Fat Activism Conference

It’s been a busy few months and I’m excitedly preparing to embark on a major new project that I’ll have more information for you on soon. Until then, please consider registering for this amazing conference. It’s virtual, so you can listen to it from a computer or phone anywhere. I’ll be speaking with many other talented and amazing people.
Fat Activism Conference Sept 23-25th Online - listen from anywhere, Powerful Speaker, Practical Tool

Some days are harder

blackbirds

 

Like today.

It happens, some days are better than others. Yesterday I was able to talk and write with confidence about the changes in my life. Today…not so much, for a variety of reasons. Every day I’m making what feel like fairly significant decisions. They aren’t life or death and most of them are not unrecoverable. But it’s still hard. I often feel isolated and alone in a place unfamiliar to me.

To complicate matters, today I let someone I once trusted minimize me. It hurt and it made me angry. Mostly, it hurt. I was upset, so I thought it might help to get out of the house for a bit. But I was crying, a lot. I mean probably in a way that could have had a positive impact on the drought in California. Less than a mile from home, I got pulled over by police. FOR CRYING! He approached the car, “Ma’am, you look to be a long way from home and really upset, is everything ok.” Seriously, perhaps if one is going to get pulled over for crying, the South might be the best place to have that happen. He asked if he could give me a hug and because I really needed one, I got out of the car on the freeway and let a stranger in uniform give me hug.

Change isn’t easy. I used to avoid as much change as possible, to my own detriment. Now, every day is about embracing change.
It’s exciting.
It’s scary as hell, too.
Some days are harder.
And that’s ok.

For the rest of the day, I’m just going to choose to let it go.

Desolation by design

Somewhere near Barstow, CA

Somewhere near Barstow, CA

If I gave or even had the impression that this road trip adventure would be easy, I was wrong. It’s not. I knew (in my head) it wouldn’t be…logic and all. But damn if I didn’t just throw my heart right in, free-fall in to the deep end.  After three weeks in the NW with my BFFE (Best Fucking Friend Ever; aka Buffy), a visit to Portland friends, and my mom and sister in Seattle; followed by two days back in the Bay Area, I drove away from everything familiar in to the desert. As I was headed south through Cali, I had this thought: “damn, I love this place.” And I do, I love Cali, I love the people and the weather and I love the person that I became while living there. I love that while living in Cali I gave myself permission to be my authentic self; a blending of the young girl from sleepy, Nebraska; the well-educated career-focused woman from Oregon; and the all-out, life-is-too-short-to-work-too-hard, social justice minded, activist, party gurl from Cali. I really like this person I’ve become and I’m liking even more the person I’m becoming.

I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t think more than once today about turning around and going back. “Go back where?” asked a friend. A very good point. When I arrived at my destination tonite, one of my host’s roommates helped me with my bags and asked where I was coming in from?   “California” would have been the simple answer. But some answers, especially right now, just aren’t that simple. So I laughed. Later, he stepped in a surprise Leila left in a dark doorway and so I’m guessing that I’m probably not his favorite house guest and it doesn’t matter where I came in from anyway.

Also, the inevitable desert experience as spiritual pilgrimage metaphor of all of this is not lost on me. Not even in the least. And I have many many more miles of desert to drive.

So, today I panicked. Just a little bit, I phoned a friend who talked me through it and I drove on. Tomorrow (well not tomorrow), soon will be another day of driving in the desert. And I’ll deal with that when it gets here.

Wandermust

leila drive 1

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” -Meister Echkart

If you know me well and/or follow me much (fb, ig, twitter) you know that change has been kind of a theme for me over the last 6 months or so. Mostly small changes in how and where I spend my time socially, using my free time to significantly engage more in my passions around activism and writing and attempting to live more simply. Internally, I’ve felt that more significant change has been headed in my direction. Subconsciously I’ve been preparing for it for months. And now its upon me.
I’ve been in California now for just over 9 years, the longest I’ve lived in any one place since I was 18. Frankly, I never intended to stay this long. I disliked the Bay Area a lot after moving here, but slowly it grew on me and there have been times in the last couple of years that I’ve actually referred to myself as a “Californian.” I’ve definitely become acclimated to the mild weather and semi-infinite sunshine, as my multiple freckles can attest to. I have found favorite spots I really like to hang out. I have friends here I love dearly and relationships that have opened my eyes to a wide range of experiences. And a job, which though it barely pays the rent, I love. I also have a second job, which does pay the rent almost anywhere else in the United States and likely beyond.
Working two 32+ hour a week jobs for almost 4 years has begun to wear on me a bit. I’m more eager than ever to spend time and energy on creative pursuits and anxious to also put all of my work energy in to one job. My lease at that $1900/mo 700 sq. foot apartment I’ve made home is up at the end of February.
I’ve been having conversations about my options with close friends and with some suggestions and encouragement, I’m taking some chances and heading out on the open road.
I’m guessing right about now you may be wondering…what is she talking about? Is she moving? Where is she moving to? What is she going to do?

