Last week I participated in a roundtable discussion on depression hosted by WEGO Health. I got to meet some really inspiring bloggers and it was sort of surreal seeing our conversation paraphrased on twitter while we were talking. Most of all, the experience was empowering. It felt really good to gain recognition as an activist, especially in the area of mental health. I discussed this two years ago when I trained to present In Our Own Voice. What I specifically discussed is that I sometimes have difficulty calling myself an activist, even though I know I am one. I feel ashamed that I have not marched in big protests and especially that I cannot talk about some of the issues that are closest to my heart without becoming so emotional, a.k.a. triggered, that I have to leave the room. It can be quite embarrassing the way I become totally undone when I try to defend the fat acceptance movement, my commitment to nonviolence, my view that grace, mercy and a commitment to rehabilitation should be at the core of our criminal system instead of punishment, and that the death penalty and torture should be abolished. But what I can do is write about my struggle with mental illness and try to live a life that exemplifies a life lived in recovery from it. Life lived in recovery is messy and hard, but it is something I can do well and it is important work. It shows people that it is possible to be a contributing and valued member of a group, even while dealing with mental and physical illnesses and disorders. It is possible for someone that used to obsess about calories and fat grams to now enjoy eating, cooking, and even begin to love her body. It is possible to learn new coping skills, how to set boundaries, and to start to grow into a person filled with pride at the achievements she's accomplished and the obstacles she has overcome. It is a beautiful thing that it is entirely possible, even probable, that a person who deals with chronic pain and fatigue, has a personality disorder, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and who had an eating disorder can still provide hope to others that life can get better with time, faith, and practice.
Two from Womanist Musings:
There is nothing inherently natural about teaching a child to hate and as I have seen from my experience as a parent, teaching my child to respect all forms of love does not cause harm, but instead results in a child who is social justice minded and invested in equality. […] This is why I believe that it is essential for schools to begin teaching positive messages about GLBT people. Children should know that GLBT people are a part of human history and have positively advanced our societies.
Queer people need to stop stealing African American history. Homophobia is an equally valid form of oppression and it is insulting to both queer people and people of color (and especially queer people of color) when we appropriate a history that is not ours. We have a history, even if it must now be learned at the knees of our elders and through finding those rare and precious books.
Once again, from WEGO Health: