One of the things I did in preparation of the Womxn’s March was attend a pretty cool screen printing event for posters to carry, organized by some talented artists at Pratt. The place was absolutely packed when I got there. It was a great energy, with everyone helping each other out in organizing how to manage such a limited number of stations with so many people. A lot of time was spent milling about, waiting for your turn to screen print or run prints to the drying rack. Still, it was great that such a large number of people turned out. There were families with kids and it was awesome to see them involved.

It was also very, very, very affluent white. Like, not exclusively, but marginalized populations were definitely the minority. I think it’s great that white women are getting into the political sphere. I mean, I’m a white woman getting involved in politics, so of course I think it’s a good thing. I also think it’s important to consider if the spaces created by white women are inviting to those who don’t necessarily fit that white, yuppie-affluent, cishet woman category.

A Note To Myself

4 Steps to Ally.png

I wrote this more for myself than for anything else. Making my thoughts into something pretty was a way to practice mindfulness and think about all the things I’m learning. If you think I’ve left something important off, please let me know!

decolonizer: The Bookclub

*DEcolonizer Bookclub*.jpgAs a decolonizer, I

acknowledge that we live in a society steeped with racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism, transphobia, and that I want to help change it

believe  books are awesome and that reading is magical

commit to reading from & listening to marginalized communities

Intersectionality is the new wave of feminism. The belief that our differences are just as worthy of being supported and uplifted as that which make us the same is vital for any kind of chance as a society. I’m making it my priority to step outside my bubble, outside of my comfort zone and privilege, and do what I can to do my part. Mostly? I want to learn.

you-cant-touch-my-hair

 

First up? You Can’t Touch My Hair by the talented Phoebe Robinson. She’s witty, insightful, funny, and has filled my netflix queue with recommendations. I’m a little less than halfway through and absolutely smitten.

She also has a podcast with Jessica Williams called 2 Dope Queens that is definitely worth checking out.

*******

If you want to reach and leave a comment here with your thoughts about the book I’d love to read them!

 

New Year, Same Me

New Year.jpg

I’m still here. Doing pretty well. Tired more than I’d like. Ziggy grows funnier, bigger and more determined every day and I’m finally getting to experience the absolute magic, joy, frustrations, and hurdles of motherhood in a way that doesn’t feel like drowning. Well, okay, after Ziggy learned the joy of saying “no no no no” to everything there was a bit of drowning but not for the most part. But in all honesty, I feel like I’m figuring out what my groove is and that’s pretty nice.

One of my goals for the year is to not buy any new clothes for Ziggy (or any of us, but an emergency pant rip and impulse add ons kind of ruined that for us parents). I have enough fabric and patterns to make a wardrobe for Ziggy, and anything I don’t feel like figuring out (coats, shoes, etc) I can find at a consignment shop or Goodwill.

Toddler fashion is infinitely more fun than baby fashion (and baby fashion was pretty fun).

PS Kels, now it’s your turn ;-)

How Post Partum Depression & Anxiety Ruined My Expectations.


I was rereading a post from a while back, Halfway to the Great Unknown, and I realized I still have no answers to those questions and thoughts. I don’t really think I’m supposed to, but they’re just as interesting to mull over now as they were then, almost eight months ago. I really approached pregnancy, birth, and parenting like this big, grand, and exciting science experiment. It was exciting and new and I couldn’t wait to test some theories I had, as well as brace myself for the unexpected. Yeah, no, I was totally trying to expect the unexpected. And that was a big flop.

There’s this post I never actually hit publish for that I wrote when Ziggy was about 4 weeks old. it was about how hard my pregnancy was, how it completely wrecked me. There’s one paragraph in particular that I wrote about how all my fears from how hard pregnancy had turned up pretty unfounded, but not dismissed. Being bipolar puts me at a high risk for PPD/OCD/Anxiety, and we took that pretty seriously, especially since the pregnancy became so much harder than it should have been with the med managment snafus.

Ziggy is the easiest baby I could have imagined, and it made me feel pretty confident that the PPD/OCD/anxiety was a worry I wasn’t going to have to deal with. I was four weeks into the parenting gig and really feeling like I had my stride. My baby and I had a great relationship and while I wasn’t madly, truly, deeply in love with Ziggy, I knew that these things take time and that it was just nice to enjoy my baby the way you would enjoy a cute, fluffy sweet new puppy. I wasn’t worried, and no one else was either. I mean, there was still a finger to the pulse of my stability, sure, but you know. We had downgraded from red alert.

Ziggy turns six months old soon and I’ve been flailing around desperately in a sea of pretty awful post partum emotions. I have days where I think I’m finally on the other side but I’m not on the other side of this yet. I want to be. I’m working so hard at keeping up with everything in this attempt to make what’s going on in my head reconcile with the awesome, incredible life I have right now and it’s not working super well. I have great supports and an excellent medical team helping me get through this, but we seem to be stalled at this waiting game of seeing if the current med cocktail is going to work and that’s a shitty fucking place to hang out in. Every day I drown in this is one more day I feel like I’m missing in Ziggy’s life, it’s one more day I won’t get back.

