linked to this post
:I know you want to, and you are constantly being told that you must, excel at and be committed to, for example:
1. earning a living wage
2. healing from and/or dealing with injury, illness, emotional trauma, disability
3. basic self-care and adulting (laundry, financial management, etc.)
4. family relationships (finding/maintaining romance, caring for kids and/or elders, dealing with family drama)
5. a social life beyond that
6. a fulfilling and fulfilled creative life
7. service to the community
8. social and political activism
9. self-improvement and continuing education
10. physical fitness (maintaining and building)
11. fun hobbies
12. spiritual growth
...plus enough downtime to keep you functional.
But excelling at each of those is equivalent to a full-time job and you cannot physically do them all. In fact, our society considers basic competence at
two of them to be a passing grade. ONLY TWO.
The idea is that you're supposed to look at this list and agree that it's impossible to do it all and then feel relief from the pressure. But I'm really pleased to realize that I'm doing very well in almost all of those categories. My social life isn't as busy as it used to be, but that's fine, it'll come back as Kit gets older. Creativity and hobbies are one category for me and I've always got something going; since I'm doing historical research for Valour Advances
right now, that brings in continuing education as well. If I expand #12 as "spiritual and psychological growth" I've got that covered. Tomorrow I'm going to get a new prescription for occupational therapy and add physical fitness back onto the list in a formal way, but I've informally been doing fairly well at it (picking up a 25-pound toddler is great for building upper body strength). About all I'm missing is activism as distinct from service to the community; my Twitter and DW PSAs, and my Story Hospital posts, fall into the latter category rather than the former. I do wish I could do more direct political activism but I'm coming to accept that I can't right now, not with everything else I have on my plate.siderea proposed
a 13th category of "recovering from catastrophe". I'd add a 14th of "coping with oppression, marginalization, danger, and/or abuse". I feel like the secret to doing everything I do is that I don't have to manage assholes in pretty much any part of my life. My spouses are great, my friends are great, my family drama is minimal, my boss and colleagues are great, I'm not being targeted by trolls, etc. I'm a queer trans polyamorous weirdo, but I'm in a place where it's pretty safe to be that way. I don't have to worry about my home being unsafe for me, or about being kicked out of it. I have health insurance and a savings account. Safety
is what lets me get a ton of shit done. I'm not having to manage my safety. If I were—I know from experience—it would be the other 13 categories' worth of work all in one.
So I suppose this list represents my political philosophy too: the job of society is to take on category 14 for everyone. Reduce oppression, marginalization, danger, and abuse in order to enable people to lead fulfilling and satisfying lives in every possible dimension. I live in a tiny magical bubble where I've made that possible for myself and my family, and it's great. I want it for everyone.
I did not go to JFK tonight, because that seemed like a recipe for being arrested, and I don't participate in actions where arrests are likely due to that whole parent of a baby thing. But I really really wished I could.
Instead, I shared a bunch of action ideas on Twitter, and now I share them here.Here's a list of basic action steps
, a Jewish pro-refugee organization.
Some things you can do if you have a printer, or have access to one:Download this "Everyone Is Welcome Here" poster from Dropbox
, print it up, and post it in your school, library, store window, etc. Print up extra copies and hand them out to your neighborhood shop owners to post in their stores. (The original poster is from here
, via FwdTogether
, but that site requires you to put in a credit card even if you're just getting the free download, so I recommend using the Dropbox link instead.)
Invest in a pack of printable postcards
and use them to write to your reps, mayor, governor, etc. This Word doc
has the "Everyone Is Welcome Here" image formatted to be the postcard front. This doc
has addresses filled in for Trump, Ryan, and the State Department; change the addresses depending on who you you feel like writing to. Write your message, print, sign, stamp, mail.
The Women's March folks also created these all-purpose cards
for expressing your political views. Print on one side of the postcard sheet, flip/rotate it appropriately, print on the other side.
Feel free to share those links around.
UPDATE: All the postcard files are collected in this Dropbox folder
. Bookmark and visit often, because I'll keep adding more. The latest: supportive notes to mosques
Today I joined the general strike. Instead of working, I wrote a post on how to make art in scary and difficult times
, and then I met with the teens I mentor and talked about writing and reading and why we read SF/F and how to overcome writer's block and stop procrastinating. It was exactly the way I wanted to spend the day. I boycotted the inauguration so hard that I mostly managed not to even think about it.
