Monday, May 31, 2010

Lifestyle Changes Update

This is actually more of a confession. I have to be accountable and understand what my triggers are. So I was doing yoga for a week, not eating late at night and avoiding gluten. I had lost two pounds and felt pretty good. Yay me! Then, 3 days ago, I bought half dozen doughnuts and stuffed them all in my face. Could it have to do with the whole child support thing? PMS? My breasts really hurt. I got so sick with indigestion it has taken me a few days to recoup. Yesterday I started to feel better but ended up having pizza for dinner. Today is a new day. I am hopeful. But I still feel rather lost and overwhelmed. Can I do this by myself?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The State is Taking my Child's Support.

Do you know what they don’t tell you when you apply for public aid? What they don’t tell you is that if the non-custodial parent ever gets their priorities straight and begins to pay support via the child support order the social workers make you file against him, that the state will take that back child support as repayment of the “welfare” you received? That’s right, you could say they charged all of it to my X. However, the reality is that the person really being charged is my child.

The situation is that my CALWORKs 5 year time-clock has expired. However, my child support is disbursed through them. If I don’t fill out their QR7 or comply with giving them whatever, “proof that I am doing what I said I would do,” then they can sanction me and not give me the $345. of the $414. that is being taken out of my X’s paycheck every month, who has finally decided to stop getting paid under the table in order to avoid child support payments. He owes over $20,000 in back child support to my daughter. The state is claiming every penny of it.

I believe that money belongs to my child. That $70 per month could be put in a trust fund for her to give her a chance at a future. How dare they charge her for needing support when her dad wouldn't give it, and then put me through hoops, stigmatize me and call it “welfare.” They should call it, "child support relief loan," or "Fuck you for reproducing." I wouldn’t complain if they did it to others, but only poor single parents and their children get this special treatment. Farmers don’t have to pay back corn subsidies, and their only raising our nation’s food. Mothers are raising our nation’s future population. Executives wine and dine their clients and then get it written off as tax abatement. Trying to make a capitalistic buck gets more respect than nurturing life. Banks get free bailout money from the government and then lend it back to the government with interest. Saving Corporations is more important than saving lives. Poor mothers and children are treated like parasites (in a system that gives them no other choice) and the state feels they have the right to take our child support because we have the audacity to exist and need help raising children on our own.

Just when I think I have the beast by the horns, I realize that the beast actually has me.

Does anyone know of any resources that I could use to fight this?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Witch, Heal Thyself!!

First: I've been thinking about what to do with this blog. Should I keep it like a journal, with a mash up of personal narration, political views, mixed with spiritual philosophy, attempt at fiction, and such? Or should I separate the different, and often conflicting parts of myself into separate blogs? Should I prepare my blog on word first and edit it so that it is palatable to the reader or should I just stream of consciousness write like I'm doing now? What is the main purpose of this blog at this time? Hmmmmmm...

Okay, so now onto this journey of finding my healthy body. Of course, finding a healthy mind comes first. I'm a big fan of non-traditional beauty and loving one's body, but for me, it is much easier said than done. I have to consciously and actively change my mind-script when I look in the mirror. My initial thought is, ewwwwwwwwwww. This is a confession because I present myself in public like a woman who does not have body image issues. I have to, I'm a feminist and a model for my daughter. Anyway, I thought that simply changing the script is enough and I've come to find that it is not.

What is working is finally realizing all that my body has done for me in my 34 years of life in this world. And not because I've taken such good care of it. I've always been the type who forgets to put oil in the car and ends up blowing a gasket. No really, I've done it three times. But with all of the abuse and craziness that I have put this body through...all of the drugs, unprotected sex, cheeseburgers and fries, compromising situations, self hatred I've inflicted through cutting, two suicide attempts, fun and amazing adventures here and in Europe, fights, fad diets, sexual assault, domestic violence, smoking, etc... my body has come through for me every single time and I have never blown a gasket. Holy shit, this body has been my best friend and benefactor my whole life! I mean, how many people get to go through all of that and still come out the other side disease free (yes I recently checked)with all of her parts in good working order (Dr said my heart was an Olympic gold medalist)? In realizing this I have no choice but to fall humbly to my knees and worship my flesh in utter gratitude. My body is, "The Giving Tree."

I do not want to turn it into a stump.

Last Winter Solstice I let smoking cigarettes die. I felt enslaved to those things and I was through. I am so proud of myself and so is my body. However, I let my compulsive eating addiction out to roam free. A very full semester at school had me living mainly in my head. I also let myself eat as much bread as I want, and I am gluten intolerant. Since the beginning of the year I have gained 40 pounds, putting my total weight at (yikes, I can't believe this!) at 278 pounds.

