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:
wow is my feminist media bias showing?!
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’s not your personal fault that black people are dying because you’re white but if you don’t 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
I recently read an article about tavi gevinson graduating and being 18 and being a hot cool grown-up now. I mean more eloquent than that.
in the article, tavi says great connections aren’t made at fun parties but in sharing tears over disappointments. friendships are made in sadness.
recently I guess I’ve put that to the test. it’s been a weirdo summer but it’s also nice to learn that some people are really cool. and that I can do things I thought I couldn’t.
last night I had a potluck to celebrate all that. I gathered a nice group of friends, who in turn gathered an incredible assortment of foods to share. we had juicy watermelon I couldn’t stop eating, amazing homemade zucchini bread, delicate pistachio rosewater cardamom cookies, and more!
this lucky girl kept the leftovers and right now I’m munching on a donut peach salad with almonds.
in addition to being a celebration of august and the uncertainty of the universe, last night was an experiment in creating an intentionally sober event.
since I’m not drinking I’ve been more aware of the ubiquity of alcohol. it’s always happy hour somewhere. there are even breakfast drinks! Facebook events scream don’t worry there’s wine! there’s beer at coffeeshops.
and people say there’s alcoholism in my family and I feel like everyone says there’s alcoholism in my family and maybe that’s because alcohol is an addictive substance. there’s alcoholism in your family unless you’re in a family of teetotalers.
so I wanted to test the sober waters. the result: one person accidentally brought a six pack.
but I put it in the corner, we sat on the floor, and we talked. about wage labor, about the selling of one’s morals, about secret nonAmerican citizenships. I learned a lot! we looked at zines I once grabbed at black coffee coop and played with my roommates dog. we ate food. it was a nice night.
my contributions, cos really I set off writing tonight intending to blog a recipe then got carried away, were potato and beef knishes and stuffed jalapeños. the knish recipe is a family recipe and I’ve decided a SECRET RECIPE!! tho if we’re together I probably can’t resist whispering it to you. I also may have blogged it out before.
but the jalapeños were new and great and I am excited to share the recipe with the world.
Roasted jalapeños topped with avocado, mushroom and cilantro
vegan, gluten free, spicy!!
you’ll need 1lb or approx 15 jalapeños
1 regular size container mushrooms how much does that thing weigh?
3 very ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic
small handful of cilantro
coconut oil or whatever oil you choose to use
I don’t think I even used salt
well first why don’t you take your contacts out or finish your eye things for the day cos after cutting jalepenos you don’t want to be doing that business.
ok. cut the ends off all the jalepenos. slice in half, or don’t and just remove all the seeds and stems if you’re feeling fancy and/or dexterous. I don’t have good knife skills. whatever you do, remove the seeds and stems. that’s where the spicy at.
save some gradient between zero and half of the seeds and stems, depending on your spice tolerance. I saved half, and I really can’t imagine anyone would want to go hotter than me. really. I promise.
coat the jalepenos in a teeny bit of oil and salt if you like and put them in the oven at 350 till the filling is ready.
set a pan to low heat no oil. dice the mushrooms and put them in the pan to sweat. a little salt. garlic next, then diced jalepeno guts if you have any. add a bit of oil if you care to.
after 5 minutes of this, or, when everything is hot and melded, remove heat and put the stuffing in a bowl to mix with avocado and cilantro. mash the avocados in with a fork.
stuff the jalepenos and bake for 10 minutes let’s say. and they’re ready to enjoy!
really I’ve gotten myself hungry writing this: I’m going to grab a jalepeno from the fridge. they’re good cold too! please try them and tell me what you think!
yesterday I was so sad I wanted to submerge myself in deep warm water until the end of time. I wanted to sleep forever. I wanted a hug.
yesterday I was so sad I couldn’t even ride my bike. I had to push it along like cumbersome crutch. like an externalized, metalliferous alter ego. my constant companion that will
never love me back.
yesterday I was so sad I felt too embarrassed to talk. I felt too embarrassed to write. I felt too embarrassed to ever tell anyone my feelings. it’s embarrassing to have overwhelming emotional reactions to everything, but I feel what I feel. can you stop yourself from feeling? this was not my choice.
what are other people like? I mean inside their minds. can some people really just brush off their feelings? or not even feel strongly at all? I wonder a lot about other people, and feelings, and weakness, and strength.
