Reblog: Decolonization and ‘Occupy Wall Street’

World map depicting America

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Personally I never imagined it possible to attempt changing the way this land is used…its system, its society, without referring to its indigenous occupants.

I think it is in large part conditioning that American society, rather the 99% or 1% uses its privilege to imagine itself victimized and special in its pursuits. To be ignorant of the implications it makes when making general statements about a large-scale movement, and inconsideration for who their movement has not addressed.

However, I think it is really a community cry for guidance. I think the 99% can and is willing to learn a lot from indigenous culture and the other cultures they have omitted in their request for change.

I was ecstatic when I saw the letters from Native American activists and nations addressing the 99% movement and I am ready to see what comes of this. The only logical way of really making change in this country is to look back on the initial changes in what was Indian country and right them.

May the 99% defy the conditioning the 1% used to ‘educate’ them with and learn to decolonize themselves, their minds and spread the spirit of liberation into the surrounding environments. With responsibility, humility, courageousness and community something fair and sustainable for all will emerge.

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How I’ve Worked This Past Week and 1/2

Picture of a canon video camera.

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Like I said earlier, I have actually journaled a lot of my weekly happenings with pen and paper, but I’ve also had a hard time keeping up with said pen and paper, so I’m working from memory here.

This week, I worked on some business2blogger campaigns, as well as some fiverr.com orders.  I also worked on a poetry submission that I still haven’t finished for literary ezines.  I launched my Yoga/Life Coaching related website and I’ve been mentored on starting a business with my aunt.

Like I’ve said elsewhere I want to have a business I can travel with.  Years ago I had this idea and was somewhat successful but it didn’t last very long.  I had a website on which I did life coaching and helping people with weight loss.  At that time I was also accepted to do an eco-travel job where I was supposed to document my traveling experiences for a website.  I didn’t have a video camera(I was supposed to make v-logs) and I didn’t have a laptop, so it didn’t work out.  I was eager to leave with my family, so I didn’t even have a digital camera.  We eventually got a laptop on the road but getting wi-fi was tough.  It was very difficult to work on the road in those circumstances.

We tried to get an RV, find communities, teach yoga, do life coaching and lead cleanses.  We also made most of our money through street performing.  At that time I think we just needed to see what it was like…that we did.  Now that we have a travel trailer and we know what it is like to be on the road, we both feel a lot more confident and committed to this idea.  Over the past years I’ve asked a lot of people online for advice and many times I’ve been told I’m trying to do too many things.  In some ways that is true, I was trying to do things as if I was the only person who could do them.  I definitely don’t want to hesitate with my goals, but I do want to bring in more people to help.  That is my next mission on my journey.  To bring in more people.

This might not really make sense right now.  I’m a little brainfried from transcribing!  However I really needed to write this blog and I’ll probably be back to make it more accurate later.

Mi Familia

Baby carrier

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This past week, I’ve been writing a journal of the things that happen in my family daily.  Unfortunately, one of the huge things I did this week was(and still is) organizing.  As a writer on a professional level and a personal level, I have a gazillion notebooks, notepads, binders, spirals, journals, etc.  I’m really in need of a system of organizing and I am very, very on top of that.  It doesn’t look like it at the moment, but I’m totally on it.  However, my little chicas are sleeping right now, and my notebooks(most of them) are in the bedroom.  I don’t want to risk waking them, and I don’t want to try writing this tomorrow.  So I’ll just try to remember.

My oldest daughter did school about 4 days this week.  We skipped one day in the middle, I think it was either Thursday or Friday.  We woke up and did counting, tracing numbers, her first word find from a Dora the Explorer learning workbook we have!  She’s been counting to 10 really well…it seems like it took forever for her to just jump from number to number after 5 and I discovered just tonight that she can count to five in Spanish too.  We’ve been speaking a lot of Spanish this week.  We have lots of Spanish books and most of the things I let her watch are also in Spanish or bilingual.  One day she woke up and brought me her U.S. encyclopedia and we went through as much of it as we could.