Taking pictures of Ziggy is literally second on my Self Care List and it’s been really nice. I spam the crap out of my instagram with photos of that baby because being able to look at them helps give me this perspective of what my life looks like, rather than what it feels like. Photos of all our happy little adventures helps show me what I’m missing when I’m too lost in my head and I hope they’re enough.

There’s not really a happy ending to this post, even though it’s been in my drafts for months. I keep adding paragraphs hoping to have a happy ending, but I’m still just waiting it out. And that really, really fucking sucks.

Timing is everything

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Happy new years! Turns out right before the holidays isn’t the best time to try and reboot blogging, but we’ll see where I get to in the new year. Right now I’m just trying to get my holiday card* printed.

My new year’s resolutions are pretty basic.

+Read more by women, and women of color (starting with Instagram because @studiomucci is my new favourite internet unicorn)

+Push up against my discomfort instead of running from it

+Have more conversations

+Share this video

*Spoil alert, in the actual holiday photo you can see Ziggy’s fierce Blue Steel.

A bear visited me in my sleep when I was pregnant

One of my former coworkers is this sweet, thoughtful Korean woman who was really excited about my pregnancy. One of the first questions she asked was if I had any dreams, because she was super into knowing about pregnancy dreams. There is one.

I think I was about two thirds of the way pregnant? Maybe? Somewhere in the tail end of the second trimester, I had a strange dream. Pregnancy dreams are an experience all in their own, and I already have pretty intense* dreams. To the point where I take medication to control them.

But one night I had this powerful, incredible dream where I was visited by a bear. I was walking my dog Lyra on a beautiful path through the woods when I noticed something in the undergrowth off the path a ways. We stepped off the path to investigate, and I could see brown fur through the brambles. I could see it was a huge bear through the thicket and it was scary enough for me to slowly back away.

The next thing I knew, I was  standing in my apartment. For those who haven’t seen it, my apartment was one long rectangle, with a narrow hallway from the front door that fed into the main living space. I heard a scratching at the door, which was unlatched. I could see huge claws, each the size of fingers, curling around the door and pushing it open. I backed away and before I knew it, there was this enormous bear sitting at the end of the hallway, right on the cusp of my living space. This bear was beyond enormous. It was totoro sized. Bigger. It filled the whole spaceat the end of the hallway, before our apartment opens up into the living room.

I was paralyzed. Not afraid, exactly, just overwhelmed by the enormity. Uneasy that there was an enormous bear, sure, but also baffled thinking about how on earth I would be able to get it out–there’s no way it would fit through the door.

I stared at the bear for a while, taking it all in. The whole time, the bear seemed half asleep, not paying attention. I walked up to it, and held out a hand. It was the scariest moment of my life, thinking about touching the bear. In the end I didn’t, but I remember staring at those long claws, wondering what would happen. Would the bear react? Would it be angry? Would it let me?

I woke up and it was still the middle of the night. Everything was so quiet. The whole apartment seemed to be holding its breath. I felt calm and serene and it was one of the few moments in my pregnancy (and since) that I felt a faith in what was happening, a belief that what would be, would be. And it would be fine.

(To end on a silly note, my BIL is absolutely in love with bears and dream me remembered this. So, yeah, the dream ended with me pulling out my phone and slowly raising it to take a photo of the bear to send to him.)

 

*re: cripplingly terrible, unrelenting, recurring nightmares

Check out my stash

*You can see my first post about cloth diapering here

I broke it down by newborn stash, OS covers (which theoretically last from about 7lb till potty training age, and are the closest thing you get to the “rubber pants” of days yore), pocket diapers, which have a rubber outer layer and a fleece inner layer, and an open space in between that you stuff with absorbents, aio & 2io diapers (all in one, which have the absorbency sewn directly into the diaper & two in ones, which have custom snap in inserts), absorbents (I add these to diapers to increase how much it can hold, so to speak), then cloth wipes (which deserve their own post, certainly, but which we use 98% of the time) and lastly fasteners (which keep the flats together before adding a cover).

senza-titolo-2

I linked to as many things as I could, but just to be clear they’re not affiliate links or anything like that. I just wanted to make the finding process more convenient.

Newborn Stash
4 Rumparooz velcro covers
1 Thirsties velcro AiO

One Size Covers
2 Kawaii snaps
2 econobum snaps
1 Rumparooz snaps
Flip snaps
3 Nicki’s Diapers snaps
2 Nicki’s Diapers hook&loop
2 Wool (Kelly’s Closet & thrifted)

OS Pockets
1 BumGenius snaps
2 ClothDiapers4Less snaps
1 ClothDiapers4Less charcoal snaps
1 ak;ldsfakdf snaps (free gift with purchase from Kelly’s Closet)
aio & 2io
4 lilHelpers snaps
1 BumGenius AiO snaps
2 Nicki’s Diaper AiO bamboo snaps
2 Nicki’s Diaper AiO, bamboohook&loop
2 ClothDiapers4Less snaps

