Monthly Archives: April 2009

From the “oh… right…” files

4/10 I take my last thyroid pill (no refills on my script), and get my blood drawn to check my levels (yes, cutting it close; no, I shouldn’t have waited nearly so long; yes, I’ve done it before; no, I probably still won’t stop from doing it again. procrastination is a powerful habit).

4/16 I go over my results with my doctor, find out my TSH was too high (that is, my body was asking for more thyroid), and I needed more thyroid even before I ran out.

4/17 After a week of occasionally stealing thyroid from the Boychick to get by (don’t worry, he didn’t go without), I finally get my own, higher, script filled.

4/15-23 I wonder why I’ve been feeling so tired recently, and so foggy in the brain pan.

4/24 Oh… Right… I (finally!) remember low thyroid = low energy & low brainpower.

Moral of the story? Without thyroid, my brain gets so foggy I can’t think of why my brain might be foggy.

(Maybe this is only funny if you are familiar with hypothyroid/chronic illness issues, but it makes me snicker at least. Mine is a dark humor.)

Andrade is guilty, and so am I

I have been half following the Angie Zapata murder case, reading the posts on TransGriot about it, but not reading the links because I am a conscientious objector to the mainstream media (and have been having enough trouble keeping up with my feed reader as it is). I was, well, not pleased exactly (it’s hard to be happy about the pitiful “justice” our punitive system offers) to hear that a fully guilty verdict was rendered, including the hate crime charge; I was overjoyed that for once, a “trans panic” defense had so thoroughly failed.

Then I read about Angie’s family’s reaction, and was struck dumb by the simultaneous realization and the refutation of my own assumptions.

I had thought, here was this little Latina trans girl, murdered by her maybe-boyfriend. I thought I knew her; she’d be kicked out by her transphobic Hispanic family, trying to make it on her own, possibly turning tricks to survive. Good little White Liberal Ally was I, so cynical about her chances for justice, so certain of her alienation.

But then I read her brother’s words:

Angie was my sister.

She was a member of our family. We loved her very much, and we will miss her every day. Every day and every night our mom has to deal with great pain of … one of her babies being buried. Every day our siblings and I reach for the phone and realize we’ll never hear her voice. There’s no answer anymore.

A part of our family is missing, stolen from us. Angie was 18, her life was just beginning. She was brave, she had guts, she had courage, and she was beautiful, fun and loving. She was our little sister.

And I had to confront my own heart, who thought that by knowing the plight of the plot of too many trans women of color’s lives that I knew the circumstances of her life; who thought that since I knew the color of her family’s skin that I knew the contents of their hearts. I made so many assumptions about her, not bothering to read further, not even realizing I had made them; as much as I thought about it, which was hardly at all, I thought I knew what I needed to know about her.

I was wrong. I was guilty of racism, of the most pervasive sort of cisgenderism: the ignore-ance of a trans person’s own existence. I committed a hate crime in the whitewashed confines of my own head.

White privilege doesn’t go away. Cisgender privilege doesn’t go away. We can’t do our course in Racism 101 and Transphobia 101 and then wash our hands of the blood of those whiteness has killed, of those cisgender bias has killed.

This doesn’t give me much hope for the Boychick. Bashes the rose-colored glasses right off my “raise a post-racist generation” face, in fact. Which is probably a good thing; helps me see how the world actually is, how hard a journey is ahead. Best hope I have is to ground him in a childhood of racism- and cisgenderism-awareness, and show him that it never stops; privilege never goes away, no matter how much we want it to, so our obligation as possessors of privilege to learn, to listen, to humble ourselves, and to root out the prejudices hidden in the darkest corners of our own heads — which will always be there, more persistent than cockroaches and uglier still — never goes away.

I am so sorry for what I did to you, how I erased you in my own mind, Angie. Your memory deserves so much more than that. Angie’s family: I can only beg forgiveness. Even if you never learn of my assumptions about you, even if you never learn I exist, I have wronged you, and I owe you. I am sorry.

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2009

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2009

I’m planning on participating in BADD on May 1st, 2009. Will you join me?

Write a post on the subject of disability discrimination, disablism or ableism and publish it on May 1st – or as close as you are able. Podcasts, videocasts and on-line art are also welcome. You can cover any subject, specific or general, personal, social or political. In the previous three BADD, folks have written about all manner of subjects, from discrimination in education and employment, through health care, parenting, family life and relationships, as well as the interaction of disablism with racism and sexism. Every year I have been asked, so it’s worth saying; the discrimination experienced by people with mental ill health is disablism, so naturally such posts are welcome too.

How I spent Earth Day

Earth Day. Such a fabulous idea. I’m all about environmentalism, and doing things easier on the earth: breastfeeding, cloth diapering and elimination communication, dressing in hand-me-downs, choosing and growing organic foods, buying local, owning one small car and keeping it up, recycling, crocheting with plarn, washing with baking soda and vinegar (including my hair), making do using up and doing without, et cetera, and so on.

(I can do a feminist defense of environmentalism, too, though for now I’ll just offer Having Faith as my evidence.)

So how did I spend Earth Day?

In my car. Driving around aimlessly. For nearly five hours. Probably drove about 100 miles. In circles. (Big circles.) With a feverish toddler zoning out and napping and zoning out and drinking water and napping and zoning out in the backseat.

Yup. That’s how I spent Earth Day.

I may not be a bad mom, but I’m not so sure I’m not a bad environmentalist.

Ah well. There’s always tomorrow.

The difference between gratitude and gloating

I found this when looking through my email drafts folder; I’d typed it up on the iPhone nearly two weeks ago. I’m sure I was interrupted before I could finish, and I really don’t remember where I was going with it, so it just kind of ends with no conclusion, but I thought it was an interesting enough snippet it could stand as-is. Feel free (encouraged!) to comment if you can expand on the thought for me.

Gratitude is good, right? It’s good for you, it helps you be a better person, everyone should keep a gratitude journal, count their blessings, make every day Thanksgiving, etc, etc… Right?

Maybe. Except when it’s not, and that “gratitude” is really gloating, and helps reinforce and blind you to privilege.

Gratitude is saying “I’m glad I’m me”. Gloating is saying “I’m glad I’m not you”.

When stuck in traffic, saying “thank you for this opportunity to practice patience” is gratitude. Saying “well at least I have a car, unlike all those poor shmucks starving children in Africa” is gloating.

“I felt sorry for myself that I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet” is a statement of gloating masquerading as gratitude.

The difference between gratitude and gloating is whether there has to be someone worse off than you in order for you to feel good about yourself. Those of us with privilege rarely escape the pit of gloating: if we are blind to our privilege still, we don’t see what is wrong with our pity; if we have opened our eyes and minds to our privilege, we too often confuse acknowledging that privilege with pitying those “below” us (we are privileged, so they are oppressed, so we must always point out how much worse they have it, right? not so much, no).