Dear white America:

This morning I was informed about two flyers that were posted on the University of Michigan’s campus. Both were sponsored by “Alt-Right.” I had no idea until today who Alt-Right is (or at least didn’t know them by name)–but we will get there in a second.

I am not re-blogging or sharing the two flyers that were posted because I don’t think they deserve to be seen. You can easily google this yourself if you so wish. But for today- I pass on spreading their visual hate. The first flyer was a call to Euro-Americans to stop apologizing. “Be White” it read. And the second flyer was a text-heavy piece of why white women should not date black men for stated reasons like- your children will probably not be smart, you will probably be abused, you will probably get an STD, and so on.

Vomiting yet?

Ok, so before I rant about both of these pieces, let me explain what the internet has to say about Alt-Right, the group responsible for this.

I am going to quote from Wikipedia and if that bothers you- be gone.

The alt-right is a segment of right-wing ideologies presented as an alternative to mainstream conservatism in the United States.[1][2] It has been described as a movement unified by support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump,[3][4] as well as by opposition to multiculturalism and immigration.[2][5]

The alt-right has no official ideology, although various sources have said that it is associated with white nationalism,[1][2][6]white supremacism,[3][7][8]antisemitism,[1][2][9]antifeminism,[1]right-wing populism,[6]nativism,[10] and the neoreactionary movement.[7][11]

It has been said to be a largely online movement with Internet memes widely used to advance or express its beliefs

 

Ok. So Alt-Right seems new–in terms of the organization/group (obviously racism isn’t new)?? From what I can tell, it seems to be a group of people using primarily the internet and social media to support white supremacy and Donald Trump for president of the United States.

Ok.

Brief side note that I will not expand on right now: The stated goals of the KKK: “to shield the sanctity of the home and the chastity of womanhood; to maintain white supremacy; to teach and faithfully inculcate a high spiritual philosophy through an exalted ritualism; and by a practical devotedness to conserve, protect and maintain the distinctive institutions, rights, privileges, principles and ideals of a pure Americanism.”  Hmmm, sound familiar? 

Ok, so now that we have a brief, general understanding of who Alt-Right is, let’s regress back to their flyers posted on campus at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The first one again calling for Euro-Americans to stop apologizing (for being white) and just “Be White.” Ok. I am working hard to keep my thoughts concise- so bear with me as I just use bullets to formulate what is going on inside my head.

  • I have never been asked to apologize for being white. Ever. Not in my entire existence. I will say- back in undergrad when my white privilege cherry was popped at 19 (SO LATE I KNOW), I had a hard time dealing with extreme white guilt. Learning about what white people have done- where the fuck to even begin? Colonization? Attempted genocide against this land’s indigenous? Building this country on the back of black slaves? The continued systemic racism of people of color? Police brutality? I will admit- it was a lot to swallow. And it was in a social work class at Michigan State that I was put in my place. My professor asked for reactions to a reading about white privilege and I said, “I just feel so shitty.” And she responded, “I get that. But it is very, very critical that you move forward and past that. Do not choke on white guilt. Use your white privilege for good, use it for social justice.” And that really settled with me. White America, no one is asking you to apologize for being white. We get it- YOU did not personally own slaves (I fucking hope not). But you still benefit in COUNTLESS ways for being white (go read this–I know, I always reference this. Too good not to). I am not asking you to apologize for being white. I am asking you to use your privilege for good.
  • Put down your confederate flag, jackass, and stop bullshitting me about “white culture.” I am white. My entire family is white. We celebrate our ancestry in many ways. Every St. Patrick’s Day my mom makes Rubens because we are Irish. But never ever was I taught to celebrate a holiday or tradition because I am “white.” So why are we all freaking out about this now? Why are we ranting about “white culture?” For the love of God stop saying that white people are trying to be erased. Public schools can’t even get a multi-cultural curriculum approved because GOD FORBID we learn about someone other than white people. White culture? What is history class—where we so often glorify white men for horrific atrocities framed in a positive way?? (P.S. Read: Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen!!). When I worked at MSU’s student government office during undergrad, I got an email from a gentleman demanding to know why there was a women’s studies class but not a men’s studies class. LMFAO. WHAT IS EVERY FUCKING CLASS WE HAVE IN GRADE SCHOOL??
  • White America, stop freaking the fuck out when people of color demand equality and justice. If all lives really mattered, then don’t black lives matter? Why do we freak out when a man of color takes a knee at a fucking sports game but not when one is shot and murdered by a police officer? Why do we get so defensive and so qucik to find excuses to justify the murder of people of color? What if we really opened our minds and shifted the racist lens we are looking through? Are you willing to do that? If not, can you go away–far, far away? And take Trump and all of his supporters with you? xoxo

 

Ok, and honestly– I just don’t know what the actual fuck to say about the second flyer that lists actually idiotic and racist bullshit about why white women should not date black men. First, there are no sources. There is no proof. What a surprise!

Let me say this: if you are someone that wants to live in a white country, with all white politicians, and all white children, and all white schools, and all white churches- go start your own little nation somewhere else. Perhaps you should not have come to a land that was already thriving with diverse, indigenous peoples (which you slaughtered so many of and continue to oppress)? Make America Great Again? Make America white again? “America” was not white to begin with, fools.

If you are someone that is terrified or perhaps worse-disgusted- by multiculturalism, you are not someone I can or want to be friends with. You go against everything I stand for as a human being. And I am pretty sure you go against the values and morals of every religion/spiritual teaching I am aware of.

Chew on all of this as you watch the first presidential debate tonight. Think about all of this critically as you decide who you will vote for for the president of the United States.

I could really just keep ranting and rambling about this one but am reigning myself in so maybe it makes a sliver of sense to someone besides myself.

Spread love. Fight for justice. If you have privilege, use it for good. Open your mind. Open your heart. And if you can’t do any (or all) of these things, please don’t ever talk to me.

Peace and love my friends.

xoxo,

Jessica

smash the patriarchy

unnamed-4

 

Growing up, my dad had a strict rule that me and my sister were not allowed to cut our hair short. Sometimes he would even accompany us to the hair salon and speak to the stylist himself; everyone thought it was so cute. “What a silly dad! So cute.”

I forget exactly how old she was when she did this- but one time, my little sister, Jenna, went to the hair salon (my dad was obviously not here this time) and walked back by herself. When she came out, her hair was chopped to her chin. My sister is such a little badass- smashing the patriarchy since she was a bebe. My dad was LIVID. He kept saying he could sue the salon; I don’t think he ever actually would, but that is beside the point.

