if the erotic lies within me, it is a flame that grows or weakens depending on whether or not I can strip myself raw and confront myself. i am a strong woman. i am capable of blinding the world, of creating what i want, but i must establish a rhythmic routine and ritual for myself. there is a difference between productivity and setting yourself up, training yourself, to learn something. i will not thrive unless i attack my laziness, wrestle with it, shape it into something else. i have to find those small pleasures in writing, exercising, reading, drawing, working, and creating. but i also have to find that energy which fuels me, find that feeling that makes everything right, and that pushes me to be curious and hungry.

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be patient

a hi rant to my bruised self

Sometimes you will feel weak and that’s part of the fluctuation of life, sometimes you are at the bottom of the pit and hope is a far away thought but all you can do is feed yourself positive thoughts and want the best for everyone around you. the world is confusing and scary for everyone and figuring out such complex and intricate systems like love and compassion and care isn’t easy for anyone so I need to allow what happens to happen, yes some days it will hurt when you feel as though you’ve been replaced, but you weren’t replaced, it just wasn’t meant to be and if that hadn’t happened then you would have been much more unimpressive don’t you realize that you’ve grown a million times after your death and if your death hadn’t happened you wouldn’t have been here. And I think that these feelings of inadequacy are important because they keep you and your perception of reality in check, as well as your ego. And it’s good to sometimes over analyze, not always, but sometimes and then you can understand the people in your life. and isn’t amazing that they’ve also grown so much into the people they want to be? And you want to be the best you can be and you have to hold your standards for yourself so high that you never stop changing and learning and growing, right? again, again, again you are the butterfly and the witch and the jinn and your metamorphosis will never stop and you don’t want it to stop because you’re the next cyborg who broke the entire system. you’re going to float away from all of these systems you are currently conforming to and you will stabilize in an energy of positive uncertainty and happiness. make sure you feel everything.

Gender and Race: A Paradox of Space

There are a lot of things about academia and the academic institution which irk me, it’s obviously hard to ignore how capitalist and neoliberal our universities are. But I won’t deny that I can truly, genuinely appreciate good research that is relevant to what I’m studying and what I want to pursue. I am constantly doubting myself when I tell people that I am double majoring in gender studies and urban planning/ecology, a lot of people even scoff or giggle when I tell them, as if I am an indecisive student who doesn’t know what to choose to study and has an aimless future. I made a very conscious decision when I declared both majors, because I can clearly, on my own, see the intersections of gender with public and private space; gentrification, environmental racism, and gender; homophobia and gentrification. I think that it’s a field that has so much to explore and my research currently is definitely something unique and relevant to the real world. This is a field which is both terrifying and exciting with so many new possibilities and landscapes. Eviction, being pushed out of a neighborhood which is historically yours, environmental racism, being harassed and surveilled specifically on public transportation for your race and gender and sexuality–these are huge issues.

Anyway, I went to a beautiful lecture tonight for the opening of our new school for cultural and social transformation. The title was “Race and Queer Space: Paradox of Safety”. Holy shit, my coworker kept nudging me the entire time because of how relevant the subject was to my research and majors. They began to talk about how lesbian bars and clubs in Latinx working class neighborhoods have historically been known to be ~safe spaces~ for lgbt folk, and many white lesbians were attacked outside of the bars and clubs. When this became a large issue, police were asked to “secure” the neighborhood, and began to target nearby brown and black men at a gas station, even though they had no evidence that they were the harassers. The conversation turned into how a lot of the gay movement was attempting to improve and clean up neighborhoods, which turned into heavy policing of brown and black bodies. There was increased police surveillance instead of anti-capitalist and anti-racist and anti-homophobic movements–this touched on the assimilation politics and homonormative domestic policies of the time. Poverty was seen as a threat to gay identity, and it turned into a cooperative policing with economic developers. It showed how urban planning and zoning policies enforced a shifting form of racial capitalism and had two main points:

1. There is a conceptual and spatial distance b/w white lgbt neighborhoods and other neighborhoods that have predominantly marginalized communities.

2) These dynamics are not new, and noliberalism and yt liberals have infiltrated these movements from the beginning.

We also learned more about different rad organizations which threatened this homonormative narrative which perpetuated gentrification and policing AND IGNORE BLACK AND LATINX LGBT COMMUNITIES.

It was such an amazing learning experience for me.

Who we are

We are not an organization but we are organized. We are a diverse group of Asian voices coming from the Philippines, Vietnam, India, China, Pakistan, Korea, Burma, Japan, and other nations, based i…

Source: Who we are

Miles and Miles of No-Man’s Land

Libba Bray

This is the hardest blog I’ve ever attempted to write.

For the better part of eight months, I have been struggling under the thumb of a rather intense depression. This is a monster I’ve battled many times in my life; it is not new. Yet, this has been a particularly brutal one, and I’m not out of the woods yet.

As a writer, I try to write about everything. But it’s hard to write about depression. For one, there’s the fear that the minute you say, “I’m suffering from depression,” people will look at you funny. That they will nod at you with wincing, constipated face, place a hand on your arm and say, with all good intent, “How are you?” And your pain will war with your desire to be “normal” and not looked at funny by sympathetic people at parties. So you will answer, “Fine, thanks” while you’ll…

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Touch my sail with your fresh gush of wind, break my anchor –

I do not even regret if I sink.

Morning has slipped away in vain; the evening seems to follow,

Please do not restrict me near the shore.

