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Agenda

Goodbye first semester fugue state. Hello crocheting scarves and plans for sewing a hoodie and waking up without a furrowed brow. Dear Diary, why do all the women I know in grad school feel not good enough? And the men talk too much about their theories because there is so much pressure in knowing everything and needing to inform the rest of the world. Maybe I'm being unfair.

Dear Patriarchy, screw you. I'm gaining weight for the winter and I've never looked hotter. I wrote two notebooks full of essays and I'm only going to keep writing, getting stronger and more fierce and sure all the time. Mondays I will make art and Tuesdays I will write and repeat this pattern until I find the spirit I thought I lost. (Remember her sounding out the word "CUNT" onstage?)

Let's be real: there are so many reasons to survive, one of them being the way my hip curves out into space when I look over my shoulder to catch myself in the mirror.

URGENT! Hate Crimes Legislation

If HB-6341 is to be enacted and become the Michigan Anti Bias Crime statute,
we need your help!

To date, Senate leadership has refused to allow a vote to take place on this legislation. The only remaining scheduled date in the present Senate term is Thursday December 17th. If there is no vote on that date, the bill will die. New sponsors will have to be found to introduce the bill to a mostly newly elected House membership.

The new House members will not have the understanding of the hate crimes issue that the current group has. It was in large part this knowledge of the issue that resulted in the current members voting 81 - 18 in support of the bill. There is no good reason for the Senate not to vote now. We believe that if Senate members were free to vote, they would support the bill in proportions similar to the House. After all, the bill is already supported by everyone from the Prosecuting Attorneys Association to the ACLU.

So, if you want to see Michigan's hate crime law become comprehensive, inclusive, and effective tool for law enforcement and the courts, NOW is the time for you to send that message.

CONTACT SENATE LEADERSHIP TODAY:
Michael Bishop Majority Leader SenMBishop@senate.michigan.gov (517) 373-2417
Alan L. Cropsey Majority Floor Leader SenACropsey@senate.michigan.gov (517) 373-3760
Wayne Kuipers Judiciary Committee Chair SenWKuipers@senate.michigan.gov (517) 373-6920

CONTACT YOUR SENATOR TODAY:
You can determine who your Senator is, and get his or her contact information, by going to the Senate’s web site: http://senate.michigan.gov/

Tell your Senator:
This legislation is important to us!
We want them to vote on this bill this term!
We want them to vote yes on HB 6341!

Query:

Why do you keep a LiveJournal? Do you keep a paper journal, too?

You might have guessed I'm writing an essay.

Query:

does the internet separate or connect us?

Listening

"Do you ever worry about human isolation?" I asked her like it was no big deal, a heavy question for the day before holiday break. I'm not talking just about my own loneliness, but about the part of being human that makes having deep relationships with other people painful.

I read an article recently that said social isolation makes you cold, literally. My hands have always been frozen in the winter, fingernails purple, blood gone inward to hibernate. I'm trying not to read too much into it, but my hands have been so cold that I have to rub them together to feel, scritch scratch, my skin dry from the indoor/outdoor contrast of heat and chill.

She asked if I know many people in Lansing, said I'm probably lonely, matter-of-fact like it's a perfectly human thing to be. There's only one person who knows me in this town, and about three I want to know. One of them is my age and I'm forming a friendship with her both slow and fast, the kind of friendship where we talk about feminism and plan direct actions for the December break. I miss the community center so much that I could cry, and miss activism even more. I wonder if there will ever be balance between teaching, classes, writing, relationships, and activism. I want to weave them all together but don't yet know how.

I'm making a quilt with fall colors and writing an essay about loneliness or community or something. Yesterday, C and I had dinner at my family's house, and for the first time in many years I felt something like family. Still, even that isn't without pain. Like when I cut my father off when he used the word, "ghetto" in relation to the city of Detroit. Later, my mother came in and said, "You know, you might have listened to his experiences with the race riots in the 60s. Those are memories a person can't forget, a history that will be lost if you don't listen."