My reason for sharing all of this: from a young age I observed men’s control over women.

I have gone out on dates with men who were quick to share what they think about women and what they deem their physical appearance should be.

Real life comments I have heard in the not so distant past on dates:

“Women should never have short hair. It’s never as good looking as long hair.”

“Women with acrylic nails are disgusting.”

“I hate when women wear eyeliner. It’s so tacky.”

“I hate when women wear leggings as if they were pants.” PS: literally was wearing leggings on this date. LOLOLOL.

Let me note: it is one thing to have preferences and characteristics that you are attracted to- I have those too. I do think, however, it is important to critically think about why you might have those preferences. Because the media glorifies them? Because men have taught you to? Because women have taught you to? Why?

Also- there is a difference in having preferences and having expectations for all women. Note to all men: women don’t actually give a fuck about what you want us to look like. And if they do- it is likely because our patriarchal society has taught them to care. And I will work my whole life to smash that patriarchy and undo the years of societal bullshit we have been taught.

A man I was in a relationship with years ago would get very angry and hostile towards me if I wore clothing that “showed off” my ass. How could I do that to him?? Why was I so needy for attention? -_- Surprise, surprise- I am actually dressing for ME.

When I choose what clothes I am going to wear, if I want to wear makeup that day, how I want to do my hair- it is for me. I choose to present myself in a way that makes ME feel good. (P.S. 99% of the time that means I am in clothing that makes me feel very comfortable).

It might be a harsh reality to swallow, men- but your opinions really do not matter. You have no power over women. I won’t tell you what to wear in the morning and you won’t tell me. You can tell me you think I am beautiful if you like- but my understanding of beauty and my self-love does not root in that. I do not care what you think of me. For years I let your opinions control me & define me. I starved myself, spent hours picking out clothes, doing my hair, and buying all the best makeup- for what? Some patriarchal bullshit?

I don’t care anymore.

I love me. I love me with natural hair, no makeup, and sweats. I love me with bright red lipstick, a little black dress, and a manicure.

I. Love. Me.

And that self-love does not waiver according to your thoughts/views/opinions/desires.

Radical self-love is a revolution, ladies and gentleman. 

xoxo,

 

Jessica

 

P.S. Holla to all the men that are out there and just doing their own thang and not shoving beauty ideals down women’s throats. You know who you are and I love you. Keep using your male privilege for good.

unnamed-5

 

why i am more than ok if you don’t want to sing the national anthem

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I am not a history buff. However, I realize and recognize the importance of understanding historical context and how that may affect perspectives today.

The star spangled banner, the national anthem of the United States of America, was written in 1814. Written by Francis Scott Key, the anthem was inspired by the Key’s observation of the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. History reports that Key looked on at an American flag (star spangled banner) with pride as the Americans had victory.

Ok.

So it’s 1814.

Here are few important historical contexts to comprehend:

  1. The U.S. is being built on the backs of black slaves at this time. Francis Scott Key himself had slaves; the author of our national anthem had slaves. Important to recognize.
  2. We are 49 years away from the Emancipation Proclamation in which President Lincoln will declare “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” And let’s not pretend for a moment that things were actually equal after the Emancipation Proclamation OR that they are now.
  3. European colonizers are stealing land from the land’s indigenous at this time. Literally. Land is being stolen and cultural genocide is happening.

 

Fellow white people:

can you understand now why someone may not be so inclined to sing the national anthem?

Why is it ok for Donald Trump’s campaign slogan to be a criticism of American (make America great again) but YET when a person of color criticizes this country—not ok??

Why is it that people are burning the jersey of a San Francisco 49ers player because he refused to stand up for the national anthem? Colin Kaepernick said, “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent…I’ll stand.” Word.

To you, fellow white people, the national anthem may lead to a sense of pride and patriotism. But we must always remember: at what cost have those things come? Or- was everyone experiencing the freedoms we are celebrating?

You could very easily go back to my post about the fourth of july and why everyone may not celebrate; this is very similar.

So before you burn another jersey, perhaps stop and think critically.

Why might this person feel that way?

What can I do with my white privilege to be an ally and supporter? For one, stop burning the fucking jersey; that is also just shitty for the environment and smells terrible.

As I have stated before, I will never blindly be a patriot to anyone or anything. That does not mean that I am not thankful to live here. That does mean I will openly criticize the United States in both past and present contexts.

If you’ve read all of this and still want to go burn a jersey, i’ll have my mama add you to her prayer list (again). And then I will encourage you to read Peggy McIntosh, Tim Wise, Audre Lorde, and every book  in this article.

I have said this a million times but I will always say it again: acknowledging you have white privilege does not mean you don’t have hard times or a hard life. It does mean, however, that your challenges are not due to your race.

This post has largely focused on the historical context of why an individual may not want to sing or stand up for the national anthem. There are many reasons, including those of Kaepernick, why someone may feel that the flag does not represent freedom today. I didn’t really delve into this too much in this post because it deserves its own post. Eventually, let’s talk about police brutality and violence against people of color, incarceration rates, literacy, poverty, etc. Maybe even do a little research of your own and get back to me; let’s talk.

Now let’s sit back, eat some chicken wings, and binge on some guac as we partake in America’s favorite pastime, football. Because let’s be real: the food is the only reason I show up, anyway.

Peace and love, y’all. Spread it around.

xoxo,

Jessica

 

why the media matters

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

-Malcom X

 

It is important- VITAL- to stop and think critically about what the mass media is feeding us.

We do not decide what images, articles, or headlines are thrown in our faces. We can decide what we do with them- if we choose to form ideas, beliefs, or generalizations based on the media; or we can at least actively fight the bias.

So let us stop and think critically for a moment.

When a black person (man, woman, child) is shot OR commits a crime, what photos do we see circulating on the internet? How is this individual described in written text and vocally by reporters?

What about when a white person commits a crime or is shot?

What about a Hispanic person?

What about a Muslim?

Remember Trayvon Martin- a young black man shot and killed in 2012? Why did the media insist on running photos found of him holding up his middle fingers? And why did so many use that photo to justify his MURDER?

Why did it take so long for Brock Turner’s, a convicted white Rapist at Stanford University, mug shot to be released? Why were we told OVER AND OVER that he was a “great student” and “exceptional swimmer?” As if those qualities negate his rape?

