Archive | north carolina.

Because this tends to be where I live when I’m not in England, although one never knows…

C’mon, North Carolina, we’re better than this.

pee near me

 

While I love that my home state has both the beach and the mountains, I don’t love that currently we’re the butt of every joke in the country given the passage of HB2. It’s embarrassing. And makes us look like the hayseeds some people think we already are in the South.

So I made a little something that I’m going to share. Because I am a trans ally. And I want anyone that is trans to know I support them. And they can pee near me.

There are enough problems in the trans community to worry about (high suicide rates for one) that having to add peeing to the list is infuriating. So I thought I’d make a little something that says not everyone agrees with the law. Because we support your life, your wellbeing, and your light. We need your light to continue to shine, too, because you are braver than most, and we need all the brave people we can get.

Who’s not brave? The governor. And this is all the more frustrating because chances are high Governor McCrory is just doing this to get the vote. He’s making people feel less than human to get re-elected.

He’s getting his Christian friends to say transgender individuals shouldn’t use the bathroom of the sex they identify with and making it a religion thing. Meaning if a transgender man comes into the women’s bathroom, he is risking being treated badly, with no due recourse, even though he’s upholding the law. Low blow. And the governor and his pals are like, “Yes, this is the way forward. This is the way we should be.”

But how can it be the way forward if it is a decision based on fear? And, as Austin Fonville rightly points out in this video, there is no actual precedent for it?

Fear brings hate. Fear breeds fear. Fear cancels out kindness. Fear gives people reason to hurt other people because it puts people into fight or flight mode. You get scared, your amygdala goes haywire, and you do something stupid. (Or something selfish in case of the governor.)

The Boss and a Beatle cancel concerts; companies everywhere don’t want to do business within your borders; and the state loses money. All because one jackhole wants the vote. And whips the Christian right up in such a fury that they don’t even see how un-Christian the intolerance is. Fear is not the way forward.

But speaking out about it is. Saying you don’t support HB2 helps make transgender individuals feel safe and wanted. (And before you say, “I don’t know anyone transgender,” are you sure? Because I’m willing to bet you’re not really all that sure.) Embracing individual choices is one step closer to stopping the madness. Making sure people know where you stand means letting someone trans know that you don’t agree with the law.

My North Carolina is a free North Carolina. One that accepts and welcomes and loves people for who they are. Yes, #wearenotthis, but we are also more than fear.

So if you need to, you can pee near me.

How to Embrace a Gray Day

theperfectafternoon

It’s gray here today. That kind of gray that makes you want to drink endless cups of tea and listen to The Smiths all day on repeat. Not a sad type of day per se, but one that is lovely with its puffy clouds and range of grays and unusually coolish temperatures. I’m wearing a hoodie in April in North Carolina, so today I’ll take it.

And the more I let myself be okay with the gray and the un-sunniness, the more I sink into the day as it turns into afternoon. The more I hold on to my warm mug a little big longer in order to let the heat sink down into my bones. I know that the sunny days are the ones that get all the attention, the glory, the “good” comments, but I’m all about these days that slip in between and remind you that even the unsunny days can be perfect. Even they can harbor a warmth despite what the sky is saying.

And how I feel about gray days is similar to how I feel about posts that show up in my various feeds that share less-than-perfect images and words. Their less-than-perfectness allows me to connect in its everydayness. It’s gray dayness. The not-so-perfect posts are the ones that allow me to see the human beyond what appears on my screens, both big and small. They allow me to know you on your gray days. They remind me that just like the weather shows us, we are all an amalgam of our sunny, gray, and in-between days.

And just like how the barometric pressure drops on those gray days, so does the stress to keep everything perfect when you post those everything’s-not-so-perfect posts. You release yourself from having to one up everyone, from having to find the perfect angle, from having to make those colors pop when they don’t want to. You let yourself be seen in those imperfect moments.

Sometimes on those gray days, if you’re lucky, the rain comes. And whether it shows up like a torrent or hints with sprinkles, it refreshes nonetheless. There’s a whoosh in the air when the sky opens up, like a sigh or a deep exhale. And it reminds you that these days, they are perfect, too. In their weight and their grayness and in their waiting to exhaleness.

By holding back the sunlight that seeps through our skin, they inherently show us how to embrace the gray days by that act of withholding. In taking out what we all consider beautiful they force us to find a new definition for what beauty truly is. And just how necessary this paradigm shift is for moving forward.

5 Reasons Why PTSD Makes You Pretty Much a Badass.

notascoldasice

So I moved back to North Carolina! Yeah! And sorry for the swear word in the title, but it was the shortest choice as “super amazing totally awesome completely friggin’ rad” didn’t fit.