Absorbents
16 receiving blankets I use these as “flats”, with a kite fold on these to wrap around, kind of like in the gif up above
8 flour sack towels (from Target)  previously I used these flats, but now I use them folded into diaper-length rectangles and use them as absorbency-boosting inserts
12 Nicki’s prefolds I use these folded into thirds and added to a flat as an insert, and wrapped around another insert for nighttime diapers
3
 Nicki’s Diapers bamboo inserts I use these to boost the nighttime diapers
6 ClothDiaper4Less hemp inserts I use these in the pocket diapers
4 BumGenius Microfiber inserts with microfleece sewn on one side so they can be placed directly against baby’s skin
45 microfleece liners you place these directly on baby’s skin and it helps wick moisture away and does a great job guarding against diaper rash as well as containing solids
**2 Charcoal/Bambo double inserts snap specifically into lilHelpers
**2 Hemp double inserts snap specifically into lilHelpers
**3 Grovia snap-in inserts 1 per use
6 BumGenius Microfiber inserts these have since been retired to dusting supplies as I’ve slowly increased my stash of nicer quality inserts & prefolds
20 Gerber prefold flats these have since been retired to cleaning supplies as I’ve slowly increased my stash of nicer quality inserts & prefolds

Wipes
30 pink flannel serge edged
12 Gerber terry cloth baby washcloths
2 lilHelper

Fasteners
6snappis these break so damn fast, but they’re still the most useful option out there. I want to try the boing ones next time I need more.
6ish babysafe pins I’ve only used these once, out of curiosity. I stick with snappis, but a lot of the time, if I fold my flat right, the edges are long enough to tie in a loose knot.

*(I don’t use these anymore. Ziggy sized out around the 6 or 7 week mark)
**are specific to the lilHelper covers because they snap into place. They’re a great example of a 2iO and why a 2iO is different from a cover+flat diaper.

Am I about to start mommyblogging?

No.

Hopefully not.

Although I totally get it. I mean, I had a baby. We now have a Ziggy*

my arms are so full
What is a Ziggy? This is a Ziggy. This was also the first moment when I realized my arms empty felt more foreign than my arms full of baby.

I’m a mommy now. I’m a mama. Mah-mah. Can you say mmAh-mmAh?  I stay home with my baby, and I’m only halfway through my maternity leave. I take notes on this baby like a scientist, a little anthropologist documenting every movement and behavior. I might have used the wrong -ologist there, but you know what I mean. I literally have lists where I just documented the daily schedule, and how it changed over the course of two weeks. I also had (have?) really bad PPD/OCD/anxiety on top of my already existent bipolar, which may have influenced how obsessive I’ve been in documenting this new person.

I love my baby, and I don’t want to share my baby with the internet** but I’m totally down to talk about mommy stuff. Like all the goddamn time. It’s terrible, really. It’s gotten to the point where we had guests, Ziggy’s godmother and her beau, and when I didn’t mention anything about boobs or milk for an hour that was a fucking record.

I really get mommy blogging. I didn’t, not until last night, when Ziggy fell asleep in the swing and I didn’t feel like going back to bed. So I looked over the notes I’ve written myself about cloth diapering and turned a chunk of them into a blog post. That was yesterday. There’s a part of this process that is so isolating that it’s hard not to feel lonely. They’re two different feelings, but they overlap a bit. The internet does a good job keeping the former from becoming the latter, but it’s not a perfect system.

I have a lot of thoughts about parenting and motherhood (two distinct, yet constantly overlapping roles) and I might start sharing them. I had a friend poke me about it over the weekend when she visited.

IMG_20151129_081122

*Not a real name, but a real nickname

**Texting photos to my family gave me panic attacks, and I burst into tears when I made the first Facebook baby album. Seriously, post partum crap is no joke.

I didn’t realize cloth diapering would be as easy as it is so far

The first post for my series on cloth diapering. I promise the poop talk will be kept to an absolute minimum but hello new mom stereotypes. Next will be Looking at My Stash and I also have posts on Diapering Out & About Town, Traveling Out of State, Ins and Outs of Fluff Butt Fashion, as well as Washing & Support Groups. 

fluff on the line 1

I think that title might sound a bit too cocky, or presumptuous, but mostly it’s because I was really overwhelmed when I thought about starting this process, and I was really depressed by how overwhelmed it felt*. Using cloth diapers was one of the things I was most excited about when we decided it was go-for-baby time. I was excited and also I was determined. Thinking about budgeting disposables for four-ish years is absolutely terrifying, and I won’t lie–the thought of four-ish years worth of disposable diapers from my baby sitting in a landfill doesn’t sit very easily on my  conscience. No judging to those who do it differently, I promise, it’s just one choice of many that you make for yourself and your baby, and that’s how I’ve made mine. Moving on.

I have a tendency to be all “Go big or go home’ which I’ve learned does not mean I go big, but rather, I opt for the “stay home” part more often than not. I didn’t want to approach cloth diapering with the idea that if she wasn’t in them 100% of the time, it was a failure, but rather, every diaper changed that I didn’t use a disposable was a diaper change in the right direction.

Once I jumped in, I was surprised at how easy it all came together, and that while there are parts of cloth diapering that are extra steps than just using disposables, what extra work there was never seemed like more trouble than the effort. Here’s a bit of how it worked for me, in case you’re thinking of going the same route. I have a lot of friends who eyeballing meas one of the first two jump into parenting and have questions about how I’m diapering, so putting this together seemed like a good idea.