Wintering

Last night we drove on icy roads to Ann Arbor, where Elizabeth and I talked at Cafe Ambrosia. I like her voice, the way she isn't afraid to use it, how she was never taught not to. I like her mother's androgynous gender, her nature-lady spirit. I think she will like B, Elizabeth's new love interest, the way her eyes crinkle when she smiles, how they smile at each other.

I've been careful of my time lately, protective, remembering to surround myself with people who have joy, artists and people who grow things and those who lend me their books. I've been thinking a lot about identities, the places in us that are tangled, or woven maybe, intentionally. I've been writing about whiteness and racism and institutional structures that make speaking hard (or impossible), about the ways that silence is a privilege and sometimes an act of resistance. I've been wearing a lot of layers, intentionally gaining weight for the winter, determined to weather it.

I met a woman whose name is Erin and she has interesting glasses and feminist politics and ideas that jump off the screen. She is a vegan. She is an Aquarian. I've never been friends with one before and maybe this means I'll have to wave my arms a lot, but I'm willing to try.

I'm glad October is over.

Early November snow has sucked the warmth right out of the air and covered the fall colors on the ground. I've been watching my plants out front, unreasonably worried about their survival. They will weather the snow same as they always do. I will remember how to relax.

to reveal/to conceal

This weekend is a study in Michigan fall, from sunny t-shirt weather, planting a Mum in the front yard, to chilly and damp, nestling into my sweater and complicated system of coats. I am determined not to have a winter like last so am intentionally gaining weight, in the hope that it will keep me warm.

I filled an entire composition book on my first essay. Thumbing back through it, I find myself reckless, sacrificing many sentences, some floral, winding, convoluted, others just too close. Before I wrote this essay I felt safe, brick by brick built a fort, the entrance blocked by a persona that exhausted me too much to keep up. I am not my essay. But I am also not always brave, certainly not without fear.

I am reading a lot, trying to understand a context and history that is big and old, began before I could even read. It's not that I don't like theory. I'm cautious, afraid that I will start to talk like that, in a way that the people I love the most won't understand. I'd like to learn to move within and between all of these worlds, to make theory out of the everyday, to take myself seriously enough to be oblivious when others don't.

Sometimes I am very serious.

I feel lonely, like I can't relate or am having a hard time getting to know people. I can be hard to know. My hair dresser asks me, "You going out tonight?" and I just laugh, say, "Nah. I'm more of a stay home and read sort of girl." I have always been mostly introverted but hungry for connection. I've met a few people I'm interested in getting to know. But how do I get to know someone without revealing too much? How can they ever know me if I conceal everything?

Lansing, lonely

I'm finally coming out of the fugue state produced by the first two months of school and bam I'm desperately lonely. My emotions have impeccable timing.

Post-election

I love the false hope of the day immediately post-election. My students were all smiling and chattering with excitement. Apparently, the student apartments/dorms were hopping last night, people dancing and cartwheeling in the streets and cops there to "keep an eye on things." I've heard a lot of talk about the political climate mobilizing young people to vote.

I like that we get at least the illusion of democracy through voting, though I don't believe the two-party system will ever create meaningful social change. It is comforting to know that the political climate for people who are marginalized - queers, poor people, people of color - won't likely get worse. If McCain had won, I would have stayed in bed this morning.

notes

Beginning an entry with "should" is not productive. I should be writing an essay about the move between silence and speech right now. I'm not. I should be patching multiple voices together so they make something beautiful.

Sometimes I worry that if I start to talk like the people in my program no one will understand me anymore. If I start using words like "discourse" and "genre" in the everyday, you'll call me on it, right? I'm afraid I need to learn to talk like that to be heard in this space. I'm afraid I'll start saying things like, "in Foucault's discussion of blah blah blah."

I've been crocheting again, tying knots, hanging on. I have found a few feminists, several people who are generous, and at least one friend. Some people assume things about me based on how old they perceive me to be but that's probably a function of their insecurity. I'm not ashamed to be young as I am and I'm not afraid of getting older.

I should get back to this essay but wanted to pop in and say hello.