Disability Justice and Reproductive Justice: CLPP Recap

This weekend was my first time experiencing the amazing and inspiring Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP) conference at Hampshire College…and just in time for its THIRTIETH anniversary (commemorated by three large dance break-outs/parties in just two days). I’ve honestly been exposed to so much that my head is still spinning, and I will send out recaps from the workshops as I process all of the information over the next week.

Here is a recap of the Saturday workshop “Disability Justice and Reproductive Justice.” More than anything it painted a broad picture of Disability Justice (DJ)’s complex and rocky relationship with community health services and the medical profession. It showed how problematic it is to even define words like “disability,” let alone talk about it when there are so many misconceptions about what it is and how it interacts with other personal/individual and social/group identities.

Before the workshop even started, we all got a nice disclaimer about how everyone has the right to define mental illness and abnormality/atypicality for themselves. There is a wide spectrum of natural human emotions, along which we may try to identify a “norm” and then “outliers”…but there is so much variance it doesn’t even matter. Everyone will experience “disability” at some point in their life. The more that I collect life experience, the more I realize the “everyone-has-a-story” rule absolutely applies to disability, too. EVERYONE will experience (at least temporary) disability at some point in their life – you know, “unless they die first”.

Whether it’s something that’s widely accommodated, like needing eyeglasses, or something “invisible,” like chronic pain or a neurological disorder; everybody has or will have something. If we think about it that way, it completely flips the idea of providing “extra” or “abnormal” accommodations, and shows that accessibility should be the norm the way that people who need some form of accommodation are the norm. People who are not stereotypically abled ARE the de facto majority; and, I’ll bet, the numerical majority. People who are mostly temporarily abled have somehow falsely been accorded power and privilege that leads them to push everyone else to the margins.

Please see diagram below:


Do you see what changes here if we start perceiving everyone as having some form of disability?

Anyway, another big take-away was the idea of “making space for the body” – both literal and figurative. Physically, it can mean things like allowing room for wheelchairs to move between aisles of chairs in a classroom. This example particularly resonated with me because during my first year facilitating a group for first-year college students, we played an icebreaker where I set up a giant game of Twister on the linoleum floor. We used fun questions like “If you have an exotic pet, do XYZ,” and I thought it went over really well. Although no one opted out, I immediately realized afterward how exclusionary it could easily have been.

I realized that because it was our first meeting, I hadn’t known whether any of the students would be using a wheelchair or have other accessibility issues. But now, I also wonder whether there might have been an invisible disability that no one spoke up about. For example, I have a friend who lives with very bad arthritis, and sometimes just climbing a staircase can be very painful – much less, I imagine, a game of Twister!

Reflecting on invisible/visible disability, as well as creating accessible spaces as part of a norm that necessitates inclusion, really resonated with me. Figuratively, “making space for the body” can mean creating spaces for conversations and dialogue about the body and accessibility; which I hope is starting here. I’m going to add another post where I will speak to more of my own experiences with disability and identity and justice. In the meantime, check out some of these resources:

Leaving Evidence
A blog by panelist Mia Mingus, “a queer disabled woman of color korean adoptee working, creating and loving towards wholeness and connection, love and liberation.”

The Freedom Center
A huge resource for learning about disability, justice, and empowerment. Also the home of Madness Radio!
Panelists Dana Grace Keller and Caty Simons’ organization.

Matters of Justice
A fellow blogspot blog by panelist Martina Robinson.

**Cross-posted at Not Your Average Feminist and the CLPP 30th Anniversary Blog.

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The girl you just called fat?

There’s a new anti-bullying facebook status being reposted that I think is really great. It goes like this: 

The Girl you just called fat? She has been starving herself & has lost over 30lbs. The Boy you called stupid, he has a learning disability & studies over 4hrs a night. The Girl you called ugly? She spends hours putting make-up on hoping people will like her. The Boy you just tripped? He is abused enough at home. There’s a lot more to people then you think. Put this as your status if you’re against bullying.

I think using facebook statuses is a really creative way of bringing awareness of different social issues that people usually don’t encounter in their normal routine. I especially love it when it comes from someone unexpected, or offers support to someone anonymously listening. However I want to add to the spirit of this message, that it’s not only negative words that work their way into a person’s psyche or become part of an accepted discourse. It’s ALL language – sometimes even things that are well-intentioned – that have power in shaping someone’s identity, self-esteem and self-concept. So I offer an alternative facebook status as just food for thought :).

