Activism for those who can’t protest.

As someone who gets major sensory overload and panic attacks in crowds I hate that I have to opt out of not only counter protests and marches, but most vigils as well unless I know they are being held in a small space by a small group. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything.

Be an emergency contact for your friends who are marching, and encourage them to write your number on their arm with sharpie.

Offer child care for those who are protesting.

Donate to organizations and charities. Just make sure to do your research first.

Help with sign making, whether it’s hosting a gathering with supplies, or making signs to hand out to those who may not be as handy with a marker.

Uplift the voices of others by sharing their words on various platforms.

Offer a safe space for friends who need self care breaks or a place to go after the protest.

Offer a listening ear to those who are scared and angry and just need to vent.

Use your words and writing to counter hate every where I see it instead of staying silent.

Not staying silent.

I have been trying to find the right words to talk about what is happening in the United States right now, what has been happening for a long time but has been especially spot lighted during the recent events in Charlottesville, VA. I feel as though everyone has said everything there is to say, and much more eloquently than I am doing right now, but I am not going to stay silent. As a white person, I can not and will not sit back as a silent bystander. Let me make this clear right now, I do not tolerate actions and words motivated racism, islamophobia, transphobia, fascism, or anything else that these people stand for. I am terrified (but not surprised) that the men and women who protested in Charlottesville didn’t even feel the need to wear masks, because they saw nothing wrong in their actions and knew they could get away with it. The fact that they showed up with torches preaching white power, and no one was killed or hurt (aside from anti-protesters preaching against violence), no police showed up with tear gas and SWAT gear, no one was arrested on site, that… that is white privilege. None of this is okay, and neither is it something new. So Listen, listen and amplify the voices of people of color. Listen to those who are marginalized. Raise up their stories, and whatever you do, do not stay silent. Because in silence, you may as well pick up a torch yourself.

Wish List: August 2017

Pythia Botanical Oracle Cards hand illustrated by Nicole Rallis. I tend to prefer Tarot to Oracle cards, but the allure of botanical illustrations is just too appealing to pass up. This deck, mixing my love of plants and all things witchy has me so intrigued.

botanicaloracle

50$ from Little Red Tarot

A Panda Bear Sandwich Pocket Maker. How adorable is this? It’s like those PB&J pocket “Smucker’s Uncrustables” that all the cool kids bought for lunch, except you can put what ever you want in it! Seriously, cute little bear shaped pockets of your favorite sandwich variations. Completely irresistible.

bearsandwiches

Only 7$ on Amazon

This clam shell light with an iridescent shell and color changing pearl. Let’s be honest this is essential for any aspiring merpeople like myself. I just want to hold it in my hands and stare into the soft glowing light and pretend the world is magic and everything is okay.

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30$ on CottonOn

This beautiful black and purple pentagram shelf. I have been fawning over this all month. I don’t even have the words. I mean, objectively only the top three shelves are level enough to be useful, but regardless this is everything I want in my home decor aesthetic.

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275$ (AUD) on Beserk.com

This fabulous pink umbrella with a flamingo handle and little flamingo feet on top. Imagine this folded standing by your door on those little pink webbed feet. I’ve always felt a kinship with flamingos, maybe it’s the fact that they are naturally pink and a little awkward but also undeniably fabulous like me.

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23$ on Amazon

OOTD: A Queer Kid’s Miami Vice

A queer kid’s interpretation of Miami Vice. Oversized yellow blazer, crushed velvet shoes, and nice shiney cars.

Blazer: Thrifted (Goodwill)

T-shirt: Target boy’s section

Shorts: Primark

Socks: Forever21 Men’s

Shoes: Forever21

Confession, I have never actually seen Miami Vice. I did however have fun making my partner take pictures of me around the Subaru service station.

Peep those crushed velvet slip ons in the sunlight.

What am I so pensive about? And how is that car so unbelievably blue? Only Miami Vice knows.

#OnBrand

We’ve all seen that meme that is just #meAF or fawned over beautiful Instagram feeds that are so consistently on brand you wish that was your life; but the meaning and feelings underneath this desire for creating your personal brand runs a lot deeper than what may seem like superficial internet culture.

This post is in response to a thread that I came across on Twitter where @scottiedaisy tweeted the importance of finding a sense self but also finding more value in surrounding yourself with people who also embody “strong convictions, passions…” People with, as we call it, a brand.

There have been a lot of discussions lately about the culture of labels, and whether or not they are a “good” thing. Personally, growing up queer and non-binary and not having the words to communicate let alone understand who I was, I found a lot of comfort in labels. For me, words like non-binary, or panromantic, made me realize that there were other people out there like me, a community with shared experiences, and that I wasn’t just defective.