I am a strong girl in a lot of ways. I moved to Seattle without a job, plan, family or friends and I think I’m
doing ok. there have been many tears and fuck-ups along the way but at least now I have friends and job! I deal with personal setups by trying to learn and grow. I deal with professional setbacks by looking for bigger and better opportunities.
sometimes I throw my bike over my shoulder and run up stairs, or thru busy traffic, frogger style. daily I pump up and coast down Seattle hills.
I go out to dinner alone. I go to art shows alone. I don’t let being alone stop me from doing what I want to do.
but on the other hand… I am frequently stressed and overwhelmed. I am easily moved to tears. I get trapped in the mucky mud of my own emotions. the mud gets in my eyes, and everything is dark, and I can’t imagine seeing ever again. how quickly I can forget what light is like.
I’m even forced to keep my body in tiptop shape to keep a happy mind! alcohol, drugs, overeating, sugars, dairy, carbs… they all bring me down. I am sometimes fine in moderation. and sometimes not.
so yesterday. yesterday I happily awoke at 6am and biked to my first day of work. OR SO I THOUGHT. turns out it was just a negotiating contract and signing paperwork day. initial here, sign there, out by noon.
cool right? whole day free. well I just had a whole week free. and I like to plan ahead. I was excited to start my job. and I just friggen biked 20 miles I wasn’t exactly looking to turn around and go straight home.
seriously what is up with people asking me to wake early and bike miles for bullshit?! I mean I do self-identify as a bike lover and early bird so maybe I just need to work on communicating my likes and wants and boundaries.
like: please do not ask me to wake at 6 and bike a distance if you don’t want me to hang a while!
but hey it happened. I left the office and then…? I was lost. all I wanted to do was work. I didn’t even make Friday night plans because I assumed I’d be tired from work!
this is how I felt when I lost my last job. I wasn’t happy to have a sunny day free. I just wanted to go inside, clock on and make coffee. I am kind of a worker bee. I like to feel useful.
the nice thing that day was I had a friend just down the street who helped me get my head together.
but this day, yesterday, I was lost. so I: cried on a park bench on the green river trail. cried into a slurpee at volunteer park. put a newspaper over my face and pretended to tan at a beach on lake Washington but really cried underneath the newspaper.
I: walked my bike uphill and sometimes even on flat terrain because I could not muster the energy to ride. walked my bike along a winding trail, sometimes carrying it over stairs, because I could not stand the streets. could not think of a single thing to do but cry and wander forlorn.
eventually I called the guy I’m dating. ok to be real over and over I called the guy I’m dating. I went to his place, buried my face in his lap and cried. and then made us dinner. things got weird the last time we hung out but we talked and both apologized. he said from now on maybe I can tell him my feelings as they happen instead of expressing them the next day cryptically.
plus I’m a good kisser and a good cook and after a shitty crazy day it felt nice to be good at something.
but the day wasn’t all bad. ok the day was all bad but still some positives will come of it. yesterday I was sad and I wanted to go to a bar but I didn’t. this morning I was still sad and I wanted to smoke a bowl but I didn’t. it would be nice to be happy, and it will come again; till then there are worse ways to deal than by crying.
I woke up this morning wanting to smash. I wanted to break down walls. I wanted to break down doors. I wanted to smash glass against window.
I wanted to spill red wine on a white carpet. I wanted to spill white wine on a red couch, just to be wasteful and cruel.
instead I put out, and smiled, and planned my attack. when he leaves for work, that’s when I’ll do it. I’ll smash it all.
I haven’t raged out in a while: it’s been over a year. i have smashed before, but that is a topic for a different year, a different blog, a different life.
I try to stay happy and positive; I often feel stressed and sad; my anger is fleeting. my anger is usually cured quickly by a bad joke or a bike ride. my anger is usually accompanied by an urge to talk shit, not break plates.
last night I had a date. he told me he had concert tickets. he told me he would respect my decision when I told him I wasn’t drinking. neither of those things were true.
