short & sweet: friday links

“Letting Go” at Rookie Mag, by Sady Doyle. A wonderful piece on smoking. Or rather, quitting smoking. P.S. I recently quit, too. Yesterday I had two months without a cigarette. Yay!

“learned helplessness” re: drug cartel violence in Mexico. Pretty intense stuff.

Slap Chop, Virgin Islands style:

 
Astronauts: Drop your cocks, label your socks!

Inspiring: my favorite tweet, this week.

An infographic: Gay Rights in the U.S., State by State

More on mainstream media assery: Time cover sells out moms to sell magazines

And finally: the best hitchhiking story I’ve heard in a while.

We cannot control the evil tongues of others; but a good life enables us to disregard them

Outdoors

I am not as strong spiritually as others may think. Case in point, it is still alarming for me to hear adults’ negative opinions of our lifestyle through the commentary of these grownups’ children. This can’t be avoided, really, for a lot of reasons – one of which is our lifestyle and parenting philosophies are different than many families – and many people respond to perceived challenges with attitudes and positions of fear, judgment, or anger. Also, many families struggle with a variety of issues and doubtless lash out; they are truly in some sense miserable enough to do so. I can understand this on a cognitive level, but try telling my heart it’s all Okay.

For me, who I am today, the friend or “friend” who is unsupportive or speaks ill of my family is a painful party to consider. Given my weakness, I would rather they just ignore me than shit-talk, back-talk, or judge. And this is made all the more odd as I have little or nothing to hide and life is good in our home. It’s something about others harboring Hate, however tiny, directed at myself (or perceived as such), that makes me feel about a quarter-inch tall. As I told a couple friends earlier tonight, its’ not the subject matter itself at all. When it comes to living without compulsory schooling, even the familiar and repetitive questions by strangers (“But what about socialization?”*) seem at least direct and (usually but not always) put forth in good faith. It’s something else to consider a friend actively holding a resentment.

But the occasional times I receive a negative bit of gossip, or hear our life and our parenting drug through the muck, my response shows me I haven’t yet learned the lesson – you know, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” And I note as well I’m not sure what special privilege I seem to think I deserve that I should be immune to people’s Assery.

Daily I evaluate the life we live: myself, our family, my friendships, my role as a citizen and friend to the world. I do the best I can with what I have. Pondering the pain I feel today, I am glad for something recent in my life: see, a while back it became obvious to me I needed to stop speaking ill of people, even when “safe” or near someone who would not dispute nor challenge this sort of behavior (or even someone who themselves would feel relief in a few moments of gossip, that delectable dish). This life is lived not to be “good”/”nice” nor to try to bargain karma, or even to be a good friend (although it does make me a better person), but to quit making myself Sick, because Sick indeed I have been. Even with my husband I counsel him to be cautious what we say, for our own sakes’ as well as that of our children who stand to learn our attitudes. Even in the privacy of our own home.

For much of my life I have not lived this way. Months ago I would not have thought this was a possible way to conduct myself, nor even relevant. But today it’s a major cornerstone of my life.

“Never speak disparagingly of others, but praise without distinction… Pollute not your tongues by speaking evil of another.”

I do take this seriously, as hard as I find to live it sometimes. I thank my life’s experience and my Higher Power for the lesson.

* More awesomesauce here.

the most obvious punchline ever, but, still…

 
Yeah, the other day I had a bit of “Oh you have this degree, you should [insert employment ‘opportunity’]” directed at me specifically. You know, by someone I don’t (yet) know well, with no interest expressed nor questions asked as to what it is I actually do during the day, if I like it, how good I am at it, how interested I am at doing something else, what my family’s organizing principles are, etc. I observe over a decade I have never had this advice directed to me by a woman (so to borrow a phrase from Jasmine – men, get your shit together!).

