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not dead yet

this week was a rough week. this week was an exercise in holding my breath. this week was an exercise in counting to ten oh so slowly. one number per day. stretch out the sound.

1. every day I woke up wanting to die. it would be cool if I could sleep the day away, but despite my feelings I’m up with the sun. all like, now what? all like, this again? all like, why bother?

why bother I don’t know, but somehow I managed to summon the 1 molecule of energy I had deep within me to bike to yoga and continue existing.

2. this week I tried to apply for writing gigs on Craigslist. but instead of doing that I spent 2 days in a cl wormhole responding to all the ads for egg donations and sex work. for some reason for me that’s not unusual. for some reason for me that’s effective stress management.

3. except this time after emailing and emailing I wanted to never leave my apartment. I had plans to go to a protest with a friend but I told her I couldn’t go outside. she texted back ūüė¶ and I guess that’s all I needed to hear cos it got me outside of myself.

4. if you follow feminist news or Al Jazeera maybe you already know, but in November 2012 a student at Garfield hs was raped and sodomized on a field trip. she was brutalized so badly she had to go to the hospital, was diagnosed with PTSD and never returned to school.

the school district did nothing for 6 months, and only then at the victim’s parent’s insistence. the school district found the boy not guilty, even tho he changed his story several times. even tho he said “I did not pay attention to her that much” when asked about consent.

even tho “he acknowledged to law enforcement that she told him to stop several times but said he persuaded her to ‘roll with it.‘”

so we protested the district school board meeting with Garfield alum
and neon signs. we listened to testimony from local sex activists and also from parents whose children’s bus service was cut because it was a board meeting for all current issues. we maybe helped.

5. all summer I’ve been helping create a show with poet/friend Ed skoog. this weekend is THE weekend of the triggering town review! if you come to Hugo house at 7 tonight/tomorrow I can guarantee at least 1 laugh per person. guaranteed!

so this week was a busy final week before the show. I decorated a mask. I hated the mask. I cried next to the mask. I wanted to smash it oh how ugly what a horrible job I did.

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I have always been a bit high strung for arts n crafts.

6. but I realized the mask is bigger than me (figuratively and also literally) so I decided it would be best not to smash it. my golden prize is that I was invited to write and perform an original poetic monologue as a part of the show! about being new in town, about the Seattle freeze, a confession / explanation / exoneration of my sins.

i wrote something quickly while stresseating pizza and will perform it quickly while stresseating donuts don’t you want to come now?! working title ‘salt the ice my wounds.’ working title ‘I hate you / it’s not my fault.’

seriously I got so stressed writing that I ate 6 slices of pizza like air. I had a new life experience — not all peanut butter cookies are delicious — but still I unhinged my jaw and ate 1 in 1 bite. then I tried to throw up then I couldn’t stop crying then I biked very fast then I finished the poem.

7. I went to compline for the first time and it made me feel like a bad Jew. compline is a meditative choral service performed by an all-male choir at st. marks episcopal church. I’ve been meaning to go forever. I meant to go with my ex a few times but we could never get off the floor.

I went with my friend from the protest; she goes every week. inside was a nice scene: stained glass, old people sitting in pews, Seattle punks stretched across the floor, tight harmonies, some dude prostrating himself in front of the Virgin Mary.

I’m down with Catholicism in theory. Catholicism is my favorite sect of Christianity in theory. I mean not for the no birth control part and maybe not for any of the actual religious tenets, but I’m down with stained glass and ritual and smoke. I’m down to confess. I mean what is this blog but?!

but I’ve been really wanting to find some Seattle Jews. I miss Shabbat dinners at my rabbi’s house. I miss Ithaca. I miss community. I can say I went to compline for the music, for the experience, but missing connection in an episcopal church made me feel like a big bad fake.

8. also my friend and I were having a heavy conversation when then suddenly we were there! quiet please! I may or may not have been silenced mid-sentence! so instead of being able to process together we were alone together in a holy place. she left pretty quick to chain smoke outside so I think she was feeling stressed too.

after compline we went to a pinball
bar and the guy I’m dating is a pinball nerd and there was an article about him in a zine in there so that was cool to see.

9. I got to actually see the guy I’m dating after he was gone for a week at a big pinball tournament (see pinball nerd, above). I was so excited I got pimples on my thighs and my period came a week early. I was so stressed about showing up depressed that I hopped up on caffeine and showed up late in a whirlwind. I ruined not one but two sets of his sheets with my blood. I cried a little but not exclusively. we didn’t drink at all.

