Self-Care

Lately I’ve been feeling pretty burnt out. Sometimes existing is just exhausting. Many mornings I’ve found myself tired at the thought of facing another day, which sucks considering I’m a morning person. I’ve been a big advocate for self-care because, not only do I believe it’s great for coping with the different things life throws at us, but I also believe it is necessary for survival.

Click here for tips on Yoga (Kundalini Kriyas) for Detoxification.

I have a daily paper that I created on paper.li which sources for articles shared through social media, on issues that I am interested in; every morning it’s my go-to news blog. I made sure to include a section for self-care and I have learned quite a bit about self-preservation. Granted I’m not a guru of self-care but I’m all about that life!

As I found myself in yet another online customer service feud (this time LCBO), I decided to put myself of a social media hiatus. It’s really hard to explain to people how their selective vigilance in due process when implementing certain policies is not only condescending but also racist and misogynistic (but I digress).

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Anyway, aside from staying away from social media, I’ve been revisiting some self-preservation techniques that have worked for me:

  1. Taking a Personal Day
    I once worked with someone who always took one day off every month for her own personal time. I asked them what they do on this day and they said they do nothing. On their personal day, they’re not checking emails, social media etc. Just sleeping in, eating comfort food, catching up on pleasure reading, bingeing on Netflix, taking a long walk, baking cookies… Taking a personal day is by far the best therapy I’ve ever had and I recommend it to everyone.
  2. Yoga
    Now I’m not a yogi at all, if anything I am very out of shape. Plus I’m not here to appropriate yoga practice. With that said, I recognize that yoga is a spiritual philosophy and practice of ancient sacred Hindu cultures and with humility I acknowledge my benefiting from its practice. My body appreciates at least 15 minutes of hatha yoga every so often. I have terrible posture, my shoulders do most of the heavy lifting therefore I experience a lot of aches and pains in my shoulder blades. Hatha yoga has been very beneficial in this regard.
  3. Writing
    Over the years, I have found myself harboring a lot of anger (due to the daily micro-aggressions I encounter) which has resulted in my being increasingly passive aggressive. I keep a private journal in which I rant in every so often; in 3 years, I am 500+ pages deep (Times New Roman 12 point, single spaced ). I didn’t even realize that this was therapeutic until I started going back and reading old entries. Traumas, and things that seemed so important at the time eased as I soon as I finished typing. So now whenever I have time, I consciously write about what’s bothering me and I can feel the anger slowly melt away as soon as I finish. This has also worked wonders for my depression. By no means, am I saying that this will work for everyone but it’s worth a try.

These are just my techniques and there are hundreds of websites out there with resources dedicated to self-care and self-preservation. Check out these really awesome resources from the Ride-or-Die Project.

Above all, true self-preservation requires us to find balance in our lives, especially as academics and activists, so as not to burn out. So get out there and treat yo self. It’s not self-indulgence!

self-care

That’s all folks…for now at least!

Unapologetically Black

The thing about being an unapologetically black woman means that…
there are people who are always afraid of, and threatened by you
Respect will always be hard to come by…
no matter what my status is in my community
People will always try to fit you to a stereotype…
and get frustrated if you don’t conform
Authorities are always extra vigilant with you
At times, people will get offended by your unapologetic existence
They will always wonder how you still rise and thrive in the face of their distrust
They will always wonder how you have the balls to call out their microaggressions
For you to ever be heard…
it will be through protest and anarchy
People will think I am just blowing smoke…
but this is the reality I face at least once every day…
even in the most ridiculous situation I have to keep my shields up
even when my existence is constantly invalidated I will hold my head high
And what they will never understand…
is that I do not exist for anyone’s acceptance
My life will continue!

Black_Magic_Woman_by_Ame_Kunoichi

Black Magic Woman by Ame-Kunoichi

Phonics…for your little warriors in training

A is for Angela Davis
B is for Brave
C is for Compassion
D is for Discourse
E is for Equity
F is for Feminist
G is for Gratitude
H is for Humor
I is for Intersectionality
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J is for Justice
K is for Knowledge
L is for Leftist
M is for Marxist
N is for Non-Discrimination
O is for Organize
P is for Precariat
Q is for Queer
R is for Radical
S is for Self-Care
T is for Trans-Inclusivity
U is for Union
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V is for Value
W is for Warrior

X is for Malcolm X
Y is for Yeah we bad!
Z is for Zora Neale Hurston

Musings 1

So it has been a while since I blogged (for a number of reasons). But just because I’m no longer an undergraduate student at York University or with the Diversity Peer Education Team, doesn’t mean the conversations have stopped; inclusivity education is the very core of me. The conversations continue on Twitter.