But for serious I was thinking about careers and status. And men. (More in a minute!) Until the other day it had been a while since anyone else brought up my former life of moneyed and statused career in referendum of my current life which is a bit different in both those spheres. The symptomatic current-life devaluation of my existence doesn’t sting like it used to simply because I rely on my spiritual life and people I know and trust to help me know how I’m doing and what I’m worth. Really, the whole thing is funny to me (but it wasn’t when I first heard that college-degreed women who stay home to raise children are “opting out” and a bunch of other stuff about how they’re Ruining Everything – heard it from close friends, coworkers, etc). Because all of this is about them, not me. The day someone queries what it is I do, what I find value in, what my life is like, what I’m passionate about, who I help, what I’m skilled at (up until now), what I’m not (so far), what I long for, what I’m afraid of – and then makes some suggestions? Well first I’ll acknowledge them for even giving a damn to listen so much, but at that point I’ll also be interested in hearing their opinions on my life’s course.

I was thinking about, and this is related believe it or not – and truly a confession here I’m not proud of – how angry it’s made me, in the past, when men flirt with me. I have responded to men and women (very rarely) by flirting back, sure; but increasingly over the years I have become a fixed and hardened person when it comes to men, a smiling cipher who will move away when they move close (literally or figuratively), an outward smile and tactful deferral but years of scorn and fear slowly calcifying around my heart. Until very recently I have taken (false) pride in my defensive response, but now I realize it was a sign of my weakness. Because really, until now I have thought men who flirt are telling me they don’t think I’m worth much. They don’t care to find out if I’m in a mated pair (I am, and I wear a ring for one thing), or anything about me at all except for I make them have feelings in their pants or maybe I’ll take care of their laundry or their kids or their Existential Loneliness, whatever they crave, with sex of some sort. They (often) don’t know anything about me whatsoever; how can any interest in me be anything real or personal at all? Why do they put me in the position of having to do a goddamn thing (like “Yes” or “No” to an advance) when I want to go about my day and buy potatoes or ride a bike or mail a package?

I’ve hated myself for not saying something aloud. Like “Please stop, this is bothering me.” Of course, most women know what happens – often – when you do this. I haven’t been strong enough to stomach any more of what always happened before. “What’s your fucking problem?” “Don’t flatter yourself.” “I wasn’t doing anything.” “You’re making a big deal out of nothing.” “Bitch!” Physical threats.

But today I need to forgive men, or at least those with the entitled assumption that all women find flirtations welcome or flattering. I need to forgive those who’ve abused me in the past (all of them). I need to forgive those who diminish me. I need to forgive them their clumsiness, even forgive those who are straight-up manipulative and/or hate women (that hatred is a Fear response anyway; I can empathize because Fear is indeed a plague that besets us all). We are all lost, at one point or another. I need to forgive myself for receiving and internalizing the message it is my beauty (ha!), or my “nice”ness, or my accommodation, or my cooking or my figure (ha!) or my performance of Femaleness, or a myriad of other things, that really count and that are up for others’ measure and evaluation. The thing that counts is I’m a person. Other people may not give me respect or be interested, not in Me really, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give these gifts to myself – and to them. I don’t have to hate those who are only doing the best they can at the time. I can’t forgive all, and instantly so, but I can know it’s what I need to do.

Do I wish sometimes I could have two weeks on an island free of this stuff? Yeah, I do. But I don’t have that space or time, and life is life.

I have been messing about fixing a car; if you’ve been counting, you’ll know we currently have one that’s working and one that is not. The car stuff is bringing up some of the Flirting D00d stuff; today in a garage I was assailed repeatedly by no fewer than four men, jumping on me like starving fleas. Doing that thing where they apologize profusely for their slips of “bad language”. Because I’m a Lady. And I guess I need smelling salts when someone says the word “fuck” (the thing that actually disturbs me is, acting one way when a woman is around and another when one is not, feel free anyone to self-reflect on that). Then telling me I smell good. Then wanting me to come look at their car project (“Hey, guess what this is?”). Then teasing me for texting (my husband, as it happened) and asking me to come over (I am not making this up). Instead of learning a bit about my car as I’d hoped to, I had the opportunity to experience all this. Finally the owner showed up – he actually helped me quite a bit in a totally direct and friendly manner. I drove off happy. I told myself I would never know why these men treated me this way, I can’t assume they were flirting with any intent, maybe they were just hyper – or Lonely. Hey, Lonely is okay. We’ve all been there. Nothing to be pissed about.