When I was getting dressed I wore all black, which I basically never do. I hadn't planned to, but I opened my dresser drawer and went "Oh, yes, I think the black turtleneck is what I want to wear today, and the black trousers too". I dithered over jewelry and ended up with my origami peace dove necklace. I came out of my room to greet peripateticmeg
, who was here to babysit Kit (they've had a nasty head cold since Tuesday, poor thing), and she was also wearing all black. X said several people at their office were too.
It's been a really spectacularly terrible week in a lot of ways. The baby being sick means all of us have had our sleep and work schedules disrupted, the power to our house went out for five hours on Tuesday (some sort of wiring issue, apparently), I had some shitty family stuff to deal with, a company made J a job offer but is now delaying on finalizing it, our bank messed up our rent payment (no doom, fortunately, as we have a great landlord and a spotless payment history), Alex-the-cat has been an aggressive asshat to the other cats, Sam and Sophie have been hairballing everywhere, friends are also dealing with unhappy and stressful things, and of course the inauguration. But we are holding on and even finding ways to feel good:
* We've had lots of good family dinners, even when we were all almost too tired to talk.
* J and I shared some good hugs today and went for a nice walk in the drizzle. We've both been so busy and tired that we barely see each other. It was wonderful to get a companionable hour together.
* X and I have been having lovely nightly half-hour hangouts on the couch before they go to bed. We talk about the day and make plans and send each other into bouts of exhausted hysterical laughter. I just remembered that we used to do this when they first moved to NYC; I guess we naturally gravitate toward that time of night as together-time.
* Kit is coughing less, and when their fever spikes occasionally it never gets higher than 102 (which is also much less worrying now that they're over a year old) and responds very well to Tylenol.
* grammar_girl livetweeted an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
and it genuinely made me cry.
* I had a quick but delightful dinner with teaberryblue
* Long Hidden
and her husband came to visit me at work and we had a good conversation about crowdfunding for anthologies. (Support her fundraiser for Problem Daughters
, a marginalized feminist SF/F anthology!)
* I made plans to see my mother and brother on Sunday to celebrate my mother's birthday.
* Just now Kit woke up and seamlessly transitioned from lying down to sitting up while I was watching on the monitor. It's been clear for a while that they can do that, but I hadn't seen it. They're super perky right now because their fever is down. They're lying in the crib squeaking contentedly and playing with the teddy bear, who was recently named Face Hugs. (Kit believes teddy bears are for faceplanting onto.)
* I've been catching up on laundry. I always feel better when the hampers are empty.
* I've been really on top of my work schedule since coming back from vacation, even with everything else going on. Hanging out on #yuletide has been wonderful for my productivity because people do "word wars" or "productivity wars" that are basically Pomodoro timer installments except in 20 on/10 off instead of 25 on/5 off. I also reworked my Persuaded
outline from scratch and even wrote a little bit of the opening. The character voices are much clearer this time around, though the story hasn't quite found its own voice yet. It'll get there.
And now the baby is finally asleep, so I'm going to do some knitting for the first time in ages
. I still hold out hope for finishing this sweater before Kit outgrows it, though I think I'd better hurry. They keep getting taller!
- thinking about:
experiences.annoyances, experiences.beauty, experiences.teaching, experiences.work, ideas.politics, people.cats, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina, places.home, projects.crafts.knitting, stuff.clothes, stuff.money, words.books.persuaded, words.writing
- feeling:holding on
Tonight I went to a civil rights speak-out organized by Jesse Hamilton, my state senator. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was actually really useful!( Politics )
Hamilton is going to start holding monthly civil rights task force meetings, which I plan to attend. He said the next one is going to be specifically queer-focused. It's really nice to see non-queer people doing these things.
Bonus: a high school acquaintance was there and recognized me, so we caught up a bit and swapped contact info and like that. So I got everything I wanted out of it and then some.
This userpic has never felt so apropos.
Our plan for Election Day included a plan to make sure we ate dinner, and I am very glad for that, because I haven't managed to eat a full meal since. Maybe I'll be able to eat tomorrow.