As for my youngest daughter, this has honestly been a tough week.  It seems like she turned one and suddenly acts like she’s in her terrible two’s!  It is very difficult to be frustrated with her, but there are times when her goal was just to take everything in sight and destroy it somehow.  Throwing everything off the couch, off the bed, off the table… turning off the computer, scratching, biting, hitting, yelling, screaming… but also laughing, hugging, singing, mimicking, kissing and playing.  I carried her on my back a lot this week.  We went on a few walks together, just me and her.  I realize my oldest daughter had a lot more of my time when she was this age, I talked to her so much and gauged her interests really well.  With numero dos, although I talk a lot, I guess I don’t really talk specifically to her, all that much.  With my first I would always tell her what I was doing when I was changing her or feeding her…with this one, I might say one time what I’m doing, but I rarely repeat myself, except when I’m really trying to teach her a specific word.

I’m trying to teach her Spanish as well, and though it seemed like I spoke around 90% Spanish to my first daughter up until the age of 2, when I spend time trying to teach daughter numero dos, I almost always use the Spanish terms.  She doesn’t really talk much.  She makes a lot of noise, and she always has, but mostly she says “mama“, when she puts a hand puppet on she makes it talk by saying “hala, hala” and when she points at the pictures in a picture album with a little cat on the cover, she calls every picture “gato“.  She gives kisses when asked in English and Spanish.  She knows arriba and abajo.  She seems to know what I mean when I say quieres mas and similar phrases, and she definitely knows what leche means and she uses the sign.  Oddly enough, I would’ve sworn I heard her call to her sister “hermana” one afternoon. She greats her dad when he comes home or into a room with “hey da!”  Or that’s how it sounds anyway.  She also sings when I sing, “reads” when I read(we give her a few board books whenever we read to her big sister)  and dances to everything, including the blender!

As for parenthood, the Mr. and I have really had some powerful strides take place in our parenting relationship as well our personal relationship.  I was really proud when he revealed to me that he had connected to our oldest daughter in a way relating to some of his fears as a child, and that when she is fearful he realized getting upset with her only made it worse.  I’ve seen him change his parenting tactics dramatically in this past week.  I’ve also seen him change his worldview a lot.  I can tell by him opening up to ideas and ambition and excitement about our future.  He shared that he wants to travel and we talked about different places we want to go.  He also shared many times with me that he’s going to do much better with our budget next month.

In my neighborhood there’s this fun Mexican man who I see pretty often.  I don’t remember his name but he always has a smile on his face, he has a perfectly straight mustache that he calls whiskers, he has a little chihuahua dog that he carries on his bright green bike and he loves kids.  He also speaks Spanish all the time.  This guy makes me feel at home more than anyone else I see on a regular basis, outside of my family.  He always compliments my sling or baby carrier, whichever one I’m wearing.  Always talks to my girls in Spanish, and I really appreciate that.  Well this week I found that he works at the recycling center nearby, so I’m going to go taking my recycling there more often and use it as a field trip for my girls, especially as an opportunity for my oldest to practice speaking spanish to someone besides me.

So that was my week in family-ville.  My plan for next week is to post the next edition on Friday and in Spanish.  Wish me luck or say “Buenos suerte!”

A Super Duper Buzz Kill

The interior of a Loblaws supermarket in Toronto

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9/25/11  We were swimming almost everyday this summer.  My oldest daughter went from only wanting to sit on the stairs or on “boats”(actually rafts) to swimming all over the pool with water wings.  That evolved over several phases of interest, intrigue, insecurity and hesitancy.  Things went back and forth, but in those last two weeks, she jumped into the pool, swam with floaties and swam into the “deep end”, only 5 feet, but hey, I’m only 5 feet.

We took a 3 day break during Labor Day weekend and when we went back on a Tuesday, intending to refresh our swimming routine, it was closed.  How could it have happened?  Nothing had changed.   It was still super hot, there was still water and life and children needing to tire themselves out, but the pool was closed.  It was hard to imagine that this meant the end of summer.  Until today.

Today, there was an actual breeze.  Today, I had a chill outside.  I started wondering where my jackets and packets and non-sandal footwear was stashed.

