Saturday, February 28, 2015

1st Month of the New Year: Resolution Review

These were my New Year's resolutions. I want to check in to see how I'm doing a month into the new year.

  • Walk outside every day

  • Exercise for 30 minutes daily

  • Journal daily

  • Draw daily

  • Intervene in negative spirals

  • Vote! Volunteer! Be politically active!

  • Study smarter and more regularly

  • Ask for help

  • Take photos

  • Local or organic food

I just read an article that explains that it takes more than 21 days to form an new habit, on average. But I still think that it's good to have a periodic check in on how you are progressing on forming a habit.
On average, it took people 66 days for a new healthy habit to feel automatic — things like eating a piece of fruit with lunch, or drinking a glass of water after breakfast, found the 2010 UK study, led by University College London research psychologist Pippa Lally. (via

Read more for the details of my resolutions in review.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Alternative vs Altering

I lived in an alternative culture: MIT is to some degree an alternative culture. My exposure was even more alternative because I lived in a small east campus dorm, Random Hall. Eat campus culture was something that appealed to me because it billed itself as alternative: rebellious, questioning, and challenging authority to create a unique sense of community. Living in the dorm, I encountered the culture of alternative for the sheer sake of being alternative. These students joined together to form a community, based on a claim to be deeply liberal and accepting. However, there was no culture of resistance.


Reading the DGR book's chapter, Part I: Resistance, I read a detailed account of the culture I was living in. From the smallest thing to the biggest, Keith describes this indulgent adolescent culture. I was amazed to see so many diverse aspects of my experience capture so quickly and accurately.

Sex positive, kink positive, LGBT positive - MIT, especially east campus, claims to be all of these.  But somehow the students never actually do anything about these issues. The rare action is about a highly specific and often innocuous on-campus change. Instead of taking concrete political action, they engaged in exhibitionist fantasies: replaying their exploits and identities in the safe space of their dorm, safe inside a privileged bubble. Worse, they push their exhibitionism onto unwilling people, especially young women. It's the screening of Deep Throat re-played in personal interactions and dorm policy.

Focusing on concrete action. Despite the large size of the alternative liberal culture on campus, the number of students who actually showed up to the Black Lives Matter on campus was tiny. The on campus event was arranged by the institute and streamlined into a press event for the President. When I emailed the dorm mailing list about a walk down Mass Ave and asking people if there was another student led event on campus, many students didn't even know that these protests were going on. Other uninformed plebeians choose to offer unasked for and baseless criticisms - why are these protests happening? why are they disruptive? wouldn't it be better to just give out flyers? I could barely believe that people who 5 minutes ago knew nothing about the protests felt that their quickly formed criticisms needed to be shared throughout the dorm rather than for us to talk about planning to take on-campus action.

In times when people tried to change things within the community (creating policy for integrating rooms and floors to be co-ed, removing the 'fetish' question from freshman orientation), the community was deeply hostile to discernment, consideration, and responsibility. When women of color spoke up about issues of hazing freshmen, the power dynamics of upperclassmen posing the questions, or the efficacy of the fetish question as representative of oppressed sexualities, we were faced with the full force of the community's ire. And the way this ire was expressed was racialized bullyingInstead of taking consideration or responsibility, the "accepting" liberal community chose to bully, isolate, and insult the women who spoke up.

Photo on 12-10-14 at 12.37 PM

I had been frustrated with the pushing of the new integration of floors when the details were completely undecided. My questions and concerns for details, planning, and responsibility were met with silence or even redirected by the leaders responding with anger. When I expressed my exasperation at the failure of the Institute to publicize the changed housing policy, I was faced with blank faces. We had done our little bit, written our policy, had our vote. So what if no one would be able to access the resource? So what if no one even knew the resource existed? (I could write a whole separate piece on the horizontal aspect of taking resources from females in order to appease femininity.)

To some degree the issue is laziness and a lack of commitment. Making actual change is difficult. Talking big within your safe in group is easy. Those risk willing people weren't interested in taking purposeful risks. Plenty of people hack. Few people protest.
A lot of privilege goes into the MIT culture. For example: You can get arrested for hacking. If you get arrested, your scholarship can be removed. You can also lose your job. On the other hand, your dorm mates may look down on you for not trying a key part of the culture. (Aria Plus Cat)

[caption id="attachment_473" align="alignnone" width="300"]It me! It me![/caption]

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Blizzard Forever


We've had nearly infinite snow here in Boston. Piles and piles of it. MIT has actually been closed for a couple of days since the state has been off-and-on in a state of emergency, with driving illegal and public transportation completely shut down. We've really run out of resources to deal with the piles of snow. And yet snow keeps falling down from the sky!


As you can see in these photos there are giant piles of white fluffy snow. I didn't take photos of the brown slimey salty mush that has also inundated the sidewalks and roads. Really, the issue is the corrosive salt. I've been wearing my rain boots non-stop to keep my cute shoes safe from salty attack.

With the end of February coming up, I'd like to think that Spring weather is coming too. At the very least, spring break will be coming.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Biophilic Bibliophile

[caption id="attachment_202" align="alignleft" width="225"]f7d57-img_1000 Plants! Growing! Green![/caption]

I am always amazed by what a difference a little bit of life makes. Growing healthy plants, open windows, a precious satisfied animal-familiar - these are all living things that in turn make me feel alive.

Similarly, reading and writing in resonance with others gives me so much inspiration. Listening to women, our concerns and hopes, gives me inspiration and in turn I return to the work of unwrapping and weaving. When we sing and speak together, not only are we louder but we are clearer. We find the reverberations of truth. Really, it's a blessing to spin and weave with others.

When I run my hands over the cover of a book written by women and for women, I feel as though I am holding hands with the author. Really, I'm amazed by the connection and affirmation I feel with the pages between my hands on the T, between lectures, curled on my sofa. Suddenly, everything is bursting with life and love when I open myself to a just little bit of life.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ferguson Revisited

Photo on 12-10-14 at 12.55 PM

I wrote earlier about Ferguson, both a layout of the proportionality of the response and also the racist aspect of the criticisms. Looking back at the hastily written piece, I'm still proud although I wish I'd spent a little more time editing.

[caption id="attachment_573" align="alignnone" width="300"]Photo on 12-10-14 at 12.56 PM #4 It me, again![/caption]

All #BlackLivesMatter.  This is Not a Moment, but a Movement (black lives matter)

I place myself in the long history of mulatto women who faced and stood against racist violence. By knowing our history, we can find ourselves.

Photo on 12-10-14 at 12.37 PM
Isn’t it more reasonable to think that a violent hate group with a history of setting fires is responsible for fires in Ferguson? Rather than blaming protesters who have explicitly called for peace?

I am sad to say that this reasonable expectation was fulfilled with a bombing attempt on a NAACP headquarters.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Semester Start

Term has begun!


I'm taking 3 classes:

  • Science of Race, Sex, and Gender

  • Human Trafficking and Slavery

  • Material Science Lab Microstructural Evolution in Materials

I'm hoping to keep up positive energy and improve on my achievements.