Anyway, there have been a few ideas I’ve playing around with over the last year because I still write. Writing has been an excellent self-care technique for me. This past year I’ve found myself increasingly restless. As such I started reflecting and writing poetry about life, existence, and my experiences as an immigrant in Occupied Turtle Island, womanist, & a fiery lefty.

The first poetry book I ever really indulged in, back in the day, was John Keats (who is still one of my favorite Romantic Poets). But, I fell deeply in love with poetry when I discovered Alice Walker (check out Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth, you won’t be disappointed). Poets such as d’bi.young (whom I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, live, a number of times), nayyirah waheed and warsan shire have also been a great inspiration.

Now I’m not saying I can measure up with these greats, not even close!!! But I decided to speak with my heart and speak my best version of the truth. Here’s my first story:

my story
a story of hope, unbroken, unfaltering and relentless
a story of renewal, of mind, body and soul
a story of second chances…and thirds…and fourths…
a story of strength, of strong women and strong wills
a story of resilience, of not being fazed by that which we have no control
a story of excellence and persistence
a story of gratitude in all circumstances good and bad
a story of journeys past, present and future
a story of faith
a story of justice
a story that is just as mine as it is yours

That’s all folks, for now at least!

Upcoming AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) session dates & news

Note:These sessions relate to the AODA legislation that affects websites of public sector and large organizations in Ontario. Websites affiliated in any way with York (including, but not limited to, research, admin, and student club websites) must now meet specific accessibility requirements.
AODA logo
If you are interested in attending either (or both) of the following sessions, please visit http://aodaweb.blog.yorku.ca/ for upcoming dates and to register. (If you encounter any issues, please let us know at devproj@yorku.ca)

The following sessions explain both why and how to meet these standards:

‘Open Discussion’ Session
This session provides an overview of the regulation, implications for your website(s), and how to make your website(s) accessible.
Who should attend? Administrators and Content Editors associated with any website at York.

‘Hands-On Training’ session
This session reviews web accessibility, tips, and tools, with time to practice on your own site with in-person support.
Who should attend? Those who maintain content on a WordPress-based website
* Prerequisite: ‘Open Discussion’ session *

FAQs:

Are there restrictions about who can attend?
The Open Discussion sessions are open to all York staff, faculty and students who are in any way associated with maintaining a website;
The Hands-On Training sessions are open to people who maintain WordPress-based websites at York.

How do I register for the ‘Designing Accessible Documents’ course?
The ‘Designing Accessible Documents’ course is run by the ‘Centre for Staff Development & Technical Learning’ and is separate from this series of sessions. If you have documents on your site, we encourage you to attend that course. Registration is handled via the YELC website (http://www.yorku.ca/yelc).

Will there be other dates announced?
Yes. If you cannot make any of the dates currently announced, there will be more booked and announced in the next month.

Can sessions be arranged for a large group of people affiliated with my unit?
Absolutely!
We are happy to bring a 2 hour ‘Open Discussion’ to groups of 8 or more people at a location of your choice and a 2 hour ‘Hands-On Training session’ to groups of 8 or less either at your computer lab or in ours. We also provide a combined 3 hour ‘Open Discussion / Hands-On Training’ session. Please contact devproj@yorku.ca for more details and/or to arrange a time.

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Domestic Violence: Why women stay. A guest post by a Women’s Center community member.

Resources (Toronto):

Community and distress centres

The following community agencies and supports are available for women who need support or who would like to talk to someone anonymously about their situation.

  • Sexual Assault Survivors’ Support Line and Leadership (SASSL) – York University
    24-hour Support Line: 416-650-8056
    For all other inquiries, please call SASSL’s main office line: 416-736-2100 ext.40345
    Website: http://www.yorku.ca/sassl/
    E-mail: sassl@yorku.ca
  • Victim Services Program of Toronto
    Tel: 416-808-7066
  • Toronto Rape Crisis Centre: Multicultural Women Against Rape
    Hours: Crisis Line Monday-Sunday 24 hours
    Tel: 416-597-8808; TTY 416-597-1214
  • Family Service Toronto (FST)
    David Kelley Lesbian and Gay Community Counselling Program
    355 Church Street
    Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1Z8
    Tel: 416-595-9618
  • Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)
    Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Tel: 416-599-2458; TTY 416-599-5077; Toll-free 1-800-354-9950
    CILT offers service and support to women with disabilities, who are in abusive relationships.
    Website: http://www.cilt.ca
  • Canadian Hearing Society Connect Counselling Services
    Tel: 416-928-2512 (voice) TTY 416-928-2511
    The Canadian Hearing Society Connect Counselling Services offers service and support to women in abusive relationships who are deaf or hard of hearing.
    Website: http://www.chs.ca/services/connect.html
  • Distress Centres:
    Distress Centres of Toronto 416-408-4357
    Telecare Distress Centre of Etobicoke 416-247-5426