Why is it that a story is run of a local sheriff describing a white FSU student that stormed out of a restaurant, killed a couple, and ate a victim’s face as, “he had no criminal record…he was a good kid.”

Why is it that the media loves to talk of a  radical extremist that conducts a suicide bombing in honor of ISIS as representative of Islam BUT an individual that shoots up a Planned Parenthood Clinic to save God’s children is not representative of Christianity?

Why did the media LOVE posting photos of what APPEARED to be Malia Obama smoking pot at Lollapalooza??? This is ridic for so many reasons. First marijuana is decriminalized there; second we don’t know if it is actually pot. And personally, I hope it is pot over a cigarette 🙂 If I could be at LOLLA doing the exact same thing right now, I would be.

Or most recently- a story that is making my blood boil: of US Olympian Ryan Lochte fabricating a story that he was robbed in Brazil most likely to cover up drunken, stupid behavior. Although we are not certain what happened, there is footage of Lochte and other swimmers having an altercation at a gas station in Rio and breaking down a bathroom door. And yet, so many are laughing it off as “boys will be boys.” What if a Black Lives Matter member had done this exact same thing in Brazil? Do you think the media would have been just as kind?? No, ladies and gents.

My challenge to you is as it always is: think for yourself. Do not digest what the media has to say as truth. Do your own research. And work HARD to not create and act on biases the media perpetuates.

The media works as a force that so often divides, creates hate, and prevents unity. Don’t let it.

I think the media has the power to do good. I follow many progressive media outlets that do just this- educate, inform, promote understanding and social justice, etc.

Also, I have had a few people tell me that when I write about topics such as this I am striving to divide groups of people. My response to those people: you are obviously coming from a place of privilege if you feel that way. If you are white or Christian or from any other dominant population and you feel uncomfortable because you finally realize the media favors you- you need to process and digest that (and learn to use your privilege for good). But do NOT tell me for a moment that pretending these issues do not exist or simply remaining silent is the solution. You can take that white/judeo-christian privilege and shove it up your ass 🙂 

Think for yourself. Spread peace and love.

That’s all for now.

xoxo,

 

Jessica

 

Also, I know this is not the kindest comeback re: Malia Obama’s “pot smoking” but I can’t stop LOL’ing.

unnamed (3)

For Her

It is with great excitement that I announce the release of my first book, For Her. It is a memoir that has taken me years to write and is finally complete. It is a small, yet brutally honest and raw book. I am very proud of it.

unnamed

My motivation in writing this book was never to become a New York Times Bestseller. Honestly, sales do not motivate me at all. This book was my therapy. It healed me. It helped me believe in myself again.

The idea for this book started years ago when I wrote a poem titled, For Her. The poem was essentially a letter to my younger self. And from that poem my memoir sprouted. For Her is a book that follows an emotional journey I have taken to process some of my hardest life experiences. As I process those experiences, I strive to learn and heal from them in order to honor my younger self. The book reads similarly to my blog; if you have read what I write here, you will not be surprised by my writing style in the book. If my blog annoys the shit out of you, maybe refrain from reading my book.

I write about many things in this book that I have never spoken about privately or publicly. This book is my life, my words, my thoughts, and my secrets sprawled out for the world to see. I am terrified. And yet, I am liberated.

The book costs $25 and is available on Amazon.com, Kindle, and for purchase directly through me. For my many friends not in the United States there are also a few options to purchase the book. It is for sale on Amazon’s European websites including Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es. You can also personally Venmo me (including book and shipping costs) and I can directly mail it to you.

Thank you so much to everyone that has supported me on this journey– for listening to my ideas and rants, for sharing silence with me as I wrote, and for loving me while I painfully healed myself throughout this process.

And lastly, thank you to me. I heart me. I am so proud of myself for completing this and for not giving up. I can’t wait to see where I go next. ❤

Peace and love my friends– spread it everywhere.

xoxo,

Jessica

Bye Felicia

Yesterday.

Yesterday.

Yesterday, I wake up to a phone that was blown up with messages. As some of you may know, I was dating a man named Jon this past month. We met online. Just last week, I posted a picture on Facebook of him and I. It has since been deleted, but you may remember.

Yesterday, I wake up. I look at my phone and there is a slew of messages from Jon asking to come over in the middle of the night. I was fast asleep and I sleep like a rock; so I didn’t see those messages until I woke up. Jon says his ex-girlfriend showed up at his work and almost got him fired. He says she likely messaged me and that I should just delete those messages and block her.

Let’s rewind for a moment. Here is what I know about Jon at this time:

  1. He is from Missouri. That is where his family lives.
  2. He went to Stanford when he was 16.
  3. He is a second year medical student at the University of Michigan.
  4. He works at a free clinic in Ypsilanti that is 24 hours.
  5. He has a best friend named Luke that he often crashes with because his own apartment isn’t furnished, which I get. Furniture is bat shit expensive.

Ok. Back to yesterday.

Yesterday, after reading Jon’s messages, I go to my social media to see if there are in fact messages from this crazy ex-girlfriend. Sure enough there is a message in my Facebook Messenger waiting for my approval because we are not friends on Facebook. I approve the message and read it. In a very calm and collected message, this woman writes to me to tell me that Jon has been her boyfriend for over a year and he lives with her. He does not have a job. She found out about me when he had messaged me on Facebook Messenger on her phone when his had died and he forgot to log out.

My mind is racing. Noooooooooooooooo way. No fucking way. There is no fucking way.

I call my best friend Ceci and she rushes over. We start to do some fact checking. I trust Jon and I want to trust him. So we start doing some research.

There is no record in the directory at Stanford or University of Michigan that Jon is or has been a student there.

I text Jon about this. He makes up excuses that seem fairly legitimate. I demand to know what clinic he works at. He tells me. I look the clinic up online. The clinic is not 24 hours and also does not allow medical students to work there.
Also, med school at the University of Michigan started this week. Jon has not gone or shown any sign (physical or in conversation) that he is going to classes. He tells me this is because he starts later because of his research scholarship.

Things with Jon are not checking out. I am waiting to hear back from his original girlfriend (not naming her out of respect-will refer to her as Epic Woman from here forward). I message her back on Facebook with a slew of questions. She responds.

