The Black Feminist Project

Tanya Fields the founder of the Black Feminist Project in the Bronx, NY was interviewed in Women’s Health magazine.

What she said: “It’s a little ridiculous for people to see activism as a job as opposed to a responsibility to create a better world.”

Tanya Fields launched Black Joy Farm. On a sliding-scale fee families can have fresh fruits and vegetables delivered in their South Bronx neighborhood.

What if activism was no longer needed because there was no injustice anymore? Then the task for humanitarians would be uplifting others in different ways. Like doing motivational speaking to inspire teens to graduate high school.

There’s likely always going to be a cause to advocate for. The Tanya Fields activists of the world deserve credit for making their corner of the world a better place.

You can log on to The Black Feminist Project to donate money and buy their tee shirt and read about the nonprofit.

Something to think about as holiday time nears.

Grape Expectations

The 11th District election showdown is in full swing.

In her TV campaign ad Nicole CacaCola [Malliotakis] wears a purple sweater.

I see right through that clever marketing ploy.

Purple is a color that signifies spirituality.

CacaCola voted NO to giving American workers national paid sick leave.

She voted YES to funding the Pentagon with upwards of $1.4 trillion dollars.

Money that would be better used helping Americans buy food when we go hungry.

Giving every citizen 18 and older a $1,000 per month Universal Basic Income (UBI).

In a book I checked out of the library about ending poverty one of the solutions listed was giving Americans a monthly UBI payment.

Not that Max Rose the Democratic contender is a whole lot better.

Afro-Latina Brittany Ramos DeBarros who I voted for didn’t win the primary.

Though she garnered 20 percent of the vote which is phenomenal.

A woman I corresponded with said she votes–and she lobbies after the election is over.

Which is what I do even though no candidate can do everything you ask them to do.

I’m no fan of CacaCola’s funding of the perpetual war chest.

She wouldn’t debate Max Rose on TV. This leads me to believe that CacaCola knows she wouldn’t stand a chance if she had to speak for more than ten minutes on real issues.

The Green Party has gotten kicked off the ballot in New York State.

We are also voting for Governor. In a match between Kathy Hochul and Lee Zeldin.

Hochul appears brilliant in the TV campaign ad I saw her speaking in. Not trashing Zeldin. Stating her victories on gun control and other measures. The TV ad was impressive.

I have yet to come up with a catchy nickname for Max Rose.

Hopefully this last week before election day doesn’t turn into a barrage of TV ads with potty-mouthed Staten Islanders taking profane pot shots at Max Rose. Like two years ago.

Brittany Ramos DeBarros should’ve won the primary.

Who I vote for is a mystery I have no idea about. Though no way will I be voting for CacaCola.

Here’s the trick: ever since the first George Bush the father invaded Iraq with Operation Desert Storm in 1991 I refused to vote Republican after that.

Twenty-six years old then why did I think that war wasn’t justified?

This is all I’ll say about politics today. Coming up my latest great nonprofit that I’m donating money to.

Nail Polish Nirvana

I turn 58 in the spring. With the prospect of my life getting shorter I have the urge to Dare Beautiful Girl. Like the words on three poetry dog tags I inserted in a ball chain to create a jewelry poem.

In keeping with this I’m emailing elected leaders on issues that should be taken up. Like acting on the 100+ year-old promise to give the Cherokee Nation a seat in Congress.

Elsewhere what I’m doing points to the fact that a person is not ever too old to change their tune.

All my life I’ve only used clear nail polish to give myself a manicure.

This week I didn’t want my talking hands to fade into the woodwork either.

Confetti-sparkle nail polish to the rescue.

Out of the blue I craved color on my hands to express a lively feeling.

Wit happens when you’re 57.

I see the world differently than I did at 27.

It’s called risking. And risking that my nail polish might chip.

This is neither here nor there in the scheme of world peace.

Yet anything that would make the trial of being a caregiver today worth it I’ll take.

We should cherish that our mother or father is still alive. Forgive them if we must for how our childhoods were.

Often: “The pain is real” as the expression goes. Whatever trial we’re going through I say:

To turn an ordinary day into a celebration buy that $5 bottle of nail polish.

What I would like to do when I retire is volunteer my time to take individuals with disabilities to Sephora. To pay for them to get a makeover.

Neon green nails here I come!

Change of Life Change of Outlook

I should not be so nonchalant about telling people my age–57.

Yet living through “the change of life” is central to what I want to say.

Dissatisfied I was reading the first few pages of No One Tells You This–the memoir of a 40-year old woman with no kids and no husband.

I’m writing a second memoir that I would like to publish within two years.

It’s about having my cake and celebrating each new birthday with glee not gloom.

No one talks about being a Generation X Girl living in menopause.

I will do this. Born in the first year of the Generation X cohort I don’t want to be rendered invisible.

Not everyone is a member of “the sandwich generation.” For those of us who are single our lives are often an “open-faced sandwich” acting as the caregiver without children of our own for a mother or father.

