when politics > womens health

Despite being a Political Science student, I usually refrain getting into political debates, but a new move by Susan G. Komen (a world renowned Breast Cancer Foundation) has really got me riled up. In an article published by the New York Times, Komen explains it’s removal of funds to Planned Parenthood – who provided thousands of mammograms and preventative breast cancer treatment and education – many are saying due to political pressures from anti-abortion right wing conservatives.

Anti-abortion advocates and Web sites have criticized the Komen foundation’s financing of Planned Parenthood for years. And in December, LifeWay Christian Resources, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, said it was recalling a pink Bible it was selling at Walmart and other stores because a dollar per copy was going to the Komen foundation and the foundation supported Planned Parenthood.

This just infuriates me. Planned Parenthood provides so many, much needed services to women who could not otherwise afford it. I remember my step mom taking me there when I was 21 for my first pap smear – I remember being terrified and embarrassed that I had failed to previously take care of this. And I remember the staff, so caring and informative, I remember feeling safe and thankful that such an organization existed. It makes me sad that some people think Planned Parenthood is nothing but an abortion clinic. I think this will be the first year I don’t run in Komen’s Breast Cancer marathon.

It’s been a great weekend. Been able to catch up with some old friends and work.

It’s incredible to think about where I was in my life a year ago. In no way do I regret my journey, I have learned so much about myself and other people, but I am grateful to be where I am today. I feel good about where I am going, and most of all, I am proud of who I am today. My choices, my relationships, my health, my state of mind… I really feel like my priorities are right, and that everything else stems from there.

It amazes me what a matter of months and moves can do.

 

Psalm 42 is this painfully poetic verse about a deep desire to be near to God, the Psalmist says his soul longs for the Lord as a deer pants for water, that he craves the days when he would rejoice in God’s protection, and that now, now where can he find God?

And I know sometimes things seem chaotic and out of reach, and our minds get burdened with trivial quandaries and crisis, but in reality, we are never far from God. In reality, there is no where we can go where God is not there.

 

Later on in the poem, the Psalmist realizes this, he says, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept me over” He was thirsty, and then it hit him, that he is emerged in a waterfall, God’s waves are breaking on him, sweeping him over, and he is overwhelmed with it. And I think that’s how it is sometimes. Like we may feel so disconnected from it all, like God could never be farther. But then theres a break in the wave and you realize you are submerged in glory. Submerged in whatever it is that you are supposed to be in, whether its a relationship or a job, a city or a season, you are where you are supposed to be. And everything you need is right in front of you.

So maybe God doesn’t change our circumstances, because he wants to change us.

dr king did not write a speech, he wrote a poem called i have a dream

forty four years later and the world is still a mess
the three triplets of evil are still grazing our lands and robbing our youth
i wonder if he knew
that he was not the end but a stepping stone
a light in the dark, a squeeze on the hand of a grown man
still living with the threat of violence because of his skin
I’m not sure why God allows suffering
or certain people to be taken from us
but i know that there is a plan
and that reconciliation is not so far out of our reach
Dr King said only when its dark enough can you see the stars
it was raining that night in memphis just like tonight
cold and stormy but seeing through it all,
he said i may not get there with you
but we will get there, we will be alright.
“We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny. An inescapable network of mutuality. I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.” 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Santa Cruz


showing my mom the “hop outta my bed, and turn my swag on” dance. Always love seeing my Santa Cruz boys, even though they lost horribly to the mother daughter pool duo. I’m happy that I’m not embarrassed to bring my mom around my friends, they loved her and we all had a really good time. Whenever my mom and I are out at a function or entertaining, I remember where I get my sense of adventure and fun from. It makes me smile to see her out with us, having fun, dancing, laughing, being the child of God she was created to be. Forgiveness is more for yourself then anyone else. As Dr. Martin Luther King said,

“Don’t ever let someone pull you so low as to hate them.”

