Making My Triumphant Return to Blogging!

So it has been quite awhile since my last blog post. This past semester was awful. My classes were fine, work was fine, but the amount of drama that erupted in my personal life over the last few months left me incapable of focusing on anything beyond school, work, and starting my post-undergrad job hunt. I even pushed my GRE back to June because studying for my original November date just wasn’t an option.

I’ve resolved for 2012 to be better. Even though I still don’t love the idea of resolutions, I am making a small resolution-type-thing… in 2012 I refuse to get caught up in anything that will drag me down in the way that this last year did.  My anxiety issues (which I will talk about more in a future post) have hit their peak in 2011 (seriously, I’m calling it) & 2012 will be the year that I pull myself together and become the calm, collected, kickass person that I can be 24/7, instead of just when I am out in public and my reputation is on the line. Part of this resolution means writing here (and elsewhere on the web) a lot more again, because I miss blogging & everyone who I interact with on here!

While I was missing from Imagine Today a TON happened elsewhere. The two most exciting things are…

(1) I got an article posted on xoJane.com!

(2) I also got accepted to present at Momentum 2012 alongside Maria Falzone! Check it out, check it out! I added the conference icon to my sidebar (FINALLY) so if you’re interested at all check it out and consider attending. Last year’s conference, the first ever, was fabulous, it was new, exciting, and experimental yet the organizers obviously knew what they were doing… the workshops were well scheduled, presentations ran smoothly and were well times, plenty of delicious and refreshing snacks were constantly available. I normally really enjoy conferences, but Momentum is on another level entirely. Check out the liveblogs & recaps I wrote of last year’s conference…

Maria and I will be co-facilitating a presentation called Selling Safer Sex to College Students: Tips and Techniques of the Trade. Click the linked title to check out the description! Maria is ridiculously funny & we are both committed to facilitating a session with plenty of dialogue and engagement, so I can promise you this will be awesome. I know my biggest issue that week is going to be choosing between so many wonderful looking workshops.

So I am signing off for now, but I promise this time it won’t be for nearly three months (sorry!) I’ll be back with new content (and a renewed commitment to writing here) soon! In the meantime, do any of you have resolutions? How do you stay calm and focused when life seems to want you to lose your mind? I always love having conversations in the comments!

Read This Now!

This guest post on Racialicious (written by Hugo Najera) about what real diversity looks like is an incredibly interesting conversation-starter.

Such comments assume that diversity is measured only by the number of Blacks, women, and Latinos in the room, without considering the structural reframing, process, and competencies that can make the term usable. “Diversity” as shorthand for a tally of physical bodies and archetypes is one of the major issues this term faces for validity and understanding. This incomplete definition makes whites feel apart and not responsible, targeted groups into tokens who feel responsible for carrying the burden in get-togethers, and ultimately diminishing collective knowledge. And for those who accompany the word with action, process, and competency, it annoys us when others in the choir don’t sing with the entire range of notes true diversity asks for.

[…]

The worst crime of limiting diversity to stockpiling identities is that it leaves black, white, whomever, oblivious and shackled from taking any social action. I have participated in too many dialogue sessions, hate crime debriefings, class discussions, and lunchroom chit chat where targeted groups have vent sessions, whites stay quiet, and everyone feels good for being in conversation, yet empty that nothing has been done. Everything returns to the status quo of disproportionate favoritism, neglect, anger, and struggle. Why is it that these feelings and situations do not convert well into action? Why do we like the notion of diversity so much, yet we still struggle in using it in the classroom? Why does a room full of positive change agents ask the question “What can I do?” The reason is because action steps, knowledge, competencies, and processes have been severed, or never included, in “diversity.”

[Click to read the rest!]

I hope that the comments section for the post picks up soon because I’d love to hear what other people think!

Hampshire Liveblog Two: Is it Activism?

Now I am attending Is it Activism? Working Against Oppression as Peer Health Educators. Our panelists are all high school students who are part of the Teen Health Initiative for NYCLU, They spent this semester giving a workshop about knowing your health rights in regards to confidentiality, STIs, pregnant and parenting teens, and more to their peers (& they are so awesome!) I feel terrible for not knowing the names of all of the panelists (if you want to take some credit, feel free to comment/email so I can edit that information in!) but the panel is moderated-from-the-audience by Karyn Brownson and Gabriel Johnson.

Reflection After the Workshop

A paraphrased “transcript” is below the cut. Its hard to really sum up everything I learned out of this workshop & I honestly don’t think transcript is the right form for this. I want to say that this organization, one that gives teens control over their learning and teaching is amazing and there should be more like it. I can’t even imagine how different I would be if I had an outlet where I was allowed to be taken this seriously when I was a teenager (as opposed to creeping towards one in college.) Blogging has always (sort of) been that space for me, since on the internet no one knows how old you are until you tell them, but I truly wish the real world took teenagers voices seriously more often.

All of these panelists were so eloquent and confident that they really confirmed this notion for me. Even when we disagreed with each other or two panelists disagreed I was endlessly impressed with the way in which they expressed their disagreement (like when we talked about sexual assault and victim blaming).

Beyond all of this validation and admiration I also appreciated the chance to break activism and social justice down to its most basic components. The following information is a great place to start dealing with any social justice issue (though we were talking about sexual health specifically for most of it.)

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Hampshire Liveblog One: Toys & Spots with Yana Tallon

  • What did we learn in sex ed? Not much for a lot of us… very little about contraception, safe sex, non-hetero sex, etc.
  • Where did you learn about pleasure? Experience, experimenting, work, friends, Google, Wikipedia, HBO, friends…

The point: we don’t really learn about pleasure in sex ed or schools, we’ve learned by observing & experimenting. As a result we’re often missing information and lacking a place to fill in those gaps.

Just a warning, this may not be safe for work (unless you work somewhere cool!) so be aware before you click.

Momentum Liveblog Part Three

UPDATE: Just noticed that Heidi posted her fantastic Prezi slides from the presentation up here… check it out!  Also, I really intend to blog more in depth about my reactions to this workshop soon, because I feel that it was one of the most impactful ones I experienced… so keep an eye out!

2:46: After sprinting a few blocks to get Panera take out and get back in time to watch The Line (which is an awesome documentary) I am now plugged in and ready to liveblog my way through A Spoonful of Chocolate Makes the Vanilla Go Down with Heidi Anderson. The workshop is about applying the principles of kink to creating a more positive model of consent and sexual assault prevention. Get ready!

  • Okay, so this isn’t a real bullet but Heidi is awesome…  I don’t even have a specific reason yet, I’m just psyched to have chosen this workshop!
  • Her parents taught her that if anyone made her uncomfortable in any way, she didn’t have to be around them. How do you raise your children to be sexual beings who are ethical? She teaches her kids that they don’t have to hug or touch anyone that they don’t want to… mastery of your own body.
  • “The poly & kink world, once I got involved a little bit, I kind of got sucked in…not in a bad way.” “I realized the presentations I gave to high schoolers about sexual assault may actually be perpetuating some of the myths.”

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