10. so yes I’m a little stressed & depressed, but protesting things like ferguson and rape help remind me that life is much bigger. plus friends. plus exercise. plus art. sometimes I need to grit my teeth and remember things will get better.

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is imperfect action worse than no action at all?

I had a mixed experience last night at a march against the murder of Michael Brown, but it appears that a protest that happened earlier in the day had the organization and rhetoric I was looking for.

Hands Up Don't Shoot!Marching from Downtown to Central Districtspeech at the protest marchThese screenshots¬†were taken from the¬†Michael Brown to Eric Garner — This Has to Stop NOW! Seattle Stands with Ferguson, Missouri!¬†Facebook event page.

The Michael Brown to Eric Garner protest started at 4pm Saturday in Westlake Park. The protest I attended started at 8pm Saturday in Capitol Hill. At 4, I had just biked to Bothell and was reading Middlemarch eating blackberries on a bench in the sun near a stream because I have the privilege of coming in and out of political awareness and action when it is convenient to me.

I mean I’m challenging my privilege and struggling to make change but also acknowledging it.

My problem with the march attended last night was the lack of organization and consistent messaging. I am not ok with violence or threats of violence and did not feel comfortable when protesters started shouting those messages. I am not ok with breaking the law and did not feel comfortable when protesters decided to take to the streets.

When I voiced my¬†discomfort with law-breaking, someone replied¬†that the worst thing that would happen was that the Seattle police would ask us to get back on the sidewalk. That¬†was a weird opinion for me to hear because we were literally at that very moment protesting the murder of an unarmed black teenager who had been walking in the street with his friend. Like I know we’re in Seattle and we’re white and we’re privileged (the protest I attended was mostly but not all white) but we’re also educated and informed. We¬†KNOW a polite request from the police is not “the worst thing that would happen.”

Casual law-breaking is a position of privilege. Michael Brown could not walk in the street without violent consequence. Dr. Ersula Ore could not walk in the street without violent consequence. 

But the march last night happened, in all its imperfection. We took the streets without consequence. I acknowledge the protest had positives: It let Capitol Hill know its friends, neighbors and peers are politically aware and inspired to make change. It made attendees feel less alone in their knowledge and anger. It inspired me to read and write more on this topic.

But also maybe Capitol Hill now thinks its friends, neighbors and peers are ready to make change violently. Maybe people uncomfortable with violence will be less likely to get involved. If last night’s protest was someone’s first experience with political action, and they didn’t like what they saw,¬†will it be their last?

But would it have been better to stay home and stay silent? At least we got inspired and active. Is imperfect action worse than no action at all?

hands up don’t shoot! on nonviolent protest

I just participated in my first Seattle protest march against the murder of Michael Brown and everything that’s happening in Ferguson, MO right now and against police brutality and racism in general.

but before reading my opinions about a no offense but probably meaningless protest, how bout you read:

this article in Bust
this article in Jezebel

wow is my feminist media bias showing?!

and check out the Reddit live feed of course

get educated about what’s happening in Ferguson. get angry. that’s the important part.

less important: a small Seattle protest march against something happening in Missouri. I’m not looking to put down what happened tonight but I’m also not looking to lie. this was not the world’s best protest march. tonight was kind of organized by no one. I think the protest may have been organized by a Facebook bot who noticed trending ferguson posts and decided to take action.

maybe someday Facebook bots will radicalize and overthrow themselves.

tonight, 8pm, I met my shadow at Seattle central community college. I stared inquisitively into the eyes of strangers. I got excited when I started seeing protest signs. BEING BLACK IS NOT A CRIME!

after a half hour waiting in a growing crowd, we decided to get started. we were led by no one. we led ourselves.

there was mixed messaging. sometimes we yelled HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT! and I was down with that. sometimes we yelled FERGUSON IS NOT A RIOT! FERGUSON IS SELF-DEFENSE! and I was down with that. sometimes people yelled about justified violence and that all cops are racist pigs and I was like ehhh think I’m going to go to the sidelines/sidewalk till that chant is over.

