Oversharing on Facebook 

A friend recently told me that I overshare on fb. While I don’t think it’s healthy to pretend we live perfect lives, I suppose I do go past balance into Oversharing. That’s just a personal decision I’ve made, to let my freak flag fly, just in case someone is dealing with something that they don’t think anyone they know would understand. I have sacrificed some privacy, but so many people have DM ed me in desperation, confusion, shame, suicidal, etc., that I know I’ve made the right choice (for me. I’m also a social worker so I don’t expect everyone to make that decision and self-care is most important when thinking of taking on other people’s difficulties). I have had people who are suicidal, who I don’t even know (a friend of a friend) reach out, and we still text to this day. And though I can’t solve anyone else’s problems, I know from experience, just feeling comfortable telling 1 person is a great start. I’ve had MANY suicidal people reach out for help. And that’s only because I overshared some of my more difficult personal experiences.

So y’all are right, I do overshare, but with purpose. And I don’t mind if normal people think I’m crazy–as long as crazy people think I’m normal😉

Just read this post, it’s for EVERYONE. lol

I’ve heard that younger people tend to be more idealistic and cynical than older people. I have no idea what the numbers are, but my personal experience has been that when I was younger I couldn’t imagine that things were ever going to change–cause I had never known anything different. I was very impatient and confused why people were casually walking about like the world wasn’t on fire?
Well, the world is still on fire, unfortunately, but so many more people are aware of it than 20 years ago, when I started doing activism stuff, it’s unbelievable sometimes. If you would have asked a waiter which options are vegan, they would have asked you “what’s vegan?”. If you would have asked someone which pronouns you should use, they would have thought you were illiterate. If you would have told a date that you are an intersectional feminist, they would have thought you only believe in inequality while crossing the street! I’m being facetious, but seriously if you talk to teenagers today, they will blow your mind! How brilliant and advanced so many of them are! Obviously, we have a super duper long way to go, but we are on that yellow brick road. And there are flying monkey’s, and wicked witches and poppy fields on that road, but there are also friends, and learning experiences, and growth on that road. Ive been around long enough now, that I’ve seen the world change. I’ve seen institutions change, and seen acquaintances change. I’ve seen myself change and culture change. It’s more than possible, it’s inevitable.

Uncle Rich

I used to work at a Cancer non-profit, so when I heard my Uncle had been diagnosed, I wasn’t too scared. Few words inspire such fear and panic as the C word, but I’ve seen it so many times, and people do recover from cancer everyday. One of the closest, most important people in my whole life had cancer, and beat it, so I know how vincible it is. I was concerned, but very optimistic. Until a week later when I got The Call. I pulled over as my panic attack settled in. My heart charged as if going to war. I drove to the Hospice immediately, but couldn’t get there in time to say goodbye. I hadn’t said goodbye on previous hospital visits, cause we believed in the power and peace of positive thinking. That’s ok—it wasn’t my good-bye to curate. As I dared into the room, his daughter, grandson, and partner reflected the despair and love that was so palpable already. I broke down to my knees. Crying, praying, begging. Dumfounded, no matter how “prepared” the doctor made us. His granddaughter, 2 years old, came in on her mother’s arm; her mother instructed her to say goodbye… 2 years is not long enough to understand life, much less death. She waved by-bye with her whole arm, as instructed,… as she’s done a hundred times before, clearly not understanding that this time was different—this wasn’t “see you Later”, there was no hello on the other side of This goodbye. She didn’t know why he wasn’t responding, and I couldn’t help but weep even more as I saw this beautiful, loving child so clearly express the confusion and love we all felt. His partner then sat on the bed to talk to my uncle, god, and herself. She smooshed his face, twisting his flesh to make sure her hands memorized how every possible position felt, I imagine. She rubbed warmth back into his hands, crying—Bargaining, loving, and laughing loud enough for him to hear her from the wind outside he now lives in. She smashed his face with such love, stretching and feeling, squeezing his flesh like she was trying to climb in. It was at once heartbreaking and heartmending. And what a Great man. You wanna know what kind of man he was? As we divvied up his pictures, among many pictures of his family, including me, was a picture of my graduation cake; EYE Don’t even have a picture of that cake! He always moved to help people, no matter what, without thinking. He loved so profoundly and bravely. He never asked for much and appreciated every blessing and every person in his life. He showed you how much he loved you, didn’t just say the words. He was a Warrior—in every sense of the commitment. He showed us what it really meant to be human. To be Good.
I Love you Uncle Richard

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The Chicago Bean

The Chicago Bean

is the most famous mirror in the world.
Legions cross continents to lay by the legendary legume.
Ancient peoples and future generations gather in swarms
to gaze adoringly at themselves

anew in the looking glass.