I tried to be positive and stay cool with him because things have been good so far. I just got a (very loving) talking-to from my parents about being a big slut on the internet, but this is the first guy I’ve slept with since my ex. I really liked this dude.
but then he wouldn’t (couldn’t?) stop drinking. or talking about drinking. or asking me if I wanted a drink. eventually I said ok because I wanted to be cool and stop having a fucking shitty night, and it was fine except that I started the night telling him I didn’t want to.
that’s why I woke up so angry.
I didn’t end up smashing. at first, honestly, I was afraid of getting in trouble. that’s not my main motivator — I have an internal moral code — but there was about a half hour this morning where an apartment would have been trashed if I wasn’t aware of laws. or if any of the friends I sadtexted had encouraged me to do it.
luckily I have great friends. i was offered juice. I was reminded that today is a new day for better decisions.
after my hulk smash rage subsided, I remembered I don’t want to be the kind of person who trashes apartments. and so I wrote him a letter. I told him I was upset that my wishes weren’t respected. I told him I could have been more firm. I told him I could have gone home. I told him I didn’t want to.
and so instead of smashing, I left a letter on the coffee table like a grown-up, along with a few artfully arranged pieces from his own collection.
ever imperfect, I couldn’t just leave. and so I stole: a toothbrush
the first time I slept over, I asked if he had an extra toothbrush. he said no. I went thru his bathroom looking for mouthwash and found: an extra toothbrush. but I couldn’t say ‘hey dude I just rummaged thru your shit and it turns out you do in fact have an extra toothbrush’ and so my teeth went unbrushed.
added bonus: it’s electric!
(boogie woogie woogie woogie)
I’ve never used an electric toothbrush before.
I am in a curious place where I am happy and everything is good. life seems to be settling down. yesterday I napped, woke up to eat a giant burrito and went back to sleep. it was glorious, if not blog-worthy. tho I did publish many snaps and Facebook posts that were basically burrito close-ups and ‘yum wow.’
so I’ve decided to write about my happiness. because I did not wake up like this. my happiness is a struggle. my happiness is a fight. I’ve had many dark times in Seattle (and NY, and LA, and Spain) and tho the sun is shining I know it will rain again. this post is a love letter to myself, in the future, whenever I’m feeling down.
one thing that has improved my life infinitely is exercise. the exercise that works best for me is biking and yoga because I can go at my own pace. I can walk my bike uphill if I want to. I can spend 30 minutes crying in child pose if I want to. it happens.
I am not a competitive person. I was raised to give up at the first sign of adversity. I was told I would never win. the stress of an entire team relying on me brings paralyzingly pressure. I am not coordinated with a ball. but baby I can bike uphill all day.
and to think just a little over one year ago I was afraid to bike in Seattle!
I moved to Seattle in September 2012. I bought my bike in October, then was like ‘lol hills wut.’ I proceeded to move my bike from apartment to apartment as a clothing rack, an art piece, as something nonfunctional that takes up space.
I moved to north Seattle (first magnolia, then Wedgwood, now interbay) in July 2013. I was a walker for my first almost-year in Seattle because I had too much energy and not enough money for the bus. but in north Seattle things are further spread than they are downtown. so I was like, ‘oh damn! I better get on this bike or else I’ll never get anywhere!’ and so I did. I am best at doing the difficult things in life when I have no other options.
yes I walked my bike uphill sometimes. yes I still do. on Monday I biked to Tukwila and came back along lake Washington. after my dip in the lake I walked my bike up thru madrona, thru the central distract, to the 7 eleven on Madison. (this is a topic for another day but I FUCKING LOVE 7 ELEVEN). I got myself the hugest slurpee for only $2, hopped on my bike and coasted downhill, slurpin.
every day I get faster, and every day I get stronger. when I see a hill I’ve done before I’m like ‘oh yea I’ve done that hill before!’ and when I see a hill I haven’t done I’m like ’emily you have done similar hills!’ biking uphill today makes it easier to bike uphill tomorrow. (also in my head there is a quiet but persistent fear that if I don’t bike uphill today, tomorrow I won’t be able to.)