We are messaging back and forth. It’s a kind conversation. In her words, “girl-to-girl” I wanted to protect you from him. My gut tells me to believe her. I say to her- can I ask you a personal question? Can I ask where you live? Because I drop Jon off at his friend Luke’s apartment all the time and I have never met him. She tells me her address. SURE ENOUGH, it is the address that I HAVE BEEN DROPPING JON OFF AT MULTIPLE TIMES thinking I was dropping him off at Luke’s.

You see on our second date Jon told me he had been hit by another car. He told me his car was in the shop. But in reality, there is no car.

I message Epic Woman again. I ask her– want to come over to my apartment? I am with my sister and two best friends. Let’s exchange information and talk about this- woman to woman. She agrees.

A few hours later, her and her best friend show up at my apartment. When she walks in my apartment, she says- I have been here. I almost immediately throw up. What—you have been in MY APARTMENT- I ask. You see- Jon watched my cat, Hunter, a few weeks ago when I went up north with my best friend. When I was gone, he invited Epic Woman over and said he was house sitting for who else than- HIS BEST FRIEND LUKE.

Side note- if you are out there and are the real Luke- RUN THE FUCK AWAY FROM JON.

It takes me a few minutes to gain my composure. I feel COMPLETELY violated. My apartment is my safe space and Jon completely violated that. I can’t decide if I want to cry, throw up, or punch a wall.

We decide that the only thing we can do is confront him as a united front of bad ass women.

So we hop in two cars (Me, my Ceci, my Shay, and my sister, Epic Woman, and her best friend). We are a posse of SIX BAD ASS WOMEN NOT TAKING SHIT FROM THIS ASS.

Jon has been staying at Epic Woman’s apartment without her consent. He is not on the lease. But he refuses to leave. Epic Woman has been staying over 40 minutes away at a FRIEND’S HOUSE while Jon mooches at the apartment SHE PAYS FOR. I am livid FOR EPIC WOMAN. This is bull shit!

The plan is to show up at Epic Woman’s apartment, confront Jon, and get his ass OUT of her fucking apartment.

Boy oh boy—-if I could have snapped a photo of this asshole’s face the moment he saw Epic Woman AND ME walk in AND five other women.

Words are had. Jon denies everything, he is shaking, trying to cover for himself. He gets on his phone and is asking someone to come pick him up (who?? why can’t you stay there, Jon??)

We get Jon’s shit out of her apartment and throw it on the front lawn of the complex. She has both sets of keys. He is out.

I give Jon one more “fuck you” and we hit the road. Not a minute later do I get a text saying how much he LOVES me and how sorry he is. HA HA HA HA HA.

Later that night, Jon emails and texts me from a burner app. He is begging to come stay at my home because now he is homeless. I send him a list of homeless shelters and block his number and email.

I have never been cheated on before this. And this was so much more than cheating. This was a pathological liar. Not only would Jon lie to cover his truths. He would lie to embellish and make up a life! He had FULL BLOWN stories he would tell me about patients he had seen that day at the clinic when in fact HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A JOB!

Here is what I NOW know about Jon:

  1. I am not sure his name is Jon. It may be Aaron. It may be something completely different. Depending on which name is actually his, he may have a criminal record.
  2. I do not know for sure how old he is. He told me and Epic Woman a different age.
  3. I do not think he has gone to college.
  4. He is most definitely NOT a medical student at UM.
  5. His hair is a toupee (honestly, nice work Epic Woman).
  6. He does not and has not had a job in over a year.
  7. He is a pathological liar.
  8. He is manipulative. He loves to gaslight (see earlier blog post).
  9. He is all around a very large, massive piece of shit.
  10. Epic Woman and I are almost certain there are other women involved.

 

I am still in shock. This is so fucking unbelievable. So insane. Is my life a Lifetime Movie?

Despite all of this chaos, my heart finds hope and love in one area:

Epic Woman. 

She reached out to me kindly. She reached out to me to HELP. She saved me. I know Jon was counting on us pitting against each other. Hahahaha. But he underestimated the power of female solidarity and strength. Do NOT fuck with women, Jon. We are stronger and smarter than you could ever comprehend.

What is oddly hilarious to me is that Jon is subscribed to this blog. He will immediately get a notification when this is published. HI, JON. You are actually a very bad person. If you continue to harass me via email or text me from burner numbers, you will happily be turned into the authorities. The police are already aware of you and have your photo on their desk 🙂 Do NOT harass me. If you cannot tell, I am not afraid of you. I do not sympathize with you. You are bad. And karma is going to be so, so real with you, man. Stay the fuck out of my life.

Thanks to my friends that stood by me yesterday. Thank you.

But thank you most of all to Epic Woman. You are my guardian angel. 

And on that note,

1a623e83-da2b-465b-9087-db5a676041a3

(Thank you, Nibha, for sending me this and so much love)

 

Xoxo,

Jessica

 

 

Recognizing & Understanding Gaslighting

Gaslighting is the attempt of one person to overwrite another person’s reality -Shea Emma Fett

2d018eb9c0bf68c1b937fec9e5e0e575

A few years ago, I was standing in line at the post office with a girlfriend talking about how so many people in my life had made me doubt I was ever in an abusive relationship; I told her how their comments and questions had fucked with my head and understanding of my own situation.

” You said yes when he proposed- you were happy then and wanted it- and now you think it was abusive….??”

“I really don’t think it was as bad as you remember it. You were so happy.”

Me: “Maybe, I guess? I guess I just can’t remember it right anymore”

As I was talking to my girlfriend at the post office, a woman leaned over to me and said- “that’s gas lighting- look it up. don’t let anyone make you doubt your understanding of yourself”

I was taken aback. Surprisingly, I had not heard of this term before. But as I read about gaslighting online, I realized how often this had happened to me.

Gaslighting makes you undermine and doubt yourself and question what you know to be true. 

I can think of two particular experiences in my life in which I have experienced significant gas-lighting.

First, is an emotionally abusive relationship I was in with a man I almost married. In the time directly following the break-up, multiple people made me question if I had overreacted- was he really that bad? Was it really abuse? I said yes, after all- why would you do that if it was that bad? Am I remembering things wrong?

It took me over a year to fully grasp the abuse I had experienced and remain confident in my understanding.

 

***********************************************************************

Another life experience that I am openly sharing publicly about for the first time is an eating disorder. In 2012 during grad school (not so ironically around the same time my toxic abusive relationship began), I developed an eating disorder and my weight plunged. I was eating 300 calories a day and burning off more than double that at the gym. One day when I almost fainted getting out of bed, I decided I had to get help. Without telling anyone, I sought out a therapist and started going to her weekly.