Short potential morals of these stories, if you find them useful: pay attention to people and who they evidence themselves to be. Ask yourself why you’re being prescriptive. Don’t be a Creeper. Find what you’re passionate about. Enjoy the passions of others as they display them. See if you can look yourself in the mirror and say aloud you (honestly) like yourself. Respect others.

When you run across a person you can be damned amazed you have this life and another human being to share it with. You don’t have to fuck it up, or at least you can fuck it up less.

no you can’t

NO NO NO

I have simply got to stop grousing, internally and out loud, about our bus system. Yes, it bugs me it takes an hour (sometimes more) to travel seven miles (from the HQX downtown station no less), the commute my husband requires get to the college. Yes, I think the bus system is not designed with any seriousness toward daily commuter needs – an environmentally and socially progressive mandate which would improve our lives immensely. Yes, routes have been cut. Yes, I think so much about Aberdeen and Hoquiam is as pro-car as one can imagine. Yes, I think about all the “bus people” and their needs and their lives and when I see busses leave late or arrive early and the callousness of some drivers I despair.

But I’m not ready to spearhead a campaign about any of this because I have my own life to sort out. So here I sit. It’s not how I long I have to wait (although this bothers me for reasons I won’t go into, here), the worst thing is the noise along what amounts to a highway, and the dust and exhaust fumes. The gawks aren’t that fun either because riding the bus here means there’s a large set of people who pity you or look down on you. For reals.

But whatever, fuck it. Seriously. Some of the people closest to me ride the bus and we can commiserate what it’s like and I can stop bitching so much. I actually enjoy talking to people on the bus and I enjoy helping the mamas with strollers and babies and saying “thank you” to the drivers, every time. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a racist diatribe on the bus although today I heard a man bitching about a couple toddlers who were up front. I turned my head and looked at him, is all. I still do not always know how to handle public asshattery, and I don’t always have the energy, especially days like today with too-little sleep and staggering menstrual cramps.

I walked home from the station. I enjoy walking whenever the weather isn’t miserable – and today it was fine. Most times I walk in Hoquiam I see hardly a soul. But today there was a festive air in town, driveways, block parties: graduation for many adults and young people.

Party Time

These celebrations seem remote to me although I remember the period of high school graduation well. I guess this would have been sixteen years ago. Having been given a tremendously trivial amount of freedoms up until age eighteen (like most USian kids), for me graduation merely meant more praise from grownups (as I had a great grade point and had earned scholarships etc), a pedigree of other people’s required accomplishments for me, a deeply fragile sense of self, a few very good friends, a lot of excitement in my heart, and a desire to party as much as possible. It wasn’t all bad at all, on balance.

It is touching to see famlies celebrate. It’s nice to see young people honored. It’s pleasant to anticipate more activity in the neighborhood now that school is out.

Also, today I met a small kitten, a little black thing that looked younger than I’d think was decent to separate from his mother. His name was, improbably, “Puffy”, and he had not been fed recently, or at least – he was ravenous. I fed him a bit and in his zeal his tiny mouth bit me harder than I’ve been bit by a cat. I loved him up a bit more, eliciting a fragile purr, and then gave him back to the little boy who “owned” him and told him, please feed and water this little one.

And so life goes.

different outlooks different hopes

friday, friday, so good to me

Taking a break from my latest Netflix obsession (don’t worry, my obsessive-television watching is usually in short-lived bouts) I bring you: FRIDAY LINKAGE.

Film
Bollywood for Beginners Index at Filmi Girl

“Worst Movie of the ’00s?” at PostBourgie. Great piece and excellent comments.