The girl you just called SKINNY? She has been starving herself and lost over 30 lbs to fit a societal imperative that she be “beautiful” according to a prejudiced, unhealthy and unrealistic/unattainable ideal. The boy you called STUPID? He is an imaginative and enthusiastic painter, but is branded as inferior according to a single definition of success. The girl you called BEAUTIFUL? She lives in a society where it matters what other people think of her, and where she is expected to welcome comments on her body and taught to need external validation of her self-worth. The boy you just tripped? He is secretly afraid and starts to bully others to protect his own ego. 

There’s a lot more to people than you think. Sometimes it’s not just the negative comments that get to us, but the positive ones that have only the best intentions. Commenting on others’ bodies is supposed to make them feel good. Kids who are bullied get more empathy than the bullies who are bullied. Language has power, plain and simple. But thinking about the things we say and do that are so deeply ingrained we don’t even question them? Now THERE’S a powerful message.

Cross-posted at Not Your Average Feminist.

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Part I: Unpacking racial privilege and entitlement

This makes me happy 🙂

This semester I’ve been going to meetings for a club associated with our Black Student Union, and it’s been eye-opening in so many ways. As someone who’s personally committed to understanding and deconstructing my own privilege, it’s important that I learn to shut my mouth sometimes and just listen. One of the most important things I can do for myself is develop meaningful relationships with people who are different from me. But in trying to coerce others into the new territory of  intergroup dialogue, I recall for myself what made that initial first step seem so intimidating.

The first time I came out to a meeting, I was accidentally the first to arrive. I let myself into the empty classroom and sat with my head straight down, staring at my phone, playing it off all nonchalant and cool. Then the first person walked in and paused for a minute, smiling politely but a little bemused.

“Hey…um…are you in here for a class?”
“No, I’m here for club meeting.”
” Oh, are you friends with someone on the E-board?”
“…No. I’ve been meaning to come for a while and finally found the time.”
“…Oh.”

He smiled again, in what I hoped (oops) was a secretly pleased sort of way. I guess they weren’t accustomed to random white girls showing up to BMAD. Not that I deserve special recognition for bothering to care about other people’s experiences; all that says is I satisfy a basic level of human decency. I had checked the week before though to make sure it was alright that I come, to which they had just laughed good-naturedly. Knowing that they are an educational organization, I now liken it to my own Feminists United meetings – how thrilled would I be if a male ally asked if he could come! Often when I’m alone, I find my only standard for comparison is wondering how I would feel (oops?) if a male ally acted in a similar fashion towards me or my movement.

LESSON ONE. When I’m not sure if I’m overstepping the boundaries, ask.

For example, my sophomore year I asked if I could attend a discussion for what turned out to be a confidential LGBT support group – I was told ‘no’. At first I felt excluded and hurt – didn’t they recognize I was just trying to learn? Didn’t they appreciate what a great ALLY I was? In all my privileged self-righteousness, I couldn’t understand why no one was tripping over each other to welcome me with open arms. It took a lesson about safe spaces to understand the problem with me elbowing my way in, just because I felt entitled to be taught. It was inherently contradictory, actually; I just wish I’d been accorded the opportunity to understand why at the time. Again, I’m not entitled to a justification either. There are plenty of other avenues through which I can learn, and should attempt to before even purporting to accept an invitation into a safe (much less a minority) space. And sometimes, just being there with all my unknown privilege-baggage could interfere with the dialogue.

Hopefully I will be able to share here, through successive posts, my personal process of unpacking privilege and unlearning entitlement. It’s a lifelong journey that requires constant self-reflection, constructive and generous input from people I trust, and continuous learning about what I ought to be learning, may not be realizing I need to learn, and how to find out what I’m not realizing that I need to learn. Just to start, this website helped me A LOT. But I will share with you other ways I screw up, backpedal, hold back, and occasionally do something right. And I always welcome feedback from YOU about how I am doing. 🙂 So here goes nothing…

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Who decides children’s personal boundaries?

This is a continuation of my post on the ways we can teach children consent, by using their relationships with us to set a precedent of “asking before touching”. I decided to branch off and focus on the ways we can help empower children – by seeking to understand and respect their boundaries, especially as they pertain to personal space invasions by adults.

