clothing d.n.a.

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unexpected colors catch

in the brace of my wrist.

rainbow evidenced

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What and Why?

F. Scott Fitzgerald said (according to the Internet),

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”

What is blogging all about? I’m not answering that question but rather genuinely asking what I’m doing on WordPress and what I want to say. Why am I here? Why is anyone here? What are we doing? Why send words and photos into the ether? I know I have somethings (check out that cute plural!) to say, but I don’t know what and suspect that I’ve been forcing words because I want to say something. This blog has been my sketch pad for rambles. In an effort to become a better writer, I’ve tried to hold myself accountable to blogging semi-regularly but I don’t actually write my best stuff for blogs. I get self-conscious, which is why I try to keep this blog chill. Sometimes good ideas come from really relaxed, random writing.

Above nearly all else, I value sincerity. I regularly question the sincerity of bloggers. In this Internet age, how often do folks “follow” other folks because they are actually interested in their work? I dislike the “like” for a “like”/”follow” for a “follow” culture. It feels like buying votes. Is that how you become well known? Not for it. I’ve tried to avoid that behavior, but I worry I’ll succumb to it. And I’m afraid I’ll write for “like’s” rather than myself. I’M SO DARN SELF-CONSCIOUS. (These are typical INFP concerns, I think. A sensitive personality type.)

Perhaps I’ll take a hiatus from WordPress to just write offline—both in my journal and Word. Perhaps I’ll (re)disover a sense of purpose. Random ramblies aren’t bad, but I suspect I could focus more. Perhaps that offline focus will inform my online writing and interactions with other bloggers.

This is a strange age and a strange place. The telephone was invented in 1876, and when you think about it, that’s not so long ago! 139 years ago, people started talking to each remotely in real time. Things have changed rapidly since then, and seem to change faster each decade. I’ve grown up in a vastly different time/culture than my baby boomer parents. When I was 13, I had an email address and MySpace account. When my parents were 13, the first color television was released (1966). Kids watch TV shows and music videos on their phones. Kids grow up with screens. Screens for video games, computer games, social media, television, video chatting, blogging, etc. Sometimes they use those screens and buttons to connect with other people and sometimes they don’t. What does this technology do for us?

I’ve been upset at how much time I spend on my phone and computer so I’m trying to become more deliberate in my use of technology. The Internet offers a lot of valuable resources, such informative articles and the ability to videochat or message friends in different timezones. I want to make sure I capitalize on these resources in dedicated time without sacrificing time that could be spent screen-free outside, with loved ones, with a book, or pen.

Perhaps this blog post is pointless. But I guess I’m trying to say this blog and me are works in progress. At least one of us questions everything, which makes writing difficult. I think I’ll take a bit of a break from social media (WordPress, Facebook, etc) to roll in the dirt and breathe.

Maybe in the process, I’ll find out what I have to say. Maybe I’ll even finally update my 3 year-old (!) About page.

This Is Not My Brooklyn

This piece resonated. Even as a White person from a middle class background, I’ve been struggling in the past few years with the demolition of homes and businesses in my SE Portland Richmond neighborhood. Every time I return to Portland, I’m afraid to see what more will be rubble. Or worse, completely gone with no tribute to its existence. The grunge and the grime and the working class vibe of Division is being lost to the shiny, “earthy,” and delicious. And my brain is a colander straining to keep memories of my home as the world changes around me but losing. I get so angry at Black and Brown people being pushed out of the city in continuing gentrification, yet endless reports of Portland being so livable. I am weary. Sometimes I want to leave. But I don’t want to do to any other city what is being done to mine.

Vanessa Martir's Blog

I say, “I’m from Brooklyn” like there’s a grenade exploding from my mouth.

I walk different after saying it. My step is a little harder, my shoulders more square, nose held higher in the air. It’s a momentary self-assuredness that follows me for a spell.

I feel it rise into my jaw when I see her approach across the water as I’m crossing the Williamsburg Bridge; when the train doors close on First Avenue and the L snakes under the East River.

The thing is, the Brooklyn I’m from isn’t the Brooklyn of today. It’s not that funky Brooklyn that I keep in my back pocket in case somebody tries it. (You don’t wanna mess with a girl from 1980s Bushwick.)

My Brooklyn is the Brooklyn of the Domino sugar factory and rubble and crack. Nostalgia can be a confusing thing. It isn’t always for the neat and pristine. It’s…

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Why I’m Not “Good People”

Important, beautiful thoughts. Important truths.

Jenny's Library

I’m not a nice person.

I’m not a good person.

I’m not a kind person.

This isn’t to say that I don’t ever try to be any of these three things.  I do, especially the last two.

It’s more to say that, for me, surviving in this cissexist, racist, ableist, heteronormative, classist, often fucked up world of ours has involved rejecting the idea that “good” and “bad” are static states of being.  I will never be a “good person” because, to me, “good” is not something that you achieve.  It’s an ongoing process that never ends.

It is, in fact, almost impossible not to be doing bad things as well as good when you are human and therefore flawed.  Especially when you are part of a messed up system, as we all are.

This, to me, is why it’s important to call out bad behavior, or hurtful language, or even…

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we are not pretending

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We are not on stage in 10th grade theater slipping on scratched waxed floor.
We are not mock trial lawyers railing for meaning, crisped in our costumed suits,
clicking and sliding in heels and boat shoes across linoleum.
We are not the nicest Target dinnerware dressed up in fine food and presented as china.
We are not the first two calls for wolf, and we are not pretending, Honey, to be real.
This mosaic has no less meaning because it was once whole and unsplintered by considerations of identity. This mosaic is what it is because plates came undone and found themselves realigned, and held together by something greater than cement.
We are not pretending to be something, to mean something.
We are.

Gender, Performativity, and the Binary

I spend a lot of time thinking about gender and appreciate hearing other individuals’ perspectives on it, whether they identify as male, female, or something else entirely (or partially). I think gender is mostly a social construct, by which I mean it is something we create through our expectations, values, and actions, not something that exists as its own thing. I think it’s interesting how two humans can do or feel things in incredibly similar ways yet be labeled differently just because of differences in their appearance, including genitalia and apparel.

I haven’t self-identified as female in 17 months, but I’ve been outside of the gender binary most of my life. I’ve taken joy in upsetting others’ perceptions of who I am since I was a kid. Reveled in others’ confusion over my gender. Smiled or laughed almost every single time someone thought I was a boy or man because I knew they were wrong and it was nice to have someone not be so sure of themselves for once. Because every single time a person has been sure I am a girl they have been wrong. They just don’t question it. There’s nothing wrong with being a girl and I’m not saying that “girl” isn’t some part of my identity, but it’s not my full story.

Gender is a security blanket we as a society hold on to for support but it doesn’t keep me warm. The binary system of male and female doesn’t support me. Gender can sometimes be a tool of empowerment for individuals but gender norms/roles can also be very restricting.

It’s totally okay if you strongly identify as male or female and delight in those identities, but one way you can refrain from hurting others is by not assuming their “gender” or values/experiences/hobbies/etc they might have because of that perceived or given gender. I personally think it’s pretty cool to talk to someone just as a person. Not as a person who is _____ gender.