I keep myself awake through the night looking for the boatman,

The waves toying with me every now and then.

I wish to make friends with the storm, never be terrorised with,

Leave me alone, O dear, I am comforted if I catch wind.

June Jordan and a Black Feminist Poetics of Architecture // Site 2: The Intersection

plurale tantum

This entry is by guest author Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Phd.  Alexis is a queer black troublemaker, a black feminist space cadet time-traveler and an inspired embodiment of love. She is the founder of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Planetary Community School and the co-creator of the Mobile Homecoming Project: An Experiential Archive Amplifying Generations of Queer Black Brilliance.  
This article is the 2nd in a 4 part series:
Site 2 The Intersection
Site 3 The Queer Reproduction of Black Life
Site 4 The Presence of the Future

Site 2

The Intersection

 

Long before Kimberly Crenshaw demarginalized the intersection, black women and other multiply oppressed people were experiencing the intersection as a site of injury.   For Jordan, in 1964 and after, the intersection was not the academic site of nuanced marketability that it has become today in our…

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June Jordan and a Black Feminist Poetics of Architecture // Site 1

plurale tantum

This entry is the first by guest author Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Phd.  Alexis is a queer black troublemaker, a black feminist space cadet time-traveler and an inspired embodiment of love. She is the founder of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Planetary Community School and the co-creator of the Mobile Homecoming Project: An Experiential Archive Amplifying Generations of Queer Black Brilliance.  
This article is being published as part of a 4 part series:
Site 1 The Bottom of the Barrel
Site 3 The Queer Reproduction of Black Life
Site 4 The Presence of the Future

Black women’s geographies and poetics challenge us to stay human by invoking how black spaces and places are integral to our planetary and local geographic stories and how the questions of seeable human differences puts spatial and philosophical demands on geography.  These demands site the struggle between…

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How I worshiped Allah last week:

I never wake up for Fajr, but today my heart is racing and my skin does not fight back the freezing cold water that is pumped from the nearby lake. Sweatpants and a cardigan, dusty sneakers and uncombed hair, I trudge up the hill with thirteen frustrated and crying girls behind me. I call to them, “Sing your dhikr! Look at how gorgeous the mountains look with the sun approaching!” They cry even more and I smile.

The sky is dark and clear, the air is cold and welcoming, and the sound of such an earnest and ululating adhan nearly makes me cry. She makes the mornings so welcoming, and I reject them almost every day of the year.

With an aching, twisting back and a black cotton hijab, sweat and droplets tickling my neck from wudu, I watch the trees bow down in a graceful shape of worship, and I attempt to mimic their elegance as we begin. I tell myself:

Slowly leave the depressive haze of the morning behind and make the intention to love yourself through the eyes of God. Close your eyes but peek when you think the leaves will look pretty. Remember that the pebbles that are caught in our hair after submitting to sujood are made of the same clay your skin is created from, and try to give yourself completely to Her. You won’t always be able to, but that is why She is available at every degree of the sun rising and setting-just as you are moving your body for Her now.

Push against the usual chaotic and numb routine of your day and stand after ruku’ for an extra 60 seconds. Whisper self-affirmations and inhale the cool morning breeze, embrace the discomfort and doubt and stretch your back when you fall back into sujood, you will rise again but for now find beauty in the darkness and your brief meeting with loss and the possibility of not being able to leave the ground and dirt. When you greet the angels and return to reality, hold onto the peace you were able to achieve and try to return throughout the day by counting holy names on the ridges of your fingers.

The private and public are like inseparable lovers, they know each other too well. The feminist theory about toxic masculinity that you read in your room for your gender studies class does not protect you from the sneering old wrinkled man who undresses you with his shrunken eyes at a coffee shop. It’s the same when you step onto the bus to go to class at university. Putting your headphones on does not protect you from the three men who attempt to sneakily stare at you the entire time, and getting off of the bus does not lower the rape statistics that your university attempts to hide.

What does desirability mean to a young brown woman when the only men who approach her in public are old, white, and clearly losing it?

Of course, by now I should know that my desirability and attractiveness is not based on who looks at me or who approaches at me or who wants to fuck me.

But what does it do to a person’s psyche when their body is so unlovable and so rejected, when going out to a coffee shop is no longer a light-hearted occasion, but rather a terrifying and anxiety inducing experience?

Everyone was wondering why I wasn’t moving. He kept staring at me, he even asked to sit at the same table as me, but I smiled and said no. So he sat at the table closest to me and as I took sips from my coffee and glued my eyes to my book, I could sense that his were lingering on me. Eventually he got up, turned on the flashlight on his phone, and wandered around my table, looking for “something I lost”. I kept my eyes on my book. I could sense everyone’s bodies shifting towards me, almost as though they were waiting for him to attack, and make his move. The Khaleejis almost protectively stared, I think one of them even yelled something at him. Finally he sat back down and returned his focus onto me, smiling. I smashed my cigarette onto the side of my table, stuffed my books into my bag, and started to leave, but he stepped in front of me and said “Hope you have a good night”. I smiled again, murmured something, and rushed out.

It’s funny. At this point, I don’t even do anything. What can I do? I used to have a snarky comment up my sleeve, an ugly sneer, a middle finger. But it’s no use. I feel the same afterwards. Confused, sad, angry, helpless. Why should I respond when it endangers me? I’ll always end up feeling worthless, and mentioning it to family or friends always evokes responses which make me feel ashamed for even leaving the house in the first place.