Some of those questions have answers, others not so much.

I’ve given notice at Santa Clara University, last day is February 6th. I’ll be working my full-time gig as Director of Operations with The Institute for Democratic Education in America. It’s a remote job, meaning I can work it from anywhere, literally anywhere that is conducive to video calls, online collaboration, and access to a major airport. I’m giving up my little apartment, selling or giving away most of my furniture and other such stuff. Storing the things that matter most and I’ll want for starting over in a new place some day in to a portable storage container. And packing up only the necessities into my little blue Honda Fit and hitting the road with Leila as my copilot. Princess Ophelia, my lovely long-haired cat, will be going to Oregon to live with my very best of friends. She has been talking about bringing a cat in to her home and having spent a month there this summer, we both think it’s a great place for Ophelia. She’ll get the one to one attention she deserves being the only pet in the home.
Where am I going, may be the bigger question. The answer: I don’t know. And the beauty of it is, I don’t have to.

Cynefin

It’s Welsh for a place where a being feels it ought to live. So if there’s an answer that must be had, I’ll be in search of that place.
I do have some destinations in mind and while my initial travel will be to Oregon and Washington in late February/March, I’ve committed to heading south, first to Jackson, MS for a bit of time where I’ll work with some local organizers and parents to help start a new school. From there, I hope to explore more of the South. Then, who knows. I’ve always wanted to live for a month or two in the heart of New York City. It could be fun to spend time back in Nebraska at some of the old places I knew growing up and reconnect with family and friends. And Puerto Rico, definitely Puerto Rico. There’s also Minnesota, the East Coast, and Florida.

So that’s the plan. Drive to where ever the road takes me. Work. And Write.

I’ll chronicle my adventures here, on social media (fb, twitter, ig) and am contemplating a video channel on YouTube.

I hope you all will follow along, keep in touch and maybe even consider visiting me at one of my new homes on the road.

The next few weeks will be a blur of spending time with friends, packing, and preparing to start this adventure. I’m sad to be leaving behind so many great friends, although I’ll hang on to those friendships as each and every one is so important to me. I’m really excited to start this new adventurous chapter of my life and currently resisting the urge to frequently break out into my own version of John Denver’s “Leaving on Jet Plane.” I’m so appreciative of all the support and encouragement I’m receiving from those I’ve shared the news with personally before sharing with all of you here and on social media. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have so many amazing people in my life and also makes moving on that much harder. Moving on, but not letting go.

I hope you’ll come along with me, in whatever way you can, on this adventure!

“You can’t always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes, you have to dare to do it because life is too short to wonder what could have been.” – Unknown

 

Size Activism: In My Beginning

do somethingI’ve approached this four-day holiday weekend with a deep desire to get some serious writing done and move forward on the novel-in-progress.  In preparation, I’ve been digging through a box of notebooks, journals, napkins and random slips of paper containing thoughts, ideas and partially completed pieces.  Amongst them, I found this free writing/poem from the early days of my exploration in Fat/Size Activism.  As I was reading it, emotions rose to the surface.  I could have written it yesterday.  This thing we call self-acceptance (wrapped up in size activism) is not a straight road from here to there and then we’ve won.  The road twists and turns back on itself and some days leaves you questioning yourself as much as others.  Just as I grow stronger and more confident in myself, a moment of weakness creeps in.  These words are proof.  They are unfinished…with a hope to complete them at some point.  Reading them, reminded me of how hard living this struggle (like anything worth fighting for) can be at times; how easy it is to just give up and return to the status quo.  But it also reminded me of how worth it the struggle is, because I never want myself, let alone those I love and care about, to feel this way ever again.

It’s what they don’t tell you

They tell you to love yourself
Live in the body you have now
Be bold and confident
Wear stripes and sequins
And tiaras to the grocery store
Don’t listen to the ne sayers
The weight loss goalies
Surgeons with their scalpels
Stand up against the Hatred
Discrimination
Bullying
Laughter
Take chances
Do something new
Reach out to others
Share your new knowledge and power with others
Because what they don’t tell you
Is that no matter what you do…
You’ll always be lonely
You’ll always wonder if it’s the size of your stomach that turned them off or the size of their ego
You’ll never know if they truly want you or are you a fetish
You’ll eat dinner at home in front of the tv because they’re too ashamed to take you out
They’ll chose someone smaller, even if they love you
What they don’t tell you
Is that the clerk at Macy’s will still treat you as if you don’t belong there even when you’ve only come
in for expensive moisturizer
The children in your building will still point and stare
Your family and friends won’t understand why you aren’t interested in talking about their latest diet or exercise routine at the next holiday gathering
Your neighbor will still say you look like you’ve lost weight even when you haven’t
Why don’t they tell you???
Because what they also don’t tell you is that all of that won’t matter in the long run what they don’t tell you is that when you love your self, others will follow
just not today
and probably not tomorrow