Cut to today, 10/6/11 .  The Sacramento Sun continued to shine down on us up until these past few days.  The first day it rained I woke up with a sore throat.  I stayed in bed almost continuously this past week.  It is officially cold, and I’m bummed.  I started thinking about the fact that I still haven’t gone through our warmer clothes.  The fact that we left our space heater in the desert two years ago.   I started thinking about ways to enjoy the autumn weather.

I remembered that last year I went for runs.  I made frozen banana smoothies(which my daughter named ice cream smoothies) and I ate dates and persimmons.  I can’t wait for persimmon season, but in the meantime, I can definitely do frozen bananas, so long as I get a space heater.  I might also need a new kitchen ceiling but more on that later.

Cut to today, 10/7/11  Okay…I’m feeling it now.  I’m still recovering, but I actually got out of bed today, got some sunshine and went grocery shopping.  Last night I listened to a Chelsea Wolfe station on last.fm and I’m really feeling in the gritty mood for fall.  I hurried out the door while my husband and daughter numero dos were napping.  Daughter numero uno and I went to the well-loathed supermarket and I wore the wrong shoes.  I wore the old bcbg flip flops that were taped on the edges and needed to be taped on the bottom as well, but I forgot that.

On the way back I absolutely had to take my shoes off.  I kicked them off like a rebel and walked that supermarket sidewalk runway like a barefoot pro!  How I missed walking barefoot!  Dear readers, I am NOT a shoe girl.  But living in a hot climate I absolutely had to wear them all summer long.  I realized, I really do like the cooler weather, cause I can be naked from the ankle down!  I’ve been reading Malidoma Some these past few days and connecting to some of the ways I express my style, mostly I’m all about comfort.

I wear dreadlocks and clothes that may or may not vaguely match.  I usually wear shoes made out of rope or a good pair of Vibram hiking shoes.  I don’t wear make-up unless my daughter and I have a berry day (www.meganelizabeth.com).  In general I really prefer to look like I’ve lived a busy life.  I’m a mom, and I intend to look like I have a lot of things to do.  I carry a huge hobo bag so I can bring things with me if I need them.  I don’t carry a diaper bag or a clutch purse.  Although I can go much more into this topic, and I will later, I really brought this up because the cashier at the supermarket asked me if I was African.  I get this question a lot.  If people are not asking me if I’m African, they’re asking me if I’m from the Caribbean or if I’m from Mexico!  Oftentimes I just get “where are you from?”

No one ever believes I’m from the U.S.  For a time I would lie and tell them I’m from wherever or somewhere near where they thought I was from.  It was a fun game, while I was traveling.  But now that I’m stationary, I have to actually tell the truth, “I’m from the U.S., I’m from here, or I’m from Georgia.”  Like I said no one ever believes me.  They find a way to somehow make sense of it, “where are you originally from?”, “where are your parents from?”, “did you grow up here?”

Yep, unfortunately, I only look exotic.  Today the cashier had to back step, or at least she thought she did.  She thought she had offended me with her assumption.  She wanted to let me know that she meant no disrespect by thinking I was African, in fact her husband is Nigerian and she really thought based on him and his family, probably that I fit into that culture, more so, than that of the Californian supermarket spread.  She was right.  I have had to go through quite a lot of mental reconditioning to put myself into mainstream society melting pots, like supermarkets, they scare me, I stick out, and I avoid them whenever necessary.

A lot of “African-Americans” would be offended by that assumption she made.  Personally, I love it.  Usually the people who ask me where I’m from are people who are not from this country.  They’re usually from Central America, Africa, The Caribbean, or South American.  Sometimes they’re travelers or people who are married to someone from these areas.  I envy the people who ask me where I’m from.

I love that they are cultured enough to have extended experience with these cultures they think I am a part of.  I wish I was a part of them.  The buzz is killed.  The person who asks me where I’m from, and get the unexpected “right here” answer is perplexed, deflated, disappointed and so am I.  It reminds me that here I am, so enthused about cultural expansion, and yet my environment makes me the most culturally exotic person in view.  I wear my differences proud, but I wish I wasn’t the only one.