I was pretty much instantly overwhelmed when I started researching. I wanted something just super basic and simple, and the world of cloth diapers now is very different from what my mom went through when I was a baby. In a lot of ways it’s better, more efficient, and easier. It’s also a lot cuter than the rubber pants days of yore. But, as my dad said cynically when I was telling him a bout the diapers, it’s also a whole new market of people selling you stuff you just really don’t need. No joke, I saw a woman proudly post her stash of ninety two diapers. Ninety two! Maybe when my baby is a toddler and I’m a lot more strapped for time, that number might seem a lot more reasonable but right now, holy crap it seems like the beginning of a hoarders episode. Particularly since most of the comments were all “oh that print has been retired!” and in general approaching cloth diapering with the same gotta-catch-them-all hoarding mentality we saw decades ago with beanie babies.

But for now, I want simple. I want easy. My cloth diapering attitude is “every change that uses a cloth diaper is a saved disposable”. It’s nice. my mom showed me how to fold a flat**. After two days, I estimate, folding the diapers became second nature. I’ve since learned the “jelly roll” which is perfect for including an addition folded flat or microfiber insert for extra absorbency.

*Also I have really bad PPD so pretty much everything depresses me lol

**Fold it into thirds, and lay her on top so her crotch is in the middle, fold up the front half and untuck the edges of both the bottom and the top to create tabs. Pull the back tabs over the front tabs, tug and adjust as necessary, and then use a snappi to keep it together. Cover with a cover, making sure no part of the cotton flat is peeking out from underneath the cover and boom, good to go. There a lot of great youtube tutorials.

Science fiction is just the best thought exercise

When I first read The Unincorporated Man years ago, what really stood out was that I didn’t like it. I couldn’t articulate why very well, just a vague certainty that if I wrote a review, it would be a negative one. There are a lot of very strong ideas in the book and I think I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I agreed with the side the author was writing from, but without actually understanding what side the author was writing from.

And yet, for the next few years, I consistently reference it or talk about it at lease once every couple of months, and not even as rants or criticisms but because I was really impressed with the way the author teased out a few ideas about how our current culture is going to evolve. The book stuck in my brain like a splinter and last Christmas I thought of a couple of people who would really enjoy reading it. When I got it for them, I also picked myself up a copy (I borrowed it from the library first time I read it) and I found two (used!) books that apparently followed up on it. I didn’t realize it was a series, but given the nature of my complaint, I was excited to see what else the authors had done with the story line.

Rereading this book cemented a growing suspicion I had that I did, in fact, really like it. The first time through the book, I spent a lot of time trying to piece apart the flaws in the system the author created, or poke at the consequences to the system he theorized, but to do so really misses the book’s point. Science fiction is humanity’s best took to look at not just society, but to look at the essence behind humanity. It’s a way to hear it components of human behaviour that might not always be readily apparent. The Kollins use the idea of corporations and an incorporated structure because it’s a really great way to play out what I think is their basic philosophy regarding people. Ease of convenience leads to gluttony which brings a call for abstinence which grows into moderation. This theme gets played out through various elements, the primary one being the incorporated system.

My favourite part of the first book, though, and the reason I originally didn’t like it, were two little tidbits that I almost wondered initially if they meant to cut out before the final draft. They have a bit that deals with virtual reality, and they include some interesting ideas about their neuro (the future internet) and avatars. Those bits were hands down my favourite part of the book, but almost inconsequentially small. I’m trying to do this without any spoilers, but the next two books in the series confirmed that they weren’t throw-away accidental additions, but foundations for bigger elements in the later books. The more I read the series, the more fascinated I am with the whole system of ideas they play with.

tl;dr really fucking good book, which grew into a thought provoking series. Did not disappoint at all.

It’s the flowers that make the woman

I thought I could get around this whole not talking about pregnancy but then I devoted three paragraphs to whining about finding maternity clothes, and how every place surrounds them with outer circles of toddler and baby clothes which just makes my future budget start crying and sucks all the fun out of clothing shopping. Don’t worry, guys, I edited those paragraphs which can be summed up with look! Floral leggings! Or, more accurately, look! An outfit full of components I would have worn regardless of the state of my uterus!

floral leggings full
sweater: Target | dress: Goodwill | leggings: some maternity store? | shoes:

horiztop half sitting

Halfway to the Great Unknown

20week bump collage
Pregnant me has a dopplegangin’ fire hydrant

I haven’t really written anything here because I don’t feel like writing about my pregnancy. I’m sure if I did, it would turn into a ten page saga about the State of My Bladder, because if one thing makes you pay attention to your peeing habits, it’s having a human being grow and develop right on top of that whole system. And I’m feeling pretty confident that no one wants to hear about my peeing habits, so you know, I’ll skip that.

There are other things to write about, sure, but I find myself not really wanting to. I mean, I kind of do. We had the anatomy ultrasound the other day and saw the baby holding its foot in one hand while sucking the thumb of the other hand, and it was pretty cool. All I could think about was how thumb sucking and foot finding are these adorable little photo-worthy milestones once it’s on the outside, which means the baby will lose the knowledge it has now and regain it later. I wonder if they will have some moment of dejavu when they first find their foot, struck by an inexpressible familiar feeling.

