raised up

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Photo by Letizia Bordoni on Unsplash

raised up

squashed down

in a world full

of blame, shame & resentment

a place

or twenty

where guilt & envy run free

swallowing us whole.

blindly bouncing around in our fragile bubbles

not hearing popping around us

dying, drying disappearing lights

focused instead on the shiny bright

bigger, newer, must have it all

be it all

can do it all

Bullshit.

 

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pulling weeds

Dandelions are one of my favorite things. I love their sunny yellow faces, free flowing hope, healing properties and ability to grow in the most challenging places. In my twenties however, part of my job was to eradicate them in flower beds, walkways, etc. I was certified to apply pesticides & herbicides, and we all know spraying is helluva lot easier than actually pulling weeds. Especially dandelions in the dry season.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

Our fears, beliefs & dysfunctions can be like the dandelion. Tenacious. With a long tap root that really doesn’t want to give up. And so, sometimes we pull out a weed and it’s gone. We work through a thing and wash our hands of it.

But then boom, a little/long while later, the signs are there. Fresh sprouts niggling through the surface or even full blown flowering all-hell-broke-loose situations. Wait, I got that one! Thought for sure that sucker was taken care of. Dealt with… Alas…

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Photo by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash

Life. Death. Rebirth.

Cycles. Patterns. Layers.

Peel them back, dig deeper, pull harder.

Things that we enjoy might not be good for us.

A weed isn’t always a weed.

And sometimes it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paducah? Kentucky?

IMG_9917At the end of December I left my apartment and moved my home from Columbus, Ohio to Paducah, Kentucky. Most folx ask “Did you move for a girl?” and/or then “Did you move for a job?” No.

Really? Yes. From a rapidly growing city of 2.2 million where you’ve lived for 27 years to a place you’ve barely visited with a population of 26,000? Seems kind of odd Diane…. certainly makes some folx shake their heads… From a gay mecca blue sanctuary city and across the river to the mostly straight white red confederate flag proud south? Yeah… not much different than rural Ohio in that regard.

…I moved for Me. The me that was turning 50. The me that has never wanted to die living only in Ohio. The me that needed change. Big change. And yet not TOO big.

Finally single (after a series of dysfunctional relationships) and still detaching, struggling IMG_7642with anxiety & depression, lack of direction & identity, co-dependency & addiction… ya know, Life… I knew I had to make some serious shifts or I wouldn’t be around too long… or maybe lesbian joke u-hauling into some other bound to be fucked-up relationship. I am completely aware there is no geographical cure, and also… yeah, it helps sometimes.

Anyway, I wasn’t sure exactly where we (think me & adorable brown-eyed beagle) would end up, but it was looking like San Diego. For all the reasons. I mean it was fall when I was making this decision. Temps matter.

Not having a vehicle for most of 2017 really caused & allowed me to think outside the box, to be more mindful & intentional, and to depend on/lean on myself & others in new & different ways. And it reminded me of the freedom of motorized wheels. There’s more we could talk about there, the time isn’t now though. How it plays into this move is that I realized I am still not ready to move that far away from my family. I like to drive and I have no problem driving for hours at a time. But I need/prefer to be able to get “home” in a day’s drive. I’m not trying to deal with airports to see my family every time. It works for some and that’s great. I’m not that person. As much as I want to be sometimes.

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Basically the Universe offered me a gentle transition opportunity and I said yes. Yes to a home I can make my own and feel safe in. Yes to supporting women who support women. Yes to a downsize for a simpler life. Yes to the slower pace of a small UNESCO Creative City. Yes to walking along the Ohio River from my house. Yes to the abundance of nature & movement. Yes to possibility. Yes to Me. Yes to Life.

And yet, me being Me, I didn’t want to give up my old life entirely. For sure couldn’t think about starting a new practice somewhere else at this point. There’s no Massage Envy or anything around here either. So I opted to “have it all”. Do both, keep my current practice and move my residence. Split my time. Gain time. Gain space. Expand. Go within. Thankfully, my Young Living income allows me to do this. And so I am. Part-time in Columbus – big city, and part-time in Paducah – small city. So far it’s an interesting ride.

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I’m grateful for the opportunity to dig in deeper, practice better self-care, and get to know & like myself better. I’m blessed to know a few systers here in Paducah and to have an amazing support network of folx who help make it all possible, and pleasurable even in all of the challenges. Thank You ❤

Where the heck is Paducah anyway? Or “fuckin’ Paducah” as some of my friend & clients like to say. 😉 It’s waaaay west in Kentucky, just under Illinois and not too far from Missouri. It’s THE city in between Louisville, St. Louis & Nashville. Kind of like Columbus is between Cleveland and Cincinnati. Closer than any of those are the Shawnee National Forest and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Come visit me, the Hotel Metropolitan, the National Quilt Museum, and whatever else we discover near the confluence of the Tennessee & Ohio Rivers.