Other on-line resources:

Source: http://www.familyservicetoronto.org/programs/vaw/centres.html

Women's Center at UMBC

This anonymous guest post was written by a member of the Women’s Center community.

Yes, this is a very complicated and broad topic for a blog, perhaps not so ideal for a short blog since this topic delves deep inside the psychological interplay of the domestic relationship. However, I’d like to share my two cents, how I feel and what I know. It’s very unusual for people to spend the time and energy seeking to be in love with people who will abuse them–psychologically, physically and even verbally. For example, when the good times happened, we were on Cloud 9! Never had I found myself waiting, in anticipation, for bad times. Not just rough times, I mean BAD times. Am I just naive to think my partner would never want to hurt me? After all the love we shared and experienced together, was I not valuable in his eyes? I…

View original post 526 more words

Cultural Appropriation

Hollywood actress Michelle Williams in "redface" in AnOther Magazine

Hollywood actress Michelle Williams in “redface” in AnOther Magazine

If you follow media trends, you may have noticed that people seem to be talking about cultural appropriation more and more these days. It is a highly charged topic with disparate views. Cultural appropriation is rampant in mainstream media; remember that mainstream media is reflective of the prevailing currents. In Homegrown, Amalia Mesa-Baines wrote, “What you have now then is the marketing of racialized identities as tools for consumption. And certain racialized bodies and images are associated with hipness, coolness, edginess…

So what is Cultural Appropriation? Wikipedia defines cultural appropriation as the acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It involves removing elements from their cultural context, thereby diverging from their meaning and reducing their significance.

Majority of the people who are guilty of appropriation do not do it with malice intended. However, what they don’t seem to understand is the historical significance of cultural identity and appropriation; cultural appropriation is a process of displacing people and history.

The dehumanization of black people during the slavery era included stripping away all elements of their African identity (among other things that I won’t get into). In post-slavery era, black people were subjected to segregation, racism and many other forms of systemic oppression. Black culture is rooted in all these historical experiences. One aspect of black culture that we are constantly seeing a lot these days is “ratchet culture” (See Miley Cyrus) – cultural appropriation combined with the commodification and exploitation of black female bodies resulted in what we now call “ratchet culture”. Read more on: Feministing blog.

Indigenous culture involves rituals, beliefs and customs that have been part of Native identity long before their land was stolen and occupied. Enter colonialism: Traditional values were changed and Indigenous people were shamed for being “savages”; ceremonies were banned and cultural knowledge and beliefs were rendered inferior. Indigenous people are often stereotyped in mainstream culture – most recently in the Disney Film, The Lone Ranger. For more reading on Indigenous cultural appropriation (from a Native American blogger), see Native Appropriations.

No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani wearing a bindi

No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani wearing a bindi

A bindi is not a fashion accessory! Yes, it is considered an adornment, but it also has a key religious significance in Hinduism. I wonder if Selena Gomez realizes (or even cares about) this when she wears one.

When it’s not your culture that’s being ridiculed or reduced to a corporate commodity, it is hard to empathize with or understand this point of view. Cultural appropriation is an issue of power distribution in a society where one culture dominates all other cultures; in case you didn’t know already, we live in a white supremacist society where every other culture and identity is othered and white is privileged. You may not be able to fully empathize but it is in moments like these when you check your privilege. Checking your privilege is not about feeling shame or guilt or getting rid of it, it’s about being conscious of what your privilege means for you and for those around you. It is about realizing the significance of the choices you make while in a position of privilege.

My turban is not a fashion trend. Source: http://johannablakley.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/cultural-appropriation-in-fashion/

My turban is not a fashion trend

Once we begin to fully explore and discuss the historical origins and significance of different cultures, then appropriation will not be taken so lightly.