There are no words for the excellence:

(thanks, Steev!)

Society
“Smiling Indians and Edward S. Curtis” by @NativeApprops. Definately check out the galleries, & the video.

“Guest Post: Reactions to the Case of Lara Logan” by Matt Cornell; also, Bill Maher makes LOUD NOISES about how U.S. is just SO MUCH BETTER TO WOMEN THAN MUSLIMS: “Bill Maher Pronounces Sexism in The Middle East, Worse Than In America” from womanist-musings. Finally, a succinct summation of some of those others who stand to lose with these narratives: Laura with “On Feminism, Religion, Superiority, Kyriarchy and Women’s Rights”.

“CNN buys into homeschooling stereotypes in child abduction case, blames victims”. Just add another nugget to the pile of deplorable turdburger that “Nancy Grace” (the show, not the person).

“Covering Up is a Feminist Issue” via PhD in Parenting, fertilefeminism; great video and a good 101!

“Class warfare” at globalsociology

“Just a Parent” by Ouyang Dan on Random Babble

Health
Planned Parenthood at PostBourgie

“Dear Michele Bachmann, et. al: Please Shut Up and Sit Down” at parenting.com

Gym Class by Michelle Allison. If there was a BINGO card about lots of awesome shit Kelly cares about (abolishing adultist thoughts, freeing children from forced institutionalism and segregation, HAES/FA etc.) I’d be shouting “LOTERIA!”

Parenting
“The best parenting book you will ever read.” – some thoughts on a fictional hero of mine – and many others’ (note: spoilers, link concerns the book To Kill A Mockingbird).

“Five Questions for Laurie A. Couture by E. Christopher Clark of Geek Force Five”. Ms. Couture is becoming one of the items in my feed reader I look forward to most. Her thoughts on the third question – C. – I’ve found most relevant as she’s discussing teens, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time around teens lately and I’m loving it!

Make/Craft
Awesome Godzilla Quilt, courtesy of the East Bay Heritage Quilters

“Coke Bottle Watering “Globes” at RadMegan

Hand-painted  B-movie purses? I had to write this lady a stalky email because. Come on. How awesome!

How to cook perfect rice – in a frying pan at Just Bento

Quotable
‎”Free children are not easily influenced; the absence of fear accounts for this phenomenon. Indeed, the absence of fear is the finest thing that can happen to a child.” ~ A. S. Neil

Random Awesomeness
Promtacular – ZOMG, who’s ready to dig up prom pictures? 100 to YES.

“Mad, Mod & Macabre – The Ronald Stein Collection” – I. Want. This.

different outlooks different hopes

safety

Trigger warning: this post contains discussion and links regarding bullying, homophobia, racism, and suicide.

I didn’t know the phrase “bullycide” before yesterday, but reading the stories of Asher Brown and Tyler Clementi I immediately understood what such a word meant. And I had never heard the phrase “ching-chonged” either but immediately “got it” while reading the Disgrasian piece on Asher Brown (and resultant comments) (h/t to Jim for sharing this via Twitter).

It is not easy nor trite for me to read and then write on these stories. They are devastating for me to consume. I feel such sorrow for these suicide victims and their families; I feel such sorrow for the other children who victimized these young people and now have to live with their role (if they even know enough to feel it); I feel such sorrow for the adults who could have done something to help and did not, figuring the problems were not that bad or not a big deal or just the typical stuff that happens amongst kids, or even thinking it is funny after all to make fun of a gay man for being, you know, gay, c’mon, admit it.

I feel some anger but mostly – a deep sadness. I think of my own children when I read stories like this.

Today Lesley at Fatshionista published a moving, at-times graphic personal account of bullying: “Sometimes we fight back by merely surviving: A missive for the bullied”. In fact if you’re pressed for time you should read this piece instead of mine as it’s probably better than anything I’ll have to say.

But if you’re here reading, still, and you do care what I think, I do have some ideas.

