face
Strange the things we think about when someone passes....
My grandmother always smiled when she was around us...a breathless, happy smile
I would tell others of the silly, annoying things that she did when we saw her and I never realized that she was always
Always
Happy to see us
Happy to be near us in the flesh
I never appreciated that

Grandma never aged
She told me once that she was 65
She's been that age for 25 years now
Our parents age, but our grandparents do not
It is only after they die do we realize that their struggles mirrored our own
That they loved and lost, worked and lived paycheck to paycheck, were something separate that the titles that we gave them....mom...grandma
At one time she was a full complex amazing human being
Someone who left a note to herself to water the plants last Thursday
I wonder if that got done



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Carrying the Donkey....reviewing my word for the year

One of my favorite things about the end of the year is all of those "year in review" articles that circulate the interwebs.  But oddly enough for all of my loving those articles, I've not ever reviewed my last year on the blog.

Don't worry....I am not going to give you highlights, but I do want to review my word for the year, which was strategic.  My intent was that it was supposed to be a word that was to guide all of my actions, and in many ways I think that it did.  I thinned out alot of my extracurricular responsibilities and somehow managed to expand my current ones.  However the past few months of this year, strategic has not been the word of focus, but herculean.  That is how finishing everything has felt- herculean.  Going into work, bathing, finishing tasks, following through on my day-to-day responsibilities....all requiring a level of effort that seems almost impossible to conjure up.  But I've managed.

Those close to me have noticed....and I seem to have a variety of people making comments about how I should drop this thing or that thing, work less, etc.  I get it.  I do.  These are all very well meaning things to say to me.  However, right now....it all comes off as criticism.  That not only am I not managing but that I am doing everything WRONG.  There is a Hodja story that I find particularly appropriate to this situation...

One day Hodja and his son were traveling to a neighboring city.  Hodja felt like walking and allowed his son to ride on their donkey for the journey.  As they were walking people on the road exclaimed "See? Look at the selfishness of today's youth!  That boy is forcing that poor old man to walk! How disrespectful!"

So Hodja decided that maybe it would be better if he rode the donkey and his son walked alongside.  As they continued on their way, more people commented "I can't believe it.  That old man is making that poor little boy walk that whole way!  How rude of him!"

At this Hodja decided that maybe both he and son should ride the donkey, but even then people commented, "Look at those two! Riding on the back of that poor donkey like that! That is animal cruelty!"

Getting frustrated, Hodja then decided that neither of them should ride on the donkey.  That, however, still did not stop people from talking, "Look at those two idiots walking when they have a perfectly fine donkey to ride upon!"

Completely fed up, Hodja then picks up the donkey and puts it up on his shoulders.  "If this doesn't stop people from talking, I don't know what will!"

When I first read this story, I only thought about how people are criticizing others and where do they get off thinking that's ok....blah blah blah.  Which is true.  When I told this story to my boss, her immediate response was "I get that! We keep changing the ways that we do stuff to please other people, but they still keep complaining.  If we make one group happy, another one isn't."  That interpretation has been really resonating with me lately.  No matter what I do, I can't seem to make anyone else happy....least of all myself.  Trying to constantly adapt and change to others people's whims are annoying and slow down progress....but the goal is the same.....just like Hodja,  I am still traveling from one place to another.  Does it really matter how I get there, just so long as I get there in the end?

So while I feel like I am carrying a donkey on my shoulders,  I'm still on the path. For all the struggles, the path is kinda interesting at the moment.  When I was re-reading the strategic post, I was surprised to see that I had written that I was having trouble with the season in general.  This holiday season has been awful for me.  I don't have the Christmas spirit, I don't want to give people gifts, and I've been avoiding all holiday type activities....I've been depressed (I actually took a sick day because I couldn't will myself to leave the house), I've been crying alot and generally emotionally raw.  It's because I'm triggered and have been in an emotionally triggered state for a couple of months now.  So many anniversaries of Mr.3 awfulness, so many feelings of abandonment, loss, and that I will never truly fit in anywhere or with anyone ever again.  These past few months have been awful....and I'm not out of it, I'm still right in the middle of it....and I will be, for a while.