Flash forward four years. I am doing so much better- I am curvy, happy, and working hard on falling in love with myself more and more every day (radical self-love is a journey, y’all).

Very few people in my life know about my eating disorder. I didn’t tell anyone for a full year after seeking therapy.

But some of those people have done what often seems to be the inevitable- gaslighting.

“I saw you eating then. You were fine and healthy!”

“You looked so good and happy- there is nothing wrong with that.”

“There is nothing wrong with exercising like you were…you’re overthinking the situation”

“Was it really an eating disorder? You actually seemed fine to me”

Even AFTER being diagnosed and seeking therapy from a professional, I continued to doubt my experience because of the comments and questions from a few. Am I just gross and chunky now? Am I making this up to feel better about what I look like now? Was I really sick? Was it really that bad? Everyone says they loved how I looked and complimented me…..how could that be bad? I am just confused and justifying my appearance now, right?

FOR THE LOVE. It is SO fucking frustrating to be confused about YOUR OWN reality. And often you don’t even realize it is happening!

Those are just two experiences in which I endured significant gaslighting. It can happen on a smaller scale all the time– and it does.

 

Let me say a few things in closing:

You know and understand your experience perfectly. 

What you know and feel is true. 

Are there people in your life that constantly make you question your own experiences? Gaslighting. Recognize it. 

Trust yourself. It is a battle, I know. Keep fighting. 

 

XOXO,

 

Jessica

 

P.S. Want to share about a time you experienced gaslighting? Feel free to share in the comments. I want this blog to be a community of support and love.

 

 

 

my body, my canvas

Every tattoo I have had inked onto my body is a reflection of a moment or experience in my life. When I look at my body and see the ink, it is a reminder of who I am and where I have been or hope to go. I love my ink. And I know I am not unique in this way. That is why I have asked a number of people to share about their body art with me here. First, let me set a tone of respect. These folks are sharing their bodies and stories with us (thank you). Be kind. Be respectful.Also, just be those things in general. But for anyone that has ever wondered- why get a tattoo? Or- I wonder what that tattoo means to them! Now is your chance for some answers. It’s also a chance for all my fellow ink-lovers out there to sit back and marvel at some beauty.

*Grabs popcorn and opens Pinterest tattoo board for ideas*

 

Me first. Of course I can’t do a post about tattoos and NOT share about my own. I have four tattoos, each special to me in a unique way. I am just going to share about one for now. 9e0fd07f-c4af-4987-95eb-dfc37fdfd1ca

This is a photo of my most recent tattoo. The photo was taken the same day I had it done, so it is still a tad red and sore. This was my first fully color tattoo and I couldn’t adore it more. As you can likely tell, it is lavender. And lavender is very precious to me. I have struggled with anxiety for my entire life (runs in the good ol’ fam). When my anxiety was at an all-time high, I decided to see a therapist. One of the best suggestions she gave me was to find a scent that calms you and keep it near you. When you’re feeling particularly anxious, smell it/rub some of that scent of lotion on you/burn a candle of that scent/etc. I didn’t recognize this until that moment, but lavender had already become that for me. I keep a dried bouquet at the entrance of my apartment; I use lavender essential oils (a LOT)- my mom got me this necklace that has a little fabric pad you can drop an essential oil on to calm you throughout the day. I use lavender lotion, have a lavender eye mask…it goes on. I really wish my tattoo could have been a scratch and sniff (LOL…maybe one day?!). But the mere image of lavender does bring me peace. It serves as a reminder to breath in, stay calm, and seek peace.

Alyssa (1).

This was my very first tattoo, and I contemplated what I wanted for quite a few years be492f41a5-8cec-4853-95da-9fcdeb8d7e19fore actually taking the plunge. It says “to be ransomed” in Greek. The idea first developed back in early 2011 during a sermon at Flatirons church that was really life-changing for me. Disclaimer – my stance on Christianity has changed since this time, but I’m going to write about this tattoo from my experience of it at the time I got it J The sermon series was called Ransom, and went through the story of Moses, in short. Our word “redemption” comes from this word “ransom.” Redemption is defined as the recovery of what was once lost, but ransom goes much deeper than this. A ransom is a price paid for the release of a slave (or POW or condemned criminal). It’s recovering your freedom, your life, and not of your own will, but as a result of someone else paying the price for it. In the story of Moses, God ransomed the Israelites when they were enslaved by the Egyptians for over 400 years. They had been begging and crying and pleading with God to be set free, and for 400 years God had not answered their prayer. Their spirits were broken because of this harsh slavery and they had lost hope that God would free them. When God finally sent Moses to lead them to freedom, the Israelites didn’t listen because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. And I can’t say I blame them! But more on that later. Slavery can be defined as being controlled by another for their benefit and having your freedom either very restricted or completely taken away. Someone or something else is running your life. And when you’ve been begging for freedom for so long with no answer, all hope begins to fade. I have no doubt that we all have people or things we are slaves to, but let me tell you my story.

At this time in my life I felt as if the traumatic experiences I had faced were running my life. I was bound by the memories, the nightmares, the flashbacks, the anxiety. Additionally, both of my grandmothers had just passed away within a 2 month time frame, and my cousin had just been rushed to the hospital with meningitis and was found brain-dead. I had been crawling through the last year of my life as I tried to begin working through my trauma, and as the effects were worsening, I suddenly had to deal with these new losses. I was broken. I’d lost hope and wanted to give up. I turned to cutting. I cut my arms and my thighs because it was a way to let the pain escape. It also helped to bring me to the present when I was panicking. It helped, a lot, for a time. Eventually I attempted suicide and wound up hospitalized and in a partial hospitalization program, which was helping me cope a great deal. But I was really hurting. I was facing the battle alone – I was afraid to tell anyone about what had happened, so I shoved the pain down and pretended like I was ok.