And I’ve found myself in the position of being Googled as I go on dates with new people, apply for jobs (both “real” and freelance), and begin my life in a new place. And as I’ve written about it, it’s pretty darn public. And I did something I never thought I would do, I took down the page for my Voices of PTSD Quilt because I was ashamed and embarrassed for anyone to find it. Because as we all know, that’s like instant death to whatever opportunity may come your way, because the other person to hire and date doesn’t have that mark against them. So there goes your résumé in the trash or your profile unmessaged.

But you know what? Because I have PTSD does not make me some live wire about to blow. Or some liability. Because once I was diagnosed, I had to walk through fire in order to deal with something that most people haven’t (and should never have to) deal with. Treatment entails diving into trauma and working through it, instead of avoiding it. And because of that, I am a damn good horse to bet on. And so is anyone else who stands up and fights to win over their demons, no matter what they be: alcoholism, PTSD, childhood trauma, or whathaveyou.

But the media likes to make you think that we’re all walking grenades ready to unbolster your safe, sweet life. However, the truth is we’re probably just like you, except that something that some of you have nightmares about has actually happened to us. And we came out the other side. Veterans have it the worst, because there are some people out there waiting for them to go all Rambo, when, in fact, I know from loving and growing up with some of them, that no one wants peace more than a soldier. Peace for this planet. Peace from being asked what they have done or seen. Peace from people thinking that they are “crazy.”

So, in order to counteract that “crazy” label, here are 5 things that people who have been treated for PTSD (for those that haven’t been treated, get thee to therapy, so you, too, can be a badass!) are great at:

1. SUPER HELLA AMAZING IN A CRISIS: Because bad things have happened to us, we are weirdly good when not-so-good things happen. We may need a little time to properly process it all afterwards, but who doesn’t?

2. WE -for reals- DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: Because unless a crisis is actually happening, everything is either fixable or workthroughable. Therefore, we don’t tend to complain over dumb stuff that really doesn’t matter like a rip in our jeans or the weatherman being wrong or traffic. Why? Because it’s not a crisis. Everyone is safe. Therefore, there is literally no reason to complain.

3. WE DON’T TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED: Because we’ve seen shit go down, while others have just worried about it going down. So all the good things? They are literally little miracles happening before us every minute! A hand to hold, a sunny day, a diner cup of coffee- they’re all outstanding. In fact, you may even be amazed at all the things you take for granted when you hang out with us. Don’t be surprised if your attitude changes after being around us for a little while, for the better.

4. WE ARE SAFE SPACES FOR YOUR PAIN: Because we may have seen bad things, we won’t tell you to eat/ignore/run away from your pain. We will sit with you while you cry. We will hug you with giant bear hugs. We will not tell anyone your secrets. And we will not judge you for what you’ve been through or how you reacted to it. We will be there for you both in your darkness and when you come back from it- no matter it that takes 10 minutes or 10 years. We will be there no matter what.

5. WE KNOW HOW TO LOVE YOU FULLY: Because we have seen what happens when love isn’t all around us. It may take us longer to show our true selves, but we will show up like few have shown up before. We will fight for you and make you laugh and not being afraid to hold your hand, because of all the reason above. The only drawback? Is that some of you who haven’t seen bad things may not be able to understand why we are so open. But since we have truly seen the dark, we know without a doubt that the flipside is real, too. And therefore, we know that each moment is to be cherished, taken stock of, and marveled at.

For the 5 people that have read this far… Thank you. I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day because even though I am single, my heart is still full. Because my heart is open and ready and present. And can’t wait to meet more hearts that are the same. So if you know someone who is scared because they have been through a trauma or have PTSD or something else kinda terrifying, please show them this. This list of things that will make them more aware of goodness and love than most people.

Instead of thinking that I am unlucky, I choose to think that I am one of the luckiest. Because I’ve walked through fire and come out the other side with my heart still open and ready for all the good the world has to bring. And that, that is a triumph, instead of a drawback. So if you’ve Googled me and thought the other person is a safer bet, fine.

But, in not picking me, you’ll miss out on all I bring to the table. And that’s your choice, that’s okay. I’ll just keep trying until my people find me, because I know damn well that when they do, we’re going to live the heck of our time together no matter what the relationship. And that’s worth waiting for. And even though I won’t be waiting and twiddling my thumbs for you, I’ll be living full steam and super excited when you get here to join the journey.