and i think that is very powerful. Its takes a lot more energy to hate someone and remain stuck on their shortcomings, than it does to extend grace and allow people to be who they are.


finding old love letters

In Plato’s allegory of the metal, the philosopher classifies people into groups 0f gold, silver, and lead. You my love are gold. Pure gold. There is gold in your intellectual brilliance, gold in your warmth and humanity. Gold in your transparency, gold in your honesty.Though we are apart, you are never far from my thoughts. In many ways, though we are separated, I keep a conversation with you in my head, You with your light spirit and me with my heavy heart. This distance is great but love is strong and you taught me there’s so many reasons to carry on.There are so many things I want you to know but cannot say. Like the way I cover my face from you in the morning it has nothing to do with you When the sun peeks though the window to greet us with morning, I scramble for the blankets, for a cover to hide my face. It’s not because I don’t believe in the trinity and it’s unfailing grace, it’s because for twenty two years I’ve been taught guilt. For twenty two years I lived in shame. But I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with the way you look at me. There’s  a reason ancient Cathedrals never sang songs but only hummed hymns, there’s something sacred about our imperfection, but its hidden behind too many myths.

((to be young and infatuated))

Privilege and the Truth

It feels right, being back in the Bay.  Back in my little apartment off Ashby, the noisy neighbors, the screaming sirens, synching the fall and rise of my chest with the passing traffic, tire screeches and honking horns. There is something about living here. So raw. Makes everything else seem whimsical.

I went to a training last night in Oakland for the new school I will be directing. Searching for the conference room, I shuffled through Frank Ogawa Plaza- a little over a dozen “Occupiers” remain. They’re holding their General Assembly like a mother still calling her deceased sons phone, still making his bed, unaccepting defeat, hoping one day he will come home. There is a lot of commotion, drinking, bullshitting and babbling from other stragglers in the park, I feel their eyes on me- eyes on white girl dressed nice, fancy watch, smart phone – feel animosity burn into me from my feet up. I drop my phone into my oversized hand bag and tuck  my watch into my blazer, scurry a little faster, irritated at my inability to find this meeting room, irritated at their looks.

Two older white women with botox and darting eyes, drift hopelessly through the plaza as well, I take comfort in their gaudiness- we join forces and conquer this abyss called direction – GPS needs to have an “avoid ghetto” route.

The meeting goes well, I am surprised by the amount of volunteers that showed up to work at schools. Lots of good hearted people. Then there are those women who take way too much pride in announcing they’ve been with the program fro 6 years, scoff at naïve questions and feel the need to expand upon every point made by the facilitator- cause they know. People are funny. Whatever though, whatever makes you feel like you’re the captain of the ship.

I’m at home with the girls. Straightening Mashari’s hair while TaShy drifts in and out of sleep on my lap. The oldest one, DayDay, tells me stories about her friends and their relationship drama. How he threw half her clothes out of the house and refused to let her get the rest, arguments ensued and the confrontation escalated to threats of violence. DayDay called the police, but they asked way too many questions, none of which demanded an address. They called again, but the police never came. DayDay says its because they in East Oakland, and what business do the cops have coming to a domestic disturbance call in East Oakland.

Last semester I took a class on Minorities in the Struggle. Our GSI, Reggie, led discussions, he talks calmly and out of the side of his mouth. Reggie talks about privilege like a sinister ghost, a haunting past.. He says the most important thing in life is truth. I am understanding both of these now. White privilege means not having to think about your ethnicity. Your name. the way you talk, your address. DayDay knows the police didn’t come because they were in East Oakland. But the truth is they didn’t come because they were black. The truth is there are several micro factors going into it- saying your name is DayDay – strike one. Grammatical errors- strike two. That frantic, angry tone mixed with the cross streets you just gave- might as well hang up the phone. Even now as I am typing this, red lines sit beneath all the girls names, red as in wrong, hanging below like rotten roots prohibiting the tree from growing. The leaves will never know of this, the branches will always break in frustration, not knowing why.

I know why.