that’s another thing: we took the streets. there were just 50 of us maybe but we walked in the road and slowed or stopped traffic going up and down broadway. taking the streets is an awesome way to get attention — more people will notice a roadblock than a group yelling on the sidewalk — but also I think you need a permit for that. I’m not looking to break the law. and I’m not looking to yell about pissing on cops when doing so.

as we marched, some people gave us thumbs ups. some people gave us beeps. I didn’t always choose to turn around to see if they were sharing a friendly or unfriendly finger.

it was nice to be a part of political action. it was nice to show Capitol Hill that they have neighbors and peers who are righteously angry and informed. my problem was the lack of organization and cohesive messaging. I am mad about what’s happening in Ferguson. I am mad about what happened to Michael Brown. I am mad that unarmed black people keep on being murdered by heavily armed cops for no reason beyond the color of their skin. that is what I wanted to address tonight.

and yes there are a lot of problems with the Seattle police department, and yes there are a lot of problems with racism in Seattle, but without specific examples and coherent messaging we are not communicating what I wish we were communicating. shouting things like ALL COPS ARE RACIST PIGS is likely to turn more people off than it is to bring them to our side.

I mean it turned me off and I’m on our side!

and not all cops are racist pigs
and a lot of non-cops are racist pigs

I’ll close with the words of someone wiser than I am. tonight’s action was imperfect, but I won’t give up and this is why:

Black people are dying and it‚Äôs not your personal fault that black people are dying because you‚Äôre white but if you don‚Äôt make a purposeful choice to become a white ally and actively work to dismantle the racist system running America for the benefit of white people then it becomes your shame because you are white and black lives matter. And if you live your whole life and then die without making a purposeful choice to become a white ally then American racism becomes your legacy.” Janee Woods on Becoming a White Ally to Black People in the Aftermath of the Michael Brown Murder

stay informed
stay nonviolent
keep fighting

beer for dinner, I am a sinner

I had beer for dinner and a croquet Madame for breakfast and I’m feeling a little sick right now. I’m sitting on my back patio, listening to a weed whacker, drinking ginger tea. since I’m jobless I’m trying not to eat a ton; it’s cheap beer and coffee, whatever food’s at the bottom of my backpack, whatever friends buy for me.

just cos I’m broke doesn’t mean I can digest gluten and dairy any easier. but eating crappy food and feeling crappy does keep me full for a very long time.

I’m weird about food on a good day, and when I get nervous things get weirder. right now my fridge is full of leftovers I can’t eat or get rid of: in case of starvation, in case of maxed-out credit card, in case of zombie apocalypse.

this morning the guy I’m dating took me to brunch at cafe presse. I could barely eat but wasn’t too proud to over-order and box everything to go. bad girl. much gauche. yes Madame in a box. cake and salad on top please. I almost yoinked bread and butter too but since I don’t like butter and bread makes me sick I thought that would be crossing the line.

maybe you are thinking: stop being so weird, emily! you are alienating the people who like you and fucking yourself! maybe you are right. but if I weren’t myself, my food-hoarding, internet-oversharing self, who would I be? and worse: what would I eat?

also I like to be as weird as possible with dudes up front so they don’t think I’m not weird.

maybe you are thinking, if you are so poor, emily, stop spending money on beer! that one is true. I am staying sober except on other people’s dime until I am gainfully employed, but last night was a special occasion. the occasion: the dead baby downhill.

every year for 18 years there is a huge bike party in Georgetown, an industrial brick neighborhood in south Seattle. I never go to Georgetown because I thought it was too far away, except it’s actually only a 20 minute bike ride from the hill. last night will be the first of many adventures.

there were live bands, pedal-powered carnival rides, bike jousting, beer. limitless beer. apparently this was the smallest dead baby ever but I had a good time. nostalgia kills in a city that was killin it 18 years ago. i met some cool people, made some drunk plans. I saw kids do tricks on bmx bikes, saw grownups joust on unicycles, saw drunk and less drunk people, cool and less cool bands.

I saw literally the worst person ever shove his way in front of my short friend as we stood on tiptoe trying to watch bike burlesque. and then he smoked a cigarette in a crowd.

literally the worst.

but then my friend got new handlebars that rained down from above so karma is real. and that guy is 4eva a douche which I think is a pretty bad punishment.

at 2 I left my friends and biked back to the hill with my date. we listened to la luz and I drunk cried about my job and he made me tea and then we went to sleep. he is a cool dude.

fast forward: morning rain, French brunch, tummy, tea, now. now is for napping: funemployment ftw!

even with infinite free time I still can’t do it all. there are art parties and block parties, bike upon bike rides, and it’s always happy hour somewhere. Seattle summer is boundless.

but sleep is necessary; good food too. time to stop being weird and get out the ole trusty credit card.

nap first.