When I first thought of writing this post, I was going to suggest changing my annual word in acknowledgement of my failure to let it guide me.  After deeper thought (and can I just say that the amount of thinking I've been doing lately is exhausting!) I realized that I am where I am at the moment because I have been strategic.....very much so.  By working earlier in the year by really asking if everything that I was doing was really serving me....I created a situation of stability-financially and emotionally.  A place where I can actually have the space to deal with all the boxed up issues I've got. 

Now the best-case scenario out of this would be able to continue the work that I am doing without taking much more criticism from others, because carrying a donkey is hard enough as it is. 
I'm trying folks, I am. 
But no, I don't want to talk about it. 
Yes, I am making sure that I am ok and will see a professional if I feel that I need to. 
Yes, I am going out and doing non-work related things but no, there are times when I need to stay in and work because bills don't go away if you are depressed. 
No, I'm not being "too nice" to others, that is just my leadership style. 
No, I'm not being too hard on you, I just have a low tolerance for your bullshit, excuses, and lies (and lying is a major trigger for me so if you are caught in one, run for the hills). 
Yes, I believe that honesty is the best policy but if your really don't want an honest answer to your question, you should perhaps rethink asking me that....because as you can see....I lost my "tact" filter a few miles down the road.
Yes, I will let you know what I need....whenever I figure out what that is.
No, I am not being evasive on that question, because I really don't know what I need right now.
And yes, if I said that I would do something, I will.....but the timelines may not be on your schedule, and sometimes, depending on the day, may not be on mine either.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

And the internet rewards my feminist activism with the beautifully sarcastic #MenUnderSiege...

Thank you internet.
Sometimes your awesomeness cannot be contained.

Earlier today while I was scanning through the news for my day job I came across this article on GV: High-Profile Editor Tarun Tejpal Accused of Sexually Assaulting Young Reporter.  This is just one of many articles to come out from India about rape and sexual assault lately....but then again, as I research the news everyday for work---there is rape and sexual assault in every country...it is only the news coverage that seems to vary, never the abuse.

So I promptly read the article, posted it up on the UCASA twitter feed and then went about my day.

Then I started to notice this hashtag #MenUnderSiege popping up on my tweetdeck account.  Apparently in response to the news of these allegations against Tarun Tejpal, columnist for India Today, Palash Krishna Mehrotra, wrote a piece entitled "Men under a state of siege".  In this article he sites the "grey areas" now present in India's new rape laws, such as "The police are duty-bound to register a case as soon as they receive information, even if the complainant hasn't come forward."  Because, of course, crimes don't happen unless a victim reports, right? Which under that reasoning would mean that murder wouldn't be a crime because their was no complainant....right?   He's also very upset that the definition of sexual harassment includes " 'sexual overtures' (like sending an email or a text message), demanding 'sexual favours' and 'forcible disrobing.'" I can only imagine that he's not seen a definition of the word harassment which includes the terms 'demanding' and 'forcible' before.  He's upset about a lot....I'm just going to post a paragraph here and insert my comments in [ ].

"Frighteningly, the new law makes it clear that consent given under intoxication does not translate into informed consent. [Standard law just about everywhere, bub.]This means that a drunken consensual tumble with a woman can come back to haunt the man the next day, or even ten years later. [Tumble? Are all of his sexual encounters tumbles?] This seems grossly unfair. [Oh, I am sorry- Not.]And what about demanding sexual favours? Clinton, for example, was clearly demanding a sexual favour of Monica Lewinsky. [Hee hee hee....he's really going there?] But if a man offers to 'go down' on a woman - is he offering a submissive sexual favour or demanding one? [He has some issues I think on defining what masculinity looks like I think- cause I don't think that many would consider that as 'submissive'] Many Indian men admit privately that they feel they are under a state of siege. The bedroom has been criminalised. [That's a stretch....] Is it going to be impossible to form relationships from now on? [Not necessarily, if you get sober consent for tumbles, he should be good.]"