A German family concludes the funky solipsistic Hajj
to take a selfie with the talking mirror—
Incident light               Touches a face
Then a camera
Then a screen
Then a retina
Back to the screen, to the bean, to the city and again
Spiraling their lives in infinite regress.

As we gaze into the overflowing abyss
Do we see ourselves
or the camera?
Is this scene real or a movie?

From the west, Chicago grooms its skyline in the reflection.
From the east the rising sun peaks over Lake Michigan to beam the great bean,
becoming 3rd eye

From the Omphalos of the city, Kapoor dehisces the towering granite

steel shell of civilization

offering the fruit.

This invisible warp deconstructs Chicago’s Ego
As if all of reality lay on the chase

@ Escher & Freud

This Master of Painters reveals us.
This master of builders welds the earth to the sky,
pulls clouds down
to the center of our city
a zoo of the heavens.

This inverted kaleidoscope
Multiplying Chicago’s answers
To our most urgent questions
freshly reflected through fossilized fingerprints—
merely one square on the disco ball of earth
reflecting back the light
Of our dreams into outer space.

Is this Snow White’s Magic Mirror?
Revealing the unrivaled beauty of the Gold Coast

Or

The two-way mirror
Behind which
Candyman waits?
–to give us a tour of the Wild 100s, Englewood, and Garfield Park.

From above, the bouldering testicular alien exhales the Avenues and bullets
While underneath, she inhales the lake effect, holding whatever may enter.

From the Omphalos of our imagination, Anish dehisces our selfness
Offering our soul.

Is the bean ready?
Is it generous?
Does it want us?
Is this jewel-in-the-eye merely an ornament of opulence or
Is this Gate of Clouds a reflection of God?

Turning space into sheets of time,

                    Time to silage

#Love First

I asked a good friend on his deathbed, if there was anything I could do for him? He said. “Yes, let yourself love, unconditionally, without fear, as deeply as you can bare it. I wasted my whole life chasing money, and fun, and status, and if I could give all of that up right now to have one more day, to love my family properly, love (my wife) Sara without qualification or condition, to remember my neighbor’s name and care what his kids are up to, I would in a second. I was a shitty person—and not cause I was violent, or mean, or a jerk—but because I thought the people in my life were disposable, and I only used them when I saw benefit in it. I didn’t wake up every morning thanking God that I may have one more time to see a friend, look them in the eye, and genuinely open myself fully for their sake. Nothing I ever won, or bought, or took gives me any solace in this moment. The only things that provide me comfort now are the tiny memories of when I truly gave of myself all I could for others, and when I received such love—and since those moments were so brief and few, I have little of that comfort now.”
Death is scary, not just for me, knowing I’ll never see my friend again, but he was clearly scared—that he was leaving behind unfinished business, that he hadn’t given those he cared for most, all that he should have. I assured him that we would be alright, and hat he should not feel guilty for leaving. I wasn’t there at the moment of death, but I only hope that it was on as good of terms as a permanent goodbye can be.
I imagined how devastating a breakup can be—saying goodbye to someone you loved so much, no matter what the reason. And then imagined having to break up with every person in the world at the same time—your mother, and father, and children, and husband or wife, and every friend, every person you wanted to say sorry to, but didn’t have the time, everyone you meant to tell how proud you were of them, but forgot to. It must be a heartbreak I can’t come close to imagining. But if all that heartbreak was upon him and he only wished for one thing—to give even more of his heart, to be even more vulnerable, and risk even more of his love—then I have to believe him that selfless, unconditional love is the only thing we can bring with us everywhere we go, even death. And not lustful love, or romantic excitement of a new relationship. Not the half-assed love of a family member we know little about or only call during Christmas. Not the easy love, or fun love, but the love that lets the people you care about know—they are never alone, no matter how dismal things may be. We are all fighting painful wars in our lives, each and every one of us. The person you passed on the street this morning just found out her daughter died of a heroin overdose. Your coworker is in the middle of a violent divorce. Your friend just got cancer but hasn’t told anyone yet cause they are still in denial. Your partner can’t figure out how to open to you fully cause of deep-seated fears and pain and shame that have nothing to do with you. But when we muster the courage to let the vast rush of love swallow us whole and flow through us, we can touch those we care for in ways that touch back and light both souls up with the undeniable light of God. And when we lay in our own last bed, we will not regret the difficult times we labored to give another our love when they needed it, nor will we wish we had saved our love in a jar for later, nor will we leave behind an unfinished legacy we had begun with yearning—but a beautiful story that we told with love and ended with peace.
yuka yamaguchi

Endings.