I haven't cried. I guess I'm not shocked enough to cry. Or maybe I wasn't personally invested in Clinton enough to be devastated when she lost. I don't know. But whatever it is that's making people cry, I'm not experiencing it. I've been anxious all day in a sort of abstract way, and now I've talked to both my parents—the Clinton voter and the Trump voter—and somehow both those conversations calmed me way down. I can't explain why that's as true of talking to my father as it is of talking to my mother. Maybe because he couldn't actually bring himself to tell me he'd voted for Trump. He said, "Each of us knows how the other voted, so let's just leave it at that." My father's never shied away from a political conversation over a long lifetime of holding contrarian and often outrageous opinions. If even he feels abashed about this vote, maybe there's a little hope yet.
My mother, with six decades of leftist activism under her belt, assured me that this, too, shall pass. I needed to hear that, and hear the sincerity in her voice.
I've been glad to see so many people posting to LJ/DW today. We need spaces like this to get all our many thoughts and feelings out.
I called in sick to work—I am actually sick with a dreadful head cold that just will not go away, which is the other part of why I'm not sleeping or eating well—and spent the day activisting on Twitter. Replicating some of that here just to get the various words out:
I'm really pleased to see so many white cishet people saying "We need to step up". Step 1: LISTEN TO THOSE WHO WERE ALREADY DOING THE WORK. Don't let your guilt or eagerness or habituation to privilege con you into thinking you lead this movement. The movement against white supremacy did not just begin today. It has been around for decades. Respect and follow those who are already in the know. Educate yourselves. This thread
points to a major area where white people need to do the work: talking with our white relatives. I will personally add the caveat that I know there's significant overlap between "my relatives who hold different political views" and "my relatives who are so toxic I can't safely interact with them" and I continue to support people in not interacting with relatives who are not safe to interact with. But if you can have those conversations without significant harm to yourself, do.
I guess it comes back to, again: if you are less vulnerable and marginalized, you need to do more of the work on behalf of those who can't. Challenge your Trump voter dad on behalf of the trans teen who can't safely come out to their Trump voter dad. Speak up in your Trump voter cousin's Facebook comments on behalf of the queer cousin who doesn't read Facebook anymore. If nothing else, you're telling the queer cousin who does still read Facebook (but never comments) that you're an ally for them.
If you can't or won't reach out to that Trump supporter in your family or social circle, maybe you can reach out to their kids. Tell the marginalized teens you know that you're there for them. Tell them directly and plainly. "I see you. I've got your back." If you suspect a conservative's kid is queer or trans, never EVER put them at risk—but do show them extra love. If you're a white parent, put your kid in the least segregated school you can find, and fight de facto school segregation in your city/town. Write letters in support of prosocial children's television. Tell Nickelodeon how much you love those gay dads on The Loud House
. Buy #ownvoices children's and YA books and donate them to school libraries. And join campaigns against whitewashed, queerphobic, and transphobic children's media.
Organizations that are doing useful things:https://our100.org/
and its various signatorieshttps://www.hias.org/http://www.bendthearc.us/https://www.plannedparenthood.org/https://www.cair-ny.org/https://www.lambdalegal.org
Donate if you can. If you can't, sign up for mailing lists and click every one of those petition links when they come through.
Some people are talking about writing to electors in swing states and urging them to break faith and vote for Clinton. I don't see the harm in attempting this, but it's important to remember that electors are ordinary citizens, not public officials, and that hunting down their home addresses or calling them is a really terrible idea and certain to be counterproductive. I think the best way to write to them would be via the state GOP office.
has good info on taking care of your mental health right now.This
is a useful illustrated guide to bystander intervention if you see someone being harassed in a public space.This post
has some interesting post-election thoughts. Not sure I agree with all of them, but I think they're worth reading.The #TransLawHelp hashtag
connects trans people with legal help if they'd like to get name or gender changes before Trump takes office. I've seen recommendations to prioritize getting a passport with the correct gender marker, as that's usually faster and easier than a name change and the passport can be updated with the new name later. Good info on that is here
from someone in the U.K. is lovely and kind.Some wise words
is collecting suggestions on activism for introverts
I picked up Kit from daycare. Their daycare teacher (a Black woman) and I just stared at the babies with teary eyes for a bit. I told Kit, "Reagan was elected when I was two and I got through it. We'll get you through this."