I will dream of organic local produce and endless jobless summer

a quest for dumplings

since I’ve been back I’ve been feeling like a superhero. biking for hours, biking for days. after yoga this morning I was dreaming of dumplings and a bike ride when I realized I can go anywhere in the entire world (in Seattle). so, encouraged by the yelpmaster, I decided to check out fu man dumpling house in bitter lake.

I biked with my friend around green lake till she zipped up Wallingford and I headed toward the interurban via Dayton. it’s a residential street – small houses set back on patchy green lawns, front fences. lots of cars. a kid playing tennis in the driveway with his dad; the ball bounces into the street. dawnit.

yellow wildflowers give way to pink roses. an old school bus gives way to hoo. a family continues celebrating on a wooden deck. yes dogs yes dog poop no cats.

I hop on the interurban for a minute and it’s glorious. what a trail! no bumps, flanked by art. art like a flip book; art like a sunrise on metal plates.

then a wrong turn then a right turn then fu man dumpling house.

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here I am.

it is crowded inside but there is a seat for me. I know I want hot and sour soup with dumplings. I do not know I want, but adore, a plate of pickled vegetables: fresh cucumber cut lengthwise, green beans popping with peas, slivered cabbage.

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then: soup.

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the broth is thick with egg and tofu, onion and cilantro, pulled meat, slivered carrots, leeks? the soup is fat with dumplings, skin pulled translucent, here pink, here green, over a quivering ball of meat and scallions.

it is hot. it is sour. it is delicious. everything melts.

I eat – sip and slurp. I slow. 80s rock gives way to gaga and back again.

the walls are orange.

I am full and
surrounded by dumplings.

Summer is Here: Sweaty Naked Glory

I was born without modesty. I guess we all are, but I’ve maintained it. I was a shy girl, hiding under my mother’s skirts, hiding under the booths at fast food restaurants because I called out to a friend who¬†turned out to be a stranger (true story), but I also loved scaring my friends by jumping out naked in the locker room as we changed¬†to swim. When the sun was out, I couldn’t help but roll as much up or down as possible to get that wonderful vitamin D all over my skin. I have so many happy memories of hiking around and stripping down whenever I spotted a sunny stream.

It wasn’t about looking good or being seen. I didn’t care.¬†My comfort outweighed any possible fear. It’s so wonderful to be naked in the summertime.

Comfort is key — I can’t put up with anything. I couldn’t wear jeans till my teens, insisting upon an¬†elastic waist. Tight pants and wool sweaters make me angry. In high school and even now I sometimes get in trouble for dressing too immodestly; I’m always trying to wear as little as possible. Clothes make me feel hot and bound. My main game today is a dress over yoga pants,¬†stretchy and loose and free. When I’m home I wear nothing at all.

On Saturday, I expanded my comfort zone. For the first time, I joined Fremont’s naked bikers at the solstice parade. At 11 a.m. I met up with two friends and many, many more naked strangers at a shipyard in Ballard to paint ourselves and each other.

We started with¬†my friend Sam, who went as the Black Swan with a painted-on leotard and a little black tutu. After Sam became swan, my friends painted eyes all over my body. I had eyes on my boobs, eyes on my thighs, a third eye on my chest and a vertical eye above my conchita. I even had winking eyes on my butt! There was a girl near me also doing eyes so we became eye friends. We took a picture together, but I won’t put it on the internet.

When I first got to the shipyard I wanted to stare at the sky, but I was fine with being naked and soon felt comfortable looking around at the crowd. The talent ranged. There were intricate patterns and a woman near me with beautifully streaked red, yellow and orange. There were artistic references and naked Santas. There were babies and grown-ups, skinny people and fat people. There was a glitter cage.

I feel like I strutted around even more proudly than usual. In the real world, I don’t know if I look good, and I don’t know if anyone¬†is checking me out. But when everyone’s naked, everyone’s awkward parts are showing and if anyone checks someone¬†out they’re a perv. So I felt good. I felt safe. I felt free.