In my previous post I talked about how important it is for children to learn they are entitled to consent (or not) to social interactions; and how even well-meaning adults sometimes  encroach on this. When you are preoccupied with having only good intentions, it doesn’t occur to you to think you’re making someone uncomfortable. But it’s easy to feel such strong attachments with our children that we lose sight of the fact we may not always be welcome in their personal space.


But I can’t be proposing that we ALWAYS need to ask, verbally and explicitly, and perhaps at risk of spoiling the moment, before reaching out to another person?? That can’t be the only way people give consent – and it isn’t. For example I did not always used to ask my partner’s permission before taking his
hand, or ask my sister’s consent before giving a hug. With people we know well, we can learn to read signs of implicit consent. Things that are so subtle I couldn’t even adequately describe them here – those moments that you get a smile, a look, a mutual feeling that something comfortable and special is going on. People that children are the closest to generally learn to read their moods and their body language. There is still a developmental difference though – with adults that I know well, within the realm of their known boundaries, I typically assume something is okay unless they tell me otherwise. This may not be the best approach with children – they are still learning, and we need to make it expressly clear that it is okay to say no by reinforcing each and every time.

There are also unavoidable situations for children where we can’t ask their consent, where their opinions need to be mediated by adult judgment. For example, a parent doesn’t always ask their infant if they may place them in the high chair, or ask before grabbing their hand to cross the street. Children do need guidance and supervision. All that aside , EVERYONE has the right to control when and where and how they are touched by others. Children are more often denied the opportunity to consent in situations where it would be very appropriate. Children, collectively, are frequently and summarily denied rights that they would be entitled to if they were older. I’m talking about decisions everyone has a right to make about their personhood.

Vera at Dancing in the Darkness established a Recovery Bill of Rights for Trauma Survivors, which highlights specific entitlements everyone has regarding their selves/bodies. Here is an excerpt:

For the Preservation of Personal BOUNDARIES, You Have the Right …
…to be touched only with your permission, and only in ways that are comfortable
…to choose to speak or remain silent, about any topic or at any moment
…to choose to accept or decline feedback, suggestions, or interpretations
…to ask for help in healing, without having to accept help with work, play, or love
…to challenge any crossing of your boundaries
…to take appropriate action to end any trespass that does not cease when challenged.

Would you generally agree that these are things all humans are entitled to…even ones that are younger? Aren’t children less experienced versions of adults, who need to learn these things now? These rights are often denied to children on the basis of their age, “maturity”, presumed incompetence or inability to reason/understand. They may even be told this is for their own good! Sound familiar? That’s right, those are some of the very justifications used to marginalize other groups of people. Please compare these rights in the context of the brilliant Adult Privilege Checklist,put together by Anji at Shut Up, Sit Down: .

As a child:
6. I am routinely ignored or told to be quiet. [….]
11. Adults often feel they have the right to harass me.
a. Adults feel it is their right to talk to me even after I make it clear I do not wish to talk to them.
b. Adults feel it is their right to touch me (tousle my hair, pinch my cheek) without my permission. […]
13. People often make decisions on my behalf and tell me that they know better than I do what is best for me. […]
23. My sexual development is often not explained to me and sometimes actively discouraged. […]

We can’t help children to be empowered if our actions are communicating disempowering things to them. Asserting power over children just because we don’t stop to think about it, is really just a form of benevolent prejudice. What do you think – do children deserve to be treated the same way as adults with regards to their personal boundaries? Where do you draw the line between guidance and control?

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Don’t just talk to your kids about consent; practice it

What’s the easiest way to teach children about consent? Have them practice it with you. We have kids practice what to say when they get lost in the grocery store, how to talk (or not) to strangers, and different ways to say no to drugs. Isn’t it just as important to teach them about consent?

If we assume that issues of sexual consent first begin when we start regarding children as sexual beings, we’ll far have missed the boat. Personal boundaries are learned at the same time children learn normal social interactions, and it’s their understanding of nonsexual boundaries that may transfer to situations that have a sexual aspect. We don’t know when, or where, or how children will encounter situations in which they are challenged to be aware of and maintain personal boundaries. And aren’t they entitled to assertiveness and respect all of the time?