But in the end, I don’t want to be a mommy blogger. I don’t want to write about my baby for a lot of reasons. I think most people who chose to write about their kids on the internet are doing it in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable, and I don’t want to somehow make the same mistakes as they are. Not that they all are. I just don’t trust myself to stay on the right side of the line, I guess.

I don’t like the idea of not blogging at all, though. It can be an ego thing, sure, but there’s something very comforting and satisfying about knowing I have some open window to the entire public world, at least those connected to the internet. I like having a soapbox, even if I don’t have something to say. I like knowing where I’d say all of the things I don’t have words for yet.

There’s no denying my whole world revolves baby growing, though. In a lot of ways, I love it. For years I wanted to go to grad school after getting my four year degree. Not just in the sense that when your professor or grandma asked you if you were thinking about grad school you said yes because there’s this weird unspoken pressure against saying anything else when you’re a month away from your diploma, but in the sense that I spent months studying for the GRE and actually took it, and started the search. The search fizzled when I realized that I liked studying and school more than I liked the thing I wanted to study and go to school for. I loved the structure, and I love the process of learning, and I love that this baby unlocks this whole new world of things to learn about and research. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you’re some terrible parent if you don’t read everything you can, but it’s something that makes me feel more comfortable about what’s going on.

It’s more than just looking at parenting techniques and baby development, though. Knowing I’m going to be raising a human being* has been the this great challenge into looking at my values and opinions, at the society I live in, and what I want to impart on them. I know that for the first few years, I’ll mostly just be imparting “sleep is awesome” and “electrical sockets are not for exploring”** but still, it can’t hurt to think big. All in all, this process gets a 9/10 rating from me. I have to deduct one point for the State of My Bladder, though, but it’s a point I willingly concede.

*David is implicitly included in this entire process, and is an amazing sounding board for this whole human-raising business. I couldn’t have found a better partner with whom to jump into this.

**I’m assuming on this one, because apparently I was obsessed with them when I was small and who knows if that’s genetic.

Been excited to wear this shirt with a belly

POW FrontHoriz

Holy overexposure, batman! The downside to the sunny days we’ve been having, and to using my phone’s camera for everything because I’m lazy. I’ll have to get that fancy camera dusted off before the baby comes, huh? Anyway I know the sweater won’t adapt well as I get bigger, what with the placement of the POW, but I’m glad I caught it at a good spot. I picked this sweater up from Goodwill sometime before Halloween and one of my first thoughts as being excited to wear it while pregnant. I caved over the weekend and went to Target to pick up maternity leggings and a maternity shirt, just something simple with the ruched sides. Ooooh my god so comfortable! I love having absolutely nothing touch my stomach, no waistbands or elastics. On the list of things I’m disgustingly grateful for, being able to wear this outfit–even with the leggings–to work is so high on the list it isn’t even funny. POW SideVertcollagePOW CheesyWDog

A Bun in This Oven

3month collage bw

So I kind of assume that the like five readers I have on this blog are here from Facebook or Instagram, so I’m assuming my baby news isn’t actually news anymore. But um if I’m wrong, then hey guess what I’m pregnant! Fourteen weeks as of yesterday!  Woohoo!

I’ve always wanted to be pregnant, and I’ve always wanted to be a mom. In my mind those are two distinct (although related) experiences, and I’ve been excited for both of them. I’ve known too many women who have battled with infertility and loss in real life and read too many stories on the internet to ever feel like either of those two things are guaranteed experiences, and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that. I’m incredibly grateful for what my body has accomplished so far, and I don’t take any moment in this for granted. Becoming a mom is a goal I feel like I’ve been working towards constantly, and to be at a point where it’s actually in the process of happening feels surreal and exciting, like having the present you’ve always wanted wrapped and sitting on the counter, and you just have to stare at it and wait six more months before you open it up.

The past few years have been largely focused on my mental health, in no small part because problems from my broken and untreated brain were increasingly complicated daily life. Last year seemed to be the crisis point, and also the turning point. Being treated not just for my bipolar for my previously unacknowledged anxiety condition felt like the magical key in understanding my patterns. For the first time in a long time, I feel capable of managing my brain. This is in large part to proper medication, for sure, but also thanks to mindfulness practices, meditation habits, and a work path that is much more complementary to where I am in my life. The shift towards balance in my life has been so sudden and dramatic, and I’m so grateful for all the pieces that have led to it. And it would be wrong not to mention that one of those key pieces has been David, whose unlimited patience, endless compassion and unwavering love has held me up every step of the way.

With all of that on the public table, I feel incredibly self conscious admitting that pregnancy, this shortly after such a tumultuous year, was a choice. I find myself bracing for criticism and even asked David (more than once) if maybe we could just lie to the world and say this was an oops baby. He is my other half for a reason, though, and while he said sure we can, he also reminds me that I am in a great place now. We both are, and that the work I (we–definitely we) went through had, throughout it all, a very transparent secondary aim of being stable for pregnancy. This baby’s proximity to such a year of struggle is not a coincidence or accidental. Without wanting to trivialize the challenges of pregnancy and parenting, this baby absolutely feels like a reward for moving through those challenges so diligently. I was working on myself rot eh benefit of myself, yes, but also for this baby. I don’t think that reasoning works for everyone, and I think if you find yourself on the fence maybe stay up there for a bit longer, but this decision feels very true to my experiences. I continue to work on myself, and I definitely don’t see myself as cured or fixed–not at all. I just have the right tools and processes that I need, and now I’m practicing putting them into action.

