Welcome to August, as we continue our self-directed, at your own pace, monthly self care journey.
It’s back to school time! Parents rejoice, teachers and students alike shed a tear. (Thank you teachers, we love you!) The quest for knowledge never ends, so in that spirit let’s use August as a month to LEARN.
Unsure what “implicit bias” really means? So, your grandchild is a nonbinary pansexual demiromantic, what is that? It’s okay to not know, but don’t accept not knowing and don’t reject, research! Don’t find your one _(Intersection)_ friend and ask them to explain everything about how they identify to you, it is not their job to be the representative for their culture, religion, sexual orientation etc. That is what legit internet sites are for. And books.
Books written by authors who are that specific race, gender, sexual orientation etc. Read these books. Better yet, buy it and read it, put some money in the author’s purse for sharing their research, insights, and often very personal experiences with you. Let’s learn!
Not all reading has to be a non-fiction dissection of our capitalistic, patriarchal society, it can also just be for fun! Have you ever read a book by an Indigenous author? Are all the characters in your fiction books the same race as you? Consider checking out someone’s memoir that is a different race, gender, sexual orientation, body size or ability level from you. Mystery, comedy, romance, science fiction… Take your favorite genre and expand.
Who are you Following on Social Media?
(Experiment- look over who you follow and assess body types. Is anyone you follow a larger person? One of the quickest ways to combat fat phobia is to see images of people who are fat! Also, let me be very clear, “fat” is a descriptor word, like "tall", not a judgment, though our society has attached so much stigma and negativity to it).
When we only see images of thin, young people who are happy and living life well, we think that the only way to be happy and have a good life is to be young and thin forever. That is a FALSE narrative sold to us by weight loss and skin moisturizer companies. Expose yourself to a variety of body types.
What TV Shows and Movies are you Watching?
Just like our social media feeds, we need to be mindful of what shows and movies we are watching. If you are going to branch out a little here are some of my favorites!
Shows- Reservation Dogs, Beef, Never Have I Ever, Pose, Abbott Elementary, We Are Lady Parts, One Day at a Time (the remake).
Movies- New films Barbie and They Cloned Tyrone are very different but both very awesome! Brittany Runs a Marathon, Parasite, Woman King, Latin History for Morons (I love anything with John Leguizamo in it). But I’m a Cheerleader and Hedwig and the Angry Inch are oldies but a goodies.
Go someplace new, whether it be local or far away. Ever eaten Armenian food? Listened to Nigerian music? For something local to do check out nearby restaurants, live music, museums or concerts that you want to attend that are unfamiliar to you.
I’ve got my reservation at the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver, can’t wait!) https://www.bawmhc.org/
Also, please check out PHAMILY, the Colorado theater company for people with disabilities. I saw their production of Spring Awakening this year and it was AMAZING! https://phamaly.org/
If you are traveling far, allow yourself to select a place that may be a little off the beaten path for you. Let me pause and acknowledge my cisgender, middle class, white privilege that allows me to travel almost wherever I want to, this is not a financially viable and/or a safe option for everyone.
While most of us are financially strapped, there are some people who will NEVER take a vacation because they can’t afford to.
Some people can’t see certain amazing landmarks or go to fantastic restaurants or attend plays because the environment does not accommodate their disability.
Some people have to alter the clothes they wear and don’t hold hands with their partner in public and change their tone of voice and posture when they go to new places. Imagine the emotional toll that takes?
Some people have to google if it is safe for them to travel to a certain city/state/country for fear of legal punishment or death. (Ex. Violent atrocities against our black brothers and sisters to the extent that there historically was, and still very much is, a need for information to be shared regarding safe places for black people to travel. https://greenbookglobal.com/travel-the-world/ultimate-guide-to-black-travel/).
So if the world is overall accessible to you, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT and expand your experiences and worldview. Learn! Not everyone can.
Share what you have learned with someone else.
Class Dismissed. Happy August!