In response to this article, there was a brilliant piece called "Dear Indian Men, breathe, you're not 'under a siege'....you should read her full article, but her opening is priceless:
 "Gentle and not-so-gentle men of India, I am writing to you in your hour of crisis. You, sirs, are under siege. Chances are you didn’t realise this because you get paid more than women on an average, enjoy greater freedom than women in your demographic, face no gender prejudice, are applauded for your progressive liberalism when you do revolutionary things like treat a woman as your equal, and generally benefit from living in a patriarchal society. But don’t let this facade fool you. Listen, instead, to author Palash Krishna Mehrotra."

And then the rest of Twitter has chimed in with the BRILLIANT hashtag of "MenUnderSiege".  Here are some of my favorites:

How can I prove to my wife that I am a man if I cannot beat or rape my her? #MenUnderSiege from sexgenderbody

A bar full of women wanting to buy their own drinks, have fun, dance and go home, unraped, unmolested #MenUnderSiege from GreaterBombay

 Had to find the other sock on my own.  #MenUnderSiege from dangertoon

Asked to tell the difference between brown and beige. #MenUnderSiege from saureign

Had to make my own sandwich. #MenUnderSiege from over_rated

asked, but she said no #menUnderSiege from i_r-squared

We never get asked to drape ourselves over new cars at auto shows #MenUnderSiege from SanSip

Picked her up from her place. Took her to a fancy dinner. Won't sleep with me because don't know her well enough.Prude. #MenUnderSiege from Mansimusing

Expects to be loved for who she is. Seriously, a boob job never hurt anyone. #MenUnderSiege from Mansimusing

And my absolute favorite:

The seat is down #MenUnderSiege from Vnemana

Next to someone inventing a sarcasm font, this whole scenario could not have made my day more.

Gentle and not-so-gentle men of India, I am writing to you in your hour of crisis. You, sirs, are under siege. Chances are you didn’t realise this because you get paid more than women on an average, enjoy greater freedom than women in your demographic, face no gender prejudice, are applauded for your progressive liberalism when you do revolutionary things like treat a woman as your equal, and generally benefit from living in a patriarchal society. But don’t let this facade fool you. Listen, instead, to author Palash Krishna Mehrotra.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/living/dear-indian-men-breathe-youre-not-under-a-siege-1263097.html?utm_source=ref_article

Sunday, December 01, 2013

I Miss the Old Days of Blogging

Back in the day when no one was really sure what a blog was....
Back when I could write whatever I wanted about whoever I wanted with the knowledge that no one was ever going to read it in the first place.....
Back when I knew that I could vent my true feelings without getting contacted by whoever to see if I was ok or not....

I kinda feel like I live in two places....the public face where I show everyone what I want them to see.  And the private....that space where you want to unburden your soul but know that you could never trust someone with that information.

I also feel like I've been thinking too much....its exhausting.  Friends and family are noticing it now apparently too....this inclination to want to be by myself, not wanting to talk about it, and the strange unanswered tears when I try to vocalize any of it.

Who knew that my numerology reading for the year would have been so accurate.

So for those of you who think that I'm ignoring you....you have alot of company.  You should all get together and have a party....for you don't know what I'm saving you from.  For those of you who seem to think that by criticizing how I am spending my time is a way to make me change or that it will 'snap me out of it'.... you should know that any criticism at the moment is being viewed as condemnation.  Don't make fun of how I choose to spend my time, or how I approach my work, or my weird thing where I never ask for help when I need it.   You either love me or you don't.   And if you love me....you'll be patient.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fractions

How strange to reread the poetry of your youth
Written in a time before
Love
Loss
Tragedy

Your eloquence and idealism 
Intertwined
With your naivety

You were so worried about being alone then
The world could end if you had to endure
One
More
Day
Alone

