Hello, friends. Energy is a funny thing. I’m feeling, in the air and in my body, this pervasive mix of holiday season buzz coupled with the pulse of resistance and discontent. It’s been harder than ever for me to get into the festive spirit this year. I guess I’m okay with that. It’s a privilege to turn-off real world stressors (and/or traumas) to be jolly and bright, and I know not everyone is afforded that luxury. That said, I am, as always, trying to stay present and sit with gratitude. So things aren’t bad, they just aren’t quite as twinkly as they usually are for me this time of year. That’s okay. Maybe this gif of a cat getting into some Christmas mischief will help:
(Yeah, that helped.)
Anyway, here’s the Friday Five!
Okay, so I’m admittedly skeptical about a lot of “charities” and holiday do-gooder campaigns, for a variety of reasons: 1) sometimes barely any money goes to the supposed entity you’re trying to help; 2) sometimes the thing the organization you’re giving money to is providing isn’t good for the people who you are trying to help and/or those people don’t want that kind of help; 3) it promotes a culture of philanthrocapitalism and white savior industrial complex; 4) sometimes the orgs are discriminatory against gay people (or some other group they shouldn’t be discriminatory towards); etc. BUT! In a capitalist world, sometimes giving money is actually something that can be pretty powerful, so the trick is figuring out what organizations to give to that don’t suck for those aforementioned reasons. Buzzfeed’s favorite former-academic-turned-journalist, Anne Hellen Peterson, provided exactly that kind of list. I am especially excited about giving to Ferguson’s Youth Tech Program!).
Not drawn to any of those? Maybe donate directly to the family of Eric Garner.
Or, maybe you love pitt-bulls? Consider donating to Phoebe the pittie’s hospital bills. Phoebe’s parents are two of my dear, queer friends, Angela and Rae, and they are looking for some financial assistance for the very costly surgery Phoebe endured.
Consider donating to any number of these, or maybe making a donation in the names of all those social justice-y types on your holiday gift list!
As I inch closer and closer to age 30, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to have a successful life, and thus, what it means to “fail”. I have a lot going for me—(a PhD! a yoga license! a living creature (cat) that I keep alive!), but it’s certainly hard not to think about the things that I don’t have going for me—(a stable relationship! financial security! a pair of “work-appropriate” heels!). In this piece, Aliya Kahn reminds us, “The concept of failure insinuates that there is a right and wrong way to exist. We feel failure when we do not live up to expectations of what “should” be. Since these expectations are rooted in our social values, they often reflect the dominant culture. Our standards for success are ingrained in our culture and often reflect white, male, middle-class, heterosexual, cisgender, and able-bodied ways of living.” (Jack Halberstam makes a similar argument in their book The Queer Art of Failure, but leaves responses to this dilemma mostly in theory-land. Kahn on the other hand provides a handy, grounded list that can be applied to real life.) I was particularly drawn to the set of questions Kahn urges us to ask ourselves when we feel a sense of failure–“In what ways did I take a chance or a risk?; What did I learn about myself? How can that be helpful in my life?; What did I learn about others? How can that be helpful in my life?; How is the environment and culture that I am in affecting my perspective on this?; What do I value and how can I see this experience aligning with my values?” Once we change our relationship to the socially constructed notion of failing, we can arrive at understanding that, “The act of failure…is an act of liberation.”
I loved watching the video and reading about the dapperQ fashion show that happened in Brooklyn last week. The show featured six “menswear” lines that are created by designers who specifically make clothes for transmasculine and other people who are masculine of center/gender queer. Not only are the clothes (and models!) smokin’ hot, but there is a truly moving act of solidarity amidst what could otherwise be a frivolous party—the models carry “Black Lives Matter” signs on their last round on the runway. Intersectionality, ftw.
Looking for a cookie recipe to bring to a holiday gathering? Try these vegan, paleo, refined sugar-free (just maple syrup and if you want some rolling coconut sugar) from the Urban Poser. I made them this week for a cookie party I’m attending on Saturday; I sampled one (two), and they were delicious!
Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy
teaching sculpt; practicing yoga; last day of the semester warm-fuzzies with my students; some potentially exciting job news; friend-time: a happy hour, a birthday party, and tonight, a holiday soiree with my dear M; friend phone calls, too; deciding to listen to this album like it’s 2003 again; kitten; how well my mom knows me, and how good she is to talk to; the fact that these kinds of protests aren’t going anywhere; buying xmas gifts; writing out xmas cards; marathoning all the holiday episodes of this show; baking for MP&GS’s annual cookie party; pretty boston snowfall; red lipstick; gold heels; christmas sweaters; and green tea.
What made you happy this week?
Have a great weekend! xoxo