My life now: Every morning I wake up horribly nauseous after a night of having to get up multiple times to take tums. When I do get up, my back, hips, knees, ankles, and neck are all very sore. My face, feet and hands are swollen and the circles under my eyes are dark. I feel like I'm 80! Often if I don't take a quick inhale of medical marijuana upon rising, I will throw up immediately or when I drink water or brush my teeth. Usually my stomach is so twisted I can't eat anything until after noon. Tying my shoes, walking the dog, even wiping my butt has become much more difficult. Sitting in a chair is horribly uncomfortable. Dark, squirrel hair is growing from my face. My doctor says that it is because my hormones are off and my hormones are off because of my weight. My period is coming every three weeks and my breasts are so sore most of the time. There are exactly three pairs of pants in my closet that still fit me. My daughter says my sweat smells bad. I think it's because of all the toxic junk that my body is trying to expel. Also, I think I'm getting a hump on my back. I've shrank two inches, I used to be 5'10'', now I'm barely 5'8".

My dirty secret: In the afternoon/evening I like to eat burgers, pizza, pasta, icecream, donuts, chocolate, and hunks of cheese. Being a medical marijuana patient makes these cravings much more intense. Because social interaction/relationships are scary for me, food gratifies my emotions, quiets my anxiety, and makes me forget that I'm lonely.

So I've come up with a little prescription to help me start this very overwhelming journey of finding my healthy body:

It starts with forgiveness. I forgive myself for all of the abuse. I love myself right now, with all of my craziness and depression, pain, and every pound of fat that my body has faithfully stored for me in case of an apocalypse. I let go of regret, shame and anger. I shed the skin that holds these feelings to my heart because like the serpent, I own the power of rebirth.

Movement is my new coping mechanism. Yoga and walking/hiking. Yoga connects body and mind. Nature connects mind to life force/spirit. I need this physical and spiritual nutrition every day. I'm going to go for an hour a day, six days a week. I will also try to dance and sing more, and be in sacred space more.

My body is sacred and what goes into my body must be sanctified. I will practice awareness. What am I putting in my mouth and why? Is it a gift, an offering to this majestic temple or is it desecration? Can I make a meal into a prayer? The food wil be like poetry to my cells if I am mindful while eating. Eating can be fulfilling to so many other senses besides taste. Meals can build community. There is magik in nourishing and finding it can be my adventure.

Besides mindfulness, I will incorporate a few things into my lifestyle. Dandelion and Nettle herbal infusions. Three liters of water per day. Fruits and vegetables throughout the day. A protein shake in the morning. The only thing that I'm cutting out right now is gluten. I will refrain from eating anything after 9pm. And I will start working on a weekly dinner menu that I can shop for at the beginning of the week.

I have the power to heal myself.

Blessed Be

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Where to go from here

Now that the semester is over, I have some time. During this prolonged moment, I have been re-evaluating many things. So much has and is coming to completion this year. It seems I have found my power and my voice, a crystal clear, strong voice that is not easily broken. A power that is life giving and healing and demands respect. I thought this power would be tested when my child's father came to California because he realized finally that he was seriously missing out. My power shown brighter than stars and he was humbled.

"You are not Cyan, anymore, You are Robin." he said.

"Cyan is dead. You killed her, and I thank you for that."

I sat down to dinner with him, his wife, her daughter who is the same age as mine. He said that his wife was nervous meeting me. I looked at her. Her eyes were familiar. I had that same look when I was married to him. Like the world would shatter to bits at any given moment.

"Don't worry," I said, "If you're good to my daughter then you're automatically one of my best friends." She knows the single mother's plight. We can be on the same side.

I didn't realize the huge weight that I was carrying until it was lifted. So worried. So worried about my daughter not knowing her dad. I told myself that it didn't matter. I changed my religion to an all Goddess Pantheon to re-enforce the idea that a man was not necessary to be whole. Living with my mom has given her the support and me the relief that is needed to grow a child. Yet, I still worried, and attached to the anxiety was shame and most of all, anger. Because I knew that no matter what, some day she would ask herself why he never bothered to try to be in her life. I never imagined in a million years that he would step up, own his neglect, and participate. I'm so glad to be wrong. She stayed with him for a whole week.

How does the real life flesh and bone dad measure up to the fantasy one that my kid has been imagining all this time? Well, she is getting to find out, and more than likely will appreciate my mom and I much more, hehehe. I realize that sometimes, a man can be far from great and still be a beneficial influence as a part time parent. Plus, I like the way child support payments feel in my hands.

She is going to stay with him for a month in July. This could be seen as the snipping of the umbilical cord for both of us. I am a bit scared and I know I will miss her because I have never been away from her for more than a week. She is scared to death but I am certain that she will be better off for the experience. I know that she will be safe. She has a step sister the same age as her. She will have a yard to play in. For me, well, This will be the first time in over seven years that my primary role in life will not be taking care of another person. I can't even imagine what that is like.