At noon or maybe 1, I don’t know — I was hungry and hadn’t had¬†coffee and more suddenly than had planned was naked and painted and didn’t know how to get back to the outside world — we left. There were a lot of people on bikes: thousands. We left in waves, biking thru Ballard screaming and coming¬†to slooow down when we neared the Ballard bridge. There were a lot of us. We clogged the roads. We stood still for a while, entombed in the mass of ourself.

There were boom boxes. There were pulls off bottles. I smelled weed but never saw it.

Balancing precariously, one foot on the pedal, one foot pawing the earth, we trickled toward Fremont. We took the streets. For a second or two I wanted to race ahead, jump on the Burke and beat everyone to the parade, but then I realized that wasn’t the point. We moved slow. And then there were breakaways, waves. We were off.

From Ballard on there were crowds cheering. I loved cheering back. But there were some times when smiling felt like work. You’re saying naked isn’t enough?! Stoic face, frowning face, covered in eyes.

I did smile for every camera. Staring into the lens, probably more comfortable than I usually feel for photos.

A lot of people took two laps, but I wanted a hot dog. I went to Gasworks and suddenly was alone. The only naked person in sight. I felt like a pervert but I was comfortable and riding high so I persevered. I bought myself a hot dog, dressed it and ate, standing alone in a field, winking toward the city.

Bikers started trickling in. We sprawled on the grass amid goose poop. I found my friends. I declared I’d stay naked forever.

And then I saw a customer, put my clothes back on and biked to work.

friday the 13th, full moon, mercury retrograde

or, shifting blame

or, ignoring fault

or, how did we get here?

seashell swimsuit

it was friday the 13th and nothing went right

we tried to go to a garage sale and nothing was happening. it was more than a black hole or a shadow falling over a solitary ant on the sidewalk, but less than a block party or a waterslide. maybe equal to a waterslide off season, seen through a fence and tall spiky grass.

enough was happening to bike past with my lost face on, loop around and then finger wool flannels, buy a seashell-print swimsuit, pretend i was someone else. to spend seven dollars and start a game with a stranger’s baby until the stranger wheeled it away. but we couldn’t stretch our legs beyond a couple clothing racks in one person’s driveway. i was promised bbq. and so we went to happy hour.

i didn’t pay for drinks on friday

we went to mario’s and i got pizza. beer when i was bored of pizza, whiskey when i was bored of beer. there was a strongman competition on tv but i’ve seen men lifting heavy rocks before. with age comes expectation, recognition, fatigue. there’s a higher threshold before enthusiasm breaks like so many waves, rushing forth, toppling me into salt and foam.

when we left we tried to look at art but nothing was happening. it was more than one glass of wine but less than two. the wind blew and we walked; time stopped and reversed. the earth contracted into a walnut shell vibrating with potential; we walked backwards, jerky like a film reel running on the wrong speed. a time lapse photo of a flower gave way to a time lapse photo of a germinating seed. and then nothing at all.

it was a full moon too. did i mention that already?

we swam through the wine of our memories. wondered what went wrong, maybe made a joke. we were slipping further and further from reality but still the world churned and suddenly it was 9 and i had a date.

i wanted my friend to stay but she left anyway.

and so i went to shorty’s and sat. sipped whiskey, didn’t pay for it, why? sat alone, drunk, dead phone. i thought, i don’t give a shit at all. i thought, whatever happens, happens. no phone, no friend, stood up, alone.

and then a guy walked up to me wearing a fuck you hat. said, what do people usually say about your tattoo? i thought, will i have to fill in the blanks for you all night? but i think i just smiled.

and after that

 

 

i probably consented enthusiastically but not to the whiskey. i remember being confused by it all; it was limitless. it was the american economy during wartime. it was a chocolate fountain at your rival’s bat mitzvah. it was valentine’s day after a christmas bonus, for someone who loves, and saves.

 

is this a thing that’s happening? i asked and he said yes

i said let’s go

at the end it was me with blanks that need filling.

 

my friend said i saw you and i said what?

my friend said i saw you and i said oh

my friend said call the cops and i said no

my friend said it happens to everyone and i said i know but i still don’t like it

 

i was sad and then i wasn’t sad and then i was sad again

i was scared to leave my room and then i continued to have a job and go to it

i thought of patricia lockwood

i thought of everything that has happened in my life up to this point, and the future

to infinity and beyond

i thought of sarah silverman

it was bittersweet