I also want to note that pregnancy impacts mental health in very unpredictable ways, and that just because I’ve found a large tempering and calm in this experience, that’s not a given or guarantee. We went into this process braced for an uptick in mood swings, and we’re still bracing for it.

This feels like such an out-of-the-blue post, but I knew if I was going to talk about pregnancy in a public space, then I wanted to be open about the specific details of my process. Mental illness is still something that seems so shushed, and I’ve been grateful for the women I know who are bipolar and mothers and willing to talk about their experiences. I might not be the most outspoken person when it comes to campaigning for mental illness awareness, but I don’t want to perpetuate the culture of silence and shame.

I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to being a parent on the internet, and the importance of giving a child their privacy. And I’ve got a whole rambling monologue on navigating the sex and developing gender of my baby. As I get my energy and at least some of my  brain back from the first trimester, I’m hoping that the notes I have written down in my journal will find their way to a more structure, publishable form.

Star Trek Animated Series & Next Generation FanFic Crossover Idea

GIant Spock using Vulcan Mind Meld with Spock
source

Look, this is probably about as nerdy as I’ll ever get. I won’t lie, it’s pretty fucking nerdy so hang tight and if you’re not into Star Trek, you really won’t care about this post probably. It’s okay. I don’t blame you–I blame David, since he’s the one who did this to me. *

But so David and I were watching The Infinite Vulcan on Netflix. First season, episode seven of the animated series. Go check it out, I’ll wait. Or here’s a link to a summary of the episode. Because after this point, **Here Be Spoilers**.

 

I’m only including this because it’s hilarious, not so much because it’s relevant

For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is the best episode of The Animated Series. It was pretty campy, and I thought it was hilarious to have Philosophy Save the Day as a solution. So, like, don’t worry–I didn’t really take the episode that seriously. But afterwards, we were talking about Giant Spock, and I wanted to know what happened to him. According to some various nerd wikis, it looks like he’s not in the Star Trek canon and I think that’s an absolute shame. Most of my disappointment stems from wanting to read a Star Trek novel about him, and now I don’t get to (David and his mom read them, they trade off paper bags full of them, it’s so cute). I thought about it a bit, and here’s the novel that should exist** along with my argument that the Giant Spock clone created to be an army of peacekeepers, but instead saves the day (and original Spock) with  a cool, perfect blend of human/Vulcan philosophy, should be included into Star Trek Canon. I even think it works that you never hear from him in any of the other histories of the Trek Universe, because I think Giant Spock would have a solid understanding of the dangers of the cloning technology, and the philosophical dangers posed by allowing humans the opportunity to die to become larger, stronger, ‘better’ versions of themselves. As such, he would live in a self-imposed exile and only Kirk, McCoy and original Spock would know of his existence. Out of courtesy to Kirk & Spock’s friendship, and to avoid any complicated tangles, I think Giant Spock would limit his communications primarily to Original Spock. His life would be mostly like a retirement, working with a reformed Dr Stavos Keniclius 5 to help the Phylosians rebuild their society.

The novel should take place in the future, during TNG time frame, and it would take place as Keniclius was dying (of old age? Probably? Maybe cloning complications if you’re feeling ambitious?). I think it would center around a political schism in the Phylosian society as they are not fully recovered as a society but solidly on their way. The two sides would be whether to pursue the aggressive, forceful peacekeeping agenda of their ancestors or to evolve their philosophy and find a new way to spread their mission of peace across the galaxy. Giant Spock would side with the later and work with the dying Keniclius to adapt the cloning technology to help make the peaceful faction’s dreams a reality. He would also work with Picard, who would represent the Phylosians to the Federation and make a case allowing for the peaceful integration of their species throughout the planets in the Federation. Picard would be discrete about GIant Spock’s existence, keeping it under wraps. I’m thinking it goes something like this…

They adapt the physiological structure of the Phylosians to allow them to “plant” themselves at the end of their life, growing into huge trees instead of dying. In some sci-fi approved way, they also absorb their anti-weapon technology into their physical structure as well, leading to these huge, hundreds-feet tall trees that disable weapons in their proximity. The Phylosians travel to different planets within the Federation as ambassadors, and by planting themselves become connected to that planet’s experience. It’s kind of a cheesy “lead by example” theory, but it seems pretty in line with the structure of the original episode.

I’ve also brainstormed the death of Giant Spock, and having that take place during the Voyager series. I think he would travel with a select group of Phylosians to space well beyond the Federation, planting the elders as they reach new planets. Giant Spock would logically conclude that one more clone version of himself, one that would combine his dna with phylosian dna and allow him to “plant” himself, would be an appropriate way to end his life. I think he would run into Captain Janeway and the Voyager crew already in his tree form, and that his tree’s planet would serve as a sanctuary/nursery for adolescent life of nearby alien species. Voyager’s successful return (I still haven’t actually finished that series, so um I’m assuming here. No one disabuse me of this notion, please. I like happy endings) would be the first time that GIant Spock’s existence was made known to Federation in any sort of public sense, which neatly allows it to get tucked into official Star Trek canon.