Often, when things come to an end, we see them as failures—especially a marriage, a job, a friendship, college if we don’t graduate. But all things change, which means all things end, at least as we know them. And while those endings may carry the stench of sulfur and the weight of death, we can only loose the beauty of those brief adventures if we choose to. Maybe your marriage is ending because your spouse helped you become the person you always wanted to be, and now you are ready to move in a more specific direction—not better or worse. Maybe you got laid-off because it’s time for you to start a hardwood flooring business of your own, be your own boss. Maybe you couldn’t afford to finish college, but you learned what your true calling was while exploring yourself. Of course, not every ending leaves you with so much, but they rarely leave you with nothing, either. We don’t hate a great movie or book because it ends. Nor should we think we have failed, simply because we’ve completed a story in our lives.
For everyone reading this, whether an old college friend or an ex lover— though I may not see you, or speak with you, or sing with you like we used to, doesn’t mean the time wasn’t invaluable and cherished. I will always love you. That’s one thing that will not end.

#IveBeenThatGuy (after #metoo )

 [please share/reblog/#/etc]

In light of the current #meToo movement (and previously #yesallwomen), many amazing friends and survivors have reminded me that, while pointing out how shamefully prevalent sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault are, is terribly important, maybe survivors shouldn’t feel obligated to relive their trauma? Shouldn’t us men feel MORE obligated to take responsibility? The fact is, as both the beneficiaries of privilege and the vast, vast majority of the time—the perpetrators of rape culture—MEN MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. We must bear the burden of the work if the problem will ever be fixed. Helping those heal who have been hurt is terribly important—the only thing that would be even better is if we stop patriarchy, sexual harassment, and sexual assault from happening in the first place—and that can only happen when those of us who are most responsible challenge ourselves to take responsibility.
So I would genuinely Love it if any and everyone who feels comfortable admitting that they have EVER been “that guy”, would share #iveBeenThatGuy
It doesn’t mean you are a predator and it doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It doesn’t mean you haven’t grown and changed since the last time you were “that guy”. It doesn’t even mean you acted out of malice or bad intentions—we live in an all pervasive culture that seeps into our minds and habits, which often makes us support systems of injustice, even when we don’t intend to. And that is really the point: patriarchy, sexism, heterosexism, etc., are not problems because a few bad apples hate all women and think rape is their right—rape culture is still a problem because it’s so pervasive, so insidious, so ingrained that it’s a part of ALL of our lives. Men who work in domestic violence shelters have objectified women, including myself. The best, most kind, woke men in the world have used misogynistic and homophobic language at some point in their lives. Men with strong values have sexually assaulted because they did not know what sexual assault really is, cause our culture teaches that many forms of sexual assault are just “boys being boys”.
The problem is not that women/trans/queer folk are assaulted. The problem is that Men keep assaulting. Of course anybody can be a perpetrator and anyone can be a survivor/victim. But the point of this post and hashtag is to address the specific problem of problematic masculinity that uses privilege and power to make cis-straight-men, not only feel entitled, but Obligated to take advantage of that power and privilege to dominate anyone who is not a heterosexual cis-male. If your friend, brother, boyfriend, father etc. may not be super down with this entire article, maybe copy and paste the middle. Because, while some may get defensive (and understandably so—after all the men I’d like to jump on board are not the monsters who we already know are shit, but all those good guys who have at some point been caught up in the momentum of culture), I think any any honest man can admit that they have at least 1 time in their life, treated a women in a way they wouldn’t want a stranger to treat their daughter.
And let’s not forget that ending problematic masculinity helps us men too; While the overwhelming majority of violence and dehumanization of women is perpetrated by men, the vast majority of violence and dehumanization of Men is also perpetrated by other men.
Let’s also pair our honesty with action:
Step 1: share #ivebeenthatguy
step 2: Share a specific instance of when you have been guilty. Perhaps the time you most regret, if you feel safe and comfortable doing so publicly.
step 3:When you see your friend post #ivebeenthatguy and STILL act/talk disrespectfully,  call them out and point out that pretending to be woke for the Facebook likes, and not backing it up with real world change, is lying and wont be ignored.
 step 4: Encourage the men in your life to share; it doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means that, unfortunately, if we are honest, at some point in our lives (maybe years ago) we have ALL treated a women in a way we wouldn’t want a stranger to treat our daughters.
 Let’s stop treating Only symptoms. Lets treat the actual cause. Let’s start by admitting that just as pervasive as survivors of rape-culture, are us perpetrators, who, even if we are not aware or didn’t intend to, have participated, and therefore it is OUR responsibility to raise awareness of our own part in the problem.