A seven year cycle of life, death, rebirth, reunion and evolution is finished. I will graduate with a degree in Gender Studies this December and I will move out of California. I am applying to grad school at the University of Oregon and also The University of Ireland Galway. This chapter is now closed, and a new one begins.

Monday, May 10, 2010



…yes you understood me and I’ll say it again:


For some reason, I’ve been hearing this phrase out of people’s mouths lately. A not so old adage that was birthed out of dominant, white culture’s tight and wrinkly rectum during the backlash to affirmative action. The idea that by saying, “Fuck you whitey,” an individual can reverse the hundreds of years of systemic oppression that effectively and currently withholds the majority of resources and means of production from a particular minority group.


First of all, the biggest affirmative action historically in this country was the GI bill. Which COMPLETELY DENIED BLACKS from any of the VA education and housing benefits that were promised to soldiers in 1944. This bill pretty much created the middle class, so when grandpa Joe claims, “I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps.” I call Bullshit.

Jim Crow laws, redlining, blockbusting, unequal schooling that still continues today (compare Beverly Hills High to Locke High in Watts.), and so many other forms of discrimination, formal and informal, have worked together to sustain a formidable obstacle between Blacks as a group and the resources that whites already own (and probably aren’t trying to share). And let’s not forget to mention slavery, the fact that most of those old guys whose pictures are on our currency raped their female slaves and created offspring, and those offspring were legally prevented from inheriting any of their fathers’ wealth. So don’t try to pretend that the disproportionate number of impoverished within the black community has no relation to the disproportionate number of the richest of the rich being white and male. And you don’t even want to hear me go off on colonization.

So yes, affirmative action was a form of reverse discrimination but only attempt to balance all of the previous centuries of original discrimination.

Racism is not only embedded deep within our own personal psyches, but also within our political system and cultural norms. There is no way in hell that reverse discrimination, which is what individuals can commit, is going to overturn that. That would be like saying that scholarships for people of low socio-economic status were reverse classism or that all feminist practice is simply reverse sexism.

Please. Like I tell my daughter, I can’t think for you, you have to do it yourself.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Right to Choose Life

One day a friend and I were yapping over coffee and the right to choose came up. My friend took a sip of her latte, and said, “I’m pro-life for myself, but pro-choice for everyone else.”

Frothed milk almost came out of my nose. Incredulous I asked her, “So, you think that other women should have the right to make choices about their bodies and lives, but you need the government to decide for you?” She became upset, and told me that no, it was because she values life above all else. But who’s to say that those of us who are pro-choice do not value life?

Maternal death rates claim the lives of over half a million women each year. The United States rates 41st in maternal health which makes the risk of maternal death here in the U.S. greater than virtually all other industrialized nations. If a woman chooses to bear children, she is indeed choosing to risk her own life. Not only is she risking her health in pregnancy, but her future and the future of her family as well. With education funding being diminished, domestic violence and other programs’ funding being taken away, women’s wages being 70% of men’s wages, unspoken discrimination against mothers looking to enter the workforce as well as lack of affordable childcare in this country, not to mention the social stigma of being a single mother; to take this choice away, would be forcing women to endanger their own lives. Therefore, the right to abortion is having the right to choose life, one’s own life.

In the past two decades, the maternal death rate here in the U.S. has more than doubled. This number is skewed by race and class, where impoverished women of color are much more likely to experience maternal complications and have less access to proper health care. In Amnesty International’s report entitled, “Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA,” it is stated that women currently do not have the fundamental human right to give birth safely in this country.(Amnesty International, 2010)

The feminization of poverty is a current phenomenon where the overrepresentation of women and women headed households exists in the lowest socio-economic groups. Current policies in this country do not create enough of a safety net for women and their families who are without financial or social resources. Poor mothers are stigmatized by society, especially if they receive welfare. Sex equality in the workplace is still unattained. Affordable childcare remains elusive. These are only a few of the reasons why a woman would be reluctant to begin, or add onto her family.

In conclusion, to force a woman to risk her life and her future in childbirth could be likened to bringing back the military draft for men. If it is agreed that forcing men to risk their lives is unethical, then the same courtesy should be extended to women. It is not the place of society or the government to make this choice for anyone. Nor is it the place for anyone to decide which life gets valued over another.

Works Cited
Amnesty International. "Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Healthcare Crisis in the United States." Deadly Delivery. Amnesty International, 2010. Web. 8 May 2010. .
Goldberg, Gertrude S., and Eleanor Kremen. The Feminization of Poverty: Only in America? New York: Greenwood, 1990. Print.
Kaiser Network. "Pregnancy & Childbirth | Maternal Mortality Rate in U.S. Highest in Decades, Experts Say -" Kaiser Health News. Kaiser Foundation, 2007. Web. 08 May 2010. .