*And by that, I mean, I’m unbelievable grateful he got me into Star Trek. I love sharing it with him, and my Grandma was super into Star Trek when she was alive so it makes me feel really connected to her as well. She was a pretty kick ass lady.

**Also if I’m wrong, and a novel on Giant Spock does exist, that’s so badass and please oh god tell me about it!

I’m grateful for friends who help hold me to my convictions

Yesterday I was angry and frustrated. Yesterday I had no picture of what action I should take based on what I felt was morally and socially right. Today I’m going to a protest in Westlake, downtown Seattle and in a couple weeks I’m hoping to go to a documentary veiwing/discussion on how to be a strong anti-racist white organiser (I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get off work yet). I’m grateful that I have a Facebook full of friends who post events for me to attend and link articles for me to read and further my growth. There’s a lot of growing and a lot of learning to do still but I’m glad to have friends who help guide me.
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Staying silent is not the answer

Don’t get involved with the causes in mind
White privilege, white guilt, at the same damn time
So we just party like it’s nineteen ninty nine
Celebrate the ignorance while these kids keep dying

This morning I got on the bus, hit play on my phone’s music app and pulled out the book I’m reading, ready to settle into my hour-ish commute. The song Google picked for me was Macklemore’s A Wake and touche, Google. Way to keep me honest.

I keep brainstorming this post, I keep testing the waters with the links I share on Facebook and I keep waiting for my thoughts to be perfectly structured to share them.

I’m not a perfectly structured person, though, and I’m rarely at that shiny polished, finished state I feel like I’m constantly reaching for. So I’m writing this on my phone, swipe-keyboard style, with about eight bus stops to go before my layover for my connecting bus. Hopefully I’ll spend that time fixing the inevitable typos. And hopefully this is enough of a disclaimer, if something I say comes across as offensive or wrong. Call me out on it, tell me why I’m wrong, and tell me where else I should be looking for information. I don’t want to be someone who stays silent, even (especially) if I spend that silence thinking about what I wish I was saying.

We live in a political and social environment that does not demand accountability from those of the ruling class, a body of people that expands beyond the 1%. I’m talking about white people. We live in a system that was created by white people to support white interests*, and we built that system at the expense of black people, and of American Indians. In fact mostly, we made them build it for us.

The progressive among us, the liberal minded and gentle hearted are looking for ways to move forward with greater equality and respect but that will always fail until we as a country acknowledge more than one of the three main cultural community’s that comprise the United States of America.**

I don’t know how to make this happen. I have lots of thoughts, sure, but so far all I can see for personal action is to get out of the way of others. I want not so much to speak, but to offer a platform to voices from the other two communities to speak out.

In the past couple of months these have been on my reading list, and I strongly encourage every book on it. Make it your reading list, and make it your priority to offer a platform to black Americans and American Indians and the diverse population of the poor. Please. Oh and tell me what else should be on this list because I know it isn’t a compete one. Trust me do I know.

Americanah
Yo Mama’s Dysfunktional
Black Indians
All About Love
Black Girl Dangerous
Mocha Mama

*There should be a further discussion of class and poor white people and the history of creating racial divides to prevent the poor class uniting in their struggle but again, unpolished writing on my phone on a bus.
** Yes there were more than three, but I’m sticking with the main, original groups for this list mainly because there are three large community’s with no personal or genuine connections or identities or heritage to any other land than this one.

Too busy writing to blog, kbai

Well not really bye, I’m not leaving. Its just that every time I sit down to write a blog post, I end up just writing and writing until the post itself gets buried under this rambling monologue. I start to trim it all down because I know a true writer is actually an editor, but then it’s like the idea I started with fractures, splintering off into new ideas that want played out. Continue reading

What do I do with my hands?!

whatdoidowithmyhands

That was the first thing David and I were stumped by with these rings. The first day we wore them we sent texts to each other joking about it. Suddenly there was this huge flashing neon sign on our left hands that only we could see and it feels weird. It felt like whatever I did, I somehow managed to flash my ring to the world. I mean, it’s not that it’s a bad thing, but we were definitely wondering when that novelty feeling would wear off and a sense of comfortable normality sets in. So far not yet, but the number of “Ring-5” hi-fives has significantly decreased over the  past couple of days. Continue reading

I love getting dressed for this job

fullshot collage handsup
David was giving me some great camera directions for these photos “Look fabulous” he says, “Look like a grumpy hipstser”

I never feel like I had a handle on my wardrobe or my style. I know that’s probably a little weird to say since I’ve always had a fairly distinct flair for clothes and even a freakin’ fashion blog and even know I post outfits fairly regularly, but it’s true. Clothes are stressful and complicated. They always feel like this complicated match equation with lots of little interconnceted components that never seem to add up properly. This job, though, it’s somehow the easiest thing to dress for. I’m busting out all the bright colors and I even didn’t hate buying pants! Guys these are purple corderoy pants, and it feels like I’m wearing pajamas to work, it’s so sneaky. These photos are old, as you can tell by the lack of a ring and pink hair, but man that outfit… One of my favorites, fo’sho.tophalf

David is not my husband and I am not his wife

We are partners. We’ve been partners ever since we reunited after a year long breakup. When we got back together, we made a commitment to each other. We knew we weren’t just hooking up again but that we wanted to spend our lives with each other. We didn’t know exactly what that looked like, but we knew we wanted to figure it out together.

