December 30, 2016

My Body Was Made This Particular Way

Tomorrow I'm leaving the country and I don't have a return ticket. This is hard to wrap my brain around. In the past eight years, I haven't taken more than a week off of work. Now, I don't know when I'll be in an office again. I always tell people that I would go literally anywhere in the world, given the chance, but have never had the money nor the time. Now, after saving up for a year, I have the money. And after leaving my full-time job, I have the time. It's both exciting and confusing. Is this for real?

In the last few days, I've been keeping myself busy rather than sweating over the travel details. For example, the photo above is of a reading I hosted Monday night at Bart's Books, the best bookstore ever. Apparently, I had a great time! Thanks to Eagle Scout Jeremy Francis for the photo! 


My trip is all planned out on paper, but I know I won't really believe it's happening until I get on the airplane. I'm heading first to Buenos Aires, then to Tierra del Fuego, and up the Patagonian coast to Valparaiso, Chile, where I'm going to hang out with my uncle Pedro's family. Right now, though, I'm reflecting on the dumpster fire that is 2016 and loafing around my parents' house in Southern California. 


This phrase comes from my favorite song of the year, Ezra Furman's "My Body Was Made." It's a body-positive anthem that I'm especially keeping in mind here in Southern California, surrounded by legions of natural-fiber clad individuals whose tanned yoga bodies are making me insecure. I think if I lived in Southern California, I would go full basement goth. 


T-Shirt • My friend @HeatherSabrina and I designed this shirt as a fundraiser for the Center for Biological Diversity. It's inspired by a Rebecca Solnit quote that compares mushrooms and activism: "Uprisings and revolutions are often considered spontaneous, but less visible long-term organizing and groundwork—and underground work—often laid the foundation." $5 from every shirt goes to the center, which does the long-term groundwork to save the environment (and humanity along with it). Perfect for the nature nerd in your life, right?

Podcast • A mysterious pain plagues a woman for eight years... until she discovers that, all along, it was coming from inside the womb. The "Women and Pain" episode of Popaganda explores how doctors and society at large have a pattern of dismissing, demeaning, and disbelieving female pain. 

Zine • I made an ode to burritos for an upcoming zine about activism and food. Protest Fuel: The Revolution Must Be Fed is a collection of recipes and essays that will come out in January. All of the proceeds go to the Women's Environment and Development Organization. 


Hidden Figures - I've been waiting an entire year to see this movie, which tells the stories of African American women who worked for NASA in the 1960s. The writers somehow made a movie about calculus, physics, and systemic racism into a really fun flick. Last December, I interviewed the author of the book that is the basis for the movie, Margot Lee Shetterly, and ever since then have been looking forward to it hitting the big screen. It didn't disappoint even a little bit. 

Arrival - This sci-fi film staring Amy Adams as linguist is surprising in all the best ways. I rarely watch movies twice, but this one was even better the second time. 

Stay Home Club - I've covered all my traveling gear with patches from Canadian women-run crafty business Stay Home Club. I know this cute corgi will help me feel less lonely as I hit the road. 

Poet Clint Smith. My friend Paul Kim gifted me a book of Clint Smith's poems right before I left town and hooo boy every single poem in the collection, Counting Descent, is killer. The collection mostly discusses Black identity, dealing with everyday racism, and the unstoppable beauty of the world. It was hard to find a favorite line to illustrate, but I went with the above: "Words were the only way I ever knew how to fight." 

Write a political thank you letter. 
The best news I've read all month is that California, with its $2.5 trillion gross domestic product, will push for progressive climate change policies regardless of what Trump does on a federal level. I wrote letters (actual snail mail letters) to the governor and the state rep and senator from my parents' home district to say thanks for pushing for environmental protections in this dark time. Maybe this positive reinforcement will lead somewhere a little brighter. 
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