As someone who reads a LOT of feminist parenting blogs and is all about empowerment, I know I can’t take for granted that my touch is going to be welcome by someone. This includes children (especially girls), who are taught some pretty iffy things about consent, and for many reasons may not be able to properly communicate consent to me. This is why we have laws in place to protect children from exploitation, especially in situations that also involve emotional maturity and judgment. And when it comes to power relationships with adults, the messages are even more confusing. It’s okay to say no…EXCEPT when your parents think you should consent. Always defend personal boundaries…BUT not with certain adults ,who supposedly know better than you do. These messages aren’t just about sex, they’re about assertiveness and a right to one’s personal space. I think it’s common (and typically healthy) to use touch as one way of showing intimacy with others. But we have to be careful when we teach children about exceptions…should we exempt ourselves from the rules of consent just because we say so?

This recently struck a nerve when I was training with a local agency to facilitate support groups for children. We were learning about the role of touch in communicating empathy and connecting with others. Especially for children who are dealing with loss, developing attachments with caring adults can be an important part of the healing process. But something about this still made me uncomfortable – we are assuming an awful lot of things. 1) That our touch is necessarily welcome; 2) that it is our intent (not how touch may be experienced) that matters; and 3) we, as caring and well-meaning adults [read: we, because we say so] are entitled to intimacy with people that we don’t know simply because they are very young. I ended the training feeling torn between my knowledge of power relationships, and my trust in practiced facilitators. As usual, I turned to the feminist blogosphere for help.

Rebecca wrote a very emphatic  letter about this over at City of Ladies:

Dear *******,

I know it “hurts your feelings” when I get annoyed at you touching me without my consent. It hurts my feelings when you touch me without my consent. It hurts my feelings when you yell at me for being annoyed when you touch me without my consent. […] Because once you establish that consent does not matter, the difference between kissing the back of someone’s neck and putting your penis in their vagina is a difference only of degree, not of kind. […]

Are you disappointed that the only safety videos you could find when we were kids were ones that said that you are the only one who can let someone touch your body? Would you rather have shown us ones that said that our parents were the only ones who could let someone touch our body, and it was their consent that mattered? […]


Thomas from Yes Means Yes adds:

[…] What Rebecca describes is a fight that cannot be won in a single engagement. It is a constant. Grandparents and aunts and uncles press in with their sense of entitlement to smooch and pat and kiss. If we teach our children to go along to get along, how is that differentiable from the gym teacher or the school nurse? […]

The ones who are going along to get along are us, the parents. Let’s be honest: we don’t want to have to explain to our parents and siblings that their sense of entitlement is wrong. We don’t want to have to say the things that Rebecca says in her letter. […] I’m the one who can say, “I’m their dad, and I told them they don’t have to kiss anyone they don’t want to.” I can’t say in every family who can do this job. I know in mine, it is me. And so I will do it.


The simplest thing we can do to teach children about consent is to model it through their relationships with US. If
guardians and people close to them ask their consent before being touched, kissed, moved about; this will be the way they interact with other people in their life. If I ask consent before picking someone up and swinging them around – before physically moving them from place to place – they will learn that someone with power over them can not use physical force to trump bodily autonomy. Consent is not just about sex; it’s about a culture in which people are entitled to decide when, where, how, and with whom they interact in an intimate way. It’s not about your children not wanting to snuggle with you – it’s about teaching them that it’s customary to ask. It means that if anyone ever tries to snuggle them without asking, and they don’t want to, it’s okay not to want to. It means that while the adults that care for them must sometimes override their own judgment, they are still the ones in charge of their body, they are the only ones who can give out consent, and “good touches” and “bad touches” are good and bad irrespective of how much power someone has over them. Don’t just talk to your kids about consent. Practice it.

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The feminist on/off switch

In a post called “Solidarity through Parenting” over at Barnard’s The Scholar & Feminist Online, blogger brownfemipower wrote about keeping her family life separate from her life as a radical feminist for the WoC movement (P.S.: this). This article was cathartic for me to read, due to (constant) run-ins I’ve had with my family while I am home for the holidays. Feminism isn’t just one opinion that I have among many other opinions; it’s a personal philosophy and a lens through which I try to understand everything else in the world. My feminism and activism are a personal process; sometimes it’s great and empowering, sometimes it’s really hard, and sometimes it forces me to deal with things that I don’t want to. As a person I have to let myself feel angry, miserable, excited, and a wide range of natural reactions to the things around me; but as a feminist teacher, I try to keep myself in a secure enough place that I can temper these reactions to gently introduce a feminist perspective to the people I’m with. I know that one of the most important things we can do as individual feminists is to share it with the people who are close to us. So although my family is comprised of very nice people who certainly “care” about social justice, why do I find myself sometimes flicking the ‘off’ switch when I’m at home?