bike-life metaphors are limitless. walking around, being in the world, seeing people… my theory is that we are all riding invisible bikes on invisible hills. some of us are riding top-of-the-line bikes. some of us are riding fixed gears for some reason. some of us have flat tires. some of us don’t yet know how to shift gears. some of us are going uphill; some of us are going downhill. and no one can tell by looking! we can’t even see ourselves!
struggle is invisible; struggle is real; be kind
beyond biking, my other exercise addiction is yoga. for me they are a perfect team: biking gives me cardio and movement and the opportunity to burn my weird infinite energy; yoga helps me calm down and get into my body, and of course that great
s t r e t c h !
I started yoga in April after breaking up with my boyfriend. all that boyfriend time was suddenly empty and I wanted to use it constructively. yoga for the win! also, biking gets me so right I seriously can barely walk without stretching daily.
sadly, I just had to quit my studio because it will not fit in with my new work schedule. I am now on the hunt for a studio that offers evening classes close to home. I will do youtube yoga if I have to! I will not give up these stretches and twists for anything!
now that I am a yoga nerd I find class philosophies seeping into everyday life. ‘listen to yourself.’ ‘honor your truth.’ ‘it’s your practice.’ I do worry about annoying people by being too hippy dippy positive but for me it’s the only option. because of my experiences with and disposition toward depression, I need to be happy. I try not to ignore problems and to deal with them (in my own way), but I also try to move on and be happy and not dwell.
I want to quote (no attribution but yes I got permission; I went to journalism school ok?!) something a good friend recently wrote on a closed Facebook group for Seattle feminists:
“experiencing assault has boiled down my personality into this thick stupid angry thing and I am now intolerable to be around because all I do is yell at men”
i love you; I believe you; it’s not your fault. your anger is more than justified.
but for me, after years of being mad and sad and drunk, anger does not serve me. anger gives me bad feelings in my body. for me, i try to learn from the shit and embrace the good so tightly.
of course I am not perfect. I was recently threatened at my ex-job by a busser who also works on a boat… somewhere. in Seattle there are boats everywhere! and I love boats! but now when I see a boat I worry he is there and he is going to rape me and kill me and it is mostly not logical except for the fact that he already threatened me once and I have been hurt by men that never even gave me a warning. but fear doesn’t serve me so I focus on my breath and try to calm down and keep moving.
right now I am good and happy but I know me and so:
dear emily. it might be march. it might be raining. something uncool might have just happened at work, or with a family member, a lover, or a friend. honor your feelings (even the negative ones!); don’t rush. it’s your practice. just remember that sometimes you are so incredibly happy. remember that you can bike uphill after years of thinking you couldn’t. remember the feeling of the sun on your back. you will feel it again I promise.
badass bike weekend for the win. yesterday I biked the furthest north ive ever been (in Seattle) and today the furthest south. and I’m still standing! actually right now I’m sitting in a Starbucks because I sold my morals slash Tukwila is chain restaurant hell. I needed to charge my phone and charge myself and they’re turning a blind eye to me eating my own cookies out of my own backpack and so far only one person has given me the finger so I’ll try to stop being a brat about being here.
but yea I dont want to complain. I don’t like complainers. I want to humblebrag slash not humble at all about biking! I am riding high I am riding low I am riding all over Seattle.
yesterday I went on a bike ride to all 6 dicks drive-ins in Seattle. on a route in the shape of a dick. it was pretty much the greatest experience of my life. I rode with a group of friends I met last year; I was just a few weeks into biking in the city when I accidentally crashed their party. I am pretty active and know about stuff going on around town because I facebook hard, but sometimes I show up at things I think are public that actually… aren’t.
so last year I crashed Bitches Bike & Brew: a ride to some cool bars in south Seattle with a group of very friendly women. one year later — still crashing, still riding — I joined some of the same ladies and some dudes too on a dick tour! tour du dick. just dickin around.