#ivebeenthatguy

Compulsive [song]

 

COMPULSIVE

Compulsive Thinka

I drink a 40 full of sweat

with a shot of inspiration

now I’m drunk on geniusness.

I’m not rich

but I’m a billionaire in sentimental value.

Life is not of milestones but moments, so I live to

taste every dessert that crosses my plate,

smell every breeze that cools my day,

listen to every snowflake that falls on my face,

cause someday,

I know,

It’ll be too late.

Compulsive dreamer

I scream a song of compassion

As I write between the lines but read in normal fashion.

I’m no slave

but I do feel pain too

You can be sure that whatever you feel

I’ve been through.

I’m not perfect.

I know what it’s like to hate life.

I know how it feels to contemplate the edge of a knife.

I know the feeling of warmth that her smile brings.

I know the Boundless Beauty of Ordinary things.

Compulsive lover

above a cloud of despair

for every inspiration shattered

2 are repaired

It’s hard to complete this maze if you don’t come prepared,

but it’s twice as hard to finish if you enter it scared.

I’m just a man

who lives but a blink of an eye.

just a man, just as destined as you to die.

just a man, with just a voice, a choice, and a mind

I’m just as strong as the loudest word that I cry.

But just a man is as great as God’s light.

Gandhi was just a man, as was Christ,

just potential mixed with possibilities,

just a man is just enough for me.

Ride From Hell (nonfiction)

I recently rode my bike to Green Bay from Chicago and back. The ride up was pretty uneventful, but the ride back turned into a disaster. This is what happened:

               Ride from Hell

I can’t go back; so I just keep pedaling. It’s too hot for a long distance ride but I have no choice. My over-judgmental mother has nearly driven me mad and the deafening boredom of the Oneida reservation isn’t helping. I had planned to leave tomorrow, but I’m already on my bike, so I make a break for home. I stop at the first McDonald’s I see because the phone part of my phone doesn’t work and I can only access google maps with WiFi. As a world traveler, McDonald’s is my best friend; sure, I’m against their unlivable minimum wage and weapons-grade food, but it’s hard to stay mad at anyone {Citizens United} who gives you easy-access bathrooms, nearly free food, and free WiFi, when you’re lost and indigent in a foreign land. Even during Occupy Wall Street, as we protested the coup from multinational corporations and mega-agribusinesses, McDonald’s was the only 24 hour establishment within walking distance with toilets, coffee, and the WiFi we were using to coup back.

I find my route home to Chicago, and hop back on, though my body is not nearly ready for the 200 mile bike ride. I’m sweating and gasping and my legs are already sore a few miles in. The mental stress is the hardest. Knowing that the pain and Boredom has only begun– looking at my progress on the map to find I’m hardly a tenth there. I’ll have to do all that again. And again, and again… If I hope to make it to tonight’s destination.  And then there’s tomorrow.

Everywhere I go, These Wisconsinites glare at my bike like I’m the devil, returned to turn them all gay and drag them to hell. My Brown skin and slightly fashionable eyeglass frames make me indistinguishable from Kim Kardashian to these good ole boys and gals. I’m the only one who ordered a tea instead of Coors Lite at the Supper Club. I was the only one who was using the phrase “he don’t know shit from Shinola” with a tad of irony.

Since I’m not uncomfortable enough, two wild dogs start chasing me down. Technically, they weren’t wild– they belonged to the farmer who’s farm I was passing. But I’m from Chicago; if there is no barrier between my leg and your dog’s teeth, that beast is wild. One dog wouldn’t bother me much; I’d just dismount and keep the bike between us and jab until the dog takes a sharp pedal to the gums–but with two, it’s much harder to keep them both on the bite-less side of the bike. As the lead canine snapped closer and closer like the t-Rex/jeep scene from Jurassic Park, I swerve to beat the teeth, into the gravel on the side of the road, which quickly slides me into a deep ditch, head first, with two angry dogs growling at me. My stationary, supine pose is confusing the dogs, who 4-legged moonwalk back to the farm, still yapping.

