14 April 2011


Hi blog, I'm back.

Last year, I visited a high school in Denver to present to multiple Spanish classes about my trip in Spring '08 to Juarez, Mexico to learn about the femicides. I've been invited back, but this time I've been asked to talk briefly about my trip and more about feminist ethics/theories and how they connect to the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Look, here's the trouble. While I spent approximately 3 days studying the MDGs in school, I do not know what I can possibly say about them in relation to my trip to Mexico.

Can anyone tell me why I would be asked to do that? I definitely don't have qualifications to talk about that. I can talk about feminism (privilege, power, oppression, and treating people equitably) and I can talk about Juarez. I can tell you that the MDGs are unrealistic in that one of them aims to END POVERTY WORLDWIDE BY 2015. Hm! I'm not sure about that.

A close friend/mentor/my most respected friend from college suggested talking about the value of women's agency in improving so many things. She proposed I talk about grassroots organizations in Juarez that are continuing the fight for justicia y solidaridad and how that relates to the MDG about women. I need further thoughts. Do I do discussion questions and make all these honors kids in high school talk in groups about the power of women? Do I talk at them for 45 minutes?

I don't know what to do about this scenario. Anyway, I'll be doing that in a week. I need thoughts, world!

12 April 2011

There's still life in me yet

Remember one time when I had a blog and I wrote in it sometimes as a representation of my commitment to a project I started during a senior seminar, and also my commitment to feminism?

I don't. Not that well, anyway.

I'm still alive and kickin' and mostly enjoying life as it is. I don't have hair anymore, really, and that's been an interesting experience. I shaved it for St. Baldrick's, a super rad organization that raises funds for research for kiddos with cancer. Additionally, they sucker people in by challenging them to shave their heads. It was super cool to be bald (my hair is coming back slowly but surely) because my sisters went bald with me. It's also been sort of opportune timing because shortly before we shaved our heads, our grandma was diagnosed with what I'm perceiving to be terminal lung/liver cancer. I can't write about that yet without wanting to curl into a ball on the floor and cry myself to sleep, so I'll leave it at that. Anyway, the reactions to my baldness have been mostly great. Aside from a somewhat rude and unexpected comment for my clinical supervisor at work about my looking like a chemo patient [I don't have very good "hold yourself together" skills but I utilized all of them that day], most folks have been really positive about the shift. A few of my clients have shared these gems with me, "we liked you better with hair but I guess this is okay, too" and "WHY did you do that?!". Otherwise, co-workers and friends and family have been all sorts of supportive and comic about the whole thing. I'm not terribly self-conscious about the fact that I'm bald, but it has been interesting to re-define what I see when I look in the mirror. Perhaps the biggest challenge has been reminding myself that I did not suddenly gain 10 pounds, but rather lost 10 inches of hair. Right now, my hair is probably about a quarter inch and functions just like velcro. If there's fuzz floating in the air (that happens, right?) it is guaranteed to end up in my hair. Whaddya do?

We've been on the prowl for a reasonably priced coffee table that doesn't look ridiculous.

I've been training for a half marathon. I got up to 8 miles when my shins finally gave me the ultimate middle finger. I took the last week off and had a visit with the doctor. She informs me it is merely shin splints and I can tape my leg together. Having never been an athlete of any variety, I'm surprised to know one can tape their muscle and bone together. But hey, she's the PhD right? I wanted to start running again this week [today, more specifically] but naturally came down with my annual springtime sinus infection. Maybe Thursday. This whole thing is sort of throwing off my game but it's fine. I'll be back on track by the end of the week. It's sort of exhilarating to train for a half marathon, even though it seems like everybody and their cat is training for a half marathon or a marathon or an Ironman [I prefer to call them Ironperson but then people don't know what I'm talking about, so I'll bow down to society's inherent sexism for this one purpose]. Clump me in with all the people who think running a half marathon is stylish...I just want to know that I can run 13.1 miles. Also, I want to show the world how much muscle these legs contain. I'm not lying, they're getting huge.

Anyhoo, I'm still around and living and breathing and sleeping and checking facebook (okay, checking facebook a lot). Work has been pretty busy in that lots of clients have lots of crises and now that I've been at this job for coming up on 11 months (wha....??? wild!) I'm starting to have a real voice and make real decisions and real changes where I think they need to be made and that's been exciting and uplifting.

I can't make any promises about writing more often because last time I went a took a 4 month writing hiatus. That reminds me that I read Water for Elephants this last weekend. I loved it. My sister didn't love it as much. Either way, I'd recommend it to someone looking for a fast read.

Welp, see you again in a few months, Intimate Association!

07 December 2010

Gaining Perspective

I've recently spent more time with some of my college friends, most of whom have a lot of the same interests as myself. You know, we talk about race and privilege and oppression and "the powers that be". It's amazing and fulfilling and it reminds me why I loved school and why I love my friends.

Unfortunately, I'm also reminded about how challenging and, in some cases, lonely it is to be a feminist when tons of folks think that means I'm easily offended and too politically correct (whatever that means). BUT, it seems silly to skate around in my privilege moping about people who think I'm too sensitive, when instead I could be implementing my thoughts and ideas and goals through conversations and through my job and through all my interactions. That seems more productive.

The best thing to have happen to me since graduation has been participating in research for a dissertation (thesis? whatever you do when you're a PhD candidate...). A wonderful professor/mentor is looking at white women who identify as anti-racist feminists, and it couldn't have been better timing, really. Just precisely when I was falling out of talking to other folks about feminism and oppression and privilege, she sort of reeled me back in. Insert sigh of relief here!