"Really?" the teacher said. "I liked Reagan. I remember my grandma had Reagan things all over the house."
"I was in Greenwich Village," I said. "People had AIDS. No one was a Reagan fan."
And we looked at each other like "nothing's ever simple, huh?" and then talked about how we're going to take care of our kids.
It's horrible but true that there are people who didn't survive Nixon and Reagan and GWB, and there are people who won't survive Trump. All we can do is try to keep our communities together, to support our most vulnerable. Pay one another's bills when we have to. As an EMT once told me, you can't save them all. But you don't stop trying to save the ones you can. And we will keep making art and arguing ideas and having children and otherwise creating things that will live on after we're gone.
I put a post up on Story Hospital about writing goals and deadlines in a time of strong emotions
. It's nominally about NaNoWriMo, since I had a NaNo post to do and I think people doing NaNo are going to feel particularly stressed by the combination of deadline pressure and election fuckery, but it's pretty broadly applicable. I hope it helps someone.
I wish I felt up to writing tonight. I suspect Nathaniel and Algernon would be talking about the raid on the White Swan
This, too, shall pass. Let's do everything we can to make it pass faster and with minimal harm.
Today Kit had their first real playdate! ( It went great! )
Yesterday was one of those days where you have to say "Everyone is fine" before talking about how the day went. ( But don't worry, everyone is fine )
I am trying really hard not to think about the election. Really really hard. I have plenty of other things to think about. But it intrudes constantly.
I have phonebanked and texted and done everything I can to get the vote out for Clinton. I will do a little more tomorrow and Tuesday. I have researched all the down-ballot candidates (including the one who's on the judicial ballot by mistake
). I have a plan to vote
. I just need to remember to wear white
I will be so glad when it's Wednesday and we can at least stop waiting for the results, whatever those results are.
The Brooks Brothers shopping trip consisted of me walking into Brooks Brothers, saying "I don't belong here", and bursting into tears. The way Brooks Brothers does masculinity is really not the way I do it, for all sorts of reasons. Also, I couldn't bear the idea of letting their tailors anywhere near my body. On the way to the store I'd gotten really tense trying to figure out how to project the "right" sort of masculinity and when I realized that was impossible the tension kind of went boom. So we walked out again, and J will find some way to sell the gift card, and then we'll spend the money at Bindle & Keep or on getting good tailoring for the shirts I already have. In the meantime, I went to Express and got some really nice curve-hugging turtleneck sweaters in gorgeous colors. And then I ordered more sweaters from the Express website and a couple other things from H&M (they were on sale!) so now I have a fall femme wardrobe and am very pleased about that.
Ever since I decided not to go on T, I've been feeling very femme. I don't think it's coincidence.
I'd hoped to use the DST change to get myself back on an earlier sleep schedule, but X was totally wiped today because of being up with the coughing teething baby all night last night after the whole ER happy fun times, and I'd gotten plenty of sleep, so I said I'd take the overnight shift. Staying up until 5 is much harder when 5 feels like 6. But J has just woken up, so I'm going to hand off the monitor and go fall asleep a whole lot.
- thinking about:
behavior.activism, behavior.parenting, body.body clock, body.sleep, experiences.disaster, experiences.dst, experiences.hospitals, ideas.politics, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.gender, people.kit, people.xtina, stuff.clothes
Hillary Clinton's campaign just asked me why I donated to her. Here's what I told them (using "Hillary" instead of "Clinton" because that's the campaign's language):
I'm queer, transgender, and raising a seven-month-old. I don't want my child to grow up worrying about my safety, or scared that our family will be torn apart, or angry because the government denies us our rights. I'm counting on Hillary to make the United States safe for me and my family, and to support services for families that don't discriminate against any parents or children.
We're a white family living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, an overwhelmingly black and low-income neighborhood with many immigrants, some of whom are undocumented. The public and private schools are heavily segregated, as they are all over the city, which is detrimental to children of all races. My neighbors struggle to pay their bills, fight predatory landlords, and worry more about police harassment than about violent crime. I'm counting on Hillary to protect my neighbors from aggressive cops, promote racial integration in schools (if you don't think that's a 21st-century issue, you aren't paying attention), and find ways to redistribute wealth and help undocumented immigrants stay here legally so that these families can stay together and thrive.
