Away to Focus on Self-Care

Photo of a Brown woman dancing and smiling in a blurry photo. There is a Brown man, whose face blends into the darkness, behind her.
Photo by a Friend

I have been away from my blog to focus on self-care. Do you see this photo above? That was me focusing on self-care nine years ago in the form of dancing and smiling at a friend’s birthday party. It is a blurry photo, but I am glad I did not delete it like I do with most blurry pictures. The details might not all be clear, but the joy in this photo is evident. This is definitely not a posed portrait. The birthday girl is not in this picture, but there is another old friend dancing behind me in this photo. I was looking through photos from this birthday a few months ago because I was reminiscing about this old friend. Unfortunately, he passed away. If it was not an intentional suicide, the few details I was given about his lead me to suspect it was an accidental self-inflicted death. Why? I knew from many conversations with him that he had a lifelong history of trauma, mental health issues triggered by the trauma, and suicide attempts.

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When Luxury Is Not Enough

Photo is of the MacArthur Landing sculpture.
Photo by L. Laguna

On February 24, 2022, I celebrated the two-year anniversary of my mastectomy in the post More Than Transactional. It was only after this post that I found out that Russia had invaded Ukraine. NPR posted Photos: The sobering cost of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. The New York Times has live updates on the Russia-Ukraine War.

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Telling Our Own Stories

Photo is of an abstract mix of different vertical lines and colors.
Photo by L. Laguna

This morning I recorded the podcast episode Dancing on My Own. (You can also find the stream of my latest episodes on the newly added Podcast webpage for Unfiltered Snapshot.) What started off as a conversation about dancing transitioned to one about women and the she-cession.

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Living Like a Bubble Girl

Photo is of blue abstract spheres.
Photo from Flickr

Yesterday I recorded the podcast episode Bubble Girl. That is because living in this pandemic has me feeling like a bubble girl. I am not surprised by this; I am simply processing what it means to live in this stage of the pandemic.

We are past the creation of vaccines and boosters. A month ago, medical experts started sharing Why you should upgrade your mask as the Omicron variant spreads. According to the AP News headline, the White House soft-launches COVID-19 test request website.

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Neighbors

Photo is of a beach with a blue and cloudy sky with the sun and peach tones in the background.
Photo by L. Laguna

I am no stranger to talking about love. Throughout the years, I have written about it in I Fall in Love, When Love Is Not Enough for Justice, Let People Love You: Community Care Knows No Boundaries, My Anniversary, and more. As you can tell from my posts, I discuss love in a number of contexts.

However, I live in a society where people tend to talk about love through very limited and specific contexts. If I say love, people often think about romance and passion first. If it is not the love of a partner or spouse, they think about love within a family context like the relationship between a parent and child, between siblings, or between a person and any number of people in their extended family.

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Where Do We Go from Here?

Photo is of two bumper stickers on a black car. The top one has an image of Donald Trump and says, "They're not really after me. They're after you. I'm just in the way." The bottom one says, "Stand up for your country."
Photo by L. Laguna

This morning I recorded the latest episode of the Unfiltered Snapshot podcast Honoring MLK: A Day Off or On? This upcoming Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In the week leading up to this holiday, I have reflected on how I have seen MLK Day being acknowledged in my current life, in my binge watching of TV shows, and in the early years of my career with two AmeriCorps programs. I invite you to listen to this episode as I examine the different ways that people choose to honor MLK on this special day.

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Mixed Messages

Photo is the top view of a lit white candle with a black background.
Photo by L. Laguna

This morning, I lit the candle in the photo above. I was hoping it could add warmth to my place. Why? I woke up without heat. As I started typing this sentence, I received word from the maintenance man of my building that the heat turned back on. I should start to feel it soon. That is a relief. If you listened to Something New, the latest episode of my podcast also titled Unfiltered Snapshot, you would know that my first morning of the new year has been heatless. I have layered up so I am fine, but my fingers remain cold as I type this post.

I hope this is not a bad sign of the new year. My hope is that it shows with a bit more perseverance, I too will survive and thrive in 2022. Oh yeah, Happy New Year!

How has the start of your new year been?

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Being The Only One: Acknowledgment and Positionality

Photo is of an orange butterly.
Photo from Flickr

Have you ever been the only one with an identity or group membership that nobody else around you has? If you have, what was your positionality within the settings where you were the only one? If you have not, what factors have contributed to you leading a life where never being the only one is possible?

You might not know what positionality means. As I type this term in this blog post, the gods of WordPress have underlined the word with a red squiggly line. This is what happens when a platform thinks you misspelled a term. The fact that the WordPress gods do not recognize this word in itself demonstrates that more people, including those who design website platforms, need to understand the concept of positionality and that it is in fact a real word. You can learn more about what it means by doing your own independent research, but here is the Postionality and Intersectionality webpage from Indigenous Initiatives at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.

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Under Reconstruction

Image is an abstract image of brown and purple hues.

Photo from Flickr

I have not written on this blog for almost four months because I was preparing for, underwent, and have been recovering from reconstructive surgery. I was waiting for a moment to be inspired to write again, but maybe inspiration is too strong of a word.

When you are working to fulfill your basic needs, engaging in an activity that you normally love is not always the best thing. Sometimes when you try to do something and encounter restrictions or discomfort, reconnecting with the activity becomes more work than leisure.

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My Anniversary

Photo is of purple flowers.
Photo from Flickr

The following text is a post I shared with friends. Originally, it included a photo of me at the hospital, waiting for my mastectomy. In the photo, I was lying in a bed reclined back at about a 45 degree angle. My body was snugly tucked under white sheets, and my head was propped on a matching pillow. A light blue bouffant cap contained my thick, long dark brown-black hair. I wrote it this morning to reflect on the anniversary of my mastectomy. It goes like this:

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