Now, you know of the safety in being alone
How to define yourself
As a true individual
Not some twenty year old who believed that she 
Had
To be with someone
To be whole 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thought About Reading a Fat-Shaming Diet Book, Decided to Love Myself Instead

Once upon a time, or rather this morning as I was getting out of the shower and looking/admiring my naked belly in the mirror (we all should be able to look at ourselves in the mirror with love!), I overheard the local newscaster say "The obesity epidemic is at an all time-high and on our show today we have an expert to help us get fit!"....or at least they said something like that.  Honestly the second that I heard "obesity epidemic" I could feel a spasm of eye-rolling starting.  But I took a short break from my mirror-gazing-vanity to walk over to the tv to watch.

They were interviewing this guy about his "new" book (cause 2010 is new apparently) called "Die Fat or Get Tough".  To summarize the 2 minute interview....fat people are fat because they think like fat people and that in order for their life to improve dramatically they have to get 'mentally tough' and think like "fit" people.  The female newscaster tried to ask him about how people's bodies are different, genetics, nature vs. nurture, etc.... but he promptly cut her off with his assertion that fat people think all the same and that if they just had the mental toughness they could be thin....and of course that their life would be full of butterflies and roses instead of a dun....dun....dunn......an early grave.

I had a brief.....BRIEF.....moment where I thought that I should read his book before making any judgements about it or writing a scathing review of it, etc.  Instead I looked up his website....his gimmicky, cliche website.  Because he's deigning to you, reader of his website, by sharing his 'life changing' secrets with you in this book.  He had to take precious time out of his busy, successful motivational- speaking career in order to write this book.  He felt morally called to this task apparently.  He also "gets it" because he once gained 40 pounds when he was traveling for work and had some unhealthy habits.....he went from a 32 waist to a 36 (gasp! horror!).  And then he exercised  and was 'mentally tough about his fitness', lost the weight, and is now your new weight-loss savior.

I would like to note that I read his website while eating a particularly delicious chocolate cake doughnut.  Incidentally, I have some left over if anyone wants to visit me at my office today....

But I digress.

After reviewing his website, I decided that I didn't need to or want to read his book.  He mentioned in the news interview that he had received 'death threats' because of how difficult his message was to hear.  And while I don't condone anyone giving death threats in general or over a fat-shaming diet book....the guy seems like a bit of jerk.

What I would rather do..... is love myself.  I want to see and look at myself with love and possibility.  And yeah....my chunky knees and thighs bug me.  But they are still part of me, part of my legs that allow me to move about this world everyday....they hold me up, support me, and are bendy and soft and seem to be constantly changing.  And ultimately, they are pretty damn awesome.

I would also rather listen and spend my time reading the words of people who don't need to scare and shame people so that they can live a lavish lifestyle.  I want to read the works of people who are human and average and not 'well-off'.  I want to connect with people that I can relate to, and people who can relate to me as a person.....and not some statistic that they think I fit into.

You know what else I would rather do?  Tell you about the strangeness of my clothing choices today.  I decided to put on the one pair of bluejeans that I own....which I haven't worn in a couple of years.  They fit, no problems there....no weird laying on the bed to zip them up or holding your breath for a minute while you try to inch up the zipper.  Wow....are blue jeans restrictive!  I can still bend over and touch my toes and all that....but it is by sheer force of will!  This just adds to the superiority of skirts, dresses and yoga pants....

....and of course....

.....shame-free doughnuts.....

......and a whole lot of self-love!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sitting in Possibility

I'm having the very strange experience of having no pressing deadlines. 

It feels like that for weeks now, every single night has been fraught with the "you didn't get everything done you need to" panic followed by completely crashing out....then waking up in the morning with a groan because your need to sleep cuts deeply into your time to get all the silly things you committed yourself to done.

Frankly, it has been exhausting.