we started at the Wallingford dicks and then proceeded to hit Capitol Hill, lake city, Edmonds, Ballard and Queen Anne. In all I ate 2 burgers, 1 fry, 1 coke and 1 maple nut ice cream cone. it was hard to pack it all in! at two dicks I just had ice water! one girl seemed to get a cheeseburger and a hot fudge sundae at every stop but I can’t party that hard. she also had a boom box strapped to the back of her bike and a pug mask in her front basket and was a general badass.
it was a nice group – 5 women (including me) and 3 men. unlike last year, there were times I was at the front of the pack! I rocked those hill climbs! my chain fell off 2 times and I put my chain back on 2 times. never better.
it was a fun leisurely day; beyond the dick stops we stopped to snack on blackberries growing along the trails. we rode the Burke and the interurban and i even learned some shortcuts close to home I didn’t know about.
our route was 45 miles, but with my commute from and to home I’m calling it a 50 mile day. starting in Ballard I was pretty fried, and by Queen Anne I could barely speak. I’d try to say a sentence but say the words out of order. or I’d forget some words but I couldn’t tell which. totally brain dead.
needless to say when I left the group and tried to bike to volunteer park I was a mess. I was able to bike from Queen Anne to south lake union but had to walk the rest of the way to the hill. at the park I laid in the grass like a confused blob for a while till I biked home with my roommate (downhill!) and went to bed at 8:30.
and up at 6 for another ride!
this morning I had a job interview in Tukwila: 20 miles & 2 bike hours south of me. I took the Elliot bay trail to Alki, over the west Seattle bridge to Duwamish, to the green river trail, to the interurban. but it wasn’t so easy as that.
maybe it’s my fault or maybe blame google, I don’t know, but I have a really tough time reading maps and following google map directions. they always seem to change! at some junctures I had to flag down bikers to help point me in the right direction.
I made it to the green river trail feeling good & hungry & with time to spare, so I took a break on a bench with a backpack salad. fresh picked blackberries for dessert! it was glorious but after eating I couldn’t find my way. maybe all my blood was in my stomach and not my brain.
I seriously biked around the same block for 30 minute crying because I had no idea what to do. picture me standing on the side of a busy street, squinting at my phone screen in the sun, covered in mud and blood.
ok my legs always get pretty scratched and muddy when I’m riding and it’s not a big deal but I’m trying to be dramatic here.
Google kept directing me to streets that didn’t exist and I kept looking for street signs that didn’t exist and I wanted to lay in the shade of a tree and cry forever. instead I kept crying and kept swearing and eventually made it to my job interview, one hour late, literally covered in blood sweat & tears.
and I got the job!
doesn’t hurt that my new boss is a biker too 🙂
now I’m still at Starbucks and still in Tukwila. starting to feel caffeinated enough to head on home. and you can eat my dust!! or, like, join me. I’m always happy to make new bike friends 🙂
ok I admit last night I talked around a key detail. it sometimes takes a minute (or a good nights sleep) to get my thoughts and feelings straight. and decide what I’m ready to say.
because yes blah “my childhood” and “my eagerness to please” it’s all true. but I think I got so friend-stressed last night because I had a few drinks. I’ve been feeling so good since I lost my job and I think it’s partially because I’ve been sober. I’ve been severed sharply, without warning, from my coworkers’ parties.
working a night shift at a restaurant, no matter the plans I tried to made before work, lent itself well to partying. shit can be stressful and the sun often got to go home before I did. where do I start my night, how do I unwind after that?
well there is a pub in the basement where I worked with half off booze. I had coworkers selling drugs out of the restaurant. everyone partied harder than me, and sometimes I would try to keep up. when I first started working I wasn’t drinking or smoking but people teased me for that.
I mean I dated a coworker for 6 months and our entire relationship was me struggling to keep up. and ended with me being a very unhappy girl.
so I think it’s time for a break. in the spring I stopped drinking for a few weeks and it was a nice change of pace. I read more books and had more energy. I needed less sleep. I could bike all day.
and when Friday ends with me drunk crying about my job, and yesterday paused for me to stress cry about my friends, it seems this shit is not really serving me.
I don’t profess to be perfect and I’m not saying forever. there are so many festivals and parties and concerts and friends and I like saying yes to everything. i want to be cool. I like to get down. but I also gotta look out for number 1. and stay happy.