I take off for a sky-high view of the world’s mightiest mountain.
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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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I stand quietly while you do somersaults on the bed as you aren’t being naughty, you are just trying to get your out of sync body under control.
I stand quietly by the toilet door every time you need to go, and come with you around the house, and sometimes even just across the room, because I know you can feel truly frightened when you are not near me.
I stand quietly at the supermarket checkout while everyone stares at you barking like a dog and blowing raspberries on my arms to cope with the buzzing lights.
I stand quietly while you tell the baffled shop owner that you are looking for shoes that feel hard like splintered wood because your skin can’t bear soft things.
I stand quietly when the attendant gives us scornful looks when I ask for the key to the disabled toilet because the hand dryer…
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If I could choose to be a straight man, I would. At least, this is what I tell myself sometimes. As you can imagine, it doesn’t really help me sleep at night. If anything, it’s only made me more perturbed by the well of conflicting emotions swirling inside of me. I did not choose to be persecuted. I should not have to justify my existence to corrupt lawmakers who, notepads out, prescribe me with injections of Leviticus the way a licensed medical professional would treat a bout of flu with antibiotics. My « affliction » was declassified as a mental disorder by the World Health Organization in 1990. It’s unnerving, then, to still feel the knife in my gut when I read about yet another young teenager, or a college student, pushed to suicide. It’s disturbing still, to read about homosexuals thrown off buildings to their deaths by ISIS, to discuss public…
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Most days, dad sleeps a lot. But today, he’s wide awake. He’s on the phone, yelling at me. He’s so angry, but there’s sadness in his voice, too. “I don’t have any money, I don’t have a car. I don’t even have any shoes,” he tells me. “And I’ve got to go down and see mom and dad.”
Now, my dad is 92 and his parents have been gone for decades. He has money in bank accounts that he doesn’t remember how to access, and he has a car he’s no longer able to drive. These days, his shoes mostly stay in the closet. He wears his slippers when he has the energy to walk down to the dining room to eat with his friends Leo and John, or when he gets the urge to bust out of the skilled nursing wing where he lives. He heads…
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Measles is back. The outbreak of this highly contagious viral illness that started at Disneyland in December has spread across the country and shows no signs of slowing. As of February 6, the CDC reported 121 cases in 17 states in this year alone, most linked to Disneyland. In 2014, we had 644 cases of measles in the U.S. This is a striking increase compared to the last 15 years, when we usually saw less than 100 cases in an entire year.
I’m sorry that so many people have been sickened in this outbreak and hope that it is reined in soon. This is no easy task given our mobile society and the fact that we like to congregate in places like Disneyland, schools, doctors’ offices, hospitals, airplanes, and shopping malls. Add to that the pockets of unvaccinated people where measles can easily spread, and we have a recipe…
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Apparently we’re all supposed to celebrate the fact that an average-sized woman will appear in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
I’m told it’s some kind of triumph that, of the many women pointlessly objectified on the pages of a magazine that’s supposed to be about sports, one will be somewhat heavier than all the others. Sexism is so deeply woven into the fabric of sports in America that this, incredibly, is meant to represent progress.
Never mind that this year’s cover model, in addition to being exactly the size you’d expect her to be, is also waxed to within an inch of her life. Never mind that only average-sized model in the magazine appears not as part of an editorial layout but in an ad. Never mind that both women appear to have been liberally airbrushed, unless you believe neither of their bodies has a single stray hair, birthmark…
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The summer I turned sixteen, I learned
the burning that happens when contact
is made: flesh and mouths, a new kind of touch.
Kids really, trying to smash ourselves together,
atoms mingling, heeding the old call
looking for The Other who would hear—
The low buzzing we made, like bees, hear
not just our desires but everything we’d learned
about desire—that birth is a call
to the universe; from conception we have contact.
We only survive when we are together.
We learn from being touched what it is to touch.
Hands, eyes, lips, hearts, touch
and understand. Without speaking, we hear:
all that our ancestors have learned
to cultivate society, not just sex as contact
but contact that issues forth the greater call.
String stretched taut, tin can call:
We twin sisters sleep at night, while parents forget to touch.
The line is in place, but loss of contact,
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