Coming to the end of Black History Month

We are at the end of Black History month here in the USA.  Last February I did a specific task and posted about the missions of the charities I supported each week, but given that the audience for my blog is so small, I wasn’t really helping anyone by mentioning them. So this year I kept quiet about what I was doing, and I tried to boost things like black voices about topics important to their communities, Black Panther, Ruby Bridges’ birthday, Black cowboys here in Houston, etc.  I also passed along a resource I am going to post here as well, because it’s comprehensive and such an amazing aggregation of educational text:

Black History Month Library on Google Drive

I’m leaving this here so not only can I come back to it again and again, but I can repost it every year, and remember to share it repeatedly.

Enough from me. More tomorrow, as March starts to track its muddy feet on the carpet.

Regarding the 2nd Amendment

It’s been a fucker of a week. Lots to say over here. But I’m going to start with the respawn of the gun control/gun sense debate in the wake of the horrific shooting in Parkdale, Florida.

I’ve been really annoyed by people who regurgitate old, already-debunked talking points like “What about Chicago” (not the gun murder capital of the US, people) and “It’s not about guns it’s about mental illness” (no, it’s really not) and then say the 2nd Amendment must be protected.

Thing is?

The 2nd Amendment is already not being followed because we don’t have any well-regulated militias. That’s what the damn amendment STARTS with. It’s supposed to be part of the whole dynamic.

Because of that, when talking to 2A proponents I’m gonna REALLY put the 2nd amendment in their faces. So – you want a gun? I propose you join a militia. I propose militias be legal entities registered with the Department of Defense, which would be put into play during disasters in their local areas, helping clean and protect people who have lost walls and locks and whatnot. Anyone can start a militia… and this means even a new Black Panther party. (The number of concealed carry license applications are up for Black women in Chicago, so I can totally see women starting their own militia.) Gun purchase would require proof of current well-regulated militia membership in good standing. Any gun carry requires valid and current militia membership card, and any citizen who sees a civilian carry is entitled to demand they show their card. Militias would be responsible financially for ANY collateral damage one of their members inflicts or suffers…. including paying for toddlers’ funerals. If someone goes off the rails, the militia is fined for not regulating their membership and no one can buy, use, or carry a gun for the next however long. Militias are not allowed to lobby, and no one is allowed to bring a gun to a political protest where emotions will run high.

Let’s tell the 2A proponents we’re making this as obvious as asking someone for their keys when they’re too drunk to drive – asking someone for the keys to their gun safe when they’re angry or frightened, and assure them they’ll have protection from the rest of the militia.

And since that’s all in alignment with the 2nd amendment? the NRA should be on board, right?

 

RIP Ursula K. Le Guin

I’m shaken. Tearing up. I thought she had more time.

Thank you, wonderful soul, for Arha/Tenar:

“A dark hand had let go its lifelong hold upon her heart. But she did not feel joy, as she had in the mountains. She put her head down in her arms and cried, and her cheeks were salt and wet. She cried for the waste of her years in bondage to a useless evil. She wept in pain, because she was free.”

Thank you, wonderful soul, for Therru/Tehanu:

“I think,” Tehanu said in her soft, strange voice, “that I when I die, I can breathe back the breath that made me live. I can give back to the world all that I didn’t do. All that I might have been and couldn’t be. All the choices I didn’t make. All the things I lost and spent and wasted. I can give them back to the world. To the lives that haven’t been lived yet. That will be my gift back to the world that gave me the life I did live, the love I lived, the breath I breathed.”

I will miss the books you never wrote.

Choosing A Word Of The Year For 2018

I never used to do a word of the year. It seemed kind of reductionist to me, like how can you fit a whole year’s worth of intentions into a single word? I would do other things instead, like spells* or tarot spreads* or wishes or resolutions … which to me all boil down to the same thing: announcing myself to myself for the Janus moment of the Julian New Year. It was a fun thing to do on New Year’s Day when the hangover brunches were done.

Flash forward to few years ago. I started a new therapist, and he’s all about words of the year. One for the year itself and one for the anniversary of our work together. I started to like it as a theme for the one most important thing I wanted to accomplish in my work with him. It was a metric to use, an assessment of where I wanted to be rather than an obligation.  Yet January of last year it was difficult for me to choose, because I couldn’t get quite the right connotations for what I wanted to achieve. In order to make it work,  I did an image that listed all the associated synonyms** that conveyed the meaning I wanted, and that kept me from agonizing anymore.

Of course, in December he asked me to choose a new word for 2018. Since I’d had such a tough time last year, I whined about it (like I do). Last thing I wanted was either a crappy word or the frustration I had had last year. But after a bit of conversation, I agreed I’d have one for January.

…And didn’t think about it again, because I was on the way to family events, and fuck that.

But it came to me on Dec 31st.
Just jumped into my head, then out in front of me, ready to roll. Kinda like Athena.

My word of the year is howl.

At first I scoffed. Seemed silly, and too on-the-nose for me. But as I thought about it, and subtracted the connotations of pain or distress? It really clicked. Wolves howl to communicate over great distances and, in particular, to keep connected with their close packmates***. They also howl to establish territory, and as I thought about it, I realized my stories are my territory and it’s time I treated them as such, rather than as a sidebar.

This silly, on-the-nose word ended up being hella appropriate.

So there it is. Happy Howl Year!

 

* I do spells and tarot spreads to trick my brain. Rituals are pretty powerful ways to embed things in one’s psyche, and the symbolism in many tarot cards are a fun way to allow my brain to find connections I might not, otherwise.

** For the record, I chose fierce, as in strong, protective, and unapologetic. Not as in looking incredible. ;)

*** Per this study

rainstorm

Photo taken through a window is blurred by raindrops. A tree, some bushes and some power poles can be made out, but everything else is a blur.

Outside our window, there’s a torrential rainstorm. Inside, we are rewatching Moana. There’s a lot to do, but there are points of progress.