dear little andrea, i know right now they’re telling you jesus walked on water. i want you to know that no matter what you grow up to believe you will never try to wrestle a miracle away from anyone’s reason to live, and you will full heartedly believe the air that you breathe is a miracle, and you won’t settle for poking holes in the lid, even when you want to die, you’ll suddenly notice you’re wearing a seatbelt on your way to the cliff, and you’ll start laughing just in time.
my therapist says that we are all at any given time, doing our best, no matter what we’re doing. i struggle to believe that sometimes, but i always believe that the people who leave this world on purpose were trying like hell, trying their very very best, to stay. what fills me with grief is knowing how difficult the staying is, for so many. to understand that when the pain becomes unbearablethe choosing to leave has nothing at all to do with weakness. I lived so many days of my life struggling to want to stay alive. I have so many friends who have struggled to want to stay alive. friends struggling right now to want to stay alive. i have lost people i loved to the weight of the pain. most of us have. what i know is on my hardest days, when i did not want to continue living, the thing that comforted me the most was being reminded that other people were feeling what i was feeling. knowing i was not alone. i don’t know why, but that knowing, more times than not, was the thing that would carry me through. there is so much that can be done to shift our conversations (or lack thereof) around mental health/illness. i want to do more than what i’m doing right now. i want to do so much more. and i want to never ever again answer “fine” when someone asks me how i am. i am officially boycotting the word “fine.” Fuck “fine”. what a hoax that word is.
“In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all…that in the middle of winter, I finally found that within me there lies an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger—something better, pushing right back.”—
Andrea Gibson’s essay is submitted as part of The Body is Not An Apology’s #WhenWeSayYES Campaign. Raising money to build the world’s most powerful radical self love website. Give Here:www.igg.me/at/whenwesayyes
[The above photograph is of Artist Activist Andrea Gibson in a bent over…
“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”—Scott Woods
I’ve got writer’s block. Ya’ll wanna help me write this poem??? Please?
Nobody in the world is a faster talker. Nobody can auctioneer like you. All our would-be change, spent on the butchering of our own names. Gut the god out of us. Gut the grace. Get our joy by the jugular, bleed it out. Teach us to take a punch better than we can take a compliment. A punch is something we can believe. Have us always in the market for the truth. Tell us the truth is our bodies are dirty secrets. Have us eating nothing but our mirrors. Insist we chew them with our mouths closed. Yes I know my face is a fashion mistake. Yes I know they would hate me if they could see who I really am. Dear Shame, if I could see who you really are….
O my gosh we are so excited (!) to tell you about our brand new project – Note to Self! We need your help and can hardly wait to hear from you! Please watch our video explaining for and then check out the site for details!
So, so, so excited to get to know you all, and your younger selves,…
My joy likes to run from my body quick as it can. I’ve been practicing holding it like I practice holding my breath at the pool. I can do about half a lap before my panic freaks out on its little red whistle. My panic is not a lifeguard but you can’t tell my panic that. My panic googled “how to perform CPR on yourself.”
I get panic attacks when I’m being looked at. I get hungry in crowds, eat potato chips so I can control the noise, crunch the loud away. I spend a lot of time thinking about the people who choose the middle seat on the airplane. I miss home no matter where I am. I love good on paper. I listen to sad songs. I own more mini-trampolines than anyone I have ever known. Even my aunt who drank Tab. I sometimes wish time wasn’t always so good at what it’s good at, but I can dance the electric slide. I can remember exactly what it felt like when my dad took my training wheels off of my bike. It had a banana seat. I had everything I would ever need.
[IMAGE CAPTION: In this image there are two black and white photos set side by side. The photo on the left is of Madonna nude taken by photographer Steven Meisel. Madonna is a small bodied white woman, wearing clear opened toed high heel shoes. There is a black handbag hanging from her…