Thanks for reading. I promise I’ll be back here soon. ~di

 

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P.S. Thanks to all the folx who have called me brave. Don’t really feel brave, and I understand what you mean. It’s often very difficult & scary to get out of our comfort zone & familiar life. This current experience reminds me of learning to water ski and getting confident enough to get outside the wake. And then zig-zagging back and forth over the waves with ease. I’ll let you know when I get to the ease part lol.

going deeper

I shared my recent post on racism in the queer community with this… My hope is that many folx will not only read and share, but really listen and do some deep inner work.

That’s my ultimate desire for all of us, that we do our deep inner work. It’s not always easy or pleasant and yet the rewards are big. Unpacking our baggage really does lighten our load and make life more bearable. It’s the key in all relationships – with self, family, friends, community.

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Looking at my thought & behavior patterns at all the intersections has been both important and enlightening in the unpacking of my internalized and externalized homophobia, sexism, classism, racism, and ableism; the ways that I am oppressed and the ways that I oppress myself and others.

I know that being asked to go deeper can stir up some fear, anxiety and other emotions. Take a deep breath and notice what you feel in your body. Can you give it a name, shape or color? Once you acknowledge the feeling(s), what do you notice in your body?

Unpacking our stuff is kind of like riding a bike… in that it’s really hard at first and we’re wobbly and all over the place, and then as we strengthen our skills it gets easier and easier. And like riding a bike, we don’t really forget how. Even if it’s been a long time, we can likely still get things moving in a forward direction without too much challenge.

What thought/behavior patterns are you willing to look at today?

in love & liberation, xo

racism in the queer community

Yes. It has been months since I’ve said anything here. I mentioned changes… lots have happened in life, little here.  So let the writing resume. First a disclosure- I am Queer. I have been an “out” member of the central Ohio community for 20+ years. I use the pronouns she & hers and I also identify as Dyke and Lesbian… as I’ve grown into them. More about that another time.

Dear white hetero-normative (straight) readers, this is where I ask you to take it in, learn, and discuss among yourselves. Take what you learn and spread it far and wide in your own community. If you’re NOT a GLBTQ+ person or a person of color (PoC) the particulars of this is NOT your lane for commenting. In other words, take the education and don’t comment on what some call “in-fighting”. We are not “sides” as one straight-identified woman said earlier. We are a family with millions of members across the globe, and like any family, we have our difficulties and disagreements. Thanks for not swerving. And stay the hell out of my oxford commas too, I like them.  😉

For anyone who didn’t know, Philadelphia added two stripes to their pride flag this year…

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Philadelphia’s amended LGBT pride flag
Source: Kordan N Kaleb/Facebook

At it’s worst this is merely a display of inclusion, and at it’s best it’s a promise to center black and brown folx in the QTBLG+ fight for equality. Yes, there are lots of opinions, and only time will tell. Yes, those letters are “backwards”. Because Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman asks us to be as disruptive in our thinking as possible.

PoC folx in cities across the country stood up at Pride marches this year, demanding recognition and inclusion. In our town, protesters were seeking 7 minutes of silence- one for each bullet that struck Philando Castile. You might remember his name. He’s the man killed on a fb live stream by a cop during a traffic stop… in front of both girlfriend and 4 year old. This protest – this call for awareness – less than 24 hours after the shooter’s  acquittal, led to four arrests, the resignation of Lori Gum, Pride Festival Coordinator and Program from Stonewall Columbus, and upheaval within our community. According to their fb page, “Stonewall Columbus is reaching out to the larger community to ask for their involvement in a critical dialogue about racism and homophobia on July 17, 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Columbus Health Department, 240 Parsons Avenue.”

Intention is not Impact and Conversation is not Action

Okay, now that you’re up to date on what’s happening, take a moment to stretch, wiggle, check in with your body. Hydrate, put your feet on the ground,  breathe in love… pee, whatever you need to do… if you need some herstory on Stonewall you know where google is. I’ll wait…

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Good job. We have to remember that self care isn’t self-ish, it’s self-love. It’s a marathon not a sprint and all that jazz. The rev-o-love-tion needs us all in for the long haul.

How do we move forward? What can we do to make real, sustainable change in our community? What changes need to be made? So many more questions, so few answers. Conversations are the first step, and today, 100+ folx gathered together at Summit on 16th United Methodist Church to take that step and face some difficult conversations. The room was full of nervousness, defensiveness, confusion, and other stuff as people willingly shared their experiences, thoughts, feelings and vulnerability trying to sort out what happened at Pride and how that leaves our community. People of all skin tones were brave enough to admit their complicity in racism, to look at their own parts in the machine that is the racist system we all live under. Because that’s the thing folx, we are ALL in the same boat here.

The first step to overcoming racism is to recognize

Let me repeat myself. The first step to overcoming racism is to recognize that we are all born into systemic racism. Here’s how racism shows up in our lives across institutions and society: wealth gap, employment, housing discrimination, government surveillance, incarceration, drug arrests, immigration arrests, infant mortality… don’t believe me? Research it yourself. Don’t want to see it? Even within the colorful alphabet soup family that we are, the shit is real. Racism exists. Not wanting to see it is a whole other and I understand… go read my post on rose-colored glasses.