And then, on this Saturday night in July, I heard this sermon. I broke down, realizing as the pastor spoke that I didn’t have to be a slave to my past, to the trauma and the actions of another human being. What happened was not my fault, and I didn’t have to continue to carry it the way I had been. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14). My freedom from this pain, my rescue, my RANSOM – it had already been paid for. There was literally nothing I could do in order to lead God to ransom me. It was based on ZERO merit f my own. It’s by grace alone that I am ransomed. I prayed and cried and literally felt the chains falling from my body. But slavery is simple and predictable. Freedom is neither of those things. I now had no idea whattomorrow would bring – but in my head I felt like everything would be easier. It wasn’t. Tomorrow brought anxiety, anger and fear. When I had panic attacks, I wanted to cut so badly. And sometimes I did. It helped for a minute, and then I just felt ashamed of going back to that. I thought I was free from this, but it had chased me back down and caught up to me again. Sort of like how the Israelites thought they were free until the Egyptian army changed their mind and came running after them. But God destroyed the Egyptians. And he could destroy my master too, even when I began to believe that my “master” was the one that could take care of me and give me what I needed. Many slaves return to their masters because it’s safe, it’s what they’ve always known. They might even love their master and fight to defend their master – the very thing destroying their lives – instead of living in freedom. “It is for FREEDOM that Christ set you free” (Galatians 5:1). I wasn’t living in freedom, I was still living in bondage.

Slowly I began to realize that I didn’t need it – I could be completely free if I had faith and hope in the Lord. The road wasn’t easy and I wanted to give up a lot, but eventually with the His strength, I was able to work past the trauma and through the need to cut. I went back to that sermon a lot during this time, finding comfort in the idea that I wasn’t alone. Today, I can truly say that the sexual and emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of my abusers no longer runs my life. I’ve replaced cutting with healthier coping mechanisms. And for the 1-year anniversary of giving up cutting and truly being able to say that I could finally live without feeling chained to my abuse and abusers, I went to the tattoo parlor and got this tattoo on my left wrist, where a lot of the cutting happened. It is a reminder to me every single day that I am not a slave, but a ransomed woman living in freedom.

Alyssa (2). 

Long after my first tattoo, the phrase “Be Free” was something by which I tried to define my life. A lot of my tattoos are centered around this theme of freedom, including this one, obviously. When I look in the mirror and see my reflection and feel down on myself, I see those words reflected back to me: be free. I’m reminded that so many things that I begin to let define me don’t actually define me. The societal role I’m supposed to take as a woman ane66c81b7-0fb6-404b-b8c3-e4139546f09cd the image I’m supposed to project does not define me. What my family and parents believe and say does not define me. What happened in my past doesn’t define me. Only I define me. I don’t have to fit into the box that other people want me to climb into – I am more than that. Sometimes the influence of others can be so powerful, and this tattoo is a reminder that I am free of all of these constraints.

Alyssa (3). e309d956-6b9e-440b-be04-b48f8ad5352aSticking with the freedom theme, I actually stole this tattoo idea from Pinterest – I’m definitely not cool enough to come up with that on my own! The image of the dandelion, seeds blowing away and transforming into birds mid-flight, resonated with me as a metaphorical image of my own experience. In the same way that a dandelion is plucked from its roots, I felt like I had been pulled from my previously “normal” childhood, and thrown into a world in which I was not my own. I was used over and over again, physically and emotionally, for the pleasure of someone else; I was entirely powerless and had done nothing to deserve it. My simultaneously stable and fragile life was uprooted, much like the dandelion in this image, and my heart and my identity were split into a million little pieces, as the dandelion is when its seeds are blown away. In my tattoo, those seeds, having been forcefully removed from their little place of existence, don’t simply shrivel up and die but instead transform into birds and fly away. They take what was forced upon them, having been used for the delight of someone else, and turn it in to something beautiful. In a nutshell, this is the legacy I hope to one day leave behind.

Alyssa (4). First of all, I love roses. A lot. I own a million things with roses on them as well as another million fake 847140e4-184d-4ae2-844d-ec492eb0b2d4roses as décor. I think I got the rose gene from my grandma who also loved them. She and I were very very close. When she passed away, I didn’t really have the chance to go through her belongings because my family had already done most of it by the time I got there. (I was delayed because I had to take the GRE. Gross.)  But there were a few things leftover in a donation box, including 4 fake roses in different colors. I snatched those right up, along with a beautiful glass vase, and have had them positioned prominently in my apartment ever since. They remind me of her daily, and they are beautiful, too. A mere six weeks later, my other grandmother passed away as well, followed by my 19-year old cousin a couple months after. So much loss in such a short time was devastating to me and my family. I decided on these three roses – one for each of them – as a less literal tribute to their lives and the impact they had on mine. I hope to one day add more to my shoulder and arm to expand this, but for now I’m incredibly happy with my artist’s work on this tattoo!!

Shay. Growing up, I begged my parents to get me a golden retriever puppy. That’s all I asked for every Christmas, every birthday, and almost every other day of the year too. Finally, in 2004, at 10 years old, I got my wish. A six-week-old golden, who would soon be known to me as Nellie. Over the yearsb1052b1a-b422-4852-9608-e0ebbb269cc9, Nellie truly became my best friend in every sense of the phrase. She was my confidant, my actual shoulder to cry on, and my cuddle buddy. I slept with her every night, she comforted me when I was bullied at school, and I couldn’t have asked for a better companion during my teenage years. Nellie had her fair share of medical problems from the time she was a pup (including epilepsy and 2 ACL tears), but when she was 9-years-old we discovered she had 2 forms of cancer. In December of 2013, Nellie had her spleen removed and she spent Christmas in the hospital. Without cancer treatment, she was only expected to last a couple months. With treatment but without a guarantee, the best case scenario would be that she had a year left. We went for the treatment despite astronomical vet bills, but sadly we had to put Nellie down on June 30, 2014, just eleven days after her tenth birthday. We were able to spend a few hours outside with her that evening before she was put down, and it was then that the thoughts of getting a tattoo that I had been toying with since her cancer diagnosis became a reality. I knew I wanted to commemorate my bond with her, something that I still feel very strongly even though she is not physically here with me. So, on my 22nd birthday in 2016, I got the tattoo. My tattoo is on my right foot and says “I’ll never walk alone”-a reminder that Nellie is alongside me on my life journey, whether it be tugging on her leash to chase after squirrels, or sitting in the passenger seat of my car with the windows rolled down. Although a tattoo in memory of a pet may seem silly to some people, it’s a way for me to remember her in my day-to-day life, and I am comforted by the idea of Nellie still listening to me and being there for me on my hard days. This tattoo is important to me, and I look forward to displaying it proudly for the rest of my life. 