My body is lucky to have missed the steel drainage pipe, but my bike isn’t so. Only 50 miles into my ride, my front tire is flat, rim twisted, both brakes dysfunctional and worst of all, the fork supporting my front wheel is bent back so far that it is essentially connected to the frame and completely unrideable. I tamper with it for a while, but there isn’t anything I can do. I have to carry the bike leaning on one wheel like a wheelbarrow. Holding the rest of the bike up gets heavier and heavier, block by block. My arms are too tired to keep this up so I have to either ditch the bike on the side of the road or find a random metal pole that my lock could wrap it’s arms around, in the middle of a cornfield.

The next house has its lights on. It’s nine pm, which is midnight on farmer time, so I’m surprised anyone’s awake. I knock on the door and the third attack dog of the soiree comes a barkin’.  There’s only one, so this Irish Setter has no chance in this fight.  The human comes to the door and I ask if he can call the sheriff or someone who might be able to take me to the nearest dog-less oasis.  Fortunately, the nice cheese-head was pretty handy and helped bend my fork back to a rideable angle, by pulling it.

I got back on the bike but my tire was still flat and, without the granted lights of a city, changing the flat was out of the question. I had to pump up the tire at the end of every mile.  My weather app had forsaken me and it was too cold to ride in my minimal attire, so I got off and walked. Sans the slightest clue where to stay, after an hour and a half in the stabbing cold, hypothermia began to crack in. I see a McDonald’s, where I stop and look up the location of the nearest hospital.

Heading toward the hospital, it’s getting colder by the minute and the 20 degree discrepancy between the forecast and tonight’s cold makes it clear I should have made this journey on a different day, more prepared. Finally, I reach the hospital. It’s closed. The lights are off. No one in sight. There are no bars or Walmarts or any place that might be open at midnight. I’m panicking now. I begin to circle the campus to find closed door after closed door. A sign appears, “In emergency —>”.  I find the small emergency room in the corner of the campus and enter with a shiver of relief. I sit down in the waiting room and begin to thaw. Luckily, no one bothers me for a few hours, but eventually a woman approaches me to ask, “are you waiting for someone?”. I reply, “No. I just need some shelter. I’m riding my bike to Chicago and got in an accident. I’ll take off as soon as it warms up a bit.” She smiles and walks away sweetly.

After trying to sleep sitting up in a chair, failing, I lay on the ground. It’s too uncomfortable to sleep but at least I’m out of the cold. As soon as the sun gains the horizon, I head back to the road. It’s still cold, my bike is still not fully functional, and now I’m more exhausted than ever, sleepless in Sheboygan. Two blocks in, I’m confronted by the highest, steepest mountain of a hill yet. I get off and walk. The hill is so far up that I can’t see around the bend. There are no sidewalks, so as I trudge through the shin-high grass, the lake of dew soaks through my canvas shoes, my socks and toes. I am already out of breath and energy, one mile in.

At the top of the hill I find another McDonald’s, where I stop to regroup and plan. I search for trains and buses to Milwaukee, where I’d have a place to stay, but there are zero. I can’t go any further. My body is broken. My bike is broken. My mind is delirious with exhaustion. I call my sister, my father. I can’t stand to give up–I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day to pick me up, but I’m desperate. I have no more money, no energy, my ankle was sprained in the accident and my muscles are on fire. I go stand in the road with my thumb up, but no one picks up hitchhikers in our paranoid, isolated culture–especially when that hobo is a roughed up brown man with a giant helmet who looks like I can’t even walk safely (my bike was back at McDonald’s, locked up). No one so much as made eye contact with me. I have no idea why, but I felt ashamed, like I was doing something wrong. Standing in the middle of the road, my begging thumb felt like a dunce cap.

chasing_cyclist_02-300x199

I return to to my booth with a cheeseburger and wait for my dad’s girlfriend, who lives closer to the Wisconsin border and doesn’t have work today. I feel so helpless. Hopeless. Broke and broken. What was I thinking? What made me think I could ride to Green Bay and back, without money, food or a place to stay? God, I feel stupid. I begin to weep. Disturbing the happy fast-food patrons with my despair. I’m overwhelmed both with the sadness of a shipwrecked father and the grace of the people who love me so much to make sure nothing happens to me–who would drive to Wisconsin at the drop of a hat to pick me up. I want to save my tears for my reunion with my family, so they could see just how moved I am by their unbelievable love. I can’t help it though and I continue to let my tears salt my half-eaten BigMac as I wait for my ride to arrive and take me home.

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