Once you get step 1, really get it, unpacking racism gets much easier, I promise.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the ocean, but it’s one of my favorite places and favorite analogies for racism, thanks to Nedra Johnson. Now, some of you will want to hurl insults or acronyms at Nedra for some her unrelated opinions. Not here. I hold space for ALL of our complexities. White folx, my dear skin-kin, we are the snorkler in this story. Even as we are marginalized for being QTBLG+. Even when we want to be a big fish. We are still the snorkler. We still have skin privilege. And some of us have class privilege.

Check in time. How are you feeling in your body? What do you need in this moment? Do you need to stretch, to pause, or to plow on?

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The next step is all about laying it down. Let Go… of the guilt. defensiveness. fear of doing and/saying the wrong thing. All of it.

One of the unpacking racism stories I share comes from the first YWCA Fireside Chat I attended. I will never forget hearing Suzanne Roberts easily say “I am a racist.” I was instantly filled with big tears, and a huge desire for the liberation that was clearly apparent with the ability to own that shit. It became my mission to let go of all the ego-related bullshit that was holding me back from the change I so wanted and needed. That the world needed. Needs.

What’s holding you back? Lay It Down

Lay it fucking down. Lay down your resistance. your guilt. your defensiveness. your fear. whatever it is that you need to let go of. Exercise your empathy muscle. Not sympathy. Empathy. Watch this for a brief refresher:

Step 2 = Listen. Keep listening.

Now that we’re working on letting go of that pesky defensiveness, step two is to listen. Actually, actively listen… to all the members of our community who feel like their voices aren’t being heard. Listen through all the emotions that come up and without all the ways that we whyte folx suppress PoC voices. It takes practice. Keep at it.

 

Step 3 = See. Everyone. As Human.

I know… I know that your initial reaction to that involves a scrunched up face and some side-eye. Trust me though, for most of us, this is still a thing. And as much as I love technology and texting, I own that they impact how we see and treat each other. And then there’s the layers and layers and generations of slavery and racism. We are all hurting from the trauma and hurting each other. This wound needs to be cleaned out so that the healing can truly begin. Getting out the festering infection is vital, and the steps I’ve identified here are only the beginning. And an ongoing process until racism is eradicated. Step, rest, step, rest, step.

If you’ve made it this far you’re doing great. Here’s a treat and then we’ll do a quick review and call it done for the day…

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Okay, it’s been a lot of reading and absorbing I know, especially if you clicked all the links. This post isn’t going anywhere so take your time and refer to it as you need.

Review

step 1 = understand systemic racism

step 2 = actively listen

step 3 = see human

 

You’ll fuck up, I promise. Be gentle with yourself and keep working on it. Like body awareness, it gets easier with practice.

 

 

cleaning closets

 

e nina jay, an Amazon i am blessed to know in person, recently wrote a book titled body of rooms that inspires this post… she says this and more about the book:

body of rooms is a reckoning. a conversation with myself and the parts of me i find reflected in the eyes, the pain, the secrets and the lives of all the womyn that i am drawn to and love.

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This post is about rooms within rooms. Closets. Sometimes the only messy spots in the house. From the beginning I learned about hiding things in closets. My mom was a high school senior who didn’t mean to get pregnant in 1967. Before Roe v Wade.

Shhhh… what will we tell the neighbors?

I don’t know about you, but when I’m cleaning closets or cupboards I have to take everything out first. Every fucking thing. And this time I cleaned every fucking closet. In the past three years, I have completely gone through my entire catalog. Looked at every cobweb, habit, belief, behavior and dog hair.

Turned the lake upside down. Emptied every closet. Identified and re-examined the bits labelled victim, abuser, addiction, racist, homophobe, sexist, ableist, classist, codependent, anxiety, depression, martyr, squirrel chaser, privilege, survivor.

Breathing and calming the chaos.

Deciding what stays and what goes.

Reminding myself of who I Am. Determining who I want to Be.

Remembering I am Enough.

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I didn’t plan this deep cleaning… well, not the method anyway. I’ve been on a conscious journey of self discovery for quite a while and sometimes the Universe has a funny way of showing you yourSelf. And I mean funny painful, challenging and what the fuck self, you couldn’t get and give these lessons in other ways?!

Nope, apparently not. I can be pretty thick-headed and coarse. Not thick-skinned though dammit. That could have been helpful in working through the white fragility and some other stuff… or maybe not…

Anyhoo, as I organize the mess and recognize that writing really has been helping, I know I want to do more… and use this platform to do that. So expect to see tabs/categories/pages and other changes as I move forward. Hmmm… seems like a good time to reach out to Kelli Wise of Pint Sized Sites for some guidance. She is an educator and website designer I met in person at the AMTA Convention years ago. That’s American Massage Therapy Association for those unfamiliar with the acronym.

Alright loves, time to get showered and on with the day. Tell me, have you cleaned out any of your closets lately?

 

 

 

quiet and still

 

quiet here the entire summer. stillness on this page.

resting… breathing…

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reading. listening. feeling…

staying in the now. gently

looking within

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reclaiming I. finding Me. loving Self.

striving

to soften, learn more, do better

every day. connecting

with Self & Sisters.

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cleansing. clearing. moving

forward. more awake

more aware. every day.

seeing Me & seeing You

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