That being said, my brand is more than just a collection of labels; it’s an extension of myself. It encompasses my love of flowers, my passion for weird surrealist art and poetry, my beliefs on mental health, chosen family, and my hatred of diet culture and the concept of “guilty pleasures.” My brand is my fashion aesthetic, it’s me buying child size animal backpacks and dressing like I fell out of an indie video game. My brand is my commitment to fighting transphobia, racism, ableism, and other forms of systemic oppression, as well as my stand on prioritizing self care and dropping toxic people in my life because I have been there and it is not worth it. My brand is me battling my depression, eating disorder, and anxiety every day, it’s my choice to stay sober, and it’s my passion for green eyebrows, petting dogs, and squealing over miniature things because they are just so freaking tiny.

Having a strong brand means knowing myself and being unapologetically myself. It is self reflection, and it is owning the fact that yes I love pink and glitter, and no of course I’m not going to a party that starts after 10 pm, I am already in my boxers watching Netflix. Millennials are often judged for being too self obsessed and spending too much time on the internet. But while we may spend hours taking the right selfie or composing the perfect tweet, we are also the people behind

#blackexcellence

#disabledandcute

#girlswithtoys

and many other movements that show the world and each other that not only do we own who we are, but we are creating virtual communities that give other people the strength to own their brand too.

So while words like “on brand” and “it me” may seem meaningless, they are also tangible evidence of someone consciously claiming who they are, without reservation. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather surround myself with people who own their identity rather than those who shift their values based on the expectations of others.

How I stopped hating my existence and started to genuinely love myself.

Three years ago, I hated myself. It wasn’t a constant burning hatred, just a dull and persistent lack of self-compassion paired with an inability to see anything worthwhile about myself or my actions. Actually liking myself, not to mention loving myself, is a very new thing in my life; and to be perfectly honest, it started out as a joke.

Before I get into this there’s some important background you need to know, and that is that I am lucky enough to have one of the best sisters in the world. Yes, we fight, and I undeniably have logged many hours hating her, but in the end I would not trade her for the world. I could write about my sister for days, but what is important to know right now is that my sister has the most infectious flair of self confidence. It has been around my whole life; from announcing that everyone must smell her hair because it is luxurious and smells like the most finely curated rose garden, to her hilarious anecdotes about how she shut down her incompetent mansplaining co-worker as if it was a conquest worthy of an epic poem.

Not only was she unafraid to voice the pride she felt towards herself, she also was no stranger to extending that praise to others. One time in the middle of a long car drive she broke the silence to tell me she was jealous of how my “golden leg hair glistened in the sunlight.” No joke, I remember the exact words because I wrote them down. Many people think praise and affection should be held close to your chest, lest they lose their value from overuse. I think that’s complete crap. If the words of praise are genuine, they will always be priceless. It is only when compliments are tossed around like obligations that they lose their meaning. Again, I digress. The point I’m trying to make here is that not only did my sister consistently find genuine worth in herself and others, but she was also not shy about letting people know.

Now, three years ago my sister was visiting me here in Boston, Massachusetts. I had just moved here after college, I hadn’t really found any friends, but I had found a therapist who was beginning to make it quite clear to me how little I valued myself. I had read all about the concept of ‘’faking it till you make it’ and I had tried using affirmations, looking in the mirror and telling myself how I was smart and worth loving, but to be honest I felt stupid and I did not believe a word I was saying. However, with my sister around being her unapologetic self, something began to change. I started to mirror her, putting on a performance of bottomless self confidence; I took shameless selfies of my outfits, talked about how soft my hair was, and started telling people how majestic they were. I wasn’t making fun of my sister, but I was having fun putting on this performance and pretending to be her (or at least an exaggerated take on this side of her).

In fact, while it started as a joke, I didn’t really want to stop. I didn’t believe anything I was saying but for once it felt good to pretend that I did.

Because I was “just acting” it felt okay to be proud of myself, proud of my fashion, proud of my accomplishments, and I wasn’t afraid to tell people I loved them because for once I wasn’t thinking “why would they care, I’m not worth it.”

I’m not saying all my anxieties and distorted thoughts just disappeared. However, putting on that persona of the glamorous unafraid Ollie made it easier to fight them. It was like a superhero cape that I could reach for when I needed it.

Speaking of capes, one of the inspirations for my confident glam persona (aside from my sister) is none other than Edna E. Mode from The Incredibles.

Edna_Mode

“Never look back darling, it distracts from the now.”

So find that persona, and allow yourself to be as extra as you want. Let yourself feel like Beyonce in her baby photo shoot, covered in vines like the goddess you are. Even if it’s just a joke at first. Trust me, learning to love yourself is so worth it.