I am fortunate in that growing up I was not routinely or regularly bullied by adults and children. This is not to say people were not occasionally unkind, destructive, abusive, or wished me harm; this happened and some of these incidents are quite specific in my mind. And perhaps more relevant to my relatively privileged life, it isn’t so much that incidents felt isolated but that bully culture affected me very much; of course it did. It’s one thing to not be the target of focused or endemic efforts (like Asher was), but to know exactly the many behaviors or traits that might be used as fodder for violent or social reprisal, to also know the randomness in some bullying choices, to live in the fear of slipping up or being exposed or just being turned against by the alpha-whomever of the group?

Yeah. It affected me.

Bully culture changes those who don’t remember being afraid, although sometimes we’ve grown a nice thick skin over our past instead of coming to terms with it. Those of us who followed the influence of the ringleaders, or those who did not speak up when we saw it happening (I think we all have membership in this club) – this hurt us, too. We have the shame and sorrow and confusion of having participated – having made the jokes or written the cruel note or laughed into our hand in gym class while throwing glances and smirks at one another. We tell ourselves we just ignorant, or we didn’t really mean it, or the intended victim laughed it off. But we know deep down we committed wrongs.

All of this leaves a mark, sometimes an indelible one.

Most people reading here would claim and believe they are past all this. They do not support bullying behavior; they would never stick their head out of a car and yell at an Asian youth nor spit on a fat high school girl’s jacket. A denunciation of cruelty with a claim we are outside the Game is simply not good enough. We need to speak up, and we never know when we’ll see it next, and we will at times fail to do the right thing. Yeah, it is often not easy to speak up, not for most of us. Sorry, we don’t get a “pass” just because we don’t like to feel Awkward.

We need to grow our compassionate space. We need to re-gain touch with our empathy and understand many victims and perpetrators are damaged, hurt. We need to quit thinking – let alone saying – victims are “whining”. We need to stop reflexively giving them adjuncts to “get over it” or grandly offering our Smiley-Face Stories of the things we’ve gotten over. This is so profoundly wrong-headed and illogical and harmful in aggregate it almost fills me with despair to type it out, as I’ve seen it so much.

Bullying and abuse are not solved by our loud proselytizing of victim-charging stratagems like “turning the other cheek” or “walking away”. While I have employed both tactics successfully – and if you have too, good for you! – that cannot be our primary response and prescriptive to victims. Victims need to be heard, to be listened to; they need our presence and witness and compassion. We can do more active, loud, vocal work elsewhere. There’s lots of that to do out there, too.

It is our job, those who can do the work, to protect other people. It is our job to stand up for those who lack the strength or the resources to, or those who have internalized the messages already (as these two young men who eliminated themselves did), or those who tried to fight back once, or twice, and were beaten down so severely they have been traumatized (big or small, for five minutes or fifty years). It is our job – those who can – to protect these people even if they aren’t in the room in that moment. It is our job to address the bullies; starting with ourselves.

None of this is easy; if it were, we would not have these problems because (I do believe) most people want very much to do right. It’s hard to make change because we do-gooders, even we, are scared and unsure. Yet bullying and xenophobia are not problems relegated to small towns and they are not always coupled with overt, Afterschool Special music scores nor will we be guaranteed that “plucky” hero that sticks up for him/herself and then lives a life free of tormentors.

As if.

We need to stop thinking of bullying and aggression as outside our world, our families – as living somewhere else.

Have you apologized to those you bullied?

Have you apologized to those you did not protect?

Have you confessed to someone your mistakes, or admitted them to yourself, that you might move on instead of defending your past?

Have you made terms with your own fears, if you can?

Have you asked for help if you don’t feel strong, or safe?

Have you asked someone else if you can help them, if they seem scared, or unsure?

It’s rough out there sometimes. Like Warren Zevon said, “Life’ll kill ya.” But I don’t like thinking about death and destruction and torture all the time. I like to live, even joyfully when I can. Maybe we can help someone who needs us.