Fast forward three years and we’re starting to have a solid grasp on what our commitment to each other looks like. It looks like being kind with each other, it looks like video game dates, and it looks like lazy coffee dates. It looks like entire conversations of inside jokes and it means loving each other’s families as much as our own. It looks like being our own family unit, just David Corinna and Lyra.riiings Continue reading

One of my first, and best, art journals

 

book23book13collage cloud

book1collage abstract

I loved this journal. The size was perfect and non-intimidating, the paper was sturdy enough for me to watercolor without warping, and it didn’t bleed through when I used permanent markers. I found it at a cute little bookstore in Ballard  but I haven’t seen it there since. Such is life. I still have some pages left in it, but it feels almost done. I would say finished except I think the best rule for art journals is that you’re never allowed to call something finished. As I flipped through it while scanning it for this project, I even thought of going back through and adding little touches and details here and there. I may not get around to it, but it feels good to know I have something to work on, should I ever find myself without a project (yeah right).

This was the right book for me to experiment with styles. I kept most of it abstract and didn’t worry about erasing pencil lines. I tried to fill each page until it had a completed look, even if a bit unfinished. Mostly I kept it fun, with some art prompts I did with my mom and there’s a page with a flower in the top left that a little girl I babysat drew. She asked me to help so I added circles and dashes to all of her lines, filling in whenever she told me I wasn’t drawing on it enough. There’s also an equation I wrote out for some philosophy idea David and I were poring over, because that’s the shit that makes it into my journals. Inside references and experiments.aj goodbook

I recommend you read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina

I have a long and mildly complicated relationship with this book, and you could even make an argument (although it might be a weak one) that my history with Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is a metaphor for my evolving relationship with books in general. I think that once you’re able to go beyond just reading a book and into a relationship with it, a conversation with the story you’re reading, it is something special. It’s the mark of a really good book.

I first read Anna Karenina in middle school. My dad told me it was way too advanced and I wouldn’t understand it, which was the perfect way to make me really dig my heels in. I was determined. It was the thickest book I could find in the store and her name looked a lot like my name. I pronounce it the way I pronounce my name, too. Karr-eh-nee-nuh.  All I remember from that first read through was the classic opener, All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. My parents’ divorce was maybe two or three years old by this point, and probably a factor in why I just disagreed with it. It all seemed easily boiled down to basic dissatisfaction. There is nothing more complex in unhappiness than happiness, it just feels like there should be to justify it.

Anyway, I digress. I revisited this book later, in college, for one of the best and most intensive classes I’ve taken. We read the whole book in less than two weeks, which is something I never before would have thought I was capable of. I remember the professor was such a pretentious snob, but it worked out so perfectly for his subject matter. It was almost like he was an intentional caricature of a stuffy Classic 16-19th Century Literature Professor. He was great, though. The depth in which he dove was great, a total eye opener. I feel like this is the book that taught me how to read deeply, how to fully engage with literature. This book taught me how to see the skeleton frame in a novel, and use that as a guide while you read. Think about what you expect to see next, and then look for it. Figure out why it isn’t there, if something else happens. Let the story guide you as you look at the details like phrasing and themes and repeating motifs. Anna Karenina is a perfect book for practicing this, since it’s just a simple story arch. A woman tries to leave an unhappy marriage for something else, something more exciting, and is rewarded by life in the usual tragic way.

Ignore the reputation behind this book, behind Tolstoy, and don’t feel intimidated. It’s a fun read, I promise. And not to sound too pretentious, but read a good translation. Richard Pevear & Larissa Volohonsky’s new translations of Russian lit are getting really popular and with good reason. They do a good job keeping the original tones of the authors, which was a lot less dry than previously translated I think. The Norton Critical Edition version is good as well, not too bland at all and it has some good essays if you’re feeling particularly nerdy.

Oh and if you want bonus points after finishing the book, get The Elephant Vanishes, a book of short stories by Haruki Murakami and read the one about the woman with insomnia who reads Anna Karenina. It’s a perfect chaser.

PS I’ve never seen the Kiera Knightly movie and I don’t know if I’m going to but if you have you should tell me what you thought.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Ivan Kramskoy, source

A little fashion for your Friday

tourist 2

Look we went to visit the Fremont Troll! Isn’t he scary! Okay so actually this is in the parking lot of our grocery store, if you can believe it. Each pillar was themed after a Seattle landmark, it was so cool. Anyway.

This is less of an outfit post so much as showing off my new hipster black frames. Guys I love these glasses, they feel amazing. They’re heavier than I’d expect from looking at them, sturdy feeling, but it means they gradually slide down my nose, especially since my head is always bent reading a book title.They’re almost too much, but it’s okay. I don’t care when people laugh at my hipstearttire. They’re also transitional lenses, which have taken some time getting used to, but I like it. I don’t want to shell out for prescription sunglasses, not in this city, so it felt like a good compromise. nicecloseupsmile notebook