Threads of War, moving south, and other adventures

Sometimes, even though you’ve been online since the beginning of the century, you turn away from the internet. Not to shy away, not to disappear, not to bunk off without a trace. When I got back from tour with Kim and Leanne in late October I was tasked with putting together the final touches of Threads of War at Artspace, which was an exciting process, but definitely a learning one.

Having this opportunity to try my hand at curating was an invaluable experience; therefore, I am both thankful for the kind support of the Artspace staff as well as the willingness of Hanne Bang, the Combat Paper Project, Bonnie Peterson, and Alexandra Walters to share their amazing work for this show. While I have shown my own work in a number of shows over the years, it’s a whole different experience to have someone else agree to share their work with you!

Here are a few photos of the show itself and its installation.

TOW

boots

cpp

alex

view

All of these photos were first shown over on Instagram, should you wish to follow me over there.

The show will be up until January 31st. Olisa Corcoran, who participated in Hanne’s In a War Someone Has to Die project and stitched a handkerchief that is in the show, has written a lovely blog post about it here.

As for what’s next for me and my brand of craftivism (as while I did start the whole shebang, I’m definitely not the only one writing about it, which you can see here), well, first of all, in just a few weeks I’m moving to Durham, North Carolina! While I was installing Threads of War and then hanging out with my little niece and nephew over Christmas, I realized that I needed to go back home and make the time to do more freelance projects (editing, writing, making), all the while embedding myself in a smaller (yet thriving) arts community.

I’m excited about this next chapter in my life, and while doing 365 projects may seem like all the rage these days (and why not- they’re great), I’m going to let this blog and my work grow in ways that it needs to. I want to take more photos and write more essays and make more things. I want to get back to where I was before 4 years of spending 1.5 hours a day commuting, although I’ll miss crossing the Potomac on my way.

I want to produce work just like the quote below goes, not because I aim to get anywhere in particular. (The photo below is from @wrdsmith’s feed on Instagram, which is simply amazing!) I want to dive into things deeper as opposed to trying to learn 10,000 things at once and really “aim” for “good,” instead of aiming to know all the things. I’m looking forward to the journey and would love to have you come along with me.

wrdsmth

Crocheting Together More than Just a Square

Even though the photo gallery for the story does have a glaring error (mistaking crochet for knitting), the story is so amazing that doesn’t matter. My mom sent me a clipping of this article in the mail and it arrived today. Excerpts and photo below are from the article, Nobody Comes Here Just to Crochet.

I think the most touching thing is the way it started:

It started by accident.

A homeless woman came to Charlotte’s Harvest Center soup kitchen one Tuesday, and instead of mingling with the hungry crowd, she sat in a corner, crocheting.

Weeks passed, and at some point, the staff noticed another homeless woman beside her, also crocheting.

The two eventually became three women, then six, then 10.

Four years later, nearly 30 women can be found in that corner every Tuesday, and no longer are they just the homeless.

The Crochet Ministry, as it’s called, has become a family of sorts, one that welcomes those often forgotten by the rest of Charlotte: the homeless, the elderly, the disabled, the impoverished, the displaced and, most of all, the lonely.

I also love the kindness in the story of Teresa Davis, the homeless woman who used to crochet on the streets. While she died a few years ago with no family, thanks to these ladies, she certainly had a circle of friends. I like the quiet way this circle formed, organically and by accident. How true that sometimes we don’t find what we need most, it finds us.

It was the center’s outreach director, Rosa Marion, who first spotted Davis living on the streets, carrying a large afghan stuffed in a bag. Marion was intrigued when she found out Davis had made it, and the two struck up a friendship. Later, Marion invited Davis to move into a group home sponsored by Women of Vision, a volunteer ministry that helps women in need.

“She asked me if I’d buy her the stuff to crochet another afghan, so I did,” recalls Marion. “She’d always be sitting there by herself in that corner, crocheting. People called her ‘the lady pulling on those strings.'”

You can read more about the work of The Harvest Center here (Although there is a syntax error that shows up on the screen, I know it will be up and running soon!) and about the Women of Vision over here.


Also:

*Slow Textiles
*The Daily Aphorism via The School of Life
*The beauty of Naoki Okamoto’s photography
*Gladys’ longevity secrets: Crafting it up at 104!
*How to make a project keeper by Diane Gilleland
*Coat hooks on Etsy.com (Random, yes, but so cool!)
*Slide show of Renwick Gallery exhibit: The Art of Gaman (Awesomely inspiring)
*19 tips for cheering yourself up… From 200 years ago via The Happiness Project

Thanks for the heads up, Mom!

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