Maybe we can provide for them even a little bit more than we did yesterday.

inter-netz asshattery roundup

Here  you all thought I was only going to post sweet little stories about my family life and swimming and how awesome things are around here. But guess what? I have this other life, which is called Reading and Digesting and Writing about our culture, devouring feminist and womanist and rad fem and anti-racist and PWD blogs and… well, lots of stuff. I thought I’d post a little roundup of the variety of asshattery I’ve found in the last couple days so you could share in the fun!

(Warning for sexist language, child-hate, mother-hate, classism, and anti-homeschooling / unschooling sentiments)

***

So first: who can find the sexist language in this (otherwise quite interesting) article at WebEcoist on “bevshots”?

Didn’t find it?  Let me break it down for you with a quote:

“Beverage art is one way the more macho members of society can get in touch with their artistic side, and the unisex appeal of BevShots’ presentation makes it far more likely to be accepted by spouses who may balk at framed Budweiser posters hanging in their living rooms.”

Right. So, in no way should a man feel bad about being “macho” (i.e. objectifying women’s bodies) but he is free to augment his living room with artsy-fartsy. The whole “unisex”/”spouse” gibberish is also subtly coded heteronomrative, i.e. of anyone who might like a beer poster there are two sexes whom are straight and married. And I’ve saved the most glaring ass-tidbit for last: a heterosexual DUDE won’t have an objection to Budweiser girl posters (Duh! Why should he? Booooing!), it’s the spouse that won’t want it (eyeroll delivered to those sensitive wimmin folks, amirite?).

***

I’d stopped reading The-F Word.org although the title subjects – food, fat, and feminism – are passions of mine. No, I stopped reading because there are plenty of awesome FA sites that don’t pick on kids (which always, always translates to picking on mothers). Now the owner/author of this site has no children and wants to keep it that way which is great, because I support those without children (just like I support those with children!) and I specifically feel for people who don’t have children by choice (especially women), given they are constantly second-guessed and despised and sneered at (maybe someday I’ll link to some of those anti-childfree* nastiness examples to illuminate and analyze). But like so comments I read online (both from those with or without children), the anti-child sentiment is so prevalent on this site – and goes entirely unchecked within comments – it was just sapping my energy so I’ve concentrated on other FA locales.  However feeling amiable the other day I visited the site to discover the latest post, “Open Thread: Talking to kids about fat comments”. In it blog author Rachel posts a story about family and a child who made many direct and not-nice-sounding comments about her weight and size. Rachel put together an email to her family (which was a good email) so that was pretty cool.  But then… it started with the sentence, “I don’t have children (thankfully) and I can usually only take kids in small doses before they mentally and physically exhaust me” and went on from there. Most of the comments were pretty cool and offered sensible support: we should openly discuss this topic with our chlidren. But pretty soon the parent- and child-snark started, and it REALLY started when I (had the gall to!) put up my own perspective – that I thought Rachel’s email was fine, that Adult Privilege was showing in the comments, and that parents have an uphill battle in combating larger social norms and the attitudes of children’s peers.

Four comments weighed in calling my points “ridiculous”, the list a Parody, that I didn’t support or understand “manners” for children (strawman! especially considering I’d commended Rachel’s email), and that acknowledging Adult Privilege would result in children getting killed. I am too exhausted to take apart “Jackie’s” comment (I’ll bet you one MILLION dollars this person has no child, since she gave the longest prescriptive laundry-list of “THOU SHALT” to apply to ALL parents). Of course the only thing these people (one person posted twice) paid attention to was the posted Adult Privilege Checklist – none of my other points nor my support of Rachel’s email.  A little bonus bit of awesomeness, one commentor sneered at the APC author who clearly didn’t know how to raise a child, even though, sshhh! this author – and myself! are raising children!

One commentor posted: “Kelly, thanks so much for posting that link, and for giving me a term for the set of attitudes that has made me deeply uncomfortable on otherwise wonderful websites.” (Yay!)