I am disabled. I'm fortunate to have a job but often struggle to get my work done because I'm limited and in pain. I'd drop to part-time hours but I can't afford to, because we have to pay for childcare. And many disabled people can and want to work but have to keep their incomes and assets artificially low so they can receive essential services. A lot of the rhetoric at the convention focused on the idea that if you work, you shouldn't have to live in poverty. But NO ONE should have to live in poverty, including people who don't or can't work. I'm counting on Hillary to champion universal basic income in the United States so that disabled people are no longer caught in this horrible trap, and so that we can proudly say that in our nation, no one is poor.
Trump is terrible. But I'm not just voting against him--I'm voting for Hillary. And I plan to hold her accountable to her voters and her public.
Trump made a scary speech last night. Today Max Gladstone had some passionate thoughts on not being immobilized by that fear.
This is really, really important. It's JULY. Stop acting like Trump's already won!
I understand being scared. Take a day and feel the fear. Then let it power you into positive action.
Last night a friend asked what I thought they should be doing to prepare for helping people if Trump wins, which I guess meant "should we furnish our attic for the next Anne Frank" or something. I told them that I have the energy to either phonebank for Clinton or become a President Trump prepper, but not both. So I'm going to phonebank for Clinton.
(Is she perfect? No, obviously not. But she's not a dangerous fascist, and Trump is, so Clinton's got my vote and my activism. That seems pretty straightforward to me.)
Also, I refuse to treat fascism as the tipping point for helping those in need. Help the people who are in need now
, and who will be that much worse off under a Trump presidency. The institutional equivalent of your furnished attic is your local shelter; perhaps you could give them some time or money. Or donate to the Ali Forney Center
; while Trump makes grotesque claims about loving abstract theoretical LGBTQ people, the Ali Forney Center is helping real actual queer kids who've been kicked out by their families. Or fight felony disenfranchisement
, which horribly skews the demographics of who can vote. Or support organizations helping Syrian refugees
to counter Trump calling them all future terrorists, or tear down his wall before he can put it up by supporting organizations for just and humane border practices on the U.S.-Mexico border
. He has so many odious policies and positions that there are a hundred different ways you can push back against them, so pick one that calls to you.
And phonebank for Clinton
*--you can do it right now from your home, so throw a phonebanking party or make five quick calls before work every day or whatever suits you--or volunteer locally
. Give money and/or time to the Democrats or MoveOn or Avaaz or your preferred organization. As Max says, don't let the fuckers think they already own tomorrow.
and we have four months to win this. That is not a lot of time, but it's enough time as long as we don't pause too long to wallow in despair.
Don't furnish your attic toward an inevitable fascist tomorrow. Fight NOW so that no one needs to hide in an attic ever again.
P.S. Lots of people have been dropped from voter rolls. Check your registration right now.
Re-register if you need to. And then register your friends and neighbors and relatives. And then help them get to the polls, or make their postal votes. And bring your kids to the polls with you so they can see democracy in action and learn that when they're old enough voting will be important for them to do. We need all hands on deck, now and in the future--the future that we get to shape.* You may need to disable ad blockers to get the Clinton phonebank page to work.
Feel free to share the link to this post as widely as you like.
linked to this news story titled "Ted Cruz Challenges Donald Trump to a Duel"
and suggested it should lead to a Hamilton
earworm, so this is all her fault.
(TTTO "Ten Duel Commandments"
Number one! The challenge: demand he go on Fox
If he agrees, no need for further talks
Number two! If he won't, grab a mic, take the stage
Imply he wouldn't dare to stand and face your rage
Number three! Have your PR people meet on Skype
Figure out if one-on-one debates are worth the hype
This is commonplace, 'specially with right-wingers
Most disputes end with a friendly dinner
Number four! If they don't reach a peace, that's all right
Time to book a slot on a talk show tonight
You tell the host some jokes, you treat him with civility
He joins you in dismissing your opponent's viability
Five! Debate before the caucus is convened
Pick a big arena where you'll make a scene
Number six! Leave a note for your electoral committee
Dress up pretty, practice sounding confident and witty
Seven! Tug your tie. Ready for the moment
Of adrenaline when you finally face your opponent
Number eight! Your last chance to negotiate
Call the other guy, say you want to set the record straight
Are we on, Don?
