mice, roaches, and Patrick Dempsy

My roommate told me to write about today, and I responded, “I wish today didn’t exist”. Not in a trauma response way. No rather in just the frustration of interacting with patriarchy and capitalism – both sincerely attempting to tell me that how I do things is wrong. I have been trying to buy a…

you are your circumstances and other ineloquent, obvious points

Know-Thy-Self. Seems that enlightenment is defined by a person’s ability to simplify their sense of self and meditate upon it. Or that pop culture offers quizzes, personality tests, astrology, self-diagnosis to then self-help. All has contributed to a reinforced obsession with the self – a hunk of marble for us to chisel and polish. Our…

Gentrification and anxiety

Gentrification and anxiety. The effects of gentrification are an interesting lens through which to view mental health. And before I get too far into the esoteric or perhaps abstract; I think a critical piece is that gentrification is not a general term. It is not used for when a lively immigrant community moves in,  paints…

not the mums

I live in a fast gentrifying neighborhood in Philadelphia. This form of gentrification is occurring as the small slice of white, middle class blocks keep expanding Northward. So it is not necessarily just young hipsters and it is not a first sighting of white folks. The attitude I most attribute to gentrification is the suburban…

to hell in a handbasket

What does success look like as we flail towards hell in a handbasket? I interpret that phrase to mean a lack of accountability, a lull into complacency, passivity – a space between being trapped and self-imposed constraints. In looking up the phrase a painting from 1515 is referenced, “Hieronymous Bosch painting “The Haywain” (c. 1515) (in the Prado,…

perhaps the only story I need to tell

He gets back in the silver sedan, carrying away my whole sense of self. I think about going home, and instead have another beer at the cafe before closing time. I turn to go home, stop at the bodega for another beer, and walk past my house to sit by the river. I am still…

Bigfoot, the Lochness Monster and Institutional Racism

As a historian, a classroom teacher, and aware person I cannot tabulate the amount of time I have spent trying to convince white people that racism exists. I am a white enough person that I had to be educated – but luckily that intervention happened at a young enough stage of development that it became…

inoculation to the prescient future

As a child my grandparents gave me $25 for Hanukkah and $50 for my birthday, every year from the age of six to sixteen. Only once did I spend any of that money, $15 for a Barbie car, but every other check was deposited directly into my own savings account at the Bank. I still…

eulogy for “losing your virginity”

Colloquial sayings have a role in cultures and communities, often acting as a short-hand for a common experience. It is one area where the meaning of words evolves faster than any academic or lexicographer can measure. People often complain at first at the hassle of changing a commonly used term but eventually through the powers…

puzzles

My mother believes in the intellectual value of doing puzzles. For younger children it teaches patience, perseverance, shape recognition and logic. For older people it is calming, a form of meditation, and an outlet for our modern over thinking brains. Sufficient to say that my childhood was full of puzzles, many of which I absolutely…

if Icarus never flew

Icarus failed because he took his trusty wings too close to the sun. He died in a triumphant rebuke of what he had been taught. He crashed back down to earth so that we could all be reminded that no matter our own wants or skills, the sun will always burn too hot. But what…

Do you want to be opinionated or do you want to be strategic?

Initial assessment, bleak realities, and beautiful strategies. We are gifted now to have multi-generational people, willing and able, to do the work of resisting oppression. We have people who were part of The Black Panthers and SNCC, we have anti-war and anti-nuclear activists from the Cold War, we have Latin American struggles for self-determination, we…