Pros of The Off Switch:

1) I can ignore the strong feelings that I sometimes need to feel in order to feed my own activism, because I’ve decided it’s more important to be agreeable.

2) I’m not constantly running away to send upset texts to my friends explaining a very detailed scenario and asking for “feminist validation”.

3) Everyone gets to hide behind their privilege Okay that is such a bullshit answer I can’t even bring myself to put it here.

Cons of The Off Switch:

1) I’m not living up to a personal standard of incorporating feminism into all aspects of my life, since it is relevant to all aspects of my life.

2) I’m undermining a movement by being embarrassed to embrace it in certain public spheres.

3) I’m not giving my family enough credit for accepting me as I am (even though they say they do but don’t always act like it).

4) I’m not trusting myself to handle potentially negative interactions (dismissal, eye rolling, the “not cool” vibe, etc.) with the people from whom I’d take it the most personally.

Okay, so I didn’t really need to make the list.

from brownfemipower:
“Any organizer knows what I am talking about—organizers, more often than not, choose to keep their radical lives, their organizing jobs, so separate from their families, their homes, their neighborhoods, that it feels like they live double lives: the life where they are accepted as normal, interesting, and loved for who they are, and the life where they sit in silence, biting tongues and rolling eyes, and are loved for who their families think they are.”

When we talk about feminist movements, who exactly do we hope we are reaching? I know that I don’t run events on my campus for the benefit of my own little circle – we do it to introduce feminist concepts to people outside the movement. I want to reach out to the misogynists, the man-haters, the the older and the younger, politicians, consumers, workers, artists, the guy who honked at me in traffic, Other People’s Families. I want to stand on the roof and yell at the top of my lungs and proclaim feminism to the world!

…But I know that won’t work. When we talk about real social change, we talk about recognizing systems of power and privilege in our own lives. I accept parts of myself as oppressed, and (more) parts of myself as oppressor. I seek to be respectful, celebratory, and liberating towards others in all aspects of my life – I can’t afford to be selective about when and where I challenge paradigms that dominate. The point is that they dominate – if I give an inch, they can take a mile just with sheer momentum. In a way, it’s easier to stop strangers in a hallway and ask them to reconsider their language. It’s easier to protest an event, march around campus, write letters and make phone calls and blog and teach and start conversations when you’re doing it all with strangers.

You know what my superhero show would be subtitled? Feminist by Day….Coward by Night, Because as much as I embrace learning about and doing what is right, it’s HARD. Yes, it’s hard work! I’d like to come home at night and put my feet up and not have to challenge every uncalled-for judgment, presumption, or offensive joke. I’d like to, but I can’t, for my own sake. We all have a right to safe spaces, to security, to love, and to rest. But everything depends on context. What does it cost me to keep going – annoyance? Exasperation? Tell that to people around the world who suffer and have died for worse. If I can reasonably sustain myself, I don’t get to take a break JUST BECAUSE IT’S HARD. And besides, if I can’t confront these things in my own home, in my own personal space…how can I profess to others that they do the same? Dealing with these things at home is, in a sense, really getting inside my own head. Testing the love and security which will, I do know, be there at the end of the day. If I have the privilege of knowing that I won’t be kicked out of my house, won’t be abused, won’t have my self-worth undermined for suggesting such a thing…damn it, I have an obligation to call people out.

“[My] husband was the only person in my family who knew that I blogged, spoke at conferences, advocated for the dissolving of the nation/state, and more than likely had been subject to FBI surveillance while attending a march with a local anti-war organization[…]. I get what’s wrong with this. What’s the point of doing all these things if you’re limiting yourself to people you have less influence over? We need to share ourselves with the people we’re close to, invite them into our spaces the way we unobtrusively sit in theirs, allow them to see the hurt and the anger and the joy I experience as a self-identified part of a movement…and, as a teacher, meet them where they are at, accept them as they are so that they have the same love and security that enables me to then seek out other ways to understand the reality that I live in.

“The pressure on me to attend to two separate communities at the same time fades a little more each time we, as a community, deconstruct old borders and embrace the reality that feminism*s* is where the answers are[…]One thing I do know for sure, however, is that if I can’t act in solidarity with my daughter, if I can expressly reject solidarity with her in the name of a Movement she has little in common with or need of, what kind of organizer would I be?(All emphases are mine.)