Sarah. I originally started with the birds flying out of the birdcage. So much of my life had been rules and legality — and in my adulthood I am finally finding freedom in every aspect of my life. The most peaceful place I’ve ever been is in the mountains (I’ve only been to U.S. mountains)– so I added birds flying to the mountai56981672-bafc-4c19-ace8-0777e052e42dns. I love color and being bold, so there was some color added (I might have that edited). I recently added wildflowers over my collarbone and shoulder – I love that they’re
a flower, but kind of do their own thing, grow where they want, and are still regarded as beautiful. Needless to say, I want more 🙂 I will likely add more to this piece – perhaps more wildflowers. Or a tree! I am loving this nature theme.

Paige (1). Ever since I can remember, the two most important people in my life have been my mom and my grandmother (gramma). In lieu of a present father figure growing up (with the exception of my gramps, who is without a doubt one of the best people I know), both of these women did, and continue to do, everything in their power to make sure that I never felt unloved or unwanted. Both my mom and my gramma have6e1029d3-b2d3-437f-8b29-7cedc63025bb worked relentlessly for their entire lives and serve as unparalleled examples of strong, independent, self-sufficient women; qualities that I have grown to love in myself. The two of them have supported me, loved me, and put me at the forefront of their lives even when I didn’t deserve it. Anyways, both of them have rose tattoos that were completely unrelated, both from when they were young. Knowing this, I wanted a rose tattoo to signify how much they meant to me. Roses aren’t particularly my favorite of flowers, but I like their symbolism. Roses are classic: people give them as gifts in happy times and as a good gesture in bad times. They’re beautiful, but not without thorns and flaws. And, most importantly, the remind me of the two most beautiful things in my life, my mom and gramma. The idea ended up evolving into 3 roses on a vine, all in different stages of life, but somehow it still didn’t capture the meaning that I wanted the tattoo to have. So, I had the roses placed on an unfinished puzzle. To me, the puzzle signifies my life: somewhat a mystery and not completely put together- but built upon a good foundation. Even to this day, when I look at it, I am grateful for where I came from and for having two women in my life that gave me a heart that is so unapologetically my own.

Paige (2). I studied abroad summer of my junior year in undergrad. I chose Costa Rica because of their un971ae50b-ae65-4e77-b672-a2b5c6254c64precedented environmentalism as a nation and their focus on real, whole food grown in ways that aren’t damaging to the extremely diverse ecosystem of Costa Rica. Upon arriving, we were taught a colloquial term that the ticas and ticos commonly used, “Pura Vida,” which, in English, translates to “Pure Life.” Natives use it in passing to acknowledge another person, to greet and to say goodbye. Not a day passed the entire time I was there that I didn’t hear someone use the phrase in some form or fashion. After volunteering on several permaculture farms and observing the culture, it became more and more apparent to me that “Pura Vida” wasn’t just a saying, it was a way of life. It dawned on me one day when my class went on a tour to a sustainable coffee farm. After exploring the farm, the farmer opened his home to us and told us his story. The farm, passed down through three generations, was originally a conventional coffee farm that used extensive fertilizer and pesticide applications (as is common in the developed world). After his father developed a neurodegenerative disease as a result of long term exposure to pesticides (aka pesticide poisoning), he decided that he was he could not be proud of his family business if it was damaging not only to the Earth, but to his family. Slowly, but surely, this man made sacrifices that I cannot even describe in order to transition his farm into a sustainable, biologically sound organism: good for the heart, the planet, and his family. My heart felt pride for him but also a sense of defeat because, as much as I believe in his cause, I would never expect others to go through trials and tribulations to that extent for the benefit of the Earth and sustainable agriculture. It was equally shattering and inspiring. I take his story with me in my heart and remember it when I want to give up; when I feel like no matter how hard I work that I will never persevere and truly make the difference I wish to see in the world. His story, and his true sense of “Pura Vida” is what keeps me fighting. This is what it means to me: “Pura Vida” – to live slowly. To have resonance. To have a purpose in life and to follow through with it, not in the name of success, but in the name of living, purely.

Jenna. This is my second tattoo and if I’m honest, one of my favorites. It’s the biggest one I have and definitely hurt the worst. It’s called a fleur-de-lis and it has a couple of meanings to me actually. The first is my love for travel. This is a very famous symbol and since I’ve gotten it I can’t help but notice it’s 6d8214c7-f69b-45e5-bd3a-9537a0e110d4e v e r y w h e r e. I love to see to places and experience new cultures. The second meaning, it cheesy but simple, to always love myself like a princess. This symbol connects to French royalty and also reminds me that it’s ok to have bad days, have insecure moments, but love yourself, treat yourself as a princess. In high school I struggled the most, I constantly compared myself to others and never thought I was pretty enough- that if only I had her thighs, or those arms, imagine how pretty I could be. But I stopped comparing, I started to love what I have, and to realize each and every one of us are royalty. The third is probably the most private and one I do not tell most but in sense of treating myself like a princess, only date someone who does such. To realize what you deserve and what you’re willing to give someone; do not settle and do not accept less.

***********

Thank you to everyone that shared their precious body art with me and the internet world. Reading and writing this piece has got me like….INK ME, BITCH. 🙂 Tattoos are such a symbol of a person and their life! Yes, they are permanent. Yes, they will be there forever. In my experience, the first one is the scariest to get. You have no idea what pain to expect, you’re scared it won’t turn out how you imagine, you may be afraid you will regret getting it. But once you get the first one, 99.9% of people I know are like—COVER MY BODY, BRUH. Because the freedom of expression is liberating and empowering.

Have any questions about getting a tattoo? Or want to share about yours? Please ask/share away in the comments!

xoxo,

 

Jessica

 

Also, just because this made me LOL:

cddf6b68-2d80-4563-9e0c-4c6ddb7df973

 

What is it like to be anyone other than a white man on the Fourth of July in the United States of America? 

                                                                      

Growing up, I loved  and looked forward to the Fourth of July. It falls two days before my birthday, July 6th; so it was always a week full of festivities and joy. And sparklers. And fireworks. And BBQs. And red, white, and blue EVERYTHING. I am famous for my red, white, and blue chocolate covered strawberries. Yes, hello, I am Martha Stewart. 

But now that I am turning 26 and am old and wise (hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha)- I am taking a moment to reflect on Independence Day in the U.S. What exactly are we celebrating? WHO is celebrating? Why? 