This last Friday I did a 2-hour workshop on the stories behind the yoga poses.  I've been researching all the stories within the Hindu tradition that correspond to various yoga poses for several months now.  It's fun research....the stories are oddly crazy but their application and meaning are incredibly profound.  I procrastinated way too much in getting ready for this....but I pulled it off.  And not just in the way of barely skirting my way through it....I nailed it.   It was the first time, in a very long time, that I truly felt like "I've got this, this is going to be ok."

I'm still sitting within that feeling....that I've truly got this.

Which is good, because it feels like the new ventures I've been trying to undertake have been failing.  I really needed to not feel defeated/hopeless about something for once. 

I hope that this lasts.  In the immediate future, I get to have an evening where I can do whatever I want....there is no rush, only the feeling of possibility.

And so now, I am sharing a video of Tarkan for no other reason that I can, and I realized how much I missed watching this beautiful man dance..... these are the things that you get to do when you don't have a pressing deadline....pretty nice....


Monday, July 08, 2013

Like a prayer

I'm beat.
My body hurts.
I've got a weird headache.
And damned if it isn't the day before Ramadan fasting starts.  You totally have to mentally psyche yourself out for the month....and right now, I am not sure if I will make it until 5pm.
Ugh.

Once again, the holidays associated with my faith have snuck up on me.  Of course lately it only seems like I remember a holiday if I see copious advertisements about it.  And while I want to create family traditions....I haven't had the time to think of anything.

I want to fast.  I haven't done it in a very VERY long time.  But I also don't want to disappoint myself....or have others (who are or are not fasting) judge me for deciding not to fast....or of not being able to keep it up.  Plus....if my body is aching this much because it hasn't gotten used to my new yoga teaching schedule...it makes me a little worried about this next month.

I'm whining. I know.

I also don't want to make myself sick....and right now, I feel like I am on the cusp of it. 

I need to figure out a way to make Ramadan mine.  That is part of the freedom of being in the religious minority right?  If I am the only one in my immediate circle of friends practicing, I get to choose how this works right?  Yeah, there are rules.  But there are also a ton of rules about prayer...and I'm pretty set in my ways and beliefs on that.....so why not with Ramadan?  Maybe that is what I need to do.  Prayer is a mental state and a way of living: every breath is a prayer (which is why I also love yoga as much as I do).  So maybe what I need to do is that instead of obsessing over the rules and trying to figure out how to schedule this in....I need to focus on the intention behind Ramadan.  People gain weight during Ramadan because they gorge themselves on food after sunset, and take naps during the day.  How is that appreciating what it is to have nothing to eat?  What is more rewarding? Giving alms or actively serving?  Is the intention put into our lives more important that the items we check off a list?

Rather than freaking out about times (and buying a prayer time app like I just did)....I should be cultivating mindfulness of my actions, how I view my faith, and how I view my relationship between myself and the divine.  Perhaps that will be more satisfying than being bitchy for a month...


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

News! I'm now offering classes in Salt Lake City!

After what seems like forever, I am now going to offer yoga classes in Salt Lake City!

I'm going to be offering two classes to be specific:

Monday Mornings starting on June 24, 2013- 7:15am-8:15am
Yoga for Advocates is a trauma-informed yoga class designed to meet the self-care needs of those individuals who work with survivors of violence.  This class will offer gentle and restorative yoga postures, as well as focusing on a variety of breathing and meditation techniques.  Start your day and week off right!  This class is open to all that wish to come and is a donation-based class.

Wednesday Evenings starting on June 26- 6:30-7:30pm
Every Body Yoga is a beginning level flow class designed to be accessible to yoga practitioners of all ability levels by its creative use of props and sequencing. This gentle yoga practice offers a body positive space for people of all shapes and sizes and focuses on celebrating and loving the body that you have today.  $10 drop-in rate 

And where will these classes be held?  At a wonderful new studio that has just opened: the Urban Arts Studio 25 East Kensington Ave. (1500 South)

At the moment, I am not taking online registrations, just show up!  But if you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email deborah.ann.dilley@gmail.com or call 801-520-3582.