Thanks brownfemipower, for sharing your story in a way that makes me take a hard look at myself. Your voice will be missed*.

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You’re skinny, eat whatever you want

Fitness is about what you look like, not what you're doing.

As someone who’s always been considered of average weight and benefits from size privilege, I have always been perceived to be healthy. Like most people, I could write a list of ways my body doesn’t conform to a certain ideal – but let’s face it, I am temporarily abled in most aspects of my life, and sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve it because I have less than healthy habits.

From a very young age it was the way that I looked, not how healthy I was, that was unintentionally reinforced. As a kid I participated in lots of upper-middle class things: sports, after-school activities, swimming and trampoline with the neighborhood kids. I was active enough. But as I got older, this wasn’t the case. As a “typical girl” who wasn’t one of the athletes, I felt intimidated and was usually left out if I tried to participate in gym. As girls, we had enough to worry about anyway…as long as you looked okay, it wasn’t the norm to care about fitness. Sure you could never be thin enough, light-skinned enough (societally), tan-skinned enough (culturally), have hair that was straight and glossy enough, breasts that were properly pushed up enough, skin that was clear enough, clothes that were tight enough, and the list goes on. But these things were superficial – health wasn’t on my mind, nor was was a deliberate lifestyle. Health was an accident. Health was a privilege.

Joyous!

As someone who took thin for granted, I still understood the imperative to remain thin. Things can be positively reinforced just as much as they can be negatively reinforced. Whenever we gathered for family functions, my Nana would put her hand over my stomach and sigh, “oh, you girls are so thin!”. I was eleven. I hadn’t gone through the development al stage yet that increased my percentage of body fat (you know, the one that prepares your body to nourish eggs.)

These things stay with us. My sister, on the other hand, was the star athlete in high school. She captained three varsity teams, won countless awards, and would work all season just to beat her own record. To me, it was about social acceptability; I had a good group of friends, didn’t get picked on, and considered myself of average attractiveness to the opposite sex other genders people I was attracted to. Thin was a mentality, not a physical condition (much less an intentional condition). Sure I fought my parents about junk food and computer games, but I wasn’t surrounded by constant reminders that I needed to be healthy. I was surrounded by constant reminders that I needed to “look” healthy…and I guess that whatever that means, I looked it. For my sister exercise made her feel good; it held her to a personal standard. I saw that first-hand, but I didn’t make the connection that it was necessary. In my mind, only “fat people” had to worry about stuff like that [oh how I cringe just to admit those words now].

My take-away lesson from the media, my family, and my peers was that people who were “overweight” were  the unhealthy ones. I looked okay, so I had nothing to worry about. I had a friend who was a larger size than me; she also ate very carefully, had a good fitness routine, and made an effort to learn about health and nutrition. She took much better care of her body than I, who came home and watched tv while shoveling in what I’m sure were hundreds of calories. But it was her who always heard hurtful words; who was told “you shouldn’t be eating that”; who felt defensive in her own home. She learned to value stupid things like numbers – looked forward to the day that she could trade her hard-earned fitness points in for social acceptance, like exchanging tickets for a prize at Chuck E. Cheese. She was healthy in all normal senses of the word, but it wasn’t about that.

I am older now, and if I hadn’t discovered an interest in cooking I don’t know where I’d be. I don’t have a regular exercise routine – sure I’m on my feet all day, but I otherwise lead a rather sedentary lifestyle. I am constantly anxious over the fact that I neglect the body that I love, but I somehow can’t motivate myself to do it. Why? Because I “look okay”, and that is my internal standard. I don’t show up to family functions and get told “you look so happy!” No. I get told “you look great!” or other supposedly kind, presumptuous, uninvited comments on my body.  I have allowed others’ valuing of my social status over my own life to determine the way that I treat myself. That is my standard. And I’m sitting here, right now, taking a good hard look at myself, thinking this is unacceptable. And I’m ending it NOW.

From now on, I pledge to take loving care of my body regardless of the reasons other people may value it. I am my own person and I have the ability and the agency to make decisions about my body. I have an obligation to myself to work through all these bullshit expectations I have been imprinted with and take care of myself. Because no one else is going to do it for me. And damn right I am worth it. .

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