This time of life isn’t so terrible even though the pain can be real for a lot of us.

We have only this one lifetime. Use your regret as the catalyst for changing your life for the better. Today is the day to Just Do It.

It can seem like on one ordinary day you pivot on a dime. Most likely this urge was percolating in the coffee pot of your brain for a while. Until it reached the boiling point.

One day you choose to do something totally not like you. Unlike everything you’ve done before.

At 57 I’ve become electrified to Make It Happen–whatever I fancy I want to do before 60 kicks in.

Cherish 50 while it lasts. Grab the bull of life by the horns and ride wild. These can be the best years of our life. At 60 I imagine the bull will get tired of stampeding. Want to laze and graze in the grass.

Our fifties really are the Dangerous Decade. A lot of us are no longer satisfied with the way things are. We risk bending, breaking, and rewriting the rules.

Coming up: How at 57 I’ve become a quick-change artist.

How to Love Our Bodies

I’ve become fixated on dressing in clothes all over again.

The Science of Fitness special edition magazine has an article titled The Power of Body Neutrality.

The key takeaway of this featured article is that you don’t have to think positively about your body every hour of the day.

You might like your hands and not like your thighs. The Body Neutral movement espouses focusing on the parts of your body you really like.

Yes–I’m obsessed with my arms–one with its “kitchen scars” and all.

A surprise suggestion in The Power of Body Neutrality:

Rethink your clothes by sticking with styles you’re comfortable in.

To wit:

“It’s a simple step, but when we’re self-conscious about what we’re in, it just brings more awareness of ourselves to our bodies and what we don’t like about them.”

I for one cannot wear regular blue jeans and feel good.

The quote above from the Science of Fitness hammers home why it’s a mistake to buy clothes that have become popular without thinking of whether you’ll like wearing them once you’ve taken them home.

As I live on the cusp of 60 I’ve taken to rethinking how I want to dress. It might be that I will always dress like I’m a teenager regardless of my chronological age.

Proving that our real age is just a number and the size on a clothing tag is just a number.

If you like how you feel dressed in jeans that’s all that matters.

Loving our bodies is possible.

It’s a radical idea that fits into the Conscious Chic and eco-conscious clothing ethic: save money by buying only the clothes you’re comfortable in. In turn we save the planet and S.O.S.–Save Our Sanity by quieting the internal critic.

How a person dresses often reflects what’s going on internally. Another great reason to choose and use clothing items carefully to either amplify or alter our mood.

It’s true we should like what we’re wearing.

I’m going to take The Science of Fitness mantra above to heart.

Street Unicorns

I checked this new 2022 book out of the library.

Yes–one of the Bold Expressionists of Style(tm) wears a pink pant suit.

My fashion motto is: Dress like you give a frock.

To wit per author photographer Robbie Quinn:

“An individual needs real vulnerability to put themselves out there.”

One of the Bold Expressionists said they dressed in color because they had anxiety and depression.

In my life I find that everything I want to achieve first starts with changing how I dress.

In August two Salvation Army truck drivers carted off 4 donation bags of clothes.

Goodbye to the dull gray and brown items that sapped my energy wearing them. The colors you wear can impact how you feel.

Which must be why the Bold Expressionists often wear loud-and-proud colorful clothing items.

Since I donated the 4 bags I’ve broken my vow not to buy anything new. Adding a pair of silver boots and a pair of combat boots to my collection of shoes.

The older I’ve gotten I’ve become more obsessed with dressing up in clothes that make a statement.

In the 1980s I was a disc jockey on FM radio. Then I dressed in weird clothes and swiped on shocking makeup.

Browsing for unusual digs in Kiss Kiss Kill Kill the punk rock clothing emporium on Bay Street on Staten Island.

Do you readers ever think of the person you used to be when you were young? Or maybe some of you are young.

Nearing the cusp of 60 [in three years!] I find myself on a kick to reinvent how I dress in clothes.

Viewing the Bold Expressionists of Style(tm) in the book Street Unicorns brings joy to my heart.

No one should be afraid to dress to express their authentic self.

Even if for some of us that style is ordinary and not outrageous.

There’s no need to judge how a person looks–or looks in their clothes.

Dressing in clothes is a celebration of life.

The day you become who you are is the real birthday.

My cake has plenty of candles to blow out today.

How old are you? Whatever your age you should not give up on yourself.

My motto for how a person should approach living in their fifties is:

“There’s nothing I won’t wear, and I’ll try anything once.”

Attaining fashion freedom often unshackles us in other areas of our life.

I’ll end here by saying that the Street Unicorns emboldened me to live outside the box. I haven’t met a box I liked having to fit in.

23&Me

At first I thought DNA testing amounted to a parlor trick. Then I changed my mind. Sprung for a 23&Me DNA kit.

My intent in doing this was to connect with others. Be a citizen of the world.