Can we agree that the conclusion is foregone?
The Iowans deserve to hear your words, Don.
With that woman in charge—the ditzy blonde? I'm gone.
Hang on, you're dissing blonde women? That's not even sexist so much as gratuitous.
Okay, so we're doing this.
Number nine! Look him in the eye, make your points by rote
Wait for citizens to cast their votes
One two three four
Five six seven eight nine
Ten o'clock news REPORT--
In the past week, fires have started at seven churches in the American South
, most of which have predominantly Black congregations. At least three of the fires have been determined to be arson--which is to say, acts of domestic terrorism. Media coverage on this has been scant, and most of the reports that do appear say things like "the events did not appear to be linked"; what they mean is that no single organization or individual appears to be behind all or most of the fires, but that phrasing rather appallingly elides the part where a specific community is being targeted in the context of other recent bias crimes.
An Episcopal church in St. Louis has started a collaborative effort to fund rebuilding the damaged churches. In addition to soliciting donations from individuals, they're asking congregations of all kinds to take up special collections for the cause. Info is here:http://www.icontact-archive.com/M5YFYDA07SZXyilTdrSHc_yzvu9vHEAs?w=1https://cccathedralstl.dntly.com/campaign/2571#/
(Thanks to mactavish
for the links.)
Please donate if you can, and spread the word, especially to community leaders who can organize larger collection efforts.
If you regularly read or watch the news, and you haven't seen any coverage of these events, write letters to your favorite news organizations and ask them to cover the fires (ideally using the words "arson" and "terrorism") and to signal-boost the fundraiser. Make sure to mention that you're a subscriber or frequent reader/viewer.
Now I want a "Pixel-stained technopeasant corn" userpic.
Also, a letter.To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Declining your kind invitation
Thanks again for the invitation you extended at Readercon for me and my partner Josh to visit you in Providence. As I told you then, I've never been there and was looking forward to finding a good weekend to go up, see the town, and hang out with you.
Following your recent participation in the discussion over the Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF, however, I no longer feel I can take you up on that offer. It would be entirely too awkward for all of us were we to get into an argument and find ourselves unable to resolve it while you had responsibility for hosting us and we were far from home. Moreover, as you have now compared women and people of color to weeds; implied that homosexual men aren't really men, or that your critics believe so; and suggested that women like myself must have some sort of professional ulterior motive to object to a major anthology TOC being solely the province of white men (even though you as an author in that anthology have a significant professional stake in this discussion, and I as a journalist and magazine editor have no professional stake in it whatsoever), I find it hard to believe that you actually want to spend a weekend in my company, given that I am a queer woman who has recently made it extremely clear that she cares a lot about minority representation in genre fiction circles and isn't shy about getting into loud discussions of same.
You have always been very kind to me in our direct interactions, but I cannot reconcile that with your wholesale dismissal of these classes to which I and many of my friends belong. You state that your error was in breaking your policy of remaining on the sidelines of arguments. I disagree. I think your error was in coming into a conversation and turning it into an argument by espousing an absurd, offensive position and backing it up with absurd, offensive rhetoric. I very much hope that you reconsider your exit from the conversation at least long enough to post an apology to the numerous people you have insulted, explicitly declare your affiliation with the book under discussion, and either reconsider your position or recuse yourself from further conversation on the very reasonable grounds that as an author in the anthology you cannot--as you yourself have noted--possibly have anything like an unbiased opinion of the selection criteria used by the editor.
I know you're fond of my father and I was hoping I could become friends with you someday as well. For that to happen, though, you have to see me as a real person, and see all people like me as real people, even the ones whose fathers you don't know. If that happens, and if you are willing to make a public statement to that effect and make a serious effort at understanding exactly why women and POC and queers and other minorities get so furious every single time a straight white man publishes a book full of stories by straight white men, drop me a note and perhaps we can reschedule that weekend visit.
Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new.
--Philip K. Dick