(As a sidenote, it’s funny how unapologetic child-hate – which is often mother-hate – always, always involves the kid-screaming-in-restaurants HORROR. It’s almost comical how routinely this comes up – the trump card and TOTAL PROOF of how much kids and parents suck! And how parents and kids can’t have a bad or emotive day in public, or how we should parent in some Magical Way or according to Their Standards, or how kids should always be seen and not heard! And many literally think kids should not be in evidence at all! Because having them in school most their waking hours and then at home in bed for a third of their lives is NOT ENOUGH! No really many people still believe this!)

I’d love to talk about the Adult Privilege Checklist and soon because I think it is brilliant (Thanks, Anji!) and challenging to many if not most USians. Most who read it – the very fact of its newness in a time when privilege checklists are So hot right now! is telling – are definitely going to be challenged and splutter, “But, but, but!” and bring up points of Safety and how kids can’t raise themselves and then paint really gloriously well-rendered pictures of kids going all Lord of the Flies and Running (Ruining) Everything while their Lotus-Eating parents sit back and smile benevolently.

Of course I am in fact raising kids with the APC firmly in mind and it’s going well, and my kids are just fine and normal and pretty damned awesome (according not only to myself but to many we run across). Such tish-tosh beneath-notice detail escapes those who’d want to shriek about the implications of considering kids as People.

Because that’s the thing. Refusing to even consider how kids experience their own lives (which you note says NOTHING about how a particular parent/carer should handle a particular challenge nor the vast landscapes of other-care) perfectly illustrates just how subhuman people consider the class of “kids” (keep in mind, “KIDS” are from ages 0 months to emancipated 18 years, I guess they magically turn human after that).

Or as Twisty Faster at my beloved I Blame The Patriarchy (oh rad fem… is there anything you can’t do?) says:

“Kids” are a class of people around the discrimination, domination, indoctrination, and abuse of whom entire cultures, industries, pathologies, and oppressive social systems flourish. Youth is temporary for the individual, yes, but a youth class persists; there is a constant supply of replacement children to keep this class well-stocked with hapless victims. Furthermore, the damage inflicted by expertly administered adult oppression techniques hardly vanishes the moment a kid turns 18.

***

Finally, and I’ll keep this short: Homeschooling and Unschooling are being dissed in a recent Free Range Kids post, including Amy who says: “I fully support your right to ‘unschool’ your kids. After all, someone’s going to have to change my kids’ oil and make their burgers someday.” (Amy wins the Ass-Hat First Prize for brevity whilst displaying ignorance, classism, and good ol’ fashioned nastiness!). Donna conflates homeschooling with being uncool because it isn’t living in the inner city or something? and weighs in on the majority of intelligent, educated parents being terrible teachers for their children (aw how sweet! I must have missed that day she came in and audited us personally!).  Sky compares my personal expressed joy in unschooling to something about collard greens (I can’t tell if she’s supporting or insulting me, there).

***

Believe it or not it can be personally exhausting at times to take on the subjects of social justice in America (and seriously? Tonight we got to hear a loud, racist rant from a patron while out at dinner, and my husband almost physically engaged this man, which was more bonus). Being able to take a critical eye to random asshattery and bigotry and such is a skill – and it’s a skill earned by a commitment to the self-work and takes no small amount of my time. One thing I learn: the work – social and Self – is never done (as an example, a recent post at Native Appropriations entitled “The Potawatomis didn’t have a word for global business center”? exposed my ignorance regarding Native languages). I do it because I think it is right but also, even when it tires me out, I do like to do it.

To those who read here in good faith, thank you so much for joining me.

Fortunately I know my readers here are awesome, awesome people and going to Blow My Mind in the comments.**

* Both “childfree” and “childless” are terms others dislike or find offense with; I effort to say “people without children” but sometimes I use shorthand.

** I usually just put up my personal journal here; for more of my social issues stuff you can read Underbellie (once-weekly posts, just about) or follow me on Twitter at either kellyhogaboom or underbellie – the latter more skewed to activism and posts from activist sources.