My DNA composition:

95.2% Italian – Sicily + 9 other regions.

Western Asian and North African 4.5%

Northern West Asian 4.3%

Iranian Caucasian Mesopotamian 2.6%

Cypriot 1.4%

Broadly Northern West Asian 0.3%

Broadly Western Asian & Northern African 0.2%

Trace Ancestry: 0.2%

Unassigned: 0.1%

The weird facts section of the report was amusing:

45% chance of slightly wavy hair.

Yes I was born with wavy hair.

Think this percentage should’ve been higher given how unruly my curly “summer hair” is.

Coming into October my “winter hair” will be in effect–straight all day when I blow dry it.

Fear of public speaking:

Less likely to have a fear of public speaking.

Hello–I perform on stage at poetry readings. I do motivational speaking in front of audiences in rooms.

I recommend springing for this DNA testing. It’s a fun amusement more than anything.

The 23&Me DNA kit costs $99. Or $89 if like me a friend who used it gives you a discount code.

The Power of Plus

I checked this book out of the library.

At the same time I’ve been studying the topic of microaggressions too.

One common comment is “You’d be so pretty if_______.”

I don’t want to trigger followers by typing in the rest of the sentence.

Who in their right mind would think this is a kind and caring thing to say?

Why would they think only thin people are pretty?

In my view I don’t think most people need to lose weight. Some of us carry more weight on our frames.

The author of the Power of Plus is Gianluca Russo an Italian freelance journalist. He exposes the folly of the thin white-centric ideal of beauty that designers foist on fashion models and consumers.

Russo ends the book on a positive note quoting powerful ladies.

To get readers to buy the book or at least check it out of the library I will quote one section toward the end.

Per Russo:

“I never knew what it meant to live authentically until I entered the fashion industry…That is what the plus-size community has taught me: true self-expression is perhaps the strongest power to exist on earth.”

Right said Russo.

If you ask me followers it all comes down to self-expression being the pathway to success.

In 2015 when I published my memoir I was the first woman writing about mental health who talked about how self-expression via dressing in fashion helped her recover.

I knew this then and I know it now: individuality is what makes a person beautiful.

Why should any of us feel the need to conform to what’s viewed as normal or acceptable?

True self-expression is irresistible to others.

Become who you are. Regardless of whether people like this

Shrinking ourselves to make others feel better is no way to live.

Shine on fabulous ladies.

Love Welcomes Mat

The photo is of the welcome mat woven by a woman in the Love Welcomes collective of refugees in Greece.

The mat features upcycled fabric with strips of the life vest they wore to escape their home country.

It cost $65.50 total which is a fair price. I’m gearing up to make a donation to Thistle Farms the nonprofit that sells the welcome mats and other products on their website.

Today I’m tuned in more to what’s going on in America and around the world. Every day in my inbox I get social justice emails.

Just being aware of the injustice is the start. Then we must act together to defy the status quo and do what we can to change things.

I was born in 1965—the first year of Generation X. The older I’ve gotten I’m more committed to seeking justice.

I’m 57 and a child of the 1980s. Like the famous Mr. T in that long-ago TV show “I Pity the Fool” who would mess with me after they found out my story.

The quote is that we can’t just seek to change the story. We must change the storyteller.

Giving column space to unique voices and the original perspectives of often-silenced individuals is called for.

My time on OKCupid having crashed and ended I’ve decided to turn my sights on my Advocate work instead.

One thing I’ve done is to publish a second book a career guide for peers. It was my attempt to seek economic justice for people with mental health issues traditionally shut out of employment.

The goal as I see it is to get to the point in society where Activists can go out of business because there’s no more suffering in the world.

As I’ve always said in here one person reaching out to help another person is the way to go.

I have my eye on a pair of earrings on the Thistle Farms website.

Coming up a review of a biting and brilliant book on the fashion industry and the size inclusion revolution.

Thistle Farms

I check out of the library business books shelved in the 658s. At the end of Story Dash the author recommended readers check out Thistle Farms.

Located in Nashville, TN in America the non-profit was founded to give women survivors of human trafficking and addiction housing and employment.

There’s a free 2-year residence for recovery in Nashville. Thistle Farms also sells goods that women around the world handcraft.

The home decor and apparel and jewelry items are sold on the Thistle Farms website. I’ll link to Thistle Farms at the end of this blog entry.

There you can buy a beaded bracelet as cheap as $10. I have my eye on a welcome mat that refugees craft in Greece using strips from their life jackets.

A great find is a black leather tote bag for $99. It’s the kind of pocketbook that stands out. Why order a handbag from Nordstrom online when it will be a mass-produced item that everyone will be carrying everywhere.

The goods sold on the Thistle Farms website give fair trade employment to women living in countries throughout the world.

There are so many great finds on the website that I might break my vow not to spend money. I’m tempted to throw caution to the wind and buy something to support Thistle Farms.

Check out Thistle Farms today.