Preface: before any white people, specically men, get all defensive on me- relaxxxxx, bruh. I can already imagine some white people I know seeing this blog and being like, “MUTHA FUCKA can’t us white people just get a breakkkkkk? Let us celebrate freedom and the beauty that is America without feeling bad. Stoppppp making white people feel guilty.” If that is you, let me stop you there. Stop reading and go read this. And then read every book and piece written by Audre Lorde or Tim Wise. And if you still feel the same way, I’ll have my mom put you on her prayer list at church. And we’ll never speak again. Baiii. 

It is important to think about WHY we celebrate holidays. What are their historical context? Who was involved? Who benefited? Who did not benefit? Asking these questions, reflecting on their answers, and fighting for changes does not make me or anyone else anti-American. I am thankful and privilged to live in this country, have an American passport, and share in the freedoms availale to me here. However, I will never blindly be a patriot to anyone, anything–ever. One can question and criticize their country while still being thankful to live there; the two are not mutually exclusive. 

OKAYYYY. Now that we have all that juice out of the way, let’s get real. 

Independence Day in the US, AKA the 4th of July, is a celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; AKA, The United States of America is born. 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…”

Ok. Sounds cool, right?

Except that the Declaration of Independence was written by white men for white men. 

How about the Native People that were here before Europeans came, colonized, and attempted cultural genocide against all Indigenous peoples? Should they celebrate the Fourth of July?

What about black people? Who were still held captive as slaves for almost a hundred more years until the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863. Or black men who could not vote until 1870? 

Or white women who could not vote until 1920?

or black women who were SUPPOSED to get to vote in 1920 but continued to be disenfranchised until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s…  

Or members of the LGBTQ community that just received marriage equality ONE YEAR AGO? 

Or members of the trans community that just want to take a pee in the bathroom in which they belong

Should they celebrate the fourth of July? 

Flash forward 240 years (is my math right?) from the signing of the Declaration of Independence: do women, people of color, people of all religions, immigrants, or members of the LGBTQ community have the same freedom white men declared for themselves in 1776??

Me thinks not. 

So what am I proposing exactly? Everyone call off their bbqs and we ban bomb pops? No. I’m no where near that evil. But it is important to consider WHAT you are celebrating and WHY you are celebrating. 

It is important to acknolwedge that yes, it is a privilege to live in the United States of America. But we have a lot of shit to do and improve. 

Are you a white person reading this? Don’t feel shitty and get stuck choking on white guilt. Or worse yet- don’t get defensive. Use your privilege for good. 

Consider people other than those of your own race and gender when you vote this November. 

Be an advocate, become a member of the ACLU, go to community meetings, sign petitions, be informed, vote wisely, be friends with people that are completely different than you. For the love- DO SOMETHING, y’all. 

It all comes down to what I always say- live a life of peace and love. Spread that shit everywhere. 

xoxo, 

Jessica 
PS. For some reason spell check, my not-so-secret-weapon, isn’t working. Now that you have just read this I am sure you will go back to the beginning, re-read, and find seventy errors. Holla at me and I’ll fix it. But I am also not a perfectionist and just wanted to put this out into the world. 

PPS. Have a bomb pop for me. 

xoxo

When Ignorance Perpetuates Oppression

I cannot stop thinking about the massacre in Orlando. I am so sad. My heart is so sad. I keep thinking about how it could have so easily been someone I love and cherish. Life is so precious. I want to hug and hold everyone I care about and protect them all from the evil in this world.

As I continue to cry and mourn the loss of people I have never met yet, I am watching ignorance and oppression unfold on social media and in the news. And I feel a responsibility to write something here in memory of those lost, in solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters, and in support of my LGBTQ loved ones.

It is not the responsibility of a marginalized group to educate the majority. It is also not my responsibility to engage with every or ANY bigot that reads or comments on this blog. I am not writing this to argue or fight. I am writing this to educate and promote peace and love. Read if you wish. Be nasty and hateful and I will delete and block you, it’s that simple.

I find it exhausting to have these discussions. Yet it is so damn important. It is easier for me to write than it is to have a conversation because often my emotions get in the way and I either curse or cry.

So if you are reading this, I pray you have an open mind and a desire for peace. I hope you choose to use your life as a way to love others.

This post is written in a stream-of-consciousness format and really just covers some main points I want to put out into the universe.

  • What happened in Orlando is a hate-crime. It is a horrific reflection of the homophobia that exists in our world. It is a cry for not only tolerance but peace and inclusion of differences.
  • What happened in Orlando is a CRY for stronger gun control. I don’t feel like sitting here and arguing with you about this. So I am letting someone else who has already articulated my exact feelings educate you here. ATTN CONGRESS: I don’t want your prayers. I want some fucking policy change.
  • There was no surprise when Trump came into the spotlight reinforcing his ban on Muslim migration. And it makes NO SENSE. The islamophobia and division this is creating is exactly what ISIS wants. First and foremost, the shooter in Orlando was an AMERICAN! He was not someone who had just come to the US. He was the son of immigrants. So are we going to go door to door demanding to know religious affiliation? And then boot people out that don’t fit our preferred demographic? What even is religious freedom?
  • It is frustrating to me that we all love to talk about Islam and how “violent” it is without knowing the implications of our speech and the ignorance it is based upon . I am not a Muslim. But AGAIN- I do not see it to be the responsibility of this group to educate US about how they are not evil. I am so so sick of feeling the urge to post shit that shows how Muslims are good people. I cannot imagine how shitty it must feel to constantly have this pressure on you to prove your morale and that you are not a terrorist. So what- we assume terrorists unless proven otherwise? For those of you that like to cherry-pick the Quran (and yet opt not to do so with the Bible): I encourage you to check this out: it is a thorough dissection of some of the most misinterpreted verses of the Quran that are used to perpetuate the misnomer that Islam promotes violence/terrorism.

 

In this moment you can choose to love. You can choose to open your mind. You do not have to agree with someone else’s beliefs; I would never ask that of anyone. But you should try to understand them. And you should respect them. Make friends with a Muslim or member of the LGBTQ community if you haven’t- or simply anyone who is DIFFERENT than you. Compare beliefs. Learn from one another. And promote peace and understanding.

At this moment in time it would be easy to pit Muslims against the LGBTQ community. Don’t do it. Please. Instead, let us learn to love one another and celebrate our differences.

That’s really all I have. I am so sad and exhausted from all of this. The world can be such a dark place. Hug your loved ones. Be thankful for life. And choose love, friends.

LS42_rainbow_coexist_digital_sticker_0

 

Choose love.

xoxo,

 

Jessica