I can't put into words how absolutely necessary it is for me to be able to talk these things out and be sarcastic and mad and critical, because those opportunities don't pop up as easily in the big kid world. People want to get through their work days as fast and as painlessly as possible so they can get home to watch Glee or head out to the bars or do whatever it is adults do after their adult jobs. Even brief conversations about social justice, crappy policies, and privilege immediately fill me up and rejuvenate me. There's no doubt, really, that these are the things that keep me going. Of course, talking about and examining my own privilege and/or oppression daily is a TRIP. Ups and downs and guilt and frustration, all wrapped up in a pretty box with a big red bow of happiness and excitement and energy.

All's I know is this: I *must* find some way to integrate these things better into my work and my life because, without all of it, I sort of feel like I'm wasting my time on things that aren't the MOST important to me.

08 November 2010

Dubya talks about race

George Dubya has a memoir coming out. In it, I hear he says that the LOWEST point in his presidency was when Kanye called him racist. THAT was his lowest point. Not when Katrina hit, not on 9/11, not at any other point. It happened when Kanye called him racist and Dubya told Matt Lauer that he resents that. Hmpf!

Race has always felt like the most daunting of social justice endeavors for me personally. I can't pinpoint why exactly that is. For a while, I thought it might be because race is one area of social identities where I CLEARLY identify as white and, thus, as privileged. Of course, I've never considered myself low-income but have come to terms with my privilege around that social identity and what it means for me to never have "walked a mile in those shoes." So, I'm beginning to wonder if my discomfort has something to do with the particularly heinous history of white folks and POC, and because I was raised to never pay attention to skin color and to treat everybody equally and all those things that sound good in theory and don't work as well in practice.

But, pause. That sounds like an excuse for being uncomfortable talking about race and working through my own troubles with race.

Because let's be real. There's no way I'm just uncomfortable with race as a social identity because it's a tricky subject. Nah, I think there's more to it. Like, for example, that I'm white and I never had to consciously deal with my race even though every interaction I've ever had in some way could be related back to my race---from the things I talk about to the jokes I find funny to the clothes I wear and the people I call family and the work I do and the causes that matter to me. It would just be ignorant to pretend like my race hasn't impacted all of those things.

Needless to say, I feel like I'm in a constant struggle to balance my privilege around race without spending all day everyday analyzing and over analyzing and thinking and re-thinking if I've said something that could be considered racist or if I've done something subconsciously that might be racist. How can a person be striving towards anti-racism while acknowledging the influence of the mostly white world around me and without letting myself off the hook as an advocate? I get that I can't spend every minute panicking about every word out of my mouth, and that there will be days when someone will call me out on something that probably is racist. AND, it's okay for me to make mistakes and learn from them so I don't make those same mistakes in the future.

Ramble, ramble. Bad at dealing with tough subjects, don't like making people mad.

I annoy me.

But not as much as Dubya annoys me!

17 October 2010


I just pondered all my blogs. What a depressing place, this Intimate Association has become!

Nix the "coming soon" post. I'm pondering up something that will perhaps be more lighthearted and more telling of what I believe to be my usual happy (though cynical and easily annoyed) self. Like, for example, hilarious things that happen at work. About a million situations a day would mandate a post if only confidentiality weren't so darn tricky. Of course, there are ways and it will happen and I will share these stories with you, my few loyal followers.

So, what's REALLY coming soon is something more upbeat that the past 20 posts have been. Here's to being easily annoyed, cynical, and happy all at the same time.*

*None of this is to say that I won't still bring up points regarding privilege, power, feminism, and the like. It IS to say that all of those things can be discussed without leading my readers into a deep, dark place where nobody wants to go.

(P.S. The picture at the top is a visual of "happy".)

06 October 2010

Coming soon

I'm working on writing a post about body image, societal ideas about this, and other such ideas as I have been inspired by a few incredible women who have recently shared their frustrations and feelings via facebook. I'll post it. Someday.

Body image is a constant, wake-up-in-the-morning struggle for me and just the thought of writing about it and exposing myself is stressful and tiring. I think there's some healing power in writing and expressing and telling and I really want to feel that authentically, so I don't want to write and post without assessing and pondering and deleting and re-writing.

There are other topics in the queue that will get some attention soon after I'm done mulling and pacing. Come to find out, blogs are stressful.

29 September 2010

Keeping it going

I never write. I'm the worst blogger there ever was.

I've been considering transitioning to tumblr because people have done some sa-weet things with tumblr. The trouble is, one must write/post in order to have a successful blog. Blogger could be sa-weet like tumblr but only if I actually use it. In my mind, I should only post if I have something BIG or important or profound to talk about, but maybe that isn't the goal at all?

Originally, Intimate Association started as a part of a class project (and because I'd wanted to start a blog for a long time) and that class was focused on social justice. In turn, this blog seemed like it needed to focus on social justice. At the time, it did. Realistically, even if I wanted to write about something besides social justice or feminism, those topics would inadvertently become a part of the entry simply because those topics are an important piece of my world view. Anyway, I've avoided writing/posting because I haven't been feeling as much of a connection with those topics post-graduation.

Maybe I need to expand my blogging horizons and start writing about other things? I could write for years about my job, or about cohabitation, or about how much I like to clean, or probably what I did over the weekend--have you ever been to a country concert?! I now understand why I haven't done that before. If anybody, anybody at all, is reading this, it'd be great to have a few thoughts about what you're reading/writing so that I might be able to try something new.

And, if you're still checking on my blog...thanks. It's been relatively lifeless and cobweb-y around here lately.